Uruguay Struggles To Control Online Sports Betting

The Autoridad de Ficalization y Control Social del Juego is the authority that handles the gambling industry in South America’s second smallest nation Uruguay. Bordering Argentina and Brazil Uruguay’s three and a half million citizens are considered well off for South American standards.

Gambling is legal in the country with 20 brick and mortar casinos and a few horse racing tracks with the national lottery a state monopoly. Online gambling has not been really addressed by the government there but it has been suggested that changes are coming with new legislation. Some sectors are already moving got online gambling platforms such as horse racing and lottery with a local casino also moving on with Bally Technologies.  It is obvious that even though there is no evidence of clear laws authorities are not actively prohibiting companies from setting up online betting opportunities.

The clandestine approach may be a thing of the past as online sports betting operator Sportingbet has been called on the mat after a politician objected to the team’s logo appearing on the kit of Club Nacional de Football during a recent Copa Libertadores game against a Brazilian team. The sport betting industry is considered a taboo subject in Uruguay with online betting considered a violation of the country’s gambling laws. The wagering market is relatively small in this nation and online gambling operators have shied away from the jurisdiction even though some have signed up sports teams for sponsorship.

National Party deputy Jorge Gandini reportedly was on a local radio show and ranted on about the appearance of the Sportingbet logo on Nacional’s jerseys and this violation of the current  gambling laws. Gandini said that access to sites such as Sportingbet “is prohibited … according to a principle of legality established since 1895,” in Uruguay.

The urging of the politicians to adjust the laws to curb the illegal offerings is undone by the fact that Uruguay has “no mechanisms that work to control illegal gaming.”




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Slovakia Clamps Down On Unlicensed Online Gambling

The internet has provided gamblers in eastern European nations with the opportunity to punt on at massive number of international casinos and sports betting web locations. The competition is fierce in the industry to attract both operators and consumers of online gambling products to the domains.

The governments of countries such as Slovakia have established a regulatory platform that for the most part has down little to attract operators to their regime because of the high rate of taxation at 27% VAT on gambling revenue. The new Slovakian regulatory scheme invited operators last year to acquire a licence to offer online betting services in the Slovakian jurisdiction. Fines of up to €500,000 were threatened if so called illegal online gambling sites persisted to provide gambling products without a proper license. These fines are easy to impose but hard to collect as other regulated online gambling jurisdictions in the European Union have already found.

The government of Slovakia has published the first blacklist of online gambling sites considered in violation of the new rules.  The country’s finance ministry released the first 10 names on the not welcome list. The domains include international online gambling operators 888 Holdings, Bet-at-Home, Bwin, William Hill, Bet365,and 1xbet. The Curacao-licensed Eatsleepbet.com, the Malta-licensed LVbet.com and Kajot-casino.com are also on the blocking list.

The list of banned operators has not been implemented as yet with the ministry says it is seeking court order to facilitate the blocking process soon. Internet service providers are under the gun to impose the governments order to block and have expressed their dislike for the extra costs and responsibility they have been subjected too. Financial service providers have also been approached by the authorities to stop processing funds that are related to the prohibited web domains.

Warning notices were sent to 17 online gambling operators, 10 are now on the banned list. Two operators withdrew from Slovakia voluntarily, and five others have been given 10 days to leave the jurisdiction or pay the price of admission.




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India Moves To Legalize Sports Betting

India holds huge potential for the internet sports betting industry but the law there has not been in favour of the practice. The law currently states that all gambling except for horse racing is illegal in the jurisdiction.

A recent publication of a white paper was handed to the Law Commission of India by the All India Gaming Federation that suggests the government should legalize betting on sports both online and off.  The report points to the land based aspect of sport betting and proposes that the individual states in India be responsible for those activities. But because online gambling “is so fluid, it makes sense to have a central law.” The All India Gaming Federation would like to see a National Gaming Council established that would include sports federations, the judiciary and investigative organizations.

The Law Commission of India was told by India’s Supreme Court to look into the issues that concern legalizing sports betting and for the LCI to ask for the public’s input in the idea of legalizing gambling in India. Retired Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, and LCI chairperson told local news that it was “considering the industry’s demands.”

Efforts to change the law are slow to be accepted with the Sports Ministry indicating it had “begun the groundwork” for new online sports gambling regulations. This process is expected to take as long as two years said one official. Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas is said to be looking for a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.K.’s gambling commission to formalize the online sports betting discussions.

The incidents of match fixing are many in India’s sporting events and those who want legalized betting on sports are saying it will curb the corruption and bring much needed revenues to the government.

The European Sports Security Organization also sent the LCI a filing indicating there is a good argument for legalized betting because “a continuation of the status quo is clearly not advantageous.”



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US Daily Fantasy Sports Merger Nixed By FTC

The latest trend for sports punters daily fantasy sports betting has become a major source of entertainment for many. A deal between rival Fantasy Sports Betting firms FanDuel and DraftKings was proposed last November 2016 with Nigel Eccles CEO & Co-founder of FanDuel saying back then, “Being able to combine DraftKings and FanDuel presents a tremendous opportunity for us to further innovate and disrupt the sports industry.”

Now however the two firms have scrapped their merger plans after their proposal was rejected by the US Federal Trade Commission. The companies were scheduled to appear before the FTC national consumer protection agency to consider their merger plan. The companies withdrew from the conference an announced that they will focus on pursuing their own development and direction.

The FTC has estimated the two companies held as much as 90% of the daily fantasy sports betting market in the USA which caused concern over the impact of a merger on the competition.

DraftKings chief executive, Jason Robbins, also commented on the decision,  “We have a growing customer base of nearly eight million, our revenue is growing over 30 per cent year-over-year, and we are only just beginning to take our product overseas to the billions of international sports fans we have yet to even reach.”  Robbins continued, “We believe it is in the best interests of our customers, employees, and investors to terminate our agreement to merge with FanDuel and move forward as a separate company.”

FanDuel Chief Executive Officer, Nigel Eccles, said in statement to the press regarding the merger plan, “While our opinion has not changed, we have determined that it is in the best interest of our shareholders, customers, employees, and partners to terminate the merger agreement and move forward as an independent company. There is still enormous, untapped market opportunity for FanDuel, and we will continue to execute our strategy to grow our business and further expand the fantasy sports industry.”


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Malta Gaming Authority White Paper Results Published

The internet is constantly changing to adapt to new technology and trends. Institutions that regulate and try to control online gambling are always seeking the input of stakeholders to adjust the rules and respond to requested amendments.

The online gambling regulatory regime of Malta has recently announced it plans to amend its conditions for approval and adjust the legal regulatory framework to be more streamlined. The essential goal of the consultation process is a new Gaming Act with the intent to reduce “unnecessary regulatory burdens” while letting the MGA strengthen supervision, “on the areas which present a higher risk profile.”

The current multi-tiered licensing system in Malta will be adjusted to just two types of licenses, the business-to-consumer and business-to-business. The term for the license will be doubled from five years to ten. Taxes will become “one flow with two main layers.” It is proposed that B2B licensees are to be exempt from gaming tax to attract operators to the nation.   

The changes are a matter of preparedness for the Maltese online gambling industry with the publication of a “white paper” intended to ‘Future Proof’ the respected and lucrative business. The Malta Gaming Authority also said it wants to move ahead towards, “an objective-based rather than excessively prescriptive regulatory approach” to encourage innovation while still making sure that the authority’s objectives are met. The MGA also has a plan to develop its regulatory capacity to “allow for intervention where necessary and in a proportionate manner.”

During these regulatory changes for the Authority the organization says it remains “committed to allow the use of crypto-currencies by its licensees in the immediate future.” The maturation of crypto-currency use and the concept of blockchain becoming entrenched the MGA now recognizes that use of virtual currencies is “inevitable.”

Keeping in tune with industry changes is what good regulatory bodies need to do. Malta is still setting a standard for online gambling operators that is the baseline for progress.




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Bodog Calvin Ayre Exonerated By U.S. Court

The online gambling industry is global and therefore difficult to navigate sometimes because of politics and changing laws. There is justice finally for some with the US Department of Justice dropping all charges against online gambling pioneer Calvin Ayre and the Bodog internet betting enterprise.

Five years have passed since the US Attorney for the District of Maryland filed charges of illegal gambling and money laundering with conspiracy against three individuals, Bodog and Calvin Ayre. The alleged wrong doing noted offering gambling services and products was between 2006 and 2012.

Chief Judge Catherine Blake of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland recently dismissed all of the felony charges against the Bodog enterprise and Calvin Ayre. All of the charges against the other individuals were also dismissed.

The confiscation of the Bodog.com domain by the Department of Justice will be returned to working order for a $100,000 onetime fee with no restrictions which was anted up by friends of Mr. Ayre.

An estimated $67 million USD was also seized by the US government from third party payment processor’s accounts and it will be kept by them according to the settlement deal. None of the accused claimed these funds saying the funds were the US gamblers stuck in the treasury vault. Bodog immediately made restitution to any of its customers who were impacted by the confiscation of these online gambling funds. The resolve that Calvin Ayre and Bodog have had fighting the US government shows that the industry has integrity and it is possible the US may be coming around to owning up to its WTO debt to Antigua and Barbuda with this solution.

CalvinAyre.com asked exonerated Calvin Ayre the man his thoughts on the settlement, “I don’t see this settlement changing anything, as I’m happy with my life the way it is. I’ll continue to focus on being an online gaming industry analyst, a tech investor and a philanthropist. But most importantly, I’m just going to continue enjoying life to the fullest.”​



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Australian Government To Curb Gambling Adverts

Online gambling on sports gets to be an issue when the operators are aggressive with their efforts to attract new punters. The problems arise when the balance between the moral code of the citizens is upset by the operator’s insistence on advertizing their products to everyone without concern for the harm the ads may do. The government of some countries have taken steps to reduce the harm caused by early exposure to gambling.

The exposure is massive in Australia which has been overwhelmed by promotions for wagering. The sports betting nation have created gambling losses of A$23 billion ($17.7 billion) per annum. These figures reveal that Australians bet more than most other nations. Those with some responsibility in government are looking to restrict the influence of advertizing broadcasters, operators of gambling firms and sports organizations.

It has been suggested that as many as twenty five percent of Australian youth bet on sporting events.

A specialist in sports, culture and media and professor at Western Sydney University, David Rowe, said, “In people’s minds, and especially children, the concept of sports and gambling have become so intertwined that they can’t think about one without the other,” Rowe continued, “That’s what people regard as really dangerous.”

Action is proposed by the current government to impose a prohibition on adverts for betting  during all daytime live matches. These laws will do the job for now but then the Aussi government faces another issue of how to keep major sports funded while keeping youth from being unduly influenced by gambling ads.  

Australian Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, commented ,“I hear parents’ concerns that their kids can name the odds on every game and talk about that rather than who’s playing well,” Tudge added, online gambling, “has all the growth and is where the problems of the future will arise unless we start to get control of it now.”




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Changes Coming To Google Real Money Gambling Apps

The online gambling world just got a little bigger with the changes in Google’s policy regarding real money gambling apps. Android gambling apps are set to become available through Google Play in the United Kingdom and elsewhere this year sometime. An e-mail sent to operators has outlined an end to the restrictions placed on android users in France Ireland and the U.K. Operators were only able to offer mobile gambling through third party channels or stand alone platforms.

Android holds as much as fifty per cent of the market share of mobile devices in the U.K. The Google Play changes were outlined by UK-based tech company Degree 53 which provides app development services for online gambling operators. Andrew Daniels, Degree53’s managing director said, "This is a huge opportunity for gaming operators to grow their Android app portfolio and user base.” Daniels added, “It’s worth keeping in mind that Android apps need to follow their own specific design and development guidelines, as well as being slightly different to iOS.”

Daniels continued to explain, “Upon submission, developers will be required to provide documentation for the apps, including licences for the countries they’re looking to target. This process will likely be similar to Apple’s, taking slightly longer to approve to make sure everything is done correctly and legally.”

Currently Google Play's terms and conditions still states however, "We don’t allow content or services that facilitate online gambling, including but not limited to, online casinos, sports betting, lotteries, or games of skill that offer prizes of cash or other value."

This move by Google is to shore up its mobile market share in response to growing Apple iOS use which in January of 2017 was reported to have gained another 9.1% of the UK market,  most of which was at the expense of windows based mobile devices.



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Caribbean Nations Support Online Gambling

There is a certain mystique and romantic charm about the Caribbean ocean and the many island nations there. Tourism is a mainstay industry that sustains these micro countries along with some agriculture and fishing. Tourists today are looking for experiences while on holidays and that time may include a little gambling. To facilitate that there are some spectacular casinos and resorts such as the grand Atlantis Casino of The Bahamas or the many other options all over the islands with some exceptions.

There is good access to the internet in most of the region so the presence of the online gambling industry is also available for tourists and local pleasure. This sector of the betting world has pioneering past with online gambling having its roots in the Caribbean. Now there are many firms that offer betting products licensed and based in the Caribbean. It was suggested recently the annual global revenue is estimated to reach US$635 billion by the year 2022.  

There are major brick and mortar casinos all over the islands and many of them are looking at the potential for online casinos. As in other parts of the world the smartphone has given anyone who owns one the ability to play at games and connect with other players anywhere anytime. The success of the Aruba Barbuda regulatory system has kept the industry transparent in a region of many different nations. Social pressures from conservative citizens in some island nations such as Aruba and Barbuda have  restricted the locals from participating in gambling to a certain number of times per month.

The law in some parts of the jurisdiction has not dealt with online gambling yet. Over 55 nations including Belize, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica now allow internet gambling. Control over the pastime enjoyed by the local population is next to impossible. Licensing and regulating is lucrative for smaller economies, taxes help with social needs and the clean internet industry also provides employment and stability.

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Seniors See The Benefits Of Online Gambling

The online gambling industry is marketing its products in a number of ways with a focus on the variations in the demographics. Some online operators look to attract the younger group while others are sending their message to the elderly who are surprisingly very involved in internet betting.

Seniors are attracted to online betting for various reasons and have become the leading and the fastest growing demographic of online gambling. The more companies offer easy to navigate web locations for seniors the greater the potential for revenues and loyalty. Once a person learns to work the tech tools needed to play they become comfortable and secure and are able to play thousands of games for free or real money.

The elderly are somewhat vulnerable to the worst the web has to offer. Scams abound and those who are not as quick to grasp the nuances of the web can fall prey to these despicable and evil perpetrators. Having a guide to help negotiate the various bonuses and sign up procedures can make playing at online casinos and card rooms much more enjoyable. The elderly should be extra cautious when starting out on the internet betting trail. Online gaming can be dangerous if the activity gets out of hand and losses become overwhelming but if experienced responsibly it can give the senior gambler hours of fun which is the main aim of the pastime.

Following the guidelines is important for a safe and secure experience for any age. The games do provide some relief from the dull days that can stall an otherwise interesting life. Being retired from a productive career can for some seniors be devastating and emotionally draining. It is also important to stay socially involved which the online environment can supply with poker chat rooms, online sports books, and other platforms that allow interaction with other participants. Responsible wagering is the key to a safe time on the web.



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