Monthly Newsletter – January 2019

Europe’s monthly online gambling news


EGBA’s Responsible Gaming Day 2018 (video)

On 4 December the EGBA held its annual Responsible Gaming Day 2018 in the European Parliament, Brussels. The event included panel discussions on making the EU digital economy work for consumers, responsible gambling tools, and gambling advertising. Speakers included European Commissioner Vera Jourova and MEPs Dita Charanzova (Czech) and Miriam Dalli (Malta). We have produced a highlight video and full video recording of the event, which you can access through the weblink below, this playlist also includes interviews with selected speakers about various issues related to responsible gambling. Source: EGBA.

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Consumer protection in EU online gambling regulation – Dr Margaret Carran, City University London (video)

In this video Dr Margaret Carran from the City University London presents a recent study “Consumer protection in EU online gambling regulation” which reviewed the national implementation of selected key provisions of the European Commission’s 2014 recommendation for consumer protection in online gambling. The study found that major gaps exists in the consumer protection rules for online gambling in EU member states. For example, only 14 member states have established national self-exclusion registers and only 13 member states require ‘no underage gambling’ signs on gambling advertisements. Source: EGBA.

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CEN: GSA Europe’s Managing Director Elected Co-lead of CEN’s TC456 Committee

GSA Europe’s Managing Director Mark Pace has been elected by the Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN) to lead the creation of a European Union online gaming reporting standard. CEN has established Technical Committee 456 to create this standard in support of online gambling supervision. GSA Europe joined Technical Committee 456 as a Liaison Organization in 2017. The Technical Committee’s mandate from the European Commission is directly aligned with work that GSA Europe has already started, namely, to create a single standard set of data elements and single standard way in which data is provided by online gambling providers to EU Member State regulatory authorities. Source: GSA Europe.

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EGBA member Betsson awarded eCOGRA’s safe and fair seal

Swedish operator Betsson, one of the world’s largest gaming groups, is the latest operator to be awarded eCOGRA’s Safe and Fair Seal. The award of the seal is based on the achievement of the objectives of player protection, fair gambling and responsible operator conduct, and this followed a comprehensive onsite review by eCOGRA’s audit specialists to ensure compliance with the eCOGRA Generally Accepted (eGAP) Requirements. The latest release of the eGAP Requirements considers the compliance requirements of various regulated markets and, where appropriate, encompasses the CEN Workshop Agreement 16259:2014 Responsible Remote Gambling Measures, the European Commission’s 2014 Recommendation for the common protection of consumers of online gambling services in the EU, the European Parliament’s Fourth European Union Anti-Money Laundering Directive, industry-relevant information security requirements as outlined in ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and privacy principles as outlined in the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Source: eCOGRA

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Fraud on the tennis court: criminal network gained millions fixing professional matches – EUROPOL

An organised crime group involved in manipulating professional tennis competitions was dismantled in an operation led by the Spanish Civil Guard and coordinated by the National High Court of Spain (Audiencia Nacional), supported by Europol. In total 83 suspects were arrested, 28 of them are professional players. The investigation was triggered in 2017 when the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) denounced irregular activities related to pre-arranged matches in the ITF Futures and Challenger tournaments. The suspects bribed professional players to guarantee predetermined results and used the identities of thousands of citizens to bet on the pre-arranged games. A criminal group of Armenian individuals used a professional tennis player, who acted as the link between the gang and the rest of the criminal group. Source: Europol.

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National developments

Denmark: Government proposes new responsible gambling controls

The Danish authorities have notified a new Executive Order on online betting and the Executive Order on online casino though the TRIS system on 21 January 2019. These Executive Orders impose a number of new requirements on operators, such as mandatory deposit limits, and a requirement for problem gambling support resources to be prominently displayed. They also propose to introduce a range of controls around sales promotions, bringing in limits on how operators can market offers to players, and restrictions on the sums that may be offered. Source: European Commission.

Denmark: Report on illegal gambling

Denmark’s regulated online gambling market has resulted in a “limited” market for illegal gambling operators, although social media gambling and skin betting remain a problem. A new report by Denmark’s Spillemyndigheden regulatory agency claims that the number of unauthorized gambling sites offering services to local gamblers without local permission identified remains “continuously low.” Through December 2018, Spillemyndigheden conducted three web searches to identify illegal gambling operators and sites promoting such operations. These searches identified 742 possibly problematic websites, more than twice the number identified in 2017, although Spillemyndigheden noted that the 2018 searches were “broader than usual to ensure that previously legal sites have not changed their contents.” Source: Calvin Ayre.

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Ireland: Reform of gambling laws to include ‘big beast’ regulator

Long-promised laws to regulate the gambling sector in Ireland will include a “big beast” independent regulator employing up to 100 people. The Minister of State with responsibility for the gambling industry, David Stanton, has admitted he is “frustrated” at the protracted delay in publishing the legislation, which is now running almost five years behind schedule. However, Mr Stanton has defended the delay on the basis that there have been enormous changes in the industry – especially with the rise of online betting, much of it being offered by companies located offshore. He said the stand-alone regulator’s office, when established, would deal with gambling addiction, advertising, sponsorship, underage gambling, promotions, and the myriad of online offerings including “games”, “virtual betting” and continuous betting. Source: Irish Times.

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Malta: MGA Publishes its Interim Performance Report for the Gaming Industry for the Period January to June 2018

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published its interim performance report for the period between January to June 2018. The report reviews the performance of the MGA, highlighting major projects undertaken and key achievements throughout the same period. It also looks at the gaming industry from an economic perspective, the value added, employment, number of licensed operators, together with developments in demand trends and in the supply capabilities of operators. The report includes a section highlighting the key performance indicators for the first half of 2018 as well as a medium-term outlook into the future, followed by a detailed report explaining key statistics for land-based and remote gaming sectors. Source: MGA.

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Slovakia: National Council overrules Presidential veto on gambling laws

The Slovak National Council has voted to overrule President Andreja Kiska’s veto to introduce a new regulatory framework for gambling in the country. The Gambling Act, which sets out various new rules and regulations for online and land-based gambling in Slovakia, was approved by the country’s parliament on December 4 and sent to Kiska (pictured) for ratification. However, Kiska opted to veto the leglslation two weeks later, citing concerns about measures such as the self-exclusion register and a lack of clarity as to how tax funds collected from gambling will be used. The National Council has now intervened to overrule Kiska’s veto, clearing the way for the Gambling Act, composed by the Slovak Ministry of Finance, to come into law. The amended Gambling Act has been designed to reflect regulation in other European Union markets such as Denmark, Sweden, Romania and the Czech Republic, with an emphasis of ramping up consumer protection measures. Source. iGaming Business.

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Sweden: Regulator issues licence threat over self-exclusion failings

Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen has threatened to begin rescinding online gambling licences of operators that do not comply with the self-exclusion scheme. The regulator has noted a series of failings since Sweden launched its regulated market on January 1 and has now ordered operators to adjust their systems or risk being removed from the regulated market. Licensed operators in the country are required to make checks against the register before allowing customers to gamble online. Should the player have self-excluded, the operator is to immediately block their access to the site. More than 10,000 people have signed up to the register, which was introduced in Sweden to coincide with the opening of the country’s regulated iGaming market on January 1. Source: iGaming Business.

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UK: Flaws exposed in online self-exclusion scheme

The head of a scheme designed to help problem gamblers says she is “deeply concerned” after an investigation found people were able to cheat the system. More than 50,000 people have signed up to GamStop, which was launched in April 2018 to allow addicts to ban themselves from online betting platforms. The BBC found a gambler who had self-referred could still place bets online by simply changing their user details. GamStop’s Fiona Palmer admitted the service was not working well enough. The Gambling Commission said it was looking to bring in tougher ID checks. Source: BBC News.

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UK: Gambling Commission updates AML guidance

The UK Gambling Commission has updated its guidance for non-remote and remote casinos on “The prevention of money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism” and its advice for all other operators on Duties and responsibilities under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The purpose of these updates is to incorporate changes in relation to the submission of SARs by operators where the remote gambling equipment used in a transaction which is known or suspected to involve money laundering is located in Gibraltar and involves a British customer. These changes are on page 69 of the updated casino guidance and on page 38 of the updated POCA advice document. Paragraph 6.45 of the casino guidance has also been amended to make it clearer and to provide further guidance. The updated guidance and advice will come into effect on 1 January 2019, and the Commission urges operators to familiarise themselves with the changes. Source: Gambling Commission.

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Market news


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