News In Brief: July 4-July 8, 2022

July 8, 2022
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A trailblazing former Nevada regulator gets top job at Las Vegas NFL team.

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NFL's Raiders Hire Former Nevada Gaming Regulator

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The Las Vegas Raiders have hired former Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) chair Sandra Douglass Morgan as the team’s new president, owner Marc Davis announced at a news conference on Thursday (July 7).

Morgan, who is also the former chair of the Nevada Athletic Commission, becomes the first black woman to serve as president of a National Football League franchise in league history.

“I have been the first in other positions I have held,” Morgan said. “I definitely don’t want to be the last.”

She joined Buffalo’s Kim Pegula, who is also the Bills’ co-owner, and Kristi Coleman of the Carolina Panthers, as the third woman to be hired as a team president.

Morgan replaces Dan Ventrelle, who was fired in early May.

She resigned as chair of the control board in October 2020 after less than two years into a four-year term. Morgan, a Las Vegas native and an attorney, serves on the board of directors for Allegiant Travel Company and Caesars Entertainment.

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Peru Online Gambling Bill Clears Congressional Committee

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A bill to license and regulate online gaming and sports betting in Peru was approved on Wednesday (July 6) by the committee on foreign commerce and tourism in the national Congress.

Bill 2070/2021, introduced in May by the Peruvian government, passed the committee by a vote of five in favour with four abstentions. The bill will now be eligible for a final vote on the floor of the unicameral national legislature.

As approved in committee, the bill will allow for companies incorporated in Peru to obtain licences to operate online casinos and sportsbooks, as well as physical sports-betting outlets subject to certain distance restrictions.

Gross revenue would be subject to the same 12 percent tax rate applied to slot machine activities in Peru, with an additional consumption tax applied in the amount of 1 percent of every bet placed.

Only licensed operators would be eligible to advertise or sponsor sports teams in Peru, while the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) would be able to collaborate with other Peruvian authorities to block unregulated sites.

Peru’s regulated gambling market is currently limited to a network of physical casinos and slot halls, with Mincetur lacking any legal authority over a widespread grey market for sports betting shops and affiliated online platforms.

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Ukraine Urges Gambling Industry to Avoid War Imagery

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Ukraine’s Gambling and Lottery Regulatory Commission (KRAIL) has issued a missive instructing the industry not to use any kind of war or military symbols in their advertising.

“These actions are manipulation and speculation on the suffering of millions of people, and pose a threat to the interests of the state and national security,” it states.

KRAIL also reiterated that illegal gambling platforms and games should not be encouraged or advertised, now more than ever, emphasising the security risk during wartime.

“This can … lead to uncontrolled participation in gambling by persons prone to gambling, the use of personal data of Ukrainian citizens for diversionary purposes and fraud, [with] severe moral and economic consequences for both individual citizens and the state as a whole.”

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Malta Awards Lottery Operations To National Lottery

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The Malta Gaming Authority has granted a ten-year licence for the operation of several lotteries to National Lottery PLC.

The lotteries include Lotto, Super 5 and other games. National Lottery PLC takes over the licence from Maltco, which operated the Maltese lotteries for nearly 20 years.

National Lottery put in the winning bid for the licence at €105,077,777, while Sisal Malta Consortium submitted a €53,330,001 bid.

Silvio Schembri, the minister for the economy, European funds and lands, said: “Together we ensure that National Lottery PLC continues to promote, design and put into practice the principles of responsible gaming, while protecting its customers. The economic profit from gambling should be given its importance, but not at the expense of the players. "

National Lottery PLC is a part of the IZI Group, formerly Pinnacle Gaming Group, which are the operators of the Dragonara Casino. It has promised to introduce new games to the Maltese lottery space in addition to maintaining the existing games.

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Cyprus Launches Prevalence Study

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The National Betting Authority (NBA) of Cyprus has announced the launch of the second pan-Cypriot prevalence survey.

NBA president Ioanna Fiakkou said the main objectives of the research are to understand problem gambling and participation rates.

Additionally, the research will look into gambling habits, including the impact on people’s budgets, as well as the public's knowledge of legal and illegal gambling.

“The findings of the research are considered extremely important, as they will contribute to the implementation of the Safe Play Strategy. In particular, they will contribute to the development of documented and effective programs, policies, and initiatives that strengthen safety and public health,” Fiakkou said.

A tender for the research project that will sample 3,000 people from all over Cyprus will be launched, with results expected in February 2023.

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Opposition To California Tribal Sports-Betting Proposition Grows

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Almost two dozen organizations, lawmakers and local governments in California have added their support to an effort by more than 80 cities and local elected officials to defeat Proposition 26 that would allow tribal casinos to offer retail sports betting, as well as roulette and craps.

The measure also allows retail wagering at racetracks and imposes a 10 percent tax.

The political action committee (PAC), known as Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies and which is supported by the state’s cardroom industry, opposes a specific provision that enables private citizens to launch civil enforcement actions against illegal gambling violations not being pursued by the state attorney general.

In a statement released Wednesday (July 6), the PAC argues that allowing the “weaponizing” of the Private Attorneys General Act puts the $5.5bn in total economic impact and $500m in tax revenue generated by cardrooms state-wide at risk.

“Proposition 26 expands PAGA into new territory by allowing tribal casinos to sue their competitors — forcing cardrooms out of business with unlimited, meritless lawsuits,” the statement reads.

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Michigan Legislature Increases Funding For Gaming Regulator

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The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has secured an additional $7m in funding to promote responsible gambling initiatives and extend the agency’s outreach to community organizations.

The additional funding was agreed to by lawmakers as part of the state’s $76bn fiscal year 2023 budget, which is now waiting for Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s signature.

The new budget is expected to take effect October 1. MGCB officials also noted the budget provided funding for new agency positions and IT support and infrastructure to assist with the surge of higher-than-expect internet gaming activity, online sports betting and fantasy sports.

The funding will increase network storage capacity, and network speeds to support operations, including the transfer of large regulatory files.

“Our 2023 budget emphasizes investments to help strengthen our mission and integrity, support local charities, and educate Michigan citizens on ways to enjoy gaming responsibly,” MGCB executive director Henry Williams said in a statement.

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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Seeks End To Fuel Requirement For VGTs

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A Republican lawmaker argues that truck stops in Pennsylvania should not have to sell a certain amount of diesel fuel each month to be licensed to offer video gaming terminals (VGTs) inside their businesses.

Representative Seth Grove said the state’s 2017 expanded gaming act is unfair because it requires a truck stop to sell at least 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel to apply for a gaming license.

Grove wants any gasoline or diesel station to be able to offer VGTs.

“Simply, linking a licensee to a commodity makes no sense,” Grove wrote in a memorandum seeking co-sponsors for his proposal.

“Think of it this way, would the commonwealth link a tavern license to how many wings a tavern sells per month? Or linking a dentist license based on how many root canals a dentist performs per month? Of course not.”

As of Wednesday (July 6), Grove has not introduced legislation to amend the state’s regulations on VGTs.

There are 65 video gaming terminal sites state-wide, with each location limited to five VGTs. The terminals only accept cash, and by law the maximum bet allowed is $5 with a maximum payout of $1,000.

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, with June’s numbers still being tallied, gross revenues for fiscal-year 2021-2022 were $38.07m, which with a 42 percent tax generated about $15.9m for the state.

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Brazil Overturns Bolsonaro’s Latest Lottery Veto

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Brazil’s National Congress has overturned Jair Bolsonaro’s veto of the New Aldir Blanc Law, which funds cultural spaces and programmes in the wake of COVID-19.

Part of the funding comes from a deduction of 3 percent from the gross collection of federal lotteries and similar contests under federal authority. Specifically, the deduction comes from the amount earmarked for prize pots and proceeds from the Federal Lottery of Culture collection.

Bolsonaro listed the decrease in lottery prizes, which could harm the sale of lottery products, as one of the reasons for his veto. Bolsonaro has also famously, with the support of his evangelical bloc of supporters, vowed to never legalise gambling for moral reasons.

The Aldir Blanc Cultural Emergency law lists 17 activities that can be funded by the project, including festivals, scholarships, free activities for public school students, courses, and fairs.

Although the funds themselves come from the federal government, they will be transferred to states for management.

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Romania Tax Hike Dulled As Process Continued

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Lobbyists have, for now, succeeded in softening Romania’s planned winnings tax, but rates are still set to be hiked in a draft emergency ordinance published by the government this week.

A document circulated on Monday (July 4) lists the new rates as starting at 10 percent for revenue up to 3,000 lei (€600), moving to 20 percent plus 300 lei for winnings between 3,000 and 10,000 lei (€2,000) and then topping out at 40 percent plus 1,700 lei for revenue of more than 10,000 lei.

Gambling revenue in the context of the player tax is understood to equate to withdrawals under Romanian fiscal law.

The government’s original plan had been to increase what is currently a progressive rate starting at 1 percent to a flat 40 percent levy for all gambling winnings.

The new law would apply to gambling verticals across the board, but includes a small concession for land-based venues, in which winnings of up to 600 lei (€120) will not be taxed.

The government plans to officially adopt the fiscal code amendments next week, although it has not committed to any firm timeline and sources say it could act sooner.

The same sources also told VIXIO that talks remain ongoing over the gambling rates and the situation could still change multiple times before the rates are finally introduced.

The changes to gambling winnings taxes will take effect from August 1, according to the draft amendments.

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Third California Tribe Supports Mobile Sports-Betting Initiative

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A third California tribe has endorsed Proposition 27, the mobile sports-betting measure on the November ballot backed by FanDuel, DraftKings and five other commercial gaming companies, the campaign announced Tuesday (July 5).

Chairman Leo Sisco of the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe said their support of Proposition 27 was about providing an “economic opportunity to fortify our tribe’s future for generations and protect tribal sovereignty.”

On Wednesday (June 29), two other tribes — Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians and Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians — announced their support for the measure known as the California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act.

All three tribes own casinos and are in rural locations. So far, Proposition 27 has garnered support from three smaller tribes in the state, who must compete with tribes that operate resort-casinos in areas closer to the large metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco.

Proposition 26, which is also on the ballot, allows tribes to operate roulette, dice games, and sports wagering at tribal casinos, subject to compacts negotiated by the governor and ratified by the legislature. It also imposes a 10 percent tax on profits from retail wagering at racetracks.

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U.S. Fuel Company Doesn't Condone Grey-Market Games In Missouri

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A major fuel supplier in Missouri has informed its wholesale distributors and branded outlets that it is opposed to the spread of so-called skill-based games, or grey-market machines, at convenience stores and gas stations where it does business.

“We expect the operators of these branded stations to abide by local and state laws. We do not condone illegal gambling or any other illegal activities,” Bernardo Fallas, a spokesman with Phillips 66, told VIXIO GamblingCompliance in an email on Tuesday (July 5).

Fallas did not comment on whether the company had reached out to its branded outlets and other retailers to demand they remove any machines from their locations. The opposition to illegal gambling by Phillip 66 was first reported early Tuesday by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Phillips 66 is the first company to announce its opposition to grey-market games.

Missouri Lottery officials estimate there are more than 14,000 of these so-called “no chance” or “pre-reveal” devices across the state. The state has legal, regulated gaming in the form of 13 casinos, charitable bingo and raffles and a state lottery.

Currently, any efforts to deal with unregulated games in Missouri has been blocked by supporters of legalizing video lottery terminals (VLTs), who have also denied efforts to pass any sports-betting bill in the state legislature.

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Brazil Appoints New Head Of Gambling Regulations

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Alexandre Ywata has been named as the replacement for Daniella Marques Consentino as the head of the Special Secretariat for Productivity and Competitiveness of the Brazilian Ministry of Economy (SEPEC-ME).

The regulation of fixed-odds betting and sports betting will fall under SEPEC-ME’s purview when gambling regulations are finally adopted. As of April this year, SEPEC-ME also regulates Brazil’s lotteries and sweepstakes.

Ywata currently serves as the secretary of development at SEPEC and previously was the undersecretary for economic law at the special secretariat for the treasury and budget. He has a PhD in statistics from Northwestern University in Chicago.

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Italy Adds 24 Months To Betting Shop Licences

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Italy's parliament has approved an extension to land-based sports-betting concessions.

Betting concessions have been extended by two years, until June 2024, to give officials the time to get ready for new tenders and to prepare for Italy’s long-promised sector reorganisation.

The yearly fee of the extension for each of the 5,754 dedicated outlets will be €7,500 and €4,500 for each of the 4,526 “corners”, with estimated yearly tax revenues of about €63m.

The plan to reorganise the land-based gambling sector, included in a Delegation Law draft, is still on its way from the Ministry of Economy to the government. It will need to be approved in the coming weeks before undergoing debate in parliament.

The Treasury Undersecretary, Federico Freni, said that the gaming bill concerns the territorial rationalisation of machines and the betting shops network.

He also stated that the State-Regions joint body will certainly be involved in the process, which will start after the general elections in Spring 2023.

Follow-up decrees will then introduce player protection tools such as time and spending limits, lowering of the minimum bet amount, strengthening self-exclusion and placing responsibility for the certification of gambling halls with the shop dealer.

A system to block payments to illegal operators is also planned.

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European Nations Agree To Share Self-Exclusion

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Liechtenstein and Switzerland have agreed to combine their lists of excluded players, in an effort to bolster gambling harm reduction in both countries.

Large casinos in Liechtenstein, close to the border with Switzerland, are popular gambling destinations for Swiss residents.

The terms of the deal were hashed out in June and an agreement will be signed in the autumn, said a spokesperson for the office of the deputy prime minister of Liechtenstein.

Proposed similar data sharing with Austria and Germany deals have yet to come to pass.

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Kenya In Licensing Renewal Debacle

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The Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) has issued a directive to mobile network operators demanding they cease services to gambling operators until they receive authorisation from the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).

CAK director Ezra Chiloba explained that the directive is motivated by the BCLB’s current licensing renewal process for the 2022-23 financial year, which has reportedly seen many applications fall short of the regulator’s requirements.

“To ensure that these communications services are used within the remits of the regulatory framework, the authority directs operators that the use of licensed ICT platforms and services for the provision of betting and gambling services shall only be by firms duly licensed by BCLB,” Chiloba said.

Additionally, the communications watchdog now requires mobile network operators to provide returns to the BCLB and the CAK detailing “numbering resources (USSDs, shortcodes, and PayBill numbers) allocated to licensed betting and gambling service provided on a monthly basis”.

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888 Completes Will Hill Deal

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888 has completed the acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets after the latter’s purchase by Caesars Entertainment.

UK-listed 888 agreed a discount to the purchase price, with Caesars also providing more than £250m in indemnities, in case William Hill receives a major UK fine or changes to its licence conditions.

It was disclosed earlier this year that William Hill is under investigation by the Gambling Commission over previous compliance concerns and possible mis-reporting of data during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Former William Hill CEO Ulrik Bengtsson and its ex-CFO, Eric Hageman, are leaving the business following completion of the acquisition, said 888.

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Chilean Congressman Wants Ad Ban At Sports Venues

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A congressman from Coquimbo, Marco Antonio Sulantay, has presented a bill to ban online betting operators from advertising at sporting events and sports clubs.

It comes just after football club Colo Colo signed a deal making Coolbet its primary sponsor for the 2023 season. It is the seventh Chilean club with a betting house as its main partner. According to Sulantay, “11 of the 16 professional soccer sports clubs have a business relationship with bookmakers”.

In Chile, online gambling is not yet legal, and Sulantay believes that offshore operators therefore should not see any profits without paying taxes.

“They have taken over sporting events through static advertising and especially through sponsoring football teams, which can become a serious problem, such as the participation of minors.”

A similar project was presented in April in Congress.

Meanwhile, in early June, Chile’s Internal Revenue Service said it would enforce taxes against unregistered foreign companies, including gambling operators, that have not been paying value added tax (VAT) to the government.

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Brazil Officials No Clearer On Sports-Betting Timeline

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Brazil’s International Gaming show continued on Thursday (June 30) with more obfuscation from government officials regarding when market watchers can expect to see regulation for gambling in general or sports betting.

Iuri Ribeir da Silva e Castro, who is the undersecretary of defence of competition and competitiveness at the Ministry of Economy, did allow that Brazil has studied the Buenos Aires gambling legislation in particular.

“We have studied the regulations of several international markets, such as England, Malta, Colombia, the United States, Portugal and Argentina (Buenos Aires in particular), to learn of success stories. We want to repeat the best international practices, and we still have to consult the Brazilian laws, so that the regulation of betting is in line with them," he said, referring to Bill PL 442/91, which will govern gambling in general.

It is not clear whether he was referring to the City of Buenos Aires or the Province of Buenos Aires, which are subject to slightly different regulations. In both the city and the province, operators must be domiciled there to operate.

In the province, international operators must partner with an Argentine company to be granted a licence. The province has also limited the number of licences granted to seven. The city has unlimited licences and there is no such requirement.

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A trailblazing former Nevada regulator gets top job at Las Vegas NFL team.

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