News in Brief: September 5-September 9, 2022

September 9, 2022
The head of global gambling firm Entain has joined those predicting action to restrict football sponsorships will be part of long-awaited UK reforms to gambling laws.


Entain Chief Predicts UK Sponsorship Action


Entain boss Jette Nygaard-Anderson has told Bloomberg News she expects gambling football sponsorships to be restricted as part of pending reforms to UK laws.

With new Prime Minster Liz Truss now in place, Nygaard-Anderson said she thinks the long-awaited government white paper will include limits on bets and “something around sponsorships,” she told Bloomberg.

The Entain CEO also reiterated that the company is not for sale, following interest from US partner MGM and DraftKings. “I see Entain as the consolidator,” she said.


Spain May Curtail State Lottery Games Online


Spain’s gambling regulator, the General Department of Gaming Regulation (DGOJ), has announced that it will begin the process of regulating public lottery products sold online outside of the State Society for Lotteries and Bets (SELAE).

SELAE, the state-owned management and operator of nationwide games and lotteries, has begun the process of a public consultation and will accept opinions until September 21.

The DGOJ explained the intervention as protective: "The use by the external marketing network of lottery game operators of this kind of media may imply certain singularities that require a regulatory intervention, with the aim of guaranteeing that the interests of participants and vulnerable groups are equally protected."

The next steps for the DGOJ will be to create a blueprint to indicate where and how its public gaming products can be sold on external websites.


888 Replaces TwinSpires In Michigan Online Market


888 Holdings launched its Sports Illustrated-branded SI Sportsbook in Michigan on Wednesday (September 7), after receiving regulatory approvals from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).

Michigan's legislation limits the market to just 15 operators or skins for sports betting and online casino, one for each commercial casino and Indian tribe in the state.

Although 888 was not one of the initial entrants into the key Michigan market, it was able to partner with the Hannahville Indian Community and its Island Resort & Casino after the tribe's initial partner, Churchill Downs' TwinSpires, withdrew from the U.S. online market earlier this year.

888 is already active in Michigan as the platform provider for Caesars' World Series of Poker. In a statement, the MGCB said the Hannahville Indian Community and 888 have for now requested to launch online sports betting only but "likely will seek approval for internet gaming later this year."

888 operates its own-brand online casino in New Jersey, while SI Sportsbook is operated in Colorado and Virginia, as well as Michigan.


Gambling Addicts Go After Online Operators, Football Teams In Chile


The Foundations for Gamblers in Therapy has filed a complaint with the Seventh District Court of Santiago against multiple bookmakers, calling them "authors of the crime of exploitation and illegal operation of games of chance.”

Amongst the accused are Bettsson, Betway, Rojabet, Betano, Mi Casino, Jackpotcity, Juega en Línea and Coolbet. The Foundation has also summoned Fernando Felicevich, a famous footballers’ agent, and Pablo Milad, the President of the Association of Professional Football (ANFP).

The two are included as they have helped broker deals between online betting operators and football teams.

The court case will join one that multiple casinos have filed against online gaming sponsors of football, in addition to the bill currently under consideration that would make it illegal to advertise online betting at football venues and during match broadcasts.

An online gambling and sports betting bill is currently on hold in the Economic Commission, where debates will most likely resume after the holiday weekend on September 19.


Brazil May Expand Investigation Into Sports Betting Sponsorships


Senacon, the Brazilian body in the Ministry of Justice which is investigating 40 series A and B football clubs and 14 other federations and broadcasters over potentially illegal gambling advertising, has indicated that it may expand its inquiry.

When questioned why it chose those 54 when there are others with similar deals with sports betting operators, Senacon stated: “Most likely there are other broadcasters (open and closed channels) that have sponsorship contracts with bookmakers. It should be noted that, possibly, new notifications will be issued in order to cover other companies that may not have been included in this first moment.”

The answer alludes to speculation that Rede Globo, the only broadcaster of the 54 named, was chosen because it is highly critical of incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro. The industry has been scratching its head at the surprise investigation since it was launched last week, particularly questioning the motive and timing, with Brazil to choose its next president in a tightly contested October election.


New Chief At UK Gambling Ministry


New British Prime Minister Liz Truss has revamped the UK government cabinet, including replacing Nadine Dorries as the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The DCMS oversees gambling regulation in the country and is the department responsible for the long-awaited white paper that will set out government plans for reforming gambling laws.

Dorries has been replaced by former education secretary Michelle Donelan.

Donelan has previously spoken in parliament to call for more action on gambling harm and to back cuts to maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals.

The team of junior ministers at the DCMS remains unchanged from the clear-out that took place in July, amid the spate of resignations that effectively ended Boris Johnson’s tenure as PM.


Ontario Online Market Welcomes More Offshore Brands


Bet99 is the latest prominent Canadian-facing sportsbook to receive a registration to join Ontario’s regulated online gambling market, according to a statement from the company on Tuesday (September 6).

A parent company of the brand received a registration from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario on September 1, according to records maintained by the agency.

The operator will launch its regulated site “following the execution of an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario,” the AGCO subsidiary, Bet99 owner Sports Venture Holdings, said.

Since April, the AGCO has permitted established offshore brands in Ontario to gradually transition to the regulated market, although last week it proposed an October 31 deadline for any remaining unregulated and unlicensed operators to cease taking action from Ontarians or risk being found unsuitable in future.

Bet99 will follow bet365, Betway, PokerStars and others in joining the Ontario regulated market having once served the province without a license.

Last week, Sports Interaction also launched in the regulated Ontario market following its acquisition by Entain earlier this year.


Nevada Preparing Steve Wynn Disciplinary Hearing


The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) on Tuesday (September 6) confirmed that it is preparing for a disciplinary hearing before the state gaming commission against former Wynn Resorts chairman and CEO Steve Wynn on sexual harassment charges.

“The Wynn Resorts… jurisdictional litigation has concluded,” NGCB chairman Brin Gibson said in an email to VIXIO GamblingCompliance. “As required by the Nevada Supreme Court, the District Court has remanded the action back to the NGCB and Nevada Gaming Commission for further proceedings.”

At this point, Gibson said, the NGCB is preparing to recommence the action against Wynn. He added that this action is separate from the record $20m fine against Wynn Resort in 2018 in connection with the sexual harassment scandal that led Wynn to resign.

“The (NGCB) maintains the Nevada Gaming Commission has full authority to decide the proposed regulatory complaint against Mr. Wynn,” Gibson said.

No date has been set for a hearing. The Las Vegas Review-Journal was first to report that the NGCB was preparing a disciplinary hearing against Wynn.

The NGCB in 2019 issued a five-count complaint accusing Wynn of violating state gaming regulations.

“Settlement is always a possibility in disciplinary matters, but one that appears less likely in the present matter each day,” Gibson said.


KSA Threatens Malta Operator With Fine


The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has issued a cease and desist order against LCS Ltd because it is illegally offering games on the Dutch market, the regulator said on Monday (September 5).

Investigators from the authority were able to deposit and play on the company’s Son of Slots brand during March and July of this year, despite the company not having a licence to offer gambling in the Netherlands.

LCS is based in Malta and operates a number of brands, including Svenplay and Onestepcasino, according to data logged with the Malta Gaming Authority.

The KSA said the company faces fines of €55,000 per week if it does not start blocking Dutch players within two weeks.

The regulator said it contacted LCS in May to offer it a chance to respond, but has not received any communication from the operator.


New UK Customer Interaction Rules Delayed


Some aspects of new rules around responsible gambling online set to come into effect next week will be delayed, the UK Gambling Commission has announced.

From September 12, remote operators will have new duties to their customers as part of updates to the Social Responsibility Code that governs UK licence holders.

Most of the planned changes are still set to come into effect on September 12, including a need to implement automated processes to detect harmful gambling and properly evidencing customer interactions, the regulator said.

However, two elements of the new code will be delayed after pleas from operators.

“The requirement to take timely action where indicators of vulnerability are identified and to take account of the Commission’s approach to vulnerability as set out in the Commission’s guidance” and “the requirement to prevent marketing and the take-up of new bonus offers where there are strong indicators of harm” are now set to come into effect from February 12, 2023.

The regulator also announced that a requirement for remote operators to “take into account” a new guidance document on social responsibility rules will also be delayed.

The commission plans to launch a fresh consultation on the guidance associated with Social Responsibility Code changes later this month, with the intent to enforce compliance with the final document from February 12.


Brazil Wants To Punish Football Teams For Betting Partnerships


After the release of the documentation of the Ministry of Justice investigation into football clubs and their sports betting operator sponsors, it has come to light that the ministry is trying to hold clubs legally responsible for illegal sports gambling.

The document invokes the Pele Law and Fan Statute, stating, in part: “The protection and defence emanating from the fan statute and the consumer defence code should therefore fall on all fans/consumers who purchase a service/product related to the sports market, including all those who use sports platforms for betting on competitions, especially when liked to clubs through advertisements and sponsorships.”

In other words, explained gaming lawyer Luiz Maia: "They are trying to extend the interpretation of the law to say that the entities involved in the organisation of the competition, as well as the teams, can be held liable as suppliers of the sports betting services in Brazil."

The investigation was announced in a shock to the industry this past week, with many speculating as to the cause.


Mexico Casino Permits On Hold


Last week, during the memorial for the 2011 attack on the Casino Royale in Monterrey, Alejandro Encinas, undersecretary for human rights, announced that the state has stopped granting casino permits until a full review of the current ones are complete.

It is part of a belated apology to the families of the 52 victims who died. Encinas said that if security inspections were carried out as they were supposed to, the tragedy may not have occurred. That day members of the Los Zetas drug cartel set the casino on fire, trapping people inside.

"We have made the decision, some months ago now, not to grant one more permit in the country to casinos and raffles until a comprehensive review of the permits that have already been granted is carried out, many of them improperly (...) and until we have regulation that guarantees a transparent, legal and safe operation of these types of commercial establishments,” he announced.


The head of global gambling firm Entain has joined those predicting action to restrict football sponsorships will be part of long-awaited UK reforms to gambling laws.

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