EVERY week we take a look at what has been happening around the world in relation to online and offline gambling. Whether it’s a new gambling bill or change in the industry, we have it covered. Keep up to date with the changes by coming back each week to find out what has been happening in your country and around the world.
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This week the US sports betting case has had a major setback due to the four major sports leagues supporting the ban. In Kenya, the fight to scrap the tax hike continues. Meanwhile, Japan is facing more delays due to the snap election. Keep reading to find out more.
Australian Crown Casino fights tampering allegations
There is a lot happening in Australia right now with the explosive allegations against the land-based casino Crown Resorts. An Australian MP has released a video of three former employees claiming the casino forced them to pull wires out of poker machines so the buttons wouldn’t work. There’s also claims that the casino used certain tricks to get around the AUSTRAC security checks initiated by individuals making transactions of $10,000 or more. The government is now calling for an inquiry into whether the claims are true, as well as whether the state regulator covered up the misconduct. Crown Casino has denied the allegations.
This week, the report on the Participation of Australians in Online Poker was released following a Senate Committee inquiry. The report looks at whether online poker should be regulated in Australia, after the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2016 forced online poker tournament and cash game operators to exit the market. The Committee recommends legalising online poker once the government implements the National Consumer Protection Framework and conducts research into problem gambling among poker players.
UK casino industry increases its transparency levels
The UK online casino industry is undergoing a transformation as operators are being forced to be more transparent when it comes to sign up offers and other inducements. Included in the reforms is the removal of predatory terms like “free spins”, which have wagering requirements attached, voiding the definition. You will now find UK-licensed online casinos are offering extra spins, which have wagering requirements attached, or fair spins, which are wager free.
Video game loot boxes have been in the media this week after a lawmaker pointed out their similarities to gambling. UK parliamentarian for the constituency of Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner, submitted two questions regarding the nature of loot boxes, yielding a response from Parliamentary Under-Secretary of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Tracey Crouch. While the response didn’t directly answer the question, Crouch said that the UK Gambling Commission is constantly reviewing the ever-changing world of video games and their potential to mirror gambling.
US sports betting case faces setback
The American Gaming Association thought it only had the country’s tribes to worry about when it comes to the legalised sports betting industry fight. But the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the four major sports leagues have argued that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) 1992 is constitutional. While many believed the NFL, MLB, NBA, and the NHL were coming around to the idea of legalising sports betting, it appears they’re still against a regulated industry. In the brief, prepared by attorney, Paul Clement, the major leagues question the New Jersey argument that the federal law is compelling individual states to comply and declare their support for the ban.
The online gambling bill in New Hampshire was thought to be buried, but it is expected to be dug up in time for the October 25 legislative session. While lawmakers tossed the bill aside in August, it appears it has made a comeback and if successful will add the phrase: “gambling done over an internet connection on a website on the internet”, into current legislation. Since it removes online gambling from the list of offences in the state, it in effect legalises online gambling in New Hampshire.
New Jersey has expanded its online gambling industry this week, after it announced it would be teaming up with Delaware and Nevada in a shared online poker pool deal. Once the regulatory approvals have been confirmed, players from each state will be able to verse each other for bigger prizes and more variety. All state regulators have to approve a poker operator’s application, which means PokerStars will likely lose out as it is banned under the bad actor clause in Nevada.
Kenya still fighting uniform tax hike
A Kenyan lottery operator is fighting the uniform tax hike set for the country’s gambling industry, despite being signed into law months ago. Local media outlets have reported that the Pambazuka National Lottery (PNL) is suing the National Assembly, Kenya’s Betting Control and Licensing Board, the Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner-General and the Attorney General, on the grounds that the tax hike is unconstitutional. The government was originally considering a 50 percent uniform tax hike for all gambling operators, including Kenyan sports betting sites, before scrapping it due to backlash. The Kenyan president then introduced the 35 percent tax, which passed parliament.
Less gambling ads on Belgian TV
Belgians are set to see less gambling ads on their television and other media platforms with new reforms proposed by Justice Minister Koen Geens. The new reforms include a ban on gambling advertising during live sporting events broadcast before 8pm, as well as advertising screen banners. There will also be a blanket ban on advertising sports betting, and other gambling services, during youth programs, and 15 minutes before and after they air. The reforms have the full support of the Belgium Gambling Commission, which overseas the country’s gambling industry.
Macau ramps up security at casinos
Macau’s casino industry isn’t taking any chances when it comes to the security of its patrons. Macau authorities are reportedly ramping up security processes, including plans for crisis training and mock attacks. Authorities and casino operators will also work together to ensure appropriate measures are in place before police arrive, with six operators already agreeing to the new policies. The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau has also revealed metal detectors will be installed at casino entrances. Director of Judiciary Police in the autonomous region, Chau Wai Kuong, said while Macau is a low-risk region, the Cotai District should remain cautious.
It has been reported that the opening of MGM Cotai has been pushed back several months, however, it is still set to open in 2018. The casino said the opening remained on track despite the devastating Typhoon Hato in August but it appears the timeline has since changed. The casino is set to cater to the mass market, instead of VIP gamblers only.
Japan election causes more casino delays
The snap election, initiated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been successful in delaying casino plans. Japan’s Wakayama prefecture was set to announced its “Master Plan” for an integrated resort soon, however it has been delayed until March due to the election. The region is determined on becoming a destination for an integrated resort, which will feature a casino, however it’s likely Tokyo, Osaka or Yokohama will be the destination to receive the first license. The casino licenses are also dependant on the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill, which has also been delayed due to the election.
North Korea legalises horse racing wagering
It’s not often we report on North Korea and its gambling industry – or lack thereof – but this week the government introduced horse racing as a means to foreign currency . Originally, if you were caught gambling in the country you would be sentenced to three year’s hard labour, but North Koreans and foreigners can now have a punt on the races. The country reportedly held a number of staged races earlier this week at the Mirim Horse Riding Club, where people from the age of 12 and up could bet via “a raffle-type system”, according to local media outlets.
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