10 Mar 2020

Casino Developers Will Have to be Patient on Japanese Regulation, Says Analyst

Casino Developers Will Have to be Patient on Japanese Regulation, Says Analyst

Global casino operators are bending over backwards to get a piece of the future Japanese casino industry, but they may have to wait just a little bit longer.

Union Gaming Analyst Grant Govertsen believes Japan is unlikely to develop a framework of regulation for casino gaming until the fall and it will likely be an ‘October or November’ event.

The Japanese Diet passed its Integrated Resorts Promotion Bill in December, after years of mulling the issue, paving the way for the opening up of a market with the potential to become the second biggest in the world, after Macau. But Japan has not regulated casino gaming, not yet, at least.

The pokies games to play for free Integrated Resorts Bill was an enabler, giving the Diet a 12-month deadline to prepare a framework of regulation, which will lay down licensing requirements and measures to protect problem gamblers from using casinos.

No Movement in Spring

With the Diet’s ordinary session getting underway nice and early, on January 20, it was hoped that process would begin soon, but not so fast, says Union Gaming Analyst Grant Govertsen. There is unlikely to be any movement on regulation during the spring session, he said in a note this week.

‘Rather, we think the Diet has already made the decision to handle the IR bill during the fall special session, suggesting that it is more likely going to be an October or November event,’ Govertsen said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) was accused by the opposition of rushing the IR bill through and, as such, it remains highly contentious.

While it has overwhelming support from Abe and the LDP, which has control of both houses, it was vociferously opposed by opposition parties who felt its social and economic repercussions and been insufficiently debated.

Meanwhile, there is scant public support for bill. An opinion poll recently found that 44 percent of Japanese opposed it, with just 12 percent in support, and 34 percent undecided.

Bidding Wars

In short, in the light of past criticism, the LDP doesn’t want to be seen as taking its regulatory responsibilities too lightly and is prepared to take the long view. Which means, as the likes of LVS and Melco-Crown ardently pledge their billions, we’re still uncertain exactly how many licenses will be created and under what terms.

The bidding process, when it arrives, is likely to be fierce, with perhaps just two or three licenses up for grabs, and Japanese companies are expected to be involved each venture, linking up with foreign developers to form consortiums.

Govertsen believes that the process will probably come in two stages: a request for proposal from eager potential host cities, followed by a separate request for proposal from potential operators.

However, there could be a scenario where a city links up with a consortium and they bid jointly against other cities and their consortiums, he said.

Gambling on Soccer Prevalent Among UK Players, BBC Finds

Gambling on matches is ‘rife’ in soccer, according to figures obtained by the BBC. The claim comes just days after Sutton United reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw resigned after being spotted by the BBC’s own TV cameras eating a pie on the substitute bench.

Burnley midfielder Joey Barton who accepted a charge of misconduct earlier this month over charges he had placed 1,260 bets on matches over the past decade. (Image: BBC)

Bookmaker Sunbets had offered odds of 8-1 against him doing this, a stunt that prompted investigations by the Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Football Association (FA).

According to the new figures, obtained by the BBC from the Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU) under the Freedom of Information Act, 53 instances of potential gambling breaches occurred between 1 August 2014 and 23 December 2016.

FA Rule Change

But former FIFA and Interpol adviser Chris Eaton told the broadcaster on Thursday that these figures are likely just ‘the tip of the iceberg.’

‘In the absence of a global regulatory model, only naive or careless players will be caught in a tiny national net that is swamped in the massive global web that is sport betting,’ he said.

Until 2014, soccer players were permitted to bet on the sport but barred from betting on matches in which they themselves, or a team they represented, were involved.

Amid concerns for the integrity of the sport, these rules were amended by the FA to prohibit all players, managers, club employees and match officials from betting on any soccer-related matter worldwide. And yes, that includes pies.

Barton’s Betting

While the 53 instances remain uncorroborated, as opposed to confirmed violations, Eaton said that SBIU alerts only concern players who use their own names or betting accounts to place a wager. The number who use friends’ accounts or illegal unlicensed betting sites is unknowable and likely much higher.

There have been several high-profile cases of soccer players falling foul of the FA’s new rules, most recently that of current Burnley midfielder Joey Barton.

Last November, Barton was charged by the Scottish FA while playing for Scottish club Rangers over placing 44 bets between 1 July and 15 September 2016. He received a one-game suspension and was later fired by Rangers following an altercation with his manager.

His move to Burnley was almost derailed by a separate FA investigation claiming he had placed 1,260 bets on matches over the past decade.

He accepted an FA charge of misconduct earlier this month and is currently awaiting punishment.

Florida Gambling Bills At Odds with Each Other Enter State Senate and House

Two Florida gambling bills are making their way through the chambers of the state legislature, but the pieces of legislation contradict each other and have different goals in mind.

Although Florida’s Governor Rick Scott wants to reach a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe, two state gambling bills set out to accomplish two entirely different missions. (Image: Seminole Gaming)

The House gaming legislation, authored by Rep. Mike La Rose (R-District 42), who also chairs the chamber’s Tourism & Gaming Control subcommittee, is trying to keep gambling confined and retain the Seminole Tribe’s monopoly on casinos. The proposal would ban slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and would demand that the tribal organization pay the state $3 billion over seven years for the exclusivity rights.

In the higher chamber, the Senate gambling bill is an expansion measure that would permit horse and dog racetracks, as well as jai alai venues, to offer slots and house banked card games. The Senate statute would rid the restriction that live racing or jai alai games be contested for any form of gambling to commence.

With the Senate seeking to expand gambling, and the more conservative House trying to limit it, the two conflicting measures are likely far from finding common ground and resolving the Seminoles’ expired gaming compact. And that’s just fine with the Native American group.

No News Good News

The Seminoles operate Class III games, the all-important classification that includes slots and table games, as well as coveted blackjack, at its five gaming facilities spread across the state. But the tribe’s been doing so without a current compact since its previous contract expired in 2015.

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, tribes must enter compacts with states to offer Class III gaming. Classes I and II can commence on sovereign grounds without such agreement, but that limits casinos to bingo, pull tabs, punch boards, and the like.

While the state continues to look to remedy its Seminole situation, the tribe continues running slots and table games, and continues sending revenue payments to Tallahassee. As long as the legislature doesn’t take steps to expand gaming, the tribe is presumably just fine keeping business as usual.

‘The Seminole Tribe is open to discussions and negotiations as part of its continuing desire to finalize a new gaming compact with the State of Florida,’ Seminole spokesman Gary Bitner said late last year. ‘But the tribe prefers not to negotiate in the media.’

Lottery Warning

In other Sunshine State gambling legislation, the state’s lottery system might soon need to warn players about the potential dangers of testing one’s luck.

House Bill 937, introduced by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-District 31), would mandate that each lottery ticket come with a cautionary inscription that states, ‘WARNING: GAMBLING CAN BE ADDICTIVE.’

Sullivan’s statute was introduced just hours before millions of Americans anxiously awaited the results of the $435 million Powerball drawing. The winning numbers were 10-13-28-52-61, with the Powerball 2.

A winning ticket was reportedly sold in Indiana, but the identification of the lucky millionaire wasn’t immediately known.

At just 25 years old, Sullivan is one of the youngest state lawmakers in Florida. The conservative attended Liberty University, a faith-based college, and campaigned in 2014 on her Christian values platform.

2024 Los Angeles Olympics Odds Improve Following Budapest’s Withdrawal

The 2024 Los Angeles Olympics organization saw its odds of landing the Summer Games greatly improve this week, after Budapest officially withdrew its bid to host the quadrennial spectacle.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti might go down in history as being the man in charge of the city when it landed its third Olympics. (Image: Mark Ralston/AFP)

With Hungary out, only Paris remains in the City of Angels’ way in bringing the Olympics back to Southern California for a third time. Los Angeles previously hosted the games in 1932 and 1984.

Though it’s down to L.A. and Paris, oddsmakers believe the French capital has the upper hand. British sportsbooks taking bets on the winning host thinks Paris will eventually receive the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) blessing.

Online betting platform Ladbrokes puts the City of Lights at 2-5, and Los Angeles at 7-4. Coral lists Paris at 4-9 and LA 7-4. Betfair is in agreement with thinking the US will lose out on bringing the world’s best athletes to California.

Budapest’s decision came as a result of a petition that was signed by more than 250,000 people, demanding that the city drop its bid.

‘We have been forced to give up the fight,’ the Budapest 2024 committee said in a statement. ‘It is impossible to explain how sad and disappointed we are.’

Budapest’s removal is the third city to exit the 2024 bidding process. Hamburg retracted its nomination in November of 2015, and Rome departed last fall. Tokyo will host the 2018 Summer Olympics, and then the games return to Beijing in 2020. The IOC will announce the 2024 host in September.

Fewer Contenders

The days of cities clamoring to win the hosting rights to a summer or winter Olympics are long gone. Absorbing the exorbitant cost of throwing such an exhibition is simply not affordable for much of the world.

Prior hosts like Sochi and London are still paying for their llong-gone Olympics. Security costs have greatly escalated over the decades, as the games have become an obvious potential prime target for terrorists.

The IOC’s recent efforts to host an Olympics on every inhabitable continent largely backfired in 2016 with the games in Rio de Janeiro. The city wasn’t prepared or equipped to throw such a festival, and while major disasters were averted, Brazil all but voided any chance of a non-First World country hosting the Summer Games anytime soon.

L.A. as 11th Hour Option

Los Angeles being in the final two is a seemingly unlikely development. Boston was originally the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) selected city, but Beantown backed out after its citizens were predominantly split on bringing the games to Massachusetts.

Led by entertainment and sports executive Casey Wasserman, Los Angeles stepped up to replace Boston for the USOC.

One of the IOC’s critical selection criteria is that of safety and security. That might not bode well for Paris, as the city remains on high alert after numerous terrorist activities. It was just 15 months ago when a series of coordinated attacks left 130 victims dead, and it was just last July when a crazed truck driver in Nice brutally killed 84 citizens enjoying Bastille Day festivies by running them down.

Of course, no city is immune to the possibility of terror. But the European Union’s open border laws and massive refugee population make the job of securing the games that much more difficult.


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