News

18
Jan

GiG extends marketing compliance partnership with Malta’s Avento Group

Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has agreed to extend its marketing compliance partnership with Malta-based Avento Group by a further two years.

Under the agreement, GiG will continue to provide Avento with its GiG Comply automated marketing compliance.

GiG Comply enables operators to scan web pages for content, links and igaming code red words, helping to ensure they are fully compliant in jurisdictions around the world.

The software analyses advertising campaigns and delivers reports to operators about the type of content that is being used to promote their brands, allowing them to see if affiliates are fully aligned with their brand guidelines and responsible gaming requirements.

“We are super delighted to continue our agreement with GiG Comply; this shall continue to ensure our commitment at being a fully compliant company within the industry thanks to GiG Comply,” the Avento Group compliance team said.

GiG’s chief marketing officer Jonas Warrer added: “As new markets continue to regulate, there is an increased need for operators to ensure they comply with the ever-changing regulations in all jurisdictions they operate.”

“It makes us very proud to have a young and innovative partner like the Avento group, which values the importance of creating a safer and more sustainable gaming environment and continues to place trust in GiG Comply.”

18
Jan

Virginia seeks to ban bonus deduction for betting taxes

Legislators have introduced a bill that seeks to eliminate the opportunity to deduct bonus payouts from Virginia’s sports betting tax.

US.- A bill introduced by representative Mark Sickles seeks to prohibit sports betting operators in Virginia from discounting bonuses from promotional and tax revenue after the first 12 months of gaming activity. It would amend Virginia Code Sections 58.1-4030 and 58.1-3037, clarifying that from 12 months after rollout, operators must tax their income without deducting bonuses.

The bill would also remove an allowance to carry forward adjusted negative gross income to the next month and deduct it from the operator’s tax liability for that month. This currently applies as long as the negative amount is not carried over to more than one month within 12 months of being incurred.

According to the new bill, sports betting will continue to be taxed at 15 per cent of revenue. House Bill 1103 is awaiting a committee referral.

Sports betting launched in Virginia on January 2, with FanDuel’s sportsbook the first sportsbook to go live. Sports betting was legalised last April following the implementation of governor Ralph Northam’s amendments to the bill.

Virginia’s sports betting volume reached $427.3m in October, setting a new state record and making Virginia the quickest US state to reach $2bn in lifetime wagers. However, gross gaming revenue slipped 2.5 per cent to $30.2m, down from a record $30.9m in September. In November, operators in Virginia paid $4.2m in taxes. Revenue for the month was $29.9m, while the total promotional spend was $15m.

17
Jan

Macau gaming bill allows six casino concessions to last ten years

Macau will continue to allow six casino operators, with each granted a ten-year concession, under a gaming overhaul bill that the special administrative region’s Executive Council has sent to the Legislative Assembly.

The Executive Council approved a bill to be sent to the legislature, after the Bureau of Gaming Supervision (DICJ) published responses to an initial consultation on changes at the end of last year.

Under the new rules, six concessions to operate casinos in Macau would be permitted. While this would be an increase from the three full concessions currently available, sub-concessions would no longer be permitted.

As three sub-concessionaires are allowed to operate under the current system, the new rule would effectively keep the number of permitted operators in Macau at six.

While the Macau government in its initial proposal said it was looking into a reduction in concession numbers, public responses to its initial consultation showed strong support for keeping the number of operators at six.

In the consultation, 217 responses dealt with the question of the number of concessions.

Of these responses, 22 indicated they wished to see no more than six concessions issued. A further 95 said they would prefer exactly six concessions, while 36 supported there being more than six concessions. The remaining responses did not have a clear preference.

These concessions would last for ten years, down from the 20-year concessions granted when Macau opened its gaming market, but can be extended for up to three years under exceptional circumstances.

Certain requirements for concessionaires have also been tightened. For example, 15% of shares in any business granted a licence must be held by a managing director that is a Macau resident.

In addition, concessionaires must also have a minimum share capital of MOP5bn (£454m/€543m/$621m).

According to the Executive Council, the new proposals will also “strengthen the mechanisms for verifying and supervising the suitability of concessionaires, individuals and companies that participate in gambling activities”. This, it said, would involve increasing the scope of suitability checks.

It also promised that the social responsibilities of concessionaires would be more thoroughly defined.

While further details on this were not provided, the initial consultation said that licensees should take on a number of specific social responsibilities, including supporting small and medium-sized local businesses, protecting labour rights and taking part in philanthropic ventures.

Although the initial consultation proposed adding government representatives to the board of each concessionaire, there was no mention of this in the Executive Council’s summary of the bill that will be sent to the Legislative Assembly.
The Assembly will vote on this bill, which is set to come into force the day after it is published.

17
Jan

Swedish regulator will not oppose temporary slot restrictions

Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen said it would have “no objections” to the country’s government putting in place new temporary restrictions for online slots, but warned the impact of the measure was still unclear.

Earlier this month, Sweden’s government launched a consultation on a new, lower deposit limit for online casinos of SEK4,000 (£324/€388/$443) a month, with this set to come into force from February.

The aim of the new measures, which would be implemented from 7 February until 30 June, would be to minimise gambling-related harm and risks amid the ongoing pandemic. 

The player protection argument was also used as justification for the previous online casino deposit cap of SEK5,000, which was in force between 2 July 2020 and 14 November 2021. 

While originally intended to be a short-term measure, the cap was repeatedly extended and kept in place throughout the pandemic.

Responding to the latest consultation, which is due to close today (17 January), Spelinspektionen said that while it would not oppose the re-introduction of temporary measures, given the resurgence of Covid-19 in Sweden, it is still too early to know the impact these rules have on players.

Spelinspektionen was previously critical of the SEK5,000 deposit limit that was put in place in mid-2020, arguing that there was not enough evidence to support such measures. 

The regulator said its position on this has not changed and more data is required if such measures are to remain place for the longer term.

However, the regulator also said it was pleased that greater clarification had been given in terms of how operators manage players who set their deposit limits higher than SEK4,000 a week, but later lower this limit.

Spelinspektionen added that is still in the process of evaluating the impart of the existing temporary measures and will report its findings back to the government no later than 15 March.

13
Jan

Oklahoma legislators file new sports betting bill

Oklahoma lawmakers are looking to legalize sports betting in the state in 2022.

US.- Oklahoma lawmakers have filed a sports betting bill in hopes of bringing legalised sports wagering to the state. Introducing gambling laws to legislative sessions is nothing new, but as more states approve sports betting legislation, some legislators think 2022 may be the year. 

Rep. Ken Luttrell announced this week that he filed House Bill 3008. The bill would bring in-person sports wagering to the state’s tribal gaming compact. Luttrell said besides creating over 3,000 new jobs, legalising sports wagering would be an economic boon to the tribes, the state and public education. 

“Illegal sports betting occurs throughout Oklahoma, and figures I obtained from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) show 11 offences recently with tens of thousands of dollars seized,” Luttrell told the local press. 

“This reflects only a fraction of what actually occurs in our state. The Oxford Economics Group estimates that legal sports betting would generate $240m in revenue for Oklahoma and create over 3,000 direct and indirect jobs. This legislation just makes sense,” he added.

Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoman Indian Gaming Association, said: “Oklahoma with its gaming industry would make sense that it’d be something that our attention turns to, but again I think that the conversation really gets down into the details and does it make economic sense.”

He said that tribes would expect to have exclusive rights to offer sports betting under the state’s tribal gaming compacts. Voter-approved compacts have long granted Oklahoma’s tribes the sole right to operate casinos in exchange for paying the state exclusivity fees ranging from 4 per cent to 10 per cent, depending on the game.

The effort has been defeated in the legislature several times before. Lawmakers have until January 20 to introduce bills and joint resolutions. The next upcoming session starts on February 7.

13
Jan

SOFT2BET APPROVED TO LAUNCH IN DENMARK

Malta-based Soft2Bet has been granted a licence to launch its online sports betting and gaming platform in Denmark for the first time.

The licence from Danish gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden allows Soft2Bet’s operator partners to begin offering sports betting to players in Denmark, as well as online casino games such as roulette, baccarat, punto banco, blackjack, poker, bingo and slots.

“Achieving this licence is a huge moment for Soft2Bet,” said Soft2Bet head of country team Peter Christian Noer. “Our entire team has put in a tremendous amount of effort and worked tirelessly to ensure we met all the requirements and deadlines to achieve this important milestone in our company’s history,.

“We now look forward to launching our innovative iGaming brands on the Danish market that have proven successful in other jurisdictions because of their state-of-the-art features, unique game supply and strong player protection tools.”

“We only launched in Sweden less than two years ago and have taken significant market shares there ever since,” Noer added. “We are convinced that we can do the same on the Danish market before long. This massive achievement is the product of uncompromising dedication and one more great accomplishment for our outstanding team to be proud about.”

12
Jan

Playtech signs deal with Canadian online casino NorthStar

The firm’s IMS platform will power NorthStar’s iGaming launch in Ontario.

Canada.- The gaming group Playtech has partnered with Canadian online casino and sports wagering company, NorthStar. The deal will see Playtech power NorthStar’s upcoming iGaming launch in Ontario through its IMS platform.

Following the completion of regulatory approvals and Ontario’s licensing process, NorthStar will launch a multi-product offering later this year. The launch will include online casino, live casino, sports betting, poker and bingo products.

Mor Weizer, Playtech CEO, said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with NorthStar Gaming as it prepares to launch its market-leading online gaming business in Canada.

“Our success is driven by strategic partnerships with industry-leading operators around the world and we are excited to partner with a leading entertainment company like NorthStar Gaming.”

Michael Moskowitz, Founding Partner and CEO of NorthStar Gaming, added: “NorthStar Gaming is thrilled to be the exclusive Canadian partner in the media and publishing sector with Playtech, the world’s leading gambling technology supplier.

“Playtech’s industry-leading suite of tools will give us an unmatched edge in the marketplace, given our proprietary content and localisation; something we know consumers are looking for.”

11
Jan

Michigan casino revenue doubles to $1.3bn in 2021

Detroit’s three casinos – MGM Grand, MotorCity and Greektown- have reported revenue of $1.29bn for 2021, representing an 102.5% increase from 2020.

MGM Grand accounted for 43% of Detroit’s casino revenue, with MotorCity contributing 35% and Penn National’s Greektown the remaining 22%.

Slot games were the largest contributor to the total with $998.8m, or 77% of revenue. Table games contributed a further $268.0m (21% of casino revenue), with $27.0m coming from retail sports betting retail sports betting revenue amounted to 2% of the revenue total.

For sports betting, Greektown led the way with revenue of $9.5m. MGM Grand’s sports betting revenue came to $8.8m, while MotorCity added $8.7m.

The casinos paid a combined total of $102.6 million in wagering taxes to the state of Michigan, compared with $50.3 million in 2020. $1.3m of retail sports betting tax was also submitted to the city of Detroit.

For December 2021, revenue from the three casinos totaled $112.5m. $111.4m came from table games and slots – a 405.0% increase on December 2020 when the casinos were closed due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Sports betting revenue added a further $1.1m.

MGM’s $51.4m revenue in December was up 576.5% from 2020.

MotorCity reported a 284.9% increase to $35.0m, and Greektown’s revenue of $35.0m was up 365.9% year-on-year.

The combined betting handle for the three casinos came to $30.1m in December.

Igamingbusiness

7
Jan

Four of nine NY operators approved to launch mobile betting from 8 Jan

The New York Gaming Commission has approved Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street Interactive to accept mobile sports bets in the state from 8 January.

The regulator determined the four operators have “satisfied all statutory and regulatory requirements necessary to accept and process mobile sports wagering activity”, and so each will be able to take their first bets from 9am Eastern Time on Saturday.

Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street Interactive were four of the nine operators recommended for licences following the conclusion of the state’s tender process.

The regulator said the other five operators – PointsBet, Resorts World, BetMGM, Bally’s Corporation and Wynn Bet – “continue to work towards satisfying statutory and regulatory requirements necessary to launch”.

It added that these licensees will be approved on a rolling basis when they do meet these criteria.

While the regulator did not outline which specific requirements the remaining operators did not yet meet, the four approved operators all have existing retail sports betting agreements with land-based casinos in upstate New York.

Caesars operates sportsbooks at Point Place Casino, Turning Stone Resort and Yellow Brick Road Casino; DraftKings operates at del Lago Resort;  FanDuel’s sportsbook is at Tioga Downs and Rush Street Interactive operates via the Rush Street Gaming-owned Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady.

State senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr, who pushed for legal mobile betting in New York as chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, hailed the launch and the Gaming Commission for making it happen.

“Today’s announcement by the New York State Gaming Commission that four of the nine licensed Mobile Sports Wagering Operators have been approved to begin operations starting on Saturday, 8 January, 2022, is great news for New York in terms of revenue, new funding for education, addiction programs and youth sports, as well as new jobs,” he said,

“I want to thank the Gaming Commission for their efficiency in ensuring that these operators met all of the requirements to bring their mobile sports betting product to the people of New York ahead of the NFL playoffs. I look forward to the other five operators satisfying the statutory and regulatory requirements necessary to launch in the near future and working with the Hochul Administration and Gaming commission.”

In the bidding process, the nine operators approved to launch together submitted two bids to operate mobile betting in New York. FanDuel led one bid, alongside DraftKings, BetMGM and Bally Bet, while the other bid was led by supplier Kambi, and included Caesars Sportsbook, PointsBet, Resorts World, Rush Street Interactive and Wynn Bet.

Kristian Nylén, chief executive of Kambi, said it was excited to power Rush Street Interactive’s sportsbook as it goes live.

“We are excited to launch online in New York State this weekend, along with our partner Rush Street Interactive, which marks another significant milestone in the growth of Kambi,” he said. Being selected to operate in New York by the New York State Gaming Commission underlines the high quality, integrity and reliability of Kambi’s sports betting technology and I’m delighted that Kambi will be up and running on day one of the market, in time for the business end of the NFL season.

“New York is among the most populated and sports-passionate states in the US and will no doubt be one of the largest regulated wagering markets in North America, one we are both excited and honoured to be playing a leading role in.”

All participants will be required to pay a 51% tax on sports betting revenue, the highest tax rate in any multi-operator US state.

The tender process launched in July this year with six bids submitted. Alongside the winning FanDuel- and Kambi-led proposals was a rival proposal led by Kambi, featuring Penn National Gaming and sports merchandise retailer Fantatics. TheScore, which has since been acquired by Penn National, and Bet365 also put forward solo bids. 

The New York State Gaming Commission approved a final set of rules for sports betting in late November.

Consumers will be limited to one mobile sports betting account per skin, and subject to extensive Know Your Customer (KYC) checks before they can bet. Accounts can be funded by a host of payment options, including credit cards, though there will be a $2,500 annual limit for this form of payment.

Igamingbusiness

5
Jan

ARGENTINA’S CÓRDOBA PROVINCE APPROVES IGAMING REGULATIONS

Córdoba looks set to become the next Argentinean province to regulate online gambling after regulations were approved by legislators last week.

Bill 34270/L/21 will regulate various iGaming activities, including online casino table games and slots, sports betting and lottery games, and will establish a register of iGaming licensees with ten licences to be issued initially, which can be increased to 20 licences.

It also provides the provincial government with powers to detect and eradicate illegal gambling operations under fraud and criminality charges.

“This is not a massive and uncontrolled empowerment,” said legislator and co-author of the bill Silvia Paleo. “Some ask me ‘why regulate?’. Well, because the only possible path towards responsible gambling is the responsibility of the State. And that is why we raised this project. The only possible path towards responsible gambling is to have a safe game, and for that we must set guidelines, clear and concrete guidelines for operating companies and users.

“I wish we could dedicate ourselves solely to enacting laws on happy issues, on issues that are comfortable for us, on issues that morally have no reproach, on issues without controversy,” Paleo added. “The truth is, we have to work on the issues that reality imposes on us, and clandestine online gambling is a reality in Córdoba.”

Paleo also noted that Córdoba is not a pioneer in this matter after Buenos Aires City and province launched their regulated iGaming markets last December.

The province of La Rioja is also looking to regulate online gambling after regulator Administración Provincial de Juegos de Azar (Ajalar) signed an agreement last year with the Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos (IPLyC) of Misiones to develop a safe and responsible online gambling market for the province.