BUSINESS

Greece passes gaming law; DC public hearings set; US horse betting falls

TAGs: greece, Horse Racing, Ladbrokes, OPAP, wms industries

greece-dc-hearings-wms-industriesReuters is reporting that Greece’s parliament passed its controversial gaming law on Thursday. Under the new plan, once a Control Committee is established (no ETA has yet been set for this), there will be a six-month ‘transitional period’ in which EU-licensed operators will be allowed to advertise while their Greek-license application is being processed. Operators who get Greece’s nod will pay a 30% gross profits tax, while players will be required to fork over 10% of winnings. eGamingReview reported that the proposed six-month blackout period, as well as the intention to limit licenses between 15 and 50, have both been stricken from the passed legislation. Betfair, which had earlier taken exception to Greece’s intention to bar betting exchanges from their new system, viewed the Greek decision to recognize EU licenses as “a positive step,” but still felt elements of the law “could be brought more into line with EU principles.”

The District of Columbia has announced the schedule for a series of public meetings to discuss plans to implement the nation’s first intrastate online gambling program. The meetings are an attempt to address concerns voiced at a public hearing last month. Several DC Council members, including Jack Evans, objected to the speed with which DC Lottery was rolling out its igamingDC.com plan. The meetings will be held in each of DC’s eight wards between Aug. 16 and Sept. 8 (the latter date the day on which the iGamingDC site was originally scheduled to launch). The full council will discuss the results of the meetings on Sept. 14, but since Evans is already on record as wanting to scuttle iGamingDC before it launches, it’s unclear whether the public’s input will matter one way or the other.

Betting on US horse racing fell 2.9% in July compared to the same month last year, according to Equibase figures. Despite this, handle per racing day was actually up 4.1% in July due to a 6.7% decline in race dates. Wagering is down almost 7% on the year, with total handle at $6.5b over the first seven months, on pace to record its lowest mark since 1995.

Slot machine and lottery terminal maker WMS Industries saw its fiscal Q4 profit drop 69% as a result of decreased sales and restructuring costs. For the three-month period ending June 30, revenue was down 4.8%, product sales were off 3.3% while revenue from gaming operations dropped 7.3%. Following a “thorough review of our business strategies and product plans,” the company has decided to reduce its workforce by 10%. WMS stock is now down 44% on the year. As if things weren’t bad enough, WMS’ rival International Game Technology posted a much rosier financial picture last week.

Ladbrokes has hired ‘madcap’ Italian football presenter Tiziano Crudeli as the star of its new adverts. Lads’ CEO Richard Glynn hopes Crudeli “will help convey the fun and excitement of betting.” Crudeli is scheduled to make the move from pitch to pitchman on Sky this Saturday, but be safe and turn your volume down now…

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