WELCOME back to our weekly gambling column which takes a look at the latest news around the world. Covering both land-based and online casino gambling, as well as all things betting, we keep our readers up to date with everything that’s going on in the industry.
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This week, the US Supreme Court finally announced a date for the New Jersey sports betting case, which has received a lot of support recently. In Africa, both Kenya and Ghana are facing regulatory reforms which could impact local sportsbooks. Meanwhile, a survey on Macau’s casinos has revealed who the average gambler is likely to be. Find out more below.
Australia facing individual state lottery betting bans
Online lottery betting is facing potential bans in several states in Australia, including New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria. This week, Tasmania announced plans to draw up legislation to ban sites like Lottoland Australia. Meanwhile, the CEO of Lottoland visited the WA Premier, Mark McGowan, to persuade him against banning the site in the state.
Crown Resorts has reported a return of VIP casino players, following the incident in China, where several employees were arrested for the promotion of gambling. The Australian casino targeted high rollers in China, but the arrests – and prison sentences – have deterred Chinese nationals from visiting its venues Down Under. However, both Crown Resorts and Star Casino have seen an increase in VIP revenue since the release of the last Australian, Jason O’Connor, from the Shanghai prison.
American sports betting case gets a court date
The US Supreme Court announced a date for the American sports betting case this week and the hearing will commence on December 4. New Jersey is spearheading the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 (PASPA), which bans sports betting in every state except Delaware, Nevada, Oregon and Montana. New Jersey is arguing that the legislation is unconstitutional, as it prevents individual states from drafting their own laws about sports betting.
Since there is a very real chance that sports betting will be legalised in the country, Maryland casino representatives want state legislators to act quickly. The representatives have indicated that they want the six state casinos to be able to roll out sportsbooks in the event PASPA is repealed.
Massachusetts could become the sixth US state to take lottery sales online after the neighbouring state of New Hampshire legalised online keno. Two bills have reportedly been introduced to ensure the state doesn’t lose its lottery customers, as they can now buy tickets online via the New Hampshire site.
The Poker Player Alliance (PPA) has revealed that 98 percent of survey participants support a regulated poker industry in the US. The PPA, which is the biggest organisation in the America currently lobbying to legalise online poker in the country, also revealed that respondents believe lawmakers don’t understand that the game is based on skill. Several states have considered legalising poker this year, including New York, but the bills did not progress.
US-based daily fantasy sports (DFS) site, DraftKings, has expanded into two different countries this week. The site is now licensed to operate in both Ireland and Austria. The two countries have a combined population of 13 million, which will expand the DFS sites’ huge customer base as it already operates in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Malta.
UK gambling giants set to merge
The UK Gambling Commission recently teamed up with the Lancashire Police in a joint operation to target a man who was stealing money from pubs and clubs across the country. The UKGC revealed that the man used equipment and tools to steal more than £14,000 from gaming machines and the venue owners. The police praised the UKGC for its help, with the man expected to serve more than 20 months behind bars.
Given the impending triennial review of the UK gambling industry, several mergers are expected to take place and it appears GVC and Ladbrokes Coral may be the first to do so. Media outlets have revealed that gambling giants GVC and Ladbrokes are closer to securing a multi-billion-pound deal, and it will likely go ahead once the review has been released. William Hill, The Stars Group, Paddy Power Betfair, 888 Holdings, Rank Group and Jackpotjoy are also expected to enter into some sort of deal in order to keep up with the regulatory changes.
Switzerland bans international gambling operators
The Swiss government has passed new legislation banning offshore online gambling operators. The new laws, which ban operators without a land-based presence in the country from accepting Swiss players, has 100 days before it is implemented. In the meantime, the Swiss People’s Party, the Free Democratic Party and the Green Liberal Party can all vote against the legislation and block the regulatory changes. If enforced, internet service providers (ISPs) will be paid extra to block offshore online gambling sites.
Greece could reduce tax to attract offshore companies
Greece is looking to introduce new reforms on online casino gambling, in order to attract offshore gambling operators. The Syriza government may reduce the turnover tax, which is currently set at 30-37 percent for a range of casino games, in order to attract foreign countries and boost its already booming casino sector. Greece has favoured its gambling industry ever since Europe advised the country to regulate slots, table games and other gaming services to get out of its difficult financial situation.
Kenyans could face tougher gambling restrictions
Kenya may soon face a gambling regulatory overhaul after it was reported by local media that a new bill proposing financial consequences for the gaming industry has been tabled by the government. The bill proposes higher permit fees, bigger fines, and even jail sentences for those who illegally gamble. The bill has been introduced in order to combat the increasing number of gaming machines in the country, however Kenyan betting sites will likely pay the price too. Kenyan betting companies are already facing difficulties due to the 50 percent unified gaming tax proposed earlier in the year, which is likely to become law in 2018.
Ghana to regulate gaming industry
Ghana’s deputy minister for the interior, Henry Quartey, has announced that new reforms may be on the way for the country’s gambling industry. The deputy minister revealed that the government wants a gambling environment “devoid of societal menace and criminality” and intends to introduce a national policy to regulate gambling activities. He added that it will help Ghana sports betting operators, casinos, and lotteries operate seamlessly together.
Macau casinos have room for future growth
A new gambling study by Sanford C. Bernstein brokerage has revealed that Macau casinos are yet to hit their peak. The 2017 ‘Premium Consumer Usage and Attitudes Survey’ found that only 5 percent of the mainland China consumer market had visited Macau casinos, leaving lots of room for growth. The survey indicated that Macau’s gaming revenue would increase by 6.4 percent over the next 10 years, with mass market gaming set to increase by 8 percent and VIP gambling to increase by 4.8 percent per year. The survey also revealed that the average mainland gambler is a 36-year old male who has visited several times within the past 12 months.
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