News In Brief: October 2-October 6, 2023

October 6, 2023
UK health guidance suggests asking about gambling habits, Caliplay launches legal proceedings in Mexico City against its partner Playtech and Authentic Gaming live dealer games approved in Michigan.
UK Health Guidance Suggests Asking About Gambling Habits

Draft guidance from the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends healthcare professionals ask those who appear with mental health issues about their gambling habits, or of those around them.

People should be asked about gambling habits when questioning them about drug, alcohol or tobacco consumption as a part of the processes of registering with a medical practice or for social services, the agency said.

Other times would include contacts with the criminal justice system, when people are at risk of experiencing homelessness when they share financial concerns, or when there are concerns about domestic abuse, NICE said.

The consultation on the proposals started on Thursday (October 5) and runs through to November 15. 

The guidelines are for providers of gambling addiction treatment, healthcare professional and those who experience gambling-related harm.

Caliplay Goes To Court To Cut Out Playtech

Mexico’s Caliplay has launched legal proceedings in Mexico City against its own partner, Playtech, in an effort to legally sever ties.

Caliplay is the joint venture between Playtech and Codere, and they have been embroiled in a dispute since February. 

Playtech asked the English courts at that time to declare that Caliplay's right to reclaim additional service fees had expired, but Caliplay disagreed. At the time, they said that they had no idea that Playtech was taking the matter to court.

For the time being, the courts have ordered that Playtech must continue to provide software and services to Caliplay. The payments for these services, however, have been suspended. 

In a statement, Playtech called Caliplay a valued partner, and claims to have known nothing of the legal proceedings until they were publicly announced.

Chile’s Offshore Operators Face Backdated Taxes

Chile’s economy commission not only did not approve a transitional period of 12 months that would allow for current operators in the territory to apply for a licence, they have also added new stipulations at the 11th hour before the session began.

Before the economy commission met for the last time to discuss the bill on Tuesday (October 3), the text had a transitional period of 12 months for current operators that would allow them to apply for a licence if they paid a retroactive 31 percent gross gaming revenue tax for the prior 36 months. 

That was not approved, and a new text was added half an hour before the commission met that said that at the end of the 12-month cooling-off period, current grey market operators would need to pay the same backdated taxes when applying for a licence.

According to Carlos Baeza, consulting lawyer for operators Coolbet, Latamwin, Betsson and Betano: “In other words, a double burden was established, the current operators were prevented from operating during the transitional period.”

Authentic Gaming Live Dealer Games Approved In Michigan

Authentic Gaming, a subsidiary of Light & Wonder, launched real-time online casino table games with live dealers on Thursday (October 5) after being approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). 

The MGCB’s decision brings the number of live dealer providers in Michigan to three, with the other two being Playtech and Evolution.

Authentic Gaming has deals with Golden Nugget Michigan and BetRivers Michigan. Golden Nugget operates iGaming through an agreement with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, while Rush Street Interactive operates the platform for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.

Playtech and Evolution were authorized in December 2021 and July 2021, respectively, to provide live dealer games in Michigan.

Light & Wonder entered the live casino market with its acquisition of Malta-based Authentic Gaming in November 2021. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lagos State Regulator Names 'Illegal' Operators

The state gambling regulator in Lagos, Nigeria, has warned players to stop gambling with a host of operators that it has not licensed in a public notice.

The Lagos State Lotteries and Gambling Authority (LSLGA) notice comes amid a long ongoing legal dispute between federal and state gambling regulators in recent years over who has the right to oversee gambling businesses in the country.

In its notice, the LSLGA said it “wishes to reaffirm its commitment to regulating and promoting the Lagos gaming industry to ensure that the interest of all stakeholders is adequately protected”.

Golden Nugget Founder Steps Down From DraftKings

Thomas Winter has stepped down from DraftKings less than two years after the company acquired the business he founded, Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG).

“Ten years after founding Golden Nugget Online gaming, three years after taking it public and two years after its acquisition by the almighty DraftKings, time has come for me to close this extraordinary chapter of my life and open a new one, this time focused on the latter part of work-life balance,” Winter wrote on LinkedIn. 

GNOG has market access in New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. 

In other personnel moves, the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) confirmed Wednesday (October 4) that Republican senator Jon Ford has retired from the Indiana legislature and will step down as president of the NCLGS.

Delegate Shawn Fluharty, a Democrat from West Virginia, who was slated to become president in January, will take over as president of NCLGS effective October 15. 

Maine Aiming For November For Sports-Betting Launch

Maine’s top gaming regulator expects to launch sports betting between November 5 and November 15, according to a report on Maine Public Radio. 

The state attorney general’s office continues to go through the proposed adopted rules for final legal review, but once approved they will be forwarded to the secretary of state’s office. 

“They typically take three to five business days and then once (the secretary of state’s office) posts the adopted rules on their website, then we go live,” Mil Champion, executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit, said.

Under the law, only the state’s four federally-recognized tribes can be licensed to operate mobile sports betting.

Currently, Caesars Entertainment will operate its app on behalf of the Mi’kmak Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, and the Penobscot Nation, Champion told Maine Public Radio. The Passamaquoddy Tribe has yet to announce a partnership for mobile sports betting.

Missouri Gaming Association Appeals Dismissal Of Grey Games Lawsuit

The Missouri Gaming Association (MGA) has appealed a state judge’s ruling to dismiss a Torch Electronics lawsuit seeking to block the state Highway Patrol from investigating grey-market machines. 

“Torch Electronics is an illegal competitor and its illegal gaming devices are harming our members,” the MGA said in a statement emailed Wednesday (October 4).

“Torch’s illegal gaming devices take money away from Veterans, local cities and education in the form of lost tax revenue and admission fees, and this needs to be stopped.”

The MGA filed an appeal Wednesday “as we believe that the trial court erred because we have a right to bring an action to stop illegal competitors.”

Michigan Pick'em Fantasy Ban Clears Another Hurdle

Michigan is on the verge of becoming the latest state to prohibit pick’em style fantasy games in their state.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, a legislative committee that reviews new rulemaking by regulatory agencies in the state, took no action on a set of proposed rules by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, allowing the rules to be accepted by default.

The rules prohibit fantasy contest operators from offering contests that include a “proposition selection or fantasy contests that have the effect of mimicking proposition selection.”

The Coalition for Fantasy Sports, which includes operators PrizePicks, Sleeper, and Underdog Fantasy, all companies that offer the popular pick’em style games, said in a statement that they “will continue to work with regulators and policymakers to provide the innovative fantasy sports products customers want and love.”

The rules will become effective after being filed with the Michigan Secretary of State.

While Michigan’s rulemaking process has been several years in the making, it continues the recent state backlash against the pick’em games, with Florida regulators ordering companies to cease activity in the state last month, and New York regulators adopting similar rules Tuesday (October 3).

U.S. Gaming Executives Confident As Growth Slows

Gaming executives remain upbeat about the current business environment but concede that growth has decelerated from the strong pace in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA) Gaming Industry Outlook.

The report, presented by Fitch Ratings, released Tuesday (October 3), found that 97 percent of gaming executives surveyed view the current business situation as good (42 percent) or satisfactory (55 percent). 

More than half (58 percent) expect the next three to six months to be about the same with the remainder almost evenly split between those who anticipate better or worse conditions (3 percent net positive).

Even with an anticipated slowdown in consumer spending, consumer survey results continue to indicate that more than one-third of adults expect to visit a casino during the next 12 months, consistent with prior-quarter results.

When asked about top business challenges, 58 percent of executives cited inflation or interest rate concerns as factors limiting operations, followed by overall uncertainty of the economic environment at 55 percent.

Meanwhile, gaming equipment manufacturers expect units for new or expansion use to increase — 44 percent net positive — with an equal share expecting sales of gaming units for replacement use to increase, according to the survey.

Camelot Illinois Rebrands As Allwyn North America

Allwyn AG, a Lucerne, Switzerland-based multi-national lottery operator, has rebranded Camelot Illinois as Allwyn North America, the company announced on Tuesday (October 3).

The rebranding of Camelot Illinois forms part of the continued integration of the Camelot Lotteries Solutions group of companies, which includes Camelot Illinois into the Allwyn family, following the acquisition earlier this year. 

In March, Allwyn announced it had completed the acquisition of Camelot Lottery Solutions from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. The financial terms of the deal were never disclosed. 

“North America is an important market for Allwyn, where we see strong potential for future growth,” Rober Chvatal, CEO of Allwyn AG, said in a statement. “Our entry into North America builds upon Allwyn’s strong track record of successfully operating lotteries across Europe.”

Allwyn earlier this year also acquired Camelot UK Lotteries Ltd, allowing the company to continue to operate the UK’s National Lotter through the end of the third license in January 2024. Allwyn operates national lotteries in Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus and Italy. 

Torch Effort To Block Missouri Gaming Investigations Tossed

One day before a trial was set to begin in a Missouri courtroom, Cole County Judge Daniel Green dismissed a Torch Electronics lawsuit seeking to block the state Highway Patrol from investigating grey-market machines, an attorney for the company confirmed Tuesday (October 3). 

Charles Hatfield, a partner with Stinson who represents Torch Electronics, said Judge Green announced his decision orally from the bench on Monday (October 2) and “asked for a proposed judgment,” which was submitted Tuesday for his consideration.

“A notice of appeal would come after we see his written decision,” Hatfield said in an email. 

The case was filed in 2021 by Torch Electronics, which supplies grey-market machines, or so-called skill-games, to Warrenton Oil, which operates convenience stores in Missouri. The companies wanted a decision that declared the games were legal and did not meet the legal definition of gambling.

The Missouri Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety wanted the case dismissed. The Missouri Independent reported that state agencies ask for the dismissal, arguing if and when Torch and other plaintiffs face criminal charges, they’ll have an opportunity to raise arguments made in a civil case as defense.

Green’s dismissal also covered a counterclaim made by the Missouri Gaming Association, which was asking the judge for an affirmative statement that grey-market machines, or pre-reveal games, are illegal slot machines.  

“We are disappointed in the ruling the judge made in this case,” said Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association. “We plan to appeal his decision and try to move this case forward in order to stop the continued spread of illegal gambling machines in Missouri.”

Entain Completes Acquisition Of Angstrom Sports

Entain has completed the acquisition of UK-based Angstrom Sports, a specialist provider of US sports forecasting and data analytics.

As originally announced on July 17, 2023, “the initial consideration of £81m was payable on completion, with additional contingent payments totaling a maximum of £122m, payable over three years”, according to Entain’s latest update on Monday (October 3).

Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: “We are delighted that Angstrom has joined Entain, enabling us to accelerate the development of the Entain Platform bringing even more product capabilities in-house.”

Lithuanian Regulator Fines Amber Gaming Again

Amber Gaming has been fined for the sixth time by the Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority (LGCA) since the start of 2022.

The LGCA announced it had fined Amber Gaming €12,557 on Monday (October 2) after it terminated an online gambling account “without collecting sufficient data and objective and indisputable evidence” that the player transferred login data to third parties.

The decision is not final and can be appealed.

Just last week, on September 26, the LGCA announced its decision to impose a €15,000 financial penalty on Amber Gaming, for restricting a player's bet offers without good reason.

The latest fine brings Amber Gaming’s total since the start of 2022 to €90,101.

Penn Entertainment Dismisses Barstool License Claims

Penn Entertainment was never denied a sports-betting license due to its acquisition of Barstool, despite claims from its owner David Portnoy

Eileen O’Brien, a commissioner with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), asked Chris Soriano on Monday (October 2) if the allegations made by Portnoy were true that Penn was denied gaming licenses. 

O’Brien said they were given a list dated May 30 that did not include any denials. She added that she was just looking to confirm that as of Monday it was the same answer.

“Penn has not been denied any licenses,” said Soriano, Penn’s vice president and chief compliance officer.  

Portnoy posted a video to his X profile in August after he reacquired Barstool from Penn, claiming the company’s partnership with Penn had made it difficult to acquire sports-betting licenses.

Penn also confirmed it will rebrand Barstool Sportsbook to ESPN by November. The company operates Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts. 

Victoria Announces Non-Casino Gambling Curfew

Australia’s Victoria state government on Tuesday (October 3) introduced legislative amendments that enforce a six-hour curfew for non-casino, on-site gambling, extend ministerial powers to block “harmful betting” outside the state and tighten oversight of the Crown Melbourne casino.

The government said in a statement that the latest amendments also include mandatory pre-commitment for slots and other electronic gaming, capped load-up limits of A$100 ($63) and slower slot spin rates.

The curfew for non-casino gambling facilities will be from 4am to 10am, effective mid-2024, it said.

The statement added that the pre-commitment system YourPlay will extend to table games, including baccarat and poker, “requiring new table game technology to be developed” by December 2025.

The bill also provides a clearer roadmap for handling casino property at Crown Resorts’ Melbourne flagship should Crown lose its casino licence.

The text of the bill was unavailable on the Victorian Parliament website at publication time ahead of the bill’s second reading on Wednesday.

South Korea Fines Daegu Casino Over AML Breaches

The owner of South Korea’s Daegu Casino has been fined more than 1bn won ($735,000) over violations of anti-money laundering (AML) obligations.

The Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU) issued the 1,0471bn won fine to Golden Crown Co on September 5, the Yeongnam Ilbo reported.

The KoFIU also warned the company and one executive over the breaches, which included the failure to verify customer details and report suspicious transactions dating to 2019.

The unit also ordered the foreigner-only casino, which is hosted by the Hotel Inter Birgo Daegu, to upgrade suspicious transaction reporting, improve compliance training for staff and appoint staff dedicated to AML duties.

New York Commission Set To Act On Fantasy Sports, Betting Advertising

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) is set to vote Tuesday (October 3) to adopt two sets of proposed regulations to ban pick ’em-style fantasy sports contests and implement stricter regulations on sports-betting advertising.

New York’s pending regulations for interactive fantasy sports would prohibit any contests that “have the effect of mimicking proposition betting.” 

A coalition of PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy and Sleeper, as well as fantasy operators Mojo Interactive and Vivid Picks, have all objected to the proposal, according to meeting materials published on Friday.

Meanwhile, updated sports-betting marketing regulations would ban advertising on college campuses and make licensed operators responsible for the activities of their marketing affiliates.

Similar restrictions are already in place in other states, including Massachusetts and Ohio.

Also on the NYSGC’s agenda for its October 2 meeting is a “discussion” of Fanatics’ acquisition of PointsBet.

Swedish Police Warn Of Rising Criminal Interests In Sports

Sweden’s Police Authority has warned that organised crime is “gaining ground in sports” in a new report.

The “Sports Coruption Phenomenon Report” published on September 25 also warns of a possibility of seeing an increase in match-fixing in the future, but says this is likely “due to more cases reported or identified as knowledge of the phenomenon increases”.

Per Engström, the police chief superintendent, said: “Sport stands for values ​​such as integrity, team spirit and fair play. But it is also about large sums of money, which in turn means that criminal actors become interested and see opportunities here as well.”

Engström added that the police have ongoing investigations regarding match-fixing and called on sports associations and clubs to think of ways they can protect their players.


UK health guidance suggests asking about gambling habits, Caliplay launches legal proceedings in Mexico City against its partner Playtech and Authentic Gaming live dealer games approved in Michigan.

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