The government of Sweden is once again proposing to extend the temporary limit on online casino deposits under the guise of Covid-related consumer protections.
The temporary restriction limiting online casino deposit limits to SEK5,000 per week first came into force in July 2020 in response to the perceived risk of increased problem gambling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and was subsequently extended to the end of June 2021.
The government now wants to keep the deposit limit in place until November, when Sweden’s emergency pandemic law expires.
“We see that the spread of Covid-19 is still high in Sweden,” social security minister Ardalan Shekarabi said Friday. “The current situation entails great risks for consumers in the gaming market. We therefore need to act to reduce the risks for the most vulnerable consumers.”
A second extension would prove controversial, given that there has been little evidence of an increase in problem gambling during the pandemic, while the government’s own research has shown an increase in the number of players abandoning the regulated market in favour of unlicensed online gambling websites with fewer restrictions.
“I have previously stated that there is nothing as lasting as a political promise of something temporary,” said Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary general of the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS).
“The government seems unaware that their own expert authority, the State Treasury, just over a week ago stated that the leakage from the Swedish gaming market to the unregulated gaming market is alarmingly high. The leakage for online casinos is particularly high, where as much as every fourth gaming krona is played outside the Swedish licensed market.”
“To extend restrictions that are disapproved by gaming consumers is to ask for continued cancer for the channeling into the licensed market when it comes to online casinos,” Hoffstedt added. “Thus, Swedish gaming consumers will lose out on the consumer protection that the Swedish Parliament has decided will apply in our country. It is provocative that the Swedish government in a rhetoric about caring for the consumer in practice does the opposite and hurts the Swedish gaming license market with its strong consumer protection.”
The proposed extension of the deposit limit to November 14 is subject to a consultation ending on May 3.
Lottery players in Kentucky are now able to purchase Scientific Games’ instant lottery games in the checkout lines at grocery retailer Kroger.
Scientific Games has rolled out its SCiQ InLane technology through a partnership with the Kentucky Lottery, Kroger and branded payment program Blackhawk Network.
The partnership enables shoppers at Kroger stores in Lexington to purchase scratch games along with other grocery items in one convenient transaction in the checkout lanes, with SCiQ InLane set to soon expand to other Kroger markets.
“All of us at the Kentucky Lottery are excited to be chosen as the first state to test this new system, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it performs in the marketplace,” said Kentucky Lottery president and CEO Mary Harville.
The SCiQ InLane solution securely integrates with the retailer’s point-of-sale system to sell lottery instant games using technology from payments partner Blackhawk Network.
“Consumer data is a critical element to better serve our customers,” said Jarrod Cummins, director of prepaid services for Kroger, the largest of the Kentucky Lottery’s grocery store partners. “The SCiQ solution provides us with the data needed to better serve our lottery players.
“Through our partnership with Scientific Games and long-standing relationship with Blackhawk Network, Kroger is delighted to be the first grocery store partner for checkout line lottery sales in the US and we look to expanding this effort to additional states.”
Scientific Games vice president of retail solutions Michael Martin commented: “The convenience offered by the SCiQ InLane solution is a game changer for consumers who are focused on getting in and out of the grocery store quickly for many reasons, including COVID-19 concerns.
“SCiQ InLane offers unparalleled product security and the ability to engage light and lapsed players who don’t visit lottery self-service machines in the store.”
Richard Gotlieb, vice president of lottery and sports betting at Blackhawk Network, added: “Blackhawk is committed to bringing greater convenience to new and existing consumers purchasing instant lottery games.
“Partnering with Scientific Games, Kroger and the Kentucky Lottery to support this innovative in-lane solution is yet another option that enables our retail partners to drive incremental sales and offer greater convenience to their customers.”
Shares in Scientific Games Corporation (NSQ:SGMS) closed 0.89 per cent lower at $38.52 per share in New York Wednesday.
Gaming companies aiming to secure a license to operate online in the Netherlands will have to wait a little longer to submit their applications after a technical error delayed this morning’s launch of the licensing portal.
The license application process is now expected to begin later today, having most recently been postponed from January 1 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with licensed operations set to begin on October 1st.
License applications are subject to a fee of €48,000, with operators who have illegally served the Dutch market in the past two years barred from licensure.
The launch of the regulated online betting and gaming market in October will end the country’s current sports betting and horse race betting monopolies and regulate online activities for the first time.
An update on the status of the license application portal is expected at 5pm (CEST).
Colorado’s licensed sportsbooks collected total wagers of $266.5m from online and retail betting operations in February 2021.
Wagers were down 18.5 per cent compared to the previous month’s record performance, with the state’s 19 online operators generating wagers of $258.2m, and Colorado’s 17 retail operators the remaining $8.3m.
Despite the decline in handle, February’s total was the third-highest for the state, behind January 2021 ($326m) and December 2020 ($284m), with the sequential decline attributed to February falling between the end of the professional American football season and the beginning of March Madness.
“One year ago, we were talking about the casinos in Colorado shutting down due to the pandemic,” said Colorado Division of Gaming director Dan Hartman. “This March, in comparison, we’re looking forward to a new outlook for the gaming industry, given the open sportsbook retail locations and multiple online options.
“Add in the March Madness championships, and we believe all of these factors will continue the growth trajectory that we see with sports betting in Colorado.”
Once again, professional basketball was the most popular sport during the month with wagers of $95.0m, following by professional American football at $39.6m and NCAA Basketball at $24.2m.
Table Tennis was the next most popular sport with $13.0m in wagers, ahead of ice hockey at $9.5m and soccer at $6.9m.
With $256.1m paid out to players in winnings during the month, comprising $247.2m online and $8.9m from retail, licensed operators generated gross gaming revenue of $10.4m in February, a fall of 55 per cent versus the previous month.
Total net sports betting proceeds amounted to $175,275, with the state receiving taxes of $332,227, down from $1.2m in January.
Denmark’s Gambling Authority (Spilllemyndigheden) has added 55 new online gambling domains to the country’s growing blacklist of unlicensed operators.
The ruling will require internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to the 55 domains, the highest number to be simultaneously blacklisted since the Authority began blocking sites in 2012.
It marks the seventh time that the Authority has gone to court to block illegal websites that offer online betting, casino and lottery games to Danish players without a licence. The latest ruling brings the number of blocked sites to 145 in total.
“One of our most important tasks is to protect players from illegal gambling,” said Spilllemyndigheden director Anders Dorph. “At the same time, we must ensure that the providers who are licensed to offer games in Denmark can run their business under orderly conditions.
“The record high number clearly shows that there is a need for the targeted effort, and we will therefore maintain the increased focus in the future.”
The latest additions to the regulator’s iGaming blacklist include online casino brands such as starcasino.be, easybet.com, royalspinz.com and spinia.com.
The list also features online sports betting brands dafabet.com and justbet.co, as well as 23 skin betting sites including csgetto.win and ggdrop.one.
The latest case was brought to court by ISPs who argued that websites could only be blocked if the regulator could prove that Danish players had actually played on the sites in question.
However, the court backed the Authority’s current practice, which sees the regulator assess whether a website offers games to Danish players without permission, and requests the website to stop offering the illegal games. If this does not happen, the case goes to the City Court.
The ISPs have appealed the ruling before the District Court.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has signed legislation to authorise sports betting at licensed casinos in Deadwood.
The legislation was signed into law Thursday following the November referendum in which voters approved an amendment to the Constitution of South Dakota to authorise sports betting.
It allows the 19 gaming venues in the city of Deadwood to offer retail-only sports betting to advance deposit wagering account holders, subject to authorisation by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming.
Deadwood is home to a population of less than 2,000, although this number swells considerably during the summer months as tourists descend on the registered National Historic Landmark.
Britain’s Gambling Commission has confirmed the departure of CEO Neil McArthur after nearly fifteen years of service with the regulator.
McArthur joined the Commission in 2006 and was general counsel before rising to the role of chief executive in 2018.
During his tenure as chief executive, the Gambling Commission has gone through a significant period of change as it equips itself to meet the challenges of regulating a rapidly changing and increasingly digital gambling market.
McArthur has overseen the strengthening of protections against gambling harms through the banning of gambling on credit cards, through enhanced age verification checks and, most recently, through new requirements to build in protections to the design of online products.
He has also led moves to ensure that those impacted by gambling harms have their voices heard in the Commission’s decision making, culminating in the recent establishment of the Lived Experience Advisory Panel.
“I am proud of everything the Gambling Commission has achieved during my 15 years with the organisation,” said McArthur. “We have taken significant steps forward to make gambling fairer and safer and I know that I leave the organisation in a strong position to meet its future challenges. With a review of the Gambling Act underway now feels the right time to step away and allow a new chief executive to lead the Commission on the next stage in its journey.”
Gambling Commission chairman Bill Moyes commented: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Neil for his many years of commitment and service to the Gambling Commission. A lot has been achieved during his time here and Neil can rightly feel proud of the organisation’s progress during his tenure as chief executive.”
The Commission will shortly begin the process of recruiting a new chief executive for an interim period. This will allow the successor to current chairman Moyes, whose term of office ends later this year, to appoint a permanent chief executive.
While that recruitment process is ongoing, deputy chief executive Sarah Gardner and chief operating officer Sally Jones will jointly become acting CEO of the regulator.
The Gaming Commission of Belgium is working to increase its cooperation with the country’s financial institutions in an effort to combat unlicensed online gambling.
The Commission is working on an agreement with financial services industry federation Febelfin to facilitate payment blocking against unlicensed operators as the country’s blacklist of illegal providers continues to grow.
The Gaming Commission has added 18 new domains to its blacklist so far this year, including 11 new additions this week.
This week’s additions are all Curacao-licensed websites and mostly operated by Equinox Dynamic N.V, with Paris Saint-Germain betting partner 22bet the most high-profile operator to be blacklisted.
ADDITIONS TO BELGIUM IGAMING BLACKLIST IN 2021
Iowa’s licensed sportsbooks collected total wagers of $143.6m in February 2021, with online wagers now accounting for more than 87 per cent of the total.
Continuing their strong start to the year, Iowa’s 18 operational sportsbooks saw wagers soar by 152 per cent year-on-year, with online sports wagers climbing 231 per cent to $125.2m, offsetting a 4 per cent decline in retail wagers to $18.4m.
Total payouts during the month amounted to $135.9m, generating total sports betting net receipts of $7.7m, a significant increase on the $755,334 total in February 2020.
IOWA SPORTS BETTING HANDLE: FEBRUARY 2021 (US$)
Online Retail TOTAL
Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo 21,578,779 277,132 21,855,912
Diamond Jo Dubuque 20,844,497 516,525 21,361,021
Wild Rose Jefferson 18,817,645 177,559 18,995,203
Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino 15,950,836 929,857 16,880,693
Diamond Jo Worth 7,524,401 4,182,380 11,706,781
Wild Rose Clinton 10,859,502 199,330 11,451,646
Wild Rose Emmetsburg 8,827,568 156,481 8,984,049
Ameristar II 851,877 4,470,142 5,322,019
Catfish Bend Casino 4,972,935 257,910 5,230,845
Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs 2,581,038 2,247,763 4,828,801
Rhythm City Casino 2,492,169 543,121 3,035,290
Lakeside Casino 2,240,081 791,485 3,031,566
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort 2,492,169 532,354 3,024,523
Isle of Capri Bettendorf 2,195,180 362,349 2,557,530
Hard Rock Casino 894,420 859,746 1,754,166
Grand Falls Casino Resort 565,224 1,154,240 1,719,464
Q Casino 465,202 560,825 1,026,027
Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino & Hotel 672,111 177,523 849,634
TOTAL 125,218,448 18,396,722 143,615,170
For the second consecutive month, there was a new market leader in the state as Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo collected wagers of $21.9m, ahead of Diamond Jo Dubuque’s $21.5m and Wild Rose Jefferson’s $19.0m.
Former market leader Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino was the fourth biggest operator with wagers of $16.7m in February, comprising $16.0m from online and $929,857 from retail, while Diamond Jo-Worth booked wagers of $11.7m during the month, ahead of Wild Rose Clinton’s $11.5m and Wild Rose Emmetsburg’s $9.0m.
In terms of online handle, the biggest operator in February was Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo (and partner William Hill) with wagers of $21.6m, ahead of Diamond Jo Dubuque (and FanDuel) with $20.8m, Wild Rose Jefferson (and partners DraftKings and BetRivers) with $18.8m, and Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino (and William Hill) with $16.0m.
The biggest retail operator was Ameristar II with wagers of $4.5m, ahead of Diamond Jo Worth’s $4.2m and Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs’ $2.2m.
Overall, licensed operators paid out $520,444to the state in taxes during the month, an increase of 431 per cent compared to February 2020.