Australia Prohibits Online Poker and Casino Gambling

Australia has finally come to grips with a debate that has been ongoing for a long time now. The issue of online gambling legality has come to an end with the Australian Senate approving the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016. The move which will ultimately place a nationwide ban on online casino and poker availability was contested by poker and gambling fans which testified on why the game should be excluded from the nationwide prohibition on internet betting.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, introduced the legislation that will ban unlicensed online casino and poker operators from focusing on the Australian market. There are no provisions in the gambling regulatory framework to allow for licensing of offshore online gambling operators.  

Sen. David Leyonhjelm has attempted to have online poker made exempt from the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill and that online poker should be regulated.

Sen. Leyonhjelm has maintained that online poker should be classified as a skill game and different from casino games. The Senator says a regulated online market with proper monitoring tools and a tax framework would be beneficial and better than a ban.

An attempt to block unlicensed online gambling operators has been made by some of Australia’s jurisdictions but they have found the approach to be ineffective. Operators however have found ways around the ISP blocking efforts. The new laws will come into effect within thirty days of the signing of the bill and it will see an exit from the Australian market by more poker rooms. Operators 888poker, 32Red, and Gaming Innovation Group have already made the move to leave the Australian online poker scene with an announcement expected that PokerStars will also withdraw services in the country.

The new rules are bound to cause some stress for avid poker and casino participants who will be looking for alternatives to access the activity.

 

 

 

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Greece Seeks To Restrict OPAP Growth

The international gambling industry has various jurisdictions that depend on revenue from the activity. Governments all over the world have for a long time been legislating changes to gambling laws to help facilitate stable economic growth from betting. Some have taken the time to observe the alarming trends that online gambling and excessive wagering can develop and have attempted to create more control and safeguards for the punter.

While this approach may appear to be working in some destinations there are other situations where the government realizes it may have gone too far in allowing some activities to be available.

One such situation that is an example is Greece which is allowing Europe’s fourth largest betting operator OPAP to introduce 35,000 video lottery terminals in the nation. OPAP said it will finish the installation of 16,500 terminals by May of 2018, while the suppliers IGT, Inspired Gaming, Scientific Games and Synot Group will provide the next 18,500 units.  

It was recently reported on the ekathimerini.com web site that the Finance Ministry has tabled a bill seeking to reduce that amount of VLTs to 25,000, so that there will be “a more effective supervision by the authorities” as well as giving citizens “smaller exposure to gambling.” The introduction and expansion of the gambling industry in Greece and Cyprus was started in January of 2017 and is still on track with 53 gaming halls opened as of June where a total of 1,355 machines were installed. OPAP offers sports betting and lottery products in as many as 5,750 retail outlets. OPAP is a virtual monopoly in Greece but it has had a difficult financial past with the Greek government, which raised OPAP’s tax obligation from 30 percent to 35 percent of gross gaming revenue.

The government has created a dilemma for OPAP which is forced to expand its offering and exposure while the authorities are trying to restrict it.

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Tasmania Debates Poker Machine Online Gambling Restrictions

The Tasmanian Parliament report on the gaming industry is expected by the end of September this year. The inquiry established a review of the gaming industry in Tasmania once the Federal Hotel’s exclusive license on poker machines expires in 2023. Tasmania’s welfare groups continue to advocate for a ban on poker machines in pubs and clubs in the state.

Social groups are arguing the placement of poker machines should be regulated to casinos.  Groups who want the use of poker machines to remain where they are debate that should the machines be removed the gamblers would be attracted to online gambling offerings. Federal Hotels and the hospitality industry said they believed online gaming to be a bigger threat. Managing director of Federal Hotels Greg Farrell revealed that the Treasury’s biennial study of the social and economic impacts of gambling  exposed the fact that seven per cent of Tasmanians have participated in online betting.

Social service organisations maintain that problem online gamblers were of little consequence in the  overall problem gambler situation. 

Meg Webb, Anglicare Tasmania Social Action and Research Centre manage, stated there was no evidence to suggest that restricting access to poker machines would change the interest of the troubled gambler to online betting, “There is no link between these two activities in any research,” Webb continued, “The motivations between these two forms of gambling are different.” “While participation in online gambling is growing, it only accounts for a small part of problem gambling activity in Tasmania.” “The clear and present danger is pokies.”

Brad Watson of the Salvation Army’s said unlike poker machines, online gambling was a private activity and the real effects are not well understood in Tasmania.  Poker machine gambling was identified as a concern by many of the clients who sought support for problems.  “It is our understanding that the demographic engaged in online gambling – suggested to be mostly younger, employed men – would be different to unemployed or socially isolated people seeking community and activity through centres such as a gaming venue,”

 

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Online Gambling Content Partnerships Expanding

The considerable number of online casinos and gambling web sites can be disruptive to some new players that become overwhelmed by the huge quantity of choices. Trying them all is not a good solution to this dilemma but reviewing the latest entries to the offerings can help somewhat. It is good practice even for seasoned online gambling fans to check out the review pages to see what the general opinion is on the casinos or web location in question.

One way to find out if the offering has the qualities you’re looking for is to check out what content providers the internet gambling site employs. There are many content producers and developers that create incredible games. An example is Greentube the interactive division of Novomatic that has recently launched virtual sports games provided by Leap Gaming. The Greentube Pro platform will host the virtual sports content.

Greentube North America, president of market development, Gabriel Cianchetto, commented,“In the US market virtual sports is becoming a big thing and this is the way we can offer virtual sports to our casino clients via the Greentube Pro platform.”

The chief executive of Leap Gaming, Yariv Lissauer, also said, “We are confident that our virtual sports suite will fit right into Greentube’s existing gaming portfolio and augment it tremendously.”

Content partnerships are common and have benefits with Greentube recently agreeing to a deal with Betsson. Greentube games will come on stream soon on the Betsson.com, Casinoeuro.com and Nordicbet.com and other Betsson platforms. The director of games of chance at Betsson, Andy Broughton Braithwaite, made this comment, “We’re delighted to be working with Greentube; they have a huge range of interactive games which have proved very popular for our customers, allowing us to further expand our already impressive casino portfolio.”

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8th GRWA Coming Aug 14th-16th To Sydney Australia

Conferences that deal with online gambling are comprehensive events that help the industry learn from experts and those who have encountered the common problems and found solutions. The internet betting industry is a diverse collection of industries and services that come together to create a viable entertainment gambling environment.

Now for the eighth time the Gaming Racing and Wagering Australia (GRWA) will take place in Sydney Australia’s Darling Harbour. The event will bring together over 150 sports betting, lottery and racing executives from Australia. The participants will be exposed to the most pressing issues making the industry run such as regulations new technologies and ways of keeping abreast of the competition in a packed online betting market. The GRWA will be hosted by Novotel Darling Harbour in Sydney from the 14th to the 16th of August. Beacon Events has organized this premier gaming and wagering conference which will be focusing on innovation and out of the box thinking to keep operators on top of the Australian very competitive marketplace.

This is an opportunity to listen and learn from a comprehensive list of the industry’s participants involved in the wagering business in Australia. Sponsors include firms such as OtherLevels which is a leading second-generation digital marketing platform with offices in the U.S, U.K. and Australia.

The OtherLevels platform enables clients to acquire sooner, engage smarter and retain longer and supports desktop, mobile web and apps. OtherLevels leading clients from the wagering, lotteries and social casino sectors, include Camelot (UK), Tatts, LadbrokesCoral, Betfred, Playtech, TopBetta, Betway (UK), Doubledown and Playstudios. OtherLevels provides the platform and the knowledge to help operators increase conversion and deliver the right content, to the right user, at the right time, on the right channel.

The vast number of speakers will definitely fill any attendee’s agenda card at this premier Australian gambling conference. New to the GRWA will feature a practical workshop with a focus on eSports and mobile gaming.  

 

 

 

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AGA Includes Digital In The New Code Of Conduct

Responding to the changing times is part of the American Gaming Association’s  20th annual Responsible Gaming Education Week. This organization has called for the gambling industry to commit to protecting the vulnerable consumer and maintaining a transparent and educated staff that has embraced the digital world of betting.

The many gaming corporate top brass, gambling equipment suppliers, regulators, and tribal gaming representatives were enlightened by the AGA president and CEO Geoff Freeman who led a roundtable discussion at Stockton University in New Jersey. They were there to examine the principals of responsible gaming and the current interpretation.

Taking the opportunity to deliver the message that Freeman wants the gambling industry to hear the AGA published an updated version of the Code of Conduct on Responsible Gaming. Responsible gaming is the primary message of but the new code has added the virtual digital aspect to its Code.

CEO Freeman commented, “Our updated Code of Conduct will ensure our members and their employees have the tools needed to ensure a safe, responsible experience for all customers,” Freeman continued to explain, The new rules, as part of responsible gaming measures, emphasize enhanced transparency about odds and payouts, while encouraging greater honesty in advertising and marketing, ensuring that these odds are not misrepresented just to lure in customers.

 Other participants attending the roundtable discussions also added their opinions which were inline with the aims of the AGA.  Executive director of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, Marcus Prater, explained, “Presenting a unified message of commitment and putting a spotlight on an area of responsibility all of us share not just during this special week, but 24/7,” he added, “reflects our full-time focus on an important aspect of our specific gaming entertainment.”

Ernie Stevens, National Indian Gaming Association Chairperson revealed that NIGA and tribal operators were aware of the seriousness of gambling addiction.

The AGA funds research for treating gambling addiction and creates programs for educating the public and gambling industry participants.

 

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Massachusetts Changes DFS Status To Gambling

Daily Fantasy Sports betting has created problems for regulators all over the world mainly because the activity for some regulators may be considered real money gambling. The skill game debate carries on in jurisdictions such as the state of Massachusetts in the USA where the Massachusetts state commission voted recently to recommend that DFS games be classed as a form of gambling and not a game requiring skill.

The 5 to 3 vote on the issue is a big snag for DraftKings, the industry leader which is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

DraftKings will now have to fight in its home state to keep its status as a non-gambling company. A report conducted by the state legislature’s Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming, and Daily Fantasy Sports claims that the distinction between luck and skill doesn’t matter when money is on the line.

The concept may have to be overhauled should the classification change for DraftKings and FanDuel the competition from a game of skill to gambling. The sector will have additional tax liabilities and it could be difficult to locate payment processors willing to accept DFS betting transactions. It is already illegal for payment processors in Massachusetts to accept transactions from internet betting sites. DraftKings Director of Public Affairs James Chisholm spoke to the Boston Globe,

“The commission’s actions today, as we and our partners in the fantasy sports industry pointed out time and time again, could restrain our company’s ability to thrive and create jobs here in Massachusetts,”

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby voted “yes” on the issue. The committee didn’t recommend banning daily fantasy sports. The purpose of the report was, instead, to determine if the popular game should be classified as a form of gambling and fall under the Gaming Commission’s umbrella. Some US jurisdictions have banned the activity while others have made it legal.

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Portuguese Online Gambling Suffers Revenue Decline

Online gambling operators in Europe have been realizing substantial profits for a number of years now but as more jurisdictions become regulated the profit margin in some cases has been trimmed. The relatively recent entry of Portugal into the internet betting market place is an example of the instability of the gambling scene and how governments can scuttle the process with high taxation and a difficult  licensing regime.

The Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) Portugal’s regulatory body has published its Q2 and H1 2017 financials regarding online betting activity revealing the licensed operators reported revenue of €25.4m in the three months ending June 30 2017.

This report indicates that since the market was launched in June of 2016 these financials are the second-lowest quarterly totals since Q3 2016’s €24.1m. The numbers are not as impressive as the first quarter results of €31.4m. Sports betting suffered the most consistent decline with a decline in sports wagering being felt each month since the initial launch.

Online casino betting which includes online poker play has seen similar decline in revenue falling to €11.4m from €13.9m in Q1. Casino revenue topped €4.4m in May then declined to €3.5m in June. These numbers may change once the SRIJ comes to an agreement on shared online poker market liquidity with a number of other regulated European jurisdictions such as Italy, Spain and France.

The decline in revenue is obviously the result of a decline in new customer sign ups. It was noted that about  64k new accounts were registered in Q2 only fifty percent of the 112k new accounts in Q1, while H2 2016 saw over 411k registrations. June revealed a new low of only 9,600 new signups compared to 40,600 in April. The government of Portugal took €16.3m in tax revenue from online gambling firms in H1 2017, almost 25 percent of online operators’ total revenue.  

 

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Czech Republic's New Strict Online Gambling Rules

One of the most interesting of the European Nations the Czech Republic is undergoing some social changes of late. It has revamped its gambling laws to allow operators to apply for a license to offer gambling services and products to the 10.5 million inhabitants with over 1.2 million residents in the capital Prague.

Czechia is a nation state in Central Europe bordered by Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland. It is considered a developed country with an advanced high income economy and high living standards. Concern is growing among newly licensed operators in the Czech Republic as tougher restrictions on online gambling offerings are imposed by the Ministry of Justice, in conjunction with the regulator’s stringent enforcement procedures.

The latest trials have made some operators give up and exit the potentially lucrative betting market. The Czech Republic is the latest country to approve regulated online gaming after the country's president, Miloš Zeman, launched what was expected to be the new online gaming regime and so far a number of matters are left unclear. The Finance Minister, Andrej Babiš, introduced proposals to curb the social harms. Residents are believed to currently wager online $6 billion per year at online casinos and poker rooms and sports betting web sites.

Now, the Ministry of Justice has added more issues for the online operator with hard-line interpretations of the new legislation plus a recently delivered guidance on maximum hourly losses, calling for limited gambling sessions once the limit is breached. A potential ban on bonuses is also part of new guidelines for online gambling service providers issued by the government. The limits imposed by must comply and utilize a mathematical formula that is considered an acceptable tool to calculate losses for players. The so called mathematical basis for the imposed limits include elements such as the size of wager, average payout and the number of times a bet is placed.

 

 

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Trusting The Online Gambling Industry

The amount of trust people put in the online gambling and casinos industry is really amazing and it is an earned respect. It doesn’t take long before a rogue internet casino is exposed and the damage done is usually minimum at least to the industry as a whole.

The trust factor is an important element for online sports betting casino games and poker so feeling secure that the games are not rigged or the match fixed is the cornerstone of wagering.

The issue for the online aspect of betting is its lack of real face to face encounters. The use of robots to outpace and win at poker for example does not give the gambler a sense of security. It is true that computers are running everything today and as artificial intelligence continues to advance and creates the perfect game, people will still rule the gambling world.

The online and terrestrial casinos are all in business to make money so all casino games have a payout that is lower than the theoretical 'full odds' of the game resulting in what is called the 'house edge'. This is not hidden by the casinos. To be safe and get a reliable and relaxing experience stay with large well known brands that are regulated in the UK or an approved UK jurisdiction for example. Play at casinos powered by trusted online casino software, is also a good bet when it comes to a good time. Also look for proof of third party audits of a casinos payouts and random number generators and research your choices.

Gambling responsibly means not playing with funds you cannot afford to lose, winning is why there are bookies and online casinos the house truly always wins. Gambling takes intelligence and the algorithms created by the computer wizards can still be seriously wrong after all look at Brexit and Trump.

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