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ILGA Revises Late-Night Gaming Guidelines

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As evidence grows of the correlation between late-night gaming and gaming-related harm, the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) has revised Guideline 16 – Late-night gaming applications to reflect ILGA’s position on late-night gaming.

Guideline 16 (the Guideline) sets out the way in which ILGA approaches applications which have the effect of increasing access to late-night (post-midnight) gaming in NSW.

ILGA decides applications for pubs and clubs in NSW to operate electronic gaming machines (pokies) under the Gaming Machines Act 2001 (the Act).

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The objects of the Act require that the minimisation of harm, to individuals and communities, must be the priority when ILGA assesses applications from venues wishing to increase gaming facilities.

The previous edition of the Guideline made clear ILGA’s increasing concern about the potentially harmful impact of late-night gaming.

Roy Morgan Research findings reinforce pre-existing NSW evidence that there are serious risks associated with late-night electronic gaming machine (EGM) play.

For example, the research found late-night EGM gamblers tend to be more intense gamblers and significantly more likely to be experiencing problem gambling. The later into the early hours of the morning play takes place, the higher the proportion of “at risk” gamblers, particularly after 2 am.

In September, the NSW Court of Appeal in Whitebull underscored ILGA’s power and responsibility to consider the potential for gaming-related harm when it considers applications under the Act and the need for the imposition of conditions under the Liquor Act 2007.

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ILGA Chairperson Caroline Lamb said the Guideline 16 revision reinforces ILGA’s responsibilities around late-night gaming applications.

“When we look at the increasing body of evidence of the association between late-night gaming and gaming-related harm, ILGA is generally concerned about applications which, if approved, would result in significantly increased access to post-midnight gaming. Our concern is greater if the proposal would involve gaming after 2 am,” Ms Lamb said.

“It is our hope that in the face of the evidence, venues offering gaming facilities will recognise the risks and themselves introduce effective measures to protect their members and customers from harm.

“ILGA is unlikely to approve applications involving additional late-night gaming unless there are effective conditions aimed at decreasing the risk of gaming-related harm, such as conditions limiting the operating hours of gaming rooms.

“Where applicants have failed to adequately mitigate the potential risk, we want operators to understand that ILGA has the power to place additional conditions on licences to prevent and reduce gambling harm. That power exists at any time and whether or not an application has been made.

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“ILGA aims to ensure that where late-night gaming occurs, it operates in an environment which addresses the need for harm minimisation.”

ILGA also updated Guidelines 2 and 10 to align with the NSW Government’s Vibrancy Reforms which commenced on 12 December 2023 (24-Hour Economy Legislation Amendment (Vibrancy Reforms) Bill 2023).

Argentina

SIS and Bet365 Launch Fixed-Odds Horse Racing in Colorado

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Launch provides sports bettors with exciting new content and raises horse racing awareness

SIS Content Services, part of Sports Information Services (SIS) Group, the leading content supplier of 24/7 live betting services, has agreed a landmark deal with long-time operator partner Bet365 to deliver its global horse racing content to bettors in Colorado, bringing fixed-odds horse racing wagering to a licensed sports betting platform for the first time in the United States.

The approval of horse racing fixed-odds wagering on Colorado sportsbooks will aid the sport attracting a wider range of casual bettors, who will be offered the same type of betting as all other sports. It represents positive news for a range of Colorado stakeholders including Bally’s Arapahoe Park and the Colorado Horsemen’s Association as a portion of turnover is directed to Colorado horse racing.

Boasting round-the-clock betting opportunities, SIS Group provides a comprehensive horse racing portfolio of nearly 140 international and domestic racetracks. The upcoming highlights include the Saudi Cup Day on February 24 where top American horses will compete for US$33.5 million in purses and then travel to the Dubai World Cup meeting on March 24 to vie for US$30.5 million in purses. Along with coverage of the world’s richest horse races, year-round racing is available from 14 countries including Ireland, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and the United States.

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SIS Group delivers sportsbooks an end-to-end horse racing solution including live-streamed video with betting triggers, race day data and an extensive range of markets and odds prices to provide seamless betting experiences.

“The launch of fixed-odds horse racing betting on Colorado sportsbooks puts horse racing on equal footing with other sports and hopefully attracts a new fan base and revenue for our racetrack partners,” the Vice-President for SIS Content Services, Michele Fischer, said. “This is a great first step in expanding the horse racing audience and I commend the Colorado horse racing stakeholders, Colorado Division of Gaming and Bet365 for their vision and support. Horse racing provides sportsbooks with exciting year-round 24/7 content throughout the world. It will take time in the United States but I expect that more sports wagering operators and states will include horse racing on their sports catalogs.”

“We are thrilled to be able to put horse racing on Colorado sportsbooks for fixed-odds wagering,” the Operations and Racing Executive Director for Bally’s Arapahoe Park, Shannon Ruston, said. “Working with SIS Group, we crafted a commercial framework that benefits local racing while giving sportsbooks access to thousands of races. Our belief is that this development will secure a better future not only for Bally’s Arapahoe Park but also for the racing ecosystem as a whole in Colorado.”

“We are committed to ensuring that horse racing in Colorado is economically viable for the participating owners and trainers, who are the backbone of the sport,” the President of the Colorado Horsemen’s Association, Kim Oliver, said. “Fixed-odds betting will produce a new revenue stream and exposure for horse racing. This launch represents a pivotal moment for our group.”

“The introduction of fixed-odds horse racing betting is sure to have a positive impact in Colorado,” read a statement from Bet365. “We have seen the popularity of fixed-odds betting in horse racing in other markets and, as sports betting becomes more ingrained across the United States, it will certainly provide a boost to engagement.”

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Australia

Supercars Partners with Dabble

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Supercars has entered into a partnership with Dabble, an Australian betting operator with a social-first sports betting app. Dabble will become the Official and Exclusive Wagering Partner of the Repco Supercars Championship.

The new partnership solidifies Dabble’s commitment to the sports betting landscape, offering a unique platform that combines the thrill of sports wagering with social interaction.

Jamie Black, General Manager of Commercial at Supercars, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Dabble to the Supercars family as our Official and Exclusive Sports Wagering Partner.

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“Dabble’s innovative approach to sports betting aligns perfectly with our vision of engaging fans and creating memorable experiences.

“Together, we look forward to delivering exciting content and enhancing the fan experience across what promises to be a thrilling 2024 championship.”

Dabble allows users to view and copy bets made by friends, ex-athletes and other users, and the “Banter” chat feature allows the community to engage on a particular sport or event in real-time.

Tom Rundle, CEO of Dabble, said: “Joining forces with Supercars represents an incredible opportunity for Dabble to connect with a passionate fanbase and further establish ourselves as a leading player in the sports wagering industry.

“We’re excited to introduce Supercars fans to the Dabble community and provide them with a unique and immersive betting experience.

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“Along with industry-leading social capabilities, Dabble prides itself on its fast withdrawals feature and being one of the fastest apps on the sports betting market. It is only natural for us to partner with the fastest sport in Australia, making the perfect match for the adrenaline-fueled world of Supercars.”

The Supercars and Dabble partnership has already kicked off, with markets now open for the Thrifty Bathurst 500.

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Australia

Star Entertainment Announces Jobs Guarantee & Cashless Gaming Trial Agreements in NSW

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The Star Entertainment Group Limited (The Star) announced that it has entered into binding documentation to give effect to the previously announced aspects of the arrangements agreed in principle with the NSW Treasurer, The Honourable Daniel Mookhey MLC, in connection with the revised duty arrangements in NSW, namely a jobs commitment and the cashless and carded play trial in respect of The Star Sydney casino.

NSW Jobs Guarantee

Consistent with the in-principle agreement first announced on 11 August 2023, The Star has entered into a Jobs Guarantee Agreement with the State of NSW and the United Workers Union whereby The Star has agreed to maintain a minimum headcount, and certain ratios of full-time, part-time and casual employees, in respect of The Star Sydney casino until 30 June 2030. The jobs commitment is subject to certain permitted adjustments in certain circumstances (including for force majeure and material adverse change events) following consultation with the NSW government and the United Workers Union.

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Following amendments to the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW) in December 2023, certain penalties can apply to The Star for failing to comply with the jobs commitment. A copy of the Jobs Guarantee Agreement must be tabled in NSW Parliament within 10 business days following entry into the agreement.

Cashless and Carded Play Trial

The Star has also entered into documentation to give effect to a formal trial of cashless and carded play at The Star Sydney casino.

The trial is a precursor to reforms to the NSW regulatory framework which will see cashless gaming and carded play introduced to NSW casinos from August 2024.

Subject to the receipt of final regulatory approvals, the trial will apply to 51 poker machines and 8 table games within the “Sovereign Room” at The Star Sydney casino until the regulatory framework comes into effect.

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The Star’s Group CEO and Managing Director, Robbie Cooke, said: “The Star appreciates the constructive engagement with the current NSW Government that has led to finalisation of an agreement that provides employment certainty for our dedicated and hard-working team members in Sydney. As we continue to focus on earning back the trust of the community and implementing the reforms required to restore The Star to suitability, we are also committed to the continuation of our role as a valuable contributor to the NSW economy.”

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