The California legislature will vote to legalize online poker. After legislators began to realize how in debt the state of California is, they have decided to be a little creative and try to capture at least a portion of the money that's flowing offshore as gamblers continue to play poker.

 

According to Mike Godfrey of Tax News.com the leader of the California Senate Committee on Gambling, Senator Rod Wright, has introduced an amended version of Senate Bill 1485, which would license California-based web gaming companies to operate online poker websites exclusively for the residents of California. The proposal would raise a minimum of 20% of revenue from these websites to help counter the state's huge budget deficit.

The new amended rules will also limit the number of online casinos in California. The bill has been given urgency status which means that should it be approved, the law goes into effect immediately where as a non-urgency label would have delayed implementation until January 1st of next year. If the proposal passes the critical vote in the legislature, the State Department of Justice will be able to grant three contracts, each with a five year life span. There is a possible glitch in the process as representatives from Tribal casinos and card rooms are expected to oppose the legislation.

Federal law in the USA allows individual states to authorize intrastate online gambling, but the raising of revenue becomes an issue because the authorization of new online poker websites may jeopardize income under existing tribal-state compacts and agreements which are expected to raise 365million USD in the budget year 2010-11. Current estimates suggest that Californians only spent an approximate 300million USD on poker websites in 2009. The state of affairs in California's financial picture is bleak with a looming deficit expected to reach 19.1 billion USD by next year at this time.

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Recently the Danish Supreme Court upheld a decision made in a lower court which insures that internet service providers will continue to block access to websites that may contain or link to other sites which contain content which infringes on copyrights. The decision has been criticized by internet freedom advocates as a step backward for web freedom in Denmark. The argument contends that forcing ISP’s to police the Internet without due process the decision marks a dangerous precedent that is likely to include other “illegal” or “offensive” material in the future like online gambling.

Denmark has been voted the country with the least censored press in the world by Reporters Without Borders, which is in some jeopardy after the Supreme Court decision on the filtering of the web. As with all governments who are in between the rock and the hard place when it comes to censoring unsavoury and undesirable content on the net, they are basically just trying to do what is best for the well being of the citizens.

Recently the Danish parliament passed a law, allowing the taxation department to notify ISPs of web sites operated by “unauthorized” providers of online-gambling. ISPs will then be required to censor these sites. If the relevant ISPs refuse or fail to do so they will be subject to criminal liability and prosecution. There is no room left for discussion on the decision of the tax authorities and no recourse is offered to websites or ISP's.

Further debate is expected from those opposing this kind of censorship, claiming the new law is in contravention of the Danish constitution’s prohibition against censorship and or the European Convention on Human Rights’ protection of freedom of expression and access to information. Several Danish lawmakers such as the Socialist Peoples’ Party and the Danish Peoples’ Party have suggested far reaching internet censorship without too much success.

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The French online gambling regulations are slowly but surely making progress as they are becoming a reality. RapidTV reports that online gambling regulator ARJEL has inspected the applications of 20 major online gambling operators who are trying to obtain one of the 30 licenses available. ARJEL issued a positive statement that it will "deliver first agreements to operators in the first two weeks of June." Just in time for the wagering to begin on the World Cup Football Tournament in South Africa.

Some operators have applied for multiple licenses such as Bwin which has applied for a sports betting and poker license and BetClic which has applied for a sports betting, horse racing and poker license. Betfair and William Hill have obviously not applied for any licences in France and have discontinued accepting bets from punters in France at least for the time being.

Betfair's director of European public affairs, Tim Phillips, commented on the decision to cut service to French customers, "Though it’s not impossible for a newcomer to create a commercially viable business, most projections show it will be very difficult to do so, given the proposed restrictions imposed on license holders." These new rules in France provide average returns to players considered to be less than those offered in other markets in Europe and are seen as not competitive. The Betfair company will take the time to think about a restructure of it's operation in order to comply with the new French regime.

William Hill another large online gambling operator from the U.K. issued a statement on the issue saying, "In conjunction with the changes to the regulatory regime in France, William Hill Online is considering whether to apply for a license to offer permitted online gambling products to French residents."

Microgaming, a major software provider for online gambling mentioned that it has submitted applications for three operator licenses, two of which are part of a joint venture with 888 Holdings plc.. The CEO of Microgaming, Roger Raatgever, said, "This is a milestone for us and marks the beginning of our first wave of applications, which we believe will see us rapidly establishing ourselves as market leaders in France."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An article in the Australia's Sydney Morning Herald seems biased towards banning online wagering in the country as it plainly suggests that if online gaming was allowed to expand there would be an epidemic of problem and compulsive gambling.

Even though there are many objective scientific studies that point out that online gambling is no more harmful than any other forms of wagering, writers at the Sydney Morning Herald continue to be on the side of supposed experts with vested interests concerning problem gambling and online casinos.

The recent government's report produced by the National Productivity Commission, is expected to recommend regulating and licensing online casinos in Australia. Most legislators see the financial benefit of expanding legal betting in Australia noticing that millions of dollars flow unregulated to offshore online gambling sites with no benefit to the people of the country.

Detractors of online gambling regulations such as Senator Nick Xenophon, say that "rapid growth in online sports betting and poker will create a new generation of problem gamblers." This has been proven to be not true by many institutions that have put considerable effort into research on the subject of problem gambling on the internet. Sources such as Harvard Medical School found online gambling to have only very mildly addicting tendencies. Keith Whyte, director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, acknowledges the evidence shows online gaming does not seem to lead to any significant increase in compulsive gambling.

Australia is going down the slippery slope to censorship and prohibition, and will end up somewhat like America where the ban on online gambling has failed to stop the activity leaving the government of the USA trying to find a better solution than their UIGEA. Media sources should provide unbiased and balanced opinions but on the issue of internet gambling in Down Under that may not be the case.

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In the United States of America there are many different laws that apply only in certain states. Washington State for example has laws that prohibits engaging in online gambling, both for poker and casinos, making these activities a felony.

Recently the law there was challenged by the Washington State branch of the Poker Players Alliance and after going to trial court and the appeals court now the case is before the Washington State Supreme Court.

State Director of the Poker Players Alliance Lee Rousso presented the case challenging the law under the Commerce Act. This Act points out that no state can pass legislation that discriminates against a section of any particular industry. the Washington legislation discriminates against the online gambling industry.

Mr. Rousso argues that the legislated law is biased against the online gambling industry. The argument contends that if a person playing poker or other casino games is in a land based casino then they are legal but the same activity online is a felony. It was suggested that the only benefit of the Washington State law is for the aboriginal tribal owned casinos that don't want the competition from online gambling sources.

Assistant Attorney General, Jerry Ackerman, represented the State of Washington, and said to the court that online gambling cannot be regulated and is therefore unsafe.

Thomas Goldstein, who spoke for the online gambling industry said that it was not sufficient for the state to claim that online gambling cannot be regulated and they had failed at the two previous court hearings to prove that online gambling could not be controlled or regulated. Goldstein also added there are many instances of regulated online gambling in other jurisdictions and the State of Washington allows for online betting on the horses.

Justice, Jim Johnson, questioned Ackerman, "Aren’t these the same games that are played in Indian casinos?" Ackerman said the Indian casinos were allowed because federal legislation required them to do so. The judges pointed out that the state receives a substantial fee from the Tribal casinos dismissing Ackerman's contention.

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The Estonian Tax and Customs Board has granted a third licence for a legal online gambling site giving Triogames two operating licenses granting the company permission to operate its Triobet brand name on both casino games and lottery offerings.

With the new rules introduced to Estonia's gambling laws at the beginning of 2010 and it's rapid advancement within the European community the licence will prove very valuable for the operator. The law states that foreign-owned websites will not be granted a license for a long-distance gambling organization until 2011. An Estonia-based, Playtech software powered Olympic Entertainment Group casino and poker room was the first to be approved by the tax and customs board which began operating in January of this year. In announcing the decision, the board also added more sites to the country’s blacklist of Internet Service Provider blocked websites. The list now contains nearly 300 sites that are filtered not allowing Estonians access to the online sites.

Online gambling is legal in Estonia and is offered by the state-run sports book, called Spordiennustus, E-Lotto, offers state lottery, bingo, and other number games on the net. No internet sites from Estonia offer skill games yet. For casino online gambling in Estonia, players turn to sites hosted in other countries. There are but a few international offshore gambling operators that offer services in the Estonian language or currency. One hundred and thirty eight offshore sites are available to the Estonian gambler most however are in English and work in Euros. Estonia is expected o convert from it's local currency to the Euro in 2011 which will make wagering there much easier for Estonians.

Triobet is one of three online gambling sites owned by the Nordic Gaming Group Ltd. and uses various software applications such as Dynamite Idea, Jadestone, Microgaming and NetEnt all licensed and regulated by the Isle of Man.

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When the Atlantic Lottery was founded on Sept. 3, 1976, it offered just one game. Today players enjoy traditional lottery games and some of the newest Internet and social games available. Considered one of the leaders in gaming technology, design, and financial security ALC is going strong in the twenty first century.

The governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island own the corporation and are still debating in the Newfoundland provincial legislature the practical aspects of the introduction of online gambling to the eastern provinces of Canada. Atlantic Lottery has more than 600 employees and that number will grow as the company expands it's offerings on the internet. When questioned about the Newfoundland's roll in the new proposal the Finance Minister Tom Marshall, read a carefully worded statement to the provincial members of parliament. He said, " The Atlantic Lottery Corporation, which is owned by the four Atlantic provinces, has indicated an interest in getting into online gambling because of the fact there are over 2,000 sites, 2,000 illegal sites that people can access right now, and they want to do it to offer more responsible gambling. Our government has not made any decision on whether we are going to support that initiative or not. That is something that we will consider at some time in the future."

Using the consumer protection argument many political figures are all for the implementation of online poker and casinos run by the government firmly voicing that there is no other method of controlling the activity making it a safer place to place your bets and keeping underage gamblers off the web and out of trouble. The government seems to side step the fact that profit is made from gambling although they claim 100 % goes back into the community benefiting everyone locally.

According to the Editorial in the Newfoundland's Weekend Telegram a potential $55 million from online gambling revenue is to be had if the proposal by the ALC is approved.

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The Zenon Group which is listed on the Greek Athens Exchange is active in the sectors of Collective Bets including land-based and online companies with online sports betting, live and RNG driven casino games. The firm has just announced a significant increase in profitability driven by new venture expansions and change in direction for the group.

 
Strategic planning and trading policies have produced positive results for Zenon S.A as the group realizes it's potential from recent acquisitions. The Group operation has expanded it's range of products through new subsidiaries in the areas of betting through bookmakers operating land based betting shops, and more recently via the Internet with a gambling offering of some variety and live casino games now available. An increase of 339,5% can be mainly attributed to the initiation of new ventures within the sectors of online gaming and fixed odds bets. It is essential to mention that the increase in net and gross profits derives mainly from business activities in Cyprus (90%) indicating that the gambling sector in Cyprus is booming, in contrast to the Greek market which seems to be influenced by the global economic recession.

The business goal of the Zenon Group is to increase the number of its LBO s in Cyprus and the number of its VLT s operating in casinos on vessels. After the increase in share capital by contribution in kind of shares of companies such as Megabet LTD, Poerol LTD, Eurogoal Cyprus LTD, Eurogoal Betting LTD, Eurogoal Racing LTD, Shigibet LTD, Kastor Leisure LTD, Kastor Betting LTD and Primebet LTD, the Group sees further consolidation and profits from this direction change. Zenon Group is presenting a strong financial structure with €46.946.599 in total equity and €57.674.547 in total assets. The company maintains a strong leverage position with noticeably low levels of net debt at €4.163.009.

Strengthened performance for the company can be primarily attributed to the initiation of a successful restructuring plan along with the new ventures and initiatives of the Zenon Group's management.

 

 

 

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The arrest of four Koreans and three Filipino women in the Ermita, Manila area of the Philippines in what the police are calling an international 'illegal' gambling operation has left the local police still looking for more suspects. The authorities stated that the bets were being accepted in South Korea over an internet connection that involved streaming card action dealt by the Filipino women. Bank-to-bank transfers were used for deposits and payouts. Two gambling tables, eight LCD computer monitors, four computers, three video cameras, and two telephones were seized during the crackdown reported, said, Special Task Group Maverick, Chief Insp. Manuel Cube.

The Inquirer reported from a police blotter that, “The raiding team found out that the illegal gambling game was done online from the Philippines to Korea where bettors are betting through bank-to-bank. The result of the games can be seen through computer monitors. The winners claim their winnings through bank-to-bank also,” The late night raid was conducted with a search warrant after a police stakeout of the Pearl of the Orient Tower where the alleged illegal gambling operators were reported to be either staying or leasing luxury residential units. A police officer who was a spokesperson on the case said the operation was suspected of being part of a money-laundering scheme based in South Korea. Police are still on the hunt for four other possible suspects who fled the scene. Police said they received information that Choy the alleged kingpin of the operation arrived in the country a few months ago to set up the illegal gambling den together with the arrested suspects who are computer professionals.

Rumours abound suggesting another local law enforcement agency has been protecting the illegal gambling operation and is now working on the bail and release of the suspects who are facing inquest proceedings for a possible violation of Presidential Decree 1602 for the illegal operation of a gambling den.

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The law as a rule is about definitions and the laws regarding online gambling in the European Union have not as yet been clearly defined. It is complicated and difficult for everyone to be on the same page for Europe's online gambling legislation. Some progress seems to be made regarding clarity, recently when the Spanish E.U. Presidency suggested that a common definition of illegal gambling is vital to the coordinated and effective regulation of gambling throughout the E.U. trading bloc.

If illegal gambling is to be successfully prevented throughout Europe then a collaborative effort by the member states is essential. The E.U. Competitiveness Council was presented with proposals that appear to suggest that the different national laws of the 27 E.U. member nations must be considered in order to adopt a common definition of illegal gambling and to respond effectively to situations created by illegal operators. The E.U. Presidency sent a questionnaire to all member states asking about their policies on online gambling and how each country defines the term ‘illegal gambling’. It was noted that all member states have a public authority in charge of regulation and control of the sector. It was also pointed out that online gambling is either regulated, or is in the process of being legalized in most of the 27 states, excluding states that have been stalling on the issue such as Greece, Portugal, Germany, Romania, Poland, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Lithuania.

Control measures for illegal gambling web sites include blocking of ISPs, blocking financial transactions, fines and possible imprisonment for violators. Secretary general of the European Gambling and Betting Association, Sigrid Ligné, stated, "This report is the most balanced," she said pleased, "It tries to strike a fair balance between member states’ right to regulate the sector and the obligation to respect treaty rules”.

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 



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