Majority of New Gambling Accounts in Sweden Registered with International Operators, Report Finds

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 5:21 PM
Casino News Daily
Majority of New Gambling Accounts in Sweden Registered with International Operators, Report Finds

Off-shore gambling operators have proved particularly popular with Swedish gamblers over the past year

Accounts registered with international online gambling operators represent 60% of all online gambling registrations made over the past 12 months in Sweden, local consultancy firm Mediavision reported earlier today.

The firm also found that nearly 60% of all Swedes aged between 18-74 have an online gambling account, up 12% from last year. Svenska Spel, the state-run operator that holds the monopoly over most of the gambling services provided on the country’s territory, still holds the largest share of all registered accounts. Mediavision reported that combined, all regulated gambling operators account for around 58% of all registered gambling accounts.

However, international operators seem to be gaining momentum as approximately 60% of all new registrations made over the past twelve months were namely with companies targeting Swedish gamblers from outside the country.

Commenting on the latest trends discovered by the consultancy firm, Mediavision’s Mazyar Sajjadi said that a possible explanation why new and existing customers seem to be more and more drawn to international gambling operators is “their marketing with special offers and deposit bonuses.” Licensed Swedish operators are banned from offering any such bonuses to lure customers, under the country’s current laws.

Sweden’s new gambling regulations are just a couple of months away from taking effect. From January 1, 2019 onwards, international operators will be able to operate legally in the country as long as they have obtained a license from the local gambling regulator, Lotteriinspektionen.

The Swedish Gambling Authority launched the application process in July and has recently announced that it has so far received 55 applications from international gambling companies that are interested to operate in the newly regulated local market.

Local News Outlet Slapped with Fine over Gambling Ads

News emerged late last week that the Administrative Court has slapped a SEK100,000 fine on local news outlet Nyheter24 for failing to remove links featured on its website that were referring to international online gambling websites that were not licensed in Sweden.

The case was first brought to media attention back in 2014 when Lotteriinspektionen filed for an injunction against the media outlet. In October 2017, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled in favor of the regulatory body. However, Nyheter24 was found to have not removed the links to the internationally licensed online gambling products.

Swedish media outlets have for years been heavily criticized for featuring gambling-related advertisements. However, they felt encouraged to do so after the European Commission had declared the country’s monopoly system over the provision of gambling services one that violated EU principles for free trade and movement of goods and services among member states.

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Lagos Gambling Watchdog Has No Intention of Stopping Lottery Crackdown

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 11:37 AM
CasinoGamesPro.com
Lagos Gambling Watchdog Has No Intention of Stopping Lottery Crackdown

Lagos is one of the states willing to improve its gaming field and boost its performance in general which is why the Lagos State Lotteries Board overseeing it stated efforts towards this should continue. According to the most recent statement coming from the watchdog, the crackdown on illegal gambling is set to progress by eliminating […]

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Lucky Dragon to be sold this month

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 5:12 AM
Casino News – Focus Gaming News
Lucky Dragon to be sold this month
Lucky Dragon to be sold this month

The shuttered casino located on the Las Vegas Strip is set to go up for auction this month.

The post Lucky Dragon to be sold this month appeared first on Focus Gaming News.

Former Kenyan MP Accuses David Baazov of Fraud and Gambling Proceeds Misappropriation

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 4:45 PM
Casino News Daily
Former Kenyan MP Accuses David Baazov of Fraud and Gambling Proceeds Misappropriation

Amaya founder and former CEO David Baazov lands in hot water, former Kenyan lawmaker comes forward with serious fraud accusations

A former Kenyan MP accused Amaya Gaming Group (now The Stars Group) and its founder, businessman David Baazov, of misappropriating billions of Kenyan shillings through NIC Bank accounts after the company entered the East African country in 2010.

Kennedy Nyagudi, a former MP representing the city of Kisumu, claimed Amaya had allegedly conspired with the above-mentioned bank to move abroad billions of Kenyan shillings that had been generated by the Canadian gambling giant’s local subsidiary.

Amaya formed its Kenyan subsidiary in 2010. Mr. Nyagudi said in an investigative documentary that aired on KTN News earlier this week that he held a 15% stake in the subsidiary and was listed as one of its Directors. Mr. Baazov reportedly owned the remaining 85% stake in Amaya’s Kenyan branch.

The company launched two products – the M-Lotto Sweepstakes and the Mega Mega Kwachua mamilii lottery – which quickly gained popularity among Kenyan gamblers and raked in millions of Kenyan shillings shortly after they commenced operation.

The proceeds from Mega Mega Kwachua mamilii lottery product, which totaled KSh375 million, according to Kenya’s Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), were initially being wired to Amaya’s account at Equity Bank, Mr. Nyagudi revealed. Under the country’s gambling law, any gambling operation is obligated to contribute 25% of its gross proceeds to a local charity. In the case of Amaya, it was supposed to donate money to the Lion’s Heart Self Help Group. The organization was established to help orphans and widowed women in Kenya’s Siaya County.

By October 2011, the gambling company had not donated the required amount to the charity. The then-Chairman of the BCLB, Kenya’s gambling regulator, filed an affidavit to reveal how much Amaya had collected from its Kenyan lottery operations. According to the affidavit, the company had reaped in the approximate amount of KSh375 million and was supposed to contribute KSh93 million to the Lion’s Heart organization. However, the charity claimed the gambling giant owed it well over KSh73 million.

New Bank Account

Mr. Nyagudi further said that Mr. Baazov then opened new bank accounts in NIC Bank without the former lawmaker’s knowledge and stopped transferring money to the Equity Bank accounts. The new accounts were opened in Mr. Nyagudi’s name and were allegedly used by the Canadian-Israeli businessman and associates of his to siphon around KSh500 billion out of Kenya.

The former Kenyan lawmaker is now suing Mr. Baazov, his alleged accomplices and NIC Bank, accusing the businessman of fraud and the bank of helping him to conduct improper money transfers. Mr. Nyagudi also said earlier this week that he has filed a notice to Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecutions to inform them that he intends to prosecute the bank privately for failing to disclose details about Mr. Baazov and his accounts. NIC Bank had previously been issued an order to provide details about Amaya’s Kenyan operation and about the Canadian-Israeli businessman’s dealings but had refused to do so and the agencies responsible for prosecution had failed to take further action.

Mr. Baazov was up until recently the subject of insider trading investigation and prosecution in his home country. The businessman was probed for allegedly trading inside information about the company prior to Amaya’s $4.9-billion acquisition of The Rational Group, parent company of the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands, and thus affecting his company’s stock price.

The Quebec securities watchdog, Autorité des marches financiers (AMF), brought 23 charges against Mr. Baazov in March 2016, which marked the beginning of a lengthy trial. The Court of Quebec decided to stay the legal proceedings against the businessman this past summer, arguing that the AMF had made “repeated errors” and showed a “lack of rigor” over the course of its investigation.

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Tamir Segal Claims Largest Live Cash, WSOPE Bracelet in Colossus Event

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 11:03 AM
CasinoGamesPro.com
Tamir Segal Claims Largest Live Cash, WSOPE Bracelet in Colossus Event

King’s Casino in Rozvadov has its brand new WSOP Europe champion which managed to outplay all of his rivals on the way to the top. The first Bracelet event for this festival crowned none other than Tamir Segal for his ongoing efforts to make it far. The first lace prize coming with the Bracelet amounted […]

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Live! Casino & Hotel names new director

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 5:15 AM
Casino News – Focus Gaming News
Live! Casino & Hotel names new director
Live! Casino & Hotel names new director

The Maryland casino has announced a key appointment to its leadership team.

The post Live! Casino & Hotel names new director appeared first on Focus Gaming News.

Lucky Dragon Gives Luck a Chance to Happen with Auction Seeking New Owner

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 11:33 PM
CasinoGamesPro.com
Lucky Dragon Gives Luck a Chance to Happen with Auction Seeking New Owner

Lucky Dragon Casino Resort has been among the hottest topics in the past several weeks as the unfortunate turn of events led to the official closure of the hotel tower only two years after the launch of operation. Now it has been confirmed that the location would be seeking its new owner with the help […]

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Boyd Buys Four Pinnacle Casinos; Penn National Completes $2.8-Billion Pinnacle Acquisition

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 5:09 PM
Casino News Daily
Boyd Buys Four Pinnacle Casinos; Penn National Completes $2.8-Billion Pinnacle Acquisition

Boyd completes purchase of four Pinnacle casinos to pave the way for the closure of Penn National’s $2.8-billion acquisition of Pinnacle

Major gaming company Boyd Gaming Corporation announced today that it has completed the purchase of four casino properties from rival Pinnacle Entertainment for the approximate amount of $563.5 million in cash. Boyd has now added Ameristar St. Charles and Ameristar Kansas City in Missouri, Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, Indiana, and Belterra Park in Cincinnati, Ohio to its portfolio of venues.

The deal has resulted in Boyd expanding its US presence across 10 states, with those being Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Including the four above-mentioned casinos, the company now operates 29 properties.

The deal’s completion comes less than a month after Boyd completed the purchase of Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Commenting on the closure of its latest acquisition deal, Boyd President and CEO Keith Smith said that it has expanded their portfolio significantly and has enhanced their free cash flow profile at a “compelling multiple.” The executive also pointed out that the addition of the four properties has gained them access to three of the largest gaming markets in the Midwest.

As part of the deal, Boyd has entered into a master lease agreement with casino REIT Gaming and Leisure Properties, which is the owner of the Ameristar St. Charles and Ameristar Kansas City and of Belterrra Casino Resort. In addition, Boyd has purchased both the real estate and the operation of Belterra Park to close the acquisition of all four properties.

Penn National Gaming Finalizes Purchase of Pinnacle Entertainment

The closure of Boyd’s acquisition of the four Pinnacle properties paved the way for the completion of another, bigger acquisition deal. Penn National has been able to finalize the purchase of Pinnacle in a deal valued at $2.8 billion.

News about Penn National finally acquiring its rival gaming and hospitality company arrive just over of week after the US Federal Trade Commission blessed the two operators’ marriage. However, Pinnacle was required to complete the sale of the four above-mentioned properties to Boyd in order to be able to join Penn National.

Commenting on the deal’s closure, Penn National CEO Timothy J. Wilmott said in a press release from earlier today that their acquisition of Pinnacle marked a “significant milestone” in the company’s “24-year history of growth.”

Penn National expects to realize cost synergies of around $100 million as a result from the deal and to generate further revenue synergies by “monetizing [their] database; cross marketing [their] properties; sports wagering; and further leveraging [their] social gaming platform.”

The two recently completed deals come as another manifestation of the now very persistent merger and acquisition trend across the US land-based casino sector. Urged by the growing competition, the recent legalization of casino gambling across several states, and other regulatory and non-regulatory challenges, some of the nation’s largest gambling and hospitality companies have made M&A moves to cement their position in the market or gain better position.

Caesars recently bought two Indiana-based properties from Centaur Holdings in a $1.7-billion deal, while Eldorado Resorts closed the acquisition of Tropicana Entertainment for $1.85 billion a few days ago.

The merger and acquisition deals are also anticipated to secure those involved in them with better position for entering the nascent US sports betting market following the May 14 SCOTUS ruling that annulled a long-standing ban on wagering on professional and amateur sports.

And all of the above-mentioned companies are looking to capitalize on sports betting and have moved to prepare themselves for an entry into the market. Penn National recently became one of the first two companies to be issued a sports betting license in Pennsylvania. The operator will run a sportsbook at Hollywood Casino in Dauphin County and an online operation.

Boyd has forged earlier this year a partnership with FanDuel to jointly operate sports betting services across the gaming and hospitality company’s now enlarged portfolio of properties. As for Eldorado, the company has joined forces with British bookmaker William Hill to leverage on the latter’s decades of international sports betting experience.

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