News In Brief: August 8-August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022
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Premier League club Aston Villa has signed a new sponsorship deal with a crypto casino that cannot be accessed from its home UK market.

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Premier League Side Partners With Curaçao Crypto Casino

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Premier League club Aston Villa has entered into a partnership with a crypto casino and sportsbook that cannot be accessed from the UK.

The agreement with Curaçao-based Duelbits will see the operator's branding on pitch-side LED boards during matches, which the team said will garner “major exposure for the brand”.

Players from the UK trying to gain access to the site are greeted with a signpost saying “due to our gambling licence, Duelbits does not accept players from your country”.

The sponsorship deal was made possible through a white-label partnership between Duelbits and Isle of Man-based TGP Europe, which is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.

The club’s announcement on social media was quickly met with backlash from fans who claimed the deal was not in alignment with their club's values.

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Germany Approves Two More Slots Licences

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Two more applications have been approved for virtual slots licences in Germany, making a total of five.

German gambling giant Gauselmann Group, with its Xtip and Merkur-sports and Merkur-spiel brands, has one of the licences, and a Malta-based company called The Mill Adventure Ltd has obtained the other for its slotmagie.de brand.

The Mill Adventure said it has white-label operations and that it has also obtained approval in the Netherlands.

Gauselmann also has a German joint venture which was initially called Mernov, and which is now called Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Gluecksspiel, operating under the bingbong.de brand.

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Catena Media Wants To Cut UK, Malta Jobs

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Catena Media may cut jobs from its UK and Malta businesses as it aims to save at least €5m annually.

The online gambling affiliate said the cuts are necessary as its European business has suffered due to regulatory changes across the continent.

The news comes as Catena Media is expanding its strategic review which began on May 20 to its entire European online sports betting and casino affiliation business.

“The intention is to free up resources to capitalise on growth opportunities in the fast-growing North American business and in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, thus creating maximum value for the company and its shareholders going forward,” Catena Media said.

The firm said that brands it owns in the financial trading industry, as well as AskGamblers' and certain other "global brands" "are outside the measures under consideration here".

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Massachusetts Sports-Betting Law Signed Into Law

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law Wednesday (August 10) a bill that legalizes sports betting, a move that came one day before a deadline to take action on the measure that was sent to his office last week at the end of the legislature’s 2022 session.

The bill permits regulators to issue up to 15 mobile licenses, with the state’s three casinos receiving two mobile skins each, each of the state’s two simulcast racetrack wagering locations receiving a single skin, and then seven licenses to be issued by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to entities not tethered to a land-based location.

The casinos and simulcast locations will also be permitted to offer land-based wagering at their respective sites.

Land-based wagering will be taxed at 15 percent, while mobile wagering will be taxed at 20 percent.

“As soon as this week we will be working to understand the landscape of interest in operator licensure as we move forward with this process,” said Massachusetts Gaming Commission chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein.

“We are committed to ensuring the integrity of sports wagering in the Commonwealth and are looking forward to engaging stakeholders in an inclusive and transparent process,” Judd-Stein said in a statement.

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Washington Commanders Sportsbook Qualifies For Maryland License

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The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission on Wednesday (August 10) found three entities qualified for sports-betting licenses, including one owned by Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder.

FedEx Field, the home of the NFL’s Commanders, is one of 17 designated sites for a land-based sports-betting location in the sports-betting legislation approved in Maryland last year.

Snyder has been under fire in recent months due to a sexual misconduct investigation that included testimony before a Congressional committee last month.

In a report, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency staff said they were “unable to substantiate any of the allegations against Mr. Snyder” in terms of civil litigation against him, and that counsel for Snyder assured staff that his testimony before Congress was consistent with his statements to the MLGCA.

In turn, the commission found Snyder’s company, Maryland Stadium Sub, qualified for a sports-betting facility license.

The commission also found Chesapeake Gaming, which operates an off-track betting venue in Boonsboro qualified for a facility license, as well as finding Betfred qualified for a facility operator license to operate with partner Long Shot’s, an off-track betting location in Frederick.

Maryland Stadium Sub and Chesapeake Gaming must also be approved by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which next meets August 17.

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Caesars Partners With Eastern Band Of Cherokee In Virginia

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Caesars Entertainment will increase its investment in its Caesars Virginia resort in Danville from $500m to $650m, while announcing on Wednesday (August 10) that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is now a partner in the casino project.

“This venture is a vital opportunity for our nation and our people,” said Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. “We are excited to be expanding our longstanding and successful partnership with Caesars Entertainment to develop a first-class resort.”

The Eastern Band currently owns two casinos in North Carolina. Both are branded as Harrah’s and operated by Caesars. The tribe also entered into a lease agreement in September with VICI Properties in connection with its $250m purchase of the operations of Caesars Southern Indiana.

Construction on the casino in Danville is set to begin this week and is expected to be completed in late 2024.

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California List Of Supporters, Opposition To Sports Betting Grows

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The California Federal of Teachers (CFT) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) have voted to oppose Proposition 27, which would allow DraftKings and FanDuel to partner with tribes to offer mobile sports betting.

The two educational organizations joined with the California Teachers Association in opposition to Prop 27. The three organizations represent 447,000 educators and teachers across the state.

“Cell phones and mobile devices have become a way of life even for our youngest children,” said Erin Simon, president of the ACSA, in a statement issued Wednesday (August 10).

“Proposition 27 would turn virtually every cell phone, laptop and tablet into a gambling device giving youth unprecedented access to gambling at their fingertips,” Simon said.

Also on Wednesday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in California announced their opposition to Proposition 26, a retail-only sports-betting wagering initiative sponsored by some of the largest tribes and the state’s four racetracks.

Shavon Moore-Cage, a member of AFSCME Local 38 in Vernon, believes the ballot measure puts $500m in local tax revenues at risk due to a “poison pill” that empowers tribes to sue cardrooms for violating state regulations before state law enforcement officials even consider taking action.

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Brazil Senate Boss Backs Post-Election Movement

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Brazil’s Senate government leader Carlos Portinho has acknowledged the need to address gambling regulation after the election. A member of Brazil’s conservative Liberal Party, which counts Jair Bolsonaro as a member, Portinho brings a perspective from his previous career as a sports lawyer.

“It needs to be regulated, the international companies are there selling bets, winning a lot and paying nothing [taxes]. What worries me is the manipulation of results, not the betting. There is already manipulation in sports, in football, I have followed cases as a lawyer. Doing nothing is worse,” he opined in an interview with local outlet Valor, referencing match-fixing within the local football leagues.

He stands apart from other members of his party, including the President, who have declared gambling and its regulation to be immoral.

“This issue will be discussed after the elections. I was very honest with Arthur Lira [the president of the chamber of deputies] that there is resistance in the Senate.”

Portinho’s comments give further hope for the long-awaited regulation that multiple high ranking officials have now promised will be coming once the presidential elections are finished in November.

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Korean Police Crack Major Online Gaming Ring

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South Korean police have charged 11 suspects and detained six after busting a 120bn won ($92m) foreign-facing online gambling operation that employed 7,300 people.

The four-and-a-half year gaming operation only targeted foreign nationals and ran out of five offices in South Chungcheong Province that moved locations every few months, Yonhap news agency reported today (August 11).

The thousands of employees were responsible for transaction processing and money exchange and included “undocumented immigrants”, the report said, with one of those arrested being a Thai national.

The police action is noteworthy as it confirms ongoing interest within Korean underground circles in the illegal Southeast Asian market.

Korean nationals were routinely arrested in, and deported from, Southeast Asian nations in the 2010s as local police forces attempted to hinder online operations.

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Lithuanian Casino Warned Over Money Laundering Risks

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Lithuania’s Tete-a-Tete casino has been warned to improve its anti-money laundering (AML) standards or face enforcement action.

In a bulletin by the country’s Gambling Supervision Service, the regulator said a routine inspection had found that the land-based and online casino operator was not adequately checking customer information when transactions surpassed €1,000 or its equivalent in another currency.

Tete-a-Tete’s log of suspicious transactions was also lacking information on customer nationality, the regulator said.

The authority said that the violations were “minor”, but warned tougher action would follow if it was found to have made the same mistakes within a year.

The company has previously been punished by the regulator, including as the target of its first ever fine, after it was granted new powers in 2021.

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Novibet Secures New Jersey Access With Caesars Deal

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Logflex MT Holding Ltd., doing business as Novibet, announced Monday (August 8) it has secured a ten-year online sports betting and internet gaming market access deal in New Jersey through a market access agreement with Caesars Entertainment.

The New Jersey deal follows a similar ten-year agreement Malta-based Novibet entered into earlier this year to operate a Novibet-branded online gambling business in Pennsylvania, excluding an online sportsbook and online poker.

Both deals are subject to regulatory approval. Novibet expects to launch in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 2023.

In addition, Novibet announced that is has secured market access in Mexico for iGaming and online sports betting through a partnership with Big Bola Casinos, an operator of 20 casinos throughout the company.

In a statement, company officials confirmed they have commenced a license application with the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and expect to launch online sports betting and iGaming in the fourth quarter, with additional provinces in Canada expected to follow.

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San Manuel Tribe Sinks Millions Into Defeating Proposition 27

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The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has described Proposition 27, an online sports-betting initiative supported by DraftKings, FanDuel and other commercial operators, an existential threat on tribal gaming in California and has committed millions of dollars to defeat it.

According to the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the tribe have contributed $53.05m to the No on 27 committee, five times more than the $10m from the Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, and the $3m donated by Pala Casino Resort Spa.

In total, the four tribes supporting the No of 27 committee have committed $66.10m.

San Manuel also donated $1.65m to the Yes on 26, No on 27 committee. Tribes have raised more than $102.9m to pass Proposition 26, which would legalize retail wagering at tribal casinos and racetracks in California.

As of Monday (August 8), the seven gaming operators behind the online ballot initiative have contributed $150m to the Yes on 27 committee, while two committees funded by cardrooms and companies that service the industry have contributed more than $41.98m to defeat Proposition 26.

Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, called California “a huge opportunity with 12 percent of the U.S. population.” Voters in California will decide the fate of both propositions on November 8.

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Massachusetts Treasurer Encourages Online Lottery Sales

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As Massachusetts prepares to begin rule making for online sports betting, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has asked lawmakers for online lottery to be included in the Economic Development Bill, should it ever emerge from its conference committee.

The House version included removing the prohibition against the Massachusetts Lottery from selling scratchers online, but concerns over $3bn in potential tax rebates and unsure how to proceed with additional tax relief measures caused the committee to miss the July 31 deadline.

With the legislature unable to pass the bill by the deadline, everything contained in the House and Senate proposals is at risk of having to be reintroduced next year.

“I am pleased that the legislature explored new ways to generate revenue for the state this session,” Goldberg said in a statement email on Monday (August 8). “With sports betting set to go online, I hop to work with the legislature to hold the lottery harmless.

House and Senate leaders plan to work on some of the policy proposals included in both proposals for the remainder of the year. Online lottery could be passed during informal sessions but the objection of just one lawmaker would derail the measure.

“Should members come back this fall the finalize the economic development bill, I encourage them to allow the lottery to offer products online,” Goldberg said.

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CONMEBOL faces fines for featuring betting advertisements in Uruguay

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The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) could face steep fines from Uruguay’s National Directorate of Lotteries and Quinielas as a result of Betfair’s advertising during a match on August 2nd in Montevideo.

Advertising for online gambling, with the exception of the state-administered Supermatch, is illegal in the country. This has presented a challenge when CONMEBOL matches are held, with its various associated online betting sponsors.

CONMEBOL’s first reprimands from Uruguay came in June after matches played during the Copa Sudamericana and Copa Libertadores. They were fined about $50,000 by the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) after a game between Nacional and Unión de Santa Fe during the Copa Sudamericana.

Now, they could face further penalties as Betfair’s advertising made an appearance during a game last week on August 2nd during a Quarters finals match during the copa. The game, played between Uruguay’s Nacional and Brazil’s Atlético Goianiense, will be repeated tonight, this time in Brazil, where they will escape AUF sanctions.

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Canadian Coalition Seeks Crackdown On Illegal Sites

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A coalition of five provincial gaming corporations are asking the Canadian government to continue to work with them to protect residents from misleading advertising and operation of illegal websites within the country.

The coalition is composed of: the British Columbia Lottery Corporation; Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis; Manitoba liquor and Lotteries Corporation; Lotto-Quebec; and Atlantic Lottery Corporation.

In all provinces where coalition members operate, the group claims offshore operators promote their illegal websites by advertising mirror “free-to-play” websites in all forms of media and, in particular, during live sporting events.

In a statement, the coalition argues these advertisements, which are broadcast nationally, blur the line between provincially regulated gaming websites and illegal operators.

According to data released by the coalition, known as Provincial Lottery Corporations, the Canadian online gambling market is values at $3.8bn in 2022 and is estimated to grow to $6.2bn by 2026.

“Illegal operators see the Canadian landscape on a whole as ripe for the taking,” said Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis CEO Kandice Machado.

“They are using misleading advertising to dominate the market, offering countless opportunities for Canadians to — often unknowingly — engage in illegal betting,” Machado said.

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California Lawsuit Over Misleading Sports-Betting Quote Settled

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Supporters of Proposition 26, a measure to legalize retail sports-betting at tribal casinos and racetracks in California, have dropped their lawsuit after a political action committee agreed to remove a quote from a long-time member of the civil rights group the NAACP from its argument against the measure.

“We’re glad the card room casino operators did the right thing and removed the deceptive and inappropriate quote from their No on 26 ballot arguments,” Rick Callender, president of the California-Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP said Friday (August 5).

Callender said the NAACP supports Prop. 26, and “opponents tried to deceive voters into thinking the opposite.”

The lawsuit claimed a statement by Minnie Hadley-Hempstead, a retired teacher, who opponents say is president emeritus of the Los Angeles NAACP branch ,says they oppose Prop. 26 to “protect young people from developing lifelong gambling addictions that often lead to ruined finances, relationships, even homelessness, and crime.”

The NAACP argued the quotation gives the false impression that the NAACP opposes Prop. 26, even after they publicly endorsed the ballot initiative on February 18. Furthermore, the Los Angeles NAACP branch does not have the position of “President Emeritus.”

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Wisconsin Governor, Lac Court Oreilles Sign Gaming Compact

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Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers and chairman Louis Taylor of the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians have signed a compact amendment allow the tribe to offer sports-betting at its casinos and affiliate locations in the state.

The signed amendment was sent on Friday (August 5) to the U.S. Department of the Interior where it will undergo a 45-day review.

“Event wagering will generate additional revenue for the state and the tribe, while giving a boost to tourism and employment in northern Wisconsin,” Evers said in a statement.

The amendment permits the tribe to offer sports betting and other forms of event wagering at its existing Sevenwinds Casino and to offer mobile wagering on other land within its reservation.

Given the 45-day review, the tribe expects to begin offering sports betting during the upcoming football season. Taylor said the amendment will allow the tribe to continue offering a first-rate gaming experience and increase employment opportunities.

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Junket Mogul Levo Chan Formally Charged

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Influential Tak Chun junket mogul Levo Chan has been formally charged with illegal gambling and other offences, just over six months since police detained him.

The Macao Daily Times reported on Friday (August 5) that the former Tak Chun CEO and former controlling shareholder of Fisherman’s Wharf operator Macau Legend Development was charged in association with the investigation into former Suncity junket mogul Alvin Chau, whose trial begins in early September.

Another nine people, not all of whom have been identified, have been formally charged in the case.

The investigations are part of a wider, long-term crackdown on the junket segment, which has been further affected by tighter regulations and dwindling operational space under the terms of Macau’s casino concession tender now under way.

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Premier League club Aston Villa has signed a new sponsorship deal with a crypto casino that cannot be accessed from its home UK market.

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