News In Brief: September 20-September 24, 2021

September 24, 2021
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Sweden's regulator maintains its position on toughening advertising rules, Playtech ties up a Brazilian partnership and new gambling taxes are approved in the Philippines.

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Swedish Regulator Backing Government Plan To Limit Advertising

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The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has not changed its opinion on limiting the industry to ads of “special moderation”, which means they would face the same restrictions currently placed on alcohol adverts.

In its now published consultation response on a government memorandum on moderating gambling ads, the SGA reaffirmed its belief that further limits will “lead to both better consumer protection and increased clarity in relation to today's requirements”.

The government’s proposal intends to treat all gambling adverts the same.

However, the SGA highlights in its consultation response that in the recent gambling market inquiry, several bodies recommended only applying special moderation status to high-risk games.

Prior to the memorandum in April, the SGA recommended the limits, arguing: “It is logical to have the same basic requirements for the marketing of games as for the marketing of alcohol based on the fact that the risks associated with the products are similar.”

The consultation on the memorandum closes on October 14 and is being organised by the Ministry of Finance.

The amendment is proposed to enter into force on July 1, 2022.

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Playtech Lands Strategic Partner For Brazil Betting Market

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Playtech has entered into a strategic agreement with online betting operator Galera.bet “in anticipation of regulation” of Brazil’s sports-betting market, the London listed-listed online gambling provider confirmed on Thursday in its first-half results statement.

Specific terms of the partnership were not disclosed but are similar to other strategic relationships in Latin America, including with Caliente in Mexico and WPlay in Colombia, Playtech said.

The increased value of Playtech’s options in those strategic partners saw the company realise a gain of €299m and report significant growth in first-half adjusted profits of €54.6m.

Overall revenue was down 4 percent to €457.4m, largely due to extended retail closures that affected the Snaitech business in Italy. But revenue from online business-to-business operations was up 16 percent to €262.2m, buoyed by strong growth in Mexico and other markets in the Americas region.

Brazil’s Congress passed a law for both online and retail sports wagering in December 2018. Nearly three years later, however, a licensing or concession regime has yet to be implemented and Galera.bet is one of a number of operators growing its brand ahead of regulation through sponsorship tie-ups with leading Brazilian football teams such as Corinthians and Cruzeiro.

Brazil’s federal Chamber of Deputies had been scheduled to hold a hearing on online sports betting on Thursday but the meeting was abruptly cancelled.

Playtech said its strategic priorities for the second-half included executing on its partnerships in Latin America, accelerating its expansion in the U.S. market through Parx Casino and other partners, launching alongside Holland Casino in the Netherlands, and investing in live-dealer casino operations for the U.S. and other markets.

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Saskatchewan To Complete Canada's Online Gambling Map

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The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) will exclusively operate internet gaming in the province under an amendment to its gambling agreement announced on Thursday.

Set to launch in 2022, the forthcoming SIGA operation will offer both online casino games and sports betting and see revenue shared equally between First Nations and the provincial government.

Saskatchewan is the only Canadian province yet to offer any form of lawful online gambling and will be the first to delegate it to a First Nation gaming enterprise. Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta and other provinces all offer online casino games and sports betting exclusively through their provincial lottery corporations, although Ontario is in the process of opening its market to registered private operators.

SIGA operates seven land-based casinos on behalf of 74 indigenous nations based in Saskatchewan. The province-owned Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation operates two further casinos, while the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority and Western Canadian Lottery Corporation operate video lottery terminals in various non-gaming establishments.

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Indiana Receives Four Bids For Casino License

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The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) has received proposals to develop a casino-resort in Vigo County from four gaming companies, the commission confirmed Thursday.

The proposals submitted by Churchill Downs, Full House Resorts, Hard Rock International and Premier Gaming Group follow the IGC’s request for proposals for the state’s open casino license.

Vigo County’s gaming license application was re-opened in July after regulators denied renewal of Lady Luck Gaming’s license for a planned new $125m casino in Terre Haute, which had been delayed due to forced ownership changes.

Each of the companies paid a $50,000 application fee, according to the commission.

Although the IGC did not release any details about the bids, Churchill Downs revealed that it has submitted a proposal along with its license application to develop the Queen of Terre Haute casino.

Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said the company looks forward to making its case for licensure to the commission. The project is expected to generate about $190m in annual regional economic impact, according to a study conducted by Purdue University.

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Philippines Seals 5 Percent Tax, 2 Percent Fee For POGOs

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill that imposes a 5 percent tax on offshore-facing online gaming operators (POGOs) and tax controls on foreign workers they employ.

Duterte signed Republic Act 11590 into law on Wednesday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.

The act, which received strong congressional support after merging drafts of upper and lower house bills, imposes the tax in lieu of all other internal revenue taxes on gaming income.

However, an additional 2 percent regulatory fee can be imposed by gambling regulator PAGCOR.

The act also imposes a 25 percent withholding tax on foreign POGO employees and reiterates the need for these workers to obtain tax identification numbers.

Passage of the law apparently brings to an end a struggle between the government and the Supreme Court, which stayed a similar tax in January.

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Nevada’s Longest-Serving Gaming Commissioner Steps Down

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Jim Moran Jr. will step down as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) on Thursday following the commission’s monthly meeting, a Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) official confirmed.

Moran’s run on the commission, which makes final decisions on NGCB recommendations, began when he was initially appointed by Republican Governor Kenny Guinn in 2004. The NGC was created in 1959 with the passage of the Nevada Gaming Control Act.

He was subsequently reappointed by Governors Jim Gibbons and Brian Sandoval, both Republicans.

Moran was appointed chairman by Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, in July 2020 following the resignation of Tony Alamo. He is the longest-serving gaming commissioner in the Silver State's history.

Moran’s decision to step down was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His departure leaves the five-member NGC with three members, after commissioner Deborah Fuetsch resigned in May at the end of her four-year term.

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Dutch Regulator Says Fines Will Increase

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The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) said it is increasing the size of fines for violations of Dutch law and it will prioritise enforcement against illegal providers with higher number of players.

The Netherlands regulator said it will increase fines for offering illegal games of chance based on turnover — if turnover is more than €15m, the fine is 4 percent of that turnover. The regulator will estimate annual turnover if necessary, it said.

If it is less than that sum, the basic fine is €600,000, the KSA said on Tuesday.

Aggravating circumstances that would increase a fine include gambling by minors and a lack of information on addiction prevention, the regulator said.

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Operator Fined in Lithuania

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Lithuania’s gambling regulator has slapped a €10,814 fine on Unigames for breaching betting regulations.

The Gaming Control Authority said the operator’s BetBuilder product was in violation of a licence condition that states "any betting event may be mentioned only once in a single bet" because it allowed multiple wagers on the same sporting event.

This was the second penalty handed out by the regulator since it was given greater enforcement powers in legal reforms.

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ANJ To Quiz Public On Gambling Ads

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French gambling regulator ANJ has launched a public consultation on advertising, driven in part by public concern over the volume of ads during the recent European Championships.

“During the Euro football, abuses were noted in terms of advertising pressure on the part of sports betting operators. These are likely to question the regulatory model that has been in place for 10 years,” the regulator said in a press release.

Some ads targeted young people or gave the impression gambling was a route to financial success, ANJ said.

The regulator commissioned a survey that found more than half of the people who have seen gambling ads on TV in France believe there are too many of them.

“To question the permanence of a consensus around the French model of gambling and the changes that could possibly be made in terms of advertising, the ANJ has chosen to focus on the way of a consultation open to the whole public.

“Everyone will be able to express themselves on the acceptable balance to be found between advertising on gambling and maintaining a recreational practice of gambling. It will then be up to the regulator to make balanced and effective recommendations, based on a social pact. shared by all,” said ANJ president Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin.

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Northern Ireland Lawmakers Want Bigger Levy Added To Gambling Bill

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A bill to reform Northern Ireland’s gambling laws has been submitted to the country’s parliament, the Assembly, but a group of MPs say it still needs work.

The government-backed Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Bill was debuted last week.

Members of the Assembly All-Party Group (APG) on Reducing Harms Related to Gambling say they are backing the bill, but want its approach to a gambling levy adjusted.

“Northern Ireland’s gambling laws haven’t been updated since 1985, despite the fact that we have the highest incidence of problem gambling in the UK and on the island of Ireland,” said APG chair Robbie Butler.

“I am therefore particularly pleased to see that the Bill makes provision for a statutory levy on the land based gambling industry that will be ringfenced for research, education and treatment. We understand that this levy will be rightly extended to cover profits from online gambling in the second phase of legislation, to be brought forward during the next Assembly mandate.

“The APG has heard compelling evidence to support a so-called ‘smart levy’, that takes account of the degree of harm caused by various products and sets a levy rate accordingly, in a manner similar to the ‘polluter pays’ premise,” he said.

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France Publishes Anti-Money Laundering Guidance

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French gambling regulator ANJ has published its new anti-money laundering (AML) framework, designed to help operators comply with their various legal requirements to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

ANJ said the recommendations replace previous guidance published by ex-regulator ARJEL.

The document provides a guide on how to interpret France and the EU’s AML laws and examples of good practice in doing so. However, it is not itself a legal document and does not preclude operators coming up with their own compliant alternatives, ANJ said.

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Caesars Partners LSU For Louisiana Sports-Betting Launch

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Caesars Entertainment will be the exclusive sportsbook and gaming partner of the famed athletics department of Louisiana State University (LSU) as legal sports betting launches in the Bayou State.

The company on Friday said its agreement includes “a multitude of marketing and sponsorship assets,” branding of a VIP area at LSU football’s Tiger Stadium and exclusive ads on the LSU Sports mobile app.

Caesars owns several of the 19 casinos and racinos in Louisiana that are now eligible to apply for licenses to offer on-site retail sports wagering, as well as mobile betting in 55 of 64 parishes.

Emergency regulations were adopted last month by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, with the regulator having already received eight license applications. The current expectation is for retail sportsbooks to launch by October 1, Ronnie Johns, the gaming board’s new chairman, told USA Today last week.

Caesars’ sports-betting partnership with LSU is the first involving a university in the National Collegiate Athletic Administration’s powerful Southeastern Conference, or SEC, and the most high-profile to date among a limited number of tie-ups between college sports departments and sportsbook operators.

In Colorado, PointsBet announced a deal last year to be the exclusive partner of the University of Colorado Buffaloes, while SuperBook is a sponsor of the University of Denver, according to VIXIO GamblingCompliance’s U.S. Sports Betting Partnership Tracker.

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Sweden's regulator maintains its position on toughening advertising rules, Playtech ties up a Brazilian partnership and new gambling taxes are approved in the Philippines.

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