Monthly Newsletter – April 2019
Europe’s monthly online gambling news
EGBA event: 2019 European Elections: The Case For And Against The EU
On 10 April, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) co-hosted with EU media outlet POLITICO an event “2019 European Elections: The Case For and Against the EU” which brought together political experts, bookmakers, pollsters and journalists to debate the future of the European Union and their predictions around the upcoming European elections. Participating at the event was Matthew Shaddick, Head of Politics at Ladbrokes, and Mr Henrik Tjärnström, the CEO of Kindred Group, who delivered a keynote speech about why the incoming European Commission and Parliament need to make the EU single market work better for Europe’s online consumers and digital sectors, like online gambling. You can watch the full event (80mins) via the weblink below. Source: EGBA.
Europe’s Single Market rules need to be better enforced to benefit consumers
On 22 March, the European Council met in Brussels and invited the European Commission to come forward with a long-term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of Europe’s Single Market rules. The EGBA welcomes the Council’s statement and urges the incoming European Commission and Parliament to focus on ensuring the Single Market rules are better implemented, and enforced, to benefit European consumers, particularly in the online environment. Source: EGBA.
Kindred CEO calls for better functioning EU single market for online consumers
At a recent EGBA event in Brussels Mr Henrik Tjärnström, the CEO of Kindred Group, delivered a keynote speech about why the incoming European Commission and Parliament need to make the EU single market work better for Europe’s online consumers and digital sectors, like online gambling. In the speech Mr Tjärnström called for more common EU rules for the online gambling sector to ensure the highest standards and efficient regulations, which offer consumers the same safe protections and rights regardless of where they live. Source: EGBA.
Monopoly models no longer preferred choice of online gambling licensing system in EU
While in the past, either there was no regulation specifically for online gambling or it was only allowed for state monopolies to provide online gambling services in most countries, today the overwhelming majority of EU member states have adopted multi-license regimes which allow private operators to obtain a license and provide their services in that country. In 2009, only 5 EU member states had competitive multi-license regimes, whereas the rest had monopolies and prohibitions. Today, the situation has changed dramatically, and the regulatory model of a multi-license regime has now been adopted in 25 EU member states. You can find out more information in our new overview map contained in the weblink below. Source: EGBA.
H2 Gambling Capital and iGaming Business publish monthly online gambling market statistics
H2 Gambling Capital and iGaming Business are pleased to bring you the April 2019 iGaming Dashboard. The iGaming Dashboard is your monthly overview of the igaming sector in numbers and enables you to follow the evolution of the market. We have also recently added the pre-match vs. in-play split for global sports betting GGR. The graphs show how total global gambling gross win for igaming will evolve between now and 2023, while geographical breakdowns provide an overview of revenue levels for key regions around the world. Source: iGaming Business.
Bookmakers say VAR disrupting in-play football markets, call for richer official data
Betting operators say the introduction of Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) in football is hindering their ability to offer in-play betting markets on competitions like the Fifa World Cup, FA Cup and the Uefa Champions League. The gambling firms say inconsistencies in the way the technology is applied across these different tournaments, and a lack of data indicating when and why it is being used, is making it difficult for sportsbooks to price their in-play betting markets. Speaking at last week’s Betting on Football conference in London, Joe Petyt, head of in-play football at Sky Bet, complained that the company had paid out for goals that were subsequently disallowed by VAR rulings and said the bookmaker was having to prevent its customers from cashing out bets to protect itself. This, he said, was leading to a poor customer experience and was eroding margins at the gambling firm. Source: Sport Business.
Tennis Integrity Unit alerts dip to record low in Q1
The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), the sport’s anti-corruption body, has reported 21 match betting alerts for the first quarter of 2019, the lowest quarterly figure since its integrity data was first made public in 2015. The total for the three months to March 31, 2019, represents a decline on the 38 reports that were filed in the corresponding period last year, as well as a sharp drop on 77 that were submitted in the final quarter of 2018. Of the 21 reports that were filed in Q1, 20 were in relation to events on either the ATP Challenger or ITF World Tennis Tour (WTT) circuits. ITF WTF Men’s $15k events produced the most alerts, with a total of eight submitted in the quarter. Source: iGaming Business.
Cyprus: Cyprus Betting Regulators Ask for €1 Million to Fight Gambling Addiction
According to data sent to parliament by the chair of the Authority, Ioanna Fiakkou, the budget requested will be spent on designing a strategy promoting responsible gaming and dealing with cases of gambling addiction. Plans include the creation of a specialized prevention and intervention centre aimed at providing information and support to gamblers and the general public and strengthening existing centres providing services to people experiencing addiction problems. A dedicated online platform that allows players to be self-excluded from betting and gaming services will also be set up, while educational seminars will be carried out in schools and elsewhere. Source: Financial Mirror.
Denmark: Danish regulator warns operators about “free” bonus offers
Danish gambling regulatory agency, Spillemyndigheden, has warned those with an online gambling licence to be clear about the use of terms such as “free” in bonus offer advertisements. According to the industry regulator, the use of the word “free” in gambling advertisements can be misleading to the customer, especially if the offer involves a turnover requirement. Spillemyndigheden has outlined that this is strictly against the Danish Marketing Practices Act, and must therefore be addressed. As part of the statement issued to online licensees, the warning will also apply to the terms “free of charge”, “free spins”, and “free bet” if the offer involves a turnover requirement. Source: SBC News.
Denmark: Danish Spillemyndigheden blocks access to 25 sites
In a move to block access to unlicenced gaming websites, the Danish Gambling Authority Spillemyndigheden has blocked access to 25 sites after petitioning the country’s telecommunications providers. Under court order from Copenhagen City Court, Danish internet providers are now obliged to block access to ten igaming sites, in addition to 15 skin betting websites. Of the 25 total sites, 1xBet has been blocked by Spillemyndigheden in addition to a number of Curaçao-based operators. Equinox Dynamic’s Nordic Casino, Orientxpresscasino and La Fiesta Casino sites have all been blocked in addition to Game Tech Group’s Ramses Casino and two domains for its Cashpot Casino site. Source: SBC News.
Finland: Problem gamblers not helped by Veikkaus gambling monopoly, survey finds
Finland needs to address the growing issue of problem gambling, according to a report about the results from a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The survey aimed to measure the effects of the merger of the three state gaming agencies into a single firm, Veikkaus. In 2017, horse betting outfit Fintoto and casino and fruit-machine firm RAY were merged with Veikkaus – which at the time only handled the national lottery. The effective result was that it created a gambling monopoly in the country. There were hopes in some circles that the merger – which received approval from the EU – would help to limit the damaging effects of gambling. While the number of male problem gamblers has declined somewhat since the merger, the difficulties of serious problem gamblers appear to have deepened even further. Source: YLE Finland.
Finland: Finns not in favour of Finland’s gambling monopoly
More Finns support than oppose the idea of abolishing Finland’s gambling monopoly and adopting a gambling licence system, as indicated by the survey conducted by Bilendi Oy. 31 per cent of Finns want to abolish the gambling monopoly of the state-controlled company Veikkaus Ltd and adopt a gambling licence system instead, whereas 27 per cent of Finns are against the idea. The rest either cannot say their opinion or have a neutral stance in the matter. Source: European Gaming.
Ireland: Six-year delay in gambling reform frustrates minister
A minister has confessed to feeling frustrated about the delay in introducing new laws to regulate the gambling industry. The Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill, which was recently approved by the government, would establish an independent regulator responsible for the licensing of all gambling operators. It would also set up a social fund to provide treatment for gambling addicts, funded by a levy on licence holders. David Stanton, a junior minister at the Department of Justice, said that an earlier version of the updated legislation had not progressed partly because it needed to be adapted to the rise of online gambling. Source: The Times.
Ireland: Online bookies face hit as Government weighs two-tier tax
Online bookies could face a 20pc tax on gross profits as the Government seeks EU approval for a new two-tier betting tax plan. According to industry sources, a review of the decision to double betting tax to 2pc of turnover is now focusing on a dual-tax system that would see traditional betting shops pay 10pc tax on gross profit. The proposal originated from the industry itself, which has warned of significant job losses and shop closures as a result of the doubling in betting tax on turnover. While the review is ongoing, it is understood that officials have already been told by the EU that there is no issue with the proposal in principle, although further detail will be required. Source: Irish Independent.
Italy: Italy’s gambling ad ban could have unintended consequences
Speaking to Italian business news sources, Bepi Pezzulli, the new General Counsel of SKS365, Italy’s leading bookmaker, has detailed insights of the stark realities facing all gambling incumbents, under the governance of the Lega-5Star coalition government. Pezzulli forms part of a new SKS365 leadership team, who took control of the bookmaker in January, following a number of high-profile executive departures. SKS365’s new Counsel outlines that in a short period of time Lega-5Star hostile Dignity Decree policies have impacted all active Italian betting incumbents – with Pezzulli outlining the far-reaching negative impact on Italian betting’s stakeholder value chain. Source: SBC News.
Latvia: Latvia imposes new restrictions on gambling sites and customers
Latvia is targeting both unauthorized online gambling operators and their local customers following amendments to the country’s gambling laws. Earlier this month, Latvia’s parliament (Saeima) approved amendments to the nation’s gambling laws to limit its citizens’ ability to access to internationally licensed online gambling operators. Going forward, banks are prohibited from processing payments between Latvian punters and sites not approved to operate in the country. Financial institutions and internet service providers (ISPs) will also be required to forward the names of Latvian citizens who attempt to transact with unauthorized gambling sites. Individuals caught attempting to commit such heinous acts will henceforth face administrative fines of up to €350 per incident. Gamblers could face additional punishment for avoiding taxation on their winnings (currently 23% on any sum over €3k). Source: Calvin Ayre.
Netherlands: Regulator completes first phase of player protection consultation
Dutch gaming regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has completed a series of public meetings on its proposed player protection regulations as it prepares for the opening of the Netherlands’ regulated igaming market. The final meeting took place in Rotterdam yesterday (April 11), following consultations in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Utrecht and Zwolle, taking in discussions with gaming operators and suppliers, healthcare professionals and other experts. The regulator said the meetings showed there was broad support for its proposed consumer protection controls, set out in a consultation document that was published in March. Source: iGaming Business.
Netherlands: Dutch trade body calls for tax hike reversal
Frits Huffnagel, chairman of Dutch gambling trade body Van Kansspelen Branche-organisatie, has called on a temporary gambling tax increase to be reversed after the country revealed an €11bn (£9.4bn/$12.4bn) budget surplus for 2018. The 2018 surplus – equivalent to 1.5% of the Netherlands’ gross domestic product – came after an increase from 29% to 30.1% of gross gaming revenue was introduced in July last year. Under the country’s Remote Gaming Act, which was finally approved in February by the Senate upper house of the Dutch legislature some five years after it had been introduced by the House of Representatives, operators will eventually be taxed at 29.1% of GGR. Source: iGaming Business.
Portugal: EGBA calls for online gambling tax review in Portugal to improve functioning of the market
EGBA has urged the Portuguese gambling authorities to review the country’s tax rules for online gambling to improve the functioning of its online market. This comes as Portuguese media report that 75% of Portugal’s online gamblers are playing outside of Portugal’s regulated online gambling market – depriving the state of valuable tax revenue from gambling and leaving Portugal’s online gamblers unprotected by Portugal’s local consumer protection safeguards for online gambling. EGBA urges the authorities to apply equal taxes across all online gambling products – and based on gross gaming revenue (GGR). Source: EGBA.
Sweden: Swedish self-exclusion register surpasses 30,000
More than 30,000 people have now signed up to the Spelpaus.se Swedish self-exclusion register, according to national gambling regulator Spelinspektionen. Introduced on January 1 to coincide with the launch of the country’s regulated market, the scheme enables Swedish consumers to block themselves from accessing licensed gambling services in the country and opt out of related marketing campaigns. Spelpaus.se is effective across licensed online casinos, slot games and lotteries, as well as land-based services including retail stores and bingo halls. Gambling operators are obliged to integrate with Spelpaus.se part of their licence requirements, with the regulator warning that those who fail to do so face punishment in the form of fines and potentially having their licence revoked. Source: iGaming Business.
Sweden: Sweden’s gambling licensees fined for self-exclusion fails
Sweden’s gambling regulator has fined two of its online licensees for allowing self-excluded gamblers to access online gambling products. Spelinspektionen regulatory body announced that it had imposed a SEK4m (US$430k) penalty on Genesis Global Ltd, which operates nine Swedish-licensed online gambling brands, for allowing play from customers whose names appear on the Spelpaus self-exclusion register. The failures date back to the first few days of Sweden’s new regulated online gambling market in early January. Genesis Global said at the time that the problem stemmed from “a failure in a third-party’s system integrating to Spelpaus” and that it had taken adequate steps to fix the integration problem. Source: Calvin Ayre.
UK: Gambling Commission publishes its 2019-20 business plan
The Gambling Commission for England, Scotland and Wales has set out its business plan for the 2019-20 year, with a continued focus on protecting consumers, preventing gambling-related harm and raising overall standards in the industry. The plan highlights the projects and milestones that the UK regulatory body aims to reach or meet over the next 12 months as part of its ongoing strategy, which runs from 2018 until 2021. “We put consumers at the heart of our approach, which requires us to strike a balance between the enjoyment people get from gambling and the risks that gambling can present,” Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said. Source: Gambling Commission.
- EU – PartyPoker fraud team launches bot clampdown
- EU – Kindred integrates new GiG Comply technology to monitor affiliate activity
- Denmark – Denmark’s online casino market growing at the expense of betting
- Greece – OPAP banks on VLTs, new digital betting platform for 2019 growth
- Italy – Italy online casino, virtual betting markets up one-fifth in March
- Netherlands – Holland Casino hit by visitor decline as profits slip in 2018
- Poland – Poland’s Totalizator Sportowy enjoys record sales in 2018
- Sweden – Kindred moves to new premises in central Stockholm – will hire 250 new employees
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