News In Brief: October 24-October 28, 2022

October 28, 2022
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Apple pauses App Store gambling ads, the chances for California's mobile betting proposition fade further and delays to online licence approvals in Argentinian state.

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Gambling Ads Barred From Apple App Store

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Apple has paused ads for gambling apps in its App Store, after developers complained.

Numerous reports earlier this week saw disgruntled app developers complain that a system for advertising on the App Store had seen gambling services fill "You might also like" on the pages for their software. In on case, gambling apps were reportedly advertised below an app for addiction recovery.

On Thursday (October 27), Apple said it had “paused ads related to gambling and a few other categories on App Store product pages”. The tech giant offered no further information on how long the pause would last or what changes it might make to its advertising rules.

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Support Slips For California's Proposition 27

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With election day less than two weeks away on November 8, a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found support among voters for Proposition 27, which would legalize mobile sports betting, has declined as the proposal continues to poll poorly.

The survey found that only 26 percent of registered voters support Proposition 27, down from 34 percent in September. Proposition 26, which would legalize in-person sports betting on tribal lands and at four racetracks in the state, has the support of 34 percent of likely voters.

The PPIC poll says 9 percent of likely California voters are personally invested in sports betting, while 48 percent believe legalizing sports betting would be a “bad thing.”

Fewer than half of likely voters say the vote outcomes of Proposition 26 and 27 is very important to them.

The new poll numbers were released as Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, came out against the legalization of mobile wagering in California.

“Proposition 27 is bad for California,” Newsom said in a statement. “It would hurt California’s Indian Tribes, increase the risks of underage gambling, and push billions of dollars out of California and into the pockets of out-of-state corporations. Vote No on 27.”

Newsom’s opposition to legalizing mobile sports betting was first reported by Politico.

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Illinois Gaming Board Confirms Tekkorp’s License Withdrawal

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The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) confirmed Thursday (October 27) that it had granted Tekkorp Digital Acquisition Corp.’s request to withdraw it mobile sports-betting application.

Marcus Fruchter, IGB’s administrator, announced that the period for submitting applications for the supplemental bidding process will open Tuesday (November 1).

Existing sports-betting licensees are eligible to apply for one of the three online-only licenses, in addition to sportsbook operators that are not doing business in Illinois.

Fruchter’s decision was not unexpected given that earlier this month Tekkorp announced it would not seek shareholder approval to continue talks with Playtech, Caliente Interactive, and Caliplay.

That decision led to the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) led by Matthew Davey, former CEO of SG Digital, to end its bid to enter the Illinois gaming market.

Tekkorp was the company the IGB approved in April after completing its initial bidding process. The other two companies were Betway and Fubo Gaming Inc., which shutdown its operations earlier this month.

In a statement Thursday, Fruchter disclosed that Tekkorp made the request to withdraw its application on October 14, and he approved the request three days later.

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Córdoba’s Online Gambling Licences Are Delayed

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The licences of the eight online betting operators chosen by the Argentine province of Córdoba should have gone into effect on October 27 but, according to local outlet La Voz, the contracts have been delayed and are now expected to be signed by mid-November.

The chosen operators are: Rush Street Interactive, partnered with the argentine Atlántica de Juegos; the Victoria Casino together with the Betsson; the Entertainment and Tourism Company, partnered with Paraguay’s Daruma Sam; Binbaires and Intralot Internacional together with Ondiss; the Boldt Group partnered with SG Digital; and local operators IVISA; Iberargen of Codere; and Slots Machines.

The licences will be valid for the next 15 years. International operators, to qualify, had to be partnered with a local business. A local company has to hold a minimum of a 15 percent stake in the partnership. According to the law, the operators will pay a 10 percent tax on gross revenue.

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Texas Governor Signals Support For Legalizing Casinos

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Republican Governor Greg Abbott said Wednesday (October 26) he is open to legalizing casino gambling in Texas if he wins re-election next month.

“We don’t want slot machines at every corner store, we don’t want Texans to be losing money that they need for everyday expenses, and we don’t want any type of crime that could be associated with gaming,” Renae Eze, the governor’s press secretary, said in a statement to the Houston Chronicle.

“But, if there is a way to create a very professional entertainment option for Texans, Gov. Abbott would take a look at it,” Eze said.

Abbott has been an opponent of gambling expansion in Texas for years, despite a $1m contribution last month to his re-election campaign from Miriam Adelson, majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands.

The governor’s willingness to change his mind comes as Beto O’Rourke, his Democratic opponent for re-election and former congressman from El Paso, has voiced his support for the legalization of sports betting and casinos in Texas.

Both commercial and tribal gaming operators have long seen Texas as the largest untapped U.S. market, but lobbying efforts from gaming interests have come up short in recent years.

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FanDuel, Sportradar Sign New NBA Data Deal

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FanDuel and Sportradar have extended their partnership for official National Basketball Association (NBA) data through the 2030-2031 season, the two companies announced Wednesday (October 26).

Under the terms of the agreement, Sportradar will supply FanDuel with official NBA data and supplementary betting services for its sportsbook platform.

Sportradar will also be providing FanDuel with its proprietary Live Channel Trading (LCT) product.

Additionally, the agreement stipulates that Sportradar remains the preferred data and odds supplier to FanDuel. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are thrilled to further expand our relationship with FanDuel in a manner that will evolve and grow the skyrocketing market for sports betting in the U.S., while continuing to monetize our long-term partnership with the NBA,” said Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl.

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Sweden Appoints New Gambling Minister

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Niklas Wykman has been selected as the minister in charge of gambling policy in the newly-elected Swedish government.

This is the first Cabinet post for Wykman, who is a representative of the centre-right wing Moderate Party, which rules in a coalition government with far-right parties that unseated the incumbent left-wing coalition last month.

The appointment was welcomed by Gustaf Hoffstedt, head of online operator trade association BOS and himself a former Moderate Party member of parliament.

“We look forward to having a discussion with Niklas Wykman about how gambling policy can best be developed in Sweden,” he said.

Hoffstedt said he will push for the government to crack down on the black market, put pressure on state-owned Svenska Spel and to highlight the economic importance of Sweden’s gambling industry.

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UK Ads Land Lottoland In Hot Water

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Lottery betting stalwart Lottoland has been censured in the UK for misleading search engine ads.

Short text adverts displayed on the Bing and Google search engines advertised wagers on the Irish Lottery and US Powerball draw.

After receiving a complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that the marketing did not make it clear enough that players are betting on the outcome of the lottery and not playing in the actual draw.

Lottoland said it had voluntarily “pinned” certain information to its algorithmically generated search engine ads that made it clear it was a betting operator, but due to technical problems that information had been omitted.

The ASA warned the firm to take action to ensure the mistakes did not happen again and upheld the complaint.

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Maryland Releases List Of Mobile Wagering Applicants

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The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission will consider Thursday (October 27) a list of sportsbook operators who have applied for mobile wagering licenses in the state.

A total of ten applicants are listed on the commission’s agenda. They are Barstool Sportsbook, Betfred, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics Sportsbook, Parx Interactive, and PointsBet.

The commission will determine whether the gaming companies meet basis requirements for approval of mobile sports wagering licenses. Once the applications are approved by the lottery, they will be considered by the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC).

The SWARC is scheduled to meet on November 21. If the SWARC approves the licenses, then the companies will be allowed to launch mobile wagering shortly after approval.

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Lawmakers Call For Action On Brazil Betting

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High-profile officials are demanding answers to why Brazil's sports-betting regulatory decree has not yet been signed. The sports-betting law, which was passed in December 2018 under former President Michel Temer’s outgoing administration, has now been waiting for approval from President Jair Bolsonaro for nearly four years.

This week the minister of justice, Anderson Torrres, highlighted the issue and called for progress, according to Brazilian outlet IstoÉ. Supporting him in the complaint was the minister of economy, Paolo Guedes, whose department launched the investigation into online sports-betting operators’ sponsorships with 54 football teams, competitions, and the Rede Globo television channel.

A perhaps unexpected voice to join the chorus was that of Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, the son of President Bolsonaro and member of his party.

The deadline to regulate is fast approaching, coming to a close on December 12. To the disappointment of the industry, Bolsonaro did not sign a regulatory decree in time to reap the revenue of the FIFA World Cup, which begins in Qatar on November 20.

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Gibraltar Still Greylisted

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As the most recent Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting concludes, the gambling hub of Gibraltar remains on the watchdogs list of risky countries.

Gibraltar was placed on the greylist in June, with FATF blaming the British overseas territory’s large gambling industry.

However, the jurisdiction has so far seemed unfussed, with its gambling commissioner, Andrew Lyman, stating that fines would not be increased simply because of the FATF decision.

“Gibraltar needs to increase the dissuasiveness of its penalties, in particular fines related to the gambling industry and the legal sector that serves these companies,” said FATF president T Raja Kumar during a speech at the plenary.

“Gibraltar is a small jurisdiction, but it is an offshore financial hub, and the home to many gambling companies.”

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Operators Should Be More Honest About Win Rates, Says Report

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A research paper commissioned by the charity GambleAware recommends several changes operators should make to the information they provide consumers to reduce harm.

The research into how safer gambling messages are delivered and how operators deliver clear information comprises four studies and was undertaken by the University of Bournemouth and forms part of GambleAware’s Responsible Gambling Projects.

Gambling operators could improve the way they deliver information about genuine probability of winning in a game rather than exaggerated return rates, according to the research.

Educational content should be provided by operators to target gamblers’ misperceptions of how games work, potential risks of gambling and safer gambling behaviour.

Consumers should also be provided with transparency on purposes of data collection and possible consequences resulting from using the data.

Zoë Osmond, chief executive of GambleAware, said the research is “further proof that we need to see the gambling White Paper published as soon as possible to avoid further gambling harm”.

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Lithuanian Regulator Surveys Online Lottery Players Amid Evaluation

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The Lithuanian Ministry of Finance has set up a working group to carry out an ex-post evaluation of the impact of the country’s law on lotteries. As part of this process, the ministry is seeking the opinions of online lottery players, Lithuania’s Gambling Supervisory Authority (LPT) said in a statement.

“In order to collect the information necessary for the evaluation, we ask lottery players who participate in remote lotteries to participate in a survey and answer the questions presented in our questionnaire,” the statement said.

The questions posted to the survey’s participants relate to the players’ participation in online lotteries, the amounts they spend on such activities, as well as the frequency with which they engage in them, among other things. Players are also asked whether they believe that online lotteries can be addictive and if they have made attempts to stop taking part in such lotteries.

After the procedure is completed, the finance ministry is planning to release a report with the results of its analysis, according to the statement.

The LPT is a unit of the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance. The law on lotteries was amended in 2020.

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Macau Stocks Crash As China's Leader Extends Reign

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Macau and other gaming stocks plunged to year lows on Monday (October 24) amid a rout of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in response to Xi Jinping securing a third five-year term as leader of China.

The bourse’s Hang Seng Index fell 7.3 percent during Monday trading, dragging down gaming stocks that have also been spooked by Beijing’s likely retention of a hardline zero-COVID policy.

Macau casino stocks fell heavily over indefinite blocks on cross-border gaming traffic, with some stocks continuing the decline on Tuesday.

With no sign of relief on zero-COVID rules in the lead-up to and during the Communist Party congress, casino stocks have plummeted since early October.

On Tuesday, Sands China was down 37 percent, MGM China down 31 percent and Wynn Macau down 42 percent from October 6 or 7. Leading Chinese operator Galaxy Entertainment Group was down 25 percent.

Some financial experts are predicting greater flight of capital and talent amid China’s authoritarian lurch, with Xi appointing loyalists, purging factional rivals and dispensing with term limits that restricted his power.

One such rival was a senior Communist Party official allied to former President Hu Jintao, himself unceremoniously and physically removed from the Congress on Sunday to the alarm of China watchers.

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California Tribes Fail To Get Mobile Sports-Betting Initiative On 2024 Ballot

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A coalition of tribes in California seeking to place a mobile sports betting question on the 2024 ballot have failed to qualify the initiative, a campaign spokesman said Friday (October 21).

“The Age-Verified Tribal Online and In-Person Sports Wagering Regulatory Act did not meet the threshold for qualification for the 2024 ballot,” said Roger Salazar, spokesman for Californians for Community Safety, Equality and Reinvestment, who sponsored the ballot initiative.

In a statement, the organization said supports were able to gather 964,762 signatures, which was 73.3 percent of valid signatures required to be placed on the 2024 ballot.

Salazar said the group's “unrelenting focus remains the defeat of the shamefully deceptive Proposition 27.”

Sponsored by DraftKings, FanDuel and other commercial gaming operators, Proposition 27 would legalize mobile sports betting in California but is set to be rejected by voters on November 8.

“After the November election, we will regroup with California tribes and other key stakeholders to develop a 2024 sports wagering initiative that provides the best options for tribes and all Californians,” Salazar said.

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Nebraska Sports-Betting Rules Approved

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The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission on Friday (October 21) voted unanimously to approve rules to allow for in-person sports betting at casinos at racetracks in the state.

The rules prohibit bets placed on games involving teams when they are playing within Nebraska.

The rules now must be approved by attorney general Doug Peterson, then by Republican Governor Pete Ricketts. It is unclear how long that process will take.

“If any of you think… you’re going to be able to do some sports wagering in the relatively near future, that’s really not accurate,” commission chairman Dennis Lee told the Lincoln Star-Journal.

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Apple pauses App Store gambling ads, the chances for California's mobile betting proposition fade further and delays to online licence approvals in Argentinian state.

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