Monthly Newsletter – July 2019
Europe’s monthly online gambling news
EGBA’s message to the new European Commission: Don’t bet against online consumers (blog)
If you’ve read news headlines over the past year, you’ve probably noticed the well-publicized scandals involving social media companies and their use of consumer data… In truth, much of this is the result of regulations struggling to keep pace with the internet’s rapid, cross-border, and technological development. There is no doubt this technological step-change has raised questions about where the rights of consumers, the interests of online businesses, and good regulation can intersect harmoniously. I recognize these challenges. The internet revolution has moved my own sector — betting — from traditional side-street bookmaker shops into the computers of millions of customers, just overnight. Today more than 12 million Europeans regularly bet online, conducting nearly 1 million financial transactions to and from our member companies each day.
EGBA presents to European Commission on advertising and intellectual property rights
On 26 June, EGBA presented to the European Commission and other signatories, its efforts to comply with its obligations as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on advertising and intellectual property rights – an EU Commission-led initiative – which employs a “follow the money” approach to fighting piracy by cutting off advertising funding for such websites. EGBA outlined its efforts to popularise the MoU both internally to its members and externally to the wider sector. EGBA’s efforts were further underlined by a 12% reduction in advertising on copyright-infringing websites by the gambling industry in Q2 of 2019. View EGBA’s presentation below.
EGBA presents at “Disrupting Online Gambling: Technology, Security and Regulation” conference
In the past month, EGBA’s Directory of Regulatory and Legal Affairs, Dr Katie Hartmann, presented at the “Disrupting Online Gambling: Technology, Security and Regulation 2019” conference in London, UK. In her presentation Dr Hartmann outlined EGBA’s perspective on effective regulation and a number of key points and challenges in respect to upcoming regulatory changes in some EU countries, including Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden. View EGBA’s presentation below.
IBIA reports decline in suspicious activity alerts in Q2
The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has seen the number of alerts for suspicious betting activity fall 17% year-on-year for the three months to June 30, 2019. The association flagged a total of 51 events to its operator members and regulatory bodies during the second quarter, representing a 38% quarter-on-quarter rise. Tennis, which has generated the most alerts in recent quarters remained the main concern in Q2, accounting for 25 of the suspicious activity reports that were filed. However, this represents a significant drop on the 44 alerts issued around the sport in Q2, 2018, a 43% year-on-year decline.
Germany: 71% of public backs gambling reform – survey
A new survey commissioned by Novomatic Group subsidiary Löwen Entertainment claims that more that 70% of the German public supports the roll-out of a uniform regulatory framework for all forms of gambling. The study, conducted by market research consultancy smartcon, found that 71% of respondents were of the opinion that differing regulations for different verticals and channels should be replaced by a single, federal system. Smartcon noted that while the vast majority of the population supports the core objectives of the State Treaty on Gambling, many believed that there were issues in how it was being implemented.
Ireland: Government considering tax break for bookmakers
The Irish Government is considering cutting betting duty by allowing bookies a tax-free turnover of €2.5 million a year in a move aimed at aiding smaller players. The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, doubled betting tax this year to 2 per cent of turnover, following lobbying from the horse racing and breeding industries, which say their businesses provide a mainstay for online and high street bookies. However, the Government is now considering levying the tax only on turnover above €2.5 million a year after industry body, the Irish Bookmakers’ Association, claimed the doubling of the tax rate was putting smaller, independent operators out of business.
Italy: Advertising ban forces ‘reality checks’ on all stakeholders
A new era for Italian industry incumbents began as the media-wide ban on gambling advertising entered into force on 14 July 2019, exactly one year following the Lega-5Star coalition government publishing its Dignity Decree mandate. The marketing conduct of Italian gambling operators will be monitored by AGCOM, the national communications authority, which has been ordered to enforce the strictest discipline code. It sees operators risk fines equal to 20% of the sponsorship/advertising value and not less than ‘€50,000 for each Decree breach’. However, the Dignity Decree’s anti-gambling faces a number of reality checks.
Malta: MGA Publishes its 2018 Annual Report and Financial Statements
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ending 31 December 2018. The report provides an overview of the activities and work performed throughout the year by the MGA. Furthermore, the report includes a detailed summary of the performance of the Maltese gaming industry during 2018 as well as a medium-term outlook into the future.
Malta: Will Brexit have an impact on Malta’s iGaming industry?
While it appears that we are no closer to ascertaining how the Brexit saga will eventually unfold, there is a distinct possibility that a so-called ‘Hard’ departure might have a direct impact on a number of key industries throughout the continent. One such example of this is Malta’s booming iGaming sector, which many believe might be affected by Brexit. The key reason for this is Gibraltar. Often a contentious talking point alongside the likes of the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Anguila, Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. However, the fundamental difference is that Gibraltar falls within the remit of the Single Market.
Netherlands: 183 companies register interest in Dutch igaming licence
A total of 183 businesses have registered their interest in applying for an online gaming licence in the Netherlands, according to Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling regulator. KSA asked companies eager to secure a Dutch licence to register their interest online between June 5 and June 21. More than half (89) of the registrants are foreign operators, of which 83 already hold some form of igaming licence in another country.
Netherlands: Regulator halts igaming affiliate marketing on 23 websites
The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has taken action to stop 23 affiliate marketing websites from promoting online gaming brands in the country. The move comes on the back of periodic research by the regulator into affiliate marketing activities in the Netherlands, with the KSA examining a total 44 sites as part of the study. The KSA identified igaming adverts on 26 of the websites, with 20 immediately withdrawing the ads after being contacted by the regulator. A further three only agreed to remove the adverts after the KSA warned it could impose a penalty.
Netherlands: Duty of care guidelines published
The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the has published its final duty of care guidelines, following a public consultation on the player protection measures. The consultation launched in March, after it was left to the KSA to determine what the requirement for licensees to have a duty of care to consumers should actually constitute. This was set out in the Remote Gaming Act, which passed the country’s Senate in February this year. KSA chair René Jansen said the regulator has published the guidelines to ensure operators paid particular attention to consumer attention when developing its strategy for the Dutch market.
Netherlands: Regulator proposes two-year cooling-off period for licensees
Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling regulator, has published a new draft rule, which states that to be eligible for an online gambling licence, a potential licensee must have refrained from offering online games of chance to Dutch consumers for two years. The Netherlands’ online gaming market is set to open for business from 2021, but until this point igaming remains prohibited.
Netherlands: Anti-money laundering guidelines published
Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has published its first official guidelines for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism in the country’s gambling market. Although the KSA’s guidelines are not classed as being legally binding or part of regulations in the country, the regulator said the measures are being put in place to protect both licensees and players from certain threats.
Spain: Betting on youth sports events to be banned
Spanish gambling regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) is to introduce new measures banning operators in the country from offering odds on sporting events where all or the majority of participants are under 18. The DGOJ said the move will help fight against fraud, prevent addictive behavior, protect minors and also safeguard the rights of participants in sports events.
Spain: New national commission to combat betting-related corruption
Spain’s Ministry of the Presidency has given the go-ahead for the formation of a new national commission which is due to tackle betting-related fraud as well as the prevention of sports corruption. The commission is due to consist of representatives from the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), the National Police, the Civil Guard, the Higher Sports Council as well as those affiliated with both sports competitions and the betting industry.
Sweden: Regulator invites gambling licensees to information meeting
Sweden’s gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, has invited its licensees for a meeting in September, days after an industry group sought more clarity on the market’s gambling rules. On 11 July, Spelinspektionen announced that it would convene an information meeting in Stockholm on September 17 for its gambling licensees. The brief notice said that the meeting’s agenda would be revealed when it sent out official invitations in mid-August. The news came two days after the Branschföreningen för onlinespel (BOS) online gambling trade group said it was “concerned and surprised” by the regulator’s recent decision to impose “very large sanctions” on eight online licensees “without any prior warning being issued” for taking wagers on football matches involving players under 19 years of age.
Sweden: Kindred and Betsson request to join ATG pools rejected
Kindred and Betsson have failed in a bid to join AB Trav och Galopp’s (ATG) horse racing pools, after Sweden’s Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) rejected the request. The Konkurrensverket concluded that ATG has the right to choose its trading partners, and added that by allowing the two operators to commingle pool betting liquidity with the market leader, it would harm competition in Sweden. By refusing the commingling request, Konkurrensverket said, Kindred and Betsson would instead be more likely to set up their own horse racing pools, thus increasing the range of products available to consumers.
UK: Gambling firms pledge £60m to help problem gamblers
The UK’s biggest gambling firms have agreed to contribute more money to fund treatment for problem gamblers. The owners of William Hill, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Skybet and Bet 365 will increase their voluntary levy on gambling profits from 0.1% to 1% up to 2023 – a contribution of £60m. It will be “a step change” in how they tackle addiction, the firms said.
UK: Regulator issues reminder to operators on new customer identity verification rules
The Gambling Commission has revealed it is continuing to receive complaints from gambling consumers concerning operators only asking them for ID at the point they ask to withdraw funds from their account. As a result, the Commission has issued a reminder to remote operators to be aware of the changes to the license condititions introduced on 7 May this year. The Commission said that if an operator delays a request to withdraw funds due to insufficient ID being verified, that operator may be in breach of a new licence condition and may find themselves subject to regulatory action as a result.
UK: 71% of EFL fans comfortable with betting sponsorship
More than two thirds of English Football League supporters believe that gambling companies’ involvement in the football league is acceptable, according to a survey of more than 27,000 fans. Furthermore, 62% of fans believe that the betting industry’s involvement in football was acceptable with suitable safeguards to protect the young and problem gamblers. Over half of supporters surveyed haven’t placed a bet online in the last 12 months, whilst of those that had, the most common frequency – once a week – accounted for 13 per cent. (see pages 133-4 in the below)
- Italy – Online Market Registers Strong Q2 Ahead Of Advertising Ban
- Netherlands – Dutch gambling revenue surpasses €2bn in 2018
- Portugal – Online gambling market soars to record highs in Q1 2019
- Sweden – Nordic and Netherlands declines hit Betsson in Q2
- Switzerland – Casino revenue up in 2018 despite online competition
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