News

24
Feb

New Spanish Gambling Regulations Released for Public Comment

Spain’s gambling regulator has launched a public consultation into new marketing and responsible gambling regulations.

Gambling regulator La Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) published the Draft Royal Decree on Commercial Communications for Gambling activities on February 24, with public responses due to by March 16.

The new regulations are designed to strengthen the 2011 law under which Spain’s regulated online gaming market launched in 2012, since when gambling advertising has increased unabated to the point of sparking a public backlash.

The draft royal decree states that parliamentarians share the public’s concern and aim to balance the commercial interests of operators with adequate protections for consumers, particularly young people.

The 138-page document sets new responsible gambling requirements for operators and also introduces new rules for advertising, promotions and sponsorship.

The new marketing regulations apply to gambling operators and their affiliates and prohibit them from advertising using brands, trademarks or commercial images they do not own, as well as prohibiting any reference to another operator’s games or intellectual property without authorisation.

All advertising must be truthful and socially responsible so as not to promote excessive gambling, and the use of imagery such as luxury products or money will be considered a breach of the social responsibility requirement. Ads that encourage the viewer to share the message of the ad with others will also be deemed irresponsible.

In addition to general rules regarding responsible gambling messaging and preventing children from being exposed to gambling advertising, the draft royal decree sets specific rules by gambling activity and medium.

Sponsorship

Sponsorship agreements involving naming rights to sporting venues will be prohibited, as will any naming rights related to sports teams or any other entity outside the betting and gaming sector. Sponsorship of well-known figures and their use in marketing is also prohibited.

Promotions

No promotional offers will be allowed for new customers above €100 in value, with the draft also giving the regulator authority to set limits on the value of promotions to existing customers.

Bonuses must be shown separately from deposited funds in a player’s account and the bonus rules should not prevent players from withdrawing deposited funds, while loyalty bonuses can only be offered without requiring players to complete a number of bets or games for the bonus to be released.

Players who have increased their deposit limit must be excluded from promotions for a period of 30 days after the increase, and no promotions may be sent to players who have closed their account.

Free Games

Free games can only be offered to registered players who are logged in and must accurately replicate the chances of winning compared to the real-money version of the game so as not to give players a false impression.

Advertising

Radio and television advertising will only be allowed between 1am and 5am, although live sports broadcasts between 8pm and 5am may include ads which do not reference promotions or bonuses of any kind; calls to action such as ‘bet now’; or early cash-out or odds.

Operators must not use well-known characters in ads, real or fictional, with exceptions for characters made famous by the ad and narrators of live broadcasts, and all commercial communications must be immediately identifiable as such.

The advertising rules also set exemptions for pari-mutuel betting, instant lotteries and bingo, which may be advertised from 10pm to 6am in programming rated 18+.

The restrictions do not apply to lottery draw games, which may be advertised freely except for before, during and after programming primarily aimed at children.

Social Networks

Gambling promotions on Twitter and other social networks will also be restricted, with every post from an operator’s official account deemed to be a commercial communication, excluding graphical representations or retransmission of a sporting event.

Every fourth post must be a responsible gambling message and operators must make use of any tools available from social networks to prevent minors from following their accounts.

The draft decree also sets out the requirements for a comprehensive social responsibility policy, including problem gambling prevention mechanisms, self-exclusion and self-prohibition, and compliance.

The Draft Royal Decree on Commercial Communications for Gambling Activities is scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2020.

Gaming Intelligence

13
Feb

Governor urges lawmakers to pass sports betting bill in Kentucky

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has called on state lawmakers to pass sports betting legislation to stop revenue from flowing to neighboring states.
The governor was joined by a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the Capitol on Thursday to urge lawmakers to pass HB 137, which would legalize sports betting at horserace tracks and the Kentucky Speedway, as well as authorize mobile betting.
The bill, which would also authorize fantasy sports and online poker, passed the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee in January by a vote of 18-0, highlighting broad bipartisan support for the measure.
“We have a real urgency in Kentucky. We need new revenue to support the needs of our communities, our state and especially our children who deserve the best education,” said Governor Beshear. “We have an urgency to keep millions of Kentucky dollars from crossing our rivers and going to support the education and pension systems in our neighboring states.
“We are with business, education and pension leaders – Republicans and Democrats – working together on the same team. We all agree that passing sports betting is the right thing to do and we are working together to help move the state forward.”
Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman said: “Sports wagering provides much needed revenue and has bipartisan support in the legislature. Passing this bill is a way we can all work together to support public education and provide Kentucky’s students and teachers the resources they need to cultivate the workforce of the future.”
State Representative Adam Koenig added: “This is a common sense proposal with broad support that would allow adults to legally engage in sports bets as entertainment.
“We know that Kentuckians are already gambling on sports, let’s make a move that allows us to regulate it and generate revenue for the state without raising taxes.”
Currently, sports betting is legal in 20 US states, including Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, West Virginia, Mississippi and Arkansas.
“Like it or not, residents from every community in the Commonwealth are already betting on sports, either illegally through bookies or online, or legally across our border,” said State Representative Al Gentry. “Regulating and taxing it in Kentucky helps us minimize illegal activity and generate revenues that allow us to help those with addiction problems and contribute millions to our pension liabilities. It helps us retain millions in discretionary spending dollars by our residents within our borders.”
Representatives from the State Fraternal Order of Police, firefighters, property valuation administrators, Kentucky Travel Industry Association, meetNKY, Commerce Lexington and the NKY Chamber also attended Thursday in support.
“As the voice of Kentucky’s business community, passing sports wagering in 2020 is a no-brainer,” said Ashli Watts, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Not only will it make us more competitive with our surrounding states who have enacted it, but it will also put much needed revenue in our state budget to help fund our state’s public pension system.
“Sports wagering is a win-win for Kentucky – it’s good for business, good for taxpayers and we encourage the legislature to take action this General Assembly.”
Gaming Intelligence

28
Jan

Proposed German Gambling Treaty Draws Praise and Scorn

The new draft of the German State Treaty on Gambling, which was provisionally approved by the country’s 16 states over the weekend, has been met with bemusement by politicians and the industry.
The draft includes unanimously welcomed proposals such as establishing a national gambling regulator for the first time with wide powers to police the market and combat unlicensed operators, together with proposals that critics say demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of modern consumers and technology.
The proposed treaty would end Germany’s long-running but ineffective prohibition of online casino gaming by allowing a national regulator to issue online casino licenses to operators, but also allows each state to decide what online gaming is allowed.
The draft restricts online gaming to slots and poker and gives states authority to approve other casino games such as roulette and blackjack, while live sports betting would only be allowed on very limited markets such as the next goal.
“The decision to finally abolish the ban on online gambling and issue permits for virtual slot machines is a long overdue step in the right direction,” said Dr. Dirk Quermann, president of the German online casino association Deutscher Online Casinoverband (DOCV).
“But why then are other online casino games like roulette once again treated differently on the internet. It is difficult to understand the federal state’s boundaries.”
Quermann added that giving individual states authority over online casino games will only create new state monopolies in a digital world, but stressed that he would have to carefully examine the detail of the proposal before making a final assessment.
That sentiment was echoed by German sports betting association Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV).
“The federal states have presented a highly complex, almost 70-page regulatory framework that first requires our intensive analysis to determine its full scope,” said DSWV president Mathias Dahms.
Dahms welcomed the progress towards better regulation of the market explained that his early conclusion is that the restriction on live betting endangers the goal of channelling consumers to a legal and regulated offering because 60 per cent of all betting is in-play live betting.
“Disappointed consumers will turn to black market offerings that don’t comply with legal requirements,” he warned.
He also questioned whether the proposed cross-operator €1,000 a month deposit limit for players would achieve its goal of reducing problem gambling, and said that the proposed five-minute wait time for players switching sites “completely ignores the reality of life for consumers in the digital age”.
There was also a mixed response from lawmakers, with Schleswig-Holstein state chancellery secretary Dirk Schrödter (CDU) hailing the agreement as a breakthrough and a really good result, while a CDU spokesperson conceded that there is a need for improvement, particularly around live betting. The CDU’s partner in pushing for a better regulated gambling market went further, warning that no deal is better than a bad deal.
“It should remain our goal to get nationwide gambling regulations. But that is not possible at any cost,” said Jan Marcus Rossa, the FDP spokesperson for gaming policy.
“We Free Democrats welcome the fact that nationwide regulations for online gambling are finally emerging. Without question this is an important step in the right direction, paving the way for future suppression of the illegal online gambling market in Germany.
“However, we must not overlook the fact that the current draft does not meet our expectations in all areas and falls short of the state parliament resolution of 2017.”
Schleswig-Holstein broke away from the State Treaty in 2017 to pursue its own gambling policy that already includes live betting and online casino.
“This applies in particular to the topics of monopoly, access restrictions and online casino as well as the goal of achieving equal regulatory treatment for all online forms of gambling,” Rossa said. “We are critical of the treatment of live betting and data protection aspects of the proposed cross-provider player accounts (€1,000 limit files).”
The FDP is urging the Schleswig-Holstein parliament to quickly consider the proposal and make changes during the upcoming consultation process to align the proposed state treaty with the regulations of the state, or else continue alone.
A spokesman for the Schleswig-Holsetin parliamentary group of Alliance 90 / The Greens added: “The breakthrough in the state negotiations is a huge step towards successful regulation.
“Liberalisation combined with strict but balanced regulation could enable us to achieve what other countries like Denmark have already done: to largely displace illegal offers in favour of a safe and regulated gambling offer.”
Gaming Intelligence

21
Jan

Washington State looks to progress sports betting legislation

LAWMAKERS IN WASHINGTON STATE HAVE INTRODUCED TWO DIFFERENT BILLS TO AUTHORIZE SPORTS BETTING IN THE STATE.
The first bill HB2478 (companion bill S6277) was introduced by Representative Brandon Vick late last week and would authorize sports betting at tribal casinos, card rooms and racetracks.
Under the proposed bill, an operator may accept bets on sports events from players over the age of 18 that are physically present in a retail sports betting lounge, or via self-service betting machines or an online sports pool.
Each tribal casino and sports betting licensee may provide no more than one branded sports betting website, which may have an accompanying mobile application bearing the same brand for an online sports pool.
A sports pool must be operated in a retail sports betting lounge located at the tribal casino, card room, or racetrack complex, while operators can only launch online once a retail betting lounge has commenced operation.
Licensed operators may provide promotional credits, incentives, bonuses, complimentaries, or similar benefits designed to induce sports betters to wager. The server or other equipment used by licensees to accept wagers at a sports pool or online sports pool must be located in that tribal casino, card room, or racetrack complex.
The Washington state gambling commission will have the authority to charge a card room and a racetrack a fee for the issuance of a sports wagering license in an amount of $500,000 for the initial issuance and “a reasonable fee” in the case of a renewal.
Every tribal casino and sports betting licensee will pay a tax of 10 per cent of net gaming revenue to the state.
A second bill HB2683 (companion bill SB6394) would authorize sports betting on a very limited basis by restricting it to tribal casinos in the state.
Upon the request of a federally recognized Indian tribe in the state, the tribe’s class III gaming compact must be amended pursuant to the Indian gaming regulatory act.
This will authorize the tribe to conduct and operate sports wagering on federal Indian lands, provided the amendment addresses how sports wagering will be conducted, operated, and regulated.
Both bills, HB2478 and HB2683, have been read for the first time and referred to the Committee on Commerce & Gaming for further approval.
Gaming Intelligence

14
Jan

New York mobile sports betting bill passes first committee

Senator Joseph Addabbo’s bill to authorise online sports betting in New York gained unanimous support from the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee Monday.
Senator Addabbo’s bill would allow the state’s commercial and tribal casinos to partner with an agent to offer internet-based sports betting to players in New York.
Mobile or internet-based sports betting would be taxed at a rate of 12 per cent of gross revenue compared to 8.5 per cent for retail betting, and commercial operators would be required to use geolocation technology to ensure that mobile betting is not available in a native American tribe’s exclusive geographic area without consent.
The bill (S17D) also requires operators to provide parental controls to prevent minors from accessing a sports betting platform, and a self-exclusion programme for players to opt out of sports betting, and also sets a $250,000 lifetime deposit limit.
Players would be authorised to open and fund mobile sports betting accounts either in-person at a casino, through an affiliate, or remotely through the sports betting platform.
S17D was filed on January 9th and passed the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee Monday by a vote of 7-0. It now heads to the Senate Finance Committee.
Gaming Intelligence

13
Jan

Australia’s ACMA moves to block nine more illegal iGaming sites

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is continuing its fight against unlicensed online offshore gambling websites with moves to block nine further sites.
The ACMA is set to request Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block nine illegal iGaming sites, and has urged Australian users of these sites to withdraw their money immediately.
Last November Emu Casino became the first online casino to be blocked in Australia. It has since exited the Australian market and is allowing customers to withdraw funds through its customer support.
The latest operators to be blocked include Roo Casino, GW Casino, Wager Beat, Joe Fortune, Ignition Casino, Casino Dingo, AU Slots, Top Bet and XBet.
The ACMA confirmed that more than 79 complaints were submitted about the sites, which have been targeting Australian players in breach of the country’s Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
More than 90 illegal operators have pulled out of the Australian market since 2017, when the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules.
Gaming Intelligence

9
Jan

Yggdrasil secures B2B licence approval in Isle of Man

Casino games developer Yggdrasil has been granted a B2B software licence by the Isle of Man Supervision Commission.
The approval allows Yggdrasil to offer its portfolio of games and software to licensed operators in the jurisdiction, and adds to the supplier’s existing seven licences across the UK, Malta, Gibraltar and Romania.
“Ever since we began the business, we have been highly regulated and highly compliant in every major gaming jurisdiction,” said Yggdrasil chief executive Fredrik Elmqvist. “We take great pride in adhering to regulatory best practice and place great emphasis on compliance and responsible gaming across all our products.
“We’re delighted to add the Isle of Man to this prestigious regulatory roster, our eighth B2B licence, and I’m sure many more will follow in the years to come.”
Gaming Intelligence

6
Jan

Greek iGaming regulations exclude blacklisted operators

Recently blacklisted online gaming operators in Greece will be excluded from the initial licensing process under proposed regulations.
The rules to govern the regulated Greek online gaming market were notified to the European Commission last week following the adoption of new online gaming legislation in October, which will see operators fully licensed and regulated in Greece for the first time.
Seven-year Greek licenses will be available for online betting (Type 1 License) and online casino games (Type 2 License) at a cost of €3m and €2m respectively, although operators that have appeared on the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s (HGC) blacklist of illegal operators in the year prior to application will be ineligible for licensure.
The HGC only blacklisted four websites in 2019, but is expected to expand this before the start of the new licensing process. The four sites blacklisted in 2019 are 1x2bet.gr, betballa.gr, fonbet.gr and 1×2-netbet.gr, with a total of 2,632 domains blacklisted since the introduction of the list in 2013.
The proposed Type 1 license regulations allow betting on sporting events, virtual sports, other events, and random number generator-determined events, excluding youth sports, event betting and betting on an outcome determined by another form of gambling, such as lottery betting.
Operators will also be prohibited from offering bets that have been banned by a sports governing body or competent authority such as the Hellenic Football Federation, and exchange betting is prohibited outright.
The maximum wagering amount is set at €500,000 for online betting, although players may request an increase to the threshold, while RNG-determined online casino games will be subject to a maximum bet of €2 per spin and prize of €5,000 in any one game cycle, excluding jackpots.
Jackpots may only be offered under a Type 2 license and must only be available within Greece, with jackpot operations strictly limited to games from the same manufacturer. The rules also prohibit jackpot pooling between licensees and cap jackpot prizes at a maximum of €500,000.
The proposed regulations also address game and systems certification, mandatory responsible gambling tools such as self-assessment and self-exclusion functionality and deposit limits, and rules regarding payment processing and data protection.
The technical and game regulations were notified to the European Commission on 31 December and are subject to a standstill period expiring on 1 April, 2020.
Gaming Intelligence

30
Dec

Michigan legalises online gaming and sports betting

Michigan’s sports betting and online gaming legislation was signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday.
The package of bills relating to fantasy sports contests, sports betting and online gaming is expected to bring in $19m in new revenue to the state, which will bolster the School Aid Fund by $4.8m and provide an additional $4m to the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund.
The bills (HB 4307 – 4312; 4323; 4173; 4916 – 4918) allow the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to issue licenses for online and mobile casinos games and sports betting, which may be offered by licensed Detroit or Tribal casinos, and also establish a legal framework to regulate fantasy sports contests.
“My top priority in signing this legislation was protecting and investing in the School Aid Fund, because our students deserve leaders who put their education first,” Governor Whitmer said.
“Thanks in part to the hard work and leadership of Senator Hertel and Representative Warren, these bills will put more dollars in Michigan classrooms and increase funding for firefighters battling cancer. This is a real bipartisan win for our state.”
The approval comes a year after former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar package of bills over concerns about their impact on the state’s iLottery revenue, which benefits the School Aid Fund.
Gaming Intelligence

20
Dec

Illinois begins sports betting licensing process

The Illinois Gaming Board is accepting sports betting license applications under emergency rules released Thursday.
The initial rules govern licensing, oversight and discipline, and establish the application process for the state’s master sports wagering licenses, management service provider licenses, and technology and data supplier licenses, among others.
The rules also enable the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) to expedite the process by issuing temporary operating permits in situations that do not compromise gaming integrity or public safety.
“Today’s release of applications and phase 1 rules is a significant step in the process the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker began earlier this year – the ethical and transparent implementation of sports wagering in Illinois,” said Illinois Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter.
“IGB staff used responses from the [public] comment period to inform the rules and also derived best practices from states where sports wagering is already being conducted in order to develop a regulatory framework and implementation process that are right for Illinois and will protect the public interest.”
Thursday’s emergency rules will be followed by the release of operational rules early next year.
Gaming Intelligence