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This edition of our PokerGuru Gaming report features a lot of legal happenings in the sports and gaming industry. Starting with our homeland, we learn of the lottery ticket scam brewing in Kerala and the reprimand issued by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to the state government.
We then move on over to the Garden State of New Jersey. In past reports we have discussed the ongoing legal proceedings the state was conducting to legalize sports betting. The hard work of the lawmakers has finally paid off with sports gambling finally becoming legal in the state on June 14.
Next on the list are Michigan and Mississippi, with the Michigan House of Representative passing the online gambling bill, this Midwestern state may well be on its way to join New Jersey and Delaware in the sports betting market. The Choctaw Indians of Mississippi will also be joining the sports betting bandwagon by introducing wagering in their tribal casinos.
We wrap up this report by discussing the deal signed between Pinnacle Solution and Asian BGE to allow the latter access to the former’s eSports iFrame API.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in a recently released revenue report indicated that Kerala has a huge amount of counterfeit lottery tickets. According to the report, the district lottery offices in the South-Indian state had collected 348,699 fake tickets between 2011 to 2017. This suggests that the state government and its officials did not take the proper precautions required to monitor and regulate the industry.
The bureaucrats of the backwater state said that they were investigating cases related to the manufacturing of the phoney tickets and stated, “inquiry in the cases is progressing and penal provisions could be initiated only on completion of the inquiry.”
However, the CAG was not pleased with the statement and argued that the state needed to take a more hands-on approach to the situation and supervision of lotteries in compliance with the Lottery (Regulation) Rules of 2010.
But this isn’t the first time that an Indian state is in the news for allowing lotteries to be conducted within their jurisdiction. The state government of Mizoram, in June last year, was criticized by the CAG for discrepancies in the management of state lotteries since the government only took a “minimum guaranteed revenue” deposit from distributors and approved all lottery schemes as presented to them without inputting any changes.
Mizoram was also asked by the Kerala government to not sell lottery tickets or conduct lottery activities in the state, while also alleging that Mizoram was assisting tax evaders and causing a loss to Kerala’s revenues. Nevertheless, the Kerala High Court overturned the ban against Mizoram allowing the Northeastern state to resume lottery activities in Kerala.
The Kerala High Court rejected a proposal submitted by tax agents, in April 2018, that would make it mandatory for lottery agents and distributors to provide the personal details to lottery winners to the agency. The court stated that the government does not have the authority to implement such a law.
In its most recent report, the CAG has stated that if the states do not take the responsibility and impetus to regulate the lottery industry, then there is a possibility that all lotteries activities within their dominion would be ceased.
The legalization of sports betting in New Jersey has been long coming. It has taken the lawmakers of the Garden State nine years of legal struggles to come to the point of finally legalizing sports gambling wagers.
But this almost decade long journey has not been without its hiccups. After the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, several U.S. states were lining up to take advantage of the overturned law. New Jersey was in the forefront of states trying to legalize sports wagering. After the sports betting bill was passed by the New Jersey Assembly and Senate, it was sent to Governor Phil Murphy for his approval. But the Governor had indicated that he may not be signing the legislation immediately.
In a conference held on June 8, Murphy had said, “I want sports betting. Believe me, I want to place the first bet in New Jersey if I can. But we want to make sure we do it right. We just got the bill. We’re going through it, and we’re not gonna sit on it.”
However, several state policymakers were displeased with the delay including Ray Lesniak, a former state Senator who had strongly advocated in favour of New Jersey’s online gambling legislation, as he believed that Murphy’s delay in signing was a political tactic. He said, “It makes no sense. In the long-run, [the delay] is not going to hurt us.” Adding that he hopes “we don’t miss [betting on] the World Cup.”
On June 12, Murphy signed the bill and declared the same on Twitter.
Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey. This is the right move for our state and will strengthen our economy. pic.twitter.com/Dw3AIXnFGY
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 11, 2018
He also went on to place the first legal bet of the state at Monmouth Park on June 14, officially opening the state to take on sports bets.
Thrilled to place the first legal sports bets in New Jersey at @MonmouthPark earlier today.
A great step forward for New Jersey’s economy and sports fans. pic.twitter.com/jXBz2o1Vrx
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 14, 2018
History has been made! Governor Phil Murphy has made the first legal
sports bet in New Jersey. The Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill is now
officially open 7 days a week! Come be a part of the excitement. pic.twitter.com/cheGiQ40gj
— Monmouth Park (@MonmouthPark) June 14, 2018
Michigan may soon join the growing list of American states that have legalized online and sports gambling. On June 12, the Michigan House lawmakers passed a bill that would regulate online casino games and sports betting titled ‘H4926’, by a 68-40 vote. The legislation will allow commercial and tribal casinos within the state to offer online games. The state Senate will be considering the bill later this year.
Michigan has in the past tried to legalize sports betting but was never able to formulate bills that would gain traction within the State Assembly. Republican State Representative Brandt Iden, in a recent interview said, “We know that people are gaming on the internet in Michigan, in fact so much so that—I have a university very close to me—when I talk to college students and I ask them if they play online, they say that they play poker online and that they don’t realize it’s illegal in the state.”
This legalization has received support from The Stars Group, PokerStars’ parent company, and MGM Grand Detroit.
In a momentous move made by the Choctaw Tribal Council, the Silver Star Hotel and Casino, Golden Moon Hotel and Casino and Bok Homa Casino of Mississippi received approval to conduct sports betting. The Choctaw Indians may well become the first Native American tribe to facilitate sports betting.
Even though Mississippi laws do not require the Choctaw Indians to garner the approval of the state’s Gaming Commission to launch sports betting in their gambling facilities, the tribe has still meticulously overseen all regulatory issues that could have acted as a hindrance to their plans.
Anticipating the repeal of the PASPA, the tribe had been considering the possibility of sports betting becoming a legal activity. According to tribal chief Phyliss J. Anderson, this would require the tribal casinos to become more ambitious in order to stay alive in the competition and increase their clientele.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) has enacted the new sports betting regulations so as to regulate and monitor the industry. As per the new regulations, casino patrons can make wagers through mobile devices but only if they are within the casino premise. Moreover, deposits into wagering accounts can only be made by customers who are present on the property.
On June 14, the B2B arm of online bookmaker Pinnacle, Pinnacle Solution signed a deal with Asian BGE, a subsidiary of the AsianLogic brand. Banking on Pinnacle Solution’s eSports betting knowledge, it is expected to provide its eSports iFrame API, including a sportsbook skin, mobile-compatible site and risk management service, to Asian BGE’s gaming brands.
Due to its growing popularity in the Asian domains, eSports is a sports booking alternative that Asian-facing bookmakers are looking forward to. Pinnacle’s early experience in the eSports betting market, starting from 2010, has allowed the company to have an extensive range of eSports markets while also offering very low margins.
Regarding the deal with Asian BGE, Pinnacle’s COO Jane Guan said that it was, “one of the biggest names in the industry underlines the fact that Pinnacle Solution is a trusted partner for leading operators.”
Asian Logic marketing director Nikos Diakoumopoulos also stated that, “quality and flexibility of the Pinnacle Solution product offering was the driving force behind this partnership.”