News In Brief: January 15-January 19, 2024

January 19, 2024
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A company is fined by a Denmark court over advertising compliance and Caesars preliminary results suggest losses will be cut in its online division.
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Danish Gambling Authority Fines Online Casino DKK700,000
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Online casino Spilnu.dk has received a DKK700,000 (€93,877) fine from the Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) for breaching marketing rules.

The DGA announced the fine on January 16, after a court in Aalbrog ruled in its favour against the online casino.

Spilnu.dk, which did not appear in court, was charged for a sign-up promotion it ran in 2020.

The DGA told Vixio that it is not able to comment on the case.

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Caesars Entertainment Expects To Narrow Digital Losses
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Caesars Entertainment on Thursday (January 18) released preliminary operating results for the fourth quarter of 2023, with total net revenues estimated to be between $2.81bn and $2.83bn, as losses in its digital division continued to decline.

The company is scheduled to release its fourth quarter and 2023 earnings on February 20. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Caesars projected revenues of $1.08bn to $1.09bn for its Las Vegas properties down from $1.15bn in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Revenue from regional properties was expected to be $1.35bn to $1.36bn, compared with $1.35bn in 2022, while estimates for Caesars Digital were between $303m and $305m, up from $237m in 2022.  

Caesars Digital was expected to post a loss in net income of between $7m and $9m, down from $35m in the fourth quarter in 2022. Promotional activity in the fourth quarter was $69m across online sports betting, iGaming and poker, roughly 20 percent of gross gaming revenue.  

Caesars estimated negative impact of November’s low sports betting hold to be approximately $44m in net revenue. Sports-betting handle for the fourth quarter was expected to be between $3.87bn and $3.880bn with a hold percentage of 6.3 to 6.4, compared with $3.4bn and a 5.4 percent hold in 2022. 

Handle for iGaming will be in the range of $3.07bn to $3.08bn with a hold percentage of between 3.2 and 3.3 percent. For the fourth quarter of 2022, Caesars Digital posted handle of $2.01bn, with a 3.2 hold percentage.  

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Betsson Delays Argentine Launch
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Betsson has yet to launch operations in the Argentine province of Cordoba, despite having a licence to do so.

The Córdoba online gambling law stipulated that there be a 45-day trial period, during which players could use the platforms without gambling with money. That ended on January 5, when gambling with real currency began. 

The three other licensed operators have all launched their operations, including  Jugadon, which launched on January 5, followed by PlayCet and Bplay launching on January 8.

Betsson partnered with the local Casino de Victoria for its bid.

Although four other companies were approved for a licence, they did not ultimately pursue it. At the time, the unofficial reasons given were that the taxes were too high and that the process took so long that the FIFA World Cup had already happened.

During the first week of business, the platforms reported the equivalent of US$212,000 in revenues.  The average player bet was $13.

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Ohio Proposes Changes To Sports-Betting Account Rules
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The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) is proposing an amendment to its sports-betting regulations that would require patrons to use “multi-factor authentication or similar authentication method” to protect their sports-betting account.

Currently, sports-betting operators in Ohio simply need to provide customers with an option to use multi-factor authentication.  The amendment also allows licensees to offer a similar authentication method, provided it has been approved by the OCCC executive director. 

In a notice to licensees, the commission set a deadline of January 26 for operators to submit written comments on the proposed amendment.

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Survey Reveals Danes Gambling Underage
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A participation survey by the Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) has revealed that 15 percent of 15-17 year olds have gambled online in the past year.

Denmark’s legal age for gambling is 18, meaning that around 32,000 young people have found ways to gamble on the internet either by circumventing age restrictions in the licensed market or by turning to offshore operators.

The regulator said that only 3.8 percent of players gambled offshore, but of those that had almost 18 percent of them were under the age of 18.

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Allwyn Takes Over UK National Lottery On February 1
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Allwyn International will take over the UK’s National Lottery contract from Camelot UK, the current lottery contractor, on February 1, the Gambling Commission has confirmed.

Last year, Allwyn acquired Camelot Lotteries UK and Camelot Lottery Solutions Group, which made it the operator of the Illinois State Lottery.

Allwyn, which is owned by the KKCG group of Czech billionaire Karel Komarek, is  headquartered in the Czech Republic.

The Gambling Commission named Allwyn as the preferred applicant in March 2022.

Camelot had been the licence holder since the National Lottery’s launch in 1994.

Lottery ticket buyers should not notice any difference, the regulator said. 

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Arizona Reopens Sports-Betting Licensing
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More sportsbooks could be opening later this year after Arizona regulators on Tuesday (January 16) reopened the application process. 

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) will begin accepting applications on February 16, and the window will close on March 4. Applicants must submit their completed applications within this timeframe to be considered for a license.

The ADG will accept applications for one event wagering license reserved for Arizona tribes and no less than one event wagering license reserved for Arizona sports franchises.

Sports betting in Arizona launched on September 9, 2021. The legislation allows for 20 licenses to be awarded for sports betting, with ten licenses available to the state’s Class III gaming tribes and ten to professional sports franchises and facilities.

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Barstool Sports CEO Resigns
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Less than a year after the end of Barstool Sports deal with Penn Entertainment, CEO Erika Ayers Badan announced Tuesday (January 16) that she is stepping down.

In August, Barstool founder Dave Portnoy bought his business back from Penn for $1 following the gaming company’s announcement that it had entered into an exclusive online sports-betting agreement with ESPN. Penn had paid about $550m to acquire 100 percent of Barstool.

“The last two years was all Penn all the time. It was a balancing act and kind of an exercise in futility — trying to generate bets at the same time as protecting a pirate ship while also subtly contorting it to be something more predictable, pacifiable and projectable to match with a casino company,” Ayers Badan wrote in a farewell message.

“In the last year we sold the company twice. First to Penn for $550m and then to Dave for $1. It seems insane and it was,” she wrote. “Barstool is back as it should be. A pirate ship with Dave at the helm.”

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New Mexico Tribes Have Jurisdiction Over Casino Cases
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The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Tuesday (January 16) personal injury cases against state tribal casinos cannot be brought in state court, settling a long-standing case over jurisdiction of injuries suffered in tribal casinos. 

The New Mexico Supreme Court reversed a state Court of Appeals decision that would have permitted Jeremiah Sipp, also known as Sage Rader, and his wife, Hella Rader, to proceed with a lawsuit in state court against Buffalo Thunder Inc., Pojoaque Pueblo and other tribal enterprises.

The couple sought damages for injuries Sipp allegedly suffered in 2014 when a loading dock door struck his head while he delivered lights at Buffalo Thunder Resort for a parking lot. A district court dismissed the lawsuit in 2017 for lack of jurisdiction, and the couple appealed. 

After the Court of Appeals reversed the district court, Buffalo Thunder asked New Mexico’s highest court to review the decision. 

A provision in state-tribal gaming compacts decades ago included a clause that waived tribal sovereign immunity to allow jurisdiction to be moved from tribal court to state court for some damage claims. 

But the compacts included language that allowed the waiver to be terminated if a state or federal court determined the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act prohibited such shifting of cases.

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France Updating List Of Accepted Sports Bets
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France is creating a new list of sporting events and wagers that licensed operators can accept.

The National Gaming Authority (ANJ) said in a press release on January 15 that the current “sporting list”, which has been regularly modified since 2010, has “lost its readability and consistency”.

In total, 179 competitions are set to be removed from the list of sports competitions that can be bet on, including some Armenian and Tunisian football competitions. This list will now include a total of 772 competitions that can be bet on.

Among the changes, restrictions on betting on certain “matches without stakes”, such as exhibition and friendly matches, will be lifted, including all friendly matches of the French men's football and rugby teams.

Changes to the types of results and phases of games that can be bet on have been “significantly modified”, such as adding the number of points a basketball player will make in a game and allowing handicap betting on tennis games.

The ANJ stated: "The original guiding principles of the list are not affected by the redesign. Bets must always relate to an event presenting a sporting issue for the competitors, bets on negative actions remain prohibited, and bets must continue to be executed according to the first announcement of the results announced by the organiser."

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FanDuel, DraftKings Contribute To Missouri Ballot Initiative
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The two leading U.S. sports-betting operators have contributed to an effort to convince Missouri voters to legalize sports betting, while legislative efforts were expected to come up short over opposition to legalizing video lottery terminals (VLTs).

According to paperwork filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission on January 4, a political action committee was formed to raise money and pay for the ballot initiative. 

The PAC, Winning for Missouri Education, reported that DraftKings and FanDuel each contributed $250,000 to the campaign.

Professional sports teams, including Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals and National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues, have received approval from the secretary of state’s office to circulate petitions to put the issue on the ballot. The ballot campaign was officially launched on Friday (January 12).

Currently, there are two bills to legalize sports betting in Missouri setting up the debate over legalizing VLTs that stalled previous efforts. Missouri sports team representatives have maintained that they prefer a legislative solution to a ballot initiative and have not given up hope for that outcome this year.

Senate President Caleb Rowden, a Republican, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that both sides are pretty entrenched and there has not been a lot of movement. 

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Macau To Say Farewell To Horseracing
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Horseracing in Macau will come to an end after the government terminated the concession it granted to the Macau Jockey Club.

Administration and justice secretary André Cheong told a press conference on Monday (January 15) that the two parties had agreed to cancel the concession, effective April 1. The 24-year concession was supposed to have expired in 2042.

Cheong said horseracing operations failed to deliver “the socio-economic benefits that were intended” amid years of dwindling patronage and revenue.

The Macau racecourse’s facilities and land will become the property of the government from April 1, while horses will be housed on site before being resettled in other markets before April 2025.

The Singapore Turf Club is also set to end horseracing operations in October this year after the government last year determined that the racecourse’s land would be better deployed for public housing.

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A company is fined by a Denmark court over advertising compliance and Caesars preliminary results suggest losses will be cut in its online division.

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