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Weekend Report: PH senator pushes POGO ban, FanDuel’s strong week in NY and more

| By iGB Editorial Team
Welcome to the Weekend Report, where iGB updates you with the stories you may have missed over the last few days. This week we cover POGOs in the Philippines, as well as stopping off in New York, New Hampshire, Thailand and Brazil.
Philippines H1 gaming revenue

Philippine senator renews call for online gambling ban

Philippines Senator Joel Villanueva is pushing for his 2022 legislation banning Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and all forms of online gambling to progress through the country’s legislature. 

First filed in September 2022, Villanueva’s Senate Bill 1281 aims to repeal all legislation granting the power to regulate online gambling and criminalise the vertical. Those found to have placed, received or otherwise unknowingly transmitted a bet or wager online would face either a prison sentence of up to six months or a fine of PHP500,000 (£6,736.74/€7,943.75/8,524.33). 

Corporations offering gambling face a maximum penalty of five years in jail for presidents, directors or managers alongside the PHP500,000 fine.

While the POGO sector has flourished, Villanueva cites evidence linking the operations to crimes including kidnapping, murder and human trafficking as justification for an outright ban. 

“There should be no debate that the social costs of gambling far outweigh any benefits. We must put an end to this once and for all,” said Villanueva according to the Philippines News Agency. Local regulator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) failed to provide effective oversight and stamp out criminal activity, he added. 

SB1281 was assigned to the senate’s Ways and Means committee as well as the Public Order and Dangerous Drugs committee in 2022, although it has not progressed since.

FanDuel continues New York winning streak

The latest weekly revenue report lays bare FanDuel’s dominance in New York. The company accounted for over half of sports betting revenue and over a third of handle for the week ended 23 June

Punters staked $131.1m through FanDuel over the seven-day period, leaving gross gaming revenue of $19.7m, around 51% of the state’s total for the week. That also suggests a 15.0% hold – the national average for 2023 was around 9.1% – meaning it led the way across all three categories.

Its closest challenger was DraftKings, with $118.0m staked and GGR of $10.9m. 

This contributes to a stronger than average June so far for mobile sports betting in New York. Copa América and Euro 2024 are underway, breaking up the usual summer lull. 

NH senator granted extension for casino sale

Former New Hampshire senator, Andy Sanborn, has until 18 July to sell Concord Casino after the state granted the lawmaker an extension to its original 27 June deadline

Sanborn’s casino was shuttered in December 2023 as a result of an investigation into misuse of federal pandemic funding. He is alleged to have fraudulently secured $844,000 in aid, spending $181,250 on two Porsches and a Ferrari. 

Sanborn submitted the pandemic-relief application under a different name and without stating it was a gambling business, according to the investigation. Sanborn was given six months to sell the property from 1 January. If he didn’t sell,his facility and gaming operator licences would be revoked for two years. Each licence is suspended until a sale is approved by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. 

While the extension gives him until 18 July to complete that sale, there is potential for the deadline to shift to September, provided a sale is pending. No details of any potential buyer have yet emerged.

Thailand illegal gambling arrests rise amid Euro 2024

More than 2,600 people have been arrested for operating or participating in illegal gambling across Thailand. The Royal Thai police are cracking down at a time when betting activity is particularly high, with the Euro 2024 tournament in full swing. 

Since the tournament in Germany kicked off on 14 June, 2,113 suspects have been arrested for in-person bookmaking. This breaks down to 2,052 bettors, 22 bet collectors and 39 bookies. 

The police have curtailed online betting by shutting down 142 websites and arresting 513 suspects. Of this number, 63 are suspected of operating unlicensed betting platforms and 450 of betting through them. 

Brazilians’ appetite for sports betting exposed

A survey from marketing consultancy Ilumeo shows the scale of interest in sports betting in Brazil. 

While the government is working through the legislative process for a 1 January 2025 launch, Ilumeo’s survey of 2,327 Brazilians found 83% of respondents were either betting already, or would consider placing bets

Of this 83%, 47% said they were already gambling, while 36% said they were interested in doing so. Respondents predominantly claimed it was the prospect of generating additional income through winnings as their main motivation (62%). A further 37% said they would gamble for fun. 

Of the 17% that said they would not bet, 39% said they didn’t have the skills to win, while a further 27% didn’t fancy their chances of making money.