The next stop of the latest season of the RunGood Poker Series (RGPS) will be in the Bay Area in Northern California and players won’t have to wait long as the action officially kicks off on September 13 at Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park.

RGPS Contenders Bay Area Main Highlights

The “RGPS Contenders Bay Area” features multiple tournaments of different formats including NLH, Limit Omaha Hi-lo, HORSE, and PLO. The series opens with a $250 buy-in Seniors event, a $250 6-Max NLH event, and a $200 Guest Bounty NLH.

The schedule also includes a $250 buy-in, $50K GTD NLH event (Sep 14) which will award a seat into the 2022 All-Stars ProAM tournament at the PokerGO studio in December.

The series culminates in the $600 buy-in Main Event which offers $200,000 in guarantees. The multi-flight tournament gets underway on September 16.

Championship Rings Return

The Bay Area series will award the coveted Championship Rings which the RGPS has re-introduced this year. The stop wasn’t part of the original schedule but the RGPS team decided to add it, alongside another stop at Jack Casino in Cleveland scheduled for September 22 to October 2.

After its Cleveland stop, the RGPS will head over to Horseshoe Tunica (Oct 4-9) and then Hard Rock Tulsa (Oct 11-16). The series will also drop by Horseshoe Council Bluffs and Jamul Casino San Diego in October and November, with a grand finale taking place at Thunder Valley Casino from November 25-December 5. It will feature a $1 million guaranteed Main Event.

As Liz Truss takes over as the UK’s new Prime Minister, the publication of the Gambling Act Review could be postponed much longer. This means it could take quite a while before a wide-ranging gambling regulatory reform is implemented in the country.

More Delays Expected

The government launched the review in 2020 in a bid to make the UK’s gambling laws fit for the digital age. Two years have passed and the White Paper has yet to be approved, facing a series of delays. It was due to be released in July, but a political turmoil that resulted in the resignation of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson meant gambling reform needed to be postponed for the fourth time.

Truss’ appointment led to a government re-organization which brought Michelle Donelan to her new role as gambling minister. Donelan is a well-known gambling industry critic and a staunch supporter of gambling reform, being one of the MPs who voted for the implementation of the £2 maximum stake limit on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs).

White Paper Still Open to Changes

As to what reforms will be rolled out under Donelan’s watch remain to be seen. With the review still ongoing, the White Paper is still subject to changes. Among the reforms believed to be included in the review are reducing the betting limits for online casino games and banning VIP programs and loyalty schemes. But all these will remain as speculations until the official document is published.

MGM China Holdings, which operates casinos in Macau, recently announced a HKD60.6 million ($7.7 million) reversal in the first six months of the year concerning a joint liability with junket operators, also known as gaming promoters, amounting to HKD202.7 million which the company incurred in December 2021.

MGM China Makes $7.7M Reversal

In its latest report published on September 8, MGM China said it reached a final settlement of legal actions regarding its joint liability with gambling junkets that resulted in the HKD60.6 million reversal. The company is still on the hook for HKD6.3 million in financial liabilities by June 30, 2022, relating to the remaining cases.

Two junkets previously operating at MGM China’s MGM Macau resort had been hit with three civil cases involving player deposits. Under Macau’s gambling laws, gaming concessionaires are jointly liable for the actions and conduct of the junkets operating in their casinos.

In March this year, MGM China acknowledged it could be required to pay HKD202.7 million ($25.8 million) arising from those legal actions. The company already lost one of the cases back in February at Macau’s Court of Final Appeal.

Junkets Can’t Reimburse the Money

MGM China stated that while gaming promoters involved in the case are obliged to reimburse the amount that the company had paid to the plaintiffs, it does not expect them to do so, saying the chances that it would recover the losses are remote.

Macau’s decision to provide a gaming tax incentive to operators attracting foreign customers into the peninsula will not guarantee positive results for the industry, according to gaming experts. That’s despite Macau becoming the first gaming location in Asia to introduce such a scheme.

Macau’s tax rate for casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) is currently set at 35%, but operators are required to pay an additional 5% for social causes.

Change In Policy Will Not Have Major Impact

Under new gaming laws, casino operators could avoid paying the extra 5% levy if they attract customers from overseas. The Macau government, headed by the chief executive, will still have the final say on its implementation. But gaming consultant David Green, who formerly provided advice to the Macau government on casino-market liberation, doubts if such a policy would work.

He said there needs to be transparency, certainty, and fairness as to the calculation of the rate reduction, adding that lawmakers should consider implementing a progressive rate reduction with specified threshold metrics.

Macau’s Tax Rate Still High

Wang Changbin, director of the Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studies at the Macao Polytechnic University also said that even if the government proceeds with rolling out the tax incentive, it still doesn’t hide the fact that Macau has one of the highest gaming tax rates in the world. He said it isn’t enough to just introduce tax reductions to draw more customers from abroad, as there are other factors that the government must consider, including culture and location.

Back in April, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) introduced new social responsibility rules for online operators. The changes, which are due to take effect on September 12, are focused on identifying and protecting customers at risk of gambling harm. The Commission had earlier raised concerns over failings committed by operators regarding customer interaction.

Implementation of Some Amendments To Be Delayed

Recently, the regulator notified licensees that the amendments laid out in its April update will be implemented as planned next week, except for a few requirements – taking timely action when indicators of harm are identified as well as taking account of the UKGC’s approach to vulnerability, and preventing marketing and the take-up of bonuses for players found at risk of gambling harm.

The implementation of these specific requirements will be delayed pending a six-week consultation which will be launched by the Commission later this month.

UKGC to Publish New Guidance in December

After the said consultation, the UKGC expects to finalize the revisions it made to the Social Responsibility Code Provision for online operators, with new guidance on the rules set to be published in December 2022. The regulator also said it’s looking at implementing the remaining requirements by February 2023.