WELCOME back to our weekly column which reports changes in the gambling industry.
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This week we kick things off with an unusual story about a man pleading guilty to doubling his winnings by using photocopied tickets at an Australian casino. In the US, online gambling legalisation is still on the cards, while a poll has revealed a change in attitudes towards sports betting. Meanwhile, Macau has released new information on the VIP room smoking ban. Find out more below.
Australian photocopies winning casino tickets to double winnings
A new $AUD10 note has been released in Australia and it has already caused a stir among automatic cash users. TAB machines where punters place sports bets, as well as poker machines (slots), are reportedly rejecting the $10 note. The Reserve Bank Australia, which will be releasing $20, $50 and $100 notes in the future, said companies have had six months to get their software compatible.
The Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed an application with the Australian Competition Tribunal, requesting a new hearing on the Tabcorp tie-up with Tatts. The ACCC believes that the Tribunal has run out of time to make a decision based on the May-June hearing and wants a fresh hearing to review new evidence. The Tribunal has announced that a new hearing will take place on October 24, which will consider both the original applications and the new evidence submitted since June.
A man has been found guilty of photocopying poker machine (slots) tickets and getting his partner to cash in the original ticket at a Darwin casino, to reap double the winnings. The perpetrator was sentenced to two years’ good behaviour bond and ordered to pay a few $AUD300 in fines.
America wants to a legalised sports betting industry
The Washington Post and University of Massachusetts (UMass) Lowell have surveyed 1000 Americans regarding a legalised sports betting industry. The findings revealed a shift in perceptions, with 55 percent supporting the idea of wagering on sporting events, and 33 percent opposing it. The results have been compared to a similar study performed in 1993, which revealed 56 percent of respondents were against sports betting, while only 41 percent supported it.
Hawaii has been cracking down on illegal gambling for months now, but police have arrested 35 people since August alone. The state bans gambling dens and underground slots parlours, along with all forms of wagering. Police authorities have estimated that there are around 100 illegal operations in the state, which have been warned to stop.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania and Michigan still have plans to legalise online gambling, despite several set backs. Pennsylvania has been considering legalising online gambling to fill a hole in the budget but the Senate and House of Representatives have argued over the finer details. While no progress has been made, a regulated online gambling industry could still happen. In Michigan, the online gambling debate only started last year but it made some progress this year. Although it has stalled, local media reports state that it could still happen in 2017.
UK bookmaker turns its back on industry
The UK gambling industry has suffered ever since the country’s regulator released problem gambling rates to the media. The Labour Party has been coming up with ways to combat the high incidence rates, and now the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, is calling on UK bookmakers to pay for the treatment of gambling addicts. The country’s prominent gambling charity, GambleAware, wants the gambling industry to donate 0.1% of gross gaming yield to to fund problem gambling awareness and treatment services.
As UK gambling operators await the triennial review of the gambling industry, one bookmaker is breaking ties by calling for a reduction on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) stakes. Paddy Power Betfair chief executive, Breon Corcoran, wrote to Britain’s parliamentary under secretary of state for sport, Tracey Crouch, stating that the government should reduce the maximum stake on FOBTs from £100 to £10 as the issue has become ‘toxic’. The government has recently been facing increased pressure to reduce the maximum stakes from £100 to £2.
Meanwhile, the industry is gearing up for the first-ever Responsible Gambling Week commencing on October 12 and running until October 18. Run by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling, the initiative will see UK online casinos and betting operators, as well as bingo clubs, land-based operators and arcades rub shoulders.
Gibraltar lottery company launches insurance business
Lottoland Gibraltar has announced that it has launched a financial company, known as Fortuna Insurance. The company, which consists of five experts, will provide insurance and gaming analytics to Lottoland, while reducing the risk of using third party coverage to cover the equivalent jackpots of international and local lottery draws.
Germany may not get to regulate gambling
Time is running out for the Interstate Treaty on Gambling in Germany and things aren’t looking good with the Schleswig-Holstein government recently voting against the amendments introduced to the legislation in March. The Treaty, which legalises and regulates sports betting in Germany, needs the approval from all 16 states before being implemented. It’s unlikely the treaty will be instated, causing uncertainty for operators which have expressed interest. Meanwhile, the northernmost state has announced plans for its own legalised online gambling industry, calling for regulated online casino gambling as well as legalised sports betting.
Macau’s new casino smoking rules
Macau has been cracking down on smoking in the country’s casinos, and has announced the latest rules for the VIP smoking lounges. They were originally exempt from the casino smoking ban, but have since been included under new legislation. However, operators can install gaming-free smoking lounges in the high roller areas, according to the new rules. The new information released this week by the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, detailed that gaming tables and slot machines have to be at least three metres from the entrance of smoking lounges. If there is a wall separating the lounge and casino, then the distance can be reduced to two metres. The smoking lounge must also have a single entrance, with automated sliding doors. Smoking in these lounges must stop two hours before cleaning, with cleaners required to wear masks.
Switzerland compromises to introduce new gambling rules
The Swiss government has agreed to a tax scrap on lotteries and sports betting winnings under CHF1 million in order to move forward with new gambling legislation. The government has been attempting to implement tighter rules which protect vulnerable players and prevent money laundering but has faced several hurdles. The new laws will replace the Lotteries and Betting Act 1923 and the Gambling Act 1998. Under the new gaming legislation, only licensed betting sites in Switzerland will be able to operate in the country, while all winnings from online gambling will be subjected to income tax. The gambling bill needs to pass the final vote before being signed into law.
Philippines risks oversupply of casinos
The Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Council has announced it will be releasing new rules and regulations regarding money laundering policies by the end of October. The new rules will impact the Philippines casinos, which have been defined as ‘covered persons’ under the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2001. The rules include the implementation of the Know Your Customer process, as well as monitoring suspicious behaviour and keeping a record of large cash transactions.
The country has received extra attention from foreign investors ever since it announced that the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) would be selling off its casinos. However, industry insiders like Razon are reportedly stating that the country risks oversupply and over investment within the casino industry, which would cause “cannibalisation” over time.