Euro operators to pay €60M; US online gambling news

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SBR newswoman Natalie provides an international iGaming news update. Topics covered included Betfair's launch of a fixed odds sportsbook and racebook platform for UK customers; Betfair agreeing to pay up to €10M in back-tax to the Spanish tax authority, as well as an update on US gambling news.


 

BetFair launches software for UK customers

BetFair (SBR rating A-) has debuted sportsbook and racebook software for UK customers. The fixed odds sportsbook and racebook software was developed by company OpenBet. Speaking on Betfair’s decision to make the launch was operation’s director Ian Chuter, who blogged the following on the Betfair site:

Ian Chuter:  “Estimates tell us that we currently lose about 30% of our customers’ sports betting wallets to competitors’ products… For us as a business it clearly makes sense to start getting this 30% back by becoming a ‘one stop shop’ – plugging the gaps and creating a more flexible product. So from today, Betfair customers can now bet whatever way they choose.”

Three companies pay Spain millions in back-taxes

Betfair has also been in the news for their agreement to pay approximately €10 million in back-taxes to Spanish authorities ahead of their scheduled e-Gaming licence on June 1st. Rival company Sporting Bet is to pay €17 million, whilst Bwin Party is slated to pay a whopping €33 million.

Four operators awarded licences in Northern Germany

In other news, Four new operators have been awarded gaming licences in the Northern German state, Schleswig-Holstein. Bwin, Bet365, Bet-At-Home and Tipico are the latest companies to be issued the six-year licence. Earlier this month, SBR reported that Jaxx, Betfair and Nordwest Lotto were the first three operators to be licenced in Schlewswig-Holstein. The licence will tax operators 20% of gross gaming revenue.

Governor Christie in full support of sports betting

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie surely ruffled some feathers Thursday when speaking out at a news conference regarding New Jersey’s goal to offer sports betting in Atlantic City.

The Governor stated that he expected there to be legal action taken against New Jersey in their efforts to legalize sports betting; but expressed confidence that the state would move forward as planned.

Under current federal law, the Amateur Sports Protection Act  of 1992 outlaws sports betting  in all but four states — Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. State Senator Lesniak meanwhile has agreed to another interview on the program next week to give us an update on the state’s quest to offer online gambling.

Illinois votes 69 to 47 in favour of a gambling bill

In other news now, Illinois governor Pat Quinn is unhappy with a gambling bill passed by the Illinois House on Wednesday. Quinn reportedly asked lawmakers not to consider the gambling bill until Medic-aid and pension issues were addressed. However, the Illinois House voted 69 to 47 in favour of a bill that will license five new casinos and permit slot machines at horse racing establishments.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton however is strongly in support of online gambling in the state, introducing a bill on May 14th calling for the creation of a Division of Internet Gaming which would be administered under the supervision of the Department of the State Lottery.  Senate President Cullerton was unable to come on the program, but provided a copy of his proposal to the legislative leaders of Illinois, which you can read on the SBR newswire.

_______________________________

Illinois Gaming letter to Legislative leaders (PDF)

Dear Honorable Quinn, Leader Radogno, Speaker Madigan and Leader Cross:

After careful study, I am pleased to propose for your consideration legislation that ensures Illinois will
retain its preeminent status and success in the Internet gaming (“iGaming”) arena as well as immunize Illinois
from the ill-effects of hostile federal legislation now pending before the U.S. Senate. I intend on filing the
proposed legislation as an amendment to HB 4148 on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. As explained below, it is
imperative that the General Assembly enact this proposed legislation before adjourning its Spring Session.

The proposed legislation creates a new Division of Internet Gaming within the Illinois Lottery to further
capture new revenues available in the iGaming marketplace in a manner that protects consumers, provides
logical and responsible regulation, and advances the public good. The proposed legislation is prompted by the
U.S. Department of Justice’s recent opinion that not only endorsed Illinois’ Internet Lottery Test authorized by
the 2009 Capital Bill, but also cleared the way for states to authorize and regulate intra-state Internet wagering
other than sports wagering.

I offer this legislation at a time when several other states, such as New Jersey, California, and
Massachusetts, are considering iGaming legislation with various regulatory frameworks. Our study of these
frameworks indicates that they are ill-suited to harness iGaming’s dynamic nature and potential in an ethical
and socially responsible manner that maximizes revenue. Indeed, certain forms of iGaming, especially poker,
rely on large pools of potential players and states that move swiftly to design a system that captures the widest
audience of participants will have an advantage in terms of long range success.

As a result, it is necessary that Illinois create a legal template that is flexible enough to allow an
organized approach to maximizing revenue in an ethical and socially responsible manner, while also
establishing logical standards and regulations. To that end, I have enclosed with this cover letter a detailed fact
sheet outlining the provisions of the proposed legislation....
At its heart, the proposal creates the Division of Internet Gaming within the Illinois Lottery whereby the
Division’s Executive Director can establish a single Internet gaming platform to usher in iGaming as well as
permitting the Division to partner with existing Illinois gaming entities and other third parties at the appropriate
time. This framework not only allows for the better evaluation and intervention in problem gambling areas, but
also establishes an agnostic iGaming platform that avoids the pitfalls and inefficiencies of multiple vendors and
platforms competing for known gamblers and maximizing expenditure per gambler.

We estimate that the potential new revenues to the state are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. If
enacted, the Division’s iGaming platform could be up and running in FY 2013 and millions of dollars that are
now bet through offshore sites could be captured within our state. In turn, the state could organize the first
major poker pool, garner worldwide popularity, and position itself as a “hub” for multi-state and international
iGaming.

In closing, it is imperative that the General Assembly enact the proposed legislation before adjourning
its Spring Session. Legislation is now pending before the U.S. Senate that would preclude Illinois and other
states from reaping the benefits of iGaming. That legislation would only allow those states that already have a
regulatory framework in place to offer iGaming. Existing gambling states are aggressively moving to limit
competition for their forms of wagering. In short, time is of the essence and I urge you to support this proposal.

Sincerely,
John J. Cullerton
Senate President
 

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