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In our first story, the Brazilian gambling market opens up, but some major operators are still wary of the lack of a regulatory framework. After a general ban on gambling which lasted for decades, in 2018, the state passed the law allowing online sports wagers.
The new gambling climate attracted numerous gaming operators. It's estimated that online betting companies have already generated hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue in Brazil. Some major global brands such as Ladbrokes, Sportingbet, and Betfair are already offering their services to local bettors. However, some are still cautious due to unclear regulations. Nevertheless, the Brazilian government has announced that they're working on a new legislature that should provide even more opportunities on the world's largest untapped betting market.
Next up, as expected, the legalization of betting in the US has brought along some controversies. With so many wagers being placed, the integrity of the game is under more threat than ever. The referees in particular came under scrutiny as bettors look to blame their losses on match-fixing and conspiracies.
On Thursday, the underdog Richmond beat Iowa in Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament. The game was decided in the final minutes after a couple of dubious refereeing calls. Even though those were, more than likely, honest mistakes, everyone who bet on Iowa hurried to claim that the game was fixed. As legal betting takes off, we'll likely see more of this, with referees under even more pressure and in the center of attention for all the wrong reasons.
In our next story, a woman from Tucson, Arizona is indicted for allegedly embezzling more than $5 million from two local businesses and a Mexico-based Home Owners Association.
According to the statement from the Arizona Attorney General's Office, Helen Marie Dahlstrom was a long-time bookkeeper for two Tucson construction companies and a treasurer for the HOA in Rocky Point, Sonora. Per the indictment, over the course of 7 years, between 2013 and 2020, she has embezzled $5.3 million from these organizations by writing checks made out to cash. The reports also state that Dahlstrom gambled away most of the money in Tuscon-area casinos.
She's now facing charges on multiple counts, including theft, fraudulent schemes and artifices, money laundering, forgery, and computer tampering.
In our last story this week, Penn National's acquisition of Barstool Sports has run into some obstacles. Before the deal goes through, Nevada and Indiana gambling regulators will investigate the accusations of sexual misconduct against Barstool founder, Dave Portnoy.
In November, Insider published a story on Portnoy allegedly engaging in aggressive and humiliating sexual encounters with multiple women and filming them without their consent. The article features testimonies on Portnoy's sexual misconduct from several women, some currently or formerly employed at Barstools Sports. Portnoy has denied the allegations, and Penn National has reiterated that they stand with their associate.
However, Nevada and Indiana Gaming Commissions have committed to investigating the matter and evaluating all the available information. They have expressed their concern that the case may damage the reputation of their states and the gaming industry in general.
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