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North Jersey Casino Expansion Could Plummet Atlantic City into Another Crash and Burn

Gambling expert calls push for expansion of New Jersey’s casino industry outside Atlantic City “the height of insolence”

While online gaming and digital sports betting have emerged as a big boost to Atlantic City’s land-based casino industry, gambling experts do not expect that casino gambling will be expanded beyond the popular resort anytime soon.

Online gambling went live in New Jersey in 2013 and the sector generated more than $1 billion in revenue through 2018. As for sports betting, the practice was legalized by state lawmakers last June and New Jersey’s sportsbooks have so far generated more than $54 million. The biggest part of that amount came through digital channels.

Responding to the buzz that lawmakers might be considering the possibility to launch a new push for expanding the state’s land-based casino industry beyond Atlantic City, gambling expert Roger Gros has said that now is definitely not the time for such effort. Mr. Gros is the publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine.

Atlantic City has kept its monopoly over brick-and-mortar casinos for more than four decades. However, while the city was the only place on the East Coast where casino gambling was legal back in the day, competition has grown immensely in the past 10-15 years with new commercial properties springing up along the coast all the time.

New Jersey lawmakers have suggested that competition in the region could be blunted by expanding the state’s casino industry beyond Atlantic City.

Expansion Could Start Another Downward Spiral for Atlantic City

Regional competition and the aftermath of the great recession plummeted Atlantic City’s casino industry into a horrific crash and burn that culminated in the closure of five of its twelve casinos between 2014 and 2016.

Two of the shuttered casinos reopened last summer – rebranded and under new ownership – to signify the revitalization of the market.

Mr. Gros said that Atlantic City now has nine operational casinos and that most of these run “at a fairly good rate.” However, the expert warned that “any kind of increased land-based competition” in the state could “completely reverse that positivity and start Atlantic City on a downward spiral once again.”

Mr. Gros attributed the revitalization of Atlantic City’s casino industry to the rising interest in online gambling and mobile sports betting. The expanded effort to bring various non-gambling entertainment activities to the city has also been hailed as a booster of its casino sector.

Casinos in North Jersey Would Only Enjoy Short-Lived Success

The most recent effort by lawmakers to put an end to Atlantic City’s casino monopoly was overwhelmingly rejected by New Jersey voters during the 2016 ballot. Back then, state residents were asked whether they supported the development of up to two casino resorts in North Jersey.

The expansion push was backed by major companies, including Florida-based casino and hospitality operator Hard Rock International, and businessmen with interest in casino assets, including real estate developer Jeff Gural and Reebok founder Paul Fireman.

Mr. Gros said that with 4 out of 5 voters rejecting the casino expansion proposal, reviving the effort to break Atlantic City’s monopoly would be “the height of insolence.” The gambling expert went on to say that discussions about establishing casinos in New York City continue and that casinos will eventually be opened in that city, so any success a North Jersey casino might have at first would be short-lived and be put an end to once neighboring New York expands its own industry.

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First Speakers Announced for Zurich iGaming Affiliate Conference

After the first-ever Prague iGaming Affiliate Conference, which event organizer SmileExpo held in the Czech capital on April 18, preparations are now in full throttle for the upcoming inaugural Minsk iGaming Affiliate Conference on April 24.

SmileExpo has also announced recently that its next iGaming affiliate conference will take place in another major European city in a country with a freshly reorganized market.

The first-ever Zurich iGaming Affiliate Conference is scheduled to take place on June 21 in the Swiss city of Zurich. The single-day event will feature six panel discussions and a demo zone where gambling companies will be able to present their newest projects and ideas and offer advice how these can be deployed within the Swiss gambling space.

While organizers are yet to announce the host venue for their newest iGaming conference, they have recently revealed some of the speakers that will participate in it by providing valuable insights into our dynamic and rapidly expanding industry.

Speakers and Topics

The recent reorganization of the Swiss online gambling market and the impact of the new regime on operators and affiliates promoting to Swiss customers will, of course, be among the main topics of discussion during the upcoming Zurich iGaming Affiliate Conference. However, the scope of talks and discussions will be expanded with various industry-concerned matters.

In addition, SmileExpo has announced recently that executives, gambling consultants, lawyers, and content strategists will be among the industry representatives who will participate in the event to present their viewpoints on Switzerland’s reorganized gambling landscape and what the future holds for the iGaming industry, in general.

Among the conference speakers will be:

Chris Looney – Commercial Director at Red Tiger Gaming
Jack Symons – CEO at Gamban
Jakub Kolomičenko – Head of Legal Department at Endorphina
Clas Dahlen – Chief Brand and Strategy Officer at Metal Casino
Donal Barron – Head of Corporate Development at Banach Technology Ltd.
Dr. Simon Planzer – Partner at Planzer Law
Steve Donoughue – Gambling Consultant at The Elephant Eaters Club Limited
Iris Sidler – Strategic thinking legal counsel
Scott Longley – Content and editorial consultant at Clear Concise Media

The conference will feature six panel discussions, with those being focused on:

+ European market experience in online gambling
+ Creating and maintaining attractive online gambling offering
+ Successful iGaming affiliate marketing
+ A comparison between the gambling markets of Belgium and Switzerland
+ Responsible gambling as the future of the industry
+ Data protection and issues related to it

The Demo Zone

The Zurich iGaming Affiliate Conference will include a special demo zone where gambling companies will be able to demonstrate new projects and ideas. SmileExpo has said that among the participants in the demo zone there will be attorneys, affiliate program representatives, and marketers.

The demo zone will aim to provide conference delegates with a place where they can work with fellow industry representatives, get legal advice, discover the latest industry trends and innovations, share experience, and find new business partners.

Switzerland’s New Gambling Regime

Switzerland’s new Money Gaming Act took effect on January 1, 2019. The country finally regulated online gambling but adopted significant restrictions in the way digital gambling services should be provided to local gamblers.

The new Swiss gambling law enables existing land-based casino operators to extend their offering online. However, international gambling companies were outlawed in the country.

As mentioned above, the Zurich iGaming Affiliate Conference will be focused namely on the restrictive provisions in the new Money Gaming Act and how these impact the gambling and the iGaming affiliate industries.

For more details about the event visit its official website.

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Calvin Anderson Leads 136 Players Into WSOPC Harrah’s Cherokee Day 2

Two-time gold bracelet winner Calvin Anderson is leading a pack of 136 players into the second day of the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event

The WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event is entering its next stage after the second of two starting flights was completed last night at the host venue, Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina.

The tournament drew a field of 1,087 entrants who generated a prize pool of $1,646,805. The money was split into prizes for the top 117 finishers, min-cashes starting from $2,701. Waiting for a winner is a top payout of $300,536 along with a gold ring and a seat into the season-ending Global Casino Championship that is set to take place namely at Harrah’s Cherokee.

There were 86 survivors to make it through all levels played on Day 1B. They will be joined by the 50 Day 1A survivors into Day 2 of the major event. The 136 players advancing from the two starting flights will resume action today at noon local time at the poker tables of the host casino. They are scheduled to play ten, one-hour levels.

The final day of the tournament is slated for Monday, April 22. As mentioned earlier, players are vying for a first-place prize of $300,536. Each of the nine final tablists is guaranteed a min-cash of $29,807.

Calvin Anderson Leads the Way

Progressing from Day 1B, Calvin Anderson is leading the pack of survivors into Day 2. The player bagged and tagged 959,000 to secure his advantage into the next stage of the $1,700 buy-in Main Event.

Anderson is a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. However, the overnight chip leader is yet to claim a gold ring from WSOP’s sister brand. Winning the precious piece would not be an easy task, though.

Mike Vanier, a frequent WSOP Circuit participant with 14 cashes from the poker series, is trailing behind Vanier with 773,000. Third on the chip counts chart is 2004 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Raymer. Raymer has 41 cashes from the WSOP and 6 cashes from the WSOP Circuit and nearly $6.7 million in winnings from the two series. He is yet to win his first gold ring.

Notables still in contention for the title include Michael Perrone, Brett Apter, T.K. Miles, Marshall White, and Ralph Massey, among others.

There were also prominent poker pros who could not make it through the starting flights. Loni Harwood, Maurice Hawkins, Ryan Phan, and David Bach were just few of those.

As mentioned above, action is set to resume at 12 pm local time for Day 2. The remaining players are just 21 spots away from the money bubble, which means that it will likely burst in the first levels of play.

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Ohio Intercepts Casino Winnings from Non-Custodial Parents for Child Support

More than 6,300 casino and lottery jackpots have been intercepted by Ohio government agencies for due child support

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has seized more than $10 million in unpaid child support from gambling winnings of non-custodial parents with due support payments since 2014, the government agency has revealed.

Local news outlet reports citing figures from the Job and Family Services Department that as many as 6,353 jackpots have been intercepted in the past five years.

Child support agencies are authorized under state law to confiscate jackpot and prize winnings from gambling activities from non-custodial parents who owe child support payments.

While Ohio manages to collect an average of 69.6% of all child support owed, a rate significantly higher than the nationwide one, state agencies still face difficulties in their bid to get money to all children that are owed support. According to agency books, nearly $5 billion in unpaid support is still due. Some of the payments date more than four decades back.

As mentioned above, more than $10 million in gambling winnings has been confiscated in the period between 2014 and March 31. The seized funds include winnings from lottery, racino, and casino activities. Nearly $2.3 million was intercepted across the state last year.

Agencies and Industry Working Together

Commenting on the recently released figures, Kimberly Hall, Director at the state Department of Job and Family Services said that the confiscated money was a good example of the Ohio government and its gambling industry working together “toward a common goal.”

Ms. Hall went on to say that non-custodial parents with due child support should fulfill their responsibility to their children first and their gambling winnings were helping with this.

The state Department of Job and Family Services has been working with the Ohio Lottery Commission, the Ohio Casino Control Commission as well as the state’s casinos and racinos. Government agencies and gambling venues jointly established in 2014 an automated interface to crosscheck gambling winners with a database of non-custodial parents with due support payments.

If a winner owes their children support, the gambling establishment where they have scored their winnings or the Ohio Lottery Commission withhold part of their gambling payment. The intercepted portion of the winnings then goes to their child or children.

News about the seized gambling winnings arrives as Ohio lawmakers are considering the possibility to introduce a new gambling option to state gamblers. Two separate sports betting bills have gone before legislators, but it is yet to be seen whether any of these will get enough support.

One of the bills calls for the authorization of sports betting at casinos, racinos, and fraternal and veterans organizations. A second-phase roll-out of wagering could also bring the activity to bars, stores, and other lottery vendors.

The other bill would only allow sports betting at casinos and racinos, as its sponsors have voiced concerns that introducing the activity in multiple other establishments would make it hard to protect children from being exposed to the risks associated with sports gambling.

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Colorado Makes Last-Minute Bid to Regulate Sports Betting

Colorado could jump on the sports betting bandwagon as early as next May, if a recently introduced bill on the matter gains traction in the state Legislature and voters approve the legalization of sports gambling in the upcoming November vote

Democratic House Majority Leader Alec Garnett and Republican Minority Leader Patrick Neville introduced the bill late on Thursday. The piece of legislation, if passed, would place a sports betting question on the November ballot.

State residents would be asked whether a 10% flat tax on net proceeds from regulated sports gambling should be implemented. The ballot question will be concerned with the taxation of betting services because, under state law, any tax increase must be approved by Colorado voters.

The state’s existing casinos will be able to apply for licenses to operate sports betting online and via mobile apps. The gambling venues will also be allowed to provide limited in-person betting services.

Licensed operators will determine their own limits on bets. Under the proposed provisions of the new sports betting bill, bettors will be able to place wagers on professional and collegiate sporting events, including ones involving Colorado teams.

Revenue Projections and Allocation

As mentioned earlier, licensed operators will be taxed at 10% on annual net proceeds. Asked about early tax revenue projections, Rep. Garnett told FOX31 Denver that “on the low end” regulated betting could generate between $5 million and $10 million in annual tax revenue. On the higher end, tax revenue “plateaus around $20 million”, the legislator dwelt further, hoping that as the market matures, proceeds will grow.

Most of the revenue generated will “go toward conservation and protecting our water”, Rep. Garnett said.

Around $130,000 would be allocated to organizations dealing with problem gambling and gambling addiction. Commenting on the potential regulation of sports betting in Colorado, Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado President Lawrence Wall said they are glad that part of the projected revenue would be used to support their work.

However, Mr. Wall expressed doubts on whether sports gambling, particularly digital betting, was a good idea. He elaborated further that providing people with the opportunity to place bets from the comfort of their home instead of getting them into casinos to wager would get many bettors into trouble.

Tackling Illegal Gambling

Responding to concerns about the impact of regulated sports betting, Rep. Garnett said that wagering is already conducted across the state illegally, and that their ultimate goal does not involve expanding gambling in the state but bringing an already existing practice to the regulated surface.

Following its introduction this past Thursday, the bill is now set to appear before the House Finance Committee on Monday. Lawmakers are in a rush to pass the legislation before May 3, when this year’s legislative session is scheduled to end, in order to be able to place the betting tax question on the November ballot.

Senators John Cooke and Kerry Donovan are co-sponsoring a Senate version of the sports betting bill.

Colorado is the latest of a plethora of states that have moved to legalize sports betting following last May’s landmark ruling of the US Supreme Court. The nation’s top court lifted a long-standing federal ban on the practice, thus enabling each and every state to legalize and regulate sports gambling, if they feel inclined to do so.

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