Latest Gambling News: Austria Issues €750,000 In Fines For Illegal Gambling In Q1, and more

Kat Pilkington

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June 10, 2024

Catch up on six of the stories our gambling compliance analysts have covered lately, and stay up-to-date on the latest news.

Austria Issues €750,000 In Fines For Illegal Gambling In Q1

Austria’s financial police have said they issued around €750,000 in fines for illegal gambling in the first quarter of 2024.

The financial police issued a total of €492,000 in fines during the same period in 2023, which is “mainly due to several major cases in the Salzburg area”, according to a press release on June 6.

Finance minister Magnus Brunner said: “The financial police regularly carry out targeted checks to protect the financial interests of the Republic and to take rigorous action against tax and social fraud, undeclared work and illegal gambling. This is the only way to protect honest companies.”

In total, 42 checks on illegal gambling were carried out by the financial police, resulting in 32 criminal charges.

Swiss Federal Gaming Board Ends Proceedings Over Stake's Sauber Sponsorship

Switzerland’s Federal Gaming Board (ESBK) has closed proceedings against Stake over its logo appearing on Swiss-based Sauber Motorsport AG’s F1 team products, including on its car, which appeared on Swiss TV.

The regulator launched a criminal investigation into the sponsorship in 2023 over concerns the online operator is not licensed in Switzerland and may be in breach of advertising rules.

The investigation noted that Sauber operates primarily internationally and that no events with the Stake logo took place in Switzerland, and did not target a Swiss audience according to a press release on June 4.

Stake games not being available in Switzerland were also taken into account as the operator has “taken the necessary measures to ensure that no Swiss players could register on the platform”, according to the ESBK.

The ESBK said: “The decision to discontinue the proceedings does not constitute a precedent. It is the result of a detailed investigation of each individual case. The ESBK will continue to carefully examine every suspected case of advertising for unlicensed casino games.”

Missouri Fines Boyd, Caesars $30,000

The Missouri Gaming Commission has fined Boyd Gaming and Caesars Entertainment a total of $30,000 for various regulatory violations found during compliance audits.

Harrah’s Kansas City, which is operated by Caesars, was fined $15,000 after a review of paperwork from April 17 to April 23, 2023 revealed there were numerous discrepancies between the handwriting that recorded information on paid-out forms and the signatures on those same forms.

MGC auditors also found discrepancies in paperwork dealing with the reconciliation of kiosk forms and other transactions by cage employees.

At Boyd’s Ameristar casino, MGC auditors found eight unauthorized employees had access to the system that creates player accounts and/or prints player cards. Among the unauthorized employees were a restaurant manager, a food server and an executive casino host.

Those employees also had the ability to add or adjust points on player club card accounts. Other violations included failure to provide proper segregation to safeguard assets and reliability of casino systems, and a failure to provide necessary IT access system reports.

The company agreed to a $15,000 fine to settle the violations.

Slot Machine Ban Among Proposals For U.S. Defense Bill

Representative Paul Tonko, a Democrat from New York, wants to ban slot machines on U.S. military bases under an amendment submitted to the House of Representative’s annual defense policy bill.

Amendment 624 to HR 8070, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would prohibit the military from operating slot machines on bases. Tonko’s amendment was one of 1,316 proposed amendments submitted that lawmakers hope will be considered when the bill is taken up next week.

It is unclear if Tonko’s amendment will even be considered by the House Rules Committee. The U.S. Department of Defense operates more than 3,000 slot machines on military bases that generate about $100m annually, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Illinois Governor Signs Sports-Betting Tax Increase

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed the state’s $53.1bn fiscal 2025 budget into law Wednesday (June 5), granting final approval to a graduated sports-betting tax that will see some operators pay up to 40 percent of revenues to the state.

The House of Representatives last month passed House Bill 4951, an omnibus budget bill, which included a new graduated tax rate for sports betting ranging from 20 percent of adjusted gross revenues up to 40 percent on annual revenue of more than $200m.

Pritzker’s original budget proposal released in February contained an increase from the current 15 percent to 35 percent, but lawmakers preferred the progressive tax rate.

The budget also includes a 1 percent increase in taxes on video gaming terminals (VGTs) to 35 percent of net terminal income.

Virginia Fines Fanatics Over Illegal Sports Bets

Fanatics Betting and Gaming has agreed to a settlement with the Virginia Lottery over charges of accepting illegal wagers earlier this year, according to an agreement released Tuesday (June 4).

In April, Fanatics self-reported that it had improperly accepted wagers after the results were known and a single wager on an unauthorized sporting event.

The Virginia Lottery notified Fanatics on May 13 that the incidents violated the state’s Sports Betting Law and the lottery’s regulations. No specific information about the violations was contained in the four-page settlement agreement.

Fanatics agreed to a $7,000 fine. Fanatics operates a retail sportsbook and mobile skin in agreement with licensee Colonial Downs Group.

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