News In Brief: August 29-September 2, 2022

September 2, 2022
The head of the Betting and Gaming Council has called for a restrained and measured delivery of the UK government's long-awaited gambling reforms by the country's new leader.


UK Trade Group Boss Sets Out Stall For New PM


With the UK set to appoint a new Prime Minister next week, Michael Dugher, the head of trade group the Betting and Gaming Council, has appealed for the new leader to “get gambling reform right”.

In comments that appear to downplay demands for a quick release of the long-awaited Gambling Act white paper, Dugher said: “We want to see big changes and we want to see the new government get on with it. But we also want to see them get it right. There’s too much at stake and too many other things to do.”

In an opinion piece on Politics Home, the trade group boss called for the new PM to ignore the lobbying of “anti-gambling prohibitionists", but said the industry supports measures like enhanced affordability and a gambling ombudsman.


Philippine Lotto Regulator Warming To Online


The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) said on Tuesday (August 30) that it is seeking to launch online operations for lotto products, triggering opposition from some politicians.

The statement from PCSO chairman Junie Cua during a congressional hearing in Manila matches sympathy at gambling regulator PAGCOR for online expansion in the wake of pandemic damage to tax revenue.

“We are embarking on digital operations,” Cua said. “We are installing additional terminals. We would like to go online, so that it would become more convenient to bet. We hope that going digital can increase our revenues.”

Cua’s statement prompted criticism from representatives for Manila and Cagayan de Oro city in northern Mindanao, who said online availability could damage young people, among others.

The PCSO stance comes as incoming PAGCOR chairman Alejandro Tengco faces new calls from finance officials for PAGCOR to offload its casino operations and concentrate only on regulation.


Brazil Evangelicals Want Central Bank To Block Online Gambling Payments


Technical details have emerged on Bill 1823/22, which seeks to ban the use of illegal sites including online gambling and child pornography through the payment intermediary.

The proposed bill was first launched in July by Pastor Gil, a member of President Bolsonaro’s evangelical support bloc. At the time, Gil said that payment services would not be allowed to accept payment for such sites without any further details.

Now it has been revealed that it will be the responsibility of Brazil’s central bank to make the rules that would ensure the cancellation of forbidden transactions. The National Monetary Council would work with the central bank to build a framework that would immediately cancel an attempt to transfer money from a buyer to a supplier of illicit products, including online gambling operators.

The bill is currently under consideration in the Chamber of Deputies, although lawyers remain dubious that such restrictions are technically enforceable.


The Case Of Paraguay's Missing Law


The law regulating occasional gains tax, which covers rates on gambling winnings, has disappeared from Paraguay’s official gazette without explanation.

Decree 1860/19, which dates from May 31, 2019, was declared missing last week on local television program 30+. It was confirmed by Paola Soledad Vargas, the director of decrees and laws of the Presidency of the Republic, that the decree no longer appears in official records.

It has been suggested that a possible error was noticed and the decree was removed in the hopes of remedying the error undetected. However, protocol stipulates that in such a case a new decree needs to be issued which nullifies the erroneous decree, a procedure that clearly did not take place.

Ex-regulator Javier Balbuena told Yogonet that not just anyone could have deleted the decree by mistake, as it would take usernames and passwords to do such a thing. The deletion casts doubt on whether the decree itself is technically still in effect.


Casino In Venezuela Gets A Rocky Start


The first casino in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, has opened since President Nicolas Maduro lifted his ten-year ban on casinos in the county in 2020.

Barquisimeto, which is the fourth most populous city in the country with 1.6m people, has been planning the casino since at least late last year, when officials stated that they hoped that the venue would make the city more attractive to tourists.

The casino is located in the Hotel Jirahara and the launch on August 27 was met with problems when the electricity shut off for 15 minutes and games stopped working. Reliable electricity has been an ongoing issue in the city due to the country’s ongoing energy crisis.

In September 2021, the Ciudad Jardín casino in Maracay began accepting cryptocurrencies as payment, in addition to dollars and euros.

The Venezualan currency, the bolivar, has seen record shattering and catastrophic hyperinflation since 2016.


Lithuanian Court Upholds Regulator's Decision To Fine Operator


Lithuania’s Gambling Supervisory Authority (LPT) has announced that the Vilnius District Administrative Court upheld the regulator’s decision to fine Unigames UAB for encouraging local players to visit its website and play.

The authority imposed a fine of €12,662 on the company for what it described as a violation of Article 10 of the country’s gambling law, the LPT said in a statement.

“In its decision, the court stated that Article 10, section 19 of the [Lithuanian] law on gambling does not raise any doubts in terms of its clarity. This legal norm introduces an imperative rule of conduct, inter alia … forbidding any in form and by any means encouragement of participation in gambling,” the regulator said.

The legislation’s provisions forbid promoting participation in gambling by offering gifts to players, and operating “games or competitions, pilot games, lotteries and other events that promote participation in games, including remote gaming, outside of gaming locations or the gaming operator's website”, according to the law.

The ruling was related to the company’s activities between October 2021 and February 2022, the regulator said.

“The court's decision is not final and can be appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania,” according to the statement.


Ukraine Starts Inspecting Gambling Venues Despite War


Ukraine's gambling regulator (KRAIL) has begun investigating land-based venues to ensure they are complying with their licence conditions despite the ongoing war.

The first inspections took place in a slot machine hall on August 19-20, following requests made by locals.

During the inspection, regulators found “some violations” which were then removed by the operator, according to KRAIL’s press release.

Under Ukrainian laws, repeated licence violations during a calendar year can lead to a permit being revoked.

News of the inspections came soon after the head of KRAIL told the Georgian Gambling Association in an interview, published on its own website, that land-based gambling was back and functioning in areas currently at low risk of Russian attack.


IGT, DoubleDown Interactive Settle Social Games Lawsuit


International Game Technology (IGT) and its former subsidiary, DoubleDown Interactive Co., have reached an agreement to settle a class action lawsuit that argued social casino games in which players can choose to purchase tokens to be used for play were illegal gambling in Washington state.

The case was filed in 2017, the same year that IGT sold DoubleDown to an affiliate of DoubleU Games Co. for $825m.

Under the terms of the settlement, a total of $415m will be paid into a settlement fund of which IGT’s subsidiaries will contribute $269.75m and DoubleDown will contribute $145.25m.

“All members of the nation-wide settlement class who do not exclude themselves will release all claims relating to the subject matter of the lawsuit,” the companies said Monday (August 29) in statements.

The agreement entered into by IGT and DoubleDown remains contingent on final court approval by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

As a result of Monday’s agreement, IGT will accrue a $119.75m non-operating expense in the third quarter, in addition to the $150m accrued in the second quarter. DoubleDown will post $70.25m of expense in the third quarter related to the settlement in addition to $75m in expenses it already booked related to the lawsuit.


Colombia's Tax Agency Will Begin Investigating Gambling Taxes


The National Directorate of Taxes and Customs (DIAN) announced that it will be carrying out inspections on appointed days in various cities to verify compliance. It indicated in its statement that the inspections are aimed at “taxpayers who carry out gambling and betting activities, especially casinos".

The DIAN stated that it will be targeting billing, filing of declarations and information reporting during its “compliance verifications”.

It will be in touch with taxpayers that it concludes owe money at the end of the process. The DIAN stated that there is “a universe of taxpayers at the national level, which according to the data analysis presents non-compliance in their obligations”.

Colombia’s gambling industry recently escaped the huge tax reform overhaul proposed by new president Gustavo Petro. The tax rate will stay at 20 percent for occasional winnings for players.


Iowa Operators Fined Over Credit Card Deposits


Caesars last week became the second operator fined by Iowa regulators in less than two months for accepting credit card deposits for online sports betting in violation of state law.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) approved a $60,000 settlement with the company’s American Wagering subsidiary during a meeting on Thursday (August 25).

The penalty reportedly came after Caesars discovered a series of credit card transactions in July 2021 and then conducted an audit that revealed 485 credit or prepaid debit transactions funded using a credit card, amounting to some $212,000.

Last month, the IRGC approved a $75,000 penalty against FanDuel after the Flutter-owned operator accepted more than 2,500 transactions worth $459,000 via credit card, due to a coding error on the part of a payment processor.

Iowa is one of a small handful of states, including Tennessee and Massachusetts, where state law expressly forbids credit card deposits for sports betting.


Kansas Lottery Approves Sports-Betting Platforms


The Kansas Lottery has announced the sports-betting platforms that will go live when wagering begins on Thursday.

According to state law, each casino in Kansas can offer retail and mobile sports betting through a maximum of three online skins.

According to an announcement by the lottery, Barstool Sports will operate both in-person and mobile sports betting for Hollywood Casino in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Star Casino has partnered with FanDuel, while Boot Hill Casino will offer mobile wagering through DraftKings, with plans for a retail sportsbook to be announced at a later date.

Kansas Crossing Casino will offer mobile sports wagering through BetMGM, Caesars and PointsBet, with retail betting to begin at a later date.

Kansas will begin with a soft launch of sports betting on Thursday, followed by a full launch on September 8 in time for the new NFL season.


The head of the Betting and Gaming Council has called for a restrained and measured delivery of the UK government's long-awaited gambling reforms by the country's new leader.

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