Monthly Newsletter – May 2020

Europe’s monthly online gambling news.

New analysis shows EGBA’s responsible advertising code can reinforce national advertising rules

The European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), was mandated by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) to conduct a gap analysis exercise, to assess how the new EGBA Code of Conduct on Responsible Advertising for Online Gambling fits in comparison with the applicable regulatory and self-regulatory advertising rules in 15 selected European countries. The EASA analysis found that the measures introduced by EGBA’s Code are broadly consistent and congruent with national requirements on gambling advertising. In some of the countries, the Code was even found to be overall stricter than the applicable national provisions, with certain parts of the Code considered to be more specific in nature.

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EGBA hosts responsible advertising webinar with Gambling Compliance (video)

On 19 May, EGBA hosted a responsible advertising webinar with Vixio Gambling Compliance “A look into the Future of Online Gambling Advertising in Europe” . At the webinar, EGBA presented its new code of conduct on responsible advertising and took part in a debate with representatives from the Advertising Standards Authority (UK) and the European association of TV and radio saleshouses (egta). The webinar was organised by EGBA to introduce and promote its advertising code and a video recording of the webinar is available in the weblink below.

> Watch the webinar

European Commission publishes Anti-Money Laundering Action Plan

On 7 May, the European Commission launched its Action Plan for a comprehensive Union policy on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. The action plan announces a coordination mechanism for national financial intelligence units (FIUs), EU supervision of obliged entities either through the European Banking Authority or a dedicated EU body, tougher rules against cybercrime and a harmonised rule-book translating parts of the Anti-Money-Laundering Directive into a directly applicable regulation, among other things. The Commission intends to deliver on all these actions by early 2021. The Commission has launched a public consultation in parallel to the adoption of this action plan. Deadline for feedback is 29 July 2020.

> Read more

National developments

Belgium: Online gambling sector endorses EGBA’s responsible advertising code

The Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO) has endorsed EGBA’s new code of conduct on responsible advertising for online gambling. EGBA’s responsible advertising code, published recently, aims to strengthen the responsibility of advertising for online gambling in Europe, through the introduction of essential standards for advertising content and dedicated measures for social media. The code applies to all media platforms and has a particular focus on minor protection.

> Read more

Belgium: Gambling officials protest advertising ban

Belgian gambling officials have spoken out against a proposed ban on gambling advertising at a parliamentary hearing, instead suggesting a range of measures to improve consumer protection. The executives received surprise support from the new president of the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC), Magali Clavie, who said a ban on advertising in Italy had not had much impact in reducing gambling stakes and risked bolstering the black market. She and other speakers recommended more research before making decisions on advertising restrictions. (SUBSCRIPTION ARTICLE)

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Denmark: Danes gamble less during coronavirus crisis

Since the lockdown of Denmark from 11 March 2020, all land-based casinos and gambling arcades have been closed. In addition, almost all sports tournaments have been put on hold or cancelled, which has affected the betting market. This shows from an analysis made by the Danish Gambling Authority about Danes gambling activities during the coronavirus crisis. A comparison between gambling data from 9 March to 3 May and the same period in 2019 reveals a decrease of 60 percent in deposits on bets at operators with a licence in Denmark.

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Germany: Government notifies new State Treaty to European Commission

Germany has submitted its overhauled gambling regulations to the European Commission, as the country prepares to implement the new framework from 1 July, 2021. The fourth editions of the State Treaty on Gambling, the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV) still must be ratified by 13 of the country’s 16 federal states before it can come into force. In particular, it must be ratified by the State Chancellery of Sachsen-Anhalt, which will host the new regulatory body formed through the legislation.

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Italy: Government aims to raise €90m through new betting turnover tax

The Italian government is to introduce an 0.5% tax on licensees’ sports betting turnover, which it expects to raise €90m (£80.1m/$98.8m) by the end of 2021, to fund the recovery of the country’s sports following the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) enforced shut-down. Decree Law no. 34, also known as the Decreto Rilancio, sets out a series of urgent measures covering Italy’s healthcare system, as well as providing support for employers and to help the economy recover from the pandemic. It passed into law last week, after the law was published in the country’s Official Gazette.

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Latvia: Operators fight Latvian gambling suspension in court

The Constitutional Court of Latvia has initiated two legal cases from operators challenging the country’s suspension of all gambling licenses. Online gambling was banned in Latvia in April, after clarification was issued on the country’s emergency coronavirus (Covid-19) bill passed in the Saeima of the Republic. The bill – signed by the country’s president, Egils Levits, on 22 March – called for the closure of all land-based venues but initially left the status of online gambling unclear.

> Read more

Lithuania: New report highlights risk of money laundering in Lithuania

Lithuania’s land-based casino industry faces a “very high” risk from money laundering, while the remote gambling sector faces a high risk, according to a risk assessment carried out by the country’s government. Risk levels for each aspect of Lithuania’s gambling industry were determined through “data from a variety of international and national sources”, international studies and reports and statistics provided by a sample of gambling businesses. The country’s Financial Intelligence Unit, supported by supervisory and law enforcement authorities, also contributed to the study.

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Malta: MGA forecasts 12% drop in gaming revenue for 2020

In April 2020, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), conducted a survey among its licensed online operators to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the gaming sector through its Information & Research unit. The survey covered a number of different areas, including impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Gaming Revenue (GR) or revenue, operating costs and investments. It also focused on the industry concerns and actions taken by operators during this pandemic. The results show that the worst hit sector is projected to be the B2C sector, in particular the operators exposed to Type 2 game types.

> Read more

Netherlands: Dutch trade body endorses EGBA’s European code on responsible gambling advertising

Speel Verantwoord, the Dutch online gambling trade organisation, has endorsed EGBA’s recently published European code of conduct on responsible advertising for online gambling. The code is the first pan-European initiative for gambling advertising and aims to strengthen consumer and minor protection in Europe by introducing essential standards for responsible advertising content and dedicated measures for social media. The code applies to EGBA members and other online gambling companies who sign up to it, and its application will be monitored by an independent third party.

> Read more

Norway: Gambling monopoly brought into question by new research – EGBA

Norway has long justified its exclusive state-owned gambling monopoly on the basis that the state is better placed to protect consumers – but new government-mandated research shows the country’s problem gambling rate is increasing. New research by the University of Bergen has revealed that Norway’s problem gambling rate has increased 62% since 2015, with 55,000 people currently affected and 122,000 more at risk. The research findings bring into question the country’s exclusive state-owned gambling monopoly and prove a fundamental rethink is needed to how the country regulates online gambling.

> Read more

Norway: Norsk charities launch study on ‘sensitive area’ of market models

Spillavhengighet Norge, Norway’s problem gambling association, has confirmed that it will study opposing market frameworks to Norway’s existing monopoly structure. The decision follows the conclusion of Spillavhengighet’s annual ‘Gaming Addiction Conference’, in which members unanimously voted to form a working group reviewing different market models. Operating under a monopoly framework, to date Norwegian gambling has been exclusively serviced by state-owned enterprises Norsk Tipping (betting/lotteries/gaming) and Rikstoto (racing).

> Read more

Spain: Country braces for market cull as restrictive decree nears

Spain’s impending royal decree and the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic will see operators flee the market amid a storm of M&A activity, experts have said. In the coming months, Spain is expected to ratify a royal decree that will outlaw around 80 percent of gambling adverts on TV, radio and social media. Ministers have said that only Italy’s total ban on gambling ads is more stringent. (SUBSCRIPTION ARTICLE)

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Spain: Former politician Arana appointed as DGOJ director general

Former politician Mikel Arana has been approved as the next director general of Spanish regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ). Arana was approved by the Council of Ministers after his appointment was proposed by Minister for Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzón. Arana is currently auditor of the Economic Control Office of the Basque Government, a role he took in May 2019, while he also teaches at the University of the Basque Country, from which he graduated in 1996.

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Sweden: Politicians should heed regulator’s concerns about deposit restrictions – EGBA

As part of Sweden’s measures to protect citizens during the coronavirus lockdowns, its government has proposed a number of restrictions on online gambling, including an enforced deposit limit of 5000 SEK (€471) per week for online gamblers. In response, the country’s gambling regulator has warned that the deposit limit will have a marginal effect on most Swedish gamblers and could drive high-spending customers towards unlicensed websites where they will have less consumer protection. In a recent written submission to the Swedish government, EGBA also outlined how the proposed deposit limit could have unintended and detrimental effects.

> Read more

Sweden: Online gambling in decline amid Covid-19 – Spelinspektionen

Online gambling rates in Sweden have declined since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), according to new data from the country’s Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen). The data, part of the of the first of a series of monthly reports Spelinspektionen was tasked with producing during the crisis, found that overall betting and gaming turnover in March and April was 5.9% and 5.4% year-on-year respectively. This contrasts with January, when online gaming turnover was up 21%, and February, for which a 9% increase was recorded.

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Sweden: Political decisions risk torpedoing Sweden’s gambling regulations – CEOs

CEOs from 12 online gambling companies, with approximately 50% share of the Swedish online gambling market between them, have signed an open letter to Sweden’s Minister for Social Security warning against further restrictions to the country’s licensed online gambling market. The letter was published by the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS).

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UK: Gambling Commission instructs tighter measures to protect consumers during lockdown

The Gambling Commission has issued new guidance for online operators. It ensures that consumers are further protected following the publication of new evidence that shows some gamblers maybe at greater risk of harm during lockdown. Included in the guidance is the need for affordability checks, prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers. The new guidance follows the Commission publishing data showing the impact that Covid-19 is having on consumers and the industry so far. Collected through the gambling industry and also through YouGov surveys this data shows that during lockdown gambling participation is down overall.

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UK: Latest gambling industry statistics published

Gambling industry statistics are published twice a year (in May and November) and provide the latest information on each sector regulated by the Gambling Commission. The latest statistics cover the period between October 2018 – September 2019. Please note that the data covered in these industry statistics does not include the Covid-19 period.

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UK: Minors’ exposure to gambling ads continues to decline

Children’s exposure to gambling advertising has declined is falling back to 2008 levels, amid an overall decline in TV viewing amongst children, according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA’s 2019 update on its monitoring of children’s exposure to advertising for age-restricted products revealed that children saw, on average, 2.5 TV gambling ads per week. This sees the rate of exposure fall to 2008 and 2009 levels, when children saw 2.2. and 2.7 gambling ads on TV, respectively.

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Market News

ItalyADM reveals horror show March for Italian betting 

Portugal – Online powers Portuguese gambling growth in Q1 

Sweden – Swedish gambling revenue falls despite online growth 

UK – William Hill punters bet on table tennis in sports lull

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