WE are halfway through the year and we have already seen a huge range of changes around the world in terms of gambling legislation. Our weekly column keeps you up to date with these movements and you can keep track of the biggest news events around the globe. If you have any information regarding online or land-based gambling changes, contact us at [email protected] or leave a comment below.
The Australian gambling industry has been somewhat quiet this week but one online casino and poker operator is taking advantage of the legislative climate. Across the ocean, India has been advised to legalise sports betting, while Mississippi may beat out New Jersey in doing so in the US. Find out more below.
Australia could receive a Las Vegas-style casino
While the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, which will ban online casinos and poker, awaits approval from both the House of Representatives and the Senate, a new operator has entered the market. A number of online operators have already left Australia but Ignition Casino and Poker have entered it. If the online poker inquiry is successful and it exempts poker from the bill the operator may have made the right move.
Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment – which operates Caesars Palace in Las Vegas – is looking to build a casino on the Gold Coast. The President of international development for Caesars, Steven Tight, reportedly scoped out the Gold Coast for potential development a few weeks ago.
American states race to legalise sports betting
Although New Jersey is awaiting the legalisation of sports betting, the state has now passed a bill to legalise Daily Fantasy Sports. Regulation and taxation will need to be determined by Governor Chris Christie, who will then need to sign it into law.
While New Jersey has to wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict when it comes to legalising sports betting, Mississippi may win the race after state legislators introduced wording into a Daily Fantasy Sports bill enacted in 2016. Provided the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is repealed, Mississippi will be eligible to provide sports betting services due to the amendments to the Mississippi Gaming Control Act 1990 banning the activity.
Meanwhile, the US state of Indiana is struggling with its recently legalised Daily Fantasy Sports industry. Companies are reportedly avoiding the market due to high entrance fees and heavy competition from DraftKings and FanDuel.
American film company Warner Bros Entertainment Incorporated settled an $80 million lawsuit with the estate of English writer J.R.R. Tolkien over licensing rights for The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit – images were used on slot machines and other online gambling games. The estate argued Warner Bros never had the licensing rights to use the content for virtual purposes. The legal proceedings had been going on since 2012.
A contentious program in New York has allowed the government to retain around $20 million in lottery winnings over the past four years. The state requires anyone who wants to claim a lottery prize of more than $600 to go to a state lottery centre and present their Social Security number. If the number is matched to a social assistance program the state can take all of the public funds the winner has received over the past 10 years – unless it exceeds 50% of the lottery prize.
Turkish government cracks down on illegal gambling
Turkey has cracked down on illegal gambling in the country with plans to launch a special team which will sniff out any unauthorised operations. Along with an awareness campaign, the team will hand out fines to any internet café which allows access to illegal gambling sites and seize prohibited gambling houses. Posters detailing that gambling is illegal in the country will also be hung in cafes and public places.
Slovakian government looking for illegal gambling sites
The Slovakian government is following in Turkey’s footsteps by cracking down on illegal online gambling websites. Online casinos and poker are run by the state-owned TIPOS lottery operator, while sports betting operators can apply for a local license at a 27% tax rate. Any sites which do not fall under these categories will be added to a blacklist reportedly set for release on July 17. The Financial Administrator will then be providing weekly updates on the illegal online gambling crackdown.
UK gambling regulator revamps policies
The UK Gambling Commission has been busy this week with new strategies targeting online operators which breach gambling regulations. The Gambling Commission has also introduced higher penalties for those who do not comply.
It has also been helping casinos work with the UK’s new anti-money laundering policies. The new laws were enacted on June 26 in Great Britain and aim to make it harder for terrorists and criminals to launder money illegally via the UK financial system. As a result, the Gambling Commission has imposed new rules to make it easier for online casino operators to identify and report any suspicious behaviour.
The Gambling Commission has also introduced new player safety standards to streamline responsible gambling policies. The Gambling Commission now requires Internet gambling operators to provide information to players about their accounts in an easy to understand manner. They must also provide customers with the ability to set financial limits.
The UK government has also announced the country’s review of fix-odds betting terminals will be delayed until at least October. The UK opposition Labour Party attacked the government for being so slow, despite the general election cited as the reason for the hold-up.
Japanese casino regulation may be delayed
The regulation of casinos in Japan via Integrated Resorts (IRs) is proving more difficult than originally anticipated by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The National Diet is reportedly considering a gross gaming revenue tax of 15 percent on the general public play – high roller rooms will be taxed five percent – while a Goods and Services fee at a seven percent tax rate will also be added.
The regulations won’t matter if Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen is right about the recent defeat of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on the weekend. Govertsen says the loss will hinder Prime Minister Abe’s agenda including the legalisation of IRs, which could delay legislation or see it heavily watered down by regulations.
India advised to legalise sports betting
In India, the government has been advised to legalise sports betting by the European Sports Security Association (ESSA). The sports integrity unit responded to a public consultation on the matter by the country’s Law Commission, stating India should regulate sports betting to rule out match fixing. The ESSA set boundaries though, recommending the country prohibit live betting as it would undermine the reasons behind legalising the activity.
The casinos located on the shores of Goa have been given three more months to get a new home. Goa’s state government issued a notice revealing it had not found a new location for the five casinos which run on the Mandovi river. The casinos now have until September 30 to wrap up operations.
Philippines casino charged over deadly rampage
The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) reopened World Resorts Manila over the weekend after it revealed it was losing a significant amount of money. The casino was closed due to the horrific rampage which left 38 people, including the attacker, dead. The casino has more x-ray machines and metal detectors, as well as an increased number of armed guards which reportedly meet the safety requirements.
The lack of safety features at the casino before the attack has resulted in criminal charges against the casino’s operator Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. The Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies is reportedly filing charges over the deadly attack, according to the Philippine media outlets.
Israel betting operations shut down
A horse racing broadcaster based in the UK, GBI, has filed legal proceedings against the Israel government. The government banned horse betting at the start of the year and in turn ended a contract between GBI and the Israeli betting service. GBI is seeking 200 million shekels as a result.
Meanwhile, sports betting operations in the country are shutting down, with William Hill closing its offices and laying off 250 employees. 888 Holdings Public Limited Company has followed suit and is in process of laying off employees set up in Israel.
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