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Archive for November 8th, 2018

Genting Malaysia to Review Marketing Expenditure as New Casino Tax Hits Stock

Genting Malaysia to review marketing expenditure ahead of the introduction of a higher casino tax

Genting Malaysia Bhd is moving to assess the full implications of the recently introduced increase in annual casino license fees and gambling taxes, the gaming and hospitality company said today in a filing to Bursa Malaysia.

Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng introduced the country’s 2019 budget plan this past Friday. Stricken by financial scandals and growing budget deficit, Malaysia will implement higher casino and gaming machine license fees as well as higher taxes on those operations as part of its effort to mend its ailing economy, it became known last week.

Under the new budget plan, casino operators will be required to pay a MYR150-million annual license fee, up from MYR120 million. In addition, land-based casinos will be taxed at 35% on their annual gross income from January 1, 2019, when the reforms are set to take force.

Slot machine operators in Malaysia will have to pay an annual license fee of MYR50,000, up from MYR10,000. Their operations will be taxed at 30% on annual gross proceeds from next year, up from the current rate of 20%.

Looming Review of Marketing Expenditure

In today’s filing, Genting Malaysia said that it is assessing the implications of the new tax regime and that it will “take the appropriate next course of action which includes a review of its marketing expenditure and cost structure” in a bid to mitigate the imminent impact of the new tax and license fee.

Genting Malaysia operates the Resorts World Genting integrated resort in its homeland. The property is located on the peak of Mount Ulu Kali not far from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. Among multiple other facilities, the property features a full-blown casino with slot machines and gaming tables.

The company’s shares closed at a three-year low on Monday in a knee-jerk reaction to Friday’s introduction of the new budget plan. The stock has improved since then, closing at MYR3.64 today for a market capitalization of MYR20.579 billion (approx. $4.9 billion).

First reports about Malaysia’s plans to increase gambling taxes and licensing fees emerged in October. Back then, analysts from two research houses pointed out that Genting Malaysia would not suffer any major negative impact from a potential implementation of higher rates. According to Nomura International and Maybank Kim Eng Research experts, the planned opening of new attractions at Resorts World Genting next year would help the company weather any looming reforms.

The gaming and hospitality operator has previously unveiled plans to add 1,500 hotel rooms at its resort as well as the 20th Century Fox World and the Skytropolis theme parks. Genting Malaysia has also pointed out that it targets 30 million visits at the property by 2020. Resorts World Genting welcomed around 22 million visitors last year.

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NT Racing Regulator Channels UK Gambling Commission, Raps Betfair for Responsible Gambling Failures

Betfair was ordered to refund problem gambler after failing to spot “red flag behaviours”

Gambling operator Betfair, owner of the world’s biggest online betting exchange, was scolded by regulators in Australia’s Northern Territory for failing to identify “red flag behaviours” that showed a customer of the company had a serious gambling problem.

Betfair’s failure to spot its customer’s issues resulted in the latter losing hundreds of thousands of dollars within a few hours. The Northern Territory ruled that the company should refund the customer in question, described as Mr M in official documents, the amount of A$150,000 in “unlawful bets.”

The Commission’s ruling was issued last week and was concerned with a case dating back to February.

The Case

Mr M filed a dispute with the NT Racing Commission after gambling away more than A$190,000 within a few hours on Betfair’s website. Betfair is licensed in the Northern Territory to provide betting services to Australian customers and the local Racing Commission is the regulatory body that oversees the company’s activities.

According to official documents, Mr M requested on February 20, 2018 to have A$150,000 transferred from his Betfair betting account to his bank account after losing a significant amount of money on that day.

However, he managed to gamble away A$86,388 that had remained into his betting account a little over 20 minutes after making his initial request. The unfortunate bettor topped up his Betfair account with A$35,000 four hours later and gambled that amount within 47 minutes.

Mr M has told the NT Racing Commission that in what he has described as a “desperate mindset” he asked the gambling operator to reverse his earlier withdrawal request so that he could once again top up his betting account with A$150,000. The customer was initially told that a reversal of withdrawal request could not be canceled. However, after Mr M made several more calls to the company, a manager agreed to have his withdrawal request reversed in a one-off move. The gamble lost that A$150,000, too.

The Ruling

The NT Racing Commission has ruled that Betfair should refund Mr M the A$150,000 he had initially asked to be transferred to his bank account. The regulator has also said that Betfair clearly failed to detect a problem gambler, even though there were red flags that the customer the company was dealing had a gambling problem.

In addition, it came to the commission’s knowledge that Mr M had a history of problem gambling. The unnamed gambler self-excluded himself from gambling for six months in 2014 and had a one-month timeout on his wagering account in 2016.

In January 2018, a month before the February 20 incident that led up to his complaint with the Racing Commission, Mr M tried to have a A$40,000 withdrawal request reversed. However, his request was dismissed over “responsible gambling” considerations.

Betfair has told the commission that it could not have known that Mr M had gambling issues as he had never informed the operator about his problem and that it did not spot any “discernible indicators” in his gambling activity.

In its ruling, the regulator has said that Betfair failed to comply with existing gambling regulations and to detect “red flag behaviours”, and that if it had not failed to detect those, it would have suspended Mr M’s account and would have prevented him from losing a huge amount of money.

Aside from being ordered to refund its customer, Betfair was also fined A$13,175. That was the third time in the past year and a half that the gambling operator breached conditions of its license from the Northern Territory, the commission has noted in its ruling.

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Who Won at the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe

Jack Sinclair and Czech super star Martin Kabrhel among the biggest winners at this year’s WSOPE

The 2018 edition of the World Series of Poker Europe is now in the books. The popular poker event has found a permanent residence at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, and took place from October 9 through November 2, offering a month full of quality poker action and hefty monetary prizes alongside shiny WSOP gold bracelets, the most coveted poker trophy there is.

This year, the WSOPE festival featured ten gold bracelet tournaments that offered more than €13 million in guaranteed prize money. As many as 876 players were awarded payouts from those ten events. Some of those lucky players were prominent poker pros, while the others were less familiar to the global poker scene, but they all showed great poker skill and poured great effort into running deep into the tough fields of the latest WSOPE.

And here are the winningest players at this year’s edition of the popular tournament poker festival.

Englishman Jack Sinclair Wins the Main Event

Sinclair is a player with quite some experience on the felt. But his latest accomplishment is his best so far. The player topped a stacked €10,350 Main Event for a first-place prize of €1,122,239 and his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet.

Sinclair emerged as the victor from a field of 534 entries, slightly up from last year’s 529-strong field. The event started off with a guaranteed prize pool of €5 million, but that guarantee was eventually surpassed and the final prize pool amounted to €5,034,000. The money was split into payouts for the top 81 finishers.

Hungary’s Laszlo Bujtas was the Main Event champ’s heads-up opponent. The player took home €693,573 for his runner-up finish. Bulgaria’s Krasimir Yankov rounded out the podium, receiving a cash prize of €480,028.

Czech Republic’s Martin Kabrhel Takes Down the Super High Roller

Kabrhel added another hefty payout to his constantly lengthening list of accomplishments. The player was the last man standing in the €100,000 buy-in Super High Roller to collect his second gold bracelet from the WSOP Europe series and his career’s best live cash of €2,624,340.

The WSOP Europe Super High Roller was utter success. The event featured a €5-million guaranteed prize pool but its field of 95 seasoned high rollers totally smashed the guarantee. A prize pool of €9.025 million was eventually generated and the top 15 players were treated to a share of the money.

The likes of Steffen Sontheimer, Steve O’Dwyer, and David Peters were among those to scoop a payout from the tournament. And all three of them are boasting impressive poker portfolios, to say the least. It was in fact Peters whom Kabrhel had to defeat heads-up. The US poker pro eventually collected €1,621,960 from the major tournament.

It is also interesting to note that Kabrhel almost won another €100,000 high roller at King’s Casino only a couple of days after his triumph. The player finished runner-up to Malaysia’s Seng Leow in the non-gold bracelet €100,000 Leon’s High Roller for €773,457 in prize money.

Michael Addamo Triumphs in €25,500 High Roller

Australia’s Michael Addamo was the star of the WSOPE €25,500 High Roller. The player beat a field of 133 for a cash prize of €848,702 and his second WSOP gold bracelet. He claimed his first piece of WSOP jewelry this past summer when he was crowned the victor of the $2,620 Marathon event.

The €25,500 High Roller at King’s Casino featured a guaranteed prize pool of €1 million. However, the guarantee was more than tripled to be split among the top 20 finishers. Christian Rudolph from Germany took home the second-place prize of €524,532, while France’s Benjamin Pollak rounded out the podium for a cash prize of €370,219.

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The post Who Won at the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe appeared first on Casino News Daily.

“Conservative” Japan Might Prove a Challenge for Macau’s Casino Operators, Legal Expert Says

Macau’s casino operators will initially come across serious challenges in their bidding for a casino license in Japan, a legal experts believes

Chinese casino operators might initially face certain setbacks when the race for three gaming licenses in Japan officially begins, according to Japanese legal expert, Hayato Terai. Mr. Terai was appointed earlier this year as the Co-CEO of GanaEight Coin, a blockchain project launched by online slot game developer Ganapati.

Mr. Terai spoke with the Macau News Agency (MNA) during the ongoing Asia Gaming Summit in Taipei, Taiwan where he was invited as a speaker.

The legal expert believes that Macau’s gaming and hospitality companies might face difficulties obtaining licenses for the development and operation of integrated resorts under Japan’s newly adopted gambling legislation. He told the MNA that his homeland “is very conservative so for [Macau gambling companies] to come in it might take a while.”

On the other hand, the legal expert said pointed out that the case will be completely different for Chinese gamblers and that they will certainly be welcome in Japan. The Japanese Diet passed this past summer the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill, a piece of legislation setting out the rules and principles under which the nation’s first integrated resorts with gaming floors will be operated.

Among other things, the bill contains provisions regarding the access to Japanese nationals to the casinos. Under the piece, residents of the country will only be allowed ten casino visits per month and will have to pay an entry fee of JPY6,000 (approx. $53). The measures aim to prevent an extreme rise in the number of people affected by problem gambling.

Mr. Terai noted that as Japanese nationals will only be able to gamble at the nation’s casinos under certain restrictions, customers from outside the country, particularly ones from China and the US, will be the main clientèle targeted by the venues.

Nobody Has Run a Large Casino in Japan

The Japanese attorney said that while Macau casino operators might face challenges in the race for the casino licenses, their expertise in operating large integrated resorts will eventually place them in an advantageous position. Casino companies will also have advantage over Japan’s pachinko companies, many of which have, too, expressed interest in participating in the casino license bidding process.

Mr. Terai said he found it funny how Japanese have a bad image of gambling, even though gambling is practically everywhere in the country and will be there “for a very long time in the future.” While most forms of gambling are illegal in Japan, there are several locally popular gambling options, including the pinball-like pachinko gaming machines.

In fact, the pachinko sector has been the one to be blamed the most for Japan’s soaring gambling addiction rate. According to a government-commissioned study from last year, 3.6% of Japanese have been found to have been addicted to gambling at some point in their lives, which is higher than the 1%-2% average in most of the other developed countries.

Under Japan’s IR implementation bill, three casino licenses will be issued by the government. Lobbying by major international gaming companies interested in the nation’s nascent casino market has already begun, although the licenses are expected to be granted in about a year from now.

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