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Online Gambling Lawyer

Volume: 15 Issue: 1
(January 2016)


News

Dutch MPs Jeroen van Wijngaarden and Mei Li Vos presented a joint amendment to the existing gambling bill on 5 January introducing a uniform tax rate of 29% for both land-based and remote gambling in the Netherlands. The proposal considers a reduction of this uniform tax rate to 25% in three years provided the revenues collected from the original proposal set-off the cost of the reduced rate. As expected the proposal was met with stern criticism from online gambling operators, including from the CEO of the Netherlands Gaming Authority who expressed concern over the effects of this measure on players and the unregulated market, and the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice which has repeatedly defended the differentiated tax rate. / read more

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (‘CMA’) announced on 11 January it has agreed to fast-track to ‘phase 2’ their investigation into the merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral. The decision follows a request from the merging parties which acknowledges that the proposed merger is unlikely to gain clearance at ‘phase 1’ due to potential concerns about its effect on competition in the UK gambling market. / read more

Bill 1437 (‘AB1437’), which attempts to legalise and licence daily fantasy sports in California successfully cleared a vote in the California Assembly on 27 January. However, the future of AB1437 and daily fantasy sports remains uncertain, even if it is passed and signed by the Governor of California, as the possible legality of daily fantasy sports may be challenged in court. / read more


Features

The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee issued its report into alleged corruption in Indian cricket on 4 January. The implications of the Committee’s report extend beyond disciplinary actions to include recommendations aimed at the legalisation of sports betting in India. Gowree Gokhale and Rishabh Sharma of Nishith Desai Associates review the thinking behind the key recommendations set out in the report and whether these recommendations are viable, especially regarding the likelihood of legalised sports betting in India. / read more

Greece’s monopoly gambling operator OPAP is seeking in excess of €1b in damages as a result of the Government’s “abrupt and counterproductive interventions” in its business. The Greek Government also recently announced its intention to establish a new licensing regime for online gambling. Spiros Tassis, an independent Lawyer based in Athens, specialised in regulated and online markets, discusses the legal gambling framework in Greece, the unique position granted to OPAP and the recent changes that have seen OPAP’s profits tumble and the conflict that this has created. / read more

A consensus has slowly been forming that in a world of multi-jurisdictional online gambling supply chains and a constant stream of cross-border customer activity it will be necessary to develop harmonised regulatory solutions and common standards wherever possible. Electronic gambling equipment and online casino and slot games are today designed by highly skilled programmers following strict internal rules and standards. It would be perfectly feasible to devise a system of common international standards that should be followed when independent testing of the security of the gambling equipment and the randomness and fairness of the games needs to be established.

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In December 2015, the Brazilian Senate’s National Development Special Committee concluded its draft of a bill to legalise gambling in Brazil. 

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On 21 December 2015 Italy’s Chamber of Deputies approved the 2016 budget that among other things encompasses a profit-based tax regime on sports betting, higher tax rates on slot machines and video lottery terminals (‘VLTs’), a new licensing round and fresh advertising rules. The following paragraphs provide a few snapshots of the most relevant changes. / read more

In June 2015 Romania opened up its online gambling market via Law No. 124/2015. Some operators received a transitory ‘interim right’ to continue to offer into the market following an initial amnesty period. Bet365 was among those operators; however, the Romanian National Office for Gambling (‘NOG’) cancelled Bet365’s interim right to offer into the country in October 2015, a decision Bet365 is now appealing. Cristian Radu of Tuca Zbarcea Asociatii discusses Romania’s licensing process, Bet365’s ongoing challenge of the NOG’s decision, and what it means for operators without any right to operate but who are interested in entering the Romanian market via a regular licence in the future. / read more

With a population of almost 40 million, Poland is destined to become one of Europe’s largest gaming markets. According to some reports, the annual turnover of online gaming companies in Poland in 2013 reached almost PLN 5 billion. The above notwithstanding, the five Polish licensed gaming operators pocketed a mere 3% of this figure as they are only permitted to offer sports betting via the internet. The report published by Deloitte shows that offshore operators’ share in this segment of the Polish market alone was just 66% in 2013. / read more

At the beginning of September 2015, the GB Gambling Commission published its discussion paper on fees and sought responses from operators and other interested parties on the views and proposals set out in the paper. The Commission also held a fees discussion workshop in Birmingham on 24 September. The consultation period ended on 27 October 2015 and the Commission has now published a summary of responses and, in turn, its reply to the comments made.

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I was called in to talk at short notice at an Westminster eForum event in December 2015 and having just delivered a speech at the Malta iGaming Seminar 2015 (‘MIGS’) I was fortunately prepared. At MIGS I had presented a small survey amongst our e-gaming clients. I put a simple question to them all: what were the things that concerned them most for the future? They said harmonisation of regulation and in particular testing of software in every jurisdiction, probably with the same testing house. It made no sense. I agreed. / read more

Mason v. Machine Zone, Inc., decided by Judge Bredar of the US Federal District Court in Maryland in October 2015, clarified the difference between title in property and title in game credits. The case is of interest for all game platforms that have substantial in-game value. Adam Atlas, Attorney-at-Law, critiques the case and its outcome. / read more


About Online Gambling Lawyer

The monthly publication exploring legal issues affecting operators in online gambling and gaming, on a global basis. Topics covered included licensing, offshore operators, mobile gaming, gambling payments, fixture lists and database rights, online poker, social gaming and gambling, online liquidity, advertising, sports betting, in-play betting, eSports, fantasy sports (DFS), Bitcoin gambling, and gambling fraud, as well as in-depth discussion of legislation such as the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and the US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA)... / read more

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