Washington State Joins European Opposition To Loot Boxes, Social Gaming, Skin Betting

Modern technology and innovation have blurred the lines of what can rightly be considered “gambling.”

Now, Washington State has joined regulators from 15 European jurisdictionssigning a declaration of concern regarding esportsvideo games and social gaming.

The group statement explains that the signatories share a number of common principles:

“ … including the need for gambling to be regulated to ensure high standards of integrity, fairness and consumer protection, in particular in relation to children.

Given these shared principles, we are increasingly concerned with the risks being posed by the blurring of lines between gambling and other forms of digital entertainment such as video gaming. Concerns in this area have manifested themselves in controversies relating to skin betting, loot boxes, social casino gaming and the use of gambling themed content within video games available to children.

Regulators identify in such emerging gaming products and services similar characteristics to those that led our respective legal frameworks and authorities to provide for the regulation of online gambling.”

Read more of the article here.

FanDuel New Jersey sportsbook refuses to pay bettor $82K on winning ticket, claims glitch caused win

The FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey is refusing to pay a bettor the $82,000 his ticket said he won

Where there is gambling, controversy is almost sure to follow. It's happened already in the new FanDuel Sportsbook, where Anthony Prince believes he is owed $82,000. The book is refusing to pay the bet.

Here's what happened, via News 12 in New Jersey: Prince, in the fourth quarter of the Raiders-Broncos game during Week 2, went to place a money-line wager on the Broncos, who were trailing 19-17. Case Keenum had just completed a pass to the Raiders 18-yard line, setting up a Brandon McManus field goal to win the game. 

FanDuel attempted to update the live odds on this game to make the Broncos -600 (basically saying it was a sure thing McManus would hit his field goal). But a glitch caused the update to make the Broncos 750-1 to win the game, or +75,000. 

Prince pounced on the line, betting $110 on the Broncos. Under the odds the Broncos should have had (-600), he would have won $18.35. Under the odds he got on the ticket, he won $82,610. 

When Prince went to collect, FanDuel refused to stroke him a check for the 82 large. Per Prince, the sportsbook offered to give him $500 and free skybox seats at three Giants home games. 

Continue reading this article here.

Sports Betting: National Trends and Ohio Implications

PGNO Webinar

January 8, 2018 2:00 p.m.

Description: Two 'placeholder' bills have been introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate, which commits to further exploring the possibility of legalizing sports betting in Ohio. This session will provide trends in sports betting from other states, explore the implications for Ohio, and identify minimum consumer protections, should our elected officials choose to regulate sports betting in Ohio.

Objectives

  • Identify trends from other states who have legalized sports betting

  • Understand the implications of further expansion of gambling in Ohio

  • Be equipped with tools to advocate for appropriate consumer protections

To register, click here.

With sports gambling legal, some are betting on a new kind of fan experience

Ted Leonsis was never a gambler. An entrepreneur, a businessman, a philanthropist, an investor — but never much of a gambler. So he's perhaps an unlikely torchbearer for one of the biggest shifts the sports world has seen in the 21st century. But here he is, with something that feels more like a grand vision than a high-stakes bet: a certainty that legalized sports gambling will soon change the way fanatics who fill stadiums and arenas, who wave signs, who slather colorful paint on their bodies and scream themselves hoarse, will experience live sports.

In some ways, it’s inevitable, he figures. Society has become more accepting of gambling, but that’s almost besides the point because Leonsis — and much of the sports world — is starting to view sports betting as a distant relative to the dice-throwing, backroom card games and jangling slot machines typically associated with casino-style gambling.

“I liken sports betting more to Wall Street. . . . I don’t believe it’ll be considered a game of chance,” says Leonsis, the former AOL executive who heads up Monumental Sports and Entertainment in Washington. “I think it will be a game of skill, just like you can be a day trader — you can be at Goldman Sachs, making billion-dollar bets on companies.”

Leonsis, 61, has the distinction of owning seven professional sports teams, including the NBA’s Wizards and the NHL’s Capitals. So when he talks about how legalized sports betting will change the fan experience, he’s thinking about every sports league and every sports fan in the United States.

For years, most American sports leagues have resisted gambling of any sort, scarred by match-fixing and point-shaving scandals that still stain history books. But in recent years, public attitudes have relaxed, and many of the major stakeholders slowly have shifted their stances. In May, the Supreme Court effectively shut down the federal law that outlawed sports betting in most places outside of Nevada, allowing individual states to decide on their own if they want in on the lucrative sports gambling business. It’s an industry that some believe topped $100 billion as an underground market and some analysts think could grow into a $6 billion to $16 billion industry, depending on how many states get onboard.

Read more here.

Apple blocks Norwegian access to gambling applications

The Norwegian Gaming Authority has asked Apple to block access of gambling apps, so that Norwegians cannot access the online gambling content. Apple has complied and a total of 38 unlicensed applications connected to some form of gambling have now been blocked in the region.

Gambling App Removal:

According to CalvinAyre…

Adessa, a news site in Norway, revealed that the gambling regulator of the state was able to convince the tech giant to remove the online gambling apps from its App Store in Norway, based on the fact that the operators are not licensed to offer such content in the country.

Several gambling companies were included in the removal, such as LeoVegas, Betsson, Unibet, The Netherlands, Comeon, NordicBet, Norway’s Automation and Coolbet. Both ComeOn and Coolbet have stated that they feel it is legal for residents of Norway to play their gaming options as they are licensed via the EU Free Trade Zone.

In their request for removal, the regulator stated that the App Store of Apple has guidelines that prohibits gambling applications from operating without licensing. Frank Hoff Hana, the Senior Advisor of the Norwegian Lottery Authority stated that the decision by Apple was one that will contribute in a positive way by reducing the illegal gaming offer aimed at residents in Norway.

Regulations Needed: 

Gambling operators do not agree and feel that removing the applications is not going to help resolve any problem or illegal gambling in the country. Morten Klein, the Chair of Cherry AB, commented that the blockage restrictionswill only create more problem gamblers and false hope for politicians and organizations that fight gaming addiction. Klein suggested that the country follow the same actions as Sweden and Denmark, creating a licensing option for gambling instead.

Klein stated that the Lottery Authority needs to determine how to regulate the gaming market. According to Klein, online gaming has been offered for 18 years and there have become more problem players. The situation must end with regulation and as long as Norway is part of the EU/EEA regulations, then Klein feels that Norwegians are fully allowed to take part.


Read more here.

Ohio lawmakers biding time, not joining sports gambling goldrush

While West Virginia lawmakers sprinted to throw open sports betting windows when they passed a legalization measure within five weeks of the May 14th U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Ohio lawmakers have barely laced up their sneakers.

The cautious approach from Ohio’s political leadership is partially because of who's in charge -- Gov. John Kasich and Senate President Larry Obhof of Medina have both said they aren’t for expanding gambling into sports betting -- but also because the pathway forward in the Buckeye State isn’t very clear. 

Some folks like state Sen. John Eklund, the lead GOP sponsor for a 16-word placeholder bill, think the state can regulate sports betting through passing a new law, the avenue taken in West Virginia, New Jersey, Mississippi and Delaware. Others like the powerful Senate President Larry Obhof, a Yale Law school graduate, told Cleveland.com in August that a constitutional amendment would need to be approved by Ohio voters in order to legalize bookmakers. 

As if that's not confusing enough, there's still others who think that sports betting could be allowed under a loophole in the 2009 constitutional amendment passed allowing four land-based casinos in Ohio. That loophole states that casinos in Ohio can offer any table game that states bordering Ohio offer. Therefore, now that West Virginia is taking sports bets, so can Ohio.  

While Obhof has said a Senate vote on sports gambling probably won't happen in 2018, this year's post-election lame duck session could be wild, especially if long-beleaguered Democrats manage to win back the governor's office.

So what’s going to happen in Ohio? After talking to some Statehouse insiders, here are the four most probable rolls of the sports gambling dice.

Read more here.

Sports gambling could be legal in Ohio by the end of the year

All over the country states have already legalized sports gambling after the US Supreme Court ruled earlier this year to make it legal.

One of those states, that borders Ohio, is Pennsylvania.

So where is Ohio in the process?

Closer than you might think.

There are two parallel bills in both the Ohio House and Senate that are bare bones.

Senate Bill 316 (SB 316) is literally two paragraphs:

To express the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering.

The body of the bill now needs to be researched and added as an amendment.

"The goal is to decide are we going to do this in Ohio? That's not a foregone conclusion by any stretch of the imagination," State Senator John Eklund, the co-sponsor of the bill, told Cleveland 19.

"If we're going to do it, how do we do it so as to maximize the outcome for everybody in the state of Ohio."

That's why Eklund started holding meetings with groups who might be involved in sports books, where players would place their bets.

There are several questions they have yet to answer, that would eventually lead to legislation.

"Who's going to do it? Who's going to be responsible for it? Who is going to be the regulating authority, if we have a regulating authority?" Eklund said. "What kinds of games are we going to allow people to wager on?"

And that is just the beginning.

The question of rates and fees still have to be ironed out.

Read more here.

What would a sale mean for Jack Cincinnati Casino?

Jack Entertainment Chairman Dan Gilbert could fetch up to $2.7 billion if he cashed in all his chips on casino investments in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit and elsewhere.

But industry analyst Chad Beynon said Gilbert could also generate “$1.5 billion or so” by continuing to operate casinos and selling off real estate assets tied to gaming.

Beynon, who follows the gaming industry for Macquarie Capital, compiled the estimates at WCPO’s request after a Sept. 5 Bloomberg report that Gilbert is evaluating a potential sale. Bloomberg quoted "people familiar with his plans" as saying Gilbert hired Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse to represent the company in a sale process.

Detroit-based Jack Entertainment declined to comment. The Ohio Casino Control Commission said it had no information about a potential sale.

"Should any of Ohio’s casinos be sold in the future, once an agreement in principal has been reached the affected company will appear before the Commission at a public meeting to provide an update," said spokeswoman Jessica Franks. "Given the nature of the discussions, however, most of that update will likely take place in an executive session."

Beynon, who has followed the gambling industry for more than a decade, said Jack Entertainment would be attractive to Las Vegas-oriented gaming companies that view the Midwest as a feeder market.

Read more here.

Are we doing enough to help problem gamblers?

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal statute that limited regulated sports betting to primarily Nevada for 26 years.

Since the ruling, four additional states -- Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey and West Virginia -- have started taking bets, with Pennsylvania and Rhode Island expected to be among the next wave of states to open sportsbooks. Within a few years, experts believe more than 25 states will be offering legal betting, including online options in some jurisdictions.

The U.S. is in early stages of building what many believe will be the largest legal sports betting market in the world, potentially generating hundreds of billions of dollars in bets once fully mature. But not everyone is excited.

Problem gamblers, the services that attempt to help them, and opposition groups worried about any societal scourge that might result from expanded legal sports betting are concerned that their voices are being drowned out as more states open sportsbooks.

Read more of the ABC News article.


Are we doing enough to help problem gamblers?

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal statute that limited regulated sports betting to primarily Nevada for 26 years.

Since the ruling, four additional states -- Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey and West Virginia -- have started taking bets, with Pennsylvania and Rhode Island expected to be among the next wave of states to open sportsbooks. Within a few years, experts believe more than 25 states will be offering legal betting, including online options in some jurisdictions.

The U.S. is in early stages of building what many believe will be the largest legal sports betting market in the world, potentially generating hundreds of billions of dollars in bets once fully mature. But not everyone is excited.

Problem gamblers, the services that attempt to help them, and opposition groups worried about any societal scourge that might result from expanded legal sports betting are concerned that their voices are being drowned out as more states open sportsbooks.

And it's easy to understand why.

Continue reading.

MGM enters Ohio market with casino takeover

MGM Resorts has secured a foothold in Ohio after taking over the operation of the state’s biggest casino resort, Hard Rock Rocksino.

With sports betting predicted to be legalised next year in Ohio – the seventh biggest US state by population with almost 12 million inhabitants – MGM now has a base in a desirable location between the major cities of Cleveland and Akron.

Hard Rock Rocksino has more than 2,300 video lottery terminals and includes several retail, food and beverage outlets, as well as entertainment venues and the Northfield Park horse racetrack.

Milstein Entertainment sold the property to MGM Growth Properties in a $1bn (£756m/€854m) deal that was completed in July. MGM Resorts has agreed to pay $275m to lease the casino from the real estate investment trust.

“Since opening its doors in 2013, the Rocksino has cemented itself as the market leader in gaming and entertainment due to its superior asset quality, premium location and dedicated employees,” MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren (pictured) said.

“We believe the Rocksino is a great fit for the MGM portfolio and will benefit from our capabilities as a leading global entertainment company. We anticipate revenue and profit growth from this combination.”

For the 12 months through to June 30, the Rocksino reported approximately $293m in net revenues and $94m in adjusted earnings. It has been the highest grossing casino property in Ohio in 35 of the last 39 months.

For the rest of the article, click here.

Lorain County Prosecutor's Office announces indictments in casino gaming investigation

The Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office announced Sept. 19 the indictments of 55 individuals and corporate entities by the Lorain County grand jury in connection to illegal casino gaming, according to a news release.

The indictments are the result of an ongoing investigation involving numerous law enforcement agencies including the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and a number of other area police agencies, the release said.

Each indictment includes counts of: engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, money laundering, casino gaming operation and/or operating a gambling house, the release said.

“The indictments address the drain on our community tax base and the victimization of members of the community who are among the most vulnerable to financial manipulation,” according to the release.

Read more here.

How DraftKings CEO sees the future of daily fantasy sports and esports betting

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins has been through a lot. He cofounded his daily fantasy sports company in 2012, and he had to pitch scores of venture capitalists before finally scoring venture money in 2013.

In 2015, a DraftKings employee was caught making bets on football games on the rival FanDuel site, using data before it was released publicly. Then Nevada banned daily fantasy sports as illegal gambling, and other states weighed in. DraftKings had to spend a ton of money on legal bills fighting for its life. But with 41 states, DraftKings prevailed in arguing that daily fantasy sports was a game of skill and therefore wasn’t gambling.

DraftKings battled with FanDuel to become the leader in a half billion dollar market. The two companies agreed to merge in 2017, but the Federal Trade Commission didn’t like the idea and the companies called it off.

But lately, things are going better. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law and lifted a ban that prevented states from specifically allowing sports betting. With that ruling, daily fantasy sports isn’t living under a legal cloud anymore. DraftKings opened its first Sportsbook in New Jersey last month, where it can offer legal online and mobile sports betting in the state. And Robins is considering how to enter the business for esports fantasy betting. And while the company had trouble raising money early on, it has now raised more than $600 million to date.

Read more here.

Australian inquiry finds links between video gaming loot boxes and problem gambling

An Australian Senate inquiry into the potential harm caused by video gaming loot boxes has found “important links” between loot box spending and problem gambling and that the in-game purchase of loot boxes was psychologically akin to gambling.

The inquiry, titled “Gaming micro-transactions for chance-based items”, looked into whether the purchase of loot boxes and the subsequent ability to monetize their contents constitutes a form of gambling.

Loot boxes are essentially mystery prizes, or boxes, that can be either awarded to players during play or purchased at any time in-game. Their contents, ranging from new avatar options to special armour or weapon “skins”, can then be monetized by trading or selling to other players. However, the value of items contained within a loot box can vary significantly and is essentially a game of chance with no way for players to know the contents of a loot box until they have acquired it.

According to the inquiry, which saw lead investigators Dr David Zendle and Dr Paul Cairns examine 7,422 people, there is an undeniable link between loot boxes and problem gambling, with the duo finding that, “The more severe gamers’ problem gambling was, the more likely they were to spend large amounts of money on loot boxes.”

Continue reading.

Video games have a gambling problem, the intervention is overdue

Nowadays, the idea of simply buying a video game, owning it and playing it at your leisure seems naive and quaint. Increasingly, in-game content and rewards are doled out online via random packages, or 'loot boxes', which could contain rich rewards - or be worthless. If you think this sounds like gambling, you're not alone. International gambling regulators are teaming up to fight this unethical profit model...and it's about time.

Fifteen European gambling regulators have joined forces with the Washington State Gambling Commission in an effort to combat "the blurring of lines between gaming and gambling". If you've played games on any platform lately, you've probably run into this kind of thing.

In the game you have the opportunity to get a reward, usually paid for and often referred to as a 'loot box' with a hidden prize inside...it could be a skin, treasured item, new character, or anything you want...it could also be something you definitely don't want, like a copy of something you already have. They only way to know is to open (and pay for) the box and try your luck.

Read more of the article.

Webinar: 9 Paths to Recovery

Using the Enneagram in the Treatment of Gambling Disorders and other Addictions

The enneagram is a map used to diagram 9 distinct ways life force energy illustrates patterns of thinking, feeling and reacting. The presenter has used this map while treating many persons impacted by gambling disorders and substance use addictions and has found its use very effective in assisting clients in recovery.

In this 2 hour workshop the presenter will provide a brief description of why the enneagram is a unique tool used in addictions and behavioral health treatment. The presenter will describe what the enneagram is, various ways to use the enneagram, provide a tour of the 9 character structures of the enneagram, describe why core motivation is an important factor in treatment and discuss the DSM correlates for each of the 9 types.

Date: November 7, 2018
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT

Online - Live Webinar

CEU - 2 (ILPA/MCPG/NAADAC)

Register at https://ipgap.indiana.edu/training

Learning objectives:

1. Each participant will be able to describe what the enneagram is.

2. Each participant will be able to discuss why core motivation is important when addressing a personality assessment.

3. Each participant will be able to describe various ways the enneagram can be used in gambling  and substance use addiction and behavioral health treatment.

4. Each participant will be able to discuss how certain underdeveloped types match various DSM correlates.

Renee Siegel has been counseling and coaching individuals and groups for over 35 years. She holds various licenses and certifications in behavioral and physical health modalities. She is passionate about educating individuals and groups on the use of the enneagram. “It’s been a game changer. The enneagram helps us to identify our patterns of thought, emotion and behavior so that we can make changes to improve our lives. It helps us get out of the box we have put ourselves in.”

Renee teaches and trains around the globe and practices in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Gambling Brain” Studies Make Clear Why It’s Hard to Stop Rolling the Dice

Neural regions underlying risk-taking and regret may one day point toward treatments for compulsive betting

More often than not a trip to Las Vegas is not a financially sound decision. And yet every year over 40 million people hand over their cash to the city’s many towering casinos, hoping the roulette ball rattles to a stop on black.

Gambling and other forms of risk-taking appear to be hardwired into our psyche. Humans at least as far back as Mesopotamia have rolled the dice, laying their barley, bronze and silver on the line, often against miserable odds. According to gambling industry consulting company H2 Gambling Capital, Americans alone lose nearly $120 billion a year to games of chance.

Now a set of neuroscience findings is closer than ever to figuring out why. Ongoing research is helping illuminate the biology of risky behaviors—studies that may one day lead to interventions for vices like compulsive gambling. The recent results show an explanation is more complex than looking at dysfunctional reward circuitry, the network of brain regions that fire in response to pleasing stimuli like sex and drugs. Risking loss on a slim chance of thrill or reward involves a complex dance of decision-making and emotion.

Read the rest of the article here.

Can slots ‘trick’ you into playing more?

So, you think you have those slot machines all figured out.

According to Kevin Harrigan, a professor at Canada’s University of Waterloo in Ontario, while slot machines reward their players with cash, the outcome is based not on skill, but chance – and chance is heavily weighted against the player.

(OK, there now are some slot machines that are skill-based, but there aren’t many and they haven’t quite achieved the popularity of “regular” slot machines.)

He points out that slot machines are designed to play on the brain’s reward system to keep people engaged.

He’s identified at least two ways slots make you think you’re winning more often than you are:

• Flashing bright lights or celebratory sounds when players win, say, 80 cents, even though they’d gambled a dollar.

• The “near miss” – where the reels spin, two of the three win symbols line up, and the final symbol rolls just above or below the payline. Players think they’re more likely to win on the next spin, even though, mathematically, each spin is independent from the last. (With the new digital machines, manufacturers can program near misses to occur up to 12 times more often than by chance alone.)

To help counter this, and educate players, Harrigan and some colleagues came up with labels – similar to those nutrition labels on food.

Read more.

MGM Takes Over Largest Ohio Casino

MGM Resorts is one of the biggest casino brands in the world and it is constantly looking for opportunities to expand into new markets and territories. It will come as no surprise to see that it has now entered the Ohio casino market, taking over the largest casino resort in the state – the Hard Rock Rocksino.

Recent moves by MGM Resorts

The gambling industry across the world has been changing rapidly as of late. In the United States the Supreme Court ended the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018. Significant countries such as Japan and Greece have legalized casino resorts and are currently accepting bids for these licenses.

There is more opportunity now than ever before for the likes of MGM Resorts to expand their influence globally.

One of their major moves in the US during 2018 was the opening of the MGM Springfield in Massachusetts. This was the first casino resort to be opened in the state and it came seven years after this type of casino was first legalized.

Almost $1bn (£750m) was invested in this project and it is estimated that the state will receive tax revenue of around $100m (£75m) annually from the casino. It will be a boost to tourism in the region and will see about 3,000 jobs created. The casino opened its doors for business on August 24, 2018.

Continue reading here.

Kent police captain charged with operating gambling house, money laundering

Lorain County authorities have charged a Kent police captain and his wife with money laundering and racketeering in a grand jury indictment related to their interest in alleged illegal gambling at so-called “internet cafes.”

James W. “Jayme” Cole, 52, and his wife Audrey Cole, 45, both of Stow, were indicted Wednesday by a Lorain County grand jury on three counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity — commonly called racketeering — which are all first-degree felonies; seven counts of money laundering, all third-degree felonies; four counts of illegal casino gaming, all fifth-degree felonies; and four counts of operating a gambling house, all first-degree misdemeanors.

Cole has been a Kent police officer since July 1988, according to his personnel file, released by the city and reviewed Thursday by the Record-Courier following a public records request.

According to the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, a Lorain County grand jury was convened following an investigation and a series of raids Aug. 15 in multiple Northeastern Ohio counties.

“These indictments are the result of an ongoing investigation involving numerous law enforcement agencies including the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and a number of other area police agencies,” Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will said.

One of the raids was on Cole’s home in Stow. Agents of the Portage County Drug Task Force served a search warrant there Aug. 15 on behalf of Lorain County authorities and seized records and cash, according to a law enforcement official who asked not to be identified due to the ongoing investigation.

Cole was placed on paid administrative leave the following day after the Kent Police Department was made aware of the investigation, Kent police spokesman Lt. Mike Lewis said. That changed to unpaid leave on Wednesday when Cole was arrested.

Find more of the story here.