Tuesday, July 31, 2018 5:39 PM

Non-Gambling Investment Will Be Welcome on Boracay, President Duterte Spokesperson Says

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Non-Gambling Investment Will Be Welcome on Boracay, President Duterte Spokesperson Says

New tourism projects would be welcome on Boracay when it opens after its six-month environmental cleanup, except casino resorts, a spokesperson for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said in series of comments on the matter over the past few days.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque further told media during recent briefings that no private entities should challenge the President’s ban on developing casino gambling businesses on the popular tourist hub.

Boracay is undergoing an environmental rehabilitation after a review by environmental authorities found that multiple businesses discharged untreated water into the sea, thus polluting the surrounding environment and threatening the health of locals and visitors. It also became known that there were a number of illegal structures on the island, which President Duterte threatened to blow up.

Boracay was closed in late April and is expected to reopen for business on October 26. It has become clear from previous comments made by President Duterte and members of various government departments that the island might still look to attract international tourism. However, casino gambling would not be allowed, as repeatedly pointed out by the country’s top official.

The casino gambling comments have been made in relation to a recently announced project for the development of an integrated resort with a gaming floor. The project was introduced by Macau casino and hospitality operator Galaxy Entertainment Group and its local partner Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC). The two companies announced late last year that they planned to build a $550-million resort on the island.

They received a provisional license from PAGCOR, the Philippine gambling regulator, earlier this year and acquired a 23-hectare site where the property will be built. Commenting on Boracay’s closure and how this would affect their project, a LRWC official said over the weekend that the resort remained on track for 2021 opening, despite the island’s ongoing environment cleanup and the fact that no groundbreaking date has been decided on.

Casino Gambling a Vice

As mentioned above, President Duterte has been staunchly opposed to Galaxy and LRWC’s project and has reiterated his determination to stop that one as well as any other casino resort construction plan on the island from materialization.

The President’s spokesperson said in series of comments from the past few days that the official does not like casinos as they promote gambling, which is a vice and “contrary to good morals.”

The latest comments could mean that Boracay would still be open to business and international tourism after its cleanup is completed, despite previous statements made by President Duterte that the island could be subjected to an agricultural reform that would aim to return land to its residents.

The President has said that the government would have to decide how to determine who owns what portion of Boracay’s land and to make sure that the distribution of land would be fair.

The post Non-Gambling Investment Will Be Welcome on Boracay, President Duterte Spokesperson Says appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Interblock to Exhibit Cutting-Edge ETGs at AGE 2018

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Interblock to Exhibit Cutting-Edge ETGs at AGE 2018

Luxury gaming manufacturer and electronic table game (ETG) market leader Interblock® today announced that it will exhibit its cutting-edge products at the Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE) 14 – 16 August in booth #451. 

Scientific Games signs sports betting deal with Caesars Entertainment

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Scientific Games signs sports betting deal with Caesars Entertainment

Scientific Games Corporation recently announced that it will partner with Caesars Entertainment Corporation to provide its OpenBet sportsbook platform in New Jersey and Mississippi.

Monday, July 30, 2018 11:54 PM

Bally’s, Harrah’s Launch Sportsbooks This Week In Atlantic City; Online To Follow Soon

Bally’s, Harrah’s Launch Sportsbooks This Week In Atlantic City; Online To Follow Soon
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NJ sports betting begins at Bally's and Harrah's in Atlantic City this week. Caesars is rolling out sports betting at its properties in New Jersey and Mississippi with online sports betting next up.

The post Bally’s, Harrah’s Launch Sportsbooks This Week In Atlantic City; Online To Follow Soon appeared first on .

Scientific Games Signs Sports Betting Deal With Caesars Entertainment

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Scientific Games Signs Sports Betting Deal With Caesars Entertainment

OpenBet's Market-Leading Technology to Power Caesars' Sports Wagering in New Jersey and Mississippi

Poker Buddies Antonio Esfandiari and Kevin Hart to Meet in the Boxing Ring

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Poker Buddies Antonio Esfandiari and Kevin Hart to Meet in the Boxing Ring

After some clashes at the poker table, poker pro Antonio Esfandiari and popular comedian turned avid poker player Kevin Hart are set to storm the boxing ring, Esfandiari himself told a TMZ Sports reporter over the weekend.

Delighted to be recognized by paps and asked about “some real juice”, Esfandiari said that he and Hart played poker the other day and “somehow boxing [came] up.” The two made a bet and agreed to step into the boxing ring to test their strength and will. The boxing match will take place “in March, around March,” Esfandiari told the TMZ reporter.

The poker pro refused to unveil how much money was on the line, but given both his and Hart’s estimated net worth, it should be expected that they have made quite a hefty bet.

Esfandiari further said that he is getting 35-1 odds in the upcoming bout, because his opponent is “in much better shape, he’s an athlete, he’s fast as hell”. However, at nearly 6 feet tall, the Magician, as Esfandiari is also known in the poker community, he has an important height/reach advantage. Hart stands at around 5’4″.

Esfandiari and Hart’s Careers

With three gold bracelets from the World Series of Poker and two WPT Main Tour titles, Esfandiari is one of the big stars of global poker. The player boasts live tournament earnings of over $27.6 million. That amount includes his first-place prize of $18,346,673 for taking down the 2012 $1,000,000 BIG One for ONE DROP and outlasting some of the world’s most seasoned pros, including heads-up opponent England’s Sam Trickett.

It is also interesting to note that he had been a professional magician before he started playing poker for a living, hence his nickname The Magician.

As for Kevin Hart, while he cannot boast with as many poker accomplishments as Esfandiari, he is one of the world’s most successful and praised comedians in the world. With estimated net worth of around $58 million, Hart ranks 39th in the Forbes 2018 Celebrity 100 Earnings list. His The Irresponsible Tour has been the biggest comedy tour so far this year with 1 million tickets sold, from which Hart grossed over $30 million.

Earlier this year, Hart became a brand ambassador for online poker room PokerStars, following his multiple appearances in different poker tournaments in 2017 and this year. The comedian and the globally popular poker brand said that they hope their partnership will change the face of poker.

Esfandiari and Hart excel in their respective fields, but it is to be seen who will emerge victorious in their upcoming boxing match. This will not be the first time poker players are clashing in the ring. Bouts have taken place between Bertrand Grospellier and Lex Veldhuis as well as between Brian Rast and Sorel Mizzi in the past few years.

The post Poker Buddies Antonio Esfandiari and Kevin Hart to Meet in the Boxing Ring appeared first on Casino News Daily.

EGBA and LOGiCO: Italy’s Gambling Advertising Ban “Will Have a Counterproductive Effect”

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EGBA and LOGiCO: Italy’s Gambling Advertising Ban “Will Have a Counterproductive Effect”

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and the Italian Online Gaming Association (LOGiCO) sent a joint letter to Italian ministers in hopes to overturn a proposed and much-supported blanket ban on all forms of gambling advertising in the country.

The letter, published on EGBA’s official website, arrived ahead of today’s planned debate on the proposed prohibition. The ban is part of the so-called Dignity Decree, a legislative piece introduced by Italy’s newly-sworn Deputy Prime Minsiter Luigi Di Maio. Minister Di Maio has previously said that the main purpose of a full ban on gambling advertising would be to protect vulnerable people from being overexposed to gambling.

The Minister has also recently said that the proposed crackdown on adverts would be the first step in a larger-scale initiative against the proliferation of gambling in the country. The Dignity Decree was approved by the Council of Ministers earlier this month and legislators are now working on its many provisions until a final version is produced and adopted.

EGBA and LOGiCO have been among the staunchest opponents of the proposed gambling advertising ban since day one and their joint letter from this weekend comes as another manifestation of their efforts to prevent Minister Di Maio’s proposal from taking effect. Here it is important to note that the blanket ban is expected to partially take effect from January 1, 2019 and to come fully into force from 2020.

Arguments against the Ban

In their joint letter, the full text of which could be found here, EGBA and LOGiCO point out that while they understand and support the responsible gambling and customer protection concerns behind the proposed ban, they believe it could actually produce the exact opposite effect.

The two associations explain that the ability to advertise their products and services across Italian media is among the main advantages licensed operators have over their black market counterparts. With regulated companies being prevented from promoting their offering, the black market is only expected to grow and lure customers. Local players and bettors will thus be exposed to questionable practices by some black market operators and their activities will not be overseen by gambling regulators and providers of health care, the letter reads.

Instead of implementing a full ban on gambling adverts, EGBA and LOGiCO propose a crackdown on “irresponsible gambling advertising” so that customers are protected effectively. The two associations believe that in this way minors and vulnerable people will be prevented from being overexposed to gambling but the “counterproductive effect” of a blanket ban would be avoided.

The introduction of measures against socially irresponsible advertising should be “based on scientific studies and research” the two organizations advise, citing the UK Gambling Commission’s Young People and Gambling report as an approach that could be adopted in Italy.

The post EGBA and LOGiCO: Italy’s Gambling Advertising Ban “Will Have a Counterproductive Effect” appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Sunday, July 29, 2018 5:57 AM

Ireland’s Revenue Declares War on Dublin’s Illegal Casinos

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Ireland’s Revenue Declares War on Dublin’s Illegal Casinos

Ireland’s Revenue has issued enforcement letters to a number of illegally operating casino facilities across Dublin giving them 21 days to remove gambling machines from their premises, The Times reported earlier this week.

News about the government agency launching a crackdown against illegal operations arrived after an investigation by The Times showed that a number of Dublin-based arcades have used their licenses to operate gambling machines, thus breaching a 1988 citywide ban on the latter devices.

Under the long-standing prohibition, no licenses for gambling machines can be issued to facilities located within city limits. However, The Times reported last month that a number of arcade facilities are violating that ban and are using their arcade machine licenses to operate gambling machines.

According to Revenue definitions, arcade/amusement machines are games that gives players the chance to win no more than an opportunity to play again or a non-monetary prize the value of which is worth no more than €7. The Times found that the gambling machines at some of the arcade premises across Dublin offered players the opportunity to wager up to €2,500 on casino-style games such as video poker, roulette, and blackjack. Such premises now have 21 days to remove all gambling machines or face seizure of those.

Industry Responds to the Looming Crackdown

The Irish Amusement Trades Association (IATA), which represents both licensed and unlicensed arcades, has responded quickly to the pending crackdown, saying that it was considering legal actions against Revenue’s ruling. The association has long been lobbying for the ban on casino-style gambling in Dublin to be lifted.

IATA General Secretary John Roche has previously said that Ireland’s current gambling laws are archaic and are violating directives of the European Union in relation to the provision of gambling services across member states. Ireland’s gambling industry is regulated under the Gaming and Lotteries Act which took effect back in 1956.

Irish lawmakers have been working for years on a piece of legislation that would replace the obsolete regulations, but not much progress has been made so far.

A Revenue spokeswoman has told The Times than any operator of gambling machines without the necessary license or using an arcades license to operate gambling machines would have their machines seized and would be prosecuted. IATA maintains that they can face down the taxman in court and even win, citing recent European Court of Justice rulings, under which any laws restricting gambling to certain areas in a given country should be reviewed if they are applied properly.

According to a 2015 study by Gaming and Leisure Association Ireland the issuance of arcade licenses is cheaper than of gambling machine ones and by favoring the former, the country is thus losing revenue. The study also said that of all 7,559 arcade licenses issued, around 5,000 were actually used for gambling machines that offered cash prizes.

The post Ireland’s Revenue Declares War on Dublin’s Illegal Casinos appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Saturday, July 28, 2018 12:09 PM

Controversy At FanDuel Sportsbook Leads To Questions, Concerns As NFL Season Nears

Controversy At FanDuel Sportsbook Leads To Questions, Concerns As NFL Season Nears
fanduel sportsbook

A couple late MLB games lead to confusion and disgruntlement at FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands this week, but football season is just around the corner.

The post Controversy At FanDuel Sportsbook Leads To Questions, Concerns As NFL Season Nears appeared first on .

Boracay Casino Resort Still On Track to Open in 2021 Despite Ongoing Hurdles

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Boracay Casino Resort Still On Track to Open in 2021 Despite Ongoing Hurdles

A planned casino resort on Boracay is on track to be launched in 2021, despite the Philippine island’s closure for environmental rehabilitation, a representative of one of the companies behind the project told local media.

News emerged last December that Macau gaming and hospitality giant Galaxy Entertainment Group had partnered Philippine leisure and entertainment company Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) to build together a $550-million integrated resort on the island of Boracay. It was announced earlier this year that Galaxy has received a provisional gaming license from the Philippine gambling regulator, PAGCOR, for the operation of a casino at the planned property.

At the same time, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of the island for a six-month environmental cleanup, following a probe into the environmental state of the popular tourist hub. The probe found that local businesses were discharging untreated waste water into the sea and that there were multiple illegal buildings across the island. Boracay was closed on April 26.

Responding to news that Galaxy and its local partner were planning to build a casino on the island, President Duterte has repeatedly said that he would not allow that.

Despite the President’s vows to prevent the plan from materializing and the island’s closure, LRWC is confident that the resort is on track to open by 2021, as originally planned. The company’s Vice President for Legal Affairs Katrina Nepomuceno said Friday that the environmental cleanup is not delaying the project as they were able to finish what they had to finish before Boracay’s closure.

It became known earlier this year that Galaxy and its local partner have obtained a 23-hectare site in the Barangay Manoc-Manoc area. Ms. Nepomuceno said that a land survey has proven that the portion of land was alienable and disposable.

Working Closely with Environmental Regulators

The LRWC official further explained that they have been working closely with the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which is in charge of the ongoing rehabilitation process, as well as with other government agencies, and that they are getting updates on the process from the Boracay task force.

Ms. Nepomuceno also told media that they want to be sure their project is fully compliant with the government’s environmental requirements.

Asked when construction on the resort is expected to begin, the official said that they are yet to decide on the official start of the development process but that they believe the 2021 targeted opening is still achievable despite the island’s closure. Ms. Nepomuceno further pointed out that she is confident in the future materialization of their plan because President Duterte has said that he wants to keep Boracay popular with tourists and they are offering an opportunity for that to happen.

The LRWC official also said Friday that they are yet to receive confirmation from the Department of Agrarian Reform about a recently announced planned for Boracay to be placed under an agrarian reform that would aim to hand land across the island to its natives.

The post Boracay Casino Resort Still On Track to Open in 2021 Despite Ongoing Hurdles appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Lotte Tour Extends South Korea Casino Footprint with Paradise Casino Jeju Lotte Purchase

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Lotte Tour Extends South Korea Casino Footprint with Paradise Casino Jeju Lotte Purchase

South Korean tour operator and real estate developer Lotte Tour Development announced Friday that it is stepping further into its home country’s casino market with the acquisition of Paradise Casino Jeju Lotte.

The company is set to pay the total amount of KRW43.4 billion (approximately $38.8 million) for the gambling facility. Under a share purchase agreement with the casino’s current owner, Paradise Group, Lotte Tour will acquire 100% of the venue’s shares for KRW15 billion and will pay its debt which amounts to KRW28.4 billion.

Paradise Casino Jeju Lotte operates in the Lotte Hotel, which is part of the Joongmoon Resort Complex on South Korea’s Jeju Island. The gambling venue features 23 baccarat tables, 2 blackjack ones, a roulette table, and 24 slot machines.

Lotte Tour is currently developing a separate integrated resort with a gaming floor on the Jeju Island together with Chinese developers Greenland Group and China State Construction Engineering Corp. The property, named Jeju Dream Tower Integrated Resorts, is expected to open doors in October 2019.

Aside from a casino, the resort will also feature 1,600 hotel rooms operated by Grand Hyatt as well as a number of food and beverage facilities. Developers have previously said that their aim is to build the Jeju Island’s tallest and largest building with a total floor area of 303,737 square meters.

The Jeju Island, a popular tourist hub, has become a preferred location for even more developers to base their integrated resorts. Hong Kong-listed company Landing International Development has been opening in phases its Jeju Shinhwa World integrated resort with a casino and theme park on the island since last spring.

Visitors Numbers Dip for Third Consecutive Year

Although new resorts are springing and are expected to spring in South Korea in the next several years, official data shows that the number of foreign visitors to the country’s casinos dropped for a third straight year in 2017.

According to recently published statistics, the nation’s 16 operational foreigner-only casinos attracted 2.22 million visitors in 2017, down 6.2% from the previous year. The decrease was attributed to the fallout in the relations between China and South Korea over a missile defense system the latter country has deployed.

South Korea reached a visitor peak in 2014 when its casinos drew 2.96 million foreign patrons. However, visitor numbers have been dropping since then due to the severed relations with China. Last spring, the Chinese government banned the sale of package tours to South Korean destinations, which resulted in big withdrawal of Chinese tourists. Casino players from Mainland China have long been the biggest market for South Korean casinos.

Revenue from the country’s foreigner-only casinos amounted to $1.07 billion last year, down 2.9% year-on-year. In comparison, Kangwon Land, the company that runs the only casino in the country that admits Korean nationals, generated KRW1.52 trillion (approximately $1.3 billion) last year.

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Friday, July 27, 2018 11:48 AM

Simon Lam Takes Down Inaugural WPT Gardens $5,000 Main Event

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Simon Lam Takes Down Inaugural WPT Gardens $5,000 Main Event

Simon Lam is the brand new member of WPT’s club of Main Tour Main Event champs. The player outlasted the 584-strong field of the inaugural edition of the WPT Gardens Poker Festival $5,000 Main Event for his first title from the popular poker series.

He collected a payout of $565,055 and a brand new 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster (valued at around $50,000). The player also secured a $15,000 ticket into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.

The final day of the WPT Gardens Main Event was played on Thursday at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California. Lam came into that final day as the chip leader among a total of six survivors who comprised the official final table.

The first levels of the day saw poker pro Jake Schindler take the lead and extend the gap between him and his fellow contenders. Schindler then lost some of his momentum and what followed next was a fierce war for the chip lead between Men Nguyen and Lam. That war lasted hours and extended into three-handed play.

During that key and lengthy stage of the final table, the chip lead exchanged hands between Nguyen and Lam, and Schindler occasionally managed to double through his two remaining opponents to get ahead of them for a while. It was the elimination of Nguyen in third place that put an end to the mad three-handed race. The player collected $270,430 for his performance.

Heads-Up Duel

Lam was the chip leader at the time heads-up between him and Schindler kicked off. And the player never really lost his momentum, despite his opponent’s efforts to improve.

The two-handed match began with Lam holding 19.2 million in chips to Schindler’s 4.175 million. The two players battled it out for 11 hands until Hand #164 of the six-handed final table was dealt. It saw Lam raise to 600,000 pre-flop and Schindler call.

The [Js][7c][2c] landed on the flop. Schindler checked, while Lam bet 500,000 to see his opponent check-raise to 1.5 million. Lam spent the next 30 seconds thinking what to do next and eventually shoved. Schindler snap-called for his last 4.675 million, tabling [Jd][8d] for a pair of jacks. Lam turned [Jc][9s] for pocket jacks but with a higher kicker. Blank [3h] on the turn and [2d] on the river sealed it for Lam and sent Schindler to the rail. The tournament’s runner-up finisher collected $366,740.

Craig Varnell finished fourth in the WPT Gardens Main Event for $201,615. Saya Ono took home $151,995 for her fifth-place finish. Jared Griener went out in sixth place for $115,885.

The first ever WPT Gardens Main Event saw 584 entries who created a prize pool of $2,944,800. The top 73 finishers received a portion of the money.

The WPT is next heading to Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Oklahoma for the second poker festival on its 2018/19 schedule. That festival’s Main Event take place on August 3-7. It features a $3,700 buy-in fee and a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million.

The post Simon Lam Takes Down Inaugural WPT Gardens $5,000 Main Event appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Slovakia Submits New Gambling Law for EC Review

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Slovakia Submits New Gambling Law for EC Review

Slovakia submitted earlier this week a draft legislation that proposes major reforms to the country’s gambling industry for a review by the European Commission. Among other things, the piece aims to liberalize the country’s online gambling market and allow for international companies to operate in a regulated environment.

The Slovak Ministry of Finance submitted the draft Act on Gambling on July 25, 2018 for a review by the EC. This means that the legislation is now in a three-month standstill period during which it cannot take effect. The standstill period is due to end on October 26. During the next three months, European authorities will review the proposed reforms in the country’s gambling regulatory regime. If the EC does not provide comments on the legislative piece or an explicit rejection of its provisions, it will be able to take effect.

News that the Slovak government was planning to introduce certain changes in the way online gambling services have been provided in the country emerged in May when local lawmakers introduced the draft Act on Gambling.

Under the legislative piece, the national operator Tipos will keep its monopoly over the provision of online lottery, bingo, and raffle products. However, international operators will be able to apply for licenses to provide online casino games, poker included, to Slovak gambling customers. Licensed companies will be required to pay a 23% tax on their revenue from Slovakia.

The new legislative piece also reads that companies that target local customers without the necessary authorization from local regulators would be subject to penalties.

The Slovak government has said that with the planned revamp of the country’s gambling market, they aim to take “the technological progress and the findings of regulatory authorities in other European countries into account more fully”, while providing better protections for consumers of gambling services.

Other Proposed Reforms

The draft legislation also contains provisions concerning Slovakia’s land-based gaming industry. The legislative piece, if it takes effect, will enhance the scope of authority of Slovak municipalities in regulating the provision of gambling services. Local governments will thus be able to determine whether they want or not gambling services to be provided on their territories.

The proposed reforms in Slovakia’s land-based gambling field come in the wake of a Regional Court’s decision from last month that overturned a full ban on gambling in the capital Bratislava. Last spring, city officials adopted the ban, forcing gambling houses across the city to close doors within the next several years.

The Regional Court of Bratislava ruled early in June that the city’s decision to introduce such a ban and particularly the way it was introduced violated the law. The prohibition was adopted by city councilors at the second attempt after failing to gain enough support the first time when it was voted in February 2017.

The new Act on Gambling also proposes the establishment of an independent regulatory body that will oversee the nation’s gambling industry. The Regulatory Office for Gambling will be assigned the tasks to license and supervise regulated operations, and to sanction unregulated providers of gambling services.

The post Slovakia Submits New Gambling Law for EC Review appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Thursday, July 26, 2018 5:54 PM

Simon Lam Leads WPT Gardens Main Event Final Table

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Simon Lam Leads WPT Gardens Main Event Final Table

The WPT Gardens $5,000 Main Event final table was set early today after a long Day 4 of the tournament. Six players are set to return later today at the host venue, the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, Southern California, to play down to a champion.

The winner will take home a nice payout of $565,055, including a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, and a brand new Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster worth over $50,000.

Simon Lam is leading the final pack of six players after the fourth day of play. The overnight chip leader had accumulated a stack of 6.155 million by the end of Day 4 action to pack with a considerable advantage over his fellow contenders for the title. Popular poker pro Jake Schindler bagged the second largest stack, good for 4.45 million.

This will be Lam’s second WPT Main Tour Main Event final table. Back in 2016, the player finished 4th in the $3,500 buy-in WPT Borgata Poker Open Main Event, good for his best live tournament cash of $250,970. Overall, Lam has nearly $1.4 million in earnings from various live tournaments.

Day 4 Action

Day 4 of the WPT Gardens Main Event kicked off with 46 hopefuls still in contention. Saya Ono was leading the survivors. While the local player failed to keep her lead throughout the day, she managed to secure her spot at the official final table. She currently occupies the fifth spot in the temporary leaderboard with a stack of 3.445 million, good for 57 big blinds. In other words, even though she stands near the bottom of the chip counts chart, she is still running pretty deep.

The Day 4 hopefuls first played to the unofficial final table of nine. Men Nguyen was holding the largest chip stack when that stage of the game was reached with 3.635 million. The remaining nine survivors were then relocated to a single table. It took 98 hands of play for the official six-handed final table to be reached.

Nguyen maintained quite some momentum halfway through those 98 hands. However, to everyone’s surprise the player fell asleep at the table and spent more than 20 hands in that state. He eventually woke up, but Lam was already gaining momentum by that time and was eying the top of the leaderboard.

Despite his unexpected nap, Nguyen made it to the official final table with the third largest stack among the remaining survivors. The player will enter the final day of action with 3.935 million or 66 big blinds.

Aside from the chip leader, Lam, Schindler, Nguyen, and Ono, Jared Griener with 3.875 million and Craig Varnell with 1.955 million were the other two players to make it to the tournament’s official final table.

Six-handed action is slated to kick off today at 4 pm local time at the host venue. The hopefuls will play down to a champion. Each of them is guaranteed a minimum cash of $115,885.

The post Simon Lam Leads WPT Gardens Main Event Final Table appeared first on Casino News Daily.

William Hill U.S. appoints Sharon Otterman as chief marketing officer

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William Hill U.S. appoints Sharon Otterman as chief marketing officer

William Hill US, recently announced the appointment of Sharon Otterman as its new chief marketing officer.

Thai Police Detain Six Chinese Nationals Involved in Illegal Gambling Operation

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Thai Police Detain Six Chinese Nationals Involved in Illegal Gambling Operation

Six Chinese nationals were detained in Thailand for the provision of illegal gambling services on the territory of the country in the latest wave of raids conducted by Thai police.

The arrested individuals, two women and four men, were found to have operated an online gambling ring from two rented houses in the city of Chiang Mai. The provision of online gambling services and products and betting on such products is prohibited under Thai gambling laws. However, this has not prevented a booming black market from setting up operations in the country and luring Thai customers into gambling.

Thai police said earlier today that during Wednesday raids into two houses in the San Sai district of Chiang Mai, they arrested six individuals, all Chinese nationals, and seized equipment used for the illegal provision of gambling services. Two Thai citizens, who were leasing the houses, were, too, arrested.

The raids took place after Chinese police informed the Technology Crime Suppression Center at the Royal Thai Police Office that Chinese nationals were operating an illegal online gambling business in Thailand.

Following an investigation, it was found out that the Chinese citizens who rented the two houses were stepping out rarely, mostly to get food supplies. Investigators further confirmed that the premises were used for the operation of an illegal online gambling service.

Equipment Seized

The Wednesday raid resulted in the seizure of tablets, mobile phones, computers and other equipment used by the arrested individuals to run an online gambling operation. Police also seized account books containing betting information. It is believed that around TBH10 million (approximately $300,426) has circulated within the illegal gambling scheme.

The detained individuals were mostly offering popular Chinese card games to lure customers from Mainland China.

The six arrested people were charged with illegal provision of gambling services and persuading people to illegally place wagers on the products offered. The two Thai house owners were charged with sheltering foreign citizens without notifying Thai immigration officers.

Thai police cracking down on illegal gambling operations has dominated headlines over the past several months as authorities have intensified their efforts to prevent a thriving black market from profiting even further.

Aside from a very limited number of exceptions, gambling is illegal in Thailand and so is engaging in gambling activities. However, according to official data, around 70% of the nation’s adult population gambles regularly, lured by attractive offering, higher odds, and the promise for a quick profit. As a result, the country’s gambling market has been growing rapidly.

Official statistics released after the Russia World Cup, which concluded nearly two weeks ago with France claiming the title precisely 20 years after its last FIFA triumph, show that Thai police arrested more than 14,300 people ahead of and during the major sporting event for illegally placing bets on matches. The figure represented a massive increase from around 5,000 gamblers arrested during the Brazil World Cup in 2014.

The post Thai Police Detain Six Chinese Nationals Involved in Illegal Gambling Operation appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Exclusive Interview with PlayOJO’s Ohad Narkis on UK Gambling Industry’s Challenges

Casino News Daily
Exclusive Interview with PlayOJO’s Ohad Narkis on UK Gambling Industry’s Challenges

For its latest online gambling industry interview Casino News Daily has reached out to Ohad Narkis from PlayOJO, an innovative online casino that launched last year and is aiming to challenge the big industry names. Having previously worked for some of the global gambling industry’s powerhouses, including PokerStars and Scientific Games, Mr. Narkis is now using his knowledge and experience in the field to build a brand that places fairness and transparency at its core.

The UK gambling space is one of the main markets PlayOJO has been targeting since it went live. What are the challenges facing a new operation in the highly competitive UK online gambling environment? How is PlayOJO handling competition? And how does it make sure that its is fully compliant with the wave of regulatory reforms in the UK gambling industry from the past several years? Mr. Narkis has provided answers to these and many other important questions and has offered our readers an insight into how PlayOJO believes customers should be treated and industry challenges should be approached.

Operating an online casino business in the current environment of extreme competition, rising costs, and growing regulatory pressure must be really hard. What are the biggest challenges a new casino comes across when it goes live?

I would say that the biggest challenge of all is to cut through the noise in the market. The UK market is extremely competitive, very fragmented and is dominated by several well-established brands, some of which are high-street brands that have been around for years. To break into this cluttered market takes a lot of effort, preparation and much thought about how to differentiate yourself and stand out in the 3 key levels – Product, Brand, and Value proposition.

Without these major considerations and a creative and cut-through marketing strategy, it would be hard for any new brand to launch into a market and build any kind of significant market share. The growing compliance and regulatory pressure makes things even more challenging for a new casino. As far as PlayOJO goes, we believe that as operators we have a responsibility to our players and this is why we decided to challenge the market on some of its core shortfalls relating to fairness and transparency. With our fairness implementation, we’ve created a win win situation for both our players as well as for our business.

In what ways does PlayOJO stand out from its competition?

We’ve established PlayOJO to challenge the perception of the market. The outdated way of how things were being done was creating friction with customers and a greater level of mistrust within the industry. In order to address this fundamental inherent issue, we wanted to create a brand that is very transparent and fair. This is why we created a completely new value proposition with PlayOJO; we scrapped all the traditional bonus systems and created a new platform where customers could interact with us and not have concerns about things like funds availability or bonus money.

We wanted to create a brand that looked and felt different to any other brand. The name itself is not even a traditional casino name as we wanted to steer clear of using words like “luck” or “spins” that scream casino. The same goes for the visual brand elements being gender neutral, warm and welcoming. We treat players as our friends and this comes across in our playful and fun tone of voice and the way that we communicate with them.

Your bonus rewards system is a bit different from what is usually offered at online casinos. Can you elaborate more on how you approach new customers and how you reward them?

Keeping our players loyal is of essence and that’s why we came up with features like OJOPlus – a money-back mechanism which gives players back a percentage of their wager every time they bet, whether they win or lose. Unlike other casinos, it’s not a promotional offer but an inherent part of our value proposition which is active 24/7 and of course paid in cash.

On the same note, we don’t believe in luring our players in with too-good-to-be-true match deposit bonuses. Instead, we reward them for actually playing, using our levels system and the OJO Wheel, which they can spin by reaching new levels or just as a surprise extra perk. At PlayOJO, all funds are available for customers to play or withdraw at any time and without any restrictions. We do not impose painful wagering requirements on our players and we set no max win limit – they are in control.

The UK is the largest regulated iGaming market, but it has become a bit of a challenge to operate there due to competition and regulatory pressure. What are your personal views about that market and its current state?

The UK market is becoming much more challenging to operate in, particularly because of the increased regulatory pressure, some of which is understandable and actually very positive. It took extra attention and enforcement from the Gambling Commission and the likes of CMA and CPA to pave the way for operators to be more upfront about how they operate.

There was much non-transparency in the market between customers and operators that became a problem. I believe that it’s very positive that regulators are now pushing for operators to clean up their acts and give customers more control over their money and their play. This is a fundamental and welcome change in the way that the industry operates and I anticipate that it will take some time for the industry to adapt.

The UK Government announced started taxing freeplays last summer. How has this affected your operations in the country?

To be honest, it didn’t have a significant impact on our operations because we only launched a few months before the change to taxation calculation took place so were able to plan for it from the outset. Because we’re less bonus-heavy, the introduction of tax on bonuses didn’t impact our bottom line in a significant way.

The UK Gambling Commission has slapped massive fines on a number of operators for compliance failures over the past year. How do you make sure that all aspects of your UK-facing business are compliant with the growing number of requirements?

Along with the entire industry, we have learned a lot from these high-profile cases of certain operators, some of which who were were charged with failings within crucial operational functions. In an environment where the Gaming Commission keeps raising the bar when it comes to Responsible Gaming, KYC and Customer Protection, we need to stay one step ahead of the game so that our players stay protected.

This last year we’ve seen a greater endorsement in operators being challenged to be more socially responsible. The significant fines that the Gambling Commission has imposed onto operators clearly shows that much more attention, time and resources need to be devoted into internal processes. These should include rigorous checks for customers’ sources of funds, AML prevention, preventing instances where self-excluded players are marketed to via 3rd party channels and very importantly, ensuring that players are not encouraged to play beyond their financial means.

We actually introduced several new safety measures that identity unusual playing patterns very early on in the player’s life-cycle. These involve a very efficient KYC process, including source of fund authorisation, play monitoring and in certain cases, a total suspension of play activities. This is something we have seen across the industry and it has impacted VIP players in particular. Our VIP player numbers have actually decreased over the last months which is simply due to these suggested measurements, but we feel that this is the only way for responsible operators to operate.

You have quite unique approach to responsible gambling. Can you tell us more about your focus in that area?

We’ve created an environment where players feel secure because there is nothing hidden in our terms and conditions and they have full control of their money, which is held in a single cash account. It’s about being socially responsible in terms of how we communicate with players and the fact that everything is upfront for them makes them feel protected.

All of our marketing is based around this idea – in fact our new marketing campaign is based around our fairness message. There is no other operator that has built an entire brand or campaign around being fair and with this initiative we hope to educate the industry as well as the customers by setting the “fairness bar” of how players should be treated in the industry. It’s a long-term goal that requires a great deal of resources, patience and stamina because changing perceptions in an industry that has been operating for many years with low-trust levels is not something that can be done overnight.

The matter of social responsibility goes beyond the UK for us. PlayOJO operates in a number of different markets and one of our fastest growing markets is in Sweden, where we launched at the beginning of 2018 with exactly the same propositions and “fair” brand promise.

Despite the fact the market there is still unregulated and the industry does not face the same pressures from regulators, our perception of how we believe the industry should operate remained intact. With the knowledge that the Swedish market will re-regulate at the beginning of 2019, we anticipate that the Swedish Gambling Authority will follow in the same footsteps as the UK Gambling Commission as far as getting operators to clean up their acts. Therefore, we see ourselves as the pioneers of a fair casino promise in Sweden, setting that “fairness bar” high as we have done in the UK and demonstrating how we believe operators should treat their customers, in a socially responsible and fair way.

The post Exclusive Interview with PlayOJO’s Ohad Narkis on UK Gambling Industry’s Challenges appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 12:03 PM

Land-based casino industry engages with key topics for future development in Europe at annual forum in Monaco

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Land-based casino industry engages with key topics for future development in Europe at annual forum in Monaco

Promoting equal career opportunities and tackling money laundering were the key issues at the annual industry forum organised by the European Casino Association (ECA) and Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer at the Casino de Monte-Carlo and Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo.

Exclusive Interview with PlayOJO CEO Ohad Narkis on UK Gambling Industry’s Challenges

Casino News Daily
Exclusive Interview with PlayOJO CEO Ohad Narkis on UK Gambling Industry’s Challenges

Ohad Narkis is the CEO of PlayOJO, an innovative online casino that launched last year and is aiming to challenge the big industry names. Having previously worked for some of the global gambling industry’s powerhouses, including PokerStars and Scientific Games, Mr. Narkis is now using his knowledge and experience in the field to build a brand that places fairness and transparency at its core.

The UK gambling space is one of the main markets PlayOJO has been targeting since it went live. What are the challenges facing a new operation in the highly competitive UK online gambling environment? How is PlayOJO handling competition? And how does it make sure that its is fully compliant with the wave of regulatory reforms in the UK gambling industry from the past several years? Mr. Narkis has provided answers to these and many other important questions and has offered our readers an insight into how PlayOJO believes customers should be treated and industry challenges should be approached.

Operating an online casino business in the current environment of extreme competition, rising costs, and growing regulatory pressure must be really hard. What are the biggest challenges a new casino comes across when it goes live?

I would say that the biggest challenge of all is to cut through the noise in the market. The UK market is extremely competitive, very fragmented and is dominated by several well-established brands, some of which are high-street brands that have been around for years. To break into this cluttered market takes a lot of effort, preparation and much thought about how to differentiate yourself and stand out in the 3 key levels – Product, Brand, and Value proposition.

Without these major considerations and a creative and cut-through marketing strategy, it would be hard for any new brand to launch into a market and build any kind of significant market share. The growing compliance and regulatory pressure makes things even more challenging for a new casino. As far as PlayOJO goes, we believe that as operators we have a responsibility to our players and this is why we decided to challenge the market on some of its core shortfalls relating to fairness and transparency. With our fairness implementation, we’ve created a win win situation for both our players as well as for our business.

In what ways does PlayOJO stand out from its competition?

We’ve established PlayOJO to challenge the perception of the market. The outdated way of how things were being done was creating friction with customers and a greater level of mistrust within the industry. In order to address this fundamental inherent issue, we wanted to create a brand that is very transparent and fair. This is why we created a completely new value proposition with PlayOJO; we scrapped all the traditional bonus systems and created a new platform where customers could interact with us and not have concerns about things like funds availability or bonus money.

We wanted to create a brand that looked and felt different to any other brand. The name itself is not even a traditional casino name as we wanted to steer clear of using words like “luck” or “spins” that scream casino. The same goes for the visual brand elements being gender neutral, warm and welcoming. We treat players as our friends and this comes across in our playful and fun tone of voice and the way that we communicate with them.

Your bonus rewards system is a bit different from what is usually offered at online casinos. Can you elaborate more on how you approach new customers and how you reward them?

Keeping our players loyal is of essence and that’s why we came up with features like OJOPlus – a money-back mechanism which gives players back a percentage of their wager every time they bet, whether they win or lose. Unlike other casinos, it’s not a promotional offer but an inherent part of our value proposition which is active 24/7 and of course paid in cash.

On the same note, we don’t believe in luring our players in with too-good-to-be-true match deposit bonuses. Instead, we reward them for actually playing, using our levels system and the OJO Wheel, which they can spin by reaching new levels or just as a surprise extra perk. At PlayOJO, all funds are available for customers to play or withdraw at any time and without any restrictions. We do not impose painful wagering requirements on our players and we set no max win limit – they are in control.

The UK is the largest regulated iGaming market, but it has become a bit of a challenge to operate there due to competition and regulatory pressure. What are your personal views about that market and its current state?

The UK market is becoming much more challenging to operate in, particularly because of the increased regulatory pressure, some of which is understandable and actually very positive. It took extra attention and enforcement from the Gambling Commission and the likes of CMA and CPA to pave the way for operators to be more upfront about how they operate.

There was much non-transparency in the market between customers and operators that became a problem. I believe that it’s very positive that regulators are now pushing for operators to clean up their acts and give customers more control over their money and their play. This is a fundamental and welcome change in the way that the industry operates and I anticipate that it will take some time for the industry to adapt.

The UK Government announced started taxing freeplays last summer. How has this affected your operations in the country?

To be honest, it didn’t have a significant impact on our operations because we only launched a few months before the change to taxation calculation took place so were able to plan for it from the outset. Because we’re less bonus-heavy, the introduction of tax on bonuses didn’t impact our bottom line in a significant way.

The UK Gambling Commission has slapped massive fines on a number of operators for compliance failures over the past year. How do you make sure that all aspects of your UK-facing business are compliant with the growing number of requirements?

Along with the entire industry, we have learned a lot from these high-profile cases of certain operators, some of which who were were charged with failings within crucial operational functions. In an environment where the Gaming Commission keeps raising the bar when it comes to Responsible Gaming, KYC and Customer Protection, we need to stay one step ahead of the game so that our players stay protected.

This last year we’ve seen a greater endorsement in operators being challenged to be more socially responsible. The significant fines that the Gambling Commission has imposed onto operators clearly shows that much more attention, time and resources need to be devoted into internal processes. These should include rigorous checks for customers’ sources of funds, AML prevention, preventing instances where self-excluded players are marketed to via 3rd party channels and very importantly, ensuring that players are not encouraged to play beyond their financial means.

We actually introduced several new safety measures that identity unusual playing patterns very early on in the player’s life-cycle. These involve a very efficient KYC process, including source of fund authorisation, play monitoring and in certain cases, a total suspension of play activities. This is something we have seen across the industry and it has impacted VIP players in particular. Our VIP player numbers have actually decreased over the last months which is simply due to these suggested measurements, but we feel that this is the only way for responsible operators to operate.

You have quite unique approach to responsible gambling. Can you tell us more about your focus in that area?

We’ve created an environment where players feel secure because there is nothing hidden in our terms and conditions and they have full control of their money, which is held in a single cash account. It’s about being socially responsible in terms of how we communicate with players and the fact that everything is upfront for them makes them feel protected.

All of our marketing is based around this idea – in fact our new marketing campaign is based around our fairness message. There is no other operator that has built an entire brand or campaign around being fair and with this initiative we hope to educate the industry as well as the customers by setting the “fairness bar” of how players should be treated in the industry. It’s a long-term goal that requires a great deal of resources, patience and stamina because changing perceptions in an industry that has been operating for many years with low-trust levels is not something that can be done overnight.

The matter of social responsibility goes beyond the UK for us. PlayOJO operates in a number of different markets and one of our fastest growing markets is in Sweden, where we launched at the beginning of 2018 with exactly the same propositions and “fair” brand promise.

Despite the fact the market there is still unregulated and the industry does not face the same pressures from regulators, our perception of how we believe the industry should operate remained intact. With the knowledge that the Swedish market will re-regulate at the beginning of 2019, we anticipate that the Swedish Gambling Authority will follow in the same footsteps as the UK Gambling Commission as far as getting operators to clean up their acts. Therefore, we see ourselves as the pioneers of a fair casino promise in Sweden, setting that “fairness bar” high as we have done in the UK and demonstrating how we believe operators should treat their customers, in a socially responsible and fair way.

The post Exclusive Interview with PlayOJO CEO Ohad Narkis on UK Gambling Industry’s Challenges appeared first on Casino News Daily.

The NJ Sports Betting Market Is A Little More Crowded Now

The NJ Sports Betting Market Is A Little More Crowded Now
several people riding on a bike

Six casinos submitted applications for sports betting before the deadline, putting the total number of N.J. casinos who are already running sportsbooks or have applied to run a sportsbook at eight of nine.

The post The NJ Sports Betting Market Is A Little More Crowded Now appeared first on .

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:45 PM

Israeli Hoteliers Buy Shuttered Las Vegas Strip Motel, Hint Casino Development Plans

Casino News Daily
Israeli Hoteliers Buy Shuttered Las Vegas Strip Motel, Hint Casino Development Plans

A new hotel and casino complex might spring up in the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip after two Israeli hoteliers bought earlier this month the 1960s-era Motel 8 and hinted at plans to bulldoze the site to make room for a new development, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

According to property records, Israeli businessmen Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah completed the purchase of the motel on July 13. They paid $7.4 million for the property which is located on the southern edge of the Strip, right across the street from where the golden facade of Mandalay Bay is shining in the hot Las Vegas sun and is dwarfing the much smaller building of Motel 8.

The Review-Journal notes that Motel 8 has a peculiar backstory. Court documents showed that the property’s late owner, without the knowledge of his estranged wife, had transferred its ownership to a trust formed with his mistress. The motel’s owner died in 2009. A Clark County court upheld his wife’s half-ownership of the property four years later.

Mr. Gabay and Mr. Zerah are known to be the co-founders of Astral Hotels. The chain operates several properties in the seaside resort of Eilat in Southern Israel. Speaking to the Review-Journal Monday, Mr. Gabay said that Motel 8 was located in a very interesting area on the Strip, pointing to the new Raiders stadium as one of the properties making the area interesting.

The businessman further pointed out that he and Mr. Zerah might have seen something others do not see in the motel that is part of a portion of the Strip that has not seen much development over the past decades.

Will Motel 8 Be Transformed Into a Casino Resort?

Mr. Gabay told the Review-Journal that their plans for the now shuttered Motel 8 and its nearby Mr. Deli convenience store involve razing those and making room for a hotel and casino complex. The businessman declined any further comments on what the future of the one-acre site would be, but hinted that more details might be revealed in the coming months.

A spokesperson for Clark County has told the Review-Journal that no plans for the site have been filed with county officials and regulators yet.

News about the purchase of Motel 8 and its potential redevelopment into a casino resort arrive at the time of booming development activity both across the Strip and in Downtown Vegas. Ten years after the Great Recession hit the city and its key industries, multiple developers, including foreign ones, finally see clear signs of recovery that encourage them to enter Las Vegas or expand and/or renovate their existing business in the city.

Most recently, developer Derek Stevens was given the green light by the Las Vegas City Council to kick off construction on a casino resort that is to be located on the Fremont Street in downtown. The property will be located at the sites of the former Las Vegas Club, Mermaids, and the Glitter Gulch strip club, which were demolished a few months ago to make room for the new development.

The post Israeli Hoteliers Buy Shuttered Las Vegas Strip Motel, Hint Casino Development Plans appeared first on Casino News Daily.

CasinoFlex Systems announces first installation in Spain

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CasinoFlex Systems announces first installation in Spain

“Perfect systems solution with the service to match”

“Huge Net Cash Pile” Could Win Genting Singapore a Coveted Japan Casino License

Casino News Daily
“Huge Net Cash Pile” Could Win Genting Singapore a Coveted Japan Casino License

Genting Singapore has a significant chance to win a license for the operation of an integrated resort with a casino floor in Japan, a report by research firm Maybank Kim Eng says.

Japan has just completed its two-phase casino gambling legalization process to lay the foundations for the creation of what analysts believe could be the next major global gambling hub. The Diet’s Upper House approved last Friday the so-called Integrated Resort Implementation Bill that basically sets out the principles under which the nation’s nascent casino industry will function. Last week’s approval followed a June vote on the bill by the Japanese government’s Lower House.

Cited by Malaysia newspaper The Star, Maybank says in its recent report that Genting Singapore could win one of the three casino licenses the Japanese government plans to issue as part of its casino legalization effort. The research house believes that the major gaming and hospitality company’s current net position and experience in providing socially responsible gambling services could win it a spot in the establishment of Japan’s casino gaming market.

Genting Singapore is subsidiary of Malaysian casino and hospitality giant Genting Group. Genting Singapore currently operates Resorts World Sentosa, one Singapore’s two integrated resorts.

Maybank says in its report that with a “huge net cash pile of S$3 billion” (approximately $2.2 billion) reported in the first quarter of the year, the Singapore-based company has a better financial position than many of its debt-laden American rivals. Bearing this in mind, Genting Singapore could be better financed to complete the construction of a major integrated resort in Japan, the research firm’s report goes on.

Responsible Gambling a Further Advantage for Genting Singapore

Despite its recent approval in the Japanese Diet, the legalization of casino gambling in the country has been met with staunch opposition by lawmakers and members of the population. The potential increase in the number of gambling addicts as a result from the upcoming gambling expansion has been one of the main points commented on by critics of the move.

Working on the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill, the Japanese government also crafted regulations and rules that were aimed at protecting the country’s population from overexposure to gambling. The measures introduced include a limit to the number of visits allowed per month. Japanese nationals will thus not be able to visit the nation’s casinos more than three times per week and more than ten times per month. They will also be required to pay an admission fee of JPY6,000 in order to be admitted to the casino floors.

Under the country’s recently approved gambling law, the gaming portions of the future integrated resorts should not occupy more than 3% of the total area of the properties.

Maybank notes in its report that Japan’s responsible gambling measures were largely crafted after Singapore’s. The island city-state introduced its casino gambling laws in the mid-2000s. Its two integrated resorts opened doors in 2010 and have been required to operate in full compliance with certain responsible gambling measures, among others. According to the research firm, Genting Singapore already has accumulated enough experience in operating in a strictly regulated environment and this could gain it advantage over the other bidders for Japan’s casino licenses.

The Japanese Diet has agreed to initially issue three licenses. The bidding process is expected to begin in 2019 and the winning bidders are likely to be announced in 2020. It is believed that the nation’s first integrated resorts will not open doors before the mid 2020s.

The post “Huge Net Cash Pile” Could Win Genting Singapore a Coveted Japan Casino License appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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