Industry insiders say China’s slowing economy could have a big impact on Macau casinos.
FLORIDA voters on Tuesday approved an amendment that strips the state legislature of the power to expand gambling, including sports betting.
Amendment 3 says the only way casino gambling can be approved is through a statewide initiative placed on the ballot by citizen petition.
Exceptions were made for casinos on Indian reservations.
The Walt Disney Co. and the Seminole Tribe of Indians have both backed the move, which owns casinos in the Fort Lauderdale and Tampa areas.
Opponents included some horse track and dog track operators.
They accused Disney and the Seminoles of not wanting competition for tourist dollars. They believe the decision on whether to allow casinos should be left to each county’s voters.
Other opponents of the amendment said it would “potentially close the door” on sports betting legalization in the state.
The Miami Dolphins sent out a tweet Monday highlighting their concerns over Amendment 3, claiming that if the legislation passes, it “would effectively block any chance for sports betting in Florida.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also lobbied against the amendment, as did online betting sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
The measure was placed on the ballot by petition.
SPORT in America entered a new frontier in early August as MGM resorts entered an agreement to become the NBA‘s official gaming partner, the first American league to do so.
In a deal believed to be close to USD$25 million, MGM Resorts became the exclusive official gaming partner of both the NBA and WNBA. In the agreement MGM also receives the rights to use league highlights, logos and all data directly from the NBA.
The deal will give MGM an enhanced NBA experience over its competitors. MGM Casinos will be able to use league and team logos on their sportsbooks – something that was previously disallowed in Vegas – and their app will make highlights and other information available in states that allow mobile betting.
CEO of MGM Jim Murren said the deal is “historic.”
“The foremost mission is to maintain and preserve the integrity of the game, the fan experience for the NBA fans, [and] in fact help catapult further the global presence of the NBA,” he said.
“As a global entertainment company, I feel MGM has an opportunity to partner with the NBA to do that.”
So what changes?
If you’re outside the US – not a lot.
In Australia for example betting on all kinds of different markets is commonplace. Everything from how many rebounds a player will get to the overall score in a match is fair game, and this partnership shouldn’t see that change at all.
If you’re American however, this is paradigm shifting.
For the first time ever Americans outside the state of Nevada will be able to legally bet on the NBA in much the same way as their Australian counterparts.
Outside of Nevada it was impossible to legally bet on basketball, but less than three months after the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, other states had federal blessing to run full-scale legal sports betting.
Delaware and New Jersey began accepting bets in June, and other states are expected to follow suit soon. The NBA – along with other leagues – have been lobbying for all sportsbooks which plan on accepting basketball bets to administer a “integrity fee”.
What exactly is an integrity fee?
The NBA, MLB and the PGA have been pushing the states looking to legalize sports betting to deliver an “integrity fee,” based on the amount wagered on their respective games and events.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver outlined the league’s rationale in asking for the remuneration.
“I think we’re still having our discussions with our states about so-called integrity fees based on (betting) handles,” Silver said.
“There’s many different ways to skin the cat, so to speak; and we decided here, rather than sort of re-litigating the integrity fee, which is still being hotly discussed state by state, let’s find an approach which is unique to us and where we both feel that we’re being fairly treated.”
It is believed as part of the MGM Resorts deal that an integrity fee was negotiated, but so far no states have agreed to the league’s proposals.
Expect live betting to explode
Basketball is already a popular sport to wager upon in America, but the $1.5 billion wagered in 2017 on hoops is expected to substantially increase.
Why? Live betting.
Take soccer for example. In the UK soccer is the primary sport wagered upon by the English, but it would come as a surprise to many that there is more money wagered after the opening whistle than before the game has begun.
The MGM Resorts deal allows the casino to use the data that is directly fed to it via the league to regulate the live betting markets. Americans are expected to follow suit on the live betting trend and MGM believes the deal will set them apart from the competition.
“[Now], we have tremendous data analytics information from the NBA — and that will determine who wins and loses in this arena, the sports betting arena, in the United States,” Murren said.
“And I think MGM’s going to win.”
A NUMBER of cable pay-TV channels will be exempt from an Australian ban on gambling advertisements during live sport.
Taking effect in two weeks, the ban will encompass all televised sporting events on free-to-air television from 5am-8.30pm.
The objective of the prohibition is to minimize the exposure of gambling messages to children and will be applicable from five minutes before the start of play. The industry code of practice, which has been recently formulated, was a point of controversy for the TV channels like ESPN, Eurosports – which are now exempt.
The Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) argued successfully that many of its channels are for an older, boutique audience and would suffer greatly as a result of the ban.
Australian minister for Communication and Arts, Mitch Fifield, stated he was highly contented to see an alliance between key industry powerbrokers, confident it would make a big difference to the community.
Stephen Mayne, the gambling reform spokesman, mentioned that some aspects of the new codes appeared open to interpretation. Australia’s commercial radio chief Joan Warner mentioned it can view gambling advertising-driven online and away from the broadcasters prior to the application of the rules to digital platforms.
The commercial-free to air representative group Free TV chief executive Bridget Fair mentioned it is vital restriction were in position fast for the online players.
The ad ban related to living sports gambling and has been given support by the nation’s corporate bookmakers.
EACH week the team at BettingPlanet takes a look at the latest happenings around the world in terms of gambling legislation changes. From the legalisation of sports betting to a ban on payment methods, these are the issues which can take place worldwide, and we review each country’s news for any changes which may affect you as a punter.
This week, the Australian bookmaker industry is facing the pressure of regulatory changes, while America is gearing up for a record-breaking amount of wagers on the Super Bowl despite a sports betting ban. There are a few notable regulative changes around the rest of the world too, including in Argentina, Portugal, Philippines and Greece. Keep reading to find out more.
Australia bookmaker cans deal
An Australian gambling regulator is wrapping up its eight-month investigation into Tennis Australia, and whether the independent body is doing enough to prevent match-fixing. If the Victorian Commission of Gambling and Liquor Regulation find that former gaming minister, Tony Robinson’s complaints are correct, Tennis Australia will lose its right to claim cuts from bets made on Australian tennis, as well as sponsorship agreements. Robinson complained that a board member of the tennis body is also a director of Crown Resorts, which used to own online betting site, CrownBet, before announcing the sale of its stake earlier this year. He pointed to the sport’s code of conduct, which said those who are associated with tennis cannot accept wagers. A decision will be handed down soon, with insiders suggesting it will result in tightening security protocols.
CrownBet has officially announced it is dumping a deal with New South Wales clubs, penned at the beginning of 2017. The 10-year commercial agreement, which would have seen CrownBet cash-out machines rolled out in participating clubs in NSW, dissolved due to “ongoing regulatory uncertainty”, according to ClubsNSW chief executive, Anthony Ball. The partnership would have generated a commission for club owners for every punter who signed up via the CrownBet app. But with the ongoing regulatory changes, including a ban on sign up inducements and extending lines of credit, there’s a lot of pressure on Australian bookmakers. Ball revealed that the deal did not have clear regulatory direction, ending the lucrative partnership.
US to wager 97 percent of Super Bowl bets illegally
In the lead-up to the Super Bowl LII, the American Gaming Association has pointed out that US bettors will wager $USD4.76 billion on the match, with 97 percent done illegally. The AGA is awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court, with New Jersey seeking to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992, enabling states to legalise sports betting. The independent gambling body argued that $150 billion is wagered illegally every year, and wants SCOTUS to rule in favour of NJ. At the same time, NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, has maintained the NFL’s stance when it comes to regulating sports betting, stating the integrity of the game needs protecting. The NBA has come around, however, stating it will support a PASPA repeal if one percent of every bet goes to sporting leagues.
After a world investigation into whether loot boxes in video games count as a form of gambling, Washington DC has joined the likes of the UK, Australia and Belgium in determining its status. Washington State Senator, Kevin Ranker (D), wants the Gambling Commission to review whether in-game purchases count as gambling and should be prohibited. Last year’s release of Star Wars Battlefront 2 put loot boxes in the public eye since players (many under the age of 18) can purchase them to improve their gameplay. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) said they didn’t meet the definition of gambling, Belgian’s regulator said the opposite and state regulators in Australia split in their opinion.
A new task force has been set up in Nevada after an investigation by the Review-Journal revealed some US casinos have failed to update their emergency response plans. Several Las Vegas casinos have neglected to revise plans from as far back as 2008, prompting the Nevada Division of Emergency Management to create a team to ensure all response plans are updated. The investigation followed the October 1 massacre at the Route 91 festival at Mandalay Bay Hotel, where 58 people died with more than 500 people injured. There’s no evidence to suggest Mandalay’s Emergency Response Plan, which remained unreviewed since 2012, contributed to the tragic incident.
UK gambling regulator opens new regulations to public comment
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has opened the floor for interested parties to comment on new compliance protocols. The UK gaming regulator has updated its compliance terms for licensed gambling operators, including changes to marketing and advertising, unfair terms attached to bonuses, and complaints and disputes. Consumers, gambling businesses, stakeholders and the general public can have their say up until April 22, with changes proposed to reduce consumer harm and respond to the declining attitude towards gambling advertising in the country.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton, based in Wales, is calling on the UK government to improve its gambling advertising restrictions while supporting a mandatory levy on operators, as suggested by think-tank ResPublica. He said after working for four years in Canada, he was shocked with the amount gambling had expanded in the country when he returned. He acknowledged the benefits, including licensed gambling generating revenue for the government, but noted the harmful impacts on the minority who cannot gamble responsibly. He added that the stigma around getting help needs to be removed so more people get treatment.
Meanwhile, Wales will see new laws in 2018, including the Wales Act 2017 reducing stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £10, similarly to plans in Britain to reduce the maximum stake to £2. However, the rules do not apply to premises which feature a dog or horse racing track too.
Argentina makes no money off gaming tax
A lot of governments around the world regulate gambling to generate revenue, but it appears it didn’t work in Argentina. In 2016, Argentinian voters approved a two percent federal tax on all bets placed online with credit and debit cards, effective as of January 1, 2017. While the government estimated making ARS1 billion a year, players have been depositing with alternative payment methods at offshore online gambling sites. Individual states, which have the power to regulate online gambling, have also been reluctant in agreeing with the federal tax, urging players to choose web wallets or other payment options. This has left the government’s plans in shambles and could cause a crackdown on offshore sites.
Portugal to join shared poker liquidity soon
While French poker players can currently verse the Spanish thanks to a shared liquidity agreement between France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, the Portuguese are patiently waiting to join the rooms. The President of ARJEL, Charles Coppolani, told local media that Portugal is close to joining in on the project, which will see Portuguese poker players able to verse French and Spanish players. Portugal’s gambling industry is still very young (established in 2015), and it took a year from when online gambling was legalised to the approval of licenses. While Italy has been reluctant to join due to regulatory issues, the country’s government confirmed it would still be entering the agreement earlier this week.
Greece slaps GVC with large tax bill
Greece has slapped GVC Holdings with a €186.77 million fine for one of its subsidiaries operating with a Greek license. The tax, which can still be appealed, reportedly comes from Sportingbet trading in 2010 and 2011, two years before GVC took over the brand. GVC, which is currently attempting to acquire Ladbrokes, may take the bill to court while paying monthly repayments of €7.8 million into an account, as agreed to by the Greek Audit Center for Large Enterprises. If GVC beats the Greek taxman, it will be able to retrieve the funds from the account.
Philippines remains strong on anti-gambling stance
The Philippines is continuing its fight against illegal gambling, warning government officials they will be prosecuted if found engaging in any form of wagering. This week, Philippine National Police Director General, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, unveiled a sign which warns government employees they will be arrested if caught gambling. A ceremony took place at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City as part of a national campaign requiring police to display appropriate signage to keep officials away from casinos and gambling venues. President Rodrigo Duterte has thrown his support behind the campaign, calling for a stricter implementation of the ban.
WELCOME back to our weekly column which covers legislation changes, new gambling ventures, industry announcements and more. We take a look at what’s happening all around the world, as one change in one country could have impacts right around the globe. Scroll down to find out about local news, or if we haven’t featured anything this week check out what’s happening elsewhere in the world and come back next week for more.
If we missed an important change and you think we should know about it, send us an email at [email protected] or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
This week, a Las Vegas casino company is being urged to ban OJ Simpson from visiting its venues, while lottery scams are tricking Pennsylvanian players. Across the ocean, the UK gambling industry is undergoing some changes with a potential tax increase on the cards. Additionally, the Vietnamese government has finally cleared up the requirements locals must meet to enter land-based casinos in the country. Keep reading to find out more.
Australian horse race really does stop the nation
The race that stop the nation took place this week and according to data from the Commonwealth Bank, the country really did pause for the Melbourne Cup. CommBank figures revealed that credit and debit transactions dropped by 38 percent between 2:55 pm and 3:05 pm (the race commences at 3 pm). Taxis, and the ride sharing service, Uber, also reported a drop in customers of around 37 percent between noon and 3pm. The rate of customers then shot back up by 52 percent on the same day of the previous week at 7pm.
The Queensland Labor Party has ruled against supporting a new boutique casino on Great Keppel Island, despite One Nation demanding a license. There’s two licenses up for grabs in the Australian state, with one set for Cairns. Senator Pauline Hanson said the other should go to the central Queensland location, however it is likely it will go to a Gold Coast casino instead.
Gambling not on the rise in New Zealand, despite claims
Independent Chair of the sector working party, Bruce Robertson, said gambling rates are not increasing in New Zealand, despite claims made by University of Auckland Professor, Peter Adams. Robertson said the claims are not supported by facts and added that the country has one of the lowest rates of problem gambling in the world, which includes New Zealand casino players. He added that the amount spent on gambling in NZ has not ‘increased incrementally’ as claimed, instead it has declined by 16 percent from a peak in 2004.
US state elects new Governor who supports casino expansion
Pennsylvania Lottery officials are warning players to be vigilant when it comes to scams, as several are doing the rounds via phone, email and social media. Scammers are posing as official lottery employees, and phone scams mention the lottery game MegaMillions, while Facebook scams feature US Powerball games. Lottery officials have explained that they do not reach out to people for personal information, as the scammers have been asking people to buy a prepaid debit card and requesting financial information to “pay for the taxes or fees”. Look out for phoney badge numbers, fake websites, made-up phone numbers, poorly worded emails, and prizes in foreign currencies.
OJ Simpson, who is currently on parole after being released from prison in October, is causing quite a stir in Las Vegas. As a result, the former NFL player, who was accused and acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown, has moved into a Las Vegas suburban home. Simpson went to jail after he was found guilty of robbing Palace Station casino resort. The casino is owned by Station Casinos, the same company which owns a casino he has been spotted at since his release. Locals are urging the American casino company to ban him, while tourists have taken the time to get photographs with the parolee.
While New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie, has been replaced by Democrat, Phil Murphy, a casino expansion in the state is still on the agenda. The former Goldman Sachs executive and US Ambassador to Germany defeated Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno on Tuesday. The win means Atlantic City’s monopoly on gambling could come to an end.
Voters in the state of New Hampshire took to the polls on Tuesday to determine whether their communities should allow keno in pubs and clubs. Ten municipalities voted on the addition, with revenue funding kindergarten programs, and as of Wednesday morning seven are for the proposal, while three are against.
UK casino company breaches consumer regulations
Ladbrokes Coral-owned Gala Interactive, has been one of the first companies to be penalised following the new regulatory changes in the UK. The UK Gambling Commission fined Gala £2.3 million for breaching consumer protection regulations after it found the casino operator failed to identify high rollers gambling stolen money. Two high stakes online casino players gambled £1.3 million of stolen money over 14 months on Gala’s online games. An investigation by the UKGC found that Gala failed to notice the gamblers showed problem gambling behaviour, and have been fined as a result. Gala also said during a previous case they would work on identifying problem gamblers quickly, which also contributed to the hefty penalty.
Increasing the current point of consumption (POC) tax rate on gambling companies, is reportedly on the UK government’s agenda. However, CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming, Richard Flint, is urging the government to scrap any plants to increase the tax from the current 15 percent rate, stating that it could hinder investment plans. Companies based in the UK pay the POC tax, along with offshore online casinos accepting UK players. However, British companies also have to pay VAT on marketing expenditure, and Flint said if the tax is increased remaining in the country could become unsustainable.
Ghana’s Gaming Commission needs more equipment
The Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery, has announced that the government is considering consulting international gambling regulators to help improve its own Gaming Commission. The country’s regulator has significantly reduced the rate of illegal gambling facilities in the country, but says it needs more equipment and training to continue. As a result, Dery pledged more support including a vehicle for the staff at the Kasoa office in order to support regulated sports betting companies in Ghana.
Netherland’s regulator warns operators about advertisements
The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, has slammed six licensed gambling operators for allowing their ads to appear on video gaming sites children access. Under the current law in the Netherlands, casinos and gambling operators cannot advertise to minors. If they are caught doing so, their operations will be blocked and they will face a hefty fine. Among the operators which have since removed the ads is the Dutch state lottery operator, Staatsloterij.
Spain’s online gambling industry grows
Online gambling is continuing to grow in Spain, with the third quarter results for the year revealing a 37 per cent increase in gross gaming revenues. According to the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling statistics report, €3300 million was gambled during the third quarter and revenue grew to €140 million. Sports betting accounted for 54.8 percent of gross gaming revenue, while slots earned the most revenue in the casino sector.
Locals can finally enter Vietnamese casinos
Vietnamese locals have finally received the green light to enter land-based casinos after the government announced a three-year pilot program at the start of the year. Locals have been unable to enter a venue due to a lack of clarity surrounding regulatory requirements. A circular has now been issued stating Vietnamese locals who can prove that they earn at least VND10 million a month, for a period of at least a year, can enter land-based casinos from December. The casinos involved in the pilot program have not been revealed, but they will have to monitor who enters the casino via electronic cards or books.
UK betting companies and broadcasters have offered to fund an £8 million problem gambling campaign in the lead-up to a review of the industry.
The government will reportedly address the increase in gambling ads in the upcoming review of the UK gaming industry, set to be published in the coming weeks.
But top betting companies are attempting to reduce the potential negative impact the review, by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS), could have with a problem gambling campaign.
Prominent gambling companies teamed up with UK broadcasters to create the awareness program, addressing problem gambling and addiction, which is set to launch in early 2018.
The Remote Gambling Association, which oversees UK online casinos, as well as the industry’s responsible gambling body the Senate Group, are both putting in cash.
The Advertising Associations and TV networks will also contribute to the £8 million campaign since the broadcasting industry relies heavily on gambling companies for revenue.
The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG), made up of betting companies, casinos, arcade owners, and online gambling firms, will coordinate the campaign.
But Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, said the timing of the campaign is worrying, given the government is mulling over tighter restrictions on betting advertising similar to the reforms the Australian government recently implemented.
“There must be no stitch-up to help the gambling industry avoid tighter restrictions on advertising,” Watson said.
“Industry-funded campaigns highlighting the risks of problem gambling are all very well, but they can’t be an alternative to regulation.”
Watson, who recently slammed football associations for allowing gambling sponsorships, believes relying on voluntary actions from the betting companies is an ineffective measure.
“The government’s review needs to look in particular at advertising that children are more likely to see, including pre-watershed gambling advertising around live sporting events, and football shirt sponsorship by betting firms,” he said.
Additionally, some sections of the industry aren’t playing ball and are refusing to contribute.
The National Casino Forum, the Bingo Association, and the trade body for arcades, Bacta, are all refusing to put money towards the campaign as they believe the plan is a poor attempt to avoid tighter advertising restrictions.
Australian problem gambling researcher, Professor Linda Hancock, told the Guardian that these campaigns “perpetuate the misnomer that safe gambling is up to individuals who need to alter their risky behaviour to avoid gambling problems”.
“Campaigns become a form of covert promotion of gambling whilst presenting as harm prevention, which they are not,” she added.
The Australian government recently passed legislation which places restrictions on gambling advertising on TV, radio and print publications. The new reforms restrict gambling ads from being aired during live sporting events before 8:30pm, which has been supported by TV networks due to a $AUD100 million package.
In the UK House of Lords debate earlier this week, British business magnate, Alan Sugar, called for similar restrictions.
“The government need to do something about stopping gambling television adverts that can be viewed by young people, the first being, although maybe not a solution, putting them after 9pm, after the watershed,” he said.
Online casinos, betting companies, and other gambling businesses have spent more than £1.4 billion on promotional material for media advertising since it was deregulated in 2012.
The industry agreed to a voluntary code, which only allows gambling ads to be aired before 9pm if they are attached to sporting events. However, the events are not required to be live, which means networks can broadcast gambling ads all day provided a sports match is on.
WELCOME back to our weekly column on gambling changes from around the world. We take a look at what’s happening online and at land-based gambling venues in different parts of the world to keep you up to date.
If you have any questions, or a news story of your own, send an email to [email protected] or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
There’s a lot going on this week with some jurisdictions clamping down on gambling activity, while others look to expand. New gambling reforms prohibiting offshore providers have come into effect this week in Australia, while Cambodia is looking to attract international operators. Some US states are looking to legalise online gambling, though the process is a slow one. Meanwhile, Colombia is expanding its online gambling industry. Read on to find out more.
Australians could get a regulated online poker industry
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2016 came into effect this week, and the final operators to exit blocked Australians from accessing their games. While offshore operators are targeted under the new reforms, some remain in the market as it is not technically illegal for Australians to gamble online. Aussies are advised to do their research and be safe when it comes to available online gambling sites.
But online poker may become regulated in the near future after a Senator announced that the government is considering legalising the online skill-based game. Senator David Leyonhjlem, who has been leading the Senate inquiry into online poker in Australia, revealed Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, wrote to him to say his department would look into the possibility of a regulated online poker industry.
Meanwhile, a landmark court case involving Australian land-based casino Crown Resorts, slot machine manufacturer Aristocrat and a former poker machine addict has commenced this week. Shonica Guy is claiming the slot Dolphin Treasure, available in the Melbourne casino, is misleading as the symbol combinations and odds are not made clear to players. Counsel for Crown has argued that its basic common sense that the symbol combination is designed to impact winnings. The trial runs for three weeks before a decision will be handed down.
US states consider online gambling
Around five million residents in Florida are without power following the devastating Hurricane Irma but land-based casinos in the state are offering a refuge from the sweltering heat. Some of the states casinos, spared from the impacts of the Category 4 storm, have reopened with air conditioning, offering a respite for many residents. Unfortunately, the Mardi Gras Casino and the Miami Gardens’ Calder Casino didn’t hold up too well and remain closed due to damage.
The Pennsylvanian House of Representatives finally passed its budget this week, but online gambling hasn’t been included. Despite a previous draft budget including online gambling to address a gap in the budget, the new package is vague when it comes to the inclusion of online gambling. Instead, it plans to fix Pennsylvania’s severe billion dollar budget deficit by sourcing money from a variety of other areas, including public projects. The gambling expansion is likely video gaming terminals (VGTs) in bars and restaurants, even though the plan is not supported by the Senate. Once both the Senate and House of Representatives agree on a budget plan, they will then vote on what the gambling expansion means.
Meanwhile, a Senator in the state of Michigan has introduced an online gambling bill. Senator Mike Kowall, who already introduced an unsuccessful bill which proposed a legal online poker and casino game industry last year, is trying again this year. This time around, the bill includes a 15 percent tax on online gambling revenue, as well as a $USD200,000 licensing fee for five years, with an additional $100,000 to be paid for every year that passes.
Italy to expand online gambling industry
Italy is looking into expanding its online casino industry by opening applications to potential operators. The announcement has been a long time coming given the government planned the expansion in 2015. While information is limited, applications will be open from September 18 to 25, with 120 gaming licenses up for grabs. Applicants have two months to be prepared and will have to pay 200 million euros per license which will be active until 2022.
The Republic of Georgia cracks down on online gambling
The Eastern European country has announced plans to ban online gambling this week. While the Ministry of Finance is reportedly looking to introduce a bill which will prohibit all forms of gambling, some politicians are unhappy about it including Deputy Finance Minister, Lasha Khutsishvili. Khutsishvili said banning online gambling doesn’t work and added that the international practice is ineffective.
UK FOBTs review to cost bookmakers £150m annually
The UK Gambling Commission is raising awareness when it comes to students and gambling. The UKGC Executive Director for research, Tim Miller, revealed that two in three university students in the UK gamble and while many do it without experiencing harm it can lead to issues like debt, poor attendance and long-term problems. The UK gambling regulator has published tips for students in relation to responsible gambling on its website.
Meanwhile, the impending Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) review could cost UK bookmakers £150m annually, according to the Financial Times. The review is expected in the coming months and while many are calling for the maximum stakes to be reduced from from £100 to £2, a compromise of £30 is reportedly being considered. Still, betting companies such as William Hill, will lose millions.
Colombia grants second gambling licence
Colombia is in the process of regulating its online gambling industry, with the country’s regulator, Coljuegos, granting its second online gambling licence this week. The lottery and chance games operator, Corredor Empresarial S.A, received the five-year license which will allow the firm to operate sports betting, slot machines, roulette and other gambling games at Betplay.com.co. The first license went to Sportium, which is a joint venture between UK bookmaker, Ladbrokes, and Spanish gaming operator, Cirsa.
Cambodia to expand gambling industry
Cambodia is reportedly in the process of finalising a draft version of a new gambling law. The reforms, set to be reviewed by cabinet members at the end of the month, will allow Cambodia to open up its online gambling industry to international operators. To compete with Singapore, the draft law reportedly keeps tax rates low for international operators. The Cambodian government is hoping to increase tourism and foreign investment through the new law.
Czech Republic to introduce receipt lottery
The Czech Republic will release a new receipt lottery by October to fight tax evasion. The new electronic system will see receipts given to players who purchase lottery tickets, with players eligible to register via a mobile app or website. Players are limited to one receipt per day to limit the chance of illicit purchases. According to the Ministry of Finance, Ivan Pilný, the scheme has been created to tackle tax evasion and benefits should exceed operational expenses.
FOUR popular gambling companies are under fire after rogue affiliates posted socially-irresponsible news posts.
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is investigating complaints made against Ladbrokes, 888, SkyBet and Casumo regarding adverts which target vulnerable people.
While their affiliates posted the articles, the betting companies are likely to be penalised as the posts irresponsibly promote gambling.
According to The Guardian, the posts featured content which implied that gambling clears debts, with a story about a man who paid for his wife’s medical treatment by playing casino games. Three other posts were similar in nature.
The watchdog said the adverts breached the code because they suggested gambling “could provide an escape from personal problems such as depression and that it could be a solution to financial concerns”.
It also said the posts implied that they were true news articles.
While the affiliates are at fault, the ASA holds the companies responsible since they benefited from anyone who signed up via the posts.
The UK Gambling Commission, which oversees the four betting companies, has not revealed whether it will be fining Ladbrokes, SkyBet, 888 and Casumo.
“We expect operators to take action to ensure that they have a clear view of what their affiliates are doing on their behalf,” the UKGC said in a statement.
“Where operators fail to do this, we will not hesitate to use our powers to hold them to account.”
Ladbrokes commented on the situation, revealing that the company has “been working to improve the types of advertising and marketing used by affiliates.”
“Nobody in Ladbrokes Coral believes that this sort of ‘fake news’ marketing has a place in the sector,” the company added.
“We have been reducing the number of affiliates we work with as well as clamping down hard on anyone using our name without our knowledge in a bid to curtail this sort of activity going forward.”
A spokesperson for 888 said the company has terminated its business relationship with the affiliates behind the posts.
The spokesperson added that the company has “taken further steps to ensure this type of incident does not occur again”.
Sky Vegas also terminated its agreement with the affiliate – and ended its affiliate program completely -, while Casumo said it was the fault of an external “media buyer”.
Chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood, said affiliates need to be wary in regards to how they act.
“It would be wrong to tar all affiliates with the same brush,” he said.
“Hopefully lessons will be learned, but, if not, affiliates can expect to see operators reconsidering their relationships and the real prospect of direct regulatory action.”
888 recently received a record fine of £7.8 million after the UKGC found the company failed to implement adequate self-exclusion procedure. The UKGC also found 888 did not pick up on visible signs of problem gambling.