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PokerStars Founder Isai Scheinberg Pleads Guilty

George Miller

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PokerStars Founder Isai Scheinberg Pleads Guilty
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Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ISAI SCHEINBERG, the founder and former executive of PokerStars, an online poker company, pled guilty  to running a multimillion-dollar unlawful internet gambling business.  SCHEINBERG pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Ten years ago, this Office charged 11 defendants who operated, or provided fraudulent payment processing services to, three of the largest online poker companies then operating in the United States – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker – with operating illegal gambling businesses and other crimes.  As Isai Scheinberg’s guilty plea today shows, the passage of time will not undermine this Office’s commitment to holding accountable individuals who violate U.S. law.”

As alleged in the Indictment filed in March 2011 in Manhattan federal court, PokerStars was founded in approximately 2001, with headquarters in the Isle of Man.  PokerStars offered online poker games to players around the world, including in New York, New York.  SCHEINBERG was PokerStars’ founder and principal.  On October 13, 2006, the United States enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”), making it a federal crime for gambling businesses to “knowingly accept” most forms of payment “in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling.”  With the enactment of UIGEA, leading internet gambling businesses – including the leading internet poker company doing business in the United States at that time – terminated their United States operations.  However, PokerStars, along with Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, continued illegally to make internet poker available to U.S. customers through March 2011.  

In pleading guilty, SCHEINBERG admitted that he knew operating a business that offered internet poker to New Yorkers violated state law, and that it was the clear position of the U.S. government that offering online poker in the United States violated federal law.  Nonetheless, Scheinberg decided to continue running his multimillion-dollar online poker business in the United States.

SCHEINBERG, 73, a dual Canadian and Israeli national, was arrested in Switzerland on June 7, 2019, based on the U.S. charges.  In early October 2019, SCHEINBERG was ordered to be extradited to the United States by the Swiss Federal Office of Justice, a decision he initially appealed.  SCHEINBERG subsequently withdrew his appeal and surrendered to U.S. federal agents on January 17, 2020.  He was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker on the same day.

 

Source: justice.gov

Compliance Updates

France’s ANJ Flags Concerns Over Licensees’ Player Protection Strategies

Niji Narayan

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France’s ANJ Flags Concerns Over Licensees’ Player Protection Strategies
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L’Autorité nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has approved or suggested improvements to player protection plans licensees were ordered to submit as part of the French gambling regulator’s increased focus on social responsibility.

 The regulator examined action plans from all operators active in the country, including the two former monopolies, La Française des Jeux (FDJ) and Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU).

 As well as approving 96 plans, the ANJ said it may make decisions later on some land-based casinos which may only open at a later date because of restrictions related to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

 There was no indication that any plan was rejected outright.

 The ANJ said it prioritised four main issues: prohibiting minors from gambling, allowing for self-exclusion and other checks, identifying and supporting potential problem gamblers and having a general policy that focused on protecting these groups.

 Examining the plan of FDJ, the regulator approved the plan with no further conditions. It said the lottery operator “reflects the operator’s desire to meet” the French government’s objectives regarding protecting minors and problem players.

 “It is distinguished in particular by the setting up of an ambitious program aimed at guaranteeing the ban on gambling by minors on all game types, innovative prevention initiatives, diversified and adapted to the profiles of players, and the existence of an advanced player identification and support system for pathological gamblers,” the regulator said.

 For PMU, however, it raised some concerns and thus added further conditions.

 “Further progress is expected from the operator to fully achieve the objective of preventing excessive or pathological gambling,” ANJ said.

 In particular, it said tools and resources for problem gamblers were not easily available, while identification of problem gamblers and training of employees were also not up to standard.

 While the ANJ approved this plan, it told the operator it must improve these areas. This included providing technical specifications of its system to recognise problem gamblers, taking the effort to strengthen its training system and ensuring the accessibility of RG tools.

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Compliance Updates

Slotmill Complete Swedish Certification

George Miller

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Slotmill Complete Swedish Certification
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Premium casino game supplier, Slotmill has had its portfolio of games certified for the Swedish Market. This is another milestone achieved by the growing supplier. In Q1 2021, Slotmill announced that its portfolio of games had been certified for Lithuania, Latvia, Malta and Estonia.

Jamie Boyle, Product Owner at Slotmill said, “Obtaining Swedish Certification for our portfolio of games is another important step for Slotmill. We are committed to meet local regulations and to provide our clients with games that offer superior quality.”

 

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Compliance Updates

Dutch Gambling Regulator Receives 28 iGaming Licence Applications

Niji Narayan

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Dutch Gambling Regulator Receives 28 iGaming Licence Applications
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The Dutch gambling regulator (KSA) has received 28 applications for a license to be able to offer online games of chance in the Netherlands.

The market for online games of chance will open on October 1. The companies that meet all the conditions will receive a license. Among other things, it is assessed whether an applicant has an adequate policy to prevent gambling addiction, is a healthy company that handles player balances responsibly.

René Jansen, chairman of the board of the KSA, is satisfied with the provisional number of applications.

“The intention of the law is to channel players from illegal providers to legally reliable providers. With this number of applications, I am confident that there will soon be a sufficiently attractive and varied offer to achieve this objective,” René Jansen said.

A permit application will only be processed once the fee of 48,000 euros has been paid – that is the case with the 28 applications. A provider who succeeds in obtaining a license can use it to offer games of chance via various websites.

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