News In Brief: November 22-November 26, 2021

November 26, 2021
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Norway's gambling monopoly is touting the positive impact of its responsible gambling methods, one year on from drastically lowering loss limits.

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Norsk Tipping Lauds Loss Limts

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Norsk Tipping has said a move to impose strict daily and monthly deposit limits on gamblers has shown positive results.

The Norwegian gambling monopoly lowered the maximum monthly loss limit to NOK7,500 (€734) and set maximum daily losses at NOK2,000 (€196) from December 2020. In September of this year, the monthly limit was again lowered, to 5,000 kroner.

Although the company said it expects the moves to have cost it around 250m kroner (€25m), it was happy with the outcome.

Its share of profits from players at risk of harm had fallen by 10 percent, it reported.

Norsk Tipping cited its KongCasino product and said that, in October 2020, at-risk players on the website lost an average of NOK3,425 per month and one year later, the average had fallen by around 20 percent to NOK2,733.

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Northern Ireland Politicians Investigate Machines

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A Northern Ireland parliamentary group has launched a consultation on the future of gambling machines in the region.

The Gambling Harm All Party Group (APG) is seeking views on the regulatory regime surrounding machines to help craft a new policy “with gambling harm reduction at its core”.

Among the questions posed to potential respondents is whether the new gambling bill currently passing through the Assembly will do enough to protect

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Betway, PointsBet Secure Virginia Licenses

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The Virginia Lottery is edging closer to fleshing out the state’s online sports-betting market after awarding two more operator licenses this week.

On Wednesday, the lottery approved Betway operator Digital Gaming Corporation as Virginia’s 12th licensed sportsbook.

On Monday, the state also approved a temporary operating permit for local racetrack and off-track betting operator Colonial Downs and a temporary license for PointsBet as a supplier.

In a joint press release, PointsBet announced an exclusive partnership agreement with Colonial Downs to offer online sports wagering in Virginia.

Virginia law allows up to 18 licenses in total, after a bill passed this year clarified that the state’s land-based casino operators and Virginia-headquartered pro sports teams would not count towards a 12-operator cap.

Up to three more licenses could be awarded soon, with a further three set aside for casino developers and DC United soccer team.

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Flutter's FanDuel Goes Globo With Brazil DFS Partnership

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Leading U.S. sports betting and fantasy sports operator FanDuel will power a new real-money daily fantasy product on behalf of Brazil’s largest media network, according to an announcement on Tuesday by parent company Flutter.

Grupo Globo already operates its massively popular free-to-play fantasy football product Cartola FC in Brazil.

The new Cartola Express offering will enable Brazilians to enter daily contests based on Brazilian soccer, replicating the fast-paced variant of fantasy sports pioneered by FanDuel and rival DraftKings in the U.S.

"Grupo Globo has built a pioneer in the Brazilian fantasy sports market, offering millions of players access to a first-class entertainment platform which is integrated across a vast sports media portfolio," FanDuel CEO Amy Howe said. "This exciting initiative allows us to contribute to that success by adding FanDuel’s proven product capabilities and cutting-edge services."

Although FanDuel has already parlayed its leadership on fantasy sports into sports betting in the U.S., Thursday’s statement did not reference any similar extension of the partnership with Globo in Brazil.

The Brazilian government is currently in the process of implementing a December 2018 federal law to regulate online sports betting, with expectations of a licensing regime kicking off next year.

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South Korea Detains 130 Linked To Philippine Online Operation

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South Korean police have detained 130 suspects and are hunting another 20 whose Philippines-based gambling website generated $1.1bn in turnover, Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday.

Nine of the 130 suspects have been formally arrested, while the mastermind of the operation will be repatriated after fleeing to the Philippines, where he was captured, Yonhap quoted police in Seoul as saying.

The syndicate streamed live casino gambling and offered sports betting under the name “Monaco” from an unnamed casino hotel in the Philippines between July 2018 and December the following year, generating some 1.3trn won ($1.1bn) over that period, according to the police and screenshots published by Yonhap.

Police said they also seized criminal proceeds amounting to 800m won that had been wired back to South Korea via unnamed cryptocurrencies.

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Another German State Opts For Online Monopoly

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The German state of Thuringia is set to eschew a tender for online casino licences and instead offer citizens online table games via a monopoly.

The state parliament voted on Friday to approve an amendment to state law, which it said was now being notified to the European Commission.

“The state parliament decided in favour of the state monopoly also practiced in other federal states in order to be able to implement youth and player protection as effectively as possible and to ward off the risks of manipulation,” it said in a press release.

The Thuringian State Lottery may be tapped to run the monopoly, but parliament said “other solutions are conceivable”.

The state, which has a population of 2.1m, said it would pass legislation with more detailed operational regulations in the future.

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Sweden 'Bans' Curaçao Operator

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The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has banned Nero Media NV from offering gambling games in Sweden.

The regulator said it had found that the company, under its Goodwincasino brand, was not blocking Swedish players from creating an account.

The SGA said that the website also contained information in Swedish and directed some marketing towards Sweden.

Nero is licensed in Curaçao and although the Dutch government are pressuring the Caribbean island to reform its gambling laws, it is unclear what effect the Swedish enforcement action will have in compelling Goodwincasino to begin blocking players from Sweden.

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Rank Agrees Slots Tax Refund

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Rank Group has agreed a final agreement on how much HM Revenue & Customs will have to repay as its long-running VAT case wraps up.

Rank said in a statement it expects to receive £77.5m from the UK taxman in reclaimed VAT paid on slot machine income between 2006 and 2013, plus interest of £5.5m.

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Uruguayan Government Proposes Online Gambling Bill

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Uruguay’s Ministry of Finance reportedly filed a bill late last week to legalise online gaming via established land-based casinos.

Although the bill was not published on the parliament’s official website as of Friday evening, a version obtained by the El Pais newspaper would allow online gaming to be conducted either directly by the Uruguayan state or by private companies that already have concessions or licences to operate traditional casinos.

The brief, four-page bill describes online gaming as an “unavoidable reality” and would empower the Uruguayan government to establish specific regulations governing revenue-sharing rates, permitted game types, payment methods, responsible gambling and technical requirements.

A 2017 law banned all online gambling in Uruguay apart from lottery-style games and sports betting operated by the Banca de Quinielas national lottery. If the new legislation is approved, state-authorized online gaming would also become exempted from that general ban.

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JVH Snags Netherlands Licence

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An 11th company has been granted a Dutch online gambling licence, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) announced on Friday.

JOI Gaming and its website jacks.nl has become the first operator to be granted a licence since the initial batch of ten were handed out when the market launched on October 1.

JOI is a subsidiary of Dutch arcade operator JVH, which runs a number of slots halls and casinos across the Netherlands, including some under the brand name Jacks Casinos.

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Chicago Reveals Details On Bids For Chicago Casino

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The companies behind five proposals for Chicago’s integrated-resort casino project will present their plans to the public on December 16, according to a release from city officials on Friday that included details about each of the applicants.

Bally’s Corporation and Rush Street Gaming both submitted two proposals for two different sites, while Hard Rock International submitted a single application. The investments would range from $1.3bn to $2bn, with the companies proposing to offer between 2,600 and 3,400 slot machines.

“The caliber of the proposals … are in line with our vision to develop a world-class experience in Chicago that will drive significant economic growth and employment opportunities for our communities,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

Lightfoot said the city’s review committees “are ready to dive into discussions to usher in a new and exciting era for our city.”

The time and location for the presentations will be announced at a later date. The goal is for the city to select a single applicant by early 2022, according to a timetable released by the mayor’s office.

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Nevada Ponders Remote ID Verification

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The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has agreed to consider a regulatory amendment submitted by Sightline Payments that would enable remote verification of casino wagering accounts, but not full in-person registration for sports betting or pari-mutuel wagering.

The proposal will be placed on a future agenda, the three-member NGCB decided after an hour-long workshop last week.

“Nevada has been a leader in cashless gaming, and we look forward to continued discussion that will enable us to provide Nevada residents and visitors to Nevada with the most innovative, safe, secure, compliant and responsible gaming experience in the United States,” Sightline co-CEO Joe Pappano said in a statement issued after the NGCB’s meeting.

Sightline petitioned the NGCB in September to make regulatory changes that would allow casinos to verify the identity and fund wagering accounts of players without them having to appear in the casino.

If approved by regulators, a player could download an app, sign up for a casino wagering account, fund the account and begin playing slots or table games in the casino or make non-gaming purchases without having to stand in line for account verification.

In a letter to the NGCB, gaming attorney Marc Rubinstein, who represents Station Casinos, a division of Red Rock Resorts, argued that federal anti-money laundering law requires that brick-and-mortar casinos utilize documentary methods to identify verification for on-premises gaming activity.

“Consequently, it would seem that the proposed amendments to Reg. 5.225 are an invitation to approve a regulatory change that would contravene federal law,” Rubinstein wrote.

He said that the proposed regulatory amendments submitted by Sightline should not be recommended by the board for adoption.

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Norway's gambling monopoly is touting the positive impact of its responsible gambling methods, one year on from drastically lowering loss limits.

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