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Global gambling legislation news – Week ending February 10

Sports shorts and what's on around the world for weekend of October 3 2020 this week launches a new column focussing on gambling legislation changes throughout the world. Our aim with this column is to provide a synopsis of any important happenings which have an impact on gamblers, whether they play online or offline. If you have anything you feel we should discuss in this column reach us at [email protected].

The debut week of the legislation column is sad in a lot of ways with the news filtering out of Australia that they are set to undergo a “Black Friday” style wipeout of online gaming, including hugely popular online poker. Other betting news includes Vietnam’s decision to allow some sports betting and Switzerland backtracks on plans to ban online casinos.

Australian legislation kills online poker

Gambling legislation Australia

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 which will tighten online gambling laws is seeing major poker sites withdrawing its services from the Australian market. Top poker site 888Poker has already blocked Australian players, with PokerStars and Full Tilt to follow.

The bill was debated in parliament on Wednesday with the amendment to reduce gambling advertisements but this failed. The initial bill passed the lower house and will face the upper house in the coming days.

For Australians this update to the original IGA means they will no longer be able to play at many of the bigger online casinos. Ironically many of the politicians in the debate referred to this decision as “making it safer for Australians to gamble”. We just can’t work out how sending players to unregulated, or websites accredited in countries with less than dubious reputations, is making it safer?

Surely in 2017, it’s time for regulation, not ineffectual laws restricting operators.

America could legalise sports betting

The state of New Jersey has joined New York, Mississippi, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in the battle to legalise sports betting. Two Congressmen from the state have pushed seperate bills, one which would make it legal in all states of the US to punt online. Several US states have proposed legislation to make online gambling legal including the state of New Hampshire and Hawaii.

Nevada is seeking to reduce the gambling law from 21 to 18, while the state of Georgia has filed legislation to legalise casinos.

A second online poker bill has been introduced in New York and would “allow certain interactive poker games to be considered games of skill rather than games of luck.”

Vietnam legalises bookmakers

From March 2017, international horse and greyhound races can legally be wagered on at land-based bookmakers in Vietnam. Vietnamese locals who are at least 21 years old can also wager on FIFA recognised International football games. Online sports betting remains illegal. As of late January, Vietnamese can enter land-based casinos and gamble.

Japan lifts casino ban

Japan’s casino ban was lifted at the end of 2016. Lawmakers are now drawing up regulations with land-based casinos expected for 2023. Public opposition is prominent, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe highlighting hotels, shops and other facilities the casinos will bring.

Legislation compliance ignites poker in Czech Republic

As of January 1, online gambling sites must have a license to operate in the Czech Republic. PokerStars was the first to be awarded a license following the new regulations.

Phillipines to eradicate illegal gambling

The Philippines Charity Sweepstakes Office is allegedly working with the Philippines National Police to devise a plan to eliminate all corrupt gambling. The most serious gambling related issues will first be addressed.

Malta regulates fantasy sports betting

The Malta Gaming Authority has released new regulations which defines fantasy sports as “controlled skill games.” Operators can now apply for a “Controlled Skill Games License,” with DraftKings first to obtain the new license.

Switzerland withdraws plans to block Internet casinos

The Legal Affairs Committee of the Swiss National Council has voted against blocking offshore online casinos. The regulatory changes would enforce Internet Service Providers to block offshore Internet casinos, but has been removed from Switzerland’s proposed gambling legislation.

Netherlands could privatise Holland Casino

The Dutch Lower House passed a bill in January which will see the state-owned Holland Casino split up and privatised. The bill needs to pass Senate before enforced.

Kenya bans gaming machine imports

Commissioner of Customs and Border Control, Julius Musyoki, announced the government had “stopped importation of all gaming equipment, machines and devices forthwith” at the end of January. The country is also considering banning international online sports betting operators.

Major poker sites exit Slovenian market

888Poker withdrew from the Slovenian market last month, following PokerStars and Full Tilt withdrawing mid-last year. The companies have blamed plans by Slovenian gaming lawmakers to hand out operating licenses soon.

Chile’s new gaming machine guidelines

The Comptroller of the Republic of Chile has determined electronic gaming machines, also known as ‘street machines’, must have an accompanying report issued by the Superintendence of Casinos to certify the machine isn’t based on chance must be provided.

Britain to target gambling machines

A move to tackle electronic gambling machines following a report on the dangers of electronic gaming machines last week. This took place after the Westminster parliamentary debate in late January. The MPs also recommended the maximum bet for electronic machines in a bookmakers shop should be reduced to just £2.

Local councils will also soon have the power to block bookmakers from opening with a new rule passed last month. It will come into effect within the next few weeks.

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