News In Brief: August 21-August 25, 2023

August 25, 2023
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Golfer Rory McIlroy expresses concerns over bettors attempting to affect the outcome of golf events.

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Ryder Cup Golfer Warns Of Betting Spectators Affecting Results

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European Ryder Cup team player Rory McIlroy has warned about golf spectators who place bets potentially affecting the outcome of events by heckling players.

McIlroy’s comments came during a press conference on August 24 and followed the removal of two fans from a recent golfing event after they heckled golfers Max Homa and Chris Kirk in order to attempt to alter the outcome of a bet between them.

McIlroy said: "We're all for people having a good time and being able to put something on an outcome, as long as they don't feel like they can influence that outcome."

The golfer's concerns stem from his belief that no sport can be as easily influenced by spectators as golf, listing courtside fans at basketball games as the closest comparison.

"We have talked about this at the board and the player advisory council (PAC) level for a few years," McIlroy said, adding that “as long as it's policed the right way and as long as there are measures put in place for things like what happened to Max Homa not to happen”.

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FIFA Women’s World Cup: No Suspicious Betting, Match Manipulation

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There were no suspicious betting or match-manipulation threats during the FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Integrity Task Force monitored the event for the second time, comprising a task force of members from different organisations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL, United Lotteries for Integrity in Sports, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), Sportradar, Sport Integrity Australia and the New Zealand Police.

At its post-competition meeting on August 22, the task force explained that FIFA collated the collection of information from betting monitoring reports based on market activity data from various jurisdictions, including law enforcement entities and physical surveillance at competition venues.

“The monitoring of both the betting markets and in-game action in real-time during all of the group- and knockout-stage matches through to the final, which was played on 20 August, found no match‑manipulation threats,” FIFA said.

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Banned Online Cockfighting Adapting To Philippine Crackdown

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Philippine police have shut down 1,337 e-sabong (online cockfighting) websites and arrested 1,245 people over e-sabong operations since the segment was banned in mid-2022.

However, online operators are increasingly evading scrutiny by limiting website broadcasts to vetted customers, the Philippine Inquirer reported on Wednesday (August 23).

Police data released this week show that since the ban’s enforcement on July 1 last year, prosecutors have secured 322 convictions, with 437 suspects awaiting prosecution, the report said.

The police Anti-Cybercrime Group is continuing to block e-sabong websites in conjunction with the National Telecommunications Commission, it said.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte in May last year reversed the decision to legalise and regulate e-sabong after the lucrative segment became associated with high levels of social disruption and the disappearance and likely murder of at least 34 people involved in operations.

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Sweden Analysing Gambling Regulator's Market Supervision

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Sweden’s National Audit Office has started a review of the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) to see if its supervision of the market is “effective”.

The National Audit Office explained in a press release on August 18 that the SGA’s supervision is “crucial” to achieving the country’s aim of having a “healthy and safe” gambling market.

However, since the gambling market's re-regulation on January 1, 2019, the National Audit Office says that the conditions for carrying out supervision have changed.

More information about the audit and the timing of its publication of its report will be posted on the National Audit Office’s website at a later stage, it said.

The National Audit Office's reviews are carried out in two phases.

In the preparatory phase, it designs the audit and allocates resources. In the second phase, it gathers information and an analysis is carried out.

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Kentucky Regulators Approve Nine Sports-Betting Operators

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In anticipation of retail and mobile launches next month, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved nine operators for temporary sports-betting licenses Tuesday (August 22).

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission authorized BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and DraftKings to conduct both retail and mobile betting, as well as awarded mobile betting licenses to FanDuel, bet365, Fanatics, Circa, and Penn Entertainment’s Barstool Sportsbook, which is expected to ultimately become ESPN BET.

Seven horseracing tracks were authorized to conduct retail betting, including the historic Churchill Downs track in Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby.

The commission also approved a temporary retail license for Kambi to provide the technology for several of the racetracks to offer land-based wagering, including Churchill Downs.

Retail betting is scheduled to launch on September 7, while online wagering is slated to follow on September 28.

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Somalia Bans 1XBet, TikTok, Telergram

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Somalia has ordered the shutdown of 1xBet in the country as it accused the online gambling firm of negatively affecting the lives of young people, leading to some of them losing their lives.

The announcement by Somalia’s Ministry of Communications and Technology on August 20 also included a ban on TikTok and Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging service.

1xBet’s ban is based on the government's desire to “preserve the good culture” of Somalian society by tackling internet services that “have impacted the lifestyle and have increased bad habits”, the ministry’s announcement stated.

The ministry’s decision to ban TikTok and Telegram is to stop the spread of misinformation, as well as deny al-Shabab militants the chance to post about their activities, the government said.

The order gave internet service providers until August 24 to comply.

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Ontario Appoints New Top Gambling Regulator

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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced Monday (August 21) that Dr. Karin Schnarr will become the agency’s new CEO and registrar.

Schnarr will replace retiring CEO Tom Mungham on September 18 and oversee the agency that regulates gambling in Ontario, including the province’s private sports wagering and online gaming operations.

Schnarr is currently an associate strategic management professor at Wilfrid Laurier University but has held multiple senior-level positions in Ontario’s provincial government, including chief of staff to Cabinet ministers in multiple areas. She served as chair of the Ontario government’s Task Force on Women and the Economy.

From a gaming perspective, she was also a former member of the iGaming Ontario Board of Directors.

Schnarr will oversee the still-growing private operator-based model in Ontario upon taking over and may have several issues to deal with upon arrival, including pending regulations that would prohibit the use of athletes and celebrities in public advertising.

Mungham said in June that a resolution from the AGCO was “weeks, not months” away, but two months later, the regulations have yet to be unveiled.

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Caesars Terminates Massachusetts Sports-Betting Contract

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Caesars Sportsbook has terminated its deal to run a retail sportsbook at Raynham Park, a former greyhound track that offers simulcast wagering, just as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) was in the process of considering the facility’s sports-betting license.

Todd Grossman, interim executive director of the MGC, told commissioners the agency was notified that, as of Thursday (August 17), Caesars had terminated its agreement with the Massasoit Greyhound Association (MGA), which owns Raynham Park.

That decision has left “MGA without an entity to run the sportsbook,” Grossman told the commission on Friday.

Caesars already offers mobile sports betting in the state through an agreement with Encore Boston Harbor, which is owned by Wynn Resorts. Earlier this year, bet365 also withdrew an application to offer mobile wagering through a license tethered to Raynham Park.

Grossman said the MGC could not make a final decision on the license application given Caesars' removal from the deal. But, as a matter of law, he said, it is difficult to envision the applicant’s temporary license being granted by the commission.

The commission is scheduled to meet on Monday (August 21) to continue its evaluation of the MGA’s application.

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Golfer Rory McIlroy expresses concerns over bettors attempting to affect the outcome of golf events.

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