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Gaming Report: Apple Puts 17+ Age Restriction on Gambling Apps, OYO Buys Hooters Las Vegas & More
- Arpit Jain August 29, 2019
4 Minutes Read
Apple has always been at the forefront of staying clear of gambling or gambling-related apps in its App Store. Recently the company announced a 17+ age restriction to all apps, especially ones featuring “frequent/Intense Simulated Gambling,” across all App Store markets. The ban seems to be specifically aimed at apps that deal with social gambling and casino products such as Zynga Poker.
Moving over to the industry news, India-based OYO Hotels has been going gung-ho publicizing its recent acquisition of the Las Vegas based-Hooters Casino Hotel in a deal estimated to be worth nearly US$ 135 Million (~₹967 Crores).
Following a second interim ex parte injunction issued by a local Nepalese court, Silver Heritage Group, which is the parent company of the Tiger Palace Casino Resort in Bhairahawa, has been prevented from selling or building anything on the plot where the Tiger Palace Resort in Bhairawaha presently stands, pending a final verdict on a writ petition alleging encroachment on public land.
Meanwhile, for the first time, the law enforcement authorities of China and Vietnam came together to conduct an illegal online gambling takedown which resulted in the arrest of 77 Chinese nationals following multiple raids in Halong City and Nha Trang City.
After the Chinook Winds Casino and Mill Casino announced that they will be including sports betting as a part of their offered services to customers, it now looks like Oregon is set to become the 12th American state to legalize sports betting.
Apple Applies 17+ Age Restriction For Social Casino Apps
Tech giant Apple recently applied a 17+ age restriction to all apps, especially those that include “Frequent/Intense Simulated Gambling,” prohibiting purchases or downloads by underage users. The move was made after the company forbid the use of embedded HTML5 code in online gambling apps and announced that its Apple Card will no longer be valid as a mode of payment for any kind of gambling purposes.
The ban seems to target social gambling and casino apps, including Zynga Poker along with the various play-money slots apps on the company’s App Store.
Many non-social gambling games which do offer mini gambling games will however likely remain unaffected.
OYO Acquires Hooters Casino Hotel Las Vegas For ₹967 Crores
India’s biggest hotel chain OYO recently bought the Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas in a deal worth around $135 Million (~₹967 Crores). The 657-room property which boasts of a 35,000-square-foot casino will now be rebranded as the OYO Hotel & Casino Las Vegas with a makeover by the end of the year.
The six-year-old startup partnered with Hospitality investment firm Highgate, which will manage the hotel while Nevada-based Paragon Gaming will continue operating the casino.
The founder and CEO of OYO, Ritesh Agarwal, talking about this acquisition by his company said, “We are excited to cater to a completely different audience segment and are certain that this will be the perfect start to OYO’s journey in Las Vegas,”
OYO claims to be the third-largest hotel chain in the world and owns/franchises hotels and vacation homes in 80 countries. Airbnb has already invested almost $200 Million in the company and OYO has even attracted investments from Lightspeed Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and the SoftBank Group.
The Gurgaon based company is valued at around $10 Billion and aims to become the world’s largest hotel chain by 2023.
Sale of Nepal’s Tiger Palace Delayed After 2nd Injunction by Court
Silver Heritage Group, Tiger Palace Casino Resort Nepal’s parent company, revealed that a local Nepal court has issued a second interim ex parte injunction related to resort’s land.
Last month, a local court in Rupandehi had issued its first interim injunction restraining the group from selling or building anything on the plot where Tiger Palace Resort, Bhairawaha stands, pending a full verdict on a writ petition alleging encroachment on public land.
Silver Heritage is its reply clarified that it is currently seeking legal advice on the injunction. The company further stated that the US$33.9 Million conditional sale offer that it had received from Indra Bahadur Thapa, represented by I. Hugh Holmes of Hotel Investment Partners Limited, could not be completed due to circumstances beyond the control of both parties.
Meanwhile, the gaming company’s CFO, Ben Watiwat has also resigned w.e.f September 6 and will reportedly be replaced by existing members of the company`s finance team. The company has appointed Amy Bunnell as country head Nepal w.e.f August 26.
China & Vietnam Come Together For First-Ever Joint Crackdown on Illegal Online Gambling
Two South-Asian countries, China and Vietnam, recently joined hands to fight against the menace of illegal online gambling.
The Provincial Public Security Bureau in China’s Hunan province had reported a major bust of an illegal online gambling and telecom fraud operation based in Vietnam, last week. Collaborating with their Vietnamese counterparts, the Hunan cops have entered a new phase that Chinese officials are now calling “a new height in the Belt & Road cross-border police cooperation.”
The official statement for the Chinese authorities regarding the takedown claimed that the investigation began at the start of 2019. China’s embassy in Vietnam reported a tip to the Ministry of Public Security in China, which delegated authority for an investigation to the Hunan police, who reportedly assigned over 330 cops to the file.
Following a liaison with the Vietnamese law enforcement authorities, the investigators staged a series of raids on June 6 at various locations in Halong City and Nha Trang City. A total of 77 Chinese nationals were arrested in Vietnam and deported to China three days later. Chinese authorities arrested a further 31 suspects in China, along with the usual assortment of computers, phones, and bank cards.
As per the official Chinese announcement, the gambling and fraud ring had been in operation since 2017 and handled wagers worth “billions of yuan” before the crackdown. The group promoted its activities via the WeChat social network and handled payments through AliPay accounts.
While Vietnam has in the past criticized Chinese-led online gambling operations, this is the first time that both the countries have came together to participate in a joint anti-gambling operation. China had for quite some time now been working more closely with its regional neighbors to interdict illegal gambling and fraud operations. Earlier this month, Chinese police collaborated with their counterparts in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville region to bust a significant cross-border gambling and telecom fraud operation.
Oregon Set to Legalise Sports Betting
The tribal-run Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City, Oregon, had announced last week that it was soon to become the state’s first sportsbook. Chinook Winds announced on August 19 that they plan on opening a brick-and-mortar sportsbook that will accept wagers on both professional and collegiate athletics.
On August 28, the Mill Casino in North Bend stated that they too would be adding sports betting to their services, including the NCAA.
“We will be offering NCAA sports wagering, so we are looking forward to that,” said Katherine Hoppe, the Tourism and Content Manager. “There’s lots of passionate fans in Oregon for our local college teams, and with march madness coming in the spring that will be another exciting offering.”
The Oregon Lottery has previously said they will not do betting on NCAA games and are still working on their system.
Nevertheless, the Mill Casino is yet to complete its planning phase and is expected to make further announcements regarding its future plans in the coming weeks.
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