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Compliance Updates

Two Players from Korn Ferry Tour Suspended for Betting on PGA Tour Events

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The PGA Tour announced that it has suspended two players on the Korn Ferry Tour for violating the Integrity Program. In an emailed statement, the tour said Vince India and Jake Staiano placed bets on PGA Tour competitions, though did not bet on tournaments in which they were participants.

The tour said Vince India is suspended from PGA Tour-sanctioned competition for six months, with the suspension having begun on Sept. 18, 2023. Staiano is banned from PGA Tour-sanctioned tournaments for three months, with his suspension starting on Sept. 11, 2023.

The tour said it will have no further comment on the suspensions at this time.

Vince India, 34, is a University of Iowa alum who has played fulltime on the KFT since 2019 and has career KFT earnings of $569,844. He had eight top-10 finishes from 2019-23 but didn’t post a top-10 this season in 22 starts, while making half the cuts. He has three career PGA Tour starts without making a cut.

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Staiano, 26, has played in 17 total events on the KFT over the past two seasons, with the Colorado State product earning $30,910 in the six cuts he’s made. He played eight times in 2023 and made three cuts, with one top-25 finish. Staiano has not played on the PGA Tour.

The tour’s Integrity Program manual, which was last updated in September 2021, states that its primary purpose is “preventing betting-related corruption in PGA TOUR competitions”.

Among the prohibited actions in the manual is “Betting on Professional Golf Events”. The text of the rules read: “Any Covered Person, directly or indirectly, Betting on the outcome or any other aspect of any PGA TOUR Event, any other professional golf competition or any elite amateur golf competition (including Olympic Golf) anywhere in the world (Professional Golf Event). In this Manual, ‘Betting’ means (A) placing any money or other thing of value on the occurrence of an uncertain outcome with the expectation of return or (B) participating in any fantasy or other game that awards a prize of value, including any free-to-play, paid or daily fantasy game, unless expressly approved by the PGA TOUR.”

Compliance Updates

UKGC Data Analytics Manager Jason Davies Explains the Changes to Regulatory Returns Submissions Required by Licensees

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has recently made a significant shift in regulatory reporting requirements for all licensed operators. Previously operators were obligated to submit regulatory returns annually, but under the new rules submissions will be required every quarter.

UKGC Data Analytics Manager, Jason Davies, explains the changes to regulatory returns submissions required by licensees.

“On 1 July 2024 the Gambling Commission updated Licence Condition 15.3.1 – General and regulatory returns of the Licence Conditions and Code of Practice (LCCP) to require all licensees to submit their regulatory returns on a quarterly basis within 28 days of the end of the reporting period. Quarterly returns support our aim to be a risk-based, evidence led and outcomes focused regulator and contribute towards our aspirations outlined in our Corporate Strategy 2024 to 2027 to use data and analytics to make gambling regulation more effective.

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“As well as quarterly submissions for all licensees, we have introduced harmonised reporting periods which means all licensees submit data for the same time period, in the first instance for the period 1 July 2024 to 30 September 2024. This is important as more regular data, coupled with harmonised reporting periods will ensure the Commission can analyse changes in the market on a timely basis and manage our income more effectively. It will also mean we can publish this information more frequently, for those wanting to use our official statistics on the gambling market for their own work.

“Whilst we are aware that when we consulted on this change to regulatory returns there was a concern amongst some licensees about the increased frequency of reporting, we have tried to balance this out by removing a significant number of questions from regulatory returns across all return types. We’ve listed all of the questions we have removed within the Question removal section of Regulatory returns changes – effective from 1 July 2024.

“The transition to quarterly regulatory returns on the 1 July 2024 means that most licensees will have seen their last regulatory return (whether they were previously on an annual or quarterly cycle) changed to have an end date of 30 June 2024. We’ve had to do this to align licensees to the new reporting schedule from 1 July, but it means that most licensees will need to submit a partial return. These partial returns are due by the 28 July 2024 (for any licensees who previously completed a quarterly return) or 12 August 2024 (for any licensee who previously completed an annual return). You can log into eServices and complete this now.

“We’ve also updated the Regulatory returns guidance, so far we’ve removed any reference to fields which have been removed from regulatory returns from 1 July 2024 onwards and also added in definitions for fields which were previously automatically calculated within eServices.

“We have some more work to do on the guidance, acting on feedback that licensees shared with us in an early part of the regulatory returns project, where they told us that the guidance for some questions was unclear. We’ll be reviewing these and make sure they are updated by the end of August. Fundamentally we would not be changing what we are asking for, but we’ll try and add some more clarity.”

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Compliance Updates

Michigan Gaming Control Board Rejects Recent Claims Regarding Skill Games

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The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has refuted recent assertions questioning the legitimacy of its efforts to protect citizens by combating illegal gambling within the state, particularly in relation to the rise of casino-style electronic gaming machines that self-identify as “skill games.”

In recent years, there has been a notable increase in the presence of electronic gaming machines in bars and restaurants across Michigan. The suppliers of these machines misleadingly contend that the games include an element of skill and are therefore exempt from Michigan’s gambling prohibitions. Specifically, they claim that the games qualify as “redemption games” under MCL 750.310b, which allows a limited and very narrow exception to Michigan’s gambling prohibitions.

“As the regulatory authority overseeing the three Detroit commercial casinos and online gaming in Michigan, the MGCB is committed to upholding the integrity of the state’s gambling regulations and ensuring a fair and responsible gaming environment for all citizens. It is essential to clarify that these casino-style electronic gaming machines are not exempt from Michigan’s penal code, and individuals operating or utilizing them are subject to enforcement actions by the state,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said.

Ongoing investigations by the MGCB have consistently established that the operation of these games does not comply with the strict requirements of MCL 750.310b because these games operate in a manner that is identical to a slot machine, whereby winning depends primarily upon fortuitous or accidental circumstances beyond the control of the player. Patterns observed with the illegal use of casino-style electronic gaming machines have included the use of cash as prizes, issuance of Visa gift cards, and false claims of legality and/or state authorization. Operations of these unregulated gaming machines put citizens at risk — because they have no recourse should they be misled, cheated, or otherwise taken advantage of — and results in a loss of state revenue, depriving Michigan citizens of taxes and revenue used to support schools through the School Aid Fund and communities and local governments with essential state funding dollars.

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Comprehensive joint investigations conducted by the MGCB and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office in the past five years have resulted in 29 individuals being convicted of 27 felonies and 16 misdemeanors. These investigations have also resulted in 436 illegal machines seized, along with $176,001.69 in cash and $15,415 in Visa, MasterCard, and/or Simon gift cards.

“The public is being misled when told that skill and gift cards equate to the legality of a machine. What is being ignored is that the machines in question have been played and/or examined by investigators and determined to be casino-style slot machines for which winning depends on chance. And by law they do not qualify as a redemption game exception to the penal code. The mere use of a gift card as a prize does not render the machine legal,” ,” Williams said.

Unregulated machines used illegally lack the necessary consumer safeguards that licensed and regulated establishments provide, leaving the individuals who use them susceptible to unfair practices. More importantly, they offer no player protections and do not allow patrons to influence game outcomes through skill or strategy. This lack of oversight poses significant risks, particularly when minors can access these machines, potentially increasing the likelihood of future gambling problems among youth.

“The presence of unregulated casino-style electronic gaming machines in restaurants and small businesses risks grooming minors for gambling at an early age. This can have damaging consequences on their future well-being, potentially desensitizing them to the negative impacts of gambling, leading to addiction and financial problems later in life. Kids don’t need access or exposure to slot machines when they go out to enjoy a burger and fries or a pizza. If it’s not on the menu, it should not be available,” Williams added.

The MGCB has provided businesses with educational materials to ensure that any machine they are considering having in their business complies with Michigan law. Additionally, these materials have been uploaded to the MGCB website for public consumption. But the MGCB’s efforts continue to be undermined by the repeated spreading of misinformation, causing the illegal use of these machines to expand across Michigan.

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The MGCB has also made it clear that it is not hindering local business owners’ ability to increase profits. Businesses engaged in the use of these machines are committing criminal acts with false assurances that their conduct is legal. In cases where investigations into casino-style slot machines have taken place at bars and restaurants, each of the affected business owner(s) were served adequate, advance warning that they were not in compliance with the law by way of cease-and-desist letters that provided them an opportunity to comply before enforcement action, including criminal charges, was taken.

“The MGCB encourages business owners to contact the agency should they have any questions on whether a gaming machine they have in their establishment complies with the law. Our goal is education and compliance. Any suggestion otherwise is simply not true,” Williams said.

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Australia

ACMA Blocks More Illegal Gambling Websites

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested the Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block more illegal gambling websites, after investigations found these services to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

The latest sites blocked include Richard Casino and Wanted Win.

Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal gambling services. This action can be taken if a service is:

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  • providing prohibited interactive gambling services to customers in Australia (such as online casinos, online slot machines and services that allow in-play online sports betting)
  • providing an unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service to customers in Australia (such as online betting services that don’t have a valid Australian licence)
  • publishing ads for prohibited interactive gambling services or unlicensed regulated interactive gambling services in Australia.

Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 1,011 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been blocked. Over 220 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing illegal offshore gambling rules.

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