News In Brief: May 15-May 19, 2023

May 19, 2023
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A Premier League footballer has been banned over betting, Tennessee signs bill to update sports-betting tax and Connecticut proposes a live dealer compliance overhaul.

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England Football Star Banned For Hundreds Of Betting Rule Breaches

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Premier League and England football player Ivan Toney has been suspended from all football and football-related activity for breaches of the Football Association’s (FA) betting rules.

The FA announced the eight-month suspension with immediate effect on May 17, as well as a £50,000 fine and a warning for the Brentford Football Club star.

Toney was charged with 262 breaches of FA betting rules between February 25, 2017 and January 23, 2021. However, the FA subsequently withdrew 30 of these breaches and he admitted to the remaining 232.

The sanctions were imposed by an independent regulatory commission following a personal hearing.

The commission’s written reasons for these sanctions will be published at a later date and the FA said it will wait to review them before commenting further.

Toney said he is “disappointed” to be missing matches but is also waiting on the findings to be published to comment further.

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Tennessee Governor Signs Sports-Betting Bill

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Governor Bill Lee has signed legislation to make various changes to Tennessee’s 2019 sports-betting law.

As approved by the General Assembly last month, Senate Bill 475 will change the state’s tax rate on mobile sports wagering from 20 percent of gross gaming revenue to 1.85 percent of handle.

Operators will also no longer be required to use official league data to settle all in-play bets, making the Tennessee the first U.S. state to both adopt and then repeal such a requirement. Further changes relate to operator and vendor licensing fees, among other things.

Lee, a Republican, signed the bill into law on Wednesday (May 17), with the statutory changes coming into effect on July 1.

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Connecticut To Expand Licensing For Live-Dealer Online Casino

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Various employees at live-dealer online gaming studios based in Connecticut would have to be personally licensed by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), according to legislation approved by the Connecticut Senate on Wednesday (May 17).

Senate Bill 971, which proposes various amendments to Connecticut gaming statutes, will require “live game employees” to be licensed if they are “directly or substantially involved in the operation of live online casino gaming in a manner impacting the integrity of such gaming.”

Elsewhere, the bill tweaks the definition of a “sporting event” eligible for sports betting and expands the jurisdiction of the DCP to take enforcement actions against illegal sports wagering operations in Connecticut.

SB 971 was approved unanimously by senators and now must be considered by the state’s House of Representatives.

Initially, the bill included additional provisions to ban bonus offers in all sports betting and online gaming advertising and also prohibit players from making deposits using jointly held bank accounts. Those provisions were removed after the bill was reviewed by a joint legislative committee.

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Denmark Finds Most Seeking Gambling Help Started Young

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The Danish Gambling Authority has said its data shows that about half of the callers to its StopSpillet gambling helpline placed their first wager before the age of 18, even though Denmark’s legal gambling age is 18.

In all, about 88 percent of the callers first gambled before the age of 25, the authority said.

About 39 percent of the time, the callers were relatives making calls on behalf of the gambler, so the information came from them, the authority said.

On average, callers reported experiencing issues with gambling for two years and seven months before making the call.

The helpline has received about 2,500 inquiries since it was launched in 2019, the regulator said.

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German Addictions Commissioner Seeks Euros Ad Ban

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Germany's federal commissioner for drug and addiction has issued a call for a ban on sports-betting advertising during the Euro 2024 football championship which will be held in Germany.

“This event should be a football festival and not be accompanied by advertising for risky behaviour,” commissioner Burkhardt Blienert told the German Press Agency.

As hosts, “we can send a strong signal that we take the risks of sports betting seriously and go to the games without advertising”, he said.

Blienert has previously supported limiting hours for sports-betting advertising until after 11pm.

The president of the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV), however, said he doubted a blanket ban on sports-betting advertising during the games was possible, as it would involve a change in the 16-state gambling treaty that enabled online gambling licensing.

“In my opinion, that is impossible in the short time available and is not capable of winning a majority among the 16 federal states” Mathias Dahms of the DSWV told the press agency.

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U.S. Online Gambling Association Adopts Advertising Code

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Members of iDEA Growth have adopted a new responsible advertising code applicable to internet gaming and sports wagering marketing across the U.S., according to an announcement made on Wednesday (May 17) by the Washington, D.C.-based trade association.

The new ad code is broadly similar to the American Gaming Association’s own responsible marketing code for sports wagering, which was first published in 2020.

Among other things, iDEA members will promote responsible gambling in all advertising and agreed that marketing “should not use characters and/or performers (including endorsers and influencers) who primarily appeal to audiences under legal gaming age.”

The code will be reviewed annually by an iDEA responsible marketing committee, with a complaint mechanism also due to be established.

“By adopting the Responsible Advertising Code, our members are showing their commitment to promoting safe and responsible gambling practices, encouraging moderation and providing information about problem gambling helplines and resources,” said Jim Ryan, iDEA board member and CEO of Boyd Interactive.

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Kwiff Ad Targeted Young Football Fans

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An advert for online casino and sports-betting platform kwiff has been found in breach of UK advertising rules, after it appeared next to a news article aimed at under-18s.

A story on the Portsmouth F.C. football team website encouraged children to sign up for its youth programme was found to feature an ad for kwiff featuring a casino sign-up bonus.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) acknowledged that kwiff had made significant effort to use behavioural targeting and dynamic ad tech to display the ad only to those over 18. Kwiff also said that 33 people had clicked on the ad and all passed age verification checks.

The news article, the operator argued, was likely actually aimed at parents and kwiff said its ads were programmed not to appear on the actual youth section of Portsmouth’s website.

Nevertheless, the ASA upheld the complaint, stating: “Because the ad appeared in the context of a web page that was directed at those younger than 18 years, it did not comply with the rules on gambling advertising.”

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Société Générale Invests In Indian Gaming Platform Nazara

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French bank Société Générale, the nation’s third-largest by assets, has acquired almost 1 percent of listed Indian gaming company Nazara Technologies for just over $4m.

Société Générale purchased almost 594,000 shares of Nazara stock on Friday (May 12), firming European financial interest in India’s booming skill gaming industry.

The shares, purchased at an average 570 rupees ($7), came to a $4.1m investment, securing just under 0.9 percent of issued capital, according to filing data from the National Stock Exchange of India.

The shares were purchased from the husband-and-wife team of Anupam and Anshu Dhanuka, co-founders of gaming education app developer Paper Boat, a Nazara subsidiary acquired in April 2022.

Nazara offers esports, free-to-play and real-money games such as rummy and fantasy sports, in addition to digital advertising services, and ranges across India, North America and Africa.

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Clock Runs Down On Missouri Sports-Betting Bills

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The Missouri legislature adjourned its 2023 session on Friday (May 12) without taking action to legalize sports wagering, amid ongoing opposition in the state's Senate from lawmakers eager to expand video lottery terminals (VLTs) in bars and other retail venues.

As in 2022, legislation to authorize sports betting at casinos and through online platforms sailed through the Missouri House of Representatives, only to be filibustered on the Senate floor.

Proponents in the House last week attempted to attach sports-betting language to an unrelated bill that had already been passed by the Senate and was championed by pro-VLT senators, but the maneuver ultimately failed to break the impasse.

As it became clear that lawmakers would again fail to approve sports wagering this year, representatives of several Missouri sports teams last week said that they would consider instead petitioning voters to establish a November 2024 referendum to authorize sports betting.

“The Kansas City Royals are aligned with the coalition of professional sports franchises across the state and share the same frustration when it comes to the lack of progress in Jefferson City. We are open to considering a joint initiative petition campaign at some point soon,” the Major League Baseball team said in a statement to local media.

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Codere Will Not Compete In Brazilian Market

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Codere Online, long plagued by debt and bankruptcy, has announced that it will not be pursuing a presence in the Brazilian market at present.

The decision was made public during the release of the company’s Q1 results on Thursday (May 11).

“To start from scratch would require tens of millions, so for us it is not a priority. So, I don’t see any real movement [for Codere] in Brazil in 2023,” said executive chairman Moshe Edree.

He also cited the uniqueness of the Brazilian market and culture and that although it was an obvious opportunity, it was not the right time for Codere, as it is not yet a well known brand there.

Edree also announced that Codere is scaling back in Colombia due to revenues plateauing at €2m.

The company had better news from its biggest markets, Mexico and Spain, with increased revenues from last year.

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A Premier League footballer has been banned over betting, Tennessee signs bill to update sports-betting tax and Connecticut proposes a live dealer compliance overhaul.

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