New York Lawmaker Wants Online Poker Bill Passed In June

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After the United States Supreme Court repealed PASPA last Monday and paved the way for the legalization of sports betting in various states, a related concern has arisen and it is now being heavily debated – that is, the future of other skill-heavy forms of gambling such as online poker. While there is no direct correlation between the Supreme Court ruling that struck down PASPA and the legalization of online poker, it is believed that states that push forward with sports betting legislation will eventually lean more towards an all-inclusive gambling legislation rather than sticking to individual types of gambling.

In New York, the push for the legalization of sports betting surges with most recent development being the renewal of calls for the same by New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow. The lawmaker hopes to have the online poker bill passed by next month. In fact, Pretlow believes that putting the bill on the Assembly floor is the only thing that stands in the way of its passage.

“To get it to the floor is all that’s needed. He [Heastie] is not going to guarantee passage, but get it to the floor and I’ll debate it and get it passed,” Pretlow said.

It will not stop there though. The assemblyman further confirmed that his long-awaited sports bettings bill will follow through next week and despite his current efforts to have online poker legalized he will not be including online poker in the legislation. According to him, every bill he introduces “should stand on its own merit.” As he sees it, such a move would be perceived as a plan to sneak in something else that some people may be opposed to. He, however, agrees that the expectation that a sports betting bill could be passed next month improves the chances for online poker.

“This will be helpful to getting online poker done,” Pretlow commented the sports betting bill. “There are more people interested in pursuing sports betting than pursuing online poker. For whatever reason, people consider online poker to be gambling but don’t consider sports betting to be gambling. I’m going to show them this is all gaming, and all forms of gaming happening are related.”

US Supreme Court Ruling Paves Way for Legal Esports Betting

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On Monday, the United States Supreme court repealed a law that prohibited sports betting with a 6-3 ruling that has finally brought to an end the six-year legal battle over the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. The ruling effectively opened the doors for legal sports betting in any state that wishes to offer it. However, it does not stop there – the ruling is also now poised to have some major implication for the Esports industry.

While the ruling did not mention Esports specifically, but considering the recent commingling and partnerships of traditional sports and Esports, it is undeniable that the correlation will result in the legalization of Esports betting as well.

“The Supreme Court just struck down the primary law restricting sports betting throughout the US. This will have a profound impact on the Esports industry and we’re so underprepared for it. ~$5B wagered on Esports last year – about to skyrocket,” Bryce Blum, an attorney, and ESG Law founder tweeted.

Clearly, Esports betting is already tremendously lucrative even though the majority of the bets are done illegally. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling is expected to give it some legitimacy. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes that the ruling will double the value of Esports franchises overnight the same way it did for the traditional professional sports franchises.

“It doubled the value of the professional sports franchises in a second,” Cuban said. “It will increase interest, it will add to what happens in our arena and in stadiums. It will increase the viewership for our biggest customers online and on TV. It helps traditional television because it’s much lower latency, whereas online, because of cachet, it’s much higher latency.”

At this point, the inevitability of Esports cannot be denied and this puts the industry at a crossroads of some sort: are we going to embrace it or shun it altogether. We can all agree that gambling has its problems for sure but, as it turns, the negative externalities (such as illegal betting) are usually magnified due to the lack of participation of league operators. No one wants that.

“Some of the technologically advanced states will move relatively quickly, but my hope is that there’s a federal approach to it, as opposed to everyone having to deal with each state individually,” Cuban added. “If that’s difficult in the short term, I think it’d be really smart for the commissions from as many states as possible to work together to standardize things because that will enable the most creativity. When each state has its own rules and requirements that jacks up the expense for everybody, which minimizes the entrepreneurial and technology opportunities.”

USA Online Casino Partners with Top-Rated Casino Brands

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USA Online Casino has entered into a number of new partnerships with leading casino brands as part of its efforts to provide gamers and gaming fans with the best possible offerings and information about online casinos. The partnerships have been forged with the aim of bringing players regularly updated and in-depth reviews of the major online casinos that are lucky enough to meet their stringent criteria.

In addition to this, the partnerships will go a step further to provide games with up-to-date news, the best casino bonuses in the markets, as well as the fastest and most reliable payouts – all these are going to be selected based on whether or not they adhere to the strict safety rules that will be outlined by USA Online Casino and its partners.

We live in an era where massive data leaks and misuse of personal data are usual occurrences and one of the most affected industries is the casino industry. USA Online Casino understands that the player’s need for privacy protection and this is where the partnerships come in. The company conducts extensive background and safety checks on all the casinos they review so as to ensure that they are not only fully vetted but also regulated and certified by reputable, independent third parties.

“All the casinos featured use the latest industry-standard encryption technology to ensure players’ personal data always remains completely safe and secure. We want players to have a good time, but not at the expense of safety or quality. Our ultimate goal is to achieve the perfect balance—and that requires the right blend of cutting-edge content, ground-breaking new releases, and player rewards,” Philip Redmond, a spokesman for USA Online Casino, commented on the new partnerships in a press release. “Our goal is always to find a dynamic assortment of online casino promotions and VIP perks not available anywhere else – and bring them all together in one place.”

The platform stays true to its goal of finding a dynamic assortment of online casino promotions and VIP perks that cannot be found anywhere else and then bring them all together to a place where players can easily access and use the information.

GLMS Partners with ESIC to Safeguard the Integrity of Sports

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Esports is particularly vulnerable to match-fixing and we have seen a number of such cases especially due to the global rise of Esports. The world is still on a course headed for a technological singularity which makes many things very easy – since it is so simple to place a bet, rigging can, in turn, be just as easy.

Keeping this in mind, the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) and the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) have signed a partnership deal that will see them working together towards ensuring integrity by identifying and reporting any irregularities or suspicious betting patterns.

“Betting on Esports has been growing consistently in the last few years and the global appeal among millennial’s on digital entertainment is the driving force behind it. Esports and in-play Mobile Betting are a perfect combination of social entertainment and interaction. GLMS has been monitoring the phenomenon over the last 3 years now and we consider Esports an area to dedicate specific efforts and commitment given the impact on young citizens and society as a whole. We are very excited to support ESIC in its mission to tackle the integrity challenges within the Esports arena. Thanks to our growing network which guarantees local expertise and global reach, I am convinced that we can make a difference in the domain of Esports as well,” said Ludovico Calvi, the president of GLMS.

The GLMS was spawned from the minds of like-minded people who were keen on ensuring that integrity as a core value of sporting systems was maintained. The organization has since grown immensely and boasts of a number of hubs in Hong Kong and Denmark as well as 27 partners in several different parts of the globe.

“ESIC being the main integrity player in the field of esports is pleased to welcome GLMS into its network of partners. GLMS, thanks to its experience on monitoring betting patterns, as well as its global operations with hubs in Copenhagen and Hong Kong will for sure be a great asset in the pursuit of our mission. The expertise of GLMS in managing intelligence and integrity matters as well as its local presence in almost 30 countries across the world will also help us enhance our education and prevention activities,” said Ian Smith, the ESIC Commissioner.

The partnership is, however, not the first time that both organizations have worked together – they have already been part of a fruitful unofficial cooperation and information exchange that spans three or more years. Their new partnership will go beyond the monitoring of betting patterns as both organizations have also agreed to work towards educational programs tailored to raise awareness about the risks that come with betting on Esports competitions.

Hawthorn President Warns of Sports Betting ‘Indoctrination’

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Sports betting is still on the verge of becoming a reality in the United States and while there are people who have always supported it and others who have acknowledged its inevitability and began preparing, there are some who still find the idea of it to be distasteful. This extends to other countries as well, not just the U.S. One such person is Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett who during this week’s promotion of this year’s beyondblue Cup has made public some of his long-term concerns about the impacts of sports betting advertisement on the society.

Like many other Australian Football League clubs, Hawthorn contentiously relies on revenue from poker machines but Mr. Kennett believes that there is a significant distinction between the poker and sports betting. According to him, poker machines are strictly for adults and children are not allowed to play.

“The worry I have with sports betting is that it is indoctrinating a whole generation of young people that their future, their happiness, is associated with gambling,” Kennett said of sports betting. “When we have sports betting up there being thrust down the throats of young people on a daily basis – whether it be on television, on radio etcetera – you are indoctrinating them into a lifestyle aspiration, which I think is very dangerous.”

Last year, the Australian federal government introduced a legislation that set limits to when sports betting advertisements can be shown. Kennett, on the other hand, believes that this is not enough and the government should implement a blanket ban or at least subject them to the same restrictions that casinos are subject to as far as advertising is concerned.

“If I was in control, I would apply the same rules to promotion and advertising of sports betting that applies to casinos and gaming machines, and that is that you can’t advertise it publicly,” he added.

Kennett also believes that the effects will not be seen for the next 10 to 15 years but it will too late by then and there is a high likelihood that other problems will have spawned from it as well.

Belgium Gambling Laws Declare Video Game Loot Boxes Illegal

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Loot boxes have had a pretty rough time in the past couple of months and the troubles are not likely to go away anytime soon. Just recently, the Netherlands declared that loot boxes constituted gambling and were therefore illegal and now Belgium has made a similar move.

Following an investigation that the Belgian Gaming Commission had been conducting on some popular video game titles including FIFA 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) and Star Wars Battlefront 2, the Belgian minister of justice, Koen Geens, on April 25 announced the results. Of the four video games, only Stars Wars Battlefront 2 was not in violation of the Belgian gambling legislation but this is only because EA, the company that develops Star Wars, removed loot boxes from the game after some debacles when it was launched.

OverWatch, CS:GO and FIFA 28, on the other hand, still had loot boxes which under Belgian gambling law are considered to be games of chance. As such, so long as they contained the loot boxes the games were illegal and they are forced to remove the loot boxes or “risk a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros.” The penalties could be doubled in cases where minors are involved.

“Mixing games and gambling, especially at a young age, is dangerous for mental health,” Geens said. “We must ensure that children and adults are not presented with games of chance when they are looking for fun in a video game.”

Loot boxes are by no means a new concept in mobile gaming applications but the recent upsurge in their inclusion in console-based video games have become a huge concern for parents as well as many other responsible parties. Furthermore, the gaming community has been very welcoming to initiatives that seek to have the insidious inventions removed from their games.

While regions like the US and the UK have Okayed the use of loot boxes, the declaration that they are illegal in the Netherlands and Belgium has presented what can be referred to as a dramatic turn for the video game loot box issue. If anything is to go by, game developers in the whole of Europe may be forced to make significant changes to the way the games they develop work, especially because more countries in the continent could launch similar initiatives.

Unlike the case in the Netherlands, Belgium has not imposed a deadline for the implementation of the necessary changes. Geens hopes to approach this is in a different way and this will involve dialogue between the country’s gaming commission and the affected video game developers.

Japanese Government Approves Bill Paving Way for Casinos

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On Friday, the Japanese government put aside gambling addiction and antisocial behavior concerns and went ahead to approve a bill that will provide a broad regulatory framework that will foster the establishment of a casino industry in the country. All that remains is for the document, which is referred to as the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill, to be passed the Diet voting – the Diet is Japan’s parliament.

According to Kyodo News, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government are aiming to have the bill pass the Diet during the ongoing session that will end on June 20. The Prime Minister hopes that the new casino industry will serve as an attraction for more overseas visitors which will, in turn, assist in providing the much-needed boost to the country’s regional economies outside Tokyo.

However, regardless of how promising the bill is, there is a high likelihood that deliberations will not have ended by the time the Diet sessions ends in June. This is due to the existence of a number of political scandals involving Prime Minister Abe, his minister as well as some ministry officials that have had a disruptive effect on Japan’s parliamentary proceedings.

“We will promote tourism with visitors from all over the world spending days while taking complete measures to address various concerns including gambling addiction,” the Prime Minister said in a government meeting that was attended by related officials.

If the Japanese parliament passes the bill, casinos will begin operating in the country in the mid-2020s. This might happen much earlier in some places – Osaka’s governor Ichiro Matsui, for instance, believes that a casino resort could open in the region by 2023 if Diet approves the necessary legislation quickly enough.

What the Bill Entails

Under the bill, there will be a fixed 30 percent tax rate on any casino gross revenue generated by all the gaming resorts that will be established in the country. Also, there will be a 6,000 yen or $55 entrance fee for Japanese locals – this will only be for a 24-hour access period. Furthermore, Japanese locals will be limited to three casino visits per week and 10 casino visits per month in aggregate, a measure that is probably put in place to assist with gambling addiction. Foreigners are the luckiest bunch in this case since casino entry is free and there will be less stringent limitations if any.

The Japanese government will be introducing a government-managed license system for the casinos in an effort to alleviate some of the concerns that have been raised pertaining to the launch of a casino industry in the country. The system will require operators that wish to obtain gaming licenses to submit business plans and establish measures for preventing problem gambling. In addition to this, background checks will be carried out to ensure that the applicants do not have ties to any organized crime groups.

Athletes Push for Sports Betting in Connecticut Capitol

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With the United State Supreme Court ruling on sports betting looming, Connecticut is moving closer and closer to a legalized and regulated sports betting industry. It is now even more likely thanks to the backing that the efforts to legalize sports betting have received from professional sports leagues.

Case in point, on Tuesday, two big-time major professional league sports stars brought their star power to the Connecticut capital to push for the legalization of sports betting. Former New York Mets and New York Yankees star Al Leiter and Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell met with the state’s lawmakers in a bid to sway them to support sports betting.

Cedric Maxwell argued that Connecticut has an upper hand when it comes to sports betting simply because the casinos are already there. This claim has been confirmed by Major League Baseball’s senior vice president Morgan Sword who pointed out that Connecticut’s legislature is way ahead of the curve when compared to other states as far as sports betting is concerned.

“We think Connecticut has a real chance to pass a state-of-the-art statute here that could act as a model for other states,’’ Sword commented. “We’ve been very impressed with the level of expertise that these guys have on this issue.’’

Both Leiter and Maxwell expressed confidence in their beliefs that sports betting will be beneficial to basketball, baseball, as well as other sports so long as it is regulated.

“Assuming that the Supreme Court makes sports betting legal everywhere outside of Las Vegas, there’s going to be potential issues,’’ Leiter said. “I don’t know how it’s actually going to play out — whether brick and mortar or existing casinos or online. The more you broaden that, there’s got to be some regulation and some people watching to make sure that everything is done properly and maintain the integrity of the respective sport. … There has to be some oversight.’’

But That’s Not All

Despite the input by the sports stars, the state’s politics will be the major influencer of the final decision. Last week, Joe Aresimowicz, the House Speaker said that it was very unlikely that the legislation would be passed before the current legislative period ends. According to the speaker, the casino expansion and sports betting issues in the state are complex issues that require comprehensive strategies before they are enacted.

“There are just so many moving parts,” Aresimowicz said at a briefing. “We need to figure out what’s best for Connecticut.”

Sweden to Tighten Grasp on Online Gambling with New Measures

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The Swedish government is hoping to implement tighter regulatory oversight for online gambling in the country through proposed legislation that if passed will take effect in 2019. The proposed new legislation is meant to institute a revamped licensing system, establish stronger prohibitions against illegal operation as well as instate more effective consumer protection measures. According to an official press release by the Swedish government, the proposed measures will introduce a fee of nearly $84,000 for both an online casino license and a sports betting license.

The issue of unregulated online gambling in Sweden has been a major concern for the country’s government for a very long time. Ardalan Shekarabi, Sweden’s Public Administration minister spoke about this in a recent interview where he emphasized that new regulatory measures needed to be put in place.

“Unregulated gambling has taken over and gambling is used in criminal activities. It is 14 years since the first in a line of gambling inquiries was appointed. It is now time for us to move from words to actions and regain control of the Swedish gambling market. We are reinforcing the Swedish Gambling Authority, granting it more and sharper tools. Unlicensed operators will be shut out of the market and license-holders must conduct their activities in accordance with the law,” he said.

The minister and other officials have also affirmed that the new regulations would go a long way in ensuring higher levels of consumer protection. For instance, all online gambling operators will be required to offer the players the choice of excluding themselves. Similarly, the operators will be restricted to offering bonuses on only the first deposits.

Furthermore, if the proposed measures that are currently being considered in the Swedish capital are passed online gambling operators will be prohibited from marketing their wares in the Swedish market. The measures would also give Sweden’s gaming operator the power to order the country’s local internet service providers to display warning messages on sites that are not licensed and block any associated online payments.

The proposed legislation would also introduce a new “gambling fraud” criminal offense which would, in turn, lead to the establishment of a government commission for the sole purpose of handling instances of match-fixing.

New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware to Share Poker Liquidity

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Great news for regulated online poker in the United States! Players from the states of New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada will soon be able to compete against each other as from May 1 according to Associated Press. Recent rumors pertaining to liquidity sharing between the three states was confirmed with the first implementations involving renowned poker operators 888Poker and WSOP NJ.

“This has been a huge collaborative effort from all involved and it is important to thank the elected leadership and regulatory authorities in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey for their dedication and diligence to help move online poker forward,” said WSOP’s head of online poker Bill Rini. “Everyone has had the end user in mind throughout this process, and as a result, we believe the United States, for the first time in a regulated environment, will have a large-scale multi-state offering that will propel the industry forward as soon as next month.”

A deal between New Jersey and Nevada was announced last year and hence it is long overdue but the timing could not be better since it still is, by all means, a historic arrangement for the two most popular regulated casino gambling markets in the United States. Furthermore, it presents a big boost for the Nevada and Delaware casino markets – the two states’ population are rather small, that is, Delaware has under one million while Nevada has three million. The inclusion of the New Jersey will certainly improve the statistics of all three state’s online poker industries.

The report further mentioned that online poker players in Nevada and Delaware will, however, be required to download new software and set up new accounts if they want to play against players from New Jersey. This means that existing Nevada and Delaware online poker software will become obsolete once the liquidity sharing process begins.

More States Could Join

Pennsylvania is the fourth state to legalize regulated online poker and it is now awaiting online poker applications which means that online poker in the Keystone State could be a reality by the end of 2018. Hopefully, Pennsylvania could join the other three states in the concerted effort to grow and nurture multi-state online poker which will create a market of nearly 26 million people. On the same note, a number of other states including New York and Connecticut are considering legalizing regulated online poker this year and they too could join in and expand the player pool further.