This week, Inside Gaming looks at disputes over European online gaming regulation and discusses an argument closer to home: a proposal for the construction of a $500 million arena on the Las Vegas Strip. And just for fun, we tell you who is being inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame at a gala to benefit the National Center for Responsible Gambling.
EU Objects to Gaming Regulations Proposed by Germany and Greece
European Union regulators have told the German government not to adopt their draft gambling law because it violates EU law. Betfair Group PLC, a UK-based online gaming company, filed a complaint with the EU earlier in July claiming that the proposed German regulations were "discriminatory and protectionist." The new regulations would require bookmakers to pay a 16.67 percent tax on all bets and limit the number of licenses available to private operators.
The proposed rules are part of a treaty designed to remove the German government's monopoly on sports betting and lottery operation as mandated by an EU court ruling last year. The EU Court of Justice found in September 2010 that the German policy of only licensing state-run companies violated EU law because the approved entities "do not limit games of chance in a consistent and systematic manner." German premiers agreed on new rules in April but postponed a final decision on the controversial treaty until October.
Betfair's chief legal officer Martin Cruddace told Bloomberg that the company hopes to obtain a license once Germany amends its rules and views the EU's sanction of the proposed treaty as a "significant step towards us achieving this goal."
Greece also had to put its new gaming regulations on hold after Malta filed a complained with the EU. An EU official told the Times of Malta that Malta is the only member state to have objected to the proposed Greek rules so far but that "It is clear that certain aspects of the draft law do not respect certain EU provisions particularly those relating to the freedom of establishment and the unhindered provision of services in the EU."
The EU Commission called into question provisions of the draft law that require companies to have a physical office in Greece and to back their financial guarantees in a Greek bank in order to be allowed to offer their online gaming services to Greek residents.
Both Germany and Greece are in discussions with EU officials about the future of their national gaming regulations. We'll keep you updated.
Controversy Continues Over Caesars Arena Proposal
Caesars Entertainment's plan to construct a $500 million arena (partially financed by taxpayer money) on the Las Vegas Strip has met with opposition at every turn. Now, a citizens group backed by Caesars' rival MGM Resorts International is trying to keep the proposal from moving forward.
Caesars gathered 157,778 signatures on a petition to place the proposal at the mercy of Nevada voters. Only 97,000 signatures were needed to get the initiative on a ballot before the end of 2011, but the Taxpayers for Protection of Nevada Jobs wants to prevent that from happening. The organization, supported by MGM Resorts International, filed a brief on Monday with the Nevada Supreme Court claiming that "During the signature-gathering process, petition circulators used fraudulent means to obtain signatures, including providing false and misleading information about the location and initiative benefits and detriments to induce people to sign the petition."
To finance the proposed 20,000-seat arena, Caesars wants voters to approve a 0.9 cent increase in sales tax in a three-mile area on the Strip. Voters would need to approve the proposal and reject other arena initiatives. The Nevada Supreme Court will hear the Taxpayers for the Protection of Nevada Jobs arguments later this year.
Learn more about the arena argument in the Las Vegas Sun.
Adelson, Blue Man Group, Charlie Palmer to be Inducted into Gaming Hall of Fame
The American Gaming Association announced the 2011 class of inductees into the Gaming Hall of Fame on Monday. Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson, performers Blue Man Group, and celebrity chef Charlie Palmer will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during the 23rd annual charity gala in November. The event will be held at the Venetian, a hotel-casino owned by Adelson's company. Proceeds will go to the National Center for Responsible Gaming. No irony there.
AGA President Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said in a statement, "Sheldon Adelson is truly one of our industry's greatest innovators. His vision has expanded and transformed the gaming experience not only in Las Vegas, but around the world. Without him, the gaming industry that our customers have come to expect would not exist."
The Blue Man Group was chosen after more than a decade of performances in Las Vegas. They started at the Luxor, currently play at the Venetian, and will be moving to the Monte Carlo next year.
Charlie Palmer has 13 restaurants in the U.S., five of which are in casinos. He runs Aureole at the Mandalay Bay, Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons, and three restaurants at the Grand Sierra in Reno.
Read more about the Hall of Fame class at LVRJ.com.