Posts Tagged ‘online gambling laws’

EU Looks to Scrutinize Online Gambling Laws

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

european-union-countries-mapThis week, the European Union (EU) announced that it would focus on imposing stricter online gambling rules within the burgeoning online casino industry. The new focus will target underage gambling throughout the wide ranging and successful European online gaming market.
There are currently several online casino gambling markets throughout Europe and most certainly more to come. In an effort to ensure safety and fair play for all markets in this huge but fragmented market, a new look at laws will continue to regulate the exploding market.

In Europe, most any and all forms of gambling are available – from poker to sports wagering and everything in between. The worldwide online gambling market is soaring, with Europe being one the most successful. EU findings show that in 2012 alone, 7 million Europeans gambled for real money at online casinos where wagering is regulated throughout the region. 7 million players equates to about 45% of the worldwide internet gaming market. It is also reported widely that the worldwide online market raked in $33 billion (24 billion Euros) in 2012.

Regulated online gambling took off throughout Europe, after countries such as Malta and Britain helped paved the way. Other countries, such as the Netherlands and France, did not jump onboard right away, but pressure by demand forced these country’s to open up to the concept and liberalize their markets, although at varying levels.

In this week’s EU announcement, an EU spokesperson stated that it seeks to “better protect all citizens, and in particular, our children from the risks associated with gambling”. The EU is calling on all European online casino markets to match its enthusiasm in protecting consumers. This includes casinos themselves. Seeking to scrutinize laws to better convey an utmost level of protection for players throughout the EU in an era of digital advancement is the EU’s heightened goal.

The new plan is to guarantee that online casinos be the most transparent in all ways, including clearer warnings on casino websites, more thorough registration requirements to better eliminate underage gambling online, and further develop effective forms of support for addiction. The EU is also looking to curtail advertising of online casino sites and make sure ads are also free of pressure to wager and honest about odds.

The European gambling industry is looking for better uniformity in general, and this new focus on gambling in Europe should be well received. Here at OnlineCasinoSuite, we have to agree. As a site designed to advocate the safest, most reputable casinos online, consumers certainly ought to have the best protection throughout the EU and beyond. An EU-wide enforcement level for online gaming is evidently necessary just as it is in the US. That said, perhaps the US will take note and begin a nationwide form of regulation as it sees the European market trying to join in a blanketed form of regulation. Like in the US (and throughout Europe), gambling online is a heated issue. The fine line between being a source of state revenue and the potential cause of harm is easily crossed by many.

Interestingly enough, the EU said it decided to draft recommendations, versus outright legislation, as the latter takes too long and easily lacks being a sure thing. With several European countries in the process of creating national legislation, the EU recommendations can be used as assistance.

Washington State Supreme Court Upholds Legislation to Ban Internet Betting

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

It was a long shot – some would even say pointless. Yet, the fact that Washington State attorney, Lee Rousso, was able to get a Washington Supreme Court to rule on whether or not a relatively recent imposed ban against online poker is unconstitutional, goes to show that a fight is on…and it’s far from over.

Rousso’s got some balls, if you ask me. An avid online poker player himself, Rousso has been pursuing the case for roughly three years to this point. Unhindered by the court’s ruling that the 2006 legislature enacted to ban online gambling did not overeach public policy, nor violate the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution, Rousso says he will now appeal the decision on a federal level with the U.S. Supreme Court. And he wants the online betting community to help him fight the ban.

Rousso had the following to say: “Unfortunately, the court has upheld an unpopular prohibition,” Rousso said in a statement. “Poker players in this state need to make their voices heard. Now more than ever we need to rally together to fight this outrageous law. I hope the poker community will stand with me as I appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The upside to all this is that Justice Richard B Sanders said in his ruling that the “evidence is not conclusive” and that a decision to uphold the ban should not be taken as an endorsement of the legislation itself, but rather, as an endorsement of the State Legislature’s ability to do so. In other words, there are pros and cons for both regulation and prohibition, and nobody really knows whether one will prove more effectice than the other. Well, at least the people in charge, I mean.

Vocal Opponent of U.S. Online Gambling Regulation Does About Face

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
I HAD to put this picture in... just couldn't help myself.

I HAD to put this picture in... just couldn't help myself.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid is hard to pin. I mean, let’s face it, he’s a politician is he not? The Nevada Democrat who holds the reigns in the U.S. Senate has made a “surprising” turnaround, recently citing he stands behind the regulation of online gambling. Now, it would be another thing if Reid, who obviously knows something about the casino gambling industry, was indifferent or even undecided in his views about online gambling. However, Reid has been nothing but the opposite, in fact, actively taking an outspoken stand against the legalization of online gambling in the States.

So what, my dear friends, has caused Reid to change his mind? I’ll give you one guess. It smells like paper and rhymes with funny. You see, while Reid has a little man on his left shoulder, letting him know how important Las Vegas is to Nevada, there’s a louder, larger man on his other shoulder telling him that Nevada needs tax revenue – and the constituents of Nevada far outweigh the sway of the casino operators. Right? Errr, it could very well be the other way around given other circumstances and a different time, i.e., when the mob ruled Vegas, which is exactly why Reid deserves at least some credit. I mean, he is supporting the regulation of online gambling, is he not?

Granted, one of the largest players in Las Vegas, Harrahs Entertainment, has come out of the closet to proclaim support of online gambling regulation, also formerly taking an open stance against online casinos. So, even with some vocal disappointment being expressed by some of Las Vegas’ casino operators (mainly the smaller guys), the big dogs like Harrah’s and most likely MGM are waiting patiently for the time to pounce and launch online versions of their bread and butter offering.

Also, Congressman Barney Frank’s bill to overturn the UIGEA recently passed the House of Representatives and is serving a dual purpose of helping educate lawmakers on why it’s more important to regulate than ban and how online gambling can be effectively regulated, in particular, preventing underage and problem gambling addictions. In other words, Reid could very well be coming around simply because it’s the right thing to do. Hopefully, more U.S. Senators will do the same.

American Gaming Association Reveals Just How Hot its Casino Members are for Online Gambling Regulation

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

All things said and done, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is in favor of legalizing online casino gambling in the United States. The irony is (other than the fact that the AGA used to be dead set against regulating online gambling) that the AGA isn’t necessarily in favor of individual States being “united” in exercising their right to regulating internet betting. In other words, the AGA is a proponent of giving individual States’ the choice to offer regulation, or rather, that such a right to decide is, in fact, available.

Now, whether or not the AGA is in support of every single State in the Union legalizing online gambling, isn’t necessarily clear since they really haven’t come out of the closet to announce their position to the world, albeit I can pretty much guarantee AGA members, which include the likes of Harrah’s, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Mirage, Boyd Gaming, Bally Technologies and International Game Technology, are licking their chops to get a footing in as many State’s as possible.

Sooooooo, while the online casino software “institution”, Cryptologic, has reported a loss of $12 million in the second quarter of 2010, the American Gaming Association has revealed it has spent over $360,000 lobbying U.S. government officials in a bid to get online gambling regulation legislation (say that 10 times real fast, I dare you), passed into law, and consequently, the infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) overturned and placed alongside prohibition as the stupidest bills ever placed into law. This figure is in addition to the $430,000 spent in the first quarter!

Obviously, the AGA’s money is the money of the aforementioned member companies. And there’s no denying that Harrah’s Entertainment wants a large piece of the pie. In fact, the U.S. based casino gambling giant already has an online casino in the works and is currently testing out the waters in the regulated European online gambling scene. IGT is already benefiting via the company’s software developer, Wager Works, which supplies the popular UK Casino, Virgin Games.

So yes, there is plenty of firsthand proof that there is plenty of money to be made off of the legalization of online gambling, no matter where in the world. And everybody knows the American gambling scene supplies the bulk of online gambling activity (even with the UIGEA in effect). So long as regulatory laws are not passed that foster competitive advantages or disadvantages between commercial casinos, Native American casinos, State lotteries and parimutuel betting operations, the AGA says, regulate, regulate, regulate!

Atlantic City Casino Operators Apparently in Talks With Online Gaming Software Devlopers

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Atlantic City must be hurting. I mean – come on – there’s no denying all of Atlantic City has been hurting for a long time now. Err, I suppose ever since the day casinos first opened on the boardwalk.

But really, Atlantic City had it’s heyday, and the idea now is to get back to that place before Playboy Casino was shut down and Donald Trump got the idea that he could rule AC with just a hotel and a bad hair piece (it never gets old!). Considering how the casinos have been faring, you can’t really blame him, can you?

Anyhow, now that there is a glimmer of hope for online gambling regulation in the States, land-based casino operators in Atlantic City (not to mention Las Vegas) are looking into the prospects of running a counterpart online casino. Business is not great, and quite frankly, the World Wide Web is stealing billions of dollars from brick ‘n mortar casinos.

You would have thought online casino gambling was legalized several years back, would you not? Oh but wait – the technology itself came about during the Bush administration, and instead of giving it a proper study, Republican conservatives and the religious right had their say in getting online gambling (well, at least some forms) banned.

Never mind the fact that England has been successfully regulating and taxing internet betting for over five years – without rises in problem and underage gambling mind you. But don’t get me started. Believe me, I can go on about this not only until the fat lady sings but also when the cows come home.

Anyhow, back to Atlantic City.

The President of the New Jersey Casino Association, Mark Juliano, has alluded that New Jersey casino operators are indeed working with software providers in preparation of legalized online gambling. Okay, scratch that. Juliano didn’t allude (as reported elsewhere), he outright said it. He even said the Association thinks it is “inevitable” that legislation will pass “at some point”.

And not that this is a big surprise, really. Harrah’s was adamantly opposed to regulating online gambling when the idea first presented itself. It took several years of losing revenue and a budding realization that regulation really does work for Harrah’s to turn on a dime and direct their efforts toward getting online gambling legalized.

So yes, when online gambling is finally legalized in the U.S. a virtual Atlantic City is likely to show up very soon thereafter. Whether or not the online gaming package will be any good (AC casino operators are years behind the game), is anybody’s guess.

A Little Insight on Those Who Resist Online Gambling Regulation in US

Friday, August 6th, 2010
The ERLC's Latest Anti-Gay Poster...

The ERLC's Latest Anti-Gay Poster...

And to think I used to call myself a “Christian”. Okay, wait I take that back. Not that I don’t identify with the more universal tenants of Christianity and the true message which I personally believe Jesus preached, it’s just that I can’t deny the flaws in the doctrines espoused by the greater mass of Christian religions. The same is true in other religions, and I suppose then, that perhaps the more accurate statement is, “to think I used to say I was religious” (even though I never really did).

Anyhow, before this becomes about something other than what I’m not intending it to be, let me just say that anti-online gambling resistance is being vocalized once again up on Capitol Hill. And could you guess who just might be doing all this vocalizing? The ballpark answer “Christian organizations” would indeed be correct, although a more specifically correct answer would be that of Christian and pro-family leaders, including the likes of Southern Baptist and President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Richard Land.

Would that be religious liberty for all religions, or rather, only those which place emphasis on so-called family values? Just askin’. Oh wait, if you look a little closer on the website of the ERLC, this group is actually the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. No really, you have to look close – it’s in very small writing under the ERLC logo.

And if this is any more telling about the values of the ERLC, the “Latest Word” from the Tennessee-based ERLC blog, which let’s just call the ERLC of the SBC from now on, is that Richard Land is “disappointed that an elderly liberal has been replaced by a younger liberal” in regards to the Senate confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

Land went on to say in “His Latest Word” blog, “I don’t think most Americans share Kagan’s judicial philosophy. But Barack Obama was elected president, and he has nominated someone who shares his judicial philosophy”.

This was capped with a dose of wisdom that will likely go down in history, putting both Plato and Socrates to shame: “People should remember when they vote that elections have consequences, long-term consequences.”

Joining Land and his stand against the regulation of online gambling in the United States, not to mention black presidents, is Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council Action, Tom Minner of Focus on the Family and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America.

Needless to say (okay, I’ll say it anyway), Mr. McClusky’s first job was with the Republican National Committee and he now represents the FRCA before Congress on a number of issues, including the sanctity of marriage. As for the FRCA’s President, Tony Perkins, he is a staunch Republican who boasts in his bio as “pioneering measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law” and “launching initiatives to affirm and defend the Judeo-Christian values America is founded upon”. That makes sense, considering the FRCA spent half-a-million dollars campaigning to ban same-sex marriage in Colorado.

As for Tom Minner, he’s not even listed on the Focus on the Family website. However, the group’s founder, Dr. James Dobson, is a staunch Republican, supporter of Sarah Palin and general Obama hater. The stated mission on the Focus on the Family website goes something like this:

“Focus on the Family is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. We provide help and resources for couples to build healthy marriages that reflect God’s design, and for parents to raise their children according to morals and values grounded in biblical principles. We’re here to come alongside families with relevance and grace at each stage of their journey. We support families as they seek to teach their children about God and His beautiful design for the family, protect themselves from the harmful influences of culture and equip themselves to make a greater difference in the lives of those around them.”

As for Penny Nance, I’m not sure which “concerned women” she is speaking for. It’s certainly not my wife. Let’s just say that Nance is a contributor to FOX News and that the stated mission of the CWA goes something like this: “We are focused on helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy. There’s a cultural battle raging across this country and CWA is on the frontline protecting those values through prayer and action.”

In other words, the stand against online gambling regulation in the United States is basically a battle being waged by the Republican Party. Need I say more.

There are Those Who Would Stand in the Way of Regulating Online Gambling in USA

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The fight to get online gambling legalized in the United States, or rather, getting the UIGEA online gambling ban overturned (which just so happens to be marked by carve-outs for various forms of internet wagering, such as horse racing), is far from over folks. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer or anything, but while getting Congressman Barney Frank’s Internet Gaming Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (IGREA) marked up for a vote in the Senate is a huge victory, the war – yes, it’s a war – has only just begun.

The fact remains that many U.S. politicians are opposed against regulating online gambling for one reason or another. Well, I suppose the more succinct statement is that many U.S. politicians do not understand the protocols and effectiveness of regulating online gambling. And the sad part is that many of them do not even want to understand. In other words, those politicians who represent constituents who tend to take a negative stance toward gambling, whether it be kitchen poker games or online casino gambling, will simply preach what the choir wants to hear, and ultimately, what will get them into office or reelected.

And what’s that that’s getting preached, you ask? Well, according to Idaho First District Republican candidate, Raul Labrador, it’s that regulated online gambling will “prove disastrous for families across the nation.” Besides impeaching Nancy Pelosi, Labrador believes (like a good dog), that children and adults with addictive personalities will be just “one click away from throwing thousands of dollars away.”

And while it’s more like several clicks and several faxes (just to prove identity) away from wasting your money gambling at online casinos, (see, I’m not actually refuting that you could indeed throw thousands of dollars away), Labrador and others from his camp (guess which one), refuse to see that actually regulating something will make it harder for illegal activity to take place, i.e., prohibition in the twenties.

Just like you could very well walk away a winner or a loser at a Las Vegas casino, online casinos play by the odds, which yes, are mostly in the favor of the casino. However, you might be surprised to find that the best online casinos actually offer better odds than their land-based counterparts. Just take a look at the monthly payout percentage reports to see for yourself. And if you really need to see a tangible example of online gambling actively and effectively being regulated, just look at Mother England, where the latest UK Gambling Prevalence Study still shows no increase in problem and underage gambling since online casinos were legalized in 2005.

Really folks, it’s important to know who those politicians who adamantly stand in opposition to regulating online gambling are. If you happen to reside in the district they either represent or hope to represent in an upcoming election, do your part to ensure they can’t cast a biased and uninformed vote against online gambling regulation. In the potato State, Idaho, the name is Raul Labrador. Don’t vote for him. Instead, cast your vote for Walt Minnick, who was one of the seventy co-sponsors of the IGREA.

In Light of a Bill to Regulate Online Gambling, Another Internet Bookie Goes Down

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

In light of the positive developments regarding the Internet Gaming Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (HR 2267, otherwise known simply as IGREA), which after successfully passing through the U.S. House of Representatives is to go under the knife in the Senate (I have an in-dept article about this in the works), it’s cases like the one below that reiterate why online gambling needs to be regulated in the United States.

Meet James L. Dicapo – a fifty-seven year old “businessman” from the Heart of America’s West, err, Kansas. Dicapo, whom I’m assuming is Italian, recently pleaded guilty to operating an online gambling business. Bringing in more than $3.6 million spanning approximately three years (2006-2009), this was no skimpy business either. Basically, it was your standard bookmaker getup offering phone lines for, well, betting one’s lines on a range of sports events.

These days, phone-in bookies like this are also often inclined to go the way of the Web, if you will. Sports betting online is big business, and the internet is simply helping it become bigger. But rather broadcast their services for all to see, this operation consisted of handing out toll-free digits and a website to sign up. Dicapo and three other men (also charged in the investigation) would simply handle the money, and from what I can understand, actually do the rounds and deal with customers face to face.

Dicapo has attested that the customers for whom he specifically dealt with wagered approximately $1.2 million between 2006-2009. All of this money would then be routed to an offshore business in Costa Rica (where many a sports betting business is set up, I might add). The actual wagers would go through here, and all winning bets would be paid out accordingly.

On that note, while everything Dicapo was doing was deemed illegal, this does not necessarily mean there was shady business taking place internally. In other words, Dicapo and his operation was, for all intensive purposes, a legitimate sports betting service with a base of satisfied customers. I suppose you could say satisfied “clients”, if DiCapo was dealing with a small handful of whales. That hasn’t yet been determined yet, but I’m sure it will be brought to light if that’s indeed what happened.

In relation to what’s going on with the aforementioned IGREA, you might wonder if cases like this will continue happening in the U.S. Well, to make a long story short, the answer is yes. One small provision in the IGREA is that sports betting will not be included with online poker, bingo and online casino games in having the possibility to be regulated on a State level. Online sports betting simply is illegal and will remain illegal even if the IGREA is passed into law.

But that won’t stop operations like Dicapo’s from sprouting up, many of which may not even be caught. The fact of the matter – and this is one reason why sports betting was left out of the bill – is that most sports fans love to wager. And for the millions of these folks who do not have the luxury of making trips to Vegas every time they want to make a wager, the telephone and online bookies serve as a very convenient option for placing the bets on one’s behalf

The Economist Publishes In-Depth Report on the State of Online Gambling in America

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

In the latest edition of The Economist business magazine (one of the best in publication, mind you), an in-depth report and analysis offers telling insight into the US online gambling industry, including the current state of the industry in light of the UIGEA online gambling ban going into effect just a few months ago.

globalgamblingmarketH2Citing stats from 2007, the report shows just how large the global gambling market has become – $335 billion a year. With nearly half of the American population and over two-thirds of British citizens having a go at some sort of wagering, there simply is no denying a formidable demand for recreational betting in existence today.

Even in a year where monthly casino gambling revenue has steadily declined, Las Vegas still racked in over $10 billion in gambling revenues, while the gambling utopia of Asia, Macau, brought in nearly $15 billion in 2009. Add to that hundreds of millions in lottery tickets sold every week of the year, and it is still apparent that the land-based gambling industry still holds sway.

However, in an increasingly mobile world and broadening World Wide Web, the trend is one of which that will see unprecedented growth in online gambling – even despite the UIGEA. While online gambling only accounted for 8% of global gambling revenue (approximately $26 billion) in 2009, this was a growth in revenue from all previous years. So while much of the rest of the global gambling industry endures falling revenues, online gambling is expected to continue growing by leaps and bounds.

globalmobilegamingH2The gambling consultancy firm, H2, reports the online gambling market is expected to grow 13% per year, bringing in revenue of $36 billion by 2012. H2 also values the global online poker market at just about $5 billion, with the United States bringing in almost a third of the revenue ($1.4 billion).

The fact is, America remains the largest single online gambling market in the world. Even with the UIGEA in effect, American continue gambling online. Where those online casino operators backed out of the market because of the UIGEA, new operators have filled the void. The scary part is that more under-regulated or even non-regulated online casinos are thriving as a result. There are still many safe and reliable places to wager online for U.S. residents, however, a lot more due diligence is required ahead of time.

The report in the Economist said it best: “Government prohibition of online gambling has worked about as well as prohibition of other online content, which is to say it is observed mainly in the breach….Americans are gambling roughly the same amount online as they did in 2006.”

European Court of Justice Ruling Viewed as a Setback for Online Gambling Liberalization

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Nevermind the ruling, I want to know which judge is missing from their seat!

Nevermind the ruling, I want to know which judge is missing from their seat!

“Discriminatory” is a tricky word. In fact, it’s trickier than the the word tricky itself. You see, an entire European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling rests on this lone, yet powerful word. And I’m not talking about just any ruling. As you might guess, this being the Online Casino Suite Blog and all, said ECJ ruling pertains to online gambling activities.

Said ECJ ruling is also a big blow to liberalizing online gambling laws in Europe, and consequently, centralizing regulatory protocols. Although the ruling is specifically applicable to advertising, the larger principle of the matter conjurs up the notions of protectionism – something many EU member States know all too well.

This time around, Sweden is at the heart of the ECJ case which ruled that a national ban in Sweden against advertising offshore internet betting services could be imposed on religious, cultural and/or moral grounds, so long as such as ban was not “discriminatory” (there’s that magic word) in practice. The ruling further stated that Swedish legislation prohibiting the promotion of online gambling services by operators in other EU member states for profit is “consistent with Community Law.”

On a side note, the one component of the ECJ ruling that could be seen as a small dent to protectionist activities in Sweden states that laws imposing administration penalties on Swedish-based gaming companies operating without proper licensing credentials need to reflect current laws imposing criminal sanctions against offshore operators advertising in Sweden. In other words, everyone needs to play by the same rules.

The ECJ is certainly no stranger to cases pertaining to cross border gambling activities. Being a relatively young and lucrative industry, contention is practically a given. There is lots of money to be made on the internet, and even more at gambling. So, it’s pretty understandable when outside operators swoop in to profit, yet return nothing back to that particular economy.

With regulation, this is not so much an issue. However, now that more European countries are regulating online gambling, they are doing all they can to profit the most off their specific constituents. In other words, state-run operations are the way to go if a government is seeking more than just licensing fees from outside online operators.