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Key Gambling Takeaways from the Midterms

Category : Events & Reports

Everyone with a microphone or a laptop called them the most important midterm elections in modern US history; the political event that would shape the remaining two years of Donald Trump’s Presidency by either weakening his power or further expanding it. But even though the future of one of the most controversial political figures of our time takes center stage in post-election comments and discussions, it should also be noted that the midterms will have a shaping and lasting effect on the nation’s casino and sports betting landscape.
The legal sports betting market has been expanding rapidly in the wake of the mid-May landmark ruling of the US Supreme Court that struck down a federal ban on wagering on professional and amateur sports. It is now up to individual states to decide whether they should legalize sports betting, but in some states the legalization process cannot happen without the approval of a majority of its voters.
Tuesday’s midterms saw Arkansas voters take to the polls to cast a vote on whether they wanted legal sports gambling, among other things. But aside from Arkansas, a few more states had casino- and/or betting-related measures on the ballot. In addition, the choice of a Governor in a few other states is poised to have a direct impact on gambling in those in the coming few years.
Here are several gambling-tinged takeaways from the 2018 midterm elections and what the results mean for the US gambling industry.
Florida Hands Gambling Decision to Its Residents
Amendment 3 was one of the most controversial and widely discussed measures on the 2018 Florida ballot. Titled Voter Control of Gambling in Florida, the initiative aimed to ensure that state residents were given the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize” any proposals for gambling expansion on the territory of the state.
The measure was overwhelmingly approved with 5,572,528 ‘Yes’ votes cast to just 2,227,226 ‘No’ votes. This means that any proposed changes in the state’s gambling landscape will first have to be approved by a 60% majority of Florida’s electorate.
The initiative was spearheaded by the Voters in Charge ballot measure committee. The organization managed to collect the required number of signatures early this year after a long lobbying campaign. Lobbying efforts continued throughout the year and those included several big corporations pouring significant amounts of money in support of the measure.
Here it is important to note that Amendment 3 was promoted as an initiative that aimed to restore voters’ control over casino gambling and gambling as a whole. That control had belonged namely to voters for decades after gambling had originally been legalized on the territory of Florida. It was only a few years ago when state lawmakers assumed control over gambling-related decisions.
Amendment 3 could not have succeeded without its major donors, which most notably included Disney Worldwide Services Inc. and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns and operates casinos across the state. Each of the two gave in excess of $20 million ahead of the midterm elections to lobby for the passage of the proposed amendment.
And each of them have interest in having voters decide on the future of gambling in the state. The Florida Legislature has been trying to expand the local gambling industry, a move that would impact negatively both Disney and the Seminoles’ operations.
Now, as it is up to voters to decide on such matters, the two corporations will be able to lobby against expansion efforts – Disney in a bid to keep its tourism dominance across the state and the Seminole Tribe to keep its casino preeminence. The Seminoles are currently the exclusive operator of table games in the state, generally known to be among the most popular and highest grossing gambling activities not just in Florida but globally.
The Amendment 3 opposing camp was prominently backed by the Miami Dolphins. The NFL franchise got a little bit political in the months ahead of the November 6 elections, quietly spending money on lobbying against the initiative. The Dolphins eventually got a bit vocal on the matter on Monday. In a Tweet from that day, the team urged Florida residents to vote ‘No’ as the amendment’s passage would effectively put an end to sports betting legalization hopes.
Arkansas Voters Approve Casino, Sports Betting Expansion
In Arkansas, residents voted on and passed Issue 4, a constitutional amendment that authorizes the state Racing Commission to issue four casino licenses in four different counties. The initiative could also see the state soon join the ranks of those that offer legal sports betting. The proposed amendment passed by a significant 54.1% to 45.9% margin.
Here it is important to note that with Arkansas being among the nation’s horse racing hotbeds, the legalization of wagering could create a very promising market.
In addition, Issue 4 was promoted as an initiative that aimed to prevent Arkansas from losing gambling money to neighboring states, most prominently from Mississippi. According to statistics from the latter state’s gambling regulator, residents of Arkansas made more than 1.14 million visits to casinos across Mississippi in 2017. In addition, the latter legalized sports betting following the Supreme Court’s ruling and several of its casinos now operate sports books.
A study conducted by the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock claimed that the approval of Issue 4 could result in an economic impact of $5.8 billion for the state over a ten-year period and would create more than 6,000 jobs. As mentioned earlier, the measure now enables the Racing Commission to grant four casino licenses for the provision of full-scale gaming options as well as of sports betting services.
The Oaklawn Racing & Gaming and Southland Gaming and Racing already hold licenses for electronic games, but as Issue 4 was passed, they will be able to obtain casino licenses, as well.
The ballot measure was proposed by the Driving Arkansas Forward initiative. The group had quite some challenges in its bid to put Issue 4 on the November 6 ballot. The measure was rejected by state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge several times due to its wording and other issues spotted by the official. It eventually received the necessary approval in May. Driving Arkansas Forward then had to gather 84,859 valid signatures in order to have its proposal added on the ballot.
Louisiana Could Soon Offer Legal Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports contests have gained quite some popularity over the years, with DraftKings and FanDuel being the absolute rulers of that nascent market. Among other things, Louisiana voters were given the opportunity to voice their opinion on DFS at the midterm elections.
Unlike in other states, the Louisiana DFS initiative had one major complication. Instead of a statewide approval, DFS contests will only be legal in those of the state’s 64 parishes that voted ‘Yes’ on Tuesday. The measure was passed in 47 parishes.
However, it will be a little while before DFS services go live in the state. Lawmakers will have to draft and approve a legislation that will set out the regulations under which the nascent industry will operate.
While the DFS vote does not have any direct impact on the potential legalization of sports betting in Louisiana, analysts believe that it can be indicative of how residents feel about legal wagering. State lawmakers failed to act on sports betting this year but have promised that at least one bill on the matter would be tabled during next year’s legislative session.
What Do Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia’s New Governors Think of Expanded Gambling?
Democrat J.B. Pritzker toppled first-term Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in the Illinois gubernatorial race. Gambling expansion has long been a topic broadly discussed by state lawmakers, but efforts for the addition of more gambling options to Illinois’ existing market have traditionally failed in the Legislature.
While sports betting was not a main issue in Governor-elect Pritzker’s campaign, he has indicated earlier this year that he would support its legalization. Mr. Pritzker has told local media that betting has proved to be “a revenue generator” and that it should be regulated with the right laws in place.
Ohio also elected a Governor who has shown support for sports betting. Republican Mike DeWine, who has served as the state’s Attorney General since 2011, won the elections Tuesday. Commenting on the mid-May SCOTUS ruling, Mr. DeWine said earlier this year that while he was not a fan of gambling, he would support the creation of a well-regulated sports betting industry in Ohio.
In Georgia, efforts for the legalization of casino gambling have been launched on multiple occasions. But those have all failed, despite promises of major economic impact from the construction of destination resorts with casino floors in the state, including a mega-resort in Atlanta.
Republican candidate Brian Kemp will take over as the state’s new top official early next year. Mr. Kemp has previously said in comments during his campaign that he would oppose any casino legalization proposals if he won the race. State lawmakers have revealed plans to table casino bills next year, so it is yet to be seen whether any future efforts will succeed with Mr. Kemp heading the Legislature.
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Puerto Rico Could Move to Legalize Sports Betting

Category : Events & Reports

Puerto Rican lawmaker tables two sports betting bills aimed to boost the nation’s casino industry
Legal sports betting could soon arrive to Puerto Rico if two bills on the matter gain the necessary approval by the island nation’s government, local news outlets reported earlier this week.
Both pieces of legislation were introduced by Representative Néstor Alonso Vega, a legislator from the New Progressive Party (Partido Nuevo Progresista, PNP) and President of the House Commission of Tourism and Social Welfare.
Puerto Rico’s move towards legal sports betting comes after the US Supreme Court struck down a long-standing ban on wagering on professional and amateur sporting events, commonly known as PASPA. Several US states have already moved to legalize and launch sports betting services, including New Jersey which was the state to lead the anti-PASPA effort. The state’s casinos and racecourses recorded “stunning” results in September, handling $183.9 million in wagers.
Puerto Rico is an unincorporated United States territory, located approximately 1,000 from the US East Coast. Encouraged by the buzz that sports betting has created across North America, the tiny island nation is now looking to create its own regulated sports betting industry.
As mentioned earlier the legislative push is led by Rep. Alonso Vega, who believes that the passage of his two bills and the legalization of sports betting at Puerto Rico’s casinos could bring additional revenue of $20 million to the gambling venues.
Details about the Two Bills
Rep. Alonso Vega’s pieces contain provisions about the legalization, regulation, and taxation of wagering at the nation’s casinos. Under the bills, 20% of gross income from sports betting would be contributed to Puerto Rico’s retirement system, while 80% would remain for casinos that provide the services.
The two bills also provide for the legalization of Internet gambling. If approved, the two legislations will thus allow Puerto Rico’s bettors to place wagers via desktop or their mobile phones. In order to be able to do so, they will have to register with the nation’s gambling venues as these will host the Internet wagering services. In comments regarding his effort to legalize betting, Rep. Alonso Vega has said that the move would boost the local land-based casino industry.
However, the industry itself has expressed doubts that wagering is what it needs. According to Miguel Vega, President of local hotel and casino developer and operator HI Development, Puerto Rico’s gaming market is already saturated and will not see any significant gains if sports gambling becomes legal. Mr. Vega is a former Chairman of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association (PRHTA).
The Association is set to present Rep. Alonso Vega with a study on the current state of the nation’s casino industry and the potential benefits it could reap from the legalization of sports betting. The two sports betting bills have up to later today to be discussed and approved by the Puerto Rico government as it is the last day of its ordinary legislative session. In previous comments, Rep. Alonso Vega has expressed confidence in the success of his legislations.
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Genting Malaysia to Review Marketing Expenditure as New Casino Tax Hits Stock

Category : Events & Reports

Genting Malaysia to review marketing expenditure ahead of the introduction of a higher casino tax
Genting Malaysia Bhd is moving to assess the full implications of the recently introduced increase in annual casino license fees and gambling taxes, the gaming and hospitality company said today in a filing to Bursa Malaysia.
Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng introduced the country’s 2019 budget plan this past Friday. Stricken by financial scandals and growing budget deficit, Malaysia will implement higher casino and gaming machine license fees as well as higher taxes on those operations as part of its effort to mend its ailing economy, it became known last week.
Under the new budget plan, casino operators will be required to pay a MYR150-million annual license fee, up from MYR120 million. In addition, land-based casinos will be taxed at 35% on their annual gross income from January 1, 2019, when the reforms are set to take force.
Slot machine operators in Malaysia will have to pay an annual license fee of MYR50,000, up from MYR10,000. Their operations will be taxed at 30% on annual gross proceeds from next year, up from the current rate of 20%.
Looming Review of Marketing Expenditure
In today’s filing, Genting Malaysia said that it is assessing the implications of the new tax regime and that it will “take the appropriate next course of action which includes a review of its marketing expenditure and cost structure” in a bid to mitigate the imminent impact of the new tax and license fee.
Genting Malaysia operates the Resorts World Genting integrated resort in its homeland. The property is located on the peak of Mount Ulu Kali not far from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. Among multiple other facilities, the property features a full-blown casino with slot machines and gaming tables.
The company’s shares closed at a three-year low on Monday in a knee-jerk reaction to Friday’s introduction of the new budget plan. The stock has improved since then, closing at MYR3.64 today for a market capitalization of MYR20.579 billion (approx. $4.9 billion).
First reports about Malaysia’s plans to increase gambling taxes and licensing fees emerged in October. Back then, analysts from two research houses pointed out that Genting Malaysia would not suffer any major negative impact from a potential implementation of higher rates. According to Nomura International and Maybank Kim Eng Research experts, the planned opening of new attractions at Resorts World Genting next year would help the company weather any looming reforms.
The gaming and hospitality operator has previously unveiled plans to add 1,500 hotel rooms at its resort as well as the 20th Century Fox World and the Skytropolis theme parks. Genting Malaysia has also pointed out that it targets 30 million visits at the property by 2020. Resorts World Genting welcomed around 22 million visitors last year.
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“Conservative” Japan Might Prove a Challenge for Macau’s Casino Operators, Legal Expert Says

Category : Events & Reports

Macau’s casino operators will initially come across serious challenges in their bidding for a casino license in Japan, a legal experts believes
Chinese casino operators might initially face certain setbacks when the race for three gaming licenses in Japan officially begins, according to Japanese legal expert, Hayato Terai. Mr. Terai was appointed earlier this year as the Co-CEO of GanaEight Coin, a blockchain project launched by online slot game developer Ganapati.
Mr. Terai spoke with the Macau News Agency (MNA) during the ongoing Asia Gaming Summit in Taipei, Taiwan where he was invited as a speaker.
The legal expert believes that Macau’s gaming and hospitality companies might face difficulties obtaining licenses for the development and operation of integrated resorts under Japan’s newly adopted gambling legislation. He told the MNA that his homeland “is very conservative so for [Macau gambling companies] to come in it might take a while.”
On the other hand, the legal expert said pointed out that the case will be completely different for Chinese gamblers and that they will certainly be welcome in Japan. The Japanese Diet passed this past summer the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill, a piece of legislation setting out the rules and principles under which the nation’s first integrated resorts with gaming floors will be operated.
Among other things, the bill contains provisions regarding the access to Japanese nationals to the casinos. Under the piece, residents of the country will only be allowed ten casino visits per month and will have to pay an entry fee of JPY6,000 (approx. $53). The measures aim to prevent an extreme rise in the number of people affected by problem gambling.
Mr. Terai noted that as Japanese nationals will only be able to gamble at the nation’s casinos under certain restrictions, customers from outside the country, particularly ones from China and the US, will be the main clientèle targeted by the venues.
Nobody Has Run a Large Casino in Japan
The Japanese attorney said that while Macau casino operators might face challenges in the race for the casino licenses, their expertise in operating large integrated resorts will eventually place them in an advantageous position. Casino companies will also have advantage over Japan’s pachinko companies, many of which have, too, expressed interest in participating in the casino license bidding process.
Mr. Terai said he found it funny how Japanese have a bad image of gambling, even though gambling is practically everywhere in the country and will be there “for a very long time in the future.” While most forms of gambling are illegal in Japan, there are several locally popular gambling options, including the pinball-like pachinko gaming machines.
In fact, the pachinko sector has been the one to be blamed the most for Japan’s soaring gambling addiction rate. According to a government-commissioned study from last year, 3.6% of Japanese have been found to have been addicted to gambling at some point in their lives, which is higher than the 1%-2% average in most of the other developed countries.
Under Japan’s IR implementation bill, three casino licenses will be issued by the government. Lobbying by major international gaming companies interested in the nation’s nascent casino market has already begun, although the licenses are expected to be granted in about a year from now.
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Delayed Action in Queensland Sets Back Launch of Australia’s Nationwide Gambling Self-Exclusion Scheme

Category : Events & Reports

The National Consumer Protection Framework is not quite ready to be rolled out as Queensland is yet to vote on it
The rollout of a nationwide self-exclusion system for Australians trying to quit online gambling is set to be delayed because of Queensland, as the state has remained the only Australian jurisdiction that is yet to approve the proposed measures, news outlet the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The self-exclusion scheme has been in the works for over three years and aims to help people with problem gambling behavior and gambling addicts quit gambling on the nation’s licensed betting websites.
All other Australian states and territories have officially agreed to introduce the self-exclusion system, but Queensland legislators are yet to vote on it which will imminently delay the introduction of the proposed reforms across the nation.
The scheme, known as the National Consumer Protection Framework, includes a new set of tools and standards intended to curb problem gambling and strengthen existing consumers protections within the online betting space. Aside from a self-exclusion tool allowing gamblers to ban themselves from gambling on licensed websites and apps, the framework also includes a voluntary pre-commitment system allowing bettors to set their own betting limits as well as a nationwide ban on bookmakers to provide “inducements” to lure customers into registering with their websites.
Queensland Delaying the Process
As mentioned earlier, Queensland has remained the only Australian jurisdiction that is yet to approve the National Consumer Protection Work. It is understood that the federal government has been urging Queensland Attorney General Yvette D’Ath table the responsible gambling measures to the state’s government and press for quick approval of those.
A spokeswoman for Ms. D’Ath has told the Sydney Morning Herald that the Queensland government has been working on its own problem gambling framework that will also be consistent with the nationwide scheme. State lawmakers have informed the Attorney General’s office that both frameworks will be finalized by the end of the year, the spokeswoman has added.
Lauren Levin, Policy Director at Financial Counselling Australia, has been among the most active lobbyists for the responsible gambling reforms. In recent comments, she has said that the implementation of the nationwide self-exclusion program is “desperately needed” and “urgent” and that the government should make it its priority.
The proposed measures have received support from Australia’s largest bookmakers, including Tabcorp, Sportsbet, BetEasy, bet365, Ladbrokes, and Unibet.
Lobbyists are pressing for urgent reforms in the nation’s responsible gambling policies at a time when studies are showing that Australians are the spendiest gamblers in the world. According to the latest data published by the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, Australian gamblers wagered A$209 billion in 2016/2017, up 0.7% from the prior year. In addition, one of the latest snapshots of problem gambling in Australia, provided by the Australian Gambling Research Centre, shows that around 7.5% of the nation’s population, that is around 1.4 million people, are experiencing a low, moderate, or high level of gambling harm.
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Casino Tax Hike Included in Malaysia’s 2019 Budget Plan

Category : Events & Reports

New government considers casino tax hike economy grapples with financial scandals and growing budget deficit

Malaysia is aiming to mend its scandal-stricken economy and tackle a widening budget gap with higher license fees and tax rates for land-based casinos and slot machine operations, it became known today.
The planned changes were introduced today by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The official presented his first budged under the country’s new government. The new gaming license fees and taxes are part of a larger package of tax and other financial reforms that are focused on improving Malaysia’s economy amid turbulent times. Today’s announcement came as a confirmation to reports from last month that a new casino taxation structure was under consideration as the new administration has been tussling with a massive debt and a growing budget deficit.

The newly tabled budget plan is yet to be discussed by the Malaysian government, but if it gains the necessary traction, it will increase the annual casino license fee to MYR150 million from MYR120 million. In addition, land-based casinos will be taxed at 35% on gross income. Annual slot machine license fees are planned to go up to MYR50,000 from MYTR10,000, and the gaming devices will be taxed at 30% on gross proceeds. The slot machine tax rate currently stands at 20% on gross income.
New Taxation Regime Will Not Affect Genting Significantly
While it is too early to determine how gambling operations in Malaysia will be affected by the increased license fees and tax rate, analysts believe that at least one casino operator will not suffer a heavy blow from the new regime.

As mentioned earlier, first indications that a new tax structure was being debated by Malaysian lawmakers emerged last month. In separate notes on the matter, Nomura International and Maybank Kim Eng Research said back in October that gaming and hospitality giant Genting Malaysia will not see any major negative impact from the planned license fee and taxation changes.
Genting Malaysia currently operates the Resorts World Genting mountain hotel and casino resort. According to analysts, the planned opening of new attractions at the property will help it weather any reforms in the way casino services are taxed. The integrated resort is set to add new facilities in the first half of 2019, including the Skytropolis and 20th Century Fox World theme parks as well as 1,500 hotel rooms and multiple dining options.

Genting Malaysia has said that it targets 30 million visitors at its property by 2020 with the addition of the new facilities. Resorts World Genting received 22 million visitors last year.
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Dutch Regulator Fines Online Gambling Operator with Questionable Reputation

Category : Events & Reports

Dutch Gambling Authority scolds another erring operator for targeting local players
Another online gambling operator has incurred the wrath of Kansspelautoriteit, the regulatory body charged with monitoring the Netherlands’ gambling market. In a statement from earlier today, the regulator announced that it has imposed a €350,000 fine on Curaçao-licensed CyberRock Entertainment NV and Cyprus-based Honeydew Trading Limited for targeting Dutch gambling customers without being authorized to do so.

As mentioned earlier, CyberRock Entertainment is licensed in Curaçao. The company provides online gaming services across multiple jurisdictions and via multiple brands. CyberRock Entertainment is listed as the sole shareholder in Honeydew, an online gambling company based in Nicosia, Cyprus. It is important to note that many of the gaming websites operated by CyberRock and its affiliate have been blacklisted or issued warnings by major online casino review websites after complaints from players over predatory behavior and inadequate response to issues.

Kansspelautoriteit said today that the two companies, through their multiple brands and most prominently through the Play2Win and Supreme Play casinos, have been targeting Dutch players, even though the provision of remote gambling services is illegal under current Dutch laws.
CyberRock and Honeydew have not been the first gambling operators to have been slapped hefty fines by the regulator over the past few months. Malta-based companies Betsson and MRG (parent company of Mr Green) have been among those penalized by Kansspelautoriteit for providing unlicensed gambling services. Betsson received a €300,000 fine in August, while Mr Green was fined €312,000 in mid-September.

Many Dutch Players Unaware of Legal Status of Online Gambling in the Netherlands
Commenting on the latest regulatory action against remote gambling operations, René Jansen, Chairman of Kansspelautoriteit’s Board of Directors, said that there are many Dutch people who do not know that online gambling is currently illegal in the country. As a result, they are gambling on unregulated websites, which exposes them to fraud and other related crimes. In addition, gambling on such websites makes it hard for Kansspelautoriteit and other competent bodies to monitor and assist vulnerable people, the regulator added.
The Dutch Gambling Authority has been extremely critical of the delayed re-regulation of the country’s gambling market. The so-called Remote Gambling Bill has been stuck in the Parliament for quite a while and it has been only this year that the Dutch Senate has begun discussions that are hoped to lead to its eventual passage. The piece of legislation was passed by the Lower House in the summer of 2016.

According to previous comments by Dutch lawmakers, the bill was expected to be passed and enforced by mid-2019. However, Dutch State Secretary Menno Snel has recently said that the new gambling law is likely to take effect in mid-2020. Mr. Snel made the prognosis as part of his responses to parliamentary questions related to the planned implementation of a higher tax on land-based gambling services. The new tax is, too, expected to take effect in mid-2020.
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Key Cayman Islands Lawmaker Slams Tougher Illegal Gambling Penalties

Category : Events & Reports

Opposition leader proposes alternative approach toward addressing gambling-related issues
The Cayman Islands government opposition leader has criticized the recently introduced Gambling (Amendment) Bill 2018 that calls for the implementation of higher fines and longer prison terms for individuals conducting and engaging in illegal gambling services.

Opposition leader Ezzard Miller has called the measure “draconian” and has further pointed out that it represented another attempt of the government to “find a solution for the wrong problem”, local news outlet the Cayman News Service reported.

The provision of gambling services on the territory of the Cayman Islands is prohibited under the current law. It is also important to note that the law has not been amended since it was first introduced in the early 1960s.

Mr. Miller has pointed out that the global and national gambling landscape has changed significantly since the 1960s and a lot of people are now gambling online or playing US lotteries, thus circumventing the existing ban. The lawmaker has also noted that the government should not be looking to crack down on something that is difficult to be policed fairly and should instead address gambling-related issues in a different manner.

The Gambling (Amendment) Bill is set to be debated in the Legislative Assembly later this month. Under the piece of legislation, people caught to be conducting gambling activities as well as ones caught to be gambling illegally would be subject to tougher penalties and longer prison sentences.

Those Who Can Least Afford It
According to Mr. Miller, those members of the society that can least afford it would be the main target of the proposed clampdown. The lawmaker stressed on the fact that it is usually the poorest who engage in gambling activities or provide gambling activities in hopes to win or to earn quick money. Instead of launching a “draconian measure” that targets the “wrong problem”, Mr. Miller has proposed the regulation of certain gambling services, including the highly popular lotteries so that gamblers can wager money in a regulated environment and avoid black market operations.
Recent studies argue that the current Cayman Islands gambling landscape nurtures a thriving black market industry and contributes to a growing number of gambling-related crimes. Mr. Miller has noted that gas stations, local stores, and even barber shops are selling lottery tickets, commonly known as numbers across the Cayman Islands, but instead of punishing people buying those tickets, the businesses that sell them should be penalized.

As a possible solution to the pressing issues, the lawmaker has proposed the legalization of lotteries and their taxation. Proceeds from the provision of lottery services could be contributed to education and other good causes, Mr. Miller has said. He has suggested 30% as a reasonable rate and has said that the revenue generated could be put to good use and could benefit society in different ways.
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New York Jets Join Forces with Casino Giant MGM in “First-of-Its-Kind” Deal

Category : Events & Reports

The Jets pen landmark deal with casino operator MGM Resorts International shortly after 888 advertising tie-up
The New York Jets and MGM Resorts International today announced a “first-of-its-kind” integrated gaming partnership that makes the casino and hospitality operator the official gaming partner of the NFL team.

The announcement about the Jets/MGM tie-up arrives shortly after reports emerged that the team has joined forces with online gambling operator 888 Holdings in a sponsorship deal that is yet to be announced officially.

In addition to a traditional casino sponsorship, the Jets’ deal with MGM also involves the I Called It mobile game which allows fans of the NFL team to answer questions about Jets games. The game is sponsored by MGM’s mobile app Play MGM and is available exclusively in the Official New York Jets App. It is free to play and provides Jets fans with the chance to win different prizes. However, it does not allow them to wager money on Jets games.

As part of the deal, MGM will be designated as the official gaming partner of the NFL team. In addition, the casino operator will sponsor and be offered access to the Jets 360 Production Studio, where the team films dedicated digital media and television content. The Jets’ home stadium, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, will feature MGM signage.

Jets season holders and members of the Jets’ rewards program will be treated to entertainment experiences and hotel rooms at MGM resorts around the nation, including Atlantic City’s Borgata, as part of the newly penned partnership between the football team and the gaming and hospitality giant.
888 Partnership Draws Ire
It also became known earlier this week that the Jets have secured a sponsorship agreement with online gambling operator 888. While an official announcement about the tie-up is yet to be made, 888 banners can now be spotted at MetLife Stadium.

The NFL changed its advertising policies in early September to allow teams to join forces with casino companies and thus boost their advertising revenues. However, under the new rules, the sponsorships should not promote and involve sports betting in any way.

888 currently offers online casino, poker, and sports betting services, and its wagering offering was what drew criticism as the company’s tie-up with the Jets was unveiled. Supporters of the partnership have pointed out that it does not violate the NFL’s advertising rules as 888’s sports betting business is not directly promoted. However, opponents have argued that the deal definitely crosses the line.
The New York Jets are not the only team to have partnered with gambling companies since the NFL relaxed its rules. The Dallas Cowboys joined forces with WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma in early September, while the Baltimore Ravens inked a deal with Horseshoe Casino Baltimore.

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Daphne Caruana Galizia Assassination Suspect Cleared of Casino Fraud Charges

Category : Events & Reports

Muscat is a known criminal, one of three individuals charged with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia
Vince Muscat, known as il-Koħħu, has been cleared of charges in a casino fraud case going back to 2007, local news outlet Malta Today reports. Muscat is one of the three men charged with the assassination of Maltese investigative journalist and anti-corruption activist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Muscat has been accused of attempting to defraud Casino di Venezia of the total amount of €2,329.37. According to court records, he had acted together with Mario Spiteri, had used the registration details of another person, and had bribed a croupier at the casino.

The incident occurred in 2007. However, presiding Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech said issuing her decision that the case was only passed on to her in early 2016.
Following a police investigation, it has been discovered that Casino di Venezia croupier Brian Dingli had been bribed by the suspects to help them defraud the casino. The sophisticated scheme allegedly involved the croupier arranging playing cards in a certain sequence and communicating important information to the suspects who had played online.

The person whose details had been used for opening an account with the gaming operation was found to have been Joseph Buttigieg from Ghajnsielem, Gozo.
Croupier Found Guilty, Muscat Cleared of Charges
The croupier was found guilty after a casino CCTV footage showed that he had not shuffled cards at the time the incident had taken place, had hidden his hands under the table, and had used his mobile phone after taking a break to allegedly communicate with Muscat and his accomplice.
Buttigieg admitted to the police that he had been involved in the incident and that he had provided Muscat and Spiteri with his log in details and password. He also admitted to being present when the two suspects had played and had seen them read a message on their mobile phone that had allegedly been sent by the croupier. Buttigieg was sentenced in May 2008, Malta Today wrote, but was discharged conditionally.

He then flew to Australia. Buttigieg was approached by Maltese authorities to provide a witness statement but he refused to do so, saying that he feared retribution against him or his family in Malta.
Muscat and his accomplice were first charged in June 2008 and the first hearing took place in September 2008. As mentioned earlier, it took eight years for the case to reach Magistrate Dimech’s desk. Muscat and Spiteri were eventually found not guilty due to the lack of evidence of any wrongdoing and after Buttigieg’s continued refusal to give such evidence.

Muscat was one of three individuals arraigned on charges of the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The investigative reporter died on October 16, 2017 in a car bomb attack not far from her home. Muscat was charged alongside Alfred Degiogio and George Degiorgio. All three are known criminals, previously linked to a 2010 HSBC heist.

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