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Archive for February 19th, 2019

NetEnt Obtains Permanent Casino Supplier License in New Jersey

NetEnt secures permanent license in New Jersey, eyes expansion in the newly regulated Pennsylvanian online gambling market

Swedish provider of online casino games NetEnt has locked up a permanent license by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement more than three years after the company originally entered the local market.

As per a statement released by NetEnt earlier today, the supplier was granted a permanent Casino Service Industry Enterprise license by New Jersey’s gambling regulator. The company thus reached an important milestone in its strategy to expand across the pond. The newly obtained license is NetEnt’s first one in the United States. The company has repeatedly pointed out that it aims to expand its footprint further across the US, should online gambling gets legalized in more states.

NetEnt applied for a New Jersey license in 2015. The company was given a transactional waiver by state gambling regulators to provide its products and services while its application was under review in September 2015. Over the course of the past three and a half years, the Swedish supplier has established partnerships with a number of Atlantic City’s land-based casinos that are also authorized to provide online gambling services.

NetEnt first launched its content with Resorts Casino in Atlantic City in December 2015. The company has also gone live with the Borgata, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, and Ocean Resort Casino, among others.

Further US Expansion

Aside from New Jersey, NetEnt has also applied for an online gambling license in Pennsylvania. The state legalized the provision of online gaming and betting services in the fall of 2017 as part of a larger gambling expansion package. However, digital gambling services are yet to go live there.

NetEnt Chief Executive Therese Hillman said last week during the company’s full-year financial results presentation that they expect the launch of online gaming to be delayed in Pennsylvania due to changes in the regulatory requirements.

Ms. Hillman went on to say that they are following closely the latest developments in the US following the Department of Justice’s recent announcement that it has changed its stance on the nation’s Wire Act. NetEnt’s CEO pointed out that there has been a certain amount of uncertainty surrounding the future of the regulated US gambling industry, but they “do not see any reason to reconsider [their] US growth plans” at this point.

NetEnt reported full-year revenue of SEK1.782 billion (approx. $192.7 million) and EBITDA of SEK816 million (approx. $88.2 million).

Last September, the company marked an important comeback to the online gambling market of Canada. Through a partnership with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and online gambling group IGT, NetEnt games went live in the regulated market of the Canadian province. The Swedish supplier closed its gates for Canadian players back in 2016.

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Hundreds of Gambling Companies Eye Entry into Dutch Market

Hundreds of gaming and betting companies look forward to the re-organization of the Dutch gambling market, Senate to vote on Remote Gaming Bill tomorrow

More than 300 international gambling companies are believed to be interested in entering a re-organized Dutch gambling market, local news outlet Dutch News reports ahead of tomorrow’s vote on the so-called Remote Gaming Bill.

Dutch News further says citing Financieele Dagblad that at least 50 operators are expected to formally apply for a license to conduct gaming and betting activities in the Netherlands, if these get regulated.

The Dutch Senate has scheduled a long-anticipated and long-overdue vote on the above-mentioned piece of legislation for tomorrow. Senate members finally brought the bill to the discussion table at a February 5 hearing. However, a vote on the legislation did not take place during that hearing as lawmakers tasked Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker with providing more information about the Remote Gaming Bill and how the local gambling space would be regulated.

Minister Dekker had to present written answers to three questions raised by his fellow legislators by Friday, February 8. His answers were discussed during a February 12 hearing.

The Remote Gaming Bill was approved by the lower house of the Dutch Parliament back in the summer of 2016. It was then up to the Senate to vote it, but it took nearly three years before the time for that necessary vote came.

Cooling Down Period for “Cowboys”

Senate members appeared content with Minister Dekker’s written response to their questions during last Tuesday’s debate. Among other things, the minister had to provide information on whether there should be a blackout period for operators that actively targeted Dutch customers before the local market’s re-organization.

Minister Dekker said that there will be a two-year cooling down period for companies he called “cowboys”, that is gambling companies that “offer payment instruments such as iDeal, whose advertising is aimed at the Netherlands, or who make use of a Dutch domain name” to target Dutch customers, despite not being authorized to do so. This means that such operators would not be allowed to apply for a license when the country’s new law takes effect.

Minister Dekker also provided comments on how gambling products should be advertised after the re-regulation of the local market. There were suggestions that gambling ads should be banned completely, but the minister advised against a measure of this kind as it would have a negative impact on player channelization.

There seems to be enough support for the Remote Gaming Bill in the Dutch Senate and the piece is likely to be passed during tomorrow’s vote. However, analysts suggest that the new regulatory regime is not likely to be implemented before January 1, 2021.

A recently published research shows that more and more Dutch people engage in gambling with internationally licensed companies, even though such companies are currently prohibited from targeting local gamblers. According to the research in question, 1.86 million Dutch people gambled on unauthorized websites between 2016 and 2018. Online poker and casino games were the most popular products, but sports betting also rose in popularity during the reviewed period.

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Greece to Publish Hellinikon Casino Concession Tender This Week

The bidding process for a concession for a casino at the site of the former Athens airport is to start this week, according to media reports

The call for tender for a casino concession at the site of former Ellinikon International Airport near Athens is ready to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union after multiple delays, the Tornos News reports citing information obtained by Greek newspaper Naftemporiki.

According to media reports, the invitation for bids will be published by the end of the week after the Hellenic Gaming Commission ironed out details surrounding the bidding process this past Friday and finalized the text of the actual call.

The publication of said text will open a 60-day bidding window during which interested casino companies will be able to submit their applications for the sole gaming license granted by the Greek gambling regulator. Bidders will enter the race for the development and operation of a casino that will be part of a larger integrated resort at the site of the former international airport near the Greek capital.

The Hellenic Gaming Commission opened last summer a consultation period, inviting interested operators to provide comments and suggestions about the bidding process and about their vision of the future casino. According to local media reports, the likes of Caesars Entertainment Corp., Hard Rock International, and Mohegan Sun, among other major gaming companies, participated in the consultation process.

Minimum Concession Bid and Payment Terms

The tender will reportedly include the minimum concession bid interested operators will have to place as well as terms for the payments to be made. The casino is considered instrumental for the whole integrated resort at the site of the former airport.

According to previous announcements made in relation to the massive project, the casino alone will cost €1 billion. Here it is important to note that aside from a gaming facility, the concession that will be awarded by the Hellenic Gaming Commission will also include authorization for the development of a hotel, a conference center, an event venue, and a number of other facilities. The concession will cover 20 hectares of the 620 hectare plot designated for the whole megaresort scheme.

Greek company Lamda Development was previously selected as the preferred developer of a massive €8 billion integrated resort at the site of the former airport. The project is part of Greece’s privatization program intended to raise funds to help the country scale down a crippling debt.

The Hellinikon project (as referred to by developers) will see the development of a massive complex that aside from a casino resort, will include residential communities, hotels, shopping centers, entertainment venues, museums, health and wellness centers, a business park, and a number of other facilities.

The megaresort is expected to create 75,000 jobs once fully operational and to draw 1 million international visitors per year. The project is spearheaded by a consortium of Chinese, UAE, and Greek investors.

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The post Greece to Publish Hellinikon Casino Concession Tender This Week appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Philippine Taxman to Track Undocumented Gambling Workers with New Registration Requirements

Philippine-licensed online gaming operators now need to register with local taxman as a prerequisite for their license renewal

The Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has required all foreign and Philippines-based online gambling operators licensed by the local regulator, PAGCOR, to register with the tax bureau amid concerns that the Philippine gambling industry has turned into a conduit for undocumented workers from China.

BIR said in a statement issued over the weekend that it has been given the green light to join an interagency task force led by the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment and the Bureau of Immigration to trace and monitor Chinese nationals working in the nation’s online gambling industry and to prevent undocumented workers from being employed in that same industry.

BIR’s statement came days ahead of a meeting of Senate Committee scheduled for later this week, during which the influx of foreign workers into the country will be discussed. According to reports, more than 90% of all foreign nationals arrested or charged in 2018 were from China and most of them worked in the nation’s gambling industry.

The provision of online gambling services to Philippine nationals outside special ecafes is illegal. However, the country issues licenses to foreign and Philippines-based companies (the so-called POGOs) that are interested to conduct offshore online gambling services.

Most of these POGOs target Chinese gambling customers, which means that a big portion of their workers need to be fluent in Mandarin. This explains the number of Chinese nationals employed in the local industry.

All POGOs Required to Register with BIR

BIR said in its recent statement that all foreign and Philippines-based gambling companies, including ones with offshore licenses, should register with the tax agency as a prerequisite for the renewal of their licenses from PAGCOR.

The country’s Department of Finance also clarified in a statement that the registration should happen “on or before the commencement of business; or before payment of any tax due; or before or upon filing of any applicable tax return, statement or declaration.”

According to data cited by local news outlets, an estimated 100,000 Chinese nationals work in the Philippines’ online gaming sector. PAGCOR revealed that it had raided more than 170 unlicensed operations between 2017 and 2018 and hundred of Chinese had been detained after being discovered to be working without the necessary permits.

PAGCOR began accepting online gaming license applications in the fall of 2016. The Philippine gambling regulator has reportedly issued more than 50 POGO licenses since then, which indicates a significant amount of interest in its online gambling licensing system.

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