The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is continuing its fight against unlicensed online offshore gambling websites with moves to block nine further sites.
The ACMA is set to request Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block nine illegal iGaming sites, and has urged Australian users of these sites to withdraw their money immediately.
Last November Emu Casino became the first online casino to be blocked in Australia. It has since exited the Australian market and is allowing customers to withdraw funds through its customer support.
The latest operators to be blocked include Roo Casino, GW Casino, Wager Beat, Joe Fortune, Ignition Casino, Casino Dingo, AU Slots, Top Bet and XBet.
The ACMA confirmed that more than 79 complaints were submitted about the sites, which have been targeting Australian players in breach of the country’s Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
More than 90 illegal operators have pulled out of the Australian market since 2017, when the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules.
Casino games developer Yggdrasil has been granted a B2B software licence by the Isle of Man Supervision Commission.
The approval allows Yggdrasil to offer its portfolio of games and software to licensed operators in the jurisdiction, and adds to the supplier’s existing seven licences across the UK, Malta, Gibraltar and Romania.
“Ever since we began the business, we have been highly regulated and highly compliant in every major gaming jurisdiction,” said Yggdrasil chief executive Fredrik Elmqvist. “We take great pride in adhering to regulatory best practice and place great emphasis on compliance and responsible gaming across all our products.
“We’re delighted to add the Isle of Man to this prestigious regulatory roster, our eighth B2B licence, and I’m sure many more will follow in the years to come.”
Recently blacklisted online gaming operators in Greece will be excluded from the initial licensing process under proposed regulations.
The rules to govern the regulated Greek online gaming market were notified to the European Commission last week following the adoption of new online gaming legislation in October, which will see operators fully licensed and regulated in Greece for the first time.
Seven-year Greek licenses will be available for online betting (Type 1 License) and online casino games (Type 2 License) at a cost of €3m and €2m respectively, although operators that have appeared on the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s (HGC) blacklist of illegal operators in the year prior to application will be ineligible for licensure.
The HGC only blacklisted four websites in 2019, but is expected to expand this before the start of the new licensing process. The four sites blacklisted in 2019 are 1x2bet.gr, betballa.gr, fonbet.gr and 1×2-netbet.gr, with a total of 2,632 domains blacklisted since the introduction of the list in 2013.
The proposed Type 1 license regulations allow betting on sporting events, virtual sports, other events, and random number generator-determined events, excluding youth sports, event betting and betting on an outcome determined by another form of gambling, such as lottery betting.
Operators will also be prohibited from offering bets that have been banned by a sports governing body or competent authority such as the Hellenic Football Federation, and exchange betting is prohibited outright.
The maximum wagering amount is set at €500,000 for online betting, although players may request an increase to the threshold, while RNG-determined online casino games will be subject to a maximum bet of €2 per spin and prize of €5,000 in any one game cycle, excluding jackpots.
Jackpots may only be offered under a Type 2 license and must only be available within Greece, with jackpot operations strictly limited to games from the same manufacturer. The rules also prohibit jackpot pooling between licensees and cap jackpot prizes at a maximum of €500,000.
The proposed regulations also address game and systems certification, mandatory responsible gambling tools such as self-assessment and self-exclusion functionality and deposit limits, and rules regarding payment processing and data protection.
The technical and game regulations were notified to the European Commission on 31 December and are subject to a standstill period expiring on 1 April, 2020.
Michigan’s sports betting and online gaming legislation was signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday.
The package of bills relating to fantasy sports contests, sports betting and online gaming is expected to bring in $19m in new revenue to the state, which will bolster the School Aid Fund by $4.8m and provide an additional $4m to the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund.
The bills (HB 4307 – 4312; 4323; 4173; 4916 – 4918) allow the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to issue licenses for online and mobile casinos games and sports betting, which may be offered by licensed Detroit or Tribal casinos, and also establish a legal framework to regulate fantasy sports contests.
“My top priority in signing this legislation was protecting and investing in the School Aid Fund, because our students deserve leaders who put their education first,” Governor Whitmer said.
“Thanks in part to the hard work and leadership of Senator Hertel and Representative Warren, these bills will put more dollars in Michigan classrooms and increase funding for firefighters battling cancer. This is a real bipartisan win for our state.”
The approval comes a year after former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar package of bills over concerns about their impact on the state’s iLottery revenue, which benefits the School Aid Fund.
The Illinois Gaming Board is accepting sports betting license applications under emergency rules released Thursday.
The initial rules govern licensing, oversight and discipline, and establish the application process for the state’s master sports wagering licenses, management service provider licenses, and technology and data supplier licenses, among others.
The rules also enable the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) to expedite the process by issuing temporary operating permits in situations that do not compromise gaming integrity or public safety.
“Today’s release of applications and phase 1 rules is a significant step in the process the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker began earlier this year – the ethical and transparent implementation of sports wagering in Illinois,” said Illinois Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter.
“IGB staff used responses from the [public] comment period to inform the rules and also derived best practices from states where sports wagering is already being conducted in order to develop a regulatory framework and implementation process that are right for Illinois and will protect the public interest.”
Thursday’s emergency rules will be followed by the release of operational rules early next year.
Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has called on industry suppliers to avoid serving unlicensed online gaming operators, while warning licensed operators to ensure that other brands within their group are not engaged in illegal activity.
The regulator set out the advice in a new strategy document outlining its plans to combat illegal gambling, which will be based on a Dutch-style prioritisation system.
This will see it prioritise enforcement action against unlicensed operators targeting Swedish consumers using criteria such as the availability of Swedish currency deposits and withdrawals, Swedish language customer support, or marketing aimed at Swedish consumers.
Gambling sites that meet these criteria but do not allow players located in Sweden to register an account will not be considered to be targeting Swedish consumers.
“It can be assumed on good grounds that those who engage in illegal gambling activities over the internet are usually headquartered in countries other than Sweden, often outside the European Union,” Spelinspektionen states.
“This poses special challenges for Swedish authorities. There is no one simple solution, or any tool that directly excludes the illegal gaming operations from the Swedish market. However, Spelinspektionen sees that there are several industry participants who can take steps to limit the opportunity and / or incentives to conduct illegal gambling activities in Sweden.”
This will see the regulator work with the police and consumer protection agency to bring criminal charges against unlicensed operators, as well as with regulators in other jurisdictions where such operators may be licensed.
Spelinspektionen also believes that Swedish licensed operators have a responsibility to combat illegal gambling by refusing to work with suppliers and payment processors who also serve unlicensed operators.
“For example, payment service providers and software providers can act by placing demands on their customers and partners,” the regulator explains. “Marketing companies can in turn act by working only with licensed gaming companies and thus avoid promoting illegality.”
The strategy document notes that licensed operators and consumers are best placed to provide tips about illegal gambling to enable the regulator to begin investigations and where necessary, apply for a court order to request payment blocking.
The Swedish regulator is also considering implementing a new warning system where consumers attempting to access an unlicensed site from Sweden will be displayed a message warning them that the activity is illegal.
The document also warns operators to be vigilant of group activities which could impact their Swedish license.
“Some of the companies that are licensed to provide online games in Sweden are included in one group with several other companies. If a situation arises where one of the companies within the same group provides online games that are targeted at the Swedish market without the necessary license, Spelinspektionen will also act against the licensee,” it warns.
“Intervention against the licensee can then take place, for example, by remark, warning or license revocation in accordance with chapter 18. section 12 of the Gaming Act.”
The regulator adds that previous violations will make operators ineligible for new licenses, while senior executives who have served at such companies will also be deemed inappropriate.
The government of Paraguay has announced plans to re-regulate the country’s gambling market and clampdown on illegal operators who are depriving the state of tax revenue.
The proposed changes were set out in draft legislation submitted to congress last week, in which the government stressed the need for “new legislation that will contribute to the orderly development of the sector” under strict state supervision.
The proposal calls for the licensing of each gambling activity, “taking into account the importance of technology in the commercialisation of gambling”.
In a statement accompanying the draft legislation the government said that gambling should be offered through concessions to private operators or state-controlled entities, taking into account the importance of gaming systems certification, monitoring tools for the collection of bets, and the implementation of safeguards with regard to problem gambling and money laundering.
It also calls for the development of new types of games, the establishment of a concession process, and the means by which to prosecute unlicensed activity – all of which will require “a regulatory body with sufficient resources”.
Florida’s sports betting bills are set for committee hearings in the new year following referral by the Senate on Friday.
The Senate considered three bills to legalise and regulate sports betting that were introduced by Republican senator Jeff Brandes in November.
SB968 (regulation), SB970 (license fee) and SB972 (tax) were filed on November 18th and would take effect on October 1st, 2020, allowing the Florida Lottery to offer bets on professional and collegiate sport and athletic events to players over the age of 21 who are physically present in the state.
The lottery would have exclusivity over retail betting, while private operators would be offered $100,000 annual licenses to conduct online sports betting, with both subject to a 15 per cent tax on net revenue.
The bills were referred Friday to the Senate Appropriations; Rules; and Innovation, Industry, and Technology committees, of which senator Brandes is a member of all three.
Lawmakers in the US state of Michigan have approved a package of bills that would regulate sports betting and online gaming.
The last session day of the state legislature saw a package of gambling-related bills sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for approval following passage by the Senate Wednesday.
Representative Brandt Iden, who has been leading reform efforts for three years and is lead sponsor of the bills, said that the legislation included important consumer protections and would modernize Michigan’s gaming laws to incorporate sports betting and evolving technology.
“It’s been a long journey to move sports betting and casino-style gaming into a regulated, safe and modern environment – but the end is in sight, and with it a great opportunity for Michigan will begin,” Iden said. “First and foremost, our reforms will protect the thousands of Michigan residents already wagering online. They will be able to play on safe, regulated sites and use modern technology such as mobile apps.
“These reforms also will benefit Michigan’s economy and provide additional revenue for our schools and local communities – revenue that now goes to other states, or out of the country. It’s a win-win situation – and we simply cannot delay these reforms any longer. Delay has put our residents at risk and left our state falling behind Indiana, Illinois and others moving to capitalize on a growing trend.”
The measures provide a regulatory framework for sports betting with a competitive tax rate of 8.4 per cent of adjusted gross sports betting receipts.
Online casino and sports betting would be available to players 21 and older through land-based casinos already operating in Michigan, including Detroit’s three casinos and tribal casinos across the state.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board would regulate online gaming with built-in safety features such as age verification systems and protections against fraud. In-play sports betting would be allowed but must be settled using official data provided by professional sports leagues such as the NFL and NBA.
The legislation also directs a portion of gross iGaming and sports betting revenue to improve essential public services, the majority of which would go to Michigan’s public schools.
Safeguards will also be put in place to protect and grow education funding, including a provision to ensure online games offered by casinos do not directly compete with games offered by the Michigan Lottery.
“This is a reform Michigan residents clearly want because they’re already wagering in other states or on illegal websites,” Iden concluded. “Our state will no longer miss out on business, and our schools will no longer miss out on revenue. I am thankful for the bipartisan support these reforms have received in the Legislature as Michigan proves we can work together to foster economic growth and protect residents.”
The package of bills approved by the legislature includes House Bills 4307 – 4312; 4323; 4173; 4916 – 4918, and also deals with fantasy sports, charitable gaming, and horse racing.