Virginia Legislature Poised To Legalize Brick-And-Mortar Casinos

virginia casino legislation 2020

They say that Virginia is for Lovers™. But if you love gambling, the state definitely isn’t for you.

But that could finally be changing.

The upcoming legislative session in Virginia is poised to be a once-in-a-generation push for various partisan policies. Chief among these in the mainstream news media has been a host of gun control proposals sprouting up from the new Democratic majority in the VA House of Representatives, but there is a major casino debate shaping up, as well.

Virginia, despite its progressive bent and status as a northeast tourist destination, has been one of the most restrictive states in the US when it comes to gambling freedoms. Aside from various charitable gaming carveouts and the state lottery, Virginia has fought tooth and nail against casinos and accessible gambling in the state.

Of course, the mass adoption of legal sports betting in the post-PASPA environment has caused a renewed interest not just in sports wagering but in casino gaming across the board, and it seems like VA lawmakers are now seriously considering the good that a robust brick-and-mortar casino market could bring to the table.

In 2019, the Virginia legislature conducted a study on the impact that domestic casino venues would make in the state, basing the research on the development of five resort casino destinations in five Virginia regions: Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.

The research – carried out by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) – indicates that these five venues would generate roughly $260 million in tax revenue and create a minimum of 5000 jobs in the state.

“It’s a no-brainer,” per Sen. Louise Lucas (D), though various conservative groups have raised concerns over increases in gambling addiction and crime that allegedly accompanies so many local casino initiatives in surrounding states. Though such a tenuous causal relationship has been difficult to prove, the argument persists.

Ironically, however, one of the primary opponents of legalized Virginia casino gaming is the ownership group of Colonial Downs, the state’s only horse racing track.

The track – and its several satellite locations – offers historical horse racing (HHR) gaming, which is a real-money amusement akin to slots that controversially bypasses most established definitions of “gambling.”

According to Colonial Downs COO Aaron Gomes, a legal casino in Richmond would be “catastrophic” to the company, resulting in a 45 percent drop in annual revenue.

Of course, some states – like New Jersey – have used expanded gambling legislation to establish grants or profit-shares for horse racing operators, and that could be a solution in Virginia, as well, particularly if this remains a sticking point in Congress.

While casino legalization is likely to finally bear fruit in the Old Dominion, the debate nevertheless promises to be a protracted one. Pro-gambling delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) sets the scope and timeline:

“We will be working with the other cities across the state who’ve been named [in the proposed legislation] to try and move Bristol and Danville, Richmond, Norfolk and Portsmouth forward. I think we’ll start meeting early next week, and the casino legislation will probably go up to the last day.”

In the meantime, it’s important to note that none of VA’s gaming proposals will address the legality of legitimate offshore casino sites, all of which remain safe and lawful to use for Virginia gamblers.

If you’ve already joined one or more such site and gamble regularly, the local options on the table in Virginia might not seem all that compelling.

However, many players who remain on the fence about offshore gaming will surely benefit from local solutions, especially if Virginia is forward-thinking enough to install online casino options as well.

Up In Smoke: Why Online Casinos Are Burning Down Barriers

up in smoke online casinos

Smoking and gambling have always gone hand in hand.

However, even that pairing is being tested in the modern world, and gamblers may soon find themselves bereft of one of their most pleasurable pastimes.

For smokers in California, tribal gambling houses are among the last bastions of public fellowship. Smoking has largely been banned in the state, but 66 of California’s 69 Indian casinos still allow the activity on their gaming floors.

It makes sense that a house of vices would allow vices, of course. But even that is slowly changing.

Nationwide, most casinos are smoke-free. Worse, with recent bans on vaporizer products and the current campaign against vaping in general, that pastime might be on the outs, too. In other words, those who enjoy a puff of nicotine with their boozing and betting will soon have nowhere left to go.

Fortunately, online gambling is becoming more popular, and there are a number of legitimate casinos available over the Internet. Whether you live in California or any other state, you have easy access to online table games, poker, sports betting, bingo, and horse racing betting, among other gaming markets. And best of all, when you wager from your own home, you don’t have to abide by any petty regulations that limit how you can enjoy your hobby.

Indeed, one of the most overlooked aspects of online gambling is the wide berth it gives players who wish to spend their time as they see fit. Physical domestic casinos have so many guidelines and standards that there is often no real reason to patronize the venues.

Yes, many gamblers prefer the social aspects of local gaming, but outside of that, online casinos offer far more freedom, allowing you to play when you want, how you want.

You House, Your Rules – Unconsidered Advantages To Online Gambling

In a very real way, when you gamble at a top offshore casino site, you get to make your own “house rules.” You can, after all, bet from anywhere, and the majority of gamblers do most of their gaming from their own homes.

In addition to the massive game selection and betting options available from online casino services, there are other benefits to be aware of that go above and beyond the actual games themselves.

Smoke ‘Em If Ya Got ‘Em – As in CA, most businesses and public spaces now ban smoking, making it difficult to find a gambling hotspot that allows you to puff on a stogie or suck down a cigarette while cranking the slots or hitting the felts. Of course, if you gamble from home, you can smoke wherever and whenever you please, giving your favorite games the extra flavor they deserve.

BYOB – Some casinos will comp your drinks after you’ve spent enough time and money on the gaming floor. For Vegas visitors, that’s a big draw. However, if you’re gaming from home, you can bring your own beer or liquor, making a cheap evening out of boozing and betting on your own terms.

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem – Most casinos have dress codes. These might be fairly minimal or they might be super strict. But even if there’s no formal code, no brick-and-mortar casino will let you gamble in your underwear or bathrobe or birthday suit, and that’s just not fair! Fortunately, you can play poker, spin the roulette wheel, and pull the crank in comfort when you gamble online.

Comped Rooms Every Night – When you gamble online, you can play from your bedroom or bathroom or anywhere in between (like the hallway or linen closet, you freaking weirdo!). You can retire to your bed anytime, and you can even play from under the covers! Best of all, you can crash out without cashing out, because your room is already comped for the night. Treat yourself!

All jokes aside, as smokers and vapers are squeezed out of casinos, much of the magic of these old venues is being sacrificed for a new clientele that may or may not even exist.

In California, the local tribes are still empowered to offer what their customers actually want, but there’s no telling how long they’ll be able to keep doing that. Soon, one of the last big draws for brick-and-mortar casino gaming could be completely up in smoke, with little reason left for many lifelong gamblers to continue patronizing these venues.

Thankfully, smoking will always be allowed at online casinos.

Encore Boston Harbor Takes On Water, Looks To Right The Ship

encore boston harbor problems

The Encore Boston Harbor opened just five months ago in Everett, Massachusetts, and the venue is already beset with problems.

However, the good news for the $2.6 billion Wynn Resort development is that the current issues are fixable and align more with typical growing pains than with foundational or systemic shortcomings.

While the venue has seen declining overall GGR (gross gaming revenue) numbers with October’s $45.8 million haul representing its lowest monthly take to date, some of that can be explained away as a seasonal lull. After all, the holidays – and customers’ requisite holiday expenses – are fast approaching.

However, the Encore is also facing a decline in revenue because many area locals feel that the upscale casino is simply too expensive for casual gamers.

That criticism has been taken to heart by the Encore’s new management team.

The company’s new president, Brian Gullbrants, was installed in the position just last month after former president Robert DeSalvio stepped down, and he has been quick to address the complaint.

One of the chief deterrents for the legal casino gambling community in Massachusetts was the fact that the Encore was nickel and diming its patrons with excessive table game minimums of $50 and parking fees for all customers.

Now, those parking fees have been eliminated altogether, while the table games have seen their minimums reduced to $15. These changes, as well as other reductions to shuttle and transportation fees, should promote wider adoption among casual gamers.

Gullbrants explains the new approach, admitting that the company had made mistakes.

“The last thing we want to do is be a Vegas casino in Boston. We want to be a Boston casino in Boston. We want to be Greater Boston’s hometown casino. And we want everyone to come and feel welcome and like they can have a great time there, whether they are playing or not playing. …

We thought we could charge for parking here in Boston, and we were wrong. We have now made self-parking free for all guests, 24/7. We thought we could charge for some of the transportation like boats and premiums buses. We were wrong.”

In addition to the above, the Encore Boston Harbor is also extending its bonus options to a broader range of clientele.

In the first few months of the Encore’s operations, its reward card program was limited only to high rollers. Instead, a tiered card system rewarding all classes of players will be installed. That is scheduled for an early 2020 launch.

Whether or not these adjustments will encourage a dramatic uptick in new visitors remains to be seen, though it is undeniably a good start and should, logically, draw in more of the rank and file customers that the venue needs to thrive.

Aside from the above, the casino is also facing challenges from those in the surrounding community who claim that the venue is responsible for a measurable increase in criminal activity.

According to local law enforcement, more than 160 people have been arrested or have received court summons for criminal activity at the venue.

Police records show that cheating, larceny, assault and battery, disorderly conduct, and other charges have been meted out for unruly patrons of the Encore.

However, this is not altogether unexpected. Before the Encore was built and opened in Everett, the area was industrial and largely barren. Very little crime existed in the immediate vicinity simply because very few people were there in the first place.

But with a major casino resort now occupying the area, there is more opportunity for criminal activity in general. And unsurprisingly, most of that activity is alcohol-related.

Per the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Gayle Cameron, commercial casino resorts – due to their sheer size and customer volume – invariably lead to an increase in crime:

“I’m not surprised. I’m not. We anticipated there’d be some issues. Yes, there is some criminal activity, and the bigger issue is around some drunk and disorderly behavior.”

Everett police chief Steven Mazzie concurs with Cameron’s assessment and is similarly unconcerned, noting that such is par for the course when a development of this stature fills a vacuum.

“It’s right in line with our research, with what thought we’d see. … Obviously, some people are overindulging in alcohol, which leads to people getting intoxicated and maybe fighting, causing disturbances.”

While such incidents are not being dismissed, there is also no real solution to the problem. A large casino is going to attract a large customer base, and some of that base will invariably include the occasional troublemaker.

For the Encore, the bigger issue is one of public relations. If the casino gets the reputation of being a hotbed for criminal activity, that could negatively affect local attendance far more than expensive table game limits and paid parking has.

Fortunately, common sense should ultimately prevail, and the venue should see little harm from this increase in petty crime.

Further, It seems unlikely that area residents will blame the Encore for the poor decisions of a tiny subset of its tens of thousands of weekly patrons. And it is even less likely that these incidents will radiate out from the casino’s premises and impact the surrounding community.

Nevertheless, if you live in or around Everett and are concerned about gaming at the Encore, you do have other options.

While Massachusetts has not passed any gambling laws that allow domestic online gaming, you can safely access a host of offshore casino sites. There, you can play your favorite real money slots and table games without breaking the bank or otherwise running into any trouble like you might at the Encore (or any other brick-and-mortar gambling venue).

The Encore Boston Harbor may be off to a rocky start, but there is plenty of time for the facility to get its bearings and right the ship.

Brick-and-Mortar Casinos Struggle To Court Millennials

casinos for millennials

There is a major crisis slowly brewing in the Nevada desert, and it looks to have implications for the rest of the United States in the years to come:

Millennials aren’t going to casinos.

In October at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, UNLV director of hospitality Robert Rippee hosted a presentation on the subject. In it, he discussed the problems that legitimate casinos face in attracting reliable repeat business from the next generation.

Rippee contends that the industry as a whole is missing the mark, with casino operators unified in their belief that – so far – they’ve been unable to profitably gain a foothold in the Millennial milieu.

“We see [Millennials] walk through our casino floor, and the stereotype is that they’re walking across the casino floor to go to the nightclub. So they’re doing a good job of building nightclubs and chaotic types of experiences that employ some of those features, but when it comes to the other elements that traditionally have defined a casino resort, it’s been problematic.”

How Can Casinos Attract Millennials?

Per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Rippee believes that the answer to courting Millennials effectively may lie in another (more recent) Vegas mainstay: the Electric Daisy Carnival, or EDC.

The world’s largest electronic dance music (EDM) festival, the flagship EDC event has been held in Sin City every year since 2011, attracting upwards of 400,000 attendees annually.

According to Rippee, the EDC resonates with Millennials because of its focus on loud music, varied food options, social media sharing, laser light shows, and more, all contained in a venue on a gigantic scale.

Says Rippee of the EDC:

“It’s lots of different things. So what EDC tells me as a successful effort toward a younger generation is chaos. There are lots of things happening simultaneously that they make sense out of it and interpret it as experience and fun.”

As gambling hotspots continue to struggle to attract a more youthful clientele, they have to balance the needs of their current customers, as well. Nobody, for example, is turning the Bellagio gaming floor into a circus sideshow.

And while some outfits are spending a mint on market research to solve the conundrum – Caesars is building a technological testbed (in this case, an endeavor called Black Fire Innovation) to sort out potential avenues of interest – it may all be for naught.

Why Millennials Don’t Go To Casinos

There is, perhaps, a more straightforward reality to consider, and that’s that Millennials simply aren’t interested in patronizing brick-and-mortar gambling venues, whether those are in Las Vegas or anywhere else.

There are a few key reasons why Millennials and their modern connected lifestyles don’t lend themselves well to the traditional casino experience.

Firstly, Millennials live a mobile-first lifestyle. If something can’t be done conveniently on a smartphone or tablet, it will likely fall by the wayside.

Because of the Interstate Wire Act (1961), the gambling industry is already largely handcuffed in the breadth of its online service potential, with every venue’s Internet offerings geofenced to the state in which it operates.

This defies the logic of the borderless Millennial social culture, and it makes such gambling services unattractive to them.

Indeed, to date, there are only three states that offer traditional online casino gaming (though the pastime is pending in a couple of others): Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

In states that have legal sports betting, those without an online component are universally failing to meet revenue expectations, while those that offer online betting see more than 80 percent of their business derive from that market.

The second issue that brick-and-mortar casinos face in attracting Millennials is that – outside of “events” – these folks live in a virtual world. While this ties into the mobile-first lifestyle mentioned above, it goes further than that.

For example, the most popular casino on the planet is the Diamond Casino & Resort. Millennials patronize the Diamond Casino in droves, to the tune of millions of players per day!

But the Diamond Casino & Resort isn’t a real place – it’s part of a video game. And the money users spend, while real, doesn’t pay out in real-world currency.

How a physical casino can hope to compete with Grand Theft Auto or NBA 2K or countless other mobile apps and the overarching “loot box” culture seems to be an insoluble puzzle.

Perhaps if the Wire Act is overturned, casino brands can bring compelling, real-money virtual experiences into the home via mobile, computer, console, or VR.

That will eventually happen.

In fact, legitimate offshore casinos – unbound by the archaic and counterproductive Wire Act and other federal laws like the UIGEA – will likely lead the industry to that point.

But even that, of course, won’t solve the biggest problem of all:

Millennials just don’t have any money.

California Cardroom Scandal Proves Online Poker Is Safer?

postle poker cheat

While online casinos and poker rooms have long had a comparatively undeserved reputation for being a bastion of frauds and cheaters, one of the biggest scandals in the industry is unfolding at a major California-regulated cardroom.

Stones Gambling Hall, located in Citrus Heights, CA, is currently the setting of a major poker scandal, as a joint $30 million lawsuit has been filed by 24 players.

According to the suit, professional poker player Mike Postle was the main benefactor of the scheme, which saw the player receive information about his competitors’ hole cards during several different Stone Live Poker events.

The allegations further accuse a heretofore unnamed accomplice of Postle working in the cardroom’s employ. The task of this individual, according to the suit, was to use the livestream’s RFID card-identifying system to effectively tell Postle what cards his opponents had.

As a result, Postle was able to string together a series of improbable wins over several tournaments.

Per the lawsuit, the wins themselves have been analyzed, and they defy rational probability. The text of the suit lays out the boldness of the scheme, with analysis showing

“statistics not only unfathomable in the world of professional poker, but, too, situation decision-making in which almost every so-called guess to be made by Mr. Postle is done so in a manner that optimally benefits his monetary interest.

In short, Mr. Postle’s poker winnings – considered in the prism of both metrics and hand-for-hand decision making – on Stones Live Poker have been not merely outliers but, in fact, exponential outliers, representing a quality of play multiple degrees higher than that achieved by the best poker players in the world.”

Postle’s suspected accomplice has not been named, but according to Casino.org, those bringing the suit have a good idea of who the defendant – currently referred to as John Doe 1 – actually is.

The plaintiffs are holding off on publicly naming the suspect, “cognizantly refraining from making such an allegation…until further information can be gleaned through the discovery process.”

In addition to the case against Postle, the lawsuit is also taking a position against Stones Gambling Hall on the grounds that John Doe 1 was employed by the venue and was instrumental in the scheme.

Even more damning for the card room, the plaintiffs have accused the California venue of systematically rejecting player complaints about Postle’s potential cheating while at the same time promoting the player in question – and his ill-gotten “skills” – in various marketing materials.

Consequently, the suit alleges fraud on the part of Justin Kuraitis, the Stones Gambling Hall poker room manager, as well as gross negligence on the part of the cardroom itself.

While Postle is alleged to have earned roughly $250,000 through the scheme, the plaintiffs in the case are seeking damages of $10 million apiece from Postle, the Stones Gambling Hall, and Kuraitis.

One of the bloggers who covered (or rather, uncovered) this story is Doug Polk, who runs a YouTube channel and website dedicated to poker tips and strategies. Polk offers a compelling play-by-play breakdown of Postle’s difficulties when he wasn’t privy to all of his opponents’ hole cards.

In the grand scheme, poker cheats are not unusual. As long as there has been gambling, there has been fraud. In the early days of online poker, a few notable scandals event threatened to break the industry.

In 2007, Absolute Poker’s POTRIPPER scandal made waves, as did another scandal at a site called UltimateBet, care of disgraced poker pro Russ Hamilton. And, of course, such fraud isn’t limited to poker.

In 2004, Realtime Gaming (RTG), one of the most respected fair play software designers on the Internet, were allegedly cheated out of $1.3 million by a Caribbean 21 player using an outlawed automated playing program.

However, it’s been over a solid decade since there’s been a major scandal – or even the hint of a major scandal – at any legitimate offshore casino site, while domestic operators seem to have found no real reprieve.

While this alone won’t necessarily convince potential players that the online model is better (or sway purists who insist on the live human element when it comes to poker), it’s certainly worth considering that just because a system is online-only, that doesn’t mean it’s inherently more susceptible to fraud.

In fact, given the pace of technological development and the cottage market of watchdogs that have sprung up to police offshore sites for fair play compliance, it’s possible that – going forward – you’ll always get the fairest shake online.

2K Games Takes Down NBA 2K20 MyTeam Trailer With Illegitimate Casino

NBA 2K20 prize wheel

Upon initially viewing the newest trailer for NBA 2K20, it’s easy to mistake one of the world’s most popular basketball video game franchises for a new online casino.

The flashing neon lights, daily bonuses, slot machines, pachinkos, prize wheels, and unique theme—basketball in this case—are routinely part of the pomp and circumstance whenever a new legitimate online casino launches in either the U.S. or international gambling market.

Except this is a basketball game; not a casino game.

And with marketing directed at anyone who’s at least three years old and up—indicated by the PEGI 3 rating—it’s a far cry from a legit casino.

Due to the backlash on YouTube, which garnered 3K likes and 11K dislikes on the U.S. channel and a staggering 212 likes to 26K dislikes on the U.K. channel, 2K Games took down the Las Vegas-style gambling “MyTeam” trailer.

However, the damage had already been done, and YouTubers—like YongYea, who frequently covers the latest video game industry news—were quick to inform the public of 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive, the game publishers parent company, of the asinine decision made by the Triple-A video game giants to include literal gambling in a basketball game for 3-year-olds.

The trailer is now unlisted, but here is YongYea watching the video and breaking down each of the NBA 2K20’s new gambling features.

The main reason for why this is illegitimate gambling stems from the randomized number generator (RNG) mechanic commonly found more and more in video games known as the “loot box.”

Card packs—the loot box mechanic in the NBA 2K series MyTeam mode—allow players to create a fantasy-like team from collecting cards of real-life NBA players. Gamers can then compete against each other’s fantasy basketball teams in online multiplayer matches.

These cards can be earned slowly just by playing the game or more importantly, the grind can be completely skipped if you’re willing to shell out the cash.

And there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the player you want, and card drop rates for top players, like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Stephon Curry, have been extremely low in the past with estimates being in the 0.1% to 2% range.

Despite all legitimate and regulated brick-and-mortar and online casinos clearly displaying the odds of winning and payout rate on RNG-based gambling games, such as slot machines, the video game industry is finally requiring these companies to inform players of their chances thanks to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.

But that’s far from the biggest issue.

The ESRB, the video game rating board in the United States, clearly states on its site that games with “gambling with real currency” should receive an Adults Only 18+ rating.

With digital currency being purchasable with real money and the game clearly featuring literal slot machines, pachinko, and prize wheels that accept digital currency, one must ask:

Why did NBA 2K20 receive an E for Everyone rating?

Some have pointed out that because you can’t “cash-out” of these loot box video games, it can’t be considered gambling.

Fair point, but doesn’t that make it worse? At least—if your age 18 to 21 depending on the jurisdiction—you can win money when gambling at a casino or sportsbook.

And with that in mind, let’s call the loot box by what it really is: Theft.

What you’re paying for is a digital good, whether it be a player card or cosmetic shoes for said player, that will be worthless when NBA 2K21 is inevitably released next year.

These items contain no value after a year, and it could be argued that they don’t contain any value right from the start because there is no payout option.

NBA 2K20 and any other game that uses loot boxes have essentially created a black hole that entices players, most of whom simply want to play a fun basketball video game, to chuck money into it in the hopes of getting a competitive advantage online.

Fortunately, there is some good news: The black hole may soon be closed.

The lawmakers at the federal level of the U.S. government are now looking into the issue, and the U.S. Senate has introduced a bill to classify loot boxes as gambling.

The big game companies will fight and attempt to lobby there way out of this mess, but with our nation’s children targeted in the marketing, it’d be hard to imagine them weaseling out of this one—especially when illegitimate casino games are on full display in a basketball game made for everyone ages 3 and up.

Maryland On Its Way to Passing Online Casinos and Sports Betting

Maryland Dying Casino Industry

Expanded forms of gambling are coming to Maryland via pending bills in the state legislature but is the state ready?

New enterprises in Maryland often take a long time to come to fruition. A law permitting casinos in the state has been on the book for eleven years. However, success for land-based casinos in MD come few and far between and now a new enemy threatens these physical venues – online casino gambling platforms licensed domestically, and offshore.

The geography of the state has not made getting Marylandians out of their house to one of the six casinos offered easy. The state’s population is split in two by the Chesapeake which divides the community, where the most significant share resides in the Washington-Baltimore area.

The state has long tried to raise attendance by expanding forms of gaming allowed in these legitimate casinos. At first, only electronic games like video poker and slots were permitted. In 2012, the state expanded their allowed casino gaming list to include table games like poker, roulette, and blackjack. Through examining the first seven years of Maryland’s casino operations, we can see a steady revenue stream and gaming tax revenue allocation of $1.7 billion to the state’s Education Trust Fund.

Some critics, economic experts, and lawmakers’ reason that while physical casino has not produced the same wealth of success it has in other states, online applications could remedy some of these attendance and spending issues. The idea is that online casinos licensed and regulated by the state of Maryland would reach people in rural areas too far to reach any of the six-current land-based casinos.

Nearby states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania have seen their gambling revenue increase dramatically once online gaming was legalized and introduced.

Maryland is not just betting on online casino gambling to improve its revenue and attendance. The state has also considered a bill introduced in February of 2019 which would allow the Maryland Lottery to oversee sports gambling operations.

However, the likeliness of expanded gambling coming via legislature and seeing swift implementation is zero to none as the state’s voters approved of a measure which only allowed commercial gambling expansion to go on the ballot. In that case, Marylandians looking for legal online casino gambling right now can enjoy licensed offshore online legitimate casinos.

The UKGC Making Moves To Curb Illegal Online Operators

UKGC logo on a poker table

The UK Gaming Commission (UKGC) was set up under the Gambling Act of 2005 and has since regulated commercial gambling operations in Great Britain. They also partner with regional licensing companies to assure online regulation is up to code.

Recently the UKGC hit three online gaming operators with hefty fines that totaled more than £14 million. The UKGC told the media that the fines are only the first of what will likely be many to follow as the Commission cracks down on online gaming operators.

The online operators hit with hefty fines on the first sweep was Casumo, Daub Alderney, and Videoslots. Daub Alderney was hit the hardest for their violations accruing in a £7 million fine. Casumo was also hit hard with over £5.85 million in fines while Videoslots only had to pay £1 million.

The fines make this crackdown the biggest in UKGC history second only to the 888 Holdings fine of £7.8 million. The 888 Holdings fine stemmed from 7,000 players who put themselves in the voluntary blocking program but were still allowed to bet.

Casumo, Daub Alderney, and Videoslots were fined for failing to ensure customers were properly monitored and for not following UKGC’s requirements implemented for safer gambling. Each of these sites offers premium online wagering games such as live dealer games, blackjack, or slots.

One online operator decided that it was easier to give up their UK gaming license than to fork out the cash it would need to stay in operation. CZ Holdings decided that the fine, regulations and license renewal was just too much and decided to cease operations instead of paying the forthcoming fines.

Several other online casinos are currently under investigation, but the UKGC have already turned their focus to individuals. So far three people have been barred from ever directing a gambling company, three more are under investigation, and warnings were issued to four others for their involvement of illegal gambling activities.

Jeremy Wright is the Secretary of State for the department of digital, culture, media, and sport stated that online operators that think it is not their duty to protect their players should take note today. He went on to talk about how pleased he was with the UKGC efforts to make the online gambling market safer.

With regulators like the UKGC, it is easy to envision a safer online market of legitimate UK casinos. Other operators like Skybet and Ladbrokes have paid their fair share of fines in the past and are now up-to-date with current regulations. The UKGC has sent a stern warning to online operators with their latest set of fines, play fair and by our rules or be ready to pay up.