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Swedish iGaming Operators Need to Cough up More Dough

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The Swedish budget deficit for 2023 is predicted to be 15 billion Swedish kronor (SEK). So, it’s not surprising that the government is looking for more ways to increase tax revenue without burdening citizens who are already struggling with increases in the cost of living. The Swedish government has proposed bumping the country’s tax rate from 18% to 22% of gross gaming revenue (GGR).

The tax has not been approved yet but already has iGaming operators sweating. If the tax bump gets through parliament, it’ll come into effect in Sweden from July 1st 2024, and will immediately give a boost to the national budget. The Swedish government believes that the small tax increase would boost tax revenues by 48.4m kr annually. 

Since 2019, operators have been able to apply for local licenses and legally offer gambling in the country. The Swedish government has argued that Sweden’s iGaming market, which has successfully operated since 2019, is now mature enough to support a tax increase. 

The Swedish government doesn’t believe that the tax increase will negatively affect the local gambling market. They’re convinced that locally licensed operators can eat the extra tax and the Swedish gambling market will still achieve channelization of at least 90%, but this may be wishful thinking, which is currently at 77% and may actually already be declining. 

The 18% gambling tax was never meant to be permanent. The plan was always to increase channelization and stabilize the market before then boosting the max. The government is happy with the current trajectory of channelization. They believe that the new measures they introduced in 2023 to crack down on offshore betting sites will ensure that channelization keeps increasing, irrespective of the new tax. 

The Swedish government has stated that the minor tax increase of 4% will strengthen the government’s financial position and generate significantly more taxes, all without damaging the gambling market. Based on their research, they don’t see local operators leaving the market and players moving to offshore sites.

BOS Is Furious About the New Tax

The Swedish Online Gaming Industry Association (BOS), which represents online gambling companies and lobbies for their interests, has immediately fought back against the proposed new tax. The General Secretary, Gustaf Hoffstedt, came out swinging as he believes that the Swedish government is making a big mistake and doesn’t understand the current market conditions.

Hoffstedt said, “The announcement from the government is deeply disappointing. It shows the government doesn’t understand or has taken to heart what kind of market it’s set to govern. Even less has the government understood the vulnerable position that market is in.”

Hoffstedt backed up his view with some stats about channelization. He referred to a BOS report that shows that only 77% of Sweden’s iGaming market is channelized. The BOS report has described this situation as poor and channelization being “critically low.”

Hoffstedt said that not only is channelization low but that it’s actually declining, and for certain types of iGaming, it’s at 72%. He believes that the Swedish government should immediately withdraw its proposal before it further damages the local market.

The tax increase could threaten the whole market and could see licensed operators leaving the market and offshore sites taking their place. In a bid to get more tax revenue, the Swedish government may end up getting even less tax revenue as the legal gambling market collapses and players flock to unlicensed sites that pay zero tax in Sweden. The government needs to be careful not to place unnecessary pressure on a newly regulated market.

It’ll be interesting to see if the tax goes through the effect it has on Sweden’s iGaming market. Is the BOS right, and it’ll cause a further decline in channelization, or is the government right, and the market will adequately absorb the tax bump?

It does appear like the BOS is overacting. It seems unlikely that a 4% tax increase will cause channelization to plummet. However, the Swedish government is always going to face issues with players choosing offshore sites over local operators. They’ll need to liberalize the market in some areas to give licensed online casinos and sportsbooks more equal footing to compete with unlicensed betting sites.

As an avid enthusiast of technological innovation and the thrilling intersection of machinery and athleticism, I proudly consider myself a steadfast supporter of Machina Sports, advocating for its growth, celebrating its pioneers, and contributing to the vibrant community that shares a passion for the future of sports.

Casino & Games

Illinois Players Won’t Enjoy Online Casinos After Legislation Hits Roadblocks

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Online Casino

Online casinos were on the brink of being legalized in Illinois. Unfortunately, both bills weren’t voted on after the exact details of the bill, particularly taxes, couldn’t be ironed out.

State Representative Edgar Gonzalez Jr. and State Senator Cristina Castro both introduced separate but almost identical bills that, if passed, would’ve legalized online casinos in the Land of Lincoln. However, both bills were left to languish in the committee process. For now, the Subcommittee on Gaming, Wagering, and Racing has put the bills on the back burner.

There was no urgency among the politicians to vote on the pieces of legislation. The state budget has been much more stable in recent years. The state government has achieved a surplus over the last three years, and the 2023/2024 fiscal year is predicted to end in a $1.4 billion surplus.

Without pressing budget constraints, the government no longer needs to get creative with generating revenue. They’re likely keeping the legalization of online casinos in their back pocket until they need additional funds.

What Do the Illinois iGaming Bills Entail?

If passed, the bills would authorize an Internet gaming operator to offer internet gaming in Illinois after successfully receiving a license. The operator could run up to 3 individually branded internet gaming skins and would be subject to a 15% tax on revenues.

Online sports betting is already legal in Illinois, and major players include DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. The regulated online casino market would operate similarly to the established sports betting industry, and many of the same brands would also add casino games.

One of the sticking points with the iGaming bills is the 15% tax rate. Online sportsbooks are currently subject to a 15% tax on gross gaming revenue. However, the government wants to boost it to 20% for low earners and up to 40% for the top performers. 

The government wants to take advantage of online sportsbooks and use their growing revenues to fund the state. However, FanDuel and DraftKings have threatened to leave the state if they’re hit with higher taxes. 

It’s unlikely that the iGaming bills will pass with the old 15% flat tax. At a minimum, that will need to bump up to 20%. However, the state risks destroying the industry before it’s even started if it places too heavy tax burdens on operators.

Players in Illinois are also subject to a 15% state tax if they win over $600 when sports betting. This rule will likely apply to online casinos as well. This tax may disincentivize locals from playing at regulated casinos. Instead, they’re likely to continue playing at offshore casinos where there are no taxes on winnings. 

Will iGaming Ever Be Legalized in Illinois?

As the state legislative session has concluded, now the earliest state politicians can visit the online casino bills in the new year. If the bills are going to get passed, Rep. Gonzalez and Sen. Castro will have to reintroduce new online bills in January 2025.

Castro and Gonzalez’s bills were virtually identical, and both mirrored Illinois’ online sports betting legislation. The politicians believe that online casinos can be a great source of ongoing revenue for the state and help Illinois continue to fund social services while balancing the budget.  

The iGaming industry has struggled to win over lawmakers in the US. Only six states have legalized online casinos, while online sports betting is live in 30 states. Online casinos have proved more controversial, and brick-and-mortar casinos have lobbied hard to keep them banned. 

Neighboring Michigan has managed to successfully balance online and brick-and-mortar casinos. According to the latest research, the introduction of online casinos in 2021 hasn’t negatively impacted brick-and-mortar casino revenue. Hopefully, Gonzalez and Castro will use the Wolverine State as a shining example.

Gonzalez and Castro are no rookies when it comes to campaigning for online casinos in The Prairie State. The lawmakers have submitted numerous pieces of legislation only to see them rejected. However, there’s a very good chance that iGaming will finally be legalized in Illinois in 2025. Let’s hope that the lawmakers can come to a consensus and actually vote on the bill. It’s about time Illinoisans have access to online slots!

Read more: France May Legalize Online Casinos in 2024 or 2025

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iGaming

Rhode Island Reports $31.1 Million in iGaming Wagers in First Month

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Rhode Island iGaming

Rhode Island is the latest state to regulate and legalize iGaming. Bally Casino is the only online gambling operator in Rhode Island and offers slots and table games via a strategic partnership with Stakelogic. The monopolist started its first month of operation on March 4, 2024, and has just reported their results. 

In March, Bally Casino accepted $31.1 million in wagers. The bets were almost evenly split between slots and table games. Bally Casino accepted $15,471,572 in slot bets and $15,636,724 in table game wagers. The most popular table games were blackjack and roulette.

Bally Casino’s Revenue in Rhode Island Revealed

Bally Casino took $31,108,296 in total iGaming wagers and paid out $29,897,749. The result is a monthly revenue of $1,210,547. The return to player (RTP) percentage was 96.1. As is standard for online casinos, the majority of revenue was generated from slot machines. Despite taking slightly more table game wagers, this type of game only resulted in $238,641 in revenue. At the same time, slot machines contributed $971,906 to Bally Casino’s Rhode Island monthly revenue.

This is not surprising, as online slots, on average, have lower RTPs and higher volatility compared to table games. The average slot has a 96% RTP, while blackjack’s RTP can be as high as 99.5%.

Rhode Island Lags Other States in Terms of per Capita Revenue

Despite Bally Casino’s impressive monthly results, Rhode Island is seriously lagging when it comes to per capita revenue. In March, Pennsylvanian online casinos generated $233.1 million in revenue, which is $17.93 per capita. In second place was Michigan, which had $215.2 million in monthly revenue and the highest per capita revenue at $21.52. Rounding out the top three was New Jersey, with $197.1 million in revenue in March and $21.19 per capita.

All the way down in the last position was Rhode Island, with $1.2 million in monthly revenue. This is to be expected, as the state has a population of only 1.1 million. However, Rhode Island was also in last place in terms of per capita revenue, with just $1.1. Delaware has a population similar to Rhode Island but almost four times more iGaming revenue in March.

Online casinos are currently legal in seven states, and the average monthly revenue for March was $6.5 million, and the per capita revenue was $18.34. Rhode Island has a long way to go to reach these figures.

Experts predict it’ll take up to six months for iGaming revenue in Rhode Island to match other states as players adapt and the operator figures out how to meet local users’ needs. Bally Casino will be excited about the potential for growth and, in their first month, has proven there’s an appetite for iGaming in Little Rhody. If Rhode Island just achieves average iGaming revenue, then they can expect their current revenue to increase by 18x!

Sports Betting in Rhode Island Is Also Growing

Rhode Island also has mobile sports betting, which has been live for over one year. The only mobile sportsbook in the state is Sportsbook Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Lottery recently released sports betting statistics and, according to their data, just $45 million worth of sports bets were accepted in March 2024. Sportsbook Rhode Island had an online handle of $37 million in March 2024. Over 80% of sports bets in RI were placed online. This number is set to rise, as in most states, 90% of the handle is generated online.

Online casino players and sports bettors in Rhode Island would benefit from more competition. However, it remains to be seen when the authorities will allow other operators to enter the market. Skilled operators like DraftKings and FanDuel, with their sleek marketing campaigns, are champing at the bit to get access to Rhode Island bettors. Players are likewise keen to take advantage of more bonuses, games, and betting markets.

Despite the impressive figures, Rode Island and Bally Casino have a lot of room to grow. Per capita, Bally Casino’s revenue was only $1.10, while the average among states where online casinos are legal is $18.34. Bally Casino and Sportsbook Rhode Island will be keen to expand their operations across the state. We’ll keep you updated on the latest iGaming and sports betting trends in the RI, which have the potential for serious growth.  

Read more: France May Legalize Online Casinos in 2024 or 2025

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Drone

How Women’s representation in FPV shapes the scene

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KalliFPV’s Journey in the Drone Racing World

But is it? 

It was representation and passion that got KalliFPV into FPV Drone Racing, a\nd her ascent in the drone racing world is more than just a personal triumph; it’s a beacon for diversity and inclusion in a space where both are urgently needed.

A Sky Without Limits

Kalli’s journey isn’t just a story of overcoming odds; it’s a narrative that mirrors the ongoing evolution in STEM — a field continuously enriched by the diverse perspectives women bring. Her path from curiosity to competitive racing sums up a broader truth: when given the opportunity, women not only participate but excel and innovate.

Her inspiration? A blend of familial bonds and a natural inclination towards the mechanics of flight. Initially drawn to the sport by her father’s own passion, Kalli quickly transitioned from an observer to a key player.

“Back in 2022…I was like, dad, I really want to get into flying,” 

Kalli recounted, reflecting on the moment her journey took flight in a FuturePlay Interview. It’s a testament to the power of mentorship and representation. Seeing someone you identify with succeeding can sometimes be all the push you need to get on a similar path.

The Simulator as a Springboard

Kalli’s rigorous dedication to mastering her craft through simulators — a digital proving ground where countless hours are spent refining skills — highlights an essential message about the importance of accessible resources in fostering talent. 

“Most of my practicing I did on simulators. I practiced at least five hours a week,” she shared. 

This statement not only showcases her dedication but also underlines the role of technology in democratising fields like drone racing, making them more accessible to diverse groups.

Breaking Barriers and Building Community

Kalli’s decision to join the all-girls team Mach1 is a vibrant illustration of the changing landscape of drone racing — a world becoming increasingly inclusive. 

“Of course, an all-girls team, of course, I’ll join it,” 

She enthusiastically remarked, underlining the significance of finding a community where she felt represented and supported. Here, Kalli’s narrative intertwines with the larger discourse on the importance of community in breaking down barriers and fostering a sense of belonging.

A New Horizon

KalliFPV is more than a competitor; she’s a symbol of change in the aerial arenas of drone racing and beyond. Her story is a powerful reminder that with passion, mentorship, and access to the right resources, the sky is not the limit but the beginning.

In sharing KalliFPV’s journey, we not only celebrate her achievements but also ignite a conversation about the future of women in STEM and sports. It’s a discussion about the potential that lies in empowering young women to explore, to create, and to dream without limits.

As KalliFPV continues to fly, her content serves as an inspiration — to young girls who look up at the sky and see not a limit, but a vast expanse of possibilities. It’s a call to the community, to mentors, and to organisations to invest in these dreams, to nurture these ambitions, and to watch as they take flight, transforming our world in the process.

What are your thoughts about the representation in sports and scientific fields? 
If you want to watch the entire interview with Kalli – be sure to follow us on YouTube

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