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Compliance Updates

Mintas’ PlayUp restraining order revoked in US court

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Nevada’s District Court has denied PlayUp’s emergency motion for a preliminary injunction against its former US CEO, Dr Laila Mintas.

At a hearing last week, Judge Gloria Navarro ruled that PlayUp had failed to demonstrate that it was Mintas’ actions that led to the collapse of the operator’s acquisition by crytpocurrency exchange FTX.

Instead, she said that evidence provided in Mintas’ defence successfully demonstrated it was “just as likely or more likely” that the deal collapsed as a result of group CEO Daniel Simic’s actions.

Mintas’ memorandum submitted to the court between Christmas and New Year revealed that once the $450m acquisition price was agreed, Simic attempted to insert a number of additional costs into the agreement.

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He looked to have FTX acquire PlayChip, a decentralised utility token designed for the betting and gaming sector controlled by PlayUp’s Australian management, for an additional $105m. Simic also attempted to secure $65m for “key staff”, including $25m for himself.

PlayUp’s argument centred on the fact that after Mintas had been asked not to attend a meeting with FTX in the Bahamas, she met with the business separately. After that meeting, FTX emailed the operator’s management to say it would not be pursuing the acquisition.

As FTX cited a lack of communication between the US and global businesses, PlayUp claimed that was evidence that Mintas’ meeting had led to the deal’s collapse. However the email also flagged potential conflicts of interest caused by the condition that PlayChip be acquired as well.

The judge noted this email was not provided to the court by PlayUp, despite it being relevant and placing things in a “much different light”. “[It’s] just more likely that this point, in my mind, that Dr Mintas was exercising her executive responsibility and that she was turned into the scapegoat.”

In her ruling, Judge Navarro noted that when she initially granted the temporary restraining order in December, an affidavit from Simic implied circumstantial evidence of Mintas threatening to “burn PlayUp to the ground”. Having reviewed Mintas’ evidence, the judge said she was less sure “whether the statement was even made”.

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Ultimately, Navarro said that Mintas had provided substantial evidence that her comments did not cause the sale to fail, and PlayUp failed to provide evidence that she even made a disparaging comment to FTX.

In response to the injunction being denied, Mintas has filed claims for damages in excess of $75,000. She accuses PlayUp of abuse of process, after it deliberately omitted key information from its filing for a temporary restraining order.

She also claims relief for defamation, arguing the operator caused her to suffer “irreparable harm to her reputation, loss of income, devaluation of her shares, among other damages”. PlayUp also portrayed her in a false light by making these claims, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on her.

The operator’s repeated reassurances that she was to be awarded a new contract, which was highlighted as causing the breakdown in the relationship between Mintas and PlayUp, makes the business guilty of “guilty of oppression, fraud and malice”, she argues. The fact it claimed to be finalising her contract while having no intention of doing so amounts to fraud, as she did not seek alternative employment during this period.

Finally, due to a separate temporary restraining order being secured in PlayUp’s home market of Australia, Mintas is seeking a declaratory judgement that the Australian injunction has no force or effect.

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Based on the evidence provided in the US District Court, she argues that it is no more than an attempt to “gag” her, and ultimately as she is not a citizen of the country, should be made inadmissible.

While Mintas remains unable to comment due to this ongoing litigation, her legal representation stressed that she “strongly denies [PlayUp’s] allegations and will fight vigorously against the remaining claims and prosecute her counterclaims”.

Compliance Updates

US Supreme Court Refuses to Take Up Challenge to Florida Online Sports Betting Compact

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up a challenge to an agreement that gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to handle online sports betting in Florida, dealing a blow to the deal’s opponents.

The nation’s highest court denied a petition from opponents of the compact, which promises to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars for the tribe and the state.

The decision was the latest setback for West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corp., which operate racetracks and poker rooms in Florida. In March, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the companies had filed the wrong type of petition to challenge the 2021 compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration.

“What’s important with today’s announcement is that the most significant barrier to online sports betting in Florida has been removed,” said Daniel Wallach, a South Florida attorney and sports betting law expert who had filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to either take up the case or reverse it outright.

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The companies say the compact gives the tribe a sports betting monopoly in the nation’s third-most populous state and that the U.S. Department of Interior wrongly approved the compact even though it violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which requires that gambling occur on tribal lands.

The plaintiffs questioned whether online sports bets that can be placed from anywhere in Florida could be considered to be on tribal land when only the computer servers that host the betting services are located there.

They said DeSantis and the Legislature, which approved the compact, improperly exceeded their powers by authorizing sports betting off tribal lands.

In their state court challenge, they argued that the deal creates a backdoor way out of a requirement, passed by voters in 2018 as an amendment to the Florida Constitution, that a citizens initiative is needed to expand casino gambling outside of tribal land. The tribe has argued that the Legislature has the authority to decide where online gambling is initiated and that the amendment doesn’t change that.

Attorneys for DeSantis and the legislative leaders have said that sports betting is different from casino gambling and therefore isn’t prohibited by the amendment.

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The tribe launched its online sports betting operation late last year, and Florida’s share of revenues is already $357 million from last December through May. State economic forecasters predict that the revenue sharing from tribal gambling could total $4.4 billion through the end of this decade.

The decision by the Supreme Court “means members of the Seminole Tribe and all Floridians can count on a bright future made possible by the Compact,” the tribe said in a statement.

Monday’s decision could encourage other tribes to follow the same path to operate online gambling, Wallach said.

“Tribes in other states stand to benefit from this decision because now they have a clear roadmap that has cleared judicial review. I would expect to see efforts ramped up in other states,” Wallach said.

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Arizona

Arizona Department of Gaming to Accept Applications for Event Wagering Licenses

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he Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) is pleased to announce that it will begin accepting applications for event wagering licenses in July. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 5-1304 and A.A.C. R19-4-105 and 106, ADG will accept applications for no less than one event wagering license reserved for Arizona Tribes and no less than one event wagering license reserved for Arizona Sports Franchises, as defined in A.R.S. § 5-1301(7).

Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the provided materials on ADG’s website carefully to understand the application process and requirements.

The application window for event wagering licenses will open on July 8, 2024, and will close on July 19, 2024 at 5 PM. Applicants must submit their completed applications within this timeframe in order to be considered for a license. ADG will thoroughly evaluate all applications received based on the established criteria pursuant to the State’s event wagering rules and statutes.

Interested parties are encouraged to visit ADG’s website for detailed information on eligibility requirements, application procedures, and relevant timelines.

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Arizona

Arizona Department of Gaming to Accept Applications for Event Wagering Licenses

Published

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Arizona Department of Gaming to Accept Applications for Event Wagering Licenses

 

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) is pleased to announce that it will begin accepting applications for event wagering licenses in July. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 5-1304 and A.A.C. R19-4-105 and 106, ADG will accept applications for no less than one event wagering license reserved for Arizona Tribes and no less than one event wagering license reserved for Arizona Sports Franchises, as defined in A.R.S. § 5-1301(7).

Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the provided materials on ADG’s website carefully to understand the application process and requirements.

The application window for event wagering licenses will open on July 8, 2024, and will close on July 19, 2024 at 5 PM. Applicants must submit their completed applications within this timeframe in order to be considered for a license. ADG will thoroughly evaluate all applications received based on the established criteria pursuant to the State’s event wagering rules and statutes.

Interested parties are encouraged to visit ADG’s website for detailed information on eligibility requirements, application procedures, and relevant timelines: LINK

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