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Liberal government writes off $1.1B US loan to Chrysler, plus interest, docs show

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The Liberal government has quietly written off a $2.6-billion auto-sector loan that was cobbled together to save Chrysler during the 2009 global economic meltdown.

The write-off, among the largest ever for a taxpayer-funded bailout, is buried in a volume of the 2018 Public Accounts of Canada, tabled in Parliament on Friday.

The reference contains no explanation for the write-off, identifying neither the business that received the loan nor the sector of the economy.

But CBC News has confirmed the money was lent on March 30, 2009, to Chrysler LLC by the federal government – a non-performing loan that grew with interest over the following nine years. The loan was made by the Harper government, in co-operation with the Ontario government.

“After exhausting all potential avenues for recovery, a $1.125 billion US principal plus accrued interest write-off in respect of ‘Old Chrysler’ occurred in March,” said John Babcock of Global Affairs Canada, the department responsible.

“This amount is reflected in the Public Accounts.”

At the time of the 2009 auto-sector bailouts in Canada and the United States, Chrysler was split in two: an “Old Chrysler” that went into bankruptcy and a “New Chrysler” that became viable and remains in operation today. Now called Fiat Chrysler, the international firm reported net profits of $4.3 billion US for 2017.

Auditor General Michael Ferguson has previously slammed Ottawa’s auto bailouts for lack of transparency. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

Another 2009 loan, to the restructured Chrysler Corp., was repaid in 2011, when the company paid $1.7 billion in principal and interest to the governments of Canada and Ontario.

CBC News reported earlier this year, drawing on heavily censored documents obtained through the Access to Information Act, that the Liberal government had forgiven a large auto-sector loan.

Similarly opaque

Officials at the time refused to provide details, including the amount or the business that benefited, saying they were protecting “commercial confidentiality.”

Friday’s Public Accounts documents were similarly opaque about the write-off, referring only to the precise value, $2,595,974,536 in Canadian funds.

Canada’s auditor general has previously cited a lack of transparency over the bailouts.

“We found it impossible to gain a complete picture of the assistance provided, the difference the assistance made to the viability of the companies, and the amounts recovered and lost,” Michael Ferguson said in his fall 2014 report.

“There was no comprehensive reporting of the information to Parliament.”

The bare minimum condition for taxpayer support should be transparency– Aaron Wudrick, federal director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The now-defunct Chrysler loan was administered by Export Development Canada (EDC), which manages the Canada Account, a financial vehicle for making large loans and loan guarantees backed directly by the Government of Canada.

The Canada Account, for example, was used to finance Ottawa’s multibillion-dollar purchase of Trans Mountain Pipeline on Aug. 31, 2018, from Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, in an effort to assure the construction of a pipeline expansion from Alberta to British Columbia.

EDC’s Canada Account transactions currently show an outstanding loan to GM Corp. for more than $1 billion, originally made on April 29, 2009. The loan also appears to be attributed to a bankrupt version of the firm that was split off from a viable version of GM that year.

As part of GM’s restructuring, the federal and Ontario governments also took multibillion-dollar equity stakes in the company. They sold the last of their GM shares in 2015.

Aaron Wudrick of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says it “defies common sense” that a taxpayer should be on the hook for a government mistake. (Brian Morris/CBC)

A political scientist who has studied the auto-sector bailouts, Mark Milke, said in 2015 that the $13.7 billion that Ottawa delivered in 2009 eventually cost Canadian taxpayers about $3.7 billion in money that was never repaid.

In the dark

Industry Canada itself warned in 2014 that “neither Canada nor the U.S. expected any of the loans to be recovered from ‘Old Chrysler’.” It was not clear why the non-performing loan remained on the Canada Account books for four more years.

Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said the Chrysler write-off is yet another example of governments keeping citizens in the dark about how their tax dollars bail out corporations.

“While our organization opposes taxpayer bailouts of private businesses as a rule, I think even for those who take a less stringent view, this case highlights the importance of transparency in government expenditures,” he said.

“In short, the bare minimum condition for taxpayer support should be transparency — for the amount given and the terms attached to it. If a business is not even willing to meet that basic requirement in order to receive what are in many cases billions of free taxpayer dollars, they shouldn’t get it at all.”

Word of the Chrysler write-off comes as the Liberal government has been bracing for possible U.S. tariffs against Canada’s auto exports, threatened by the Trump administration.

Follow @DeanBeeby on Twitter

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NY Online Sports Betting Bill Calls For Up To 14 Sportsbook Apps

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s proposed New York sports betting model lacks support from two lawmakers who have pushed for online gambling in the state.

Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow released their 2021 NY online sports betting bill Thursday evening, though it looks a lot like their previous attempt.

The biggest difference is the bill calls for two skins per licensee instead of one each. There are four commercial casinos and three tribes that run casinos in New York that could offer online sports betting.

That would likely create a much more robust market in terms of handle but tax revenue could fall well short of what Cuomo expects from a lottery-style monopoly.

New York sports betting bill details

Many of the details in the jointly-filed S 1183 and A 1257 are similar to the 2019-20 version of Addabbo and Pretlow’s bill:

  • A one-time, $12 million fee is required for anyone operating a mobile sportsbook in the state.
  • Mobile sports betting revenue will be taxed at 12%. The state will set aside 5% of that tax revenue for problem gambling.
  • Official league data is still required for all in-play bets. The bill also calls for a royalty fee of 0.2% of handle to be paid to sports leagues. Assuming sportsbooks hold about 5% of bets, that means about 4% of sports betting revenue to the leagues.
  • Professional sports stadiums and arenas as well as off-track betting facilities can partner with a casino to have betting kiosks on-site.

The bill summary suggests $79 million in annual revenue to the state based on “conservative market estimates.” That might not be good enough for Cuomo, though.

Cuomo expects how much?

Gov. Cuomo has much higher expectations for what the state should make from sports betting.

The US sports betting industry was surprised to wake up Wednesday to find Cuomo had changed his stance on mobile sports betting. The excitement felt throughout the industry quickly turned to jokes, though, when the governor described his plan during the Q&A portion of his coronavirus press conference:

“We want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery where the state gets the revenues. Many states have done sports betting but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos but it makes minimal money for the state, and I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state.”

Budget Director Robert Mujica explained that the standard sports betting model would net New York about $50 million a year in tax revenue. But a single-operator monopoly could bring in $500 million annually, Mujica said. We won’t know any other details of the proposal until Cuomo releases his budget.

Assuming a 50-50 revenue split and a 5% hold, New York’s sports betting market would have to take $20 billion in bets annually to make the state $500 million. That’s not impossible for any of the “crown jewel” states like California, Florida, New York and Texas.

It won’t happen in year one, though, and could take significantly longer to reach those heights under a monopoly.

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Global Online Gambling Market (2020 to 2027) – Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report

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Dublin, April 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “Online Gambling Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report by Type (Sports Betting, Casinos, Poker, Bingo), by Device (Desktop, Mobile), by Region (North America, Europe, APAC, Latin America, MEA), and Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The global online gambling market size is expected to reach USD 127.3 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027. The market is expected to gain traction over the forecast period. The growing popularity of betting across the globe and freemium model in online gambling are among the potential opportunities likely to unfold in the next few years.

Increasing adoption of smartphones and easy access to casino gaming platforms is currently driving the market. Factors such as increasing internet penetration and the availability of cost-effective mobile applications for betting are also expected to contribute to market growth over the forecast period. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), as of 2018, approximately 2,800 sites are active online and offer activities including bingo, poker, and lottery.

Electronic Gambling Devices (EGDs) are inexpensive to run and easily available. These devices have an in-built software that mimics the experience of a local casino. For instance, a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) uses advancing technology and can also be customized to electronic slot machines, spinning reel slot machines, video slot machines, and electronic poker games.

The spread of COVID19 has accelerated the demand for online gambling. Moreover, increasing digitalization coupled with secure digital payment options are also some factors contributing to online gambling market growth. The market is further expected to gain momentum over the forecast period attributed to the rising use of digital currency and websites provided by companies for betting and gambling.

Further key findings from the report suggest:

  • Ease of sports betting using a computer or smartphone coupled with the proliferation of sports betting ads across the globe is expected to propel segment growth over the forecast period
  • Online gambling service providers/operators are allowed to enter into agreements with individual players or customers to provide betting services for real money, in turn attracting more gamers
  • A large number of customers are using desktops for betting as downloading and installing casino software proves to be easier on desktops. This, in turn, is expected to propel the growth of the desktop segment
  • Online agencies, networks and exchanges, and third-party ad servers are used for advertising gambling websites of various companies
  • Europe is expected to continue its dominance over the forecast period. In the U.K., online gambling is legalized owing to safe practices and stringent regulations laid down by the government
  • Asia Pacific is anticipated to register the highest growth rate owing to the increased adoption of smartphones, a larger proportion of younger population, and legalization of online gambling in the region. The market size is largely influenced by the size of betting and pertinent outcome
  • Key companies in the online gambling market include William Hill PLC and Paddy Power Betfair PLC.

Key Topics Covered:

1. Methodology and Scope

2. Executive Summary
2.1 Online Gambling Market – Industry Snapshot & Key Buying Criteria, 2016 – 2027
2.2 Global Online Gambling Market, 2016 – 2027
2.2.1 Global online gambling market, by region, 2016 – 2027
2.2.2 Global online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
2.2.3 Global online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027

3. Online Gambling Industry Outlook
3.1 Market Segmentation & Scope
3.2 Market Size and Growth Prospects
3.3 Online Gambling – Value Chain Analysis
3.3.1 Vendor landscape
3.4 Online Gambling Market Dynamics
3.4.1 Market driver analysis
3.4.1.1 Increasing investment in online gambling
3.4.1.2 Growing number of live casinos across the globe
3.4.2 Market restraint analysis
3.4.2.1 Increasing rate of cybercrimes
3.5 Penetration and Growth Prospect Mapping
3.6 Online Gambling Market – Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
3.7 Online Gambling Market – Key Company Market Share Analysis, 2019
3.8 Online Gambling Market – PESTEL Analysis
3.9 Impact of COVID 19 on the Online Gambling Market

4. Online Gambling Type Outlook
4.1 Online Gambling Market Share By Type, 2019
4.2 Sports Betting
4.2.1 Sports betting online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.3 Casinos
4.3.1 Casinos online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.4 Poker
4.4.1 Poker online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.5 Bingo
4.5.1 Bingo online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.6 Others
4.6.1 Other online gambling market, 2016 – 2027

5. Online Gambling Device Outlook
5.1 Online Gambling Market Share By Device, 2019
5.2 Desktop
5.2.1 Desktop online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
5.3 Mobile
5.3.1 Online mobile gambling market, 2016 – 2027
5.4 Others
5.4.1 Other device for online gambling market, 2016 – 2027

6. Online Gambling Regional Outlook
6.1 Online Gambling Market Share by Region, 2019
6.2 North America
6.2.1 North America online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.2 North America online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.3 North America online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4 U.S.
6.2.4.1 U.S. online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4.2 U.S. online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4.3 U.S. online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5 Canada
6.2.5.1 Canada online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5.2 Canada online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5.3 Canada online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3 Europe
6.3.1 Europe online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.2 Europe online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.3 Europe online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4 U.K.
6.3.4.1 U.K. online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4.2 U.K. online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4.3 U.K. online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5 Germany
6.3.5.1 Germany online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5.2 Germany online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5.3 Germany online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4 Asia Pacific
6.4.1 Asia Pacific online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.2 Asia Pacific online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.3 Asia Pacific online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4 China
6.4.4.1 China online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4.2 China online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4.3 China online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5 India
6.4.5.1 India online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5.2 India online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5.3 India online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6 Japan
6.4.6.1 Japan online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6.2 Japan online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6.3 Japan online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.5 Latin America
6.5.1 Latin America online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.5.2 Latin America online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.5.3 Latin America online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4 Brazil
6.5.4.1 Brazil online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4.2 Brazil online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4.3 Brazil online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.6 MEA
6.6.1 MEA online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.6.2 MEA online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.6.3 MEA online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027

7. Competitive Landscape

7.1 William Hill PLC
7.1.1 Company overview
7.1.2 Financial performance
7.1.3 Product benchmarking
7.1.4 Strategic initiatives
7.2 Bet365 Group Ltd.
7.3 Paddy Power Betfair PLC
7.4 Betsson AB
7.5 Ladbrokes Coral Group PLC
7.6 The Stars Group Inc.
7.7 888 Holdings PLC
7.8 Sky Betting & Gaming
7.9 Kindred Group PLC
7.10 GVC Holdings PLC

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CT Governor throws support behind legal betting and igaming

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Giving his State of the State address yesterday (6 January), Lamont said 2020 had been one of the “most challenging and humbling” years of his life, due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. 

This, he said, had prompted the state to work closely with neighbours such as Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York to coordinate their response to the crisis. 

Lamont pledged to continue to leverage these relationships as part of Connecticut’s recovery from the pandemic.

He said Connecticut would work with its neighboring states and tribal partners on a path forward to “modernize gaming”, as well as working in the legislature to legalize marijuana. 

“Sports betting, internet gaming, and legalized marijuana are happening all around us,” Lamont added. “Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or even worse, underground markets.”

His pledge to expand the state’s gambling market comes amid reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing to relax his stance against mobile wagering in neighbouring New York. 

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