News In Brief: February 6-February 10, 2023

February 10, 2023
Brazil's parliament is pushing the country's financial authorities to investigate money spent with offshore gambling sites.


Brazil To Probe Offshore Gambling


Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies has filed for an audit of money that is paid abroad through online gambling sites. The so-called inspection is the fourth of its kind and is meant to detect possible tax evasion, money laundering and unauthorised lotteries.

Technically known as an Inspection and Control Proposal, it is carried out with the cooperation of the Central Bank of Brazil, the Federal Audit Court and the Federal Revenue Service.

The first two, filed in 2015 and 2019, had different results. The first was withdrawn and the second was returned with no comment on anything untowards by the rapporteur.

This request was first filed in 2021 but was rejected by the Economy Commission for being outside its scope, and at the time the commission suggested that it be refiled.

There will be a public hearing on the matter with the participation of Caixa Economica Federal, the Brazilian Football Confederation, and the Federal Police, among others.


Dutch Regulator Issues €350,000 Fine For Self-Exclusion Failure


The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has handed out a €350,000 fine to online gambling provider Bingoal for failing to check if players were listed on the Central Register of Exclusions from Games of Chance (Cruks) during a number of days in June 2022.

The sanction is dated November 9, 2022, but it was published on February 8 by the KSA.

Licensed gambling operators in the Netherlands are required to be connected to Cruks. To check Cruks, operators need a valid certificate and Bingoal's certificate had expired during this period, the regulator said.

As a result, Bingoal could not check players for registration as required by law, but it still allowed players to participate in high-risk games of chance.

“It took about three days for Bingoal to get a new PKI certificate and regain access to Cruks. Bingoal allowed players during this period. Bingoal shouldn't have done that; the law says that a player may only gain access to a high-risk game of chance after a game provider has determined that the player in question is not registered in Cruks,” the KSA said.

An appeal has been launched by Bingoal against the decision.


ASA Rejects Complaints Against Sky Bet, Paddy Power Ads


Flutter-owned Paddy Power and Sky Bet have both separately successfully fought off complaints made to the UK’s advertising watchdog.

Two TV ads for Paddy Power seen in November 2022 were found to be “not of strong appeal to children or young persons” by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ASA had received two complaints about the advert, featuring ex-footballer Peter Crouch, that argued he was likely to be of strong appeal to those under 18 years of age.

The ASA considered Crouch’s social media profile was unlikely to make him of strong appeal to under-18s, as he did not have public profiles on Facebook, TikTok or Twitch and he had not posted on his Instagram for a long time.

The advert also had references to Christmas, however, “there was nothing in relation to Christmas that would have been of strong appeal to children, such as depicting Santa Claus".

Separately, two complainants challenged whether a promoted tweet for Sky Bet, seen on October 2, 2022, which featured an image of Micah Richards, was likely to appeal to those under 18 years old.

Similarly to the other advert, the ASA took into account the fact Richards did not have public accounts on YouTube, TikTok or Twitch and had a small following of under-18s on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

This meant the ASA considered Richards' social media profile meant he was unlikely to make a strong appeal to under-18s.

The ASA concluded that “the ad was not of strong appeal to children or young persons”.


Philippines Legalises Local Online Betting On Cue Sports


Philippine gambling regulator PAGCOR has announced that domestic online gamblers will be able to bet on billiards games and tournaments and on other cue sports.

The PAGCOR board approved the change on February 2, according to a memo released on Monday (February 6), which also announced the Regulatory Framework for Electronic Billiards (E-Billiards).

“Billiards has been part of the Filipino lifestyle, both as a recognised international sport and as casual leisure activity across different social strata in the Philippines,” the preamble to the framework says.

E-billiards offerings will be regulated separately to sports covered under PAGCOR’s sports-betting system and requires separate applications from online gaming operators.

The provisions also note that “billiards” refers to “all generally accepted style, format, discipline, and/or form of cue sports” and that bets on domestic contests cannot be accepted from customers overseas.

The framework allows for “remote registration” of domestic players, further weakening the once compulsory arrangement of player registration through casinos and other land-based betting stations.

PAGCOR's decision comes amid political and civic calls for the termination of online gambling in the Philippines and for probes into PAGCOR itself, suggesting that the regulator is pushing back and holding its pro-industry line.


California Cardrooms Back Moratorium Renewal


The California Cardroom Alliance (CCA) has joined tribal gaming operators and key lawmakers in supporting a bill in the state's Assembly that would reinstate a moratorium on cardroom expansion.

Assembly Bill 341, sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman James Ramos, would reinstate the cardroom moratorium that expired in January 1, 2023 for another 20 years, while including a carve-out for two cardrooms in northern California to expand by 30 tables.

The legislation also proposes allowing cardrooms with 20 or fewer tables to add two additional tables the first year, then two more tables every four years until they reach a maximum of ten additional tables.

“We appreciate the leadership of Assembly Member Ramos in bringing together cardrooms and tribal casinos with the introduction of a balanced legislative proposal,” the CCA said in a statement on Tuesday (February 7).

“Assembly Bill 341 addresses the need for an expansion of tables at California cardrooms while maintaining a cardroom license moratorium that has been in place for decades,” it said.

The CCA is a collection of 16 of the largest cardrooms in California, including The Commerce Casino-Resort near downtown Los Angeles and Artichoke Joe’s Casino just outside San Francisco.


Virginia Casino Bill Passes House Of Delegate


The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill Tuesday (February 7) that would allow Petersburg residents to vote on a $1.4bn casino referendum in November.

House Bill 1373, which narrowly passed on a 49-44 vote with one delegate abstaining, moves to the state's Senate, where a similar bill, Senate Bill 780, was voted down last week by the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.

Republican Delegate Kim Taylor, who sponsored HB 1373, told her colleagues her proposal would “allow the voters of Petersburg to support a once in a lifetime economic development project.”

Taylor’s bill would prevent Richmond residents from holding another referendum until voters in Petersburg consider the project proposed by The Cordish Cos.

Delegate Mark Sickles, a Democrat, said on Tuesday that the measure had been written as a zero-sum game, and noted that a study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) said both Richmond and Petersburg could potentially support a casino.

“If we defeat this bill and Richmond goes forward and the referendum is defeated again, the opportunity for a distressed city like Petersburg would have passed,” Sickles said. “The thing I don’t like in this bill is there is a restriction on Richmond going forward.”

Sickles reminded his colleagues that a Senate committee defeated a similar bill, so “its passage over there is highly questionable.”

Tuesday was the last day before crossover, when bills passed by each chamber of the Virginia General Assembly move to the other chamber for consideration.


Macau Regulator Employee Busted Over Prostitution Ring


Macau police have arrested two alleged masterminds of a long-running online prostitution ring, including a veteran employee of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), the city’s gambling regulator.

Police arrested the 58-year-old DICJ employee on Tuesday (February 7) over the online prostitution website, alleging the man had shared in revenue of $1.5m from its operations over more than a decade. The second alleged mastermind of the operation is an unnamed, 38-year-old manager of a Macau restaurant.

The DICJ said it suspended the man, a 30-year veteran with the regulator who remains unnamed, and has launched an internal probe.

The arrests follow the detention of 73 suspects in September linked to the website, including 54 women from mainland China.


India Orders Blocks On Offshore Gambling Sites, Apps


India’s central government has ordered internet service providers and app stores to block 232 gambling websites or apps engaged in illegal gambling and lending, the Indian Express daily reported on Monday (February 6).

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) acted under instruction from the home affairs ministry, the report said.

MeitY “issued orders to block 138 apps that were involved in betting, gambling and money laundering last evening. A separate order to block 94 apps engaged in unauthorised loan services has also been issued”, the report quoted a government official as saying.

A second official was quoted as saying that Malta-based Betway is one of the companies targeted, with Philippines-based Dafabet also reportedly on the blacklist, although the government has not released the list to the public.

The order marks a potential acceleration in scrutiny of offshore websites and apps targeting Indian nationals, and comes as MeitY attempts to lay the groundwork for a national online gaming regulatory framework.

Assuming that the outcomes of pending cases in the Supreme Court favour the gaming industry, the framework is to be run by the central government with the endorsement of participating state governments.


Arizona's Gonzales Wants Gaming Work Ban For Ex-Lawmakers


An Arizona lawmaker wants to ensure that lawmakers who were instrumental in the state legalizing retail and mobile sports betting do not leave the legislature for jobs in the gaming industry.

Senate Bill 1617, introduced by Democratic state Senator Sally Ann Gonzales, prohibits current or former governors, staffers, lobbyists, lawyers, and legislators involved in enacting gaming legislation from working or having any financial interest in the industry until April 15, 2026.

Legal sports betting in Arizona launched in September 2021.

The measure would also establish the Arizona Gaming Commission (AGC) to oversee fantasy sports contests, sports betting and tribal gaming until July 1, 2033, when the commission would be terminated. The AGC would also supervise the Arizona Department of Gaming and could approve or reject decisions made by that agency’s director.

Gonzales has introduced several measures this session that propose to amend statutes relating to sports betting, but it is unclear if any of them will gain traction in the Republican-dominated legislature.


Betsson Receives Online Licence in Argentina's Cordoba


Betsson announced on Friday (February 3) in a press release that the company was awarded an online licence in Cordoba Province, Argentina, although the regulator has yet to announce the list of licensees.

Betsson will operate the licence jointly with Argentine land-based operator Casino de Victoria.

Eight operators were provisionally awarded licences to operate online in the Argentine province after a tender process. The licences were scheduled to be granted on October 27, but administrative problems and possible political machinations have delayed the process.

Betsson said it was excited to be working with Casino de Victoria.

“When merging their long experience in the Argentinian market with our know-how in online gaming, we can truly reach our ambition of becoming a market leader in this rapidly growing online market,” it said.

Gaming lawyer Tomás Garcí­a Botta confirmed to VIXIO GamblingCompliance that the 15-year licences have been awarded, but that no other information is publicly available.


Allwyn Completes Camelot Acquisition


European lottery operator Allwyn AG has completed the takeover of Camelot UK Lotteries from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.

Allwyn confirmed in a statement on Sunday (February 6) that Camelot is now a wholly-owned subsidiary. Camelot will continue to operate the UK National Lottery under licence until January 31, 2024, and will “continue to be operated separately” as a subsidiary thereafter.

The Gambling Commission in September selected Allwyn subsidiary Allwyn Entertainment to operate the National Lottery from February 2024.

Camelot CFO Clare Swindell and commercial director Neil Brocklehurst have been appointed co-CEOs of Camelot, while Sir Keith Mills replaces Sir Hugh Robertson as chairman, according to the statement.


Brazil's parliament is pushing the country's financial authorities to investigate money spent with offshore gambling sites.

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