Australia Reveals Unauthorised Offshore Gambling Reduced

Regulatory bodies for online gambling jurisdictions around the globe are working hard to control unauthorised operators from providing betting services and products to their citizens.

Australia states it has won the battle against providers of wagering products that have not been licensed by the Australian government’s regulatory body. Recently the Australian Communications and Media Authority revealed the results of its efforts in a report claiming that thirty three “prominent” international online gambling sites had taken their business elsewhere in the 12 months since Australia changed its gambling laws.

Last September 2017 the changes in the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 prohibited all online sports betting sites without an Australian license and online in-play betting, casino or poker products. There is no gambling on credit, and promotion of gambling sites was discontinued if not authorised by the Australian regulatory organization.

Early after the revised Act the ACMA received 108 enquiries and complaints regarding suspected regulatory violations. In response the ACMA initiated 18 separate probes resulting in “a number” of the suspect services to cease offering Australian’s betting products.

After 62 investigations 38 resulted in proving 38 did in fact breach the revamped gambling act. 34 international gambling operators were focused upon for compliance violations and of the total  58 web domains targeted 35 are now compliant. The ACMA sent 15 notifications to noted gambling regulators including the United Kingdom, Malta, The Isle of Man, Alderney, Kahnawake, Curacao, and others. The reach of the ACMA also extended to 33 software providers and payment processors to inform them of the need to comply with Australia’s regulations.

Nerida O’Loughlin chief at the ACMA said, “Australia’s laws are unambiguous” and the ACMA had “moved decisively to disrupt the provision” of unapproved online gambling operators. The next measure the ACMA has planned is to strengthen the enforcement process that may ask internet service providers to block offending offshore gambling web locations.




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Daily Fantasy Sports Under Fire Again In New York State

The online gambling industry has been caught up in legal issues all over the world with the many jurisdictions in the USA it takes the cake when it comes to problems with legality. The recent news about Daily Fantasy Sports betting is a prime example of the way the government has infused a certain amount of uncertainty with regards to the activity’s legal status.

The future of daily fantasy sports has been put in jeopardy after a judge in the city of Albany ruled that the activity is a form of gambling and should be illegal in the Empire State. Anti gambling groups have filed a lawsuit regarding betting with DFS operators and acting Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly has ruled that DFS action should be regarded as illegal wagering. The suit was initiated after New York determined that DFS was a skill game a few months after Eric Schneiderman, then the Attorney General,  issued a cease and desist order against two of the industry’s leading operators Draft Kings and Fan Duel in 2015 which resulted in the firms discontinuing its offering in the jurisdiction. It was argued that legislators should have asked the public for input to justify the change in the regulations.

Judge Connolly ruled that the law from 2016 which allowed daily fantasy sports betting violated the state’s constitution which has prohibited gambling.

However the counsel representing Draft Kings, David Boies commented, “We are pleased that the court upheld the New York legislature’s decision to decriminalise daily fantasy sports contests and that Draft Kings can continue to offer their services to players,”  Boies added, “We are continuing to study the court’s decision invalidating the regulatory structure and are committed to working with the legislature.”

The legal climate for gambling in the USA especially on sports is becoming more uncertain with some jurisdictions embracing it and others rejecting all forms of betting.


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William Hill Moves On MRG Acquisition

Mergers and acquisitions is a method that gambling operators have used in the past to expand their markets and grow the consumer base. The recent news that U.K. based gambling product and service provider William Hill has announced its intention to purchase MRG formerly Mr Green the Swedish digital gaming operator. The announcement included the offer of £241.8mln for MRG’s assets which include Mr Green and Redbet, which has has operations in 13 markets and holds remote gambling licences in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Great Britain and Ireland. Obtaining Swedish betting licenses are also in the plans for the future. William Hill noted MRG’s geographic mix during Q3 which was 40% in Western Europe, 36% in the Nordics, 21% in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe with 3% in other jurisdictions.

Chief executive officer of William Hill, Philip Bowcock commented on the proposed acquisition saying it, “accelerates the diversification” of the company, making it a more digital and international business.

“MRG will provide William Hill with an international hub in Malta with market entry expertise and strong growth momentum in a number of European countries,” Bowcock added,   

"William Hill will move from a single brand to a suite of brands that can maximise growth opportunities moving forward in new and existing markets."

The MRG board of directors has reportedly unanimously recommending shareholders to accept the offer. MRG shareholders Henrik Bergquist, Hans Fajerson, Fredrik Sidfalk, Martin Trollborg, Karl Trollborg, Tommy Trollborg and Anita Trollborg have undertaken to accept and tender any of their shares in the offer, representing 40% of overall shares.

William Hill has been working at diversifying its geographical footprint with a move to expand operations in the USA. William Hill last month announced a partnership with USA casino operator Eldorado Resorts. The quarter century deal gives Eldorado US$50mln in shares plus a 20% stake in William Hill US. William Hill will then open sports books in Eldorado’s casinos, and a planned website and app to attract the online gambling consumer.



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Novomatic Required To Repay Gambling Addict's Losses

The basic rules of gambling are being constantly tested with the use of lawyers players and operators sometimes have differences decided by the courts. An example of this process was recently revealed in the media when an anonymous slots player made headlines around the planet after filing a lawsuit against the Austrian gambling operator Novomatic.

The resulting scandal resulted in Novomatic being ordered to pay the gambler a nominal €2.5 million in compensation even though the court ruled that the bettor’s addiction to slots rendered all of his wagers invalid.

The ruling has an ironic twist in so much that the operator was ordered to repay the money the punter wagered on its gambling machines plus interest over the 10 years he put money into Novomatic devices.The October 22 ruling, revealed that the slot player was influenced by addiction while he was playing real money games created by the firm.

The unidentified Austrian slot player said that during the ten years of play in Vienna he had been incapacitated by his gambling addiction. Testimony from an expert in the field a psychiatric neurologist told the court that the player could not stop himself form betting excessive amounts of money. The addiction created stress which made him incapable of working with his condition resulting in seeking compensation in the courts.

Novomatic Gaming Industries GmbH is now on the hook to repay €2,009,100 the gambler spent on Novomatic machines amounting to €2.5 million, or around $2.87 million US including interest. The firm intends to appeal the decision of course. This is not the first time that the slot manufacturer has been ordered by courts to repay the losses of a person with a gambling addiction. In 2014, the firm was forced to refund a local punter with €800,000 after a Vienna court deemed ‘gambling contracts’ between the two to be invalid due to an addiction to gambling.



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Patagonia Entertainment Signs Deal With Vivo Gaming

A really innovative online gambling multi channel platform is rare in the digital betting industry but Patagonia Entertainment has that covered. It introduced Video Bingo when it first launched which is a hybrid between Bingo and Slot games and it has become one of the most popular game developers in the Latin American wagering market. Patagonia Entertainment has signed a content agreement with Vivo Gaming to integrate a varied selection of Live Dealer titles onto its platform.

Patagonia’s newest partnership will see Latin American facing consumers gaining access to the interactive Live Dealer games provided by Vivo Gaming. The responsive HTML5 3.0 gaming platform coming from 4 global studios will provide Live Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack and Live Dedicated Tables to Patagonia Entertainment customers.

Pedro B speaking for Patagonia Entertainment commented, “Vivo Gaming’s Live Casino offering is outstanding and integrating the content will in-rich our platform. Live games will help us continue to grow throughout Latam.”

The Vice President for Vivo Gaming Leo Tinoco, also remarked,  “We strongly believe this partnership will change Vivo Gaming’s presence in several LATAM markets, and then move towards other markets as we continuously work together to deliver the latest generation Live Dealer content in the most reliable way possible. Seeing these two companies working together will definitely be a plus for both operators and players.”

Since 2010 Vivo Gaming’s developers created a rich live dealer experience from it early introduction to Live Dealers. Vivo Gaming provides leading edge gaming solutions for operators, aggregators, and terrestrial operators. Vivo Gaming is known for its technology optimization which includes customized gambling products specifically suited to every operators needs.

The market in Latin America is growing rapidly with Patagonia Entertainment leading the pack on many fronts. Live Dealer wagering is one of the most popular formats to come to the region.



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Formula One In Race Wagering Offered By ISG

Racing horses has been an opportunity for wagering for many years and the latest racing of very fast high tech automobiles will now present the same chance to bet. Recent news articles are revealing that the top car racing organization in Europe Formula One has announced a sponsorship with Interregional Sports Group (ISG). The change will let punters put wagers on bets on a contender while the race is in progress utilizing an in play feature. The owner of the commercial rights for Formula 1 Racing is from the USA and it has been suggested that in play betting may extend to the USA possibly in conjunction with the Indy racing circuit and NASCAR.

The lucrative arrangement will see ISG put up at least $100 million USD over a five year stint. ISG will be able to sublicense wagering partners in other parts of the world. Formula One is an international event and the firm’s presence will include vehicle graphics adverts on the tracks as well as logo access to the digital and social media stage. Interregional Sports Group will develop more arrangements with gambling firms allowing for pre race wagers and live in race betting.

Integrity has been a concern for organizers regulators and gambling partners so the ISG has retained the  integrity service agency, Sportradar,  which has experience with other organization to investigate suspicious betting patterns before and or during an event. Sportradar will use the data gathered from races from all over the planet to predict the obvious betting patterns. Formula One’s new managers Liberty Media, said that offering multimedia opportunities will take gambling and racing farther than ever before.

CEO of ISG Chris Buckley was quoted as saying, “Formula 1 now is looking at making the race more competitive, looking at making the elements of race more competitive, making it more exciting for the fans,” Buckley continued, “They already have some like half a billion fans worldwide, this is not a small sport.”



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Advertizing For Sports Betting Saturation Point Reached

The advertising of online betting and other gambling products has been in the spotlight lately in the UK and around the world. Sporting events were at one time sponsored by beer firms, cigarette manufactures and others. The message the various types of advertizing convey is far reaching and more pervasive than ever when it comes to gambling to the point where government regulatory bodies are saying enough is enough and are clamping down on the practice.

The saturation point has been reached when actually observing the trend that in the day and age of computers and media overload has cast a long shadow over the entire sports world. Technology is making it almost impossible to escape the convincing grip of making a bet and being part of the action. The big firms that supply the growing addiction to sports betting are using every trick in the book to make an ordinary sports fan feel included in the exciting action of the games. Gambling adverts tell us that if you don’t make a bet you are not truly participating in the sports experience.

Professor David Forrest of the University of Liverpool management school was quoted as saying this about advertizing gambling on the internet, “Technology has moved us all on and the fastest growing betting product is in-play betting which is heading towards being the dominant form of sports betting – it’s already 70 per cent in Spain and getting on to 50 per cent in the UK,”

The professor added, “The role of advertising is now different in that context because now the betting product and the sports product are so intertwined. It’s not incidental that they are advertising odds during the game because the product is the consumer watching the game interactively, responding to events on the field and placing bets. I’d say it’s a joint product, it’s a joint sports and betting product.”

The question about the advertizing of sports betting extreme remains to be adequately addressed.

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UK & Ireland Responsible Gambling Week Nov.1 to 7 2018

The most important thing to remember when betting is to be responsible and don’t let it get the best of you. A friendly reminder of the golden rule of gambling Responsible Gambling Week is coming up soon. This is an annual event that takes place in the United Kingdom which makes an effort to educate and promote responsible gambling throughout the nation. Ireland has also held a Responsible Gambling Week in the past but this time around both Ireland and the UK will team up for the first time to hold a cooperative effort which runs from Nov 1 to Nov 7 2018.

The week will witness as many as eleven thousand gambling operators including online betting service and product suppliers as well as terrestrial casino operators who will team up to highlight responsible gambling initiatives. The 2018 campaign will also have one hundred and twenty organizations who together support the focus on responsible gambling throughout the UK and Ireland.

The week of promotion has 80 bookies in Ireland with the UK Gambling Commission, , Gamble Aware and Young Gamblers’ Education Trust  all doing their part promoting a better safer gambling industry.  The theme for the Responsible Gambling Week is “Let’s Talk About Safer Gaming.”

 A statement made by John Hagan, Chairman of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling read,  

“It is heartening to see the support of leading operators for Responsible Gambling Week. Our aim is to make the event bigger and better than last year, and we are using the collective networks, venues and staff of all gambling sectors, and our digital channels, to reach a wider audience and raise awareness.”

The increase in gambling addiction in the United Kingdom has the industry and the gambling public concerned. Efforts like the Responsible Gambling Week focus attention on needed reforms within the industry and a greater need for prevention tools for the betting individual.   




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Albanian Government Prohibits Online Wagering

The market for online gambling services and products is growing in the world by leaps and bounds with some jurisdictions thinking twice about allowing it to flourish without controls. Then there are the more serious countries that are banning the activity all together for various reasons and Albania is a country that has done just that recently.

The parliament of the Republic has decided to outright prohibit online wagering as well as all forms of betting by the end of the year. Albania is in Southeastern Europe on the Adriatic Sea and is bounded by Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. This region is economically becoming richer with tourism as a source of income as well as gambling for some of the states. The crusade the government has been on is an effort to cure the practice of cheating in sports and curb the addiction to betting which the government feels to be a destructive influence on the population.

Slot parlours will be closed in residential regions with some casino activity allowed in tourist areas and in the capital Tirana. The only legal gambling operation Basterena will be shut down but lottery will be continued. A former basketball player, Rama said before the unanimous vote was counted, "We are waging a frontal war with the evil entrenched deeply in our society over the years.”

A task force to handle the removal of illegal betting shops will be established Rama said, "They might keep changing sites, and we'll keep shutting them down," The affected firms have vowed to fight back legally. The current government has done a good job of inspecting the over 1,300 which shut down a number of them due to violations in financial regulations. Albania is a poor nation but Albanians spent a reported €132m on gambling in 2017 with a population of under three million. The government has also failed to collect fines that operators incurred.


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Czech Fines Ignored By Rogue Online Gambling Operators

The online gambling scene can be difficult for governments all over the world with regulatory changes and problem gambling yet another issue has developed.  

The Czech government has been reportedly reacting to claims that the government is unable to penalize online gambling operators that serve local gamblers without a proper license. The Czech media source E15 revealed a report that spelled trouble for the Ministry of Finance and the problem of its ability to collect imposed fines from offshore international operators that have not qualified of received a license from the government. As of January first 2017 the regulations require operators to be registered and licensed with the responsible ministry.

There were 24 fines levied against the offending operators with only CZK240k ($10,750) collected out of the CZK455m (US$20.4m) in fines. The small compensation was regarded as lame because the Ministry does not have the proper tools and means to collect the fines from the firms still offering gambling products to Czech gamblers illegally.  

The Ministry of Finance responded with press release statement that acknowledges the problem of collection which cannot force “operators based in the Caribbean, for example” to send their outstanding fine payments to the coffers in the Czech Republic. Defending itself the Ministry said, “the main purpose of the fines is not the enrichment of the Treasury, but the restriction of the illegal offer of gambling. Fines have not only a restrictive but also a preventative effect.” The regulator maintains it has a strict protocol when it comes to granting a license to the offending operators maintaining that operators looking to acquire a Czech license must pay any outstanding fines.

The government has issued a list of 116 named offending firms on a blacklist after 21 months into a revamped regulatory regime. The situation is a difficult one to deal with for regulators everywhere that have no way of collecting or stopping illegal gambling online.  



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