The Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019, Ireland’s placeholder legislation for the country’s betting and gaming sector, has progressed to the committee stage in the Dáil Éireann. Meanwhile Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has confirmed that work on an alternative tax system for independent bookmakers to replace the 2% turnover tax is ongoing. Irish gaming bill progresses in Dáil Tags: Mobile Online Gambling OTB and Betting Shops 20th June 2019 | By contenteditor AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Address Finance Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Topics: Finance Legal & compliance Sports betting Regions: UK & Ireland The Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019, Ireland’s placeholder legislation for the country’s betting and gaming sector, has progressed to the committee stage in the Dáil Éireann.Meanwhile Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has confirmed that work on an alternative tax system for independent bookmakers to replace the 2% turnover tax in place since January this year is ongoing.The Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 is designed to update Ireland’s 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Amendment Act by setting maximum gaming machine stakes and prizes at €10 and €750 respectively.It will also formally impose age restriction of 18 years on betting and gaming products, and set out a new, improved licensing system for lotteries.A second reading of the bill in the Dáil took place earlier this week, with a motion to refer the legislation to the Select Committee on Justice and Equality proposed and accepted. The bill has already been approved by the Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Irish Parliament (Oireachtas).While Deputies were largely supportive of the bill, many expressed disappointment at its narrow scope.“We believe there is need for much more thorough control and regulation of gambling,” Fianna Fáil Deputy Jim O’Callaghan said. “Regrettably, the legislation before us deals only with very small aspects of the issues concerning gambling that are problematic in this country.”Others, including Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, criticised delays in implementing the legislation, which was first mooted in 2013. However Minister of State David Stanton said the 2013 proposal was never drafted.“One of the things I have discovered even during the course of this bill is that it is extremely complex to draft,” Stanton said. “It takes a long time. I was involved in the prelegislative scrutiny phase through a committee at that time. Since then, things have changed again.”He also addressed the limited scope of the bill, noting that work on the Gambling Control Bill, which supersede the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 and establish a dedicated regulatory authority for the market, is ongoing. This new body will oversee licensing and enforcement activities, and establish advertising standards, customer monitoring and customer protection measures for the sector.The Gambling Control Bill is currently being developed by lawmakers, though it is unlikely to be presented to the Oireachtas before 2020, according to Stanton.In related news, Finance Minister Donohoe said he had held numerous meetings with representatives of independent bookmakers and with operators to gather views on the country’s 2% turnover tax.Implemented from January 1, 2019, the industry has long warned that this tax could lead to hundreds of shop closures and thousands of job losses. Following the new rate’s passage in November 2018, Donohoe agreed to an immediate review of the tax.Responding to a question from Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, Donohoe said the independent bookmaking sector had provided an alternative proposal to the 2% tax.“[I] am now engaging with the European Commission to ascertain whether that can be implemented,” he added.A tax strategy paper, due to be published during the summer, will update the Oireachtas on the options for potential changes, which could be implemented in the country’s 2020 budget.Despite this, Donohoe noted that the industry levy had not been raised since 1975, and stood “at an all time low”.However, Doherty urged immediate action: “I know we need to engage with the European Commission but I appeal to the Minister not to leave this until the autumn.“If there is a way to signal to the industry that a change is coming, that will give them the confidence to go to their bank managers and hold on a little longer knowing they do not have to close down their shop,” he said. “Many of these are in rural isolated communities. I would appreciate that.”
14th October 2019 | By Daniel O’Boyle British-based operators will have to ensure they are “established in the European Economic Area” if they wish to hold a Maltese license after Brexit, the Malta Gaming Authority has reminded stakeholders.The UK is currently set to leave the European Union (EU) on 31 October, and while talks are continuing over a deal, none has currently been agreed by both parties. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to leave the EU on 31 October even if no deal is agreed.In a guidance document on the UK’s exit from the European Union, the Malta Gaming Authority explained how the UK’s exit may affect regulatory matters for licensees.Regulation 10 of the country’s Gaming Authorisation Regulations establishes that a licence-holder “must be a person established within the European Economic Area.” If the UK does not remain part of the area after leaving the EU, the document states that UK-based operators are therefore “required to take the necessary measures in order to ensure that the entity that holds the licence meets this pre-requisite.”The MGA said options available to a licence-holder that needs to establish itself in the EU include transferring its license to another company within the same corporate group, or re-domiciliation.A transition period of 12 months will be available for licensees to establish themselves in the European Economic Area.The UK’s withdrawal from the EU may also affect Regulation 22, which calls for EU-licensed operators and suppliers not licensed in Malta, but providing a service in or from the country, to apply for a recognition notice with the MGA.Recognition notice applications sent before the UK leaves the EU will be valid for the full 12 months, but after this period, the notices would not be valid. Operators must then take actions such as applying for a licence with the MGA or applying for a recognition notice based on an EU license from another nation.The MGA added that Brexit should not affect its recognition of random number generator or game certificates issued according to UK standards; its acceptance of UK licensed and regulated payment methods or its acceptance of “essential components located in UK territory.”Licensees may also continue to have having offices, including key function holders performing their duties, in the UK.Last week, the British government published an eight-point checklist to help those working in the gambling industry prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit. British-based operators will have to ensure they are “established in the European Economic Area” if they wish to hold a Maltese license after Brexit, the Malta Gaming Authority has reminded stakeholders. MGA issues Brexit guidance to UK stakeholders Regions: Europe UK & Ireland Southern Europe Malta AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Tags: Online Gambling Legal & compliance Topics: Legal & compliance Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address
Tags: Mobile Online Gambling Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter “We have already identified and are investing in market opportunities which will generate sustainable growth in the future. I look forward to the coming months to continue to evolve our strategy, progress with the transformation program and execution of our strategic plan.” 19th December 2019 | By contenteditor XLMedia has admitted that the business will have to ramp up expenditure to support sustainable growth in the medium term, prompting the performance marketing specialist to launch a strategic review with a view to overhauling its operating model. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Casino & games Email Address XLMedia has admitted that the business will have to ramp up expenditure to support sustainable growth in the medium term, prompting the performance marketing specialist to launch a strategic review with a view to overhauling its operating model.In a trading update released today (19 December) XLMedia said revenue for the year ended 31 December was likely to come in around $78m (£59.5m/€70.0m), down from 2018’s $117.9m total. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation will likely to be around $32m.While it said it was “encouraged” by the roll-out of sports betting across the US, and was looking for M&A opportunities to accelerate its expansion, regulatory uncertainty in other territories continued to create significant uncertainty for the business.In 2019 it has suffered from difficulties in the newly-regulated (and strictly policed) Swedish market, and seen new regulations force a number of its clients from Switzerland. It has also seen the contribution from its UK business decline as a result of an increase in remote gaming duty.This has prompted an internal review, initiated by new chief executive Stuart Simms, after taking on his role in October, examining the company’s operating model, organisational structure and company culture.This has concluded with three key initiatives designed to “strengthen the foundations for the group’s wider growth aspirations” to be implemented going forward.Core to this will be a “transformation plan” to evolve its operating model and personnel strategy. This will touch on all areas of the business, with a view to highlighting which divisions need to be changed, scrapped or merged. Efforts are already underway, with a number of executive positions, both at headquarters and subsidiary levels eliminated to create a unified, aligned management team.However, XLMedia added, there will be particular emphasis on retaining and nurturing talent already within the business. This is expected to result in around $3m in “transformation costs” over 2019 and 2020.Publishing will also grow in importance, with its activities around the world set for heavy investment and expansion in 2020. With a network of over 2,000 content-rich websites across a range of sectors, the business believes consumer engagement to be its core skill.“As a global business, XLMedia will seek to further deploy its online real estate and market knowledge to expand its geographical footprint in areas such as North and Latin America and APAC, and to broaden its growth potential,” it explained.“Owning strong publishing assets puts the group in a position to create better engagement and results than other traditional performance marketing, whereby consumers actively choose the content they want to consume, generating both greater value and increased levels of engagement.”To facilitate this expansion of the publishing business, XLMedia will ramp up spending, both investing in its existing content sites to grow organically, as well as pursuing complementary acquisitions. Doing so will improve engagement in existing territories, while also allowing it to expand its reach into new verticals and territories.A review of XLMedia’s technology platform, to leverage opportunities around smart data analysis and artificial intelligence in order to deliver appropriate content and offers to consumers, will also be launched. This will be carried out over the coming three months, with future technology investments to be determined by the findings.These initiatives will result in increased investment in the business’ core capabilities, assets and new markets, above the levels originally projected for its 2020 financial year. Alongside the one-off transformation costs of $3m, the costs are expected to lead to a significant decline in EBITDA. Topics: Casino & games Marketing & affiliates Sports betting Strategy XLMedia plots operational overhaul in 2020 “Having now spent a couple of months immersed in the business, I am excited to be leading it towards the next phase of growth,” chief executive Stuart Simms explained. “Whilst there are some clear near-term headwinds and operating issues (similar in many other companies of our size and stage of development), our core expertise, assets and market presence remain incredibly strong.
Search for new TAB NZ CEO underway Horse racing Email Address AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Tags: Race Track and Racino Regions: Oceania New Zealand Topics: People Sports betting Horse racing Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter New Zealand’s Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) has announced that recruitment is underway to find the first chief executive of TAB NZ following the completion of the country’s racing reform process. 8th January 2020 | By Daniel O’Boyle New Zealand’s Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) has announced that recruitment is underway to find the first chief executive of TAB NZ following the completion of the country’s racing reform process.Executive recruitment specialist Caldwell Partners has been appointed to conduct the search, with a brief to identify a candidate with “proven experience in Australasia across the wagering, gaming or similar sectors”.“Recruitment is underway for a CEO to lead TAB NZ into a new era, utilising the strong existing platform to move the business to a truly commercial operation, redefining the TAB NZ brand for a highly successful and sustainable future, working alongside the TAB NZ Board, executive leadership team, racing Industry codes and governing bodies to achieve this,” RITA said.“Initially this role will also involve oversight of the completion of transitioning activities from RITA to TAB NZ.”The new hire will replace John Allen, who announced he was to resign at the end of 2019 in September. RITA chairman Dean McKenzie has stepped into the role of executive director until a new CEO is hired.RITA is set to transform into TAB NZ in June 2020, when a bill filed in December last year comes into effect. This establishes the operator as the only entity that can legally offer betting on racing and sports in New Zealand, with the power to launch new products, as well forming the Racing Integrity Board as the country’s anti-corruption watchdog.It follows the Racing Reform Act which came into force in July 2019, repealing New Zealand’s betting levy and allowing for a point of consumption tax and fees for the use of betting information to be imposed on offshore operators.
Rhode Island’s sports betting market saw revenue soar in January 2020 thanks to a strong performance from the Twin River casino in Lincoln. Casino & games Rhode Island’s sports betting market saw revenue soar in January 2020 thanks to a strong performance from the Twin River casino in Lincoln.Total revenue grew from $159,978 in January 2019 to $3.3m (£2.6m/€3.0m), though the prior year’s performance was impacted by a $124,373 loss from Twin River Tiverton, and the fact that mobile betting had not yet launched.Total stakes for the month, in which the National Football League playoffs took place, amounted to $26.9m, a 41.4% year-on-year improvement, with players winning $23.7m.Read the full story on iGB North America. Regions: US Rhode Island AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Twin River Lincoln drives RI betting growth in January Tags: Mobile Race Track and Racino Topics: Casino & games Finance Sports betting Horse racing Email Address 28th February 2020 | By contenteditor
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has criticised unlicensed operators for publishing adverts encouraging consumers to use their illegal online services to gamble while gaming venues in the country are closed due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. 18th March 2020 | By contenteditor Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has criticised unlicensed operators for publishing adverts encouraging consumers to use their illegal online services to gamble while gaming venues in the country are closed due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).Licensed gaming arcades and casinos across the Netherlands have been forced to shut their doors as part of a nationwide effort to slow the spread of Covid-19.However, the KSA said that since the mass closure, it has seen an increase in advertising by online operators. iGaming remains illegal in the country, until the market opens for business from July 2021, after the Remote Gambling Act comes into force from 1 January.However, until the market launches, it remains illegal to offer or advertise online gambling, while those consumers who play these online games, knowing that the operator is not licensed, could also face punishment.“We see that illegal online providers are trying to take advantage of the current situation; that is unacceptable,” KSA chairman René Jansen said. “We have even seen consumers lured into what is known as a Corona-free offering. Completely objectionable.“The parties that do this, the providers themselves as well as their advertisers, can count on the KSA’s keen interest. Parties that use this type of practice can be assured that this will weigh heavily in a possible application for an online gambling licence.”The new market will officially open on 1 July 2021, with gross gaming revenue expected to reach €300m (£274.8m/$329.7m) in the first full year of operation. Topics: Legal & compliance Marketing & affiliates Regions: Europe Western Europe Netherlands Legal & compliance Dutch regulator blasts illegal operators over coronavirus ads Tags: Online Gambling Email Address
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Tags: Slot Machines 6th July 2020 | By Daniel O’Boyle Codere merges Italian gaming machine divisions Casino & games Topics: Casino & games Finance Strategy Slots Codere has merged its two Italian gaming machine divisions, FG Slot and Gap Games Italia, to form a new division, Codwin.The new division will be run by executive director Andrea Rigodanzo, who had been director of FG Slot. Rigodanzo said the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic played a major role in driving the combination.“At a time of extreme difficulty for the legal gaming sector, and in particular for gaming machine operators, we decided to unite our forces to decisively tackle market challenges,” he explained.“The Covid-19 pandemic comes at a time marked by the rampant increase in taxes and uneven regulations that have put pressure on a sector that every day tries to curb illegality by offering a legal and controlled product, and that employs tens of thousands of people.”Codere said that in addition to the pandemic, new regulations played a role in forcing the merger. These regulations included the replacement of amusement-with-prize (AWP) machines with next-generation AWPR models and tax increases from 13% in 2014 to 23.84% today.The merger was approved by the shareholders of both FG Slot and Gap Games on 16 April. Codere is the majority shareholder for both companies.“With Codwin we want to offer a model of integration and management efficiency that can also help other companies continue operating in accordance with the usual standards of trust and legality,” Rigodanzo added. “We can support companies that are currently experiencing difficulties and implement a shared strategy that allows them to face the future with optimism and competition.”Codere’s revenue for the 3 months to 31 March 2020 amounted to €278.5m (£252.3m/$315.9m), of which €86.5m came from Italy, the most from any country despite a 9.4% year-on-year decline.Last month, credit ratings agency Standards and Poors downgraded Codere’s rating for the fourth time in eight months, warning of a risk of default in the next six months. Regions: Europe Southern Europe Italy Codere has merged its two Italian gaming machine divisions, FG Slot and Gap Games Italia, to form a new division, Codwin. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Camelot B2B arm secures WLA responsible gaming certification Topics: Lottery The World Lottery Association (WLA) has accredited Camelot Lottery Solutions, the B2B arm of the UK National Lottery operator, as a certified responsible gaming supplier.The certification recognises that an operator or supplier is aligned with the WLA Responsible Gaming standards for associate members.The standard comprises eight areas, assessing a company’s treatment of staff; product and service development; research; advertising and marketing communications; remote gaming environment; client interaction; stakeholder engagement, and reporting.Camelot’s certification will remain valid until June 2023, after which the supplier said it would seek recertification to the WLA standard.“Player safety is the starting point for any product or solution we design, build, and deploy, and we’re proud that our products and services operate in some of the strictest regulatory environments in the global lottery ecosystem,” Camelot chief executive Wayne Pickup said.“We believe that lotteries grow best, and communities benefit most, when players are responsibly engaged. I’m delighted that Camelot Lottery Solutions has been recognised as a certified Responsible Gaming Supplier by the WLA.” The World Lottery Association (WLA) has accredited Camelot Lottery Solutions, the B2B arm of the UK National Lottery operator, as a certified responsible gaming supplier. Lottery 21st July 2020 | By contenteditor Email Address
Laws passed in 2018 allow for three casino resorts to be built in Japan, with further projects only set to be allowed seven years after the initial batch open. Okinawa, Osaka, Yokohama, Wakayama, Sasebo and the capital of Tokyo are among the sites being considered for a casino resort.The announcement comes after 500.com earlier this month reported that despite a 51.1% year-on-year drop in revenue during the first half of the year, it was able to cut its comprehensive loss in the period. 500.com auditor resigns amid management dispute 29th September 2020 | By Aaron Noy Email Address MaloneBailey will now audit the provider’s consolidated financial statements and internal controls for financial reporting for the fiscal year ended 31 December, 2019. It will also re-audit the provider’s consolidated financial statements and assess the effectiveness of its financial reporting controls for each of the fiscal years ended December 31, 2017 and 2018.500.com reiterated that it is not involved in any legal proceedings in Japan but it has treated the allegations seriously. MaloneBailey replaces Friedman LLP, which had been serving as auditor for 500.com, but elected to resign due to disagreements with management over “the effectiveness of the company’s internal control over financial reporting in light of certain alleged unlawful payments”. Three former consultants to 500.com were arrested on suspicion of bribing a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, the ruling political party in Japan, in order to gain a favourable position for a bid to run one of the country’s upcoming casino resorts. The business formed a special investigation committee (SIC) to consider its conduct in Japan and the role played by its consultants. Zhengming Pan, director and chief executive of 500.com, temporarily stepped down in January while the investigation took place. King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has been investigating the money transfers and the related conduct of the consultants, and, having completed a substantial portion of its investigation, presented a preliminary review to the SIC. 500.com said that while SIC and KWM did not identify any violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 in relation to the allegations. 500.com’s audit committee did not agree with Freidman’s conclusion. This ultimately prompted it to resign as auditor to 500.com. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Overall revenue for the six months through to 30 June amounted to RMB99.1m (£11.3m/€12.4m/$14.5m), less than half the amount posted in the first half of last year. However, 500.com’s comprehensive loss of RMB121.4m was less than half the RMB233.7m recorded in 2019.500.com this month also announced the resumption of activity in Sweden, via its The Multi Group (TMG), after renewing its online gaming licence in the country for the next two years. However, Friedman aruged the payments may have reflected material weakness the business’ internal controls. Friedman also raised concerns over the accuracy of its audit reports on the financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2018, saying it was not aware of the allegedly unlawful purpose of some payments. The payments in question relate to an internal investigation into allegations of illegal money transfers related to the development of integrated resorts in Japan. Chinese lottery provider 500.com has appointed accountancy firm MaloneBailey to provide support and advice on matters related to a case of alleged unlawful payments within the business after its previous auditor resigned amid a management dispute. People Topics: Finance People People moves Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter
The combined business was later acquired by Amaya, which became the Stars Group, which was itself bought by Flutter in 2019. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter PokerStars to shutter Full Tilt on 25 February Tags: Flutter Entertainment PokerStars Full Tilt Email Address The operator said it chose to make this decision because its focus on its flagship product made it unable to provide the same level of attention to Full Tilt. “Our commitment to improving PokerStars software and the PokerStars customer experience in recent years has limited the amount of focus and resources we could apply to the evolution of Full Tilt,” Pokerstars said in an FAQ. “We feel it is time to consolidate brands so that everyone has access to the newest features and most innovative games which are available exclusively on PokerStars.” Topics: Casino & games Strategy Poker Flutter-owned poker operator PokerStars is set to shutter the Full Tilt brand on 25 February, with accounts and balances still available on PokerStars’ own software. Full Tilt was acquired by PokerStars in July 2012 as part of a settlement with the US government after authorities had unsealed an indictment against both operators in 2011, causing both to shut US real-money operations. As all players with any PokerStars brand have a combined universal Stars Account, balances, bonuses, tickets, tournaments and preferences will be intact. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter 22nd February 2021 | By Daniel O’Boyle Full Tilt relaunched under PokerStars ownership in November 2012 and migrated onto PokerStars’ platform in 2016. Poker