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Danish online casino and sports betting revenue rises, poker falls

Danish online casino and sports betting revenue rises, poker falls

Denmark’s regulated gambling market closed out 2015 on a high note, with significant growth in licensed online gambling operator revenue.

Figures released this week by Danish gaming regulator Spillemyndigheden showed combined sports betting and online gambling revenue rising 21% to DKK 910m (US $134.4m) in the three months ending Dec. 31, 2015. Spillemyndigheden started 2016 with 15 licensed betting operators and 35 licensed online casinos.

Betting was both the largest vertical and Q4’s biggest gainer, rising nearly 32% to DKK 560m. For the year as a whole, betting revenue improved 14% to DKK2.03b.

Sadly, Spillemyndigheden doesn’t break out separate numbers for online and land-based wagering. Regardless, the betting market picked up speed throughout the year, having posted average quarterly growth of between 5-10% over the first nine months of 2015.

Online casino revenue was up 25% year-on-year to DKK 350m, marking the fourth consecutive quarter that the casino vertical has risen by at least 20%, compared to average quarterly growth of around 10% in 2014.

By contrast, the lifeless online poker vertical mirrored the global market by reporting DKK 40m, flat year-on-year and having shown no movement in any direction for the final nine months of the year. Poker’s total revenue for 2015 was down 25% from its DKK 220m peak in 2012, the year the regulated market launched.

The approximately 25,500 gaming machines in Danish halls and restaurants reported revenue of DKK 385m in Q4. While this number improved by only 2% from Q4 2015. It extended the vertical’s growth streak to four quarters. Total machine revenue through 2015 was DKK 1.55b, up around 3% from 2014.

Revenue at Denmark’s seven licensed casinos fell 6% to DKK 80m in Q4, although the total for 2015 rose nearly 5% to DKK 340m.

The nation’s total gambling market is expected to rise nearly 8% to DKK 8.35b, while spending per adult Dane is up 8.5% to DKK 1,900 ($281).

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Lights, Camera, Action – Betting on the Oscars is Bigger than Ever

Lights, Camera, Action - Betting on the Oscars is Bigger than Ever

OK, it may not be Super Bowl Sunday but we know you’re starved for prop action. And the best news is there’s no back door covers or red flag challenges here. Yup, it’s Academy Awards night this Sunday evening and what used to be just an alternative to another boring NBA card has turned into a major wagering event for many.

We’ll thank our friends in the offshore world for this one. While the Vegas books teased us with a few concept ideas, the major offshore sportsbooks have gone “full tilt” into a menu of several Oscar awards. And just maybe the Academy itself has helped enable the action by offering more choices than ever. For example, Best Picture used to strictly be reserved for 5 special films but has ballooned to up to 10 movies in the past few years. Blame that on greedy promotion opportunities. Or perhaps the motion picture business taking a cue from the sports leagues by adding their version of “extra playoff rounds and qualifying teams”.

Whatever the reason, many bettors have jumped on board as an opportunity to score some cash on a traditional slow night. NCAA Tournament March Madness is still almost three weeks away along with a month before regular baseball season officially begins. Besides, I fully endorse handicapping & betting on “Best Actress” over an Astros-Pirates Grapefruit game from Bradenton, FL.

The largest and most trusted sportsbooks have a full menu of choices this year offering most of the award categories. Bovada, BetOnline, Heritage and select others offer the same shop-around choices to compare. The following is a preview and a recommendation list of a few choices from key categories. The odds are courtesy of Bovada, who traditionally feature the most comprehensive list of award betting.

Best Actor • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant -5000 • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl +1000 • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs +1200 • Matt Damon – The Martian +3300 • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo +5000

This one is a “free square” and the only time I’ll guarantee a wagering lock. But there is a major catch. First off, most top online sportsbooks do not allow parlays for these type of wagers and generally a maximum of $500 straight bets. Check your sportsbook for all rules and again, always recommended to shop around from a list of preferred sportsbooks for best value.

Here there is no value. Simply $500 gets you as close to a guaranteed 10 bucks as you’ll ever find. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, The Wolf of Wall Street. Cases could be made for Leonardo DiCaprio winning this Best Actor category in previous years but like many actors he earns this for a body of work, not just for one film. Not that he wasn’t great in The Revenant. Unless he gets mauled by a bear on the red carpet, the only challenge for Leonardo is remembering his acceptance speech at -5000 odds.

Best Supporting Actor • Sylvester Stallone – Creed -300 • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies +220 • Tom Hardy – The Revenant +1000 • Christian Bale – The Big Short +2000 • Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight +3300

Yo Pauly, fuggetaboutit. Mark Rylance got a BAFTA award (British Academy Awards) but Sylverster Stallone wasn’t on the nominations menu. On Oscar night, the other guys unfortunately aren’t in the mix and Rylance is playing underdog to Stallone, a major Hollywood heavyweight who received his only other nominations almost 40 years ago for Rocky. Place this Oscar at -300 on the top of The Philly Art Museum steps next to the other statue. Where I hear they got some nice pictures in there too.

Best Supporting Actress • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl -225 • Rooney Mara – Carol +325 • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs +325 • Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight +3300 • Rachel McAdams – Spotlight +5000

Maybe some reasonable value in this category. Alicia Vikander could have been nominated for either her role in The Danish Girl or Ex Machina. A film that movie critic Glenn Greene thought deserved a Best Picture nomination. But it was her role as the wife of Redmayne’s transgender artist that won her the wealth of the attention — and likely an Oscar here. Mara is the only other contender with a chance as the young lover of Cate Blanchett’s well-to-do older woman in 1950s-set Carol.

Best Picture • The Revenant -225 • Spotlight +225 • The Big Short +350 • The Martian +10000 • Mad Max: Fury Road +10000 • Room +10000 • Bridge of Spies +15000 • Brooklyn +20000

This is the big one, the bottom of the 9th, the last 2 minutes of the game and the reason you stay up late this Sunday night. Even better, there is some drama and uncertainty who will win as it boils down to mainly two contenders.

Director Alejandro Gonazalez Inarritu’s harrowing wilderness story The Revenant is a film that’s just not made much anymore and although polarizing in its subject matter and violence, it’s an amazing experience no matter what kind of films you enjoy. That said, Spotlight is the very definition of an Oscar-type best picture, with an astounding cast, incredible acting and a great true story about the human spirit conquering a swept under the rug social evil. Though The Revenant is an intimidating favorite and likely winner at -225 odds, a bettor might want to take a chance here with Spotlight to pull the minor upset at +225.

As an overall wagering strategy, DO NOT waste any dollars on playing Academy Award longshots whatsoever. In fact, I would discourage anyone from wagering against each category favorite or perhaps the second choice. This is not a sporting competition. It is a voting competition and the awards have usually been decided through hearsay and publicity a while ago. If you want a longshot chance to brag baby, wait for a potential 14th seed to spring the upset straight-up Round One in March.

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at For weekly betting insights, inlcuding NFL previews and picks from Glenn, click here.

Maryland Passes Home Poker Game Bill

Maryland Passes Home Poker Game Bill

Draconian Maryland gambling laws are set to change allowing people the opportunity to play poker for money in the sanctity of their homes under certain restrictions.

Maryland Gambling Laws Set to Change Allowing People to Play Poker For Money in Their HomesAmerica confuses me more than a seahorse.

In the summer, I was in that great country readying to attend my first Burning Man festival. My bike rack adaptor didn’t fit. I drove to Walmart to pick up a new one. I couldn’t find one. However, I did find a broad range of guns and rifles. They were on the same floor as the children’s toy section.

And yet, if you decide to break open a plastic bag of coppers with your grandparents, and play a game of poker across the kitchen table, you can face a year in jail, and be hit with a $1,000 fine. Playing poker in your home is illegal in Maryland.

Now, of course, that’s never going to happen. What law enforcement agency in their right mind would waste their time breaking up home games and sending people to jail?

However, that hasn’t stopped Maryland lawmakers drafting together legislation to change those draconian and stupid laws. Last week, a bill sponsored by Montgomery County Democrat Kirill Reznick cleared Maryland’s House of Delegates by a vote of 139 – 0.

Listen to this.

You’ll love it.

The new laws will allow people to play home games as long as they are only held once per week. I know crazy right. It gets better. You have to be aged 21 or over to play, you can’t advertise the game, you can’t take a rake, and players competing have to have a pre-existing social relationship.

When it comes to the amounts you are allowed to play, the combined total cash amount on the table in a 24-hour period can be no more than $500. Reznik told Card Player magazine that he proposed $2,000, but his fellow chieftains wanted it reduced.

When talking to the Baltimore Sun about the old laws, Reznick said, “It’s rarely enforced, and it’s a complete waste of police resources and time {…} I imagine police have better things to do.”

Funny, I was thinking the same thing about politicians.

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Legalized sports betting hangs in balance with New Jersey appeal hearing

Legalized sports betting hangs in balance with New Jersey appeal hearing

Care about the future of sports betting in the United States? Wednesday’s hearing in NCAA et al v. Christie will play a pivotal role in its future

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hold an en banc rehearing in New Jersey’s fight against the NCAA and American professional sports leagues, which sued in 2014 when the state passed a law that legalized Las Vegas-style sports betting.

MORE: Sports betting terms, lingo for beginners

Here’s what you need to know about the hearing, which begins 11 a.m. ET Wednesday in Philadelphia:

The back story

In 2009, New Jersey state senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union) filed a lawsuit in district court claiming that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, is unconstitutional. PASPA in 1992 effectively banned sports betting in all but four states, most notably Nevada. This set New Jersey’s sports betting plan in motion.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2012 signed legislation legalizing sports betting in the state, as a way to drive revenue and interest back into the state’s dying gaming industry. The law allows any casino or racetrack in New Jersey to accept wagers on college and pro sports, except games involving college teams from the state or college games hosted in New Jersey.

Eight months later, the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB joined together to sue New Jersey and prevent the state from offering sports betting. The leagues have won every court battle along the way, including a 2-1 decision in the 3rd Circuit last August.

The biggest issue at hand — and what the leagues argue New Jersey’s law violates — is PASPA. New Jersey’s current sports betting law was passed at the state level, but the leagues say it violates federal law.

So what’s the problem?

The leagues argue legalized sports betting would damage the integrity of their games and result in more game-fixing. The NFL and NCAA remain staunchly opposed, while the NHL and MLB have backed off slightly. NBA commissioner Adam Silver endorses a legalized, federal framework for sports betting, but the NBA remains in this lawsuit because it is against state-by-state regulations.

New Jersey’s law would not provide a regulatory framework of any kind — the casinos and tracks would police and monitor themselves. Many in favor of sports betting hope New Jersey wins not necessarily for the state’s benefit, but so that PASPA is revisited and possibly repealed.

Wednesday’s hearing

New Jersey will argue its case in front of all 12 active 3rd Circuit judges. It needs a 7-5 ruling to prevail. A ruling is not expected for several months — meaning late spring or early summer.

En banc hearings are extremely rare, and the fact that one was granted is encouraging for New Jersey. Per ESPN, the 3rd Circuit grants an en banc hearing in roughly one of every 1,000 cases.

What if New Jersey wins?

If the state wins, it will likely be able to offer sports betting immediately, though the leagues would file a temporary injunction to stop it before trying to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. A hearing there would be a long shot. If New Jersey loses, the state’s sports betting dream would be all but dead.

A New Jersey victory would create “binding precedent” in Pennsylvania and Delaware, per, and those states could set sports betting frameworks in motion shortly after. Pennsylvania’s legislature passed a resolution last week asking for the repeal of PASPA. Delaware already offers legal parlay wagering. If New Jersey wins, the 3rd Circuit ruling will be good precedent for any other states looking to legalize sports betting in the future.

If the leagues do lose, they’d certainly prefer federal regulation to none at all, which means they will have to look at repealing PASPA. That would open the door for any state to legalize sports betting.

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Class actions filed against daily fantasy sports websites consolidated

Class actions filed against daily fantasy sports websites consolidated

Nearly 80 class actions filed against the nation’s two largest operators of online daily fantasy sports contests will be consolidated in a Massachusetts federal court.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued a transfer order Feb. 4.

The six-member panel selected the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to handle the lawsuits against DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Inc., saying the federal court will serve the “convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation.”

“These actions share factual questions arising from plaintiffs’ allegations that: (a) the DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) Defendants allowed their employees to participate in competitors’ fantasy sports contests using nonpublic information that gave them an unfair advantage over other contestants; (b) the DFS Defendants operate online daily fantasy sports contests in contravention of state anti-gambling statutes; (c) DraftKings conducted an allegedly deceptive and fraudulent initial deposit matching scheme; or (d) some combination thereof,” wrote Sarah Vance, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and chair of the MDL panel.

A total of three dockets are being consolidated, according the panel’s eight-page order: one consisting of 14 actions, another of 12 actions and a third consisting of eight actions.

Altogether, there are 80 actions at issue in the three dockets — either listed on the motion or noticed as a related, or potential tag-along, action — pending in 30 districts.

All but one of the actions are common to all three dockets, the panel noted in its order.

Approximately 42 involve insider trading allegations; 36 involve illegal gambling allegations; and eight involve bonus fraud allegations. Several allege both insider trading and either illegal gambling or bonus fraud claims.

While many of the plaintiffs and the defendants supported centralization of all the actions in a single MDL regardless of the theory of liability, there are those plaintiffs who opposed it. They argued those actions involving allegations of illegal gambling, bonus fraud or both do not share sufficient common questions of fact with the insider trading actions to benefit from centralization and that efficient management of such disparate actions is not feasible.

While the panel agreed that the actions involve differing theories of liability, it said such differences are “not a bar” to centralization where common factual issues exist.

“Here, regardless of the theories asserted, the actions will involve common discovery regarding the nature of the DFS Defendants’ online daily fantasy sports contests, their advertising and promotions, and their internal policies and practices,” Vance wrote.

The panel also noted — as the parties represented during oral arguments — that the defendants have relatively few employees and that some most likely will be witnesses in all of the actions.

In addition, there is “substantial overlap” among the asserted putative class and all of the actions involve plaintiffs seeking similar relief from the defendants — namely, refunds of the losses that plaintiffs sustained while participating in the online daily fantasy sports contests.

“Centralization, therefore, will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, particularly with respect to class certification, and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary,” Vance wrote.

She said the alternatives to centralization — such as informal coordination or cooperation among the parties and courts — are “less practicable” given the large number of actions and courts.

The panel pointed out in its order that the District of Massachusetts is supported by both defendants and plaintiffs in at least seven actions. On top of that, a “significant” number of related actions that encompass all three theories of liability are pending in the district.

“The District of Massachusetts presents a convenient and accessible forum with a significant connection to this litigation,” Vance explained, adding that DraftKings is headquartered in the district and the individual defendants reside either in the district or nearby, facilitating discovery.

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Sports betting advocates play outside game

Sports betting advocates play outside game

Advocates of sports betting are playing the outside game, hoping that pressure from the states will push Washington toward legalization.

Rather than seeking action on Capitol Hill, proponents of sports betting are hoping that growing acceptance of betting in the states — driven in part by the popularity of daily fantasy sports games — will help overturn a 1992 federal ban on most forms of sports gambling.

The American Gaming As

The American Gaming Association (AGA) is spearheading the effort and working to gain partners in the public and private sector. “We’re taking a different approach,” Geoff Freeman, the chief executive of the AGA, told The Hill. “We’re creating an environment where policymakers are inclined to ask the questions that we would like to see them ask about the issue.”

In particular, the AGA is raising questions about the flow of money in the illegal sports betting market, the lack of consumer protections and how states and local governments could benefit if that activity were regulated.

Americans spent $149 billion on illegal sports bets nationwide in 2015, the AGA estimates. About 97 percent of the $4.2 billion wagered on this year’s Super Bowl, the group says, was done illegally.

Congress passed a law banning sports betting in 1992 known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). While states were given a one-year window to legalize some sports betting, only Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon chose to do so.

Proponents are now claiming that technology and other aspects of betting have changed the game, making the law antiquated.

Freeman and others at the AGA are having meetings with governors, attorneys general and state-level lawmakers and law enforcement officials in hopes of creating grassroots pressure to overturn the 1992 statute.

“The general public would agree, the federal government can’t seem to get anything done,” said J.B. Van Hollen, the former attorney general of Wisconsin who is working with the AGA on the issue through his consulting firm, Van Hollen Consulting. “States are stepping up more and more to fill the void. [Federal law] prohibits states that don’t have gaming to do any regulation of it.”

“The more we’ve learned” about illicit sports gaming, he says, “the more we’ve realized that we need to do something about it.”

But the push for sports betting has been overshadowed to an extent by the controversy over daily fantasy sports sites.

While roughly two-dozen states have shown some sort of legislative movement on daily fantasy sports — an industry that argues it is a form of entertainment, rather than gambling — only four have taken up sports betting in recent years.

We are “taking on an issue that isn’t front and center,” Freeman says. “The first step is placing it there, and the second step is winning. It’s a bigger lift, but it gives us the opportunity to be very creative.”

At the moment, all eyes in the gambling industry are on New Jersey, where a panel of federal judges on Wednesday will hear arguments to allow the legalization of sports betting in the state.

The State of New Jersey is fighting in the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to legalize wagers at casinos and racetracks there, hoping to give a boost to the struggling horse racing industry and casino-centric Atlantic City.

The NCAA and four sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — are challenging the state, saying that legalization would damage the integrity of their brands and violate federal law.

On Wednesday, 12 judges will listen to arguments from both sides; at least seven must side with the state of New Jersey in order for the state’s challenge to be successful. It could be months before a decision is released.

“There’s an awareness among folks that whatever the purpose of the current law, it’s not really working today,” said Joseph Asher, the CEO of William Hill US, Nevada’s largest sports book operator.

He said it might take more than just lobbying pressure to move Capitol Hill toward action.

“People are generally realistic; there are a lot of issues going on that are all seeking the attention of Congress,” he told The Hill. “Perhaps it takes a court ruling, either in the 3rd Circuit or elsewhere, that may create the impetus to move the issue forward.”

In the meantime, the Pennsylvania legislature — another state covered by the 3rd Circuit — is moving to pass a symbolic resolution that condemns the 1992 law.

“Even amid strong Federal laws banning sports betting in the United States, reports highlight that illegal sports betting is widespread and is considered the number one form of gambling among American residents,” the resolution reads.

Pennsylvania’s House Gaming Oversight Committee approved the measure last week, and it is now heading to the House floor.

Even sports leagues, which are deeply involved in the New Jersey lawsuit and have a history of opposing sports betting, appear to be coming around.

While the NFL still contains strong language in its league policy that declares it “opposes all forms of illegal gambling, as well as legal betting on NFL games or other professional, college or Olympic sports,” there have been some mixed signals. Its teams, for example, play games in London, where the practice of sports betting is legal.

On the other end of the spectrum, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been speaking out in favor of legalization of both daily fantasy and traditional sports betting.

“One of the reasons I’ve been pushing to legalize sports betting is not because that I’m necessarily an advocate of sports betting, it’s because all the research shows that it’s a multihundred-billion dollar business just in the United States right now,” Silver said in a FiveThirtyEight podcast last year. “In terms of the integrity of the sports leagues, it’s only bad news for us when it continues to remain underground.”

Many leagues have also signed deals with daily fantasy companies, data providers and oddsmakers, according to an ESPN report.

Freeman is also busy behind the scenes trying to gather a broad coalition of groups who could support or eventually benefit from the legalization of sports betting — including law enforcement, broadcasters, lotteries, convenience stores and even the Humane Society of the United States, which remains concerned about bets on animal fighting.

The National Association of Broadcasters and the National Association of Convenience Stores each told The Hill that they were not working on the sports betting issue, however.

Freedman says he wants to “streamline how Washington looks at the issue.”

“We’ve all seen these debates where Washington is inclined to do something, but because the interested parties can’t get on the same page, it gives Congress a way out,” he said. “We’re going to work to avoid that.”

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Lithuania blacklists blocked online gambling websites

Lithuania blacklists blocked online gambling websites

The Gaming Control Authority under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania has announced that it has blocked further online gambling websites that do not adhere to new regulations introduced in the country earlier this year.

In January, the Lithuanian regulator pledged to take “strict legal action” against operators that organise remote gambling illegally.

The Gaming Control Authority has followed up on this by blocking a number of companies that have been operating in the country illegally, with the regulator naming such firms in a list on its website.

In a statement, the Gaming Control Authority said that in addition to blocking the illegal operators, it intends to take further action against such companies.

Brands that feature on the list include Betway, Unibet, William Hill, PokerStars, Marathonbet and 188bet.

The regulator has also published a list of operators that have been licensed to offer services in the country.

Virginijus Dauksys, director of the Gaming Control Authority, said: “It is surprising that certain world-wide known companies, reluctant to legalise their activity, are blatantly violating the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

“Changing of the internet domain name in order to avoid the legal measures and to operate illegally in Lithuania can be treated as smuggling activity.

“The Gaming Control Authority will continue by all means available to ensure the protection of Lithuanian gambling market from illegal offers and protection of customers of the Republic of Lithuania from uncontrolled gambling flows to prevent compulsive and minors gambling.”

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