It is the first week of May, and legislative changes are occurring as quickly as the year is going. This week a lot has been happening in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. We have covered the most topical events worldwide in both restrictive and liberalised gambling industries. If you have a story to share, email [email protected] or leave a comment below.
There’s been both positive and negative news to report this week with one state in America moving forward to legalise online gambling while another drops a bill which would have expanded land-based gambling. Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission has proven how online gambling can exist and still uphold responsible gaming policies. Finally, Uganda wants gambling hours to be restricted. Keep reading for more.
Australian Crown staff detained in China move closer to trial
Over the past few weeks, we have been reporting the impending move to ban gambling ads during live sporting events in Australia. This week it has been revealed the Senator behind the reforms will dodge a vote in the Senate and will use self-regulation by media authorities instead. Senator Mitch Fifield will use the Australian Communications and Media Authority to enforce the ban and ultimately avoid a lengthy parliamentary debate.
The revised all-cash offer for the acquisition of Tatts by the Pacific Consortium submitted last week has been rejected leaving Tabcorp as the likely winner. The gambling giant is still waiting for the Australian Competition Tribunal to review its case for the Tabcorp-Tatts $11 billion tie-up, with hearings set for next week.
Meanwhile, the 17 Crown employees and associates, including four Australians, have had their case handed to a local prosecutor which means they’re closer to a trial date. It also means the group is likely to be charged for gambling offences, which has a maximum sentence of up to three years, opposed to more severe crimes such as money laundering.
American states moving in opposite directions for gambling legalisation
There is little to no chance for a gambling extension in Florida as both the House and Senate declared gambling negotiations “dead” for the year. The Senate wanted slot machines at pari-mutuel racetracks outside South Florida while the House wanted a new casino in Miami, as well as craps and roulette at the Seminole Tribe casinos. The parties couldn’t agree, so the legislation failed.
But an expansion, including online gambling, is still on the cards in Pennsylvania. Senator Mario Scavello has revealed to the US media outlet, Online Poker Report, a bill is still in the works and may allow other companies other than Pennsylvanian land-based casinos to obtain an internet gambling license if legalised. While Scavello has said legalised video gambling terminals will not be in the bill other media outlets are reporting a new bill may allow 35,000 terminals in bars and clubs in the state.
In Las Vegas, the popular land-based casino MGM Resorts, has added innovative skill-based gambling machines developed by Gamblit Gaming to attract millennials to the floors. The arcade-style games will allow players to compete against each other or in groups with real money up for grabs.
While the push to legalise sports betting is ongoing in America, a Texas car dealer has been caught operating an illegal underground sports gambling ring. Larry Tillery has been accused of laundering tens of millions of illegally acquired funds, and now the United States Department of Justice’s Eastern District of Texas is seeking possession his properties.
Indian Police left red-faced over gambling advertisement
Casinos in the Indian state of Goa, where casino gambling is legal, have recently become subjected to increased operating fees. Still, operators of the six floating casinos and 11 land-based casinos have chosen to ignore the government’s new fees and will not be raising entry prices.
When it comes to sports betting in the country, the Supreme Court is reportedly considering relaxing the laws prohibiting the activity. The court agreed to hear a Public Interest Litigation which calls for the legalisation of sports betting. Recent cases involving match-fixing in Indian cricket, including in the India Premier League in 2013, has fuelled the regulation to allow for better detection.
The push for legalising sports betting coincides with a newspaper advertisement which has upset Indian Police. An ad which thanked the police for not enforcing the laws which prohibit betting during the current Indian Premier League season has left them red-faced. The paper fired the editor who let the ad run and then followed up with a published apology.
Popular online casino fined by UK Gambling Commission
The online casino BGO is the first Internet gambling company to be fined under the new social responsibility code employed by the UK Gambling Commission. The gambling operator was fined £300,000 for “misleading advertising on its own and its affiliates’ websites”. Operators are required to be transparent when it comes to explaining what a “bonus,” is and how gamblers can qualify.
Bookmakers based in the UK are rejoicing after a report which scrutinised fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) in their respective retail betting shops breached parliamentary standards. The report called for a reduction in the maximum stake available on the machines from £100 to just £2. Bookies slammed the report since it was funded by organisations which would benefit from the capped maximum bet. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Hudson, said the report was guilty of four breaches including failing to disclose where it got its funding.
Northern Ireland has overtaken the rest of the UK regarding problem gambling. A report by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, funded by the Northern Ireland Department for Communities, has revealed the country’s problem gambling exceeded Scotland, Wales and the UK.
Poland pushes more online gambling operators out
Poland’s blacklist for online gambling companies is increasing, as is the list of operators exiting due to the unreasonable new tax system. The Ministry of Finance added a number of new names to the Illegal Domains Register including Bet-at-home, Marathonbet and Vulkanbet. The new rules require operators to get a license or be blocked by ISPs from July 1. If ISPs don’t comply, they will be fined up to 250,000 zlotych per incident.
Slots to be the star of Japan’s casinos
As lawmakers are preparing legislation to go with the lift on casino bans for the National Diet, rumours are circulating slot machines will be the star of the show on the main casino floors. They are also hinting pachinko machines will not be installed in the new casino resorts.
Meanwhile, Osaka is betting it will become the number one gambling destination, beating out Macau and Vegas, once the legislation which explains how the casinos will operate passes.
Uganda wants to limit gambling hours
Uganda is reportedly considering regulating gambling and drinking hours in the country. President Yoweri Museveni has said the two affect work productivity, and he, therefore, wants to restrict gambling and alcohol consumption to certain hours of the day.
Italian media outlet reports online poker network
Media outlets in Italy are reporting an agreement to allow a shared online poker liquidity between the country and France, Spain, Portugal, and potentially the UK will be drafted by the end of the year. Italy’s online gambling head, Daria Petralia, has also revealed the first poker network will launch in late 2017 or 2018.
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