News In Brief: November 27-December 1, 2023

December 1, 2023
A Swedish consumer survey has revealed that the general public believe gambling addiction is widespread, among worrying signs for the industry's reputation.
Swedish Consumers Have Warped Gambling Perspective

A survey of Swedish consumers by local online gambling trade group BOS has revealed a massively negative view of gambling among the general public.

The research, carried out by Novus, asked people of a variety of ages and geographical locations within Sweden for their guess on how many people were suffering from gambling addiction in Sweden, for example.

On that question, Swedes estimated that a massive 23 percent of the entire population were gambling addicts, while data suggests it is at most 1.3 percent.

Survey respondents also believed that gambling companies return to player rate is around 21 percent, while it is in fact 95 percent.

“This report shows a huge knowledge gap and it's clear that we need to work harder to spread the true picture of the gambling industry, said BOS general secretary Gustaf Hoffstedt.

“It is no wonder that many demand even tighter regulation of the gambling industry when the general opinion is that almost every fourth Swede suffers from a gambling addiction, when the real figure is one in 100,” he said.

Danish Regulator Issues First Illegal Advertising Fines

The Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) has issued its first fines for websites advertising unlicensed gambling sites in the country. 

An unnamed individual who operated websites that hosted unlicensed gambling adverts accepted two DKK50,000 fines totaling DKK100,000, according to a DGA press release on Tuesday (November 28).

The DGA said the online adverts “very specifically referred to websites where you could play, even if you are registered in ROFUS”, the country’s online and land-based self-exclusion scheme.

On August 30, 2023, the DGA announced a similar DKK10,000 fine for a streamer for advertising unlicensed gambling operators via the Twitch platform. This was the first time the regulator fined a streamer for illegal gambling advertising.

Spillebranchen, a trade group for online gambling companies in the Danish regulated market, congratulated the regulator for its “good work” on social media, but warned that “problems with illegal gambling are growing rapidly at the moment, and the authorities cannot stop it”.

“Unfortunately, a small Google search shows that there are 50+ Danish-language websites that market Games Outside ROFUS. In fact, there seems to have been a massive increase in illegal websites marketing unlicensed gambling operators in the past year,” Spillebranchen said.

Currently, the DGA refers most violations to police or prosecutors and sanctions against licensees are not public information, in contrast to neighbouring countries such as Sweden.

However, a proposal to amend the Gambling Act that was submitted to the European Commission on November 3 would introduce a requirement for the gambling regulator to name companies when they violate the gambling law. 

UK Affordability Set For Day In Parliament

A petition demanding that the government scrap its plans to introduce financial risk checks in the UK has passed 100,000 signatures and must now be considered for a full parliamentary debate.

The affordability plans have proved controversial, particularly among those with links to horseracing, who argue that new requirements for operators to check the spending power of their customers will drive many punters offshore.

The government has pledged not to roll out the regulations until the checks are "frictionless". In an earlier response to the petition, the government said it remained "committed to a proportionate, frictionless system of financial risk checks, to protect those at risk of harm without over regulating".

Opposition To Ireland’s New Gambling Law Grows

There is increasing opposition and criticism of Ireland’s Gambling Regulation Bill 2022, with both charities and lottery betting operator Lottoland pushing for amendments ahead of its introduction.

Local media reports from this week revealed that a county council is preparing to write to minister James Browne TD, who is in charge of gambling policy, to highlight how local charities will be adversely affected by the new gambling advertising restrictions.

It follows concerns raised by charities and radio stations over the fear that banning betting advertising between 5:30am and 9pm will stop the promotion of some fundraisers.

Separately, Lottoland vice president Mike Kirwan called on Browne to “re-engage” with the sector and “listen to our concerns” after Ireland Thinks undertook a study of attitudes in the country on the incoming regulations. 

The research found that despite 75 percent backing plans to introduce new regulations, 19 percent of existing bettors would seek alternative methods of gambling in the event that it is restricted in Ireland.

Concerns have previously been raised around the drafting of the law. 

However, these concerns were not addressed when the bill passed the committee stage on July 11, 2023.

The gambling bill is expected to finish its journey through the Oireachtas (parliament) early in 2024, according to the Department of Justice.

Miriam Adelson Sells $2bn In Las Vegas Sands Shares

Miriam Adelson, the largest shareholder in Las Vegas Sands, plans to sell $2bn in shares of the company’s stock to purchase a majority interest in the National Basketball Association’s Dallas Mavericks. 

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday (November 28), Adelson would remain the company’s largest shareholder owning approximately 52 percent of the outstanding shares, down from 56. 4 percent.

The Dallas Morning News reported owner Mark Cuban, 65, would maintain operational control of the franchise, but Adelson would acquire a majority stake in the teams. The pending deal is subject to customary approval by the NBA Board of Governors. 

Cuban purchased a majority share of the Mavericks in January 2000 for $285m. 

Based in Las Vegas, the company owns and operates casinos in Macau and Singapore. Adelson, 78, is the widow of Sheldon Adelson, the founder of Las Vegas who died in 2021. 

Las Vegas Sands intends to repurchase up to $250m of shares, based on the assumed public offering price set at the close of trading on Monday at $48.56 per share. Las Vegas Sands trades on the New York Stock Exchange. 

In February 2022, Las Vegas Sands sold The Venetian, Palazzo and Venetian Expo Center to VICI Properties, a real estate investment trust, and private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $6.25bn.

Coalition Of Tribes Oppose Latest California Sports-Betting Initiatives

A coalition of three California gaming tribes expressed their opposition to two sports-betting ballot initiatives in comments submitted to the state attorney general’s office, according to a letter obtained on Tuesday (November 28) by Vixio GamblingCompliance.

The Wilton Rancheria, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians submitted a three-page letter arguing the backers of the Tribal Gaming Protection Act and the Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act would enable off-shore operators to “monetize and profit from their operations.”

According to the three-page letter, tribal officials highlight that their proposals exempt any “illicit offshore online gaming operations” sold to California tribes from background checks and licensing by tribal regulatory agencies. They also exempt equipment and operating systems from testing and certification regulations for two years.

“This problematic new language advances the agenda of offshore online gaming operators to exploit and monetize their illicit assets,” read the letter signed by Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon Tribe, Lynn Valbuena, chairwoman of San Manuel, and Jesus Tarango, chairman of the Wilton Rancheria.

“Rigorous regulation and oversight are critical to ensure the integrity and honesty of tribal gaming.” 

The letter was among four comments submitted to the attorney general’s office prior to Monday’s (November 27) deadline. Both measures can now begin collecting signatures and have until April 23 to collect 874,641 valid signatures to make the November 5, 2024, ballot.

Alabama House Speaker Wants Gambling Restrictions

Alabama’s speaker of the House of Representatives believes there needs to be regulations put in place on gaming because illegal gambling is plaguing the state. 

“We’ve got to clean it up because it’s bringing a lot of ill will in the state,” Republican Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter told reporters after a speech to business executives on Monday (November 27), as first reported by WDHN.  

“We would be better off trying to clean it up, put a committee together to recognize that is going on,” Ledbetter said. “We’ll see what they come up with.”

Ledbetter has been vocal about his support for gambling legislation. 

Republican state Representative Andy Whitt has been given the responsibility of drafting a bill to be considered when lawmakers convene in January for the regular session that is limited to 30 meeting days. Messages left with Whitt’s office Tuesday were not returned. 

Currently, pari-mutuel wagering at racetracks and facilities operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians are legal in Alabama. Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, has supported putting the issue of legalized gaming on the ballot for voters to decide.

As expected, bills to legalize and regulate casinos, sports betting and a state lottery have failed to pass the Alabama legislature during the last two sessions.

Ontario Plans Self-Exclusion RFP In Early 2024

iGaming Ontario (iGO) announced Monday (November 27) that it will issue a request for proposals (RFP) in “early 2024” to implement a centralized self-exclusion program in the province.

Officials for the “conduct-and-manage” entity that oversees Ontario’s private online gaming market have spoken for much of 2023 about how a solution that would allow players to self-exclude from the entire regulated online gaming market rather than just a single operator was a high priority.

The regulator is seeking a bidder who will be able to “develop and implement a centralized self-exclusion system that integrates with all operator systems and supports players’ self-exclusion registration, renewal, and reinstatement.”

In addition, the program will include Ontario Lottery and Gaming’s online gaming site, which is not governed by iGaming Ontario and generally operates outside the private model.

Under the centralized system, players would be able to self-exclude from all regulated online gaming options in the province, whether it be temporarily or permanently, with a single registration process.

The private online gaming market program, which includes both online casino and sports betting, currently includes 48 operators and has produced more than $2bn in net revenue since its launch in April 2022.

Ohio Lawmaker Wants To Cut Sports-Betting Tax

A Republican state senator in Ohio has introduced legislation to reduce the tax on sports betting by half, which could reduce funding for problem gambling and other state programs. 

Senator Niraj Antani introduced Senate Bill 190 prior to the Thanksgiving Holiday. It would cut the tax on sports betting from 20 percent to 10 percent.

When sports betting launched on January 1, the tax rate was 10 percent on gross receipts. However, state lawmakers over the summer used the state budget to increase the rate to its current 20 percent.

It is unclear whether there is enough legislative support to pass Antani’s tax reduction bill, or even if Republican Governor Mike DeWine would sign it should it land on his desk. DeWine supported the tax increase that was included in the 2023 state budget bill.

The financial implications of SB 190 are unknown until the Legislative Service Commission issues a revenue estimate on the two-page bill. Antani is also currently a Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio’s second district.

The Buckeye State is not the first to re-evaluate its tax regime for sports wagering, however. In May, Tennessee changed from a 20 percent tax on mobile betting gross revenue to 1.85 percent of handle.

Chinese Court Tags Ex-Imperial Pacific Mogul As Crime Boss

A Beijing court has declared that a gaming mogul with influence over Saipan’s Imperial Pacific integrated resort led a criminal gambling and debt collection network. It jailed 15 defendants, including the man’s junket-linked aunt.

The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on Friday (November 24) identified the syndicate “ringleader” by his surname Ji, almost certainly Ji Xiaobo, son of Imperial Pacific International controlling shareholder Cui Lijie, and an executive of the former junket Hengsheng Group.

Prosecutors charged Ji’s aunt Cui Limei, formerly the sole shareholder of Hengsheng, and another 14 associates with offences including operating an overseas casino, illegal and violent debt collection, organising illegal border crossings, and illegal entry into residences.

Cui Limei was jailed for eight years and six months for operating the casino, while the others were jailed for between 20 months and seven-and-a-half years for various offences.

Ji and a co-conspirator surnamed Dong are being prosecuted in separate cases, but Ji’s whereabouts are unknown.

Ji, his mother and aunt were at the core of the Imperial Pacific 2014 push for Saipan’s casino licence, a venture that led to colossal, world-beating VIP gaming turnover, but eventually collapsed under pressure from uncollectible gambler debt, Chinese government pressure, FBI probes, dwindling business, and pandemic damage.

Imperial Pacific International faces delisting by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and trading has been suspended since April 2022.

Peru Proposes Match-Fixing Legislation

Although the Peruvian online gambling market will not begin the months-long process of officially launching until the new year, a deputy has already proposed relevant legislation that would add match-fixing to the Penal Code, making it a clearly punishable offence. 

According to the text of the newly submitted bill, the crime of manipulation of sports results would carry a sentence of between three and ten years. 

In October, Peru’s football players association demanded an investigation into match-fixing by the football association after insisting players were being targeted.

The request came after a former national team player, Víctor Rossel, publicly accused players of two teams in Liga 1 of match-fixing.  

The law that regulates sports betting and online games will come into effect on February 9, 2024. Operators will have the following month, up until March 10, to submit their application for a licence to regulator MINCETUR. MINCETUR will then have another month, until April 11, to issue licences to operators.


A Swedish consumer survey has revealed that the general public believe gambling addiction is widespread, among worrying signs for the industry's reputation.

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