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World Wide Gambling Law Update
p>The following news articles are a selection of blogs taken from the UK Licensing forum submitted by Woods Whur solicitors.?
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UK?s new 15% tax will cost the gaming industry ?300 million
New rules to govern online betting tax in the UK have been announced and the industry are suggesting this could add ?300 million in additional tax revenue.?
This point of consumption tax means that offshore operators will be taxed the same 15% rate as domestic remote betting companies.?
The industry has reacted negatively to this new tax, which would catch operators who have licensed their online operations in offshore jurisdictions where the levy is cheaper.?
Clive Hawkswood the Chief Executive of the Remote Gambling Association stated ?the focus for us now is on trying to get the actual rate of the tax reduced?. The Government will look to confirm the 15% rate in the budget statement in March with the Treasury stating: ?is it unacceptable that gambling companies can avoid UK taxes by moving offshore, and the Government is taking decisive action to ensure this can no longer happen?. This is bound to have ramifications as a significant number of operators (Ladbrokes, William Hall and Betfair) have all sited their online gaming divisions in Gibraltar. William Hill have already stated that they could look to challenge the changes if they are confirmed by the Government.?
We will keep you informed of the significant developments as soon as have further information.?
Cyprus to look at licensing land based casino(s)
Following the recent decision by the cabinet to allow the creation of a single casino resort in Cyprus, Government spokesman, Christos Stylianides, said that the new venture would attract half a million new tourists to Cyprus and create over 3,000 new jobs. The Government?s favoured position is to allow the licensing of one large resort casino in the Republic. The Cyprus Tourist Board and Deloitte have undertaken reviews and have reported to the Government leading them to come to this conclusion.?
Currently, there are no legally operated casinos in the Republic of Cyprus, but 24 exist in the northern Turkish occupied area. These are often used by many Greek Cypriots now that it is much easier to gain access to the Northern Territory.?
The Government said that the bureaucracy and red tape associated with the casino resort would be fast tracked to ensure it is concluded within a year. The decision to permit just one casino in Cyprus, over numerous smaller ones, was based on a study conducted by private-sector consultants and commissioned by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation. However, there is sure to be lobbying from within Cyprus, as different areas bid for the licence to be in their location.?
The move is likely to face tough opposition from the areas that will be excluded once the decision is taken as to which area will secure the casino resort licence, with Larnaca already saying it should be the choice.
Paphos plans to lobby the Government to change its recent decision to create one casino resort, rather than give out licences to each district. A representative said:?
?Representatives of local hotels, shops and other organisations, as well as, the mayors from the district, will discuss what we can do to ensure Paphos is able to have a casino. It will be a disaster for Paphos if a casino resort is built on the east of the island or in Limassol. We believe that it will be better for Cyprus to have a few casinos in different areas, instead of just one.??
?We sent a letter to the President, which states that the Government?s decision is wrong, constitutes unfair competition with the areas that will not have casinos and that Paphos believes that we meet all the necessary requirements such as tourist flow, high quality visitors and the infrastructure to operate a casino.??
One thing is for sure and that is Cyprus does not need internal battles slowing down the process. Cyprus has a huge amount going for it to create a Casino resort destination with its tourism and strategic location for visitors. Operators having been watching developments with interest for many years, may lose interest unless this recent impetus is not followed through.?
We have very good connections in Cyprus after I worked in Nicosia for the Government some years ago on modernising the betting legislation and we will continue to report on developments.?
Major Research Project on Problem Gambling gets the green light in Australia.
A research team exploring the implications of social network gambling and its convergence with real-money gambling has been announced in Australia. The team will be led by Dr Sally Gainsbury, a high profile problem gambling researcher at the Centre for Gambling Education and Research at Southern Cross University in Australia.?
Gainsbury claims there has been little research on the burgeoning field and the potential impact on society, particularly in the problem gambling context. She said the Southern Cross University study would include the replication of social casino games and would seek to identify whether there has been a transition between social casino action and actual gambling. Almost half the Australian population uses social media on a daily basis, Gainsbury claims, asserting that this access exposes a range of different age groups and vulnerable individuals to real-money gambling advertising and promotions on social networks, increasing the danger of problem gambling.?
Two other studies are believed to be underway, one at the Canada based Ontario Problem Gambling Research unit, and another in the Victoria province of Australia, being undertaken by the state Government.?
Gambling Research Australia is sponsoring the research project, which will include input from universities in Canada and Adelaide with a grant of over A$456,000. A wide cross-section of involved and interested parties will be interviewed in 2014, along with relevant website audits and online surveys.?
Technological developments and their contribution to accessibility will also be studied. Australia has exceptionally high smartphone ownership levels and access to mobile, as well as, internet channels in a fast and efficient communications infrastructure.?
Australian anti-gambling politicians have been especially vociferous in condemning the convergence between gambling and social networking, warning that it presents real dangers of compulsive gambling to younger players. In part they were responsible for persuading Apple to remove real-money apps developed by leading gambling companies from the Australian iStore.?
This could have important ramifications in Australia and other jurisdictions and we will continue to monitor its progress.?
Maryland?s bet on casino gambling is paying off, even if it appears to be hurting the state?s lottery sales.
Traditional lottery revenues in Maryland fell for the first time in 16 years, by 1.9%, according to figures released by the Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. But casino revenues more than tripled, creating a record windfall in revenue collected. The state netted nearly $830 million in gambling taxes, an increase of more than 27% from the previous fiscal year. The lottery contributed $545 million while the state?s casinos collected $284 million, to be used directly by the Education Trust Fund.?
More than three-quarters of the casino tax revenue came from Maryland Live, which opened in June 2012. Stephen L Martino, director of the Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, has hired a research firm to prove/disprove ? ?that when you open the third-largest [commercial] casino in the United States squarely between your two most heavily populated metropolitan areas, there?s going to be some movement in discretionary gaming dollars from the lottery to the casino.??
Lottery retailers in the vicinity of Maryland Live began reporting declines in keno and instant-ticket sales immediately after it opened, Martino said. Lottery sales and revenues had increased every fiscal year since 1996, but Martino has been telling state officials for months that the lottery?s 15 year growth streak was about to end as casino revenues exploded.?
?Taken as a whole ? what we operate and what we regulate ? we?re quite pleased with the way the fiscal year ended. The fact there was a [lottery] decline is not anything we?re happy about. .?.?. Is this just a new normal, and we?re going to see a decrease and there?s really not much we can do? Or are there things we can do with our games ? how we market them, how they?re played ? where we can bring people back where we lost them???
Maryland is one of the most aggressively expanding casino gambling areas within the USA.?
- adding 24-hour operations
- live-action table games
- a fifth casino is to open next year in Baltimore
- a sixth in Prince George?s County in 2016
Maryland Live is continuing its own expansion, with a 52 table poker room opening at the end of this month. The casino already has 180 table games and more than 4,300 slot machines, and business is booming. In July, the first month of the new fiscal year, Maryland Live collected more than $52 million in gross gaming revenue ? a 48% year increase.?
This is an interesting development in an area of the USA which is seeing huge growth in gaming yield and taxes off the back of that growth. Undoubtedly other areas within the USA will be looking at the revenue achievable from licensed gambling. As soon as we can see the above mentioned report we will disseminate its findings.