What better way to start planning your wedding than to win a lottery that will take care of the expenses and leave enough for a lot of other things? Michael Innes and fiancée Megan Fulton are the lucky couple who won £1 million just when they had started planning their nuptials. Megan is a student of nursing, while Michael is an offshore worker who works as a catering steward in Buckie. The young couple still cannot believe their luck and the timing of the win. They currently live in his parents’ house at Buckie, while they live at Tenerife.
Celebrating the win in style
The couple celebrated their amazing win at Elgin’s Mansion House Hotel. Neither of them could hide their excitement and all that they could do with the money. For the young couple about to get married and start a new life, it has definitely been a great start. They are still not able to believe that they got so lucky at an online Monopoly millionaire game by National Lottery. Michael’s parents are equally happy and excited for the couple and their big win.
Michael is hoping the excitement does not come in the way of Megan’s nursing exams that is scheduled for a week after they won.
Plans for the future
The couple is relieved that they can now plan their wedding and life as a married couple better, now that they have all this money to plan for their life. They plan to have the wedding they have always wanted instead of settling for something smaller and simpler that they had decided on before the win. They are also planning to buy a house for themselves so that they could move out of his parents’ place after marriage. They plan to hold off any other major decisions till later, when they get over all the excitement and are in a better position to make decisions.
The new regulations that are likely to be become operational this financial year are creating havoc in the online gambling industry of Europe. Recently 888 Holdings of Britain, which was in discussion with another European bookmaker firm William Hill for a takeover said that the deal was called-off after one of their key shareholders did not agree to the price given by the suitor. Other interesting deals under discussion in the gambling market are Digital Entertainment, Amaya Gaming Group and Poker Stars. A few European nations are changing their gambling regulations to remove ambiguity about gambling in low tax locations like Gibraltar, Isle of Man and other small islands in the area.
Deal makers in gambling industry
The government of Britain has stated that henceforth all operators will have to get licenses of operation and even online gambling firms which are located offshore but earn revenues from British residents have to pay taxes. The new “digital tax” is likely to hit revenues of all online gambling firms across Europe quite hard. These small online gambling firms have spent heavily on marketing their games which can be downloaded across smartphones, tablets and PC’s. Bwin, which is desperately looking for buyers due to losses of $ 8.4 million in 2014 had breakdown in discussion with several prospective buyers like RisingTideGames and iMesh as new taxes would reduce revenue and cash flow.
Bleak outlook for online gambling operators in Europe
Following rumours of the breakdown in talks of Bwin, its shares fell sharply. This incident and the talks of Amaya planning to buy PokerStars (world’s largest online poker operator) is compounding the fear of already jittery industry plagued by rising taxes and licensing regulations. Existing players are not keen to give up as the online gambling industry for casual casino like games is rising steadily even though some of them do not give out real cash though players need to pay out real cash to play. For large companies well entrenched in social gambling media, this new regulation will provide opportunity to increase revenue and also provide clarity of operations.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published the latest industry figures and the numbers look promising. The statistics have been posted for five years from the time period from April 2009 to March 2014. It has also posted provisional figures for April 2013 to March 2014 business year.
The numbers and figures
As per the numbers, the gambling industry in Britain has been growing steadily and did a business of £6.8bn last year. The number shows a growth of 6 percent compared to previous business year’s yields.
Casino business with remote betting and bingo have shown the most growth with 15 percent growth over last year. Betting, arcade games and society lotteries have also shown growth. Betting shops are also doing good business as per the report. However, the employment figures in the industry have shown a drop from the previous year. Where the industry employed more than 100,000 people last year, this year’s number show a decrease by some 5000. This is also the first report by UKGC where numbers from National Lottery are also mentioned.
The job of the Gambling Commission
UKGC regulates all gambling operations in the UK along with other co-regulators. The Commission is tasked with job of ensuring fair betting practices and to keep criminal betting activities under control. The UKGC also makes sure that children and other people are safe from unfair or harmful gambling practices. The Commission also helps the government with all aspects of the gambling business by providing information and advice.
The Commission also regulates gambling and licensing in the UK along with local authorities. In November 2014, there was a new gambling act introduced and now the rules are that all gambling businesses in the UK must obtain their licenses by the UKGC. They also need to provide profit and loss figures to the Commission and the same would be published along with all the other statistics.
This move to publish all reports and to also publish another version of the report in Excel has been made so that more transparency can be brought to the gambling business.
When new regulatory changes were introduced this month in the United Kingdom, PokerStars was prepared to move into an exciting future for its British customers. Unfortunately, that transition did not go as smoothly as was hoped, and now the world’s largest online poker company is scrambling to recover and regain the trust of their British audience.
After the UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act went into effect on November 1st, PokerStars was forced to acquire a British gaming license. While this transition shouldn’t have caused any problems in the competitive experience for British poker players, the transition was not nearly as smooth as promised.
The trouble began when PokerStars announced that the new British tax laws would require a corresponding increase in rake. This meant more money out of the pockets of British players simply to play the game, and it also meant a decrease in loyalty rewards that are typically offered to frequent players. Unfortunately for players, PokerStars has such a large share of the market that there are very few available options, forcing any who wanted to stay in action to deal with the new rake and rewards scheme.
While British players were frustrated but willing to deal with the changes, the interruption in service that followed pushed many to the limits of frustration. After transitioning to the new server on November 8th, many UK PokerStars users found themselves restricted from entering games, with an error message informing them that they may be permanently unable to play. This led to a great deal of worry throughout the poker community, and while it was eventually resolved and revealed as merely an error in the transition, the damage may already be done. Formerly loyal PokerStars players are now looking for new locations for action, and PokerStars is scrambling to recover.
The High Court recently rejected Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association’s (GBGA) legal challenge with regards to the latest Gambling Act 2014 in the United Kingdom. Last month, the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced that the latest licensing system ‘Point of Consumption’, which was supposed to be implemented from October 1, would have to be delayed owing to the appeal.
The legal challenge was started by GBGA in the month of August after labelling the terms and policies of the UK Gambling Commission as ‘unlawful’. It also complained that the system was ‘discriminatory’, ‘illegitimate’ and ‘disproportionate’. However, the last hearing in the High Court suggested that the system would be ready to be implemented in the United Kingdom from November 1, 2014.
Effective implementation from November 1
Justice Green’s decision gives a clear idea about UK’s plans to effectively implement the modifications under the Gambling Act from November 1. The date for its implementation has already been pushed back and delayed by one month in the process of adjudication of the GBGA challenge.
Some of the most crucial elements of the modifications being introduced under the Gambling Act include legal licensing for United Kingdom facing operators. It is required that legal and synchronized services be offered by licensed operators in some major international administrations or jurisdictions. The most important element among the modifications is that a 15 percent tax with regards to “point of consumption” would be applicable to all the gambling deals that involve those who bet from the UK, irrespective of the location of the online gambling company.
Preventing tax loss
One of the hopes from the latest regulatory modifications is the hope of sending back home tax income, which was lost when several dozen gambling firms in the UK shifted their corporate operations in the last decade to Gibraltar. Almost 55 percent of all the gambling transactions in the United Kingdom are now executed by online sites based in Gibraltar. Owing to the tax-friendly licensing rule in Gibraltar, the firms could carry out their operations in a virtually tax-free environment.
In October of 2012, superstar poker pro Phil Ivey went on a rampage playing Punto Banco at the Crockfords Casino in the UK and baccarat at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in New Jersey. While both sessions netted Ivey huge winnings (£7.8 million at Crockfords, $9.6 million at Borgata), both sessions also netted Ivey lawsuits.
Basis for Lawsuits
In both cases, Ivey was accused of “edge-sorting”. Edge-sorting is paramount with card counting, except it is done by recognizing a printing pattern on the back of the playing cards as the come out of an automated sorter/dealer. Those imperfections can give away the value of at least some of the cards. In both situations, the casinos claim Ivey was aware of a printing error committed by the playing card manufacturers. It is important to note that edge-sorting is not illegal, it is only grounds to be banned because of unfair play.
Filing of the Crockfords Lawsuit
In the UK, Crockfords Casino withheld his winnings pending investigation. When the funds were held for an extended period of time, Ivey filed suit against the casino claiming they had no legal basis to withhold his winnings. He even admitted to edge-sorting, but stated it was the casino’s fault they didn’t recognize the flaw themselves and that he violated no laws by taking advantage of the opportunity. As of September 2014, the lawsuit is still pending.
Filing of the Borgata Lawsuit
In 2013, Borgata Casino filed suit against Ivey making the claim of unfair play. He had already cashed out and the casino wants its money back. In July 2014, Ivey’s attorney filed a “motion to dismiss” the suit, claiming Ivey won on “sheer skill.” As of late September 2014, neither the original suit nor the motion to dismiss had been heard in District Court.
Regardless of the outcome, casinos and players alike will be watching for a decision on both continents. With such a high-profile situation, the outcome is sure to set a precedent for future issues related to players using questionable methods to even the playing field.
Online gambling is growing in popularity and convenience, and getting access to games played on tables and mobiles has never been simpler. The spectrum of players who revel in the many thrilling escapades of online gambling has widened considerably. Overall the anonymity such websites and portals brings along is an added lure and advantage to high profile gamblers.
However at times a few do slip through the cracks as covert interests in online gambling of Swedish Democrat party leader Jimmie Aakesson recently discovered. The sharp, suave and stylish young party leader has held a pristine public image so far.
With pro-Sweden policies on the front, and a look to curb immigration laws, Aakesson has been part of the Swedish the political strata for over a decade. Currently proclaiming a zero tolerance policy on racism, he has worked on cleaning parliament of members who lean toward any unwanted racial comments or actions.
Having made several public appearances supporting minority communities in Sweden, he has also participated in public advertisement campaign that shuts of anti-racism slogans daring the public to defy racism.
Swedish debonair gambler
Marking a chink in Aakesson’s sturdy armour though is recent announcement by Swedish public radio station that declared the politicians involvement with online gambling. Seen as a possible addiction, the Swedish Democrat was declared to have gambled more than 500,000 kronor ($70,000) this year alone on online gaming websites, an amount far larger than total annual earnings of the politician.
Actions of the Democrat head were disclosed as a habit ‘out of control’ in the opinion of local expert gambling counsellor. This shared opinion from a point of public interest on the radio station, came as a second battery wave over the politician. A recent publicly leaked clip, of the democrat shooting a film for the party while making racial slurs and inappropriate comments on passers-by has brought the anti-racist politician under public scrutiny.
When questioned about his gambling habit, the Democrat claimed that the best made were done with earnings from previous winnings and that he only dabbled in online gambling for fun.
The Crazy Vegas Casino launched their Terminator II slot game on June 6th, and the winnings have already been quite impressive. Within the first two weeks of the launch one player received a payout of EURO 40,000. This type of result makes the Terminator II game one worth investigating for the savvy online casino gamer. The website is easy to negotiate and accepts currency in the form of pounds, dollars and euros. Crazy Vegas has over 350 slot games available. The Terminator II game is particularly appealing due to its 5 reels and 243 ways to win! There is a free spin bonus that is relatively easy to acquire. This bonus boasts and impressive 1024 ways to win.
Game developer Microgaming also embedded actual footage from the movie in the game to create an experience like no other. Crazy Vegas Casino patrons have the option of downloading over 600 games or instant play on over 300 games. They have a four tiered loyalty program that not only rewards players, but increases the amount of the rewards as players advance higher within the program.
Rewards known as “C-Bucks” can be used to play more games, or redeemed for cash depending on your level in the program. Players even receive C-Bucks on their birthday. Crazy Vegas offers a large variety of progressive jackpots, (18 at the time of this writing) for players that want a chance at a larger payout. The Casino offers a variety of bonus programs to both new and existing players.
Currently new players can try the site for 60 minutes using 3000 in currency from the casino! Players keep their winnings from this trial period and should they choose to set up an account they will receive bonus amounts added to their account on each of their first three deposits. Existing players receive 15 credits when they tell friends and colleagues about the casino on social media. With all that Crazy Vegas Casino has to offer it is clear that online gamblers would be crazy not to check out this fun and exciting entertainment option.
With many cases of money laundering reported in the gambling world of Europe, there was pressure on the European Union to act. After much deliberation, they have come up with a series of laws that gets tough on gambling companies in the area. The European Parliament passed a law that requires gambling company owners to register with public registries. This ensures that they are not anonymous, can be easily monitored, and keeps their finances in the government’s eye.
It is possible for state governments to choose which corporations belong under this law. Gambling institutions that are seen as low risk for money laundering schemes can be exempt, but everyone else will have to register. There will be an easily accessible online system for registering, and for anyone wishing to take a look at the information. In order to manage both privacy and the need for public information, companies only have to publish minimum details about their business practices.
Along with this registration, customer due diligence must be performed on anyone who is receiving more than 2,000 euros in winnings.
Importance of Transparency –
Tax evasion, money laundering, and issues with both winning recipients and the gambling institutions have been rife the past five to ten years. This law was always going to come to fruition, and it is a major victory for governments of all European states.
Legislation Pleases Lottery Companies –
Friedrich Stickler, who is the president of the European Lotteries, stated that he was pleased with this move from governments. With the gambling industry handling so many transactions every day, the possibility for money laundering is rife. With this transparency, it makes laundering a lot more difficult, but not yet impossible.
While this is not a permanent victory over money laundering related to gambling, it is a step in the right direction for the EU. More details about the laws can be found here.
Nora Al-Daher, the wife of a prominent Omani politician, is suing The Ritz casino after reportedly losing 2 million pound on their cards table. Mrs. Al-Daher lives in Muscat for most of the year blew this money at The Ritz on her recent vacation in April 2012. Despite admitting to spending and losing the money, Nora is claiming that the casino’s staff took advantage of her very public gambling addiction. This is the basis for her trying to recoup most of the money through a lawsuit.
In her testimony for the initial case filing, Nora Al-Daher has mentioned that during this incident there were many casino employees standing behind her for most of her visit there. She claims that those employees were egging her on and encouraging her to spend more money. This is despite all of those employees knowing exactly who she was, what her past had been like, and the fact that she suffered from an addiction to gambling. She continued to gamble for hours and hours despite losing at most of her hands, and this even prompted the casino to extend their cheque cashing facilities so that she could spend more money.
Nora Al-Daher had this to say: “I needed someone to tell me to stop that night. I needed someone to bring me to my senses. If I had been told to stop and think about what I was doing, it is very possible that I would not have gambled away most of that money. No one ever told me to stop that day.”
When she first entered The Ritz, she said that she did not want to play and was merely there to watch and have a few drinks. However, conversations with staff ultimately led to her start betting within a half hour, after which things got out of control. Her lawyer said that as soon as she came to the casino, she made it clear that she was a gambling addict and that she did not want to play punto banco. However, staff at the casino had no remorse in ensuring that she spent as much money as possible. In fact, they even encouraged her to take out more money when she had lost between a million to 1.5 million pounds.
It is difficult to see how this judgment will go. On the one hand, she is a grown woman who should be responsible for her actions. She was not severely inebriated. On the flip side, casinos are always told to take care of gambling addicts and to discourage them from further gambling.
For more information on this story, click here.