Finish off your week with our weekly column, which looks at gambling news all over the world. Land-based and online laws regularly change to keep up with technology, and we aim to keep on top of the changes to ensure our readers remain informed.
If you have any information on gambling changes near you, send it to [email protected] or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Although this week has been somewhat slow, the biggest news story comes from Down Under. The Australian Senate has passed new gambling reforms which prohibit offshore gambling operators from targeting Australian players, among other legislative changes. In India, the legal status of fantasy sports has been clarified, while the sports betting case has progressed. That’s not all though, there’s plenty more news updates below.
Australian online gambling industry crippled
The Australian Senate passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 on Wednesday, banning offshore operators from accepting Australians. The reforms include a national self-exclusion register and a voluntary opt-out pre-commitment scheme. The Senate has passed the bill despite an ongoing online poker inquiry set up to exclude the game. PokerStars is likely to withdraw in the coming days. The legislation also prohibits online bookmakers in Australia from offering lines of credit to their customers.
American casino now accepts Chinese payment method
New Jersey is ahead of the game when it comes to online gambling laws and regulations. Residents can legally play online casino games and Internet poker at licensed sites. But players outside of New Jersey cannot access these sites. New Jersey State Senator, Raymond Lesniak, wants to change the laws to allow players from other states to access NJ licensed sites. Due to several states attempting to legalise online gaming, NJ could eventually become a hub for online gambling in the US.
Pennsylvania is one state attempting to legalise online gambling but it appears the bill won’t be considered again until fall. Lawmakers are considering regulating the industry to fill a hole in the budget. The issue will hopefully be resolved when legislators return in September.
Meanwhile, the state of Georgia is struggling to agree on what gambling options should be legal in the state. Opponents of a regulated gambling industry have recently received some support, as the Georgia GOP state committee passed a resolution against horse racing, casinos and daily fantasy sports. The resolution reportedly claims gambling increases crime and divorce rates.
Caesars Entertainment is making it easier for Chinese visitors who visit its Las Vegas venues by integrating the WeChat app. Chinese nationals use the app back home to pay for goods and services and they will now be able to purchase food, show tickets and more using the app at Caesars Palace and 15 other venues.
Number of Greek lottery terminals reduced
Although the Greek Ministry of Finance approved 35,000 video lottery terminals, it now wants the number cut to 25,000. Parliament introduced a bill to reduce the number of machines, citing responsible gambling and ease of monitoring as reasons behind the reduction. The OPAP, which is responsible for sports betting and lottery gambling services in the country, has attempted to roll out the machines for several years. Although it has faced a number of regulatory hurdles, the company expects the machines installed by mid-2018.
Slovakian blacklist increases
The Slovak Financial Administration has increased the number of operators on the country’s gambling blacklist. The original blacklist included 10 “illegal” gambling websites including William Hill and Bet365, among others. The SFA added six additional operators to the list this week. The operators have 10 days to take down the websites before ISPs block them and they are fined up to €500,000.
Russian gambling complaints on the rise
More than 38,7000 complaints related to illegal gambling were made in the first half of 2017, according to Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media and telecommunications regulator. The figure is a 235 percent increase in the number of complaints this time last year. The watchdog cracked down on illegal gambling last year, blocking 15,900 gambling domains, and even reintroduced a ban on VPNs recently.
China cracks down on illegal gambling rings
China is cracking down on cross-border gambling operations with a recent sting in Fiji. Chinese authorities reportedly travelled to the island to investigate two weeks ago. They have returned to mainland China with 77 Chinese nationals in custody, suspected of operating an illegal gambling ring. The syndicate operated out of Fiji, Indonesia and China and targeted Chinese nationals.
Macau authorities have been focusing on illegal gambling operations too, but they are more interested in illegal proxy betting rings. They have recently arrested 10 male and female suspects for operating an illegal proxy betting syndicate in a VIP casino room. Police uncovered similar operations in June and April.
Japan gets first WPT tournament
The World Poker Tour (WPT) is hosting an event in Japan for the first time this year, despite the lack of a national framework for casino gambling. Although the country’s Diet lifted the casino ban at the end of last year, legislators are still working on the regulatory framework. Regardless, the WPT issued a press release on Wednesday announcing the Japan event, which will consist of four tournaments in November. A specific venue in Tokyo is yet to be determined.
Philippines prison hosts betting options
Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre prison guards missed out on their $200 bonus after inmates were found with betting slips and drugs. Local police raided the prison on Tuesday and found 20 gambling tally sheets, number combinations, and betting money. The prisoners used the numbers to operate an illegal Swertres ring – a three-digit numbers game operated by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). The PCSO has increased the daily draws to help stamp out illegal games such as “jueteng” and “masiao”.
Meanwhile, the country is on day 10 of the 15-day illegal gambling crackdown. It’s not clear whether the police are close to completely eradicating illicit gaming operations or whether they will lose their jobs – an ultimatum by the Philippines National Police chief, Ronald Dela Rosa.
India declares fantasy sports a skill-based game
An Indian High Court has ruled fantasy sports does not amount to gambling. A man attempted to claim damages against fantasy sports site Dream11 after he lost Rs. 50,000 over two fantasy matches. He claimed the site promoted gambling, which is mostly illegal in India. But the High Court ruled that the man used a considerable amount of skill in picking his teams. The judge concluded real money fantasy sports is a skill-based game, and thus legal in India.
The case could pave the way for sports betting too, with talks of a regulated industry progressing. This week members of the Law Commission of India (LCI), who are in charge of reviewing the sports betting ban, reached out to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for suggestions. The LCI is expected to submit its recommendations in relation to a regulated industry in the coming weeks.
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