Archive for August, 2017

Online Gambling Grows in Philippines, but is it on Steady Ground?

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s shocking reversal on his crack-down against online gambling in favor of a much more lenient regulation and taxation policy, makes one wonder that if there was a way for him to make legal money off of meth-addicted drug addicts, his “values” driven killing spree would screech to a halt.

The shift from last summer, when Duterte seemed willing to lump online gaming business owners into the same pile as the rest of the “enemies of the state” he’s targeted, to now when he spoke recently about how the best course of action was to “tax them” rather “than fight them” has been astounding and has cemented his reputation for being unpredictable.

Many argue that it was not because “you can’t stop them”, as Duterte stated, but because he realized what a financial blow it would be if he continued on his tirade against the online gambling industry within the Philippines. Not only that, but President Duterte has seemed to lock in on the potential to grow the industry even more in the area of regulating online casinos that only cater to non-Filipinos. In a single year the Philippines has registered and licensed 45 such online gambling companies and collected $58 million in taxes. This is at a rate of ten percent what the industry accumulates in revenue.

Even the Filipino real estate industry has received a boon due to President Duterte’s change of heart. In the first half of the year, online casino companies accounted for 30% of the office space being rented in Manila during that time, and in the second half that percentage doubled to 60% of all the new leases being signed. And it is reported that this year many developers will have rented 90 percent of their stock, which in turn, has begun to see an uptick in residential properties sales as well.

Even the Philippine stock market has seemed to buoy with the burgeoning of this newly “in favor” industry. But as many in the online gaming industry can attest, markets and governing bodies can be fickle and Duterte has already proven his volatility. The rug could easily be pulled out from beneath this quickly growing cottage industry taking formation around the relative acceptance of online gambling by the Duterte administration.

Illinois Online Gambling Gets Fighting Chance

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Daily Fantasy Sports have existed in a floated in a legal limbo in Illinois ever since the state’s Attorney General Lisa Madigan penned in 2015 that the popular pastime was illegal in her opinion. She wrote, “ Absent legislation specifically exempting daily fantasy sports contests from the gambling provisions, it is my opinion that daily fantasy sports contests constitute illegal gambling under Illinois law.”

Representative Michael Zalewski, a vocal proponent for online betting and daily fantasy sports, was not deterred by the Attorney General’s less than enthusiastic assessment. He issued a statement thanking Madigan for her clarity and expressed his intention to continue finding a way to bring regulated online gambling to Illinois.

“Now that we have more clarity, I look forward to working with all involved in the upcoming legislative session to allow Illinoisans to continue to play these contests and provide the necessary strong consumer protections for safe, fun play.”

Zalewski kept his word and introduced a piece of legislation that would legalize online gambling, and in turn, fantasy sports, by proposing rigorous regulation of the industry within the state. The bill passed the Senate easily, but became stymied shortly thereafter in the House. But ever the determined optimist, Representative Zalewski has become more focused on the necessity of convincing Illinois’ land based casino’s that they could also benefit from the legalization of online gaming. “I’ve come to the conclusion this needs to be a collaborative approach.”

The shift in favor by the state’s land based casinos could help the House’s committee move toward a more supportive position on online gambling and internet betting, which would then allow the increasingly popular pastime of fantasy sports betting to gain legal standing. The Illinois state House is expected to move toward considering the legislation this November or possibly early 2018.

Illinois now stands to be in an undeclared race with Pennsylvania to be the first of the two to legalize online gambling next. Both states are primed with a track record of kicking the can down the road when it comes to the potential of utilizing the tax potential of regulating online gambling. When it come to the future of daily fantasy sports and internet wagering, only time will tell.

New Jersey Senator Wants to “Get In the Pool”

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

online gambling casinos
New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak wants the Garden State to invite more people to their online poker and online gambling party. Specifically, he announced to reporters that he has authored a bill that will expand New Jersey’s online gaming industry to include any other companies that are located in jurisdictions where online gambling is already legal and regulated, no matter the state or country. Senator Lesniak plans to introduce the bill to the New Jersey senate and hopes it will increase the state’s tax revenues and foster an industry driven by innovation.

Tax revenue from online gambling and from land based casinos has been steadily growing in recent years and the democratic Senator sees the state’s legalization of online gambling in 2013 as a major reason that Atlantic City’s land based casinos have begun to come back to life. Since that time, online gambling has garnered over $600 million in revenue for the state of New Jersey. And this trend seems to be continuing with over $20 million being raked-in within the past four months alone.

In a way, the proposal that Senator Lesniak is introducing is a plan to structure New Jersey’s online gambling industry much like it were an online version of Las Vegas’ land based casino industry. Much in the same way that tourists come from all around the world to gamble at Las Vegas’ glamorous casinos – with Nevada reaping the reward – New Jersey hopes to invite players (from wherever online gambling is legal) to play at their online poker rooms and casinos and help introduce an influx of incoming tax revenue reminiscent of the tourism industry. He explained what he saw as a benefit to the state’s economy and innovation: “Online gaming has helped Atlantic City to revive its casino sector with a success that we can expand in ways that will generate more revenue, create jobs and fuel technological innovation in gaming.”

Lesniak has placed emphasis on the states of Nevada and Delaware. He sees the fact that they have already created a pooled player agreement as the reason why New Jersey’s online poker revenue has taken an 8.4% dip since the year before. Lesniak feels confident that opening up New Jersey to be a part of this existing online poker player pool will enliven the industry and the subsequent revenue for the Garden State.

This would make considerable sense, given that there are many online poker players who would find it attractive to live close to the New York metro area while also being able to access the excellent online poker action located through tournaments hosted by Nevada-based companies. Perhaps if that were the case, New Jersey could even hope to see an increase in income tax from online poker players looking to get out of the desert heat.

Google Store Open to Online Gambling Apps

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Google Play online gambling apps
The Google Play Store, has had an on-off relationship with online gambling apps for quite some time now. For the longest span of time, the Play Store was expressly off limits to applications that served sites participating in real money gambling. And then – unceremoniously – Google allowed for-money, fantasy sports apps onto their platform leading up to the 2015 NFL season.

When asked about the addition, Google stated that the two apps, FanDuel and DraftKings, were part of a “closed, limited pilot program”. But from that point on, despite speculation that the addition of for money online gambling would soon be allowed in the Play Store, the prohibition remained in place beyond those two applications.

Now, as of August 2nd, it has been reported that for money gambling apps are now officially allowed in the Play Store, as long as they are geo-targeted to residents of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and France. Google has also laid out several other regulations that must be fulfilled by the applications in order to be granted access to the Play Store.

There is a thorough application process that each company must satisfy and have approved by Google, in which the applicant must prove their app fulfills all laws and industry standards currently set for online gambling in the countries in which it will be distributed. This has to be proven by supplying a valid online gambling license for these countries. Also, the app must have technology that prevents underage persons from gambling on the application as well as residents who live outside of the designated licensed areas.

Google prohibits the use of any Google affiliated payment services. The app must be free to download, rated as “Adult Only” and provide easily accessible information on responsible gambling.

These type of regulations mirror some of the oness that have long been in place on the Apple App store in regard to for money online gambling applications. As regulation on a country-to-country basis expands, it will be interesting to see which of the two application platforms will be the first to allow a similar expansion of online gambling applications. It will also be interesting to see if this expansion will continue to shape how online gambling companies develop their products.