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Archive for September 12th, 2018

Nearly 12% of Jeju Island’s High School Students at High Risk of Gambling Addiction

Nearly 12% of high school students living on South Korea’s Jeju Island are at high risk of becoming gambling addicts, according to a recent study. The research was conducted by the Korea Center on Gambling Problems and its results were published on Monday.

The center said that it has surveyed as many as 671 middle school students and 328 high school students. Its report shows that around 5.4% of the interviewed middle school students and 11.9% of the high school students who participated in the study were at high risk of gambling addiction.

A teenager who took part in the survey was quoted saying that he had lost more than KRW10 million (approximately $8,864) while gambling. He further pointed out that he had mostly wagered on sports betting, but had engaged in other gambling activities, as well. He also said that he had stolen money from friends and family after he had spent his own. The teenager is currently receiving a therapy.

The Korea Center on Gambling Problems commenced its activities late in 2017. The center offers therapy to affected teenagers, organizes campaigns for greater awareness, and engages in different other activities aiming to prevent teenagers from becoming problem gamblers or gambling addicts and help those who have already fallen victims to excessive gambling.

Gambling in South Korea

Brick-and-mortar casinos are among the few gambling operations that are legal under South Korea’s gambling laws. However, most of the country’s more than 20 casinos admit only foreign visitors. In fact, there is just one casino in South Korea that allows Korean gamblers to its gaming floor – the Kangwon Land casino resort in the Jeongseon County. The property has been operational since 1998.

Betting on horse racing and lottery are the other two legal gambling options in the country. Online gambling is strictly prohibited in South Korea, with online lottery sales being the only legal exception to the existing rules.

Both individuals who provide illegal gambling services on the territory of the country and individuals that engage in such services are subject to penalties and criminal prosecution, under South Korean gambling laws. It is also important to note that South Korean nationals are allowed to engage in legal gambling activities from the age of 18.

Jeju Island, the popular tourist destination that was the object of the Korea Center on Gambling Problems’ research, is home to nine operational casino resorts, with Jeju Shinhwa World being the latest one to open doors there. The property was launched in February, and has already raked in KRW369.4 billion (approximately $327.5 million) in revenue, according to a report by its parent company.

It has thus become the island’s winningest casino resort. The eight other operational properties on the island have together generated KRW136.5 billion over the same period.

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The post Nearly 12% of Jeju Island’s High School Students at High Risk of Gambling Addiction appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Francis Zhang Wins First WSOP Circuit Gold Ring at Thunder Valley Casino

Monday was a day of many firsts for one particular poker player. Francis Zhang won his first WSOP Circuit cash, his first WSOP Circuit title, and his first WSOP Circuit gold ring. The player bested the field of the $400 No-Limit Hold’em Bounty or Event #2 on the schedule of the ongoing WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley festival for a first-place prize of $13,745 and a gold piece.

He also collected around a dozen of bounties, each worth $100. He managed to get hold of those all the way throughout the tournament. And he scooped the final one for busting his heads-up opponent, Joe Grew from Colorado.

Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California will play host to the WSOP Circuit series over the week. Two events on the festival’s schedule were completed over the past few days, with Zhang’s tournament being marked as Event #2.

The $400 buy-in tournament drew as many as 239 entries who created a prize pool of $54,970. As mentioned above, the event also featured bounties, each worth $100. The winner managed to collect 12 such bounties to boost his first-place award by another $1,200. Aside from Zhang, who went out with the lion’s portion of the prize pool, the top 24 finishers received a share of the money, min-cashes starting from $507.

The tournament kicked off on Sunday and was supposed to be a single-day one. Action extended well into the night with Zhang and Grew battling it out for the title. However, an emergency alarm forced evacuation of the casino, so the two competitors decided that they would continue play on Monday.

Highlights from the Tournament

It was early into Monday when the unofficial ten-handed final table of the tournament was reached. Zhang was the chip leader at the time with 939,000 in chips. The player was well ahead of his nearest rival who happened to be William Chao with 633,000 in chips.

Zhang very much maintained his momentum over the course of the final table. It was Joe Grew whom he faced heads-up. The two players fought in a bid to win the title and the gold ring well into the early hours of Monday. As mentioned above, their match was forced to stop due to an emergency situation at the host casino. The two players decided that they would resume action on Monday, giving themselves a couple of hours to rest.

They returned to finish off what they had started on Monday at 3 pm local time. Zhang was holding the majority of chips at the start of the unscheduled second day and kept his lead until the end of play, which did not last long, actually. The two players battled it out for just eight hands until Zhang dealt the final blow to his last surviving opponent to scoop the title and the accompanying gold piece. Grew received $8,494 for his efforts.

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The post Francis Zhang Wins First WSOP Circuit Gold Ring at Thunder Valley Casino appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Betsson Subsidiary to Appeal €300,000 Fine from Dutch Gambling Regulator

Corona Ltd., a subsidiary of Malta-based online gambling operator Betsson, announced yesterday that it has decided to appeal the fine it has been issued by the Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, for serving Dutch gaming customers.

Corona operates the Oranje Casino and Kroon Casino gaming websites that specifically target Dutch players. Betsson purchased the company back in 2014 for €100 million. Last month, Corona announced that it has been slapped a €300,000 fine by the Dutch Gaming Authority for serving local players without being authorized to do so.

The gaming company said that it was considering the possibility to appeal the fine and confirmed yesterday that it would do that. In a press release on Betsson’s official website, the operator provided details about it next actions. It pointed out that its operations are compliant with applicable laws and rules for the provision of services in the absence of an EU-compliant regulatory framework in the Netherlands.

It went on to say that if its appeal with the regulator is unsuccessful, it would refer the matter to a court to “defend its rights”. According to yesterday’s press release, the fine will “not become irrevocable”, pending the appeal procedures.

It became known last month that several Betsson-owned online gaming operations had, too, been subject to investigation by the Netherlands Gaming Authority, but had not been found to have violated existing regulations in the country.

Fears over Future License

The Netherlands is currently undergoing a very slow process of re-regulation of its gambling market. The conclusion of this process is expected to result in international gambling companies being allowed to operate in the country with licenses from Kansspelautoriteit. However, local lawmakers are yet to approve the necessary legislation that would re-regulate the Dutch gambling market.

A piece of legislation dealing with that matter, the so-called Remote Gambling Bill, was approved in the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament in the summer of 2016, but the Senate is yet to vote on that piece. However, there have been no indications that lawmakers would begin discussions on the re-regulation of the local market after the Parliament reconvened after the summer recess.

Betsson has long been criticizing heavily the Netherlands’ slow progress toward re-regulation and liberalization of its gambling market. Last year, the major online gambling operator pressed for interference from EU regulators as the Dutch Gaming Authority announced that it would ramp up its penalizing actions.

Betsson and its subsidiary Corona have not been the only foreign gambling entities to have received a heavy fine from Kansspelautoriteit. Earlier in 2018, Germany’s bet-at-home was slapped a €400,000 fine by the regulator after drawing its ire for targeting Dutch players.

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The post Betsson Subsidiary to Appeal €300,000 Fine from Dutch Gambling Regulator appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Universal Entertainment to Backdoor List Philippine Casino Subsidiary

Japanese gaming giant Universal Entertainment Corp. is taking its Philippines-based casino company Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. public through the acquisition of a majority stake in a company listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Manila-based holding company Asiabest Group International announced earlier today that it has inked an agreement with Tiger Resort under which the casino operator would acquire two-thirds in Asiabest for the amount of PHP46.5 million (approximately $12 million). Tiger Resorts owns and operates Okada Manila, a $2.4 billion integrated resort located in the heart of the Philippine capital.

The move will allow the casino operator to join the Philippine Stock Exchange through the so-called backdoor listing practice. A block sale is set to take effect on November 12. Tiger Resort would not be the first casino company with business in the Philippines to be taken public through backdoor listing. Bloomberry, the owner of Solaire Resort & Casino, joined the local bourse through backdoor listing back in 2012.

Melco Resorts & Entertainment also had its Manila-based operations listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange through a listing vehicle. Melco operates the City of Dreams Manila integrated resort. The company actually announced yesterday that it plans to delist from the Philippine Stock Exchange as it has failed to raised enough funds for expansion of its local operation.

News about Tiger Resort’s potentially joining the local stock exchange first emerged last October when it was reported that the company was entering the final stages of negotiations over the purchase of local company Bright Kindle Resources and Investments Inc. However, a deal did not take place.

Founder Sues Tiger

In separate round of news from yesterday, it became known that Tiger’s founder and former CEO and Chairman, Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada, is suing the company and is seeking to be reinstated as shareholder, director Chairman, and Chief Executive of the company.

Mr. Okada landed in hot water last year. The Japanese magnate was removed from his post as a director at Okada Holdings, parent company of Universal Entertainment, in May 2017 over allegations that he had misappropriated funds from the company for personal benefit. Mr. Okada was later on ousted from the board of Tiger Resort over the same allegations.

A lawyer for the casino tycoon confirmed Monday that he had filed a lawsuit in Parañaque City Regional Trial Court, seeking to reassume his posts at the gaming and hospitality company. Mr. Okada has also reportedly reached out to his son, Tomohiro, asking him to resolve the ongoing family feud that was triggered by Mr. Okada’s ouster from his businesses and to serve the interests of the family not of the “unscrupulous” people behind the coup against the Japanese businessman.

According to reports from last month, Mr. Okada was arrested in Hong Kong on fraud charges. The reports were eventually dismissed as untrue by the businessman’s lawyer.

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The post Universal Entertainment to Backdoor List Philippine Casino Subsidiary appeared first on Casino News Daily.


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