The Gambler's Report, U.S. Legal Online Gambling and Casinos

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The Gambler's Report, Legalizing and Regulating Online GamblingIn our latest edition of The Gambler’s Report, we take a look at US states Nevada and New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania and Illinois’ quest to legalize gambling within their own states, Australia and the IGA and the latest Playtech Partnership with Ladbrokes.

US – Nevada

Fox news recently aired an interview with SHFL Entertainment CEO Gavin Isaacs to discuss the future of “iGambling” and the Nevada companies plans for the future as more states are considering the move to legal online gambling.

One of the questions on the table asked of the Isaacs was, “How could the move to online gambling help casino revenue, but more importantly how their casino business portfolios would benefit in the long run.

Isaacs responded by stating that their proprietary table games are already established and readily available on servers where it is legal for players in those states to have access to them. Continuing, Isaacs stated the their financial numbers have grown favorably as they look ahead to additional states like Pennsylvania and Illinois coming on board with legal online gambling within their states as well as the large online market offshore.

In 2011, the revenue for U.S. casinos in Las Vegas was $6.069B and $3.318B in Atlantic City, SHFL however is looking forward to the next few months when they will actually make revenue from their online business.

When asked about the opportunity of opening their own online gambling site, Isaacs said they plan on keeping themselves purely a B2B supplier, providing casinos and online operators with their content, games and other products with no interest of competing in the B2C space.

US – Pennsylvania

State Rep. Tina Davis stated she might introduce the online gambling measure in Harrisburg as early as Wednesday which would see the Bucks County Democrat possibly approve a bill that would legalize Internet wagering in Pennsylvania.

“We wanted to get the conversation going,” she said. “We’re working on some changes” to the bill. “I got a lot of feedback from the different stakeholders, including the casinos.”

Davis’ bill will see a $10 million online-license-application fee, gross online gambling revenue tax of 20 percent and provisions that will deal with problem gambling.

US – Illinois

After Governor Pat Quinn’s vetoe of the bill to expand brick and mortar gambling, State Senator Terry Link has sponsored the Chicago Casino Development Authority Act bill that would expand brick and mortar gambling and legalize online gambling.

Senate Bill 1739 will see the expansion of brick and mortar gambling locations from 10 to 23, allows for online poker and online casino games, licenses would be issued for five years with five year renewals. A $250,000 application fee would be required for all companies and individuals wishing to receive an internet gaming license in Illinois.

Illinois horse racing industry may benefit as the allowance for the state’s racetracks to operate slot machines would raise $120-$200 million in licensing fees and $100-$300 each year in tax revenue.

Link further estimates revenue from online gambling may reach an annual $150 million, seeing projections for land-based adding $400 million to $1 billion to state coffers.

888 Hopes for Legalized US Gambling

British firm 888 has formed All American Poker Network with Avenue Capital Group. The new joint venture is set to launch as online gambling becomes legalized in the US.

“Working with a substantial financial partner provides the firepower that we need to take advantage of the significant opportunities that will be provided by a regulated U.S. gaming market,” CEO Brian Mattingley said in a statement.

“This is the perfect deal for 888, providing the ideal platform through which to launch our business-to-customer brands into the US market, once regulated,” said Brian Mattingley, chief executive, who added that the move “completed our online strategy”.

“The agreement sees a leading US financial institution backing one of the largest gaming platform operators in the world, joining forces to tackle a potentially huge market.”

Australia – Protection of its Consumers

In a recent review of the IGA’s services that provide consumer protection of Australian gambling communities a report published from the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, have found a need to provide revisions to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 set of standard laws.

The report feels as though the aim of the IGA, which is to regulate interactive gambling services by placing restrictions on certain services being provided to customers in Australia with an aims to limit the harmful effects of gambling on the Australian community, has wavered and a suggested 32 recommendations have been set as more than AU$1bn is wagered on as many as 2,200 egaming sites available in the country.

“The IGA may, in fact, be exacerbating the risk of harm because of the high level of usage by Australians of prohibited services which may not have the same protections that Australian licensed online gambling providers could be required to have,” the report stated.

Online casino-style games are banned in Australia and a suggested five-year trial of online poker will not go ahead, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says.
Nick Xenophon, a long-time gambling critic, labelled the report a ”copout” that could create a new wave of problem gamblers, “If the current legislation was actually strengthened and enforced, the Federal Government would not need to be expanding online gambling and its associated harms,” Senator Xenophon said.

Ladbrokes, “New Deal”

Ladbrokes has a new five-year deal with Playtech that is a close resemblance to one the software provider has had with Ladbrokes competitor William Hill. After a successful run with Playtech however, Will Hill has bought their way out the previous deal with Playtech which now opens the door for a new Ladbrokes partnership.

The new deal is an inspired partnership with the hopes of boosting Ladbrokes online presence and will make use of Playtech’s digital marketing services. Ladbrokes is hoping to increase their online revenues, which is way behind that of competitors Will Hill, with the added benefits of Playtech’s portfolio of casino games on to a new “Vegas” gaming tab on its website.

Richard Glynn, Ladbrokes’ chief executive, said that in the gaming area, and in extending the lifetime value of customers, “we are not as strong as we need to be”. “This is not a joint venture, it is 100 per cent controlled by us,” he said. The goal was “to make sure we service our existing customers better”.

Ladbrokes’ shares rose to their highest level since May 2009, closing up 6.5 per cent at 239.8p, while Playtech was up 3.5 per cent to 571p.

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