Global Gaming has eye on Sweden with Estonia move

first_img Topics: Marketing & affiliates Marketing & affiliates Regions: Europe Baltics Nordics Estonia Sweden Global Gaming has eye on Sweden with Estonia move Ninja Casino licence in Estonia will offer marketing channels ahead of Swedish re-regulation AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter 24th July 2018 | By contenteditor Global Gaming chief growth officer Alessandro Focardi believes Estonia will provide the ideal launchpad for “several new marketing channels” in relation to the re-regulated Swedish market after a subsidiary of the company secured a licence in the Baltic state for the Ninja Casino brand.The Estonian Tax and Customs Board granted Global Gaming’s Safe Ent subsidiary a licence, thereby approving the company’s PayNPlay service.Ninja Casino, which offers more than 200 slots from the likes of NetEnt and Play’n GO, removes traditional registration requirements and features a bespoke payment solution that only requires a deposit via a player’s bank and ensures most winnings are paid in less than five minutes.Focardi (pictured) told iGamingBusiness.com that a launch date for Ninja Casino in Estonia would be kept under wraps for the time being, allowing the company to tweak the offering so it has a special appeal to the local market.“We’re very much interested in doing things right and creating a truly ‘local’ experience, not simply translating the site and materials and going live,” Focardi said.“We want to offer a tailored experience to the Estonian users that speaks to them and addresses their unique situation.“Estonia represents a very interesting market when it comes to launching Ninja Casino due to its size and the high level of technology literacy of the population.“We believe there is an opportunity to be disruptive and deploy several new marketing channels that will be useful for us once the Swedish market is regulated.”Sweden remains a primary focus of Global Gaming ahead of the market opening up on January 1, 2019.In April, the company entered into a partnership with Swedish agency Tre Kronor Media to boost its presence in the country, where it has already enjoyed “unprecedented organic growth”, according to Global Gaming’s chief marketing officer, Morten Madsen.Focardi added to iGamingBusiness.com: “TreKronor has been a great ally when it comes to Sweden. Our cooperation is going strong and growing every day. We’re happy to have their insights and experience in the markets and very much look forward to working closer with them.”Global Gaming chief executive Joacim Möller said that the latest move into Estonia “sends a strong signal” in the region and beyond.Möller said: “Following our recent licence awarded by the Maltese Gaming Authority, we continue to evaluate opportunities in other jurisdictions.” Tags: Online Gambling Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Addresslast_img read more

Cherry secures majority stake in Highlight Games

first_imgFinance Cherry secures majority stake in Highlight Games AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Stockholm-listed company ups shareholding in gaming specialist to 60.4% Email Address Tags: Online Gambling 7th August 2018 | By contenteditor Regions: Europe Nordics Sweden Cherry has secured a majority shareholding in Highlight Games by splashing out £5.4m to increase its stake by 22.9% to 60.4%.The shareholding increase comes 15 months after Cherry first made its move to invest in the gaming specialist, snapping up 25% of the technology company. In November, Cherry increased its stake to 37.5%.Anders Antonsson, Cherry’s head of investor relations and communications, would not be drawn on whether the company intends to complete a 100% buy-out of Highlight.Antonsson told iGamingBusiness.com: “We are pleased with the status as the principle holder, and any potential changes in the shareholder structure will be communicated in a press release.”Of the 22.9% acquired by Cherry, to become the majority shareholder, 15.1% was from “parties not active in the company”.Having secured the takeover by holding more than 50 per cent of the company, Highlight has been consolidated within Cherry’s game development division.Highlight offers a patented product together with multi-year rights to use footage from inter-alia historic football matches to create unique virtual sports content.Highlight’s Soccerbet game is in the process of being deployed into several African countries, while Highlight will also be launching in Italy through Eurobet.“Looking ahead, the company is exploring a number of new opportunities across several sports in emerging markets, with its innovative sports product uniquely using archive live-action sports footage,” Cherry said.Last month, Cherry secured a sports betting licence in Poland, where it plans to launch a completely new brand.The Stockholm-listed company is also planning to secure a licence in the re-regulated Swedish market, which will open up on January 1, 2019. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Topics: Financelast_img read more

DraftKings CEO backs DFS to thrive alongside sports betting

first_img Robins insists DFS is experiencing a “halo” effect in the US thanks to sports betting DraftKings CEO and co-founder Jason Robins has insisted that the growth of sports betting in the US will not cannibalise daily fantasy sports in the country.DraftKings was the first operator to launch an online and mobile sportsbook in New Jersey last month, in partnership with Kambi and Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.However, just days after the launch, DraftKings continued to expand its DFS operations by striking a partnership with sports bar and restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings, which had earlier confirmed to iGamingBusiness.com that it was exploring opportunities to offer sports wagering.Robins (pictured) told MetroBet that despite concerns in some quarters that DFS could be pushed out by sports betting across the US as the practice is gradually regulated over the coming years, “for now, I think it’s the opposite” with DFS “still growing”.He added: “It’s a halo effect we’re seeing with sports betting and [DFS], not just in New Jersey but we’re seeing a big spike in customer re-activation for [DFS] across the board.“The world changes quickly, and it’s hard to predict which way things are going to swing long-term. But I think [sports betting and fantasy sports] are complementary.“Most people I know who play fantasy also bet. No one really sees one as a placement over the other. I think more people on our platform will create more activity.”Robins added to Fox Business that DraftKings’ sports wagering operations are significantly ahead of expectations.“We’re about 300 per cent ahead of where our target was,” he added. “It’s only New Jersey that has mobile betting now – two others have retail – I think it’s still largely black market.”Just days ago, DraftKings become the latest sports betting provider to add PayPal to its list of payment deposit options. About half of credit card payments for online gambling in New Jersey are still being declined, according to Legal Sports Report.The figures covering the first full month of online sports betting in New Jersey featuring DraftKings will be revealed by the state later today (Wednesday). DraftKings said last week that it had already processed one million sports bets in New Jersey.With regard to the new nationwide partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings, Robins said: “I think their brand fits very well with our target demographic.“They have a great vision for what they want to create an already a nice network of established restaurants that people generally go to, to watch sports and I think it’s just a very good fit for what we are trying to do.”Image: DraftKings  Email Address 12th September 2018 | By contenteditor DFS Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Topics: Sports betting Tech & innovation DFS Tags: Fantasy Sports AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter DraftKings CEO backs DFS to thrive alongside sports betting Regions: USlast_img read more

Greek operators could fight RNG exclusion

first_img Topics: Legal & compliance Email Address Operators could challenge exclusion of RNG casino games from proposed Greek regulatory framework Greek operators could fight RNG exclusion Regions: Europe Southern Europe Greece AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter 14th September 2018 | By contenteditor Tags: Online Gambling Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Legal & compliance Operators could challenge the exclusion of RNG casino games from the proposed new licensing and regulatory framework in Greece.A spokesman for one of the 24 licence-holders under the interim arrangement that has been in place since 2011 confirmed to iGamingBusiness.com that “online RNG games have been excluded from the proposed licensing procedure”.He said that the management was “still in the process of assessment” with regards to a potential challenge, ostensibly under EU law.He added that the decision would be “not an easy one I assure you, since challenging the proposed legislation will result in further delays in its implementation”.The Remote Gambling Association also confirmed to iGamingBusiness.com: “The amendments that they have published last week explicitly exclude RNG games from the scope of the law.”Lottery and offline sports betting monopoly OPAP, in which Greece sold its 33% stake to Greek-Czech fund Emma Delta in 2013, operates a network of Play Stores with VLTs offering RNG products such as slots and virtuals from providers including SciGames, Gtech and Inspired Gaming.The regulations published Tuesday by the Greek Ministry of Finance state that a five-year licence to offer online sports betting would cost €4m, with operators having to stump up another €1m to offer other online gaming services.Operators blacklisted in Greece within the past 12 months will not be considered for a new licence.This could impact GVC Holdings, which in January announced that a subsidiary operating under an interim Greek licence had received a tax audit assessment of €186.8m.The audit relates to activities from 2010 to 2011, a period in which the business in question was owned by Sportingbet prior to its acquisition by GVC in 2013.GVC confirmed to iGamingBusiness.com today (Friday) that it is still in the process of challenging the ruling, stating: “GVC has not been blacklisted and continues to operate legally under licence in the Greek market today.”Image: Evangelos Methenitislast_img read more

Seller beware

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Casino & games Seller beware Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliance People Sports betting Strategy RB Capital’s Julian Buhagiar warns executives negotiating a sale of the importance of doing due diligence on prospective acquirers, as failure to do so can lead to serious issues post-acquisitionIn M&A, as in gambling, sometimes you can push your luck a bit too far. On June 18th, MaxEnt NRR Entertainment’s remote casino and remote gambling licence was revoked by the GB Gambling Commission, amid concerns on source of funds used to acquire and support the licence of the newly merged entity. MaxEnt has disputed the GC’s verdict and plans to appeal the decision.Whilst this couldn’t have come as a complete surprise, it has nonetheless raised eyebrows in the investment community as to the delicate balance between company acquisitions and retention of their existing legal and regulatory entitlements.What seems to be especially concerning is the apparent lack of due diligence on the buyer (MaxEnt), at least insofar as the origin of their wealth and the ownership and details of their ultimate beneficiary owners (UBOs).Such information would be the first aspects any exiting regulator would query to ensure the licence in question would still be valid. Assuming this would carry on regardless of the change of control is disingenuous and, in this case, dangerous.This most recent episode has accentuated the ‘seller beware’ syndrome, or rather the importance of also choosing the right buyer besides just ensuring the commercial terms are right. This article will thus focus on the importance of shortlisting the right buyer, and what that means from a seller’s perspective.First off, don’t negotiate with a buyer directly, even if – actually, especially if – you already know them. This might seem counter-intuitive, but a lot of issues stemming with (lack of) buyer KYC emanate from reduced due diligence conducted based on familiarity.If the buyer is not known to the seller beforehand, rest assured the former will conduct all the due diligence required, often through specialised brokerages, and ensure any issues found will affect the final sales price as well as your liabilities to that effect.So, it only makes sense for a seller to engage in a similar amount of effort, if only to ensure they are protected from all legal and regulatory aspects.Secondly, has the buyer bought before? A surprising amount of issues originate from first-time buyers, particularly those concerning KYC.Whilst the majority of these issues are minor and can eventually be rectified with the right paperwork, a change of control is cause for sufficient concern to any regulatory body, and – as seems to be the case with MaxEnt – unless rectified promptly, can rapidly escalate resulting in licence revocation, or worse, such as fines and penalties.Thirdly, with regards to buyer structure, is the acquiring entity and/or ultimate beneficiaries fully known and disclosed? Have there ever been any legal (or worse) issues related to any of the founders, directors or major shareholders? Running checks on all known entities (especially through specialist agencies) should be mandatory. If these aspects are unknown or dubious at best, they will be flagged with any regulatory body.Next, ensure you’re selling from a position of strength. This has been highlighted in previous articles; but is repeated here to underscore the need to run a full process to ensure buyers are effectively competing to win your business over; hence encouraging quality over quantity.Finally – and this is important – don’t skimp on the quality of brokerage and legal entities, and conversely, ensure they are properly working for their money. Any advisory worth their salt (and reputation, which in such a closely-knit industry is the best currency) will not hesitate in turning down any buyer (even if they bid the highest offer in a process) that fails to meet the minimum regulatory and AML requirements.Which also means – don’t work with intermediaries whose role is reduced to that of an introduction. Irrespective of their accolades, agencies need to work with the seller closely at all aspects of the sale, including the so-called post-sale process; an area often overlooked by brokers.In such acquisition-intensive times, the need for buyer due-diligence is a matter that is frequently overlooked and, as was the case with MaxEnt, can sometimes have disastrous consequences.Sellers need to be doing their homework even more than buyers, and should be relying on trusted entities to research, facilitate, manage and expedite the sale; whilst allowing the sellers to focus on doing what they do best; growing and running a successful business.Julian Buhagiar is an investor, CEO & board director to multiple ventures in gaming, fintech & media markets. He has lead investments, M&As and exits to date in excess of $370m.center_img Email Address RB Capital’s Julian Buhagiar warns executives negotiating a sale of the importance of doing due diligence on prospective acquirers, as failure to do so can lead to serious issues post-acquisition. Tags: Mobile Online Gambling 24th June 2019 | By contenteditorlast_img read more

Ladbrokes Coral to pay £5.9m for social responsibility and AML failings

first_img The GB Gambling Commission has handed Ladbrokes Coral a penalty package of £5.9m (€6.4m/$7.2m) for systematic failings related to social responsibility and anti-money laundering measures, while investigations into the actions of personal management licence-holders continue.A Commission-led investigation found that from November 2014 to October 2017, both Ladbrokes and Coral failed to put in place effective safeguards to prevent money laundering and consumers suffering gambling harm.The regulator noted that this applied to when Ladbrokes and Coral operated as separate entities prior to merging in November 2016, as well as after they joined together to form the Ladbrokes Coral Group, which is now owned by GVC Holdings.The Commission, which said GVC fully complied with its investigation, focused on Ladbrokes Coral’s handling of seven customers’ accounts, having brought together complaints from legal representatives, reports from other agencies and associated media reports.Among the specific failings highlighted by the Commission was an instance when Ladbrokes did not carry out any social responsibility interactions with a customer who lost £98,000 over two-and-a-half years, had 460 attempted deposits declined, and asked the operator to stop sending promotions. Another customer spent £1.5m over the space of two years and 10 months, and although Coral did request to see evidence of their source of funds, the operator could not provide evidence of social responsibility interactions. This is despite the customer displaying signs of problem gambling, including logging into their account on an average of 10 times per day for a month and losing £64,000 in the process.Ladbrokes could also not provide evidence of carrying out social responsibility interactions with a customer who deposited more than £140,000 in the first four months of their account being open.In addition, the Commission highlighted how Ladbrokes identified concerns with a customer, but allowed further significant gambling without taking additional steps to verify the source of funds or consider if the customer in question could afford to spend and lose this amount of money.  The Commission ruled that Ladbrokes Coral was in continual breach of licence condition 12.1, which requires full compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, and the ordinary code provision that preceded this condition before being replaced with the updated version in October 2016.Licence condition 12.1.1(1) requires: licensees to conduct an assessment of the risks of their business being used for money laundering and terrorist financing.The regulator also found Ladbrokes Coral in breach of social responsibility code provision 3.4.1, which requires effective policies and procedures for customer interaction. This includes a requirement to make use of all relevant sources of information, to identify at-risk customers who may not be displaying obvious signs and to interact with VIP players.GVC and Ladbrokes Coral have admitted to the failings and agreed to pay the penalty package in full. A payment of £4.8m will be made in lieu of a financial penalty, which will be directed towards delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. A total of £1.1m will be paid out to victims where it has been found, or could reasonably be suspected to be, the proceeds of crime. GVC will also pay £24,700 towards the Commission’s costs of investigating the case.GVC has also committed to review five further customer accounts identified by the Commission and will divest itself of any gross gambling yield as directed.“Decision makers at gambling businesses need to invest in the welfare of their customers and the integrity of money being gambled with,” the Commission’s executive director, Richard Watson, said.“These were systemic failings at a large operator which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing though the business and this is unacceptable.”In addition to agreeing to pay the fine, GVC has committed to overhauling its responsible gaming and customer interaction processes, including increases in resources, staff retraining and hiring a dedicated player protection expert outbound call team. GVC will also implement its ‘Changing for the Bettor’ strategy, comprising research and educational projects, funding treatment for problem gambling, creating cultural change and promoting responsible attitudes in the industry.Further planned activity includes engaging a UK firm of solicitors to review any new high or higher-risk customers as may be identified by the Commission or by GVC, with any findings to be fed back into improvements that could be made to current processes and dealing with divestment. The solicitors’ firm will also undertake a review and dip-sample of an internal review completed by Ladbrokes Coral from July to October 2017, applying its new processes to all active customer accounts to evaluate whether it was robust and fit for purpose. GVC will then instruct the firm to dip-sample an internal review of a group of customers, to evaluate the robustness of this process. The appointed firm will manage and oversee a review of the current Ladbrokes Coral process and provide an independent analysis of its procedures to ensure it meets or exceeds its regulatory obligations. In addition, the solicitors will review the top 50 customers by gross gambling yield (GGY) for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 to consider whether any of the failings identified in the Commission’s report are evidenced and if so, to divest GGY accordingly.Commenting on the ruling, GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander said: “Soon after the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral following meetings and ongoing enquiries by the Gambling Commission, it became clear to GVC that there had been historic compliance failures within certain areas of the operations.“Working closely with the Gambling Commission and an independent firm of solicitors, GVC facilitated a thorough, prompt and far-reaching investigation, which has led to today’s settlement.“These historical failings were unacceptable and since the acquisition, I have overseen a systematic review of the enlarged group’s player protection procedures and the individuals responsible for these problems have exited the business. I am confident that, we now have in place a robust and industry leading approach to player protection.“More broadly, GVC is determined to take the lead in the critical area of responsible gambling, and is taking decisive, tangible action across a range of initiatives.“However, there is more to be done and social responsibility and we will continue to work with other gambling companies and the Gambling Commission to raise operating standards.” AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Ladbrokes Coral to pay £5.9m for social responsibility and AML failings The GB Gambling Commission has handed Ladbrokes Coral a penalty package of £5.9m (€6.4m/$7.2m) for systematic failings related to social responsibility and anti-money laundering measures, while investigations into the actions of personal management licence-holders continue. Topics: Legal & compliance Regions: UK & Ireland 31st July 2019 | By contenteditor Tags: Mobile Online Gambling OTB and Betting Shops Legal & compliance Email Addresslast_img read more

NetEnt bets big on Red Tiger

first_img Email Address Casino & games NetEnt’s acquisition of Red Tiger Gaming was notable not only because it was the company’s first M&A activity in its existence, but also because it sees it take charge of one of the sector’s most exciting suppliers. Jake Pollard discusses the rationale behind the deal, and how the two businesses will work together going forward, with chief executive Therese Hillman. Topics: Casino & games Strategy Tech & innovation Slots NetEnt’s acquisition of Red Tiger Gaming was notable not only because it was the company’s first M&A activity in its existence, but also because it sees it take charge of one of the sector’s most exciting suppliers. Jake Pollard discusses the rationale behind the deal, and how the two businesses will work together going forward, with chief executive Therese Hillman.NetEnt’s acquisition of the online slots specialist Red Tiger Gaming for up to £220m can be viewed in either of two ways.That of a company that’s been on a bad run recently and is ‘splashing the cash’ as it attempts to return to growth. Or a very shrewd move by a progressive igaming company that has the foresight to plan for its long-term prospects even when not doing great and has acquired one of the sector’s leading slots studios at a reasonable price.On the conference call discussing the acquisition, NetEnt chief executive Therese Hillman (pictured) told analysts the rationale for the deal was that the “industry was changing rapidly, as regulation spreads across most regions. This agreement enables NetEnt to increase market share” across the board and adds a very strong product portfolio to its existing games catalogue.Hillman said the two entities would remain distinct from one another. There would be synergies in terms of revenues and costs, products, merging the talents and experience of the two companies and fusing the strong technology expertise that will be at its disposal.But NetEnt and Red Tiger would remain as two different groups under the same umbrella and, in effect, be competing against each other when it comes to financial performance and signing clients.“NetEnt and Red Tiger will continue on their own corporate paths,” Hillman told iGamingBusiness.com.“Red Tiger will benefit from the investments we have made in regulated markets, where we have good reach with presence in 23 markets and will get enhanced scale and distribution to more customers, while NetEnt will benefit from Red Tiger’s innovative content and further scale.”She added that the combination of strong clients and products between the two companies would be mutually beneficial. The obvious question this internal competition raises is that it could pave the way for serious conflicts between the group’s different teams.“Enough potential to make it happen” With both brands relying on the same tech, customer support, content and design teams, could the push and pull and small frictions of everyday business spiral into vicious office politics?“Looking at the Red Tiger and NetEnt integration pipelines, the demand will be there from NetEnt customers”, Hillman says, with the latter’s clients happy to take Red Tiger’s products, thus bringing additional scale and income to the overall entity.When it comes to the internal dealings between two brands and the management of projects that rely on the same human resources, Hillman says: “We want to keep both companies competitive and ensure that where there are synergies we realise them.“We will plan for it, but keep in mind that the environment has to be healthy and competitive between the two if we are to build something strong.” In other words, healthy competition never hurt anyone and NetEnt also doesn’t want to interfere in Red Tiger’s corporate culture and growth trajectory.However, the NetEnt boss admits that the most challenging task is likely to be “prioritisation: what to work on, when to allocate resources and budget and manage tech, sprint projects and the like”.Isn’t the combination of internal competitors wanting to grow but working for an umbrella group that is simultaneously looking for tech and cost synergies very difficult to get right?“It is, but both have enough potential to make it happen,” she says. “For Red Tiger the regulated markets and the speed at which they can enter them thanks to NetEnt’s compliance, regulatory and intellectual property knowledge represent a fantastic opportunity.”Regulated focus Speaking of regulation, Hillman said the combined group’s focus would now be on regulated markets, specifically the UK, Sweden and the other Nordic markets and of course the US; and that Red Tiger’s exposure to unregulated countries, Asian ones in the main, would be wound down.Red Tiger’s activity in Asia “used to be much higher a couple of years ago and is decreasing at a fast rate” Hillman says.“It is now very low across the combined group and this is why the acquisition was even more attractive as we started looking at it and going through the detail. We expected Asian exposure to be much higher than it was.”With NetEnt’s focus on regulated activity this is good news. But there are potential headwinds, such as the higher costs, taxes and heavier operational procedures regulated markets bring. Then there are with NetEnt’s underwhelming results in Sweden since (re-)regulation of the igaming sector and the UK sector facing serious reputational issues and a wall of political, public and lobbying opposition. Not to mention the potential impact a no deal Brexit scenario would have on consumers’ disposable incomes. Isn’t the group just making life hard for itself?“It’s a matter of focus and corporate strategy,” Hillman explains. “We have the capacity to absorb the costs and regulatory guidelines and when it comes to taxes, we have the volume that gives us reach and scale and the infrastructure to process them. And if you have good products, as NetEnt does, the market will have them and the business will grow.”In other words, NetEnt can handle the regulatory burdens, but just as importantly, doesn’t want to be dealing with unregulated activity and the associated risk.As for NetEnt’s main market of Sweden, the sector has been vocal in its complaints about a lack of regulatory clarity and overly harsh sanctions. What did Hillman think of the Swedish authorities’ comments that operators and suppliers were “simply “unaccustomed” to its regulatory approach”?Hillman is succinct but answers clearly (and in good humour): “We operate in 23 regulated markets so it’s somewhat insulting to our compliance and regulatory teams to read such comments.”As for the NetEnt-Red Tiger entity and its focus on regulated markets, “there is no doubt these are challenging, some of our core markets are hurt by new regulations, but we’re focusing on the long term and not just on the share price”, Hillman says.“In addition, those with scale will be the likely winners, which will also enable us to focus on producing innovative, high quality products”.In the meantime the priority will be “ensuring player channelisation” in those regulated markets, while the delicate task of prioritisation and integrating Red Tiger goes on in the background. Tags: Mobile Online Gambling Slot Machines AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter 12th September 2019 | By contenteditor Regions: Asia Europe Nordics Southern Europe Sweden Malta Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter NetEnt bets big on Red Tigerlast_img read more

German media body calls for advertising regulatory rethink

first_img Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliance Marketing & affiliates Sports betting Tags: Mobile Online Gambling German media body calls for advertising regulatory rethink 20th February 2020 | By contenteditor The German association of private media businesses, Vaunet, has called on state lawmakers to remove advertising restrictions set to impact broadcasters in the new gambling regulatory framework currently under discussion.It believes the restrictions, such as daily periods where advertising is not permitted and the wording of certain elements of the draft document contravene the core goal of channeling players to legal offerings.Vaunet, which has over 150 TV, radio, streaming and online media companies among its members, said that it broadly welcomes the proposed liberalisation of the German gambling market, with online casino to be legalised alongside sports betting, however.“Advertising underpins private broadcasters’ businesses, and acts as an instrument to steer players towards legal offerings in the gaming market, a key regulatory goal of the federal states,” explained Dr Matthias Kirschenhofer, chair of Vaunet’s internal betting working group and a board member of Munich-based Sport1 Medien.Kirschenhofer said the new regulations, in theory, should allow broadcasters to tap into new revenue streams, at a time when ad spend from other sources was stagnating, though the planned advertising restrictions could effectively shut this off.“[The advertising controls] will ultimately prevent investments in attractive content,” he added. “We therefore appeal to the federal states to make further improvements here.”Vaunet queried Section 5(2) of the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV), which states that advertising may not be “excessive”. This, the association pointed out, was vague and open to interpretation, creating significant legal uncertainty.The very fact that the GlüNeuRStV was looking to put limitations on the advertising of newly-regulated products was called into question. It said that considering the legislation aims to channel players away from illegal offerings, this could ultimately put the licensees, and advertising channels, at a disadvantage. It argued that social responsibility controls were already included in the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty, making the additional rules unnecessary.In particular, however, Vaunet took issue with the provisions that prohibit the advertising of online slots, casino and poker between 6AM and 9PM on radio and television, as well as the whistle to whistle ban on sportsbook advertising.These would put broadcasters – already facing a stagnating advertising market – at a significant disadvantage to other media and advertising channels, where no such limitation applies, it claimed. If such a prohibition is to be mantained, Vaunet argued, internet portals should be subject to the same controls.“Radio and television stations are fully aware of their responsibilities under the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty,” Vaunet said. “Especially in a regulated broadcasting environment, the promotion of regulated gambling should not be prohibited.”This tenet was unclear, it added, as it did not confirm whether sportsbook operators would be prevented from advertising its online casino products during times where betting promotions were not allowed.Furthermore, the prohibition of any connection between sports betting advertising and the publication of live scores for sporting events amounted to an effective sportsbook advertising ban on all media portals, it added. Live score tickers are an “integral part” of all media companies’ online content, it pointed out.Ultimately, Vaunet concluded that the regulations in their current form would not be effective in guiding gamblers to regulated offerings.“In order for legal providers to prevail against illegal sites, they must be able to provide competitive offers and advertise them adequately,” it said.Vaunet is the latest association to lobby for changes to the GlüNeuRStV, following the Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV) and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).The DSWV was the first to speak out. It called for a transition period in which sportsbook licensees could offer online casino products under the third amended State Treaty, in force until 30 June 2021, to ensure players were channelled to legal offerings.This was followed by EGBA’s calls for single online casino licences, rather than separate certifications for online casino, slots and poker, as well as the removal of a state opt-out for igaming regulation. The association also demanded an end to restrictions on in-play bet types, as well as the removal of the €1,000 cross-provider, cross-vertical spending limit.The GlüNeuRStV was discussed by lawmakers at a meeting held in Nordrhein-Westfalen yesterday, ahead of the final meeting of state Minister-Presidents in Berlin on 5 March. This is expected to see lawmakers ratify the final regulations. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Regions: Europe Central and Eastern Europe Germany The German association of private media businesses, Vaunet, has called on state lawmakers to remove advertising restrictions set to impact broadcasters in the new gambling regulatory framework currently under discussion. Casino & games AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Addresslast_img read more

Partouche finds new Japan IR partner

first_img French casino operator Groupe Partouche has joined a new consortium looking to secure one of Japan’s integrated resorts licences, weeks after pulling out of a similar agreement with Oshidori International Holdings. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Regions: Asia Japan AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Casino & games Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliancecenter_img French casino operator Groupe Partouche has joined a new consortium looking to secure one of Japan’s integrated resorts licences, weeks after pulling out of a similar agreement with Oshidori International Holdings.Partouche has now joined a consortium led by Pixel Companyz, a Japanese conglomerate with interests in renewable energy, financial technology and gaming technology. It buys and sells casino gaming machines, as well as operating a B2B technology solution, the Pixel Casino Platform.The deal, Pixel says, marks only the second time a local Japanese business has partnered a “proven international gaming operator”. Partouche will work with the business, and its unnamed consortium partners to plan, develop, and hopefully operate a integrated resort facility that will aim to highlight local tourism assets, food culture and brands of the local area.It follows Pixel striking a partnership with TTL Resorts, a company specialising in data analysis and investment in the gaming industry.“Pixel Companyz aims to connect Japan to the world and showcase the best of the country by forming this consortium and deeply rooting ourselves into the Japanese IR industry,” Pixel Companyz chief executive Hiroaki Yoshida commented.News of the partnership comes after Partouche pulled out of its previous IR partnership, with Japanese holding company Oshidori International Holdings. At the time, both partners said a difference of “vision” had prompted an end to the partnership.It remains unclear when the process to select three sites, and three operating partners, for IR locations and licences will move forward. The basic policy establishing a framework for the selection process that was due to pass in the first half of the year is yet to be adopted, due to lawmakers’ focus shifting the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.This in turn means the deadline for potential host cities to submit their proposals for IR development looks to be pushed back, with these locations yet to select partners for the project.Last week Hong Kong-listed Galaxy Gaming, which has partnered Betclic Everest Group shareholder Société des Bains de Mer for a resort, reaffirmed its commitment to the process despite the delays. Others, such as Caesars Entertainment and Las Vegas Sands, however, have announced they will no longer compete for a licence. 17th August 2020 | By contenteditor Partouche finds new Japan IR partner Email Addresslast_img read more

HKJC turnover declines amid Covid-19 disruption in 2019-20

first_img Topics: Finance Lottery Sports betting Horse racing The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has reported declines in revenue and turnover for its 2019-20 fiscal year, though management hailed the business’ resilience after it managed to avoid race cancellations over the period. Tags: Mobile Online Gambling OTB and Betting Shops Race Track and Racino 1st September 2020 | By contenteditor Regions: China Hong Kong Finance HKJC turnover declines amid Covid-19 disruption in 2019-20 Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has reported declines in revenue and turnover for its 2019-20 fiscal year, though management hailed the business’ resilience after it managed to avoid race cancellations over the period.At a time when sporting events around the world were cancelled as as result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, HKJC maintained a full race programme for the year, thanks to strict health and safety measures at its tracks.“Racing is an important symbol of Hong Kong and its can-do-spirit, not to mention the vital support it provides through tax and charity funding. We were therefore determined to keep racing going,” HKJC chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.“This commitment was no less strong among horse owners, trainers and jockeys, backed up by the Club’s employees. I would especially like to thank our many employee heroes, who banded together to safeguard the wellbeing of our customers, members and the wider community.”However, with its off track betting facilities shuttered in February and not reopened until late June, it still saw turnover decline for the year ended 30 June. This was mitigated in part by player activity shifting online; digital and mobile platforms accounted for 70% of wagering turnover, rising to 90% at the height of the pandemic.Amounts wagered fell 11.6% year-on-year to HK$218.75bn, of which $195.47bn was staked by Hong Kong residents across all channels. Commingling agreements with international partners contributed the remaining $23.28bn, up 23.1%.Looking at turnover by product, racing accounted for $121.00bn of the total, down 3.2%.Betting on football, at a time when leagues and competitions were suspended as a result of the pandemic, was badly hit, however. HKJC estimated that up to 3,273 matches were either postponed or cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 shut-down, which resulted in turnover dropping 18.8% to $92.60bn.The remaining $5.16bn came from the Mark Six lottery game, down 39.0% year-on-year, after draws were suspended in mid-February. However HKJC said that this vertical would have declined even without the pandemic, due to a lack of significant changes to the game format since its introduction.After prizes were paid out to customers, this left revenue of $31.51bn, down 14.9%.HKJC paid out $19.63bn in betting and lottery duties, a 13.8% drop on FY2018-19, with a further $88m paid out through commingling contracts, and $774m allocated to the Lottery Fund, which provides funding to charitable causes in Hong Kong.This left net revenue and commission of $11.02bn, though total revenue was increased by $3.91bn from other sources, and a $57m gain from the sale of properties, to $14.99bn.Operating costs for the year increased marginally to $11.82bn, while $2.57bn was granted to the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Charities Trust. In 2019-20 the Trust made $4.5bn in donations, including a $346m commitment to tackling the impact of Covid-19.This left HKJC with a $595m operating surplus (profit), down 35.0%. After interest on customer deposits, plus losses from investments and financial costs, as well as a share of joint venture profits, the operator’s pre-tax profit amounted to $599m. After $454m in income tax, this left the business with a net profit of $145m, down from $2.08bn in FY2018-19.“I believe we have every reason to be proud of the Club,” HKJC chair Philip Chen said of the operator’s performance.“We maintained our core racing, wagering and membership operations. We kept our customers, members, employees and licensed personnel safe and protected. Above all, we stayed true to our purpose.“In short, we did what was right for the Club and what was best for Hong Kong.”However, HKJC admitted that it faces an “extremely challenging” future, which has already seen the funding donations to its Charities Trust decline year-on-year. Nevertheless, it will continue to invest in strategic projects, such as the development of the Conghua Racecourse, and redevelopment of stables at its Sha Tin track.Its online offering will be overhauled, with a new customer information and wagering system currently being built, while it aims to spur further growth through new commingling contacts and simulcasting deals.“Ultimately everything comes back to the Club’s purpose – the betterment of our society – which must, and will, remain the same,” Chen added. “We will continue to enhance our much-admired position by doing the right things and doing them right. We will strive hard to improve our business results so that we can maintain our charity donations.” AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Addresslast_img read more