News In Brief: September 12-September 16, 2022

September 16, 2022
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Wynn Resorts, Related Companies partner to target downstate New York casino licenses, Missouri lawmaker pushing for a special session to cover sports-betting bill and Tasmania becomes first Australian state to introduce mandatory slot loss limits in 2024.

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Wynn Resorts, Related Companies Partner On New York Casino

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Wynn Resort has formed a partnership with Related Companies to pursue one of three downstate casino licenses in New York on the Western Yards at Hudson Yards, the gaming company announced Thursday (September 15).

In a joint statement, the companies said the plan is to develop a resort, entertainment center, and casino located directly next to the Javits Center, which recently completed a $1.5bn expansion and is one of the busiest convention centers in the United States.

Wynn Resorts expects the project to generate “billions in direct and indirect tax revenue to the state and city.” Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul signed budget legislation on April 11 that will accelerate the process of issuing three new licenses likely destined for the downstate region of New York.

“Wynn Resorts has a long history of utilizing compact, upscale casino floor to support the creation of spectacular resort experiences that appeal to an array of guests travelers and locals alike,” said Craig Billing, CEO of Wynn Resorts. “We look forward to engaging with the community to hear expectations for our development.

Wynn Resorts is not the only gaming company to express an interest in obtaining a New York casino license. Las Vegas Sands has long pushed to construct a casino-resort in New York City, including hiring former New York Governor David Paterson, a Democrat, as a senior vice president.

Both MGM Resorts International and Genting Group, which operate video lottery casinos in and around New York City and are looking to upgrade to a full license to allow table games and land-based sports betting.

All four companies were among 31 businesses that participated in a request for information process held by the New York State Gaming Commission to gauge interest in what regulators should be looking for in awarding the licenses.

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Missouri Lawmaker Seeks Special Session Approval Of Sports-Betting Bill

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The special legislative session called by Republican Governor Mike Parson to cut income taxes and create or extend certain agricultural tax credits began Wednesday (September 14), but nowhere in his proclamation does he mention sports betting, leaving one senator to file a bill anyway.

The bill, House Bill 4, sponsored by Republican Representative Dan Houx, is similar to the amended version of House Bill 2502, which passed the House in March only to fail to be approved by the Senate.

Houx’s bill has been referred to the House Emerging Issues Committee, which is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal Monday (September 19). The House introduced five bills on Wednesday, while the Senate has 22 bills.

Parsons would have to expand the agenda of the special session for HB 4 to be considered by both chambers. The 2023 legislative session begins on January 4 and is scheduled to run through May 30, with December 1 the first filing date for the new session.

Republican Senator Denny Hoskins, who killed HB 2502 last session over the legalization of video lottery terminals, is expected to file another VLT bill, while Houx could file another version of HB 4 should his latest bill not be considered by either chamber.

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Tasmania Imposes Mandatory Pre-Commitment For Slots

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In a first for Australia, the Tasmanian state government has announced it will introduce mandatory pre-commitment for slot machine players, to be in force by the end of 2024.

Players will receive cards at gaming venues with default maximum losses of A$100 ($67) a day, A$500 a month and A$5,000 a year, but the limits can be increased or lowered within “certain parameters”, Deputy Premier Michael Ferguson said in a statement on Thursday (September 15).

The move adopts a recommendation from a report by the state's Liquor and Gaming Commission into gaming harm minimisation.

In a rare outburst against Tasmania’s traditionally pro-gaming government, the Tasmanian Hospitality Association said the reform amounted to “lies, lies and more lies”, and it attacked the ruling Liberal government over its “backflip” and “slap in the face” to the industry.

But Andrew Wilkie, a federal lawmaker representing Tasmania’s capital of Hobart and a veteran anti-gambling campaigner, unusually praised the government for its “commendable” plan, which will include an assessment of player ability to sustain greater losses.

“The system will be an Australian first and put considerable pressure on the territories and other states to follow suit,” Wilkie said in a statement on his website.

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Study Finds One In Five U.S. Adults Wagered On Sports

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Nearly one-in-five of U.S. adults say they have personally bet on sports over the past year, according to a new surveyed released Wednesday (September 14).

The report from the Pew Research Center shows that 19 percent of adults surveyed said they had placed a bet on sports.

The most common way people wagered was placing bets with family or friends, with 15 percent of respondents saying the wager was through a private betting pool, fantasy league or casual bet.

Only 8 percent said they had placed a bet in person at a casino, racetrack or betting kiosks, and 6 percent reported having wagered online. The Pew survey did not ask if the online sites were state regulated or were unregulated offshore sites.

The survey also found that men are more likely than women (24 percent v 15 percent) to say they have bet on sports in some form in the past year, as are adults under the age of 50 when compared with those 50 and older (22 percent v 17 percent).

There are also differences by race and ethnicity with Black (27 percent) and Hispanic adults (24 percent) more likely than White (18 percent) and Asian American adults (10 percent) to report placing a bet.

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Outsider Genting Bids For Macau Concession

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A subsidiary of Malaysia’s global gaming company Genting Group has submitted an application for a casino concession in Macau, the only non-incumbent in a field of seven rivals.

Macau’s Government Information Bureau (GIB) confirmed that all of Macau’s existing casino concessionaires (SJM Holdings, Wynn Macau and Galaxy Entertainment Group) and sub-concessionaires (MGM China, Melco Resorts and Sands China) applied by the September 14 deadline.

The remaining applicant is GMM Limited, a subsidiary of Genting Group.

The GIB said that the government committee overseeing the concessions tender will formally open the bidding proposal process tomorrow (September 16), to be attended by “committee members, officials of the Public Prosecutions Office, and representatives of the companies”.

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Province Of Cordoba Announces Shortlist For Online Licences

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Argentina’s province of Cordoba is narrowing down its contenders for licences to operate online gaming. For international companies to participate they must be partnered with a local operator who has at least a 15 percent stake.

The shortlist of eight candidates are: Rush Street Interactive, partnered with Argentine businessman Daniel Angelici; the Victoria Casino together with the Betsson; the Entertainment and Tourism Company, partnered with Daruma Sam; Binbaires and Intralot Internacional together with Ondiss; the Boldt Group, partnered with SG Digital; and local operators IVISA; Iberargen; and Slots Machines.

Biyemas, which was partnered with Skill on Net, did not qualify, nor did Betway and Picapertor Online, which did not supply the correct documentation in Spanish.

These eight candidates have been “pre-awarded” licences which allow them to organise and prepare. Official contracts will be signed on October 11, and will go into effect on the 18th.

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Brazil Primed For Sports Betting Launch

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A Brazilian official has said the Ministry of Economy is ready to launch gambling as soon as the President signs the decree.

Iuri Castro, the lottery undersecretary in the Ministry of Economy, said that the Ministry is preparing and ready for Brazil’s president – whoever it may be– to sign the regulatory decree that would legalise online sports betting.

He claimed that his team is hard at work on related processes, models, texts, and the like during a panel on the importance of market governance.

“We quickly drew up the needs, got the budget and started the work that was divided into four modules to receive data from operators, register and analyse them. We already have a defined strategy, we know how to do it, we have a plan and we know that it will be carried out when the decree is published,” he told the audience.

Castro also said that the Ministry’s technology directorate and the Federal Data Processing Service had already been included and involved with the planning process and their respective roles.

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Paraguay Opens Short Sports Betting Window

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The National Games of Chance Commission (Conajzar), which has been mired in controversy and lawsuits of late, has moved forward with its call for bids for a sports betting concession.

Conajzar determined that the window will be this week, from September 13 to the 19, for businesses to purchase the bidding terms and conditions, which is the right to participate in the bidding process itself.

Industry insiders are sceptical of the call, as it lasts just five days, and because it excludes international bids – only local businesses are eligible.

Others suspect that the process is a show, and that the current concession holder, Daruma Sam, will be awarded the contract.

The last call for bids was in 2017, which was not restricted by location and the chance to purchase bidding terms and conditions lasted 12 days. The winning bid will be awarded the contract for five years.

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EGBA AML Rules Published

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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EBGA) has introduced a new set of regulatory standards to help online operators in the region comply with the EU’s latest anti-money laundering (AML) rules.

The set of best practice rules are designed to be applied across the EU and the European Economic Area and take into account a new package of AML requirements currently being developed in Brussels, the trade group said.

Guidelines cover issues such as how to conduct risk assessments, perform customer due diligence and report suspicious transactions.

"Preventing online gambling from being used to hide the proceeds of crime is an important test for Europe’s gambling operators — but there’s currently very little sector-specific guidance to help operators in their compliance efforts. We hope these guidelines will fill this gap and lay strong foundations for the sector to achieve the highest possible standards in AML compliance,” said EGBA director of legal and regulatory affairs, Ekaterina Hartmann.

The EGBA is accepting feedback on the guidelines until October 13.

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India’s Supreme Court To Hear Online Skill Gaming Appeal

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India’s highest court will hear an appeal from the Tamil Nadu state government after that state’s High Court threw out legislation banning online skill gaming.

The Supreme Court issued notice to the parties in the case on Friday (September 9), with Tamil Nadu’s government hoping to reinstate anti-gambling legislation that was savaged by the Madras High Court in August last year.

The case, along with a similar appeal from Karnataka state yet to be accepted by the apex court, is shaping up to be a game-changer that could unlock vast markets across India for online skill gaming operators.

The Supreme Court has consistently sided with skill gaming operators and players, citing constitutional protection for skill-based games such as rummy and poker, including when stakes are involved.

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Uruguay Industry Testifies To Support Online Gambling Bill

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Experts appeared this week in the Chamber of Deputies’ Treasury Commission, where Uruguay’s bill to regulate online gambling is currently being debated, in an effort to support the bill.

Gustavo Anselmi, the general director of casinos, also defended the position that regulation is a separate issue from gambling addiction. He told the commission: "Gambling addiction is a disease and must be treated by public health, and it is precisely there where it is treated. Casinos do not want addicts, they are not interested in them."

Anselmi also presented a report put together by private firm Cifra, which evaluated how much potential players would gamble online, using a casino in Sante Fe, Argentina as comparison. He stated that the website traffic was very low compared to in person players. "Today we talk about online gambling and it makes it seem like the three million Uruguayans are going to be connected all day long… that is not so."

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Gambling Commission Limits Communication On Queen’s Death

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The UK’s Gambling Commission says it will be refraining from “non-essential communication” during a period of national mourning following the death last week of Queen Elizabeth II.

“During this period of national mourning, we will be halting all non-essential communications across our website and social media channels”, the regulatory body said on Friday (September 09). “This will not affect our ongoing work.”

The mourning period ends after The Queen's funeral on Monday, September 19.

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council cited “her great love of horseracing” in its own condolence note.

William Hill and Betfred were among betting shops closed for business on Friday.

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Ontario Regulator Reviewing FanDuel Privacy Glitch

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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) said Friday it would be conducting a “full regulatory review” after FanDuel self-reported a “technical incident” that briefly gave some players access to other customers’ account information.

Following reports of the incident on social media, FanDuel Canada acknowledged on Wednesday that an IT change by a third-party provider meant customers logged on to its platform “may have had access to certain account information that was not their own.”

“Once discovered, FanDuel immediately shut down the platform, froze potentially affected accounts and resolved the technical issue,” the Flutter-owned company said.

AGCO subsidiary iGaming Ontario responded to the AGCO statement on Twitter by saying that it “takes player privacy seriously” and would “respond to all investigative results.”

The incident appears to be the first public regulatory investigation to emerge since launch of the Ontario market in April, with the exception of several fines issued by AGCO over breaches of its marketing standards that ban bonus offers and other inducements in gambling advertising.

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Crypto Casino Partners With Argentina National Team

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The National Argentine Football Team will be sponsored by an online crypto casino for the World Cup.

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) has officially partnered with online crypto-casino BC.GAME, a sponsorship which will see the national team through the World Cup this fall in Qatar.

The six-month contract has been greeted with fanfare by both the AFA and BC.GAME, who stated: "This agreement is one more expression of the progress and international reach of the AFA brand, involving new audiences and new sources of income created through various categories."

Though licensed in Curacao, BC.Games' players are largely Australian. The crypto casino accepts multiple forms of payment, including Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Argentina presents an attractive market for cryptocurrencies, as the peso is highly volatile. Inflation as of July for the preceding 12 months clocked in at 71 percent. The official exchange rate is currently 142 pesos to the dollar, while the so-called blue rate, which is what one gets on the street exchanging in cash, is 270.

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Colombia Will Accept Venezuelan Immigrants To Gamble

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Coljuegos, the Colombian gambling regulator, is in the process of making it possible for Venezuelan immigrants without Colombian IDs to gamble.

There are more than 2.2m Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia who have fled their country’s crisis, and most use a document called a Temporary Protection Permit (PPT). Up until this point the permit was not accepted as valid identification for gambling.

Coljuegos sought permission from the Special Administrative Unit for Colombian Migration to begin allowing the PPT, which was granted.

The unit stated that the PPT “contains the necessary data for the identification of the person and the determination of their age, since they have the date of birth within the informed data. In this way, the operators of new internet games have the tools to verify the age of the bettor”.

The proposed change is still under consultation and Coljeugos is accepting public comments on the matter until September 12.

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Wynn Resorts, Related Companies partner to target downstate New York casino licenses, Missouri lawmaker pushing for a special session to cover sports-betting bill and Tasmania becomes first Australian state to introduce mandatory slot loss limits in 2024.

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