Archive for the 'Casino' Category
The Argentinean government legalized online gambling about a decade ago. The first online gambling license was issued in 2002, but many trade groups have raised issues with the regulatory framework. The Board of the Association of Lotteries, Pools and Casinos (ALEA) is drafting a new federal online gambling bill that it intends to release in the near future.
The current regulations are enforced by the 23 provinces of Argentina. This has led to a very fragmented and chaotic industry. The ALEA said that the online gaming industry is rife with corruption that provincial governments aren’t equipped to handle.
The organization believes that federal regulation will eliminate many of the problems the industry is facing. However, the ALEA’s online gambling bill may also face some legal challenges that it will need to overcome. Each province is allowed to create its own constitution and regulate trade within its borders. The ALEA is confident that its bill doesn’t violate provinces’ rights, but it may face some challenges in the Supreme Court of Justice.
Argentina lawmakers seem to support the new proposals, because it would help them overcome some of their fiscal problems. The country had a debt to GDP ratio of 166% in 2002. Argentina also has an annual rate of inflation that may exceed 100% and an unemployment rate of 22%. Federal regulation of online gambling may not help the country emerge from its hyperinflationary depression, but it may be part of a larger strategy for economic reform.
Argentinean online gaming providers have struggled to compete with most established brands from other countries. The ALEA is confident that a more consolidated industry will allow them to compete in the global market.
Netherlands lawmakers are discussing a new bill that would legalize online gambling. Most Members of Parliament support the initiative, but disagreement over taxes has stalled discussions.
The bill states that online gaming providers would need to pay a 20% tax rate on all online gambling revenues. However, the Social Democrat Party of the Netherlands feels that rate is far too low. Party leaders have said that support is contingent on a 29% consumption tax on all online gambling revenues. They said that the lower tax rate would give online gaming providers a disparate advantage over land-based casinos.
Other lawmakers feel the proposed 20% tax rate is ideal. They are concerned that higher taxes would be devastating for smaller online gaming operators that can’t afford those taxes. They said that the higher taxes would cause more problems than it solve. A source that is familiar with the new proposals warned that a 29% tax would drive many consumers to unregulated black market gaming sites.
Some lawmakers even feel that the proposed 20% tax rate is too high. They have suggested lowering it to 10% to ensure enough gaming providers participate in the new market. Paddy Power and a number of other online gaming providers have warned that they won’t be able to offer their services in the Netherlands if the tax isn’t reduced further.
Many industry experts hoped that Parliament would pass the bill by the end of the week. Lawmakers are unlikely to meet that time frame, unless gridlock over the new tax rate is resolved. Online gaming providers are discouraged with the holdup, but would rather wait for the government to agree on a fair tax rate.
Portugal recently announced that it released its plans to liberalize online gaming. The new plan is encouraging to players that have been waiting for the government to regulate the online gaming industry. However, the new regulations also include some strict guidelines that players will need to be aware of. The government will establish a national blacklist of compulsive gamblers.
Many countries have created blacklists of online gaming providers. However, Portugal is possibly the only jurisdiction to create a state organized blacklist for players. Online gambling providers would need to keep track of compulsive gamblers and share their names with their competitors. The new blacklist would include the names, ages and social security numbers of all banned players. People on the blacklist would be ineligible to create new accounts or make deposits to online gaming sites.
The Portuguese government acknowledged that the new measure is very strict, but said that it was necessary to protect players. Lawmakers argue that compulsive gambling is a serious problem in Portugal and want to take all necessary measures to fight it.
The media has heavily criticized the government for failing to deal with problem gambling over the last few years. Lawmakers have apparently created a mo blacklist in response to those arguments. However, it is unclear whether the solution will be as effective as the government intends. Critics have stated that casinos have chosen to ignore similar blacklists for players using brick-and-mortar casinos.
Online gaming operators that offer services to citizens on the blacklist face severe consequences, including possible imprisonment and hefty fines. The government hasn’t stated whether players would face any consequences for legalizing online gambling.
The United Kingdom’s online gambling market has grown significantly over the past few years. A recent report from CalvinAyre.com shows that the industry is experiencing double digit growth rates and is expected to be worth £2.5 billion in the near future. Most consumers have a favorable view of the online gambling industry, but appear to be worried that it is being promoted too heavily.
A recent poll from IgnitionOne and ComRes found that two thirds of citizens are worried about the growing number of online gambling ads. Over 2,000 people were polled in the recent study. Nearly a third of them were regular gamblers. The majority of the respondents reported seeing more ads in both digital and traditional media.
IgnitionOne and ComRes also spoke with nearly a dozen marketing executives from the online gambling industry. These experts acknowledged that they were investing more heavily in marketing. They said that demand for online gambling was steadily growing and emphasized the importance of reaching the right customers.
The report highlighted the most effective mediums for online gambling providers to reach their target market. This research sheds some light on the reasons some types of media are generating more online gambling advertisements than others. The report stated that television is still an effective way to reach customers. However, the cost of advertising through television is very high, which is why marketers want to focus on organic online marketing strategies.
While some consumers express concerns over online gambling practices, the report also highlighted some positive things about the industry future. The research showed that about half of people would probably wager on a website that spending money on fighting gambling addictions. A similar percentage expressed that they would be more likely to spend money on a site that donated money to charity.
This information shows that the industry has an incentive to be socially conscience. The free market itself may encourage the industry to help fight problem gambling and serve the greater good, which could reduce the need for regulatory interventions down the road.
Betfred is one of the largest bookmaking companies in the world. The UK-based company has over 1,300 betting centers in a variety of countries. However, Betfred recently stated that it will need to scale back on the services that it offers in some countries. The company also intends to abandon some markets altogether. A spokesperson cited regulatory issues as the basis for the decision.
Betfred announced its decision in a PokerStrategy forum thread on June 9 and said that it is already discontinuing services in those jurisdictions. The company said that will no longer be offering its services in over a dozen countries that it has previously operated in.
The countries that it has pulled from include Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Czech Republic, Romania, Denmark and Portugal. Lazza61, the moderator that posted the update on Betfred’s behalf, said that the list may not be complete. He said that it will be updated in the future if more blocked countries are reported.
Betfred’s decision to leave the UK market was surprising, because the company generates a considerable amount of revenue there. The decision was probably made due to some significant regulatory changes that were made over the past year.
Many forum members at PokerStrategy were taken back by the news. Some of the posters were expecting Betfred to withdraw from some markets, but didn’t expect the blacklist to be so long. Some were initially concerned that all gaming operators on the iPoker network would withdraw from those sites as well, but the moderators assured them that Betfred was the only company that chose to leave those markets. PartyStrategy is expected to inform its members if other companies pull from those markets.
GoalGaming Limited may soon be barred from operating in the Maltese online gambling market. A new notice from the Maltese Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) said that the regulator plan to suspend all licenses issued to GoalGaming. The LGA’s notice didn’t state whether the suspensions would be temporary or indefinite, but the news is discouraging for the online gaming operator either way.
The basis for the suspensions is rumored to be due to liquidity problems. A player and affiliate discussed the problem on Two Plus Two over four months ago. The poster said that GoalGaming had made considerable progress overcoming the issues that it faced. He also said that GoalGaming wasn’t at fault. The problems were reportedly caused by third-party companies failing to pay their bills.
Most players have been more pessimistic. They said that they have been having difficulties with withdrawals since the beginning of 2013. Many of them are anxiously trying to get their money back from the three gaming sites that GoalGaming operates.
Players are urged to contact the LGA immediately to make withdrawals. The regulator said that it will do everything possible to repay players in a timely manner. In order to process the payments, the LGA said that it will need the following information:
- Player’s full name
- Place of residence
- Date of birth
- Document showing proof of identity
- Telephone number
- Username for the site in question
- A screenshot to prove the current account balance
GoalGaming isn’t the only company that is facing IP problems. Win Cake, one of the skins on the Revolution Network, has also encountered some liquidity problems. The company recently announced that it plans to change its name after forming a new partnership. However, Win Cake may still lose its license if the liquidity problems aren’t resolved in the very near future.
The European Union Court set an expected precedent for online gambling. The German state of Schleswig-Holstein has much more liberal online gaming laws than other jurisdictions in the country. Digibet, an online gambling provider based in Gibraltar, argued that the other states would need to loosen their gaming laws.
The German Federal Court disagreed with Digibet’s position, but felt some clarification was necessary. They referred the case to the European Union for a verdict. EU justices upheld the German court’s ruling, stating that fifteen German states wouldn’t be required to change their rules because of a single dissident. This means that other online German states will be allowed to maintain restrictive online gambling laws.
Digibet will be allowed to continue offering games of chance in Schleswig-Holstein, but it will need to stop providing them in the other jurisdictions it operates. The gaming provider will be allowed to continue offering online poker and other games of skill, but is unlikely to do so. Digibet left other German markets last year because of the high taxes they impose on online gambling providers.
The ruling was a setback for Digibet, but a ruling in its favor may not have helped much either. Schleswig-Holstein has recently announced that it will conform to the online gambling laws imposed in the fifteen other states. This would effectively make the EU court’s decision that all states need to implement the same laws irrelevant.
Many online gambling operators support Schleswig-Holstein’s laws and feel the rest of the country should emulate them. PokerStars recently received a gaming license in the state. It said that it supports the regulatory system, because it would arguably create more safeguards for players. However, many other German states maintain that their stricter online gambling laws have been effective.
MGM Resorts is one of the largest casino companies in the country. The company strongly favors the legalization of online gambling, but has been reluctant to participate in any of the new markets in the United States. The company isn’t expected to offer real money gambling until it witnesses meaningful changes in the United States.
MGM Resorts currently has a site that offers free to play online gambling. The company has stated that it doesn’t want to invest in a real money site until it is sure that it will provide reasonable return on its investment.
MGM’s hesitance is understandable. The online gambling markets in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have grown much more slowly than anticipated. New Jersey analysts believe that online gambling revenues will be less than 10% the amount Governor Chris Christie initially predicted. Gaming providers are facing a number of challenges that are holding the market back.
However, the state of the gaming market itself isn’t the company’s online concern. They said that the regulator environment is very confusing and they don’t know how it will change in the future. Changes in the federal landscape of online gambling could drastically affect it in the months to come.
MGM has recently appointed Thomas N. Auriemma to its Compliance Committee. Auriemma worked as a state gaming regulator for nearly three decades. He was the Deputy Director of the DGE for over 10 years. He also worked for the Casino Control Commission and served as an Assistant Attorney General.
He will help review developments in the state and national regulations and provide insight to senior management. John McManus, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for MGM, said that the company has considerable respect for Auriemma’s opinion.
Sheldon Adelson has encouraged many Republican lawmakers to support his effort to ban online gambling. One of his lobbyists wrote a bill that was introduced by Rep. Lindsey Graham. The new bill has gained the support of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Most Baptists feel that gambling is an immoral activity that should be prohibited. They have lobbied for state and federal to ban it.
A reporter recently interviewed Graham about the new legislation. Graham told the reporter that Adelson appears to have aligned himself with southern Baptists to help build support for his movement. Graham is a practicing Baptist, which is likely the reason that Adelon asked him to introduce the Restoration of America’s Wire Act bill.
Support for the new bill is particularly high in South Carolina. Over two-thirds of the primary voters that are registered as Republicans are Born Again Christians or Baptists.
Bruce Yandle, a professor of economics at Clemson University, said that the Baptist community has sometimes unwittingly allowed business leaders to encourage them to lobby for prohibition for services that they wouldn’t otherwise support. Yandle told a parable of illegal rum runners in the early 1900s that lobbied Baptist lawmakers to promote prohibition. Gambling advocates that are familiar with this tale see many parallels with Adelson’s recent efforts to ban online gaming.
Adelson has maintained that he is against online gambling for moral reasons. Most of his critics said that his statements are disingenuous. They feel that his script was written to cater to people with religious opposition to online gambling. Adelson has also used other scare tactics to discourage online gambling, such as running advertisements claiming that terrorists could use it to launder money.
The United States Congress is reviewing two bills that would reinstate a provision in the Wire Act that bans online gambling. Many online gambling advocates are discouraged by the proposed bills. Many local governments and lotteries are opposed to the bills as well, because the legislation would force them to stop providing some of their services online. However, companies that allow wagers on horse races were relieved to hear that the bills would not impact them.
U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham introduced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act last month. The bill has received bipartisan support, which has created concerns for the online gaming community.
However, Chaffetz and Graham have made some concessions to protect existing gambling services. They have carved out exemptions to protect horse racing and fantasy betting. The law also clarified that insurance, investments and other services sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Commodity Exchange Act will not be impacted by the proposed law. The bill clearly states that it will not impact existing federal laws or regulations.
While some businesses are glad that these exemptions were introduced, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act could cripple other businesses that depend on online gambling. New Jersey casinos have invested millions of dollars in online gambling. They hope that the new industry will offset losses they have incurred and avoid bankruptcy.
Dean Heller and Harry Reid, Nevada’s two representatives in the U.S. Senate, have both been lobbying in favor of online poker for several years. They are both worried about the implications of the bill, but haven’t outright proposed it. Both senators said that the law should be reviewed first. Graham stated that lawmakers favoring online poker should propose an exemption rather than voting against the bill in its entirety. Reid and Heller may consider her suggestion.