Greek Government Approves Highly Contested Casino Expansion Plan

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 3:57 AM
Casino News Daily
Greek Government Approves Highly Contested Casino Expansion Plan

The Greek government approved late on Monday an omnibus bill that included a swathe of fiscal, energy, and labor reforms, despite heated rallies outside the Parliament building. The 1,500-page legislative piece also included already highly contested changes in Greece’s casino industry and the way land-based casino owners are taxed.

The new taxation system will require from the country’s brick-and-mortar casinos to share a certain portion of their annual revenue, depending on how much they have generated throughout the year. They will have to contribute a 20% portion, if they generate revenue of up to €101 million, a 15% portion for revenue of between €101 million and €201 million, a 12% portion for revenue of between €201 million and €500 million, and an 8% portion for full-year revenue of over €500 million.

The massive bill also included provisions for the authorization of three new casinos on the Greek islands of Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini. The Hellenic Gaming Commission will be tasked with issuing the three new casino licenses. Under the omnibus bill, interested developers will, to an extent, be free to select a preferred location for building the new casinos across any of the three above-mentioned three islands.

There were a number of other gambling-related provisions in the 1,500-page document Greek MPs voted last night, details of which are yet to be released. However, it is important to note that the casino expansion proposal has already become the object of controversy between officials from the three islands and the Greek government.

Casino Expansion Plan Draws Massive Opposition

Mykonos officials first voiced their opposition to the plan last fall. It became known earlier this month that the island’s Mayor, Konstantinos Koukas, has reached out to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asking for the plan to be scrapped. According to Mayor Koukas and Mykonos’ city council, the island had more important issues to take care of before discussing the opportunity to build a casino. It was reported late in 2017 that the island would seek to hold a referendum on the casino issue.

The other two islands included in the casino expansion plan, too, expressed opposition to the proposed and now approved expansion of Greece’s casino industry. According to recent media reports, officials from both Santorini and Crete are gearing up to launch their own counteractions to hopefully prevent the construction of casinos on their territories from happening.

Generally speaking, all three islands are concerned about the issues that may arise from such a move and how these issues may affect each island’s overall landscape. Local officials have also consider it concerning that a different group of visitors will join the mix of tourists annually visiting the islands, with those new visitors being predominantly focused on gambling.

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Manila Prepares for First Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference amid Surging Gambling Interest in Cryptocurrencies

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 3:57 PM
CasinoGamesPro.com
Manila Prepares for First Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference amid Surging Gambling Interest in Cryptocurrencies

The place of digital currencies in our rapidly developing world is undoubted, as it marks an important step towards digitalization and a more reliable financial world, according to the idealists of the cryptocurrency field. It was recently announced that the Philippines have taken their interest to another level and they are going to host the […]

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Santorini and Crete Prepare Actions against Proposed Casino Expansion

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 10:36 AM
Casino News Daily
Santorini and Crete Prepare Actions against Proposed Casino Expansion

The Greek islands of Santorini and Crete have voiced opposition to the government’s plan to allow the construction of three new casinos on three islands, local media reports. The reports have emerged shortly after the Mayor of Mykonos, the third Greek island mentioned as part of the plan, sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to express his discontent with the proposed casino expansion.

If the provisions of a draft bill currently under discussion by the Greek government are approved, this would allow for six existing land-based casinos to be relocated and three new casinos to be built on the above-mentioned three islands.

However, opponents of that latter portion of the proposed casino reforms was highly contested by officials of all three islands. They have been arguing that a casino venue would change the islands’ character and would bring a different group of visitors to the flock of tourists that vacation on them every year.

In a letter to the local council, Santorini’s Mayor Nikos Zorzos has said that his island did not need investment of this kind. He has further pointed out that the construction of a casino would bring irreparable consequences to the island’s “economy, culture, and social structure”.

According to recent media reports, Crete officials have, too, opposed the proposed construction of a casino on its territory, and have been gearing up to launch a push to prevent the plan from being realized.

The Growing Opposition Reportedly Elicits Changes

Local news outlet the Greek Reporter reported that the Greek Finance Ministry might be ready to compromise and present an amendment to the current draft bill that would allow for the future casinos on Mykonos and Santorini to operate seasonally (from March to October) instead of all year round.

The amendment will aim to reduce opposition to the planned casino expansion, which is hoped to bring additional and much-needed revenue to Greece’s coffers.

Casino News Daily reported over the weekend that the Mayor of Mykonos, Konstantinos Koukas, has sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to inform him about the island city council’s opposition to the proposed construction of a casino. According to Mykonos’ top official, the island has much more important issues to solve, including the construction of more schools and hospitals. Only then, it will be able to think about construction a gambling venue.

It became clear in December that Mykonos councilors would also launch a signature gathering initiative to hold a referendum on the casino proposal. The island council also authorized Mayor Koukas to represent the island in its fight against the proposed gambling expansion. Mr. Koukas will also be able to undertake legal action against the legislative proposal, unless the Greek government scraps the casino expansion provisions concerning Mykonos in the draft bill.

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Maria Lampropulos Becomes First Female PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event Champion

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 3:50 AM
CasinoGamesPro.com
Maria Lampropulos Becomes First Female PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event Champion

PokerStars Caribbean Adventure continues ahead with full throttle and this Sunday saw the official final day of the Main Event which brought many exciting moments to poker layers from around the world. This time the throne in the culminating event was claimed by female poker pro Maria Constanza Lampropulos, who managed to reach the top […]

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Ole Schemion Leads 16 Finalists into WPT European Championship’s Penultimate Day

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 4:09 AM
Casino News Daily
Ole Schemion Leads 16 Finalists into WPT European Championship’s Penultimate Day

Ole Schemion, one of Germany’s most profitable poker professionals, is leading the final 16 players into the penultimate day of the first-ever WPT European Championship €3,300 Main Event. The remaining survivors are minutes away from entering the day of play during which the official six-handed final table will be set.

Schemion is progressing into the tournament’s Day 4 with a chip stack of 1.735 million. The young German locked the top leaderboard position after performing beautifully during Day 3 action. The player emerged as the chip leader on several occasions throughout the day. However, he secured his overnight chip lead on what turned out to be the very last hand to be dealt on Saturday.

Day 3 survivors had to play down to the final 16, and it was namely Schemion who eliminated a fellow player in 17th place to thus put an end to Saturday action. Han Kuo is trailing behind his German colleague with a total of 1.196 million.

As mentioned earlier, Schemion has made a name for himself as one of Germany’s top players. Boasting a live tournament bankroll of $13.5 million, he is his homeland’s third most profitable player. The German superstar has cashed in nearly 100 live tournaments over the course of his career and has won some of the world’s most prestigious live events.

His triumph in the 2016 EPT Grand Final €100,000 Super High Roller for a first-place prize of nearly €1.6 million stands for his best live poker accomplishment. If the player keeps his momentum in the ongoing WPT European Championship, he may very well win is first WPT title.

More about the Event

Played at Spielbank Berlin in the German capital, the tournament attracted as many as 339 entries. The top 43 players are leaving the event with a payout. The money bubble burst at some point on Saturday, and Carter Gent became the first player to head to the payout desk shortly after.

Day 4 action is set to resume at the gambling venue today at noon local time. The 16 survivors will play down to the six-handed final table, which in turn will be played tomorrow. Aside from Schemion, heading into the final table is another poker notable. Two-time WPT Main Tour Main Event champion Marvin Rettenmaier is eyeing a record-tying third title at the host venue.

If he succeeds, he will become one of a very limited group of players to have ever captured three WPT titles. Here it is also important to note that the German is actually the only surviving former WPT winner after Davidi Kitai and Julian Thomas busted on Day 3.

One more notable still in contention is Austria’s top player Thomas Mühlöcker. He will enter Day 4 action with a stack of 525,000 in chips. With live tournament winnings of more than $5.3 million, Mühlöcker is currently Austria’s most profitable player.

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Greek’s Planned Regulatory Reform on Gambling Faces Growing Opposition

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 3:48 AM
Casino News Daily
Greek’s Planned Regulatory Reform on Gambling Faces Growing Opposition

Greek casino officials voiced concerns earlier this week that the planned overhaul of the country’s gambling industry favors new casinos over existing ones. A draft bill that calls for significant changes within the nation’s gambling sector is currently under consideration by the Greek government.

Among other things, the piece of legislation proposes a new licensing framework for the country’s casinos. According to officials at operational casinos the new regulatory regime creates better conditions for new industry stakeholders. Gambling executives also oppose the implementation of different corporate taxes for operators of existing venues and for newcomers.

The proposed scrapping of an entry fee for patrons is yet another provision that existing casinos have received with discontent. Under the draft bill, already operational gaming venues will first have to be given the nod from the Hellenic Gaming Commission in order to remove the entry fee. What is more, they will have to pay a compensation fee, which casino officials deem too high.

The sweeping gambling reform currently under consideration by lawmakers allows for the relocation of six existing casinos and the construction of three new casinos on the Greek islands of Mykonos, Crete, and Santorini. All three are popular tourist destinations and the opening of gambling venues is hoped to attract even a greater number of international travelers and boost Greece’s tourism industry and economy at a time when the country desperately needs additional revenue sources.

Mykonos Opposes the New Casino Proposal

News have emerged from Greece that officials from all three islands have opposed the proposal for the construction of gambling venues on their territories. However, it can be said that Mykonos officials have been most vocal in their discontent with the proposed gambling expansion.

Local media reported recently that Mykonos’ mayor, Konstantinos Koukas, has sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressing the island’s opposition to the casino plan. In his letter, Mr. Koukas has said that the island has much more pressing issues to address, including the addition of more schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. The letter further read that only after these issues are solved, they could think about building a casino.

Island officials have also stressed on the fact that while the Greek government had conducted public consultation on the proposed casino expansion and the Mykonos municipality had participated in it, its stance on the matter had clearly not been taken into consideration.

Last month, the Mykonos City Council approved a proposal for a referendum at which islanders would be able to voice their opinion on the matter. Councilors also decided to launch a petition against the casino proposal and to authorize Mayor Koukas to take legal action in relation to the government’s decision to potentially authorize the construction of a casino on the island, despite the growing opposition to the move.

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Casino Concession Negotiations and Triad Links Could Impact Macau’s Economy in 2018

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 3:51 PM
Casino News Daily
Casino Concession Negotiations and Triad Links Could Impact Macau’s Economy in 2018

Upcoming negotiations over the future of Macau’s six casino concessionaires and the special administrative region’s links to organized crime may have negative impact on a promising year for the city, risk mitigation expert and business consultant Steve Vickers said earlier this week.

Mr. Vickers is CEO of Steve Vickers Associates, a company specializing in risk assessment and mitigation, corporate intelligence, security, and consulting services. The consultancy recently produced the 2018 Asia Risk Assessment report, in which it included its vision on what the year could possibly have in store for Macau.

During a recent event of the British Business Association of Macau, Mr. Vickers presented some of his company’s views on the future of the city’s casino industry. According to Steve Vickers Associates, the expected beginning of negotiations over Macau’s six casino concessions and sub-concessions and their expiration between 2020 and 2022 could create certain difficulties for the special administrative region, which is the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.

In 2017, Macau posted its first casino revenue increase in three years, following an anti-corruption campaign initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping and the city’s efforts to revive its gambling industry from the impact. The city’s six licensed casino operators generated revenue of $33.13 billion last year, up 19% from 2016.

However, Mr. Vickers believes that Macau’s tight links to China’s organized crime could also have some negative effects on the city’s casino industry and economy, as a whole.

Macau’s Casino Industry and the Triads

Steve Vickers Associates’ report points out that despite efforts made by Macau lawmakers, the city’s legislation still has many gaps to close in order to make it harder for triad members to intervene in its gaming industry and other aspects of its economy, politics, and the everyday lives of residents and visitors.

Mr. Vickers said during the British Business Association of Macau event that triad members are probably the only people who could still “enforce a gambling debt in Mainland China” effectively. The risk management experts further dwelt that even though the triads have institutionalized themselves, they are still moving freely among people who have nothing to do with organized crime.

According to Mr. Vickers, more actions need to be undertaken so that triad members are prevented from engaging in different illegal activities, including ones related to gambling.

The expert and his consultancy firm also seem to believe that Macau is particularly vulnerable to terrorist attacks, despite efforts for improving the city’s readiness to respond to incidents of this type. Mr. Vickers pointed out that the constant release of key statistics about the city’s gambling industry and economy, as a whole, are among the factors that make it vulnerable to terrorist groups from around the world.

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Linden MP Urges Glasgow Residents to Share FOBTs Crackdown Opinions

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 10:09 AM
CasinoGamesPro.com
Linden MP Urges Glasgow Residents to Share FOBTs Crackdown Opinions

A Glasgow Member of Parliament called local residents to share their concerns related to fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) with the Governments until final decision about the possible gambling crackdown is made. As the Evening Times reported, David Linden, who is an MP for Glasgow East, has started an initiative of gathering signatures for a petition […]

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