News In Brief: July 10-July 14, 2023

July 14, 2023
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Colombia's gambling regulator has selected a new leader, its fourth such appointment in the past seven months.

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Colombia's Regulator Has New Leftist Director

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Colombian gambling regulator Coljuegos has sworn in its fourth director in seven months. Dr Marco Emilio Hincapié Ramírez is a lawyer by training who has previously served as the manager of the Bogotá Lottery.

Hincapié has also spent his career in local government, serving as a deputy in the Tolima Assembly and a councillor in Ibagué.

He is a leftist, like President Gustavo Petro, and was the general secretary of the president’s leftist party, Colombia Humana.

César Augusto Valencia, a conservative, was the last long-term director of Coljuegos and bowed out in January. At the time, Valencia claimed it was not due to Petro taking office, but merely a coincidence.

He was succeeded by Roger Carillo Campos, who resigned, and Sammy Libos Zuñiga, who was a temporary appointment.

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Manila Court Orders Arrest Of Kazuo Okada, 13 Associates

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A Philippine court has issued arrest warrants for Japanese gambling mogul Kazuo Okada and 13 of his Japanese and Filipino associates for alleged theft during their temporary forcible takeover of the Okada Manila casino in 2022.

The Parañaque Regional Trial Court in Metro Manila on July 7 ordered the arrest of Okada, partner and communications tycoon Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco and 12 others linked to Okada and his use of private security-backed to expel the current Okada Manila management from its premises last year.

Philippine media reports on Wednesday (July 12) said the charges are non-bailable. It was not immediately clear if warrants have been served or if Okada is in the Philippines.

Okada and his colleagues who opened and ran the casino had raided the property in May 2022 after being pushed out of operating company Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) in a family feud.

Okada claimed court support for the move, but he and his associates were subsequently expelled from Okada Manila the following September in a similar forcible action, with support from regulator PAGCOR.

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NBA Commissioner Urges Leagues To Monitor Insider Trading In Sports Betting

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Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA), on Monday (July 10) warned against insider trading in sports betting.

Insider trading is the illegal use of confidential information to gain an advantage in stock trading.

"I think that public markets worked very well in this country," Silver told the Associated Press Sports Editors Convention in Las Vegas.

"But the other side of a public market is the potential for insider trading. And there's very sophisticated algorithms, etcetera, that track it.”

“It's not that different in sports now, especially when you get higher volumes of betting. You have very sophisticated computers; when they see aberrational betting ... you're going to get caught," he said.

Silver said professional sports leagues should continue to rigorously monitor gambling trends on their games, especially after recent suspensions in the National Football League (NFL).

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Australia’s BetStop Self-Exclusion Tool Launches August 21

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The Australian government has announced that its BetStop national self-exclusion register for online gamblers will launch on August 21.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the federal online gaming regulator, said on Tuesday (July 11) that the free service will allow players to self-exclude for a “minimum of three months and up to a lifetime”.

According to the register rules, corporate bookmakers will be prevented from allowing players to place bets, open new accounts or receive marketing messages, an ACMA statement said.

BetStop is one of the key elements of the National Consumer Protection Framework, a suite of mechanisms to reduce online gambling harm that has been introduced piecemeal by state and federal governments since its launch in late 2018.

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Swedish Parliamentarian Pushes For Svenska Spel Sell-Off

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A Swedish lawmaker is lobbying the government to sell off a major part of state-owned operator Svenska Spel.

Member of parliament Jonas Andersson has written to finance minister Elisabeth Svantesson asking whether she plans to sell the parts of the former monopoly operator, which now competes in the licensed online market with private companies while continuing to have exclusive control over the land-based casino and gaming machine market.

In his letter, Andersson notes that both his Sweden Democrats party and Svantesson’s Moderates party had said they were in favour of privatising the competitive portion of Svenska Spel ahead of the country’s recent general election.

The news has been warmly welcomed by representatives of the private industry.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, the head of trade group BOS, said “the state should not act as a commercial actor in the competitive gambling market”.

“We hope that this initiative can contribute to a successful privatisation of Svenska Spel Sport & Casino during the incumbent government’s remaining three years in power,” he said.

The minister is obliged to respond in writing by July 24.

Svenska Spel declined to comment on a potential sale, saying that it was a “question for the owner of Svenska Spel” to answer.

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IGT Lottery Boss Dies Suddenly

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The CEO of global lottery at international lottery operator International Game Technology (IGT) has died suddenly, the company announced on Monday (July 10).

"IGT announced today with great sadness that Fabio Cairoli, IGT CEO of Global Lottery, has suddenly passed away.

“Fabio was an outstanding executive. He was distinguished by his passion, drive, sincerity, and commitment to results and innovation.

“While these operations remain in very capable and experienced hands, we recognize that many in the lottery industry also held personal relationships with Fabio, and that he was a greatly respected friend within and beyond the industry," said Marco Sala, IGT executive chair.

"At this time, IGT extends its deepest condolences to Fabio Cairoli's family, as we dedicate our efforts to supporting their needs during this difficult time."

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North Dakota Settles Case With Gambling Equipment Distributors

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North Dakota’s attorney general has settled a case with three gambling equipment distributors accused of violating the state’s charitable gaming laws and regulations.

The settlement includes a $125,000 fine and acknowledgement of wrongdoing.

Attorney General Drew Wrigley in April filed an administrative complaint accusing Western Distributing Company, Plains Gaming Distributing and Midwest Gaming Distributing of excessive rent payments.

Wrigley also accused the companies of attempting to influence bars’ charitable gambling activities through the Wall of Honor veterans nonprofit, which recognizes military members and veterans on indoor display boards.

The three distributors must also pay costs incurred by the attorney general’s office, which totaled more than $36,300 as of Friday (July 7).

According to the seven-page settlement, the three distributors also acknowledged making inaccurate public statement, and face potential revocation of their licenses if they violate any gaming laws or regulations during the next three years.

Wrigley’s settlement agreement was released on Thursday (July 6) and comes more than two months after Republican Governor Doug Burgum signed Senate Bill 2304 that would limit charitable gaming locations to a maximum of ten electronic pull-tab machines.

The machines first appeared in bars and restaurants in 2008 and now number 4,500 state-wide.

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Washington Tribes Opposed To Maverick’s Lawsuit Appeal

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Rebecca George, executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA), has criticized Maverick Gaming’s decision to appeal their case, saying it was trying to invalidate their tribal-state gaming compacts that grant them exclusivity over sports betting.

“Maverick’s lawsuit is a direct attack on the carefully negotiated tribal-state gaming compacts authorized by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,” George told VIXIO GamblingCompliance in an email.

“The lower court decision to dismiss the case was correct and stands as a strong ratification of long-standing principles of tribal sovereignty,” she said.

“Washington State tribes remain united in opposing Maverick's ongoing efforts to undermine tribal sovereignty and the tribal-state compacts.”

On July 3, Maverick filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, claiming a district court judge went too far in allowing a tribe to seek dismissal of the case.

U.S. District Court Judge David Estudillo dismissed the case in February, agreeing with the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, who intervened in the case, that Maverick’s lawsuit was attempting to “invalidate tribal gaming compacts, an acknowledged legal entitlement.”

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Maine's Top Gaming Regulator Serves Suspension

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Milt Champion, executive director of Maine’s Gambling Control Unit, will return to work on Monday (July 10) after a suspension without pay, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Champion was placed on administrative leave on May 17 after issuing tweets that used a sexist slur and replied to a post that showed a white nationalist group marching in Washington, D.C.

“At least they are not burning down cities and looting stores,” Champion posted. The two tweets were deleted.

The Gambling Control Unit is overseen by the Department of Public Safety. Chapman has been Maine’s top gaming regulator since 2016 and has been overseeing the implementation of mobile and retail sports betting in Maine under a law signed in 2021 by Democratic Governor Janet Mills.

“While the two tweets were intended to be humorous, I recognize they were anything but,” Chapman said in a statement published Friday by Channel 8 in Portland, Maine. “They were a mistake and an error in judgement, and I apologize for my actions.”

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Colombia's gambling regulator has selected a new leader, its fourth such appointment in the past seven months.

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