Government Law & Policies

Research Brief: Reversal of the 2011 Wire Act Memo

Late in the afternoon of January 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued a new
memo reversing its stance on the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 (“Wire Act”). This 23-page memo
issued by the DOJ’s Office of the Legal Counsel (“OLC”) dated November 2, 2018, stressed that
all forms of gaming apply to the Wire Act. It reversed an earlier DOJ memo issued in 2011 that
stated that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting.

The action, which at best can be described as reversing a reversal, raises several concerns for the
gaming industry, especially for online gaming that occurs in the states of Nevada, New Jersey,
and Delaware, with active startups underway in Pennsylvania. The decision also may have
serious implications for mobile gaming, sports betting, daily fantasy sports (“DFS”), lottery, and
potentially even internet/social media marketing programs. Global Market Advisors (“GMA”)
had predicted for some time that the reversal of the 2011 Memo would occur during the Trump
Administration through the efforts of the Committee to Stop Internet Gaming (“CSIG”).

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10 Trends – Rating the Rising Sun

Japan may look like it will be a sleeping giant in 2019, but the upcoming year may prove to be the most critical year in Japan’s march toward integrated resort development. Japan took a major step forward this year with the passage of the IR Implementation Bill and the Basic Bill on Gambling Addictions Countermeasures.

Next year will be one of the more critical years in the process as Japan contemplates the largest land-based gaming opportunity since Singapore in the mid-2000s. While outside observers may not see significant progress, a regulatory framework will be established in 2019 that will likely include more than 300 regulations. These regulations will determine the true market potential and scope of Japan’s three integrated resorts.

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New York State of Mind: What happened to the state’s casinos?

For decades, casino operators viewed the potential for casinos in the Catskills region of New York as the mother lode of gaming development.

The region’s proximity to the New York City metropolitan area and its history as a vacation destination made it a near ideal location for casino development. State legislators also saw casinos in upstate New York, a region that has had difficulty recovering from the loss of a host of manufacturing industries, not only as a tool for economic development, but tax revenue.

In 2013, the New York state legislature passed the Upstate New York Economic Development Act, which provided the legal framework for commercial casinos in the state. The act went into effect on January 1, 2014. When signing the bill, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated, “This new law will bring the state one step closer to establishing world-class destination gaming resorts that will attract tourists to upstate New York and support thousands of good-paying jobs as well as new revenue for local businesses. For too many years, gaming revenue has left New York for our neighboring states.”

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Research Brief: U.S. House Hearing on Sports Betting

Today, The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled “Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America.” The subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, chaired by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5), heard testimony from five stakeholders related to sports betting. This included, in the
order presented:

• Jocelyn Moore, Executive Vice President, Communication and Public Affairs with the
National Football League
• John Warren Kindt, Professor with the University of Illinois
• Sara Slane, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs with the American Gaming Association
• Jon Bruning, Former Nebraska Attorney General and Counselor to the Coalition to Stop
Online Gambling
• Becky Harris, Chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board

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Vietnam’s Strip: The central coast of Vietnam is likely to become the next region with multiple destination casinos and integrated resorts

The Strip” has long been a popular term in the casino industry. Originally used to describe Las Vegas Boulevard from Sahara Avenue south to Russell Road, the term was adopted to describe clusters of casinos and hotels in other jurisdictions including the Cotai Strip in Macau and, most recently, for a proposed multi-property development called the Osaka Strip in Osaka, Japan.

While the latter development remains a possibility, a new strip of hotels, resorts and casinos is quickly emerging on the central coast of Vietnam, in and around Da Nang: the Central Coast Strip, stretching from Hoi An to Hue.

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Cambodia Rising

Major casino operators have long perceived Cambodia as a tertiary gaming market – a collective mix of border casinos that catered to residents of adjacent countries seeking a convenient place to gamble. The absence of robust gaming regulations further discouraged larger operators from considering acquisitions or developments in the Kingdom. That perception is changing.

Anticipated changes in the regulatory environment coupled with dramatic growth in casino markets throughout the country has caused casino developers to take a closer look at Cambodia.

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Sleeping Giant: Brazil is one of the few strong opportunities for IR development

While most of the gaming world is focused on Japan as the next emerging market, a battle continues south of the Equator to legalize gaming in Brazil. This untapped market could serve as the cornerstone for gaming development in the region if it were to become a fully regulated market. With the world’s fifth largest population, Brazil serves as one of the few strong opportunities left as an emerging jurisdiction for integrated resorts.

Brazil is one of the few large countries that does not have legalized gaming, and local stakeholders have come to believe that it puts them at a disadvantage to compete as a tourism destination at the international level. Like many potential gaming jurisdictions, local politicians see the case for integrated resorts as a way to generate tourism and economic development.
One of the best cases of this that is still used in jurisdictions like Japan and Brazil is the growth that Singapore saw with the addition of Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa in 2010. Brazil, which is coming off of hosting the Olympics two years ago, looks to continue to build its tourism with IRs serving as a base to attract individuals to the region.

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The Quiet Casino Boomtown

As the gaming industry’s collective attention is focused on what casino development might look like in Japan, a small seaside resort town on the coast of Cambodia is quietly emerging as the
world’s fastest-growing gaming jurisdiction. The town is called Sihanoukville.

Sihanoukville is a port city and down-market vacation destination on the Gulf of Thailand in southwest Cambodia. It has long appealed to backpackers
for its pristine beaches and low-priced accommodations. It also has served as a gambling and vacation destination for Thais and Chinese.

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Responsible Gaming in Japan – Bill to be key to Japan’s Gaming Market

As Japan continues to look at the development of integrated resorts (IR), many people engaged and following the market are focused on the IR Implementation Bill. While it is important to know the regulatory framework, it is just as important for operators and interested parties to understand the importance of responsible gaming measures. This second bill that has sometimes been overlooked in recent months focuses on this topic.

Japan has the fortunate position of being able to use the Republic of Singapore, which launched its quest for IRs roughly 15 years ago, as a guide. Not only do they have Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority as a model for the regulatory body, they also have the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) as a reference point as they develop an atmosphere of responsible gaming.

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Home Stretch in Japan

For nearly 20 years, Japan has gone through several false starts and iterations in its attempt to legalize integrated resorts. In December 2016, Japan took its first official first step toward legalization with the passing of the IR Promotion Bill. Later this spring, Japan is poised to take the final step in this process with the introduction of two bills that will help solidify the initial act: the IR Implementation Bill and the Basics Bill on Gambling Addiction Countermeasures.

The government of Japan has been contemplating what items to include within these bills in its quest to create an environment that maximizes the potential benefit realized by the country in terms of investment and tourism as well as to attract quality operators to the market.

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