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Changes to expect in the gambling industry in 2018

While online gambling isn’t confined to one country, changes which occur in a single nation can impact the entire industry. Whether it’s a change in the law, the introduction of a new game, a new real money casino, or a sports and racing betting site, or a new piece of technology, players and punters can be affected all over the world.

We take a look at changes expected to hit the gambling industry in 2018 – given the ones we saw in 2017 resulted in incredible market changes.

Gambling law changes expected for 2018

If one country enforces legislation which regulates or prohibits online gambling, then several others may face numerous changes. We take a look at a few global regulatory changes expected in 2018.

Australian bookmaker reforms

The online gambling industry faced a massive regulatory overhaul in 2017, which saw several offshore online casino and poker room operators exit the market. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2016 ended up leaving Australians with limited online casino options. Aussies still have a huge range of options when it comes to betting sites, as the law allows bookmakers to operate in Australia provided they’re licensed by the Northern Territory.

However, bookmakers are set to face several regulatory reforms including a ban on sign up bonuses, and
a potential point of consumption tax in several different states, while the online multi‑operator self-exclusion scheme will be introduced by 2018.

There is also hope that online poker will be regulated Down Under in 2018. Despite the new reforms banning offshore online poker rooms, the game may be regulated, with Senator, David Leyonhjelm, leading the way. The Senator revealed he had received a letter from Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, which implied that poker could be legalised in Australia. The Senator then showed his support for new media reforms, including a ban on online gambling advertisements before 8:30 pm during live sporting events, which was spearheaded by the Communications Minister. As a result, Australians could see online poker regulated in Australia in 2018.

American sports betting

The US Supreme Court announced in 2017 that it would hear the New Jersey sports betting case. It then confirmed in October that it would begin hearing the arguments for and against the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) 1992.

Connecticut and Mississippi have already approved legislation which will allow Americans to bet on sports, should PASPA be repealed, while nine other states, including New York and California, have bills which are being pursued by lawmakers.

The US is likely to see sports betting legalised in 2018, given the American general public has become more supportive, along with the major sporting professional leagues.

Several US states are also mulling over the legalisation of American online casinos and poker, including Pennsylvania which failed to get any legislation through in 2017, as well as New York, which is looking to regulate online poker.

Indian cricket wagering in 2018

In 2017, the Law Commission of India announced it would be looking into regulating the sports betting industry. The Supreme Court recommended the Commission look into a regulatory overhaul after it acknowledged the high occurrence of match-fixing in cricket. The Commission requested advice from cricket associations, however the response was predominantly silence.

The country could legalise Indian sports betting, or cricket betting only as advised by the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), in 2018.

Eventus International is also hosting the Sports Betting & Gaming India Conference (SBGI) on February 27 and 28, 2018 in Goa. The two-day conference will feature a panel of industry experts discussing the impact of legalising sports betting in the country.

UK reduced betting stakes and gambling mergers

The UK gambling environment will face some incredible changes in 2018 given the triennial review of the gambling industry in late 2017. Given the UK acts as a central hub for the global gambling industry – it is considered to be well-regulated and one of the biggest markets in the world – any changes which occur could cause repercussions around the world.

Maximum stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTS) will likely be reduced given the media attention in 2017. The machines have operated with a maximum stake of £100 since they were introduced and act as a predominant source of revenue for UK betting companies. According to several different insiders and media outlets in the country, maximum stakes will either stay the same in 2018, be cut to around £30, £20 or drop completely to £2, which is what anti-gambling groups want.

Gambling advertising will likely face a regulatory overhaul given the 2017 media backlash. Several online gambling operators received fines for irresponsible gambling promoting practices in 2017, while sports betting companies were condemned for sponsoring football associations. The UK may follow in Australia’s footsteps and ban gambling advertising before 8:30 pm during live sporting events too.

Gambling giants are likely to merge, including Ladbrokes, GVC Holdings, William Hill and other big gaming operators, as they face the brunt of the regulatory review.

Switzerland to update gambling laws

In October, 2017, Switzerland passed new laws which allow local gambling operators with a land-based presence in the country to offer iGaming services to Swiss players.

Sports betting and lotteries tax will also be limited to winnings of CHF1 million and up, while land-based casino winnings will not be taxed.

Additionally, Switzerland’s internet service providers (ISPs) will be able to block offshore online casinos, with the Swiss government paying ISPs to do so.

Given the Swiss People’s Party, the Free Democratic Party and the Green Liberal Party has the ability to block the legislation within 100 days, the new reforms will either be enforced in 2018, or not at all.

New casino games for 2018

Online casino software developers bring out new games every year, which are usually slots. But given the changing environment with land-based casinos attempting to attract millennials, we may see some more unique titles released in 2018.

Pac-Man real money casino game

A competitive real money casino version of Pac-Man is coming to land-based casinos in 2018, which could inspire online gambling software developers to create an Internet version. Pac-Man Battle Casino pits two to four players against each other, with a cash prize up for grabs. The game mirrors the increasing number of skill-based games which are popping up in casinos around the world – another insight into what we can expect for the online gambling industry in 2018.

Harry Potter online casino game

While there’s already a Harry Trotter online gambling game by Blueprint Gaming, we could see an official Harry Potter online casino game in 2018. Warner Brothers, which owns the film rights, is opening a Harry Potter World in Abu Dhabi in 2018, so it it’s not too far-fetched to expect a casino partnership for a real money Harry Potter game. The entertainment company has already teamed up with Aristocrat to create a slot on Warner Bro’s and HBO’s Westworld, as displayed at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in 2017.

Online betting sites set to launch in 2018

It takes a lot to enter the highly competitive world of bookmakers, but 2018 is likely to see several betting sites launch.

Neds online bookmaker launched in Australia in October, 2017. The online betting site took the online wagering industry by storm and despite a few teething issues, Neds managed to make a name for itself.

Owned by bookmaker, Dean Shannon, the online betting site is set to launch in the UK and Europe in 2018. Provided it receives all the right regulatory approvals, it will be offering local and international racing and sports betting markets, as well as fresh and exciting bonuses, to British and European punters.

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