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The Union Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has issued an advisory asking private TV channels to follow the recently issued guidelines by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on online gaming and fantasy sports advertisements. These guidelines require all online gaming ads to flash disclaimers on the financial risk of playing for real money and come into effect from December 15.
Flutter Entertainment is buying out the entire 37.2% stake held by Fastball Holdings LLC in the daily fantasy sports betting operator FanDuel for $4.18 Billion. The deal will give Flutter a 95% stake in FanDuel.
In Las Vegas, Sands Corp has shut down the hotel section of its Strip-located Palazzo casino. While most casinos in the Strip are already keeping their hotels closed mid-week, Palazzo is the first one going for a complete shutdown.
In Asia, Macau casinos had a relatively better month in terms of gambling revenue generated in November. Nonetheless, the region reported a 70% drop in year-on-year gambling revenue for the month.
A surge of COVID-19 cases in Denmark and South Korea has led the gaming regulators of these countries to order the closure of gambling facilities.
I&B Ministry Asks Private TV Channels to Follow ASCI Guidelines For Online Gaming & Fantasy Sports TV Ads
Amidst increasing concerns that online gaming ads are often misleading, the Union Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has directed the private TV channels to follow the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) guidelines for online gaming and fantasy sports advertisements.
The ASCI had issued a new set of guidelines for the online gaming sector that come into effect from December 15.
In consonance with the same, the I&B Ministry issued an advisory last Friday, directing all private satellite TV channels to ensure that all TV ads by real-money gaming companies carry appropriate disclaimers. Channels have also been asked to not allow any ads promoting activities prohibited by law.
Some of the crucial aspects that gaming firms will now have to ensure in their ads include –
> Mandatory disclaimer that such games involve financial risks and may be addictive
> The ads cannot have anyone below 18 years of age seen engaged in gaming
> The disclaimer should occupy no less than 20% of the space in the ad
> The ads cannot depict online gaming as a way for real money winnings or an alternative employment option
> The advertisements cannot suggest that a person engaged in gaming activity is more successful than others
Flutter Entertainment Increasing Its Stake in FanDuel to 95% After $4.18 Billion Deal
Consolidating its presence in the US gambling industry, Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of The Stars Group (TSG), has announced that it is buying out the 37.2% stake of Fastball Holdings LLC in the daily fantasy sports betting operator FanDuel. The deal will cost Flutter Entertainment $4.18 Billion, making it a 95% stakeholder in FanDuel.
CEO of Flutter Entertainment, Peter Jackson, stated – “Our intention has always been to increase our stake in the business and I’m delighted to be able to do so earlier than originally planned and at a discount to its closest peer.”
He added, “Our number one position in the crucial US market is built on many of the assets we acquired through that transaction, supported by the broader group’s capabilities. Our intention has always been to increase our stake in the business, and I’m delighted to be able to do so earlier than originally planned and at a discount to its closest peer.”
The company has said that the buyout will improve its “flexibility to optimize US structure over time.” The market reacted positively to the development, and Flutter’s stock price improved by 7% to £143 ($192.39) after the announcement was made.
Flutter Entertainment had rebranded from Paddy Power Betfair only last year. The latter had bought a controlling stake in FanDuel in 2018 and will be paying half of the purchase price in cash and the remaining half in stock by issuing 11.7 Million of its shares to Fastball.
Las Vegas Sands Corp Closes Palazzo Hotel Tower Due to Lack of Demand
On Tuesday, Las Vegas Strip-located Sands Corp announced that it was completely shutting down the Palazzo casino’s hotel section. The move is part of the measures being taken by the company to cut losses because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
While the Strip casinos suffered from a revenue fall by more than 30% year-on-year in October, Palazzo is the first hotel in the Strip area to completely shut down.
Other hotels in the area, including the Caesars-owned Planet Hollywood and MGM’s Park MGM and Mandalay Bay, have stopped taking midweek reservations to cut losses. On the other hand, the Encore Casino has stopped functioning for its casino and hotel during the weekdays.
In October-end, Sands Corp had announced that if losses continue, it may be forced to sell both of its casino properties, including the Palazzo and The Venetian, as well as the Sands Expo Convention Center.
For now, the other Sands-owned strip property, The Venetian, will continue to keep its hotel operational.
The company has also emphasized that the Palazzo hotel employees will be retained for the time being.
Macau Casinos Suffer 70% Drop in November Revenue
Macau – the world’s largest casino market had the best month in gambling revenue in November since the COVID-19 led worldwide lockdown. Despite this, the region’s gambling sector witnessed a glaring 70% drop in year-on-year gambling revenue in November.
According to figures released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Macau’s casinos registered a revenue of $845.34 Million in November. However, with more than a 90% drop in revenue through the six months of COVID-led closure from mid-March, the overall year-on-year revenue suffered.
Nonetheless, market analysts have indicated that the market is now beginning to show signs of a rebound. According to experts, casinos in the region will start returning to their pre-pandemic revenue levels only after the first few months of 2021.
The gambling revenue also suffered a drop after the Chinese government placed strict traveling restrictions for Macau. The government has now relaxed those restrictions, and tourism is on the uptick.
Denmark and South Korea Announce Casino Closures After COVID-19 Cases Surge
The rising number of COVID-19 cases in Denmark and South Korea has led the countries to order the closure of all gambling facilities.
Earlier this week, the Danish Gambling Authority issued a new closure order. The brick-and-mortar gambling centers in 18 of Denmark’s municipalities were closed down on December 8 and will remain shut until January 3. This includes areas like the Greater Copenhagen region and Sjaelland.
In South Korea, more stringent social distancing norms have been initiated, looking at a fresh surge of COVID-19 infections. Casinos like those operated by Paradise Co. Ltd. and Grand Korea Leisure (GKL) have also been shut down again.
GKL announced this week that its Seven Luck casinos in Seoul would remain closed till December 29, while its casino in Busan will also remain shut, resulting in a loss of $5 Million.
The Kangwon Land casino, the only one in the country open to locals, also closed doors on December 8. The casino had last reopened in October.