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Archive for November 3rd, 2018

Casino Tax Hike Included in Malaysia’s 2019 Budget Plan

New government considers casino tax hike economy grapples with financial scandals and growing budget deficit

Malaysia is aiming to mend its scandal-stricken economy and tackle a widening budget gap with higher license fees and tax rates for land-based casinos and slot machine operations, it became known today.

The planned changes were introduced today by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The official presented his first budged under the country’s new government. The new gaming license fees and taxes are part of a larger package of tax and other financial reforms that are focused on improving Malaysia’s economy amid turbulent times. Today’s announcement came as a confirmation to reports from last month that a new casino taxation structure was under consideration as the new administration has been tussling with a massive debt and a growing budget deficit.

The newly tabled budget plan is yet to be discussed by the Malaysian government, but if it gains the necessary traction, it will increase the annual casino license fee to MYR150 million from MYR120 million. In addition, land-based casinos will be taxed at 35% on gross income. Annual slot machine license fees are planned to go up to MYR50,000 from MYTR10,000, and the gaming devices will be taxed at 30% on gross proceeds. The slot machine tax rate currently stands at 20% on gross income.

New Taxation Regime Will Not Affect Genting Significantly

While it is too early to determine how gambling operations in Malaysia will be affected by the increased license fees and tax rate, analysts believe that at least one casino operator will not suffer a heavy blow from the new regime.

As mentioned earlier, first indications that a new tax structure was being debated by Malaysian lawmakers emerged last month. In separate notes on the matter, Nomura International and Maybank Kim Eng Research said back in October that gaming and hospitality giant Genting Malaysia will not see any major negative impact from the planned license fee and taxation changes.

Genting Malaysia currently operates the Resorts World Genting mountain hotel and casino resort. According to analysts, the planned opening of new attractions at the property will help it weather any reforms in the way casino services are taxed. The integrated resort is set to add new facilities in the first half of 2019, including the Skytropolis and 20th Century Fox World theme parks as well as 1,500 hotel rooms and multiple dining options.

Genting Malaysia has said that it targets 30 million visitors at its property by 2020 with the addition of the new facilities. Resorts World Genting received 22 million visitors last year.

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The post Casino Tax Hike Included in Malaysia’s 2019 Budget Plan appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Scott Sanders Tops 332-Strong Field in WSOP Circuit Harveys Lake Tahoe $400 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack

Scott Sanders captures a shiny gold ring after a fun heads-up against Marty Gorenc

Scott Sanders, a player from Santa Clara, California, was the Thursday night star at Harveys Lake Tahoe Casino as he navigated through the field of the $400 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack, or Event #8 on the WSOP Circuit Harveys Lake Tahoe schedule, to eventually emerge as the victor and collect his first gold ring from the major poker series.

Sanders also claimed a first-place monetary prize of $25,201 as an additional reward for his great performance at the tables of the host venue.

The player was one of the 332 competitors to register into the two-day Monster Stack tournament. And he was the player to collect the lion’s share of the $109,560 prize pool. While the majority of entries left empty-handed, there were others, besides Sanders, to claim a portion of the prize pool. The top 36 finishers received a payout from the tournament, with in-cashes being worth $566.

The event’s final day was played Thursday at the host casino. It kicked off with 13 hopefuls, all eyeing the gold ring and the first-place prize. When the unofficial final table of ten was reached, Sanders was about mid-stacked with 1 million in chips. He managed to improve his stack and to avoid elimination to eventually make it to heads-up against Marty Gorenc from Reno, Nevada.

Fun Heads-Up

While playing heads-up for a WSOP Circuit gold ring can certainly be a bit stressful, neither Sanders, nor his final opponent showed any signs of stress when they faced each other for a final battle for the title.

There was a great amount of banter at the table, fans’ excitement, and a couple of drinks for additional fun, before Sanders sealed the victory with [Ah][9c] on what turned out to be the final hand of the night. Gorenc scooped a consolation prize of $15,578 for his runner-up finish.

Of his approach to poker, the brand-new WSOP Circuit champion said last night that if players “don’t have fun then poker will never grow” and that his main goal is namely to grow poker. This is why Sanders has been looking to make poker fun so people keep playing the game he loves.

Sanders’ latest cash from the WSOP Circuit brought his earnings from the series to over $100,000. But his first-place prize last night was not his largest-ever cash from the circuit. Last year, Sanders finished third in the $580 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry (Muti-Flight) at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood for a cash prize of $62,255. The player has so far cashed in eight WSOP Circuit tournaments, but he is certainly eyeing more titles and deep runs in the series.

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The post Scott Sanders Tops 332-Strong Field in WSOP Circuit Harveys Lake Tahoe $400 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Dutch Regulator Fines Online Gambling Operator with Questionable Reputation

Dutch Gambling Authority scolds another erring operator for targeting local players

Another online gambling operator has incurred the wrath of Kansspelautoriteit, the regulatory body charged with monitoring the Netherlands’ gambling market. In a statement from earlier today, the regulator announced that it has imposed a €350,000 fine on Curaçao-licensed CyberRock Entertainment NV and Cyprus-based Honeydew Trading Limited for targeting Dutch gambling customers without being authorized to do so.

As mentioned earlier, CyberRock Entertainment is licensed in Curaçao. The company provides online gaming services across multiple jurisdictions and via multiple brands. CyberRock Entertainment is listed as the sole shareholder in Honeydew, an online gambling company based in Nicosia, Cyprus. It is important to note that many of the gaming websites operated by CyberRock and its affiliate have been blacklisted or issued warnings by major online casino review websites after complaints from players over predatory behavior and inadequate response to issues.

Kansspelautoriteit said today that the two companies, through their multiple brands and most prominently through the Play2Win and Supreme Play casinos, have been targeting Dutch players, even though the provision of remote gambling services is illegal under current Dutch laws.

CyberRock and Honeydew have not been the first gambling operators to have been slapped hefty fines by the regulator over the past few months. Malta-based companies Betsson and MRG (parent company of Mr Green) have been among those penalized by Kansspelautoriteit for providing unlicensed gambling services. Betsson received a €300,000 fine in August, while Mr Green was fined €312,000 in mid-September.

Many Dutch Players Unaware of Legal Status of Online Gambling in the Netherlands

Commenting on the latest regulatory action against remote gambling operations, René Jansen, Chairman of Kansspelautoriteit’s Board of Directors, said that there are many Dutch people who do not know that online gambling is currently illegal in the country. As a result, they are gambling on unregulated websites, which exposes them to fraud and other related crimes. In addition, gambling on such websites makes it hard for Kansspelautoriteit and other competent bodies to monitor and assist vulnerable people, the regulator added.

The Dutch Gambling Authority has been extremely critical of the delayed re-regulation of the country’s gambling market. The so-called Remote Gambling Bill has been stuck in the Parliament for quite a while and it has been only this year that the Dutch Senate has begun discussions that are hoped to lead to its eventual passage. The piece of legislation was passed by the Lower House in the summer of 2016.

According to previous comments by Dutch lawmakers, the bill was expected to be passed and enforced by mid-2019. However, Dutch State Secretary Menno Snel has recently said that the new gambling law is likely to take effect in mid-2020. Mr. Snel made the prognosis as part of his responses to parliamentary questions related to the planned implementation of a higher tax on land-based gambling services. The new tax is, too, expected to take effect in mid-2020.

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The post Dutch Regulator Fines Online Gambling Operator with Questionable Reputation appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Caesars CEO to Step Down, Company Signs Brand Sponsorship with New Raiders Stadium in Vegas

Caesars CEO steps down after three years at the company’s helm; the casino operator becomes first founding sponsor of Las Vegas Stadium

Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora announced Thursday that he is resigning after three years in the role. Mr. Frissora will step down on February 8, 2019. The Las Vegas casino giant said during a conference call following the release of its Q3 financial results that it would appoint a search firm to find a replacement for its Chief Executive.

Mr. Frissora stepped in as CEO of Caesars in July 2015. The company was in the middle of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case at the time. It emerged from bankruptcy in the fall of 2017 under Mr. Frissora’s stewardship to embark on domestic and international expansion of both its gaming and non-gaming operations in a bid to improve its profitability and reduce its debt.

Caesars also reported its financial results for the third quarter of the year on Thursday. The company recorded net income of $110 million, up from a net loss of $433 million in 2017. Third-quarter revenue amounted to $2.19 billion, up from $0.99 billion in the prior year. The significant increase was attributed to the inclusion of the results of Caesars’ main operating unit, which emerged from bankruptcy last fall, as well as of the results of Indiana-based gaming company Centaur Holdings. Caesars finalized the acquisition of Centaur during the reviewed quarter.

In its financial report, the Las Vegas company provided comments on the recently emerged reports that it had been approached by businessman Tilman Fertitta with a merger offer. According to sources familiar with Mr. Fertitta’s intentions, the Golden Nugget owner had presented Caesars with an offer for a reverse merger that would have seen Caesars acquire Mr. Fertitta’s gaming, hospitality, and restaurant businesses in exchange for “a significant minority of Caesars’ common shares.”

The company said Thursday that after considering the proposal, it has decided to decline it as “it is not consistent with [its] plans to create and enhance shareholder value.” According to separate reports, Caesars is currently in talks to acquire Michigan-based gaming and hospitality corporation JACK Entertainment.

Raiders Stadium Partnership

News also emerged on Thursday, that Caesars has penned a 15-year agreement to become a founding partner of Las Vegas Stadium, currently under development in Paradise, Nevada and slated to become home venue of the Oakland Raiders as part of the franchise’s planned relocation to Las Vegas in the coming years.

As part of the partnership, the Caesars brand will be featured at the stadium’s entrances and drop-off zone. The agreement also involves digital signage as well as print, media, and radio assets, among others.

Caesars will be offering exclusive experiences to its customers and Total Rewards members. High roller casino players will be provided with even more enhanced experience, including access to training facility events and the special Caesars-branded owners suite located at the 50-yard line of the stadium, among others.

While the entrances and other parts of the stadium will feature Caesars-branded signage, it should be noted that the deal does not involve stadium naming rights. According to sources, the Raiders have been in talks with multiple other major companies that have been prone to sponsoring stadiums.

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