Archive for the 'Casino' Category
The United Kingdom government recently made some drastic changes to its online gambling laws, which included a new point of consumption tax. The law has been met with frustration by both many operators throughout the country and the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA).
The new tax took effect on December 1. Peter Howitt, the CEO of the GBGA, said that his organization is strongly committed to supporting the regulated market. However, he is worried that the new tax is causing significant problems for many regulators. He said that the market has been destabilized, because some of the smaller foreign operators are leaving the market because they can’t afford the large taxes.
One of the biggest criticisms of the law is that it gives a strong competitive advantage to domestic companies. All gaming providers are required to pay taxes to the revenue authorities in their own jurisdictions. However, all companies that hold a UK gambling license are also required to pay the 15% tax as well. The new tax structure in the United Kingdom means that gaming providers based outside the UK are forced to pay double taxation, which has made it infeasible for them to remain in the jurisdiction.
The GBGA filed a lawsuit against the UK tax authorities last summer. The court ruled against the GBGA, but the organization was recently informed that it has the right to file another lawsuit next year. Howitt believes that the association has a valid case, but doesn’t want to be overly optimistic. He told reporters that litigation is always a long shot, especially for plaintiffs filing lawsuits against foreign tax authorities. However, the GBGA intends to proceed with the lawsuit and hopes that the gambling tax will be overturned.
Andorra is a small European country located between France and Spain. The country’s lawmakers are preparing to legalize and regulate online poker and hope to finish the process in the next few months.
The General Council of Andorra is expected to pass the new gambling bill, which will allow online poker operators to offer their services in the country. The law also includes a provision that would create a regulator that would issue a license to a single brick and mortar casino.
Both provisions of the bill will be significant boons for the country. The country only has a population of 85,000 people, but receives about 10 million tourists each year. The government is confident that those tourists will be willing to spend a substantial amount of money at the new casino, which would allow them to generate a substantial amount of revenue.
While the new casino is a promising development for the small country, Andorra may benefit even more from regulating online poker. The country is not a part of the European Union, which means that it will not be subject to many of the strict online gambling laws that dictate the conduct of online gaming providers in other parts of Europe. This advantage is expected to lure many companies to the market. However, while the country isn’t required to abide by free trade laws, it is likely to still participate in an international market to limit liquidity concerns such a small country poses to operators.
Government officials are still discussing the specifics of the new legislation. The new regulator will play a key role in shaping the new market. Government officials will issue a formal announcement after the details have been finalized and plan to vote on the new legislation in the next year.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation recently launched its own website to offer online gambling to its citizens. The OLG has stated that the new website will allow the state to generate nearly $400 over the next five years. Andrea Horwath, the leader of the Ontario New Democrat Party, has warned that expanding online gambling will create serious problems for the province’s youth.
Horwath isn’t the only Ontarian politician that is concerned with the new site. Jim Wilson, Interim leader of the Progressive Conservative, has vocalized similar feedback. He said that the government has chosen to address its addiction to overspending by targeting people with gambling addictions. Wilson also warned that online gambling could adversely impact local casinos.
Despite the concerns, the OLG is confident that online gambling will be beneficial to Ontario. It expects online gambling revenues to allow the state to boost social spending rather than implementing drastic austerity measures. The organization has sent invitations to over 50,000 prospective customers.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa implied that the social risks are vastly exaggerated. Sousa said that many Ontario citizens are already gambling over the Internet, so regulating the activity is unlikely to exacerbate the problem. The government merely hopes to funnel money consumers are already spending overseas back to the local economy. Souza also points out that the new website will have many safeguards that overseas gaming operators don’t provide.
The Ontario government has taken a major step by establishing a state sanctioned gaming site. Lawmakers will probably discuss the implications of the site over the next year before more empirical evidence is released.
The Republican Party is relentlessly trying to ban online gambling in the United States. Sheldon Adelson has donated over $100 million to GOP candidates, so they are clearly inclined to support his Reinstate the Wire Act proposal. The Republicans gained control of the Senate in Tuesday’s election, which poses a risk for the online gambling community. However, there may still be hope that online gambling legislation will be passed and the RWA will be struck down.
Lawmakers also have to weigh the needs of their constituents against Adelson’s interests. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has been elected as the Senate Majority leader. His state could generate nearly a billion dollars in revenues for education and other social programs. His commitment to his constituents may trump the $15,000 in donations that he received from Adelson and several of his family members.
The online gambling community should still be concerned that the Republican Party has seized such control in Congress. However, there is still a realistic possibility that the online gambling ban will be overturned. Congress may also still pass legislation to regulate online gambling across state lines. However, the election results are still a cause for concern for the online gaming community.
The Poker Players Alliance and other online gaming advocates will relentlessly continue their lobbying. Their efforts may draw more support if other states legalize online gambling, because those states would adamantly oppose any efforts to ban the industry.
The Parliament of the Republic of South African has introduced a bill that would effectively ban online poker. Lawmakers are currently discussing the bill with regulators and gambling experts throughout the state and intend to vote on it in the near future.
The new legislation will overhaul the entire gambling industry, but the online poker ban is one of the most drastic changes. Many MPs feel that the proposed ban is a necessary safeguard for consumer, but they are still worried that the bill will carry unintended consequences. They have sought feedback from Zodwa Ntuli, deputy director-general of the Department of Trade and Industry and officials from the National Gambling Policy Council.
Ntuli and several other experts have voiced concerns with the new legislation. They said that the bill would offer little incentive to stop South Africans from gambling over the Internet. Since demand for online gambling is so strong, they feel that regulation would be a better way to protect citizens. Their concerns are shared by lawmakers in the Democratic Alliance, which have clarified their opposition to the proposed legislation.
The National Gambling Policy Council hasn’t rendered its opinion on the new bill yet. Even if it doesn’t agree with the text of the bill, it is likely to applaud the government’s efforts to fight online gambling addiction. The organization estimates that about 3% of South African adults have a gambling problem.
Some lawmakers don’t feel that legislation should be passed by the central government. They would prefer a framework where the national government doesn’t intervene and allows regional governments to regulate it as they see fit. Ntuli said that many provincial governments want to expand the gambling industry as a means to generate more revenue.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill to repeal an existing sports betting law and replace it with a new version. State lawmakers argue that the new law meets the criteria established by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. However, at least one sports league has protested the new law and has vowed to have it overturned. The NFL intends to challenge the law and recently filed a brief for an upcoming injunction to bar Monmouth Park from offering NJ sports betting services.
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak said that the injunction will take place on Tuesday at 3:30 PM EST. The brief outlines the arguments that lawmakers need to expect. The league claims that the new law violates the state constitution, which bars any form of gambling that hasn’t been expressly legalized and regulated by the State Legislature. This wording would be a Catch-22 for the state if the courts agree, because the federal court ruling states that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibits the regulation of sports betting.
Monmouth Park recently indicated that it intends to offer sports betting early next week. The NFL argues that the entity should be barred from doing so until the court issues a ruling on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit and injunction briefs also claim that the new law continues to violate the PASPA. Governor Christie and other state lawmakers disagree, but a federal judge will need to decide. Christie had reservations over the constitutionality of a previous draft of the law, but is confident that the recently signed law complies with the state constitution. The bill was passed by a margin of 73-4, which clearly shows that state lawmakers strongly support the legalization of sports betting.
Regulated online gambling providers in New Jersey are still struggling to draw players to their sites. They have made progress addressing a number of the problems they have faced, such as resolving geolocation identification errors and providing payment processing solutions. However, many players are still reluctant to create accounts because they don’t understand the legality of online gambling. Many experts believe gaming providers need to educate players about the regulated market.
Chris Grove of Online Poker Report recently discussed some of the steps online gaming providers should take. Grove said that they should clearly emphasize that they are regulated to offer online gambling by the Division of Gaming Enforcement. He said that these messages should be prominently displayed above the fold on every page of their websites. He also recommends providing links to state resources on online gambling.
These steps could help gaming providers reach more players. However, educating players about the legality of online gambling may not be sufficient. A February poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University found that only 31% of New Jersey citizens support legalizing online gambling, which is lower than the proportion that support legalizing marijuana.
The poll showed that fewer New Jersey citizens supported online gambling than before it was legalized. More recent follow-up polls may indicate the opposite, but many New Jersey citizens still appear to have reservations about gambling over the Internet. Gaming providers will need to educate them about both the consequences of online gambling and the fact that it is currently regulated. The market may grow much more rapidly if citizens have a better understanding of the nature of the industry.
The Maltese government revoked Everleaf’s gambling license in July due to delays with withdrawals to international customers and other issues. The 16 month investigation uncovered evidence that Everleaf Director Michael Zwi Oros misappropriated funds and withheld essential information from the Lotteries & Gaming Authority (LGA). The LGA recently confirmed that Zwi Oros has been arrested on those charges.
Oros reportedly pled not guilty to misappropriating funds. However, he pled guilty to various other charges, including failing to pay taxes and fees to the Maltese government and failing to notify the gaming regulator after relocating the company’s servers. He was released on €10,000 bail and is prohibited from leaving Malta.
The LGA said that the investigation commenced after international players reported lengthy delays for withdrawing their funds. Many critics chastised the regulator for failing to take action sooner, while the LGA said that it remains committed to protecting players.
Many players argue that the LGA has been reluctant to uphold its responsibilities. One former Everleaf player claims to be owed thousands of dollars in lost funds. This player tried to use the Two Plus Two online poker forum to organize a protest beside an LGA booth at a London gaming event. Numerous other players also filed complaints directly with the Maltese government. The LGA was eventually forced to take action against the insolvent gaming provider.
The indictment of Zwi Oros will provide little relief to players that are still owed money from Everleaf. The LGA has said that it will do everything in its power to ensure players receive restitution. However, players have become highly pessimistic that their money will ever be refunded.
Ladbrokes recently announced that it will discontinue services in Canada on October 1. The company stated that it is leaving the market due to regulatory issues in Canada, but experts from Pokerfuse argue the decision was more likely made in response to new regulations in the United Kingdom.
Tighter regulations in both jurisdictions probably played a role. A number of gaming providers have pulled from the Canadian market over the last few months. Betfred left the market three months ago and cited a number of regulatory issues as the basis for its decision. Last November, EuroPartners left the market to avoid dealing with new regulations.
Canadian regulations have clearly driven many companies out of the market. However, Jocelyn Wood of Pokerfuse said that the new UK gambling law may play a role as well. Online gambling providers in the United Kingdom are required to pay taxes to the HM Revenue and Customs, regardless of the country they are based out of. Many companies are expected to relocate to the United Kingdom to avoid paying taxes in two jurisdictions.
The new UK law also allows the UK Gambling Commission to bar online gambling licenses to companies that operate in grey markets. Since Ladbrokes doesn’t have a provincial license to operate in Canada, it needs to leave the market to qualify for a license in its home country. The market is much larger in the UK than Canada, so leaving Canada seemed to be prudent.
Some experts believe that the market in Canada is going to continue to grow in the years to come. However, that prediction may not come to fruition unless the country liberalizes its online gambling laws. It is facing increased pressure to reform its regulations, but lawmakers appear reluctant to make the requested changes.
On Monday, the Singapore Parliament introduced a new bill to ban online gambling. The legislation would impact both domestic and foreign gaming operators serving Singapore citizens.
The bill was written by The Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry carefully reviewed laws from other jurisdictions with strict online gambling laws, including Norway, France and Hong Kong. They also received feedback from Singapore citizens before drafting the bill. The authors are confident the new law would provide necessary protections for Singapore citizens.
The new bill contains a number of provisions to enforce the ban. The government would have the authority to prosecute banks that collaborate with online gambling providers, whether they are based in Singapore or overseas. Banks will be instructed to block transactions between online gambling providers to avoid the ban. Authorities will also require Internet Service Providers to block access to online gambling sites.
The law would also apply to any media promoting online gambling. Google, Facebook and other websites would be required to implement controls to prohibit any advertisements for online gambling.
The law does allow some local businesses to apply for exemptions. However, they would need to meet strict eligibility requirements. Only nonprofits or charities with good track records would be allowed to apply for these exemptions.
Parliament will debate the bill in its next session. Lawmakers have expressed concerns about online gambling and are expected to approve the bill.
Gerald Singham, a member of the National Council on Problem Gambling, has also shown support for the proposed law. Singham said that about a third of citizens that gamble online spend more money and play longer than anticipated. The National Council on Problem Gambling has had reservations about online gambling for several years and is pleased the bill has been introduced.