Archive for the 'Casino' Category

Malta Authorities Arrest Everleaf Online Gaming Director

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 Leaves Canada Online Gambling Market Over UK Regulations

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.

Singapore Lawmakers Introduce New Bill to Outlaw Online Gambling

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.

Swiss Lawmakers Aim to Regulate Online Gambling and Remove Offshore Providers

The Swiss government is considering regulating online gambling. Lawmakers said online gambling isn’t meaningfully different from traditional casino games, so feels there isn’t any reason to prohibit it. They discussed regulatory options at the recent Conference of the Cantonal Directors in Charge of Gambling and Lotteries (CDCM).

The government began discussing liberalizing the online gambling industry in May. The bill contained a consultation date of August 20. The CDCM held a preliminary assembly on online gambling in June before having a more detailed discussion this week. Lawmakers will likely need additional time to iron out some of the details of the proposed legislation.

It didn’t contain many details, such as the possibility of allowing foreign gaming providers to participate in the market. Lawmakers and regulators wanted to discuss those specifics at the CDCM before moving forward.

The CDCM attendees discussed the best way to regulate the new industry. They believe online gambling licenses should be restricted to existing casinos. The CDCM stated that allowing providers that specialize in online gambling would lead to a number of social problems. They fear that allowing foreign online gaming providers to participate in the market would jeopardize the Swiss gaming industry. It warned that foreign gaming providers have developed sophisticated platforms and have much more experience with online gambling.

Lawmakers will continue discussing details of the bill before moving to a vote. The bill currently stipulates that online gambling winnings will be tax exempt, but that provision may be revised. The government may want to discourage players from betting on unregulated sites, but may decide to include some tax to avoid running a deficit this year.

Chaffetz Cites Underage Gambling to Draw Support for Online Gaming Ban

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is the author of a federal bill that would ban online gambling. Chaffetz has been struggling to gain support from his constituents and colleagues in the House of Representatives. He recently issued a new statement that the online gambling industry is exploiting minors. He claims that new regulations are necessary to protect minors. He said that traditional casinos can keep minors from gambling, but online gaming sites can’t verify the identities of their players.

“I am afraid that if we don’t move quickly and get some decent regulations in place, which we really don’t have right now, it will be too late to stop it from reaching all the states,” Chaffetz told Newsweek reporters.

Online gambling activists have countered many of Chaffetz’s arguments. They said that New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have strong regulations to prevent underage citizens from gambling online. They said that the geolocation and player identification technology has been very effective.

People on both sides have raised the state’s rights argument. Online gambling activists feel that individual states should be allowed to offer online gambling to their citizens. Opponents of online gambling feel that banning online gambling is necessary to protect state’s rights. They feel it is impossible to keep people from accessing online gambling if it is available in neighboring states.

Chaffetz is adamant that Utah, his home state, is opposed to all forms of online gambling legislation. Utah has banned all forms of online gambling and doesn’t want to make it easier for his citizens to access it. He doesn’t believe technology is very effective and states that banning online gambling is the only sensible solution.

California Card Rooms Issue Letter of Support for Online Poker Bill

California State Senator Lou Correa is rumored to be sponsoring a bill that would legalize online poker. The bill hasn’t been formally introduced, but numerous tribes and card rooms have showed their support for it. However, some stakeholders have raised some concerns that need to be addressed as well. According to a recent report from Bluff.com, twenty-five tribes wrote a letter to Correa on Wednesday to voice their opinion on the new bill.

The letter discussed a number of provisions in the hypothetical bill. The card rooms are encouraged that the State Legislature is willing to discuss legalizing online poker. However, they want to make sure that the proposed law doesn’t violate their rights.

The bill was authored by a coalition of gaming tribes. The card rooms are concerned about a bad actor’s provision the bill contains. The clause states that gaming providers that violated the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act would be barred from receiving licenses.

The bad actor’s provision was apparently written to keep PokerStars and other gray market gaming providers out of the market. However, some card rooms hinted that they may be concerned that it could be extended to them as well. They are asking Correa to make sure that their rights be taken into consideration before putting the bill to a vote.

However, the card rooms did show support for the overall spirit of the bad actor’s clause. Several of them stated that they wanted to offer online gaming services in the United States, but elected to comply with state and federal gaming laws. The majority of the state card rooms feel that entities that violated those laws should be prohibited from entering the market.

Some card rooms disagree with the premise of the bad actor’s provision. The Bicycle Club, Hawaiian Gardens Casino and Commerce Casino have all allied themselves with PokerStars and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. They feel that all gaming providers should be given the opportunity to apply for a gaming license.

PokerStars and its allies feel that the state gaming regulator should make the final decision on all online gaming licenses. They said that the California Gaming Control Commission has an established track record for legalizing the gaming industry and don’t feel the legislature should question its competence.

Argentina Trade Group Drafts Proposal for Online Gaming Regulations

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 Insist on 29% Tax to Legalize Online Gambling

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 to Create Compulsive Gambler Blacklist

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.

 

UK Consumers Concerned Over Increasing Online Gambling Advertisements

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.