News Summary for September 2022: Gambling, Crypto & Fintech

Fast Offshore brings you the top news from Gambling, Fintech, and Crypto in September 2022.

Filippino government to close gambling companies and deport workers.

The Filipino government has announced it will shut down 175 gambling companies and deport over 40,000 Chinese employees to crack down on illegalities in the online sector. An official from the Ministry of Justice made public the plan earlier this week, stating that the wide-ranging crackdown was brought on by “reports of murder, kidnapping, and other crimes committed by Chinese nationals against fellow Chinese nationals”. The country has been home to offshore gambling companies since 2016, mainly staffed by Chinese nationals living locally.

The sector boom occurred when President Rodrigo Duerte came to power and loosened regulations on immigration. But the sector’s growth also saw the rise of illegal operations outside of the law to the detriment of employees and players. A report from Filipino lawmakers in 2022 found there were concerning links between the local online gambling sector and organised crime within the region. Reuters reported that online gambling delivers over $3.2 billion to the economy every year and that clamping down on illegality would see 1.05 million square metres of office space vacant and more than $151 million in rent lost. Despite this, the government has been forced to act as crimes associated with the industry continue to rise.

In September, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva tabled a bill prohibiting online gambling. “The consequences of gambling and online gambling are too severe to be ignored,” Villanueva wrote in an explanatory note for the bill, which was tabled on September 6. “The cost of gambling is no longer limited to the loss of money, but extends to the loss of values and lives.”

Australian parliament to probe problem gambling.

The Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has recently launched an inquiry into the impact of online gambling on those who may have or do have problems with gambling. As a part of the investigation, the committee will speak to both individuals and organisations with personal experiences relating to the topic. It is designed to provide a fresh look at the online gambling sector to assess whether any existing laws need to be adapted in terms of education, consumer protection, and support programmes.

“The Committee is concerned about the increasing reach of online gambling platforms into Australians’ lives, the exposure of children and young people to gambling advertising and how this may contribute to increases in problem gambling in the future”, said Peta Murphy, chair of the committee. It will also look at how to better target support programmes to those that need them, how licensing impacts the situation, and other ways to optimise consumer protection in the online gambling sector.

Also on the table will be the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which governs the sphere. The question will ask whether it should be amended to include simulated gambling in video games and social casino games, among others. While operators are observing, there is no immediate cause for concern as many agree the sector needs to be updated to reflect the current realities, including technologies, payments, and products.

Germany mulls watershed policy on gambling advertising.

Burkhard Blienert, the German Federal Government Commissioner for addiction and drug issues, has sounded the alarm over the increase in gambling adverts in the public sphere. “Advertising for online gambling and sports betting is spreading at breakneck speed. This trend is concerning because hundreds of thousands of people already have problem gambling or are even addicted,” he said while putting forward his idea for a watershed policy to clamp down on the issue.

“I urge countries to stop advertising such offers. In plain language, there should be no more sports betting advertising before 9 pm on the TV or the internet,” he added in a statement. According to data from BZgA, there are more than 229,000 compulsive and 200,000 problem gamblers in Germany. There have previously been calls to ban all advertising, but so far, they have come to nothing. Operators hope a compromise can be found to allow the advertising of their platforms while ensuring responsible gambling standards are upheld.

EU says no more rules necessary for DLT securities trading.

According to the European Securities and Markets Authority, there is no need to make further changes to market transparency laws for securities traded using distributed ledger technology. However, the EU agency noted that its guidance needs updating for the Web3 world. The EU recently signed off on new laws to facilitate trading stocks and bonds using blockchain technology.

The ESMA followed up with a statement that there is no need to change subsidiary regulations on the requirement to use brokers that use separate securities depositories. While there is a lot of interest in the new system, and a trial starts in 2023, they said the rules might change once it is concluded. “A significant number of market participants expressed interest in operating a DLT MI [market infrastructure] under the DLT Pilot,” noting particular interest from trading floors, settlements entities, and actors from inside and outside the EU.

“ESMA will not amend existing requirements on post-trade transparency and could provide further guidance,” the regulator said, promising new guidelines “either before the application of the DLT Pilot, or based on first experiences of the Pilot, as appropriate,” ESMA concluded.

Blockchain in public finance could reduce fraud

The Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), an independent global think tank for central banking and economic policy,  suggested that blockchain technology utilised by public finance management systems could provide information essential to “formulate and design fiscal policy” and help reduce fraud. This month’s report said that modernising public finance management could stamp out corruption and provide “enhanced transparency and traceability of payments.”

It continues that blockchain could also help prevent embezzlement amid a global increase in the number of cases and ransomware and cyberattacks. In addition, blockchain could also be instrumental in reducing invoice fraud by sending payments with one click rather than using personal details.

Ernst & Young Global noted, “Blockchain for public finance can reduce the administrative effort associated with financial reconciliations, tracking and reporting. Business terms or eligibility and compliance rules can be embedded into the system to automate transaction controls via smart contracts. Automated tracking and reporting can significantly reduce the cost for partners interacting with government.”

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