News In Brief: September 4-September 8, 2023

September 8, 2023
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Kentucky launches retail sports betting and Irish regulator withheld €150,000 from National Lottery operator in 2022 for breaching its licence conditions.
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Kentucky Launches Retail Sports Betting
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Governor Andy Beshear placed a $20 parlay bet for the “over” on wins for the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville football teams at Churchill Downs on Thursday (September 7) officially launching retail sports betting in the Bluegrass state. 

Beshear’s parlay also included the “under” on Duke University’s football team.

“It has taken many years to get here, but sports wagering is finally a reality in Kentucky,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.

Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman placed a wager at an opening event at Northern Kentucky’s Turfway Park, betting $20 on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl in February.

Retail sports betting launched prior to the kickoff of the National Football League season. Kentucky will launch mobile wagering on September 28. 

Kentucky taxes retail wagers at 9.75 percent on the adjusted gross revenues, and 14.25 percent on mobile wagers. Sports betting is expected to generate $23m in revenue in its first year, which lawmakers in House Bill 551 have dedicated to the Kentucky permanent pension fund. 

Additionally, 2.5 percent of tax revenues will support the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund.

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Irish Regulator Withheld €150,000 From National Lottery Operator
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The Regulator of the National Lottery in Ireland withheld €150,000 from payments to Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) in 2022 owing to the operator breaching its licence conditions.

An investigation into PLI, the operator of the National Lottery, found 126 permanently excluded accounts were deleted “in error” in 2021, according to the regulator’s 2022 annual report published on September 5, 2023.

The error was a result of an algorithm designed to delete closed accounts after two years to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Following the findings, the regulator has been empowered by the High Court to bring forward financial sanctions against the National Lottery operator for any future similar breaches.

National Lottery sales totalled €884.1m in 2022, a 16 percent decrease compared with 2021. The regulator put this down in part to large rollovers in 2021.

Carol Boate, who has been appointed as the regulator of the National Lottery, said “The introduction of mandatory age and identity verification checks for all online players has created even tighter controls for opening a National Lottery account online.”

“I am confident that this measure has already deterred and prevented underage and problem gamers from accessing National Lottery games online, including those who self-exclude,” Boate said.

In July 2023, it was announced that France’s national lottery operator FDJ would buy PLI for an undisclosed sum.

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U.S. College Compliance Directors Deal With Betting Issues
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The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) released a study Wednesday (September 6) of campus compliance directors that found 27 percent of autonomy schools had dealt with a sports-betting problem among their staff or athletes within the past year.

A similar percentage of autonomy conference compliance administrators said they were aware of athletes on their campus being harassed online or in person by someone with a gambling interest in their games, according to the survey. 

"Student-athletes are getting harassed by bettors, and billion-dollar ad campaigns are targeting young people across the country. We need all the help we can get, including from regulators and sportsbooks, to protect student-athletes and protect the integrity of the games," NCAA president Charlie Baker said. 

The survey involved more than 500 senior compliance administrators from each Division I, II and III member school.

Overall, the survey found that some form of sports wagering education is occurring for athletes, coaches and athletics administrators at more than 95 percent of Division I schools and a majority of Division II and III schools. 

Among the schools that provide sports wagering education, the primary focus is on NCAA bylaws, sports wagering terminology, state/national laws and rules about providing inside information related to their team.

However, more schools across all three NCAA divisions are also discussing well-being issues, including gambling addiction, than reported doing so in a similar NCAA survey conducted in 2019.

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U.S. Industry Report Indicates Increase Responsible Gambling Awareness
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As legal gaming continues to expand in the U.S., a new survey has found that 84 percent of gamblers within the past year are aware of at least one responsible gaming resource. 

When surveying sports bettors within the last year, that number increased to 91 percent, according to a report released Tuesday (September 5) by the American Gaming Association (AGA) to recognize Responsible Gaming Education Month.

The AGA also found that past-year gamblers also report high confidence in the effectiveness of responsible gaming tools, policies and initiatives.

Three-quarters or more of players consider the following measures effective ways to encourage responsible play: deposit limits (85%); time limits (78%); wager limits (77%); employee training (77%); and industry code of conduct (75%). 

The survey also found that more than half (53 percent) of sports bettors report seeing an increase in responsible gaming messaging over the past year.

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PAGCOR To Probe Allegation Of Stolen $1.3m
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Philippine gambling regulator PAGCOR said it will probe the details of a criminal accusation that a former online cockfighting operator’s 75m peso ($1.3m) performance bond was stolen by top PAGCOR executives and board members.

The operator’s complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman accuses the current and previous PAGCOR chairmen, former board members and a current employee of “malversation of public funds”, “qualified theft” and document forgery, the regulator said on Wednesday (September 6). 

PAGCOR chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco said the bond's disappearance allegedly occurred in July 2022, a month before he succeeded Andrea Domingo as the chief regulator.

His statement also noted that two of the named respondents on the PAGCOR board were deceased when the incident allegedly occurred.

It is not clear if the ombudsman will proceed with the complaint from former e-sabong (online cockfighting) licensee Kamura Highlands Gaming and Holdings. E-sabong was banned in May 2022 after a brief but lucrative period of regulation.

“While this happened before we came to PAGCOR, the public can rest assured that we will get to the bottom of this, and that we will respond to the accusations against us in the proper venue once we receive a copy of the alleged charges from the Ombudsman,” Tengco said.

The Office of the Ombudsman did not respond to a request for comment.

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New UK Shadow Minister For Government Gambling Ministry
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The UK’s Labour party, which currently leads in the polls ahead of next year’s expected general election, has appointed a new minister to shadow the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Thangam Debbonaire has become shadow culture minister as part of a leadership reshuffle by Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

She will shadow Lucy Frazer, whose department is currently consulting on several elements of its gambling white paper, which is set to rewrite the rules around gambling in Great Britain.

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Kentucky launches retail sports betting and Irish regulator withheld €150,000 from National Lottery operator in 2022 for breaching its licence conditions.

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