While the sporting world gears up for March Madness, there has been plenty of news of note in the online casino realm. Here is a recap of the key headlines from around the world.
Denmark's Online Gaming Numbers Impress
Online gaming appears to be doing quite well in Denmark after it was revealed that online casinos helped with a huge boost to their gross gaming revenue in 2016. Last year, Denmark's gross gaming revenue went up 13% year over year from 2015. That translates to $5.3 billion just from online sports betting and casinos. The entire gambling market overall brought in over $8.9 billion, which was up 6% from 2015.
There are a number of reasons for this but Spillemyndigheden, which regulates the Danish betting market, says that much of that can be attributed to online casinos, and specifically online slots. Online poker even dropped 10% from last year, but online casino gaming has helped minimize those losses. Online casinos have also helped with a drop in gross gaming revenue from traditional machines that are in restaurants and halls, which went down 3%.
Playtech Launches in Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic, Playtech has launched an online casino via their Fortuna brand. Fortuna got their license from the Ministry of Finance on February 24, becoming the first company to do so in the Czech Republic. They offer a slew of online and progressive slots, as well as table games.
Playtech was founded in 1999 and has become one of the leaders in the world of online gambling software while slowly buying out a lot of their competition. Being able to get in on the ground floor in the Czech Republic is just another feather in their cap. In the meantime, they are still looking to expand to other countries that are looking to legislate online gambling. For example, Romania, Slovakia and Poland are places that Playtech/Fortuna are hoping to venture into depending on if their laws change.
Michigan Attempts To Legalize Online Gaming
Finally, for our last piece of news of the week it is back to the United States. Michigan State Senator Mike Kowall has put forth the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which is close to a bill that was introduced last year but rejected. It would allow casinos to offer online gaming and Michigan - as a state - will be allowed to work with other states that are in the game already. Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey are in, while New York and Pennsylvania are hoping to pass bills this year. As a matter of fact, the bill that New York is trying to pass is very similar.
In Michigan, a license will cost an operator $100,000 for the first year of a five-year time period, and $50,000 for every year after that. Of course, there will be a lot of regulations that these operators will have to adhere to, but first the bill has to be passed and there will be eyes on New York and Pennsylvania to see how they fare. If they are successful, look for Michigan to make a big push on this bill in 2017.