The South African National Assembly rejected the DA’s proposed law to control and regulate the growing online gambling industry. The bill was not taken well by the members. It was described as an attempt to make people jobless and take away from the table. The members also argued that this will for sure increase the rate of crime in the white collar segment and create a lot of chaos in the job market and society at large.
While some members were not in favour of supporting the bill, some of them boldly stood in favour of it. Geordin Hill-Lewis from instance openly expressed his dissatisfaction over the non-cooperation on this one. He stated that the house was making a mistake and that it would understand this in due course. He is of the view that the regulation of the gambling industry is inevitable and the quicker it is implemented, the better it is for everyone.
He also mentioned that the 2007 Gambling Act could never take effect. This added to the history of confusion and chaos for the industry. He is of the view that the online gambling industry has never followed any rules or regulations as such. The MP feels the regulation would be the best course of action in order to save the general public. Notably a trade industry report recommended rejecting this bill.
The present bill suggested various ways of protecting the affected and those who are vulnerable to be exposed to online gambling. It also recommended how to secure revenue that was lost to fiscus. Jan Esterhuizen from the IFP argued that there are as many as 2000 illegal gambling establishments and it makes sense to make them legal. This will not only ensure compliance but will help the Government to control them with greater authority.
Shaik Emam, the MP from the National Freedom Party gave a very passionate speech and argued that gambling cause misery and a sense of helplessness among the poor. People lose interest in their job and this leads to more crime. He went on to mention that online gambling degrades the quality of life and that children go to bed without food. Ha accused the DA of not being considerate enough for the poor. His speech was backed by the whole party and he ended his note to a thunderous applause from all the MP’s in the house.
As a matter of fact, some of the lobbyists are extensively working up to get online betting legalised in South Africa. This will come as a major blow for them. Not only the 2000 betting companies would suffer but it would come as a major blow to some of the big players who have been waiting and watching the proceedings in South Africa. The online gambling industry is considered to be billion dollar industry in South Africa where millions of tourists and corporate crowd throng the land based casinos. Industry insiders see this as a move to protect the land based casinos from their online counterpart.
Poland has plans to change its gambling laws in order to include online slots and poker. However, there is no indication about the tax structure applicable to the industry. More specifically, there is no confirmation whether Poland-licensed gambling operators will get the tax breaks they are looking for with changes in Poland gambling law.
The online gambling industry is changing at an extremely fast pace, and people are increasingly choosing to play at online casinos instead of brick and mortar casinos. After all, it is a lot more convenient to play games like Double Bubble slot using one’s laptop or PC, or increasingly, one’s hand held device.
There was great excitement in the industry recently when Poland’s Ministry of Finance provided hints about the long awaited revisions to the Poland gambling laws. Operators with local licenses will be permitted to offer online games such as slots and poker, with the understanding that they will follow regulations put in place for protecting customers. The government also intends to authorise slots in land based casinos, subject to a number of stringent restrictions. The prevailing opinion in the government is that slots are best kept under a great deal of control on account of their supposed addictiveness.
Most interestingly, the Ministry of Finance’s latest statements on online gambling are in sharp contrast to the statement made by Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin just the previous week. The minister had made a differentiation between casino games including slots and other verticals such as poker and sports betting, saying that the former came under the category of hard gambling and were therefore, potentially harmful to society.
While Minister Gowin will undoubtedly be unhappy about the proposal to permit online slots, he will support the proposal to reduce restrictions on online and land-based poker. As of now, poker is offered only by land based casinos in the country, but there is immense demand for it on the internet. At present, people from Poland visit online casinos to get their fill of all sorts of gambling games.
The Ministry of Finance has stated that it will take action against online operators licensed in other jurisdictions that serve this market even though they are not permitted to do so. There are many operators serving this market and many of them are fraudulent. People playing on these sites can lose their money and personal information to criminal gangs. The government intends to block access to many of these sites and also to prevent payments to them. Any operator that continues to break the law will also have to face serious consequences.
No Update on Taxes
The Ministry’s statement unfortunately did not specify whether there would be any changes to taxes affecting the gambling industry. Operators currently have to bear a 12% tax on turnover. There are hints, however, that this will be changed to 20%.
The new gambling rules are intended to be applicable from January 1, 2017. At present, the proposed revisions have been submitted to the relevant government branches in order to obtain their opinion.
A team of researchers engaged by KetToCasino have found out that the US Dollar has been displaced from its position as the favoured currency for online gambling by the Euro. The US Dollar might still be the most important currency in the world, but the online gambling industry paints a different picture. This has a lot to do with the fact that online gambling is largely prohibited in the United States and hence, Euro overtakes Dollar in online gaming.
Gambling is extremely popular all over the world, and people from different countries visit online casinos to gamble on sports and to play a whole lot of casino games, slots, bingo, and the like. The latest slot games like Double Bubble slot is very thrilling and well-made, and its hard to resist their appeal.
The US Dollar was the premier currency in the online gambling business not too long ago, but the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) by the federal government of the United States changed everything. The law made it illegal to operate online gambling services in most parts of the United States as a result of which most operators pulled out of the market. Many companies have had to face hefty fines because they permitted Americans to gamble on their sites.
Even though Americans market dropped out of the reckoning in the online gambling industry, the power of the US Dollar ensured that it was used very frequently for online transactions. Most casinos continued to offer customers the option of making deposits in this currency. As a matter of fact, 90 percent of all casinos in operation in 2014 permitted transactions in US Dollars. This has now become only around 75% in 2016. In comparison, 78% of all online gambling sites permitted monetary transfers in Euros.
Casinos Focusing on European Markets
One reason for the increase in the Euro’s popularity in online casinos is that operators are increasingly targeting this market. Most European countries have legislations in place to regulate this industry and this has given the industry the space to grow along the desired lines. Since many European countries have adopted the Euro, gambling operators have followed suit by adopting this currency.
Top Currencies in Gambling
The US Dollar may have been knocked off its perch by the Euro, but it remains one of the most popular currencies in the business. The other currencies in the top five are the British Pound Sterling followed by the Australian Dollar and finally the Canadian Dollar. Two strong currencies that are surprisingly not part of the list are the Japanese Yen and the Chinese Yuan. While the Chinese are passionate about gambling, their government does not permit online sites to offer their services to its citizens. Interestingly, currencies that have increased in popularity with online gamblers over the past year are the Rouble and South African Rand followed by the Norwegian Krone and the South Korean Won. The currencies most often used on online gambling sites will reflect the markets where gambling is increasing in popularity.
Two software designers who have made a big impact among the online casino players-iSoftBet and Merkur have inked a deal to share their resources. Such a move is widely seen as one which would help both the software designers in expanding their base and improving their existing market share. The partnership is to take effect from May 2016.
Strengths of the casino software majors
While both iSoftBet and Merkur Interactive Services have built a strong reputation in the casino market, their strong points are in different spheres of business making the partnership potentially a winning one. iSoftBet is renowned for the huge collection of entertaining slot games and Merkur is famous for its rich and diverse list of clientele. Thus a partnership between the two such players not only is beneficial to both in expanding their niche market, but has made everyone to take note of the development.
With Merkur incorporating the full range of iSoftBet games in its menu, Merkur’s clients would now have a bigger list of table games and slots to choose from. Further, by their association with iSoftBet, Merkur would also be in a position to offer to clients new content from other companies with which iSoftBet has an agreement. Thus, Merkur Interactive Services is now in a position to offer to its customers in UK and Spain some of the most interesting and unique casino games.
Since most of the iSoftBet’s software synchronise with the latest generation smart phones, this would be an added attraction to the customers in UK and Spain. Thus, Merkur’s clients in UK and Spain would now happily play games like Astro Magic, Diamond Wild, Mega Boy and Happy Birds which have been developed ingeniously by iSoftBet. iSoftBet in addition has obtained permission to design online slot games structured on popular Hollywood entertainers like The Warriors, Rambo, Basic Instinct and 24. Thus for the clients of Merkur Interactive services, now on there is umpteen refreshing choices to make while choosing the casino games. And without restricting just the slot games, iSoftBet has few interesting table games too. While the list of table games offered by iSoftBet may not be as impressive and extensive like the collection of slots, iSoftBet has some engaging blackjack, roulette and joker poker.
A Profitable Partnership
The deal between the two leading names in the online casino industry has made the top executives of both the companies very optimistic. Head of sales of iSoftBet Luci Apostolou has conceded that this agreement is a significant landmark for the company. Apostolou excitedly looks forward to lots of mutually beneficial developments for both the partners in light of their long experiences and skills in the field. Bernd Henning, the Chief Executive Officer of Merkur also is overjoyed about the deal struck as the reputation of iSoftBet in the gaming industry is substantial. Henning is looking forward to making greater presence now in the growing markets of UK and Spain, with the help of iSoftBet’s technology.
Lawmakers in the state of Michigan met last week to debate upon an online gambling bill introduced by Senator Mike Kowall. The legislation in question, SB 889, was the subject of a discussion by the Michigan Regulatory Reform Committee and along with an amendment SB 890 it was proposed in order to bring legality to online casino games and poker. Also known as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, the bill wouldn’t just legalize but also regulate certain forms of online gambling in the state.
The hearing of the Michigan Regulatory Reform Committee consisted of nine members including Senator Tory Rocca who chairs it. The hearing included testimony from four members of the industry who spoke in support of the bill, including John Pappas, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) president. Interestingly and surprisingly, the three brick and mortar businesses located in the state, namely Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit Casino, and MotorCity Casino, did not have an opinion about the proposed legislation. However, it has to be noted that they did not oppose the bill even if they didn’t support it.
What the Bill Entails
According to SB 899, the state will grant only eight gambling licenses which will only be available to existing Michigan land based gambling operations as well as the tribal casinos. The licenses will cost $5 million each after which operators will be required to pay the government a gross gaming revenue tax of 10%. The bill also is intended to put in place certain regulatory mechanisms for protection of consumers. In fact, this was an important component of John Pappas’ testimony.
Online Gambling Already a Reality
Residents of Michigan, and indeed of other parts of the United States, enjoy gambling on the internet irrespective of whether the law permits this activity or not. Many Americans visit online gambling sites operating from offshore jurisdictions so that they can play a wide range of casino games and slot games such as the wildly popular Double Bubble slot. If the state provides them with a well managed gambling infrastructure then they won’t have to worry about falling victim to online scammers. At the same time the state stands to gain a lot of money from taxes raised from the gambling industry since the business is expected to grow at a very fast pace.
Will the Bill Finally Become Law?
Last week’s hearing on SB 889 did not result in anything conclusive since no vote was eventually taken. However, since the Michigan state legislature is scheduled to adjourn on June 16th for the summer, lawmakers will have to come to a decision on the bill soon in order to prevent it from being postponed to the next session. This is without doubt an important bill and its progress in the legislature is being followed by the gambling industry with a great deal of interest. In case the bill does manage to become law then Michigan will join three other states in the US that have already made online gambling legal.
The gambling industry has been eagerly following developments in the state of Michigan where the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee recently met to hold a discussion on the online gambling expansion bill proposed by State Senator Mike Kowall and co-sponsored by Senators Curtis Hertel Jr., Rebekah Warren, Bert Johnson, and Marty Knollenberg.
Known as SB 889, the bill proposes to authorize online poker and other online casino games while also permitting out of state play as long as local or federal laws were not broken. The bill would also limit the number of online gaming licenses to eight and would set the licensing fee at $5 million. The bill also proposed a 10% gross gaming revenue tax. Interestingly, tribal casinos would also be required to waive their sovereignty to a limited extent in order to qualify for an online gambling license.
Michigan is a relatively new entrant to the online gambling field which is why there is a great deal of interest surrounding the hearing. The people who testified at the hearing included John Pappas the Executive Director of Poker Players Alliance, Michael Pollock, the Managing Director of Spectrum Gaming Group, David Murley, Deputy Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, and three senior executives from gambling major Amaya. There were also written statements from senior executives of three different Michigan casinos.
SB 889 is the result of three year’s work by Senator Mike Kowall, and it indicates that there is immense demand to have a proper online gambling legislation in place as soon as possible. However, even though Amaya has been lobbying very energetically for the law, it also seems that no one is willing to be the first one to take concrete steps on the issue. Furthermore, there are other states as well which have been conducting discussions regarding gambling over the past few years.
Even though the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee hearing did not have any positive outcome, the gambling industry can take heart from the fact that there was no vocal opposition to it. Besides, any concerns expressed by lawmakers during the hearing were addressed by the witnesses who were called to the hearing. They focused on providing details about the importance placed by well-managed and authorized gambling sites on security and responsible gaming. In fact, one witness even went on to compare the online security features of PokerStars to traditional banks.
One of the most interesting things about the law is that it might get the tribal groups in the state to relinquish some of their sovereignty in order to operate as a commercial company. It remains to be seen whether they will accept the law as such or consider it as a deal breaker. Interestingly, the tribal groups haven’t yet released a statement regarding the proposed law.
The state of Michigan might very likely legalize online gambling by the year 2017 if the law is able to get the support it requires. Therefore, the hearing represents a significant step even though it might seem to be a relatively small event and Michigan residents will eventually be able to play Double Bubble slots and other popular games on the internet.
Bitcoin has been in the market since the last couple of years. But there wasn’t much disclosure as to who is the owner of the company. Nothing was publicly revealed and people were unaware about who exactly is heading the company’s various operations. Now, there has been a recent development wherein a man is claiming that he is the owner of the company. It is believed that the man who owns the company goes by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. Hence, there is a gentleman who is claiming to be the same. His name is Craig Wright. When asked about the proof, he promptly showed the Bitcoin that are only to be found with the creator.
These proofs were presented at a meeting that was held with the BBC. During this meeting several revelations were made with respect to the real owner of the company. One of them was the revelation by Wright when he presented signed messages that were digital in nature. They were signed using advanced cryptographic keys. These keys were made at the very beginning during the development of Bitcoin. Furthermore, this was considered to be the first Bitcoin transaction way back in 2009 when it was sent to Hal Finney.
Is it Really Him?
While there is a section of people who believe Mr. Wright to be what he claims to be. These include some IT specialists and economists. These specialists have also checked details through technical, social data and cryptographic methods. And all of them have been successful. There is proof also that claims that Mr. Wright is the owner of Bitcoin. While these individuals seem to suggest that Mr. Wright is indeed the owner of the company, there are some who do not believe this and remain quite skeptic about the whole situation.
What This Means for Bitcoin
Well Bitcoin is a massive company now with a lot of investment. In any circumstance, it will not drown. Investors who have already put in their money are not withdrawing. On the other hand, potential buyers and more are flocking in to invest some more in the company. As of now, there are around 15 million Bitcoin in the market and the total number is close to $7 billion.
In the world of online gaming, you have the option of paying online with your debit or credit card. Furthermore, some casinos also accept Bitcoin. This has made the entire transactions very easy and convenient. Hence, you can easily make withdrawals and deposits by using bitcoins. It is anonymous and that is why has more and more people are getting attracted to it. The whole idea of being cryptic is what is the most attractive part of the deal. Bitcoin when launched was also considered to be reliable, but now since it has been in existence since quite some time, it has become the favourite for many people. And with this new announcement, it is even more certain that Bitcoin is going to reach new heights in the coming years.
Certainly, the online gambling is still not allowed in the United States. However, the state allows fantasy sports, as they are under an exception that has not been extended casino games and online poker, the other forms of gambling. According to the media reports, the congress leaders are expected to hold a closer look at the games after witnessing the incidents arising from FanDuel and DraftKings.
Daily Fantasy Sports Legislation
In next few coming days, a congressional subcommittee will take place in order to hold hearing on online gambling and daily fantasy sports. Since the consequences of this meet are sure to affect the players and gambling operators directly, it is anticipated that they too will raise their voice. The gambling operators and players are expected to enter into public discussions to discuss about the results of the meet.
The movement of all those who are supporting the reform is increasing becoming active and is sure to gain more momentum in the coming days. It is known that The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will preside over the hearing in the mid of May. In case, a clear federal law is not achieved, chances are that the online games will be banned completely. On the top of the banned lists, Tennessee is expected to be the one.
Powerful Politicians View on Online Gambling
It is true that online casinos bring in the majority of revenues for the state. The gambling industry contributes a lot in the entire gross national income. Keeping this in mind, various politicians support online gambling openly. For instance, the governor of New Jersey is making every possible effort to legalise the daily fantasy sports and allow people to wager. Besides legalising these fantasy sports, the governor believes that the state will also be allowing online casinos and bookmakers in the coming days. Without a doubt, it shows that some politicians actually wish to get online gambling legalised to improve the gross income of the nation.
The law regarding daily fantasy sports and online gambling is still not clear to many Americans. They are still hunting for the loopholes in the present law. In fact, some people are even ready to go against the law and try out their favorite online casino games. In addition to this, only a couple of online casinos allow the US players to explore and play on their site, which precisely includes Grand Vegas casino, Rich casino and Las Vegas USA casino. While talking about these aforementioned casinos, they deliberately create a safe playing environment for the US players so that, they can enjoy and make the best of the online games.
Therefore, it can be said that the US is pushing towards restricting the daily fantasy sports and online gambling in the state. However, some officials and politicians on the other hand, are attempting to legalise the online gambling and boost up the national income. It simply means that more discussions and debates are yet to take place regarding the online gambling.
Malaysia has placed many restrictions on gambling in keeping with its status as an Islamic country. The country does have land based gambling establishments, but the Muslim citizens of the country are not permitted to gamble there. The non-Muslim citizens of the country who make up less than 30% of the population are however allowed to gamble in these places. The country has also taken a very tough stance against online gambling by banning it entirely and without exception.
The Malaysian government does not give licenses to online gambling sites to operate in the country. Its clampdown on internet gambling also includes measures taken to prevent Malaysian citizens from accessing and using internet gambling sites operating in other jurisdictions. For instance, owners of internet cafes can face legal action if they permit customers to access banned gambling sites. Furthermore, Malaysian banks are also banned from conducting money transfers to gambling websites.
The desire to gamble is so great, even in an Islamic majority country such as Malaysia, that people find a variety of ways to circumvent government restrictions. They tend to visit sites licensed in the Philippines, Malta or the United Kingdom. In addition, Malaysian players can choose a few easy and quick banking options if they want to gamble on the internet. These might be a bit expensive but they are worth the cost because of the convenience they offer. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few gambling sites that cater to Malaysians and they make sure that the sites feature the Malay language. In addition, many people offer gambling services by modifying equipment designed to be used for other entertainment purposes.
The government of Malaysia is missing out on huge amounts of money in the form of missing tax revenues thanks to illegal online gambling. In fact, a reliable report even stated that the lost tax revenues amounted to $767.6 million per year. The problem is so severe that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi stated the need for revised gambling laws that took internet gambling into account. He went on to say that the issue would soon be raised with cabinet ministers. Furthermore, he would also establish a parliamentary caucus to look into the issue, with him at the helm of it.
The main problem with the existing gambling laws is that they were written at a time before the internet was used for gambling. The government intends to address this issue by ramping up the penalties applicable for participating in online gambling operations. Furthermore, the penalties would be punitive and not just preventive. The Malaysian government is also considering getting the help of international law enforcement organizations because most of the companies targeting Malaysians did so using offshore servers. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear of Interpol taking part in operations targeting online gambling businesses. At the same time, adventurous Malaysians will keep looking for ways to beat these restrictions so that they can gamble online to their hearts content.
Legislators in Quebec are considering a law that will ban all privately run online wagering sites in an attempt to reduce competition for gambling sites run by the government. Known as Bill 74, the new legislation is an attempt to control the considerable revenues that accrue from gambling. As of now, the Canadian Province Government operates a number of gambling sites. If the bill is passed into law then internet service providers will be required to block customers in Quebec from accessing privately owned sites because this will no longer be legal.
One of the terms of the law states that the Société des loteries du Québec will draw up a list of sites that will be deemed illegal, and internet service providers will have to block access to them. In case any service provider is found to be in violation of this act then the company will be reported to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux. The Régie will then have to ensure that the terms of the law are complied with. Furthermore, the law invests certain officials of the Régie with powers to conduct an investigation into the issue.
The office of Canada’s finance minister Carlos Leitao released a statement to highlight the requirement of the bill. Spokesperson Audrey Cloutier said that the new bill was part of the government’s efforts to provide gambling in a secure and honest environment. Leitao has stated very emphatically that only government run sites can be relied on to keep the best needs of customers in mind and to apply fair gaming rules.
However, gambling industry experts are of the opinion that the bill has been introduced only to protect the government owned and managed Loto Quebec from competition. Loto Quebec is struggling to stay afloat as of now since it hasn’t been able to deal with competition from privately run competitors. What is even more interesting is that certain provisions of the bill also contradict the federal communication laws in Canada.
Michael Geist, the University of Ottawa based expert in internet law, also pointed out that the people backing the law don’t seem to know very much about the internet and how it works. He went on to say that government restrictions on internet use smacked of authoritarianism and was more suited to China than Canada since Canadians were quite capable of deciding where they could take their internet entertainment from. The bill hasn’t received a great deal of publicity as of now, but it is likely to create a huge problem when it does. In fact, the government can expect legal opposition on this issue from civil rights groups as well as internet companies.
It will be interesting to see whether Bill 74 does make its way to law and what its long term repercussions will be. Governments in different parts of the world are loosening restrictions on online gambling in order to regulate it better and provide customers a safe and entertaining experience on the internet.