This week saw a number of major news developments across the United States, the UK and Southeast Asia. Here’s the weeks highlights in brief.
US Supreme Court rules to allow sports betting
In a decision with far reaching implications, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week in favor of New Jersey in the case of Christi vs NCAA, overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and giving the green light to legal sports betting across the nation.
The case had centered on states rights issues stemming from the 10th Amendment, with New Jersey arguing that PASPA violated the states constitutional right to set its own sports betting laws. In a historic 6-3 decision, the court ruled PASPA unconstitutional, giving states across the nation the right to enact their own sports betting laws.
Some 20 states have already tabled legislation in expectation of a favorable Supreme Court ruling and now the estimated $2 billion sports betting market is up for grabs.
New Jersey is set to take the lead to market with a law already on the books and operators having had plenty of time to prepare the necessary infrastructure.
Industry observers expect the fist legal sports betting operations to launch in New Jersey in the coming weeks.
Casino stocks rise after US sports betting ruling
In the aftermath of the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling opening up legal sports betting across the country, casino stocks soared in anticipation on enhanced revenue streams as operators move to tap into the over $2 billion potential market.
Slots maker Scientific Games, who also process sports bets, soared 13% on news of the ruling. Caesars Entertainment Corp, the largest casino operator in America, also rose dramatically, up 7.1% on the news. Shares in Boyd Gaming Corp., MGM Resorts International, Stars Group Inc., and International Speedway Corp. also all saw significant gains on the news.
Across the Atlantic, William Hill, one of the largest sports books operators in the UK and the operator of the largest number of sports books in Nevada, also rose 11% on the news.
UK government lowers maximum fixed odds betting terminal wagers to £2
In a victory for anti-gambling activists and MPs concerned wabout the negative social consequences of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) the UK government has lowered the maximum FOBT bet to £2 from £100.
Punters have long been able to place maximum bet wagers every 20 seconds on FOBTs, which opponents argue are highly addictive, leading to massive losses in very short periods of time.
Advocates of lowering the maximum bet pointed to evidence showing that 230,000 individuals lost more than £1,000 in a single session on the terminals last year alone.
Industry advocates, on the other hand, have said that lowering the maximum will lead to the loss of more than 21,000 jobs across the UK and the shuttering of some 4,000 betting shops.
The government announced that the loss of tax revenue to state coffers from putting a lid on the machines will be offset by increasing the duties paid by outside online operators. The exact amount of the increased duties is expected to be announced in the Autumn as part of the government’s new budget.
The Australian state of Victoria will lower tax on online gambling
The Australian state of Victoria has announced that it will launch the lowest online betting tax in the country, creating a new point of consumption tax (POCT) of 8% of bookmakers net wagering revenue.
The new tax will be the lowest in the nation and is expected to generate $30 million per year starting in 2019.
Most other Australian states tax licensed bookmakers at 15% of monthly winnings.
Insurgents in Myanmar kill 19 in jungle casino attack
Ethnic insurgents in the Southeast Asian state of Myanmar killed 19 people in a surprise attack on a jungle casino run by militiamen along the Chinese border.
The Ta’ang National Liberation Army, comprised of rebels from the Ta’ang and Palaung ethnic groups attacked the casino and a near-by army post in the town of Muse, a few hundred meters from the river separating Myanmar and China.
The group has been fighting for greater autonomy in a region which sees a substantial portion of Myanmar’s trade with neighboring China.
Some 100 insurgents attached the casino and base with small arms and artillery, killing19 and wounding 20 before being repelled by a government back militia. One policeman and three militia men were killed in the fighting.