Social Media Games Aren’t Gambling…in Michigan Anyways

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 28 May 2017 3:14 pm

When does a friendly game cross the line between fun and gambling?

That’s a question that’s been debated non-stop since games and gambling have been regulated by governmental agencies. It’s also a question whose answer has become exponentially more complex with the dawn of social media and social casinos in particular.

After all, if you play a few hands of Texas Hold ‘Em at a social casino and win a prize, even something as simple as in-game currency, aren’t you gambling?

In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder recently signed into law Senate Bill 202, which clears most social media games from the stigma of gambling.

The issue came to light a couple years back when Michigan casinos began using social gaming to promote their properties. At the time, Michigan law prevented them from giving out anything of value in these promotions, including prizes as simple as free spins on a virtual slot machine.

That law, however, didn’t apply only to casinos and that’s where the legislature got involved. After all, all kinds of businesses use social media gaming to promote their wares, not just casinos.

An analysis from the State concluded:

Since the games are seen more as a marketing tool to promote a specific business, and not as a means of revenue, some feel the gaming laws should be amended to create an exemption for such social media Internet games.

The new Michigan rules apply to casino-style games, but not necessarily to every kind of games. The new law does not apply to daily fantasy sports.

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New Jersey Sports Betting Battle About to Go ‘Nuclear’

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 26 May 2017 3:17 pm

The State of New Jersey has truly been fighting the good fight when it comes to their efforts to legalize sports betting and, maybe, alter the fate of Atlantic City. But now that it seems unlikely that the Supreme Court will be hearing their pleas, the state’s lawmakers are getting ready to go “nuclear.”

In this context,  ”going nuclear,” means having state lawmakers repeal the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and letting the bookmakers take the field. It’s an act that’s not unprecedented in US history and could make New Jersey the sports betting capital of the country.

Should the nuclear option pass through the New Jersey House and Senate, it would create a very different vision of regulated sports betting than the one voters approved more than five years ago. The biggest difference is that in an effort to skirt recent legal decisions against the plan that limited sports betting to race tracks, it would allow sports betting throughout the state.

Sports attorney Daniel Wallach explained the concept in an interview with NorthJersey.com saying:

A complete repeal is the one option that would guarantee legal sports betting in New Jersey — right now. Unlike the 2014 partial repeal law (which was enjoined by the federal courts in Christie II), the complete repeal bill proposed by Assemblymen Caputo and Burzichelli does not attempt confine sports betting to a particular venue or location.

The problem with this scenario is that because the Feds have said New Jersey can’t license bookmakers, the nuclear scenario involves an almost “anything goes” environment for sports betting that could lead to big trouble down the line. But short of a Supreme Court ruling in their favor, which seems unlikely given the fact the Supreme Court is unlikely to even hear the case, this may be all that New Jersey has left.

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Ireland Considering Major Gambling Tax Reforms

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 24 May 2017 3:14 pm

The Irish Department of Finance is taking a hard look at how it taxes the gambling industry. In particular, the Department is reviewing how the gambling tax reforms it introduced in 2015 are holding up.

Reports indicate that the review is part of the normal workflow at the Department, but the results of such a review could have a major impact on the island’s gambling business.

As part of the review process, government officials are seeking input from gambling operators as to how the reforms introduced in 2015 impacted their businesses.

The 2015 are significant because they mandated that offshore operators hold local licenses. That particular legislation also introduced a one percent tax on turnover from Irish gamblers and a 15 percent tax on the turnover from betting exchanges.

Lawmakers are asking how those changes impacted gambling operators and how proposed reforms might impact their businesses as well. In particular, the Department is asking how a model that shifted the tax burden from the operator to the punter would be viewed.

A similar change in tax laws in the UK, the Value-Added Tax (VAT), was introduced last year for UK operators. While the long-term impact of the VAT are yet to be determined, the short term result has been reduced profits.

For their part, Department of Finance officials say that they don’t have an agenda, they’re simply looking for, “…an appropriate level of betting tax.”

Operators have until June 19 to submit their opinions and other data to the Department. So far there’s been no determination as to when the Department of Finance might impose (or not impose) any new tax plans for the Irish gambling industry.

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2017 Kentucky Derby Betting Hits All-Time High

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 20 May 2017 3:15 pm

Cold and rainy weather may have dampened the enthusiasm of 2017 Kentucky Derby attendees, but it did not to halt the enthusiasm of Kentucky Derby betting. This year’s race set an an all-time record for Derby wagering, and much of that wagering was done online.

Attendance at the United States’ premiere horse race clocked in at just 158,070, that’s down from the 167,227 people that attended last year’s Derby. (In all fairness, the 2016 Derby was the second-most attended Derby of all time.)

At the betting ticket window, both at Churchill Downs and online, it was an entirely different story.

Horse racing enthusiasts and amateurs alike enthusiastically wagered to the tune of $ 209 million. That represents a 12 percent jump in Derby wagering over 2016. According to InsiderLouisville.com, that’s also just 1 percent over the previous record, which was set in 2015.

Over at Twinspires.com, online wagering was up 22 percent over last year with 32.8 million wagered on the day. The marquee race accounted for $ 32.8 million of that number.

Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated crowed about the Derby’s success in the media and gave credit to a series of upgrades at the Churchill Downs facilities saying:

We were excited to introduce our latest round of renovations and our investments in the facility continue to pay off as we strive to improve the guest experience every year…A heartfelt thanks from all of us at Churchill Downs to all of the fans of the Kentucky Derby around the world who once again made this an amazing spectacle rain or shine.

Twinspires, it should be noted, offers legal Kentucky Derby betting for Americans.

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming paid out $ 11.40 for each $ 2 win wager.

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Amaya Gaming Changes Name to The Stars Group Inc.

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 18 May 2017 3:17 pm

Amaya Gaming, one of the best known brands in the gaming business, is re-branding itself as The Stars Group, Inc. Company officials say the name change is part of a greater mission to change the company’s image.

The Stars Group’s efforts to shed Amaya Gaming’s recent legal troubles and disappointing profits is certainly well warranted. This effort is being led internally by the company’s newly minted Chief Executive Officer Rafi Ashkenazi.

Of course, shedding the Amaya name in favor of Stars Group, Inc. is just the beginning of Ashkenazi’s big project. Later this year, the company will moving its headquarters from Toronto to Montreal.

On the more nuts and bolts side of the business, Ashkenazi will be looking to diversify his company’s revenue streams. Part of that strategy, according to a recent report from Bloomberg News, will involve more mergers and acquisitions. This was a major part of Ashkenazi’s responsibilities at his previous employer, William Hill.

The meteoric flight of Amaya Gaming and its transformation into the Stars Group is one of the most intriguing stories the gaming industry has seen in quite some time.

In 2014, Amaya Gaming stunned the industry by purchasing PokerStars, and all its baggage, for a whopping $ 4.9 billion. Part of that arrangement included restitution for PokerStars’ lost US customers. The company delivered on its end of the deal and the legendary brand was resurrected.

That joy was overshadowed in 2016 when allegations of insider trading among then CEO David Baazov and a group of cronies became public. Baazov has been charged with a number of financial crimes and resigned earlier this year to work on his defense

Amaya Gaming’s name change to Stars Group, Inc. is pending until a shareholder vote is taken later this week.

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Political Turmoil Drives Down South Korean Casino Revenue

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 16 May 2017 3:14 pm

The South Korean casino industry is feeling the impact of worldwide political turmoil in the form of lower revenue for Q1 2017. It’s a challenging situation that could get a lot worse as relations between South Korea, North Korea, and China deteriorate.

One of the biggest challenges for South Korean casino operators is that they must rely on foreign visitors for a good deal of their businesses.

Grand Korea Leisure, for example, is the country’s second largest casino that caters exclusively to foreigners. According to a report published on CalvinAyre.com, revenue at the facility for Q1 2017 was only $ 15.6 million (USD). That’s down a whopping 34 percent from the same period last year.

Industry observers peg that crash on a lack of visits from Chinese gamblers. This particular demographic is facing considerable scrutiny at home as the Chinese government continues to crack down on corruption. Other Chinese gamblers have been impacted by a lack of flights to Korea brought on by their government’s dissatisfaction with US government’s handling of relations with North Korea.

A similar dynamic was at play at Kangwon Land, the country’s only casino that caters to locals. Their revenue was down a full nine percent from the the previous year’s filings.

In this case, it’s very likely a case of prudent locals holding off on luxuries, such as casino gambling, while they ride out the country’s myriad of political issues. Besides the ongoing, and increasing, belligerence from their northern neighbor, South Koreans have also been dealing with internal challenges, such as the impeachment and arrest of President Park Geun-Hye.

Given the seriousness of the issues South Korea is facing, it may be a while before the country’s casino revenues bounce back.

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UK Ad Regulators Ban StarWins Ad for ‘Objectifying Women’

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 14 May 2017 10:37 pm

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is banning a StarWins.com ad for “objectifying women” and generally embracing a sexist attitude.

It’s another example of how gambling operators work under the glare of incredible regulatory scrutiny.  It’s an atmosphere where even a single complaint to the ASA can completely derail massive marketing and advertising campaigns.

At issue is an advertisement that aired in January and features two men sitting in a standard issue UK pub when an attractive woman walks by. One of the blokes at the bar pulls out his phone and says, “Allow me to introduce you to Star Wins.”

Once the man swipes his phone, the pub is transformed into a glamorous casino, which also happens to be inhabited by attractive female gamblers and croupiers. When the fantasy sequence ends, the men are returned to the original pub, but have made friends with the attractive woman and her companion.

This imagery prompted a single complaint to the ASA which suggested that the ad was sexist. The ASA agreed and built on the complaint saying:

The ASA challenged whether the ad suggested that gambling could enhance personal qualities, and linked gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

Officials at the Bear Group Ltd., which operates StarWins, defended the ad, saying that it merely depicted a typical casino. They went on to say that the use of female croupiers merely highlights the progress woman have made in landing casino jobs that were once occupied solely by males.

The ASA dismissed that argument and went on to suggest that pretty much everything about the ad smacked of sexism. In their ruling, they stated that the ad must never run again.

It’s worth noting that this entire action was prompted by a single complaint.

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FanDuel Partners with WNBA for First Women’s DFS Action

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 12 May 2017 3:16 pm

FanDuel is partnering up with the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) on what’s being described as the first-ever one-day DFS leagues involving a professional women’s sports league.

It’s a big step for both the WNBA and FanDuel, but will there be enough fan support to keep the idea afloat?

The advent of one-day WNBA fantasy games was announced earlier this week and coincides with the beginning of the league’s season.

WNBA President WNBA president Lisa Borders was excited about the deal telling ESPN.com:

This partnership with FanDuel and our new one-day fantasy game will be a fresh, unique way for fans to further connect with their favorite WNBA players and teams throughout our season.

The problem here is that while the WNBA puts out a great product with very talented athletes, the league really doesn’t have a lot of fans. That’s something that league officials, like CEO Jay Parry, are hoping their new relationship with FanDuel will help rectify.

In an interview with ESPN.com, Parry described FanDuel’s potential to bring in new fans saying:

We’ve seen fantasy sports as one of the most engaging ways for fans to interact with the game…We see this as a way to engage with new fans. … We’re happy that FanDuel recognized the potential and growing interest in women’s sport.

Nonetheless, the question of whether new fans will embrace the WNBA because of DFS remains to be seen.

It’s believed that FanDuel’s main competitor, and future partner, Draft Kings will be offering a similar WNBA product later this summer.

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Paddy Power Betfair Diving into US DFS Market with DRAFT Acquisition

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 10 May 2017 3:15 pm

Paddy Power Betfair, the Ireland-based operator, is dipping its toes into the US daily fantasy sports market with its recent acquisition of an American DFS site called DRAFT. It’s a gutsy move that puts Paddy Power Betfair in direct competition with the industry’s biggest players, Draft Kings and FanDuel.

The purchase was announced yesterday and, according to the Irish Times, the Paddy Power Betfair deal is worth a little over $ 48 million, but will be paid out over time.

At this point, the operator has ponied up about $ 19 million for the initial purchase. The other $ 29 million is based on DRAFT’s overall performance over the course of the next four years.

Diving into the US daily fantasy sports market in this manner is a gutsy, and potentially risky, move for Ireland’s biggest operator. For starters, the Draft Kings/FanDuel juggernaut currently controls more than 90 percent of the US market and its football-crazy players.

Paddy Power Betfair made some move yesterday to steel its shareholders against the enormity of the risk by issuing a statement outlining the Draft acquisition’s overall impact on company profits. In a note to investors, the company said:

However, the market opportunity is such that this dilution could represent a small price to pay for longer-term returns.

In an interview with the Irish Times, Breon Corcoran, chief executive of Paddy Power Betfair was bullish on the deal saying:

Draft has a differentiated product and we believe the business, with the support of our marketing and technology expertise, can take share in the fast-growing daily fantasy sports market.

How much of a share of the US DFS market Paddy Power Betfair will be able to grab with this acquisition remains to be seen. Knocking much more than a small chunk away from Draft Kings and FanDuel will be tough, but if the company’s in it for the long haul, they may have a reasonable chance.

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Legal Gambling Yields Huge Dividends for South Korean Government

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 6 May 2017 3:15 pm

Regulated gambling is a big business is a massive business in South Korea and the government is benefiting from it to the tune of $ 3,6 billion a year. That’s the gist of an analysis of National Gambling Control Commission records by the Korean Taxpayers Association.

The numbers paint a picture of a robust industry that’s generating plenty of cash and could be ripe for the addition of regulated online gambling.

According to the report’s top line number, the Korean gambling industry has added slight over $ 54 billion to government coffers over the past 15 years. ($ 62.5 trillion KRW). The verticals that generated the bulk of that revenue aren’t likely the market segments most foreigners might think – and it’s growing rapidly.

Tax revenues from regulated South Korean gambling have more than doubled over the course of the 15-year period studied for the report.

South Korea’s biggest gambling tax revenue generator, according to the report, is horse racing. The ponies raised a whopping 37.5 percent of all gambling taxes collected by the South Korean government.

Pulling up behind horse racing, in terms of revenue generation, are lottery operations. As is the case in many other Asian countries, lotteries are a huge business in South Korea and account for 25.4 percent of the total take.

Pulling up in third place are standard, land-based casinos. This small, but growing, segment of the South Korean gambling sector accounted for just 12.5 percent of government revenue from gambling. The anemic numbers coming out of the land-based side of the business are likely due to the fact that Korean citizens are not allowed to gamble in the country’s legal casinos.

As of this writing, there is little in the way of a movement to legalize online gambling in South Korea.

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