News In Brief: July 31-August 4, 2023

August 4, 2023
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The Australian state of Victoria has banned betting on under-19 sporting events and any players aged 18 or younger.

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Australia's Victoria Bans Betting On Under-19 Teams, Minors

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The gambling regulator in the Australian state of Victoria has announced that it will prohibit betting on under-19 sports competitions and on any individual player under 18.

On Thursday (August 3), the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) said, however, that betting will remain legal for adult sports competitions whose teams contain minors, but bets cannot be placed on minors in the teams individually.

The ban extends to “any other sports that are not governed by an approved sports controlling body”, the VGCCC statement said.

Commission chair Fran Thorn said: “If sports controlling bodies and betting providers do not comply with this decision we will take action, which may include revoking our approval of sports controlling bodies and prosecuting betting providers.”

Peak sports bodies must amend agreements with betting companies within 60 days, the statement said.

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888AFRICA acquires BetLion

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888AFRICA has acquired Kenya and Zambia licensed BetLion, as it looks to continue its expansion across Africa.

Christopher Coyne, CEO of 888AFRICA, called the acquisition “a critical step” in the company’s plans, praising the talent and technology at BetLion.

BetLion’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, will provide a second hub for 888AFRICA, with an existing one already in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

888AFRICA, which was founded in March 2022, is a joint venture part-owned by 888 Holdings, which operates the 888bet brand in Africa.

In a matter of months the company received local licences in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia, where its 888bet brand is currently active.

BetLion has more than 3m registered users and is licensed in several jurisdictions including Kenya, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The price of the acquisition was not disclosed.

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Churchill Downs Brings Back Racing In September

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Churchill Downs Inc. has launched new safety measures ahead of re-launching horseracing at its Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 14.

The meet will take place following the temporary suspension of racing on June 2 during the spring/summer meet to conduct an internal safety review after 12 horse deaths. Most of the races were moved to the company’s Ellis Park racetrack in Henderson, Kentucky.

In a statement, Churchill Downs said it had implemented a number of changes following a “comprehensive evaluation of existing safety protocols and a thorough assessment of industry best practices.”

Among those changes is the establishment of a safety management committee consisting of horsemen designees, racetrack employees and veterinarians to discuss areas that need improvement.

“But the takeaway is the track is very safe,” Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI, told analysts during a second-quarter earnings conference call on Thursday (July 27).

“And what we needed to do is spend some of this time in the interim … to just go soup to nuts through everything we do at the racetrack. There was nothing that jumped out as an apparent cause of the injuries, or the breakdowns.”

Carstanjen stressed that they did not find anything “fundamentally wrong or different about our track from previous years.”

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Missouri Grey-Machines Trial Delayed Unit October

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A state judge in Missouri has delayed the start of a trial that could determine the future of grey-machines, also known as skill-based games.

Lawmakers have been unable to confirm whether the machines are illegal or pass a measure legalizing the games found in convenience stores.

Cole County Judge Daniel Green on Friday (July 28) agreed to delay the trial date to October 3. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the case brought by manufacturer Torch Electronics was scheduled to start on Monday (July 31).

Green sided with attorneys for Torch, who complained that attorneys for the state had given them thousands of pages of previously undisclosed documents less than two weeks before the trial was set to begin.

Torch and Warrenton Oil, which hosts the machines, sued the Missouri Department of Public Safety in 2021, seeking to stop the state law enforcement from seizing the machines as part of a crackdown on illegal gambling.

The company owns thousands of what it calls “no chance gaming” machines operating in convenience stores and other locations. Torch and Warrenton also alleged a pattern of harassment and intimidation by state law enforcement against their business.

The Missouri Gaming Commission has intervened in the case on the side of law enforcement, arguing that these machines are untaxed and unregulated and have damaged the state’s legal and regulated gaming industry.

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Rio Rivals Federal Sports-Betting Regime

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The Lottery of the State of Rio de Janeiro (LOTERJ) amended its sports-betting accreditation notice on Thursday (July 27), to say that operators licensed in Rio can operate throughout the country.

Previously, the chosen operators would only be able to operate within the state.

The updated text reads: “The placing of online bets will always be considered carried out in the territory of the state of Rio de Janeiro, for all purposes, including fiscal and legal ones.”

This contradicts the gambling law of 1944, which states that “the federal lottery will have free circulation throughout the country, while the state lotteries will be bound by the limits of the respective State”.

How long this is allowed remains to be determined. LOTERJ’s offer is certainly more appealing than the planned national scheme, as the licensing fee is R$5m (US$1m) with 5 percent taxation of gross gaming revenue. The national licence, by comparison, is rumoured to be R$30m (US$6.3m) with 18 percent taxation of gross gaming revenue.

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The Australian state of Victoria has banned betting on under-19 sporting events and any players aged 18 or younger.

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