If you want to keep up with the ever-changing gambling environment, then you have come to the right place. We take a look at news, announcements and industry changes around the world regarding online and offline casino and sportsbooks. Each week we compile all of the biggest changes, like new laws or regulatory changes, as well as the latest gambling news into a weekly column, which you can access on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop device.
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This week, an American Congressman has announced that he is ready to introduce new legislation, which would veto the New Jersey sports betting case. In Belgium, the country’s gaming regulator has caused a ripple effect right around the world due to an esports investigation. And in Japan, the problem gambling bill timeline has changed once again. Find out more below.
Australia to comment on gambling advertising restrictions
The Australian public can now comment on the gambling advertising restrictions set to be introduced in 2018. Australia’s industry body for free to air television networks, Free TV, opened the consultation period this week on the new provisions, including a ban on gambling ads during live sporting events between 5 am and 8:30 pm. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will then need to approve the provisions.
Anti-Lottoland campaigner, Tatts, donated almost $100,000 to state and federal political parties, according to the 2015-2016 public political donations register. One Nation Senator, Pauline Hanson, received a donation of almost $2000 from Tatts, a day after she introduced a secondary amendment banning Lottoland to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2016. Tatts has been campaigning to get Lottoland banned ever since it entered the market, and recently had a win when the Northern Territory Attorney General announced it could no longer accept bets on Australian lotteries.
Six issues with the UK gambling industry
The UK gambling industry is undergoing several changes regarding online casino bonuses and wagering terms. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed several concerns it has following an investigation into UK online casinos, at the 2017 Raising Standards Conference. CMA Project Director, George Lusty, said the main issues are a lack of transparency of promotional terms, withdrawals, play restrictions, free bets and publicity. The CMA will determine whether the operators have addressed these concerns next month.
A bookmaker in Northern Ireland has been arrested following an investigation into fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). While the machines are legal in the rest of the UK, according to the police they’re illegal in Northern Ireland. There are reportedly 600 FOBTS in the region, which have apparently been operating illegally, as FOBTS have a maximum bet limit of £100 and Northern Ireland law states that the maximum bet limit is 30p. The Public Prosecution Service will decide whether to charge the bookmaker.
US to introduce legislation vetoing NJ sports betting case
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a plan which could disrupt American online casino and poker players. The plan will roll back internet neutrality, which bans Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from prioritising websites or activities, as well as blocking access to specific sites. FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, announced his deregulation agenda on Tuesday, and while it is expected to be approved next month, it has already been met with resistance from companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook. The companies believe deregulating the internet will allow telecoms to determine what content customers see. Telecoms could also forget about looking after casinos and poker rooms in states where gambling is legal, resulting in consequences for players.
US Representative Frank Pallone has said he wants to introduce new legislation, which would, in effect, make the New Jersey sports betting case redundant. Pallone said he wants to introduce the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act (GAME), to give individual states the right to legalise online gambling. Currently, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prevents all US states from legalising sports betting. While four states managed to legalise it before the act was enforced in 1992, several other states, including New Jersey, are fighting for the right to change their laws.
Along with legalising online gambling, the Pennsylvanian gambling expansion included the addition of Category 4 satellite casinos. However, 88 towns and boroughs have filed resolutions prohibiting satellite casinos from being built where they live. There are 10 available satellite casinos, which are permitted to house up to 750 slot machines and 40 table games, but it’s not clear where they will set up shop.
Belgium says loot boxes count as gambling
The Belgian Gaming Commission (BCG) has found loot boxes, like in the latest Star Wars Battlefront II game, should be classified as gambling following an investigation. The regulator said the random nature of the boxes, and the fact you are risking money for an unknown prize, counts as gambling. The Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, also weighed in on the matter, stating that money and video gaming don’t mix and that the government would be looking to ban all in-game purchases. The BCG has urged other jurisdictions to follow suit, with Hawaii looking into reviewing the release of the EA game. A French politician has also penned a letter on the matter, while an Australian state regulator has agreed with the BGC’s stance.
Germany confirms casino operators need license to operate
The Bundesverwaltungsgericht or Federal Administrative Court of Germany has confirmed online casino and poker operators can only service Germans if they have a local license. Following a judgement over two offshore online casino operators that had been accepting German players, the court stated that the ban was constitutional and in line with European law. The two casinos continued to accept German players after a lower court ruled the licensing system was disorganised. The court overturning the decision has prompted calls for a regulatory overhaul, despite the State Treaty, which has caused a considerable amount of resistance between states and EU authorities.
Vietnamese locals to enter casinos within weeks
Vietnam locals will officially be able to enter local casinos next month, after the announcement of a three-year trial at the end of 2016. A long-standing ban has been lifted and finally confirmed by government advisor to Vietnam, Augustine Ha Ton Vinh. Last month a decree was released stating that locals would be able to enter land-based casinos provided they earned a minimum of VND 10 million a month, following the announcement the country would trial the program for three years last year to attract foreign investors.
Japan to submit problem gambling bill earlier than expected
Despite earlier reports that Japanese lawmakers were postponing their problem gambling bill, the governing Liberal Democratic Party, along with Komeito, agreed to an earlier timeline. According to GGRAsia, the two parties agreed to submit the problem gambling bill by December 9. The media outlet said several members from the two parties were even aiming to pass the anti-addiction framework during the current sitting. The expedited timeline is a surprise, given Japanese media outlets reported that the legislation would unlikely be submitted this year. The Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill is still in the works and the country’s lawmakers will likely debate it next year.