Online Gambling Legal Argument In Washington State USA

The legality of online gambling seems to be the most contested hot issue in courts and regimes all around the world. The legal gamble that is presented to every start up gambling company is formidable and expensive especially when the rules change abruptly. The recent attack by the State of Washington USA legal eagles on four online gambling firms offering free to play casino games is a wakeup call for those firms walking the legal edge. The suits filed the case after the  appeals court found Big Fish Games’ casino games violated Washington state law which govern online gambling activity. These four lawsuits focus on the “free-to-play” casino games offering from Huuuge Games, DoubleDown Interactive, High 5 Games and Playtika.

Big Fish Casino for example offers free-to-play versions of some of the all-time casino classics, with participants being allowed to play these games by using virtual chips that do not have real monetary value.

The US Court of Appeals’ Judge Milan D. Smith, however decided that virtual chips could be described as “thing of value”, so purchasing these chips to participate the free casino games versions were actually illegal online gambling under existing Washington state gambling legislation. The legislation has been upheld by the courts and that has spelled trouble for online betting firms operating casual gaming in the State of Washington USA manly because many free games use in-app purchases as a revenue driver, and it appears there some recoil happening.

A vague clause within Washington state law that determines chips “something of value,” is the argument presented in the case. The case argues, the chips have value, because they are essential to continue playing the game.

There is a class action status attached to these law suits that are requiring the firms to be prohibited from “continuing the challenged conduct” and for damages. The plaintiffs have allegedly lost money on all of the sites in question.

 

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Twitch Dedicates Channel PlayUSA For Legal Online Betting

Twitch is a live streaming video platform owned by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon. Introduced in June 2011, the site primarily focuses on video game live streaming, including broadcasts of eSports competitions, in addition to creative content, "in real life" streams, and more.  Content on the site can be viewed live or via video on demand.

Now in 2018 the platform has a dedicated channel for legal online casino sites in the U.S.A. PlayUSA is utilizing Twitch's live streaming video platform to bring online casino games and poker to viewers.

Matt Brown, developer and director of PlayUSA commented on the history making offer, "The PlayUSA Twitch channel is already proving to be a popular vehicle for online gamblers to connect to games in a new and interesting way," Brown continued, "Streaming online casino play on Twitch has proven wildly popular in international markets. Applying that successful concept to regulated online gambling here in the United States by dedicating an entire channel to legal online casino games is a natural fit."

One of the channel’s personalities Anthony Cicali, said, "We have a unique opportunity to play online casino games legally here in New Jersey, and viewers from across the U.S. are able to play vicariously along with us," Cicali added, "I have little doubt the channel will continue to see incredible growth in the coming months."

Another of the vibrant personalities Del Guercio had this to say, "The engagement on Twitch has been fantastic so far," Guercio continued, "Twitch's platform lends itself to an interactive experience for both the hosts and the viewers, creating its own distinct community. The thirst for this kind of content is undeniable."

Every video combines entertainment with real-world gambling tips that viewers can use in their own games. PlayUSA Twitch, streams real-money game play from New Jersey's legal online casinos. This type of content has attracted thousands of fans and views internationally.

 

 

 

 

 

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888 Holdings Claims German Online Gambling Laws Unfair

Germany is one jurisdiction in the European Union that is still a political and legal nightmare for online gambling operators trying to do business in that nation. The government has not been able to unify its efforts to legalize online gambling with the country’s online gambling rules in a constant state of flux since the 2012 federal treaty on gambling failed.  A revised treaty was introduced last year, but it also failed to achieve unanimous approval from of all of the 16 German states.

Germany’s overall gambling participation continues to be in decline, despite increases in gambling stakes and revenue. The decline in gambling comes despite the fact that Germany’s gambling market has seen a 191.5% increase since the country liberalized its land-based betting market back in 2006.

It has been a rough ride for international operators that have been hoping the European Court of Justice would intervene and declare Germany’s effort to restrict online casino operators from dealing with German customers unfair.  However the EU seems to have lost interest in enforcing Article 56 which prohibits restrictions on trade in goods and services between EU member states.

After many international operators have left the gambling market in Germany one is holding out for some justice with UK-listed online gambling operator 888 Holdings announcing it will appeal a court ruling restricting online casino operators from participating after a Federal Administrative Court upheld a lower court ruling in the state of Baden-Württemberg.  888 recently told investors that it may exit the German betting market.

 888 has announced that one of its German-facing subsidiaries has filed a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court.  The firm asserts that the October ruling “infringes its constitutional rights, as well as its rights under [European Union] law, (including the freedom to provide services), and hence should be reversed.”

The chances of a positive outcome from this action seem slim but 888 is confident this is the right move at this time.

 

 

 

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PGA Tour Supports Bid For Legal US Sports Betting

The sports betting world is eagerly awaiting the announcement by The Supreme Court in the USA on the fate of legal gambling on sports in that nation. The Garden State of New Jersey has been the leading proponent to have the  Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) law repealed allowing US states to offer gambling on sporting events.

The current situation suggests the Supreme Court will overturn the old law that lets a few US jurisdictions offer sporting event betting while others are prohibited. Many observers believe the efforts of New Jersey’s legal team will be rewarded although they have been struck down in previous attempts.

This time around is different however with major sports organizations backing the change which will present the possibility in the US with some seventeen US jurisdictions wanting the opportunity to offer sports wagering.

The former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie started the action in 2012 with the state working with private law firms Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and Gibbons P.C. Invoices and information obtained by the Observer media outlet through a public records request revealed  the two law firms have billed the state $8.66 million since 2012. The firm is now representing recently elected Democrat Governor Phil Murphy, who also supports legalizing sports betting. Murphy spent 23 years at Goldman Sachs and has acquired considerable wealth during his career.

Recently yet another large sports organization the PGA Tour became the latest to declare its full support for the expansion of legalized sports betting. Other major sports institutions such as The National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball have announced they also support the expansion of sports wagering in the USA.

Officials involved in the commitment said, “The PGA Tour supports the regulation of sports betting in a safe and responsible manner,” adding, “We believe regulation is the most effective way of ensuring integrity in competition, protecting consumers, engaging fans and generating revenue for government, operators and leagues.”

 

 

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Ban On U.K.'s EuroMillions Lottery Now In Effect

The Lotto Betting Group consisting of WorldLottery Club, Lottoland, Jackpot.com and Multilotto tried in vain recently to squash the banning of consumers betting on EuroMillions lottery draws by the U.K.’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The ruling has come into effect referring to betting on non-UK EuroMillions through a statutory licence condition, bringing the activity in line with established regulations on betting on UK National Lottery draws.

The Lotto Betting Group said there is no “econometric evidence to support the claim that betting on non-UK Euromillions draws is having any statistically significant impact on UK EuroMillions tickets sales”.

The group’s argument last February stated, “The Lotto Betting Group believes that the decision to prohibit betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws was unjustified and was based on inconclusive evidence,” adding, “This belief has been supported by the recent publication of the National Audit Office report, which confirms that the fall in National Lottery income for good causes in 2016-17 was due to a move away from National Lottery draw-based games to Instant games and not as a result of lottery betting.” “Instant games have a lower return to good causes, which led to the decline. The letter before the claim asks the DCMS to suspend the Parliamentary approval process.”

Director of online lottery syndicate Lotto Social, Almira Mohamed, has praised the U.K. government for taking action over an issue that could impact revenue that goes to good causes.

"It is encouraging that the government has acknowledged the risks posed by lottery betting to charitable causes so dependent on National Lottery sales,” Mohamed said.

“Whilst this is a win for the National Lottery and the significant work it does for Good Causes, we also need to recognise that consumers are demanding alternative and more cost effective ways to play the National Lottery, particularly in these times of austerity.”

 

 

 

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Wagering Interest Building For FIFA World Cup In Russia

The news these days regarding Russian interference in various government elections and spy situations has everyone questioning the idea of Russia hosting the FIFA World Cup this year. The biggest question posed by gamblers will be whether betting on the games will be fair and safe. According to reports these games are to be the most bet upon in history.

There are a number of exciting opportunities presented for gamblers wishing to bet on the matches. Even though Russia has been plagued by allegations of match fixing for decades the government of Russia is doing its best to restore the tarnished image of some athletes, while also applying strict regulations to curtail the illegal and grey area gambling activities. Illegal gambling on the World Cup 2018 may be a factor in the jurisdiction but it won’t stop people from taking advantage of the many promotions and deals available from the numerous bookies and web site offerings.

Each year the FIFA World Cup gains more interest worldwide with exciting games in South Africa and Brazil creating a benchmark for wagering strength. The games this year are filled with the possibility that a new team will challenge the favoured teams such as Spain Germany or Brazil. Argentina is poised to challenge the world best teams with Lionel Messi looking to lead the team to victory. Columbia is also a strong contender in the running for the championship.  

It seems too early to predict the outcome of the tournament but it is coming on fast and furious with the betters already proposing the possibilities that include the dark horses such as Croatia and England. Russia's first-ever World Cup will take place from June 14 to July 15 in 11 cities, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod and Yekaterinburg. There have been over 100,000 tickets already sold to South Korean fans who plan to attend the matches.

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U.K.'s ASA Deems PokerStars Ad Offensive

Advertizing standards are created for the gambling industry to keep the industry honest and going strong. Advertizing online betting sites has been the backbone of internet wagering whether it is on television or on billboards it has to be acceptable to everyone that comes in contact with these ads.

The UK Advertising Standards Agency announced that it has ruled that a television advert run by PokerStars was “socially irresponsible. ” The broadcast adverting was focused on how participants can ‘bluff’ their way to a victory in online poker games.

The particular advert that was deemed controversial featured a player going all in on a bluff. The player featured risked all of funds anticipating the other participants would fold their hands.

A voice in the ad said: “Here you are, the moment when bluffing is the only way to win, you’re freaking out kiddo, but think about all those times you bluffed yourself.” “Like the pull-up bar waiting for you to get back in-shape, that book you’re definitely going to read, your parents never ever had sex.” “Use that talent because if you can bluff yourself, you can bluff anyone.” “Pokerstars…you’re already a great poker player.”

The ASA said, “As the ad only showed the player being able to bluff in real life, non-poker related circumstances, and did not imply that they had any other experience of the game, we considered that the ad suggested that players could excel at poker without any previous experience of the game.

“This, therefore, portrayed gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible.

“While we acknowledged that big “all in” bluffs were a part of the game, we considered that the message that bluffing should be attempted without any experience of playing poker or any understanding of poker strategy portrayed gambling behaviour in the context of recklessness and in a manner that could lead to financial harm.”

ASA has warned PokerStars, “their ads did not portray gambling in a socially irresponsible manner or in the context of recklessness”.

 

 

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Bulgaria A Profitable Destination for Online Gambling Operators

Bulgaria has become a destination for online gambling fans from all over the world. Operators of gambling service providers are delighted with the regulatory situation in that jurisdiction. Online betting operators enjoy massive tax benefits when they are licensed in Bulgaria.

The Center of the Study of Democracy (CSD) in Bulgaria revealed that data from Moody’s Amadeus exposed licensed gambling operators in the country paid taxes worth BGN177 million ($111 million) in 2016 and BGN144 million ($90.32 million) during the first nine months of 2017 thus creating a large increase in profit for the operators.

The Bulgarian government implemented a revised set of gambling regulations in 2013, according to the recent report. The new rules removed the corporate tax on licensed gambling operators and gave them a different tax. The virtual gambling providers now pay a 20 percent levy on revenue while terrestrial operations are taxed on the number of gambling devises and products they offer. Offshore gambling product providers are required to put up a BGN100,000 ($62,725) licensing fee.

CSD analyst Tihomir Bezlov told media outlet Novite.com, “If the tobacco product market is estimated at BGN3.5 billion in 2017, then the excise duties paid and the VAT are about 3 billion levs. With huge gambling profits, the tax paid for 2016 is BGN 177 million,”

Gambling operators have relocated to the Bulgarian jurisdiction to benefit from the positive changes in the tax regulations. It was reported that there are now 1,327 registered companies involved in wagering products.

New Gaming SA, Eurobet Ltd and National Lottery SA, have been the most profitable in the jurisdiction. Owned by Vasil Bozhkov, New Gaming SA and National Lottery SA reported a turnover of €88.5 million ($108.5 million) and €15.3 million ($18.76 million), respectively in 2017.  The total turnover of these two operations rose to €296 million ($362.97 million). Proof that Bulgaria is a destination to turn to for profits.

 

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Masters Golf Tournament's 2018 $11 Million Purse

Spring has arrived with the beginning of The Masters Tournament one of the four major championships in professional golf. The exclusive private Augusta National Golf Club which was established in 1934, in beautiful Augusta Georgia is the venue for the championship game.

The 82nd year of the first major championship of the season, the Masters is also the only one of the four major tournaments played at the same course every year. Augusta National is a par-72 measuring 7,435 yards. A total of 87 players are set to tee it up April 5th on the tournament’s smallest field this century. The only golfers to win all four of the major tournaments, the U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship and the Masters are Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. McIlroy is looking to become the sixth golfer to complete a career Grand Slam.

The odds on favourite to take the title was Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland at +900, but he has now slipped to a +1000 second-favorite to Jordan Spieth (+900). McIlroy has come close to taking the championship at Augusta a couple of times. He was dominating in the 2011 tournament until a back-nine down fall led to a final-round 80 and a 15th-place finish. McIlroy was tied in seventh place last year.

Former green jacket winners such as Tiger Woods who has won four green jackets, is tied for second-most green jackets with Arnold Palmer behind Jack Nicklaus’ six with Woods in the odds running at (+1400). Spieth, Justin Thomas (+1100), world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+1100), and Justin Rose (+1400) rounding  out the odds favorites. Spieth was runner-up at the 2014 Masters, and won it the next year. He should have won it in 2016 but fell short on the last day and was runner-up, finishing tied for 11th in 2017.The purse for this year’s Masters Tournament is $11,000,000 which is sure to get all the players excited.

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Penn National Moves Ahead On Pinnacle Entertainment Merger

Penn National Gaming, Inc. is an operator of casinos and racetracks based in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania USA. The firm operates 29 facilities in the United States and Canada, many of them under the Hollywood Casino brand. The publicly traded company employs almost 19 thousand people and earned approximately $473 million in 2017. The company has assets worth $5.2 billion and generated $3.1 billion in revenue last year.

It was recently announced that shareholders at Penn National Gaming have voted to approve a planned merger with Pinnacle Entertainment in a deal worth $2.8bn US. Approximately 86% of Penn’s outstanding common shares were voted and about  99% of these votes were in favour of the proposed merger with Pinnacle.

Prior to the merger which was announced back in December Pinnacle agreed it would sell the operations of four properties to Boyd Gaming for $575 million. Pinnacle Entertainment origins go back as far as 1938. It is located in Spring Valley Nevada USA with its operations employing as many as 16 thousand people in 2016.

Timothy Wilmott, chief executive officer of Penn National, commented on the merger,  “The shareholder vote was another important milestone toward completing the acquisition of Pinnacle later this year.

“We are pleased by the support of our shareholders, which we believe reflects their confidence in the significant near and long-term value this transaction will create for investors in both companies.

“The acquisition of Pinnacle’s operations will allow Penn National to further raise the bar on providing unparalleled entertainment and gaming experiences for our regional gaming customers while providing long-term growth opportunities and efficiencies related to our increased scale.”

The deal is still subject to the usual regulatory approvals and other closing conditions with the merger expecting to be completed by the second half of 2018 with the result being the addition of twelve new properties to Penn National's holdings.

 

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