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Archive for November 10th, 2018

Philippines’ President Needs No Executive Order to Ban Casinos on Boracay, Justice Secretary Admits

The Philippines’ Justice Secretary said today that President Duterte does not need an executive order, but one is highly recommended as the fastest way to a lasting casino ban

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte can prevent casino operations from being conducted on the Boracay Island even without an Executive Order (EO), Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told local news outlet ABS-CBN News earlier today.

Mr. Guevarra’s comments emerged a day after President Duterte himself pointed out that he did not need an EO to implement a no-casino policy on Boracay. The Philippines’ top official went on to say that it was the people of Boracay who did not want gambling venues in the popular tourism draw and that it was his duty to listen to what his people wanted and make sure there would be no casinos there.

In today’s comments, Mr. Guevarra noted that President Duterte has the power and tools to ban casinos from operating on the island, which was recently reopened after a six-month environmental cleanup. However, the Justice Secretary added that an EO is still a measure he highly recommends as it “sets a long-term policy and provides a formal framework for all government actions pertaining to the subject matter.”

With his latest comments, Mr. Guevarra reiterated his opinion on the issue. Last month, the official penned a letter to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat sayind that the Department of Tourism should urge President Duterte to issue an EO as it was “the most expedient and effective” means to stop gambling operations on the island.

Boracay has long been one of the most popular tourism destinations in the Philippines. According to official statistics, the island has annually welcomed more than 2 million tourists over the past several years.

The island was shuttered in late April for a six-month environmental cleanup, following the publication of an environmental review of the island back in February. The review found that many Boracay businesses had for years discharged untreated waste water directly into the sea and that a number of developments had been undertaken without the necessary construction permits being obtained.

Enraged by those findings, President Duterte called the island a cesspool and ordered its closure for a period of six months, during which an environmental cleanup would be carried out.

President Duterte’s War on Casinos

News emerged shortly before Boracay’s closure that Macau hotel and casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Corp. and its local partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corporation, had secured a provisional license from PAGCOR, the country’s gambling regulator, for the construction of a $500-million resort on the island.

The announcement of Galaxy’s project enraged President Duterte, who has never been a big fan of gambling and has made that quite clear, even more. What followed was a new wave of his continued crackdown on everything gambling. The top official vowed to prevent the materialization of Galaxy’s casino scheme and to purge Boracay from all existing gambling operations. The island casino ban extended to the rest of the country as the President has repeatedly pointed out that there will be no new casinos anywhere in the Philippines.

He reiterated his intentions to prevent any proposed expansion of the nation’s casino industry yesterday, saying that the proliferation of gambling spurs growth in crime rates, including crimes related to drug dealing and kidnappings as well as financial crimes.

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The post Philippines’ President Needs No Executive Order to Ban Casinos on Boracay, Justice Secretary Admits appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Mehdi Merai Leads after WPTDeepStacks Brussels Main Event Day 1A

Merai bags the chip lead after Day 1A of the brand-new WPTDeepStacks Brussels Main Event

The WPTDeepStacks series is back to Grand Casino Brussels Viage in the capital of Belgium for another thrilling poker festival. The €1,200 Main Event is under way now and the first of its three starting flights was completed yesterday at the host casino.

Day 1A saw 144 entrants jump into action, all vying to secure a seat into Day 2 and then advance further into the tournament. Two more starting flights are to be played within the schedule of the Main Event, both of which will take place later today at the host casino.

Of all 144 competitors who registered during the opening flight, there were only 49 to survive all twelve levels played yesterday.

Mehdi Merai bagged and tagged the largest stack at the end of the day, good for 276,500 in chips. The player is looking to score his first cash from the World Poker Tour. He has two previous in-the-money finishes from live tournaments, the most recent of which he collected this past spring when he finished third in the Winamax SISMIX Main Event in Marrakech. The player took home the amount of $54,125 for his efforts.

Andrea Ricci with 250,000 and Vincent Londez with 227,500 rounded out top three of the temporary leaderboard after Day 1A of the tournament. And Michael Gathy with 190,000 and Bruno Soutavong with 184,000 completed the top five of the chip counts chart.

Other Notables in Contention

Dutchman Rens Feenstra, who topped the field of the WPT Amsterdam Main Event this past spring, was also among the players to secure a seat into Day 2. However, he will not enjoy an easy start of the next stage of the tournament as he only bagged 25,500 last night.

There were also a number of notables who entered the Main Event yesterday but could not make it through all twelve events. WPTDeepStacks Vilamoura champ Jimmy Livramento, reigning WPTDeepStacks Player of the Year Tobias Peters, and Joris Ruijs were among those to exit the tournament on Day 1A.

However, they still have chance to advance into Day 2 as Day 1B is about to kick off at the host casino. Action starts at 2 pm local time. There will also be an additional starting flight to take place today. Day 1C is slated to begin at 10 pm local time, but it will feature a turbo structure to give interested players one last chance to secure a spot into Day 2.

Greece’s Ioannis Angelou-Konstas (pictured) won the latest edition of the WPTDeepStacks Brussels Main Event. The player bested a field of 315 this past spring for a first-place prize of €75,000. Angelou-Konstas has one more title from the poker series. Last October, he took down the WPTDeepStacks Main Event in the Netherlands for €56,806 in prize money. Most recently, the Greek player celebrated his triumph in the £5,300 buy-in partypoker MILLIONS Dusk Till Down Main Event for his career’s largest prize of £940,000.

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The post Mehdi Merai Leads after WPTDeepStacks Brussels Main Event Day 1A appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Sweden’s Unregulated Gambling Market Spurs Growth, Latest Figures Show

Grey market sees double-digit growth ahead of new gambling law’s implementation

Sweden’s gambling market was worth SEK16.8 billion (approximately $1.9 billion) during the first three quarters of the year, the country’s gambling regulator, Lotteriinspektionen, revealed on Thursday.

And while revenue from locally licensed operators accounted for the greater portion of the reported figure, internationally licensed gambling companies servicing Swedish players were the main driver of growth over the first nine months of 2018.

The reported revenue figure represented an increase of 1.2% from the corresponding period in 2017. Swedish gambling companies generated revenue of SEK12.2 billion (approx. $1.3 billion) over the reviewed period, down 2.4% year-on-year. Revenue from international operations totaled SEK4.5 billion (approx. $$96.4 million), reflecting an increase of 12.4% from the prior year.

According to Lotteriinspektionen’s latest report, local operators accounted for 73% of the market, while non-Swedish ones held a 27% market share during the first nine months of the year.

The online gambling sector was the one to record the biggest growth during the reviewed period. While revenue from land-based gambling services decreased 8.2% in the first three quarters of the year, online gambling figures rose 12.9%. Online betting revenue was up 13.6% year-on-year, while the online casino sector grew 11.9%. Sweden-licensed gambling operators are banned from providing online casino games under the country’s current gambling law, which means that particular sector is entirely represented by international companies.

In case you missed it:

Why Has Sweden’s Gambling Market Re-Regulation Created Such a Big Buzz?

Most New Gambling Accounts Opened with Foreign Companies

A recently released report by Swedish consultancy firm Mediavision revealed that the majority of online gambling registrations made over the past year were with internationally licensed companies. Accounts opened with such companies represented a 60% of all new registrations, the firm has found.

It was also reported that the number of Swedes who have an online gambling account has increased 12% from last year. Around 60% of people aged between 18-74 seem to be gambling online with both locally licensed and foreign providers of gaming and betting services.

According to Mediavision’s Mazyar Sajjadi, a possible explanation on why Swedish gamblers have preferred international companies to local ones over the past year was the fact that foreign gambling websites feature special offers and deposit bonuses to lure more customers. Licensed gambling companies are prohibited from offering any such incentives.

Sweden is set to scrap the current gambling monopoly system on January 1, 2019, when its new gambling law is to take force. Under the new rules, international companies will be able to obtain licenses from the local gambling regulator and to operate in a regulated environment.

Among many other things, the new law will also close a loophole that has made it possible for unlicensed companies to advertise their services across Swedish media, even though their presence in the country has not been exactly legal. Only locally licensed companies will be able to advertise their products in Sweden once the new regulations come into effect.

According to a report by research firm Kantar Sifo from earlier this year, several foreign gambling companies were among Sweden’s spendiest advertisers in 2017. Kindred Group and LeoVegas, both hailing namely from Sweden but operating from Malta, ranked among the top 20 advertisers of 2017 by ad spending. The former spent a total of SEK443.1 million on marketing its products in Sweden, while the latter’s marketing costs totaled SEK314 million.

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The post Sweden’s Unregulated Gambling Market Spurs Growth, Latest Figures Show appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Disgraced Casino Boss Steve Wynn Sues MassGaming over Use of Privileged Information

Mr. Wynn seeks to stop the release of MassGaming’s investigative report into sexual misconduct allegations against him

Former casino boss Steve Wynn is suing Wynn Resorts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, arguing that the company he found has improperly provided the gaming regulator with privileged documents that the latter used for its probe into sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against the businessman.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission opened an investigation into the disgraced tycoon after the publication of a report by the Wall Street Journal that detailed a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” by Mr. Wynn. Dozens of former and current Wynn Resorts employees claimed that they had been subjected to unwanted sexual advances by the businessman and that he had used his power to pressure them into “performing sex acts.”

The WSJ report was published in January and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission launched an investigation into the matter shortly after. Wynn Resorts is currently building the $2.4-billion Encore Boston Harbor integrated resort in the Greater Boston area. The property is slated to open doors next summer, but at one point during the ongoing investigation its future seemed very uncertain.

It emerged on Thursday that Mr. Wynn and his legal team filed a lawsuit against Wynn Resorts and MassGaming in a Nevada court on Wednesday. It is important to note that the businessman has quit the company and has sold his entire stock in it since the publication of the WSJ report.

In his lawsuit from Wednesday, the embattled businessman argued that his former company had provided the Massachusetts gambling regulator with documents “reflecting communications protected by Mr. Wynn’s attorney-client privilege and/or the common interest agreements he entered with Wynn Resorts.”

The lawsuit filing further read that the MassGaming probe has been conducted with a total disregard for Mr. Wynn’s privileged communications. The lawsuit seeks to stop the publication of the regulator’s investigative report in case it contains privileged information.

The lawsuit not a surprise

The gaming regulator said in a statement that it was not surprised by the lawsuit and that it has retained legal representation in Nevada to defend itself and to block Mr. Wynn’s effort to prevent the publication of the investigatory report.

The Gaming Commission is expected to release a full report with its findings during a hearing in December. The regulatory body opened the probe back in February to find out whether the allegations were true, who knew about those, and how the issue was addressed.

There were suggestions earlier this year that Wynn Resorts could lose its license for the development and operation of its integrated resort in Everett, a city located not far from Boston. The company was one of two major gaming and hospitality operators to have been issued gaming licenses by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, following the legalization of commercial casino gambling by the state Legislature a few years ago.

To distance itself from Mr. Wynn and the piling sexual misconduct allegations against the businessman, Wynn Resorts moved to change the name of its new resort from Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor earlier this year.

News also emerged this week that Philip Satre will step in as Chairman of Wynn Resorts before the end of the year. Mr. Satre, a former Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Harrah’s Atlantic City CEO, is replacing D. Boone Wayson, who announced his retirement last month. Mr. Wayson was named as Non-Executive Chairman of the Las Vegas-based casino operator following the departure of Mr. Wynn in February.

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The post Disgraced Casino Boss Steve Wynn Sues MassGaming over Use of Privileged Information appeared first on Casino News Daily.


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