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‘No pokies’ Nick Xenophon goes for ‘some pokies’, but does his gambling policy go far enough?

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‘No pokies’ Xenophon goes for ‘some pokies’, but does his gambling policy go far enough?Reading Time: 3 minutes

SA-Best, led by high-profile former senator Nick Xenophon, has announced its gambling policy ahead of next month’s South Australian election. Xenophon has backed away from the “no pokies” policy that characterised his earlier approach to gambling reform. However, the evidence behind his party’s proposed suite of measures is reasonably strong.

What’s in the policy?

Key aspects of SA-Best’s proposal are:

a five-year plan to cut poker machines numbers in South Australia from 12,100 to 8,100;

  • a reduction in maximum bets to A$1, from the current $5;
  • a reduction in maximum prizes from $10,000 to $500;
  • removing particularly addictive features such as “losses disguised as wins”;
  • prohibition of political donations from gambling businesses; and
  • the removal of EFTPOS facilities from gambling venues.

The policy would also empower the state’s Independent Gambling Authority to implement and evaluate these proposals.

The policy is targeted at commercial hotel operators; clubs, “community hotels” and the casino are exempt from the reduction provisions.

There are also proposals to cut trading hours from 18 to 16 per day, with the introduction of a seven-year pokie licence for venues, from January 1, 2019. Increased resources would go to counselling and support for those with gambling problems.

Notably absent from the policy is the introduction of a pre-commitmentsystem, which would enable pokie users to decide in advance how much they want to spend. Along with $1 maximum bets, this was a key recommendation of a Productivity Commission inquiry in 2010.

The policy has attracted the expected response from the gambling industry. The Australian Hotels Association argued the changes would “rip the guts” out of the gambling industry and attack the “26,000 jobs” it claims the industry directly creates.

Does evidence support SA Best’s policies?

We’ve known for some time that reducing maximum bets is likely to reduce the amount wagered by people experiencing severe gambling problems. This in turn reduces the harm they suffer.

Reducing maximum prizes reduces “volatility”, meaning pokies may have more consistent loss rates.

Reducing access to pokies is also an important intervention, since easy access is a key risk factor for developing a gambling problem. Reducing the number of machines, and the hours they are accessible, support this.

However, very substantial cuts in pokie numbers are needed to meaningfully reduce harm. A cut of the magnitude SA-Best proposes may not be sufficient to prevent those with serious gambling habits from readily accessing pokies. This is because pokies are rarely fully utilised at all times of the week.

Removing easy access to cash has also been identified as an important harm-reduction intervention. This had a positive initial effect in Victoria (especially among high-risk gamblers), when ATMs were removed from pokie venues in 2012.

The harms associated with gambling generally affect far more peoplethan just the gambler. The most recent study, from 2012 indicates that 0.6% of the SA adult population is classified as at high risk of gambling harm, 2.5% are classified as at moderate risk, and another 7.1% at low risk.

Based on census data, this equates to about 8,000 South Australians experiencing severe harm from gambling. Another 33,100 are experiencing significant harm, and about 94,000 are experiencing some harm.

However, each high-risk gambler affects six others; each moderate-risk gambler affects three others; and each low-risk gambler one other. So, the problems of each high-risk gambler affect another 47,660 South Australians. These are children, spouses, other relatives, friends, employers, the general community via the costs of crime, and so on.

Another 99,300 are affected by moderate-risk gambling, and another 94,000 by low-risk gambling. All up, this amounts to 241,000 people.

Of these, 190,000 are affected at high or significant levels. These harms include financial disaster and bankruptcy, divorce or separation, neglect of children, intimate partner violence and other violent crime, crimes against property, mental and physical ill-health, and in some cases, suicide.

Most gambling problems (around 75%) are related to pokies, and by far the greatest expenditure goes through them. Nothing has changed in this regard since the Productivity Commission identified this in 2010.

In this context, SA-Best’s policy has substantial justification.

Does it go far enough?

The South Australian Greens, like their counterparts in Tasmania and the Tasmanian Labor Party, want to get all pokies out of pubs and clubs. They argue gambling’s social and economic costs are far in excess of the benefits.

For Tasmania, the costs of gambling can be estimated at about $342 million per year. This is more than three times as much as the total tax take from all gambling in the state.

A similar calculation for South Australia suggests its overall costs of problem gambling are more than $1.6 billion per year. This is more than four times the total taxes from gambling the South Australian government derived in 2015-16 ($380.3 million).

With a cost-benefit ratio like that, some strong measures could well be called for. Xenophon says the proposals encapsulated in his party’s policy are the start. However, Tasmanian Labor has set the new benchmark for pokie regulation – removing them entirely from pubs and clubs.

It is remarkable that a party traditionally in lockstep with – and substantially supported by – the gambling industry has adopted such a position. Perhaps the harms have become too much to ignore?

How these policies might be implemented, amid the resistance they will face from a well-heeled and often-influential gambling industry, presents an intriguing prospect over coming months.

 

Source: theconversation.com


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Russian Online Casinos Supply the Donbass Separatists

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Russian Online Casinos Supply the Donbass SeparatistsReading Time: 1 minute

Pro-Russian separatist groups of the Donbass War (Eastern Ukraine) receive material funds from illegal gambling business, states a recent article published in the Russian Sobesednik magazine. According to article, part of the illegal profits of the online casinos is used to finance the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

As reported by GC Alor analysts, the black turnover of these Russian online casinos is around 200 billion RUR (2,725,065,200.00 Euro). The Majority of these online casinos are registered in foreign administrations, like Azino777 being registered in Curacao.

As experts say, many online casinos are physically based in Ukraine, where the legislation is slightly more loyal than Russian. It is allowed, for example, to develop gaming software for third-party customers. Lucky Labs company, which is linked to the online casino “Vulcan”, operates in Ukraine as software developer.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine, which conducted searches at the office of the company lately, Lacky Labs also controls the websites of CasinoX and Joycasino. The company’s office is big. It is a 4-storey building designed for 150 people. There is also a basement area where there is a kitchen and a dining room, a gym.

Lucky Labs was founded by two Russians. Because of the sanctions imposed by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, now they are not allowed to enter the country. However, Lucky Labs continues to exist. Now the company is registered by an Ukrainian citizen.

If some of the profits of illegal online casino go to pro-Russian patriotic purposes, it becomes clear why Roskomnadzor does not block their Internet addresses. The correspondent of “Sobesednik” managed to access the mentioned online casinos without any obstacles, using no VPN or “mirrors”.

 

Source: sobesednik.ru


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Play’n GO ‘Slots’ Into 1st Place!

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Play'n GO 'Slots' Into 1st Place!Reading Time: 2 minutes

Company celebrates EGR victory with Slot Provider of the Year Award

 

June 22, 2018 – Play’n GO were honoured at the EGR B2B Awards on Wednesday (20thJune) as they took home the highly coveted Slot Provider of the Year Award, beating out some strong competition.

The awards, held in London’s prestigious Hurlingham Club, “celebrates and rewards the very best service suppliers in the online gaming industry” and Play’n GO were honoured to have been nominated in numerous categories including Innovation in Mobile and Best Multi-Channel Supplier.

Play’n GO were recognised for their remarkable offerings in the slot market over the past year including innovative games such as Viking Runecraft, Sweet Alchemy and Moon Princessas well as many other popular titles.

CEO Johan Törnqvist was delighted to pick up the win, and believes it is a reflection of the company’s hard work.

“It’s an honour to pick up such a sought-after award, especially with the level of competition in the category. As a company we work hard to put out the finest, most entertaining, offering to our partners in the market, and winning this award is a testament to that. We have consistently been recognised in the industry for the innovative products we release and it’s our job not to rest on our laurels, but to continue innovating”

 

About Play’n GO

Play’n GO is an award-winning supplier of high quality gaming content to many of the world’s leading casino brands.  Its genuine omni-channel solution can be tailored to suit the needs of individual online and land-based partners, regardless of geographical, regulatory, or market-specific requirements. Its games are developed in HTML5 to provide an enhanced user experience on all devices and operating systems. These are complemented by superior back-office administration tools which provide expansive reporting and marketing capabilities, ensuring operators are equipped to provide the ultimate gaming experience. The supplier’s extensive portfolio was recently recognised by the award of the IGA Slot Provider of the Year 2017 title. Play’n GO currently hold offices in Sweden, Malta, Hungary, and the UK. Please visit http://www.playngo.com for more details.


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Poland: Accepted Changes In Taxes, Including Gambling

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Poland: Accepted Changes In Taxes, Including GamblingReading Time: 1 minute

Poland’s lower house (Sejm) has voted down five Senate amendments to a comprehensive amendment to several tax bills, including gambling.

The adopted amendments may be applied retroactively, which is to the income earned from January 1 2018.
Gamblers will be treated in a uniform manner after the changes.

Adopted by the Sejm on May 10th of this year extensive amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act (PIT), the Corporate Income Tax Act (CIT) and the Act on flat-rate income tax on certain revenues earned by natural persons; that all winnings on machines will be exempt from PIT, the tax relief for creators will be extended to the next creative professions, the real estate income tax will be larger. This applies to provisions adopted last autumn and effective from January 1st 2018.

Unlike the regulations adopted in autumn, the amendment assumes for example, that participants of legal gambling will be treated in a uniform manner. Regardless of whether the games are organized by casino operators or a company performing a state monopoly in this area, which would be Totalizator Sportowy. In line with the provisions changed by the Sejm and approved by the Senate on Thursday, winnings in slot machine games, card games, dice games and cylindrical games – regardless of which legally operating entities organize them – will be exempt from personal income tax.

In the remaining scope, the rules of taxing winnings (in numerical games, cash lotteries, mutual bets, etc.) are to remain unchanged in relation to the provisions currently in force. Pursuant to the amendment of October 27th 2017, winnings in gambling are subject to a l0% PIT tax on winning if their one-time value of winning exceeds PLN 2,280 (528 Euro).


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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