October 11, 2017

Why hurricane-ravaged Barbuda desperately wants to resolve a dispute over U.S. online gambling

As the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda struggles to rebuild after Hurricane Irma, the tiny islands are demanding that the United States settle a long simmering trade dispute that could provide them with millions of dollars for recovery.

The conflict revolves around the U.S. government’s campaign to prevent Americans from gambling at online sites based in Antigua and Barbuda.

Antigua and Barbuda claims that the resulting trade dispute has cost the twin-island nation some $200 million — about four-fifths the estimated cost of reconstruction after Irma.

The conflict dates to the 1990s, when online gambling soared in popularity.

According to the industry website GamingZion, Antigua was the first country to license online casino sites in 1994. At its height, Antigua’s gaming industry employed 4,000 people, including call center employees, marketers and IT professionals, and generated around $3.4 billion annually in revenues, Antiguan officials said.

But concern over the practice, along with pressure from the domestic casino industry, prompted U.S. authorities to crack down, using an obscure law outlawing the use of telephone or wire communications to make bets. Then, in 2006, the U.S. passed regulations cracking down on internet gambling.

Today the industry in Antigua and Barbuda provides jobs for only 300 to 400 people, according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

“So the loss is real,” he said.

Antiguan officials said their economy needed an injection of cash now more than ever.

Hurricane Irma ravaged Barbuda, decimating most properties and knocking out water, electricity and telecommunications. All of the island’s 1,800 people were evacuated to Antigua. Most have still not been able to return.

Antiguan authorities estimate rebuilding Barbuda will cost about $250 million.

According to Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda's ambassador to the United States, the U.S. has offered to pay Antigua less than $2 million to settle the trade dispute — a sum that was unacceptable, he said.

“The U.S. by its own policy has actually destroyed a thriving industry in Antigua and Barbuda,” said Browne.

The Caribbean nation has been trying to recoup its losses from the United States since 2003. When the U.S. turned down a request for compensation, Antigua and Barbuda asked the World Trade Organization to arbitrate the matter.

In 2004, a WTO arbitration panel found that the U.S. had violated its trade commitments and Antigua and Barbuda had been wrongly deprived of trade revenue. Over the years, the U.S. has appealed the decision and lost.

The WTO ordered the U.S. to pay Antigua and Barbuda for its trade losses at $21 million a year. To date, the cumulative sum is in excess of $200 million, Sanders said.

The U.S. has refused to pay that sum.

The Trump administration inherited the issue. In a statement to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body in Geneva last month, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it remained “committed to resolving this matter.”

In filings published by the WTO, past U.S. administrations presented various arguments as to why they opposed remote gambling. These include the risk of money laundering, fraud, organized crime, underage gambling and the threat of expanding the number of addicted gamblers.

In a recent interview in the Antiguan capital, St. John’s, Browne criticized the U.S. for claiming the moral high ground.

“As far as I’m concerned they have no moral authority whatsoever,” Browne said. “There’s more gambling in the United States than any other country on the planet. Whether or not it takes place on the internet or in a casino or in a house, it’s gambling. So we do not buy into this nonsensical argument of morality.”

In its filings to the WTO, the U.S. underscored that gambling in America was “confined to particular locations and operates under the most rigorous regulatory constraints.”

Todd Tucker, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said the U.S. had “a good legal case for disregarding the WTO decision.”

“The U.S., under both Democratic and Republican administrations, has argued that the [WTO] appellate body lacks the legitimacy or mandate to refashion what countries and their legislatures agreed to,” Tucker said. “And a lot of anti-gambling activists and religious groups agree with them in this case.”

The Antiguan economy is around $1.5 billion, far smaller than that of a mid-sized American city.

Browne said that “$200 million means nothing” to the United States.His government is willing to accept less, he added. “All we’re saying is that we want something substantive to compensate for the damages over the years.”

Patrick Basham, founding director of the Democracy Institute, a politically independent public policy research organization based in Washington and London, has followed the dispute closely over the years and described it as “a David versus Goliath story.”

“We have a situation with the WTO where the U.S basically founded the club and encouraged all these other countries to join, drafted the rules and everybody signed up,” said Basham, who last month published a report on the matter called “Do As I Say, Not As I Do.” “However, the U.S. seems inclined … to only play by the rules when the rules suit the U.S.”

The WTO authorized Antigua to use other means to recover what it is owed, including breaking U.S. copyright laws. The Caribbean nation could allow the downloading of U.S.-made computer software and Hollywood movies and keep the profits.

In a statement to the WTO in Geneva last month, Sanders, the ambassador, said his government had refrained from taking such action because “we have too high regard for the U.S. owners of intellectual property, who have contributed much to the enjoyment and advancement of the world.”

Browne, the prime minister, said he was concerned that the U.S. might retaliate against his nation using underhanded methods.

“They have sinister ways,” Browne said. “They may say, for example, that there is the Zika virus in Antigua and Barbuda, so don’t travel [there]. We understand those risks, that’s why we haven’t pursued those remedies.”

Tucker, of the Roosevelt Institute, said simply allowing internet gaming and writing a check to Antigua was not necessarily the solution. Citing Antiguan authorities, he said those likely to benefit were financiers in the gambling industry who would claim 75% of whatever settlement is reached.

“Direct aid to the people of Antigua is a much better humanitarian solution,” Tucker said.

Browne was adamant that his country would continue to fight for what it is owed.

“What we’re saying at the end of the day is that you can’t operate on the basis that might is right and trample on the rights of a small state,” he said. “There must be some equity in the system. We love the U.S. We don’t wish harm to the U.S. But don’t treat us with this type of contempt and neglect.”

October 03, 2017

Las Vegas gunman was high-stakes gambler who stayed at casino hotels for months at a time

He liked to bet big, wagering tens of thousands of dollars in a sitting. He owned homes in four states but preferred staying in casino hotels, sometimes for weeks at a time, as he worked the gambling machines.

He grew up the son of a convicted bank robber who was constantly running from the law. But in his own life, Stephen Paddock, 64, had kept his nose clean until Sunday night, when he suddenly unleashed a firestorm of bullets from his casino hotel room, killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 500 more on the Las Vegas Strip.

"If you told me an asteroid fell into Earth, it would mean the same to me. There's absolutely no sense, no reason he did this," his brother Eric Paddock said in an interview outside his home in Orlando, Florida. "He's just a guy who played video poker and took cruises and ate burritos at Taco Bell. There's no political affiliation that we know of. There's no religious affiliation that we know of."

After the shooting, officers found Stephen Paddock dead with 17 guns on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where he had arrived Thursday.

Police believe Paddock acted alone in executing the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Eric Paddock said he knew of five guns his brother kept in his safe but was shocked that a rapid-fire weapon was used in Sunday's shooting.

He said Stephen Paddock didn't hunt and barely shot his guns, once taking Eric's children on a skeet-shooting trip paid for by the casinos.

In the final years of his life, Stephen Paddock was living out his retirement in quiet obscurity. He liked country music, relatives said, and went to concerts like the Route 91 Harvest festival where he killed so many Sunday night.

He was worth more than $2 million, relatives said. Before retiring, he made a small fortune from real estate deals and a business that he and Eric Paddock sold off. He traveled a lot and had millions of free airline miles.

At various points of his life, Stephen Paddock worked for defense contractor Lockheed Martin and as an accountant and property manager. As a retiree, he had no children and plenty of money to play with. So he took up gambling.

"It's like a job for him. It's a job where you make money," said Eric Paddock, adding that his brother could lose $1 million and still have enough to live on. "He was at the hotel for four months one time. It was like a second home."

He recalled one time when the entire family took over the top floor of the Atlantis at the casino's expense.

His brother was very particular about the games he played. "It had to be the right machine with double points, and there has to be a contest going on. He won a car one time," Eric Paddock said.

"He's known. He's a top player. He's the small end of the big fish."

Over the past two decades, Stephen Paddock had bought and sold properties in several states, including California, Nevada, Florida and Texas, where for a time, neighbors said, he lived with his mother. Public records show Paddock at one point owned two planes and was a licensed pilot. He also had a fishing license from Alaska.

He told neighbors he was a professional gambler and a prospector, and he appeared to favor buying homes in retirement communities. At one point, he and his longtime girlfriend, Marilou Danley, were living in at least three retirement communities, property records show. Neighbors said the couple seemed almost itinerant, leaving the properties empty for long stretches as Paddock visited his casinos.

Donald Judy, who was his next-door neighbor in Florida until two years ago, said the inside of Paddock's home "looked like a college freshman lived there." There was no art on the walls and no car in the driveway. Just a dining chair, a bed and two recliners. Paddock was constantly on the move, carrying a suitcase and driving a rental car whenever he stayed at the community near Cocoa Beach.

"It looked like he'd be ready to move at a moment's notice," Judy said.

Judy said he never flashed his wealth, often wearing khaki cotton pants, with a polo or other collared shirt, and never driving anything nicer than a standard rental car.

A little while after living there, Paddock left Judy a key and asked him to keep an eye on the rarely used house and to borrow any tools he might want. Judy said there were no drugs or parties, nothing unusual except for Paddock's gambling.

"They did seem to always stay up till midnight and sleep in till noon," Judy said. "They always seemed to stay on Vegas time."

Then, as quickly as he had appeared, Paddock put up a for-sale sign, Judy said. "He never said much about it, just said they were moving back to Vegas."

Police in Texas and towns Paddock lived in in Nevada said they could find no records of run-ins with the law involving him.

California records show that Paddock married a woman named Peggy Okamoto in 1985. They divorced in 1990 citing "irreconcilable differences." In recent years, Danley had become his girlfriend, relatives said.

Authorities said Danley was out of the country at the time of the shooting and was located in Tokyo. She is not considered a suspect.

At one point, Danley worked as a high-limit hostess for Club Paradise, a rewards program in the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada, according to her LinkedIn profile. In a statement, Atlantis officials said she has not worked for the casino for several years.

Diane McKay lived next door to Paddock and Danley at their Reno home until July, when McKay moved away. Danley wasn't forthcoming about her life, and Paddock was unfriendly, McKay recalled. She only saw him in the mornings, when he went to the clubhouse to work out.

"He was weird. Kept to himself," said McKay, 79. "It was like living next to nothing. . . . You can at least be grumpy, something. He was just nothing, quiet."

The couple kept their blinds closed, but sometimes Paddock would open the garage door, revealing an enormous safe the size of a refrigerator.

Paddock's father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, described on a 1969 wanted poster as "psychopathic'' with suicidal tendencies.

He escaped from prison that year and, according to news accounts, was not captured until 1978, when he was nabbed while running a bingo parlor in Oregon.

Stephen Paddock was the oldest of four boys. Eric, eight years his junior, was the youngest, with two in between: Bruce and Patrick.

Their father died a few years ago, but Eric Paddock grew up thinking their father was already dead. He found out otherwise when Patrick went to the Air Force Academy and was told his father was a decorated veteran and still alive.

"We didn't grow up under his influence," Eric Paddock said. "I was born on the run in Tucson. My dad was about to be arrested for robbing banks."

FBI agents interviewed relatives Monday, including Stephen Paddock's mother, who is in her 90s and spoke with him two weeks ago, Eric Paddock said. Five days after Hurricane Irma hit Orlando, Stephen Paddock texted his brother to see whether relatives had been affected.

Eric Paddock said he did not know of any mental illness, alcohol or drug problems in his brother's life. He said he had no clue whether Stephen had gambling debts or was financially troubled.

By Monday night, after an entire day dealing with FBI investigators and reporters camped outside his house, Eric Paddock said he and other relatives were still struggling to process the atrocity carried out by his brother.

"When we talked about a month ago, I can't believe he was planning this," he said, squeezing his eyes closed. "But he must have. It takes time."

What he knows about his brother doesn't fit with Sunday's massacre of innocents.

"Something broke in his head is the only thing possible. Did he have a stroke?" he said. "I'm hoping they cut open his brain and find something. There's a data point missing."

September 26, 2017

Dubai investor accuses ex-Amaya CEO David Baazov of fraud

Former Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov is being sued by a Dubai investor who claims Baazov fraudulently used the investor’s name to build support for an Amaya takeover bid.

On Friday, La Presse reported that KBC Aldini Capital president Kalani Lal had filed a lawsuit in Dubai in January accusing Baazov and his longtime financial services partner Canaccord Genuity of fraudulently using Lal’s name and signature to boost Baazov’s late-2016 bid to acquire Amaya.

Last November, Amaya announced that Baazov, who had parted ways with the company several months earlier to defend himself against criminal charges of insider trading, had made a C$24 per share offer to buy a controlling stake in Amaya and take the company private.

To support his bid, Baazov filed papers with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) stating that he’d lined up $3.65b in financial commitments from four investment firms, including the Dubai-based KBC Aldini Capital.

However, within a week of Amaya’s announcement, Lal informed CalvinAyre.com that “neither KBC Aldini nor any of its related entities are involved in this transaction.” The following day, Baazov retracted his claim regarding KBC Aldini’s involvement, and Baazov’s proposed Amaya acquisition quickly fell apart.

Knowledge of the KBC Aldini lawsuit came via Quebec securities regulator Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which brought the insider trading charges against Baazov and two other Amaya-connected individuals in March 2016.

Last December, an AMF investigator contacted KBC’s Lal, who repeated his claim to have never heard of Baazov or Amaya prior to the SEC filings. Lal apparently asked Cannacord to provide him with a copy of the letter allegedly sent by KBC pledging its financial support, but Lal never received a copy.

The AMF report indicates that “KBC’s clientele is predominantly Muslim, meaning that KBC will never invest in a gaming business, otherwise it will lose all its customers.” Lal reportedly received many calls from KBC clients who’d heard about the alleged Amaya connection, and this had caused Lal “a lot of worries.”

Earlier this week, La Presse reported that the AMF’s raids on individuals connected with their Baazov investigation had uncovered a document in which Baazov allegedly agreed to hold the majority of his Amaya shares on behalf of his brother Ofer aka ‘Josh’ Baazov and Ofer’s longtime online gambling business partner Craig Levett. The AMF also claims to have email communications in which Ofer is referred to as Amaya’s real owner.

Baazov’s criminal trial is expected to get underway in November, but if this week is any barometer, we can expect a steady drip of damning information to leak out of the AMF offices in the weeks to follow.

Amaya, the parent company of online gambling giant PokerStars, rebranded as The Stars Group earlier this year, in what was widely viewed as a means of distancing the company from the increasingly negative media narrative surrounding its former CEO.

Labour Plan to Levy Tax on Gambling to Fund Treatment of Addicts

The United Kingdom has witnessed a significant rise in the number of problem gamblers in the recent times. According to a report published by the Gambling Commission, more than 2 million people in the UK are addicted to problem gambling or are at a risk of developing an addiction. The report reckons that the number of ‘above-16’ problem gamblers has increased by a third in the last three years, indicating that nearly 430,000 people are victims of this serious addiction.

This certainly suggests that the government isn’t doing enough to tackle the issue. The pace of change has been slow, and the government needs to be more proactive in addressing the issues. The risk of men becoming problem gambler is 7.5 times more than women. In the light of such rising gambling addiction, the government has finally taken a significant step to address the problem of problem gambling.

U.K. Labour plan’s tax

U.K.’s opposition Labour Party has now decided to impose a compulsory tax on gambling companies for the treatment of gambling addicts. Gambling companies are failing to favor a system that calls for 0.1 percent of profits as voluntary contributions. This amount should be utilized in helping people who bet in an uncontrollable manner. The deputy leader of the party, Tom Watson, will tell delegates about this levy at its annual conference on Tuesday in Brighton, southern England.

Mr. Watson believes that “gambling addiction is an illness” and it’s time to take the issue seriously. The party’s review will also look into the ability of NHS to provide the required mental health services to problem gamblers who have become prey to this addiction. The Gambling Commission’s report defined gambling addiction as “gambling to a degree that compromises, disrupts or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits”.

The Association of British Bookmakers expressed that it supports an approach that is based on evidence, thus facilitating the idea of Mr. Watson. Labour also says that the extra sum will be required to boost the capacity and infrastructure of hospitals. Moreover, the NHS also requires funds to hire extra staff outside the agency and extend social care to patients.

The party has vowed to increase spending on the NHS by hiking income tax by 5% for people who earn the highest. A winter bailout is also proposed to be funded through this. Gambling companies target low-income people or those who have quit gambling because it proves profitable for them. The new tax proposes to stop this abuse of power and trust.

September 25, 2017

How to fix match-fixing

In 267 AD Nicantinous and Demetrius, two teenage wrestlers, had reached the final bout in a prestigious competition in Egypt. Their fathers struck a deal. For the price of a donkey, Demetrius would “fall three times and yield”. The signed contract is the earliest surviving record of a sporting competition being stitched up for financial gain.

Today, match-fixing is a vast global enterprise. The pickings are rich. Around $2trn is wagered on sport each year, mostly with online bookmakers who enable punters to evade national anti-gambling laws. Around one game in 100 is thought to be manipulated across a range of sports.

Modern fixing is a more subtle affair than that of Nicantinous and Demetrius. It often involves manipulating the odds in live betting while a match is under way. Arranging for a cricketer to score poorly, say, or a footballer to be sent off at a certain point, or a tennis player to lose a particular game, allows bettors to predict how odds will move and lock in a profit much as insider traders beat the stockmarket. Athletes troubled by conscience can always tell themselves that a few wild swipes of a bat or a run of double faults are victimless crimes.

If punters willing to place illegal bets were the only victims, fixing might not matter so much. But they are not. Much of the profits go to violent gangsters. Among those defrauded are corrupt athletes’ innocent team-mates, legal bettors and ordinary fans, who pay to see a real contest, not a sham.

Sports administrators cannot be relied on to lead a clean-up. Some are themselves suspected of corruption—witness allegations of bribery in the choices of hosts for the football World Cup and Olympic games. And many seem to fear that revealing the scale of match-fixing would provoke a crisis of confidence. Little time or money is devoted to educating athletes about fixers’ methods, or to monitoring wagers to spot the suspicious betting patterns. Some of the cases that have come to light were uncovered by police investigating racketeering, not sports officials going after fixers. The governing body for tennis, dogged by suspicions of match-fixing, does not employ enough officials to have one at every professional event.

As more games are televised, more is bet on minor competitions, where players earn less and are therefore easier to corrupt. And as new sports gain popularity, the fixers will move in. They are already active in competitive video-gaming. Women’s cricket and football are likely to become targets, too.

Say it ain’t so
To squeeze the fixers, governments need to do two things. The first is to legalise gambling, which is banned in many countries. Fixers need deep, liquid betting markets to profit from their crooked bets. If honest punters turn to legal bookmakers, fixers will follow, and authorities will find it easier to spot them at their work. The second is to pass laws against match-fixing which recognise that the evidence may consist of statistical analysis. Many countries have no match-fixing laws at all. When one corrupt player is caught and banned, the moneymen simply move on to the next.

Billions of people follow sport for the pleasure of seeing skilled athletes strive for victory and to share in the thrill of a fair competition. If the fixers are allowed to run the show, it will cease to be worth watching.

September 15, 2017

Innovation and technology hub announced by Ladbrokes Coral

Ladbrokes Coral have announced plans to unite its sports and technology teams to bring customers an continually improved betting experience.

Named LC2 and located at Here East, which formerly housed the London 2012 Olympic media team, on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 140 staff of both brands are charged with delivering a range of products such as CRM, ePOS and digital sportsbook platforms.

Graham Calder, Ladbrokes Coral CIO said: “With the creation of LC2 our goal is to deliver excellence for our customers by leveraging the best digital technology, to hire the best digital talent to build the best digital future.

“With our passion for sports, we can’t help but be inspired by the great sporting legacy that comes with being a part of the Olympic Park.”

Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East, added:, “As Here East continues to draw in innovators from more and more sectors, Ladbrokes Coral’s new digital product development centre fits well within the campus.

“Their newly joined up sport-technology team builds on Here East’s reputation as a centre of innovation for established companies and start-ups to collaborate, test new ideas, prototype new products and learn from each other’s expertise.”

August 31, 2017

Japan to limit online gambling

The Japanese government to limit the current online betting of racing events to help stem the concerns over gambling addiction, with the introduction of integrated resorts in the country for the first time which will happen sometime shortly after 2020 concerns over a rise in gambling addiction has risen.

At present gambling is allowed on horse, powerboat, bicycle and motorcycle racing and one of the measures will be to remove ATM machines from venues where betting is allowed to stop impulsive gambling.

“It is essential to carry out measures to prevent people from falling into unfortunate situations due to (gambling) addiction,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Other measures to limit gambling addiction will be discussed following the report by the government which will be released later next month.

888 to pay almost £8m for 'failing vulnerable customers' and addicts

Online gambling firm 888 has been ordered to pay of over £7.8m for not helping vulnerable customers to limit the damage of their gambling addictions.

The Gambling Commission on Thursday said that, due to a technical failure in 888’s systems, over 7,000 customers who had chosen to self-exclude from their casino, poker or sports betting platform were still granted access their accounts on 888’s bingo platform.

Self-exclusion is a facility offered by gambling sites for people who have decided that they wish to stop gambling – in some cases because they fear they have become addicted – for at least six months and wish to be supported in their decision to quit.

The commission said that in 888’s case, the issue went undetected for “a prolonged period of time” which meant that customers were able to deposit a cumulative total of £3.5m into their accounts, and then continue to gamble, for over 13 months.

888 did have a self-exclusion procedures in place, but their system was “not robust enough and failed to protect potentially vulnerable customers”, the commission said.

“Safeguarding consumers is not optional. This penalty package of just under £8m reflects the seriousness of 888’s failings to protect vulnerable customers,” said Sarah Harrison, chief executive of the commission.

In addition to the overarching charges, the commission also said that 888 had failed to recognise “visible signs of problem gambling behaviour displayed by an individual customer, which was so significant that it resulted in criminal activity”.

In that particular case, the customer staked over £1.3m, including £55,000 stolen from an employer.

Over more than a year, the customer placed a significant number of bets and gambled, on average, three to four hours a day.

“The lack of interaction with the customer, given the frequency, duration and sums of money involved in the gambling, raised serious concerns about 888’s safeguarding of customers at-risk of gambling harm,” the commission said.

"The 888 sanction package will ensure those affected don’t lose out, that the operator pays the price for its failings via a sum that will go to tackling gambling-related harm, and that independent assurance will be given to see that lessons are learnt,” Ms Harrison said.

The £7.8m sum includes repayment of the £3.5m of deposits made by those customer who had chosen to self-excluded and it also includes compensation of £62,000 to the employer from whom money was stolen in that one particular case.

The commission said that a further £4.25m would be paid to a socially responsible cause with the idea that it helps finance measures to clamp down on gambling-related harm.

For “future assurance”, the commission said that it had also ordered an independent audit of 888’s processes relating to customer protection.

888, in a statement, said that it fully cooperated with the commission throughout this process.

It said that it “regrets the historic failings highlighted by the review and accepts the conclusion of the review”.

It also listed a number of changes and improvements that have been put in place to prevent similar occurrences in future.

“The review process has pushed 888 to enhance its responsible gambling technology and policies and leaves it well placed to continue to succeed in an environment where it will engage with customers in a way that those customers and regulators will demand going forward,” the company said.

Sports advertising could it be cut?

Could advertising on television especially around sporting events be curbed by the UK government? With the recent announcement from the UK Gambling Commission that as many as 2 million people were either problem gamblers or a risk of addiction and then the front page newspaper coverage of the dangers of gambling it could spell the end of current advertising during live sporting events that manage to air before the 9pm watershed time that normally gambling adverts are not allowed.

A storm is gathering. “We would be mad not to take notice of that growing background noise of concern,” says Clive Hawkswood, the chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association.

Soon there will be a review of sports betting advertising by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and many feel some new restrictions could come into force to please those campaigners that want a total ban on all gambling advertising.

There is already a president for banning all gambling adverts during sporting events, in Australia the Prime Minister said the government would move to ban all gambling advertising on television before 9pm.

Those opposed to gambling advertising say that it has got out of hand, too many adverts now during the breaks are gambling focused and with the gambling industry spending £1.4 billion on advertising since 2012 it is hard to disagree. Also opponents point to football clubs now having gambling firms as their shirt sponsors, in total 9 of the premier league teams have gambling companies as their lead shirt sponsor.

The popularity of sports in the UK and predominately football is a huge draw for a gambling company to have their brand recognised by the mass market, but is it time that gambling firms hold back a little before the government take measures against sports advertising?

August 18, 2017

Japan start public hearings on Integrated Resorts

Japan has started month long open public hearings on the future of casino resorts in the country with comments accepted on how the government will shape how casinos with operate in the country.

Following the hearings the debate will move to lawmakers on what will be allowed and what will not, given that half of the nation is still opposed to the opening of casino resorts the coming month will be very interesting on how they will be restricted.

Some of the topics that will be covered in the hearings are the limit on casino space in resorts, tax rates on operators, a potential ban on ATM’s in casino resorts to limit impulsive gambling and a limit on the amount of visits local residents can make to a casino.

International operators who are eyeing the Japanese gaming market are concerned that their growth could be limited if the government make too many restrictions towards gaming.

During the hearings casino operators are also allowed to make observations and comments on the process which is held in Tokyo.

Many involved in the gaming industry application process to build integrated resorts fear the potential $25 billion a year revenues in Japan could be dramatically lower if too many restrictions are imposed.