News In Brief: July 11-July 15, 2022

July 15, 2022
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An effort to ban online gambling companies advertising via sports in Chile has made legislative progress.

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Chile's Sports Commission Approves Online Gambling Ad Ban

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The Sports Commission of Chile’s Chamber of Deputies has approved the legislative initiative of deputy Marco Antonio Sulantay, which would ban online gambling operators from advertising in events and sports venues.

"Considering that these companies do not have regulation in our country and that the activity they advertise can have a negative effect on spectators of sporting events," Sulantay said at the time it was presented.

He later tweeted: “These companies are not regulated in Chile, they evade taxes and encourage gambling, especially in minors.”

The legislation cites the success and profits of companies such as Betano, Betsson and Betway, which it says “operate in our country without any type of regulation and generate a great amount of profit s in the national market”.

It specifically prohibits “the advertising and sponsorship of online bookmakers at face-to-face sporting events, broadcasting of sporting events via streaming, radio, and television, and on t-shirts and sports equipment”.

Currently, 11 of Chile’s 16 football clubs are sponsored by online betting operators. If this legislation passed, it would have a significant impact on their partnerships.

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Playtech Says TTB Has No Plans To Make Bid

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Hong Kong-based TTB Partners said it does not intend to make an offer for Playtech due to "challenging underlying market conditions", Playtech said on Thursday (July 14).

Playtech said it expected to generate more than £200m in adjusted EBITDA in the first half, making it "very confident about positive long-term prospects for the group".

On July 11, the software and gambling services company completed an all-cash sale of its Finalto financial unit. It will use most of the money to repay revolving credit facilities.

Playtech's talks with TTB were confirmed in February, after failure of a £2.1bn offer from Australia's Aristocrat Leisure.

TTB continues to be supportive of Playtech's board and management team, Playtech said.

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Ontario Fines Ottawa Casino After Regulatory Audit

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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has fined Hard Rock Ottawa a total of C$227,500 after an audit identified 36 violations of the province’s regulatory standards for land-based gaming at the company’s casino at Rideau Carleton Raceway.

According to an AGCO statement released on Wednesday (July 13), the regulatory violations included marketing to self-excluded individuals, repeatedly failing to implement and enforce required anti-money laundering procedures, and failing to address matters of concern identified by auditors in a timely manner.

The Hard Rock casino’s compliance function also was allegedly not independent of the company’s operations, staff were not sufficiently trained, and the casino did not sufficiently protect its gaming systems from security vulnerabilities.

“The AGCO has the mandate and the responsibility to ensure casinos are operating with honesty, integrity and in the public interest,” said AGCO CEO Tom Mungham. “These penalties are intended to drive the improvements needed at the Rideau Carleton Casino, and we will be carefully monitoring the casino’s activities to ensure these significant audit findings are addressed.”

Wednesday’s fine comes in the wake of three recent penalties levied by the AGCO against online operators BetMGM, PointsBet and DraftKings for alleged violations of the province’s ban on inducements in gambling advertising.

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Betfred Bets On Bengals For Ohio Market Access

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Betfred has been named as the official partner of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals for sports betting in Ohio, according to an announcement made by the team on Wednesday (July 13).

Similar to Arizona, Ohio’s sports wagering legislation grants major pro sports teams the ability to apply for licenses to operate retail sports betting at their home stadiums and through mobile platforms across the state via a designated sportsbook partner.

The Bengals applied for a so-called Type A mobile sports-betting license on July 8, according to Ohio Casino Control Commission records.

Other partnerships between sports-betting operators and Ohio sports teams include Bally’s and the Cleveland Browns, Fubo and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tipico and Columbus Crew, and BetParx and the PGA Tour’s Muirfield Village Golf Course.

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IBIA: 88 Suspicious Betting Alerts In Q2

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Football, tennis and horseracing account for just over 80 percent of the 88 suspicious betting cases sent to authorities for further investigation by the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) in the second quarter of 2022.

Football had the most cases with 32, followed by tennis with 27, then horseracing with 12, according to a recent summary of the body's activities.

Table tennis had eight reports in total, six of which were from Poland, the most from a single country for one sport.

In comparison, IBIA’s first-quarter 2021 report showed only a total of seven reports from table tennis matches, compared with a high of 26 seen in the second quarter of 2020, reflecting a sustained return to normality since a spike of suspicious activity during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Europe accounts for just over half (52 percent) of all alerts reported, followed by Asia (20 percent) and then North America (15 percent).

The IBIA said: “Ontario was the principal focus of regulatory interest during Q2, with the Canadian province opening its online market to regulated operators.”

The IBIA is an independent integrity monitor used by the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and represents the majority of the operators currently offering sports betting in the province.

The IBIA launched its match-fixing monitoring service in North America, with backing from FanDuel and DraftKings, in February 2022.

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Ukraine Battling Russian Encroachment In Online Gambling Market

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Ukraine’s Regulatory Commission on Gamling and Lotteries (KRAIL) says it has reported thousands of illegal websites since its launch in 2020.

In a bulletin on its website, KRAIL warned that numerous unlicensed operators were still targeting the country.

As of June 1, the regulator said it had reported 1,570 websites for offering illegal gambling and 55 for operating illegal lotteries.

A large number of the offending sites are based in Russia, said KRAIL. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine briefly forced the gambling regulator to go underground, before it returned to action in April.

“Participation in gambling which is organized without obtaining a corresponding license brings profit to criminals, does not replenish the budget of Ukraine and, possibly, also replenishes the budget of the Russian Federation, from which the occupying state finances military actions and terrorism on the territory of Ukraine,” KRAIL said.

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Florida Sports Betting In Legal Limbo Until 2023

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is unlikely to rule on an appeal to reinstate legal sports betting in Florida until mid-2023, according to a briefing schedule published by the court on Friday (July 8).

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are appealing the November 2021 ruling of the D.C. Circuit Court to invalidate a landmark tribal-state gaming compact that was deemed approved by the department three months earlier.

Opening written briefs will be due from the federal government and the tribe by August 17, with a reply due from the owner of the Miami-area commercial casino challenging the compact by October 6. Reply briefs from the Seminole Tribe and Department of the Interior would then be required by November 14.

Oral arguments in the case have not yet been scheduled but would follow sometime after that date. Typically, a Court of Appeals ruling would be expected around six months after oral proceedings.

Last year's lower court ruling forced the Seminole Tribe to suspend the operation of its Hard Rock mobile sportsbook in Florida.

The 2021 compact authorized both in-person sports wagering at the tribe’s casinos, as well as on a state-wide basis via servers located on Indian lands. Other provisions of the invalidated compact include authorization of craps and roulette and permitting the Seminole Tribe to develop up to three new casino-resorts near Fort Lauderdale.

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Dominican Republic Announces New Deal, New Legislation For Lottery Banks

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The Dominican Republic continues to move towards consensus on gambling regulation with the signing of a 13 point agreement between the National Federation of Lottery Banks (Fenabanca) and the Association of Lottery Dealers (Asocol).

The agreement has guaranteed the rights of lottery bank owners established in 1999, the elimination of street vending and settled the previously contested 200 metre required distance between lottery banks.

Dominican President Luis Rodolfo Abinader and the director of the National Lottery and Casinos, Teófilo Quico Tabar, were present for the negotiations and the agreement was signed on July 1.

On July 4, during a meeting with both Fenbanca and Asocol, President Abinader said that work would begin on a bill that will improve and expand upon existing regulations.

These plans have happened in conjunction with the long-awaited closing of lottery bank registration on July 1. After two delays, the final deadline to register or face penalties arrived after many negotiations with an unhappy Fenabanca, which during the negotiation process physically bombarded Tabar at work.

The Dominican Republic is in the process of rebuilding gambling regulations in the wake of several lottery scandals and fraudulent draws in the last 18 months.

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Argentine Football Stars Become NFTs

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The Argentine Football Association (AFA) is diving into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) through a deal with the game Sorare, which allows players to participate in fantasy football with NFT trading cards of their favourite players.

Football legends Lionel Messi, Ángel Di María, and Paulo Dybala, among others, will now be available on the game, which uses blockchain technology. Built on Ethereum, Sorare was developed in 2018 by Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montfort. Julia told the press that the deal is “another milestone to become the next giant of sports entertainment."

AFA commercial and marketing manager Leandro Petersen commented: “We are excited about the potential of this partnership and look forward to the launch of the first cards prior to the start of the World Cup. It is important to continue generating new sources of income for our Association and to develop digital products that increase the presence of the AFA brand throughout the world. Through this agreement we achieved both objectives.”

Sports betting and online gambling is legal in most but not all of Argentina's provinces, where regulation is not federal but local. The deal is representative of a larger trend in the region of football clubs desperately trying to see their part of the profits of online gaming.

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Maryland Commission Releases Mobile Betting Licensing Rules

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Entities applying for a license to operate online sports betting in Maryland will have to be at least 5 percent owned by individuals with a personal net worth of less than $1.847m, according to draft licensing regulations published on Monday (July 11) by the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC).

The commission is scheduled to vote to adopt the rules during a meeting on Wednesday, starting a formal consultation process ahead of an application period for up to 60 mobile and 30 retail sports wagering licenses still available under a 2021 state law.

License applicants will be evaluated against 17 specific criteria, including their “demonstrated willingness and commitment to make investments in Maryland,” as well as “evidence of Applicant’s serious, good-faith efforts to solicit and interview a reasonable number of minority and women investors and whether or not any of those investors have purchased an equity share in the applicant.”

Among other things, applicants will be required to disclose any time they have been fined more than $5,000 by a state gaming regulator within the past three years.

In addition to the draft licensing regulations, the SWARC published draft application forms for mobile and retail sports wagering licenses.

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U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Ran Sports-Betting Pool

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From 1986 until his death in 2005 at the age of 80, William Rehnquist served as one of the most conservative chief justices in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

He also happened to operate a basketball betting pool in violation of a federal law which the Supreme Court overturned 13 years after his death.

“When I clerked a long time ago in the Supreme Court for Justice (John Paul) Stevens, chief justice Rehnquist ran a college March Madness pool out of his office, an illegal sports betting pool in the Supreme Court,” Dave Friedman, executive vice president of the Boston Red Sox said Sunday (July 10) in Boston during the summer meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States.

As laughter erupted from the audience, Friedman said illegal sports betting continues to be rampant despite the Supreme Court's decision in May 2018 which allows states to legalize and regulate wagers on games.

“I think a lot of legislators have no idea how pervasive it is,” Friedman said.

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COVID-19 Outbreak Forces Macau Casinos Closed

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All of Macau’s casinos have been shut down as a new coronavirus outbreak grips the region.

Macau’s many casinos and all other non-essential businesses were ordered to close by the government, in the wake of a spike in infections, with around 19,000 people currently in quarantine, according to official figures.

Casinos last shut in February 2020, for five days, although casinos have been effectively kneecapped for the past few weeks following government requests that all residents work from home.

The shutdown is expected to be extended for another few weeks, said analysts.

Reacting to the shut down, Las Vegas Sands loaned its Macau casinos $1bn to see them through the closures, according to an SEC filing on Monday (June 11).

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Dutch Motion To Ban Shirt Sponsorships

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A motion has been passed in the Netherlands preventing the government from exempting football shirt sponsorships and other on-field advertising from a proposal currently being drafted to ban untargeted advertising for high-risk games of chance.

The motion was passed after it was approved by 108 out of the 150 members of the House of Representatives.

Member of Parliament for the Christian Union party Mirjam Bikker, one of the motion's cross-party sponsors, applauded the motions passing on social media.

“Let children and young people enjoy sports and take top athletes as an example without encouraging gambling,” Bikker said.

On June 30, the Dutch government banned ads using role models for casino games and is reviewing a possible ban on print, TV and radio ads for higher-risk games.

However, earlier in the month, justice minister Franc Weerwind told parliament he does “not consider a general ban on advertising for high-risk games of chance desirable”.

“Gambling does have risks,” Weerwind said. “Because of these risks, it is important that players are well protected” from “excessive advertising and its wide untargeted reach.”

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Casumo Reprimanded In Denmark

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Casumo’s risk assessment was critiqued by the Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) in the months before it exited the market, the regulator has revealed.

In a bulletin published on Friday (June 8), the DGA said Casumo’s risk assessment was lacking in player identification and establishing the different risks of its offering.

In March 2022, the regulator found that the operator was not appropriately risk assessing its separate products, properly checking customer types or temporary accounts or doing any risk assessment at all on its app.

The authority said that the operator was not punished because it had since updated its risk assessment, but also noted that the company suspended its licence on April 18 and left the Danish market.

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Nevada's Former Chief Regulator Praises Raiders' Hiring Of Successor

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Becky Harris, who served as chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) from 2018 to 2019, has said her successor's new job as president of the Las Vegas Raiders should help the gambling industry and the National Football League (NFL).

The hiring of Sandra Douglass Morgan, who succeeded Harris as NGCB chair in January 2019 and served until October 2020, is likely to promote uniform protocols to ensure integrity in sports, Harris said.

"I love that we're going to have diverse opinions and love that she has gaming experience so that she can bring that experience to a professional sports league," Harris told VIXIO GamblingCompliance after speaking on Saturday (July 9) in Boston at the summer meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States.

Republican Governor Brian Sandoval appointed Harris as NGCB chair and Morgan replaced her after being appointed by Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak.

A former Nevada state senator, Harris is a distinguished fellow in gaming and leadership at the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

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An effort to ban online gambling companies advertising via sports in Chile has made legislative progress.

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