News In Brief: May 1-May 5, 2023

May 5, 2023
Fine for a Dutch casino after self-excluded player allowed access nine times, a UK MP is under investigation over gambling industry links and Penn still positive on US igaming future.


Merkur Casino Fined Over Exclusion Failure


The Merkur Casino in the Dutch city of Almere has been fined €45,000 by the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) for repeatedly allowing a self-excluded player to enter the casino.

An individual registered on the country's Cruks self-exclusion system entered the Gauselmann-owned property nine times in early 2022, said the KSA.

Staff received an error message when checking the individual against the Cruks list, but should have refused him entry on that basis, the regulator said.


Cheltenham MP Investigated Over BGC Job


A UK member of parliament is under investigation over allegations he provided parliamentary advice to trade group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), in breach of Westminster rules.

Laurence Robertson, whose constituency includes Cheltenham racecourse, has been paid £2,000 a week by the BGC for ten hours work a week since 2020.

A report in The Times newspaper questioned whether Robertson had given advice over lobbying parliament to the BGC, which has been explicitly against rules for MPs since December 2022.

Daniel Greenberg, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, has opened an investigation into Robertson, according to The Times.

Greenberg is also investigating the leader of the betting and gaming parliamentary pressure group, Scott Benton, over allegations the MP offered to lobby on behalf of the gambling industry.


Penn Entertainment, Rush Street Turn Page On iGaming To 2024


Jay Snowden, chief executive and president of Penn Entertainment, said it has been well documented that there has been no movement this year in states legalizing internet gaming, but that could change next year.

“It’s really hard to handicap,” Snowden told analysts during a first-quarter earnings conference call on Thursday (May 4). “The way we think about this is that it’s only a matter of time and the states that have already legalized online sports betting, which is online gaming, and so online casino is very likely to come.”

Snowden said it is a question of what that looks like.

“I think once you get a state or two in the Midwest, it usually becomes an arms race for tax revenue purposes and so it will probably move faster once you get Indiana, Illinois or Iowa,” he said. “Nothing imminent. I’m not going to bring out my crystal ball and say what that looks like in 2024 or 2025.”

Rush Street Interactive CEO Richard Schwartz told analysts on Wednesday (May 3) that he saw a “significant amount of progress” by state lawmakers, with iGaming bills being introduced but ultimately failing to be passed in six states.

“Regardless of the near-term emotions, there is progress being made,” Schwartz said.


New Jersey, Ohio Regulators Ban Alabama Bets Amid Scandal


The University of Alabama fired its head baseball coach, Brad Bohannon, on Thursday (May 4) less than a week after the Ohio Casino Control Commission banned sportsbooks from accepting bets on the Crimson Tide games, following a warning of suspicious gambling activity.

The scandal involves wagers made on Friday’s (April 28) game, which Alabama lost 8-6 to Louisiana State University. A New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) spokesman confirmed Thursday that it instructed sportsbooks to suspend wagering on all Alabama baseball games, including future wagers.

“Currently, New Jersey gaming operators and their independent fraud monitors have not detected any suspicious wagering in New Jersey,” said DGE spokesman Daniel Prochilo.

Meanwhile, regulators in Colorado have not issued a directive currently but are closely monitoring the situation. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Nevada Gaming Control Board have not taken any action as of Thursday.

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne did not address the situation directly, but said the decision was made due to violations of “the standards, duties, and responsibilities expected of university employees."


Germany Calls Daily Fantasy Sports Illegal Games Of Chance


The German gambling regulator has said it ruled that certain forms of daily fantasy sports are illegal games of chance and an unnamed company had withdrew from the market after a hearing.

The Joint Gambling Authority of the Federal States (GGL) said a “well-known provider” of the games discontinued its offerings after a hearing in April.

German law holds that games of chance require a licence and are defined as games where winning depends entirely or predominantly on chance, the regulator said.

“We find that our decisions are accepted by the providers and implemented promptly,” said board member Ronald Benter. “This protects consumers from illegal offers and the risk of betting and gambling addiction.”

The GGL did not name a company that it contacted, but in January, DraftKings said it was discontinuing its daily fantasy sports (DFS) offerings in Germany, Austria, Ireland and Malta.

DFS was DraftKings’ flagship product, before the opening of the US sports-betting market in 2018.


Crown Resorts To Tighten Slots Use, Tabcorp Signs With Mindway AI


The Victoria state gambling regulator has ordered Crown Resorts’ Melbourne flagship casino to introduce cardless play and mandatory pre-commitment functions for all slot machines, while praising Crown for other harm minimisation initiatives.

The Victoria Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) said on Thursday (May 4) that it directed Crown to mandate player identity cards and to introduce the YourPlay pre-commitment system for all electronic gaming machines (EGMs) by the end of the year.

All EGM play will be tied to individual gambler identity and Crown Melbourne will be the only gambling facility in the state in which YourPlay is compulsory.

The VGCCC also said it “welcomes” Crown proposals to remove EGMs without betting limits and other restrictions from the general casino floor to VIP areas, to deactivate the continuous play function on all machines and apply a A$1,000 ($670) credit load limit in all cases.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) state, wagering giant Tabcorp Holdings has announced it will use software produced by Denmark-based Mindway AI to “intercept and assist potential problem gamblers at an earlier stage”.

Mindway AI in March announced a similar deal with the Hellenic Gaming Commission. The company’s board includes former Kindred Group mainstay Britt Boeskov and former Danish Gambling Authority director-general Birgitte Sand.


German Trade Group Contests Sports-Betting Growth Claims


The German gambling industry has hit out at claims of a massive increase in sports-betting profits made by a gambling addiction group.

DHS, an umbrella organisation for state addiction offices in Germany, published claims that turnover in the online sports-betting market had grown by 409.6 percent to €18.3bn in 2021, year-on-year.

Trade group DSWV claims that this figure “is based on an incorrect data basis or a calculation error” and that the actual number is 21 percent, totalling €9.4bn. That increase, said the group, can be largely attributed to coronavirus-related disruption to sporting events in 2020.

Germany’s interstate treaty, which included tougher rules for sports-betting licence holders, came into effect on July 1, 2021.


Ohio Regulator Suspends Wagers On Alabama Baseball


The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) has blocked licensed sportsbooks in the state from accepting bets on Alabama baseball games after a report warned of suspicious gambling activity.

Matthew Schuler, executive director of the commission, issued the emergency order on Monday (May 1) “prohibiting the acceptance of any wagers on University of Alabama Baseball effective immediately.”

The order was first reported by ESPN.

The one-page order, obtained Tuesday by VIXIO GamblingCompliance, also said the commission received the reports from one of its independent integrity monitors regarding wagers made on Alabama baseball games.

“Any wagers placed on an incomplete sporting event that has had wagering suspended through the issuance of an emergency order must be voided in accordance with” state gaming regulations, Schuler wrote.

When asked if betting on college sports should be permitted, OCCC spokeswoman Jessica Franks told VIXIO that lawmakers included wagering on collegiate sports or athletic events in Ohio's sports gaming law.

“However, the law also provides for a process by which requests can be made to restrict or prohibit wagering on sporting events or wager types,” Franks said in an email.


NFLPA Cautions Agents About Players’ Gambling


The National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) has cautioned NFL contract advisors about players’ use of mobile gaming apps, following the recent suspension of five players, including four members of the Detroit Lions, for violating the league’s gambling policy.

The email, obtained by VIXIO GamblingCompliance on Tuesday (May 2), reminded agents that the NFL’s gambling policy is not collectively bargained with the union because the league can set rules that relate to integrity of the game.

“These recent violations involved players placing bets using mobile apps on their phone while at work or while traveling with their teams,” according to the players’ union.

The NFL on April 21 announced the suspension of Jameson Williams, Quintez Cephus, Stanley Berryhill and C.J. Moore of the Lions, and Shaka Toney of the Washington Commanders.

“During the NFL’s investigations we have learned that these apps (like FanDuel) are highly sensitive and very sophisticated at tracking, among other things, user location to be sure that the people using the app are not ‘prohibited gamblers’ and/or that the person using the app is in a location where they are allowed to place bets on the app.”

The NFLPA reminded agents that some states monitor or audit sports-betting apps to ensure the companies are in compliance with state law.

“Further the apps monitor gambler activity,” the players’ union wrote. “It was as part of that monitoring that the NFL learned of the players using the apps at work in violation of NFL rules. At no time should players open or use any mobile gambling app at work.”


Entain Companies Fined Again In Australia


Australia’s national online gambling regulator has fined sports betting and online gaming giant Entain a maximum A$13,320 (US$8,800) over two subsidiaries that accepted in-play bets.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on Friday (April 28) said Entain companies Ladbrokes and Neds accepted 59 and 19 bets, respectively, on a LIV Golf tournament in Bangkok in October 2022.

The single-breach infringement notice dated March 20 was the first such enforcement of a ban on online in-play bets, the ACMA said in a statement.

Entain’s Australian arm reported the bets to the ACMA, noting that “the breaches occurred due to its parent company inputting the incorrect start time for the event to their systems”, the statement said.

Although the breach was inadvertent, the regulator imposed the maximum fine.

“The ACMA made it clear to the industry last year that they must have robust systems in place to ensure that online in-play bets are not made available or accepted,” ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin said.

Entain has hit trouble on a number of fronts in Australia in recent times. The Northern Territory regulator fined Ladbrokes in February, Tabcorp is suing Entain over alleged encroachment on its retail monopoly and national financial crime enforcer AUSTRAC is pursuing an “enforcement investigation” into Entain.


Peru Online Gambling Reform Clears Committee


Legislation to amend a 2022 law that authorised online gaming and sports betting was approved unanimously last Wednesday (April 26) by the Peruvian Congress’ economy and finance committee.

Among other things, the bill clarifies how taxes will be applied under the law and specifies that provisions establishing a minimum distance between schools, churches and retail betting outlets will not apply to pre-existing, but unregulated, betting locations.

Betting companies represented by industry association APADELA wrote to committee members on April 14 urging approval of the follow-up legislation to ensure existing jobs were not affected and that appropriate tax revenues would be generated from a licensing system.

Industry representatives previously criticised Peru’s unicameral Congress for passing the online gambling law through a late-night vote, with limited debate.

Officials with Peru’s Ministry of Tourism and Foreign Commerce, which oversees the country’s gambling industry, also submitted a “partially favourable” evaluation of the bill to the committee.

After its approval by the economy committee, Bill 3595/2022 now must be passed by the full Congress.


Former Las Vegas Sands Executive Now Gaming Regulator


Republican Governor Joe Lombardo has appointed the former CEO of the Venetian and Palazzo resorts, George Markantonis, to the five-member Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC).

Markantonis took over on Friday (April 28) from outgoing commissioner Steven Cohen, who did not seek reappointment to the panel. The NGC makes the final decision on licensing and other regulatory matters based on recommendations from the three-member Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Markantonis spent seven years as CEO of The Venetian, and remained in that role for four months after Las Vegas Sands sold the Strip resorts for $6.25bn to Apollo Global Management and the real estate investment trust VICI Properties.

Patrick Nichols replaced Markantonis as CEO, while he assumed the role of special advisor to Apollo.

The appointment was Lombardo’s second selection to the Nevada Gaming Commission. In January, he appointed former state treasurer and Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki to the commission to replace Ben Kieckhefer, who became the governor’s chief of staff.


North Dakota Passes Bill To Constrain Charitable Gaming


A bill to tighten restrictions on charitable gaming operators has been approved by both houses of the North Dakota legislature.

Among other things, Senate Bill 2304 would require any new charitable gaming locations to be bars or taverns “where alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed, and consumed by guests on the premises,” meaning licenses could no longer be obtained by liquor or convenience stores, gas stations, or other locations.

The bill also would limit charitable gaming locations to a maximum of ten electronic pull-tab machines each and require gaming to be conducted in an enclosed area accessible only by persons aged 21 or older.

A further provision of the bill will require an official study of charitable gaming in the state, to include its economic impact, license approvals and how electronic pull-tabs are offered within licensed venues.

North Dakota Indian tribes have complained for several years that their tribal casino operations have suffered due to an over expansion of electronic pull-tab machines across the state.

A final version of SB 2304 was approved by the North Dakota House and Senate on Wednesday (April 26), with the bill sent to the desk of Republican Governor Doug Burgum the next day.


Fine for a Dutch casino after self-excluded player allowed access nine times, a UK MP is under investigation over gambling industry links and Penn still positive on US igaming future.

Our premium content is available to users of our services.

To view articles, please Log-in to your account, or sign up today for full access:

Opt in to hear about webinars, events, industry and product news

To find out more about Vixio, contact us today
No items found.