Mouths were agape in London last Saturday when Olympic champion Elaine Thompson won the 100 meters Diamond League running in sneakers. Thompson is the favorite to win the women’s 100 meters in the upcoming London World Championships.Thompson revealed after the race traditional spikes hurt her Achilles tendons. Running in them made her uncomfortable.Special Nike running shoeIn the Diamond League race, Thompson actually was testing a running shoe created especially for her by sporting goods company Nike. The shoes do have tiny spikes in its sole.Spikes are used by sprinters to keep them light on their feet, and prevent them from slipping on the track.Jamaica youth athletes run without spikes Running in non-traditional track shoes is another indicator of Jamaica’s athletic prowess as a nation. Most of the country’s top athletes, including Merlene Ottey, Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell, hail from rural Jamaica. As youngsters, like a vast number of Jamaican youth, they ran on rough, hilly terrain for miles barefooted. From as early as the early childhood education stage some children participate in their annual school’s sports day barefooted or in sneakers.South Florida resident, Martin Smith, a former athlete, formerly competed in track and field at one of the country’s premier high schools, Kingston College in the 1970s. According to Smith, he remembers kicking off his uncomfortable spikes to compete successfully in several events.“I never liked spikes, they made me feel like I was going to fall,” Smith said. “One sports day I just kicked them off and ran a very good leg in the 4X100 relay and third in the 200 meters. I have never run in spikes in my entire life,” he said.Thompson herself hails from a rural mountainous district, Banana Ground in Manchester parish. She represented the rural Christiana High School at the now iconic Boys and Girls Championships. At these championships, she was scouted by Paul Francis, brother of MVP head coach Stephen Francis.While the world may be amazed that Elaine Thompson defeated a crack field including her rival Dafne Schippers wearing ‘sneakers’, to many Jamaicans, especially residents of Banana Ground, it was just another day’s romp.Copyright 2017 – Caribbean National Weekly News
The US government had sought to be an interest party in the hearing of the judicial review, claiming it should be granted permission to be heard as it had sufficient interest in the proceedings. Warner’s attorneys are alleging that Trinidad’s extradition treaty with the US contradicts the Extradition (Commonwealth and Foreign Territories) Act. They are claiming Act affords citizens certain protections ignored by the international treaty. Warner claims the case against him is politically motivated and accuses the United States of seeking revenge because it lost to Qatar in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup. A High Court judge will deliver his ruling in September in a case in which former international football executive Jack Warner is challenging his extradition to the United States on corruption allegations. Twelve offenses Last year, Justice Aboud dismissed an application by the United States government to intervene in the judicial review lawsuit.In his ruling, Justice Aboud questioned the contribution Washington could have made to the proceedings. He is charged with 12 offences related to racketeering, corruption and money laundering allegedly committed in the jurisdiction of the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, dating back to 1990. The former FIFA vice-president is facing fraud and money-laundering charges related to his two decades tenure with FIFA. Justice James Aboud was originally scheduled to have delivered his verdict on Monday. Lawyers for all parties told reporters the judge had adjourned the matter to a date to be set in September following the opening of the new judicial term. Delayed from Monday Contradictory extradition treaty Warner, 72, was released on TT$2.5 million bail when he made his first court appearance on May 27, 2015. Politically motivated Warner, in his claim, is questioning the procedure adopted by Trinidad and Tobago’s Attorney General. The AG signed off on the US’s request for his extradition made in May 2105. The request was made after the US Department of Justice’s investigation into the world governing football body, FIFA.
Trinidadian singer Kes of Kes The Band being interviewed for film-maker Jessy Schuster’s Carnival documentary Caribbean National Weekly met up with film-maker Jessy Schuster regarding her Carnival documentaryJessy Schuster has been part of many Carnivals since her childhood in Guadeloupe. But it was not until five years ago that the film-maker decided to produce a series on an event that is distinctly Caribbean.The 36-year-old Schuster, who lives in Miami, is in post-production for the series which she will debut early next year.Hour long episodeThe first hour-long episode focuses on Carnival in her homeland, and in Trinidad and Tobago.She started work on the yet-named project 10 months ago, filming scenes and interviewing artists and organizers in Guadeloupe and Trinidad. Singer Kes of Kes the Band, and designer Douglas John were two of the persons she interviewed in Trinidad.Special to herWhile working at PBS in Miami, Schuster contributed to several documentaries, but this one is special to her. “I want people to learn about this annual Caribbean celebration. There are so much stories beyond the beads, feathers and costumes that you see on pictures and videos. The Caribbean has a rich historical past that connects all of the islands, and despite our many differences. We also have so much in common,” she explained.Culture of Carnival“The culture of Carnival is a common denominator among our islands, but we celebrate in different ways.” One of Schuster’s first goals was to get acquainted with those “different ways.”In the past three years, she has attended Carnival in Miami, Trinidad, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Toronto and Paris. Next year, she plans similar visits to St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Barbados.Guadeloupe bornBorn in Pointe á Pitre, Guadeloupe, Schuster said she first experienced Carnival in her country at age four. Moving to South Florida 17 years ago, she was drawn to the energy of the region’s Caribbean Diaspora, particularly the Trinidadians, and how they celebrated Carnival. It was only natural that she launched her first solo documentary featuring Carnival in Guadeloupe and Trinidad.“It was obvious to me to start with my ‘two loves’ I have regarding Carnival: My first one being Guadeloupe and the second, Trinidad. Little did I know how linked they are historically and culturally speaking, as you will see in the documentary,” she said.“We basically have the same roots of Carnival; Trinidad was culturally influenced by the French coming there from Guadeloupe and Martinique in the 18th Century.”Jessy Schuster plans to have screenings of the Carnival documentary series in Miami, Guadeloupe and Trinidad in January, just before the Caribbean Carnival season starts in February.Ready for Miami Carnival? Here are some tips to get you acclimated: https://www.caribbeannationalweekly.com/caribbean-breaking-news-featured/caribbean-words-phrases-might-hear-miami-carnival/
Federal political representatives, including Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson as well as Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, has called on Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to conduct a thorough investigation into the fatal accidents involving Florida’s Brightline high-speed rail service.On Jan. 10, Linda Short, 73, of Berea, Ohio, was killed at 7:40 p.m. after driving her car onto the Florida East Coast tracks in Delray Beach and into the path of an oncoming freight train, according to Delray Beach police.Two days later, on Jan. 12th, Melissa Lavell, 32, was killed after apparently trying to beat an oncoming Brightline passenger train after the guard rails were down, also in Boynton Beach, according to police. A third fatality occurred on Jan. 18th and subsequently east of downtown Boynton Beach.Brightline passenger trains share the rail corridor with Florida East Coast Railway freight trains. Both are owned by Florida EastCoast Industries. Brightline in a statement Wednesday said, “We are engaged with them (The Feds) as they begin their investigation.”
The Nigeria Women Football League board has announced that the draw for the 2017 Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL) Super Four will hold on Wednesday 16 August at Protea Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos.Bayelsa Queens, Rivers Angels, Delta Queens and Nasarawa Amazons are the teams to participate in the draw having qualified for the Super Four following an intense regular season which ended on 2 August.As stated on the league’s official website, nwfl.ng.com, the draw will be supervised by the NWFL Chief Operating Officer Ayo Abdulrahman and other members of the board. It was also added that a bowl/pot containing four balls will be used as no teams will be seeded.The champions of the 2016/17 Nigeria Women Premier League will be crowned at the end of the Super Four. An official date for the commencement of the season-ending event is yet to be announced but the chairperson of the NWFL board, Aisha Falode disclosed early this month that it would take centre stage next month.RelatedAUDIO: Delta Queens Coach Praises NWFL Board, Sets Sights On NWPL TitleAugust 23, 2017In “Nigeria”AUDIO: Aisha Falode Explains NWPL Super Four PostponementSeptember 8, 2017In “NWL”NWFL Reschedule Super 4 TournamentJanuary 17, 2019In “NWL”
Memories are still fresh from the scene of Sunday’s spat between Edison Cavani and Neymar, during PSG Ligue 1 tie against Olympique Lyon at the Parc des Prince.The pair clashed on a number of occasions, asides the free kick and penalty incident, as footages highlighted Neymar refusing to pass the ball to the Uruguayan forward when better placed.Unconfirmed reports surfaced earlier in the week that the Brazilian superstar had un-followed Cavani on his Social Media pages, a rumour if verified will amount to pettiness on the part of the world’s most expensive footballer, and a likely seed of discord which has been planted in the PSG dressing room and will grow unhindered.Perhaps, Unai Emery should be accorded a greater portion of the blame game, due to his negligence in allocating a designated dead ball taker for the team in whatever order. Last season, following the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cavani apparently became the teams number one dead ball specialist. He was unrivalled and obviously was successful in the execution of majority of his set-out task.Fast forward to 2017, the PSG project has grown and moved beyond global imagination, with the acquisition of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Dani Alves, all aforementioned players with proven abilities from free kicks, penalties and corner kicks. Emery should have sorted this out even before the first game Neymar played for the capital giants, to avoid the show of shame which was witnessed on Sunday night.A typical example of a team with so many superstars and ego was the Chelsea team of 2006. The squad then managed by Jose Mourinho had the likes of Frank Lampard-designated dead ball specialist, Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben and Andriy Shevchenko. It was an established fact at that time Lampard had the first refusal on any set piece, hence egos didn’t clash in a team which had four national team captains present in one dressing room.The biggest loser and gainer of whatever might be of the PSG season has to be President Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Considering the mouth-watering investments and the target of the club, Al-Khelaifi has to personally intercede in whatever personality ego which could create divisions in his pet project.Already Dani Alves appears to have pitched tents with Neymar, and considering there is a strong Brazilian presence within the team, it makes no sense for the club hierarchy to treat the issue at hand with kid gloves.If push comes to shove and both parties aren’t ready to sheath the sword, then the sensible thing to do is sell Cavani! A toy worth £198million is never one not to be treated like a special egg! RelatedEl Matador Cavani: A Tribute To PSG’s Newest LegendJanuary 29, 2018In “Europe”Trouble In Paris? Cavani Misses Out On Teammate’s BirthdaySeptember 25, 2017In “Europe”Barcelona Head For France In Last Bid To Sign Embattled PSG Star NeymarAugust 27, 2019In “Europe”
RelatedGhana FA Makes Official Complaint To FIFA Over Uganda MatchOctober 8, 2017In “FIFA”AFCON 2019: Stephen Appiah Reveals Plans to End Ghana’s 37 Year Trophy DroughtMay 24, 2019In “AFCON”2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (CAF): Ghana Ends Disappointing Campaign With DrawNovember 12, 2017In “FIFA” As reported by 3SportsGH via her twitter handle, Ghana Football Association says the Black Stars will not use the new Puma kits for Sunday’s game against Egypt. I guess they are preserving it for Russia 2018.The new kit has been designed to reflect the passion, excitement and freedom seen in traditional Ghanaian dance.The shirt comes with bespoke identity – a trait typical of PUMA and their partnership with their African nations.The 2018 Ghana home shirt incorporates a stylish graphic interpretation of the Ghanaian people’s rhythm, beat and pulse.Please see the shirts below;
StumbleUpon Submit Ukraine gambling bill enacted by President Zelensky August 11, 2020 Related Articles Share Share Parimatch named official betting partner of OMEGA league August 3, 2020 The BetOlimp CEO said that a regulated market in Russia presents challenges, but also “brings opportunities for established operators to become leaders in the region”.Alexey Sinyushkin was part of a star-studded Eastern European focused panel at Betting on Football 2017, reflecting on the recent steps taken by Russia to formally regulate its online sports betting market, which includes a requirement that all financial transactions go through centralised hubs.Parimatch CEO Sergey Portnov suggested that this may have been held up by big companies holding fears over the increased level of transparency. The situation had previously been more comparable to Ukraine, where it has become “convenient for operators to exist in unregulated conditions”.Meanwhile, Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder & CEO at Bookmaker Ratings, said that this government centred process had reduced the number of depositors via its reviews site from 60% to 12%.The panel also reflected on statistics showing that 35% of gambling in Russia is now legal, as opposed to 3% just six months ago. Emerging from this regulatory ‘grey area’ has come at a good time for a country preparing to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018.Finally, Favbet CEO Nikos Halikias stressed the importance of internet access in Russia, which increased from 50% to 70% between 2011 and 2014, but has since plateaued. He suggested that a renewed focus in this area will aid a “transition from land-based to online” in the country.The session, which formed a key part of the first day Market Profiles Track at #bofcon2017, was moderated by SBC Ambassador and industry consultant Lasha Machavariani. Parimatch hails top talent of inaugural ‘Universal Sports & Games Hackathon’ August 14, 2020
Submit StumbleUpon Related Articles Share Share Andrey Astapov, ETERNA LAW: Ukraine faces critical choices as gambling finish line nears August 21, 2020 Ilya Machavariani, Dentons – CIS regional dynamics will come to play prior to gambling take-off July 31, 2020 Duma approves overhaul of Russian sports betting laws July 23, 2020 Pavel Korolev, business development director for InBet Games, says the company has tailored its products to meet government regulation in different regions.Pavel Korolev, InBetHe also says that while InBet is aware of the complexity and diversity of local markets, the B2B lottery, betting and gaming provider is open to exploring the potential of new partnerships, particularly in the Americas, and applying what it has learned from its work in Eastern Europe.Our strength is in meticulously adjusting our solutions to the most challenging national and legal environments. Relying on extensive research and our vast expertise with some of the most dynamic and heavily regulated markets like Russia and Kazakhstan, we tailor our products to meet the strictest regulatory standards worldwide.There are booming betting and gambling markets in Latin America and certain African countries. The patterns of industry growth and regulatory trends here are reflective of what was happening in CIS markets not long ago – and here at InBet we know exactly how to go about it.Classic slots and RNG games enjoy tremendous popularity across the globe, yet in many regions legislators have put restrictions on them. To help our clients operating under such regulations to meet the massive demand for slots and RNGs, we came up with a tool that keeps the attractiveness of slot machines without meeting the legal definition thereof.Animations is based on making bets on real-life events. This solution has been approved and certified by BMM Testlabs – the world’s leading gaming certification entity. Another acclaimed solution that we have developed is the lottery license optimisation, which helps to connect players to lotteries that take place in offshore jurisdictions, where draws occur at least once in every 20 seconds.When it comes to meeting regulation requirements, we don’t play hit or miss. Every product we offer undergoes scrutiny by a team of lawyers, which consists of both our employees and local attorneys. We maintain best practices in terms of ensuring perfect legality of our solutions and certifying them according to local legislation.Flexibility in terms of platforms and formats is crucial to adjusting our solutions to different contexts. InBet provides software that operates as physical terminals, web sites or desktop programs. For example, when LatAm’s favourite bingo lottery meets the format of an affordable terminal that the owner of every local establishment can buy, there is potential for massive success.Finally, to make sure that our customers command ever-increasing audiences, we embed powerful marketing tools in our products. Sweepstakes is a proven means of rewarding existing players and attracting new ones. People who buy a juke-box or an e-book get complementary access to a pre-installed sweepstake app, where they can win chips to play for real money.
Sweden’s regulation is also likely to have a significant if nuanced impact on marketing. As well as an over-arching requirement to be ‘moderate’ (already being tested in the courts), bonuses are now sign-on only (hence some operators applying for multiple licences). This is likely to create a glut of over-trading as new licensees attempt to press this home, followed by increasing difficulties for undifferentiated offers to attract and maintain customers. Whether or not severe bonus restrictions will impact social responsibility directly (and how this will be measured) remains unclear, but the rules are likely to further drive organic consolidation to stronger product and UX-driven offers, while making life harder still for the ‘long-tail’, in our view. In the three decades since Steve Wynn opened the Mirage in Las Vegas, the integrated resort casino has enjoyed commercial success and relative political popularity in North America, Asia-Pacific and Africa. Despite numerous attempts (most notably in Spain but also in Hungary, Ireland and Great Britain), similar developments in Europe have remained elusive. It remains to be seen whether the ‘domino effect’ (where the opening of a resort casino in one jurisdiction triggers further developments in a region) that has been observed in the US and in Asia-Pacific follows the Melco opening in two years’ time. Cyprus: IR casino – casino gaming takes flight ahead of IRC openingThe expansion of casino gaming in the Republic of Cyprus continues apace with the opening last month of a third casino at Larnaca Airport. From a standing start in 2018, the country now has three casinos (at Limasol, Nicosia and Larnaca) with another two set to open in 2019 (at Paphos and Ayia Napa). All of this is of course a mere prelude to the opening of Melco’s City of Dream’s Mediterranean in 2021 which will be Europe’s first integrated resort casino. CT Gaming bolsters Italian profile with The Betting Coach August 27, 2020 In other words, we would anticipate that all things being equal, the Italian government will hang on to only c. 20% of its budgeted gross tax increases, with substantially all the slippage coming from gaming machines due to the direct payout impact of the duties. However, it would be dangerous to assume that all things will remain equal in Italy. On the current government trajectory, 2018 may be seen as closing over a decade of benign regulatory change for commercial gambling, with the pendulum of fiscal-regulatory pain still potentially having a fair way to swing (especially if lower than expected tax receipts are met with more tax increases – likely increasingly economically self-defeating from these levels, but when did that stop governments). In this context, material exposure to the more moribund and controversial elements of the Italian gambling sector (retail in general, gaming machines in particular) could shift from a dull cash cow to a painful strategic millstone.In the longer-term, Italy’s fiscal engineering of its commercial gambling sector offers another significant policy headache likely to adversely impact commercial operators (with the underlying drivers not just applying to Italy): if channel shift switches supply taxed at c. 55% GGR equivalent (Italy landbased blended rate) to c. 25%, while regulatory frameworks at the same time seek to discourage an explosion in overall gambling activity, then a significant and structurally growing fiscal hole will inevitably appear… The second area where the net impact is likely to look very different to the gross (and another counter-intuitive positive) is in the online channel profitability impact of the combined changes. The advertising ban has accidentally made room for a material tax increase (we do not believe the Italian government has been so economically Machiavellian as to do this deliberately – especially given the fiscal flaws outlined above) by slashing largely unproductive costs from the long tail (rarely has advertising worked in Italy, with product and customer engagement / retail payments being far more important). It is probable that no advertising will impact some ‘over-trading’ driven growth, but since there was little evidence that demand was being successfully stimulated by advertising in Italy (unlike in more mature digital markets), there is little reason to expect a material reduction in revenue due to the ban. Instead, further organic consolidation is likely (ie, the strong getting stronger), albeit with some danger of black market leakage (though regulated consumer choice in Italy is high – covering over 100 licensed entities). In more general terms, it is worth considering that online represents only 13% of Italian commercial gambling revenue (vs. 50% in the UK and 60% in Denmark) – growth may be stymied and/or volatile, but there is still a very strong long-term secular underpin, in our view Global: online regulation – YouTube loots children?High profile YouTubers Bryan ‘Ricegum’ Le and Jake Paul have been criticised for promoting MysteryBrand.net to children. The site offers the chance to win prizes including sportswear, tech products and luxury cars to children by opening virtual boxes for a fee – its functionality being close to that of loot boxes within computer games, while the player ‘wins’ every time, the prize is randomly selected and can be of more or less value and could arguably be considered a game of chance within some gambling jurisdictions. Players have the opportunity to ‘sell back’ unwanted items, although the site takes a minimum 20% of the value of the item (similar to cashing out an unwanted bet). Romania’s ONJN adds 20 sites to blacklist August 14, 2020 Regulus Partners, the strategic consultancy focused on international gambling and related industries, takes a look at some key developments for the gambling industry in its ‘Winning Post’ column.Italy: gambling duties – felice anno nuovo?The Italian government ended 2018 with further material tax rises for its commercial betting and gaming sectors. In the machine sector, AWP and VLT duties will rise twice (January and May), accelerating the Dignity Decree (and continuing a medium-term pattern of regular increases). Additionally, betting duties have risen by 2ppts, or 9% for online to 24%, 11% for landbased to 20%, and virtual by 10% to 22%. Online gaming duties have risen by 5ppts or fully 25% to 25%. Notwithstanding the very last minute and immediate nature of the tax changes (although not retrospective), the budget amendments have been waved through by the European Commission – meaning the tax increases already apply, just days after becoming law and coinciding with the enforcement of Italy’s total gambling advertising ban.From an overall market perspective, the tax rises are intended to represent an additional c. €770m LfL gross cost increase to the commercial sector (major caveats to this figure below), with the vast majority coming from gaming machines in absolute terms (c. 80%), but specifically VLTs alongside online gaming bearing the highest relative increases. The gross post-tax revenue impact for the overall commercial market (ie, excluding Lotto) pre- mitigation and behavioural change, would be c. 11% – and a double digit proportion of sector EBITDA. Indeed, this bleak prognosis is backed up through public company data. Gamenet has already warned of a c. €15-20m impact (c. 18% EBITDA) and Playtech c. €20-25m (also c. 18% Italian EBITDA) – over and above pre-announced machine tax hikes in the Dignity Decree. We estimate IGT’s gross potential impact to be c. €130m or c. 20% Italian EBITDA (pf, including DD increases), with lottery unaffected but a much higher machines mix within the commercial element. The leading online operators are likely to see a c. 20-30% impact on LfL EBITDA, in our view, with the losses of the (substantial) local long-tail widening further. The Swedish government has introduced relatively straight-forward social responsibility rules for the newly liberalised market, covering harmful gambling, gambling by minors and criminal or fraudulent activity. The regulations are perhaps most notable for the introduction of a comprehensive self-exclusion system (Spelhaus) which will allow gamblers to exclude from all licensed operators. Not so long ago, such schemes were dismissed by many in the global industry as being overly paternalistic and unworkable in practice; but this is changing. StumbleUpon Share Nektan is attempting to raise funds totalling £3.5m through the partial sale of Respin (a US subsidiary: 57.5% for £2m) and the proposed placing of new ordinary shares (£1.5m), as well as converting shareholder loans to equity. Romania’s historical liberal online regime probably suited undifferentiated offshore operators best given its low taxes and light touch. By introducing a (relatively low) turnover tax as well as a GGR tax, localised mass market led offers are likely to relatively outperform offshore sportsbooks. Romania has therefore started 2019 favouring local organic consolidation and local specialism over .com businesses morphing into POC licensees (ie, driving operator fragmentation at the macro level) – adding to a growing roster and a growing trend of increasingly challenging POC markets. Share More broadly as the exotic becomes the orthodox, so the bar on social responsibility is likely to be set higher. Ever tighter and more joined-up social responsibility systems seem likely to be a part of the industry’s future. Operators should welcome and embrace Sweden’s measured and nuanced approaches, in our view, potentially using the market as a testing ground for good practice to avoid stricter domestic controls later and provide a model for (working) liberal practices elsewhere. However, the required levels of restraint and strategic investment may not come all that easily to some quasi-domestic operators brought up on much more cavalier .com practices. Netherlands: online regulation – KSA shot the Sheriff, and may not be done yet…The jailing of executives at the Dutch online gambling company, Sheriff Gaming for money laundering offences ensured that a difficult year for Europe’s remote operators ended on a dismal note. The company’s chief executive, Stijn Flapper was handed a two-year custodial sentence by the Dutch Public Prosecutor (with two other executives receiving shorter terms) for allegedly washing between €30m and €50m of criminal proceeds. Western Europe has grown accustomed to increasingly significant fines for regulatory breaches (both Great Britain and Denmark posted record years in 2018 – as well as the Netherlands) but incarcerations are still mercifully rare. The episode prompts a number of questions. Was this an isolated case of criminality or have other parts of the gambling supply chain been similarly engaged? What due diligence did Sheriff’s clients (including some of the largest remote operators in Europe) undertake on the company and what were their responsibilities? We must hope that the prosecution draws a line under this episode – but in an increasingly connected and global industry – risk to licensing requirements and to reputation can be both complex and obscure. Sweden: online regulation – up and running, save for the excludedSweden is officially open for business following the implementation of new gambling legislation on New Year’s Day. While around 60 companies appear to have received licences (with a glut arriving just before Christmas), others faced shut-out as the Government refused to entertain the prospect of temporary licences (which would have allowed companies to maintain trading pending validation of application for a full licence). Related Articles Global: M&A – summaryThe founder of Korean online video games producer Nexon is set to sell a US$9bn controlling stake in its holding group NXC Corp The prosecution and sentencing also highlights how tough the Netherlands is wont to be on gambling infringements. This is likely to be put to a very significant test should POC online regulations ever regain momentum (possible in Q1, but so far always disappointing hopes for progress) – especially in terms of what constitutes ‘bad actor’ behaviour and how strictly (and for how long) this will be applied. Given the number operators which have taken and arguably directly ‘enticed’ Dutch players, this list could be long and high profile (with Betsson, Bet-at-home, Mr Green and William Hill all recently fined, for example). There is something of a POC “Catch 22” here: stricter licensing is more likely to allow political momentum to be regained, but potentially in ways material elements of the online sector would not welcome.Romania: gambling duties – local victory Romania passed its ‘greed taxes’ after Christmas, but softened the blow to gambling operators both in terms of the rate (2% online vs. 5%; flat fee retail vs. 3%) and starting point (from this year rather than retrospectively). This represents a significant last minute lobbying victory, though the result still suggests a real terms tax increase of well over 50% for multiples-led businesses (albeit to still manageable levels) and a punitive c. 125-250% (and far more structurally challenging) increase for more singles and in-play driven offers. Perhaps most significantly, by removing the retroactive element the tax is now unlikely to be subjected to legal challenge – making it another unwelcome last minute reality for operators. However, there are a couple of reasons why this ‘gross view’ is unlikely to play out in reality (despite appearing and anticipated in this way in the newly revised Italian state budget for 2019). First, gaming machine revenue is typically inversely proportional to gross margins, so a combination of mandated poorer customer value and additional operator action is likely to accelerate AWP top-line decline and stall stuttering VLT growth, in our view. However, data from Agimeg suggests that while AWPs are running on their minimum payout limit (70%, going to 68%), VLTs are on the whole more generous than the law demands (85%, going to 84%; but achieving c. 88%) – giving operators a lot more mitigation room. Given the high payout, recycling-driven nature of VLTs, combined with the fact that the duty falls on turnover, there is a strong possibility, in our view, that the VLT element of the tax can be more than mitigated by dropping the payout materially (caveat: customers may start to become less interested), while the AWP element is likely to result in a slightly higher tax yield for a small(ish) net revenue hit.Consequently, by over-engineering turnover taxes and payouts, while focussing on what we believe to be the wrong metric of underlying consumer activity (turnover rather than revenue), the Italian government may have initiated major theoretical tax increases that will have the opposite effect in an aggressively managed reality (not just lower than expected tax yields, but lower yields on an absolute basis). Further, Italian operators have an increasing commercial logic to manage this aggressively, given that machine taxes are now materially over 50% of GGR (for the first time in the case of VLTs) and machine supply is now being actively reduced by legislation (local and nationwide). If this analysis is correct, then the operational impact will be far less severe than originally feared. However, while this might be good news financially and commercially, the Italian government is unlikely to leave the sector alone, in our view (and may well get punitive). From a strategic perspective therefore, maximising mitigation might therefore be very different to optimising it… In the meantime, the development of satellite casinos in Cyprus; the return of the table games to Paris last year (after a ban of nearly a century); moves to modernise and ultimately privatise Holland Casinos; and plans to launch a Hard Rock resort casino in Catalonia, all serve as a reminder that the expansion of remote gambling supplements rather than replaces consumer demand for land-based gambling (particularly where it is experiential rather than simply transactional). US: online regulation – sagging in MichiganLast minute hopes for online gaming legislation in Michigan were dashed by the veto of the (now departed) governor. While there is every possibility of progress this year in what could be a material state market, the reasons for the veto are telling: protecting lottery revenue (and by extension lottery-led state funding). Such concerns tend to be ridiculed in Europe, where lotteries have co-existed with commercial gambling for some time, with over 15 years of increasingly material online competition. However, the question is a more open one in the US given the lack of any commercial gambling competition to the high value scratchcards that have been the motor of US lottery growth (in most states) as well as the pervading lack of online lottery traction (though this is building in some states – including Michigan and Illinois). Given the similarities between slots (and parlay bets) and scratchcards, especially online and/or at the higher end of scratchcard stakes and payouts, this is an issue that is unlikely to go away and could be increasingly dangerous for commercial gambling lobbyists / evangelists to dismiss as a credible stakeholder concern, in our view. MysteryBrand.net does not imply an age limit for sign up, with users also able to log in through games trading site Steam which has an age restriction for those under 13. This unfortunate association by Steam (which is operated by games developer, Valve), may cause further reputational damage to the company since the recent skins betting controversy in the US – particularly as the company has been highlighted as a potential contributor to underage betting using skins in the newly published Report on Illegal Gambling by the Danish Gambling Authority. Submit TVBET passes GLI test for five live games in Malta and Italy August 25, 2020 Although ‘skins betting’ and ‘gambling like’ chance elements within computer games have been around for a number of years, it is only recently that regulators have begun to take note of this potential loophole, however, it is clear that the risk of children coming into contact with potentially harmful and/or wrongly unregulated material goes far further than this – with these types of sites being promoted through social media channels by people who have effectively become children’s entertainers and role models. From a regulatory perspective, there is a danger that too much focus on principles-based decisions and/or an over-application of a rule book designed for real-money gambling will either overshoot or undershoot optimal outcomes. Equally, this is not an area that many regulators are likely to feel strongly equipped to deal with in terms of experience or resource. There is therefore a critical need for operators to handle with care or invite increasingly knee-jerk responses from the political and/or regulatory establishment, in our view.