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Compliance Updates

MGCB Sends Cease-and-Desist Letters to Three Online Gaming Companies

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As part of its continued, relentless efforts to halt illegal gaming operations in the state of Michigan, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has recently sent cease-and-desist letters to three online gaming companies — two in the US and one overseas — after investigations revealed the entities are offering online gaming in Michigan without licenses to do so legally.

PredictionStrike Inc., in Bay Shore, New York; Sweepstakes Limited (Stake.us), in Limassol, Cyprus; and VGW LuckyLand, Inc. (VGW) in San Francisco, California — whose parent company is VGW Holdings Ltd., a global technology online social gaming company headquartered in Australia — were each sent cease-and-desist letters on Oct. 19, Nov. 2, and Dec. 5, 2023, respectively.

“Gambling regulations are in place for a reason, and illegal gambling operations are not welcome in Michigan. We do not want businesses who skirt the law having access to Michigan citizens and leaving them vulnerable because they are playing on unregulated sites that leave them with no recourse, and that siphon funds away from communities because they are not paying taxes like a regulated, legal gambling establishment would,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said.

The companies’ violations include:

  • Offering internet gaming and internet sports betting in Michigan without being licensed in the state as an internet gaming operator and a sports betting operator (PredictionStrike).
  • Promoting an unlicensed online lottery and/or raffle for customers that buy its products through its internet website (Stake.us).
  • Conducting illegal gambling by offering an internet game in which a player wagers something of monetary value for the opportunity to win something of monetary value (VGW).

Due to their unregulated and unlicensed online gaming offerings, PredictionStrike, Stake.us, and VGW are in violation of the following Michigan gaming laws, including:

  • Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which states that internet gaming may only be offered by a licensed internet gaming operator, and the Lawful Sports Betting Act, which states that internet sports betting may only be offered by a licensed sports betting operator or its licensed sports betting platform provider. Only casinos that are currently licensed under the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act and federally authorized tribal casinos within Michigan can apply for an internet gaming operator license or a sports betting operator license.
  • Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act, which prohibits a party from conducting a gambling operation without a license issued by the MGCB. A party who operates an unlicensed gambling operation is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years or a fine of up to $100,000, or both.
  • Michigan Penal Code, which broadly prohibits any form of unauthorized gambling involving consideration, prize, and chance. For example, accepting money, or anything of value, with the understanding that money, or anything of value, will be paid to any person based on the outcome of an uncertain event is prohibited.

PredictionStrike Inc., Sweepstakes Limited (Stake.us), and VGW LuckyLand, Inc. (VGW) have each taken steps to prevent Michigan residents from gambling on their websites.

Compliance Updates

Asensi Technologies Appointed as Approved Agent by Kahnawake Gaming Commission

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Asensi Technologies, a leading provider of Technical Compliance and Certification Services for online Gaming and Gambling companies, proudly announces its appointment as an Approved Agent by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. This partnership further solidifies Asensi Technologies’ commitment to ensuring regulatory compliance and integrity throughout the gaming industry.

With a track record dating back to 2017, Asensi Technologies has been at the forefront of providing Technical Compliance and Certification Services to gaming operators and suppliers alike. Accredited as a gaming laboratory in Spain since 2017 and most recently in Peru on February 13, 2024, Asensi Technologies has continually demonstrated its expertise in facilitating compliance with regulatory requirements.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission’s decision to designate Asensi Technologies as an Approved Agent reflects the company’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of regulatory compliance and integrity. Asensi Technologies is poised to assist the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in fulfilling its regulatory objectives effectively and efficiently, ensuring the integrity of gaming operations at every level of the industry and supporting all stakeholders in meeting regulatory standards.

“We are honored to be appointed as an Approved Agent by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission,” said Aurora Merino Salas, CEO at Asensi Technologies. “This appointment further validates our dedication to providing comprehensive technical compliance and certification services and also underscores our steadfast commitment to promoting transparency and integrity throughout the gaming industry.”

Asensi Technologies remains fully committed to leveraging its expertise and experience to assist the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in achieving its regulatory objectives. The company’s comprehensive range of services aims to facilitate seamless compliance for gaming operators and suppliers, thereby enhancing trust and confidence in the gaming sector.

“We extend our gratitude to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission for trusting in our capabilities,” added Aurora Merino Salas. “At Asensi Technologies, we are committed to continuing our efforts to uphold the highest standards of regulatory compliance and integrity within the gaming industry. Without a dedicated, committed, and specialized team like that of Asensi Technologies, all these steps forward would be impossible.”

For more information about Asensi Technologies and its suite of Technical Compliance and Certification Services, please visit Asensi website.

 

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Compliance Updates

NJ Attorney General Platkin Announces the Retirement of Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck

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Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced the retirement of David L. Rebuck after serving 13 years as the Director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), making him the longest-serving director in DGE’s history. In total, Director Rebuck is retiring with 36 years of service to the State.

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said: “Throughout his career, David Rebuck has exemplified professionalism, innovation, and leadership as the gaming industry transformed, first with the legalization of Internet gaming in 2013 and then with the new era of sports gaming in 2018. His extensive knowledge of the gaming and casino industry has made New Jersey a recognized regulatory leader and pacesetter in the United States. With Dave’s departure, however, I am pleased to announce that Deputy Director Mary Jo Flaherty will assume the role of Interim Director. Mary Jo is a respected and talented lawyer, and brings with her over 40 years of experience of regulating the gaming industry within DGE. I am grateful for her stepping up to lead the Division at this critical time.”

Director Rebuck said: “I have always said the achievements at DGE have not been the result of any one person. I have been privileged and grateful to work with an amazing team at DGE and to serve under two governors and eight attorneys general.”

Rebuck’s career with the Department began as a Deputy Attorney General in January 1988. He provided legal advice in the review of programs and operations within LPS, assisted in the evaluation of the performance of agencies within the Department, and reviewed legislation.

In February 2010, he was assigned to the Governor’s Office as a Senior Policy Advisor. While at the Governor’s Office, Director Rebuck assisted in the Governor’s initiative to reinvigorate Atlantic City and was a member of the “Red Tape Review Group”. Director Rebuck was nominated by Governor Chris Christie to lead DGE on April 29, 2011, and assumed the role of Acting Director on that date. Rebuck was confirmed by the State Senate and sworn in as DGE Director on January 24, 2012.

Rebuck’s tenure at DGE began shortly after P.L. 2011, c. 19 which effectuated the most significant overhaul the Casino Control Act had experienced in its history as of that date. The legislation brought with it sweeping changes, including the assignment to DGE of many responsibilities previously performed by the Casino Control Commission. Under Director Rebuck’s leadership, DGE re-examined the entire set of existing casino regulations to ensure consistency and efficiency. A complete new set of regulations was adopted in December 2011.

Director Rebuck led DGE through additional innovative changes to the gambling industry in New Jersey; in 2013, the State became the first in the country to launch legalized Internet casino gambling, and in 2018, after a protracted legal battle led by New Jersey, commenced legal sports wagering. In addition to overseeing the launch of new forms of gaming, Director Rebuck oversaw the launch of DGE’s Responsible Gambling Initiative last year and implemented enhanced advertising standards for New Jersey’s casino and sports betting industry. He also spearheaded new initiatives to improve casino security and safety in the Tourism District in Atlantic City.

To mark his contributions at DGE, Director Rebuck will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 27th Annual East Coast Gaming Congress (ECGC), becoming only the fifth person in ECGC’s history to receive such recognition. The award will be presented on April 18, 2024 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.

DGE Deputy Director Flaherty’s service as Interim Director is effective Friday, March 1, 2024. Flaherty began her career with DGE in 1979 and holds a J.D. from the Seton Hall Law School. As Deputy Director, she is responsible for overseeing casino licensing, financial analysis and reporting, employee licensing, public records requests, equal employment opportunity within the industry and DGE, ethics compliance, and the release of information to law enforcement agencies and gaming authorities.

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Compliance Updates

Scientific Games Testifies at Maryland House Ways and Means Hearing in Support of Proposed iLottery Legislation

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The Public Policy and Government Affairs Senior Vice-President for Scientific Games, Christine Wechsler, testified today before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee to share the company’s support of House Bill 1218, State Lottery – Internet Sales Authorization and Distribution of Proceeds. If adopted, the legislation would authorize the Maryland Lottery to offer its games to in-state consumers through online sales channels.

Wechsler discussed the importance of remaining competitive and modernizing at the same pace as other gaming products offered in the market in order to maintain and grow the Maryland Lottery’s more than $714 million in profits returned annually.

“The Maryland Lottery is like all other businesses selling products to consumers; it must modernize to meet changing consumer demand,” Wechsler said in a prepared testimony. “Providing convenient and relevant experiences to consumers online and at retail will be critical to enable the Maryland Lottery’s sustainability and maximize revenue potential for the state.”

Wechsler also shared key iLottery facts with the Committee as it considers this legislation, which included:

  • iLottery doesn’t cannibalize bricks-and-mortar retail sales. Of the twelve United States lotteries selling online today, none have experienced cannibalization at retail. Retail sales have grown faster in iLottery jurisdictions than in states that do not sell online.
  • Online sales platforms provide player protections and tools that support healthy, responsible lottery play. Key platform features can include the ability to self-exclude, engage in cooling-off periods and/or set limits on deposit and play amounts.
  • iLottery is a new, convenient sales channel to offer lottery products; it is not designed to be a substitute for or compete with casino games. iLottery has proven in other states to successfully co-exist with iCasino, sports betting and other forms of gaming.

As a 27-year partner to the Maryland Lottery, Scientific Games provides the systems technology, terminals and communications infrastructure supporting sales of its lottery games at retail. The company also provides the Maryland Lottery with other key products and services including printed instant games and inventory management software as well as manages the entire interactive category which includes the My Lottery Rewards loyalty program, associated mobile app and second-chance promotions.

“Our focus has always been on delivering solutions and services to facilitate retail growth and maximize profit returned to Maryland’s beneficiaries,” Wechsler said. “And we are invested and fully committed to helping shape a successful iLottery framework for the state that responsibly drives continued growth across the Maryland Lottery’s established bricks-and-mortar retailer network while providing incremental online revenue.

Scientific Games is the global leader in retail instant games, a major provider of retail systems and technology and an industry pioneer in iLottery and digital lottery solutions that drive profits for government-sponsored lottery programs. The company is a trusted partner to more than 130 lotteries spanning 50 countries including over 30 iLottery customers.

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