Sweden’s investigation into match-fixing and unlicensed gambling has been extended by three months and expanded to include money laundering threats.
The investigation led by Swedish Chamber of Commerce director general Gunnar Larsson was due to submit a report to the government by June 30, with that deadline now extended to September 30 to allow Larsson to develop a comprehensive proposal to combat the threats posed by illegal gambling and match-fixing.
He will also now investigate money laundering threats and develop rules for imposing penalties on licensed gambling operators for any violations of the Money Laundering Act.
“The current investigation will propose solutions to enable effective supervision of illegal gambling and strengthen the work against match-fixing,” said Sweden’s social security minister Ardalan Shekarabi. “These issues are of great importance for a sustainable gaming market. It is therefore important that the investigator has enough time to develop well-elaborated proposals.”
Florida expects to generate as much as $6.0bn from gaming over the next decade through a new compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
The compact is valid for a 30-year term and gives the Seminole Tribe the right to operate slot machines, table games, sports betting, fantasy sports, raffles and draws, and any new game authorised by Florida law.
This includes wagering while physically present at one of the seven existing gaming facilities on tribal lands in Florida, and online sports betting and fantasy contests through servers located on tribal lands, with the state receiving at least $2.5bn during the first five years of the compact.
“This historic compact expands economic opportunity, tourism, and recreation, and bolsters the fiscal success of our state in one fell swoop for the benefit of all Floridians and Seminoles alike,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“Our agreement establishes the framework to generate billions in new revenue and untold waves of positive economic impact. I would like to thank Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr., Senate President Wilton Simpson, and House Speaker Chris Sprowls for their collective commitment to modernizing the gaming industry in the state of Florida and setting the bar for the rest of the nation.”
“The Seminole Tribe of Florida is committed to a mutually-beneficial gaming compact with the State of Florida and looks forward to its approval by the Florida Legislature, the Seminole Tribal Council and the U.S. Department of the Interior,” added Marcellus Osceola Jr., chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
“The Tribe wants to express our sincere thanks to Governor DeSantis, Senate President Simpson, House Speaker Sprowls and many others who have worked hard to negotiate a historic agreement that cements our partnership with the state for decades to come.”
The compact also allows the Seminole Tribe to partner with a platform provider for sports betting and enables the state’s pari-mutuel wagering operators to participate in the new activity as agents of the tribe.
It will also allow the tribe to renegotiate with the state 36 months after the effective date of the compact to allow all covered games to be made available through the internet.
Germany’s new State Treaty on Gambling has cleared its final hurdle and will come into force as expected on July 1.
The treaty was ratified by the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt on Wednesday and is expected to secure approval in the last remaining state, North Rhine-Westphalia, by the end of this month.
The successful ratification process ends years of regulatory uncertainty in the German online gambling market by authorising and regulating online sports betting, slots and poker.
“This is the beginning of a new age of gaming regulation in Germany. After sports betting, the federal states are now rightly regulating further online games of chance in order to finally control what is happening on the market,” said Mathias Dahms, president of the German industry association DSWV.
“The new State Treaty on Gambling is an important step towards modern regulation, but there is also a need for improvement. We consider the state databases for the complete monitoring of all consumers to be extremely questionable from a data protection point of view. The fact that particularly popular live bets should be allowed on football and ice hockey games in the future, but possibly not on handball and tennis, completely misses the expectations of customers. Adjustments will have to be made here soon. We place our hopes in the new authority, which will shape and objectify the gambling policy debate in the future.”
Dahms added that the biggest challenge for operators in the newly regulated market will be the high tax rates set by state and federal governments.
“The federal states want to tax all stakes on virtual slot machine games and online poker – including stakes made with previous winnings. The tax rate of 5.3 per cent on the stakes is far too high in an international comparison. This makes the game considerably more expensive for the customer, with game credits used up more quickly,” Dahms explained.
“In the end, only the black market profits from this. No other country in Europe taxes the stakes in virtual slot machine games, but always the gross gaming revenue – the actual revenue of the gaming provider. In this way, Germany is taking the wrong direction in tax policy.”
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.