Fast Offshore brings you the top news from Gambling, Fintech, and Crypto for October 2022.
Albania to legalise online betting seeks international partners.
The Albanian government has announced that online sports betting will be legal from 1 January 2023 after banning it on 1 January 2019. After three years of prohibition, the government made the u-turn in the hopes that a regulated industry could bring much-needed tax revenue to the country. While casino games and slots will remain banned, online betting will be legal, and the authorities hope to bring in some EUR 17 million in tax. However, it is not clear how they will allow betting while prohibiting other forms of online gambling.
Those wanting to offer services in the country of 2.8 million will need a license, must be international brands, and will be bound by stringent regulatory measures, including bet limits and age bands. The government has not announced details of how the regulatory regime will be formed, but more details are expected in the coming months. Prime Minister Edi Rama commented on the push stating that if the decision goes ahead, extreme conditions will be imposed and all revenue will go to sports, culture, and youth. “We will look at this very positively; we will set extreme conditions…these are guaranteed by large international companies, which operate worldwide and operate in the European Union area.” He added, “I have been obvious that these revenues, which we calculate to be many times more than what we contribute every year, go to sports, culture and youth, but very clearly and dedicatedly, the lion’s share, the sport will take it.”
Other regulatory developments
In Argentina, the province of Mendoza has announced it will grant between two and five licenses to online gambling operators for ten years. The resolution was published earlier this month and states that all games of chance, raffles, bets, number combinations of chance, and all activities where money is at stake will be allowed, provided they are carried out by electronic, computer, and interactive means. Also, in Maryland, the state Lottery and Gaming Control Commission has given ten sportsbook considerations for sports betting licenses, meaning they will proceed to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission. If all goes well there, they could get their rights by mid-November and be up and running in December.
Maryland approved sports betting in 2020 and several retail sportsbooks opened in December last year. Also due in November is the launch of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority website PlayNow which will be the first legal iGaming site in the province.“We are excited to be the exclusive provider of Saskatchewan’s first and only legal online gaming site, providing a safe and secure option for residents to play their favourite casino games and bet on their favourite sports teams online,” SIGA president and chief executive Zane Hansen said. “Residents will be pleased to know that when they play on the PlayNow.com site, the proceeds are reinvested back into the province. Similar to the existing brick-and-mortar casinos in the province, all net proceeds from the PlayNow.com site are reinvested back into Saskatchewan.”
Malta continues with responsible gaming consultation
The Malta Gaming Authority has extended the deadline for a consultation looking at new guidelines to protect online gambling clients in the country. The consultation regards the obligations of licensees in their markets in terms of responsible gaming procedures and policies. It first introduces five harm and risk markers to aid operators in determining the appropriate processes to detect and resolve gambling-related problems in users. The consultation comes following an expert review of the current situation and research by the Responsible Gaming Unit. It was initially due to run until 14 October but was extended until the 24th to allow for more input and a broader response.
Twitter could be headed for blockchain integration
Following Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, which also ploughed some $500 million into the deal, is putting a team together to figure out how blockchain could be used within the platform. Binance announced it is set to work on brainstorming ideas and strategies that could help Musk better run the social media giant. The team are set to work on tackling problems like the prevalence of bots on the platform, something that Musk has vowed to combat for some time. Musk’s position on crypto, however, remains uncertain as he has appeared both for and against it on various occasions. But if blockchain is embraced by one of the world’s largest social media platforms, it would do wonders for the bid for mainstream adoption. Whispers of the news sent various coins surging over the weekend, including Dogecoin, a coin musk has spoken out in favour of.
Blockchain.com launches visa debit card
International payment giant Visa has announced a partnership with another big cryptocurrency firm, Blockchain.com. The card will be issued via a fintech platform called Marqeta and will allow users to enjoy zero fees while receiving 1% back on spending in the form of crypto. “We believe access is foundational to the future of money movement,” Chuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto, said. “We’re excited to partner with leading crypto exchanges like Blockchain.com to unlock more ways consumers can use their crypto for everyday purchases.” The card will first be available to users in the US before moving into Europe at the start of 2023. The company said there are already some 50,000 people on the waiting list. The latest announcement comes after the FTX exchange said it would step up its Visa partnership and launch cards in 40 new countries, including those in Latin America. Visa currently powers cards offered by Binance, Coinbase and some 70 other crypto-basec companies.
EU muscles in on payments sector
The European Commission has unveiled plans to force banks and financial institutions to offer all clients instant, free payments in euros. The draft law would enable customers to make transfers any time of the day, any day of the week, with a transfer time capped at ten seconds. Currently, a simple euro-to-euro transfer can take hours or, in some cases, up to three days. The law would essentially bring traditional banks up to the standard of other payment processors such as Wise, Revolut and PayPal. The EU’s financial services chief Mairead McGuinness said the shift would be similar in gravity to the shift between mail and email, and it was especially crucial at a time soaring energy bills and high costs of living mean every cent counts. As things are now, at any moment, some EUR 200 billion is tied up in the European financial system, waiting to be settled and cleared. This money could be freed up and injected into the economy, giving relief to citizens and businesses across the bloc.
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