The Bulgarian National Assembly has been waffling on their new tax until now. After a second reading approving the amendments to the Corporate Income Act the country of Bulgaria will have a unified across the board fifteen percent tax on gambling activities. The Corporate Income Act amendments will take effect in 2010. Today gambling on sports is taxed at ten per cent of revenue, while all other games of chance, such as lottery, casino games and bingo, are posted at twelve per cent tax. The unified tax will create more revenue with less accounting. The increase in the tax on gambling has been widely criticised by Bulgaria's gambling industry and Bulgaria’s largest bookmaker, Eurofootball.

The bookmaker has been lobbying for government regulation of the online gambling industry. Eurofootball contends that the international operators of online gambling web sites are doing business illegally because none of them is licensed as a bookmaker in Bulgaria. The increased tax may have a negative effect on the gambling industry, in which about 80,000 people are directly or indirectly employed. The gambling industry has already been down 40 per cent since the economic slowdown. According to a statement, from Eurofootball the 12 per cent tax rate will cause the industry to loose about 30 million leva next year. The conservative party “Law, Order, Justice” (RZS) and the members of the Blue Coalition had proposed that the gambling tax be raised from its current 10% to 15%, and it looks as though according to the Sofia Echo they will have their way. According to Finance Ministry calculations, the increase would bring in much needed extra funds to the Budget of Bulgaria.

Concentrating on better regulation of the online gambling business, could bring as much as 160 million leva more to the countries annual budget, the Eurofootball company states. The Bulgarian Association for Entertainment and Gambling Games predicted in early November that as many as forty thousand jobs would be lost if the taxes were increased.

 



 

 

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Moneybookers has just launched a new prepaid card that will allow its users to access the funds in their Moneybookers eWallet directly at any ATM or point of sale displaying the MasterCard Acceptance Logo. This is available worldwide with all the confidence we usually place in a mainstream payment processor like Mastercard. A card with unique characteristics customers using the Moneybookers MasterCard, issued by Newcastle Building Society in the UK, will not have to split funds and separately preload the card. The Moneybookers MasterCard allows instant access to the funds in the customer’s Moneybookers eWallet. This feature gives the card use simple which makes it suitable for managing funds in a wide variety of applications. Customers can shop online and offline, users can both book holiday flights and pay for their souvenirs all while traveling. Businesses can pay their suppliers and be directly connected to there funds via their Moneybookers eWallet. The card is available for all Moneybookers customers with a one time set up fee then an annual fee of 10 euro, and withdrawal fees set at Euro 1.80 and FX fee at 1.99 percent. The card will initially be available in four currencies, but is expected to expand.

Kriya Patel, Head of Newcastle Card Solutions Limited said, "The Moneybookers eWallet offers a whole new dimension in terms of convenience and this new card brings together for customers the benefits of a sophisticated online payment platform with access to their money offline, wherever they are, whenever they choose.” adding, “As the largest provider of MasterCard prepaid cards in the UK and Europe, NCS is pleased to work in partnership with Moneybookers and together drive further the development of the prepaid cards industry,"

Co-CEO of Moneybookers, Martin Ott, commented on the agreement, “We’re very pleased to be launching the next step in online payments. We recently signed up our ten millionth account holder; as this sector grows our customers are increasingly looking to exploit the time and safety benefits of the eWallet in the real world.”

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The Atlantic Lottery Corporation was founded on Sept. 3, 1976, offering just one game. Now this corporation is one of the leaders in gaming technology, design, financial and security controls. As early as 1990 video lottery went live in New Brunswick and Newfoundland & Labrador. Video lottery went live in 1991 in Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Formed by the governments of the four Atlantic provinces, ALC's first and only game was A-1, a $1 ticket sold in books of five, with one draw every two weeks. Now the company makes millions for the coffers of the provinces.

Now they are looking at a possible partnership with the Lotto Quebec for online poker and possible other online gambling activities. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation isn't very sure about details as yet but a spokesperson for the Lottery Tracy Kenney mentioned that they are weighing the pros and cons of a partnership. Alain Cousineau, president of Loto-Quebec said just last week his group wants to partner with the Atlantic provinces and British Columbia in offering online gambling. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation has an interactive service called PlaySphere, that offers five games including, including some poker. The lottery recently increased the weekly online betting limit to $1,000 from $99, which caused a slight uproar in the media and online.

Lottery officials say the prevalence of online gambling pushed the government agencies to get on with giving the public what they want. Cousineau said in a news release last week that both legit and otherwise online gambling, as an industry, grew an average of 30 per cent a year from 2003 to 2008. Apparently as much as fifty million dollars a year is leaving the Atlantic region via as many as two thousand online gambling sites.

 

 

 

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Two more sports events are now being sponsored by online gambling operators. Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, has agreed to sponsor the Hahnenkamm World Cup alpine ski race until 2012. The company will undertake numerous marketing activities such as Public Relations, hospitality, promotions and will be also be visibly present on press backdrops, at the official draw and the winners celebration. In addition bwin will be able to present a sixty-metre advertising board at the Seidlalm curve during the Super G and Downhill races and feature it's logo prominently throughout the slalom course.

Manfred Bodner, Co-CEO at Bwin commented, “We are extremely pleased to announce this sponsorship agreement today” adding, “In the years since its conception, the race has developed into a huge event and it fascinates even those who do not usually follow ski racing. For us, as an international brand with Austrian roots, it’s an honour to be part of such a global ski highlight.” This annual event will take place next year from January 22 to 24 in Kitzbühel, Austria.

 

Bet-at-home.com AG is part of the Mangas gaming group, a prominent French enterprise in the range of on-line gaming and sports betting. Bet-at-home.com has signed a deal to be an official partner of the European Handball Federation’s (EHF) European Handball Championships to take place in Austria in 2010. Brokered by the Infront Sports & Media sports marketing company the sponsorship agreement includes advertising at matches, the rights to conduct promotional activities, and having its logo on the internet web site for the actual event.

Bet-at-home.com has sponsored the EHF Champions League and the International Handball Federation’s World Championship before with great success. Bet-at-home.com's CEO, Jochen Dickinger said, “As Official Partner of the EHF EURO we will be able to communicate effectively in our core markets in Eastern Europe, Germany and Spain to the strong media coverage,”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the United States of America Florida is a tourist destination and as everyone is aware tourism is down all over the world. It is one industry in Florida that will take some time to recover. Florida’s politicians are thinking proactively about how to get more into their tax coffers and so recently commissioned a study to enlighten themselves before it decides on legalisation for online poker regulation.

The state's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability presented the document to the legislature last week and it is expected to be given to Florida’s Senate by the end of November 2009. As expected the document gives the politicians the usual choices with reasons for and against each choice. If the government chooses to do nothing, it is simple, they have to wait for a Federal solution which they may not be happy with. If they actively prohibit online poker, difficulties regarding effective enforcement arise.

The report has a slight bias when the opponents of gambling activity and it’s growth are quoted as pointing out some debateable facts. Legalising online poker within the state seems to offer the advantage of control over the activity which is closest to Florida's desire to regulate and increase tax revenues for the ailing economy. The study did not elaborate on the benefits in any detail stating ‘expanding authorized gambling in the state to include Internet gambling could generate revenue' but 'at this time no objective estimates exist to assess potential state revenues.’ This statement dismisses the Poker Voters of America accounting presented to the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability that estimates ninety million dollars could be generated by the inclusion of online poker tax revenues. The report focuses mostly on the existing laws that are in place at the Federal level and how they relate to State legislation.

 

 

 

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Chinese authorities have been getting tough on internet activities, that are considered inappropriate for their citizens. Now the government in China is stepping up it’s efforts to keep the firewalls strong.

Chinese authorities are concerned that there is corruption gaining influence in the country’s football leagues. Claiming that game fixing is ruining the games competition in the nation, the official word is that it is the fault of online gambling and the growth of illegal internet casinos that is causing the problem. Players are tempted by the large money available if they co-operate with illegal sports gambling operators by playing at less than their top levels or deliberately throwing matches.

The Ministry of Public Security is launching a national effort to end illegal football gambling, and severely punish players who get involved with illegal gambling operators. The Great Firewall, as it is known in China tries to prevent online gambling, as well as other web content thought to be inappropriate by China’s current government.

Economic conditions and the low pay for players on lesser-known teams makes them an easy target for criminal gambling action. Chinese authorities assert that gambling, and not the country's economy, is the reasoning for the illegal and harmful match fixing. The Ministry of Public Security has arrested several well-known players, such as Leng Bo of the Shandong team, for influencing young players to sell their teams out and take the money for themselves. He is a retired player who was looked upon by the youthful team players as a good influence. Wang Po, the former general manager of Shaanxi Guoli, was arrested after details of a plan to influence and derail games came to the attention of officials. Sports betting at online casinos was said to be responsible for the match fixing episodes by Chinese authorities.

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Calling it a new event in the world of online gambling, a conference has been arranged by EGR magazine. Providing the forum for free, all those connected to the industry are invited. E Gaming Review is saying EGR Live will be the must go to event of the year with new dates and a new venue. The congress will commence on November 30 and continues to December first 2009 at the Old Billingsgate in London U.K.

Now in its 5th year, the EGR awards are truly established as the premier event associated with the best of the online gambling industry. With as many as forty five commercial sponsors this event is a real gala affair. Considered the ‘Oscars’ of the online gambling industry the shortlist for the awards has been announced. Those operators in the many categories are honoured at the gala dinner and receive the praise of their peers. For the casino operator of the year  

32Red, 888, Betsson, Ladbrokes, PartyCasino, and William Hill Online have been short listed. Casino operator of the year will go to the casino operator that has consistently and decisively dominated the casino sector during the year. The judges will be looking for operators that have the global reach and scale to set them apart in the crowded market. The judges will be looking at originality, brand identity, marketing, payment processing, usability and scale to make their assessment.

In other categories such as rising stars of the casino world names such as Amuso, Betboo, Chilli Poker, Gaming Media Group (Poker Channel Europe, Poker Heaven), and Tower Torneos have been put on the short list. One of the more interesting awards is for Innovation. This award recognises the operator that has successfully implemented a product or feature which showed the most originality in 2008, 2009. The judges are looking for methods of maximizing revenue alongside new revenue-generating models. The product must have been in operation in a live environment for at least three months to be considered. Criteria considered by the judges for this category, include, originality, implementation, revenue growth, and market appeal. All in all this event adds some class to the industry and is sure to bring together those in the know and those who seek excellence in the field.

 

 



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It gets a little confusing for the online casino customer when one goes to a casino and tries to research some of it’s origins and history. One casino seems to be moving around quite a bit in the world of licensing and jurisdictions. Recent news has surfaced that Buzzluck casino is moving it’s operations from Malta to Panama City Panama.

The online casino claims to be the world’s first online super casino. The casino is according to sources licensed in Costa Rica, with company offices in Uruguay South America. Though it was officially launched in March 2009, the casino has been online since January of 2009.

Alex Czajkowski, a respected member in the online casino industry and known marketer of innovative new products including an appealing promo for his players through a competition where the ‘winner’ will be virtually detailed to become part of the casino's virtual 3D lobby. The unconfirmed comment that "All staff terminated; office for rent; Alex and family relocated to Panama, and affiliate and player payments 'not coming'. was apparently posted on the net recently. The CEO of egaming 2.0 and the developer of Buzzluck has been a member of e consultancy since 2001. The Real Time Gaming powered casino offers live chat and video streaming along with comparable bonus offers to players. In regards to the rumours a staff member at Buzzluck responded by confirming that there will be some staff relocating to Panama with the brand, and assured that players, staff and affiliates were being paid while operations at the site continued as normal. More postings claiming to be from Czajkowski hinted that the cause for the move was to 'take the company to its next phase.' No firm reasons or details were presented only that players would be 'pleased with the results' of the changes, adding the company would issue a statement at the appropriate time. This is one of those online mysteries developing as we speak. Hopefully everything will turn out well for affiliates and players alike.


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The Australian football clubs have been given a clean bill of health from the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation after months of suggested corruption and match fixing allegations. For a long time rumours have been circulating that officials and members were making money throwing games but what comes as a great relief to players and gamblers alike there is no evidence to support any of the rumours. The watchdog and regulatory organization the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation came into operation on 1 July 2004 following the proclamation of the Gambling Regulation Act of 2003. The Commission assumed responsibility for the regulation of gambling from the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority, Director of Gaming and Betting and the Director of Casino Surveillance. Developing and reinforcing the Government’s commitment to responsible gambling through measures that assist and protect problem gamblers and those at risk of becoming problem gamblers, their families and the wider community is one of the Commissions mandated activities. The Commission also accepts gambling as a valid activity for many Victorians who are entitled to expect ongoing high standards of service, transparency and accountability from the gambling sector.

The National Rugby was scrutinized by the Commission after allegations surfaced regarding match fixing at a game between the Sydney Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys. Although the Roosters were at the bottom of the tables, TAB Sportsbet opened them as favourite, with the option of betting on the Cowboys to win by 13-points-plus, the best odds, except for a draw. The Sydney Roosters led 16-6 at halftime, but lost at the end with the North Queensland Cowboys winning the game 32 to 16. The NRL said it has fully and properly investigated the matter and recognised the importance of protecting the integrity of the sport.

The NRL was approved by the VCGR last year as a body that could offer sports betting and control all forms of corruption. The approvals were granted only after rigorous measures were put in place to protect the integrity of football.

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The December first deadline looms closer day by day and as yet there is no legislation in sight to stop the full force of the ban on online gambling in the USA being implemented. As the press and president Obama are suggesting we believe the recession is on it’s way out and the good times are starting to roll once more. Las Vegas hotel and casino owners are not as optimistic. The slump in casino revenues and hotel visits is expected to take a few years yet to recover, according to the president of the American Gaming Association who also says his land-based casino membership may look closely at online casinos as the industry’s future.

President of the terra based American Gaming Association, Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., told an audience at the Global Gaming Expo that, "Without a doubt, the gaming industry is facing a long road to recovery," He pointed out that just because the decline in revenues has slowed considerably, is not the same as increases, adding the return to figures to the same level as before the recession may be as far away as four years from now.

The cost of setting up an online casino and maintaining it is a fraction of a land based operation, the new age gamblers likes the online accessibility which land based casinos are now seeing as a possible revenue source. Harrah's arguably Las Vegas’s largest gambling operations has already prepared an online poker arm, through it’s new interactive division based in Canada.

The AGA membership has opposed online gambling for a long time but now as the stakes get higher the membership is going into survival mode and the stance of the membership has softened during the tough times during the last year or so. Fahrenkopf has noted there is more of a balanced approach within the organization. It is hoped that the AGA will discuss the reintroduction of online gambling within the USA and possibly get behind and show real support for new legislation regulating gambling online.

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