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Gambling in the USA

Canada still lags in online gambling front

Niji Ng

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Canada still lags in online gambling front
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With US Supreme Court’s recent order paving the way for legalising sports betting in the country, many observers are curiously watching Canada’s gambling scene. But the indications from the country suggest that it may be going in the opposite direction. Canada’s gambling industry has created an income of $17.3 billion CAD last year. It is expected to be higher this year.

The legislation is such that it is legal to bet online, provided the online casino or poker site does not have a physical facility in Canada.  Obviously, the provincial casinos, like PlayNow.com, Espacejeux, and PlayOLG, have been finding this hard to accept.

The lawmakers are also concerned with this as online gambling results in revenue loss for the state. In 2016, the Quebec legislature passed Bill 74 which, among other things, included a provision to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block international online casino operators.

Loto-Quebec, the provincial gambling body in Quebec, operates EspaceJeux.com, an online casino that requires all players to be residents of Quebec. More importantly, EspaceJeux’s profits are passed on to the provincial government just the same as lotteries and land-based casino profits, which are also regulated. As Simon Stern from toponlinecasinos.ca explains, up until 2016, Loto-Quebec has stated on the record that they were taking too much of a cut, meaning their Return to Player (RTP) was much lower than competing internationally based casinos. They were unable to grow rapidly enough to be sustainable due to players having easy options to play online where they had a better chance of winning. Since then, Espace Jeux has increased their RTP but are subsequently not meeting their profit goals as the margins tighten. Competition is fierce internationally and the largest online casinos have huge revenues to offer huge welcome bonuses and excellent RTPs. The answer for Quebec was to simply introduce legislation to eliminate the competition by forcing ISPs to block these websites. Bill 74 was passed with exactly that provision in 2016.

How is Quebec Bill 74 supposed to work? Loto-Quebec is to give a list of over 2000 gambling websites that ISPs in the province should block. They are also supposed to offer a tender to international online casinos to become partners with EspaceJeux where they will redirect registered players to these casinos through EspaceJeux but Loto-Quebec will maintain the customer information and take a cut of revenues. Some of the most visited sites from Quebec include PokerStars, Casino.com and LeoVegas and these parties may be candidates for approval. The law was given many months to set up the appropriate framework to accomplish this goal. All other online casinos will be blocked in the province and the responsibility to block them will be with the ISPs. The ISPs, which include some of the largest corporations in Canada, do not want to take on this burden and civil rights activists are concerned that this action leads the country down a slippery slope of allowing the government to restrict free speech and an open internet.

The consortium of ISPs, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), formally filed complaint to the national body governing telecommunications, the CRTC, who is formally the only organisation who legally have jurisdiction in this case. The CRTC came back with a recommendation that the law was unconstitutional and that they alone, along with the Government of Canada, have jurisdiction but they will await the court’s decision. Thus, the law introduced by the provincial Government of Quebec should not be implemented. The CWTA immediately filed suit in Quebec Superior Court to block the law from being implemented, where it stands today. The court case was delayed until March 2018 where a ruling still awaits. The general consensus among legal scholars is that the law will be rejected on constitutional grounds but will likely head all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

What if the law is able to stand? A ruling in favour of Bill 74 would be the first such case that would allow provincial governments to restrict what their residents can view on the internet. The immediate result would be that Quebec residents would be unable to play at international online casinos and poker sites that are not licenced through EspaceJeux and Loto-Quebec. The implications are far-reaching in that it opens the door for similar laws to restrict other facets of a free internet and for other provinces to do the same. Canada will go from one of the most popular markets for online gambling to one of the most restrictive. More importantly, Canada could go from one of the most open societies in the world to one that restricts free speech and freedom of internet.

 

Source: cardplayer.com

Niji has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. Besides reporting industry headlines from all around the globe, Niji is also head of the content management team at Impressions Content Management, based in Kerala, India, which offers writing and editing services to clients around the world.

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Gambling in the USA

West Virginia Lottery appoints new director

Niji Ng

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West Virginia Lottery appoints new director
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The governor of the state has named John Myers as the director of the regulatory body.

 

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has appointed John Myers is the new director of the state’s official lottery, West Virginia Lottery. Myers will replace Alan Larrick, who announced his resignation September 1, immediately after the state allowed sports betting at local casinos. Douglas Buffington II. deputy secretary for the West Virginia Secretary of Revenue, has been functioning as state Lottery interim director.

The executive that was named by the Governor has served as Secretary of Administration for the Justice Administration, but it is not the first time that he will work with the Lottery, as he had different positions from 2008 to 2017 and even served as acting director from 2015 to 2017.

Earlier this week the Joint Standing Committee on Finance of West Virginia gathered to talk during the second day of September legislative interim meetings at the State Capitol about recent modifications on the Virginia Lottery Commission staff and how it can affect sports betting operations.

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Gambling in the USA

Mississippi rakes in $6.3m in the first month of sports betting

Niji Ng

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Mississippi rakes in $6.3m in the first month of sports betting
Photo Source: cardplayer.com
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The US state of Mississippi has garnered a $6.3m (£4.8m/€5.4m) as sports betting revenue in its very first complete month of licensed sports betting. This is an impressive figure, but even this is likely to increase considerably when more companies start their operation in the state.

This figure would mean $644,000 in revenue for casinos and $77,000 in tax income for the state.

Baseball was the most popular sport among the gamblers, attracting $3.3m in bets in August, while punters wagered $1.4m on parlay betting and $1.3m on American football.

Mississippi went live with a legalised market on August 1 and the first month of regulation in the state saw a number of companies roll out sports betting.

Caesars Entertainment, in partnership with Scientific Games, along with MGM and Churchill Downs were among those to take bets in August.

However, MGM was the only company to be live on day one, with others not launching until later in the month, skewering the total revenue figures for August.

SBTech did not launch in Mississippi until early September while William Hill, which obtained a licence in the state last month, recently announced a link-up with Eldorado that will cover 11 states, including Mississippi.

In addition, International Game Technology last week joined forces with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in a move that will see it launch sports betting at the Pearl River Resorts’ Golden Moon Hotel & Casino and Silver Star Hotel & Casino in Choctaw, as well as the Bok Homa Casino in Sandersville.

Mississippi was some way behind New Jersey – which has also moved to legalise sports betting since the withdrawal of PASPA – in its first month.

However, Mississippi was at a disadvantage due to the fact that fewer operators were live in month one and, unlike New Jersey, it does not currently offer online or mobile sports betting.

 

Source: iGaming Business

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Gambling in the USA

New Hampshire to launch online lottery

Niji Ng

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New Hampshire to launch online lottery
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The US state of New Hampshire is all set to launch its first online lottery products. The launch is scheduled later this week. When it takes place, New Hampshire will become the sixth US state to sell instant lottery online.

 “We have long viewed ourselves as a player-centric lottery,” said Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery. “Our focus in everything we do is how best to make our products entertaining and accessible to our customers by creating a strong and positive play experience. Launching iLottery is the critical next wave component in enhancing our players direct interaction with our games.”

To run its iLottery, New Hampshire selected NeoPollard Interactive, a turnkey online lottery solution active in several North American jurisdictions. NPI will provide the platform and manage several aspects of the NH online lottery for the state.

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