Belgium makes another cut to max number of licences

Belgium has further reduced the maximum number of online sports betting licences.

Belgium.- New limits on the Belgian gaming market continue to be introduced. The Belgian Gambling Commission has announced the implementation of a royal decree cutting the maximum number of online sports betting licences by one, from 31 to 30.

The new limit will apply to online sports betting licences, known as F1 licences, until July 2031. The number of available permits had already been reduced from 34 last year.

It’s the latest change in Belgium following the announcement that weekly deposit limits for online gaming will be reduced from €500 to €200 from October 20.

Players may request that their deposit limit be lifted but operators must notify the Belgian regulator of the request and check with the National Bank that the player is not listed as being in default on its Central Credit Register. As long as the player is not listed, the deposit limit can be lifted three days after a request is made.

Meanwhile, the Belgian government intends to ban advertising for all gambling apart from the national lottery from the start of next year. However, the European Commission has extended its standstill period on the legislation following a request from the government of Malta.

The proposed ban would cover advertising in print, TV, radio and online media – including social media – as well as posters in public places and personalised digital or post advertising.

The Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO) has criticised the proposal, saying it would cause players difficulty when it comes to distinguishing legal from illegal operators. It highlighted a survey from UGent showing that one in three gaming operators that advertise on social media in Belgium are unlicensed and operating illegally.

The Belgian National Lottery has denied allegations that it effectively bought the proposed ban.


ATG revenue falls in first half

The Swedish operator says it remains confident that revenue will recover.

Sweden- The Swedish betting operator AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has reported revenue of SEK 2.59bn (€245m) for the first half. That’s a drop of 2 per cent year-on-year. Meanwhile, operating profit was down by 14 per cent from SEK 917m (€86m) to SEK 805m (€76.1m).

Second quarter revenue was SEK 1.3m, down from SEK 1.4bn in Q2 2021. However, ATG noted that while down year-on-year, it was still its second-best first half on record. It noted that it was seeing “increased competition from other amusements” but remained confident that it would return to growth.

CEO Hasse Lord Skarplöth said: “Just like the first quarter, the second quarter’s comparative figures are affected by Covid-19 effects, which is why a comparison with the first half of last year is not really a relevant summary of ATG’s development in the past year.

“Having said that, in a longer historical perspective, and amid the ongoing unrest in the world around us, ATG did well through the beginning of 2022. Looking at the period January-June, the net gaming revenues are the second highest in the company’s history.”

While ATG now offers other verticals following the liberalisation of gaming in Sweden, horse racing betting remains its biggest source of revenue by far, accounting for 82 per cent of revenue in Q2, while other sports betting contributed 11 per cent and casino gaming just 7 per cent

However, betting on horse racing declined by 6 per cent in the first half to SEK 2bn (€189m). Other sport betting revenue rose by 3 per cent to SEK 328m, and Lord Skarplöth note that ATG continued to gain market share.

He said: “Going forward, ATG will continue to work towards clearly formulated goals and customer promises. This means continued work with the constant development of, and investments in, gaming products for continued growth and cost-effectiveness.

“This is to continue delivering good results and thus live up to our task and mission of being the horse industry’s engine and the gaming industry’s compass.”

Earlier this week, Sweden’s Svenska Spel, the state-owned lottery and gaming operator, announced that it has assigned SEK42m (€4m) in funds for problem gambling research. It will spend SEK8.5m per year over the next five years, with SEK25m going to research grants.

Last month, Svenska Spel reported that its Q2 revenue was up by 1 per cent year-on-year from SEK 1,938m to SEK 1,963m (€186.5m). However, operating profit fell by 4 per cent to SEK 1,127m (€106.8m).


Albanian sports federations push for regulation of sports betting

Sports federations and Albania’s Olympic Committee have written to the government to call for the reintroduction of regulated sports betting.

Albania.- A group of sports federations and the national Olympic Committee has written to the Albanian government calling for the reintroduction of regulated sports betting in order to generate revenue to support sports. Albania banned most gambling in January 2019, closing thousands of betting shops and all but a few casinos that have special permits.

The sports federations say they agreed with the 2019 closure of betting shops due to their ubiquity at the time, but they say sports betting should now be allowed through carefully selected operators, which could be both local and international companies.

They say that a legal market is necessary to avoid black-market gambling. Police have attempted to clamp down on illegal gambling operations, but unlicensed betting continues. They also propose the use of age limits and limits on the size of bets to minimise risks of gambling harm.

The letter reads: “We are not proposing the opening of the entire range of gambling, including electronic casinos or bingo halls. Our proposal includes fiscally transparent, league-regulated online sports betting.”

It adds: “The regulation of sports betting by law is a practice followed by many Western countries. In these countries, the income from sports betting is used for the development of sports, sports infrastructure and to support the youth.”

Fidel Ylli, head of the Olympic Committee, said in a speech at the Prime Minister’s Office to mark Luiza Gega’s victory in the European women’s 3000-metre steeplechase: “It was good that [betting shops] were closed. I was in the parliament, and I voted. They were like mushrooms in the rain. But prime minister, the whole world has betting companies.”


Holland Casino reports €353.4m in revenue for H1 – more than in all 2021

Almost a quarter of Holland Casino’s revenue came from online gambling.

The Netherlands.- The Dutch state-run casino brand Holland Casino has reported revenue of €353.4m for the first half of the year. That’s more than all of its revenue in Covid-19-impacted 2021 (full year: €304.2m).

The figures show a strong recovery for its land-based casinos, which were closed for periods last year. But at €82.8m, close to a quarter of its revenue came from online gambling, which launched in the Netherlands last October.

Holland Casino reported EBITDA of €40m and a pre-tax profit of €8.2m. It paid off €51.7m in taxes deferred during the pandemic and is due to pay off the remainder of the €313.4m it deferred in 60 instalments, but chief financial officer Ruud Bergervoet said the operator may pay off the deferred tax more quickly.

The operator also repaid €51.7m worth of taxes that had been deferred due to the impact of the pandemic during the half-year. In total, the business had €313.4m deferred.

Holland Casino director of operations Noël Leise said: “Fortunately, our loyal guests have found Holland Casino again en masse, and our committed employees do everything they can to ensure that they have a great time.

“We also see that our online guests continue to appreciate our offer despite the increasing competition. We therefore expect a positive year for Holland Casino. Of course, that still depends on Covid developments in the autumn and how quickly we can have enough employees in the tight labour market.

“But these half-year figures again form a promising basis. In the coming six months, we will continue to build a stable, responsible and future-proof company with renewed energy.”

In June, Holland Casino agreed pay rises plus a one-off extra payment to cover employees against rising inflation. In negotiations with two unions, FNV and De Unie, it has committed to a 2.5 per cent pay increase from this month plus a €350 one-off payment for all full-time staff.

In May, it named Petra de Ruiter as its new CEO. She will replace Erwin van Lambaart who announced his departure last month to take up the CEO position at Casinos Austria. De Ruiter is currently chief operating officer at aviation group Transavia, where she is responsible for business operations. She has also worked in roles at Air France-KLM.


EGT nominated for Land-Based Industry Supplier of the year in GGA Las Vegas 2022

EGT was nominated for its strong year: it installed many of its new products with great success in a number of gaming halls around the world.

Press release.- EGT is among the finalists in the 9th edition of Global Gaming Awards Las Vegas 2022 (GGA) distinguishing the companies with the greatest achievements in the gaming sector for the past 12 months in the Americas region.

The Bulgarian manufacturer will fight for the prize in the Land-Based Industry Supplier of the year category which recognizes the efforts of the suppliers for the development of brick-and-mortar casinos.

EGT received the nomination because of the strong year it had: it installed many of its new products with great success in a number of gaming halls around the world.

Bell Link jackpot quickly won the players’ hearts with its four levels with many bonuses and opportunities for additional winnings, as well as the special selection of games in the Bell Link 1 multigame, which are some of the most preferred titles in EGT’s portfolio.

2 Happy Hits, High Cash and Cai Fu Tian Jiang jackpot systems were developed specifically for the American market. Having their premiere this year, they were accepted very well by the local gaming audience because of their captivating single games on exotic themes and multiple options for winning and entertainment.

EGT’s latest series of slot machines general was also highly appreciated by players and casino operators. Following the latest trends in design and offering ultimate comfort, especially the VIP models equipped with multimedia chairs, these models quickly gained great popularity among casino visitors.

Some of the biggest and most luxurious establishments in Mexico already have special areas, the so-called Lounges, that are supplied only with EGT equipment, a large part of which are General cabinets.

“We are very happy that EGT is nominated exactly in the Land-Based Industry Supplier of the year category because it reflects the fullest extent of everything we have achieved in the last 12 months,” commented Nadia Popova, VP of Sales & Marketing at EGT.

The GGA competition is powered by the B2B-gaming publications Gambling Insider and Gaming America in association with G2E and gives prizes in 15 categories, covering both the land-based and digital aspects of the industry.

The judging panel consists of 100 C-level executives from the biggest and most notable gaming companies, including manufacturers, suppliers, casino operators and experts. The fairness and transparency of the voting process are guaranteed by KPMG. The winners will be announced at a luncheon ceremony on 10th October.


AGA announces Gaming Hall of Fame Class of 2022

The American Gaming Association announced the Gaming Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

Press release.- The American Gaming Association (AGA) announced the Gaming Hall of Fame Class of 2022, honouring three leaders for their noteworthy contributions to the industry:

Gavin Isaacs, former president and CEO, Scientific Games Corporation and current chairman, Games Global
Virginia McDowell, former president and CEO, Isle of Capri Casinos and current non-executive director, Entain plc and cofounder, Global Gaming Women
Michael Rumbolz, former CEO, Everi Holdings, Inc. and current executive chairman of the board, Everi Holdings, Inc.
“Gavin, Virginia and Mike have each helped transform the gaming industry in their own significant ways,” said AGA president and CEO Bill Miller. “From leading casino and manufacturing operations across the country to serving in a multitude of board and advisory roles, their influence has spanned the U.S. and global gaming industry—and we are all better off for it.”

Since 1989, the Gaming Hall of Fame has recognized gaming legends, pioneers and business leaders for their lasting impacts on the industry. The Class of 2022 will be honoured during an invitation-only induction ceremony at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas this October.

“The Gaming Hall of Fame is comprised of individuals that have pushed the industry forward through innovation, leadership and excellence. This year’s inductees are well-deserving additions to its ranks,” said AGA chairman of the board and Hard Rock International chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen. “I look forward to celebrating their contributions alongside the entire gaming industry at G2E 2022.”

See also: AGA releases updated anti-money laundering guide

The AGA requests the Biden administration partner with the gaming industry on the government’s ongoing efforts
As federal officials begin implementing the Digital Assets Executive Order, the AGA requests the Biden administration work with the gaming industry.

The background: President Biden’s executive order puts in motion a “whole-of-government effort” to promote the appropriate principles, standards and best practices for governing digital assets (e.g., cryptocurrencies, NFTs, etc.).

Looking ahead: The use of digital assets in gaming is under consideration by many gaming companies and regulators as the industry explores new payment options. Given gaming’s unique needs around AML compliance, it’s crucial the industry receives specific and appropriate guidance as federal regulation of these assets ramps up.


Portugal launches public tender for land-based casinos

The bidding has opened for two land-based casino licences that expire at the end of the year.

Portugal.- The national gaming regulator, Serviços de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ), has launched a public tender for two land-based casino licences in Portugal. The current exclusive licences for Casino Figueira and Casino Estoril expire on December 31.

The licences for the two areas where land-based casinos are legal (Estoril and Figueira da Foz) had been extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now a new public tender will be held to select the next licensees. Submissions will remain open for 30 days

Applicants must be a public limited company with offices in an EU or European Economic Area country that is party to certain anti-money laundering, fraud and tax administrative cooperation agreements. Non-Portuguese operators will need to have a presence in Portugal.

The current operator of Casino Figueira in Figueira da Foz is the wood manufacturer Amorim, which bought the licence from Sociedade Figueira Praia. Casino Estoril near Lisbon is run by Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM), owner of Macau casino operator SJM.

For the second quarter, Portuguese online gaming and betting revenue came in at €146.4m, which was a rise of 17.2 per cent year-on-year but a drop of 7.7 per cent against a very strong Q1.

Sports betting generated €64.7m and online gaming €81.7m. The Special Tax on Online Gaming (IEJO) returned €44.9m, compared to €38.8m in Q2 2021. Meanwhile, the number of new player registrations also fell in the quarter, dropping by 23.1 per cent.

In May, the SRIJ approved regulations allowing crash games in the country. Existing licensed operators can apply for permission to offer them.

These are games banked by the house that let customers play against the operator with a multiplier, which increases through the game from 1 to a maximum of 100. The idea is that players aim to pull their bet before the end of the game to recover their stake multiplied by the current multiplier if they manage to do so.

Earlier in the year, it implemented a new rule taking a hard line on live odds. Rule No.1/2022/SRIJ prohibits gambling operators from publishing live odds on sports events on any platform, physical or online, including on advertising boards at stadiums and arenas.

The display of live, up-to-date odds will be considered illegal advertising and could result in regulatory action, it said. The move follows the national legislature’s approval of new limits on gambling advertising last October. Other countries, including the Netherlands, have introduced similar measures


Endorphina strengthens its presence in Latam through Latamwin

Endorphina Games will launch new slot content in Latin America through a partnership with Latamwin.

Press release.- Endorphina Games, the leading B2B online slots provider, will soon launch new slots content in Latin America with the help of Latamwin, a leading technology solution for online gaming platforms and businesses. This new partnership will be mutually beneficial as Endorphina will begin its expansion on the continent, while Latamwin successfully brings its players exciting new slots content.

Wilfred Adelsdorfer, CEO of Latamwin shares a few words about the new alliance: “It is a great pride for us that Endorphina joins Latamwin as a provider of our platform since it is a well-known company, which meets the best industry standards and also has a very attractive game portfolio. We are sure that our users will like this alliance, they will greatly enjoy this new integration.”

See also: Beware of fake Endorphina imposters and how it can hurt you

Zdenek Llosa, senior sales manager at Endorphina, also added a few words: “We are very excited to announce our latest partnership with experienced iGaming company Latamwin. We continue with our commitment to strengthen our position in South America and their experience in the market combined with our games will ensure that it is a win-win experience for all. We are happy to increase our audience with more regional players and let them enjoy our most popular tiles including the return of our Ninja and our new releases Fisher King, Cyber ​​Wolf and Book of Vlad.”

Endorphina releases its newest slot, Book of Vlad
Endorphina‘s newest slot takes place deep within the mountains, with a majestic castle surrounded by gargoyles. Only the most daring players can be granted access to this dark castle belonging to a stunning creature.

Book of Vlad is a legendary slot set to spook and provide thrills to all players who seek to spin their luck inside this vampire-themed slot game – with 5-reels and 3-rows with 10 pay lines. The stunning creature has written out his story for all to explore and experience.

If beautiful gothic horror, beautiful vampires, deadly creatures, and huge demonic wins are within your style of play, Endorphina’s new Book of Vlad slot may be perfect for you. Stay thirsty and try Endorphina’s newest slot today.


Dutch media company considers legal challenge against gambling ad ban

Talpa says it’s investigating the possibility of challenging the upcoming ban on gambling ads.

The Netherlands.- The Dutch media company Talpa Network, which owns TV, radio and social media channels, has said that it is looking into the possibility of lodging a legal challenge against the Netherlands’ upcoming ban on gambling ads. Talpa Network includes the TV channels SBS6, Net5 and Veronica.

Tom van Hulst of the TV marketing group Screenforce has also said that it was preparing a response to the ban on behalf of all of its participants, “including Talpa, RTL and Ster”.

The Dutch gambling ad ban is due to come into force at the start of 2023, prohibiting all untargeted ads for online gambling and casino gaming. It covers television, radio and both indoor and outdoor public spaces. Sports sponsorship will also be phased out over the next two years.

The ban was announced after politicians pushed for action following a surge in gambling advertising after the regulated market launched in October last year. The Netherlands has already introduced a ban on the use of role models in gambling advertising, a measure that was introduced at the start of July.


European Commission extends standstill on Belgian advertising ban

Malta had requested an extension of the stand-still period on the ban.

Belgium.- The European Commission has announced that it has extended the “standstill period” for Belgium’s ban on gambling advertising after receiving a requisition from Malta. The decision could delay the introduction of the ban, which would affect all gambling operations apart from the Belgian national lottery.

Belgium plans to introduce the ban via a royal decree. In its presentation to the EC, it argues that advertising “normalises gambling in society” and “presents it as socially and culturally acceptable behaviour and as a legitimate leisure activity”. It says this is detrimental to vulnerable groups such as minors and gambling addicts.

It said: “In the absence of a rule at the European Union level, member states are free to lay down their own rules in this area. With a view to improving player protection, the purpose of this decree is to limit the forms of advertising permitted in the field of gambling and betting and to impose rules on the content of such advertising.”

However, EU rules allow a standstill period in which other European states can challenge a country’s proposed legislation through the European Commission if they believe it breaches European Union rules on the free movement of goods and services. The hold on Belgium’s royal decree was to expire on August 9, but Malta has asked for an extension until September 9, which suggest it may be planning to challenge the legislation.

Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborn has proposed the royal decree, which would ban almost all gambling advertising by the end of 2023 and any marketing in sports by the close of 2024. Equating gambling to ‘the new smoking’, Van Quickenborn wants a ban on advertising in print, TV, radio and online media – including social media – as well as posters in public places and personalised digital or post advertising.

The Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO) has criticised the proposal, saying it would cause players difficulty when it comes to distinguishing legal from illegal operators. It highlighted a survey from UGent showing that one in three gaming operators that advertise on social media in Belgium are unlicensed and operating illegally.

Meanwhile, the Belgian National Lottery has responded to allegations that it effectively bought the proposed ban.