The British and Irish betting giant has bought out the Republic of Georgia’s top online gambling operator.
The five-year deal includes online sports betting and casino games as well as an on-site sportsbook.
Fines totalling £14 million have been handed out to three online casinos in the United Kingdom for failure to detect fraudulent customers.
UK punter Andy Green is fighting for a £1.7m mobile jackpot he won in January this year.
NEW JERSEY poker players don’t even need to leave their couch for a land-based gaming experience, thanks to Atlantic City’s new live dealer variant.
While the rest of the world has been enjoying poker games streamed in real time to their devices, New Jersey residents have either had to make the trip to an AC casino or play in a poker forum, like PokerStars.
But now one of the licensed AC casinos, the Golden Nugget, has debuted live dealer Casino Hold’em. Based on the game of poker, players verse the dealer instead of each other in the Texas Hold’em variant.
The live dealer game, available between 3 pm and 3 am, seven days a week has $1 side bets available. There is no cap on the number of players, so there’s no wait time for a seat.
The game format is similar to what is available at other online casinos, though some live dealer sites have tables open 24/7.
Live dealer providers, such as Evolution Gaming, set up studios or sometimes get their dealers to play at land-based casinos. Golden Nugget has stationed their live dealer in a studio in Atlantic City and the tables are available to players inside the state of NJ.
The dealer is streamed via webcam technology in real time directly to the user’s desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, and players make their bets by clicking or tapping the interface.
As with all live dealer games, there are several settings available to customise to suit your preferences, including screen display, bet size, resolution and more.
Golden Nugget has teamed up with live dealer software provider Ezugi, which used to supply G’day online casino with a range of real-time games including live keno and live lottery, before.
In 2016, the Golden Nugget and Ezugi rolled out Live Blackjack, American Roulette and Dragon Bonus Baccarat to its New Jersey online gambling sites.
The developer was the first to bring live dealer games to the US and Ezugi NJ CEO Kfir Kugler said they’re honoured to partner with the AC casino again.
“America is in love with poker, and by using the Live Dealer platform, the game retains its strong connection between the player and the dealer in a live environment,” he said.
Golden Nugget’s senior vice president and general manager of online gaming, Thomas Winter, told local media that being the first online casino in AC to offer live dealer games proves the casino’s “commitment to delivering on an innovative and world-class product to our patrons.”
The Golden Nugget is the only online casino, besides Tropicana Casino and Resort, that hasn’t teamed up with a global poker brand like WSOP or PokerStars. However, the Golden Nugget is considered to be NJ’s top online gambling operator for revenue.
Now all that’s left to add is a New Jersey sportsbook.
WHILE the world has one eye on the Christmas and New Year’s break, we’re getting stuck into the final changes to the gambling industry for the year.
Our weekly column covers legislation changes all around the world, which may impact you as a gambler. We take a look at new amendments, gambling regulator announcements and compile the information into a neat column accessible on any device.
This week, the UK’s gambling regulator has revealed more children are gambling due to skin betting, social media and other computer games. Meanwhile, the Norwegian gambling regulator has ordered local banks to block transactions from two payment providers. And Brazil’s gambling bill is facing more delays. Find out more below.
Australian gambling giants to merge by Christmas
The Tabcorp and Tatts $11.3 billion merger is expected to be completed by December 22, after Tatts shareholders voted for the deal. At the meeting on Tuesday, 99 percent of Tatts shareholders voted for the Tabcorp tie-up and the following day the Supreme Court approved the deal. The two gambling giants will become one entity, with Tatts CEO Robbie Cooke losing his job just days before Christmas and more redundancies expected to come. Tabcorp also announced it would complete the divestment of its Queensland gaming machine business before the meeting.
The Australian state of Tasmania may become the first to ban poker machines from pubs and clubs after the Labor Party introduced the policy in a bid to win voters for the upcoming election. While a joint committee recommended against banning the machines, Labor said it will phase the pokies out by 2023, if elected in March next year. Labor claims Liberal will not follow suit and has offered a $55 million support package for the venues affected.
New Zealand weighs in on loot box debate
The New Zealand gambling regulator has agreed with the UK Gambling Commission on the status of loot boxes, stating they do not meet the legal definition of gambling. The Gambling Compliance office of its Department of Internal Affairs said that it has been following the international debate, but it does not believe loot boxes constitute as gambling under New Zealand’s Gambling Act 2003. The office also stated that it is not illegal for New Zealanders to gamble online at offshore sites.
American gaming sites could slow down
Internet neutrality rules may be repealed this week as The Federal Communications Commission plans to put it to a vote on Thursday. FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, will push ahead to repeal the rules enforced in 2015. Current laws prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from giving preference to sites or services or blocking them. If the commissioners side with Pai, telecom companies could favour their own content or sites which will pay a premium. It could also cause sites to slow down, including online American gambling websites.
Seven mobsters from organised crime families have been arrested for running illegal gambling operations in Long Island and Brooklyn, as well as drug distribution. The suspects from the Gambino and Bonanno organised crime families ran an illegal casino and conducted unlawful sports betting operations. Two members have also been charged with distributing cocaine, and are facing life in prison.
A former Democratic Pennsylvania lawmaker, Marc Gergely, has been sentenced to house arrest for participating in a multimillion-dollar illegal gambling operation. The state representative used his political influence to convince venue owners they could legally install gaming machines. The Pennsylvania State Police and Attorney General’s Office uncovered the illegal ring, as well as Gergely’s involvement.
UKGC finds more children are gambling
The UK Gambling Commission released new statistics on children gambling, and it appears many minors are being introduced to the activity via video games. While loot boxes have been making headlines, the UKGC views skin betting (where you earn in-game items and wager them for better ones or real money) as the main concern. According to the UKGC report, 45 percent of 11-16-year-olds are aware of skin betting, where players can wager an item via casino-style games and cash out with upgraded items.
The research also found that children are gambling without realising on free-to-play casino games, social media and even computer games. The regulator said that since these types of games do not have the same regulation in place as licensed gambling operators, children may be vulnerable.
The UK regulator has also released plans to make lotteries more transparent to consumers, commencing in April next year. The plans clarify where the proceeds go, including the charity, and what proportion of money raised from lottery tickets is put back into the community.
Ghanian government considering sports lottery
Ghana is looking to gambling to find sources of income for its new National Sports Development Fund. The Ministry of Youth and Sports stakeholders are meeting on Thursday to discuss potential sources of revenue, including a sports lottery. However, a sports lottery known as the National Lottery Authority’s Soccer Cash, launched by the previous government, incurred GH1 million in advertising debt. As a result, the government may consider increasing the taxes Ghanaian sportsbooks pay, including Mybet.
Norway cracks down on offshore gambling
Norway’s gambling regulator has ordered local banks to block transactions to and from two two payment providers. Earlier this year, Lotteritilsynet ordered the banks to ban any gambling transactions by Norwegian online gamblers at offshore gambling sites. It named seven companies, including Trustly, Entercash, Worldpay, Earth Port, Inpay, Stay Cool and Mangas Gaming, as providers which had been breaching the law, ordering them to stop. This week, the regulator has found that Trustly and Entercash have continued to process unauthorised gambling transactions by changing their account numbers. As a result, it has placed a ban on the payment providers.
The country is also looking into ways to crack down on foreign gambling advertising. Several broadcasters airing content in Norway are located in London, and they can legally advertise offshore gambling sites due to their location. The government is currently looking into ways to ban the ads, and it hopes to introduce legislation before Easter next year.
Brazil’s gambling bill delayed again
There has been another delay in the vote to legalise gambling in Brazil. While the Senate was set to vote on the piece of legislation which would legalise online gambling on Wednesday, it was scrapped due to Congress issues. It may be a good thing the bill has been delayed for three weeks (and is unlikely to be addressed until next year) as it needs 14 votes out of the 27-member committee to pass. Local Brazilian media outlets have reported that 12 judges to do not support the bill, giving lawmakers time to get them to change their minds.
Buying lottery tickets goes against religion in Turkey
Turkey’s Milli Piyango lottery is holding its annual draw for the New Year period, featuring a jackpot of TRY 61 million. However, the head of the country’s top religious body, Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), has declared that buying lottery tickets goes against its faith. In a religious decree, the Diyanet said, “all gambling games that are based on one of the sides winning and the other losing are deemed within the context of gambling and are declared haram [forbidden by religion].” However, it added that charities or institutions can still take money from games of chance.
Bermuda amend gambling laws
Bermuda is giving the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Jamahl Simmons, all the power when it comes to gambling regulation. The government recently approved the Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2017, which gives the Minister the power to tell the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission how to regulate the gaming industry, and he can also replace members where he sees fit. The gambling industry has protested the changes, arguing that the BCGC is no longer independent.
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.