Every month Euroslot updates you on the latest news affecting gaming policy and regulation around the world.
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The two regulators will co-operate on investigations and work together to develop standards and protocols.
From January next year, gaming will be limited to the cities of Tsaghkadzor, Jermuk and Sevan.
Player protection rather than revenue is the main driver for regulation of online gaming in Europe, according to a panel at the ICE Totally Gaming event in London. It included Nick Tofiluk from Britain’s Gambling Commission, Birgitte Sand of the Danish Gaming Board, and Peter Naessens of the Belgian Gaming Commission.
Also taking place at ICE was the launch of the European Lawyers Network Gambling & Sports Law Group, comprising Joelson Wilson Solicitors of London; CRW & Partners of Milan; and Vissers Advocatuur of the Netherlands.
The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has mounted a challenge in the Greek Council of State to the government’s taxation policies on Internet gambling.
The government plans to require any operators who obtain an e-gaming licence to pay tax retrospectively on revenue earned from Greek customers since 1 January 2010. They will also have to pay a retrospective ten percent withholding tax on winnings paid out in the year ending 16 December 2011.
The RGA is calling for these measures to be abandoned, describing them as “unconstitutional, as they contravene the right to conduct a business activity and are disproportionate”. Its action was jointly signed by Bet365, Betfair and William Hill.
The trade body also complained last year to the European Commission about Greek’s online gambling regulations, and has bitterly criticised what it sees as a regime that unfairly favours OPAP, the partly state-owned gaming operator.
Forthcoming regulatory developments in Italy are expected to include the issue of 1000 licences for live poker tournaments, with bidding starting at €100,000 and turnover taxed at three percent.
Also likely is the introduction of “resto in gioco” games, allowing consumers in shops to use their change to buy an instant lottery ticket which is printed on their receipt. Maximum stake is expected to be €5.
A further possibility is expansion of the betting shop network to 16,000 locations, with nine-year licences set at €25,000 for “corners” (locations where betting is not the primary businesS) and €40,000 for dedicated betting venues.
Other predictions include a one-off tax of €100 on AWPs.
The Channel Island’s economic development minister Alan Maclean has said that he plans to attract more e-gaming firms by improving Jersey’s pool of skilled workers.
The government is to nationalise gaming through the establishment of a state-owned National Lottery of Moldova, which will be responsible for all lotteries, casinos and slots in the country. However, existing licences will remain valid until they expire.
Moldova banned casinos in 2009, although its supreme court reversed that the following year.
South Africa should legalise online gambling and risks sending its citizens to offshore e-gaming sites if it does not, Betfair has told a parliamentary committee in the country. Tom Tuxworth, public affairs manager for Betfair, said that the country’s economy could gain ZAR6bn (€590m) annually from regulated online gaming.
TIGA, the trade association for the UK video games industry, has submitted evidence to the Treasury and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in support of tax relief for developers and publishers.
It argues that the proposed relief would create more than 4500 jobs and lead to substantial investment in the sector, “thereby contributing to a rebalancing of the economy away from an over-dependence on financial services toward export-oriented industries where the UK has a competitive advantage”.
Game developers in countries such as Canada, France, Singapore and the U.S. already enjoy similar reliefs, and Britain has been losing game-related jobs to Canada as a result of this, TIGA says.
It would also, by operating the same way as existing tax relief for film producers, “provide a consistent approach for film and interactive entertainment, two creative industries in which the UK excel”.
Meanwhile, a report for the government has called for “widespread deregulation” in the tourism and hospitality sectors. British Hospitality Association chair Alan Parker, who led the team that produced it, said: “There is a huge opportunity that everyone in the industry wants to be part of. Cutting red tape is one easy thing that the government can do to help bring this growth about.
Legalising online poker is unlikely to affect lottery revenue, according to research conducted for the Poker Players Alliance by US Gaming Survey. It found that poker enthusiasts are only modest lottery spenders and that their poker habits have little effect on their lottery purchases. It also found that poker fans would prefer to play in a safe, regulated environment where they pay taxes on their winnings, rather than in an untaxed but unregulated environment.
“It clearly shows that poker players want regulated online poker and are willing to abide by federal or state preferences to get it,” said Larry Gibbs, VP of research at U.S. Gaming Survey.
Separately, the online operator Bwin.party has said it is not sure why the U.S. Department of Justice has singled it out from many other advertisers on the file-sharing site Megaupload.com, which the federal government has indicted. The indictment document mentioned Bwin.party.
Meanwhile, the cash-strapped state of Hawaii is considering introducing not only a lottery but also land-based and online gaming.
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