News In Brief: February 7-February 11, 2022

February 11, 2022
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The Dutch advertising regulator has said an online slots ad showing multiple winners is not misleading consumers.

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Netherlands Casino Ad Not Misleading

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The Dutch Advertising Code Foundation (SRC) has ruled in favour of an online casino ad which a complainant alleged depicted unrealistic gambling success.

A TV commercial by Batavia Casino for its online games showed four of five players winning prizes on slots by way of a confetti explosion emanating from their phones.

A complaint to the SRC argued that this was an unrealistic win rate for gambling products and would mislead potential customers into believing that four out of a five times a major prize was easy to win.

The ad regulator rejected the complaint, on the grounds that the “average consumer” would understand that the commercial does present “a serious picture of the chances of winning”, in part because of the exploding confetti.

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Puerto Rico Sports-Betting Market To Launch Before Super Bowl

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Two and a half years after passage of legislation to authorize sports betting, sportsbook operations are finally set to launch in Puerto Rico.

The Gaming Commission of Puerto Rico issued a temporary sports-betting license on Tuesday (February 8) to the owner of the island’s Casino del Mar and its partner BetMGM and operations are set to be launched on Friday, according to various Puerto Rican media reports.

Puerto Rico’s chief regulator previously said that officials hoped to launch sports betting before the Super Bowl, which takes place on Sunday.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico shared the status of U.S. states in being prevented from legalizing sports betting by a 1992 federal law that was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018.

Puerto Rico’s legislation authorizes retail sports betting at hotel-casinos, the Camarero racetrack and off-track betting facilities, with satellite operations permitted in other locations. Online sports betting is also authorized but players must establish accounts in person at a retail venue.

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IBIA Online In U.S., Canada

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The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has launched its match-fixing monitoring service in North America, with backing from FanDuel and DraftKings.

The service is licensed in seven states, including New York and New Jersey.

“With the accelerated growth of regulation, existing IBIA members have encouraged the association to extend its global betting integrity coverage to North America, which we are delighted to do,” said IBIA CEO Khalid Ali.

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Cyprus Betting Authority Presents New Strategic Plan

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Cyprus’ National Betting Authority (NBA) has presented its “Strategic Plan” for 2022-2024 to the government, outlining the continued development of the sector, as the impacts of COVID-19 on the betting industry forced it to alter its previous framework.

The main aim of the NBA is to continue its drive towards being fully digital, upgrading the regulatory framework by providing standards and technical guides, as well as developing player protection.

The regulator’s approach is aimed at minimising the costs of regulation, as well as the imposition of new measures and sanctions, “so that long-term culture change occurs”.

Among a host of planned changes, the regulator wants to simplify the licensing process, develop information submission, form new ways to manage data, improve its risk assessment process, as well as implement onsite and online inspections.

There will also be more support offered to people affected by gambling harms and the “intensification” of research, including a study and investigation into the illegal provision of betting and gambling services.

The government of Cyprus has recently called gambling a “pillar” of the economy, accounting for 2.98 percent of the country’s GDP in 2021 and the new plan aims to allow for the sustained growth of the industry.

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Entain, Draft Kings, Meta Form Global Gaming Alliance

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Gambling industry giants Entain and DraftKings have teamed up with Meta (formerly Facebook), gaming group 89Trillion and Habby to form the Global Gaming Alliance.

The new group describes itself as a “forum seeking to address shared challenges in the rapidly-evolving global gaming industry” and has released a white paper titled “Responsible Gaming is Everyone’s Business”.

Gaming companies are called on in the paper to protect gamers and support workers in the industry by following best practices on issues such as diversity, transparency and player protection.

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Danish Gambling Authority Fines Pub For Illegal Lottery Games

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The Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) fined a pub DK5,000 (€671) in December 2021, after it was found to be offering illegal lotteries and betting on lottery results.

Patrons of the pub were offered a lottery game called “Dead pigeons” and the venue also accepted bets on official lottery draws.

The DGA told the pub to stop offering the illegal lottery game and bets; however, an inspection found people were still being offered the chance to play.

The matter was then reported to the police before being taken to court, where the ruling “emphasised the rather limited scope of illegal gambling for a small group of people and that the defendant cannot be assumed to have had a direct financial gain upon violation”, according to the DGA’s announcement.

Danske Lotteri Spil has a monopoly on offering lotteries and scratchcards in Denmark.

There are licences available for charities or other non-profit lotteries.

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Arizona Bill Proposes Expansion Of Tribal Sports-Betting Licenses

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A new bill in the Arizona Senate is proposing to include more tribes in the state’s lucrative mobile sports-betting market.

Senator Sally Ann Gonzales, a Democrat, last month introduced Senate Bill 1674, which would more than double the number of tribal sports-betting licenses available from 10 to 22, one for each tribe in the state.

Currently, there are 16 tribes operating 24 casinos in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG). The ADG in August issued all ten of the tribal licenses for online sports betting, after receiving 18 applications.

Among the amendments included in Gonzales' seven-page bill is a proposal to allow a tribe, an entity owned by a tribe or a company contracting with a tribe to operate not only mobile sports wagering across the state, but also a retail sportsbook off tribal lands and within a five-block radius of a sports stadium.

Arizona’s professional sports franchises, TPC Scottsdale and Phoenix Raceway, already can open retail sportsbooks within five blocks of their facilities.

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California Tribes Oppose FanDuel, DraftKings Online Initiative

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Leaders of two tribes in California have come out in opposition to a ballot initiative being funded by FanDuel, DraftKings and other gaming operators that would legalize mobile sports betting throughout the state.

Raymond Welch, chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, and chairman Greg Sarris of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria warned voters on Monday (January 7) the proposed measure would be bad for tribes and for state residents.

In an op-ed featured in CalMatters, the two chairman urged voters to support the in-person sports betting initiative that has already qualified for the November ballot.

“The [already-qualified, tribal sports wagering measure] will implement proven safeguards to ensure safe, responsible, in-person sports wagering by requiring individuals to be 21 or older and be physically present when placing bets. This prevents underage gambling.”

Conversely, Welch and Sarris wrote, the measure funded by DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and four other operators “would legalize online betting and put the future of sports betting in California in the hands of out-of-state, online gambling corporations.”

“Their measure would authorize the largest expansion of gambling in state history — allowing virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime to gamble,” the chairmen wrote. “We believe the choice is simple, and we are confident the voters will agree.”

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UK White Paper In Delay Rumours

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UK newspapers, beginning with the Daily Mail, reported on Monday (February 7) that the eagerly awaited white paper on changes to the 2005 Gambling Act had been delayed again.

Ministers and senior civil servants had previously said they were aiming for the government’s plan of action to be released before the end of 2021.

Gambling minister Chris Philp said the document would emerge “in the coming months” in December, but gave no fixed timeline and there remains no target date for its publication, which sources have told VIXIO calls into question whether the white paper can be said to be “delayed” at all.

Previous reports had also suggested the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DMCS) may wait to publish until after the conclusion of the contest to choose the next operator of the UK National Lottery, which could run as late as March 31.

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South Dakota Senate Seeks Referendum On Online Sports Betting

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Less than 16 months after an initial voter referendum on sports betting, South Dakota on Monday (February 7) took another step toward a second state-wide vote to permit online sports wagering when a proposed constitutional amendment was narrowly passed by the Senate.

Senators voted 18-17 to approve Senate Constitutional Resolution 502, which would authorize mobile sports wagering throughout the state via licensed casinos in the town of Deadwood. The bill was already passed by a Senate committee last week.

To go before voters in November, the resolution also must be approved by the House but would not need to be signed by Republican Governor Kristi Noem.

South Dakota’s initial constitutional amendment was approved by voters in November 2020 but it did not specify whether online sports betting should be permitted. Lawmakers last year passed implementing legislation to limit wagering to in-person operations at Deadwood casinos.

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Restrictions Took A Toll On The Netherlands In 2020

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COVID-19 restrictions saw the Netherlands’ gambling market shrink by €700m in 2020, as the slot machine sector and Holland Casino bore the brunt of the impact.

The Netherlands Gambling Authority’s (KSA) latest “market scan” report revealed gross gaming revenue was €1.94bn in 2020, compared with €2.7bn in 2019.

Lotteries were not affected by the virus, according to the report, and accounted for 56.6 percent of revenue in 2020 compared with 43.1 percent in 2019.

This increased reliance on lottery revenue reflected the drop in slot machine income, as they only accounted for 32.7 percent of revenue in 2020, compared with 43.7 percent in 2019.

Casinos only accounted for 6.4 percent of overall revenue in 2020, compared with 10.7 percent in 2019.

The average Dutch player still spends slightly more on games of chance than the average European, averaging €165 per year in 2020.

However, the figure was down from €221 per year in 2019.

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New South Wales Regulator Sues Melco For Millions

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The New South Wales (NSW) state gambling regulator has taken casino operator Melco Resorts & Entertainment to court over millions of dollars in legal costs accrued during the Bergin Inquiry into Melco and former partner Crown Resorts.

The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) is suing Melco Resorts for A$3.7m ($2.6m) in the NSW Supreme Court, the Australian Financial Review reported on Friday (February 4), quoting an unidentified ILGA spokesperson.

The case will be heard on February 11.

“In light of the findings of the Bergin report, ILGA considered it appropriate for Melco and Crown Resorts Limited … to provide payment for the costs of the inquiry,” the spokesperson said.

“ILGA reached agreement with Crown in May 2021 [to pay A$12.5m] ... [but] as an agreement has not been reached with Melco, ILGA initiated proceedings,” she said.

The inquiry in part probed Melco Resorts’ purchase of Crown stock, in view of a state government ban on Stanley Ho, the late father of Melco Group chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho, on holding any interest in state casino operations.

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The Dutch advertising regulator has said an online slots ad showing multiple winners is not misleading consumers.

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