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The Gambler's Report, U.S. Legal Online Gambling and Casinos

The Gambler’s Report, U.S. Legal Online Gambling and Casinos

March 12, 2013 · Filed Under CASINO HIGHLIGHTS, Gambler's Report, Online Gambling News 

The Gambler's Report, Legalizing and Regulating Online GamblingIn our latest edition of The Gambler’s Report, we take a look at US states Nevada and New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania and Illinois’ quest to legalize gambling within their own states, Australia and the IGA and the latest Playtech Partnership with Ladbrokes.

US – Nevada

Fox news recently aired an interview with SHFL Entertainment CEO Gavin Isaacs to discuss the future of “iGambling” and the Nevada companies plans for the future as more states are considering the move to legal online gambling.

One of the questions on the table asked of the Isaacs was, “How could the move to online gambling help casino revenue, but more importantly how their casino business portfolios would benefit in the long run.

Isaacs responded by stating that their proprietary table games are already established and readily available on servers where it is legal for players in those states to have access to them. Continuing, Isaacs stated the their financial numbers have grown favorably as they look ahead to additional states like Pennsylvania and Illinois coming on board with legal online gambling within their states as well as the large online market offshore.

In 2011, the revenue for U.S. casinos in Las Vegas was $6.069B and $3.318B in Atlantic City, SHFL however is looking forward to the next few months when they will actually make revenue from their online business.

When asked about the opportunity of opening their own online gambling site, Isaacs said they plan on keeping themselves purely a B2B supplier, providing casinos and online operators with their content, games and other products with no interest of competing in the B2C space.

US – Pennsylvania

State Rep. Tina Davis stated she might introduce the online gambling measure in Harrisburg as early as Wednesday which would see the Bucks County Democrat possibly approve a bill that would legalize Internet wagering in Pennsylvania.

“We wanted to get the conversation going,” she said. “We’re working on some changes” to the bill. “I got a lot of feedback from the different stakeholders, including the casinos.”

Davis’ bill will see a $10 million online-license-application fee, gross online gambling revenue tax of 20 percent and provisions that will deal with problem gambling.

US – Illinois

After Governor Pat Quinn’s vetoe of the bill to expand brick and mortar gambling, State Senator Terry Link has sponsored the Chicago Casino Development Authority Act bill that would expand brick and mortar gambling and legalize online gambling.

Senate Bill 1739 will see the expansion of brick and mortar gambling locations from 10 to 23, allows for online poker and online casino games, licenses would be issued for five years with five year renewals. A $250,000 application fee would be required for all companies and individuals wishing to receive an internet gaming license in Illinois.

Illinois horse racing industry may benefit as the allowance for the state’s racetracks to operate slot machines would raise $120-$200 million in licensing fees and $100-$300 each year in tax revenue.

Link further estimates revenue from online gambling may reach an annual $150 million, seeing projections for land-based adding $400 million to $1 billion to state coffers.

888 Hopes for Legalized US Gambling

British firm 888 has formed All American Poker Network with Avenue Capital Group. The new joint venture is set to launch as online gambling becomes legalized in the US.

“Working with a substantial financial partner provides the firepower that we need to take advantage of the significant opportunities that will be provided by a regulated U.S. gaming market,” CEO Brian Mattingley said in a statement.

“This is the perfect deal for 888, providing the ideal platform through which to launch our business-to-customer brands into the US market, once regulated,” said Brian Mattingley, chief executive, who added that the move “completed our online strategy”.

“The agreement sees a leading US financial institution backing one of the largest gaming platform operators in the world, joining forces to tackle a potentially huge market.”

Australia – Protection of its Consumers

In a recent review of the IGA’s services that provide consumer protection of Australian gambling communities a report published from the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, have found a need to provide revisions to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 set of standard laws.

The report feels as though the aim of the IGA, which is to regulate interactive gambling services by placing restrictions on certain services being provided to customers in Australia with an aims to limit the harmful effects of gambling on the Australian community, has wavered and a suggested 32 recommendations have been set as more than AU$1bn is wagered on as many as 2,200 egaming sites available in the country.

“The IGA may, in fact, be exacerbating the risk of harm because of the high level of usage by Australians of prohibited services which may not have the same protections that Australian licensed online gambling providers could be required to have,” the report stated.

Online casino-style games are banned in Australia and a suggested five-year trial of online poker will not go ahead, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says.
Nick Xenophon, a long-time gambling critic, labelled the report a ”copout” that could create a new wave of problem gamblers, “If the current legislation was actually strengthened and enforced, the Federal Government would not need to be expanding online gambling and its associated harms,” Senator Xenophon said.

Ladbrokes, “New Deal”

Ladbrokes has a new five-year deal with Playtech that is a close resemblance to one the software provider has had with Ladbrokes competitor William Hill. After a successful run with Playtech however, Will Hill has bought their way out the previous deal with Playtech which now opens the door for a new Ladbrokes partnership.

The new deal is an inspired partnership with the hopes of boosting Ladbrokes online presence and will make use of Playtech’s digital marketing services. Ladbrokes is hoping to increase their online revenues, which is way behind that of competitors Will Hill, with the added benefits of Playtech’s portfolio of casino games on to a new “Vegas” gaming tab on its website.

Richard Glynn, Ladbrokes’ chief executive, said that in the gaming area, and in extending the lifetime value of customers, “we are not as strong as we need to be”. “This is not a joint venture, it is 100 per cent controlled by us,” he said. The goal was “to make sure we service our existing customers better”.

Ladbrokes’ shares rose to their highest level since May 2009, closing up 6.5 per cent at 239.8p, while Playtech was up 3.5 per cent to 571p.

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Australian Government Reviews IGA

November 13, 2011 · Filed Under Online Gambling News 

The Internet Gambling Act of 2001 is finally being reviewed by the Australian Federal Government, and certainly not before time. While they are reviewing this Act, other Internet industry professionals are also taking a look at various aspects of the online gambling game in this country. For example the Internet Industry Association (IIA) is having their say about online problem gambling, and also saying this issue should be addressed at the PC and smart-phone level.

The point of the discussion is that the IIA wants to caution against placing responsibility for this problem on the ISP (Internet Service Provider). What they want is problem gambling to be managed at the point of service access, which is the end-users device. Apparently with todays’ advanced technology, there must be a way. The argument is that the prohibition of online gambling sites and other applications in this country have been completely ineffective in the light of the fact that so many offshore gambling services are available.

Placing responsibility on the Internet Service Provider, even in terms of Australian online gambling sites, would leave too many ways for problem gambling to slip through the cracks. When it is controlled at the point of consumption; the point is, it can be controlled – perhaps not completely, but at least to a certain degree. This is the most effective and technologically feasible way.

Placing responsibility on ISP’s or other sectors of the online gambling industry, in an effort to help regulate the problem, was ineffective and unrealistic; particularly if included in a new Internet Gambling Act. In essence ISP’s do not want ‘gatekeeper’ responsibilities thrust upon them, as this would lead to higher costs as well as greater problems. In effect Australians who use offshore gambling sites, should not have the protection of the online gambling laws which are applicable to this country.

Written by Neha A

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Online Gambling – Aussie Betting Operators Ask Government to Lift Laws

November 12, 2011 · Filed Under Online Gambling News 

While most online gambling is not allowed to the Australian public, this does not stop them playing at offshore sites. However, the Government is taking a serious look at changing the law, and currently Australian online sports-betting companies are actually allowed to operate online with restrictions. These companies rightfully claim that with restrictions in place, they have very little chance of competing against offshore sports-betting sites.

Currently the Federal Government is reviewing the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA), and online business Sportsbet claims that current regulations should also be amended while they awaiting review of these changes. What Australian online bookmakers want is ‘in-the-run’ betting. We call it ‘in-play betting’ and it refers to the placing of wagers after an event has commenced. “Betting after an event has commenced is available over the phone and in retail outlets in Australia,” the submission reads.

For example betting on the outcome of the goals in a football game, at the start of the second half in game time. This gives punters more of an advantage to use their judgment, and actually makes sports betting much more of a skill game, than a game of pure unadulterated luck, therefore not gambling but become more of a strategist. This option is also much more fair when looked at from the bigger picture, where consistency is important for player protection.

While Australian-based websites are prohibited from the ‘in-play’ practice, other offshore sites are not. It is a popular way to play in the UK for example. Online operators want this particular matter looked at as a separate entity, because they believe it is so important to their ability to compete on a level playing field. It is actually also a matter of platform neutrality, as ‘in-the-run’ betting is allowed to take place in Australia over the phone and in TAB retail outlets. Sportsbet is understandably urging the Government to address this matter urgently and we can fully understand why.

Betfair, has joined Sportsbet in the push for the removal of the restrictions around online in-play, stating, “Further, Australian consumers of these services would be afforded enhanced consumer protection, tax revenues would remain in Australia and can be used to fund problem gambling programs and research projects and Australian operators will be able to compete with offshore gambling operators on an even playing field.”

“One key reason that the IGA is presently ineffective is that it failed to regulate services, and instead focused on the methods by which those services are delivered (e.g. telephone, internet) and therefore became antiquated on a rapid basis.”

Tabcorp commented on the matters at hand adding, “online gambling must be deregulated so Australian’s are not forced to bet with offshore operators.“This will also enable domestic operators to compete on a level playing field where player protection standards can be assured.”

Written by Maggie B

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