Latest Gambling News: Swedish Financial Regulator Investigates Zimpler, and more

Kat Pilkington

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May 13, 2024

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

Swedish Financial Regulator Investigates Zimpler

Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) has announced it will investigate Swedish payments company Zimpler.

The authority said it would investigate how well Zimpler complied with anti-money laundering rules and its risk assessment policies.

“The gaming industry is considered to run a high risk of being used for money laundering and terrorist financing, which places special demands on those who are exposed to it,” the watchdog said, in explaining why it had decided to open an investigation.

Last year, the Swedish Gambling Authority issued Zimpler with a SEK25m (€2.1m) fine for allegedly permitted payments to unlicensed operators that target Sweden. The payments company is appealing the enforcement action.

Wyoming Considers College Pro Bet Ban

The Wyoming Gaming Commission on Wednesday (May 8) asked staff to prepare proposed rules to prohibit college player prop bets and punishments for athlete harassment to be decided upon at a future meeting.

The decision of a possible ban came at the request of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which submitted a letter to the commission seeking to eliminate college player prop bets from the state’s wagering catalog.

In its letter, the NCAA noted that 30 percent of Division I men’s basketball players reported receiving betting-related harassment.

Austin Meo, the assistant director of government relations at the NCAA, told commissioners that most of the harassment associated with prop bets comes via social media but sometimes on campus and in stadiums.

Currently, 20 states with legal sports betting allow prop bets on college athletes. Meo said the NCAA began its campaign in Ohio, where regulators approved a measure to ban the wagers.

That was followed by Vermont and Louisiana, with bills introduced in New Jersey and North Carolina to prohibit prop bets on college athletes.

“This is a major issue for us,” Meo said. “It is something that we deeply care about, not only the harassment that student athletes face from bets but also the risk of insider information that takes place with prop bet as well as the risk of student athletes betting on themselves, which is another issue we have seen very rarely.”

New York Seeks To Declare Online Poker A Game Of Skill

New York state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr, a Democrat, has filed a bill that would legalize internet poker across the state by declaring it a game of skill.

The decision to introduce Senate Bill 9226 comes after a bill introduced by Addabbo this session, which would have legalized online casino games and online poker failed to garner enough support and was excluded from Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul’s budget in January.

Addabbo’s proposal would authorize up to ten licenses to operate internet poker, with each license costing $10m and in effect for ten years. A brief fiscal note released with S 9226, estimated up to $100m in one-time revenue from licensing fees, along with an additional $2m to $5m in tax revenue annually.

“This license fee shall be applied as an offset against the taxes paid over the first 60 months of operation,” the bill reads. The New York State Gaming Commission also would promulgate regulations, and online poker would be taxed at 15 percent.

PlayAGS Taken Private In $1.1bn Deal

PlayAGS, a maker of slot machines, table games and internet gaming products, has agreed to be acquired by the private equity firm Brightstar Capital Partners for approximately $1.1bn.

The deal for $12.50 per share represents a 41 percent premium on PlayAGS’ volume-weighted average price (VWAP) over the last 90 days and a 40 percent premium to the company’s closing price of $8.96 on Wednesday.

The deal has been unanimously approved by the board of directors, PlayAGS said in a statement Thursday (May 9) announcing the deal.

PlayAGS executives believe Brightstar’s resources and guidance will help the company make targeted investments in research and development in addition to attracting top talent, accelerating their global footprint. Currently, the Las Vegas-based company has operations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The deal with Brightstar comes less than a year after PlayAGS ended a merger discussion with Inspired Entertainment in September. Inspired offered $10 a share in cash, valuing the company at $370m.

Brightstar’s acquisition of PlayAGS is expected to close in the second half of 2025.

Colombia’s Coljuegos Announces Investigation Into Routine Complaints

Colombian regulator Coljuegos has publicly declared the opening of an investigation into platforms that it has received complaints about.

In a press release, its president, Marco Emilio Hincapié, announced that complaints from citizens were being taken very seriously with regard to “inconsistencies.”

Among citizen complaints to Coljuegos were reports that online portals were not recharging their balances even after money was paid, a delay in responding to complaints, non-payment of prizes and difficulties withdrawing money.

“We invite you to continue accessing the entity's official communication channels and continue making complaints,” said Hincapié.

“From Coljuegos, we will carry out the respective monitoring to protect the interests of bettors and monitor the correct functioning of the operators.”

UN Calls For NagaWorld Union Leader’s Release

The UN Human Rights Office has denounced the Cambodian Supreme Court’s upholding of a jail sentence for Chhim Sithar, a NagaWorld integrated resort union leader who organised protests in 2021 over the firing of 1,300 employees.

Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, called for the immediate release of Sithar, who is serving a two-year jail term.

The president of the Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld was sentenced in May 2023 after months of protests in the capital Phnom Penh against resort operator and Hong Kong listco NagaCorp.

Laurence said Sithar’s sentence and those of several fellow protesters should be quashed.

“They were convicted for simply exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, protected by both the Cambodian Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Cambodia in 1992,” he said in a statement.

Sithar received a US State Department award for the defence of human rights in February, with the US ambassador to Cambodia at the time calling her “courageous and tenacious”.

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