Single-Game Wagering Launches in Four Canadian Provinces

A new era in the Canadian gaming business has officially started on Friday when bill C-218 came into force. The bill gives the authority to individual provinces to decide for themselves which road their sports betting industry should take.

It’s similar to what happened in the US in 2018 when Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting. Since then, individual states have had the power to decide whether to ban sports betting completely, make it completely legal and regulated, or do something in-between (for example, make only certain forms of betting legal).

Pretty much the same is now the case in Canada, where four provinces have already decided to make some changes. British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec have lifted the ban on single-game wagering this Friday.

Single-Game Betting Is Now Available in Canada

Up until Thursday, Canadian bettors had no (legal) way to place single-bets; instead, they could only bet parlays in provincial lotteries. However, starting Friday, August 27, single-game wagering is available in Canada, in four of its ten provinces.

Canadians living in those provinces can now go to their local lottery shops and put their money on single bets. People from two of those provinces, however, are now able to do it remotely. The thing is that British Colombia and Ontario have launched their online betting products.

In British Columbia, a sportsbook product was added to the lottery-run gaming website PlayNow.com, which has been online for more than 15 years.

Over in Ontario, the provincial lottery has launched an online sportsbook called ProLine+, where Canadians of legal age will be able to place bets – both parlays and singles.

What’s Next for Canada’s Most Populous Province?

With nearly 15 million residents and a shared border with several US states including New York, Ontario semes like a very lucrative market for literally any business.

The same is the case with online betting, which Ontarians haven’t been able to do in Canadian sportsbooks. Instead, Canadian bettors have been sending their money away in the direction of offshore betting sites.

However, that’s going to change soon, judging by what’s been going on recently. Ontario’s legislators are working on making online sports betting legal. It’s still unclear what kind of model will the legislation take, but the most likely scenario is that local gaming businesses will be given an advantage.

Instead of letting the provincial lottery have a monopoly over the sports betting business, Ontario might decide to go with an open market. If this scenario plays out, 24 gaming venues currently operating in the province will be given the opportunity to apply for the license.

For that to happen, they will probably have to team up with established providers of sports betting services, as is the case in many US states already.

Another province that’s expected to follow this model is Alberta. Furthermore, in Saskatchewan, the Indian Gaming Authority is in charge of everything betting-related.

It’s rumored that they’re looking to go with a model in which tribal casinos would team up with established commercial sportsbooks (like bet365 and similar), creating new Canada-focused brands.

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.

Single-Event Sports Betting in Canada Kicks-Off on Friday, August 27

Sports betting is legal in Canada, but placing single bets isn’t. At least, it isn’t at this moment, but that’s ends in two weeks. Friday, August 27 is the date when Canada will officially lift its single-event wagering ban.

It’s all due to Bill C-218, which Canada’s Senate passed two months ago. The bill amends the country’s Criminal Code, making some big changes in Canada’s gaming landscape. In addition to making single-event wagering legal, the bill will also pave the way to the legalization of online sports betting.

At the moment, the sportsbook business is in control of the state-owned Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, with kiosks all over the country. In addition, there are many land-based casinos, racinos, and bring-and-mortar sportsbooks where it’s legal to bet on parlays. In all those venues, single-game wagering will become legal starting August 27.

Bill C-218 in a Nutshell

Also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, Bill C-218 will open the door to single-event betting in land-based sportsbooks across Canada, which could generate billions of dollars for the industry.

The legalization of single-event sports betting is just one of the several changes the bill will create in Canada’s gambling landscape. Another, perhaps even more important change, is that the bill will enable individual Canadian provinces to decide the legal status of online betting for themselves.

At the moment, this activity falls into a gray area, meaning that it’s neither legal nor illegal for Canadians to bet on the internet. Online betting is not a crime in this country and many online casinos and sportsbooks keep their virtual doors open to the players based in this country.

However, as it’s an unregulated industry, online betting isn’t controlled by any governmental body. In layman’s terms, this means that Canada can’t help you if you get scammed by a shady online betting site.

The good news is that there are several provinces currently working on making this gaming activity regulated. If, or better say when, they do it, only those operators with a local license will be able to operate.

What the Future Holds for Online Betting in Canada?

With Canada’s lawmakers passing Bill C-218, it’s now up to each of the 10 Canadian provinces to decide for themselves whether online sports betting should be legal or illegal. Reports suggest that there are two provinces that will almost certainly give the green light to internet sportsbooks. Those are Ontario and British Columbia.

Being the most populous province in Canada, Ontario has every right to hope for a big revenue once online betting is regulated. It’s estimated that Ontario is hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars to offshore sportsbooks every year, the reason being that that’s the only way bettors from this province can enjoy their hobby – there are no provincial lotteries in Ontario.

Provincial lotteries exist in British Columbia, which is another state that’s reportedly every open to the prospect of legalized online betting. The reason behind BC’s positive attitude probably lies in the fact that the province is generating a lot of tax money through this industry.

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.

Survey Shows New Jersey Voters are Against College Football Betting

New Jersey is the state that brought sports betting back to America. The state representatives were the ones to take the betting ban to Supreme Court, which eventually ruled it was unconstitutional. As a result, now every US state has the right to decide for itself whether and what kind of betting activities should be legal.

At the moment, sports betting is legal in the Garden State, both in land-based casinos and in online sportsbooks. However, New Jersey bettors aren’t allowed to bet on anything they want. For example, betting on NCAA games is still prohibited.

However, the NJ lawmakers are thinking about changing that. In fact, they’ve already proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would make college sports betting legal. However, it seems that the public is against it. According to the results of a survey published earlier this week, there’s little support for such a move among New Jersey voters.

Poll Finds New Jerseyans are Against College Betting

Fairleigh Dickinson University published the results of its poll on Tuesday, showing that only just one-third of the respondents were in favor of college sports betting. Furthermore, almost 50% of respondents said they were against the new betting bill.

The survey was conducted over the course of seven days in July, with 803 respondents taking part. All of the persons surveyed are registered voters, with the residence in New Jersey.

The reason cited as the main factor for being against the legalization of NCAA sports betting is that it could ruin the integrity of the game, potentially even leading to match-fixing.

However, the proponents of the legalization are adamant that the exact opposite is the case. Their claim is that the fact that college betting is outlawed doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen at all.

The argument is that by making betting legal, the state would have full control of what’s going on. Working together with bookmakers, the state officials would be able to figure out if something fishy is going on.

New Jersey voters will go to the polls on November 2 to make the final decision on the issue. If the bill gets approved, bettors will be able to place bets on college events in sportsbooks based in this state. So far, that hasn’t been possible, although bettors have been able to find different ways to do so. Offshore online betting, for example, has been one of those ways.

College Sports Betting Only Possible Offshore

Sports betting is going through a revival in the United States. The number of betting-friendly states keeps growing. Further, a number of sportsbook brands have made their entrance in the mainstream. For example, Caesars is now the official sponsor of the NFL.

However, the world of college sports still keeps itself distant from betting. Still, despite the fact that there are no sportsbooks in New Jersey where it’s possible to bet on in-state college games, it doesn’t’ stop bettors from betting. Their solution is to place their wagers in online casinos based offshore.

This way, huge amounts of money are pouring away from the United States, which is the primary motive behind the efforts to legalize betting.

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.

Poll Reveals the Support for Mobile Betting in NY is at All-Time High

Earlier this week, a poll conducted by the Siena College Research Institute revealed that New Yorkers are in favor of the legalization of mobile betting.

The findings showed that 51% of the respondents would vote for lifting the ban on online sportsbooks in New York State. Eighteen percent said that have no opinion, while only 30% said they would vote against such a bill.

With more than half of surveyed people being in favor of mobile betting legalization, it seems that a new era is on the horizon. Considering that Governor Andrew Cuomo and NY lawmakers are working on a proposal, it wouldn’t be surprising if the ban was lifted before the end of the year.

What’s the Status of the New York State Gambling Bill?

At the moment of writing, New York is still one of the states where online gaming is illegal. However, land-based casinos (and sportsbooks) are permitted in the Empire State. The status quo would probably remain for years if it weren’t for COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, NY Government decided to implement a casino curfew.

For months, New York casinos weren’t allowed to operate. Although Cuomo promised to lift the casino curfew on April 5, the fact that those businesses spent months with their doors closed, a huge hole was created in the state budget.

Cuomo’s idea of fixing that hole is to lift the ban on online betting, which would serve as a nice source of revenue tax. However, Cuomo’s idea differs from the one proposed by other legislators.

Governor thinks New York should have a single state-run online sportsbook based on the lottery model. Other lawmakers believe the best option would be a free-market approach, which would enable New Yorkers to choose from several operators.

The latest news from the New York State Assembly suggest that the latter option is more likely to be accepted.

NY Assembly Adds Mobile Betting to Its 2021 Budget

On Sunday evening, the lower chamber of the NY State Assembly released its budget proposal for 2021-22. One of the parts of the plan is focused on the revenue generated from mobile betting. The fiscal projection suggests New York State could make over $180 million in 2022 from this industry.

What’s interesting is that the projections were based on the open-market model, in which there would be up to 12 mobile skins.

Each land-based casino would be allowed to apply for a license for two online skins. The cost of an operating license would be somewhere in the range of $12 million. On top of that, mobile sportsbooks would have to pay a 12% tax.

When Will Mobile Betting in NY Become a Reality?

Considering how things are going at the moment, it’s only normal to assume the NY lawmakers will come up with a mobile betting bill in a few months’ time. The next step is for the voters to approve that bill.

If they do it, the seven land-based casinos (four commercial and three tribal casinos) in New York will get the right to apply for an operating license. To do that, they will have to partner up with a software provider, which will have to fulfill a number of conditions meant to ensure fair betting, as well as privacy and security of the players.

Only when they get a license will online casinos be permitted to go live. So, when should you expect such a thing to happen?

Judging by the experiences from other states, the entire process usually takes about a year and a half. For instance, online gaming became legal in Michigan in 2019, but it wasn’t until January 22, 2021, before the first mobile sportsbooks were launched.

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.

Las Vegas Sands Hires 51 Lobbyists to Push for Casino Legalization in Texas

Even though there were speculations about the future of Las Vegas Sands following the death of its founder Sheldon Adelson, the company seems to be on the same route. At least, that’s the case when it comes to its involvement with casino legalization in Texas.

For the last couple of years of his life, one of Adelson’s main preoccupations was to persuade Texas lawmakers into ditching the laws that ban casino gambling. In late 2020, he hired 10 lobbyists with the intention of pushing his Texas casino agenda.

After Adelson’s passing, his successors in Las Vegas Sands decided to up the ante – they hired 51 lobbyists with the same intention.

Sands Becomes Second-Largest Lobbying Group in Texas Behind AT&T

With Adelson gone, the man in the spotlight is Andy Abboud. The vice president of government relations at Las Vegas Sands is the man in charge of the lobbying operation the aim of which is to make casinos legal in Texas.

In Abboud’s words “Texas is considered the biggest plum still waiting to be out there in the history of hospitality and gaming.”

The lobbying team has never been this big – with 51 people involved and about $4.5 million spent, the Las Vegas Sands lobbying group is the second-largest of its kind in the Lone Star State. The only other company with a larger and more powerful lobbying group is AT&T.

With so many invested in this project, Las Vegas Sands is expecting results. However, Texas legislators remain silent on this matter for the time being. However, all the signs are there that there’s a bright future for the Texas casino industry.

What’s the Destiny of Casino Legalization in Texas?

Old Westerns might have given you the idea that gambling plays a pivotal role in the culture of Texas. Add to that the fact that one of the most popular variants of poker bears the name of the state and you’re in for a surprise – casino gambling has been banned in Texas since 1903.

Still, there are some notable exceptions. Parimutuel wagering is legal at racetracks, while there are also a couple of tribal casinos within the state borders. Commercial casinos, however, remain banned. The question is for how long?

The tide seems to be moving in favor of casino legalization in Texas, and it’s not just because of Las Vegas Sands lobbying. It’s also because the COVID-19 pandemic has created a big hole in the state’s budget that gambling tax could fill.

Another reason is that the establishment of land-based casinos in Texas would mean more jobs for locals. The thing is that the unemployment rate in Texas is pretty high and casinos could solve the problem for at least a couple of thousand people.

Finally, it appears that Texans are in favor of casino legalization. A public poll by the University of Houston this January showed that about 70% of people are in favor of casino legalization. Knowing all this, it seems like a safe bet to say Texas is going to get its first commercial casinos real soon.

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.

Michigan to Get Online Casinos and Sportsbooks by the End of 2020

On Wednesday, December 1, the Michigan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) approved the regulations proposed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). The regulations in question are meant to regulate online casinos, sportsbooks, and daily fantasy sports (DFS) platforms in Michigan.

As a result, Michigan bettors are going to be able to bet and gamble online as soon as land-based casinos launch their web-based platforms. That’s something that’s expected to happen by the end of the year.

Everyone seems to be cheering for this to happen as soon as possible. The reason is that Michigan’s land-based casinos have been closed due to COVID-19 regulations. As per Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) orders, casinos will remain shut down until at least December 9.

Three Detroit Casinos to Go Online

In Q2, the three land-based commercial casinos in Detroit – MGM Grand, Greektown Casino, and MotorCity Casino Hotel – reported a gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $0.

Over summer, they rebounded, albeit only slightly. Then, in November, COVID-19 came back with a vengeance, with the number of new cases going above 16k near the end of the month. That prompted Governor to put the state in another lockdown.

As a result, Detroit’s casinos are suffering again. However, their suffering might come to an end by the end of December. The thing is that they are given the green light to launch their online casino and sportsbook apps.

In order to be allowed to do that, the three casinos need to team up with providers of online gaming software. This is why we’ve seen the creation of some new partnerships in Michigan’s casino landscape.

MotorCityCasino & FanDuel

MotorCity Casino Hotel formed a partnership with FanDuel, which is going to result in an all-in-one platform, allowing the players to bet, play casino games, and take part in daily fantasy sports, using a single account.

According to FanDuel, the sportsbook/online casino will launch soon, with the launch date still not being released. However, the operator has already started accepting registrations from users based in Michigan. Those who do it will receive $100 worth of free bets ($50 for casino and $50 for sportsbook) to use up once the platform goes online.

Greektown Casino & IGT & Barstool

Greektown Casino is going online with the help of IGT and Barstool. The role of IGT is to power Greektown’s online casino, while Barstool will provide sportsbook solutions.

MGM Grand Detroit & BetMGM

MGG Grand Detroit and BetMGM are both owned by the same company, hence it’s no surprise they’re working together on launching a Michigan online casino and sportsbook.

Once these three online casinos launch, Michigan is going to become only the fifth state in the US where this gaming activity is legal and licensed. At the moment, the states where online casinos are permitted are New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

When it comes to online sportsbooks, there are nine when this activity is legal, but that number is going up in the near future. It’s because, in November, Americans voted to liberalize gaming laws in several US states.

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.

American Voters Approve Sports Betting and Casino Gaming Expansions

On Tuesday, Americans weren’t just choosing their new President between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Some of them were also casting votes that would decide the future of the US gaming industry. Three states voted to make sports betting legal, while three decided to approve/expand casino gaming.

The states in question are the following:

  • Maryland
  • South Dakota
  • Louisiana
  • Virginia
  • Nebraska
  • Colorado

Of those states, the top three listed have made sports betting legal. In Virginia, the voters decided to approve casino gaming in four locations. Nebraska voters approved adding casino games to the racetracks in the state, while the voters from Colorado made their state’s casino gaming laws more liberal.

Three New Sports Betting-Friendly US States

The voters in Maryland, South Dakota, and Louisiana voted to make sports betting legal in their states. As a result, the United States is going to have at least 25 states, together with the District of Colombia, where sports betting is legal in some form.

Online betting still remains illegal or unregulated in most of those states, although many are working on changing that. At the moment of writing, there are nine states where internet/mobile betting is legal.

The road to sports betting legalization in the US started in 2018 when the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, a federal law that practically made this gaming form illegal everywhere apart from Nevada and tribal lands. The Supreme Court’s ruling made it possible for individual states to decide the legality of sports betting on their own.

Three States Expand Casino Gaming

The voters from Colorado, Nebraska, and Virginia decided to liberalize their casino gambling laws. Virginia is going to make gambling legal in four casinos within the state. Over in Nebraska, the voters have decided to allow racetracks to turn into racinos, that is, racetracks that have certain types of casino games on the premises.

In Colorado, the voters decided to get rid of some wagering limits, while also expanding the list of casino game types available at land-based casinos. From now on, Colorado casinos will be allowed to add craps and roulette to their gambling offers.

Online gambling was not on the ballot, although the voting results are certainly putting wind in its sails. At the moment, here’s only a couple of states where internet casino gaming is possible. New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are the states that already have online casinos, while a few more will get their gaming websites in the near future.

Online casinos remain illegal in Nevada, a state that relies on land-based casinos. The state’s stance towards internet gaming probably isn’t going to change anytime soon, partially because of the pressure legislators are getting from Las Vegas casino owners. One of biggest opponents of online casinos in Nevada is the owner of Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson, who’s recently gotten in news headlines for making a $75 million donation to Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.

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.

Trump Receives a Major Cash Injection From Las Vegas Sands Owner

The COVID-19 pandemic has finally stepped from the throne of the most discussed topic in the world. The topic that took its place is the 2020 Presidential Election. Even in the world of casino gambling, the Trump vs Biden race is heavily discussed, especially after the news that the owner of Las Vegas Sands Sheldon Adelson has donated $75 million to the current President’s campaign. Will this cash injection help Trump save his job?

According to offshore sportsbooks, the chance is very low that Trump will stay in the White House for another four years. Instead, with the odds of -210, Joe Biden is the favorite. Still, an even more drastic situation was back in 2016 when Trump took on Hillary Clinton, who was, at one, point a -500 favorite, America did not get its first female President.

Can Trump upset the odds once again? He might, but he’ll need more money for that as his opponent’s campaign currently has way more funds on their hands. This is why Adelson’s donation of $75 million is certainly appreciated in the Blue part of the US.

Who is Sheldon Adelson?

With an estimated net worth of $33.5 billion, Sheldon Adelson is one of the richest men in the United States. The 87 years’ old businessman is the owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which has several iconic casinos in its domain, including the following:

  • The Venetian Las Vegas (a luxury hotel and casino where the company’s headquarters are located)
  • The Venetian Macao (the second-largest casino in the world)
  • Marina Bay Sands in Singapore (the world’s most expensive integrated resort at the time of the opening in 2010)
  • Sands Macao (the first Vegas-style casino to open on Chinese soil)

The casino magnate used to be a member of the Democratic Party until 1996, before establishing himself as one of the biggest backers of the Republicans.

What’s Behind Trump’s Relationship With Adelson?

According to an article published in the New Yorker in 2013, Adelson changed his political affiliation after having trouble with labor unions in Las Vegas. The same article quoted him complaining about the current tax system in the United States, which makes taxes higher for those with more money.

Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?

An even bigger reason for Adelson to back the Republican candidate lies in the Wire Act. The proposed bill is supposed to reverse the current online gaming laws in the United States, practically outlawing online slots and all the other popular internet casino games. Adelson is famous as the #1 proponent of this bill, which would secure a prosperous future of his land-based casinos.

The relationship between Adelson and the Republican Party is not a one-way street. Donald Trump has previously called Adelson his friend on many occasions, not to mention that Sheldon’s wife, Miriam Adelson, received a Presidential Medal of Honor from Trump in 2018.

The Trump-Adelson relationship reached its lowest point in August when the President reportedly berated the casino magnate for not donating enough money to his cause. Adelson eventually decided to pay-up, but the question is whether it’s already too late?

 

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.

West Virginia Becomes 4th US State to Legalize Online Casinos

As of Wednesday, July 15, there are four states within the US where online casino gambling is legal. The most recent addition is West Virginia whose lawmakers have recently okayed this gambling form. Previously, the only states where online gambling was permitted were New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

DraftKings Casino is the first gambling platform to go online in this state. In partnership with Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino, DraftKings has launched its casino website, as well as its WV mobile app, which is available in two versions – one for Android and one for iOS devices.

DraftKings Embraces Online Casino Business

DraftKings is perhaps best known as a daily fantasy website, which is how this company started out back in 2012. Once the sports betting ban got lifted as a result of New Jersey’s case in front of the US Supreme Court, many states started passing laws to make online betting legal and regulated.

DraftKings wanted to get on the bandwagon right away, applying for a license in a number of betting-friendly states all across the United States.

After the company’s decision to branch out its business proved successful, DraftKings decided to get in on the online casino business. Pennsylvania and New Jersey were the first two states where DraftKings online casino launched.

Pennsylvania saw the birth of the DraftKings Casino on May 1, 2020. In New Jersey, the standalone casino app launched on June 24, 2020. Before that, the casino was a part of the NJ DraftKings Sportsbook. Exactly three weeks later, DraftKings Casino West Virginia went online for the first time.

What Games Can You Play at DraftKings Casino West Virginia?

Real-money online slots make up most of the DraftKings Casino game library in the other two states. There are slots of different types to be found there, including 3-reel, 5-reel slots, 3d games, progressive jackpot slots, and so on. The games are developed by some of the world’s most reputable software companies, such as NetEnt, IGT, and Spin Games.

You might not get to play slots straight away at DraftKings WV Casino as these guys are typically regulated the last. In the meantime, West Virginia players can quench their casino thirst by playings table games like blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and others.

Are Other States Expected to Follow West Virginia’s Example?

Right now, only four states within the Union are when gaming fans can play online casino games legally. The number of states is expected to go up drastically, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing measures preventing people to go to land-based casinos en mase, online gaming seems like a better alternative.

Furthermore, the experience from the states that have already made online gambling legal shows that during the pandemic, this industry can serve as an important source of income for the state budget. For example, online slots in Pennsylvania created a $38m revenue last month. Land-based casinos in coronavirus-ridden Nevada probably aren’t going to get anywhere near that number.

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.

KSA Fire A Warning Towards Online Gambling Operators

Online gaming operators in the Netherlands have been subdued to heavy criticism from the gambling regulator in the country, Kansspelautoriteit /KSA/, for their increased advertising activity seeking to channel players towards online services that are currently illegal.

No Legal Alternative To Land-Based Gaming Facilities

As the global spread of the coronavirus /Covid-19/ continues and local and national authorities join forces to halt the outbreak, licensed gaming operators, arcades and casinos, across the Netherlands have been forced to close doors to help a nationwide effort to slow the infection. There is no legal alternative for players in the country as online gambling is not open until July 2021, though the Remote Gaming Act will come into force from January1, 2021.

However, the country regulator has pointed out, during these times when legal land-based facilities are being closed, an increase in advertising for online gaming has been witnessed. Online operations are currently illegal, and respectively, advertising for illegal gambling is also illegal, even players who entertain games from illegal operators risk being punished.

Online Operators Utilize “Completely Objectionable” Advertising Methods

The KSA has stated that it is totally unacceptable for some companies to take advantage of the coronavirus-induced situation and lure customers towards their online operations, even advertising its products as Corona-free. The regulator is determined to keep the market free of such an immoral approach and punish operators that have endorsed such practices when they start considering their applications for a license, threatening that such advertising might even turn the operators’ cart upside down.

“The parties that do this, the providers themselves as well as their advertisers, can count on the KSA’s keen interest. Parties that use this type of practice can be assured that this will weigh heavily in a possible application for an online gambling licence.” René Jansen, Chairman, KSA

As per the Remote Gaming Act, the KSA will have the licensing and oversight power over every legal online gambling operator, essentially deciding which one will enter the market and which one will not. The recent criticism the Dutch regulator launched should be a red flag for any other online company that is willing to mop up clients from land-based gaming facilities while the latter are being closed due to the coordinated effort to stop the Covid-19 pandemic.

The KSA is again showing its determination to provide strict but fair gaming regulatory framework, and recently its enforcement actions got the support in a court ruling against text-based promotions for online games of chance.

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.

NIGC Issues Recommendations to Tribal Operators to Stay Compliant

The tribal regulator of gambling matters, the National Indian Gaming Commission, has issued a list of recommendations on how to set up a sports betting business and comply with all legal prerequisites.

Regulator Advises Tribes on How to Open Sports Betting Operations

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has released a new document outlining the potential difficulties that Native American tribes face in relation to rolling out sports betting operations in the united states. These difficulties, the official statement specified, had to do specifically with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

NIGC Chair E. Sequoyah Simermeyer spoke about the new regulation and how it could help tribal operators to operate in the changing order after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The lifting of the federal ban has already prompted tribal operators in places like New York, Mississippi and New Mexico to launch their operator, as per the negotiated tribal compacts with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Simermeyer explained.

However, Simermeyer also explained that to roll out sports betting, all tribes must make sure that the activity is classified as Class III gaming under their own compact.

Explaining the Business of Tribal Gambling in the U.S.

Tribes need to also understand the different ways of setting up their business, including a full control over the sports betting activity – where a tribe would be fully responsible for running business, and leasing its land to allow third-parties to run operations there.

Furthermore, tribes could also team up with third-party data providers while managing their own sportsbook. However, involving any third parties would necessitate further approval from the chair.

More importantly, Simermeyer explained, all tribes should seek and comply with the regulations lest they face stiff penalties. Speaking of payments, all transactions back to any partner must not exceed 30% of the Gross Gaming Regulator (GGR) as per NIGC approved regulation.

However, if specific conditions are negotiated, then a 40% revenue split of the revenue could be enacted, provided that the NIGC chair has given his or her approval.

What Kind of Relation Is It?

To help build a mutually beneficial business, NIGC will focus on several selection criteria in determining the viability of an individual partner. For starters, the Commission would look at the longevity of each partnership, giving a slight preference to long-term contracts.

Secondly, the regulator would also take a look at the amount that will be paid out to any third party, as well how much control said third-party has in running tribal operations. In addition, all tribes must comply with regulatory expectations insofar as compliance with tax laws and customer protection goes.

Due diligence checks are advisory, NIGC specified, to ensure that everyone is enjoying a safe gaming environment. According to Simermeyer, the latest recommendations issued by NIGC consolidate the Commission’s position as a regulator and a source of safe guidance in the sector.

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.

UKGC Defends Regualtor’s Efforts at CMS Gambling Conference

The British Gambling Commission boss has spoken at the CMS Gambling Conference, hailing the regulatory efforts made so far and putting the onus on operators to be more pro-active in resolving the industry’s current problems.

Gambling Commission Boss Strikes Back at Criticism

UK Gambling Commission Neil McArthur has praised the efforts of the regulator, arguing that despite mounting criticism, the British gambling watchdog has been one of the most pro-active overseers of the gaming sector.

McArthur responded to criticism from all parties during his CMS Gambling Conference speech explaining that the Gambling-Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group, which has been actively lambaasting the UKGC over ‘failures to enforce player security,’ was not true.

McArthur said that everyone on his team was committed to making gambling safer and that all UKGC staffers were involved with the sector and staying close to people who have actually suffered from gambling or gambled excessively.

Operators Must Step Up, McArthur Says

Addiction and neglect, McArthur said, were the two things he understood well, citing his career as a local authority child protection lawyer, giving him unique insight into what they can bring upon a family and society as a whole.

Even then, McArthur acknowledged that the Commission still had a long way to go, but he added that many operators had the answers to questions that have been discussed over and over again. McArthur also explained why the regulator had to toughen regulatory measures by so much in 2019:

“We did that because we needed to significantly change the behavior of operators and those who run them. There were far too many failures, too many repeated instances of lessons not being learned and – frankly – standards were not good enough. I realize that each press release we put out adds to the weight of negative stories, but it’s not my job to create positive stories or suppress bad news stories.”

He acknowledged that the current rate of problem gamblers in the UK, cited at some 300,000 people, was unacceptable. In fact, some observers have suggested that this number was closer to 340,000 problem gamblers presently.

McArthur did say that CEOs are committed to making gambling safer, and that he welcomed the move. He cited current efforts with multiple companies, such as Sky Betting and Gaming, Playtech, GVC Holdings and SG Gaming, and the establishment of three industry working groups specifically designed to address pressing issues in the gambling sector.

Overall, McArthur said, all projects and initiatives kickstarted by the Commission had the sole purpose of enhancing player safety plain and simple. The UKGC chief also welcomed the opportunity to make more headway in bolstering the overall security of the sector.

Still, a lot of work has to be done and as McArthur noted himself, operators need to step up.

Image credit: UKGC Twitter

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.

Michigan Sports Betting Bill Passed into Law December 20

Online sports betting bill was officially passed into last Friday, December 20 after governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the bill. As a result three commercial and 23 native american casinos are now legally allowed to offer sports betting at their premises as well as online, pending licensure.

The New Law Legalizes iGaming, Internet Casinos and Fantasy Sports

Under the new law, Michigan will not only provide sports betting companies that will come to operate in the state in the future with licenses but also will legalize those who already have casino licenses including the tribes who have already been running their casinos.

Before betting begins, however, state regulators still have to provide strict requirements regarding offering sports betting in the state.

Michigan went a bumpy road before approving the sports betting legalization thus joining the group of the 20 states in the country offering legal sports betting.

Yet, it is important to note that the legislative commission in Michigan wouldn’t have come up with such a positive outcome for the gambling industry if the bill’s supporters haven’t changed a big part of the bills and arguments in it to. The package of regulations that was signed by governor Gretchen Whitmer includes Internet casino gambling, online poker and daily fantasy sports.

Rep. Brandt Iden, the bills’ the main sponsor who has been working on amending Michigan gambling laws for quite a long time stated that he was extremely happy that Michigan has finally modernized its gaming.

Gambling Profits to be Invested in Education

For her part, governor Whitmer said that her top priority when signing the legislation was to protect and ensure the investment of the future profits in the School Aid Fund, because according to her the students deserve leaders who treat their education as a priority.

She expressed her gratitude for the hard work and leadership of Sen. Hertel and Rep. Elizabeth Warren. She stressed one more time that the profits from gambling are going to be invested in education.

Whitmer was one of the supporters of legalizing sports betting claiming that iGaming activities needs to be regulated in the state.

In June she lobbied for a 15-percent tax and 1-million license fee. However the bill she signed is for 50,000-dollar sport betting fee for a first-time application, $100,000 for obtaining license and $50,000 per year to be paid to the state. There will also be a tax of 8.4% on adjusted gross sports betting receipts as commercial casinos might have to pay an extra city tax of 1.25% to Detroit.

Now everybody is waiting to see how long it will take to Michigan to have the regulations up and running. According to Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. the regulations will probably become operational until March Madness.

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.

Intralot’s Contract in Washington D.C. Suspsended Temporarily

As a result of suspicious awarding of a sports betting and lottery contract in February 2019, Intralot may stand to lose rights to operate in Washington D.C. A lawsuit has been brought up with a court and a temporary refraining order has been issued.

Intralot’s Contract with Washington D.C. Suspended

Intralot, a Greece-based lottery operator, has had its contract as sports betting and lottery vendor suspended by a court in Washington D.C. The premises on which the contract has been suspended is a likely violation of federal laws and should the legal motion be successful, it would possibly overturn the deal completely.

According to Dylan Carragher, the person responsible for the lawsuit, the deal violates the Home Rule Act that applies to Washington D.C. According to Carragher, the current deal deprives residents of the District of Columbia from the right to choose from sports betting products that are fairly priced and offer them better value.

As a result, a temporary refraining order or TRO has been issued, asking Intralot to suspend activities while investigation is ongoing. According to Judge Joan Zeldon – who ruled in favour of Carragher – there was a substantial chance that the lawsuit will be successful, possibly threatening the entire deal with Intralot.

Greasing Palms to Win Sports Betting Contracts

The dubious nature of the deal was brought into light when evidence surfaced that Intralot had provided the District’s CFO with a $109.7 million work contract as operators manager, putting all involved in a direct line of conflict of interests.

Speaking to iGaming Business, Intralot has denied all accusations, pointing out that:

“Intralot has been operating the D.C. Lottery under the existing partnership with great success for the past nine years. Having generated more than $500 million in net profit for the District of Columbia, it is one of INTRALOT’s most successful operations. The recently awarded contract was scrutinized and debated at great length before getting legislative approval on July 9, 2019. Regarding our local partner, VSC has met all of the requirements that the DC government has set forth, and is a contributor to the successes in this jurisdiction.”

However, VSC, the company in question, is run by Emmanuel Bailey who is also a big political sponsor. Fears that there may be some under-the-table power brokering came in February, when Intralot was awarded an extension of the contract without any public bidding process.

Councilman David Grosso called the deal outright rigged and a giveaway, pointing out that this way of handling the contract was in direct violation of established procedure.

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.

Brazil Introduces Consultation Service for Sporst Betting

  • Consultation period launches between July 30 and April 31
  • Brazil looks to enforce better customer protection
  • The government is reaching out to the UK and Portugal for advice

Brazil has launched a new consultation imitative, reaching out to members of the public to discuss how the future sports betting market will be regulated.

Brazil Launches Consultation Initiative

Preparing for a quickly-expanding sports betting industry, the Brazilian Ministry of the Economy has officially introduced a consultation initiative which will give the public a month’s time to share opinions on the development of a framework that will regulate the betting vertical. This initiative also comes amid urges that the country should better regulate its market.

The consultation kicked off on July 30 and it will be running until |August 31, with public stakeholders sharing their vision of what sports betting in the country should look like. This initiative is carried out by the Secretariat of Evaluation, Planning, Energy and Lottery (SECAP), which is a division under the Ministry’s Special Secretariat of Finance and specifically tasked with helping set up the industry.

Gauging the Public Opinion

The shareholders and members of the public have been asked a number of questions and specifically whether a fixed number of licenses should be made available or whether only companies fulfilling certain standards should be awarded the licenses.

The Secretariat is equally hoping to find out more about how the public expects the government to regulate the industry, including:

  • Monitoring
  • Control
  • Enforcement

A number of other potential issues have also been brought, including fraud prevention, player data safety, anti-money laundering (AML), and market integrity, i.e. targeting monopolies and preventing the establishing of such.

Launching the Industry with Provisional Measure 846/18

Brazil is preparing to launch its sports betting industry, following the passing of Provisional Measure 846/18, which was signed by outgoing President Michel Temer and tentatively endorsed by the new government.

The country’s sports betting market is potentially worth billions and regulating it would help fund public initiatives, lawmakers hope. The Ministry has also said that the initiative is a direct result from the Ministry’s efforts to provide future bettors with better protection across the board .

Meanwhile, Brazil’s government has reached out to Portugal and the United Kingdom to seek advice on how to launch and regulate the industry. Presently, the country’s offshore gambling market is estimated at BRL$4.3 billion, but specialists suggest that the numbers are in fact much higher.

Can Brazil bring the sports betting bacon?

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.

DOJ Postpones Wire Act Implementation For Several Months

The US. Department of Justice has decided to postpone the implementation of the 2019 Wire Act Opinion by yet another two-to-six months.

DOJ’s Latest Memo Is Putting Everyone on Edge

A new memo issued by the Department of Justice ( DOJ) has delayed the roll out of the revised Wire Act Opinion in July. Instead, the DOJ would await a ruling in the New Hampshire case which it is leading against the state’s lottery. However, the enactment cannot exceed the deadline which is set for December 31, 2019.

So far, the DOJ has appeared adamant about the enforcement of the Wire Act Opinion which it voted and passed into a law earlier this year in January. Yet, nothing has happened since. This is the second time the DOJ has reneged on a deadline for the enforcement of the Opinion.
Previously, regulators expected to be dealing with the Opinion in April, but then it was pushed back for July 15. The cascade of changes has been occasioned by the mounting litigation that DOJ attorneys have been forced to deal with.

Why Is the DOJ New Opinion Challenged

The DOJ is trying to extend the meaning of the Wire Act to apply to all sorts of gambling and betting activities. This has been deemed a frivolous move by observers and business leaders. The real reason, some have argued, is the DOJ’s affiliation with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has been a long-time opponent of any online gambling.

The latest Opinion on the Wire Act is dangerous to businesses and owners, because the DOJ wants to effectively criminalize anyone who has been running an iLottery since 2011. This goes against the grain of the then decision, which the Obama administration issued.

In the 2011 ruling of DOJ, the Wire Act was deemed not to extend to activities such as lotteries and casinos, but this is to about to change, or so the Department hopes. The arguments that former Attorney General Rod Rosenstein presented in January, 2019 aren’t exactly cogent and nobody is really sure why the Wire Act should apply to anything beyond sports wagers.

New Jersey has even taken matters in its own hands, launching a lawsuit against Sheldon Adelson in a bid to clamp down on the casino-owners’ ambitions to meddle in the iGaming industry.

Business Fighting Back to Avoid Prosecution

Lottery operators have every bit of reason to be contesting the decision as under the decision they would be turned into criminals liable to hefty fines and multiple years in prison. Avoiding prosecution will depend on a clearer language of the Wire Act Opinion.

States seem to be ready to accept the decision as long as it’s not ambiguous. It’s this ambiguity that has been the source of all of DOJ’s trouble so far. New Hampshire dismantled the Wire Act Opinion in a district court, arguing that the new legislation was too badly-defined to give any clear indication to businesses what their next move should be.

This was upheld by a judge, although NH didn’t receive anything more than a nod that the state’s original concerns were well-founded. In other words, no judge has yet said that the Wire Act Opinion has been made on the basis of no legal arguments, but this would probably not happen until states and DOJ clash in court over whether the Wire Act in its would-be new interpretation is designed to favor one specific party exclusively.

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.

Younger Swedes Self-Exclude from Gambling

  • Young Swedes exclude from gaming en masse
  • Voluntary exclusions are for a period determined by the customer
  • The regulator continues to warn wrongdoers about a possible license revocation

Swedish Youths Exclude from Online Gambling

At the turn of the year, Sweden legalized its online gambling industry, allowing licensed operators to start offering products in the country. Nearly half a year after the industry launched, some interesting numbers have surfaced in regards to self-exclusion.

Estimated half of all gamers are aged between 25 and 34, the latest data revealed. Spelinspektionen, the country’s gambling watchdog, posted the numbers on May 31. Along with the self-exclusion statistics, the regulator posted specific data about the state of gambling addiction in the country.

Based on Spelinspektionen data, over 35,000 today have opted into the voluntary exclusion criteria, with 40% of all participants being in the aforementioned age range. At the beginning of last month, 2,800 people rolled into the self exclusion scheme.

Sweden Curbs Its Gambling Addicts Successfully

Sweden has set an example of successfully curbing gambling addiction. After a BBC report established shortcomings in the United Kingdom’s own exclusion scheme, other countries have been wary not to replicate the mistakes of one of the largest iGaming markets in the world.

Meanwhile, the Nordic country has been using individuals’ BankID numbers to guarantee that no funds can ever be forwarded towards gambling outlets online. The exclusion scheme, Spelpaus.se,already applies to multiple verticals, including:

  • Lotteries
  • Slot games
  • Bingos

Players are allowed to exclude themselves for a period of one, three or six months. Still, there is an option allowing individuals to exclude for a custom period of time and the majority of people have opted for at least one year off the gaming grid.

All online casinos in Sweden have had to integrate Spelpaus.se as part of their license agreements. The Spelinspektionen has been very tough on wrongdoers. In Mach, Genesis Gaming and Paf Consulting were handed down stiff penalties over failure to enforce self-excluded players.

Apart from a penalty, the regulator issued a warning regarding the license of the operators. Spelinspektionen won’t hesitate to strip any wrongdoer from their privilege to operate gaming solutions in the country, the watchdog said in a statement.

No Bonuses, No Room for Addiction

Unlike other markets, Sweden doesn’t allow operators to introduce bonuses past the registration offer, which cuts operators from one of the time-tested methods to retain customers and urge them to stay on at the casinos longer.

Recently, Betway received a fine for extending additional goodies after the registration bonus, which the Spelinspektionen sanctioned accordingly. The watchdog has issued new warnings that breaking the terms and agreements of the license partnership would result in revocation of permits for wrongdoers.

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.

Florida Governor and Seminole See Eye-to-Eye on Betting

  • Florida and Seminole Tribes on their way to new compct agreement
  • Sports betting expansion possible
  • Opposition against gambling expansion mounts

Florida is still tip-toeing around the idea of fully legalizing sports betting with talks beginning during last November’s election and Amendment 3. Voters finally have the power to authorize new gambling venues, but this would take significant effort.

Will Florida Get Sports Betting in 2019?

On April 26, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis met with gaming businesses representative to discuss the future of the sports betting and iGaming industries in the state. DeSantis had previously spoken to Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcus Osceola and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen as well as the tribal gaming operator’s General Counsel, Jim Shore.

The talks mark a success in a bottle-neck that has had the Seminole tribal gaming facilities strangle any previous attempts to expand or include sports betting. Not only that, but the Tribes and the state may be coming closer to creating a new compact much like the one that expired back in 2010 that gives Seminole exclusivity on gambling verticals.

The meeting was described as cordial with the Tampa Bay Times reporting closely on the summit, citing lobbyist Nick Iarossi who said:

The governor spent over an hour intently listening and asking questions to better understand the pari-mutuels and issues related to the proposed compact.

Planning for the Future – 31 Years of Understanding

A new proposal may now be on the cards with a 31-year agreement being discussed. When the previous deal was struck, it took legislators 20 years to come up with a solution for everyone to agree.

The toughest nut to crack has always been the Seminole Tribe casinos that have insisted on exclusive rights. It’s similar today with Florida continuing to operate without a new compact while the tribes grow impatient and continue to contribute to the state’s coffers, estimated at $350 million.

This is money that Florida doesn’t want to lose, even though lawmakers already drafted a budget that excludes these contributions.

While there has bee divisions in the past and much traction, things seem to be finally smoothing out with talks about future expansion of iGaming and sports betting operations in the state.

The Seminole recently contested the issue of allowing certain facilities to operate player-banked games, thus allowing such venues to circumnavigate the tribes’ exclusivity rights over the segment.

Not Everyone Is Happy about Sports Betting

The naysayers have spoken. At the beginning of April, No Casinos in Florida, a non-for-profit group, sent a letter to Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva and to Senate President Bill Galvano, stating their opposition to legalizing sports betting and expanding it across Florida.

Interestingly, companies such as Walt Disney and Seminole have also spent copious amounts to make sure that casinos don’t arrive to the state. Yet an expansion t the present moment appears hypocritical.

Disney is also running sports betting shows through ESPN, a company that it owns. Florida’s gambling and sports betting are indeed contentious issues

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.

Colorado Makes a Dash for Legal Sports Betting

  • Colorado plans on issuing 17 new sports betting licenses
  • Legislators will need to first pass the newly-proposed sports betting bill
  • All sports betting will be taxed at 10% of new revenue if the bill is passed

Colorado is making a dash for legalizing sports gambling. On Thursday, April 18, a bipartisan sports betting bill was introduced in the lower house.

Colorado Pushes for Sports Gambling Legislation

Colorado is on its way of becoming the next state to legalize sports betting or so the first signs suggest. Last Thursday, a new draft bill appeared in the Colorado House. With the legislative session nearly over now, the bill is making a bold dash for the finishing line.

To get there, this new draft will need to be vetted by both the House and the Senate and finally head to Governor Jared Polis for a final approval. Each step of the way can be treacherous. For example, online poker almost made the cut in 2018 in Michigan when the outgoing Governor decided to kill the bill at the finishing line.

A Bill to Usher in Sports Betting Quickly

If the bill is passed successfully as many as 17 properties will start offering wagers. Those would be mostly casinos in towns such as Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. There would be 17 licensed issued to land-based properties and 17 that would go to anyone who wants to operate an online sports betting business.

Rep. Alec Garnett, a Democrat, has said that Colorado’s lawmakers were now focusing on completely eliminating the black market and taxing legal operations instead. Colorado is not all-too liberal in their approach to the issue.

For example, sports betting has been legal in the state since the 90s, but it has been kept within the borders of the three aforementioned mining town. This hasn’t dissuaded established brands from investing, with Twin Rivers saying that it would purchase three casinos and the licenses that go with them.

HB19-1327 is only now starting to gather momentum. Th time is limited, though, and lawmakers will have to move quickly.

Highlights of HB19-1327

The proposed draft bill will tax existing operations at 10% on the net proceeds. Only owners of casinos in the three aforementioned cities would be allowed to have land-based, online or both operations. The industry will be regulated by the Gaming Control Commission which would oversee the entire segment if the bill passes all legal hurdles successfully.

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!

Czech Ministry of Finance Plans to Hike Taxes on Gambling

  • The Czech Ministry of Finance plans to rake up tax on certain gambling verticals
  • Lotteries, bingo, and live games will now be levied at 30% of GGR
  • Some fear that hiking taxes might bring back black markets

Amid booming gambling and poker industries in the Czech Republic, the country’s Ministry of Finance is now planning a tax hike.

Gambling Taxes to Go Up in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Finances will introduce a comprehensive package of taxation that will affect several iGaming and gambling verticals, including lotteries, bingo, live games, and a few others less affected segments.

The country will introduce changes to specific gambling verticals, such as lotteries, moving taxation from 23% of their gross gaming revenue (GGR) to 30% of GGR. In comparison, the highest levied vertical remains gaming machines, which fetch a hefty 35% tax come what may. This comes at a time when the Czech Republic has started accepting foreign operators.

The affected segments will include bingo, lotteries, and live games. This will cut into the profitability of business, but the Ministry has argued that adding more to the public coffers takes precedence over private party enrichment.

The changes affect other industries that are historically linked, including tobacco and alcohol production. The ministry’s official statement read:

The proposed amendment to the gambling tax law divides the rate of gambling tax into three levels, according to the harmfulness of individual gambling in the same way as the government’s draft Gambling Tax Act of 2015.

The news was met with criticism from former Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek. According to Mr. Kalousek, the government was lumping terms together, not differentiating between gambling and addiction.

Another point Mr. Kalousek brought up was the fact that not all verticals should be taxed the same, particularly the less profitable ones. Taxing lotteries by 30%, Mr. Kalousek pointed out, would be unnecessary.

A Return to Black Market Times

With so many businesses potentially squeezed, some fear that the Czech Republic may start losing verticals that will then be offered by unregulated third-parties, hence boosting the black market. There have been some reports already that gambling isn’t as common.

Such concerns are not without merit, but at the same time they seem to be a little too stretched. Lawmakers and politicians have been quietly voicing a concern, but nothing too serious. Overall, the Czech Republic has been a very welcoming place for various gambling activities, including poker.

The market for the world’s most popular card game has been expanding significantly. In November 2018, Partypoker also joined the country’s only active poker operator, PokerStars.

The newly-arrived card room brand teamed up with the King’s Casino, a long-time partner of the brand and somewhat controversial because of his owner’s alleged refusal to honor wagers on account of “being too drunk”.

It wasn’t until 2017 that the Czech Republic introduced a regulated market with a number of respectable brands applying for a license, including Partypoker and William Hill. PokerStars was also among the first companies to hurry up and jump at the opportunity to expand into a new market.

Things have been moving along nicely since, but a new tax now threatens to upset some of the progress that has been made over the past few months.

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.