News In Brief: July 1-July 5, 2024

July 5, 2024
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The Argentine city of Mendoza will block access to unlicensed online betting operators in public spaces and Chile is investigating the National First Division Championship after match-fixing reports.
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Mendoza Blocks Illegal Operator Access In Public Spaces
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The Argentine city of Mendoza, in an initiative with the Provincial Institute of Games and Casinos (IPJyC), will block access to unlicensed online betting operators in public spaces.

The initiative is part of an effort in the province to prevent children and adolescents from gambling.

Access to sites will be prevented wherever the government has access to wifi, including public parks, buildings, sidewalks and other spaces that benefit from government services.

The province of Mendoza finally awarded licences in April 2023 after a delayed process that resulted in half of the “pre-awarded” operators drop out.

The city of Buenos Aires has also recently launched a serious initiative aimed at curbing youth participation in online gaming, with plans to draft a law that will encompass the 17 bills that address the issue that currently sit on the docket.

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Chile Opens Investigating Match-Fixing In National First Division
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Chile’s Chamber of Deputies has announced that it will investigate the suspiciously high number of yellow cards handed out during the National First Division Championship.

The Sports Commission within the Chamber of Deputies launched its investigation after local media reported that 764 yellow cards were handed out in 119 football matches. The figure is the highest in the last five years.

The commission’s conclusions will be sent on to the public prosecutor.

Deputy Jorge Guzman took the opportunity to lambast online gambling.

"Today in Chile only the Polla Chilena de Beneficencia and the Lotería de Concepción have legal recognition. Therefore, all these online betting houses operate illegally… what we did not see and we believe that this chronicle shows us is that here there is a possibility, because it is the object of bets in these online bookmakers, that the referees can have their behaviour influenced."

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Singapore Lowers Due Diligence Threshold For Casinos
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Singapore’s government has announced that the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) will cut the minimum trigger for casino gambler due diligence measures from S$5,000 to S$4,000 ($3,700 to $3,000).

In its National Strategy for Countering the Financing of Terrorism published on Monday (July 1), jointly released by the home affairs and finance ministries and the nation’s monetary authority, the government said it will tighten “the supervisory regime for the casino sector to prevent exploitation by terrorist and criminal organisations”.

It said the GRA will reduce the due diligence threshold for casinos to S$4,000 “for all financial transactions”.

“This adjustment aims to strengthen deterrence and prevent the misuse of Singapore’s casinos for [terrorism financing] purposes,” it said.

The strategy document did not state when the measure will be introduced, and the GRA offered no additional information when contacted by state-run media on Monday.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the lowering of the threshold or how the new threshold was decided on.

Genting Singapore integrated resort Resorts World Sentosa was fined S$2.25m in December over “systemic” failures in due diligence involving third-party depositors between 2016 and 2019.

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Delaware Mobile Sports-Betting Expansion Bill Dies
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A bill that would expand mobile sports betting in Delaware by allowing casinos to partner with multiple sportsbooks has died in committee as the legislative session ended Sunday (June 30). 

House Bill 365, sponsored by Representative Franklin Cooke, a Democrat, would have authorized two skins each for the state’s three casinos. Operators would have faced an 18 percent tax rate.

Retail sports betting at the state’s three land-based casinos has been legal in Delaware since 2018. In addition, parlay wagers on professional and college football have been permitted since 2009 and continue to be offered at more than 100 retail outlets.

In late December, Rush Street Interactive (RSI) launched its BetRivers sportsbook after executing a contract last year to serve as the exclusive mobile sports betting and online casino partner of the Delaware Lottery. The BetRivers platform is co-branded in Delaware with the state's three incumbent land-based casinos.

The bill initially advanced from the House Administrative Committee to House Appropriations on May 23 but died in June when the Appropriations Committee did not take up the measure within 12 legislative days.

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BlueBet Exits Indiana Sports-Betting Market
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BlueBet Holdings confirmed Monday (July 1) that its wholly-owned subsidiary BlueBet has terminated its market access agreement with Horseshoe Hammond, a casino operated by Caesars Entertainment in Hammond, Indiana.

The decision to exit Indiana was effective Sunday (June 30) and was part of a strategic review of the company’s U.S. operations. While the review is ongoing, BlueBet has decided to focus on three existing business-to-consumer markets: Iowa, Colorado, and Louisiana.

BlueBet will also continue to roll out its business-to-business sportsbook operations. The company’s first U.S. B2B sportsbook deal was with Green Savoree Mid-Ohio, a professional motorsports facility.

“The company expects that demonstrating the strength of its B2B offer will unlock further B2B partnership opportunities, leading to a reduction in the net cash used in scaling the U.S. business,” BlueBet’s Australian-based parent company said in a statement.

“Consequently, BlueBet and Horseshow Hammond have agreed to mutually terminate the market access agreement in Indiana. BlueBet … believes focusing its efforts and capital on its outperforming Australian business, while continuing to scale in the U.S. with its ‘Capital Lite’ market entry strategy, will deliver the best returns on capital.”

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UK-Based Skins Betting Operators Banned In Sweden
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Four operators, including two that offer so-called "skins" gambling, have been banned in Sweden.

The four companies are accused of offering gambling without a licence to Swedish customers. They were named by the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) as ITSFAIL LTD, Teamfail Limited, NewEra BV and JER-TEAM NV.

Both ITSFAIL and Teamfail are cited by the regulator as offering skins gambling, allowing users to bet collectable items from video games which can range from pennies to thousands of dollars in value.

According to data from the UK's Companies House, both of these firms have head offices in the UK and list Ukrainian directors based in Scotland and London. Websites include CSfail (3cs.fail), which lists ITSFAIL as its parent company.

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Kentucky Judge Upholds Skill-Games Ban
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A Kentucky judge has upheld a ban on so-called grey machines, also known as skill games, the state attorney general’s office announced Friday (June 28).

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, signed House Bill 594 in March 2023 that made skill games illegal in the state, with businesses that host the machines and game manufacturers facing local county government fines of up to $25,000 per machine if the devices are not removed.

Pace-O-Matic, which has 2,500 machines in the state, sued to overturn the law. But under an agreement with the Kentucky attorney general, the company only has to disable machines state-wide and not remove them until a Franklin Circuit Court judge rules in the case.

Franklin Circuit Court judge Phillip Shepherd ruled in favor of Attorney General Russell Coleman in each of the seven issues presented, including ruling that the ban was constitutional.

“Our legislators took a bold and bipartisan step to protect Kentucky children and families when they outlawed gray machines,” Coleman said in a statement. “After the law was challenged, our office launched a vigorous defense of the statute and the General Assembly’s fundamental role as our Commonwealth’s policymaking body.”

House Speaker David Osborne, a Republican, praised the court’s decision. Messages left with Pace-O-Matic late Friday were not returned.

"Today's ruling further confirms that these games were illegal and operating without any of the appropriate regulatory guidelines that ensue public safety and integrity," said Osborne.

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New York Extends Downstate Casino Bid Deadline
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The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board has announced its decision to extend the bid submission deadline for three downstate casinos to June 27, 2025.

“This timeline encompasses all legal requirements that potential bidders must meet before we may evaluate applications,” board chair Vicki Been said in a statement Friday (June 28).

The unanimously approved extension comes as Senator Joseph Addabbo’s Senate Bill 9673A proposing an August 31 deadline awaits Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.

Previously, board members have voiced their opposition to Addabbo’s deadline. Been made it clear the board’s preference is for the June 2025 deadline.

“This roadmap also gives communities ample opportunity to have their voices heard, establishes a level playing field among multiple competitors, and affords serious applicants the opportunity to participate in a lucrative and transformational process,” Been said.

Under current state law, three downstate casinos can be built in commercial locations within and around New York City. Each license will cost $500m.

Both MGM Resorts International, which operates Empire City in Yonkers, and Genting, which operates Resorts World New York in Queens, reportedly are the frontrunners for two of the three licenses. That leaves Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and seven other proposals for one license. 

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The Argentine city of Mendoza will block access to unlicensed online betting operators in public spaces and Chile is investigating the National First Division Championship after match-fixing reports.

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