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Archive for September 13th, 2018

Dutch Gambling Regulator Slaps Mr Green with Hefty Fine

Online gambling company MRG, recently rebranded from Mr Green, announced today that it has become the latest target of the Netherlands Gaming Authority’s punitive actions against unregulated remote gambling operations conducted in the country.

MRG said in a press release on its corporate website that its Malta-based and licensed subsidiary Mr Green Ltd. has been imposed a €312,500 fine for targeting Dutch gambling customers without being authorized to do so. Mr Green’s six-figure fine arrives shortly after a subsidiary of rival gambling operator Betsson was slapped with a €300,000 fine for similar reasons.

MRG said in its press release from earlier today that its subsidiary has followed closely the guidelines for the provision of online gambling services in the Netherlands introduced by Kansspelautoriteit, the local regulator, with a single exception. The company went on that it has not implemented IP blocking for Dutch customers which eventually became the reason for its fine.

A statement by Kansspelautoriteit reads that the fine was imposed on July 17, 2018, but remained undisclosed as Mr Green brought the matter to court to seek reversal of the regulator’s decision. The Gaming Authority further revealed that the court has sided with it and thus gave the nod to the publication of information about the fine. MGR said in today’s press release that it would further appeal the matter, stating that it has not been the only company to block Dutch customers from its websites.

Betsson Decides to Appeal Its Fine

As mentioned earlier, Mr Green has not been the only operator to be slapped a heavy fine by the Netherlands Gaming Authority over the past few weeks. A subsidiary of Malta-based gambling company Betsson received a €300,000 fine by the regulator for targeting local players without being licensed to do so.

Corona Ltd., the company the bill was addressed to, owns and operates the Oranje Casino and Kroon Casino brands. Betsson announced earlier this week that its subsidiary has decided to appeal the fine and that if its move does not bring any positive outcome, it would refer the matter to court.

Earlier this year, Kansspelautoriteit imposed a €400,000 fine on German gambling operator bet-at-home for serving Dutch customers. The regulator has also slapped massive fines to multiple other companies over the years. However, it has not been able to collect those due to the Netherlands’ current gambling law, which does not provide the regulatory body with enough power.

It is also important to note that there has been an ongoing market re-regulation process in the country, although it has been progressing slowly. Based on discussions in the Dutch Parliament, there is a chance that operators that have previously been fined by Kansspelautoriteit might not be awarded licenses by the regulator once these become available.

This possibility has been discussed for some time in the country and a move of this kind has gained both quite some supporters and opponents. According to its opponents, it would have a massive negative impact on the channelization of players, once the local market is re-regulated in a manner that allows foreign companies to operate with licenses from Kansspelautoriteit.

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Manju Gera Takes Down WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley $400 H.O.R.S.E. for First Gold Ring

Manju Gera has become the newest winner of a WSOP Circuit gold ring. Earlier this week, the player bested the field of the $400 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at Thunder Valley Casino Resort for her first cash from the series and the coveted gold piece. Gera collected $8,303 to accompany her triumph.

While she had never cashed in a WSOP Circuit event before her win at Thunder Valley, it should be noted that Gera is quite an experienced poker player. Mixed games appear to be her specialty and she showed much of her expertize during the $400 H.O.R.S.E. tournament.

Gera played against a number of poker notables, including Howard Andrew and Vince Burgio, David Diiorio, who is something of a poker celebrity in the region, as well as defending champion Steve Lustig who won the H.O.R.S.E. ring at the exact same host venue last winter and was looking to pair the piece.

Gera might have not played in the WSOP Circuit series as frequently as some of her rivals in the Thunder Valley tournament, but she has certainly accumulated a lot of experience over the years by playing and cashing in mixed-games tournaments. She has been playing mostly at California and Nevada casinos.

Gera’s Run in the $400 H.O.R.S.E.

The $400 buy-in tournament drew 74 entries and, as mentioned earlier, there were quite some notables among those who ventured into H.O.R.S.E. action at Thunder Valley Casino. The tournament was played over a single day. Its $24,420 prize pool was split among the top eight finishers, min-cashes starting from $976.

Gera had a terrific run at the host venue and she herself admitted that cards were oftentimes coming her way. In her post-victory interview the player said that she did not really know much about her rivals at the tables. The brand-new WSOP Circuit champ further dwelt that her opponents might have thought that, playing against a middle-aged woman, they could bluff a lot. However, Gera manged to pick up a lot of those bluffs and that, combined with nice cards running her way, helped her take down the tournament and claim the gold ring.

Gera went into the unofficial nine-handed final table as the chip leader with 240,000. She maintained her momentum all the way down to her two-handed duel against Steve Lustig. Lustig was looking to win his second gold ring from the series, after collecting his first one early this year at the same host venue and in the same event. It was not meant for him to score a back-to-back win, though, and the player had to content with the consolation prize of $5,137 for his runner-up finish.

Here it is interesting to note that poker apparently runs in Gera’s family. The player is the mother of poker pro Nikhil Gera, who has previously won two WSOP Circuit gold rings.

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Casino, Hospitality Giant Caesars Files for Trademark in Macau

Two subsidiaries of US gaming and hospitality giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. have applied for trademark protection in Macau, news outlet Macau Business reports citing a dispatch in the city’s Official Gazette from earlier today.

The applications include different services such as casino gambling, hospitality, dining, and entertainment. Caesars does not operate integrated resort properties in Macau at present.

Flamingo Las Vegas Operating Company, LLC and Corner Investment, LLC are the two companies understood to have applied for trademark protection. The former has filed for four trademarks in the city for the ‘Flamingo’ brand. Services covered by its application include the provision of casino gambling, the operation of hotels and food and beverage facilities as well as of entertainment venues.

As for Corner Investment, which is an indirectly owned subsidiary of Caesars, it is understood that it has, too, applied for four trademarks for ‘The Cromwell’ brand for the provision of the same services as those listed above.

Caesars has been approached by local media for a comment, but has not provided any additional information about its potential Macau plans.

Macau is the only Chinese territory where casino gambling is legal. Up until the early 2000s, the city’s casinos were operated by Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, which held the monopoly rights over the provision of gambling. The local government ended the monopoly system in 2002 and authorized the issuance of three concessions and three subconcessions to interested operators. SJM Holdings , Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Galaxy Entertainment Group, MGM Resorts International, and Melco International Development, through local subsidiaries, were the six companies that were allowed to operate casinos in Macau.

Their gaming licenses are set to expire between 2020 and 2022. The government of the city is yet to announce whether it will renew these or will give new companies the opportunity to enter the local casino market. With that said, Caesars might be looking to seize any such opportunity in a bid to extend its footprint.

Global and Domestic Expansion

Caesars emerged from a complex and lengthy Chapter 11 bankruptcy last October. The company has since been working hard to expand its footprint both across its domestic market and internationally. In addition, it has pointed out that it would look to extend its non-gaming portfolio.

Caesars is one of the major gaming and hospitality companies to have expressed interest into Japan’s newly regulated casino market. It has revealed that it would be among the bidders for one of the three gaming licenses to be issued by the Japanese government and that it has big plans for that particular market.

It has also recently emerged that the Las Vegas-based giant has expressed interest in participating in an €8-billion scheme that aims to redevelop the former Ellinikon International Airport near Athens, Greece into a massive integrated resort with a casino.

As for its non-gaming expansion plans, Caesars recently broke ground on the $375-million Caesars Forum conference and event facility in Las Vegas. The property is set to open doors in 2020 and to feature 650,000 square feet of conference, meeting, and event space.

The Las Vegas-based company also announced that it would open non-gaming properties in Dubai and Mexico over the next few years.

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FanDuel Extends Sports Betting Footprint to Mississippi with Sportsbook at IP Casino Biloxi

Daily fantasy sports company FanDuel is set to expand its sports betting footprint with its entry into Mississippi’s regulated betting market. Under a partnership between the company and gaming and hospitality operator Boyd Gaming, the latter company will rebrand the sportsbook at its IP Casino Resort in Biloxi as FanDuel Sportsbook.

The sports betting facility debuted on August 3, shortly after the legalization of wagering on professional and college sports in the state of Mississippi. The planned rebrand of the sportsbook is set to be celebrated on Thursday. Michael Lewis, Derland Moore, Dalton Hilliard, and Marcus Dupree, the former New Orleans Saints stars who all hail from Mississippi, will attend the ceremony and will place the first four bets at the new FanDuel Sportsbook.

The IP Casino sportsbook is the first one that will be operated jointly by Boyd and FanDuel as a result from the two companies’ agreement. Under its terms, Boyd will have its 29 properties across 10 states connected with FanDuel’s 8 million customers across 45 states. The deal also extends to another gaming and hospitality giant – MGM Resorts International, which owns the Beau Rivage & Resort in Mississippi.

The IP Casino sportsbook will feature FanDuel branding and signs all over. Matt King, CEO of the FanDuel Group, told local news outlet Sun Herald that they would look to provide bettors with sufficient information so that they make intelligent bets and create comfortable experience for both casual and more sophisticated sports fans.

Boyd Gaming will continue running the rebranded FanDuel Sportsbook. The company has more than four decades of sports betting experience, mainly in Nevada, where wagering remained legal after the implementation of the PASPA act, the long-standing federal ban on betting on professional and collegiate sports leagues.

The Phenomenon of College Football

Speaking to local media, Mr. King pointed to one particularly important advantage that Mississippi currently possesses. The state is the only one to provide sports betting in the South and in the Southeastern Conference college football league region. According to the FanDuel CEO, people would be drawn to visit Mississippi to bet on college football, just as they had been drawn to visit Nevada when the state was the only one to offer full-fledged sports betting services.

IP Casino officials revealed that in the first few weeks of college and professional football and of sports betting at the gambling venue, activity has been heavier on Saturdays than on Sundays. In comparison, betting action in Las Vegas has always been at its peak on Sundays throughout the football season.

Mr. King pointed out that the trend in Mississippi would probably remain the same and betting would be peaking on Saturdays due to the fact that college football has a massive following in the state.

FanDuel made its first foray into regulated US sports betting in New Jersey, where it launched a sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack on July 14. It later on rolled out a mobile app to complement its offering at the racetrack.

Unlike New Jersey where bettors can wager via their mobile devices anywhere in the state, in Mississippi mobile betting will only be allowed at casino premises. State regulators are yet to release rules and regulations in relation to the provision of mobile betting and it is yet to be announced when this type of service will be available at the state’s gambling venues.

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