6 Mins Read
The gaming industry seems to be on a constant path of change and upheavals and the Indian domestic circuit reflects this global phenomenon.
Just a few days ago Sanjay Dalmia’s Dalmia Group company, Caretel Infotech Ltd announced its entry in the domestic poker market with a brand-new website, Poker Johny, and this time its horse betting that is on the cards. Mumbai-based Play Games, that runs leading online rummy portal RummyCircle is soon launching a new site, TurfBets, offering Indian players an opportunity to place bets on international horse races in North America, UK and France.
In the U.S., the House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security & Investigations has scheduled its planned hearing on ‘Post-PASPA: An examination of Sports Betting in America’ for September 27.
Meanwhile, Hong-Kong listed casino developer, Melco International has in its interim report, announced that three of its planned satellite casinos in Cyprus would open by the year end while the fourth would become operational in the spring of 2019.
RummyCircle, a leading online rummy portal in India will soon be venturing into horse betting. The parent company of RummyCircle, Mumbai-based Play Games 24×7 Pvt. Ltd., is expected to launch a new site called TurfBets that will offer real money betting focused on international horse racing.
The website TurfBets will feature live international races from North America, UK and France. Through its exclusive video player, the website will live stream a big number of international races, allowing Indian users to place bets on these races.
Alongside information on the background of each horse with its past performances, other race conditions will also be available to the users. However, like poker, players from Assam, Odisha and Telangana will be barred from playing online horse races for prizes.
The legal precedence allowing the venture seems to come from a 1996 Supreme Court judgement in the Dr. KR Lakhsmanan vs. State of Tamil Nadu case that ruled horse racing to be a game of skill and hence betting on the same does not fall under the ambit of gambling.
RummyCircle was launched in 2008 by Play Games and enjoys a big presence in the Indian online rummy market, with over two million registered players, and close to 500 Million player interactions monthly.
As a start, TurfBets will be limited to a closed group of 1000 people within the next four days.
The question of regulating sports betting has been much debated in the U.S. in recent months. With the Congressional hearing of sports betting now scheduled for September 27, the issue has regained federal attention.
The hearing was earlier slated for June, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). On September 20, the House Judiciary Committee confirmed that U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security & Investigations would conduct a hearing on ‘Post-PASPA: An examination of Sports Betting in America.’
Talking about the scheduled hearing, the Subcommittee Chairman, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner said, “My subcommittee will look at the implications of this SCOTUS ruling and talk about what it means for the integrity of sports as well as what sorts of improper or illicit activities could arise.”
“Ultimately, we want to determine whether or not a basic federal framework is necessary to guide states’ new gambling policies,” he added.
Senior VP of American Gaming Association (AGA), Sara Slane welcomed the move. “Legal, regulated sports betting will enable increased transparency and enhance protections for consumers and bet and game integrity. We look forward to discussing the U.S. gaming industry’s core principles for legalized sports betting with the Judiciary Committee at next week’s hearing,” she said.
After the Supreme Court’s ruling, several states in the U.S. have permitted sports betting. Major sports leagues of the country had called out for a need to impose a uniform and strong set of standards for regulating sports betting.
The AGA had estimated that even before the Supreme Court’s green signal led to opening up of sports betting in the U.S, there was a $150 Billion illegal sports betting market in the U.S., and legalization would allow the government to ensure that proper checks and balances were in place.
In a joint statement, the NBA, PGA Tour and Major League Baseball had stated, “As legalized sports betting spreads across the states, there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love. We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it.”
With all the major global gaming firms eyeing the U.S. sports betting terrain, and gaming operators in opposition due to a federal oversight over sports betting, reaching a legal and legislative consensus may take time in the country.
Hong-Kong listed casino developer Melco International has announced plans to launch four satellite casinos in Cyprus by 2019.
In its interim report filed this year, the company has stated that while three of its ‘satellite casinos’ in Cyprus were scheduled to commence operations in Nicosia, Larnaca and Paphosby by the end of 2018, another satellite casino would open for business in the coastal town of Ayia Napa in the spring of 2019.
In July 2017, the Melco International led consortium aka Integrated Casino Resorts Cyprus Ltd (ICR Cyprus) had received a 30-year casino license from the Republic of Cyprus government. The initial single license allows the company to build four satellite casinos.
On June 2018, ICR Cyprus launched a temporary casino called C2 in Limassol city with plans to operate it until 2011 when its ambitious City of Dreams Mediterranean (CODM) casino resort project, also located in Limassol would be completed.
In late July, Melco announced that its Larnaka satellite casino would be in the terminal building of Larnaka International airport, near the port city of Larnaka on the south coast of Cyprus. The gaming venue was being started in partnership with a local company and would operate close to 50 gaming machines.
In its recent interim report, Melco has indicated that C2 covers an approximate area of 1,300 square meters and features 33 gaming tables along with 258 slot machines.