The Battle of Florida and Dutch regulation
The first post of 4H and Legalbet in 2022
Florida’s Supreme Court will review the proposals on casino expansion within the state. It followed a request from the Florida attorney general Ashley Moody. The amendments would open new doors for launching casinos in the Northern part of the state.
According to FOX35 from Orlando, a political committee that backs these measures has reached the number of signatures needed to initiate the review procedure.
The Florida attorney general has received the message that the initiative has exceeded 222 898 signatures, which means that judicial review can be held. The committee that supports the proposed measures will try to increase the number of signatures and reach 891 589 by February 1. If that happens, the issue can be added to the November 2022 ballot.
The proposal pits gambling giant Las Vegas Sands against the Seminole tribe, which is the only Las Vegas style casino operator in the state for now. The local authorities have already banned the tribe’s initiative of introducing online gambling to Florida.
This measure, if approved, will open the doors to casinos along Interstate 10 in North Florida and facilities in the Jacksonville area.
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
The history of the struggle for the gambling Olympus in Florida continues. HOW it happens deserves a separate article, and maybe even a film shot by a director of Martin Scorsese’s magnitude — this is how much drama there really is!
We have previously touched upon the gambling business in Florida when commenting on the news of the decision that the District of Columbia’s court will repeal a compact (special agreement) between the state government and the Seminole tribe on the right of the latter to offer sports betting through their Hard Rock Sportsbook app, all throughout the state. The Seminole tribe began to challenge the court's decision in the hope that, while the appeal process drags on, they will be able to continue accepting bets through the app, which they launched just a month earlier, at the beginning of last November.
However, on December 4, 2021, following a failed appeal, the Seminole had to shut down the Hard Rock Sportsbook app. Several major players in the US gambling and sports betting market tried to take advantage of the current situation in Florida. Names such as Las Vegas Sands, FanDuel, and DraftKings appear in various foreign media outlets.
It is reported that these companies are cooperating with several organizations at once, ensuring the collection of signatures from residents of the state in order to bring to a general vote at the end of 2022 the issue of amending the state constitution* in order to allow the expansion of the gambling business, both in terms of the construction of new resorts with casinos, and in terms of expanding the list of companies eligible to run sportsbooks in Florida.
This development threatens the growth of the Seminole tribe’s business, who operate the Hard Rock hotels and casinos. They are struggling to resist the amendment initiative and are using every imaginable and unthinkable means to disrupt the signature collection process. They do it according to the principle “the end justifies the means” - they sabotage the political process, bribe local residents, hire private detectives, and outbid private detectives who work for competitors. How is this still not a movie?!
It is impossible to convey the real heat of the tensions that is rising by the day in the Sunshine State. The POLITICO correspondent in an article about this confrontation characterizes the situation as “only-in-Florida political battle” and it’s hard for me to add anything other than to offer to stock up on popcorn and follow the development of the “Battle of Florida” plot.
The United Kingdom
The FA will no longer allow bookmakers to stream any live FA Cup matches, as the governing body finalises the sale of a new TV rights deal for its flagship competition and aims to amend the 2017 deal that allowed sports media rights agency IMG to sell individual FA Cup live stream packages to six bookmakers.
The agreement actually should end only after the end of the 2023/24 campaign. However, DCMS Sports Minister Nigel Adams ordered the FA’s executive team to immediately review the Cup’s media rights arrangements.
Last Christmas, the FA was brought into disrepute as The Daily Mail uncovered that the 23 of 32 FA Cup third-round ties that had not been broadcast on TV, had been made available to live stream via bet365’s desktop and mobile app.
The bookmakers in question immediately offered their IMG packages to be screened by terrestrial TV broadcasters, allowing all FA Cup matches to be screened freely for the general public. And the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) responded to criticism, underlining that “bookmakers had never sought to hold exclusive rights to screen FA Cup matches”.
The chairman of the local regulatory body René Jansen ordered gambling licensees to reduce their advertising. He said that otherwise their licenses would be revoked. It was announced in a blog post summarising 2021 and looking ahead to 2022. There were 11 licenses issued in the previous year.
As 2021 was coming to a close, Dutch lawmakers were addressing the link between gambling and advertising. They didn’t complete their discussions, and the topic will be coming up again soon to clear the air. “Everyone understands that some degree of advertising is needed to entice players to switch from illegal to legal providers, but don’t overdo it, I would say. Otherwise, the shore will turn the ship,” KSA chair Rene Jansen explained in his post.
While self-regulation would be the ideal solution, Jansen believes that government intervention is necessary to hold operators accountable. He claims that 2022 will see the Dutch regulatory body “enter a new phase in its supervision” in relation to online games of chance such as poker and roulette.
There are already some limitations in action. Advertising of games of chance cannot be shown on television between 6am and 7pm. However, with Dutch gambling advertising spend now reportedly standing at €23m, there have been calls for greater limitations.
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
Some say, it’s possible to endlessly watch several different things – fire burning, water running, humans working, and how we comment on the news, that regularly comes from the Dutch regulator.
Having issued their first licenses only at the end of September 2021, in January 2022, the Dutch regulator and parliament are already in talks around the clarification (read tightening) of the requirements for gambling advertising.
Undoubtedly, when it comes to the gambling business, the direct and professional involvement of the regulator in solving important problems for society and the state evokes positive emotions, but one should always remember that the process of regulating such business is not a “one way street”.
A possible tightening of requirements for gambling advertising may signify the opposite negative effect, when the interest (or rather economic feasibility) for potential licensees to obtain a license may disappear.
Examples of toughening advertising regulations and their subsequent negative effects on the industry happened in Georgia right at the end of 2021, when a number of amendments to various laws were adopted, significantly limiting advertising of gambling. After their adoption, several football clubs were forced to revise their financial plans and abandon current and potential spending on the development of their activities.
German supporters' fan alliance Unsere Kurve (‘Our Curve’) has issued a set of demands for both the country’s clubs and the Bundesrat relating to sports betting sponsorship and TV advertising. They believe that the government should accept responsibility through political regulation. Everyone is used to sports betting and believes it to be harmless but Our Curve claims that there are many gambling addicts amongst the fans.
The alliance demands a ban on sports betting advertising in stadiums, across sports related media and other ‘object-related’ areas of the sector and a ban on operators entering into partnerships with athletes, officials or other public figures.
Last November, Germany’s Sports Betting Association stated that it would emphatically challenge any call for a ban on sports betting advertising.
There has been no reaction from either the regulator, nor the government, nor the football clubs so far.
Unsere Kurve states that it carries the supporters interests of Bundesliga clubs Mainz, Eintracht Berlin, VFL Bochum, Armenia Bielefeld, Union Berlin and FC Cologne.