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!

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.

Veikkaus Lets 400 People Go in Digital Restructuring

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

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

Veikkaus Has Gone Digital

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presently, the company’s operations stand at:

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

A World Gone Digital

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

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

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

Sophia Rojas

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

Alberta Plans to Launch Online Gaming in the State in 2020

  • Alberta’s Gaming & Liquor Commission looks to launch online gambling
  • Discreet call for proposal has been made
  • Estimated CAD$385m are lost to third-parties outside the country

Alberta’s Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) has begun looking for companies to create a reliable online gambling system that can be used state-wide.

Alberta Is Looking into Online Gaming Expansion

Canada isn’t exactly lax when it comes to gambling regulations. The country has long established a monopoly on the market through the use of individual state watch dogs.

In light of the expanding sports betting and gaming operations down south, some of that seems to have rubbed off the Canadian province of Alberta. It’s hardly all good news for Canada when it comes to the U.S. opting out of the federal ban known as PASPA.

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) is actively looking into ways to find reliable suppliers that will be able to discreetly develop a new online gaming system to go wide state-wide.

Under the request for proposals, the AGLC has already been enjoying significant interest from established companies, which are still not announced to the public.

Why the Sudden Change?

Canadians have a proclivity for gambling which has often been quenched at offshore sportsbooks and gaming operators.

With the industry growing and the AGLC estimating as much as CAD$385 million going to unregulated markets, the watchdog sees reason in bringing the market closer to home.

Instead of focusing on land-based infrastructure, which would be difficult to outpace the offshore gaming industry, the regulator wants to push ahead with plans to directly introduce online gaming on the territory of the state.

Despite years of mulling over the issue, this has been the first marked step towards legalizing the industry in full, as reported by CBC Canada. Interviewing the AGLC representative Chara Goodings, CBC has fleshed out some of the details around Alberta’s burgeoning iGaming industry.

The report published in CBC also cites Canadian Gaming Association representative Paul Burns who reaffirmed Ms. Goodings position of revenue potentially slipping away from the country:

Offerings coming from licences through provincial gaming corporations are the clearly legal route in Canada. Where the grey area has come in Canada law is the offshore sites.

Alberta is not new to gaming entirely. GameHost, a popular supplier of land-based gaming slots & table games, is also located in the state, giving a unique opportunity to seek a potential expansion of its activities in light of the new legislation.

The company to take over online iGaming in Alberta will be chosen by this summer and the official launch will come in 2020.

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.

Mike Kowall Confident about Online Gambling in Michigan

  • Former Michigan Senator Mike Kowall says Rick Snyder’s roadblock not an issue
  • Michigan will see online gambling legalized thanks to a broad bipartisan coalition
  • Legalizing the industry will benefit the state financially and help with customer protection, Kowall estimates

In a recent opinion piece published at Detroit News, former Michigan Senator Mike Kowall expresses his firm believe that online gambling is coming to the state, despite opposition from lawmakers.

Michigan and Its Legal Fight for Legal Online Gambling

Former Michigan Senator Mike Kowall has been one of the staunchest proponents of sports betting and online gaming. He has been one of the public figures to openly state that gambling will one day be available in Michigan, come what may. His most recent op-piece in the Detroit News is affirmation of that key tenet.

Michigan saw a bill passed by its legislative body at the end of 2018, with the outgoing Senator Rick Snyder vetoing the measure, citing the rushed process as the main reason and explaining that more time would be needed to fully explore and study the text of the bill.

Michigan Governor to Sign and Legalize Poker, Gambling

In particular, Snyder refused to sign a number of documents that were intended at giving the online gambling industry a flying start, including House Bills 4927, 4927, and 4928. All of these documents were cleared by both the Michigan House and Senate with a good majority at the very end of 2018, giving everyone reason to hope that the state will indeed see poker and casino games arrive online before the year was out.

While both parties were disappointed by last week’s veto of the online gaming bill, in the coming year my colleagues that are still serving look forward to working with Whitmer to push it over the finish line once and for all.

The senator’s decision has been upsetting, but according to Kowall, it would not affect the long-term prospects of online gambling in Michigan in the slightest. He cited the broad coalition of Democrats and Republicans now working on the legalization of the industry, explaining that Snyder’s decision was a mistake.

One of the main reasons is the bipartisan support that the bill has received by both Republicans and Democrats. Kowall also expressed his conviction that a legalized industry can only benefit the state financially:

It will become an economic blessing, not a liability, for the city of Detroit, if only the incoming governor gives it a chance to succeed.

Kowall has also spoke about the level of consumer protection that can be achieved should the bill is given a shot. Presently, Michigan gamers go to unregulated offshore websites that have a reputation for notorious frauds. By introducing the industry to the state and tasking credible and accountable casinos and bookmakers with running the operations, Kowall believes that a better consumer protection can be achieve.

He also explained that the veto was disappointing to members of both parties who have put their differences aside to see the legislation through.

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!

Parx’s Casino Goes Ahead with Soft Launch on Tuesday

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

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

Parx Casino Arrives in Pennsylvania

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

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

Pennsylvania Rakes in More Revenue from Slots in December

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

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

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

Clearing the PGCB License Process

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

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

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

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

Aran Malik

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

$250 Million Casino Proposed for Pope County

It was recently announced that a Mississippi-based casino plans to build a $250 million complex in Pope County, something that has been subject to an almost equal measure of opposition and support. In a letter submitted to the Arkansas Racing Commission by the Gulfside Casino Partnership, outgoing Pope County Judge Jim Ed Gibson declared his support for casino gaming in the region. Gulfside, during their announcement, revealed that it has plans to build a $250 million resort casino if approved by the state’s gaming regulator – this would be done in three phases and would be completed in mid-2020. This comes just a little over a month after voters in Arkansas approved Issue 4 (currently referred to as Amendment 100) which allowed for expanded casino operations at Southland and Oaklawn as well as new casinos in Pope and Jefferson Counties.

According to Terry Green, the co-owner of Gulfside Casino Partnership, the $250 million casino project will be great for the casino will be great for the county as it will create over 1,5000 new jobs and generated millions of dollars in tax revenue once it goes live. This will greatly improve infrastructure and overall quality of life in the state.

So far, most local elected officials have been the biggest opposers of the proposed casino. Last Friday, Pope County Judge-elect Ben Cross who will be taking office today (January 1, 2019) said he was opposed to the casino being built in the county.

“It is with great discouragement and dismay to have learned of the actions of the current county judge in regards to the casino issue. To have a lame duck official act in total disregard to the express wishes of the residents of Pope County is appalling and a complete affront to our representative democracy,” Cross said in a statement.

Support from the Outgoing Mayor

On his last day in office, Russellville Mayor Randy Horton expressed his support for the proposal to build the 600-room hotel and casino in Pope County despite the strong opposition from some the residents as well as an ongoing lawsuit over another official’s support for the project. Randy Horton who lost his reelection bid joins outgoing County Judge Jim Ed Gibson in supporting the Gulfside Casino partnership which happens to have ties to a group that operates a casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

During his election campaign, Mr. Horton largely dodged making a statement in regards to where he stood on the issue of the casino amendment. This presents a very interesting dynamic since Richard Harris, who defeated Horton in the election, is opposed to the casino plans. Furthermore, the residents of Pope County largely voted against the constitutional amendment expanding gambling but it was statewide approval that counted in the long run.

As per the terms of the amendment, only approval from a county judge or mayor – depending on the location that the casino developer will choose – is required for the casino application to be approved in Jefferson of Pope County.


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.

Casino Gambling May Finally Be Headed to Virginia

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

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

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

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

Proposed Developments

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

Sophia Rojas

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

Gambling Addiction Clinic To Open in Northern England

Gambling addiction or problem gambling has been one of the most significant emerging issues in as far as gambling is concerned. With more and more gambling facilities and platforms being introduced and becoming even more accessible, regulators and various authorities have begun to look deeper into the issue of problem gambling which means that there is still hope for people with the problem. One of the most recent developments in this regard is the decision by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service to open a clinic that will be treating people who have gambling addictions in the north of England making it the very first clinic of its kind outside London.

This new clinic is set to be opened in before the summer of 2019 and was made possible by a $1.5 million grant from a charity which happens to be funded by GambleAware. This is particularly great for people outside London since, as it stands, gambling addicts must travel to south London to get treatment. The problem gambling clinic will be called the NHS Northern Gambling Clinic and it will be run with a partnership of the GamCare network and the NHS Foundation.

Among the services that the clinic will be providing will be mental health counseling as well as social services for the gambling addicts – researches have found that people with gambling disorders need help with a number of different problems including debt, bankruptcy, crime, drug use, suicide, and even job loss. In essence, the goal of the clinic is to not only help the gambling addicts break their addiction but also give them the necessary psychological treatment and counseling so that they are able to get back on their feet financially. All these will be complemented with group therapy sessions which will help the patients to open up about some of the issues that they face.

United Kingdom’s Gambling Statistics

Gamblers in the United Kingdom have so many options and a number of critics have pointed out that the availability of gambling products is part of the problem. Gamblers area able to wager online or at land-based facilities for almost all of their favorite sporting activities. The same goes for online casino and online poker games.

Research shows that almost two million in the United Kingdom are problem gamblers and nearly 400,00 of them are said to be gambling addicts. However, the government has been allegedly ignoring the issue of problem gambling because of the money that gambling brings into the coffers of the country. However, there have some moves by the British government to regulate the gambling industry further in the hopes that they would be able to deal with the issue.

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 Governor to Sign and Legalize Poker, Gambling

  • Michigan awaits the approval of Governor Rick Snyder to sign House Bill 4926 into law
  • The state will see 8% tax on the gross gaming revenue
  • Operators will pay $200,000 for five-year license
  • Michigan is most likely going to pool its prize pools with the four other states where gambling is legal

Michigan lawmakers have agreed to push ahead with the legalization of online gambling in the state. House Bill 4926 managed to clear the House after it had been amended by the Senate one last time, clearing the floor in the small hours of the morning.

Michigan Clears House Bill 4926, Online Gambling Follows

Earlier in December, Michigan saw House Bill 4926 dropped in the Senate for the first time, spearheaded by Brandt Iden, and championed by Senator Mike Kowall whose stint is nearly over. Not many people expected that the Senate would actually get to the point where they were ready to act. Even less so, nobody thought that the House would actually pass a quick vote before 2019. But they did, defying all expectations.

DOJ Could Consider Flip-Flopping on Its 2011 Decision

And now that the Senate and the House of Representatives of Michigan have both cleared the bill, all that is necessary is for Governor Rick Snyder to step up and put his signature on the document. When he does, Michigan will be joining four other states in offering poker, sports betting, and casino games online:

  • New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania

The House managed to pass the bill with 71 votes backing the document and 35 opposing it. With what could be called an overwhelming support, Michigan’s Gaming Board will now be tasked with exercising control over the future operators as well as settling the legal side of things.

Following the previous successes in June, 2018, this is the most significant success for the iGaming industry in Michigan.

Licensing and Distributing the Tax Money

Licenses will cost $200,000 and be issued for a five-period, with a renewal fee at the due date of $100,000. After that period, $100,000 will apply for each subsequent year. Any interested operator can apply for a variety of options, including:

  • Casino
  • Poker rooms
  • Sports betting

With an overall tax of 8% of the gaming revenue, whatever the specific activity of the operator, Michigan will apply additionally 1.25% on commercial casinos. The extra tax is described as a “municipal fee” which will go directly to the city that is hosting the casino.

As to the tax money itself, it will go to various recipients from the state:

  • Michigan itself will get 55% for its Internet Gaming Fund
  • The Compulsive Gaming Prevention Fund will get $1 million in the very least
  • The Pension and School Funds will get 5% of the gross revenue in funding money
  • 30% will go directly to improve the urban environment in the cities hosting casinos

The bill has been long debated but now it has passed, it would help Michigan join the four states already having passed such legislation. There will be a 15-month grace period during which tribal operators and commercial casinos will have to procure their licenses and prepare for a synchronized launch.

The synchronized launch will allow all operators to step into the industry with equal chances of success, rather than the state allowing individual operators to go ahead and effectively stifling competition before the activity had begun.

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.

William Hill to Contest Regulatory Fine in the Netherlands

iGaming regulation in the Netherlands is a tough nut to crack. Until recently, many companies shunned the idea of offering their product in the country, but things have now changed. The Dutch government is preparing a more lenient approach to gambling activities and any brand that’s willing to obtain a license may now do it. However, things have been rather stale since September. And now, William Hill must pay a $338,700 fine.

Online Gaming Legalization in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has avoided discussing the legalization of the iGaming sector for a long while. After talks began earlier this year, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA), backed by the government, argued that any operators that wanted to enter the would-be regulated market and which had been providing iGaming products online before, without a proper licensing, could be barred from achieving a legal status in the Netherlands.

This is almost what’s happening with William Hill, only the KSA has taken a more lenient approach, demanding instead a stiff penalty ($338,700) instead. According to the regulator, William Hill has been catering to Dutch customers without bothering to obtain a license. Individuals living in the country had been able to play on and use two separate mobile applications to access the gambling markets offered by the brand.

William Hill's betting shop
A William Hill betting shop’s interior. Photo credit: William Hill.

According to the KSA, Dutch customers had been left to enjoy all sorts of casino games as well as participate in poker and sports betting. More specifically, William Hill had translated the interface into Dutch, thus becoming fully-complacent with luring Dutch customers.

William Hill also understood the inherent difficulties for Dutch gamers when it comes to depositing and withdrawing from online iGaming sites, which wasn’t prohibited, and thus introduced an alternative payment method, iDEAL, which is one of the most popular payment solutions on the country’s market.

However, William Hill are far from simply conceding to the KSA ruling. Instead, the company has known for a few weeks that the regulator is planning to issue a fine, which the British brand is now ready to fight.

Dragging Their Feet

According to KSA Chairman and Exec René Jansen, the watchdog will do anything in its power to guarantee the protection and security of local gamers against unregulated offers.

A player who gambles with an illegal provider does without any protection; there is no supervision so it is impossible to ensure these companies are conducting business fairly, and that is why the KSA acts against illegal providers. -KSA Chairman René Jansen

Mr. Jansen also noted the KSA’s ongoing commitment to stave off illegal activities and curb gambling addiction. Meanwhile, William Hill is about to join a number of other companies which have been issued a similar penalty in absentia, including MRG, and a Betsson Group’s subsidiary.

The Dutch government has been making a steadfast push into clamping down on “illegal gambling activities” in the country. One notable measure the government has considered was the “bad actor” initiative, which basically wanted to target companies that have offered a product in the past without a license should be fined and even banned.

There has also been a rift between the government’s indecision to finalize a regulatory framework and the KSA whose outgoing chairman and vice chairman, Jan Suyver and Henk Kesler respectively, have grumbled against the slow process of delivering a lawful gambling framework, allowing institutions to handle operators.

In September, when the 2016-bill had to be voted on, no effort was made, leading to a state of limbo for the iGaming industry in the Netherlands. As a result, fines continue to trickle in, but operators can’t help but ask the question – on what grounds?

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!

Sportsbetting Continues American Expansion

When it comes to sportsbetting expansion across America, things are moving quickly along. We’re seeing more and more states considering the option of legalizing sportsbetting, with Illinois and DC holding hearings on the topic – while a casino in New Mexico has just gone ahead and started taking wagers.

Gambling Hearings in Illinois and DC

At the House of Representatives in Illinois, lawmakers held a hearing on a potential gambling expansion which would include sportsbetting, online casino games and daily fantasy sports. Local casino operator expressed their support of expanding the gambling market within the state while representatives from sports leagues suggested that they should receive a portion of all wagers.

Some stakeholders expressed concerns that they would lose out on revenue due to increased competition. However, states like New Jersey and Delaware that have introduced online gambling have only seen revenue increase across the board, particularly in land-based gaming venues. This has resulted in more money being in paid in taxes and more jobs being created – both of which are huge benefits to the economy.

In the end, it seemed as though nothing will be done anytime soon. Even though the state Senate approved a bill in 2017, lawmakers haven’t done very much to move things forward. Now, even after this hearing, the fate of online gambling in Illinois is still unknown.

In DC, lawmakers came together to discuss amending the state’s gambling laws to include sportsbetting as a legalized activity. Things were certainly more positive here, as the Council has agreed to ensure that the law is approved before the end of the year. The only issue is deciding whether sportsbetting activities will be run by the DC Lottery or several different licensees.

New Mexico is Already Accepting Wagers

While some states are still humming and hawing over whether or not they should allow sportsbetting among their residents, New Mexico has simply powered on ahead. The Pueblo of Santa Ana tribe has started accepting wagers at the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel.

The venue has not mentioned any plans of launching online betting operations or allowing off-site wagers. Currently, punters can place their bets using four windows and two automated kiosks at the Santa Ana Star. There is one specific restriction, and that is the prohibition of betting on college teams.

This is an interesting one, as the move has been made without official state approval. Instead, the tribe has insisted that sportsbetting is included in the tribal-state gaming compact as a Class III gaming activity. So, any venues that want to launch sports betting in New Mexico will likely have to be tribal casinos and take a similar route. Other gaming companies will have to wait until the state’s lawmakers approve betting across New Mexico.

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.