Newsletter – March 2019

Europe’s monthly online gambling news


Opinion: Lack of EU betting rules is gambling with online players’ safety

Whether it’s placing a bet on your favorite football team, playing online poker, or betting on Michel Barnier to be the next European Commission President, gambling is a popular pastime for many Europeans. But how people gamble is changing. And regulation needs to keep up. The online era we live in is reshaping how we entertain ourselves in so many ways — and gambling is no different. And while online gambling is relatively new, it now represents 21 percent of all gambling activity in the EU and continues to grow. But with its increased popularity comes an even greater responsibility to ensure its players can play in a safe and responsible environment. Because while most Europeans gamble for fun and in a responsible way, approximately 1 percent gamble too much or too often — and more needs to be done to keep players safe when they play online. Source: EGBA/POLITICO.

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EGBA Publishes Overview Map Of Europe’s Online Gambling Licensing Regimes

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, today the overwhelming majority of EU member states have adopted multi-license regimes which allow several private operators to obtain a license and provide their services in that country. Only 5 EU member states had competitive multi-license regimes in 2009, whereas the rest had monopolies and prohibitions. In 2019, the situation has dramatically shifted and multi-license regimes have now been adopted in 25 member states.  You can out more information in our new overview map contained in the weblink below. Source: EGBA.

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National developments


Czech Republic: Government Considers Reforms To Attract Spurned Offshore Industry

The Czech Republic’s internationally unfriendly online gambling market could soon become a little more welcoming if its government removes the need for in-person player registration during planned talks, but wary market veterans are keeping their optimism in check. Since reforming its online gambling regime in 2017, the Czech Republic has issued 23 online licences, but only three of them are held by foreign operators and one of those is so far unused. PokerStars and PartyPoker are the only offshore operators legally active in the market, while a licence issued to Lottovate remains dormant. Source: Gambling Compliance ($).

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Denmark: Advertising code of conduct for the gambling industry agreed

Spillemyndigheden, the Danish Gambling Authority, has announced that national stakeholders have agreed on new responsibility provisions, measures and adjustments to be attached to the Danish Gambling Act. A political agreement has been approved which will see Spillemyndigheden enforce a new ‘Code of Conduct’ for all licensed gambling incumbents to adhere to, beginning 1 July 2019. Denmark’s new code seeks to establish a definitive benchmark on gambling industry practices, with regards to advertising, reducing problem gambling harms, combined with comprehensive consumer protections. Source: Spillemyndigheden/SBC News.

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Finland: The gambling monopoly will be forced to break

Sweden liberalised its gaming market at the beginning of the year, but in Finland, decision-makers intend to prevent foreign gaming companies from operating. Intentions can be explained by the fact that Veikkaus, who enjoys exclusive rights, is losing its position. Gambling is moving towards foreign companies, especially in digital channels. If Veikkaus’ market share falls below half, the exclusive system may be forced to give up due to pressure from the European Commission. Consulting company H2 Gambling Capital estimates that in online gaming, Veikkaus has a 67% market share compared to foreign competitors 33%. Source: Kauppalehti (via Google Translate).

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Germany: Federal state ratify Third State Treaty on Gambling

The Minister-Presidents of Germany’s 16 federal states have ratified the third amended State Treaty on Gambling, paving the way for operators to apply for sports betting licences in the market, while Schleswig-Holstein will be allowed to run its own, liberal regulatory regime. At the Minister-Presidents’ Conference earlier today (March 21), the lawmakers agreed to sign the Treaty, with licences to come into force from January 1, 2020 and run until June 30, 2021. This will effectively act as a placeholder, with a view to a complete overhaul of Germany’s gambling regulations by 2021. Source: iGaming Business.

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Ireland: Government approval for establishment of gambling regulatory authority

The Minister of State with special responsibility for gambling regulation, David Stanton TD, has announced that the Government has today approved the establishment of an Irish gambling regulatory authority. The decision is part of two initiatives agreed at cabinet in relation to the future regulation of gambling in Ireland. Establishing the gambling regulatory authority, as an independent statutory body under the auspices of the Department of Justice and Equality, is the key recommendation of the report of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling.Source: Department of Justice and Equality. ****EGBA’s reaction to the announcement can be found here.

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Ireland: Data shows two thirds of people gambled in last 12 months

Two-thirds of the population gambled in the last 12 months, according to the first set of data published on the extent of gambling in Ireland. Lottery tickets and scratch cards were the most common form of gambling, according to the data. The data has been published by two Ministers for State, Catherine Byrne and David Stanton, and it will be used to provide a baseline to assist in policy formation by the Government. The survey was carried out between August 2014 and August 2015, and involved 7,005 respondents. Source: RTE/Department of Health.

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Ireland: Finance Minister dismisses fears over lottery betting

The Irish Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, has rejected claims that lottery betting could harm the country’s national lottery. Speaking in response to a Parliamentary question, Donohoe (pictured) has said there does not appear to be “any evidence of a significant impact on the national lottery arising from online lottery betting at present”. Donohoe has also said contributions made by the national lottery to good causes has “not yet been materially affected by other developments” in terms of online or electronic lotteries, adding that the level of tax paid by the national lottery “attests to that”. Source: iGaming Business.

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Italy: Bookmakers Granted ‘Palpable Error’ Powers

Italian bookmakers are to be granted the right to refuse to pay out on mispriced bets for the first time, along with a list of other industry-positive changes recently approved by the country’s finance ministry. Under the new regulations, Italian bookmakers will also be permitted to offer Asian handicap betting and provide punters with an early cash-out service. A cap on winnings has also been increased to €50,000, five times the current limit. The changes to betting regulations were authored by regulator AAMS, part of the larger economic regulator ADM, and recently signed off by minister for the economy Giovanni Tria. Source: Gambling Compliance ($).

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Malta/Sweden: Malta Gaming Authority signs MoU with the Swedish Gambling Authority

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Spelinspektionen (the Swedish Gambling Authority) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purposes of enhanced cooperation between the two authorities in furtherance of the authorities’ public policy objectives and mutually common values. The aim of this MoU is to facilitate on-going close communications between the two authorities, and to support effective sharing of information on matters of mutual interest and policy areas. Source: MGA.

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Malta: MGA publishes a Preliminary Market Consultation Document to request information on projects for a Unified Self-Exclusion System

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has recently issued a Preliminary Market Consultation (PMC) document to request information pertaining to possible project implementations which could provide a Unified Self-Exclusion System to be applied to the regulated gaming industry in Malta. The PMC document may be accessed via the Maltese Government’s Electronic Public Procurement System (ePPS). All submissions are also to be sent through the ePPS. The closing date for this preliminary market consultation process is 31 May 2019. Source: MGA.

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Netherlands: “New gambling law makes Ksa better able to protect consumers” – René Jansen

After the entry into force of the Remote Gambling Act, which legalizes online gambling, the Gaming Authority is better able to protect consumers against undesirable effects of gambling. That is written by René Jansen, chairman of the board of the Gaming Authority, in the Annual Report 2018 published (March 15, 2019). The Senate approved the Remote Gambling Act on 19 February. This law makes online gambling legal under strict conditions. The law creates a licensing system for being allowed to offer online gambling in the Netherlands. Source: KSA (via Google Translate).

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Portugal: Government Initiates Gambling Tax Review

Portugal’s heavy gambling tax to finally be reviewed by the government as the local regulated market faces channelization issues The government of Portugal has tasked a working group with analyzing the state of the country’s online gambling industry and assessing whether changes in the way gambling services are taxed should be implemented, local media oulet Infocul reports. Source: Casino News Daily.

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Romania: Online gambling sites now imposing new 2% deposit tax

Romania’s online gamblers are starting to feel the negative effects of their government’s new tax rules. Shortly before last Christmas, Romania’s government issued a surprise announcement that, starting early this year, locally-licensed operators would now be required to pay a 2% tax on their gambling turnover, with the first payment to be delivered to the government as of February 25. But shortly before that deadline arrived, the government announced a change of heart. Source: Calvin Ayre.

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Sweden: Betting Giant Says Swedish Market Not Big Enough for ‘70 of Us’

Sweden’s AB Svenska Spel expects a wave of consolidation in the nation’s gambling industry as the $2.5 billion market adjusts to new regulations and the state-owned casino operator moves more offerings online. Patrik Hofbauer, chief executive officer of the gambling giant which competes with listed firms including Kindred Group Plc, LeoVegas AB and Betsson AB, expects that only some 5 to 10 of the about 70 companies granted licenses under the new regulations this year will prevail. Source: Bloomberg.

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Sweden: Regulator to crack down on excessive advertising

The Spelinspektionen has set out plans to crack down on excessive advertising in Sweden’s regulated market, while the national gambling regulator has moved to formalise a cooperation deal with the country’s Konsumentverket consumer agency as part of this effort. The regulator has said that while it does not currently have a solid definition as to how much advertising is considered excessive, this will become apparent as the regulated market matures. Source: iGaming Business. Further information can be found here and here via the Spelinspektionen website (via Google translate).

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Sweden: Court rules Spelpaus cannot be overruled

The Administrative Court of Linköping has ruled that Swedish gamblers cannot end periods of self-exclusion before the agreed period. The ruling was made following a challenge from a player, who had attempted to have themselves removed from the country’s national self-exclusion database Spelpaus before the agreed period had concluded. Having had their request to be removed from the database rejected by Spelpaus, they took their case to court. However the Administrative Court ruled that if an individual could voluntarily end their suspension, it would undermine the purpose of Spelpaus. Source: iGaming Business.

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UK: Regulator reports dip in problem gambling in 2018

The Gambling Commission, responsible for regulating gambling in England, Scotland and Wales, has reported a slight decline in the prevalence of problem gambling in 2018. The latest figures, released as part of the regulator’s annual investigation into gambling participation and public perception of the industry, suggest that 0.5% of people are classed as problem gamblers, based on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PSGI). This is based on a survey of 4,009 individuals in England, Scotland and Wales. Source: Gambling Commission.

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UK: 888 secures Malta licence, establishes Ireland server ahead of Brexit

British online gambling company 888 Holdings Plc said on Tuesday that it secured a gaming licence in Malta and established a server in Ireland to mitigate a potential disruption from Brexit. 888 became the second gambling company after GVC Holdings Plc to relocate servers hosting online gambling platforms to Ireland. Source: Reuters.

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Market News


 

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