News Summary for February 2023: Gambling, Crypto & Payments

Fast Offshore brings you the top news from Gambling, Fintech, and Crypto for February 2023

New York seeks to legalise online casino games

A bill to introduce legal online casinos has been tabled in New York by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. It would legalise online casino games such as slots, live dealer games and table games, but not poker. The latter was included in another bill tabled by Assemblyman J.Gary Pretlow in late January of this year. The bill seeks to levy a 30.5% gaming tax on operators running online casino platforms in the state, much higher than the state average between 15% and 18%. “I’ll say with confidence we can do at least $1 billion with iGaming. I think more, but I’ll say conservatively we can do $1 billion annually,” Addabbo Jr. told ESNY. The proposed bill would mean that those holding licenses for sports betting would now be able to have a full iGaming license and offer other types of gambling. The next step is a roundtable organised by Addabbo with New York state industry experts, stakeholders, operators and members of the media. All licensing would be overseen by the New York State Gaming Commission, as is the case with online sports betting licenses. Any operator that operates in unregulated or offshore markets would be excluded from applying for a New York License, as would any accepting revenue from the same markets.

US sports betting surpassed $7.5 billion in 2022

According to new data from the American Gaming Association, the US sports betting market grossed $7.5 billion in 2022, an almost 75% increase from the year before. The total revenue from the entire online and offline gaming market, including sports and casino betting, exceeded $60 billion for the first time. “Our industry significantly outpaced expectations in 2022,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said. “Simply put, American adults are choosing casino gaming for entertainment in record numbers, benefiting communities and taking market share from the predatory, illegal marketplace.” The uptick in figures is driven by increased legalisation in several states and the maturing of existing markets. Currently, sports betting is legal in 33 states, while eight are in the process of legalising it. As for online gaming, it accounted for $5.02 billion of the total revenue for the year, demonstrating double-digit growth on the year before.

Sports betting market to be worth $182 billion by 2030

The latest predictions from Grand View Research show that the global online and offline betting market is set to exceed some $182 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of over 10% from the end of this year. This growth is expected to be driven by increased internet usage, better internet infrastructure and connectivity, as well as an evolving regulatory landscape across the industry as a whole. Additionally, an increase in consumers’ disposable income and the integration of innovative technologies such as blockchain, crypto, and AI are also partly responsible, the authors state. One of the fastest-growing regions is expected to be the US, with a CAGR of 11%, with the online sector leading the way across all regions. Fixed odd wagering will witness the fastest growth, but eSports will also perform well due to a surge in demand for interactive games. The highest market share in terms of sport is football/soccer, followed by horse racing.

Siemens issues first blockchain digital bond

German company Siemens has become the first in the country to issue a digital bone under Germany’s Electronic Securities Act. Worth EUR 60 million, it has a maturity one year and is powered on the blockchain, offering several benefits such as eliminating the need for paper-based global certificates and central clearing. It can also be sold directly to investors without the need for a bank to function as an intermediary. “With our innovative products and technologies, Siemens supports the digital transformation of its customers with great success. It is, therefore, only logical that we test and utilise the latest digital solutions in finance, too. We are proud to be one of the first German companies to issue a blockchain-based bond successfully. This makes Siemens a pioneer in the ongoing development of digital solutions for the capital and securities markets,” said Ralf P. Thomas, Chief Financial Officer of Siemens AG. Since 2021, it has been possible to issue blockchain-backed bonds in Germany, and Siemens has become the first to take advantage of the provisions under the new law. “By moving away from paper and toward public blockchains for issuing securities, we can execute transactions significantly faster and more efficiently than when issuing bonds in the past. Thanks to our successful cooperation with our project partners, we have reached an important milestone in the development of digital securities in Germany,” said Peter Rathgeb, Corporate Treasurer at Siemens AG, “We are going to actively drive their ongoing development.”

Laos trials digital currency

The Southeast Asian country of Laos has become the latest to trial its own digital currency in collaboration with a Japanese blockchain developer. The Bank of the Lao PDR and Japan-based company Soramitsu agreed to start working on a proof of concept this month. Soramitsu has already worked with Cambodia on developing digital and mobile payment apps, and it is expected that a modified version of this will be used to create and circulate digital currency among users and through commercial banks. The country is also looking into facilitating cross-border payments with Cambodia, thus making their digital currencies more viable in an environment where such transactions can be complex. The recent development comes in the wake of the Central Bank of Laos suspending all loans to crypto businesses as of January 2023, potentially in a bid to stamp out any competition prior to the launch of a state-backed digital currency.

Visa powers ahead with crypto payment projects

Payments giant Visa said it does not plan to slow down with its cryptocurrency plans, despite whispers it may wind them down as the market experiences unprecedented turmoil. Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto in the US tweeted that a Reuters story that Visa and Mastercard could be taking their focus off cryptocurrency was “inaccurate” regarding the former company.  He wrote that “despite the challenges and uncertainty in the crypto ecosystem”, Visa thinks that “fiat-backed digital currencies running on public blockchains have the potential to play an important role in the payments ecosystem.” Visa has long been pioneering in the cryptocurrency world, but in November, it cut its credit card agreement with failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX. It had previously said it planned to roll out cards in 40 countries, but Visa stepped back when the company went bust. In October, the company also filed a raft of new trademark applications, including one that suggested plans for a new crypto wallet and a metaverse project. But a Visa spokesperson told Decrypt: “Recent high-profile failures in the crypto sector are an important reminder that we have a long way to go before crypto becomes a part of mainstream payments and financial services.”

They added that Visa remains focused on growing core competencies in Web3 infrastructure and evaluating blockchain protocols that drive forth crypto development and innovation.

Fast Offshore

Fast Offshore specialises in Offshore Company formation and management, iGaming Licenses, Blockchain and Crytpo Services. Contact us today to take advantage of our almost 26 years of experience, and let us help you every step of the way.