News In Brief: April 24-April 28, 2023

April 28, 2023
An Illinois bill requiring responsible gambling pop-ups continues its smooth progress and Brazil's proposed baseline sports-betting tax rate has increased.


Illinois Sports-Betting Notifications Bill Heads To House Floor


The Illinois House of Representatives Gaming Committee voted 10-1 on Thursday (April 27), to pass a bill requiring online sports-betting operators to provide hourly pop-up notifications to all players regarding the time and money spent during their current wagering session.

Senate Bill 1508 was approved unanimously by the Senate last month, having been amended to require the hourly messaging, instead of a pop-up notification after every tenth bet placed.

Committee chair Daniel Didech told lawmakers that the bill had been developed by senators in conjunction with the Illinois Gaming Board and representatives of the state’s sports-betting industry.

“My understanding is all the stakeholders are comfortable with this language,” Didech said.

The committee approval means SB 1508 can now be brought up for a final vote on the House floor, before lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn on May 19.

The House Gaming Committee also voted on Thursday to unanimously pass Senate Bill 327, making several technical changes to the state’s racing law.

The committee is actively considering several further Senate-approved bills to amend sports wagering supplier licensing fees, and change statutory definitions on gaming devices to tackle unregulated machine operations.

Other pending bills before the panel include measures to loosen restrictions related to betting on Illinois college sports events, and lower the upfront licensing cost for smaller sports arenas that are eligible to host sportsbooks.


Brazil Sports-Betting Tax Is Raised A Percentage Point


The proposed gross gaming revenue tax (GGR) on sports betting in Brazil has risen from 15 to 16 percent, per the Brazilian outlet O Globo.

The extra percentage point of tax revenue would go to the Ministry of Sports.

The new split of gross gambling revenue will therefore be: 1 percent to the Ministry of Sports, 10 percent to social security, 1.63 percent to clubs, 0.82 percent to elementary schools, and 2.55 percent to the National Fund for Public Security.

Those numbers are expected to change in the future however, as the football clubs are demanding 5 percent. If they don't get it, they said earlier this week in a meeting, they will pull the rights to use their names and logos on betting platforms.

While it is not expected that they will have their demands fully met, they could get closer to 3 percent, said Luiz Maia, a Brazilian gaming lawyer at Maia Yoshiyasu in São Paolo.

Brazil’s tax rate has now far surpassed the 15 percent GGR that special advisor to the Ministry of Finance José Francisco Manssur cited as the model, claiming to emulate the United Kingdom.

Other taxes involved include 2 to 5 percent towards the municipality and 9.25 percent towards COFINS, a monthly federal social assistance contribution.


Sweden Penalises Betfair Over Improper Football Bets


The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has issued a warning and a penalty fee to Flutter Entertainment’s Betfair for improperly offering bets on a lower-level football division.

The regulator levied a warning and penalty of 4m Swedish krona (€351,000) to Betfair, because on several occasions it offered bets on the U21 Allsvenskan league to Swedish players.

Betting on football can only be offered on the four highest leagues, the regulator said as it issued the penalty today (April 27).

“The Swedish Gambling Authority considers that the violation is serious and has occurred systematically,” the regulator wrote.

“The fact that the games have taken place at low compensation for Betfair does not affect the Gambling Authority's assessment,” the authority added.


Pennsylvania Gaming Regulator Levies $147,500 In Fines


The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has fined the operator of Mount Airy Casino Resort $120,000 for failure to timely submit internal audit plans, a stipulation that’s part of its conditions for licensure.

In other fines announced Wednesday (April 26), Downs Racing, operator of Mohegan Pennsylvania, was fined $20,000 for two incidents in which supervisory employees worked without the proper PGCB-issued permit.

Sugarhouse HSP Gaming, operator of Rivers Casino Philadelphia, received a $7,500 fine for not properly notifying its security and surveillance staff, along with law enforcement, about an alleged cheating incident at a table game involving marked cards.


Virginia Approves Caesars Entertainment’s Casino License


The Virginia Lottery Board approved Caesars Virginia’s license application for its $650m casino in Danville, becoming the third gaming operator in the state, the agency announced Wednesday (April 26).

As the third operator in Virginia, Caesars will join Hard Rock Bristol and Rivers Casino Portsmouth.

Hard Rock Bristol received its license approval in April 2022 and subsequently opened the doors of its temporary facility to the public in July 2022. Rivers Casino Portsmouth received its license approval in November 2022 and opened to the public in January 2023.

“For months, the lottery’s Gaming Compliance Department and legal team have conducted background investigations and examined every detail of this application,” said Virginia Lottery executive director Kelly T. Gee. “Those investigations include not just Caesar’s Virginia, but all the vendors and employees as well.”

Caesar’s will initially operate at a temporary facility, while it prepares to open its permanent facility.


Brazil Moves To Prevent Match-Fixing


Brazil is moving forward on multiple fronts to investigate and prevent match-fixing, in the wake of a recent scandal involving various football teams in the Serie B division of Brazil’s football league.

The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, said on Monday (April 24) that there will be a formal Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) into the issue. Lira said the CPI should be officially launched this week.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has also moved on the issue, with match-fixing coming up in its general meeting on Tuesday (April 25) despite not being on the official agenda.

The CBF discussed launching a working group to investigate the matter. It was also suggested that other agencies be brought in to address the issue as a team effort. The Brazilian Olympic and Paralympic committees were suggested as partners, because match-fixing, the CBF said, extends beyond football.


Gaming Industry Mostly Positive, AGA Report Finds


Most gaming executives surveyed by the American Gaming Association (AGA) report a positive view of current business conditions, while economic uncertainty is tempering future industry growth expectations.

Overall, nearly every gaming executive surveyed characterizes the current business situation as good (62 percent) or satisfactory (35 percent).

However, the AGA’s Gaming Industry Outlook report, a partnership with Fitch Ratings, found participants report a more cautious outlook moving forward, with only 20 percent expecting future conditions to be better than today and two-thirds (64 percent) expecting future conditions to be the same.

Operators and suppliers both expressed optimism across certain segments of their businesses, with 21 percent expecting to make capital investments, while 14 percent believe gaming units in operations will increase over the next three to six months.

Concerns around interest rates and inflation, cited by 69 percent of respondents, and economic uncertainty at 38 percent, remain top concerns for industry executives.


Notice Of Violations Issued Against Oklahoma Tribe


The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has issued a notice of violation against the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma for multiple violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), federal regulations and the tribe’s gaming ordinance.

According to the NIGC, the tribe violated regulations by failing to submit timely and compliant audited financial statements and agreed upon procedures (AUP) reports for fiscal years 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

The violations occurred at the tribe’s Golden Eagle Casino and Silver Buffalo Casino, which closed in 2013.

Specific to the Golden Eagle Casino, the tribe also failed to maintain books of account or records.

“Submitting timely and accurate annual independent audit reports and AUP’s is critical to NIGC’s mission to protect the integrity of Indian gaming, as we do not take this enforcement action lightly,” NIGC chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer said in a statement Monday (April 24).

The tribe could face civil penalties of up to $57,527 per day for each violation.


German, Maltese and Croatian Authorities Raid Sports-Betting Operator


German, Maltese and Croatian authorities have executed more than 100 search warrants and six arrest warrants against an unnamed sports-betting provider.

The organisers of the sports-betting provider are suspected to be part of a criminal organisation that operates illegal gambling and withholding of wages (undeclared work).

Limited details were provided by the authorities in a press release on April 20.

The main focus of the raids was in Cologne and followed a two-and-a-half-year investigation overseen by the State Criminal Police Office of North Rhine-Westphalia and involved more than 900 personnel.

The investigations, in particular the evaluation of the evidence found, are ongoing.


Hungary Warns Of Illegal Lotteries After Fine


Hungary’s Supervisory Authority for Regulated Activities (SZTFH) has handed out a HUF30m (€79,435) to an individual organising a lottery to win real estate.

“The transfer of the ownership of real estate or movable property in the context of a game in which players who pay money or provide assets can participate, and among whom a prize of monetary value (such as real estate) is drawn, is considered a game of chance, and that private individuals and business associations cannot be legally organized in any way,” the SZTFH warned in a press release on April 20.

The SZTFH said there has been an observable increasing interest in the sale of real estate or other high-valued goods through a lottery in the local press and on social media.

Fines for people offering these lotteries without a licence can range between HUF500,000 and HUF100m on the organiser. Frequent illegal gambling offenders face up to three years in prison.

“In the case of an advertisement promoting unlicensed gambling, the advertiser, the advertising service provider, the publisher of the advertisement and the person featured in the advertisement may be jointly fined at least HUF10m."


NFL Suspends Five Players For Violating Gambling Policy


Three National Football League (NFL) players were suspended indefinitely on Friday (April 21) for betting on NFL games in the 2022 season, while two other players received six-game suspensions for betting on non-NFL games while at a league facility.

Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore of the Detroit Lions, and Shaka Toney of the Washington Commanders, are suspended indefinitely through at least the conclusion of the 2023 season and may petition for reinstatement at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

Stanley Berryhill and Jameson Williams of the Lions are also suspended for the team's first six regular season games of the 2023 season. Those two players are eligible to participate in all off-season and preseason activities, including preseason games.

Their suspensions will start at the final roster cutdown, the league said.

The gambling policy, which is annually reviewed with all NFL personnel, including players, prohibits anyone in the NFL from engaging in any form of gambling in any club or league facility or venue, including the practice facility.

A league review uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way, the NFL said in a statement.

The Lions immediately released Cephus and Moore.

“These players exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules,” said Brad Holmes, executive vice president and general manager of the Lions.


An Illinois bill requiring responsible gambling pop-ups continues its smooth progress and Brazil's proposed baseline sports-betting tax rate has increased.

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