Germany issues online slots licence to Solar Operations

It’s the ninth online slots licence for Germany’s new regulated igaming market.

Germany.- A ninth online slots licence has been granted in Germany, going to Solar Operations Limited which will operate at The licence was granted by the Saxony-Anhalt state administration office, which remains responsible for licensing until the end of this year.

It’s the latest licence to be issued following a licence awarded to Jokerstar last week. Jokerstar’s licence was notable for the company being a newcomer to the scene. Germany’s tight regulations and high tax on online slots rate mean that so far most licensees have been connected to well-established land-based gaming operations.

However, according to Solar Operations’ website, its directors include Simon Ellul Sullivan and Jeremy Camilleri. Sullivan is a director at GGC Malta, which bought the domain name last year. Camilleri is the managing director of Gauselmann’s Merkur eSolutions and Solis Ortus Service Ltd.

Online slots in Germany
Germany’s new online gambling legislation came into force on July 1 last year, introducing a tight regulatory regime for slots with a €1 stake limit and a 5.3 per cent tax on turnover. Licensing has been slow, with the first online slots licences not issued until earlier this year.

The first operator to receive a licence was Mernov, a joint venture between Merkur and Novomatic that has since changed its name to Deutsche Gesellschaft für Glücksspiel (DGGS). Licences followed for Tipwin and Mybet in June. The state of Saxony-Anhalt has since said that it has approved another nine operators but didn’t name them.

Saxony-Anhalt’s State Administration Office remains responsible for online slots and poker licensing until the new regulator Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL – The German Federal States’ Joint Gambling Authority) takes over on January 1, 2023.

With its licensing process taking so long, some eight applications have been withdrawn – including that from Kindred’s Unibet which has turned its back on Germany for now due to the slow licensing progress and the tight restrictions in the regulated market. Only one application has actually been rejected by the office.

The State Administration Office recently said it had referred 25 online gaming operators to the public prosecutor’s office for offering gaming without a licence in the last year. It said it had checked 871 websites and investigated 148 cases of illegal gambling and 90 cases of illegal gambling advertising.

Meanwhile, the GGL has already taken over enforcement duties, taking steps to begin to block IP addresses and payments to unlicensed operators. The regulator also plans to devise an early detection system for gambling harm and to create a centralised complaints and whistleblowing system that the public will be able to use to report gambling “irregularities”, advertising violations and suspicions of illegal gambling.


Jackpot Software invests in modern and attractive games without leaving the classic aside

The games will be developed for North America, Europe and Latin America, according to their laws.

Press release.- Jackpot Software is recognized worldwide for classic slot games that have delighted generations of users, such as Fusion Sevens and American Payday. In the Bahamas, for example, the favourite games are Bahamas Bucks, Flaming Seven and Smash Cash. But now, in addition, the company is investing a lot in new games, with modern and attractive graphics.

It’s true that Jackpot Software’s online games revive the great classics, bringing to the virtual the possibility of enjoying old-school casinos, but there’s news coming.

According to Billy Duran, the company’s International Director of Operations, “Customers love the classics, of course! But now we’re developing a visually appealing catalogue that has loads of prizes, bonuses and jackpots that they will love the same! The new releases will be even more attractive”.

The latest generation of games, another step by Jackpot Software to consolidate itself as a leader in the gaming market, will be developed to be enjoyed in many countries – according to the legislation of each place – in North America, Europe and Latin America.


Ontario igaming revenue for first three months hits CA$162m

IGaming Ontario has released its first public report on market performance since the market launched in April.

Canada.- iGaming Ontario (iGO) has released its first public report of market performance since the Ontario igaming market launched on April 4. The report covers the first full quarter of market operations, ending on June 30. Revenue for the period was CA$162m from wagers of $4bn.

There are 18 operators active across 31 gaming websites and 492,000 active players. Players have spent an average of $113 a month. Operators include US giants such as DraftKings, and Bally Bet, international groups such as Entain and local operators like North Star.

iGO chairman Dave Forestell said: “Our aim is to be the best gaming jurisdiction in the world and these positive results are an early sign that we’re on our way,” said “With a competitive revenue share rate and low barriers to entry, Ontario is an attractive igaming market with a strong player base.”


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