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Much has been keeping the gaming industry on edge this week. Right after the news came in from Philippines that the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) has asked the country’s gambling regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) to cancel all gaming franchises and provisional licenses in Boracay Island, PAGCOR has announced that it will be complying with the request.
In the meantime, Macau-based casino management firm, DeClub has unveiled its plans to merge blockchain with gambling. DeClub has partnered with Malta-based company, Wide Rich Global to build the world’s first blockchain-based casino gaming hub with integrated online and land-based casinos.
Disappointing news comes in for players in Albania where the government is giving serious thought to restrict land-based and online gambling operations and bring in a state monopoly on sports and race betting.
Following the Philippine gambling regulator’s declaration that it will comply with a task force request to cancel all casino licenses on the island of Boracay, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) had sent a letter to chair of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) Andrea Domingo, on October 22, requesting that “any and all gaming franchise(s) and/or provisional license(s) in Boracay Island be cancelled by your good office.”
The Philippine Star reported Domingo’s special assistant Jose Tria Jr. stating, “PAGCOR had responded to the BIATF letter by immediately ordering the permanent closure of all casinos in Boracay. The casinos were supposed to have closed six months ago when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte — who appointed the BIATF members — ordered the island off-limits to tourists in order to facilitate an environmental clean-up.”
Further clarification was provided by PAGCOR with the organization stating that it had only issued two casino licenses in Boracay, including the unbuilt project proposed by Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group.
Local television quoted Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyatstatingthat casinos “cannot operate even if you are compliant” with BIATF requirements.Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Benny Antiporda echoed this warning, saying it was Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s order that Boracay “is not a gambling area, it is a tourist area.” Anyone wishing to gamble in the Philippines “should just gamble in Manila” where casinos are abundant.
Macau-based casino management company DeClub has partnered with Malta-based investment firm Wide Rich Global Company and this newly developed partnership mayresult in a closer bond between blockchain and gambling.
According to a company press release, DeClub indicates that Wide Rich wants to buy the gaming company to build the “world’s first blockchain-based casino gaming hub with fully integrated online and land-based casinos.”
An initial coin offering (ICO) has been made by Wide Rich to fund the purchase which the company hopes will allow it to attract as much as $1 Billion.
In a white paper about the project, Wide Rich states, “The tokenization of chips, casinos and their surrounding entertainment service providers will be able to build a pan-gambling business ecosystem together, so that people with varying business needs – from tourism, to business meetings, to shopping – can all gain easy and cost -effective access to customized and prestigious services on their mobile devices.”
While Wide Rich will issue the ‘DEC’ token during the ICO, allowing purchasers rights to host and invest in cash lending pools, DeClub will simultaneously offer its own token, i.e. the ‘NNC’, which are stablecoins that can be redeemed in order to cover goods or services at casinos.
While the Monetary Authority of Macau prohibits banks and other financial institutions from providing services to any entity in the crypto industry, nonetheless, private-sector ICOs are not included in the ban.
The government in Albania is giving serious thought to restrict gambling operations in the country and introducing a new regime for licensing and control of gambling activity.
Coming out with plans on the same earlier this month, Prime Minister Edi Rama stated that all gambling venues whether casinos, slot halls or betting shops would be relocated to the outskirts of towns and cities by December 31.
He further announced the planned new regime to supervise the licensing and control over gambling activity remotely through the internet. In the run-up to this, Rama said, the country may temporarily shut down the country’s Gambling Commission until the new year.
However, Rama’s statements sent a wave of apprehension and confusion across the country, in context to the fate of online gambling.
Adding fuel to the fire was his tweet on October 4 that clarified, “Gambling and this online monopoly will both die on New Year’s Eve.” Rama then informed a local TV station that, “There will be permission for online gambling that will be in a second phase.”
Further on, on October 18, Tirana Times reported that the government was mulling over the possibility of treating sports betting and betting on races as a state monopoly and allowing their operation by specially set-up state structures.
The next day, local media outlet, Exit came out with Rama’s statement, “The ‘online’ part of the gambling revamp is very complex, as other countries show, and that we will reach a well-studied conclusion on which we can have a further discussion later on.”
Earlier this week, Albania’s Parliamentary Commission on the Economy approved the proposed legislation to ban retail gambling outlets, while adding a clause which will ensure the closure of the nation’s monopoly online betting business. A vote for the same will be held at the country’s parliament next Thursday.
Meanwhile, Rama’s statements have sent shockwave across Albania’s gaming industry, the country’s former Prime Minister Sali Berisha openly criticized the government’s plan. He alleged that PM Rama’s plan “was to demolish these shops and leave the monopoly to his brother. We know that online betting operator BastArena belongs to Olsi Rama, Gaz Rama and to another person.”
Even as the issue is yet to clear up, local betting operators have, in the meantime, proposed a series of alternative solutions and urged the government to engage in a constructive dialogue with the industry.