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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 With elections being held this year, several politicians have withdrawn their support for the online casino industry just to get on the billionaire’s good side.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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Boxer and Notorious Punter Floyd Mayweather Wins Two Major Bets

Oct 10, 2014
Mayweathear  bet on the Colts vs. Seahawks

Mr. Mayweathear knows sportsbetting

Pro boxer Floyd Mayweather flaunts his winnings on Instagram, after betting large amounts of money on the Seahawks and the Colts.

Floyd Mayweather is certainly one of the luckiest punters out there. The man has won $105 million over the past year by betting on sports scores. He began the week by adding almost $1 million to his total winnings, after placing a lot of money on the Seahawks and on the Colts.

The professional boxer took the opportunity to show off his latest winnings on social media after the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Washington Redskins 27-17 in a messy game with a total of 16 penalties. A photo of Mayweathear’s lucky betting ticket was posted on Instagram.

“I bet $220,000.00 on the World Champion Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman) and walked away with $420,000.00,” the boxer wrote.

CBS Sports: Floyd Mayweather wins $200K betting Seahawks on Monday night

Mayweather came dangerously close to losing this wager. If it hadn’t been for Russell Wilson’s ridiculous play, the boxer’s bet would have most likely ended up in a push, where he wouldn’t have won (nor lost) anything.

A late move pushed the score to 27-17 instead of 24-17, which wouldn’t have turned out so great for Mayweather. And the Seahawks got a late field goal after Wilson passed to Marshawn Lynch. This was the pass that helped the boxer win the wager.

A notorious punter well-known for betting huge amounts of money – and scoring even larger prizes – had also posted a betting slip proving that he won $685,714 by putting money on the Colts in Week 3. That wager happened three weeks ago, when the Colts played against the Jaguars.

Washington Post: Redskins-Seahawks best and worst

The Washington Post has compiled a “best and worst moments” article from the game on Monday night, where the Redskins lost 27-17 to the Seahawks at FedEx Field.

Among the best moments of the game, the newspaper highlighted the game-clincher in the fourth quarter, when Russell Wilson was pursued by three defenders and Washington’s running backs carried 15 times for 28 yards. Ryan Kerrigan is mentioned as best defender, and Kirk Cousins’ 60-yard pass to DeSean Jackson is said to be the best long pass play.

The worst record in prime time goes to the Redskins. Since Joe Gibbs retired the second time, the Redskins are 3-17 in prime-time games, the newspaper argues. It also mentions the team’s four losses as “worst stats”. That’s how many losses the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants have, combined.

There’s a “worst challenge success rate” award too, which goes out to Jay Gruden who is now 0 for 5 in challenges as an NFL head coach.

Daily News: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. earns $1.8 million betting on Colts, Seahawks

In other recent gambling news, Floyd Mayweather added another $1.8 million to his fortune, which is estimated at $280 million. The boxing champion placed a wager on the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks to win by more than seven points and won.

“I bet $720,000.00 and I walked away with $1,405,714.28. When you’re betting on Andrew, it’s never Luck,” he wrote on Instagram, where he attached a photo of a ticket stub dated 9-21-14. That was the day when the Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars by 44-17.

Mayweather was recently mentioned among the top-earning athletes, on a list put together by Forbes Magazine. He made $105 million in his last two fights alone. The boxer never misses a chance to flaunt his wealthy lifestyle in public, and he usually does it through Instagram.

Those who follow him know that he frequently posts pictures of cash, although his favorite “prizes” often include expensive watches, cars or even women.

Independent: Super Bowl 2014: Floyd Mayweather denies placing $10.4m bet on the Denver Broncos after Seattle Seahawks crushing win

Back in February, it was rumored that Floyd Mayweather Jr had lost $10.4 million by betting on the Denver Broncos in an NFL match where the team was crushed by the Seattle Seahawks. The boxer later denied these rumors, claiming that ne never even put money on the Super Bowl match.

“For the record, I did not bet $10 million on the Broncos. As a matter of fact, I didn’t bet all,” he wrote on Instagram. “I can’t control what rumors that are put out there. Good or bad publicity keeps me relevant. The only thing I would bet $10 million on is myself. From the looks of my record, I’m a guaranteed win.”

During the previous week, pictures had emerged on social media websites showing that the athlete had placed a staggering amount of money on the Broncos. It was said that he had bet on the Peyton Manning-led team to win the season showcase.

It was then revealed that the picture had been originally posted in 2012. This information only supported Mayweather’s claims that no bet was ever made.

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Officials Ban Online Casinos and Internet Poker in Singapore, but Allow Some Exemptions

Oct 09, 2014
Singapore has voted to ban remote betting

Singapore has voted to ban remote betting

Only non-profit entities based in Singapore, who contribute to a social cause and have a good track record will be able to apply for a remote gambling license.

While other jurisdictions like Hong Kong and Norway may allow exemptions, Singapore took a strict approach when adopting its new remote gambling laws. Officials have decided that casino-style games and poker should be banned.

In fact, the rules set for the online gambling industry will be in line with those applicable to land-based casinos. Strict measures are needed in order to prevent underground operations, officials argued, citing a recent Interpol operation across six Asian countries – including Singapore – that ended in 1,400 arrests. These crime syndicates had handled about $2.2 billion in illegal wagers during the FIFA World Cup.

“We prohibit gambling, unless it is specifically allowed for by way of a stringently regulated exemption or license. We will adopt a similar approach to remote gambling,” Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran explained.

The Straits Times: Parliament: Remote Gambling Bill passed; but some MPs express concern over exemptions

This Tuesday, the Parliament passed its new Remote Gambling Bill after a debate that lasted for more than three hours. Ten Members of Parliament participated in the discussion and many of them expressed reservations against the allowance for exemptions.

Three Workers’ Party MPs spoke up – Png Eng Huat (Hougang), Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) and Non-Constitutency MP Yee Jenn Jong – proposing that the new rules be analyzed by a select committee before being approved. Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran rejected the idea, adding that the bill has already undergone public consultation.

“When you look at our experience in terrestrial gambling environment we seek to maintain law and order, criminalize range of activities and allowed for tight controls not because we wish to promote it or condone it,” he explained.

MP Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) wondered if the exemptions send a mixed signal, by “legitimizing the act of gambling and breeding its acceptance by legally providing for exempt licensed operators”, but Iswaran said they were granted to allow the Singapore Pools and Turf Club to be set up.

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing added: “We have to stay alert to the challenges that emerge every day and to stay abreast of the technological changes and to stay abreast of the evolving challenges.”

Channel New Asia: Approach to remote gambling will mirror that of regular gambling: S Iswaran

Singapore’s new gambling bill criminalizes placing wagers through the Internet, mobile phones and all other types of technology used for communication. According to the latest online gambling news, authorities have imposed additional measures like blocking websites, advertisements as well as payments.

Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran said the new laws won’t affect social games like Candy Crush or Angry Birds, and other online games that use virtual currency and in-game credits. In other words, only real-money gambling is forbidden.

Players will be allowed to buy credits to play social games, for instance, but they cannot convert these credits or tokens for money or real merchandise.

“However, it is essential that the Bill is comprehensive in scope in order to stay relevant over time against the backdrop of a dynamic industry that continues to evolve,” Iswaran said.

“A complete ban on remote gambling might appear straightforward but would likely drive these activities underground, and exacerbate the associated law and order and social concerns. The provision of a strictly regulated exempt operator can help to mitigate these concerns. This has been our experience with, and approach to, terrestrial gambling,” he added.

The official described the new law as “a regime which is prohibitive with a comprehensive set of measures”, and added that only a few organizations are expected to meet the criteria for exemption.

Today Online: Remote gambling laws to take effect next year

The Ministry of Home Affairs announced that new Singaporean laws restricting gambling via the phone or Internet will take effect next year, after the Parliament passed the new Remote Gambling Bill on Tuesday.

MPs showed a great deal of interest in the matter and ten of them spoke up to ask for details, make suggestions or raise certain concerns, but by the end of the debate most of them approved of the new regulations.

Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher De Souza said: “On one hand, you have enforcement and punishment which rightly say remote gambling should be deterred. Yet, we are also saying there can be a medium through which remote gambling is legitimate.”

Other MPs thought a total ban on remote gambling would have been more appropriate, fearing that gambling addiction cannot be eliminated if exempt operators enter the scene.

Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Denise Phua asked: “If, indeed, we so strongly believe remote gambling is harmful and does no good to either the people or nation, then are we legitimizing the act of gambling and breeding its acceptance by legally providing for exempt licensed operators in (the Remote Gambling Bill)?”

Exempt operators must be non-profit entities in order to obtain a license, and even they might be forced to impose social safeguards such as minimum age requirements, having a preregistered list of users and not allowing wagering on credit.

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Fear of Inside Knowledge Causes Bookies to Rethink Odds for Royal Twins

Oct 03, 2014
Betting on the 2nd royal baby has been suspended due to rumors that Kate might be pregnant with twins

Betting on the 2nd royal baby has been suspended due to rumors that Kate might be pregnant with twins

After rumors that Kate might be carrying twins, UK betting companies found themselves forced to change their strategy.

Less than a month after gambling news announced that bookmakers were taking bets on the name, gender and weight of the second royal baby, some companies are starting to fear they might be cleared out due to inside knowledge.

Bookmakers have become suspicious after a large number of newly opened accounts where users have placed a lot of money on Kate being pregnant with twins. While some of them have slashed the odds, but kept the option, others have suspended betting on it altogether.

On September 8, when it was confirmed that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a second child, odds for twins were at 20/1. But once the media spread the rumor that Kate is having twins and people rushed to the bookies to place money on it, most companies adjusted the odds in their favor.

At most online sportsbooks, wagering on two new royal babies could pay out a modest 5/2, while William Hill has decided to suspend bets entirely.

Daily Mail: All bets are orf! Insider info fears see bookmakers suspend betting on Kate giving birth to twins after surge in wagers from new accounts

The surge in baby bets started on Monday night, when William Hill initially slashed the odds on Royal twins from 20/1 to 9/1. After that, the company suspended wagers entirely. Rupert Adams, a spokesman for the company explained: “We have had a load of unexpected bets including a large number of new accounts. With any other market I would say that people know.”

Another major betting company, Coral, changed its odds from 20/1 to 10/1 and then to 8/1, in just a few weeks. The bookmaker claims it was the first one to make the change, after one customer placed a GBP1,000 bet on royal twins, at odds of 20/1.

Coral spokesman Nicola McGeady told reporters: “Since Will and Kate announced their news, all the big money has come for twins. With the gamble picking up pace overnight, we fear someone knows something we don’t.”

Ladbrokes was recently offering 8/1 and Paddy Power adjusted its offer to as low as 5/2. The odds for triplets remain at 100/1.

ParentDish: Duchess of Cambridge pregnant with twins? Betting suspended on royal baby

Newspapers have reported that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant with twins. What first sounded like unsupported gossip has started to seem highly probable, after bookmakers said they were suspecting that the large number of royal twins’ bets could mean the rumors are true.

Clarence House announced Kate’s second pregnancy on September 8, adding that she is suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum, or extreme morning sickness. Bookmakers quickly added baby names to their regular sports scores offers.

Meanwhile, the internet started to spread the information that Kate must be pregnant with twins, because the medical condition is more common in multiple pregnancies. The truth is that the Duchess suffered of the same extreme morning sickness with her first baby. It is unlikely that the Palace will release any more details about whether Kate is carrying twins or not. When she was expecting Prince George, all they did was confirm the month she is due.

But just to be on the safe side, top UK bookmaker William Hill suspended wagering on the couple expecting twins on Monday, and Coral followed its example putting all royal baby betting options on hold for now.

International Business Times: Kate Middleton, Prince William To Name Royal Baby Girl After Princess Diana: Report

Newspaper have already reported that Kate Middleton and Prince William received permission to name their new child after Queen Elizabeth, but royal biographer Andrew Morton claims the pair told friends they also want to honor William’s late mother, Princess Diana.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have yet to learn the gender of their second child, but if female, she will be named Elizabeth Diana Windsor, British newspapers wrote. Morton says the couple is hoping for a girl to join their 14-month-old son, Prince George.

Morton, who is best known for his 1992 biography on Princess Diana, told reporters: “They discussed girls’ names before George was born and now they’re hoping the next one is a girl so they can carry out their wish to honor William’s mother. They’re not too thrilled at the thought it would be shortened to Princess Di but it won’t change their minds.”

The Globe cited an “inside source” saying: “They’ve already told the ailing queen that they believe it’s a girl. Like many of us, William and Kate fear the queen doesn’t have long left and want to honor her while she is still alive.”

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Former Gambling Addict Tells How He Lost GBP200,000 on Betting Machines

Oct 02, 2014
The UK Government still hasn’t taken steps to stop FOBTs from spreading

The UK Government still hasn’t taken steps to stop FOBTs from spreading

While focusing on how to increase taxes on remote gambling, officials seem to have forgotten about the more pressing issue of FOBTs.

UK’s problems with fixed-odds betting terminals are at the center of attention again. The latest gambling news have brought the issue up again, by publishing the story of a former gambling addict who revealed how he spent GBP200,000 on betting machines, over the past ten years.

Meanwhile, the government is having difficulty implementing its changes to the current remote gambling laws after online operators have challenged the decision in court, but the FOBT issue has not been handled yet. Politicians have talked about reducing the maximum stake from GBP100 to GBP50, but for now online casinos and sportsbooks seem to be a priority.

Other amendments granting local councils the power to deny betting shop applications were announced earlier this year, but they haven’t been implemented yet.

The Mirror: Gambling addict blew £200,000 in ten years after becoming hooked on fixed odds betting terminals

In an interview with The Mirror, a former gambling addict tells reporters how he blew GBP200,000 on FOBTs. Simon Perfitt had a good job, but in ten years he went from a GBP50,000 salary to living on benefits after becoming hooked on the controversial machines. He blew up to GBP3,000 per day, he told reporters.

Simon says he didn’t start betting until de has 45, but it only took him ten years to lose all that money. In 2001, the businessman from Dudley was living a lavish lifestyle. He could afford it, thanks to his well-paid in e-commerce. He had also just moved in with his girlfriend. But after becoming addicted to gambling machines – he liked to play roulette – he lost all of his hard-earned money.

“These fixed odds betting terminals destroy you. I became addicted instantly after a friend who played the machines asked me to pop into a bookies one day and have a go. After that, all I thought about all day was gambling.”

“I worked to go on these machines and could spend up to 12 hours a day in there. I used to get up early and go in to the bookies before I went to work, at lunchtime and would go straight into one after work. Within 10 years I had lost GBP200,000, a relationship and my home as well. My whole personality changed. I became very introverted, made excuses not to see family and friends,” he told reporters.

FOBTs have been dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling and have been causing players to lose fortunes. These betting machines bring bookmakers GBP1.5 billion in profits every year.

The Telegraph: Councils to get power to ban new betting shops in blow for gaming industry

The Government said it would give local councils the power to stop new betting shops from opening in their towns. The administration intends to create a new planning class for betting shops, which would allow councils to monitor new applications more closely, as well as to veto them.

The measure is designed to limit concerns over the damaging effects of gambling machines, especially fixed-odds betting terminals, found inside most betting shops. Critics refer to them as “crack cocaine” gambling machines because of their addictive nature.

The industry is expected to oppose resistance to such measures. William Hill has already announced its intentions to close more than 100 betting shops, blaming it in the increased taxes on FOBTs. But even so, the gambling machines are the highly profitable and account for a large part of the land-based betting sector’s profits.

Sources cited by the Telegraph said the new gambling laws would also force companies to comply with protection measures, including promotions and window displays.

The Guardian: Maximum cash stake on fixed-odds betting terminals to be restricted

After anti-betting groups have voiced complaints over the damaging effect of FOBTs, the government said it would impose a GBP50 limit on the maximum wager allowed on these machines, instead of the higher GBP100 stake allowed at present.

The new rules would require anyone who wants to bet more than GBP50 at a time to inform staff. Gamblers would be given the alternative to open an online account, where their spending history can be tracked. Campaigners are still unsatisfied with the announced measures, claiming that ministers have “ducked the big issue” by not cutting the maximum bet in all circumstances.

Matt Zarb-Cousin of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling told reporters: “Staff intervention does not mean player protection. We know from academic studies that employee training is the most commonly tried method to control problem gambling and the least effective. Why would staff stop people from putting money into FOBTs when their pay depends on it?”

On the other hand, the Association of British Bookmakers said new measures would “restrict growth for the sector and mean hundreds of shops and thousands of jobs are now at risk”.

In an assessment released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, officials argued that “account-based play allows players access to up-to-date information which can reduce biased or irrational gambling… and help people maintain control.”

“Making payments over the counter rather than on to the machine directly can provide opportunities for intervention which may give players a reality check,” it added.

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The week in pictures: September 23-29, 2014

Sep 30, 2014

week24092014

The week of September 23-29 was full of events and news, some quite unexpected. From tech and science to art of all sorts, the past week delivered plenty of news and mostly good.

So, let’s starts with the good news first. Paris Fashion Week took place and it was, as always, extravagant: extravagant models, extravagant designers. Speaking of which, ex Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham had a speech at the UN at the same time her new fashion shop opened in London. A new social network, “Ello”, popped-up and apparently wants to be serious competition for Facebook. India has put a satellite on orbit around Mars and they are the first country in Asia that managed to do that on first attempt. For the first time a woman played prince Hamlet of Denmark in Manchester and congratulations are in order for actor George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin since they are now husband and wife.
On a not so happy side of the rainbow, The Shellshock bug made us change passwords again and iPhone 6 has an… unexpected bendable headcase.

Good and bad news for gambling too, I guess, but you can check that yourselves, in the pics below.

1.They keep saying that gambling is an art… The owner of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania reinforces the saying by planning to build a casino on the island.

You're invited to try your luck... here

You’re invited to try your luck… here (Photo: 365tasmania)

2. Poker player Achilleas Kallakis thought he can play bankers as well but the game isn’t over and he’s looking at another seven years in jail unless he returns GBP 3 million within six months.

3 million pounds or 7 years in jail?

3 million pounds or 7 years in jail? (Photo: Irish Times)

3. Steve Wynn won the licence for building a casino in the Boston area and started rubbing his victory in competition’s face because that’s just what some winners do.

In your face,  Mohegan Sun!

In your face, Mohegan Sun! (Photo: HeraldSun)

4. All week-long, football fans and punters checked the odds for matches taking place on Wednesday in Champions League. Online bookmakers are waiting you to place your bets.

Don't forget to bet on Wednesday!

Don’t forget to bet on Wednesday! (Photo: UEFA)

5. UK bookies had their share of problems in 2014. But sunnier days have to arrive because as long as there is Britons and football, there will be UK betting.

Betting companies don't have it easy in the UK

Betting companies don’t have it easy in the UK (Photo: DailyMail)

6. A drug smuggler was finally captured and the, now safer, world owes it all to poker. Robert Knight, one of UK’s most-wanted couldn’t stay away from the game and police just had to exploit his weak spot.

Suspected Drug Smuggler Arrested While Playing Poker in Spain

We’re wondering if Mr. Knight had any luck at poker that day… (Photo: ukwirednews.com)

7. Campaign managers most definitely should start visiting online betting sites more often because, apparently, political oddsmakers are the best sources for predictions on the 2016 Presidential Election.

Odds are never wrong

Odds are never wrong (Photo: CBS)


 

So, that was last week but gambling news are always fresh. Check our top stories section!

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The week in pictures: September 17-24, 2014

Sep 24, 2014
The week (September 17-23) in pictures

The week (September 17-23, 2014) in pictures

17th to the 23rd of the month went fast and full: Scotland said ‘no’, choosing to stay in the UK, New York said ‘green’, marching for climate in record numbers, Milan said ‘wow’ hosting the Fashion Week. Europa League and Ryder Cup made fans say ‘I bet’ and Nintendo turned 125. What’s your saying on that?

Meanwhile, in the gambling sector we spotted great pieces of news as well. Check the week out in the following pictures!

Paying off debt

Olympics are paying off… debt (Photo: The Telegraph)

A letter sent to the Directory of Social Change (DSC) announced that the UK Government refunded part of the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund, GBP69 million to be more precise.

Gov. Chris Christie gives gambling a chance  (Photo: Mel Evans)

Gov. Chris Christie gives gambling a chance (Photo: Mel Evans)

Before New Jersey players can legally enjoy the delights of betting, there are few more legal snags to take care of.

Good at playing cards, good at playing blackjack

Good at playing parts, good at playing cards (Photo: Photo: Susan Walsh)

Ben Affleck admitted counting cards. The gambling tycoon from ‘Runner, runner’ either did a thorough research for the movie or he was ‘a natural’ for the part to begin with.

Senet Group will be watching

Senet Group will be watching… (Photo: The Senet Group)

The Senet Group has become the watchdog of bookmakers in the UK, pledging to promote responsible gambling standards.

Europa League is a league you can bet on

Europa League is a League you can bet on (Photo: Europa League)

Europa League made its début with great matches and even greater betting opportunities, keeping fans connected for all the right reasons.

'No, thanks' for now

‘No, thanks’ for now (Photo: Stuart Forster/REX/Stuart Forster/REX)

The ‘No, thanks’ campaign prevailed! After more than 300 years as part of United Kingdom, Scots vote ‘No’ in independence referendum, proving betting odds right.

Keep calm, place a bet and watch the game!

Keep calm, place a bet and watch the game! (Photo: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian)

Waiting for a ‘blue Sunday’ in Premier League! Odds and stats are keeping fans busy until then, when real football is set to steal the scene.

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Second Royal Baby Triggers Betting Boom

Sep 10, 2014
Betting companies are taking bets on the second royal baby's name, gender and weight

Betting companies are taking bets on the second royal baby’s name, gender and weight

The second royal baby is on its way, and thousands of punters have already rushed to the bookies to place wagers on its name.

This week started off with great news for fans of the Royal Family, as a statement from Clarence House announced Prince George is going to be a big brother. As Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child, online gambling news sites predict a new betting bonanza.

When Kate and William got married in April 2011, 24.5 million watched their wedding on TV. Soon after the news got out that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant, bookmakers started offering odds on the royal baby’s name, hair color and even his future job, with bettors placing over $2.4 million in wagers.

Betting companies are expecting even bigger profits this time around, as the second royal baby has started to draw new clients just after the announcement was made. Next to the usual sports scores listed at bookmakers, players can already place wagers on the name, weight and hair color of the new royal baby.

The Wire: People Are Already Betting on the Royal Baby

British newspapers have announced the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a second child. Kate will not be accompanying Prince William on a previous engagement in Oxford, as she is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum – a severe form of morning sickness – and is under medical observation.

Meanwhile, punters are already placing bets on the baby’s name, hair color, weight, and even whether Kate is having twins or triplets. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has released a statement saying players have already spent more than GBP10,000 by Monday midnight.

“If there’s one thing that baby George taught us it’s that the British public love a punt on a Royal offspring and we’re bracing ourselves for another baby betting bonanza. Money is already pouring in by the pramload and we expect this to be the biggest novelty betting market of the year,” Paddy Power said in a statement.

According to the company’s latest odds, the safest bet is on Kate and William having a brown-haired baby at birth. Odds on hair color are: brown (6/4), blonde (5/2), red (3/1) and black (5/1). Odds for multiple birth are 33/1 for twins and 250/1 for triplets. As for the weight of the baby, Paddy Power is going with 5/1 for less than 6lbs, 6lbs to 6lbs 15oz, or 9lbs to 9lbs 15oz; 11/8 for 7lbs to 7lbs 15oz; 11/8 for 8lbs to 8lbs 15oz; and 8/1 for the baby weighing 10lbs or more.

As far as names go, Elizabeth, Henry and Victoria are top favorites with odds of 10/1, followed by Charlotte, Arthur, William, Alice, Philip, Alexandra, Catherine or Kate, and Charles, all given 12/1 odds; James, Mary and Frances are at 16/1, while Albert, Alex/Alexander, Diana and Spencer are at 20/1. The last option – Macbeth – is a long-shot with odds of 500/1.

E! News: Royal Baby No. 2 Names and Gender Already Sparking Major Betting Frenzy — Check Out the Odds!

Merely hours after Clarence House revealed the good news that Kate Middleton and Prince William are expecting their second child, bookmakers have started taking wagers on the baby’s gender and name.

“The royal baby betting frenzy is back in full swing. With one correct gamble already in the bag, punters are quickly reinvesting their winnings on the couple having a second son called James,” Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes told E! News.

James, the duchess’ brother’s name, is at the top of the list with 6:1 odds, followed by Elizabeth, Arthur and Victoria at 8:1. Ladbrokes has posted 4:5 odds that the duke and duchess will have another boy, and it seems highly unlikely that Kate is carrying more than one child, with odds being at 20:1 for twins and 100:1 for triplets.

Either way, punters will have to wait until next spring to meet the second royal baby and find out if they won.

People: Royal Baby’s Name and Sex: Bookmakers Taking Bets

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that Kate is expecting their second child and all bets are on, as bookmakers are already taking wagers on the baby’s name and sex.

“The Royal Baby betting frenzy is back in full swing,” Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes told reporters. “With one correct gamble already in the bag, punters are quickly reinvesting their winnings on the couple having a second son called James,” she added.

Ladbrokes is offering 4:5 odds on the new child being a boy, and James (Kate’s brother’s name) is the top favorite for a first name, with odds at 6:1.

NBC News: Royal Baby Boom a Bonanza for British Economy

The British economy is getting a boost from the second royal baby. Money has already started pouring into the betting industry, and economy experts are expecting tourism and souvenir sales to increase.

When Prince George was born last July, it was predicted that the food, drink, tourism and media industry would make an extra $400 million in sales. The birth of the second baby is expected to reach the same level, but economist Howard Archer warns: “There may be a small feel-good factor when it is born and some buying of souvenirs but that is as far as it will go.”

Gamblers have already started to place wagers on the baby’s name, gender and weight, which can only mean good news for the betting industry.

CNN: Betting gets a bump from Royal Baby #2

Gambling companies are preparing for another betting bonanza. Paddy Power said it was expecting this to be the biggest novelty betting market of the year, and Ladbrokes has also announced it was taking bets on the new baby’s name, with James being favorite at odds of 6:1. Betfair is going with Victoria as top choice for the second child’s name.

Players from all over the world have placed more than GBP1.5 million ($2.4 million) in wagers on the birth of the first royal baby, trying to guess its name, hair color and future career. Bets started pouring after the palace announced that Kate had gone into labor.

Wagers on a sibling for Prince George have been open for some time, and betting companies said hundreds of people have already won thousands of pounds.

“587 people have correctly predicted that the couple would announce they are expecting a second child in 2014, all of those punters have now collected [their] winnings,” Ladbrokes announced.

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Cause for Concern: Recent Survey Reveals the Level of Gambling Addiction in Japan

Aug 26, 2014
Pachiko Addiction

Pachiko Addiction

The results of a recent study on gambling addiction are causing people to worry about the imminent legalization of casinos in Japan. According to the survey, almost 5% of Japanese adults are already problem gamblers, despite casino games being forbidden in the country.

The latest gambling news have revealed that, compared to the majority of other nations, this rate is five times bigger.Instead of popular games such as roulette, slot machines, or even blackjack, Japan’s favorite is pachinko. There are a number of pachinko parlors across the country, and they are all extremely popular.

In addition, the study showed a rising trend in Internet and alcohol addiction among Japanese adults. The survey was headed by Susumu Higuchi, a leading expert on addiction. Higuchi is worried that legalizing casinos would make things worse. “If something new becomes available, addiction will only rise,” he told reporters.

Yahoo News: Gambling, IT, booze addictions rife in Japan: studyThe study brought to light one of the most worrying gambling facts, that 5% of adults living in Japan have lost control over their gambling habits. What separates the Japanese from other developed, industrialized nations is the low public awareness regarding the dangers of gambling addiction.

A campaigner who has a significant amount of experience in the field said that while others prefer to talk openly about this issue and try to prevent it or to at least reduce its negative impact, things are different in Japan, where no one wants to confront the reality of problem gambling.

According to researchers, roughly 5.36 million people in Japan are most probably pathological gamblers. That number represents 4.8% of the country’s adult population, all of them players who cannot resist the impulse to spend their money on wagers.

While casinos are still illegal at the moment, there are a number of pachinko parlors and other gambling establishments to choose from.

Wall Street Journal: Five Million Japanese Have Gambling Problem, Says Ministry Study

According to a group of researchers working under the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, around 5.36 million people living in Japan could be suffering from a pathological gambling problem. The number represents 4.8% of the country’s adult population.

The study was funded by the ministry and the team of researchers was led by Susumu Higuchi of the Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center. In 2013, 4,153 randomly chosen adults living in Japan participated in the survey that found 8.7% of men and 1.8% of women show signs that they could be addicted to gambling.

Everyone participating in the survey was told to describe their gambling habits. They were asked to talk about activities such as betting on horse racing, online casino games, slot machines, boat racing, as well as pachinko. The latter is a very popular pinball-like game which can be played in parlors across the country.

The report also revealed that, compared to other developed countries, Japan had a higher percentage of pathological gamblers.

The Asahi Shimbun: Millions of Japanese hooked on gambling, survey shows

Recent news have revealed that an estimated 5.36 million Japanese adults – representing 4.5% of the nation’s adult population – are suspected of being addicted to gambling. About 4.38 million adult males and 980,000 female adults are habitual gamblers. The results are similar to those found in 2008, at the time of the last study.

The researchers asked subjects to answer “yes” or “no” to a number of questions or affirmations such as “I have gambled more than what I initially intended to do”. Those who answered “yes” to most of them are suspected of being pathological gamblers, as their replies indicate they cannot resist the temptation of playing for money.

Compared to other countries where similar studies have been carried out, the ratio for both men and women was particularly high in Japan. For example, in Switzerland only 0.5% of the total adult population was suspected of having a gambling problem; in the Us state of Louisiana, the percentage was a bit higher, at 1.58%, while in Hong Kong it reached 1.8%. Still, none of these come close to Japan’s 4.8%.

Susumu Higuchi, one of the researchers involved in the study told reporters: “On a global basis, Japan has one of the highest ratios of pathological gamblers as gambling devices such as pachinko and slot machine games are ubiquitous.”

Now the media believes that the study could impact the administration’s plan for economic growth, which includes proposals to allow casino resorts in certain parts of Japan.

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UK Labour Party Looking to Impose Betting Levy for Sportsbooks

Aug 08, 2014

UK Labour Party Looking to Impose Betting Levy for Sportsbooks
The gambling business is a massive industry that brings in enormous earnings year after year. Therefore, the Labour Party of UK has decided to take certain measures to see more money flowing back to the basic elements of sports by proposing a levy for sportsbetting. Some of the money will also be directed to help battle gambling problems that some players encounter.

The Labour Party believes that this step will help them create a solid foundation for future athletes, as revenues generated by the levy will go to their development.

The Guardian: Labour’s betting levy to be used for grassroots and problem gambling

The Labour Party is in the process of implementing a hefty levy on all bookmakers, as they hope to raise considerable revenue to redistribute throughout different areas in sports. A percentage of the levy revenue will go to problems dealing with gambling addictions and related issues, according to latest gambling news.

Harriet Harman and Clive Efford, shadow culture secretary and shadow sports minister respectively, have both issued a document “sports for all” as part of the levy proposal. Currently the levy is only applicable to horseracing, while around GBP 82 million given back to the racing industry in 2014.

Efford commented, “We believe it is right that businesses that make money from sport should contribute to sport. We are consulting on whether we should introduce a levy on betting, including online betting, to fund gambling awareness and support for problem gambling but also to improve community sports facilities and clubs.”

He also highlighted the importance of having the money returned to the grassroots of different sports, as that would help create the next wave of highly skilled athletes. “It’s my preference that the income from the levy went into a general pool to help grassroots sport and from which the respective sports would draw their future elite sportsmen and women.”

Reuters: UK opposition weighs betting levy to fund grassroots sport

Internet betting and Premier League TV revenue is the main target of the new levy, as the Labour Party is taking steps to see more people become involved in sports. The London Olympics 2012 served a great purpose in promotion people to become more active and partake in sporting recreations.

At the moment the levy is only attributed to horseracing activities, however the Labour Party sees additional potential in the Premier League and sportbetting providers.

Harriet Harman, shadow culture secretary, is certain that charging a new tax levy to the Premier League and betting firms will benefit the overall society. “Our consultation looks at a number of ideas which aim to boost investment in community and grassroots sports by getting tough with the Premier League and betting companies.”

Currently, the TV deals that the Premier League teams have negotiated are worth a staggering GBP 5 billion spread over a three year period. Labour wants more money to be directed to the lower levels of English football, to assist everyone involved.

The proposed levy received criticism from one online sportsbooks, namely Ladbrokes. The director of external relations of the betting giant, Donald McCabe, expressed his viewpoints on the levy matter that is surely going to impact their business.

“As far as we are aware no bookmaker or betting operator ever closed a community sports field or club. So we are not sure why an extra tax is being proposed on an industry already facing two tax increases and which pays out over 65 percent of all its earnings in taxes and levies.”

The Premier League issued a statement whereby they assert that the League already gives out GBP 56 million per season to good causes and grassroots football. They also spread out over GBP 60 million per season to lower tier clubs to help finance their operations.

“We understand that all those interested in the long-term health of English football want to see better grassroots facilities and higher levels of participation, particularly amongst young people. This is why we are committed to continue the unprecedented levels of funding we provide as well as being happy to engage on these matters.”

The Spectator: Labour’s sports betting levy will hit poor punters

A spokesperson from William Hill stated that the firm “welcomed all initiatives” that would benefit sports across all levels, but raised questions regarding the funding scheme. “We don’t believe that problem should be passed on to us,” said the spokesman.

The reasoning behind William Hill’s objections is that the gambling industry already shells out over GBP 1 billion to the UK Treasury. Another GBP 400 million is likely to be raised the following year, after recent new initiatives raised at the last Budget.

When it comes to imposing the new levy to the Premier League, clubs will have to charge more for their services, namely season tickets and similar products. For instance, football team Tottenham Hotspur charges its fans GBP 1,320 for the most expensive season tickets.

Taking into account that Premier League can be considered a “middle class” pursuit, a small hike in prices of season tickets could probably be tolerated by fans. However, the real problem with the proposed levy begs the question who will suffer from it? The middle class will most likely be able to afford the price increase, while another group won’t.

Many punters actively bet on a regular basis, however it is mainly considered to be a norm with the “working class.” The vast majority of people who bet regularly do not have over GBP 1,000 to splash out on a season ticket. So in reality they are the ones that would have to pay for the increase in prices of the new proposed levy.

BBC: Sport betting levy amongst ‘innovative’ Labour sport plans

Shadow culture secretary, Harriet Harman, claimed that the objective to use the 2012 Olympic Games as a tool to achieve higher sports activity within society did not have the effect they initially hoped for. She issued a statement saying that “strong government leadership” was necessary to achieve that goal.

Harman highlighted the negative results by saying, “We were all proud to host the Olympics and Paralympic Games in London two years ago, but instead of seeing increased participation things have got worse, especially among young people, as a result of the government axing school sports partnerships.”

Harman also added that she will look at options of restoring a rule to schools which dictated that students must have at least two hours of sport per week. Gambling news reports this requirement was previously removed by the coalition that made educational reforms.

All of these efforts are part of Labour’s plan titled More Sport for All. Part of the new plan includes setting new target for female participation in sports and also increasing the overall number of women on boards of sporting organizations.

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Expert Predictions Come True: Wave of Casino Closings in Atlantic City

Jul 10, 2014

Expert Predictions Come True: Wave of Casino Closings in Atlantic City

Over the past few years, economists and analysts have warned about the “casino saturation” in the north-eastern part of the US. Now authorities and business owners are witnessing the disaster and there’s nothing they can do about it.

With growing competition from other states in the area, New Jersey’s Atlantic City is in a desperate financial situation. There is no way out this time. The only thing left to do is to accept the defeat and close the resort’s unprofitable casinos, one by one. Otherwise, authorities are considering rebranding the city and turning it into a destination that offers visitors more than just casino games.

Let’s take a closer look at what recent gambling news have to say on the subject.

Philly.com: With casinos closing, Atlantic City considers future

About 2,100 employees received 60-day notices the next day, after Caesars Entertainment announced it was closing its Mardi Gras-themed casino, Showboat, by the end of this summer. The bad news comes only a few months after the Atlantic Club also went out of business and Revel is also likely to shutter if its owner doesn’t find a new buyer.

“Atlantic City is undergoing a massive economic transition,” Mayor Don Guardian said at a news conference Friday held at the site where a new nongaming attraction is being built. “We know it is painful for those who are losing their casino jobs.”

Liza Cartmell, chief executive officer of the nonprofit Atlantic City Alliance, told reporters: “Recent developments in Atlantic City are part of the larger picture of excess gaming across the United States that’s leading to painful economic decisions.”

There are simply too many casinos in the country, industry experts say. Over the past ten years, 26 gambling venues opened in the Northeast corridor alone; a dozen of them are located in Pennsylvania and a new one is scheduled to open in Baltimore later in August. The development of the casino industry in the area has put an end to the monopoly enjoyed by Atlantic City for nearly three decades.

ABC News: Atlantic City Casino Shutdown Needed, Analysts Say

The number of casinos in Atlantic City could go down from 12 to 9 by Labor Day, as analysts say the resort has too many gambling venues.

“We know that the oversupply of gaming product is a regional issue, as we’re seeing the effects of the pressure all around Atlantic City,” says Israel Posner, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton College.

Atlantic City is going through a rough patch and Mayor Don Guardian believes a makeover will be difficult, but necessary. Officials say the time has come for the city transform itself and become a multi-faceted destination, where casino games are just one of the many entertainment options available.

“Although it is sad today, it’s part of the transition that Atlantic City needs to have,” the mayor told reporters. “There is pain as we go through this transition, but it’s critical for Atlantic City to realize we are no longer the monopoly of gaming on the East Coast. If you build more and more casinos and don’t increase the amount of people coming to them, you’re sharing that wealth. We’re just going through a very difficult time.”

Boston Globe: Atlantic City sees our folly of casinos

The US Supreme Court struck down New Jersey’s attempt to legalize sports betting and Atlantic City casinos are going out of business, despite Governor Chris Christie pumping $260 million of his constituents’ money into one of the local casinos.

While Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are considered interlopers who steal customers from the New Jersey resort, the story published in the Boston Globe says all players are “suckers, willing to part with their money for the house, because the house always wins.”

Locals worry about Massachusetts casinos stealing even more business. The market is already oversaturated, they say, and Atlantic City is already competing with Vegas, Connecticut and Philadelphia.

The Guardian: Atlantic City shutters casinos as north-east US builds gambling market

It’s becoming more and more obvious that there are too many casinos in Atlantic City. Competition has caused the Atlantic Club to close its doors, Revel says it will do the same unless owners find a new buyer and Caesars Entertainment is giving up on the Showboat.

During his five years in office, Mayor Don Guardian saw a quarter of the city’s casinos close. He believes this is a sign that Atlantic City needs a makeover, from a popular gambling resort to a multi-faceted destination instead.

Over the past seven years, casino revenue in the city has plunged from $5.2 billion to almost half that amount, reaching just $2.86 billion in 2013. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania surpassed Atlantic City as the country’s second largest casino market after Nevada. And with New Jersey’s new laws allowing locals to play casino games and online poker tournaments, profits soared even more.

All this sounds like bad news, but Fitch Ratings has a different opinion, claiming that “the closure makes financial sense for Caesars and is a positive for the oversupplied Atlantic City market.” According to the expert, Caesars will regain lost customers at its other resorts in the area.

CityLab: Atlantic City Is Becoming the Detroit of Casino Culture

At the beginning of the year, when the media argued that Atlantic City could be going the way of Detroit – which suffered a big shock after being forced to shut down gambling venues – State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Chris Christie both promised they would not let the city “become Detroit”. Now, the resort is facing a wave of casino closings.

Former casino workers are furious over losing their jobs and Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, told reporters that Caesars’ decision to shut down the Showboat was “a criminal act”, as the venue was still making profit.

To help former employees find new positions within the company, Caesars promised to give them preference for existing roles at the company’s other three Atlantic City venues.

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Online Gambling in NJ Shows Disappointing Results Just Six Months after Launch

Jun 26, 2014

Online Gambling in NJ Shows Disappointing Results Just Six Months after Launch

Since introducing online gambling to its residents, the state of New Jersey has not been able to achieve the financial results that they hoped for. Internet gambling was legalized in efforts to help the ailing economy, but has so far shown no signs of improvement.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has previously asserted that the industry will generate substantially more than what the current reality shows. In efforts to boost the online gambling industry, he was been trying to add an online sports betting service to the current offer, but nothing has come to fruition so far.

New York Business Journal: New Jersey’s online gambling flop threatens the rest of the state’s spending

A month ago in May, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie predicted that the state would see an inflow of $180 million during this year from taxes associated with online gambling operations. Considering that the state is estimating much smaller figures closer to $12 million, the Governor’s predictions were highly overvalued.

According to gambling news, the whole New Jersey gambling scene doesn’t have very good prospects for the future. The state’s overall casino industry is currently experiencing an economic slump, as many gaming facilities are not achieving expected results.

The online gambling sector is not performing as anticipated due to certain challenges. Some banks do not allow their clients to use their credit cards for internet gambling purposes, making it difficult for players to gamble with their money.

The biggest problem stems from the fact that some reports indicate that New Jersey has an illegal online gambling market which is valued at over $400 million a year. This may prove to be a great obstacle for legislator trying to implement changes to their online gaming market, by adding sports betting to their ranks.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Online Gambling Slump Adds to Christie’s N.J. Budget Woes

New Jersey initially saw a decline in revenues in April, just months after starting their online gambling industry. The decrease in online traffic is not the only gaming sector suffering a gradual revenue decrease. Casinos in Atlantic City have seen their revenues drop a massive 44% since peaking in 2006.

The state has high investments in Atlantic City, as it depends on the coastal town to provide jobs, attract tourists and most importantly taxes. The current economic climate will see the state government receive considerably less than initially expected.

Online mobile news reports that New Jersey is hoping to get $12 million from taxes, an amount that is substantially less than what the first projections claimed. Governor Christie believed that they could fetch somewhere around the $180 million mark form imposing the 15% internet gambling tax, however that figure now seems like a distant dream.

The chief operating officer of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Tom Balance, commented on the unlikely turn of events for the industry. “I don’t think anyone had the crystal ball to predict what the market would be.”

The Republic: New Jersey’s Internet gambling revenue falls again in May; industry struggling after 6 months

Following the first disappointing results in April, New Jersey has not managed to see an increase occur over time. Instead, online gambling revenue has been declining for two consecutive months.

Atlantic City’s casinos first showed signs of a bad economy when some of them started closing down. The Atlantic Club shut down operations in January, which served as a precursor of the state of the market. Additionally, casinos in Atlantic City recorded a 3.1% revenue decrease as compared to a year before.

Online gambling was introduced as a way for the state to create additional tax revenue sources, as other sectors of the market were not performing well. Governor Christie assumed that the overall value for the first year of online gambling operations would amount to over $1 billion.

However, many Wall Street analysts disagree with his estimates, as they anticipate to find gambling results far lower than $1 billion. They forecast the industry to generate somewhere between $200 million and $300 million for the year. Up until now gaming companies have managed to only make $61.9 million, a figure that is far below the projected results.

Nj.com: Online gambling hits wall in NJ 6 months after launch.

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