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a consultant for the NOVOMATIC Group

on July 1.

TAB Confirms Talks

with Australia’s Tabcorp

New Zealand Racing Board spokeswoman

Kate Gourdie said the state-owned bet-

ting agency is in discussions with three

organizations, including Tabcorp, about

“automating” its fixed-odds betting busi-

ness. The NZ Racing Board runs the TAB

which has a monopoly over sports betting.

Tabcorp is a based in Australia, where is it

is valued at A$3.6 billion, and employs more

than 3000 staff. The Australian Financial

Review reported it was looking at New

Zealand’s TAB after the failure of several

deals at home. A partnership could see

it take over the management of the TAB’s

fixed-odds betting business. Tabcorp’s “vast

experience” in fixed-odds could make it

a strong partner for the TAB which was “well

run but ripe for innovation,” the AFR re-

ported. The Racing Board cautioned in its

2016 “statement of intent” that its costs were

rising faster than its revenues as customers

switched to less profitable, online, fixed-odds

betting, and that was “not sustainable.” It

explicitly opened the door to “outsourcing

or partnering,” saying that could lower costs

and enhance its service. The Government

has been tightening laws to discourage Kiwis

from using overseas online betting services

and that

“showed pretty clearly the Govern-

ment’s intention,”

he said.

Thailand: New Lottery Bill

to Introduce Online Lottery and

Sales Licenses for Vendors

Danske Spil’s CEO HC Madsen

Stepping Down in April 2017

OPAP Splits Chairman

& CEO Positions

Mr. Ziegler will continue to serve as Execu-

tive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Mr. Damian Cope is new CEO

Regulated Online Poker Delayed in

Portugal Until at Least November

Cyprus Appoints Experts to Advise on

Possible State Lottery Privatisation

Major Events, Lifting of OnLine

Restrictions Expected

to Fuel Chinese Sports Lottery

2016 is the year of the monkey in the

Chinese zodiac. It also may be the year of

sports gambling. Fueled by major global

sports events such as the UEFA European

Football Championship, the Copa America

Centenario, and the Rio Summer Olympics,

China’s sports lottery business is expected to

experience significant growth.

“We expect sports lotteries to deliver sustained

high growth driven by frequent sporting events

in the near term and the prosperity of China’s

sports industry over the longer term,”

said Yan

Peng, an analyst from Citic Securities.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil showed

how a sports event can enhance China’s

sports lottery business. China’s total sports

lottery sales reached an all-time high in 2014

to 176.4 billion yuan. Sales in 2015 declined

nearly six percent for two reasons: there were

no major sports events and online lottery

sales were banned in February of that year.

Online lottery sales accounted for 22 per

cent of all Chinese lottery sales before the

ban. Market watchers say they have noticed

signals from Chinese authorities that they

may start online lottery sales again this year.

The tender by the China Welfare Lottery

Centre for its telephone and online lottery

marketing project was a sign that the govern-

ment may be preparing for the reinstatement

of online lottery sales.

New Chinese Civil Law Draft

Classifies Bitcoin as Property

China may soon have a set of laws offer-

ing legal status to Bitcoin and other digital

currencies in the country. The laws offering

rights to virtual property and data is part

of the recently released draft of the People’s

Republic of China General Principles of

Civil Law. If implemented into the statute,

the new draft will automatically consider

bitcoin and other digital currency hold-

ings as private property, making the owner

eligible for legal protection against fraud and

theft. So far, digital currencies did not have

any legal status in the country, which was

exploited by criminals and confidence men

to create elaborate investment programs and

pyramid schemes. The new draft law is a sign

that China is coming to terms with Bitcoin

being an alternative currency and a medium

of exchange of value.

Macau Ramps up to Penalize

Operators for Gaming Violations

Macau’s government plans to introduce

penalties for violations in its $30 billion

gaming industry, as it plugs gaps in outdated

laws including one banning phone-betting

at casinos.

High rollers are continuing to violate a

ban on using mobile phones at betting

tables. Macau has been trying to reign in an

industry that’s 4.5 times larger than the Strip

amid China’s campaign against corruption,

which has included clampdowns on illegal

money laundering and outflows from China

to Macau. That crackdown led to a two-year

gaming revenue slump as mainland gamblers

avoided Macau, hurting profits for casinos.

Phone betting helps gamblers skirt China’s

currency controls, as promoters conduct card

games via wireless earpieces connected to

mobile phones for high-stakes VIP clients.

While a 2001 Macau law banned the prac-

tice, it doesn’t come with sanctions. There

was no enforcement as long as operators

reported the bets and the identities of the

gamblers to the regulator. By comparison,

Singapore’s prohibition against phone bet-

ting, which took effect last year, calls for

a fine of up to S$5,000 ($3,700) and six

months in jail for the gambler and as much

as S$200,000 and up to five years in jail for

those who facilitate remote gambling.