According to Revenue’s definitions, an amusement machine is one that allows players to win “no more than an opportunity to play again” or “to obtain a non-monetary prize” the value of which does not exceed €7.
Once this has been said, various properties in the Dublin city center feature casino-style gaming machines, although are supposed to be amusement site and gambling type machines are banned from being featured in the city.
However, in Dublin there are three proved establishment where this happens Dr Quirkey´s on O’Connell Street, Empire Amusements on Burgh Quay and Amusement City on Westmoreland Street.
The establishments had found a way to converted into a gambling facility with casino-style games such as video poker, roulette, and blackjack their facilities. Also, there were no age checks at the property to ensure that underage customers are prevented from playing the casino-style games featured there (READ SO: GAMBLING IN IRELAND PREPARING A RENOVATION IN THE LAW)
However, the Dr Quirkey´s is owned by one of the richest man from Ireland, Richard Quirke (pictured), he operates casinos with licenses from Ireland’s Revenue (Revenue Commissioners) that are actually only applicable to amusement machines.
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Casinos across Australia have been under the microscope — and the focus on SkyCity Adelaide is about to sharpen even further.
South Australian authorities have just ramped up monitoring of the state's only licensed casino, amid allegations of serious and systemic non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
The latest measures come during ongoing Federal Court action launched by the financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC against SkyCity Adelaide, and a paused review by a retired Supreme Court judge.
Two in five Australians gamble every week, report shows.
Here's what we know so far, and how the casino ended up here.
What's the latest?
Dini Soulio is South Australia's Liquor and Gambling Commissioner, and it's his job to make sure licensed venues comply with state laws.On Friday, he used his powers under the Casino Act 1997 to direct SkyCity Adelaide to increase scrutiny on its operations and compliance.
The casino will have to prepare a "program of work" for the commissioner, outlining what it's doing to meet its regulatory obligations, including anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and gambling-related harm minimisation responsibilities.
Dini Soulio wants to know what the casino is doing to make sure its operations comply with the law
It will also have to appoint a "suitably qualified independent entity" — an appointment Mr Soulio will himself need to approve — to review that program, and make sure it's implemented. In other words, Mr Soulio wants to know what the casino is doing to ensure it's following the law, and he wants an outsider keeping an eye on the process.
Mr Soulio said he had issued the direction following "careful consideration of issues identified in the proceedings brought against SkyCity Adelaide by AUSTRAC in the Federal Court", as well as "preliminary materials" from a separate investigation.
"After evaluating all the material and considering SkyCity Adelaide's responses to my concerns, I feel it is appropriate for SkyCity Adelaide to demonstrate it is meeting these important regulatory obligations," he said.
"I believe it's important that the people of South Australia can have confidence that SkyCity Adelaide, as the licensee of the Adelaide Casino, is operating effectively to minimise gambling harm and ensure compliance with all anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulatory obligations."
The SkyCity Entertainment Group says it will work closely with the independent expert.
The new independent expert will need to report back to the commissioner about any breaches, and both will be checking in regularly to make sure SkyCity Adelaide is doing what it should. "The Independent Monitor will not displace the role of the SkyCity Adelaide Board, but will monitor SkyCity's enhancement program implementation and operations to ensure that these objectives are met," Mr Soulio said.
The casino said it would "fully co-operate" with the commissioner's direction, and "work closely with the expert it appoints".
How did SkyCity Adelaide end up here?
Mr Soulio's move is the latest in a series of actions taken by state and national regulators against Australia's casinos over the past two years.
In June 2021, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) informed the ASX it was investigating three casinos for potential "serious non-compliance" with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws – including SkyCity Adelaide.
AUSTRAC is tasked with preventing organised criminals and terrorists using banks and other regulated companies to facilitate their operations.
SkyCity Adelaide initially came under scrutiny for potential failures in its treatment of high-risk and "politically exposed" customers in two periods: July 2015 to June 2016, and July 2018 to June 2019.SkyCity Adelaide has 28 days to comply with Mr Soulio's order or risk a $100,000 fine.
The SkyCity Entertainment Group's chief operating officer David Christian said it was "very important… that our customers, community and the regulators have confidence in our commitment to the highest standards of compliance, both in minimising gambling harm and ensuring we meet out … obligations".
"We will fully co-operate with the commissioner in relation to the selection and appointment of the independent expert, and work closely with the independent expert," he said.
As the country’s gaming sector prepares for further consultations on a regulatory reform, the UK Gambling Commission has set out six areas for further research and evidence collection.
The regulator unveiled its Evidence Gaps and Priorities programme for 2023-2026 this morning. The programme looks to examine gaps that need to be filled in the evidence around the UK gambling sector to achieve a ‘safer, fairer and crime-free’ industry.
Specifically, the Commission will seek evidence on early gambling experiences and gateway products; the range and variability of gambling experiences; gambling-related harms and vulnerability; the impact of operator practices; product characteristics and risk; and illegal gambling and crime.
“Evidence matters,” Tim Miller, UKGC Executive Director of Research and Policy, asserted.
“We all make decisions based on how we understand the world around us, what the evidence is telling us. The bigger the decision and the wider it’s impact, the more likely we all are to want more information before we act. Before the big choices, we all want to fill in the gaps in our understanding. What’s true for us all in our daily lives is just as true for our understanding of gambling.”
In its remit, the Commission is required to identify new and emerging risks, either from changing consumer behaviors or in relation to industry products. As a regulatory body, it cites the analysis of product risks and characteristics as one of the industry’s most complex research elements.
To date, existing research has focused on the characteristics of gaming products such as slot games and betting products, highlighting aspects like frequency, audio-visual factors, rewards, information provision, and structural characteristics.
At a user level, research has focused on how individuals interact with different gambling products at various times and their understanding of concepts like probability and randomness.
However, it is recognized that “there is no single homogenous gambling journey”. As such, deeper research is required to analyze product characteristics and whether they increase user risks or experience of potential harms. Product research should include real-time account activity data, survey data, data linkage, or evaluated product trials in live environments.
Questions to determine product risks should cover understanding if certain product characteristics are associated with gambling-related harms; whether some characteristics disproportionately affect certain types of gamblers; how products can be designed to mitigate risk without compromising enjoyment; and how people’s patterns of play vary between products.
The leading betting and gaming company that is globally recognized with its brands that include Mr Green, William Hill and 888, 888 Holdings Plc, announced it has come to an agreement to sell its Latvian-facing business. In a deal for some €28.3 million ($30.6 million), the company agreed to sell its Latvian business to Paf Consulting abp.
The multi-million-dollar acquisition of 888's Latvian-facing businesses is expected to close soon
A breakdown of the price tag of the deal reveals that €24 million ($26 million) will be paid in cash upon completion of the transaction on a cash-free debt-free basis. Separately, in 2024, another payment of up to €4.25 million ($4.6 million) will be completed contingent on the 2023 audited financials from 888’s Latvian businesses.
The deal, which was announced Monday, is expected to be closed in the coming weeks. Upon completion, Paf will acquire 100% of 888’s Latvian-facing businesses. Still, it’s important to mention that the Group owns “90% of the entity and the consideration will be used for general corporate purposes,” explains a statement released by 888. However, the business operates largely as an independent entity, with its own management team and on a separate technology platform. As such, 888 does not expect the transaction to have any impact on the ongoing operations.
Completion of the deal is subject to a number of closing conditions. These include the carving out of the Latvian subsidiary from 888’s supplier contracts and incorporation of the Latvian subsidiary into Paf’s contracts.
“The Latvian business is a high-quality, locally regulated business, with an excellent team that has built a strong market position. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the team for their dedication during their time with the group and I am highly confident that under new ownership with Paf, the business will continue to flourish.” Paf chief executive Christer Fahlstedt added
The Victorian state government said Tuesday it will waive any debts owed by local clubs in relation to poker machine entitlements they are unable to put into use.
Under the terms of the scheme, clubs and RSLs (Returned and Services League of Australia) who have gaming machine entitlements they are no longer able to use will be able to surrender them and have their debts forgiven as part of the government’s renewed focus on harm minimization.
Two in five Australians gamble every week, report shows.
Victorian venue operators can only run gaming machines if they hold entitlements and have the required approvals in place, however many clubs and RSLs have found themselves unable to run the gaming machines they have entitlements for, the government said.
The EGM surrender scheme will allow clubs and RSLs to hand back the entitlements to government without being locked into paying them off — freeing up funds to be reinvested back into the community.
Political Scandal over street slot machines
The scheme will only apply to clubs and RSLs whose entitlements are not approved for use, including where they have been rejected by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) or local council. Other venue operators can transfer or sell their unused entitlements or can seek a variation to their payment terms if facing serious financial hardship.
The scheme will begin in July with select clubs and RSLs to be advised of their eligibility. “This is good news for clubs and RSLs who have entitlements they can’t use – it means they can put more money back into the communities they support,” said Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne
“We’re working with the VGCCC and local councils across Victoria to monitor the gambling sector when it comes to the operation of entitlements.”
As one of the first brands to launch in the Portuguese regulated market, PokerStars will combine forces with other market leaders within APAJO, the only trade association representing entities operating under a local license, including Betano, Betclic, Bwin, Casino Portugal, ESC Online. and Solverde.pt.
APAJO has been working on many fronts since its inception in 2018. Representing its locally licensed members in discussions with regulators, governments and legislators, it has also developed a Responsible Gaming Manual, with members pledging to take steps beyond those required by the law.
APAJO has also been proactively involved in the future outlook of online gambling advertising in Portugal, having joined the Portuguese advertisers association, the national advertising self-regulatory organization, and recently became a signatory to an MoU led by by the European Commission on online advertising.
Joining APAJO aligns with Flutter's strategy of investing to build leadership positions in regulated markets. Ricardo Domingues (photo), Chairman of the Board of APAJO commented that "APAJO is pleased to welcome to its group one of the main international brands and an operator that has been in the market since 2016."
João Saraiva, Strategy and Planning Manager for Portugal at PokerStars, added: “We are delighted to join APAJO and look forward to sharing our experience from other licensed jurisdictions to support APAJO in promoting a safe and responsible gaming environment. We have big ambitions for this market and are looking forward to working together with APAJO.”