It’s time for another roundup of the latest news in online betting from around the world. These stories come in no particular order; we simply found each of them interesting, useful or otherwise noteworthy in shaping the international gambling landscape.
As always, we have a number of updates related to gaming laws in various regions. One of the safest bets in online gambling is that somewhere, someone is working on changing the legislative environment. We’ll also be covering a new development in the ongoing “skins” gambling saga and news of a massive underground gambling bust spanning three countries.
Today’s topics of discussion:
- Singapore to get its first online betting sites
- Turkish police seize £750,000,000 in gambling bust
- British YouTube personality charged for promoting skins gambling
- Philippines to issue offshore gambling licenses
Singapore to Get its First Online Betting Sites
The Remote Gambling Act of 2014 effectively shut down online gambling in Singapore after coming into force early in 2015. The Act made it a crime for anyone to bet online in Singapore unless it was done at sites specifically exempted by law. Unfortunately for gamblers, no sites have been exempted to date.
That may be changing soon. The Straights Times is reporting that Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club have applied for the first exemptions to the Remote Gambling Act. Barring any late developments, both operators could be taking real money bets online as early as the second half of October.
Singapore Pools is the state-run lottery operator for Singapore. In addition to hosting a variety of lottery games, they provide football and motor racing betting. Singapore already lists betting odds on its website, but players have always had to place their bets in person or over the phone. If everything goes as expected, players will soon be able to place those same wagers right at the Singapore Pools website.
The Singapore Turf Club has a state-sponsored monopoly over horse racing and horse betting in Singapore. Currently, the Singapore Turf Club is allowed to take wagers at the track, in betting shops or at self-betting kiosks. Telebet account holders also have the option to place wagers via mobile app, but the Singapore Turf Club has yet to offer actual online betting through the website.
Exceptions to the Remote Gambling Act may only be granted to not-for-profit companies that contribute to charitable causes in Singapore, and both organizations meet those criteria. Both expect to be approved and begin offering online betting next month.
Turkish Police Seize £750,000,000 in Gambling Bust
From CalvinAyre.com, we have news of one of the biggest online betting busts of all time. Turkish authorities say the operation generated more than $12 billion per year in revenue as a part of a transnational outfit that operated out of Turkey, Cyprus and the UK.
The police conducted the raid in 20 cities simultaneously and seized £150 million worth of assets in Cyprus and another £598 million worth of assets in Turkey. All told, this must be one of the largest gambling busts of all time.
A local Turkish newspaper reports the gambling operation came to the attention of gambling authorities after the nephew of a real estate mogul in Istanbul became addicting to online betting and lost upwards of $70,000 per month before being hospitalized for his addiction. Turkish police then installed surveillance cameras in a Turkish office to catch the criminals red-handed.
British YouTube Personality Charged for Promoting Skins Gambling
The CS:GO skins betting scandal made big waves in the US a few months ago when it was discovered that famous YouTube personalities were promoting online betting sites that they owned without disclosing their relationship to those sites. Now, the UK has been hit by a similar betting scandal of its own.
In this case, the games at the center of it are the FIFA series from EA Sports and the digital currency in question are in-game coins, which can be traded for real money at various third-party websites. The BBC reported on 16 September that Dylan Rigby and Craig Douglas (who goes by the name “Nepenthez” on YouTube and has 1.3 million subscribers) have been charged with promoting a lottery, advertising unlawful gambling and inviting children to gamble.
The same YouTube personality who broke the CS:GO scandal quickly sprung into action and dug up even more damning evidence. Just like what happened with the CS:GO scandal, Nepenthez was publishing videos of him gambling FIFA FUT coins on gambling websites that he owned without disclosing that fact.
The timing of this case couldn’t be any worse for Mr. Douglas and Rigby. The UK Gambling Commission just recently updated its licensing guidelines to give the Commission oversight power over gambling sites exactly like the one operated by Douglas and Rigby. In fact, it was the UK Gambling Commission that initiated the prosecution.
Philippines to Issue Offshore Gambling Licenses
Note: You may want to take this story with a grain of salt because I’ve only been able to find two news sources reporting on the story. I’m having a hard time determining how much trust to place in either source. CalvinAyre.com had a story up for a while but that link is now dead for some reason.
The Philippines may be getting back into the online betting business after a stretch in which President Duterte went on an all-out offensive against the industry and suspended more than 120 online gaming licenses.
The top gambling regulator in the Philippines has reportedly announced that it will soon begin taking licensing applications from online betting sites located either in the Philippines or abroad. Under the new rules, licensed betting sites would be free to accept wagers from people in other countries but restricted from accepting Filipinos located in the Philippines or living abroad.
Malaya.com.ph is reporting that operators will be able to offer online casino games and sports betting once licensed. A new task force will also be established to ensure operators comply with all licensing requirements. Further details are scant, but if this story is true, the development could help recoup up to $215 million in annual tax revenue that was put at risk under Duterte’s crackdown.