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.

UKGC to Ensure FOBTs Measures Are Met as of April 1

  • UKGC to monitor if FOBTs rules are applied
  • New security measures coming in
  • Customer identity to be verified within 24 hours

The UK Gambling Commission is looking into introducing more customer protections for players in the United Kingdom, even after the Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) measures have been introduced.

The UK Gambling Commission Targets FOBTs for Extra Customer Protection

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is committed to upholding the highest security standards when it comes down to the customer. In light of the recently-introduced measures to slash the maximum betting limits on FOBTs, the watchdog is aware that some companies may overlook the rule.

This is why, the UKGC is stepping up its efforts to ensure that no discrepancies between law and practice occur. Starting today, April 1, all FOBTs in the United Kingdom should be re-adjusted to offer customers only £2 per spin, down from £100 in the past.

The measure was rushed after the initial timeline was set for October, but Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was accused of deliberately working with iGaming businesses at the expense and detriment of people.

New UKGC Customer Identity Measures Arrive in May, 2019

The row led to the resignation of now former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch who remains a vehement supporter of introducing more measures to safeguard British customers from malicious iGaming practices.

As to the regulator, UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur has reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to upholding order and investigating companies that try to color around the lines. Here’s what Mr. McArthur had to say:

Together with Government and the industry, we must continue our ongoing work to make the whole industry safer – this includes continuing to make progress with making other products safer, as customers may move to gamble in other ways following the stake cut – including online, mobile and on the high street.

Politicians haven’t been sitting idly either, with Jeremy Wright, the present Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport planning even more measures to protect customer. Mr. Wright has been focusing on restricting underage gambling which he considers to still not be addressed properly.

In a recent statement he commented:

The Government’s actions and ambitions stretch much further and we are looking at further treatment of those who have suffered from gambling-related harm, whether gambling on credit should be limited and considering what actions are necessary to tackle problem gambling online.

The Commission plans to introduce a number of measures intended at bolstering the overall security. This means that starting in 2019, casinos will be obliged to verify a customer’s age and identity before they, i.e. the customer, is allowed to access the casino’s facilities.

This includes the free to play versions that are also coming under stricter restrictions. The UKGC is also going to speed up the verification process which now takes 72 hours and ask of casinos to be done with these important checks within a 24-hour time window.

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.

West Virginia’s Governor Approves Online Gambling

West Virginia is officially getting its own legal online casinos, following multi-lateral support for the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act approved by the House, Senate, and the Governor himself.

  • West Virginia online bill receives endorsement by state Gov. Jim Justice
  • H 2934 passed final legislature approval on March 9
  • Online poker will be featured as part of the activities allowed in the state

West Virginia Successfully Passing Bill

West Virginia made a very determined entry into the online casino industry. At first, it was just a bill. H 2934 landed in the House of Representative in February under a friendlier name, the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, and cleared it without a hitch.

Then came the vote in the Senate, with Senators throwing their near-unanimous support for a future online gambling industry.

Then, everyone had to wait for Gov. Jim Justice.

Governors have been unlikely disruptors in recent years, shooting bills down long after the toughest bit – passing a legislation through the House and Senate, has taken place.

Mr. Justice decided not to veto the bill and chose to endorse it a bit, giving the state a reason for hoping that West Virginia will see its first online casinos open doors for netizens very soon. So far, there are five properties where online casinos can operate from, including:

  • Hollywood Casino, Charles Town Races
  • Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resorts
  • The Casino Club, The Greenbrier
  • Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
  • Wheeling Island Hotel

All properties have said that they will pay up or a casino license and also foot a renewal fee every year to the tune of $100,000. A license to run online casino costs $250,000, but there are other associated costs.

Another $100,000 will have to go for maintaining the online platform, not to mention that suppliers will also need to obtain a license with each costing $10,000.

Readying to Launch Online Casinos in West Virginia

Online casinos will probably not arrive until 2020 in the state, though this is just a preliminary estimate. Some hope that we can see an early launch in December, much like was the case with the sports betting industry in the state.

Next year is realistic, though, given the current challenges, such as logistics, signing partnerships, and not least of all the Wire Act that the Department of Justice want to champion at the expenses of online gambling activities.

In other places, such as Virginia, the state won’t see its first online casinos open until July 2020, and this is a fairly aggressive timeline. Virginia got an approval last week, so it’s very likely that West Virginia didn’t want to be behind.

It’s also interesting to watch how the process unfolds. In Virginia, for example, the Lottery Board (which will be regulating the new industry) has requested a special report that will asses how other states regulate and approach online gambling.

West Virginia has announced no such plans, but the bill is just fresh out of the oven.

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.

Virginia Needs a Signature to Legalize Online Gambling

Virginia is one signature away from giving an initial go-ahead to its online gambling industry. Even if the governor approves the bill, it will take the state’s regulator and lawmakers over a year to set up the first casinos.

SB 1126 – One Signature Away from Becoming a Law

The year started off well for Virginia. In January, 2019, the Virginia Senate General Laws and Technology Committee gave its approval to a bill that would allow online casinos to open doors in the state.

The few months since, SB 1126 has made quite the headway and today it’s perched at the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam who should decide its faith. Mr. Northam is rather non-descript when it comes to online gambling – he hasn’t been against it publicly nor has he said that he endorses it.

With his signature now needed by March 26, everyone’s on pin and needles whether the Governor would grant his approval.

A Great Future for Online Gambling: Virginia’s Regulated Industry

Virginia is one of the states where the proposed legal draft is quite specific as to where online casinos can operate in the first place. With the Virginia Lottery Board taking over regulation, there are quite a few specifics that candidates would have to meet, including:

  • Choosing a city with a specific poverty level;
  • A population of over 200,000 and a population decline of over 4% over a specific period;
  • Pre-determined unemployment rates for specific months and years.

Virginia will also initiate a series of city-based referendums where the people will have to decide whether they want to give their go-ahead for casinos.

Virginia is one of the most complicated states to navigate when it comes to passing online gambling, not only in terms of mustering up the legal support, but also making sure that eligible cities exist and that locals will in fact endorse such an initiative.

Casinos on the Clock in Virginia

There’s plenty of reasons to be excited – online gambling and poker are coming to Virginia. However, there are a handful of constraints that the Virginia Lottery Board, the body that would be overseeing the industry, would need to comply with.

For starters, any casino that wants to operate in the state would need to successfully pass a city referendum by January 2021.

The Lottery Board will have to prepare an initial working version of the draft by January 2020 and all regulation must be finalized by June 2020. The first license in the state cannot be issued prior to July 1, 2020.

Virginia – A Promising Endeavor for Online Gambling

Virginia may come with its own whimsical sides, but the online gambling and online poker industries here have a very good chance of taking root. SB 1126 will give a chance to one of the United States’ largest states to introduce online gambling en masse.

Virginia will also exercise a somewhat closer control over its casinos which means that all properties will be introduced strategically across the state for maximum efficiency.

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!

New UKGC Customer Identity Measures Arrive in May, 2019

  • Online casinos in the UK are adopting new verification measures
  • Young gamers to be protected as per the new regulations
  • The measures are coming into effect on May 7

The United Kingdom is finally pushing ahead with a new spate of verification measures designed to bolster customer protection.

The UK Gambling Commission Tightens Verifications Checks

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has approved a new set of measures designed to further enhance player protection in the United Kingdom. As a result, online casinos in England, Scotland and Wales will no longer be able to accept deposits until players have verified their identity. The UKGC has long stressed the importance of the process.

The new measures are coming into effect on May 7, as part of a broader sweep to improve the overall security across online casinos. Come May, casinos will have to run immediate checks and verify a player’s legal name, as well as address and date of birth before any deposits can be placed.

Similarly, anyone who wants to play at the free-play versions of the casino games will still have to confirm their identity in order to do so.

UK Casinos to Verify Identity in 72 Hours

Casinos will have to adapt quickly, with an influx of players looking to have their accounts verified immediately. This will add some strain on the KYC and Due Diligence teams hired by the casino to confirm the identity of individual players.

The move is welcomed by UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright who is confident that the new measures will help protect younger gamers even further:

By extending strong age verification rules to free-to-play games we are creating a much safer online environment for children, helping to shut down a possible gateway to gambling-related harm.

To avoid confusion, operators will now have a serious task at their hands. They will need to act quickly and verify customers identities, but most importantly, they will have to stress the importance of users submitting documents.

The UK Gambling Commission Recommends New Measures

Many gamers are not in the habit of verifying their accounts until they have tried to deposit. This often causes confusion and negative feedback, but most importantly – it allows players to game unchecked for a long while.

With the latest measures, the UKGC is directly going to clamp down on irresponsible gambling. The UKGC also noted that the confusion that the verification process entailed had forced the commission to sort through a large number of complaints pertaining directly with this specific issue.

Helping Vulnerable Players Stay Safe

Not so long ago, the national exclusion scheme, GamStop, was proven a bit faulty by a BBC investigation. As a result, industry leaders and the regulator have stepped up their efforts to restrict players who exhibit addiction symptoms but are allowed to play.

Requesting a verification at the start would help casinos to quickly single out self-excluded players and stop them from playing or running into financial trouble.

Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur also expressed his confidence that the youngest gamers would be protected:

“These changes will protect children and the vulnerable from gambling-related harm, and reduce the risk of crime linked to gambling.”

With the UKGC continuing to step up its efforts on regulating the industry, the gambling market in the UK is changing significantly and many think it’s for the better, even if it’s a bit fiddlier.

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 Almost Done with Online Gambling & Poker Bill

  • WV clears H 2934
  • Governor signature needed
  • The state’s Lottery to regulate online gambling

West Virginia is getting exceptionally close to signing online gambling into law. All that is needed is the signature of the state’s governor, following a successful passage through all levels of legislature.

West Virginia Can Soon Have Online Gambling

All scaremongering about the Wire Act and the Department of Justice’s high-handedness aside, West Virginia has been pushing towards full legalization of its online gambling industry. On February 12, Delegate Jason Barrett introduced House Bill 2934, which was expedited through the various stop-checks of the legal process in WV.

Minor patches were applied, but no large defiance came. The final approval was secured on March 9 when 78 delegates threw their unanimous support behind the bill with 18 people against and four choosing not to take sides.

WV’s H 2934 has been the quickest legislation to transition from a concept to proposition to now being what is one-signature away from becoming a law. Should the governor ratify the document, WV will be joining four states where online gambling is legally allowed, including Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

What Does WV Legal Gambling Bill Say?

The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Ac allows companies interested in providing online gambling services to do so for a period of five year because re-application/renewal is needed. The license comes at a cheap cost of $250,000 and tax rate of 15% of GGR.

Existing land-based casinos in the state can now – on condition the governor approves the bill – start building their online brands that will be affiliated or borrow the name directly. This includes the following properties:

  • Hollywood Casino
  • Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino
  • Delaware North’s Nitro and Wheeling
  • Justice Greenbrier Resort

All activities will be regulated by the Lottery with the state about to figure out a way to address how to leverage funding coming from the gambling industry to use on public causes. Another issue that remains to be addressed is exercising control over gambling addiction and trying to narrow down its potential impact.

WV is a fairly unpopulated state for the needs of expanding the online gambling industry at a larger scale across the United States. However, the state is also among the first to try and push ahead with legalization of its segment and hopefully fetch extra customers from across the state border, while Kentucky, especially Ohio, and Indiana are still dithering over a decision. Connecticut is also spearheading its own expansion.

WV’s success can serve as inspiration to other states that are debating whether to push ahead with kickstarting their own industries. It’s worth noting that WV had solid political backing and not the history of divide common in other places that have tried to legalize online gambling.

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.

Connecticut Pushing Ahead with Sports Betting Legislation

  • Joe Verrengia puts forth a new online sports bill
  • HB 7331 seeks to create a compact with tribes
  • Operators need to pay $100,000 non-refundable fee
  • Licenses issued for a two-year period

Connecticut is back in the center of events with a new sports betting proposal fired up for the state’s lawmakers to consider. Sponsored by the chairman of the Connecticut House Public Safety and Security Committee, Joe Verrengia, the new bill will seek to introduce wagering on both land-based and online betting activities.

Connecticut Takes a Shot at New Online Sports Betting Opportunities

Joe Verrengia, chairman of the Connecticut House Public Safety and Security Committee, has introduced a new bill, HB 7331, which will effectively seek to introduce sports betting to both land-based operators and licensed online businesses.

Control will be enforced by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Mr. Verrengia has outlined very mild entry costs for any business that wants to start operations in Connecticut. Every operator will need to pay an initial non-refundable fee of $100,000 to start the process.

Shortly after the initial payment, a $500,000 two-year license would need to be paid for as well. Sports betting is not the only license that interested parties would be able to acquire, including a sports wagering vendor licenses going for $300,000 and sports wagering lottery sales agent licenses available for another $250,000.

In each case, an initial fee of $100,000 will have to be paid.

The Essence of Connecticut’s Bill

The new Connecticut bill proposes important changes and builds on previous proposals. As a result, Mr. Verrengia has worked on establishing important aspects of the legislation, such as the legal gambling age as well as the available tax rates and to whom the money would be going to:

  • Legal gambling age – 21
  • Tax rate – 9.89%
  • Money allocated to – Connecticut General Fund, Sports Wagering Account
  • Regulated by – the Department of Consumer Protection

There’s also a legal wrinkle that explains that at the end of each year, 0.5% will be donated directly to CT five Regional Behavioral Health Action Organizations, which will be addressing issues, such as gambling addiction. The other 0.5% will be deposited directly into the General Fund.

The Tribes Are Welcome to Join and Work Together

Enjoying the support of CT governor, HB 7331 is also offering private operators to partner up with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal casinos available in the casino. This would necessitate to change the existing compact that the tribes have formed by themselves. Mr. Verrengia by themselves.

Integrity fees are also part of the offer, but Mr. Verrengia wants to see the Connecticut Commissioner of Economic and Community Development collaborate with main sporting bodies so any proceedings from sports betting can be used in a meaningful way. True, there are still hurdles, but the prospects seem promising altogether.

With the basic plan paid out, what follows is for Mr. Verrengia to push the bill successful through the House Public Safety and Security Committee which he presides himself. The next steps will be in the House, the Senate and finally in the governor’s office.

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.

MGA and Spelinspektionen Work on iGaming Regulation

Sweden and Malta are going to collaborate in order to introduce a better control over the iGaming industry, the countries’ national regulators have said.

  • The MGA and Spelinspektionen sign a MoU
  • The regulators will exchange vital information
  • Sweden warns operators to comply with bonus policies

Sweden and Malta Collaborate on iGaming

The Spelinspektionen and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining the terms of a new cooperation.

The partnership will see the national watchdog focuses on exchanging key information across vital areas, allowing them to better enforce regulatory policies as well as uphold industry standards.

The move makes perfect sense since many companies offering iGaming products on the newly-regulated Swedish market also hold Maltese gaming licenses or have their technical hubs operating from the country.

Spelinspektionen Director Camilla Rosenberg commented on the new partnership and the opportunities to achieve better collaboration in the sector:

This is the beginning of a broad and long-term cooperation, and our plan is to initiate corresponding collaborations with more gambling authorities in Europe.

MGA Chief Executive Heathcliff Farrugia was no less enthusiastic about the new opportunity. According to him, the MGA was in a constant process of adding new and trustworthy process to help it carry out its regulatory mandate in full.

The MGA Suspends Bet Service Group License

Mr. Farrugia also noted that the nature of iGaming is increasingly cross-border, which means that regulators will have to find new ways to collaborate and exchange data quickly in order to effectively and efficiently provide guidance and apply penalties where necessary.

“This MoU, signed with the Swedish Gambling Authority, is an important step towards achieving both our respective regulatory goals in vital areas of mutual interest,” Mr. Farrugia explained.

Spelinspektionen and Bonus Rules

With the Swedish national dog looking to expand its efficiency, the Spelinspektionen has been cautioning companies over the use of bonuses. Sweden is taking a very sparing approach about promotional offers available at casinos.

As far as current law goes, iGaming operators may only offer a bonus to their customers the first time they sign-up, with no subsequent offers being permitted. However, the Spelinspektionen has established breach of that provision, prompting it to issue a warning against operators.

There has been also a pushback that the law concerning bonuses was ambiguous, giving some websites teeth to try and color around the lines.

What Will Closer Cooperation Between Malta and Sweden Mean?

Having the MGA and the Spelinspektionen work closely together is an important deterrent against future violation of existing iGaming provisions. If the two regulators work as one, their effectiveness increases while letting operators know that they are under more scrutiny.

Collaboration between regulators is important and it can bring online casino companies in line. In Australia, the country’s watchdog threatened companies operating without a proper Australian license that they would be reported to their respective regulators.

It worked and most of the big brands left along with what was over 30 illegal operators. More regulation is not always a bad thing, especially if done right.

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.

William Hill Promises Stronger Profits by 2023

William Hill is not giving up on pursuing double-profits by 2023 despite a most recent slump in the operator’s financial results. Not all is as it looks and William Hill is seemingly well on track to achieve the targets it has set out for itself.

Despite Losses, William Hill to Double Profits by 2023

William Hill is challenged on multiple fronts. The operator registered net loss to the tune of £721 million and had to settle some regulatory proceedings in 2018. However, William Hill is on point with achieving double profit results by 2023.

Looking at the current performance results, the operator is not far from the mark, as the losses it reported for 2018 were strictly a write-off occasioned by the reduction of FOBTs maximum stake. While UK’s model took some adjustment, William Hill has been becoming a bit of a digital pioneer in the United States, reporting excellent results on digital and mobile.

William Hill to Add Markets with Mr. Green Acquisition

The operator has already been posting solid returns in terms of revenue, managing to generate 2% higher revenue year-over-year in 2018. An expansion with the acquisition of Mr. Green has also signaled the company’s readiness to bring its profits up to $300 million by 2023.

As a reference, the US arm of the sportsbook generated solid EBITDA $48 million last year. William Hill is growing in a highly-contentious legal context. With a round of new controls introduced back at home, the United Kingdom may no longer be the gambling haven of the past years.

Operators Focusing on the United States Again

Operators are now re-aligning their offer to the United States. William Hill Chief Executive Phillip Bowcock addressed the burgeoning potential of the United States as a potential market:

This is a major new market opportunity that William Hill is very well placed to pursue as we are the US’s leading sports betting company. We aim to maintain our market leadership and intend to enter every state that regulates sports betting.

Mr. Bowcock shed more light on the difficulties that William Hill was presently facing, explaining that thee were a mix of legal and technical challenges. Deploying a large network across multiple in the United States has been an ambitious undertaking and one that would certainly take time.

Beyond this, there has also been the changing regulatory context in the United States with the reversal of the Department of Justice’s Wire Act Opinion of 2011, making the use of cross-state serves punishable by law.

Mr. Bowcock didn’t mention PASPA while reporting on the company’s latest results and future goals, which means that William Hill’s building and expansion strategy may not be contingent on the good graces of the DOJ. There has been some doubt aboutthe British top brands,

This is a good course of action as too much reliance on government regulation can easily send the value of an entire business plummeting as we have seen in recent months.

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.

Indiana’s SB 552 Clears the State’s Senate, Heads to the House

  • Senate Bill 552 clear Indiana’s Senate
  • House Speaker Brian Bosma skeptical of the bill
  • NCAA betting still debated

Indiana’s Senate has re-considered its stance on sports betting, pushing through a bill that can potentially lead to establishing a legal framework for sports betting on mainstream sports contests.

Senate Bill 552 and Indiana’s Sports Betting Future

Indiana is edging closer to a legalized sports betting industry with the Senate clearing SB 552, a document that would potentially establish a legal context in which wagers on sports contests can be placed.

By clearing the Senate with an overwhelming support of 38-11, the Senate will now have to rely on a vote in the House to see the bill sped along the legislative process. SB 552 has been vetted and approved by not only the Senate but also the Senate Public Policy Committee.

SB 552 is the brainchild of Senators Mark Messmer and Jon Ford who first introduced the bill in January, 2019. Speaking at the time of the vote on Tuesday, Sen. Messmer described the bill as a “once-in-a-generation-opportunity”.

House Blues for Indiana’s Sports Betting

Enjoy a strong support, SB 552 has definitely gathered much-needed momentum. However, the House could prove a challenging hurdle, particularly with Speaker Brian Bosma openly expressing his surprise at the news that the Senate had passed the bill.

Mr. Bosma described the bill as the “largest expansion” since 2007 and therefore something that must be examined carefully:

It’s difficult to find a place where a large expansion like that can pass. I’m surprised it had passed the Senate.

It’s indeed going to be an expansion and Mr. Bosma may be having second thoughts. Question is, is he going to oppose the bill to the point where he tilts the vote against it?

What’s Going to Happen to Indiana’s Sports Betting If SB 552 Passes?

The most debated side of the bill is the relocation of the two Gary casino licenses, which will be moving to Terre Haute. Similarly, Senators have said that the bill doesn’t constitute an expansion, because it simply re-positions the existing pawns on the board.

College sports betting is another issue that the state is rather against and the current language of the bill presupposes exclusion.

Indiana’s efforts to legalize sports betting, though, won’t end up with several relocations, as the state will seek to introduce mobile sports betting as well. In addition, various casinos, racing tracks and off-track betting facilities would be allowed to apply for a license.

No Love for Electronic Spots

Surprisingly, Indiana has it out for esports betting, or staking wagers on the outcome of video games. Indiana will also consider restricting individual sports wagers at the behest of users or at regulators discretion. This could help balance the landscape between businesses and customers.

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.