News In Brief: December 19-December 23, 2022

December 22, 2022
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BetMGM reveal customer data hacked six months ago and Maverick completes Evergreen Gaming acquisition.

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BetMGM Notifies Customers Of Data Security Issue

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BetMGM confirmed Wednesday (December 21) that it launched an investigation after uncovering that its customer records “were obtained in an unauthorized manner.”

The company, which is a 50-50 partnership between MGM Resorts International and Entain, acknowledged that personal information affected by the data breach includes names, contact details such as an address, phone numbers or email addresses.

Additionally, BetMGM said social security numbers, dates of birth, account IDs or other details about customers’ transactions may have been compromised.

“The affected information varied by patron,” the company said in a statement. “BetMGM currently has no evidence that patron passwords or account funds were accessed in connection with this issue. BetMGM’s online operations were not compromised.”

BetMGM became aware of the breach on November 28, 2022, and believes the issue occurred in May.

“We are taking this matter very seriously and are working quickly to investigate it,” said Adam Greenblatt, CEO of BetMGM. “The security of our platform and our patrons’ data is a top priority for BetMGM.”

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Maverick Gaming Expands Washington Cardroom Footprint

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Maverick Gaming completed its $80.47m all-cash acquisition of Evergreen Gaming Corporation after receiving regulatory approval from the Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC), the company announced Wednesday (December 21).

Evergreen Gaming operates four cardrooms, giving Maverick ownership of 22 of the 38 licensed and operating cardrooms in Washington. The WSGC said four other cardrooms are licensed but not currently operating, while two locations have license applications pending.

Privately held Maverick also owns four casinos in northern Nevada and three casinos in Colorado.

“Strategically this acquisition is crucial to Maverick’s continued dominance in Washington state,” said CEO Eric Persson. “We expect there to be enormous consolidation as well as operational and marketing benefits to our company as a result of this transaction.”

Persson said they expected to see benefits from this purchase by January. Maverick’s cardrooms in Washington state are limited to 15 table games, including baccarat, poker and variations of blackjack, while some locations have off-track betting kiosks for horse racing.

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Ladbrokes Footballer Ad Banned In UK

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An ad for Entain-owned UK bookmaker Ladbrokes has been banned for its use of famous footballers.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that the October 2022 advert breached new rules set in stone at the start of that month that toughened up the use of individuals who were likely to appeal to under-18s.

Premier League players Philippe Coutinho, Jesse Lingard and Kalidou Koulibaly were featured in a Twitter post about player transfers made during the summer. The three had all played international football, which the ASA said was a contributing factor to their under-18 appeal.

“We considered that it would have been acceptable for the ad to appear in a medium where under-18s, for all intents and purposes, could be entirely excluded from the audience. That would apply in circumstances where those who saw the ad had been robustly age-verified as being 18 or older, such as through marketing lists that had been validated by payment data or credit checking. We did not consider that marketing data inferred from user behaviour met that threshold,” said the ASA.

Twitter, the body added, does not meet that criteria.

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Belgian Regulator Not Consulted On Ad Ban

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The Belgian Gaming Commission has received confirmation that the ban on gambling advertising will come into force in July 2023.

However, the gambling regulator was not consulted by the government on its plan.

“Therefore, it is not easy to comment on the content of the plans,” a spokesperson for the gambling regulator told VIXIO GamblingCompliance.

The Gaming Commission said it is in favour of “strict restrictions rather than a total ban on gambling advertising”.

In April, the regulator published its detailed opinion on the government’s plan, where it first revealed its support for restrictions, as well as for its enforcement powers to be expanded.

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Operators Told To Turn Off Loyalty Schemes For Young Dutch Players

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The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has told two unnamed gambling operators in the country to stop offering their loyalty programmes to younger players.

The regulator said VIP and other similar schemes are classed as advertising and, as such, should not be aimed at young adults, defined as those between the ages of 18 and 24.

One operator complied immediately, but another required an “intention to impose an order (corrective sanction)”, the KSA said. The regulator did not name either licensee.

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Gamblers Action Group Launches In Spain

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Spain has a new player protection association, the newly anointed Association of Sports Betting Players (AEJAD).

The purpose of the association, according to its launch, is two-fold: to destigmatize sports betting as a recreation; and to further protect players.

Members of the association said that “we do not have any representation as users in sports betting, and that weakens us”, although Spain is notorious for its strict advertising laws, which those in the gambling industry have rallied against.

The AEJAD also accused the authorities of doing nothing to protect players, saying “they stand on the sidelines and force users to go to court in the event of any dispute with the bookmaker … as players we are absolutely alone in the face of any abuse that bookmakers commit against us”.

It also asked for the protection of the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling
(DGOJ), stating that it protect users specifically against gambling operators. Specifically, the AEJAD cited operators' terms and conditions that users have no control over.

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India’s GST Council Delays Online Gaming Decision

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An all-important decision on the size and calculation of online gaming tax by India’s GST Council has been deferred until at least February over a lack of consensus among advising state governments.

The GST Council’s meeting on Saturday (December 17) had been expected to confirm a flat 28 percent goods and services tax for online gaming, casinos and possibly horseracing, but council members adjourned before the matter could be debated.

A report submitted to the council two days earlier by a group of state ministers on online gaming taxation backed the full 28 percent rate for the online sector.

But the report failed to reach consensus on whether the GST should apply to turnover or gross gaming revenue — a critical distinction with serious ramifications for the industry if majority support among state governments translates to council policy.

The council is unlikely to meet again before finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman releases the national budget in February.

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Nevada Approves Mirage $1.08bn Sale To Hard Rock

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The Nevada Gaming Commission on Friday (December 16) approved Hard Rock International’s $1.08bn purchase of the operations of The Mirage from MGM Resorts International and licensed the company owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board recommended approval of the deal on December 7 after a hearing that lasted almost four hours.

Hard Rock president and CEO Jim Allen told the commission on Friday that the company has no plans to close the property while it is expanded and upgraded. The work to upgrade the property with the Hard Rock brand will start in late 2023 or 2024.

Hard Rock plans to demolish the casino's erupting volcano attraction and replace it with a 550-foot guitar-shaped hotel tower. The Mirage was built by former casino executive Steve Wynn and opened in 1989.

The acquisition is scheduled to close on Monday (December 19), allowing the Seminole Tribe through its subsidiary Hard Rock to be the first tribal operator of a Las Vegas Strip casino.

In December 2021, Nevada regulators approved the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians' $650m purchase of the Palms just off the Strip. The Mohegan tribe of Connecticut has also operated the casino at Virgin Hotel Las Vegas since March 2021.

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Legislation Targets Illegal Slots In Missouri

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A new measure cracking down on grey market games found at gas stations and convenience stores in Missouri has been prefiled in the House of Representatives and is expected to be considered by lawmakers who reconvene next month.

Representative Rasheen Aldridge, a Democrat, prefiled House Bill 388 on December 6 that would cost businesses hosting these grey-market, or so-called skill-based machines, their liquor and tobacco sales licenses.

Additionally, the stores and bars would be banned from getting a license to offer video lottery terminals (VLTs) if lawmakers ever legalized the machines as part of a gaming expansion bill in the future.

Aldridge’s bill also gives a licensee ten days to remove a gambling device before state alcohol and tobacco agents act against the business.

The Missouri Lottery has estimated the number of grey-market machines at 14,000. In an effort to deal with the spread of the games, the Missouri Gaming Commission created an online portal and phone line where people can submit complaints about illegal gaming machines.

Torch Electronics, a manufacturer of skill-based or amusement games in Missouri, was unavailable for comment on Friday (December 16).

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Uruguay’s Largest Casino Receives Planning Permission

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On December 14, local Maldonado authorities approved the final plan for the new casino-hotel complex in Uruguay that will be funded by the Cipriani Group.

The casino-hotel is set to play an important role in Uruguay's gambling future, as the current online gaming bill will limit licences to those who have brick and mortar premises.

The integrated resort, which will be located near the vacation hotspot of Punta Del Este, recently lost the investment of key backer Naguib Sawiris, but was granted approval despite this setback.

There is a 180-day window to implement the plan. Cipriani lawyer Pablo Monsuárez assured the Maldonado Public Works Commission that construction is ready and will begin in the new year within six months.

Monsuárez has testified multiple times in the Chamber of Deputies in support of the approval of the online gambling bill, and suggesting amendments that would be most beneficial to the business.

Back in August, Monsuarez told the Senate that Cipriani did not support the bill in its current iteration, which does not regulate all forms of online gambling. Online sports betting would remain under the purview of Uruguay’s National Lottery monopoly.

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BetMGM reveal customer data hacked six months ago and Maverick completes Evergreen Gaming acquisition.

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