News In Brief: September 27-October 1, 2021

October 1, 2021
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Indiana fines Penn over TikTok ad, Asher joins IGT's sports-betting wing and new state lotteries planned in Brazil.

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Indiana Fines Penn, Barstool Over TikTok Post

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The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) has fined Penn National Gaming’s interactive division and partner Barstool Sports $7,500 and $10,000, respectively, after a member of Barstool’s social media team posted an inappropriate video on the company’s TikTok account.

The video was quickly deleted from TikTok but can still be viewed on other social platforms and includes the Barstool representative offering “betting advice” seemingly encouraging losing players to keep gambling because “eventually, everybody’s going to die anyway, so who f*cking cares.”

The post was self-reported to the IGC by Penn and was not related to or controlled by the company or its Barstool Sportsbook operation. Still, Barstool Sports is registered to provide marketing services and license intellectual property to Penn and the IGC said in a settlement order that the post violated Indiana sports-wagering regulations related to responsible advertising.

The fines were two of several approved by the IGC at a meeting on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, BetMGM was fined a total of $42,000, including a $33,000 penalty for a system error that allowed 20 self-excluded gamblers to create wagering accounts.

Other operators and suppliers including DraftKings, FanDuel, GAN, Caesars and PointsBet were fined amounts ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 for various compliance lapses related to reporting, software change management and other regulations.

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Ex-William Hill Boss Asher Joins IGT

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Former William Hill US boss Joe Asher has been appointed president of sports-betting operations for IGT, the gambling supplier giant announced on Thursday.

Asher led William Hill’s expansion in the U.S. market for almost a decade but left in April after the company’s acquisition by Caesars Entertainment.

Under Asher, William Hill partnered with IGT to jointly operate sports betting on behalf of the Rhode Island Lottery and inked an agreement to bid together on similar future opportunities involving state lotteries.

IGT currently provides its PlaySports platform, kiosks and other sportsbook services to 20 partners across 18 states.

The company has recently struck several notable deals with tribal casinos, including in Washington, Wisconsin and Louisiana, according to VIXIO GamblingCompliance’s U.S. Sports Betting Partnership Tracker.

Asher’s appointment comes just a few days after IGT’s long-time chief rival Scientific Games announced a deal to sell its own sports-betting division to Endeavor Group Holdings, owner of IMG Arena.

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Brazilian State Lottery Expansion Continues

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Two more of Brazil’s 26 states are set to establish their own lottery operations in the wake of a seminal Supreme Federal Court ruling of almost exactly one year ago to end a federal government monopoly on lotteries.

Lawmakers in the northeastern state of Sergipe voted on Wednesday to re-establish a lottery, with similar legislation introduced this week by the governor of Santa Catarina state on the southern tip of Brazil.

The Supreme Court ruled last September 30 that state and municipal governments had equal rights as the federal government to offer lottery games as a public service within their own jurisdictions.

At least two-thirds of Brazil’s states plus the federal district of Brasilia have since considered legislation or taken other steps to either create or expand their lottery operations, with Brazilian federal law recognizing numbers drawings, instant games and fixed-odds sports betting as lawful lottery offerings.

Several municipal governments, including Guarulhos near Sao Paulo, are also seeking to create city-level lotteries, while a consortium of six states in central Brazil is also consulting over a plan to create a regional lottery service.

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Dutch Regulator Set To Approve Only Ten Applicants

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Only ten of 29 applicants for a Dutch gambling licence have succeeded because standards are high, according to the chairman of the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA).

“High requirements are imposed on a licence, including in the field of addiction prevention and consumer protection, and the KSA tests rigorously,” chairman Rene Jansen told Nieuwsuur, a current affairs television broadcast this week.

Announcements of the names of the ten successful applicants will be made today, which will mean they can begin operating online on October 1, according to the KSA.

Jansen said he had “mixed feelings” about the relatively small number of initial approvals, but “quality is more important than quantity”, he told the audience at the Gaming in Holland conference in Amsterdam on Tuesday (September 28).

Some applications are still pending, more licensing applications are expected, and it will not be until July 2022 that a full picture of the Dutch gambling market will be visible, Jansen said.

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Northern Ireland Amendments Clear Another Hurdle

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The Northern Ireland Assembly has concluded the second stage of its Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Bill.

The bill now has now been referred to the Committee for Communities.

Sinn Féin politician and the minister for communities Deirdre Hargey, who submitted the bill earlier this year, successfully put forward the notion of advancing it on Monday.

Hargey conceded that the current bill does not contain all of the protections politicians desire, but argued it is important not to wait for a bigger bill to get everything right.

“Many have made the assertion that this is a missed opportunity to regulate online gambling and to have a regulator. As I said, doing so would involve more substantial legislation that would completely rewrite the 1985 Order,” Hargey said in the Assembly.

The bill will ban the use of credit cards, introduce a mandatory code of practice and establish enforceable gambling contracts.

Additionally, the bill introduces a power for enabling an industry levy, which stakeholders have been calling for.

“I fully support the creation and implementation of an independent regulator, but doing that requires a new and comprehensive regulatory framework, and there is not enough time to do so in six months,” Hargey said.

Work has begun to see how concerns not addressed in the bill can be achieved for the second phase of legislation.

As an interim step, Hargey is considering appointing a temporary independent advisor to evaluate the issues the legislation progresses and look to the formation of its second phase.

The committee stage is the fourth out of 11 steps a bill takes before becoming a law in Ireland, with the final step being the receiving of royal assent.

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FanDuel To Offer Sports Betting At Washington Tribal Casino

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Flutter’s FanDuel on Tuesday became the first major U.S. sports-betting operator to announce a partnership with a Washington tribal casino, with a FanDuel sportsbook set to be opened at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort west of Seattle.

Wagering will be available via three windows and a dozen kiosks located in the FanDuel-branded sportsbook, as well as via three additional kiosks located in a separate sports lounge elsewhere on the property.

Sports betting launched in Washington State earlier this month at the Snoqualmie Casino.

A March 2020 state law authorized sports wagering exclusively at tribal casinos and on Indian reservations.

Also on Tuesday, IGT announced a partnership for its PlaySports platform to power sports betting at Washington’s Angel of the Winds Casino Resort owned by the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians.

In addition to FanDuel, other companies that have applied for sports wagering licenses in Washington include DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, Betfred and Rush Street Interactive, according to records maintained by the Washington State Gambling Commission.

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Football Index Group Action Says Regulator Downplayed Failures

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FI Group Action, which is coordinating Football Index customers against the collapsed firm, received around 750 letters from individuals explaining how the scandal affected them.

The letters will be compiled and made available for the former “traders” to send to their MPs.

FI Group Action says the letters show the collapse of Football Index represents a public health crisis and that no politician could read them and not provide redress.

On social media, the group accused the Financial Conduct Authority, the Gambling Commission and its chief executive, Andrew Rhodes, for trying to “downplay the failure and absolve themselves of responsibility”.

“Justice and the truth is something that we all will have to fight for, and may involve obstacles and time,” FI Group Action said.

In August, Rhodes provided an unexpected update on legal action against Football Index, following what he said were angry and abusive messages.

A subsequent government report into the scandal found deficiencies in the way the regulator had handled the case and also criticised the Financial Conduct Authority for its lack of interest.

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Connecticut Cleared For Launch Of Online Gambling

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Connecticut cleared the final regulatory hurdle standing in the way of the launch online casino gaming and sports betting on Monday when amendments to the Mashantucket Pequot’s equivalent of a compact were published in the Federal Register.

The amendments were effective as of September 10, per the Federal Register notice, but the notice still had to be published before online gambling could begin.

Amendments to the Mohegan Tribe’s compact and Mashantucket Pequot’s procedures clear the way for both tribes to launch on-reservation sportsbooks pursuant to the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The agreements also enable both tribes to obtain state licenses for off-reservation mobile sports wagering, fantasy sports and online casino gaming, with the Connecticut Lottery Corporation able to offer retail and online sports betting through a partnership with Rush Street Interactive, plus limited iLottery products.

A soft launch of state-licensed sports betting is expected on Thursday, September 30, with the full launch set to take place one week later on October 7.

State regulations for both online sports betting and iGaming were adopted on August 31, implementing legislation passed earlier this year.

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Osaka Selects MGM Consortium As Resort Candidate

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The governments of Osaka City and Osaka Prefecture have confirmed MGM Resorts International and its partners as their preferred candidate for an integrated resort.

The governments’ selection committee on Tuesday affirmed that the MGM-ORIX Corp consortium, the only surviving candidate, met its requirements, officials said in a statement.

The parties will now proceed to formalising a basic agreement on the project and commence public consultation before submitting a final application to the central government by April next year.

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Brazil President 'Would Veto' Gambling Bill

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President Jair Bolsonaro has said he would reject any gambling expansion bill passed by Brazil’s Congress and require senators and deputies to override his veto in order to bring legislation into effect.

Bolsonaro’s remarks were published on Saturday in an interview with magazine Veja, with the president saying that Brazil “has more to lose than to gain right now” when it comes to expanded gambling.

The comments comes after the creation this month of a special commission in the lower house of Brazil’s Congress to craft gambling legislation.

Bills to regulate casinos and other forms of gaming are also pending in the Senate, with one senator last week suggesting he would look to include gambling expansion in a broader tax-reform bill currently being considered by lawmakers.

Bolsonaro did not block legal amendments earlier this year to create a more favourable tax structure for online and retail sports betting, while it has previously been reported that the administration would be likely to support efforts to at least permit a limited number of casino-resorts in Brazil.

The conservative President has seen his popularity drop as Brazil has struggled to get to grips with the pandemic and is up for re-election in October 2022.

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Indiana fines Penn over TikTok ad, Asher joins IGT's sports-betting wing and new state lotteries planned in Brazil.

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