News In Brief: November 13-November 17, 2023

November 17, 2023
UK Gambling Commission to launch a second round of consultations in "coming weeks", Dutch TOTO loses legal fight over technical error payout and the California Nations Indian Gaming Association votes against two sports-betting proposals.
UK Gambling Commission Launching Seven More Consultations In 'Coming Weeks'

The UK Gambling Commission is preparing to open seven consultations “in the coming weeks", according to a blog post on November 15 by its executive director of research and policy, Tim Miller.

The update states that the topics that will be consulted on will cover socially responsible incentives, customer-led tools, transparency of protection of customer funds, a requirement to make annual financial contributions to research, prevention and treatment, regulatory data, financial penalties and financial key event reporting.

The consultations will be open for 12 weeks, with the expected closing dates to be set in February or March.

Miller said the Gambling Commission is “rightly putting emphasis on implementing the Government’s Gambling Act Review recommendations”.

“This goes hand in hand with our vital regulatory ‘business as usual’, to keep gambling safe, fair and crime free.”

Dutch TOTO Loses Lawsuit Over Technical Error Payout

Nederlandse Loterij’s TOTO sports-betting unit is being forced to pay out bets on a Danish football match after what it called a technical error when a court said its offer to pay out at corrected odds rather than giving a refund “opens the way to arbitrariness”.

On November 14, The Hague district court ruled that the company’s offer to settle the bet at corrected odds is “contrary to the principle of transparency and opens the way to arbitrariness”.

The August 2022 bets were made in a TOTO Winkel shop on a Danish Cup competition between the second-division club Skovshoved and the first-division club HB Køge.

According to the court, the plaintiffs submitted their complaints to the Dutch Lottery Ombudsman, which rejected their request to have the payout made at the original odds as there was an “obvious error”, and they would not be disadvantaged by payout at the corrected odds, as opposed to a simple refund of their wagers.

TOTO had blamed the problem on a technical issue with a supplier.

The company was ordered to pay out the €19,400 winnings, plus interest and legal fees.

A company spokesman told Casinonieuws affiliate site that it was considering appealing the decision.

U.S. Teen Pleads Guilty In Sports-Betting Hacking Case

A Wisconsin teenager, who conducted a scheme to hack accounts at fantasy sports and sports-betting websites, pled guilty Thursday (November 16) to conspiracy in New York.

Josh Garrison, 19, admitted to taking part with others in conducting a “credential stuffing attack” that stole approximately $600,000 from roughly 1,600 victims.  

These credential stuffing attacks are where a cybercriminal uses log-in credentials that usually have been stolen during a data breach and then uses them to gain access to accounts where the user has the same password. 

In total, Garrison and others gained access to some 60,000 accounts. 

Garrison, who once bragged that “fraud is fun,” pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit computer intrusion, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. 

Although the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York did not name the sportsbook operator in its statement, several media outlets identified DraftKings as the target of the attack.

North Carolina Approves Sports-Betting Rules

The North Carolina Lottery Commission on Thursday (November 16) approved the first set of regulations allowing for mobile wagering in the state.

The rules had been discussed Tuesday by the commission’s sports-betting committee. 

Commissioners approved the regulations without a provision that would have redefined fantasy sports to prohibit contests based on proposition wagering. 

The rule would have also prohibited contests where players do not compete against other individual fantasy players, including those where players compete against the operator.

The commission also approved a catalog that outlines what sports and league operators will be able to accept wagers on. There is a petition process that will be in place to add to the catalog in the future. 

North Carolina’s sports-betting law allows wagering on professional, collegiate, amateur and esports. 

Public comment remains open for a second batch of regulations. A public hearing is scheduled for Friday (November 17), and the written public comment period ends on November 27, a commission spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

California Tribes Oppose Sports-Betting Initiatives

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) board voted Thursday (November 16) to oppose the two sports-betting proposals that have been submitted for the 2024 ballot.

The tribal gaming association also wants the initiatives’ supporters to pull the proposals. 

 “The entire effort surrounding these initiatives was handled abhorrently by the initiative sponsors,” CNIGA chairman James Siva said in a statement. 

“It is hard not to be offended when listening to these individuals speak.,” Siva said. “This is another example of outside influences trying to divide and conquer Indian tribes. We will not let history repeat itself.”

The two initiatives, the "Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act" and the "Tribal Gaming Protection Act", were filed with the California Attorney General’s Office on October 27. 

Some of the details of the new initiative include requiring that tribes enter compacts with the state and contract with sportsbook operators strictly as vendors. All tribal-run sportsbook platforms would also have to be branded exclusively under the tribe’s federally-recognized name.

“Now that the sponsors have heard directly from tribes that their efforts are not supported, we call on them to drop the initiatives as they have pledged to do if tribes were to oppose them,” Siva said. “Our opposition could not be more clear and is irrevocable.”

Ohio Regulator To Ban Former Alabama Baseball Coach

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) on Wednesday (November 15) initiated the process of adding former University of Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon and Bert Neff Jr. to the state’s Sports Gaming Involuntary Exclusion List.

Matthew Schuler, executive director of the OCCC, said their “presence and/or participation in sports gaming poses a threat to the interests of the state and the effective regulation of sports gaming.”

“Bohannon and Neff are entitled to due process, including a hearing if they choose, and any final action pertaining to the Sports Gaming Involuntary Exclusion List will occur at a public commission meeting,” Schuler said in a statement. 

At Wednesday’s commission meeting, Schuler said that letters have been sent to both Bohannon and Neff. Neff, who is from Indiana, was added to the Indiana Gaming Commission’s involuntary exclusion list in September.

Neff allegedly received non-public information from Bohannon on April 28 about Alabama’s game with Louisiana State University (LSU) later that day. Neff raised suspicions at a BetMGM Sportsbook in Cincinnati, after placing a large wager on LSU and trying to place another bet.  

Schuler also lifted the emergency order Wednesday prohibiting the acceptance of wagers on Alabama baseball that was issued on May 1.

Pennsylvania Levies Fine For Underage Gambling

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved two consent agreements Wednesday (November 15), one with a casino operator and one with a slot machine manufacturer, totaling $45,000 in fines. 

Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, operator of Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County, was fined $40,000 for three instances in which individuals under the age of 21 accessed the gaming floor and gambled.

Lightning Gaming, a licensed slot machine manufacturer headquartered in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was fined $5,000 for failure to notify the control board of material changes to its financial status. 

The PGCB also continued its crackdown on adults who leave minors unattended while gambling at casinos, adding two males and two females to the involuntary exclusion list.

One case involved a male patron who left a one-year-old child unattended in a locked vehicle with an outside temperature of 84 degrees in the parking lot of Valley Forge Casino Resort for nine minutes to gamble in the sportsbook and at a table game.

Pennsylvania State Police broke a car window to extract the child and the patron later attempted to flee in the vehicle, which contained illegal drugs, until police detained and removed him.

West Virginia Joins Interstate Poker Compact

The West Virginia Lottery has signed an agreement allowing in-state online poker players to compete with players in four other states, regulators announced on Tuesday (November 14). 

The decision will allow players in West Virginia to join players from Michigan, Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey around a virtual poker table as a member of the multi-state internet gaming agreement (MSIGA). 

“I am pleased that our West Virginis iGaming providers will now have an opportunity to offer multi-state poker to our players,” West Virginia Lottery director John Myers said in a statement. “This will greatly increase the potential pool of participants, and this allow our players to play for bigger winnings.”

West Virginia iGaming service providers interested in offering multi-state poker will have to submit a letter of intent to the lottery. Those providers will also have to gain the necessary approvals from West Virginia and other relevant members states before going live. 

Shawn Fluharty, a Democratic state representative and president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), said the deal was great news for the state and poker players in particular.

“I’ve had many conversations with West Virginia Lottery officials throughout the process and I am grateful for their work in getting us to the finish line and for their dedication in maintaining our state as a gaming leader,” Fluharty said. 

Delaware and Nevada launched the MSIGA in 2014, with New Jersey joining in May 2018, followed by Michigan in May 2022. This now leaves Pennsylvania and Connecticut as the only iGaming states not involved in the MSIGA.

Lawsuit Claims Amazon Participates In Illegal Gambling

Steven Horn, a Nevada resident who claimed he was addicted to social casino apps that use virtual chips, has filed a lawsuit against Amazon saying the company earned billions of dollars through an “illegal internet gambling enterprise”.

The lawsuit, filed Friday (November 10) in federal court in Seattle, accuses Amazon, which owns and operates an app store, of joining the social casinos companies in smuggling “slot machines into the homes of consumers throughout the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.”

Amazon is also accused of offering more than 30 illegal casino apps. The lawsuit estimates that in 2020 alone, consumers purchased and gambled an estimated $6bn in social casino virtual chips. 

The case cites a 2018 a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling that found social gaming platform Big Fish “constituted illegal gambling under Washington law.”

Social casino games are free to play and do not generate cash payouts like those from regulated slot machines offered by iGaming sites in seven states. With social games, users win virtual chips, and can buy more to keep playing the game.  

An Amazon spokesperson did not immediately respond Monday to an email request for comment. Reuters first reported the lawsuit. 

Ex-Indiana Legislator Pleads Guilty In Casino Case

A former Indiana lawmaker will plead guilty to a federal charge alleging that he accepted promises of lucrative employment from a gaming company while in public office, according to federal prosecutors.

Sean Eberhart, 57, a former Republican member of the Indiana House of Representatives, served on the House Committee on Public Policy, which had jurisdiction over casinos and gaming in the state. He left office in November 2022. 

According to the federal charges, an owner of Spectacle, identified as Individual A, offered, and Eberhart accepted, the promise of future employment at Spectacle, which included annual compensation of at least $350,000.

In exchange, Eberhart allegedly used his position as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives to advocate and ultimately vote for passage of the bill on terms favorable to Spectacle, including to authorize the transfer and relocation of the two casinos, reducing the transfer fee from $100m to $20m, and enacting tax incentives that would benefit Spectacle. 

Additionally, Eberhart allegedly sent text messages regarding his efforts to secure legislation favorable to Spectacle and to “make it right for” Individual A.

A plea hearing had not been scheduled for Eberhart as of Monday (November 13), said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.

Wynn Resorts Contract Ends Las Vegas Strike Threat

Wynn Resorts and Culinary Workers Local 226 reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract prior to a strike deadline early Friday (November 10), making it the third deal announced last week between the union and the three largest casino-resort operators in Nevada.

Contract language was not released, but as in agreements with Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International, the culinary union said the five-year deals include substantial wage and benefit increases, workload reductions for guest room attendants, and the reinstatement of daily hotel-room cleaning.

The tentative contracts, which will need to be ratified by employees at the resorts operated by the three companies, cover some 35,000 workers. The agreement with Wynn Resorts covers 5,000 workers at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore resorts.

A ratification vote by the membership will be scheduled soon, according to the union.

“After seven months of negotiations, we are proud to say that this is the best contract and economic package we have ever won in our 88-year history,” said Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union.

California Tribes Hopeful To Gain One-Time Approval To Sue Cardrooms

A bill that provides California tribes standing for a one-time lawsuit to finally determine whether cardrooms that offer blackjack and baccarat dealt by third-party proposition players are in violation of tribal exclusivity rights to offer house-banked gaming has been held in the Senate Rules Committee.

However, James Siva, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), is hopeful that Senate Bill 549 will be raised in the next legislative session that begins in January. 

“Tribes have asserted for a few decades that the cardrooms are offering house-banked games, which is a violation of the exclusivity we got through Propositions 5 and 1A,” Siva said.

Siva emphasized that the bill just gives tribes standing to be able to take the issue to court because tribes have been refused standing by previous courts and lawsuits.

“The bill doesn’t pick sides,” Siva said. “It just allowed us to have our day in court. Our argument is the cardrooms have said for years these games are legal. They should welcome their day in court if they actually believe that.”

“But they don’t because they they’re not [legal],” he added. 


UK Gambling Commission to launch a second round of consultations in "coming weeks", Dutch TOTO loses legal fight over technical error payout and the California Nations Indian Gaming Association votes against two sports-betting proposals.

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