EACH week we travel around the world to find out what is happening in terms of online and offline gambling news. From mergers to legislation changes, we cover important stories which could impact you and aim to update you in an easy and convenient manner.
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There’s plenty of changes happening this week with the American Gaming Association attempting to convince tribes to join the fight against the sports betting ban. In Japan, a regulatory framework for new casinos could be delayed due to a snap election. Meanwhile, the Philippines may see an Australian-backed casino reopen soon. Find out more below.
Australian gambling merger derailed
A merger between two of Australia’s biggest gambling companies has ben derailed after the Federal Court upheld an appeal by an Australian watchdog. Tabcorp and Tatts agreed to merge over a year ago but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission noted several issues with the $11.3 billion agreement. While Tabcorp bypassed the standard regulatory approval process and went straight to the Australian Competition Tribunal, the ACCC launched an appeal following the approval of the deal. The case has now been sent back to the Tribunal for review.
The Australian state of Victoria is attempting to alleviate problem gambling issues with new reforms. Under the new legislation, gambling advertising will be banned in public places, such as billboards and public transport stations, while cash out limits at poker machine venues have been capped at $500.
American casino ripped off following hurricane
The New Jersey sports betting case is heating up in the US, with the American Gaming Association set to convince American tribes, which run land-based casinos in the US, to join the fight against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 which bans sports betting in nearly all US states. An AGA representative will speak at a conference on Thursday alongside the National Indian American Association chairman, Ernie Stevens Jnr.
Florida is in the process of cleaning up, following the devastating Hurricane Irma. While the land-based gambling industry came out relatively unscathed, the Mardi Gras Casino had its gaming floor ripped out due to the Category 4 storm. While the casino is closed indefinitely, the nearby Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach is allowing players to use Mardi Gras loyalty coupons to play the slots. While Mardi Gras casino has labelled the casino operator as an opportunist, Gulfstream said it is helping players out and would expect any casino to do the same.
Scientific Games has announced it is acquiring NYX Gaming in a move which could properly prepare the company for a legalised sports betting industry in the US. The Las Vegas-based company announced the $USD631 million deal, which will see the integration of NYX’s sportsbook among other products. Given the New Jersey sports betting case is set to be determined in early 2018, the company could be one of the first to supply sports betting services to the country.
Problem gambling rates are down in Germany
Germany is facing a huge hurdle in its efforts to legalise online gambling, with several of the 16 individual states hesitating when it comes to implementing the proposed Interstate Treaty. Saxony-Anhalt Finance Minister, André Schröder, warned that the treaty, which was introduced in 2012 to create a secure online gambling environment, requires all 16 individual states to adopt the legislation by January 1, 2018, or it will fail. The Minister is urging states to act quickly, with international gambling operators already looking to enter the German market.
A study in Germany has shown that problem gambling is declining in the country. The Drug and Addiction Report 2017, released on Monday, recorded a decline in the rate of problem gamblers. The survey questioned 11,500 respondents and found 0.42 percent were problem gamblers, while 0.37 percent were classed as severe pathological gamblers. These figures are significantly lower than the 0.69 percent and 0.82 percent figures recorded, respectively, in 2013.
Macau could face revenue decline
A Macau court has determined that information regarding junket operators and individual casino operators cannot be concealed from interested parties. The Macau’s Court of Second Instance overturned the decision of the city’s Administrative Court. While a list of junket operators in Macau is made public, who they are working with is not. An unnamed attorney sued the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) after the regulator refused to hand over the list of casinos which used junket operators, claiming the list was classified.
Macau is doing incredibly well in terms of gaming revenue and has even managed to bounce back after the typhoon last month. But Beijing is escalating its anti-corruption campaign yet again, which could have detrimental impacts on the gaming industry. The autonomous region has experienced revenue growth in recent months, following a hit due to China’s anti-gambling crackdown over the past two years. But the recent restrictions, including caps on ATM limits when using UnionPay, is set to cause a revenue decline, according to analysts.
Casino regulation could be delayed in Japan
All Japanese lawmakers have been talking about is casino regulation, but according to local media reports a snap election could derail the process until later next year. Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is reportedly considering an October election to strengthen power in the Diet, but analysts have said the move will delay the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill debates until 2018.
Meanwhile, Genting Singapore Plc has announced it has opened an office in Tokyo, Japan. The casino operator has previously expressed interest in investing in an Integrated Resort once the appropriate legislation has been implemented. Given reports of a snap election, the casino operator may have jumped the gun here.
Barbuda looks to gambling to save island
Hurricane Irma didn’t just impact Florida, it devastated several Caribbean islands including Barbuda. At the time of writing, all 1700 residents are living on the sister island of Antigua as the Category 5 storm damaged around 95 percent of the island’s structures. Now the country wants to re-regulate online gambling to help rebuild the country. Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the US, Ronald Sanders, said that when America cracked down on Internet gambling without consulting the island, it cost the two islands $21 million in revenue a year. If the US paid it back, the island could rebuild.
Philippines casino back on track after attack
Casino traffic has increased at Resorts World Manila, after a deadly attack which left 38 dead three months ago. A lone gunman stormed the casino in the Philippines and set fire to gaming tables, resulting in the deaths of 37 people. The man was then shot by police. The casino was shut down for almost a month and then reopened to the general public. According to local media, the casino is recording traffic of 26,000 people a day – 2000 less than before the attack but an improvement in recent months.
A Philippines casino which is owned by an Australian company is set to reopen soon, according to an Australian Security Exchange media announcement. The Casablanca Casino in Angeles City was shut down last year after Frontier Capital Management failed to pay requisite cash. The Philippines and Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has given the company several chances to get the money so venue can reopen.