June was an overly busy month for Canadian gamblers from Newfoundland to Vancouver. While you were too busy flipping cards and winning jackpots, this is what happened across Canada.
Amaya acquisition confirmed
As we original report reported last month, Amaya was on the verge of purchasing the world renowned Poker Stars company for approximately CA$4.9 billion. The acquisition has been confirmed, even though premature reports may have leaked to help influence Amaya’s stock position. Upon confirmation of the purchase, Amaya became the largest Internet gaming company that is publicly traded on the Toronto Stocks Exchange, or TSX. Entering the last trading week of June, Amaya stocks closed nearly 250% higher than its previous 52-week low of CA$5.61. This news is not expected to affect the position or value of Poker Stars.
Gaming Summit raises ‘fixing’ questions
During the recent Gaming Summit, the question again arose whether or not Canada should position themselves to allow single event betting which goes totally against current criminal code in most Canadian provinces. Bill C-290, which has seen much opposition from the National Hockey League, is actually designed to cut down on the 40% Canadian gamblers that use grey-market organizations to place shady bets. Since hockey, baseball and mixed martial arts are the staples of Canadian gaming, passing the bill could leave referees open to accept bribes from players and sports bettors pretty much across the globe. More information will be made available as the bill progresses through the court system.
Loto Quebec interested in Poker Stars?
Now that Poker Stars has been purchased, Loto Quebec is taking interest in helping bring Poker Stars into the second largest Canadian province without violation of current Canadian criminal statue. On the table is an act that will exchange profit-sharing and sharing of fees in exchange for a contractual license specifically designed for international outfits. Another idea would be to offer low-interest loans in exchange for partial liquidity, which would then give Poker Stars a vested interest in crossing provincial lines. The third option involves binding contracts similar to the licensing agreement above. Nothing has been finalized, all talks are progressing as planned.
GCGC renews Nova Scotia lottery
First reported by the Wall Street Journal, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation has extended its renewal option with Nova Scotia and its long running provincial lottery for another 10 years. They have also indicated they are willing to make a substantial capital infusion which will help with both operating costs and possible expansion of several Nova Scotia casinos. GCGC operates many lavish hospitality and general entertainment facilities in three Canadian provinces and Washington State, with plans on adding more now that this ten-year contract has been established. If you’ve never been to Halifax and gambled, you are most certainly encouraged to do so.
Exit 27 Casino parade planned, with opposition
Residents of the city of Amsterdam might have reason to celebrate, thanks to the proposed $250 million casino that is being planned. With an elaborate parade expected to commence on July 1, both residents and opposition must stand near 512 acres and plead their case as to why the Exit 27 Casino, expected to fit 1250 slot machines, about 100 hotel rooms and 40 gaming tables, should not be built. People fear that Amsterdam will not remain competitive with other much larger casinos as this smaller town has nothing else that would interest local, provincial or Canada-wide tourists. Farmers are expected to be in full attendance, although they have vowed to park tractors off the side of the road.
Canada’s AML Law: bad for casinos?
Canadian Minister of Finance had already proposed strict laws for online casinos to help deter racketeering; over the past several months, online casinos have finally been forced to report finances under the stricter AML law changes. These new changes are primarily for online lottery operations, although every online casino will eventually have to report their financial activity. Bill C-31, which concentrates on toughening Bitcoin and other similar financial instruments, is not yet part of Canadian criminal code and is not expected to become common law before 2015.
If you enjoyed this month news wrap-up, August’s issue will include more in-depth news, analysis and other July happenings from your neck of the woods. Be safe, and gamble like a rock star.