Weekend Conversation Corner – April, 12

Welcome to the newest installment of the Focus Gaming News Weekend Conversation Corner, where we delve into the week’s top headlines that have captured global interest. As we break down the flurry of events into a concise summary, we will discuss the key stories that have shaped the conversation, impacted policies, and sparked debates. Join us as we cut through the noise and provide a condensed recap of the week’s significant developments, keeping you informed on what truly counts in today’s ever-changing world.

Stay informed, stay motivated, and keep gaming. Have a fantastic weekend!

Fernando Saffores – Founder and CEO at Focus Gaming News

New Jersey bill to increase online gambling taxes introduced

The article discusses a proposal by New Jersey senator John McKeon to increase the tax rates for online gambling and sports betting to 30 per cent. The bill, S3064, has been introduced and referred to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. Currently, the tax rates are 14.25 per cent for online sports betting and 17.5 per cent for casino gaming. McKeon argues that New Jersey’s rates are lower than neighboring states like New York (51 per cent) and Pennsylvania (36 per cent). However, New York allows for promotional deductions, bringing the effective tax rate down to 24 per cent. The proposed increase would more than double the current tax rates in New Jersey.

Detroit casinos report $123.86m in revenue for March

In March, Detroit’s three casinos generated $123.86m in revenue, with table games and slots contributing $122.26m. MGM Grand Detroit Casino held 46% market share, MotorCity Casino 31%, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown 23%. While MGM’s revenue decreased by 4.1%, MotorCity’s increased by 7.2% and Hollywood Casino’s decreased by 1.4%. The casinos paid $9.9m in gaming taxes to Michigan and $14.5m in wagering taxes to Detroit. They also reported a combined retail sports betting handle of $17.25m, with gross receipts of $1.61m, showing a 13.2% increase in QAGR compared to the previous year.

Supreme Court partially overturns Spanish gambling ad restrictions

Spain’s Supreme Court has partially ruled in favor of gambling operators’ appeal against restrictions on gambling ads imposed in a royal decree in 2020. The court annulled bans on targeting advertising at new players, advertising on social media and video sharing platforms, using celebrities in ads, and advertising in venues selling lottery games. While bans on gambling sponsorship in sports and limited hours for TV ads remain, operators can now advertise on social media to all users over 18. The regulations, aimed at reducing minors’ exposure to gambling ads, were found to lack legal basis and impose excessive constraints on legitimate business activities. The ruling provides some relief to the online gambling trade body Jdigital, which had appealed against the restrictions.

Maryland legislative session ends with no move on online casino

Lawmakers in Maryland concluded their legislative session without addressing a bill to legalize online casino gaming. The proposed legislation, HB 1339, which would have allowed digital slots and table games, did not make it past the Budget and Taxation Committee. Last month, the Maryland House passed the bill with a vote of 92-43. If approved by voters, the initiative would have been on the 2024 ballot.

Ukrainian gambling regulator grants 152 licences in Q1

The Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries in Ukraine has granted 152 gambling licenses in the first quarter of the year, including licenses for gaming machines, table games, online casinos, and roulette wheels. Out of 194 license applications, two were rejected due to insufficient information and one was directly rejected. There are calls to ban members of the armed forces from gambling, with a petition quickly gaining over 25,000 signatures for presidential consideration. Pavlo Petrychenko, a member of the 59th brigade, is leading the petition to raise awareness of the harm caused by the gambling business to the Ukrainian army and society. He is advocating for a ban on online gambling for all military personnel under martial law, citing concerns about targeted marketing and data access by Russian gambling operators.

Italy publishes new structure for online gambling licences

The Italian government has announced a new framework for online gambling licenses, with nine-year concessions to be granted by the end of the year at a fee of €7 million each. This fee is significantly higher than the €200,000 fee introduced in 2018, reflecting changes in the market dynamics. The new framework aims to resolve legal disputes over license renewals and limit operators to one website and app per gambling product. Additionally, a tender will be opened for the Lotto Euro game, with a starting bid of €1 billion. Progress on Italy’s land-based gambling reforms has been slow, with discussions between the Ministry of Economy and Finance and autonomous regions facing obstacles. The updated legislation includes new rules for betting shops, arcades, gaming machines, and bingo halls, but implementation details are still being negotiated.

British Gambling Commission outlines priorities in new corporate strategy

The UK Gambling Commission has outlined its corporate strategy for the next four years, focusing on targeted investment in key areas to improve regulation. Priority areas include implementing measures from the gambling white paper, such as affordability checks and online casino stake limits. The Commission will also work with Allwyn to ensure the success of the National Lottery. Investments will be made to enhance regulation effectiveness and efficiency, with a focus on data analytics, operational functions, licensee requirements, proactive issue addressing, and regulating the National Lottery. The goal is to ensure fair, safe, and crime-free gambling for consumers and the public. The Commission aims to measure and publish impact metrics to demonstrate progress towards these outcomes.

New sports betting bill proposed in Minnesota

Senator John Marty and colleagues introduced a new sports betting bill in Minnesota, which would allow sports betting with restrictions on college games, in-game action, and push notifications. Last May, a previous sports betting bill failed to pass, despite being approved by several house committees. The bill would have permitted in-person sports betting at Native American casinos and online gaming options. Marty emphasized the importance of safeguards in sports betting legislation.

KSA works with Cloudflare to identify unlicensed gambling sites

The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has collaborated with global server network Cloudflare to block access to unlicensed gambling websites. They have implemented measures to combat illegal gambling, including blocking affiliate sites and questioning Cloudflare about hosting unlicensed sites. The KSA emphasizes the prohibition of offering games of chance without a license and the promotion of illegal gambling. In their latest monitoring report, the KSA revealed that the Dutch online gaming market has surpassed 1 million active accounts for the first time, with a gross gaming revenue of €1.39bn in 2023. Despite a 28% year-on-year increase, growth has slowed in the second half of the year.