American Gaming Assoc. on Full Tilt Ponzi
We reported on Monday that the U.S. Justice Department accused poker celebrities and Full Tilt Poker owners Howard Lederer and Christopher Ferguson and others of defrauding poker players out of more than $300 million. Now, the American Gaming Association has released an online poker Code of Conduct and its president and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. has called on Congress to pass laws to strengthen enforcement against illegal online gambling operations. The new Code of Conduct will work to protect consumers, keep minors from gambling, offer tools to help gamblers and create provisions to help law enforcement identify and prosecute illegal operators.
“The AGA thinks online poker operators must adhere to the same stringent regulations that have proven effective in governing brick-and-mortar casinos,” Fahrenkopf said in a statement. “If online poker is legalized in the U.S., implementation of the principles of the Code of Conduct will ensure that American consumers are playing online poker in a fair and secure environment provided by a responsible operator.”
The Code of Conduct proposes the following six principles online poker companies should follow in order to obtain a license. Companies should:
· Conduct extensive background checks that will keep criminals out of the business;
· Install proper identification of every U.S. online poker player to assist law enforcement and keep minors, consumers from unlawful jurisdictions and cheaters from playing;
· Undergo regular testing and auditing of online poker software to ensure that games are fair and honest;
· Implement rigorous player exclusion processes to prevent minors, players from illegal U.S. jurisdictions and cheaters from accessing online poker sites;
· Institute effective responsible gaming protections on operator sites to educate patrons and provide problem gamblers easy access to tools to help control their behavior; and,
· Maintain stringent anti-money-laundering procedures that will assist the government in its law enforcement efforts.
Below is the Association’s statement on the Department of Justice’s action against Full Tilt Poker by Fahrenkopf.
“I have two simple questions: ‘How much and for how long?’ How much money that we don’t know about is being swindled from U.S. consumers and how long will it take before we change laws to protect those consumers?
“This morning we called on Congress to institute an effective online poker regulatory system to protect American consumers and released an online poker Code of Conduct that would ensure online poker companies are operated honestly, legally and responsibly.
“This afternoon the Department of Justice (DOJ) accused one of the most well-known offshore online operators, Full Tilt Poker, of bilking players out of more than $300 million. The U.S. attorney who made the accusation called Full Tilt Poker, ‘…not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme.’
“Tomorrow Congress should begin changing the laws to protect consumers from such schemes.
“We applaud the DOJ for this latest action, but every time a shady website is shut down, an even shadier one pops up. The type of illegal activity the DOJ is accusing Full Tilt Poker of will continue to happen in the absence of the same tough, stringent regulations and enforcement that successfully govern bricks-and-mortar casinos. The Code of Conduct we released today details the type of measures that will help ensure American consumers are protected. The time to act is now, or millions of Americans playing online will continue to face a risky environment. Congress needs to establish federal guidelines so that states that choose to can regulate and license online poker, and bring the jobs and revenues associated with this billion dollar industry to the U.S.”
Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda
New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.
According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.
And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.
Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.
Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax
Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.
According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”
Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models
Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.
Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected
in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.
"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."
Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities
Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.
At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”
Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting
Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.
Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact
Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements
Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.