News In Brief: August 22-August 26, 2022

August 26, 2022
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Malta's gambling regulator has cancelled a licence, Ontario issues a fine to Unibet for non-compliant advertising and companies line up for Massachusetts launch.

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MGA Demands DGV Entertainment Pays Outstanding Fees

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The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has confirmed it has cancelled DGV Entertainment Group Limited’s licence.

The MGA announced the licence was cancelled with immediate effect on August 4, 2022.

The operator was given 20 days to respond to the Administrative Review Tribunal after it was notified of the cancellation.

However, the authorised person from the company did not make its submissions to the MGA within the time period.

DGV Entertainment breached legal provisions after it failed to pay its gaming licence fee for 2021 and its compliance contribution fees, the regulator said.

It has also failed to submit an audited set of financial statements for 2020 and an interim set of financial statements for the first half of 2021.

The operator must suspend all gambling operations immediately, stop registering new players, settle all outstanding fees to the MGA, which amount to €36,301, within a period of five working days and immediately remove any reference to the MGA from its website.

The MGA said it “reserves the right to take any other measures pertinent to it at law in order to recover the outstanding dues to it from the Authorised Person should the latter fail to rectify accordingly”.

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Ontario Fines Unibet For Alleged Advertising, Inducement Violations

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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has fined Kindred-owned Unibet ON C$48,000 for infractions pertaining to advertising and inducements concerning internet gambling.

In a statement, the AGCO claims between May 19 and May 22, 2022 Unibet ON posted or aired multiple broad gambling inducements that promoted “generous welcome offers” in violation of provincial gaming regulations.

“We expect all registered operators to achieve and maintain the high standards of responsible gambling, player protection and game integrity,” said Tom Mungham, CEO and registrar of AGCO.

Mungham said the AGCO will continue to monitor these gaming sites’ activities, and ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and Standards.

The AGCO’s igaming regulatory framework, according to the regulator, includes clear restrictions on the advertising of inducements, bonuses or credits, except when they are on the operator’s site, or through direct advertising and marketing after receiving active player consent.

Ontario strictly prohibits broad public advertising of bonuses and other gambling inducements, the regulator said.

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Companies Line Up For Massachusetts Sports-Betting License

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The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) said 12 companies have submitted a notice of intent to seek a sports-betting license in the state.

As of Thursday (August 25), Betr Holdings, Sportradar Solutions, 888 US., PlayUp Interactive, NYX Digital Gaming, Bally’s Interactive, PointsBet Massachusetts, Massasoit Greyhound Association, FBG Enterprises OPCO (Bet Fanatics), Crown Gaming (DraftKings), GAN Nevada, and WynnBet had submitted their notices.

The MGC created a two-page Notice of Intent Regarding License for Sports Wagering and requested companies complete and return the notice by Wednesday (August 31).

Among the requests made of potential licensees is to provide a list of all jurisdictions in which they are currently or previously licensed or authorized to operate sports betting, including retail, mobile or other digital platforms.

Regulators also want to know where licenses are not currently valid, as well as all jurisdictions in which the entity has applied for a license or authorization to conduct sports betting, and where an application was rejected or withdrawn.

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Kansas Lottery Sports-Betting Regulations Approved

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After initially being told there were some issues with the Kansas Lottery’s proposed regulations, attorney general Derek Schmidt signed off on the rules allowing sports-betting to begin on Thursday (September 1), a spokesman said.

The full launch will be September 8, according to the state officials.

“As of Tuesday, remaining legal issues regarding temporary regulations for sports wagering submitted by the Kansas Lottery have been resolved and the regulations have been approved by the attorney general's office,” said John Milburn, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

Some of the issues that needed work were clarifying the definition of “virtual event” to ensure that it is not overbroad, encompassing other activities such as esports, and avoid advertising that targets “problem gamblers.”

Milburn told VIXIO GamblingCompliance on Thursday (August 25) that proposed regulations submitted by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission on August 17 remain under review.

“There are significantly more of those regulations than there were Lottery regulations, and we will continue to expedite that process,” Milburn said.

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Albanians Petition For Betting Return

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Sporting representatives are petitioning the Albanian government to reintroduce sports betting in the country, after all forms of gambling were banned in 2019.

A letter to the Prime Minister signed by several local sports federations and the Olympic Committee was delivered this week.

“The regulation of sports betting by law is a practice followed by many Western countries. In these countries, the income from sports betting is used for the development of sports, sports infrastructure as well as to support the youth,” it says.

The group only wants sports betting to be legalised, not casinos or other sectors, but say that both local and international operators should be allowed to take part in the market.

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Puerto Rico’s Lottery Has Disappearing Profits

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It has come to light that revenue from Puerto Rico’s “Additional Lottery” that is earmarked for different social projects does not always reach them.

The Additional Lottery, which is available electronically, is made up of games in which the player chooses their numbers.

“This action joins the non-compliance of the Department of the Treasury with the Enabling Law of the Lottery that requires it to annually deliver reports to the Legislative Assembly on the operation, administration and disbursement of funds, which is undoubtedly unacceptable,” Jesús Manuel Ortiz, president of the Government Committee of the House, said.

Among the discrepancies is the Fund for the Subsidy Program for Leasing and Home Improvements for Low-Income Seniors, which should have received $12.48m, according to the Treasury’s records, but only got a little over $9m.

Likewise, the Department of Housing was due to receive $10m plus 15 percent of Instant Lottery revenue, but in the last year mysteriously ended up with a lower (not publicised) figure.

The University of Puerto Rico is also missing funds for its Special Scholarship. It is allegedly the beneficiary of 3 percent of revenue, but there are now questions as to whether it received the full amount.

The Chamber Committee is asking the agencies what sums they have received in the past decade as part of their continuing investigation.

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Ukraine Regulatory Chief Says Industry Is Running

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In an interview with the Georgian Gambling Association, published on its own website, the head of Ukraine’s gambling regulator KRAIL said the land-based gambling industry was back and functioning in areas currently at low risk of Russian attack.

KRAIL chairman Ivan Rudy, a former anti-terror agent, said the regulator has continued to oversee the market and that online gambling only briefly paused in the country.

Rudy added that the regulator has received more than 770.34m (€2.1m) in licence fees during the past six months, despite the state of war in Ukraine.

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Svenska Spel Promises New Research Funding

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Sweden’s state-owned gambling operator Svenska Spel has said it has committed to spending SEK42m on research on gambling and gambling harm during the next five years. The cash adds to a SEK60m fund it has operated since 2010.

In addition to studies commissioned by the operator’s Research Council, the money will continue to fund the professorship of Anders Håkansson at Lund University.

“The Research Council has been a driving force and a central part in establishing the research field around gambling problems in Sweden. There are still many unanswered questions about how best to prevent and treat gambling addiction. With that in mind, our continued support feels right both from a business and a humanitarian perspective,” said Patrik Hofbauer, president and CEO of Svenska Spel.

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Kansas Confident Regulatory Issues Resolved Ahead Of Sports-Betting Launch

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Despite the state attorney general finding “significant legal issues” with the Kansas Lottery’s sports-betting regulations, a lottery spokesman believes any issues can be worked out quickly, allowing the agency to launch wagering next month as planned.

“The Kansas Lottery has had almost all of its rules and regulations approved by the attorney general’s office since the lottery began over 35 years ago,” spokesman Cory Thone said in a statement Monday (August 22).

Thone said the lottery has an excellent relationship with attorney general Derek Schmidt and there is always an “exchange of ideas and legal theories when it comes to rule and regulation approval.”

As VIXIO GamblingCompliance reported Monday (August 22), Schmidt requested that Kansas Lottery officials identified specific problems in the regulations, including such things as marketing agreements and advertising rules.

“This is an ordinary course of business with the lottery and the attorney general’s office, and the lottery is confident that any issues the attorney general has potentially identified will be worked out very quickly,” Thone said.

“Given our past experiences in working with the Attorney General’s Office, at this point we still believe we will make the September 1 soft launch date.”

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Bet365 Gains Virginia License

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Bet365 last week received a temporary permit to join Virginia’s competitive online sports-betting market, according to the website of the Virginia Lottery.

The company’s Hillside (Virginia) subsidiary becomes the 15th licensee for online sports wagering in Virginia. Under state law, a maximum of 19 permits can be awarded, with preference for companies developing land-based casinos or major sports franchises with operations in the Commonwealth.

The Virginia license is another indication of bet365 gearing up to expand in more U.S. markets, having until now been operational only in New Jersey.

Last month, bet365 submitted a license application to serve as the designated partner of Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians to offer online sports betting in the coveted Ohio market.

The operator also has market-access partnerships in Colorado and Iowa, according to VIXIO GamblingCompliance’s U.S. Sports Betting Partnership Tracker.

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Kansas Lottery Told To Fix Some Sports-Betting Regulations

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Kansas attorney general Derek Schmidt has requested that Kansas Lottery officials review some of the proposed regulations needed before legalized in-person and mobile sports betting can begin in the state.

Schmidt approved three proposed regulations but returned others to the Kansas Lottery after “identifying specific shortcomings that must be remedied.”

The returned regulations involve such things as legal definitions, marketing agreements and advertising rules.

In his four-page memo, Schmidt noted that the provision for advertising requirements “does not include problem gamblers from the list of persons, who are not to be targeted.”

“The term problem gamblers needs to be added to the provision,” he wrote.

“By law, the attorney general’s office is required to review proposed regulations written by state agencies to ensure they conform with the law as enacted by the legislature,” John Milburn, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said in a news release on Friday (August 21).

Kansas officials announced Thursday (August 18) a soft launch period on September 1. A full launch of sports betting will follow on September 8.

“Separate proposed regulations submitted by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission on Wednesday remain under review, and we will continue to expedite that process,” Milburn said.

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Uruguay Online Casino Bill Advances

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Uruguay’s Senate has approved the bill regulating online gaming. The bill will now go before the Finance Committee in the House of Representatives for review.

The bill made its way out of the Senate’s own Finance Commission on August 16, just a few days before the Senate itself approved it.

The bill would give the General Directorate of Casinos of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the authority to oversee “casino games such as poker, roulette, slots, among others, created or to be created, under the online modality, through the internet, technological platforms, computer applications or similar.”

The National Directorate of Casinos, the bill proposes, would be obligated to use 5 percent of its gross profits to establish a fund to treat gambling addiction.

The bill is expected to face obstacles in the house, where some deputies believe that any legislation should address online gambling as a whole, not just casino games.

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Malta's gambling regulator has cancelled a licence, Ontario issues a fine to Unibet for non-compliant advertising and companies line up for Massachusetts launch.

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