Challenge Accepted: Online Gambling Industry

By  //  January 15, 2021

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The global pandemic has been the major focus of attention and the major topic for discussion for the past several months. It has completely reshaped our world and has set new standards that we all have to obey.

The global pandemic made amendments in our social lives. Most of all were hurt by those venues which would operate offline. The traditional gathering spots have long been forgotten and while we all hope for the best we still are expecting the worst.

Many businesses are hardly managing to survive this period. The companies had to put employees on furloughs in order to fix the existing financial crisis and save their jobs regardless of the current situation.

Many companies had to close down because of the inefficient material supplies, while small businesses and entrepreneurs still have a very hard time staying afloat.

With this picture in mind, the governments are trying to soften the circumstances and legislations of the companies, in order to somehow maintain stability in the country. Many regulations in regards to certain activities have been softened, though some new initiatives were put on the table for further discussion.

One of the biggest industries which have faced some of the major changes in the gambling industry. While most of the gambling venues are closed all over the world, online gambling is flourishing and consequently is the online casino.

Though, not in the very country, online gambling is legalized and permitted. At these tiring times, some governments made exceptions and softened the regulations, while others preferred to take another direction.

Norway VS the US

When we want to evaluate the global situation, it is not right to talk only about one specific country. That’s why we decided to compare two leading countries of different regions in the behavior towards the gambling industry during the pandemic.

Norway is known to have one of the toughest and strictest gambling-related regulations in the whole of Europe. The industry is basically monopolized by only two state-owned gambling operators.

Though, in the US online gambling is making progressive steps, with legalizing offline and online gambling in Nevada and in some other states. Norway should be an example.

Back in October 2020, the official representatives of the country mentioned some refreshments in the gambling act, which would enable players to have more freedom while choosing online gambling operators and online casino games.

While this definitely does not mean that gambling in Norway shall be fully acceptable, it is a step forward to meet the demands of the customers. Some more information regarding the new amendments to the act and gambling legislation in Norway is available on this link.

On the other hand, there is the US and the Floridan lawmakers who are trying to push the state and tribes to come to an agreement and fully open up legal sports betting in the state. Jeff Brandes, who is the state Senator, proposed three bills back in December and all of them are around one specific topic, online sports betting.

Bill 392 would authorize the Department of the Lottery to operate sports wagering. In addition, Bill 394 would impose a 15% tax on “sums received from a sports pool,” and Bill 396 creates a $100,000 application and renewal fee for sports wagering licenses. Revenues from the bills would be dedicated to funding education for the state.

Although the bills have strong motivation to pass, considering Florida has an expected $3 billion shortfall in revenue for the next two years, the bills are perceived to be more of a message to the Tribes and state to fix their gaming pact. The legislature ended its 2020 session with no agreement reached.

The Seminole Tribe has objected to Florida’s push to legislate sports wagering without a referendum. According to some previous amendments, the expansion of gambling needs to be voted and need to collect 60% of votes in order to pass.

The amendments were made back in October 2018. The Seminole Tribe then stopped making monthly payments to the state when their compact expired in 2019 and hasn’t reached a new deal since, citing “a mechanism to shut down the illegal banked card games.”

The trial by the Senator could be one of the best attempts to melt the ice of the sports betting industry in the state without the engagement of the tribe.

There are two possible options, the state could get sports betting without the Tribe’s involvement, or the tribes might come back to the bargaining table, or it could force court battles to decide the future. If the second options turn to be true, then it is better for senators and tribes to get on the same page.

State Division

Michigan is one of those states where sports betting is legalized, though the question of availability is still standing in the row. The state Senator Curtis Hertel said that he expects and hopes that the sports betting opportunity is available within January month, though he is yet unsure about his wills and expectations.

He also said that expects Detroit and most of the partner tribes to go online, which shall unite under a dozen and a hundred new offers.

Navajo Gaming is still suffering the COVID-19 pandemic outcomes. The casino had to lay off 1100 employees on New Year’s Eve and is experiencing some of the major falls in history.

“COVID-19 has had devastating costs and without Navajo leadership, it, no doubt, would have been worse,” said Navajo Gaming Board Chair Quincy Natay. “However, we are a resilient and adaptable Nation. We rise to the occasion, sacrifice, and find a balance,” said the Navajo Gaming representative in the interview.

Connecticut is another to talk about. Sports betting is not yet legalized, though Senator president Tem Martin Looney is the one to warn the board to adopt sports betting before it falls behind the rest of the nation. He also expresses his hope to see significant progress this year.

The Spokane Tribe of Washington has broken ground on an expansion project, looking to add 20,000 square feet to their casino in Airway Heights. The construction is expected to be completed in late 2021, with new expansion plans expected to be announced at that time.

And one of the most interesting casinos is Ceasars and Cherokee, who are apparently working on the deal.

Cherokee Indians have agreed to buy a southern Indian casino from Caesars Entertainment for $250 million, which is a solid investment especially considering the pandemic period. The 20-year-old casino will add to the Cherokees efforts to expand their holdings, and ward off threats from other growing tribal gaming operations.

And finally, Pennsylvania, which has partnered with sports betting Betfred and launched their own sports betting platform.

It was mentioned in the interview that the sportsbook addition and the launch of the online platform is a great experiment and experience for the whole state. It was also said that the state representatives are more than happy to introduce the news and proud of the progress they have made within the industry.