THE end of the week means our gambling column is back and there is plenty of news to catch up on. If you’re new to our site, we report the latest law changes which impact punters and gamblers all over the world. If you’re a regular, welcome back!
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The American gambling industry is constantly changing and this week there has been quite a large number of issues, including more support for legalised sports betting. Things are looking up in Japan, with a special committee set to tour the country to explain the new casino policies and obtain feedback. Meanwhile, a study has revealed Kenyan punters were not even aware of the new tax changes. Scroll down to find out more.
Australian casino shut down by state government
A $3 billion land-based casino set for the state of Queensland has been rejected by the government just days after Caesars Entertainment agreed to get involved. The casino, planned by the ASF Consortium would have included five high-rise buildings, a number of restaurants, conference facilities and more. But the state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed her government rejected the project to protect the designated site, Southport Spit.
Meanwhile, the Australian casino operator, Crown Resorts, has made headlines again after a former employee filed a lawsuit based on poor occupational health and safety (OHS) measures at the property. Australian media outlets have reported Audrey Gatt worked for Crown for five months before being let go in April for “unsatisfactory performance.” Gatt believes she was terminated unlawfully and wants the maximum penalty for Crown.
New Zealand to introduce POC tax
To ensure the country’s local gambling companies have a chance, the New Zealand government has proposed a point of consumption (POC) tax applicable on wagers that are taken from New Zealand punters. Under the Racing Amendment Bill, international operators would have to pay two percent of betting turnover. The bill requires offshore operators servicing Kiwis to submit data to determine the exact amount owed.
Support for American sports betting case grows
The American Gaming Association (AGA) released a new ‘Code of Conduct’ for its members this week. The code aims to protect players through casino policies by addressing industry employees and casino customers. The AGA wants to create a better environment to facilitate the regulation of gambling in states which prohibit the pastime.
The New Jersey sports betting case has gained a lot of attention but it is unlikely to be heard until later this year, or early next year. Still, several states are discussing potential legislation changes. West Virginia is the latest to jump on the bandwagon and is considering regulating sports betting in the state provided the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is successfully repealed.
The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), which is in charge of tribal gaming concerns in the US has also joined the good fight to legalise sports betting in the country. NIGA has partnered with the American Sports Betting Coalition to repeal PASPA.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) announced that it had resumed talks with Nevada about online poker liquidity sharing. The DGE added that it is also keen to share a pool with Pennsylvania, provided the state regulates online gaming. The announcement follows the revelation that the DGE attempted to form a shared online poker liquidity project with the UK but failed.
Massachusetts has declared daily fantasy sports games a form of online gambling instead of a game of skill. A commission voted to change the nature of DFS despite a number of panel members claiming the games require skill. As a result, DFS operator DraftKings will have to fight to keep its status as a non-gambling business.
Canadian gaming company rebrands
The Canadian based gambling giant the Amaya group has officially changed its name to The Stars Group. The conglomerate announced the rebranding in May to identify with PokerStars, its prominent online poker company. The Stars Group has relocated from Montreal to Toronto and unveiled new logos, as well as a new website.
Japan opens the floor to public over casinos
A government committee will be touring Japan later this month to explain the new casino industry. The country is in the midst of working out the details for the planned Integrated Resorts (IRs) which will feature casinos. But the casino ban repeal has been somewhat controversial with the general public expressing concern. As a result, the committee will be visiting Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, Sendai, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Toyama, Nagoya and Takamatsu to explain the benefits and to gather feedback on policies.
Meanwhile, a panel of experts has released recommendations for the IR national framework. But the tight restrictions on locals (including limiting the number of times Japanese citizens can enter), as well as the small casino floor space (15,000 square metres), is reportedly pushing international operators away. The Diet should finalise the bill which will have more information by the end of the year. Provided the process remains on schedule, Japanese casinos could open by 2023.
Kenyan punters unaware of tax change
According to a new study performed by Trends and Insights For Africa (TIFA), Kenyans do not know about the new laws President Uhuru Kenyatta enforced at the end of June. The President signed the new 35 percent tax into law, despite strong criticism from bookmakers and sporting codes in the country. But TIFA has found 69 percent of respondents were unaware that the tax on Kenyan betting, gambling, lottery and competition operators had increased to a uniform 35 percent. The majority of those who were aware of the new legislation said they do not support the changes as they believe it means the end of betting companies.
India makes progress with sports betting
Sports Secretary, Injeti Srinivas, has reportedly met with UK Gambling Commission Director, Nick Tofiluk, to discuss the issues surrounding the legalisation of sports betting in India. Recent reports suggested the Union Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry has been considering legalising sports wagering but conflicting comments by Sports Minister, Vijay Goel, left the industry in limbo. However, the meeting confirms that the Ministry is indeed considering reviewing the framework which bans sports betting in the country as a means to clamp down on the illegal industry which continues to operate.
Philippines police to stop illegal gambling in 15 days
The Philippines National Police (PNP) chief has warned the force that if it doesn’t stamp out illegal gambling, specifically jueteng operations, in 15 days he will start relieving jobs. The announcement follows the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) stating it would be cutting PNP funding due to its failure to stamp out illegal operations.
Argentinan online gambling debate
The country is in the midst of an online casino gambling debate following suggestions of a new federal gambling agency by the President’s advisor, Fabián Rodríguez Simón. But the head of Argentina’s gaming regulator, Alfredo Monaco, has slammed these comments, suggesting regulating online gambling could violate the country’s constitution.
Spain speeds up shared liquidity project
Spain has passed a resolution which will face public debate in the coming weeks in order to speed up the shared online poker liquidity project with France, Italy and Portugal. The resolution would also allow players from other neighbouring countries to play in the Spanish online poker rooms. While not yet enforced, the resolution could transform the online poker industry which has suffered as 23 of its 27 poker operators have shut up shop. The Spanish gaming regulator has also released information about how operators can apply for the shared liquidity network in two published documents.
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