Latest Gambling News: Illinois Arcade Betting Ban Sent To House Floor, and more

Kat PIlkington


May 20, 2024

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

Illinois Arcade Betting Ban Sent To House Floor

The House Gaming Committee approved an amendment to a horseracing bill that would block a move by Dave & Buster’s to offer peer-to-peer wagering through its loyalty app at its arcades in Illinois.

Sponsored by Representative Daniel Didech, a Democrat and chair of the Gaming Committee, Amendment 1 to House Bill 394 would establish the Family Amusement Wagering Prohibition Act (FAWPA).

This legislation was introduced upon the announcement that Dave & Buster’s intended to begin facilitating real-money wagering on arcade and carnival games in its locations across the country, prompting scrutiny from gaming regulators in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, as well as lawmakers in Illinois.

“The state of Illinois closely regulates our robust gaming industry to ensure that businesses are operating in a manner that is fair for players and safe for families,” said Didech. “We do not need gambling to irresponsibly expand into family-friendly environments.”

With FAWPA’s approval by the House Gaming Committee, it now goes to the full House for their consideration. The legislature is scheduled to be in session until May 24.

Finnish Police Accuse British Man Of €800,000 Gambling Fraud

The Central Criminal Police in Finland said they have completed a preliminary investigation of a British man suspected of exploiting a software glitch to exploit international online casino games to gain about €800,000, and have decided to recommend prosecution.

The 35 year-old man, who was not identified in a police press release, also caused more than €1.3m in damage to the online operators, the police said.

He was arrested in January on suspicion of exploiting a software bug for fraudulent purposes in April and May of 2023, police said on Wednesday (May 15).

At police request, the District Court of Central Finland ordered €1.5m of the suspect’s property to be seized as collateral, the police said.

The investigation revealed that the suspect was using crypto-assets as part of his criminal activities, police wrote.

Bulgarian President Declines To Veto Gambling Ad Ban

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has apparently decided not to veto proposed amendments to gambling law that would ban most kinds of gambling advertisements.

The amendments have now been announced in the State Gazette, and are set to take effect Friday May 17, according to Bulgarian media.  

Radev had previously told journalists that he thought parliament had passed the ban on advertising gambling on TV, radio, newspapers and elsewhere too hastily.

The proposed ban had passed parliament despite objections from several media clubs, sports organisations and gambling companies.

The prohibition does not apply to the government-owned Bulgarian Sports Totalizator, which also operates the state lottery.

UK Study Calls For Tougher Gambling Harms Warnings

GambleAware is calling for tougher warnings on gambling ads and promotions, as its study found a widely used slogan, “Take time to think”, inadequate in highlighting risks and harms associated with gambling.

The industry-funded charity said its study suggests that slogans such as “Gambling can be addictive”, “Gambling comes at a cost” and “Gambling can affect anyone” to be “clearer, more impactful, and more memorable” to gamblers and non-gamblers alike.

The study was conducted by YouGov and included support from the Behavioural Insights Team and the University of Bristol.

Hard Rock Sets July Closing For The Mirage

The Mirage Hotel and Casino will close July 17 to begin a multi-year remodel to transform the property originally built by Steve Wynn into Hard Rock Las Vegas.

Hard Rock International plans to construct a 700-foot guitar-shaped hotel tower, replacing the resort’s iconic volcano. The company will pay $80m in severance packages to eligible union and non-union employees remaining with the property through its closure.

The renovated Hard Rock is expected to reopen in May 2027. Hard Rock, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, paid $1.075bn in December 2021 to acquire the operations of the resort, real estate investment trust VICI Properties owns the 77-acre lot on the Las Vegas Strip.

Nevada regulators approved Hard Rock’s gaming license in December 2022.

Golden Nugget, led by Wynn, purchased the land to build the Mirage in 1986. The Castaways casino-resort occupied part of the property and was demolished to make way for the $630m Mirage.

The Mirage is the second Las Vegas casino set to close in 2024 following the closing of the Tropicana on April 2 to make way for a stadium for Major League Baseball’s Oakland As, which is expected to open in 2028.

Australian Federal Minister Chides Sportsbet Over Free App

The Australian politician deciding the fate of online sports-betting advertising has criticised Flutter subsidiary and market leader Sportsbet for funding a National Rugby League (NRL) gaming app without attribution.

Communications minister Michelle Rowland said on Monday (May 13) that it was “deeply concerning” that Sportsbet sponsored the now defunct NRL Pick’Em app without declaring its interest in the venture.

The Pick’Em app, a free download discontinued in 2022, presented a total of A$100,000 ($67,000) in prize money at the end of each round for players who correctly guessed winning game margins.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported that the Sportsbet-backed app spent at least A$10m on television ads without disclosing its involvement, while the ads themselves did not carry responsible gambling caveats.

“These reports are deeply concerning,” Rowland told the AFR. “The government expects online wagering providers to act transparently.”

Sportsbet has denied it breached advertising standards.

Rowland is considering her response to a lower house parliamentary committee’s unanimous recommendation for a complete, albeit phased, ban on sports-betting advertising. The committee issued the report in June 2023.

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