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Court Puts New Jersey Sports Betting on Hold

Nov 21, 2014
Dennis Drazin New Jersey  sportsbetting

Dennis Drazin is confident about NJ sports betting

A federal judge intervened to temporarily block New Jersey’s plans to allow sports betting at the state’s racetrack and casinos.

State lawmakers have been trying to find ways to bring sports betting to New Jersey for years, but it looks like all attempts are destined to fail. A few weeks ago, officials passed a bill allowing licensed casinos and racetracks to accept wagers.

After Governor Chris Christie signed the document into law and Monmouth Park said it was ready to start taking bets last Sunday, professional sports leagues challenged the decision in court, asking the judge to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent this from happening.

U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp decided to grant the request made by the National Football League, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and other sports groups, but did not rule on the merits of the issue yet. A full hearing will be scheduled in the future.

A spokesman for Christie emphasized that the restraining order is temporary and added: “We continue to have full confidence in the strength and appropriateness of our position as we move forward in the litigation.”

USA Today: Judge: New Jersey can’t launch sports betting

Latest gambling news announce that a federal judge decided not to allow casinos and racetracks in New Jersey to start taking sports bets. In his ruling late Friday, US District Court Judge Michael Shipp put in place a temporary restraining order to prevent state operators from offering such services last week.

Monmouth Park was planning on giving its bookmaking operations a test run on Sunday, when it would have accepted bets on NFL games, but the court said Governor Chris Christie can’t launch sports betting in the state for now.

Monmouth Park officials were expecting about 10,000 people to rush to the track this Sunday to bet on Jets-Bills, Eagles-Cardinals, as well as on other NFL games. The track was going to open as early as 7 am, in order to allow visitors to place wagers on the Lions-Falcons game played in London at 9:30 am E.T.

But the NFL and other American sports leagues have filed a complaint asking the judge to stop state operators from taking bets immediately, invoking a 1992 federal law restricting sports betting to Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana.

A final decision will be made only after a full hearing, but for now the judge has issued a restraining order stopping Monmouth Park from going ahead with its plans. Attorneys representing the racetrack have argued that the business won’t survive without this new source of revenue.

NESN: Judge Grants Leagues’ Request, Stops N.J. Sports Betting Temporarily

Following a request from four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA, a federal judge issued a restraining order preventing New Jersey operators from taking sports bets for now. The request was made by the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA, who went to court over a new bill signed by Governor Chris Christie, allowing casinos and racetracks in the state to offer betting services.

Under current gambling laws, Nevada is the only state allowed to offer betting on individual games at local bookmakers. Delaware also offers multi-game parlay pools, requiring players to pick several games correctly before winning any money.

“More legal gambling leads to more total gambling, which in turns leads to an increased incentive to fix plaintiffs’ matches,” Shipp said in court last Friday, adding that sports betting in New Jersey “would engender the same ills” that lawmakers sought to combat when they came up with the 1992 federal law.

Attorneys representing the sports organizations have argued that the leagues would suffer irreparable harm if such offers were available in the state. The lawsuit will proceed and the court will schedule a full hearing, but Shipp said a temporary restraining order was necessary to make sure that the matter is properly debated in court first.

Wall Street Journal: Judge Blocks Bid to Legalize Sports Betting in New Jersey

A previous attempt to overturn the sports betting ban and allow New Jersey players to bet on sports failed, and officials are not sure what will happen next. For now, Nevada continues to remain the only state where sports betting is fully legal. Delaware has a few similar operations, but the state only offers multi-game parlay pools.

While Atlantic City casinos said they would wait for the judge’s decision before starting any bookmaking operations, Monmouth Park Racetrack had originally planned to begin sports betting this weekend. The venue’s plans were put on hold by the restraining order.

Dennis Drazin, the operator of Monmouth Park, wrote in a recent statement: “While we are disappointed not to be able to start this Sunday, we are confident that sports betting will be coming to New Jersey in the very near future.”

While preventing the racetrack from starting its new operations, Judge Shipp also requested the five plaintiffs to put up a $1.7 million bond, to cover New Jersey’s potential revenue losses should the state eventually win the argument. The judge also said the temporary restraining order only applies to sports scores at events run by the four leagues and the NCAA.

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The week in pictures: November 11th – November 17th, 2014

Nov 19, 2014

Weekly news in pictures

The world last week was a place of excitement and disaster so lets look back at some of the big stories that hit the headlines

Quatar was cleared of allegations of wrong doing surrounding their being awarded the 2022 World Cup by FIFA the body that oversees international soccer. Despite a huge number of allegations the report supposedly gave the rich nation in which it’s actually too hot to feasibly play football a clean bill of health although the report itself is not to be published in full and has already been criticized by one of the authors for being misrepresented. UEFA are already threatening to quit FIFA over the scandal.And a scandal is perhaps what the Rosetta project could become as the 1.4 billion Euro adventure into the depths of space managed to get 300 million miles from Earth, catch up with a speeding comet and then crash into it, bounce a few times and dive into one of the few places its solar panels couldn’t recharge its batteries. Still hailed as a huge success by the scientific community it remains to be seen just how much real information will be gleaned from the results.

Of course real information is hard to come by these days and Vladimir Putin seemed a tad disingenuous when he cited a long journey home and a need for sleep as being the reasons behind his leaving the G20 Summit in Australia quite as early as he did. Of course many observers would point to the fact just about every other leader had lambasted him for his attitude and behavior over Ukraine, and that Russia was rapidly becoming isolated on the world stage.

In sports a very disappointed Roger Federer was forced to pull out of the ATP World Tour final versus long term rival Novak Djokovic due to a back injury. Apologizing in person at the O2 Arena in London he said sorry for not being match fit in what was a massive PR disaster for the ATP, and an unfortunately tainted default win for Djokovic who admitted this wasn’t the way he wanted to win the trophy. Will Federer recover his fitness or have we seen the last of the six time ATP champion? Find out on our daily news pages but in the meantime lets have a look back at our headlines from last week.

1. One company’s trash is another company’s treasure. With Echo Group hunting VIP gamblers, the Townsville casino was becoming too insignificant in the whole picture, so the company sold it for $70 million to someone willing to fix it up and revive it.
Jupiter Townsville

Townsville’s gem (Photo: Morgan Evan)

2. After remote gambling operators have taken a major financial blow because of the new license fees and taxes imposed in the UK, the Maltese Government is offering to help heal their bleeding wounds.
Parliamentary Secretary José Herrera comes to the rescue (Photo: Times of Malta)

Parliamentary Secretary José Herrera comes to the rescue (Photo: Times of Malta)

3. A trained chef and poker player, Martin Jacobson has surely figured out the secret recipe for success, because he just won $10 million and his very first gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker.
If  the game of poker were a dish...what would it be?  (Photo: Martin  Jacobson blog)

If the game of poker were a dish…what would it be? (Photo: Martin Jacobson blog)

4. It took a long time, but Atlantic City is finally waking up and smelling the coffee. Losing five casinos and leaving thousands of workers unemployed has finally hurt enough to convince officials that it’s time for a change.
Casino Campus

Casino Campus (Photo: Spy Hollywood)

5. One of the largest Asian gambling groups, Genting, is resilient to the general decline on the gambling market.
Genting says VIPs will save the day

Genting says VIPs will save the day (Photo: Genting Casino)

6. The state of Illinois allowed video gaming machines in bars and restaurants and so far the experience has been positive.
Joy of casino: Illinois style (Photo:)

Casino joy: Illinois style (Photo: Chris LaPelusa/Sun Day Photo)

7. New information has been made available in connection to Paul Phua illegal betting ring, which might lead to case dismissal.
Paul Phua: case dismissed? title=

Paul Phua: case dismissed? (Photo: Youtube via The Review Journal )

Meanwhile Boko Haran we accused of being behind the suicide bombing that struck a Nigerian school assembly killing 46 and injuring 79 students, an event that made a mockery of government claims to have signed a ceasefire with the Islamic terrorist group, and elsewhere the Dutch have discovered a new outbreak of an even more contagious, and thus dangerous, strain of bird flu that can be transmitted to humans. Will we all end up tarred and feathered? You’ll have to keep up to date with our daily news pages to find out.

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Former Gambling Resort Opens the Door for Schools and Conference Centers

Nov 17, 2014
Snowboat to open the door for schools and conference centers

Snowboat to open the door for schools and conference centers

Atlantic City hasn’t had much luck this year, but authorities are looking for ways to “stop the bleeding” and help the city recover financially.

The former gambling kingdom just can’t catch a break. By the end of this year, Atlantic City may see its fifth casino sink, causing unemployment rates to go up yet again. As the city is suffering from the closures, authorities are looking for a way to bounce back by completely rebuilding it.

There are a number of closed shops and casinos in the city, but if you think about how hard Atlantic City has had it this year, you’ll be quite pleasantly impressed with the amount of new construction here. Right across from the now-bankrupt Trump Plaza, a Bass Pro outdoor goods store will rise over an entire city block.

According to online gambling news, New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority offered land and $12 million in cash to help develop the project which will employ 290 people. Mayor Don Guardian says the city has become too dependent on gambling revenues, but it’s time for a change.

“The city was happy, because it provided decent jobs with benefits and it paid the taxes, but we lost everything else. You lose your whole entrepreneurial spirit,” he said in an interview.

NPR: As Casinos Fold, Stakes Are High For Atlantic City Transformation

Just as Las Vegas did two decades ago, Atlantic City is trying to become less dependent on casino profits and branch out more into entertainment. It’s looking to become a destination for conferences and various events, not just a place where you can gamble.

Caesars Entertainment said it took nine million pounds of steel to build the structure of the new Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City, which has received substantial backing from the developer and from the casino reinvestment authority. Rick Mazer, regional president of Caesars Entertainment said: “This is the business that I think will evolve and regrow Atlantic City.”

However, some experts are skeptical of the project’s potential to succeed. Oliver Cooke, an economist at nearby Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, has his doubts. “You simply are not going to consume your way out of the morass that you’re in,” he explained. “Doing things like building more retail, building more convention centers, has a very, very limited upside.”

Meanwhile, authorities are talking about reselling, reopening and repurposing some casinos. Just last week, Stockton College announced it was going to buy the old Showboat property and The Revel’s new owners are allegedly planning to make a new investment and reopen the venue.

But Atlantic City needs more than just commercial projects. Mayor Don Guardian hopes to see new residents move in and rebuild the city. “Then we’ve gotta work on our school system,” he continues. “But I gotta fix the city first, find jobs, get taxes, reduce cost of government, make the place pretty, and then we’ll work on the schools. I like the challenge.”

Washington Times: Taxes, schools, casinos key to Christie AC plan

Atlantic City officials are trying to come up with ways to get the economy up and running again. Governor Chris Christie has commissioned a plan calling for more predictable taxes for casinos, temporarily freezing taxes on non-gambling property and halting payments on employee pension plans, as well as offering more support for schools that reduce costs.

The commission appointed to study Atlantic City’s future prospects has released a set of recommendations, but the governor hasn’t committed himself to anything yet. According to the commission, the city should have an emergency manager holding “extraordinary supervisory powers” over expenses and taxes.

Experts added that Atlantic City should form a public-private development corporation, similar to the one that helped New Brunswick. An essential part of the plan is property tax reform.

“Extraordinary state and local support is required in the transition phase of the Atlantic City revitalization strategy focusing on immediate activities with a high probability of success, including balancing the municipal and school cost structure toward ‘new normal,’” panel Chairman Jon Hanson wrote.

The report said: “High effective rates and a rapidly declining tax base have created an immense financial burden for residents, local businesses and the casino industry,” the report read. The “entire Atlantic City gaming industry is at risk as each incremental casino closure results in a greater tax increase than revenue increase for the surviving casinos.”

If freed from making pension payments for three years, the city could save up to $71.1 million, while in the same time reducing the need to borrow money. The plan proposes regionalizing the police and fire departments, thus cutting costs by $25 million a year.

The $30 million used by the Atlantic City Alliance to promote the city should be redirected to the new development corporation, ACDevCo, the commission recommended.

Reuters: New Jersey college buys Atlantic City’s closed Showboat casino

The shuttered Showboat Atlantic City gambling resort formerly operated by Caesars Entertainment could be bought by a college in southern New Jersey. The Richard Stockton College wants to transform the 1.4 million square foot property completely, by turning it into a campus.

The building sits on 28 beachfront acres and holds 1,329 hotel rooms. The deal is subject to due diligence checks, but the terms of the contract were not disclosed yet.

Stockton president Herman Saatkamp said: “Our intent is to engage in a project that enhances Stockton’s educational growth, offerings and cost-containment while at the same time brings new educational opportunities to Atlantic City.”

Although the casino resort was still making profit, Caesars closed it in August. The venues was reportedly sacrificed in an attempt to consolidate the city’s deteriorating gaming market.

Caesars CEO Gary Loveman is hopeful that the new agreement could help steer the local economy in a new direction. “The transformation and revitalization of Atlantic City requires the addition of a diverse set of reasons for people to come visit,” he told reporters.

In 2010, Stockton College bought the Seaview Resort in Galloway Township for $20 million. Part of the property is used to house students and train them in hospitality.

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The week in pictures: November 4th – November 10th, 2014

Nov 12, 2014

Weekly news in pictures

We saw some big stories breaking throughout last week and so lets take a look back at some of those that hit the headlines

In Berlin Germans celebrated the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Berlin Wall that for so long divided their city. Built by the communist authorities in 1961 to stop people fleeing to the west it collapsed in 1989 in triumphant scenes flashed around the world. To celebrate events were held across the city with 8,000 white balloons released along the length of the wall, only a few miles of which remains, to remember the numerous people who died trying to escape the east during the cold war. The Brandenburg Gate saw the biggest party with Peter Gabriel playing David Bowie’s “Heroes” to a massive crowd.

Massive crowds were not in evidence during the US midterm elections on Tuesday where a scant 36.5% of the voting public bothered to actually vote. This coupled with the Republican stoked unpopularity of President Obama saw the Democratic Party take a decisive beating at the ballot box. As the results rolled in it became apparent there was a lot of work to do before 2016 if they wish to retain the White House. Republicans celebrated their victory and new control over the Senate but insisted they would be working with the President in the final two years of his presidency, a sentiment echoed by Obama. And if you believe that…

Talking of unbelievable the new head of GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, Robert Hannigan has called on tech giants to cooperate more closely with the intelligence services in the fight against extremists and terrorism. Apparently our all having social media sites and the ability to encrypt our communications is making his job a little bit too difficult, which is ironic since most of us only started using encryption after we found out Mr. Hannigan and his friends were listening in on everything we said online. In an almost pleading article for the Financial Times he called for a “mature debate” on privacy, security and civil liberties. Yeah. Good luck with that, Bob.

In sports the Formula 1 drivers championship was still neck and neck as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton went into the Brazilian Grand Prix. In an action packed race that saw Hamilton spin off at one point, the two Mercedes drivers romped home in first and second place with the German Rosberg winning cutting Hamilton’s championship lead to just 17 points with 50 available in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi. Who’ll win that and take the season? Find out in our daily news pages but before you do that check out the stories that hit our headlines last week.

1. Apparently, the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino is so profitable that two rival groups of the tribe who owns it are fighting over it with guns and firearms, just like in the Wild West.
Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino  shooting

This casino is worth fighting for (Photo: Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino)

2. Macau is in big trouble. With VIP customers avoiding the gambling hub due to China’s crackdown on corruption, the city’s casinos are posting huge drops in profit.
Macau gambling in trouble

Gambling is about winning and… losing (Photo: Kieran Scott )

3. After pumping millions into their pro-casino campaign and dangling thousands of jobs in front of Massachusetts voters, Wynn, MGM and Penn National finally got what they wanted: the majority vote allowing them to move ahead with projects in the state.
Voting for casinos in Boston

Wynn, MGM and Penn National are ‘in the game’ in Boston (Photo: CBS)

4. As if making online operators pay extra to gain access to British players wasn’t enough, the UK Gambling Commission has also put restrictions on sports sponsorships.
New sport jerseys for sponsors

Sport jersey could come with a disclaimer (Photo:Zazzle Apparel)

5. Marriage is hard and David and Sam Mackie know it only too well. In two and a half years of marriage, they didn’t even get a chance to go on a honeymoon! Well luck was on their side last week, when they won a trip to Australia and GBP1 million.
Lottery Winners 1 million Pounds

This is how a million Pounds couple looks like (Photo: Daily Echo)

6. After Macau, it is now Singapore’s turn to bleed because of China’s crackdown on corruption, which has chased away VIP customers. While gambling news talk aboutpainful losses in casino revenues, no one is bothering to figure out what these high-rollers are actually hiding from.
Singapore looses casino clients

Where did all the ‘whales’ go? (Photo: Simin Wang/AFP)

7. Reports suggested that British driver Lewis Hamilton could potentially suffer a similar fate at the Interlagos circuit as in previous years.
Lewis Hamilton  Brazil Grand Prix

Perhaps a prayer would help… (Photo:BBC)

Meanwhile Swedish scientists have shown human stem cells can be used to treat the effects of Parkinson’s Disease with a study displaying an alleviation or reversal of the brain damaged caused. Hailed as a break-through this test on rats may lead to clinical trials on humans by 2017, and last week the drummer from AC/DC was charged with attempting to arrange a murder amongst other things, and whilst those charges were dropped he still faces up to seven years for making threats to kill, a charge his lawyer says will be contested, will he get off? Find out in our daily news pages.

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Macau Reports Most Painful Revenue Drop Since 2005

Nov 05, 2014
Macau is in big trouble

Macau is in big trouble

Macau has had a few rough months during and after the World Cup in Brazil, but its streak of bad luck reached its peak in October.

When June reports showed a 3.7% year-on-year drop, industry experts blamed it on the World Cup sports betting craze and said things would pick up. Then revenues came in at just $3.6 billion in July, showing a 3.6% drop from the same period last year and they said Macau needs a bit more time to get back on track.

But as Chinese authorities continue their crackdown on casino corruption, an initiative which scared away a number of VIP customers, things have gotten serious. In October, total casino revenue fell by 23.2% in October compared to the same month of 2013.

The city’s gaming authority said total revenue was at 28 billion Macau patacas ($3.5 billion) this October, marking Macau’s worst financial performance since the gambling hub started recording such data in 2005.

Despite its recent downward trend, Macau continues to be the world’s largest gambling centre, way ahead of Las Vegas. The bad news is that the region relies heavily on casino revenue –mostly on the money spent by high-rollers – which seems to be on the decline. Moreover, it’s the only area where China allows casinos, a type of entertainment otherwise forbidden under the country’s gambling laws.

Reuters: Macau Oct gaming revenues fall 23 pct, drop worst on record

October was the worst month for Macau’s casinos and the fifth consecutive month of declines. Industry representatives blame it on China’s passive war on corruption, as well as on a decline in the number of tourists and a general slowing of economic growth, which makes people spend less on gambling.

“It is worse in October than it was before October,” Steve Wynn, chief executive of Wynn Macau, told a recent earnings call. “I don’t know if it is a squall or if we are in the rainy season, or how long it will last, but we are still very bullish on Macau.”

The American casino developer has started construction on another Macau project – a $4 billion integrated resort, which includes a lake and air-conditioned gondolas.

According to online gambling news, about 80% of Macau’s revenues rely on gambling, but China’s two-year anti-corruption battle has taken its toll on the local casino industry. Big spenders are now avoiding the area and choosing other destinations where they can freely spend their money. Profits from VIP customers accounted for just 56% of total revenues in the third quarter, which was a new low for Macau.

Las Vegas Sands chief Sheldon Adelson said these trends are cyclical. “It is only a matter of time before the cycle reverses itself. No one has ever suggested that the behavior of Chinese and Asian people, which has been established over a 3,000-year history, is going to change.”

Wall Street Journal: Macau Gambling-Revenue Drop Divides Investors

Making smart investments in casino stocks used to be pretty simple. Investors would just choose those companies that had bigger exposure in Macau, knowing that those were the names with the best prospects. Things have changed now that Macau has had its fifth straight month of revenue declines.

Hong Kong-based Central Asset Investments portfolio manager Armand Yeung said: “We were short. Now we’re just staying away from it.” Though valuations have become more reasonable and dividend yields are attractive, “there’s still a lot of debate”, he added.

When an analyst casino magnate Steve Wynn if he thought things were getting worse in Macau, he replied: “Oh, well, that’s an easy question. It’s worse in October than it was before October. So if you’re asking what is the nadir of our experience, it is current.”

Wynn added that Beijing’s efforts to combat corruption in Macau “has put a lot of the wealthy businessmen in the fox holes.”

Credit analysts are expressing concerns about Macau expansion plans, claiming that casinos will not be able to repay their debts if the slowdown in revenue continues.

Forbes: Macau Casino Revenue Falls, VIPs Blamed, Investors Rejoice

Figures released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau showed a 3.7% decline in year-on-year revenue in June, with profits dropping to 27.2 billion Macau patacas or $3.4 billion. Industry representatives claim it was caused by a 20% drop in VIP attendance.

This was the first time when Macau’s monthly revenue fell since June 2009, which marked a low point for the city’s casino sector. Union Gaming Research Macau analysts Grant Govertsen and Felicity Chiang pointed out that from the decline in 2009, “Macau went on an unprecedented run [with] tripling of GGR from approximately US$15 billion in 2009 to US$45 billion in 2013.”

Between 2008 and 2009, Macau’s problem was mainly a matter of politics, with an overlay of economic factors. It could be the same this time around, as the 20% drop in VIP revenue is believed to be caused by President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign in China.

On the other hand, a report released by Morgan Stanley Asia in June cited economic factors from the mainland, while others blamed it on the World Cup, which Union Gaming conceded “could be responsible for a few hundred basis points of the VIP decline.”

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Illegal Betting Ring Case Could Fail Due to Procedural Errors by the FBI

Nov 03, 2014
Using tricks to take down an illegal betting ring didn’t work for the FBI

Using tricks to take down an illegal betting ring didn’t work for the FBI

Using tricks to take down an illegal betting ring didn’t work for the FBI. Now a high-ranking member of the 14K triad society could slip through its fingers due to “procedural errors.”

Last week, the word got out that FBI agents went into Paul Phua’s apartment at Caesars Palace disguised as cable guys, to gather evidence without a warrant. As more “procedural errors” come to light, the alleged gambling kingpin could get away with his illegal betting operation because the bureau itself broke a few rules while trying to get the bad guy.

US federal agents say Paul Phua Wei-seng is a high-ranking member of Hong Kong’s 14K triad society. Phua and his son Darren Phua Wai-kit have been charged with operating an illegal betting ring from a hotel in Las Vegas, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But they could both get away with it because of alleged breach of procedure by the FBI.

According to the latest gambling news, Phua’s lawyers filed a motion to suppress testimony he provided during a police raid, because agents didn’t follow the rules.

South China Morning Post: Procedural errors may kill FBI gambling case involving Asian kingpin Paul Phua

Phua and his son were arrested and charged with operating an illegal gambling ring in Las Vegas, during the World Cup. Now prosecutors have to prove that the two Malaysians used and operated these betting platforms from the luxury suites they rented at Caesars Palace.

Lawyers called the triad allegations unfounded and said the 50 year-old man “absolutely maintains he is innocent of the gambling charges in the United States”. Now they’re also trying to suppress statements where the defendants said Phua held a stake in IBC Bet, one of the largest betting operations in the Philippines.

Before obtaining these statements, police allegedly violated the defendants’ constitutional rights by failing to give a so-called Miranda warning, which informs suspects that they have the right to remain silent during an interrogation, until they get legal advice.

The two Malaysian men said they were staying at a villa which was offered to them free of charge by Caesars Palace. The motion says their defense lawyer was not allowed to meet them while they were being questioned.
In his affidavit, Phua wrote: “The first agent I saw pointed a machine gun at me and shouted, ‘Put your f*ing hands up’. Everyone in the villa was handcuffed, herded into the dining room, and told to get on our knees and face the wall.”

Before the World Cup, several illegal bookmakers have been arrested in Southeast Asia. Dozens of people were charged with breaking gambling laws by running unlicensed sports wagering services. Some of them pointed to IBC.

PokerNews: Did Caesars Palace and the FBI Collude in the Arrests of Paul Phua?

This July, eight people were arrested at Caesars Palace Las Vegas for being involved in an illegal betting ring. Among those arrested was 50-year-old Malaysian high-stakes poker player and alleged high-ranking member of the 14K Triad Paul Phua.

The arrests were part of an FBI sting and Phua’s lawyers claim the defendants’ Fourth Amendment rights were violated because the raid was conducted under an unlawful search warrant.

Investigations began this summer, when the defendants rented the villas and asked the casino staff for an “unusual amount of electronic equipment”. According to newspaper reports, the venue’s security personnel became suspicious and called the FBI, then worked together with agents to cut off Internet access to have an excuse to send undercover agents inside.

Posing as service technicians, FBI agents gained access to the villas and collected evidence to obtain a warrant in court. The defense argued that the warrant was obtained through an unlawful scheme.

“A ruling upholding these intrusions would cause innocent Americans to live their daily lives burdened with the palpable sense that their government is regularly scheming to spy on them in their homes,” lawyers said.

The federal government is expected to respond soon.

GamingZion: Gambler, Bookie, Diplomat, Gangster: the Fantastic Story of Paul Phua Wei-seng

Each year, illegal betting generates billions of dollars for criminal syndicates around the world. The largest scandal this year was when the FBI busted an operation run from two villas at the Caesars Hotel in Las Vegas. The head of the operation, reports said, was Paul Phua, a high-stakes poker player, former diplomat and alleged gangster.

Less than one month before being caught in Vegas, he had faced the same charges in Macau but posted bail and fled from the city. Newspapers said he flew straight to Sin City and continues his illegal business from here.

In addition to being a suspected black market bookmaker, Phua is also a legitimate businessman, owner of Sat Ieng Sociedade Unipessoal junket in Macau, where he likes to take a personal interest in entertaining his customers. He also holds a majority stake in IBC Bet, a company based in the Philippines which has grown to become one of the world’s most profitable sportsbooks.

From 2011 until his arrest in Las Vegas, Phua also held the title of San Marinese ambassador to Montenegro, although reports say he never properly checked in with the authorities in Podgorica, but did gain the advantage of traveling freely almost anywhere.

Phua is known in the world of high-stakes poker too. He makes regular appearances at the Poker King Club in Macau, and in 2012 he played in the $1 million buy-in tournament at the World Series of Poker.

Federal investigators say he is also a high-ranking member of the 14K triad, thought to be one of Hong Kong’s oldest and most powerful criminal organizations. It remains to be seen if the case against him stands or not, given the procedural errors committed by the FBI.

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FBI Agents Trick Betting Ring Members to Gather Evidence

Nov 01, 2014
FBI’s evidence against Paul Phua could be disregarded

FBI’s evidence against Paul Phua could be disregarded

After cutting off Internet access three Las Vegas luxury villas, FBI agents impersonated repair technicians to get inside and collect evidence.

Against the recommendation of an assistant U.S. attorney, Kimberly Frayn, the FBI went ahead with its plans and pretended to be repair technicians in order to get inside the villa. But lawyers representing four of the eight men charged in the case have filed a motion to dismiss all evidence collected that day. The prosecutor supposedly told FBI agents that “it was a consent issue.”

Under American laws, authorities need a warrant before searching a property, so defense lawyers challenged the actions described in detail by online gambling news, which were part of an investigation on an illegal sports betting operation.

If authorities don’t have the written permission, the person whose property is being inspected must first waive his constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. Otherwise, the evidence should not be used in trial, because it was improperly collected.

Fox News: Federal agents impersonated computer technicians to collect evidence in sports betting probe, lawyers say

FBI agents in Las Vegas had referred questions about their plan to the local US Attorney’s Office. Spokeswoman Natalie Collins said prosecutors were aware of the allegations, but declined to make any comments while the trial was pending.

According to American newspapers, the Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account, where it posted personal information and photos taken from the phone of a woman who had been arrested in a cocaine case. The idea was to trick her friends and associates into revealing incriminating information.

On another occasion, the FBI sent a fake news story to a suspect in a bomb-threat case, hoping he would click on the link thus allowing investigators to track down his location. The FBI had attributed the story to the Associated Press, causing the agency to react and describe the actions as “unacceptable”, claiming they undermined the publication’s credibility.

As for the gambling case, the criminal complaint revealed that the eight men came to the attention of authorities in June after requesting “an unusually large amount of electronics equipment and technical support” at their hotel. An electrical engineer working for the Las Vegas hotel said the equipment “appeared to be set up for an illegal gambling operation.”

FBI investigators tried to get into their apartment to gather evidence, but a former federal prosecutor, Mark Rasch, said the tactics they resorted will most likely not stand up in court. “Police are allowed to use a certain kind of subterfuge, but what they can’t do is create a certain kind of circumstance,” he said.

South China Morning Post: Dramatic FBI video shows how agents tricked their way into Paul Phua’s villa for gambling bust

Newspapers got their hands on 30 minutes of audio and video recordings of the FBI’s action plan to bust what appeared to be an illegal online betting operation in Las Vegas. The video was filmed through a lapel camera and shows how agents tricked their way into the villas where an alleged Asian gambling kingpin and his team were staying.

According to the defense, FBI agents shut off Internet access to Paul Phua Wei-seng’s villa at Caesars Palace, and then gained access to it by impersonating repair technicians. This is how authorities managed to collect the evidence used against the accused.

In the video obtained by the press, investigators are working on a set of code words to use while they were inside. One agent who adopted the name “Sam” – which he also used “for other stuff” in the past – is shown working on his cover story. The images briefly show another conversation about how investigators should dress.

“If you put on that shirt, you have to look the part. Go all the way,” said Mike Wood, a technician working for Caesars. He was advising Nevada Gaming Control Board Agent Ricardo Lopez before he entered one of the suites, on July 4. Lopez went back to the villa on July 5, when he pretended to fix an internet outage for several minutes.

Defense lawyer Thomas Goldstein described the operation as an “illegal search” and challenged the evidence in court.

CardsChat: Paul Phua Sports Betting Raid FBI Tactics Questioned by Legal Team

The FBI suspected that the eight men who rented villas at Caesars Palace were breaking the state’s gambling laws by running an unlicensed betting operation. Investigators spent two days working with the hotel’s computer contractor and the Nevada Gaming Control Board on shutting down their Internet access.

But they did not stop here. FBI agents impersonated repair staff to convince the customers to let them inside the apartments, and they even recorded what they found inside. The videos were the main evidence used to obtain the arrest warrant against the eight defendants.

Lawyers did not know how authorities had managed to get inside the suites until they overheard an official talk about cutting the Internet access. “They were trying everything they could to get inside without a warrant,” defense attorney Thomas Goldstein told reporters. Four out of the eight defendants have challenged the FBI’s actions in court.

Paul Phua and his son Darren were among those arrested. They were all charged with operating an illegal sports betting operation. Officials said Paul Phua is a high-ranking member of the 14K Triad, one of the world’s largest organized crime syndicates. Among gamblers, he is well-known for playing in high-stakes poker games in Macau, as well as in tournaments.

The poker community has supported the accused, and players Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl even offered $2.5 million towards Phua’s and his son’s bonds.

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New VIP Casino in Sydney Surrounded by Controversy

Oct 30, 2014
Crown Resorts and the New South Wales government hide info on Barangaroo VIP casino

Crown Resorts and the New South Wales government hide info on Barangaroo VIP casino

Australian newspapers say Crown Resorts and the New South Wales government are hiding information on the new Barangaroo VIP casino.

James Packer’s plan to build a high-roller casino in Barangaroo has received a lot of scrutiny. There was so much attention surrounding the project that everyone just assumed that all details of the agreement had been revealed, in a perfectly transparent approval process.

As it turns out, this is not entirely true. Word got out that both partners of the deal – the government of New South Wales and Crown Resorts – have been keeping important details away from the public eye, and now online gambling news outlets are raging over it.

The Barangaroo casino has received approval last year and is scheduled to open in November 2019. The venue is targeted exclusively at VIP customers and high-rollers.

Sydney Morning Herald: James Packer casino documents referred to committee after NSW government fights public release

The New South Wales government is refusing to reveal redacted information from an agreement with James Packer, regarding measures to combat organized crime and corruption at his new casino in Sydney. The question of whether the information should be made public was referred to a parliamentary committee, which will discuss the matter soon.

Greens MP John Kaye, who has been pushing for the public release of the information, said: “The Parliament has set up a secret committee to look at secret documents. The public is being kept in the dark about critical anti-corruption and organized crime penetration measures at the casino. Neither the public nor the Parliament can have an informed debate about the adequacy of these measures without knowing what they are.”

According to Labor leader Luke Foley, the opposition is in favor of releasing the documents. “The opposition has a bias in favor of public release of all relevant casino documents. When the expert arbiter recommends release, that confirms our view,” he said.

Packer’s company, Crown Resorts, was recently awarded a license to operate a VIP-only casino at Barangaroo, starting November 2019. Significant parts of the deal, the so-called “VIP gaming management agreement”, were kept hidden from the public eye.

After a motion by Kaye, MPs were allowed to see the full document, but they were forbidden from disclosing its contents. However, it was revealed that the deal between Crown and the gambling regulator talks about measures to prevent organized crime infiltration and corruption at the casino.

Casino.org: Packer Sydney Casino License Docs Kept Secret from Public

Newspapers say certain documents related Packer’s license for a new casino in Sydney were stamped secret by New South Wales’ gambling regulator, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

The documents in question relate to official agreements between Crown Resorts, the NSW government and the authority responsible for overseeing the local casino industry and making sure that companies abide by the state’s gambling laws.

Eight of these were particularly interesting, as they were referring to operations that were to be executed when the license was issued. In seven out of eight documents, the names of all those involved were revealed. However, one of them was fully censored. Even the title of the agreement was kept a secret, along with the names of all parties.

The regulator said it was only allowed to reveal information related to the Casino Control Act, and only if it’s in the public interest. The authority added that it was obligated to hide all information that could cause commercial damage, which is why it hid details in the eighth agreement.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “The information redacted in the VIP Gaming Management Agreement document would, in the view of the authority, not promote the objects of the relevant act and be commercially damaging to the licensee or related entities if released. It was the authority’s view the public interest in its disclosure did not outweigh that potential harm.”

The Greens are planning to subpoena the documents in the NSW Parliament next week. “If this is entirely innocent, then the government should be happy to allow upper house MPs to see the documents,” MP John Kaye said. “If not, then it’s clear that they are running cover for James Packer and Crown.”

Premier Mike Baird added: “There’s no secrets. I know the Greens like to talk about conspiracy and secrets but there is none, as much as they look.”

ABC: High Rollers – High Risk?

Law and security experts claim Australian casinos that target Asian VIP customers risk exposing themselves to organized crime. There is a lot of money to be made in the gambling industry, and a large part of profits come from regular players, but Australian casinos seek to attract more high-rollers, particularly gamblers from China.

Since casino games are illegal on the mainland, these players often choose to spend their money in places like Macau or Australia. They are usually brought to the casino by companies called junkets, which locate, transport and provide credit for gamblers.

Crown Resorts, the Australian casino operator led by James Packer, has recently won approval to develop a six star hotel and VIP gambling venue at Barangaroo, on the shores of Sydney Harbour. According to the media, there is evidence linking junket companies to organized crime syndicates, which is why locals fear Packer’s new business will expose the country to illegal operations.

A gambling expert told reporters that junket companies “turn to organized crime to enforce gambling debts, using violence or threats of violence. It looks like casino operators relying solely on VIP customers for its profits could be facing huge difficulties, leaving the government with a problem too.

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Best Five Halloween Promotions

Oct 29, 2014
Top five Halloween promotions from the best online casinos

Top five Halloween promotions from the best online casinos

We take a look at the top five promotions from amongst the ghouls, goblins and ghosts on offer this Halloween around the web.

The witches are taking to the air, the ghosts are practicing their spooky “Wooooo” noises and the goblins are massing for raids that will only be foiled by an oddly carved Jack ‘O Lantern that smells slightly charring and reminds you that your kids are going to need a trip to the dentist after all that candy. Halloween has changed a lot over the centuries but it remains one of the most popular holidays for children and adults alike.

The traditions of dressing up, giving out treats, playing tricks and telling (sometimes quite tall) tales of frightening occurrences of the supernatural variety have all developed over the years into the night of excess we now all enjoy, so if you’ve already stuffed yourself with candy corn, had enough of the roasted pumpkin seeds and want to quietly relax we thought we’d give you the heads up on some of the best promotions on offer this Halloween.

Bet365: Halloween Treat At Bet365

Running throughout the final week of October those fabulous people over at Bet365 have allowed the spirit of the season to haunt their site with a range of games giving a very straight forward offer of free spins. There’s no “opting in” here, just turn up and grab those free spins, plus some of the other little spooky treats that await you within. They’ve even got a video up to explain it all to you and wet your appetite for more than candy.

The free spins are available on a great selection of their games. You can mount up on Frankie Dettori’s Magic 7, pick a winner on the Funky Fruits Farm, find the big money on Halloween Fortune, battle it out on Iron Man 3, let out your inner animal on Kong, get lucky on Mr. Cashback, net yourself something cool on Spider-Man, gain the upper hand on The Avengers, have a slash with Wolverine or get wrapped up on The Mummy. So, something for everyone.

BetVictor: Trick Or Treat At BetVictor

The duality of trick or treating stems from a few different influences ranging from the revelry of Samhain, the Christian religion and the practical jokers of the Victorian age. But whilst soul cakes have given way to candy, and the practical jokers have become far younger than once they were, that two-sided coin still spins in the air each All Hallow’s Eve, and at BetVictor they’re abiding by the spirit of the occasion.

They’ve chosen a good cross section of their superb array of slots and added in both a trick and a treat for you this Halloween. The Trick, as such, is that you get 10% of you net losses back in cash, real cash, up to a value of 20 GBP, and the Treat is they’ll add 10% onto your net winnings on any of the qualifying slots. They’ll total up on November 2nd and simply hand over the appropriate cash to you instantly. Can’t say fairer than that.

MrGreen: 4 Spin Chilling Days at MrGreen

Over at Mr Green Casino they’re taking it to a new level but issuing a challenge to all those who think there’s nothing to be scared of this Halloween. They’re giving you just 96 hours to beat the monsters, wipe out the witches and do away with any zombies you might come across in their 4 days of spookily fabulous gaming. You don’t have long, but if you’re one lucky punter you could well walk away with 4,000 EUR and that’s not to be sniffed at.

There are a number of games to beat at Mr Green Casino, each with their own unique theme and styling rendered in superb graphics with an amazing sound track to keep your Halloween as atmospheric as possible. Tighten your neck bolt in Frankenstein, take possession of your destiny in Voodoo Vibes, make sure you survive the hoard in Zombies and then cast a spell or two to see off the Wild Witches. The games are great and the rewards even greater, so this Thursday isn’t a kick-off to miss.

BetatCasino: Grab Your Bonus At BETAT Casino

BETAT Casino is keeping the magic alive with a great reward for all those that love their games. Just wager 400 EUR on each of seven days throughout the month of October and you’ll get a cool 50 EUR credited to your account as if a wizard waved his wand and thrust the money upon you. Yup, that’s right, just turn up and play on seven days and the cash is yours to collect automatically. Now you can’t get a better deal than that.

Players do have to “opt in” of course but that’s hardly an onerous task and once you have you’re guaranteed to get that bonus if you qualify over the time. The range of games on offer is a great cross section of the genre and of course there’s a few other Halloween treats, and indeed tricks, that one shouldn’t miss out on. So as the candy frenzy approaches and you wonder if that’s roasting pumpkin or the neighbors have set fire to their pool again, check out this great offer.

Unibet: Gold Rush Halloween Special at Unibet

At Unibet they’re making sure they get you both coming and going with a stupendously double edged promotion that sees you rewarded with cash prizes and invitations to their famed free rolls. Once you opt in there’s a great duality to greet you, with both the number of days you play, AND the number of points you earn combining to give you a bigger prize and greater chance to win the superb 3,000 EUR in their special Halloween tournament at 18:00 CET on Halloween.

The number of days are split up into fives, so play five days in October and you’ll get entry to a 2,000 EUR free roll, 10 days a 3,000 EUR and from 15 days play on a 5,000 EUR free roll, and for each one of those categories of time, your points score can win you a larger and larger cash prize. 1400 points over five days gets you 60 EUR, over 15 days it’s 225 EUR, and that continues all the way up to a staggeringly good 3,000 EUR top prize.

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The week in pictures: October 21st- 27th, 2014

Oct 28, 2014

Weekly news in pictures

There wasn’t a dull moment last week as big events rolled across the global headlines so lets take a look back and who did what and where

Radicalized Canadian, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, opened fire with an automatic rifle at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada, killing one of the ceremonial guards on duty. The self-styled one-man jihad then took possession of a motor vehicle at gunpoint and, pursued by police, drove to the Parliament building where upon he ran inside shooting randomly as he went. He was cornered, rushed, shot and killed by security staff leaving Canada in a state of shock.

Shock didn’t seem to be much in evidence as Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in jail by Judge Thokozile Masipa for the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in their bathroom on February 14th 2013. Found guilty of “culpable homicide” and also of discharging a firearm in public (a separate incident) the para-Olympians faced a suspended 3 year sentence even once his five years are served, although he’s expected to spend only around 10 months in custody.

Kaci Hickox, on the other hand, will have to spend three weeks in custody of the state of New Jersey after the Ebola hysteria reached new heights of stupidity in the US. The nurse who had been treating victims in West Africa is the first to suffer the human rights abuse that is the mandatory quarantine isolation period despite testing negative for the virus and displaying no symptoms whatsoever because in America freedom isn’t a right unless you’re rich.

And talking of rich, the Queen of England decided to get with the program and sent her first tweet. Despite having had an account for some time this was the first time she, instead of palace staff, had sent one out, in this case noting the opening of a new exhibition at London’s Science Museum that focuses on the information age and the changes it has wrought upon us all. She was a little overly polite and verbose but she’ll get the hang of it.

In sport, of course, it was a week of high drama with Serena Williams beating Simona Halep to win her fifth WTA finals and end the year as world number one for the fourth time, will the Men’s WTA Finals be as superb a competition to watch and wager on? Keep track on our daily news pages, but whilst we wait for them to sort that out lets take a look back at some of the pictures and stories that made our headlines last week.

1. Two distinguished ladies at the top of South Africa’s National Gaming Board have been suspended due to accusations of corruption, abuse of power and an impressive number of illegalities, which they rewarded themselves for with a 46% pay rise.

Rob Davies South African Minister

Dr. Rob Davies has temporarily removed the NGB (Photo: African Business Review)


2. Battle of the attorneys – the fate of sports betting in New Jersey is now in the hands of Judge Michael A. Shipp, and it looks like this boat is sinking.

USA betting

Hold your bets, NJ residents! (Photo: Glenn Pinkerton/Las Vegas News Bureau)


3. Sheldon Adelson has bought a lot of political influence over the years, but some still see through his attempts to fight for the “moral good” by banning online gambling.

Sheldon Adelson againsta online gambling

Sheldon Adelson continues crusade against online gambling (Photo: Jeff Scheid/Reuters/Pool)


4. The illegal betting bomb dropped on the Indian Premier League in 2013 is about to explode, as the police will soon present its findings. The next court hearing is scheduled for November 10.

IPL betting scandal

Fixing bets affects cricket as well… (Photo: Parth Sanyal/Reuters)


5. Some of you still think that wearing a lucky hat to the next baseball game will help you win a bet; but experts have facts, information and math on their side.

Math and betting

Betting looks a lot like science (Photo: Sam Huston State University)


6. Two casino operators have opened gambling venues in the center of Madrid, and now visitors have a chance to play in fancy new Spanish poker rooms. Olé!

Madrid casinos

La bienvenida al casino (Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo)


7. Warren Buffett has placed his bet on the 2016 US Presidential Elections: Hillary Clinton will run and win.

Warren Buffet supports Hillary

Buffets puts his money on Hillary (Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Meanwhile Nazi war criminals have been living on US social security benefits in Europe having been bribed to leave US jurisdiction, and a Google Executive, one Alan Eustace, plummeted to the ground from 135,000ft leaving only some critics of the internet giant disappointed because he was wearing a parachute and setting a new world skydiving record. Will anything else drop out of the sky unexpectedly? You better read our GamblingResults’ news pages, just in case.

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Court Puts New Jersey Sports Betting on Hold

Oct 28, 2014
Judge Shipp issues a temporary restraining order on sports betting operations in New Jersey

Judge Shipp issues a temporary restraining order on sports betting operations in New Jersey

A federal judge intervened to temporarily block New Jersey’s plans to allow sports betting at the state’s racetrack and casinos.

State lawmakers have been trying to find ways to bring sports betting to New Jersey for years, but it looks like all attempts are destined to fail. A few weeks ago, officials passed a bill allowing licensed casinos and racetracks to accept wagers.

After Governor Chris Christie signed the document into law and Monmouth Park said it was ready to start taking bets last Sunday, professional sports leagues challenged the decision in court, asking the judge to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent this from happening.

U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp decided to grant the request made by the National Football League, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and other sports groups, but did not rule on the merits of the issue yet. A full hearing will be scheduled in the future.

A spokesman for Christie emphasized that the restraining order is temporary and added: “We continue to have full confidence in the strength and appropriateness of our position as we move forward in the litigation.”

USA Today: Judge: New Jersey can’t launch sports betting

Latest gambling news announce that a federal judge decided not to allow casinos and racetracks in New Jersey to start taking sports bets. In his ruling late Friday, US District Court Judge Michael Shipp put in place a temporary restraining order to prevent state operators from offering such services last week.

Monmouth Park was planning on giving its bookmaking operations a test run on Sunday, when it would have accepted bets on NFL games, but the court said Governor Chris Christie can’t launch sports betting in the state for now.

Monmouth Park officials were expecting about 10,000 people to rush to the track this Sunday to bet on Jets-Bills, Eagles-Cardinals, as well as on other NFL games. The track was going to open as early as 7 am, in order to allow visitors to place wagers on the Lions-Falcons game played in London at 9:30 am E.T.

But the NFL and other American sports leagues have filed a complaint asking the judge to stop state operators from taking bets immediately, invoking a 1992 federal law restricting sports betting to Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana.

A final decision will be made only after a full hearing, but for now the judge has issued a restraining order stopping Monmouth Park from going ahead with its plans. Attorneys representing the racetrack have argued that the business won’t survive without this new source of revenue.

NESN: Judge Grants Leagues’ Request, Stops N.J. Sports Betting Temporarily

Following a request from four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA, a federal judge issued a restraining order preventing New Jersey operators from taking sports bets for now. The request was made by the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA, who went to court over a new bill signed by Governor Chris Christie, allowing casinos and racetracks in the state to offer betting services.

Under current gambling laws, Nevada is the only state allowed to offer betting on individual games at local bookmakers. Delaware also offers multi-game parlay pools, requiring players to pick several games correctly before winning any money.

“More legal gambling leads to more total gambling, which in turns leads to an increased incentive to fix plaintiffs’ matches,” Shipp said in court last Friday, adding that sports betting in New Jersey “would engender the same ills” that lawmakers sought to combat when they came up with the 1992 federal law.

Attorneys representing the sports organizations have argued that the leagues would suffer irreparable harm if such offers were available in the state. The lawsuit will proceed and the court will schedule a full hearing, but Shipp said a temporary restraining order was necessary to make sure that the matter is properly debated in court first.

Wall Street Journal: Judge Blocks Bid to Legalize Sports Betting in New Jersey

A previous attempt to overturn the sports betting ban and allow New Jersey players to bet on sports failed, and officials are not sure what will happen next. For now, Nevada continues to remain the only state where sports betting is fully legal. Delaware has a few similar operations, but the state only offers multi-game parlay pools.

While Atlantic City casinos said they would wait for the judge’s decision before starting any bookmaking operations, Monmouth Park Racetrack had originally planned to begin sports betting this weekend. The venue’s plans were put on hold by the restraining order.

Dennis Drazin, the operator of Monmouth Park, wrote in a recent statement: “While we are disappointed not to be able to start this Sunday, we are confident that sports betting will be coming to New Jersey in the very near future.”

While preventing the racetrack from starting its new operations, Judge Shipp also requested the five plaintiffs to put up a $1.7 million bond, to cover New Jersey’s potential revenue losses should the state eventually win the argument. The judge also said the temporary restraining order only applies to sports scores at events run by the four leagues and the NCAA.

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Telford Speaks Out against Sheldon’s Political Influence

Oct 23, 2014
Erik Telford came out strongly against Sheldon Adelson’s political influence

Erik Telford came out strongly against Sheldon Adelson’s political influence

Adelson has managed to turn many politicians against online gambling, but supporters of the virtual industry are not giving up.

The battle over internet gambling in the US continues. While opponents of online casinos are becoming louder and more aggressive, Erik Telford, senior vice president at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity in the United States, has expressed concerns about the influence industry representatives seem to have on politicians.

A few days ago, Telford made his voice heard too and came out strongly against casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s political influence, in his bid to put an end to most forms of online gambling in the US. “When powerful gaming interests are spearheading the fight to ban online gambling, it should give you pause,” he wrote in an opinion piece published in the political newspaper The Hill.

CEO of Sands Vegas, Sheldon Adelson is one of the largest campaign contributors in America. With elections being held this year, several politicians have withdrawn their support for the online casino industry just to get on the billionaire’s good side.

“Their main policy objective is focused on federal legislation to ban online gambling outright – stifling their competition before it ever reaches the market. It is a glimpse of crony capitalism in its most naked form, and represents a very troubling assault on Internet freedom, giving government a foot in the door for a broader regulatory regime and usurping our federalist system,” Telford warned.

The Hill: Ending the cycle of casino cronyism

Online gambling news revealed that, in his campaign to restore the 2011 Wire Act, the casino mogul has drawn Sen. Lindsey Graham and Representative Jason Chaffetz on his side. But Telford characterized this as “a pretense to advance a moral good”, adding that “this policy would undermine the free market, encourage crime, and erode the constitutional concept of states’ rights.”

Telford quoted free market advocates, who believe that a regulated market would help protect players from fraud and concluded: “Just like Prohibition in the 1920’s, banning this vice would actually incentivize criminal behavior. Those fearful of fraud, child participation, and profits diverted to gangs or terrorists should push for legalization in every state to make the industry as transparent as possible.”

In a letter sent to US congressmen, representatives of the Institute For Policy Innovation wrote: “In this black market, where virtually all sites are operated from abroad, consumers have little to no protection from predatory behavior.”

At the end of his article, Telford reminded readers that legalizing this “multibillion dollar business” would make things more transparent, allowing authorities to verify industry revenues, as well as to profit from tax revenue.

Vegas Inc: At G2E, Sheldon Adelson reiterates disdain for Internet gambling

Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson continued his crusade against online gambling at this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E), telling those present at the trade show that internet casinos make it easy for underage users to play because “when you’re on the Internet, you cannot know your customer.”

Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business, defended the online gambling industry, claiming that the internet allows operators to authenticate players’ identities. When hearing the argument that internet gambling should be legal because it already happens, Sheldon replied: “Then why don’t we legalize prostitution? Why don’t we legalize cocaine and heroin? That’s not a good reason, to say that they’re doing it anyway.”

Soon after Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware legalized online casino games, other states started to talk about doing the same thing. Adelson then set up the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, a nonprofit organization dedicated to outlawing the business once and for all.

The casino mogul wants US gambling laws to completely ban online casino games and often argues that he fears online gaming will exploit the poor by making gambling too accessible.

“I don’t want those people to get abused because when I look at people like that I see the faces of my parents,” he said in his speech. “I just don’t see that there is any compelling reason to put an electronic casino in 318 million hands.”

iGamingPlayer: New Jersey Assembly Committee Opposes Federal Online Gaming Ban

As one of the three states that have already legalized online gambling, New Jersey is trying to send out a message to Congress, urging officials to reject a federal ban on internet casinos. The industry is already established in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, and other states have announced their intentions to join them in opening the market.

A resolution from Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, who represents Atlantic City, says such a ban would not only damage New Jersey’s casino industry, but also infringe on its state’s rights.

“A federal prohibition against internet gaming would directly and negatively impact New Jersey by dismantling the investments that the state and Atlantic City casinos have already made to implement and regulate Internet gaming, taking away the economic and employment opportunities already realized by the state and its residents, and foreclosing the future potential of internet gaming to generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue, create high-tech software jobs, and foster valuable business ventures for Atlantic City casinos in this State,” it said.

“Internet gaming has begun to yield benefits for our state’s economy, over $80 million has been wagered, and that’s generating sorely needed tax revenue that’s serving as a stimulus for Atlantic City at this critical time,” Mazzeo explained in his statement.

While fully aware that the industry hasn’t reached its full potential, officials believe a federal ban would have a negative impact, rendering a number of investments useless and taking away millions of dollars in tax revenue.

The resolution opposes the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act” bill strongly backed by Sheldon Adelson, which is now before both houses of Congress.

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The week in pictures: October 14th – 20th

Oct 21, 2014

Weekly news in pictures

The world last week wobbled between the tragic and the blessed, the diseased and the drunken, so lets look back at what went on

The tragedy of the numerous avalanche that struck Nepal last week has left 39 people dead so far and more are likely to be recovered in time. A mammoth rescue effort was swung into action as trekkers and climbers were slowly rescued by locals, guides, the emergency services and military. Over 400 people were taken to safety as the search continued throughout the weekend in this remote mountainous kingdom which is a favorite with altitude junkies.The successful negotiations in Nigeria, on the other hand, have been hailed as a major diplomatic victory for both sides with the upshot being that the schoolgirls so alarmingly kidnapped from their schools in the summer may well be back with their friends and families in the very near future ending their months of captivity. The negotiations had been rumored but were only confirmed after the successful arrangement of the truce last week.

There’s no sign of a truce on the street of the Mong Kok district of the modern metropolis that is Hong Kong with the authorities having sent in police to remove barricades and protestors from blocking major streets within the city. However successful they were initially by the end of the day many of the protestors and their obstructions had returned leaving the Chinese-run government with an ever decreasing number of options.

Which is probably true of the crew of the Russian submarine the Russians are strenuously denying has got itself into trouble off the coast of Sweden. The denial rang a bit hollow when the Swedes claimed to have picked up a Russian distress signal and launched a search and rescue operation involving hundreds of troops, boats and aircraft to find the submarine Moscow refused to admit ownership of perhaps gambling that it will yet slip away.

Here are some pictures of the gambling events that made the news last week, on GamblingResults.

1. Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino was shut down due to an armed altercation involving different groups of Indian tribes.

Chukchansi Casino Closed

Whats the Chukchansi word for ‘goodbye’? (Photo: Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino)

2. Taj Mahal Casino’s Fate was the subject of another round of discussions. In order to save the gambling venue and more than a thousand jobs, owners and union members are analyzing all the options.

Unite-Here union members

Unite-HERE union wants to save Taj Mahal Casino (Photo: Wayne Parry)

3. Can’t stand to be looked at while you’re receiving an over-sized check? A Chinese lottery winner used a disguise to make the handing out ceremony more… bearable.

Chinese lottery winner bear costume

Here’s the prize… Handshake or bear hug? (Photo: CCTV)

4. Japan might get its casinos before the Tokyo Olympics, but the government remains committed to its mission: stopping locals from having any fun in there.

Gambling in Japan

Casinos are only for the quests (Photo: Japan Daily Press)

5. Swedish politicians took too long to ponder on what the country’s new gambling laws should look like – apart from… you know… liberal – so the EC is dragging them to European court.

European Court on Swedish Gambling

The European Commission doesn’t like the Swedish monopolistic gambling laws (Photo: Reuters)

6. Former WSOP champion Darren Woods is accused of opening 13 fake accounts on a poker site. Now there’s no need to jump to conclusions here, this doesn’t necessarily make him a fraudster; he could just be suffering from multiple personality disorder.

Darren Wood Fake Accounts on Poker Sites

13 different poker faces is not easy to pull (Photo: Grimsby Telegraph via Facebook)

7. Researchers have picked the brains of problem gamblers, only to find that they don’t get much of a kick out of a normal day at the casino. Apparently, their brains are only satisfied once they’ve spent way too much money!

Gamblers brain

Scientists found some mind-blowing information about gamblers (Photo: Matthias Kulka/Corbis)

Meanwhile President Obama has appointed an Ebola Tsar to assist in combating the hysteria sweeping his country that might well explain why New Hampshire had a pumpkin festival turn into a full scale riot. Will this week be as crazy? Take a look at the daily news on GamblingResults and stay up to date.

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Officials Reveal Accusations against South African Gambling Board

Oct 21, 2014
Members of the South African National Gambling Board are accused of corruption

Members of the South African National Gambling Board are accused of corruption

The Trade and Industry department wrote an angry letter detailing the Gambling Board’s alleged graft and financial mismanagement.

Last month, South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies suspended the entire Gambling Board, accusing its members of corruption, intimidation of staff, theft of evidence, wasteful spending of funds, as well as other illegalities.

The department’s oversight committee asked the minister to provide his reasons by Friday, and chairwoman Joan Fubbs received a letter detailing the accusations. Lionel October, the department’s director, said the suspension had been a “precautionary” measure. He spoke on behalf of Davies, who was traveling abroad.

Another letter written by the two administrators appointed by Davies after the suspension and addressed to Fubbs said the former board’s problems went even deeper.

IOL Independent: Call for probe into graft at gambling board

The reasons behind Davies’ decision to suspend the board include corruption, intimidation and bullying of employees, running up an overdraft on the board’s bank account, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Former members of the board have also been accused of theft of evidence and illegally designating a member whose term had expired to serve as a consultant.

According to online gambling news, a whistleblower also revealed that chairwoman Linda de Vries and deputy chairwoman Nana Magomola were both members and executive director, respectively, of the National Responsible Gambling Foundation.

The two had never disclosed this information to the minister, as required by law. Members of the board have allegedly run up an overdraft without asking the finance minister for permission, and failed to audit the trust fund or to disclose this.

Further investigations revealed that the board had signed a 9-year lease for an office space, although it only had 16 employees and was already occupying premises in the trade and industry department’s building, at a cost of R23.2 million over 15 years. The new space was leased at an additional cost of R58.4 million, which could not be justified.

The board reported a loss of R4 million in 2013-2014, and a deficit of R4.8 million during the previous year. At present, its liabilities exceed its assets by R8.1 million.

Casinos-Online: South African Minister Opens Up On Gambling Board Scandal (Update)

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies belatedly briefed the parliamentary committee on the reasons why he chose to suspend the entire South African National Gambling Board six weeks ago.

Joan Fubbs, chair of the parliamentary trade and industry portfolio committee, demanded details on the scandal, describing the government’s actions as lacking transparency.
Allegations of maladministration, wasteful spending and corrupt activities were included in a written brief put together by the minister and presented by the DTI director general.

As a first step, Davies ordered an investigation into the board’s conduct and appointed two temporary administrators to run the organization until investigators shed some light on the issue.

In his brief, the minister described the suspensions as a “precautionary”. A report by the auditor-general indicated possible contraventions of the Public Finance Management Act, claiming that the board had “…failed to prevent irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and made overdraft on the entity’s bank account without the approval of the minister of finance”.

Other allegations include breaking the state’s laws by “allowing members whose term of office had expired to continue participating in the board’s activities and representing the NGB”, unlawful staff appointments, corrupt activity, tyrannical behavior toward staff and the theft of evidential material.

Spokesman Dean Macpherson MP added that members of the board had increased their own salaries by a “staggering” 46% over the past year, spending an additional R2.7 million on international travel. Macpherson said his party would propose that criminal charges be laid against any illegal behavior that can be proved.

The NGB is responsible for overseeing South Africa’s entire gambling industry, which made a total profit of R21.8 billion in 2013 and generated R2.2 billion in tax revenues. Most of it came from land based casinos.

MailandGuardian: NEF boss stays put as auditors probe graft claims

The chief executive of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) appeared in the newspapers after being accused of corruption, fraud and breaking the country’s gambling laws. An investigation is under way, probing the allegations.

Following instructions given by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, the board of the NEF has appointed an auditing firm to “determine the veracity of the allegations”. Deloitte is now looking into the matter to find out if the accusations brought against Philisiwe Mthethwa and two senior officials are true.

An anonymous whistleblower claimed the organization’s senior manager has committed fraud and was guilty of corruption. It was speculated that Mthethwa would be suspended during the investigation, but the board then decided against it.

“After having taken independent legal advice, after a considered deliberation and pending the results of Deloitte’s report on the veracity of the allegations, the board of trustees decided not to suspend any of the individuals who are the subject of the allegations,” a statement said.

“We are confident that no member of the NEF will do anything to ­compromise the integrity of the investigation, and have received commitments from the affected individuals to that effect.”

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Sweden Taken to European Court Over Monopolistic Gambling Laws

Oct 18, 2014
The European Commission started legal action against Sweden

The European Commission started legal action against Sweden

The European Commission started legal action against Sweden, for failing to comply with European gambling laws.

Sweden is in trouble. After issuing a number of warnings, the European Commission (EC) is finally fed up and is dragging Swedish legislators to court over the country’s conservative and monopolistic gambling laws, which fail to comply with the European requirement of free movement of services.

The EC has referred the Nordic member state to the highest European court in two separate cases related to the restrictions imposed on the licensing process. Under the current legislation, Swedish authorities only welcome domestic and state-owned operators.

The Commission released a statement explaining its decision: “Sweden is referred to the Court of Justice for imposing restrictions on the organization and promotion of online betting services in a way which is inconsistent with EU law. Changes to the Swedish gambling law in order to make it compliant with EU law have long been envisaged but never implemented.”

Daily Mail: EU Commission sues Sweden over online betting, poker laws

According to the latest gambling news, the two cases concern licensing for online betting and poker sites. European laws require all 28 member states to allow cross-border supply of such services. They may however impose restrictions to protect local players from the harmful effects of online gambling, but only if they prove that these measures are necessary and applied in a suitable and consistent manner.

In its first case against Sweden, the EC has criticized the country’s licensing system for online betting, claiming that it was not applied in a systematic way. Upon analyzing the current legislation, as well as reports and other documents, the Commission found that Swedish authorities don’t supervise the exclusive betting provider adequately.

Sweden’s government has responded to these accusations on Thursday, saying that its intentions were “to speed up the work that has been carried out for a long time in order to find a licensing system that could be introduced in Sweden”.

The second case is about the Nordic country’s regulation of online poker sites. To be more precise, the EC has suggested that Swedish authorities had turned a blind eye to the unauthorized offer and promotion of poker games on the local market.

The European Gaming and Betting Association is happy with the Commission’s move and has calling it “a breakthrough decision”. The two cases marked the first time when Brussels took a member state to court over gambling laws. The EC had previously asked Sweden to change its laws in 2007, giving it a final warning in November last year.

Europa.eu: Commission requests Member States to comply with EU law when regulating gambling services

In a press release issued on November 20, 2013, the European Commission has called on a number of Member States to adapt their national laws on gambling to ensure compliance with the fundamental freedoms granted by the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

While Member States are free to set certain restrictions and limitations on cross-border supply of gambling services to protect the public and prevent fraud, these measures need to be objective and sustained with arguments. The necessity and suitability of these restrictions has to be demonstrated, and all laws have to be consistent with this mission.

In a Communication dating from October 2012, the EC announced that it would complete an assessment of national provisions in the pending infringements cases. As a consequence of the assessment, the Commission has requested Sweden to comply with European rules on the free movement of services and get rid of the state monopoly on gambling services.

Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland and Romania have also been asked to provide further information on national legislation restricting the supply of gambling services.

GamingZion: EGBA Says Swedish Gambling Laws are not in Compliance with European Regulations

A report issued by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) shows that Sweden needs to change its current monopolistic gambling laws. Over the past few years, European officials have sent out several written warnings to authorities in Sweden, asking them to ensure compliance with Europe’s rules on free movement of services.

If the country fails to comply with these requests, it will be referred to the European Court of Justice.

“Evidently the best option for all concerned, and especially for Swedish consumers is that Sweden will commit to re-regulate its market and allow online operators to apply for online licenses,” EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer told reporters.

The EGBA officials added that a change in legislation is “inevitably the future”, as there is a rising demand for online and land-based gambling services in Sweden.

“If the status quo remains, it is clear that the European Commission (EC) will have no other option than to refer Sweden to the European Court… The commission is clearly convinced that Sweden’s gambling monopoly is not in conformity with EU law,” Haijer said.

Poker News: Sweden’s Gambling Law to Change in 2014: “We Hope the Commission Will Not Sue Us”

Even though the European Commission has warned Sweden about its monopolistic gambling laws a long time ago, authorities are asking for more time and said that “changes are imminent”. Decision-makers promised to draw up a new set of norms, adding that they could be ready as early as next November.

EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer rejected the proposal and said “immediate sanctions” would be imposed. Erik Thedéen, Sweden’s Treasury Undersecretary admitted in an interview that the government is trying to buy some time, hoping to avoid being sanctioned.

Olivier Guersent, Head of Cabinet for Commissioner Michel Barnier, met with Thedéen to talk about the issue. Officials said new regulations could be drawn up by the end of 2014, provided there are no unnecessary delays caused by the EC.

Thedéen added that he “explained Mr. Guersent that with the current schedule Sweden aims to be ready by November or December” and added: “The European Commission gave no indication about their future behavior. Parties agreed to hold a dialogue at the official level. We hope they will not sue us.”

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Taj Mahal Casino’s Fate to Be Decided Soon

Oct 15, 2014
Taj Mahal Casino Court Decission

Decisive moments for Taj Mahal Casino

The jobs of thousands of casino employees depend on a bankruptcy court ruling, expected to be issued by the end of this week.

The fate of the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City will be decided later this week. The venue’s management claims the casino still has a chance to survive if the court allows the withdrawal of workers’ health care and pensions.

According to online gambling news, the Taj Mahal will close by November 13 if Trump Entertainment doesn’t get the union concessions. The Atlantic City gambling operator shut its other casino – the Trump Plaza – in September. Another three gambling venues closed this year, as Atlantic City has become less appealing to visitors over the past few years.

US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross said he would rule on the issue by October 17, and added that the issue needs “a lot of analysis” and that it’s “going to take a while” until he makes a decision.

Bloomberg: Trump Casinos Fate, Union Fight to Be Decided This Week

Lawyers representing Trump Entertainment have argued that the union contract includes an unsustainable cost of about $20 million a year. Given its current financial situation, the company cannot afford to pay that, which is why it asked to cut employee benefits.

If the case succeeds, the casino operator has better chances of getting businessman Carl Icahn’s $100-million support, which could help save the casino from closure. The lenders also want to convert part of Trump Entertainment’s $292 million debt into equity.

In addition to cutting employee pensions and health care, investors also asked for $175 million in tax relief from New Jersey and Atlantic City. The program would be deferred over 5 years and the local administration might have to pass new gambling laws.

The management of the casino is seeking to transfer workers from a traditional pension plan to a 401(k) program, and to move them from to a new health care program under Affordable Care Act sponsorship. To help pay for coverage, workers would receive a $2,000 stipend.

According to lawyer Kathy L. Krieger, the law doesn’t allow a union accord to be rejected unless it is “essential” to a company’s survival.

ABC News: Icahn Aide: Taj Has to Close If Union Pact Remains

Allan Brilliant, a lawyer for business investor Carl Icahn, told US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross that the casino company needs the financial relief in order to survive. Trump Entertainment has threatened to close the Taj Mahal by November 13 unless it can shed pension and health care obligations to its 3,000 employees.

“If you don’t grant the motion, it’s just not viable as a business,” Brilliant argued in front of the court. “Ultimately very quickly the casino will close. This is the window here; the window is open.”

Kris Hansen, who represented Trump Entertainment, added: “If you do grant it, we have a chance to stay alive. The cost structure of this casino doesn’t work, and it needs to be fixed. If we’re successful, employees get to keep their jobs, even though they made some concessions. Having a job is better than not having a job.”

In addition to union concessions, the company needs massive tax breaks from Atlantic City and New Jersey. Both administrations have already rejected the demand. The casino initially sought to have property taxes lowered by almost 80%. But Kathy Krieger, a lawyer for Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, believes the investors are trying to profit on the backs of the low-wage casino employees.

“Let’s look at the poorest of the stakeholders here and make sure they give up everything permanently before we’re even willing to move. That’s absolute nonsense,” she said, adding that the businessman is “asking for major concessions that will give him a huge competitive advantage over every other casino in Atlantic City.”

After a negative response from Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian and state Senate President Steve Sweeney, the company came forward with a different request, seeking $175 million in tax relief.

GamingZion: Union Members Make Strong Proposals to Keep Taj Mahal Open

Union members are also making efforts to stop the famous Atlantic City from closing and have proposed counteroffers to the company’s management.

While Trump Entertainment officials want to cut costs by getting rid of health care and pension plans, Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union has proposed an alternative solution: they said they would agree to smaller pension contributions, but they’re not willing to cancel pension funds altogether.

The two parties will be discussing details in a meeting, and Trump Entertainment CEO Robert Griffin did not want to comment on the union’s counteroffer. However, he added that the company “will remain committed to negotiating in good faith”.

“We hope to make the most of the three hours we will be meeting for on Friday,” he told reporters.

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The week in pictures: October 7th -13th, 2014

Oct 15, 2014

Weekly news in pictures

The week between October 7th and 13th was another busy week around the globe, therefore plenty of news. Good news first:

Formula 1 made a comeback in Russia after 100 years. The Nobel Prize for peace was awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai and the Honorary Dame Grand Cross was awarded to Angelina Jolie by the Queen Elisabeth II of Great Britain.

Moving onto the bad news, another country leader made the news by simply ‘showing up'; Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance in 40 days. Awful news came from the health sector: a patient diagnosed with Ebola died in the US and another one just got infected in Spain. In Africa, hundreds are still dying. People have died in India as well due to Cyclone Hudhud and in Hong Kong, protesters were still marching for democracy.

The gambling news were interesting as well. Let’s take a look at the pics, first!

1. Singapore failed at choosing words in the campaign against gambling but succeed in banning gambling activities.

Singapore Gambling Ban

Clearly, the campaigners were not bettors… or football fans (Photo: Reuters)

2. The Trump name shall only be associated with ‘high standards of luxury’. It was decided in court that the famous surname will be removed from Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal, now tapped out casinos.

Donald Trump removes Trump name out of casinos

Donald Trump maintains successful reputation (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/Getty)

3. Phil Ivey’s case of edge-sorting and exploiting casino’s failures was declared cheating, in court. The poker player will not have access to his winnings.

Phil Ivey lost trial

Phil Ivey lost GBP 7.7 million (Photo: ESPN)

4. Floyd Mayweather showed everybody that he is not only a good sportsman, but also a good sports bettor. And a very, very rich man.

Floyd Mayweather Betting Winnings

That’s how a ‘long count’ looks like outside the boxing ring (Photo: Daily Mail)

5. New and stricter gambling laws are expected in the Czech Republic. Foreign gambling operators are welcomed as well in a hope to boost tax revenues.

 Andrej Babiš gambling laws

Czech Finance Minister, Andrej Babiš announced new gambling laws (Photo: Jan Zatorsky)

6. New gambling laws, new taxes in the UK as well. The Court granted ‘green light’ for implementing the anticipated legal amendments, despite Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association objections.

Judges on new gambling laws in UK

UK judges denied Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association’s appeal (Photo: UPPA Ltd)

7. Ka-Ching! 350 people bought vintage gambling machines worth $2,381,700 at the Victorian Casino Antiques auction. The unique gambling items once belonged to the iconic Las Vegas Harrah’s Hotel and Casino.

Harrah's vintage slots machines auction

When in doubt, go vintage! (Photo: VCA Auction)

That was it for the past seven days. If you want to stay informed with the latest gambling news, read the Gambling Results’ top stories section!

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Police Looking for Gambling Ring Leader Tied to Bukit Bintang Incident

Oct 14, 2014
Police are still investigating the details of the explosion that shook Kuala Lumpur last week

Police are still investigating the details of the explosion in Kuala Lumpur

Police are still investigating the details of the explosion that shook Kuala Lumpur last week.

Authorities are now looking for a man who goes by the name Ah Hai, a gambling kingpin said to be the leader of one of the biggest illegal gambling syndicates in Malaysia. Police officers indicated the incident was linked to “an underworld tussle”, and they believe Ah Hai was the main target of the blast.

Police said the 53-year-old man was involved in another incident earlier in August, when he was arrested for threatening an officer with a gun. Ah Hai is also known to be a gangster, a former drug dealer and assistant to a secret society leader.

Online gambling news have reported that investigators have spoken to some of the victims, as well as other witnesses, but haven’t made any arrests yet.

The Star: Six Bukit Bintang nightspots raided as hunt for ‘Ah Hai’ continues

Six nightclubs in Bukit Bintang have been raided as police officers continue their search for “Ah Hai”, the suspected target in the grenade attack at Sun Complex. According to CID chief Senior Asst Comm Gan Kong Meng, police conducted raids on six outlets over the weekend, on Saturday and Sunday.

“We raided three outlets and checked a total of 405 people and arrested two people for allowing underaged individuals into an entertainment outlet and opening an entertainment outlet past the stipulated closing time,” he told reporters.

“Bukit Aman personnel including a Special Task Force on Organized Crime (STAFOC) team raided three other outlets and checked 215 people and rescued three Vietnamese women under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act.

“The three are believed to have been exploited for sex,” he added.

The Straits Times: Bukit Bintang blast: Kuala Lumpur police on the hunt for gambling kingpin

Malaysian police are looking for “Ah Hai”, the gambling kingpin and reported target of the grenade attack that took place in a shopping district in Kuala Lumpur. One man died and 12 were injured in the hit attempt at the center.

Investigators heard statements from the victims and believe the attack was carried out by two men. No arrests have been made so far. Police chief Tajuddin Md Isa said “Ah Hai” could be a crucial witness. The man was allegedly involved in a case in Sentul, in August, when he was charged with aiming a gun at a policeman.

“Ah Hai” is a gang leader who broke gambling laws by running an illegal online casino. His business grew to become one of the largest underground betting syndicates in Malaysia, and the media wrote he was even working with a former police officer as his right-hand man.

“He may have angered rival gangs as he encroached into their territory when expanding his business ventures,” a source told The Star newspaper.

The blast took place in an area popular with tourists, and locals believe it came as a result of gangland turf wars. Two grenades were thrown at cars in front of the Cherry Blossom nightclub, a place “Ah Hai” visits at least twice a month. Newspapers reported he is part of Gang 21, one of the country’s largest organized groups of criminals.

Yahoo News: Cops on hunt for ‘Ah Hai’, target of Bukit Bintang bomb blast

The hunt for gambling overlord Ah Hai continues. Police disclosed that the 53-year-old man had pointed a gun at a police officer earlier in August, after being asked to provide his personal documents during a routine check in Sentul.

Ah Hai was arrested after the incident, but later he was released on police bail. A police source said the man was a “bold gangster”, who was once the personal assistant to Lik Gor, a notorious secret society leader known as The Boss of Golden Palace.

“We don’t think he has fled the country. I think he is laying low and we are exhausting all our sources to find him as he will be able to shed light into investigations,” city police chief DCP Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa told reporters.

Back in 2006, Ah Hai was suspected of being involved in one of the country’s largest illegal betting operations and was high on the wanted list. Police had previously arrested him under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 for drug trafficking and possession.

The Malaysian Insider: Car jockey killed, 13 hurt in Jalan Bukit Bintang blast

A car jockey was killed and 13 others were injured in a blast in Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. A hand grenade exploded in front of a pub and police said Tiong Kwang Yie, a 36-year-old car jockey died in the incident.

“Police received a complaint at 4.25 am and sent a dispatch to the Cherry Blossom nightclub to ascertain the damage. Initial reports indicate that two hand grenades had been thrown from the second floor of a building,” Kuala Lumpur CID chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Gan Kong Meng told reporters.

Nine men and four women aged between 20 and 42, including nationals from Thailand, China and Singapore, were sent to the hospital after being injured in the blast.

“Initial investigations reveal that two hand grenades were thrown but only one exploded. Shrapnel from the hand grenade caused injuries to passers-by,” Gan explained.

Four vehicles were also damaged in the blast. The second hand grenade, which failed to explode, was found under one of the cars.

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Despite Bookmakers’ Objections, Judge Allows New UK Gambling Laws

Oct 13, 2014
The court has given the British Government the green light to implement its new gambling laws

The court has given the British Government the green light to implement its new gambling laws

The UK Government will move forward with its plan to tax remote gambling companies who cater to British players.

The court has given the British Government the green light to implement its new gambling laws. The decision comes after the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association challenged the government’s new licensing and taxation policies in court, hoping to receive approval to continue catering to British players remotely, without actually paying taxes in the UK.

For several years now, top gambling operators – including big names like William Hill, Ladbrokes or bet365 – have been running their online casinos and betting services from places like Gibraltar, Malta or Isle of Man. These offshore jurisdictions have much lower taxes than the UK, allowing gambling companies to pocket millions of pounds that would normally go to the British government.

The industry has been preparing for the big tax change, which is expected to cost it around GBP300 million a year, but the move has also caused share prices to drop. British bookmaker William Hill saw its shares fall 3.3%, while Ladbrokes shares dropped more than 4% following the court’s decision.

Reuters: RPT- Court clears Britain to take tighter control of online gambling

In order to tighten controls on the online betting industry, the British Government will require all internet gambling companies to obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission before providing their services on the local market.

With the new license comes an additional 15% tax on online profits made from bets placed by UK-based customers, which is scheduled to come into force on December 1. As of March 2015, bookmakers will also pay 20 to 25% more on lucrative high stakes gambling machines. It is estimated that this tax increase will cost betting companies around GBP75 million a year.

As for the new gambling act, officials had initially set the deadline for October 1, but were forced to postpone the measures until November 1 after the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) challenged them in court, claiming they contravened European laws guaranteeing free movement of services.

Judge Nicholas Green dismissed the appeal on Friday, saying: “Parliament was clearly within its rights to act as it did.”

“We remain concerned the UK regulator will find it difficult to hold companies to account in jurisdictions outside of the EU where it has no legal powers and common legal framework or culture,” the GBGA wrote in a statement.

Critics argue that the new regulations will result in unlicensed operators offering better odds on sports scores, thus encouraging gamblers to turn to illegal websites, which offer no consumer protection.

GBGA: “Unlawful’” Gambling Law Poses “New Danger” for Consumers

Earlier in June, the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) raised a few issues regarding the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014, labeling it as “unlawful”, and claiming that it “threatens the safety of consumers online.”

The new regime will require the UK Gambling Commission to police the online industry worldwide, which will be very difficult. GBGA chief Peter Howitt believes that the new law, combined with planned tax changes, will cause local players to migrate to the unregulated market.

“This is bad for UK consumers, bad for the regulated industry, bad for Gibraltar and is in breach of European law, but fantastic news for operators who choose to avoid proper regulation,” he said in a statement.

“We know of no precedent where any regulator in any industry will be granted the role of licensing and regulating operators all over the world in this way, threatening to criminalize companies and people who fail to submit to its regime. This is plainly unworkable.”

In addition to being “unlawful” and “unworkable”, the new law is also “unnecessary”, the association said. Gibraltar has one of the world’s most effective regulatory regimes and would continue to be responsible for its gambling industry, but it would also have to share information with the UK regulator on a formal basis.

In a statement released by the GBGA, the association’s lawyers added: “All this Act achieves is a wholly unjustified, disproportionate and discriminatory interference with the right to free movement of services, a right enshrined in European Law.”

Gaming Intelligence: Pinnacle Sports to shut down UK operations

Curaçao-licensed betting operator Pinnacle Sports announced that it will withdraw from the UK market. The company decided to stop catering to British players after the Government announced it was introducing tighter regulations under the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014.

At the beginning of September, the company sent a notification to all its customers, announcing it will shut down its UK operations from September 30th. Apart from withdrawals, all account functions have been disabled starting September 30. The restriction applies to subscribers who have listed UK as their place of residence, in their account details.

“Amendments to the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act come into force on October 1st, 2014 requiring all companies that advertise or provide gambling services to British residents to obtain a license from the British Gambling Commission,” the betting operator explained in a statement.

Pinnacle is just one of the many online gambling operators who chose to withdraw from the British market due to the 15% point of consumption tax. The list also includes SBOBet and 12BET, both licensed in Isle of Man, and Gibraltar-based Mansion casino.

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Czech Officials Propose Stricter Gambling Laws, but Welcome Foreign Operators

Oct 11, 2014
Czech Ministry of Finance

Czech authorities welcome foreign gambling operators

Czech authorities want to introduce a new ruled for the gambling industry, seeking to tighten regulations and lift tax revenue.

Gamblers living in the Czech Republic spend more than $6 billion every year, making the local market profitable enough to spark the interest of some of the largest online gambling firms out there.

There are currently five companies dominating the Czech betting market, including Prague-listed Fortuna Entertainment, but the industry has grown over the past few years and officials believe the country is ready to open itself to foreign operators.

Under the current regulations, foreign-based online betting firms cannot provide services in the Czech Republic unless they have a physical presence in the country. In other words, they would need to obtain a license and open land-based betting shops before going live.

But now the Finance Ministry said they should be allowed to operate in the country under new gambling laws, and of course taxed accordingly.

Reuters: Czechs look to boost tax revenue with revamped gambling law

Under the current regulations, gamblers who access foreign websites risk steep fines. Betting companies that don’t hold a license in the country are not allowed to advertise their products here. But the Czech Republic has a population of 10.5 million, and the local gambling market has a lot of potential for growth.

For a while now, betting companies have been complaining about all the inconsistencies in regulation and tax policies practiced across different states of the European Union. Many operators prefer to avoid countries where regulations aren’t clearly defined, and the Czech Republic was certainly not a main hub for foreign-based operators.

But the new proposal would change the current laws to allow remote betting groups, provided that they register their operations and pay taxes to the local government. The new tax rates are expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

“Users currently bet abroad, which several foreign companies make easier by introducing sites in Czech. According to our estimates, the state misses out on more than 1 billion crowns a year in this segment,” Deputy Finance Minister Ondrej Zavodsky said.

Before going into effect, the ministry’s proposal would have to go through government consultations. The law would most likely be applicable in 2016.

Prague Post: Ministry wants to ban gambling machines in pubs, gas stations

Authorities intend to ban gambling machines from pubs, bars and gas stations located across the Czech Republic. Deputy Finance Minister Ondřej Závodský told reporters that betting offices, casinos and gambling rooms will still be legal, but a registry of gamblers and a central monitoring system will be established, to track their activity.

According to online gambling news, these gambling machines are the most harmful for problem gamblers and vulnerable players. When the new regulations come into force, the customs administration will be the new authority responsible for giving permission for new machines, instead of the Finance Ministry.

Ultimately, municipalities will have the final say when establishing the locations where operators will be allowed to open new businesses. They will also have the authority to ban this type of gambling in the area. The ministry’s only role will be to supervise the gambling industry in general.

Another measure proposed in the bill requires that the number of gambling rooms and casinos be decided according to the number of inhabitants in each region. For example, municipalities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants will only be allowed to have one gambling room. Casinos will only be allowed to open in areas with more than 40,000 inhabitants.

The new bill is expected to be presented by the end of the year. It will also include information on new gambling fees and taxes.

Czech.cz: New bill to introduce strict gambling regulation

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has unveiled details about the new gambling regulations proposed in the Czech Republic. Under the new laws, slot machines would be banned from pubs and bars, and moved to casinos or specialized venues. They would also have betting limits.

There are around 100,000 gambling addicts in the country; the government spends an estimated 15 billion crowns per year in health care and welfare. Several municipalities have already taken steps to ban or restrict gambling on a local level.

“The draft legislation addresses all negative impacts of gambling on the society which have been estimated at 15 billion crowns every year,” Finance Minister Andrej Babiš told reporters. “But there is more – hundreds of suicides, broken-up families, and so on. The draft should enter into force in January 2016 which gives us enough time for a proper debate and I firmly believe the bill will be approved.”

The ministry also intends to set up a central monitoring system to control gambling operations in real time. Additionally, gamblers and punters would have to register in a database, which will then be connected to other registries, such as the databases showing welfare recipients.

“We would also like to introduce principles of responsible gambling, establishing maximum hourly and monthly bet limits. On top of that, we want to prevent certain groups of people from gambling. These include gambling addicts undergoing treatment or those who owe money either to their families or to the state,” Babiš added.

The draft legislation will most likely go into force in January 2016.

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