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The gaming and gambling industry are in a perpetual state of evolution and when politics and government authorities come into the mix, the issues are bound to make headlines.
Like in the case of Macau, the law enforcement agencies determination to cleanse the city of gaming related crime, especially illicit money exchanges have led to numerous crackdowns and resulted in a decline in the rate of criminal activities.
The county authorities in New York, however, have classified poker pro Micah Raskin a “dangerous individual” for allegedly possessing marijuana and the federal court in New York has now piled on the charges of distributing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) or more of marijuana on the poker professional.
The bookies in Ireland were in for a rude shock when the government confirmed that the gambling tax will be doubled from 1% of sports and race betting turnover to 2%.
Nonetheless, the two biggies of the gambling industry, MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings are now eyeing the California sports betting market following the dismissal of the PASPA Act.
The Macau Police have been tirelessly trying to purge the city’s reputation. From the numerous crackdowns that the law enforcement officials have been conducting since last year, gaming-related crime has already declined, and the authorities continued efforts have ensured that this trend does not stop.
According to Macau’s Judiciary Police, which oversees crime activity related to casinos, police were busy at a number of downtown casinos this past weekend. The casinos were not identified by name, but the force’s acting head of gaming-related crimes, Chan Chong In, indicated that 12 people were taken to the police station in order to have their identities verified. Out of the 12, two were detained over possible involvement with illicit money exchange services.
On October 9, police officers conducted a raid in Cotai, which has already witnessed several raids in the last few months with regards to illegal money exchanges in the area.
Chan further stated that a decrease in the number of detainments is an indicator of the fact that “acute” criminal trend in the city is not prevalent. He also stated, “Following a series of combatting operations since the beginning of this year, we haven’t really seen that these activities have got more acute,” adding, “The people that were engaged in these activities have not committed more serious criminal acts.”
“We’ve always been paying close attention to illegal money exchange services and the crimes thatstem from it. We will continue to observe the criminal trend and combat these activities,” he commented.
The charges against poker pro Micah Raskin just keep piling up. Eight months ago, Raskin was classified by the county authorities in New York as a “dangerous individual” for allegedly possessing 360 pounds of a plant. According to court documents filed last week, Raskin was charged in federal court in New York for distributing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) or more of marijuana.
Days after Raskin had made a deep run in a $3,300 buy-in no-limit hold’em event at Borgata in Atlantic City, he was charged in Nassau County back in February. He is presently accused of trafficking marijuana in the Baltimore, Maryland area.
Authorities have said that, “his supply of weed was worth more than $500,000 on the black market. Police said he was selling the plant at $1,400 per pound.”
“With this seizure of more than 350 pounds of marijuana and huge quantities of hash oils, this alleged dealer’s time living the high life selling drugs is over,”Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas stated in the news release. Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder called Raskin a “dangerous individual.”
Along with seizing marijuana, hash oil and a fire arm, the police also confiscated a taser and “paperwork documenting payments and prices.” Additionally, police seized a high-end SUV, a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette, $140,000 in cash and “high-end artwork believed to be worth more than $100,000.”
The decision to double the bookmakers’ gambling taxes has been confirmed by the government of Ireland, while online betting exchanges are also facing steep hikes in commissions.
On October 9, rumours were confirmed by the Irish government that it was doubling the gambling tax from 1% of sports and race betting turnover to 2%. Betting exchanges will see their tax rise from 15% of commission from Irish punters to 25%. Both changes will take effect on January 1, 2019.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe in a budget speech to the legislative assembly stated, “the gambling tax hikes were timely, as it’s been 13 years since the government halved taxes to 1%.”
A condition of that tax cut was that bookies were to bear the full cost of the taxes themselves, and Donohoe failed to specify whether bookies will be permitted to pass some of the increased tax burden onto their punters.
The Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA), which has seen 450 betting shops close its doors over the last eight years, represents around 700 of Ireland’s remaining 855 betting shops. IBA spokesperson Sharon Byrne said her group expected “around 300 shop closures” in the new year, with each closure taking “at least five” jobs down with it.
According to the Irish Examiner, Byrne was quoted saying that the new tax “will kill the industry” and the government’s tax hike would render Ireland’s retail betting business “extinct.” Byrne said, “there is no preparing for this, this is the end, the end of our sector.”
MGM Resorts & GVC Holdings Target California Sports Betting Market
The California sports betting market seems to be on the radar of the gambling giants MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings who recently announced a partnership.
The companies established a joint venture MGM GVC Interactive LLC and have recently inked a partnership with the United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC). The groups said the arrangement was the “first of its kind” for the Golden State, home to the nation’s largest population.
A press release announced, “As the operator of Thunder Valley Casino Resort, UAIC represents an ideal initial partner for MGM-GVC in California, providing access to the U.S.’s largest state by population, if and when state law permits sports betting.”
Following the PASPA Act being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in mid-May, many states have taken steps towards legalising sport betting. However, California’s gambling industry remains in limbo. Lawmakers and stakeholders unsuccessfully tried for nearly a decade to legalize and regulate online poker. Sports betting could prove to create the same hurdles.
Chairman of UAIC Gene Whitehouse said, “It is not yet clear if California will authorize sports betting or interactive games generally, but with the overturn of PASPA possibly opening the door for sports betting, our Tribe wants to be well-situated, and this agreement with the national leader in the field does just that.”
Under the terms of the partnership, MGM-GVC would provide its brands and proprietary technology to enable UAIC to offer retail and mobile sports betting, online casino and poker when any of them are permitted under state law.