Latest Gambling News: Isle Of Man Suspends Two Licensees Over 'Criminal Investigation'

Kat Pilkington


May 1, 2024

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

Isle Of Man Suspends Two Licensees Over 'Criminal Investigation'

The Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission has suspended the operating licences of two companies, citing an “ongoing criminal investigation”.

Suspended pending regulatory review were King Gaming and a related company, Dalmine, the commission said.

Stories in gambling media have suggested that King is Asia-focused. Websites run by the brand include simplified Chinese language content.

In a statement, police on the Isle of Man confirmed that arrests had taken place.

"[On] Wednesday the 24th April The Isle of Man Constabulary executed a series of warrants on business premises on Victoria Road and Bucks Road in Douglas. In relation to those warrants seven people were arrested and subsequently released on police bail.  A number of people found on the premises at Victoria Road were subject of further immigration interviews involving the IOM Immigration Services and those enquiries are ongoing," the island's police force said.

"This activity is part of a wider fraud and money laundering investigation being led by the IOM Constabulary’s Proactive International Money Laundering and Investigation Team in relation to King Gaming Ltd IOM. Enquiries are being conducted in close liaison with partners within the Islands AML/CFT regulatory and intelligence network to fully investigate these matters."

Last year, Isle of Man Today reported that the King was having built what was billed as the “largest single private investment in the Isle of Man”, with about 300 jobs and 100 of the company’s staffers to be housed at the site.

Ukraine Passes Bill That Would Disband Regulator

Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has passed on first reading a bill that would disband the country’s gambling regulator, the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL).

The vote, taken on Wednesday (April 24), would transfer the regulator’s powers to the Ministry of Digital Transformation.

Other aspects of the proposal would further restrict gambling games, ban advertising, seek tools to safeguard vulnerable citizens and propose guidelines for cancelling licences, according to the Kyiv Independent. About 272 legislators supported the measure, the newspaper said.

Earlier this month, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree which would ban soldiers from gambling online for as long as martial law is in effect.

Dutch Lawmaker Calls For Debate On Gambling Refund Lawsuits

A Dutch member of parliament has called for a plenary debate on player refund lawsuits, a growing issue in the Netherlands.

Nicolien van Vroonhoven of the New Social Contract party requested the debate, which has not been scheduled yet.

Earlier this month, a Dutch court ordered Flutter Entertainment and Entain to reimburse a gambler’s losses from the period before online gambling was legal in the country.

Northern Cyprus Raises Casino Station Rates, Halves Gaming Tax

The Northern Cypriot parliament on Monday (April 22) raised table and slot machine rates by 17 percent while cutting the overall gaming tax from 10 percent to 5 percent.

The passage of the law aims to enhance accountability of casino revenue reporting, but this methodology “is in no way compatible with reality,” the Cyprus Mail quoted opposition lawmaker and finance committee member Erkut Sahali as saying on Thursday.

Halving tax payable on overall gaming services after deduction of winnings “is where the real change was made”, Sahali said.

The government believes it must “accept whatever the casinos [report on revenue] as truth. However, the government also knows, and casinos are openly saying, that they earn much more in profits and gross income than they declare.

“For this reason, the government thinks that by halving the rate of its gaming services tax, casinos will have to report twice the gross income to pay the same amount of tax, thus increasing the amount of money recorded,” he said.

But Sahali added that the effect of the change will be to undercut consolidated revenue.

“Currently, 14 of the 31 active casinos pay more taxes than the minimum tax rate they can pay. Some even pay four times more tax than the minimum. Therefore, since the tax rate has been cut in half, the amount of tax paid by 14 taxes will also be cut in half,” he said.

Victoria To Ramp Penalties For Crown, Close Associates

The Victoria state government said on Friday (April 26) that it will introduce further legislation to punish Crown Resorts if it fails to implement a transformation plan for the Crown Melbourne casino.

The legislation will increase penalties if Crown does not “comply with the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission’s (VGCCC) statutory direction to implement the Melbourne Transformation Plan” outlined in the VGCCC’s decision to restore Crown’s casino licence.

Tougher penalties wielded by the VGCCC will apply not only to the casino, but also to the casino’s close associates, “reflecting their material influence over compliance behaviour”, the government said in a statement.

Citing the final report by the casino’s temporary special manager into Crown’s two-year probation period and regaining of suitability, gaming minister Melissa Horne said that Crown’s “transformation efforts must continue”, and the new legislation will ensure this.

“This isn’t set and forget,” she said. “We’re further enhancing the VGCCC’s powers to ensure what happened in the past at Crown Melbourne can never happen again.”

The announcement coincided with the VGCCC’s release on Friday of the special manager’s final report, released in its entirety bar a small number of redactions.

Brazil Votes On Gaming Expansion, Winnings Taxes Delayed

A Brazil Senate committee held its first official hearing on Wednesday (April 24) on a closely-watched bill to regulate land-based casino-resorts, bingo halls and video-bingo machines that were passed by the lower house of Brazil’s Congress in February 2022.

However, members of the Senate Committee on Constitutional, Judicial and Citizenry (CCJ) affairs declined to vote on the bill, as they instead approved two motions filed by anti-gambling senators to hold a more detailed public hearing on the measure.

Bill 2234/2022 is now tentatively scheduled to be discussed by the CCJ committee on May 15, according to the committee’s president, Senator Davi Alcolumbre.

Also on Wednesday, Brazil’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies postponed a planned vote on whether to override President Lula da Silva’s veto of specific language in December’s separate legislation to authorize online sports betting and online gaming.

As approved by Congress, the original version of the law would have applied the player winnings tax of 15 percent to players’ annual net winnings above a threshold of around US$450.

The veto means it is currently uncertain how exactly the 15 percent tax will be applied.

The lower house and Senate are now expected to consider the issue, along with several dozen unrelated vetoes, at some point in May.

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