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Jurisdictions News

by Dirk_Tracy - March 29, 2017

What has transpired in the world of Online Casinos you ask? Nothing out of the ordinary these past two weeks, for sure: just the usual – mostly big fish, who keep getting fatter, while their revenue-streams are flowing steadily.

One thing did stand out though: there were several interesting reports about certain countries that either want to jump on the licensing bandwagon, or are already active in that Market Segment, and want to up their game, in an attempt to get a slice (or more slices) of the Online Casino Pie, so to speak.

Something that is of course quite understandable from a business perspective, as the Online Casino Market has been steadily growing since 2009, and is booming as of late. The specific countries i’m talking about here, are:

The Philippines:

The Philippines were already active in the Online Sector, with their relatively new POGO licensing body (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) – who, since their first batch of licenses were issued last year, are now planning to grant a second batch of licences.

Reportedly there are around 78 anxious operators on the waiting list so far, of which not all will be getting one – that much was already clear.  

So far there have been 35 licenses issued, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, or PACGOR, who are behind the POGO program, have reported very healthy results so far, and as such probably felt the time was ripe for the next step. The news was announced by PACGOR Chairman Andrea Domingo, who spoke to several reporters in a news conference at the first day of the ASEAN Gaming Summit.

As much as PACGOR’s POGO program seems to be the ‘way to go’ from an operator’s point of view – it’s not the only licensing authority within the Philippines: there are some more locally operating ones, like APECO, CEZA, and the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan.

APECO and CEZA have distributed licenses to a number of offshore operators, some of which quickly switched to PACGOR, as soon as it was announced last year, that all Online Gaming operators from outside of the Philippines, needed to pull out pronto, or get a POGO license.

Now there are also plans to get all these existing licensing bodies within the Philippines to form one cooperative apparatus, as the way things are standing now, it still oozes some uncertainty, which in turn may have an adverse effect on any possible applicants/interested parties.

India:

Not being entirely new, but becoming more actively involved in the current worldwide off- and online boom is the Indian state of Nagaland, and GOA: just recently Nagaland issued another license to local Skill Games operator, Sachar Limited, and are rumored to also open their doors to foreign investors, soon. Nothing is officially confirmed as of yet though.

Then there’s Goa – one of the few states in India that allow non skill based gambling, with 11 active Land Based gambling operations, and for long also allowed what i consider to be a very unique approach on running gambling operations, with Casinos that are actually situated on Cruise Ships, as you can read here: Goa Floating Casinos

The other State is Sikkim, which only allows Skill based gambling and Lottery type Gambling so far, but was the first state that officially passed an Online Gambling Legislation, back in 2008 – but only just recently issued a third (provisional) Gambling License, which allowed India’s largest – and only publicly traded – Gaming Company Delta Corp to become the third official Casino Operator in Sikkim.

So far it seems that India is primarily focusing on a nationally controlled Gambling environment, but as things have suddenly been moving much faster in the past year, than they have moved in the 10 years before that, my prognosis is that we will see the first foreign operators enter the Indian market before 2017 is over. Of course with all the examples above, and the ones following below, foreign investors may perfectly well try to enter in the national markets first, as such at least gaining a foothold in the country, hoping for doors to open wider, with the advantage of having a head start on operators or investors, that would act on the moment it happens.

Japan:

Japan is known to have always been very strict on both Online and Offline Gambling, but as the Country also has been under a lot of economic pressure, for one due to the aftermath of the catastrophic Tsunami, and after experts estimated that Japan’s possible Gambling Revenue could reach tens of billions of Dollars, having the potential to become one of the largest Asian Gambling Markets,  it seemed like a logical move. Hence their decision to legalize: this is not yet finalized, but the first licences are expected to get the green light in 2019, and the Casinos that get them, are expected to open their doors come 2023.

Still not quite there yet, but i wouldn’t be surprised at all, if things roll out much sooner.

Spain:

A little bit closer to home for most of us, and thus perhaps also more relevant, is Spain, which is quickly becoming one of Europe’s largest Markets, specifically for Online Slot play:

Last month the Spanish Gaming regulator ‘Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego’ or DGOJ, released figures, showing increasing revenue derived from the Online Gambling Market in the last three months of 2016, where overall turnover has increased nearly 20%, to  €2.9 Billion, whilst individual Operator revenue growth was almost 33% – reaching a very respectable sum of €125.6 Million. Most of this was due to Online Slot play, and this is very promising for Casino Operators, as slots are a very secure income for any type of Casino, provided they are played a lot, by enough people.

That will definitely be interesting information for other companies, also seeking to enter the bustling Spanish Market, and something that is of course bound to increase the number of applications for licenses in the near future.

Further Markets that are on the move are Nepal, which is said to have a good chance to become the next Macau, in terms of Land Based Casino action. – then Cyprus, which reorganized their Online Regulation scheme in November 2016, and is now starting to dish out several more licenses – and perhaps we will also be hearing more of the KPK Jurisdiction, a Native Indian type of territory, similar to Kahnawake, which has been brooding for a while now, since 2015 to be exact, ready to dish out various Online Gaming licenses, but so far only having one licensee, called Global Media Limited (sounds familiar?) and oversees eCommerce activity from and within the territories of the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, which is composed of 11 First Nation members in Canada. They are hoping to gain an edge over any competition, with their plans to facilitate Casino Banking services – on a large scale.

I am very curious what will happen in the next months to come, and of course will keep you updated once i know more.

Dirk Tracy