We’re almost halfway through the year and looking back, the gambling landscape has changed dramatically.
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It has been a big week for the Australian gambling industry with two major gambling organisations getting the approval to merge, while the House of Representatives has disagreed with the Senate over major legislation.
The UK Gambling Commission has been busy too, with some changes which may impact change all around the world.
A number of gambling bodies have also formed in several countries – keep reading to find out more.
Australian gambling bill delayed due to changes
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 has been plaguing Australian gamblers for some time now – many operators have exited the market.
After being introduced in the House of Representatives and agreed to with secondary amendments by the Senate, it was awaiting approval by the House again due to the changes. But the House has rejected the secondary amendments and replaced them to ensure only corporate bookmakers are subject to a credit betting ban – trackside bookmakers are exempt.
Meanwhile, the land-based wagering market just transformed as the two gambling giants, Tabcorp and Tatts got the green light from the Australian Competition Tribunal to merge. Online bookmakers fought to prevent the deal, as the merged entity will have total monopoly over all states, except Western Australia where the TAB is owned by the state government.
American online casino body forms
It’s déjà vu in New York with the state’s online poker bill once again dismissed by the State Assembly.
Last year, a similar online poker bill presented by the same man, Senator John Bonacic, passed the Senate, but it was dismissed before a debate by the Assembly. This week it was announced the 2017 version would face a similar fate.
A New Jersey study titled Economic Impact of New Jersey Online Gaming: Lessons Learned found online gambling has, directly and indirectly, generated $US998.3 million in revenue, more than 3000 jobs, and just over $US124 million in tax revenue to state and local governments since 2016. The paper also recommends that other states should consider legalising the pastime in order to provide jobs and revenue.
Some states agree with the study’s advice as a newly formed trade group called the iDevelopment and Economic Association (iDEA) has launched. The organisation’s main goal is to get states interested in legalising online casino gambling. One operator joining forces with the iDEA is the recently merged gambling company, Paddy Power Betfair.
The transformation of the former Trump Taj Mahal Casino into the Hard Rock Atlantic City Hotel and Casino has commenced. It has also been revealed the casino resort is projected to open before the 2018 Memorial Day weekend in AC. The project was sanctioned to help create jobs and rejuvenate the city.
Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission is suing DraftKings and FanDuel to prevent a huge merger from going through. It is alleged the tie-up between two biggest daily fantasy sports (DFS) betting companies in the US would give the merged entity almost complete control of the industry.
Indian state clamps down on online gambling
The Indian state of Telangana has drafted new rules to amend the Gaming Act to ban online gambling. The pastime is now included as a prohibited act under the Gaming Act 9174. Should the law be enacted offenders will face up to one year in jail.
Meanwhile, lottery tickets will soon face a goods and services (GST) tax. State-run lotteries will be charged 12 percent, while lotteries run by private operators will face a 28 percent tax rate. It will be enforced from July 1.
UK gambling regulator’s new licensee regulations
Scotland is gearing up to tackle problem gambling, with the Association of British Bookmakers announcing they will be teaming up with the casino subsidiaries of Ladbrokes and William Hill. The partnership will focus on creating a new problem gambling program targeted at Inverness residents.
A new casino being built in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath, UK has made progress, with an opening date set for 2018. The £19 million casino project began construction earlier this year, five years after the venue was announced. It has also been revealed Century Casinos has won the right to operate the casino under a 30-year site lease.
The UK Gambling Commission has been quite busy this week too. Its first announcement will impact gambling operators all over the world as it now requires licensees to provide data in terms of their activities in other jurisdictions. So, if an online bookmaker has a license from the Gambling Commission it will have to report any activity in other countries, for example, Australia. If the law says this is an illegal gambling jurisdiction the bookmaker can have its license revoked. Overall, it could mean more withdrawals from strict gambling jurisdictions.
The Commission has also warned operators they could be risking their license if they’re only obtaining identity documents when a customer withdraws funds. This could result in a breach of anti-money laundering rules, and in turn licensing requirements.
Kenyan President signs uniform tax into law
Just when Kenyan betting, gambling, lottery and competition operators thought they got out of a tax hike the President proposed a 35 percent uniform increase. It was sent back to parliament where it was agreed to and on Wednesday the President, Uhuru Kenyatta, signed it into law.
Chinese crackdown on gambling in Macau and on the mainland
Macau casino operators have been warned to be more vigilant regarding mobile phone use after another illegal proxy betting ring was uncovered late last week. Among the 17 arrested were 13 Chinese nationals, who proxy betting is generally catered for – gambling is illegal on the mainland. The gambling regulator has revealed around 179 verbal complaints have been made regarding phone use since 2016 when the phone ban was first introduced.
On the mainland, 1000 accounts owned by Myanmar traders have been frozen by Chinese police. Three Yunnan banks suspended the accounts which alerted authorities after deposits of more than K40 billion were made. It is alleged the accounts belong to around 100 Myanmar merchants, who trade rice and other food products. If they aren’t connected to online gambling activity, the accounts will be reopened.
Poland drafts new anti-money laundering policies
While the Polish gambling industry has been revamped, legislators are now turning their attention to anti-money laundering policies. The Polish government has just published the first draft of the new Act on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism (Draft AML Act) and operators who obtained a local license – William Hill and Bet365 chose to exit when the new gambling legislation was enforced – will have to comply.
Philippines orders operators to stop using online gambling content
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has issued its first a cease-and-desist order to all its Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO). The order is in relation to the use of gambling services from Eaglesky Technology Amusement and Gaming Company. PAGCOR says Eaglesky “is not an accredited Service Provider under the POGO Rules and Regulations” and therefore POGO operators cannot use the content. Eaglesky reportedly operates under the BBIN name.
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