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Archive for April 2nd, 2019

Two Arkansas Race Tracks Launch Full-Scale Casinos Today

Arkansas officially joins today the list of US states where commercial casino gambling is legal and available

Two state race tracks are set to launch today full-blown casino gambling offering after their license applications were issued by the Arkansas Racing Commission late last month.

A constitutional amendment that was approved by Arkansas residents at a statewide vote last November enabled Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs and Southland Park Gaming and Racing in West Memphis to transform into full-scale casino properties and to offer slot machines and table games.

It is also important to note that Oaklawn Racing & Gaming will now operate as Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. The property’s rebrand was unveiled late last month in anticipation for today’s official launch of casino gambling.

Following the approval of Amendment 100 last November, Oaklawn owners announced a $100 million expansion of the property’s existing amenities. The expansion will include 28,000 square feet of additional gaming space. Oaklawn will look to complete the casino expansion prior to the 2020 live racing season.

In addition, the property’s expansion will also see the addition of a 200-room hotel with a spa and wellness center, a 14,000-square-foot multi-purpose event and entertainment center, and additional dining facilities.

Oaklawn has added eight table games to its 1,300 slot machines ahead of its official conversion into a full-scale casino today. As for the Southland race track in West Memphis, it will operate 2,000 slot machines and 40 table games from today.

Sports Betting Coming to Arkansas

Aside from the addition of full-blown casino options, Amendment 100 has also authorized the provision of sports betting services. Both Oaklawn and Southland have indicated that they will take advantage of the opportunity and will operate sportsbooks.

According to a news release from late last month, Oaklawn will be adding sports gambling in the coming weeks.

However, sports betting might not come to Southland as soon as the property’s owners have previously indicated it would. The race track and now full-scale casino began promoting the upcoming debut of its BetLucky Sportsbook earlier this year.

News emerged this past Friday that Southland’s owner – casino and hospitality expert Delaware North – has cut ties with its exclusive sports betting partner. This will imminently delay the start of sports betting at the race track. In a statement announcing its decision to end its partnership with Miomni Gaming, Delaware North said Friday that it has begun its search for a new betting technology supplier, but warned that the process could take several months.

Delaware North parted ways after sports betting operations abruptly stopped at its two casinos in West Virginia on March 6. The two properties as well as the local BetLucky mobile app have been unable to take wagers since then.

Aside from the addition of sports betting, the gambling and hospitality operator has also announced a $250 million expansion at Southland. What has been dubbed as one of the largest privately funded projects in the state by Gov. Asa Hutchinson will include a new 300-room hotel and an expanded gambling complex, among other things.

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Buenos Aires Regulates Online Gambling

The re-organization of the online gambling market of Buenos Aires can finally begin after a recently approved decree was published Friday in Boletín Oficial, the Official Gazette of Argentina

After several years of heated discussions, the Argentinian province of Buenos Aires finally approved Decree 181 last December. The piece of legislation contains provisions for the regulation of the provision of a wide range of online gambling services on the territory of the province.

With its publication in the nation’s Official Gazette, Decree 181 took force on Friday to make Buenos Aires the first province to legalize online gaming and betting services. The legalization and introduction of rules concerning the practice falls under the purview of the provincial governments. The regulation of online gambling in Buenos Aires is hoped to pave the way for the introduction of regulated betting and gaming services in other provinces, too.

The Buenos Aires Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos is tasked with overseeing the province’s newly regulated industry. It will also be the body to grant licenses to interested operators. Under Decree 181, up to seven online gambling licenses will be issued and a single operator will be allowed to hold only one license.

Approved gambling operators will have to pay a 25% tax on their revenue from the province.

What’s Legal under Decree 181

The newly approved piece of legislation authorizes the provision of online slots and other casino games, lotteries, betting on virtual sports, betting on horse races, as well as sports betting and betting on non-sporting events as long as they are not of political nature.

Local gambling experts have pointed out that with the range of gambling products now legal in Buenos Aires, the province has one of the most comprehensive gambling laws in Latin America.

Upon introducing Decree 181, provincial lawmakers have pointed out that the regulation of online gambling has been prompted by the need for illegal gambling to be eradicated as well as gambling fraud, money laundering, and other financial crimes to be prevented. The local government has also said that with the new regulatory regime, it aims to ensure that public order is maintained by assuming full regulatory control over the gambling activities conducted on the territory of the province.

Online gambling has been a thriving industry in Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina for quite some time. However, the lack of regulations has seen offshore operators target local gamblers without paying local taxes or having any other obligations towards local authorities for targeting Argentinian gambling customers.

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Bucharest Official Calls For Gambling Halls Ban

A Bucharest official has proposed the relocation of all operational gambling halls to a place outside the Romanian capital

Bucharest could relocate its gambling halls to a “neighborhood of gambling” located outside the Romanian capital, if a proposal by a general council survives a vote in the city’s General Council, local news outlet the Romania Insider reports.

According to data quoted by local media, the city is home to about 1,250 gambling and betting halls. General Councilor Catalin Lucian Illiescu has called for the relocation of gambling facilities that operate at the ground floor of apartment buildings outside the city. His proposal also stated that gambling halls should not be permitted at less than 200 meters from schools, churches, and other public institutions.

The official believes that the move could help the city fight problem gambling and gambling addiction issues fueled by the easy access of gamblers to halls. Mr. Illiescu’s proposal needs to be approved by the city’s General Counsel in order to take effect.

News about Bucharest potentially moving to ban gambling halls on its territory emerge amid an ongoing crackdown on gambling in several Balkan states. Last week, Kosovo suspended gambling for a decade after two casino staff were murdered earlier in March. A nearly full ban on gambling came into force in neighboring Albania on January 1, 2019.

Concerns over Gambling Hall Relocation’s Impact

Local news outlet reported citing information from Romania’s National Office for Gambling that Mr. Iliescu project would have quite a negative impact on the nation’s gambling industry. In the first place, the relocation of Bucharest’s gambling halls could significantly reduce the taxes collected by the state. In addition, multiple jobs could be cut as a result from the proposed clampdown.

Meanwhile, Voluntari, a town located not far from the Romanian capital, could too move to ban gaming and betting halls. The town’s Mayor has spearheaded a proposal similar to that of Mr. Iliescu.

Voluntari residents will be able to voice their opinion on the proposed gambling halls ban at a townwide referendum that will take place on May 26. The European Parliament election in Romania will be held on the same day as well as a national justice referendum.

Voluntari’s Mayor Florentin Pandele has told local news outlets that by setting a May 26 date for their local gambling referendum, they did not intent to counter the national justice referendum, and only wanted to cut costs.

Bucharest is the second European capital to have revealed plans to crack down on its gambling halls after a Riga City Council Committee supported last month a plan for a draft decree that would revoke the licenses of more than 200 gambling halls currently operating in the Latvian capital.

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Myanmar on Track to Legalize Casino Gambling in May

Myanmar is set to legalize casino gambling in a bid to boost the local tourism industry and attract foreign investors

Casino gambling will become legal in Myanmar in May when the nation’s 2018 Gambling Law is set to take effect. Select hotels around the country will be able to add casino operations under the new law. However, Myanmar residents will not be permitted to gamble at the new venues.

Local news outlet the Myanmar Times reported that President U Win Myint has recommended the proposed amendments to the country’s Gambling Law from 1986 and it is now up to the Parliament to approve the legislation. Lawmakers are set to resume work after this year’s Thingyan (Burmese New Year Festival) in mid-April.

News about the southeast Asian country’s plan to legalize casino gambling first emerged in 2017 when the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism requested the permission of casinos at selected hotels across islands that are popular with international tourists.

The legislation allowing casinos on the territory of Myanmar was jointly drafted that year by the Ministry for Union Government Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

While casinos are currently not permitted in the country, there are several operational gambling venues of this type on remote islands and border areas, including in the self-administered zones of Kokant and Wa.

The new Gambling Law will aim to curb unregulated operations, to create a tax revenue source from legal gambling services, and to boost the local tourism industry. However, it is yet to be determined whether the new rules and regulations would apply to already existing casinos in self-administered zones.

Residents Banned from Casinos

Myanmar is one of a few countries in the region that do not operate legal casinos. According to Dr Myat Nyarna Soe, Secretary of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Joint Bill Committee which drafted the new legislation, the nation can no longer ignore the illegal border casinos as well the gambling venues operating in neighboring countries.

Under the new law, only foreign visitors of Myanmar will be able to gamble at the local casinos. To prevent nationals from gambling, the venues will require passport identification.

Myanmar citizens will be able to operate casinos and to be employed at the facilities. However, gambling at those will be strictly prohibited and punishable under the new law. In addition, casino operators allowing residents of the country to gamble will face fines and sentences and will be forced to shut their operations down.

The new law will allow casinos to be established at hotels in Mandalay and Yangon. The new venues are expected to draw both local and international investors and to boost the nation’s coffers with additional tax revenue.

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