National Bulgarian Lottery adds Scientific Games’ Products

  • National Lottery Bulgaria partners up with Scientific Games for online iGaming products
  • The products bring in BGN1 million within 24 days
  • Bulgaria generated nearly $2 billion in gambling revenue in 2017

The National Lottery Bulgaria has teamed up with Scientific Games to introduce an enhanced experience for customers.

The National Lottery and Scientific Games Team Up

A middling market, Bulgaria has offered some leeway for sports betting operators and online casinos to prosper. Not over-restrictive, the country’s National Lottery has been generating good financial results mostly through the sale of scratch cards and holding televised raffle shows on national TV.

The addition of Scientific Games as a partner to the Lottery, signals the operator’s readiness to shift towards online solutions, which promise to generate the highest number of revenues for the gambling industry in future. SG has introduced a number of its products, including:

  • 88 Fortunes
  • Giant’s Gold
  • Rainbow Riches

Within 24 hour of launch time the games had already generated €500,000 or BGN1 million. Following the success, the Lottery is now planning to add more products to its portfolio. National Lottery Managing Partner Milen Ganev had the following to say:

Scientific Games’ digital products have proven an excellent fit for National Lottery Bulgaria, outperforming our expectations within the first 24 hours of launch. Our players are engaging with the games immediately, and we see demand and repeat gameplay growing every day.

Scientific Games CCO Steve Schrier has also commented on the newly-struck deal, saying that the National Lottery Bulgaria was a quintessential example of the type of partners that the lottery wants to work with.

Gambling Is a Huge Business in Bulgaria

Bulgaria does have its underbelly when it comes to gambling, but today the majority of businesses are mostly legal and regulated, although land-based casinos are not necessarily a preferred choice among locals.

In 2017, Bulgarian gambling revenue reached the heady $1.9 billion or BGN3 billion. The country’s GDP in that year was $59 billion, highlighting the immensity of the industry. It all started back in 2013, when legislators voted to introduce further tax breaks for gaming operators.

Without the corporate tax to worry about, gaming parlors started booming. The National Lottery Bulgaria has developed to the point where it’s a past-time for many people, too.

There hasn’t been much talk about the level of gambling addicts in the country nor the social responsibility of gaming companies, though, which needs to be addressed by Parliament.

Bulgaria presently harbors over 1,300 companies related to gambling and iGaming in one form or another, including Vasil Bozhkov’s New Gaming SA, Eurobet Ltd and National Lottery SA. Mr. Bozhkov’s net worth is estimated at over $1 billion. Much of this is thanks to his involvement with gambling.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

NetEnt Consolidates Pennsylvania Footprint with Parx PA

  • NetEnt partners up with Parx Casino ahead of PA iGaming launch
  • Wire Act may cause trouble for online gaming sector
  • NetEnt and Parx execs confident about the partnership

NetEnt continues to strengthen its positions in Pennsylvania ahead of the official launch of the iGaming industry in the state.

Parx Casino and NetEnt Prepare for Pennsylvania Launch

NetEnt has partnered with one of the most prominent casino brands in Pennsylvania, Parx Casino. The software developer is looking to consolidate its position in PA ahead of anticipated launch of the state’s iGaming industry.

IGT and NetEnt to Provide Online Casino Games in PA

As per the agreement, NetEnt will provide Parx Casino’s online platform with a number of select high-end titles, including video & 3D slots and table games. The partnership can potentially bring NetEnt stronger ties with Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Parx’s parent entity, which controls other property as well.

While there have been some delays in the official launch of the iGaming sector in Pennsylvania, NetEnt has chosen to pursue a pre-emptive course and strike a partnership sooner. There have been some qualms over the latest changes to the Wire Act, putting online gaming at risk.

In fact, Josh Shapiro, PA’s Attorney General has joined his colleague and NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in demanding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request looking into the involvement of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson in swaying the stance on the Wire Act.

A Steady Build-Up

NetEnt first entered the state in October, obtaining a license to be part of casino giant Penn’s offer. With a partnership from Penn secured, NetEnt managed to work its way with other existing partners, including Churchill Downs which agreed to extend a running partnership with the company.

NetEnt will use the so-called GAN platform to ensure the quality and flexibility of its offer, which enables customers to benefit from various additions, such as widgets and extra free spins. Parx Casino’s SVP iGaming & Sports Matthew Cullen had the following to say:

We are looking forward to expanding the Parx Casino offerings into the online world. As part of this, we’re excited to be able to offer NetEnt’s outstanding suite of game content as part of our online casino launch in Pennsylvania

Meanwhile, NetEnt Americas Managing Director Erik Nyman has commended Parx’s expertise and track record in offering top-shelf gaming products to its customers. Mr. Nyman said that he was confident that customers would enjoy the offer introduced by NetEnt.

This year, NetEnt plans on releasing at least 35 new titles, or roughly 2 per months. The company laid off 55 people last years to re-focus on its gaming sector in 2019. Despite a looming Wire Act impediment, NetEnt and Pennsylvania feel determined to continue expanding and supporting the iGaming sector.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

Hard Rock Atlantic City Opens GiG-Powered Sportsbook in NJ

  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City officially launches
  • The casino’s sportsbook is powered by GiG’s omni-channel betting platform
  • Hard Rock’s just on time for the Super Bowl event in one week

Hard Rock has finally launched its New Jersey’s property. Using online sportsbook technology by Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), the Hard Rock hotel & Casino Atlantic City is off to a good start.

Hard Rock Offers Online Sports Betting in New Jersey

Hard Rock has opened its latest property, the namesake Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. The property’s sportsbook is running on technology developed and implemented by established gaming solutions developer Gaming Innovation Gaming (GiG).

As a result, customers will be able to place their wagers through using the dedicated native app. Alternatively, the property will be open to all bettors who want to come and place their wagers in person.

Only entering into the market, the sportsbook has prepared an ample choice of viable gaming options, including:

  • American football
  • Ice Hockey
  • Football
  • Basketball

College sporting events are also part of the betting options, although NCAA’s President Mark Emmert has long been cautioning against allowing bookmakers to offer odds on such events. It’s worth noting that New Jersey college events are excluded from the offer.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City President Joe Lupo expressed his company’s excitement at the new opportunity, saying the following:

We couldn’t be more excited to launch our online and land-based sportsbook, providing our guests and players the opportunity to bet on football’s big game this weekend.

Mr. Lupo also talked about the continuing development of the property as a top entertainment venue.

“Hard Rock has global recognition, unparalleled reach and the same high ambitions as us. We look forward to continuing to support Hard Rock’s growth in New Jersey,” GiG CEO Robin Reed added.

Hard Rock’s growth in New Jersey has indeed been impressive, with the casino brand being one of the flagship operators trying to expand their footprint, both at home and abroad.

Osaka Has Head Start in Japan’s IR Bidding

Hard Rock was one of the first properties to propose a model for the upcoming Integrated Resort (IR) in Japan, which will not be open until mid-2020.

As a reminder, GiG and Hard Rock signed a Letter of Intent in October, 2018, with Hard Rock choosing GiG because of the developer’s streamlined omni-channel sports betting solutions.

Given the timing of the opening, Hard Rock will be fully able to bank on the upcoming Super Bowl event, which is expected to generate sufficient interest and sports betting handle. The fact that Hard Rock allows customers to place and monitor wagers any way they want will only enhance the property’s sports betting services.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

Belgian Gaming Commission to Consider Sanctions against Betway

The Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) has established discrepancies and other issues with Betway, a popular UK-based bookmaker. Now, the company may be facing penalties.

  • Betway violates Belgium gaming law by registering “post-box company” in Malta
  • Journalistic investigation unable to establish the origin of $32m paid to the parent company
  • The Belgian Gaming Commission takes action against Betway

The Belgian Gaming Commission Investigates Betway

The Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) has looked into Betway’s sources of funds as well as the company’s ownership, establishing discrepancies in the process.

Upon investigating and assessing the findings, the BGC reached a preliminary decision that Betway could be slapped with penalties for reportedly violating the Belgian government’s AML practices and tax code.

The sanctions come in light of a journalistic investigation looking into Betway’s Maltese headquarters. Several daily newspapers, including De Tijd, Knack and Le Soir looked into the issue, establishing that Betway’s HQ in Malta was in fact a “post-box company”.

William Hill to Contest Regulatory Fine in the Netherlands

The company served as a shell for another entity based in the British Virgin Islands where funds were transferred. Based on active Belgian legislation, this practice constitutes a violation of the gaming provisions, prompting the BGC to act.

Furthermore, the investigation tried to establish the origin of $32 million which was sent to Betway Limited, the parent entity, but failed during a year-long investigation, leaving serious questions into the way Betway runs business.

Admittedly, Betway has been very active in Belgium, extending partnership to various initiatives, including RSC Anderlecht, the Croky Cup, and the country’s national football club. So far, Betway has responded that the company had provided all necessary details in establishing the origin of the funds, as requested by the BGC.

Belgium’s Track Record with Gambling

Belgium is a fairly modest market for gaming operations, with regulators keeping a close watch on the industry. In 2018, the Commission investigated an unlikely culprit, the so-called loot boxes that come with certain video games.

Loot boxes are digital containers which offer various rewards to players based on a Random Generator Number algorithm. Investigating, the Commission ruled out against those and asked companies that offer these in their games, including Blizzard Entertainment, Valve, and EA Games, to withdraw loot boxes from the market.

Loot boxes are a big business across the world, as they drive some of the heftiest revenue for companies that offer them. However, legislation has been conflicting. Australia and Belgium have found loot boxes to be a form of gambling whereas the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has said that they are not, although this decision has never been put up for an official debate.

Betway is also involved in competitive video gaming known as esports. The company supports multiple gaming teams, including Ninjas in Pyjamas and West Ham’s esports division as well as the football club itself.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

The MGA Suspends Bet Service Group License

  • The Malta Gaming Authority has suspended the license of Bet Service Group and its brands
  • No new deposits can be made and registration is closed
  • Customers with outstanding payments need to contact MGA for information how to claim their money
  • License suspension is reserved only for the most severe cases of violation

Malta Gaming Authority has taken aim at Bet Service Group temporarily suspending its license over alleged wrongdoing.

Bet Service Group Halts Operations at MGA Behest

The Bet Service Group has come under fire by one of the world’s most esteemed regulators, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). As per the temporary prohibition, Bet Service Group may no longer accept new customers or take bets.

The MGA issued a decision whereby Bet Service Group’s brands should immediately cease all operation. The Group will now have to submit a full report of its operations from across all brands and activities, which will then undergo review at the MGA’s headquarters.

Despite the quick and abrupt decision, MGA has issued no formal comment as to why it has suspended the Group’s license. The regulator has also advised customers with outstanding payments to contact the Malta Gaming Authority via e-mail where they will be instructed how to access their funds.

In order to verify their identities, users will have to send a full list of personal information, similar to their identity confirmation process at a casino. Players must also attach a screenshot of their account balance before the MGA can take any actions:

  • Name and Surname;
  • Registered Address;
  • Date of Birth;
  • Copy of Passport or ID Card;
  • Telephone Number;
  • Description of Product i.e. casino or sportsbook;
  • User Name;
  • Screenshot of Balance or any pending Cash Outs (if not available an estimated balance is to be submitted).

Crackdowns of Yore

The Malta Gaming Authority hasn’t been in the habit of suspending or revoking licenses much. The last time it did so was in 2017 when Mr. Ringo went down in similarly unspecified circumstances. Once again, the MGA remained available, helping customers retrieve their outstanding payments and account balances.

In general, the MGA has been issuing warnings to online gaming venues it has suspected of coloring around the lines, with license suspensions being reserved only for the cases whereby operators have been blatantly flouting the rules of their license.

Why the MGA Suspends Licenses?

There are multiple reasons why MGA could seek to suspend a license. Starting with stilting the Random Number Generator (RNG), to staging inside agents as winners, to failing to honor payments.

Most commonly, though, this measure is reserved only for companies that have repeatedly failed to uphold the minimum of their legally-binding license, leading to an outright license revocation.

Centurion Limited was another suspended casino back in June, 2017 with the MGA again keep the lid on the reason for the suspension. The MGA remains committed to upholding the industry’s best practices which could mean license suspension in the cases where operators repeatedly fail to meet the necessary standards.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Norther Ireland’s Bookmakers Decide to Introduce FOBTs Limit

Northern Ireland bookmakers have collectively opted into FOBTs restrictions. While there’s no active legislation currently binding the industry, flagship brands have pre-emptively introduced the necessary changes themselves.

Bookmakers in Northern Ireland Cut FOBTs Betting Limits

Ladbrokes has been the first operator in Northern Ireland to announce that it will voluntarily restrict the limit for Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). Shortly after, more followed with two more flagship companies, William Hill and Paddy Power vowing their support of the measure.

As of January 26, there are five bookmakers which have so far expressed their support for slashing the £100 maximum bet on FOBTs down to £2, with A McLeans Bookmakers and Toals joining the three on Friday, January 25.

With the latest additions, the total number of betting shops to have restricted the FOBTs limits are 230 on the territory of Norther Ireland.

While bookmakers in Northern Ireland are bound by the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 and not the Gambling Act 2005, the companies have opted to pre-emptively diversify their portfolios and avoid overreliance on a segment that has become dubious from a legal standpoint.

Multiple Calls to Self-Regulate the Industry

The Northern Ireland Turf Guardians’ Association (NITGA) has talked to bookmakers to consider slashing their rates to match the UK reduction to £2 as the maximum allowable stake. The move is coming into effect on April 1.

Jeremy Wright Mulls Credit Card Ban for Gambling Use

Another call was made by Cllr Kyle from the Belfast City Council who has advised companies in Norther Ireland to take heed from Ladbrokes and push ahead with voluntary reductions, as to comply with regulations in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health will focus its efforts to gauge whether adequate support has been given to individuals who are vulnerable to developing gaming addiction. The Department is specifically going to look into addiction developed as a direct result from FOBTs.

Are FOBTs in their Current Version Dangerous to Gamers and Business?

FOBTs pose a threat to gamers who are inclined to play relying on their spur-of-the-moment considerations, leading to the loss of substantial gaming funds.

There have been cases cited all throughout the United Kingdom that people have committed suicide following unsuccessful and possibly financially-ruinous gaming sessions on FOBTs. While the number of such incidents isn’t extensive, the fact that a gaming product can lead to this is alarming enough.

NITGA has commented that the combination of quick gameplay and high upper limit makes it dangerous for people who are inclined to indulge in gaming without thinking much first.

Now that five of the largest operators in Northern Ireland have agreed to comply with the non-legally binding request of politicians and lawmakers, the country is on its way to achieving better customer protection for its gamers.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

Veikkaus Lets 400 People Go in Digital Restructuring

  • Finnish operator Veikkaus slashes 400 jobs
  • 1,300 out of 2,000 employees to be offered redundancy
  • Veikkaus is re-focusing on the digital segment entirely

Despite an expanding gaming market in the Nordic countries, Finnish operator Veikkaus is shedding 400 employees in a bid to consolidate its digital footprint.

Veikkaus Has Gone Digital

Finnish operator Veikkaus is pulling out of the land-based business, cutting 400 jobs in the process. Instead, the operator will re-focus its efforts on establishing a digital footprint and rolling out its offer online.

The restructuring is quite impressive, with 1,300 of the company’s 2,000 employees now anticipating voluntary redundancy measures. It’ll be a busy few months for HR, it seems. Most of the employees are based in Helsinki.

A slight silver lining, if one can be found in the gathering storm, is the fact that most of Veikkaus’ employees are employed on part-time positions. Benefiting from the far-reaching restructuring, Veikkaus also wants to reorganize matters on its retail end.

Veikkaus President and CEO Olli Sarekoski outlined the plans ahead of the company in a statement published on the official website:

We want to ensure Veikkaus’ future in the middle of the ever-accelerating digital competition. Players are increasingly switching over towards the digital channels and, as a result of the structural changes in retail trade, our point-of-sale network has experienced a drastic decrease over the past few years.

Mr. Sarekoski cited the above reason for introducing changes to Veikkaus’ points of sale as well as the complete shut-down of restaurant table gaming activities.

Presently, the company’s operations stand at:

  • Veikkaus is planning to introduce redundancy measures for 1,300 out of its 2,000 employees
  • Presently, the company owns 187 restaurant game tables across 162 properties
  • presently offers 200 different online games
  • 42% of Veikkaus’ revenue is generated via the company’s online operations

A World Gone Digital

The advancement of the online segment is not surprising. Given the density of the population in Finland, digital venues are far more accommodating than land-based venues which often require travelling time, not to mention the extra expenditures.

By re-focusing their offer online, Veikkaus can slash much of the costs of its own operations as well.

A similar move has been undertaken by NetEnt, although the company only slashed 55 people in Stockholm, Sweden, in order to pursue further expansion of the game development department.

Sophia Rojas

Growing up around law firms, Sophia keeps our team of reporters atop any legislative developments to follow up with a welcomed dose of positive news as our house trivia nut!

ElasticSearch Network Leaked Online Casino Information, ZDNet says

  • ZDNet and security expert identify information about 108 leaked wagers
  • The data contained identifiable details, including residential address, names, age, and account balance
  • Financial data was only partially identifiable

ElasticSearch has reportedly leaked financial information for over 108 million placed wagers, ZDNet, an online media security outlet has reported. This comes on the tail of similar events earlier in November, 2018.

ElasticSearch Fails to Protect Online Casino Players

Security media outlet ZDNet has reported the leaking of information of over 108 million bets from an online casino group, as confirmed by the newspaper’s source, Justin Paine, a security researcher.

Mr. Paine identified breaches in the ElasticSearch server security, with swathes of data left unprotected for anyone poking around to be able to obtain the stored information.

M. Paine’s investigation soon identified unsecured data from online gaming portals, most likely part of an affiliate program that casinos use to boost engagement and spread awareness of their product.

China Clamps Down on Misleading Gambling Websites

ZDNet and Mr. Paine than proceeded to analyze the URLs, leading to the conclusion that the casino(s) held licenses by the Government of Curacao, an authorized body which grants remote gaming certifications to companies around the world.

Based on the investigation, a lot of sensitive data was readily available to people who knew where to look for it, including: residence, legal names, age, e-mail addresses, IP, account balances, login information and more.

Simple extrapolation would put more people at risk as often, individuals use repetitive passwords for all their online platforms.

Financial Data Only Partially Compromised

Upon completing the investigation, the security outlet and Mr. Paine did draw one positive conclusion – the financial data was only partially compromised, leaving out enough data to conceal with fairly certainty the banking footprint of individuals.

However, having all other personal information would allow users to be exposed to various nefarious activities from third-parties. The developments highlight the risk of playing at offshore and unregulated companies.

Who’s Fault Is It?

The Government of Curacao has long been focusing only on keeping close tabs on land-based casinos, but there have been multiple calls for the company to re-focus its efforts on online gaming institutions as well.

Should proper checks have been carried out, the certified operator would have never been allowed to amass tons of sensitive data, ZDNet estimates. ElasticSearch was in the center of another security breach lately, with Cybercop posting information about 57 million people’s personal details having been leaked.

Meanwhile, the Curaçao’s Gaming Control Board (GCB) has expressed hopes that illegal gaming operators can be brought down sooner. Back in the United Kingdom the UKGC has been issuing stiff penalties to offshore online companies failing to comply with the necessary security and due diligence provisions of their licenses.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

Wynn Successful Sues Fund Manager over Owed Money

  • Wynn Macau successfully wins case for $4.3 million in Malaysia
  • The guilty party will have to pay out the owed money, plus interest
  • Meanwhile Wynn and Genting are getting closer to a court battle due to begin on January 29

Wynn Macau Ltd. has successfully concluded a court case against a fund manager who owed the company money. The guilty party had been paid in the form of a credit, which Wynn has now successfully recuperated in court.

Wynn Settles Legal Challenge in Malaysia

In a rare turn of events, Wynn Macau Ltd. managed to win a court case against an individual, identified as Paul Poh Yang Hong, who owed the company money in the form of a line of credit. Based on the active legislation in the country, gambling contracts are not legally binding, and this is precisely what made the case interesting.

However, Wynn specified that it wasn’t looking to collect gaming proceedings, but rather – honor a credit agreement, which proved to be the winning argument in court. The sum of the contract was substantial with the individual previously requesting HKD40 million credit from Wynn, which was granted.

Since then, the fund manager had still to honor HKD33 million in due payments, prompting Wynn Macau Ltd to launch a lawsuit in 2017. The news was also reported by Reuters, which fleshed out details of the case.

Judge S. Nantha Balan from the Kuala Lumpur court has ruled that Poh will have to pay the outstanding amount to Wynn Macau, plus interest.

The decision is not final as Poh can still appeal, although Wynn’s attorney Vincent Law believes that the case constituted an important victory for the gaming industry.

Malaysia and Wynn, Tied into a Legal Pickle

Interestingly enough Wynn’s U.S. subsidiary, Wynn Resorts Ltd. is tied up with Malaysia in another way. Last year, Wynn filed a complaint against Malaysia-based Genting Berhad over a property built at the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip.

Genting Denies Wynn Copyright Claims, Prepares for Court

According to the complaint, Genting was intentionally copying Wynn and Encore Towers’ design in a bid to syphon off customers from its own property. Genting has since dismissed the statement, issuing their official statement at the end of 2018.

Moving into 2019, none of the parties has seemed prepared to relent. Genting’s World Resorts Las Vegas is estimated at $4 billion, making a hiatus or cacellation of construction work not an option.

Meanwhile, Wynn continues to maintain that the claims made in its unlawful competition lawsuit dated December 21 very much apply. However, Genting has since said that the allegations were “baseless”.

Here’s what Genting SVP PR and Development Michael Levoff had to say, cited by Review Journal:

Genting (Resorts World’s parent company) remains confident that once all of the relevant facts are presented the company will defeat Wynn’s baseless claims.

The two parties are expected to meet in court in Nevada on January 29. In so many ways, Wynn continues to be legally bound to Malaysia, and not always in a good way.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Jeremy Wright Mulls Credit Card Ban for Gambling Use

  • Jeremy Wright will talk with bookmakers and retail banks and discuss banning credit cards for gambling purposes
  • The UKGC will launch their own investigation to seek evidence about a link between gambling harm and the use of credit cards
  • The country focuses on even broader self-exclusion practices

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) will call for a review of a proposed measure seeking to limit the use of credit cards in gambling and betting establishments, including poker & bingo rooms and lotteries.

UKGC and Jeremy Wright Look into Credit Card Use

An important new development in the UK gambling climate has transpired. The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, said that he was now looking into the possibility of restricting gaming-related payments made via credit cards.

Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Wright said that he would hold various meetings with bookmaker and retail banking representatives. If the measure is seen through, this would affect billions of pounds transacted as wagers every year.

Mr. Wright’s primary concern has been the growing use of credit cards in settling gaming-related transactions. According to the data presented by him and cited by the Guardian, 20% of all transactions related to gambling have been settled with the use of credit card.

The issue with this specific method of payment lies in the fact that many consumers could be tempted to play with money that they don’t actually have. As a result, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has said that it would follow up on Mr. Wright’s initiative and seek evidence about the correlation between gambling harm and the use of credit harm.

The move is expected in February. A UKGC spokesperson has commented, explaining that the watchdog has been considering similar measures in the past:

In our online review last year we said we will consider prohibiting or restricting the use of credit cards and will explore the consequences of doing so.

Now that Mr. Wright is also pushing for a change, it seems only appropriate to have the UKGC look into the matter as well. Mr. Wright’s own commitment to creating a gaming industry that focuses on the consumer well-being has been quite marked.

Banks in the UK Step Up Gambling Protection Efforts

He remains one of the staunches supporters of the FOBTs reduction plan and has spearheaded the timelier changes to the maximum bets applicable to the terminals, with the stake now awaiting reduction to £2 from £100 in April.

Mr. Wright has expressed his gratitude to retail banks which agreed to allow their customers to self-exclude from certain industries, including gambling. Some of the banking bodies to have pushed ahead with the move include Barclays, Lloyds, Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Self-exclusion schemes have been also another important part of the United Kingdom’s effort to limit harmful gambling practices. One of the most popular self-exclusion schemes in the country, GamStop has been recently cited by the BBC as “flawed”, with the popular media outlet finding people who have successfully gamed the system by changing their legal names or e-mail addresses.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

Greyhound Racing Fund Gets £3m Extra from Bookmakers

  • Grehyound racing to get extra £3 million in voluntary funding in 2019
  • Minister of Sport Mims Davies assists funding
  • Better welfare options for retired dogs to be introduced

Greyhound racing received a substantial £3 million in extra funding, after bookmakers have agreed to invest more into the industry in a bid to revitalize it.

British Greyhounds Get Financial Help in 2019

Greyhound racing in the United Kingdom is about to get a very generous financial package to the tune of £3 million, following a newly-agreed partnership whereby sports bookies are shedding extra cash to prop up the industry. Given the popularity of the segment, that is good news indeed.

Based on the self-starter scheme, the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF) will sit at the impressive £10 million in 2019.
Several flagship brands have agreed to throw extra financial help, including:

The expansion will focus on improving the entire industry across the board, including expenses for veterinary staff as well as expansion of the existing aid framework which is intended at injured race dogs.

Money will also go to the Greyhound Trust, which is an initiative helping retired dogs find a new home. Part of the funding will be allocated to improving the safety at the 21 racetracks in the United Kingdom that host greyhound races.

Additional improvements will be made to the kennels and trainers’ vehicles will be provided with air conditioning, the statement says.

Government and Bookmakers Work Together

The voluntary contributions have been made with the help of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and in the presence of Gambling Minister Mims Davies. Before the latest £3-investment, there was a number of other bookmakers which offered to back the greyhound fund, including:

  • Ladbrokes Coral
  • Bet365
  • JenningsBet

Mims Davies expressed her appreciation of the progress that has been made in supporting the industry:

I am delighted to have reached an agreement with leading operators to ensure the welfare of our greyhounds is protected and improved through this fund.

The news was indeed well-met by all involved organizations. Expressing their appreciation further, members of the GBGB and the Managing Director, Mark Bird, spoke highly of the voluntary contributions:

“The Greyhound Board are extremely grateful for the conclusion of the mediation and the commitment of the major bookmakers to contribute additional funds from their on-line businesses.”

BGRF Chairman Joe Scanlon explained that the money that has been received by all major offline and online bookmakers will contribute to establishing better welfare options for racing dogs throughout the entire network. Mr. Scanlon used the opportunity to thank the Minister and her team for having agreed to assist the matter.

Having been approved and launched on January 1, 2019, the British Greyhound Racing Fund will enjoy £10 million in total funding.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Genting Denies Wynn Copyright Claims, Prepares for Court

  • Genting Berhard denies wrongdoing, responding to Wynn Resorts’ claims that the company had copied its design for an upcoming integrated resort property in Las Vegas
  • The company has presented visual proof and pushes ahead with construction while preparing to meet Genting in court
  • Massachusetts wraps up probe against former CEO Steve Wynn

Embroiled in a dispute over copyrights, the impasse between Genting Berhard and Wynn Resorts remains unchanged. Genting Berhard has denied wrongdoing or attempting to copy the design of Wynn in the newly-constructed Resorts World Las Vegas LLC integrated resort.

Genting Berhard Says It Didn’t Copy Wynn Resorts’ Design

In December, Wynn Resorts lodged a lawsuit against Genting Berhard’s Resorts World Las Vegas LLC and its property under construction in Las Vegas. The $4-billion project developed by Genting’s subsidiary is due to arrive late in 2020, located in the vicinity of an already existing Wynn property.

Last week, Genting filed their official rebuttal of Wynn Resorts’ demands to halt construction and overhaul the exterior design of the property. In their filing dated December 21, 2018, Wynn Resorts said that the property had “a substantially similar architectural design and trade dress.”

Wynn Wins Temporary Extension on Report Confidentiality

On the other hand, Genting has been set against the position outlined by the plaintiff. According to the company, the Resorts World Las Vegas will not resemble its neighbor, with Genting laying down the following argument:

[Wynn’s position] is predicated on speculative extrapolation regarding the appearance of the Defendant’s unfinished resort and casino, which is still in an early stage of construction with nearly two years left to go before opening.

Genting’s answer said that the final property would look “dramatically different” than Wynn’s own property. Furthermore, Genting said that the design would in no way suggest to a customer that they are entering a Wynn-owned property.

Based on Genting’s position, so far there has been no substantial evidence that proves, within reason, that the company’s subsidiary was actively trying to copy the design of its main competitor. Genting will push ahead with its integrated resort construction plans while at the same time gearing up to face Wynn in court if need be.

Genting even included a “pictorial representation” of the completed Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV) resort and casino in order to assuage fears that the company was intentionally copying the design of the plaintiff.

Genting’s position is well-presented, which means that they are fully-prepared to take action in court. Wynn Resorts has been embroiled in a sex scandal, investigated by Massachusetts that has now finally come to an end. Nevertheless, no public information is available yet, as the state’s investigators have agreed to honor a request from Steve Wynn, the former CEO of the company.

A public release of the report might give grounds to opponents of Mr. Wynn to pursue legal recourse against him, the position read.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Sweden’ Regulator Releases 2018 Gaming Survey

  • Spelinspektionen releases comprehensive gambling study for 2018
  • Number of gamers in Sweden remains unchanged at rate of participation of 66%
  • Gaming still takes place predominantly at land-based venue
  • Over half of gamers not aware about self-exclusion schemes

Sweden’s gaming regulatory body, the Spelinspektionen, has released an annual survey analysing the country’s gaming habits in 2018.

Sweden’s Regulatory Gaming Survey for 2018

On Friday, January 11, the Spelinspektionen (the newly re-branded watchdog in Sweden) released a comprehensive annual study looking into the gaming and betting habits of Swedes. Based on the survey, estimated 66% of the population placed a wager in some form throughout 2018.

The numbers kept steady from a year before when it was established that a similar number of participants had placed a wager. The numbers in both last years are still lower than the 76% participation rate, and the numbers have been mostly falling since 2013. However, with 66% of the population engaging in lottery activities in one form or another, the market is a fresh opportunity for many operators.

MRG and Bethard Ready to Grow in Swedish Market

In fact, as many as 60 companies have secured a license from the regulator and are now either offering or in the process of developing their gaming portfolios in the country. The survey also focused on the present looking into January’s results, asking participants if they had gambled in the past week.

Swedish Gaming Self-Exclusion and Popular Verticals

Estimated 34% said that they had placed a wager, although there was also an increase in the number of players who said that they had not gambled in the slightest – 16%. There were other interesting metrics emerging from the survey, such as how trustworthy are gambling operations according to public (with some people 22% saying not at all).

There were also those who said that the current gambling products were boring to begin with (17%). This explains why NetEnt, one of the main iGaming software developers, have decided to let some staff go in order to focus on game creation. Most iGaming studios have focused on creating a more authentic gaming experience, which is increasingly beginning to resemble video games.

Interestingly enough, engagement with land-based properties was at 57% (most likely because of the lack of online alternatives) whereas 17% chose to go online. These numbers are likely to even out or reverse completely in 2019.

There’s been a marked increase in Smart TV gambling with the activity reaching 5% of the total. Gambling advertisement is very common on Swedish television. There were also 14% of activities that were lumped together in “other ways,” without any specification of what the activities were in the first place.

Swedes seems to be very sober in their gambling choices and practices, with only 3% of all interviewed persons admitting that they overdid gambling in the week leading up to the interview. Still, there is a big knowledge gap when it comes to self-exclusion schemes, with 52% of people not even aware of the existence of the option.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

Camelot’s Set For Life to Pay Out £10K Monthly for 30 Years

  • Camelot UK is introducing the Set For Life annuity game
  • Winners will be provided with £10,000 guaranteed monthly income for 30 years
  • The odds of winning are 15,339,390 to one

Camelot UK Lotteries are developing a new draw-based annuity game, which will allow participants a chance to win as much as $13,000 (£10,000).

Camelot UK Introduces New Annuity Game

UK customers of Camelot, one of the leading UK lottery providers and operators, will have an opportunity to participate in a new game, promising to fetch them as much as $13,000 (£10,000). The annuity draw-based event will pay winners the reward monthly, for a period of 30 years, and it seems that it will be one of the latest staple products to hit the lottery vertical.

“Set For Life” is launching on March 18 and the tickets for each event would cost estimated $1.9 (£1.5). Tickets can be purchased through the National Lottery’s website, bought with the help of a mobile app, or snapped up at an official retail outlet as early as March 15.

GiG Teams Up with MegaLotto to Introduce

Players will then choose five numbers from a total of 47 available digits as well as a “Life Ball” which will also carry a number (0-10). Participants who manage to match the five main numbers as well as the Life Ball will be considered winners.

Camelot has also revealed the most likely odds of winning the monthly prize, putting them at 15,339,390:1. The draws will occur twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. To spread awareness, Camelot will also feature “Set For Life” in a new marketing campaign, which will be rolling out ahead of the official launch of the game.

Is There a Shift Towards Annuity Games in the UK?

The popularity of annuity games has been spreading across the United Kingdom, and Camelot’s decision is a direct response to that demand. Nigel Railton, top executive at Camelot, explained the birth of the new game thus:

Annuity games really appeal to a growing number of people who like the idea of winning a prize paid out in regular instalments over the long term, and are very successful in other countries.

Mr. Railton is convinced that “Set For Life” would enjoy the same popularity that the National Lottery does, with the small wrinkle that it might take some time to gain traction. Still, he believes that the game will appeal particularly to the younger demographics as it introduces an alternate way of making a bet.

“It appeals to a different kind of player. There are a good number of people who like the stability of regular monthly payments. – National Lottery spokesperson

The addition of “Set For Life,” achieves another important goal, by diversifying the experience to suit a variety of tastes, play styles and more. Mr. Railton estimates that if the National Lottery is going to continue operating at a profit, it needs to adapt to consumer tastes and while lottery-based games should be in the core, the could be overhauled to better match the expectations of the new generations.

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.

Parx’s Casino Goes Ahead with Soft Launch on Tuesday

  • Pennsylvania’s Parx casino goes ahead with a soft-launch on Tuesday
  • The Turf Club property should be next
  • Greenwood Gaming is planning to release its mobile app very soon while still anticipating license to conduct online betting

Pennsylvania’s Parx casino is launching sports betting operations this week, January 7. The casino is introducing its land-based sports betting facilities, bringing the state’s total such venues to four for the time being. More licenses are being processed.

Parx Casino Arrives in Pennsylvania

Parx Casino is all geared-up to take off its sports betting operations to the next level. The Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment-owned property located in Bensalem revealed last week that it was starting a two-day soft launch of its betting facilities.

The platform chosen for the property is the work of Kambi, one of the best-known companies on the market for sports betting software solutions. The upcoming test is slated for Tuesday January 8, at 2 PM and the event will run through Thursday, January 10.

Pennsylvania Rakes in More Revenue from Slots in December

Parx is not yet to release its entire sports book, launching a demo version of its offer to-be first. If the soft launch goes well, Parx will hopefully see its sports betting property open fully by summer, featuring NFL competitions and in time for the upcoming new football season.

Greenwood Gaming is not restricted to just Parx, though, with South Philadelphia Turf Club also preparing to roll out its own gaming activities. However, the company hasn’t yet revealed any information about when the other property will start operating.

It’s possible for that to happen within the same framework, with Greenwood re-focusing its efforts on the Turf Club once the Parx’s casino launch has been logged in the books as a success. It would certainly make sense to have the property up and running ahead of the NFL season.

Clearing the PGCB License Process

Parx is also preparing to launch its mobile betting application while still anticipating to get the go-ahead from the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board (PGCB) to release its offer online. A shift towards the online market could bring in significant benefits for the casino, possibly biting into the revenue of offshore bookmakers who are still doing rather well even in the newly-legalized sports betting climate in the country.

Meanwhile, several gaming venues have launched their operations so far, including Hollywood Casino, part of the Penn National Race Course and the SugarHouse Casino and River Casino. All of this has been made possible by the repeal of PASPA.

In related news, last Friday, the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) was launched in New Orleans. The event was attended by many high-profile personalities from the gaming world, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie who was one of the staunchest supporters of the legalization of sports betting.

During his speech, Christie noted that integrity fees would be a bad idea and would “reward bad behavior”, although there is little evidence to suggest that, so Christie was simply defending a popular thesis.

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.

News UK Appoints James Garmston Head of Sun Racing

  • News UK assigns James Garmston head of Sun Racing
  • Decision comes following the debacle of the joint-venture with Tabcorp
  • Garmston intends to expand sports betting clout of the brand

UK media company News UK has put a new man at the helm of the sports news brand. James Garmston will be heading the Sun Racing post.

Garmston Takes the Job at the Top

Reporting on sports is just as important for the betting industry as crunching the odds right. The information that gets to customers often sways their opinions when it comes to making an actual wager. James Garmston seems to be the right man for the job.

Known for his journalistic flair and professionalism, he’s also familiar with the ins and outs of the sports betting industry as a result of his stint at where he worked as Chief Executives since 2011 before switching to Sun Racing.

Gambling Addiction Clinic To Open in Northern England

Garmston’s experience prior to his joining of included a number of respected institutions, both journalistic and focusing on sports betting, including:

  • The Pres Association Sport agency
  • Institute of Physics

Garmston is also expected to help resuscitate the operations of News UK, after their gambling brand – Sun Bets, came to a ruin in the 12 months prior to Garmston’s appointment. Looking into Sun Bets up closely, the brand was launched back in 2016, borrowing its name from News UK’s sport brand The Sun and teaming up with Tabcorp to create a joint venture. On the occasion of creating the partnership, Tabcorp stated:

This partnership provides us with the opportunity to create a leading online bookmaker in the UK market under the Sun Bets brand over the coming years and fits with our strategy of pursuing close-to-core international opportunities.

At the time, the news was welcomed by News UK CEO Rebekah Brooks who said that the joint venture “marked a pivotal moment in the digital transformation of the company”.

However, Tabcorp decided to pull their support and investment from the company in June, 2018, a move that was worth nearly $50 million.

Garmston Excited at the Opportunity

Speaking to EGR, Garmston has expressed his excitement to help The Sun brand further develop their brand and help reverse the unfortunes of the past attempts to create a stable betting brand.

Many businesses today come short of the mark, as customers become cleverer when placing a bet. Some prefer to play on sure games which means that they generate a modicum of profit, but nevertheless continue to drain the finances of up-and-coming betting businesses.

Major brands usually manage to secure funding by amassing a steadfast following. Garmston’s intention seems to have the brand’s awareness in mind.

Building a brand from scratch would be difficult. News UK has made no official statements, bar the appointment of Garmston, about whether the company will actively seek to break into the sports betting segment again. Judging by Garmston’s own account, this is a distinct possibility.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

Wynn Wins Temporary Extension on Report Confidentiality

  • Steve Wynn’s report remains confidential for the time being
  • Ruling judge Elizabeth Gonzalez will announce further hearings on January 11
  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) will meet on January 10 to discuss the case

A Nevada’s judge has decided against the release of a report describing the misconduct of former Wynn CEO Steve Wynn.

Steve Wynn Wins in Court, Keeps Report Private

Steve Wynn, the defamed casino mogul, has won a court case against the Massachusetts gaming regulator and will prevent the information collated in a special report over his alleged sexual misconduct from leaking to the press, at least for the time being. Mr. Wynn’s case argued that it was “privileged information” and as such it was off limits for anyone but the court to see.

On Friday, Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez in Nevada said that Mr. Wynn was entitled to discretion, ruling in his favor against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). The regulator had prepared a report looking into both Mr. Wynn and the company he used to chair.

Wynn Sues Genting Vegas for Copyright Infringement and More

The report focused on establishing how much Wynn executives knew about Mr. Wynn’s sexual harassment practices. The report also affected the company’s chances of procuring a license to operate an ambitious new project. The Encore Boston Harbor is worth $2.5 billion and it’s going live in June, that is if the MGC clears it for opening. This is in fact one of the key reason why Steve Wynn stepped down from his position.

Back to the report itself, Steve Wynn has repeatedly said that the information in the report must be kept private as per the attorney-client confidence agreement. The information contained in the document could also potentially leave Mr. Wynn vulnerable to unrelated lawsuits.

A Favorable Ruling – For Now

Upon examining the report, Ms. Gonzalez said that she would extend the ban on revealing the information of the report, leaving the defense and prosecutors to carry on with additional filings by January 25. Meanwhile, Ms. Gonzalez is expected to speak on January 11 and announce how the case will proceed in future.

At the same time, the MGC will also have a meeting on January 10 during which it will consider again the Wynn license. One of the dangers for the company is that the MGC may decided to revoke the company’s gaming license, costing it billions and inflicting a heavy blow to it.

Of course, such a decision will trigger multiple lawsuits which the state and MGC must be prepared to handle at the same time. However, if it turns out that Wynn executives knew about the ongoing harassment by Mr. Wynn, then it would seem like the watchdog would have a very serious reason not to OK a gambling license.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

MGM to Add $300m in Profits by 2021

  • MGM to Boost Revenue by $300 million
  • Layoffs and technological diversity part of the plan
  • MGM intends to expand in New York which may soon legalize sports betting

MGM Resorts International has kickstarted its efficiency program extending well into 2020 and 2021. The casino will seek to rev up its revenue by $300 million before 2021 is out.

MGM Carries on with Vision 2020 Plan

International casino & hotel brand MGM is now shifting into a higher corporate gear in a bid to add $300 million in profits by 2021. This is an ambitious plan outlined under the MGM 2020 initiative looking into ways to improve the overall profitability of the company.

Apart from revenue growth, MGM is planning to leverage new technologies to boost engagement, win new customers, and expand into new markets. The brand has successfully partnered with all but one major sporting bodies, including:

MGM is planning to boost the majority of its revenue by the end of 2020, with $200 million more in its coffers. Another $100 million will be added by the end of 2021, for the commutative amount of $300 million.

To achieve these ambitious goals MGM will most likely have to lay off people, as the company has already confirmed. MGM explained that 25% of the revenue will come from “shifting functions and responsibilities” whereas another 25% will be obtained through optimization of the revenue channels.

MGM considers that what the company is doing right now is to optimize its corporate structure and “solidify” what’s been build over the past few years, MGM Chairman Jim Murren explained.

We are building on the strong foundation that we have solidified over the past few years, to deepen our efficiencies and achieve sustained growth and margin enhancement.

According to Murren, the latest Vision 2020 is part of another initiative dating back to 2015 and called the Profit Growth Plan which has already achieved its pre-determined goals.

Caesars and Oneida Indian Nation Partner in New York

Mr. Murren will also oversee the relocation of fuds to specific technology-driven initiatives, which are expected to pay off in the long-term.

We had a solid finish to the year in 2018, and as we look to 2019 and beyond, we remain confident in the ramp of our newly opened properties MGM COTAI, MGM Springfield, Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas

On the matter of new markets, Mr. Murren explained that New York and Ontario are the two new anticipated markets for the casino. In fact, New York can be a particularly tempting prospect at this time as the state is considering to push ahead with its own sports betting legislation, which is another important source of revenue for casinos, including flagship brands such as MGM.

Mr. Murren highlighted the important milestones achieved in 2018, including the multiple partnerships with the major sporting bodies in the United States. The National Football League (NFL) recently signed with Caesars, a move welcomed by the American Gaming Association (AGA)

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

Denmark Limits the Scope of Illegal Online Operators

  • Denmark successfully narrows down scope of illegal gambling
  • Danish operators are the EU’s safest
  • Esports betting is also targeted

Denmark is a model gambling market. It’s hailed as the only place in the European Union where all standards are kept to ensure the safety and security of customers. Now, the country has announced that it has been successful in narrowing down the scope of operation of illegal actors.

Denmark Cracks Down on Illegal Gambling

Denmark has done it – cleaning its online space from illegal gaming operators, or at least coming remarkably close. Hailed as one of the only jurisdictions in the European Union where gaming laws truly consider the well-being of customers and gamers, Denmark has just reported a “limited” market for illegal online casinos.

Denmark has been recognized as a safe harbor for casino lovers with the country having been mentioned in a report by the European Gaming & Betting Association, which evaluated all EU Member States’ laws insufficient to protect their customers, bar Denmark, where safety gaming measures were working fine.

GVC Holdings and Danske Spil Renew Content Deal

Meanwhile, Denmark’s Spillemyndigheden, the gaming watch dog, has produced a new report in which it outlined the fight against illegal actors as successful due to the “continually falling numbers of such operators” (paraphrased by Casino Classic). The measures targeted:

  • Casino operators
  • Card rooms
  • Esports betting websites

In December 2018, the Spillemyndigheden initiated three separate searches trying to pinpoint the online venues of unregulated gambling websites. The tally included 742 websites that were either deemed dangerous or with not an entirely established legal status.

The watchdog admitted that the organization had intentionally broaden the search parameters to make sure that it wouldn’t miss any potentially dangerous actor. At the same time, Denmark has been adding to the numbers of legal operators.

Despite the large number, only 22 websites were targeted specifically, with the Spillemyndigheden notifying the owners that they had violated the Danish Gambling Act. Out of these, 18 had to be blocked by their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) over a failure to respond to the regulatory body’s inquiries.

While the Danish authorities issued fewer petitions this year, they still blocked more operators than in the past, pointing to the more efficient measures taken by the government in targeting these specific bad apples.

Esports – A New Frontier

Esports betting (the act of placing money on the outcome of competitive video gaming) has also proven a divisive issue. Overall, 95 websites that haven’t quite met the criteria were identified. The main problem with these has been the offer of “skin betting”, i.e. staking in-game goods that led to a massive scandal back in 2016 and a class-action lawsuit for Valve, a game developer, who was accused of facilitating underage gambling.

In total, Denmark’s regulator accomplished the following:

  • Auditing 742 regular websites
  • Blocking 18 operators
  • Looking into 95 esports betting websites
  • Blocking 6 esports websites that didn’t comply with the Danish Gambling Act

The Spillemyndigheden issued 17 petitions to esports websites and subsequently requested that six of these are blocked. While esports betting has been gaining traction in the United States and Europe, skin gambling is completely off limits, though some operators have been using third-party services, using the argument that “they themselves didn’t touch the skins directly”.

More of a liability than a loophole, such attitude can lead to more restrictive actions from regulators in the future. The watchdog also cautioned about the rise of social gambling on popular platforms such as Facebook, which was another lucrative area for shady operators to turn a quick profit.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Casino Gambling May Finally Be Headed to Virginia

Three cities in Virginia have will be joining forces in a bid to bring casino gambling to the state, the main reason being that they hope the industry will assist in securing revenue amid the state’s current financial struggles. Two of the cities – Portsmouth and Bristol – have already made it clear that they are all in with the plans to persuade the government of Virginia to legalize casino gambling and Danville, the third city, is on track to join them. Members of Danville’s City Council are currently gearing to pass similar resolutions as the other two cities within the next few days.

As it stands, casino gambling is still an illegal activity in the state of Virginia and to make the situation even worse than it already is, the state’s Legislature has consistently thrown any attempts to introduce online gambling in the state under the bus. Even though this has gone on for decades, in 2018, lawmakers have high hopes that the stance of the state may finally be softening following the legalization of the historical horse race betting.

Two Virginia lawmakers, with support from Bristol, have begun work on a bill that is expected to allow the residents of the city to vote on the potential construction of a casino in a referendum – this bill will be introduced during the 2019 legislative session of Virginia’s General Assembly. According to Randy Eads, the Bristol City Manager, the city is in dire need of an opportunity to improve its financial situation especially because its debt load “is getting ready to increase dramatically over the next several years”. He believes that the gambling revenue will be very useful in alleviating these financial issues not just for Bristol but for other cities in the state as well.

The Bristol City Manager is also confident that the casino effort will face very little opposition after it passed all of the hurdles in the state’s legislature. However, this claim might be too optimistic especially considering the fact that a Bristol family organization has already launched an effort that opposes the establishment of a casino resort in the city. The family argues that any gambling activity in the state would only lead to “addiction, poverty, higher crime, prostitution, sex trafficking, drugs, diminished poverty values, etc.”

Proposed Developments

While the other cities have been making tremendous strides towards the push for the legalization of sports betting and online gambling, Bristol has been more proactive in pursuing the agenda. Developers in the city have even gone as far as pitching a $150-million plan for a casino resort in the city which they believe will come with new jobs and revenue for the region and the state. Members of the city council have also expressed confidence that, if the project materializes, it could result in a much-needed economic boost in the region.

Sophia Rojas

Growing up around law firms, Sophia keeps our team of reporters atop any legislative developments to follow up with a welcomed dose of positive news as our house trivia nut!