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Although it’s the last month of the year, we’re still expecting plenty of gambling changes to happen before 2018. But our weekly column will keep you updated, as we take a look at gambling news and legislation in different parts of the world and compile the most important updates below. You can come back each week to find out what has been happening around the globe too.
If you think we have missed an important news story, send us an email at [email protected] or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
This week, two gambling companies in Australia announce an exciting agreement, while lawmakers in the US prepare for SCOTUS to hear the NJ betting case. In Japan, analysts are predicting the bidding war for a license will go on for years, while China has approved tour packages to South Korea again. Find out why this is important to South Korean casinos below.
Australian gambling companies team up
Australian retail gambling conglomerate Tabcorp has announced it will supply online betting site CrownBet with racing vision via its Sky Racing channels. Under the agreement terms, CrownBet punters will be able to live stream racing content via the app or website. CrownBet also announced it agreed not to appeal the tie-up between Tabcorp and Tatts again, or impede on the merger in any way.
The Queensland government released the 33rd annual Australian Gambling Statistics this week, revealing that while Australians are betting more on sports it’s just a small percentage of the entire gambling market. According to the report, Australians spent a total of $AUD23.65 billion on gambling in the financial year 2015-16. Australians spent the most on poker machines ($12.1 billion), while casinos came in second place ($5.2 billion), betting on races via the TAB in third (A$3 billion), lotteries in fourth (A$2.1 billion) and sports betting in fifth place (A$921 million).
Meanwhile, South Australia’s Deputy Premier, John Rau, threatened to ‘name and shame’ online bookmaker operators who failed to ensure minors could not access their services. He said he received several complaints about betting sites using ads that encourage vulnerable people to open accounts.
Lawmkers prepare for US sports betting case
US lawmakers are gearing up for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to hear New Jersey’s sports betting case, on Monday, December 4. Former NJ governor, Chris Christie, will be present as lawyers attempt to convince the court to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992. The case has received support for and against via amicus briefs, with the four major sporting leagues sporting a ban on sports betting the US. However, NBA, NHL, and MLB commissioners may be hoping the court rules in favour of the state due to a shift in public opinion. Gambling analysts have predicted at least 20 US states will have legalised sports betting if the court does repeal PASPA.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) has been petitioned to review the agency’s 2011 public legal opinion of the Wire Act, which in effect allowed individual states to regulate online gambling. The DoJ clarified that “the interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a ‘sporting event or contest’ fall outside the reach of the Wire Act.” But many US politicians want the opinion overturned, including US Senators Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein. The pair is requesting a review, claiming Congress, not individual states, should determine if online casinos should be permitted.
This week the 12-member Nevada Gaming Policy Committee will review whether the state’s land-based casinos can work with the recent regulatory changes surrounding marijuana. Although the state legalised recreational marijuana, the federal government still classes the drug as an illegal substance. The state gambling regulator has recommended operators ban patrons from using marijuana on its floors, until further notice.
UK regulator says loot boxes do not count as gambling
The UK Gambling Commission released a statement confirming its position on loot boxes this week. The gambling regulator stated that it does not count buying loot boxes in video games as a form of gambling, despite the Belgian Gaming Commission stating otherwise following an investigation. The UKGC did acknowledge that the line between gambling and video gaming is becoming increasingly blurred.
Meanwhile, UK casinos have committed to donating 0.1 percent of its member’s gross gambling yield to gambling charity, GambleAware. While most casinos have already committed to paying the charity, the announcement cements the arrangement. The agreement follows the charity complaining that some operators had not been contributing to problem gambling initiatives earlier in the year.
The UK Health Lottery, which offers weekly draws and contributes to community causes, has been forced to pull a Facebook ad. The ad in question advertised that players could win up to £500,000 and was placed in a post on the social media platform earlier this year. The UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) investigated a complaint that the jackpot prize was much lower than advertised. The ASA upheld the complaint and warned the Health Lottery against displaying it again.
Ontario residents may be able to bet on esports soon
Betting on esports and novelty markets could soon become a reality in Ontario, Canada. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation recently announced it was looking for a partner to expand its online and mobile sports betting services. While OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti said it’s too early to confirm what will be on offer, he mentioned that betting on esports and novelty bets could be a possibility. The expansion would make Ontario the fifth state to offer online sports, eSports and novelty betting, alongside British Columbia, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and Manitoba.
Operators could be fighting for a Japanese casino license for years
The latest in the on-going process of creating a Japanese casino regulatory framework includes reports that the license bidding war could go on for two years. The country’s National Diet is expected to release its gambling bill next month, with many analysts predicting two casino licenses will be up for grabs. The gambling experts believe the resorts will be in Osaka and Yokohama, and international gambling operators, Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts will win the licenses. Spectrum analysts, on the other hand, believe three licences could be up for grabs and the bidding war could last for several years. Once the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill is introduced, the lower and upper houses will need to agree to the measure, and then it needs to be signed into law by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
New financial rules in Turkey
The Turkish Banking Supervision Body (BDDK) is planning on imposing new restrictions on bank transfers and ATM withdrawals to combat illegal gambling and money laundering, according to local media outlets. BDDK said more than five million Turkish residents participate in illegal gambling, using money withdrawn from an ATM. The banking body said it would be monitoring those who withdrew more than their maximum daily limit, to ensure they aren’t illegally gambling. A special commission, set up by Prosecutor General’s Office, will also monitor Turkish-facing online gambling sites after the government announced a two-year campaign to crack down on all authorised gambling.
China to improve South Korea casino numbers
China has announced it will permit travel agents to accept package tours to South Korea again, provided they depart from Beijing and Shandong (other cities are expected to be added). China banned group tours after South Koreas former government approved additional missile systems, which caused casinos the latter country to suffer. Casinos in South Korea are expected to improve following the lift of the ban.
Online bookmakers have installed the Los Angeles Dodgers as firm favourites to end their 29-year World Series drought.