The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has identified four illegal online gaming sites that will now be blocked by Australian internet service providers.
The four websites are accused of providing online casino games to players in Australia, in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act.
The ACMA said Wednesday that it requested ISPs to block access to the sites after receiving numerous complaints from Australian consumers, taking the total number of blocked gambling sites to 180 since the first blocking request in November 2019.
The new additions are all Curacao-based casinos – Gibson Casino, operated by Cyberrock Entertainment; Always Vegas, operated by SSC Entertainment; Gammix STS’s ViggoSlots; and Merus UK’s Malibu Club Casino.
Sweden’s licensed gambling operators grew third quarter revenue by 1.3 per cent year-on-year, according to the latest data from gambling regulator Spelinspektionen.
The data is based on information from the Swedish tax authority and shows that licensed operators, both online and land-based, generated total gross gaming revenue of SEK6bn in the third quarter of 2020.
Commercial online betting and gaming GGR grew by 5.8 per cent year-on-year to SEK3.69bn, with revenue from state lottery and slot machine games climbing 7.7 per cent to SEK1.47bn. Other non-profit lotteries saw revenue climb by 5.4 per cent to SEK780m.
This growth was partially offset by the performance of land-based casino operations (Casino Cosmopol), which generated no revenue during the period due to COVID-related closures, compared to revenue of SEK245m in Q3 2019.
The third quarter period also saw declines in non-profit retail bingo, where GGR fell by 20.4 per cent to SEK47m, as well as retail commercial gaming (incl. restaurant casinos), where revenue fell by 23.7 per cent to SEK45m.
There are currently 100 companies holding active gaming licenses in Sweden, 72 of which are licensed to offer commercial online betting and gaming.
The data also shows that just over 56,000 people had excluded from gambling using the national exclusion register Spelpaus by the end of the period, an increase of 7 per cent versus the previous quarter, with the number of self-exclusions climbing to almost 58,000 by mid-November.
Alongside the Q3 data, Spelinspektionen also voiced its support for the proposed extension of temporary gambling restrictions in Sweden, which were first introduced in July in an effort to combat problem gambling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposal to extend restrictions on online casino deposit limits and land-based gaming machine loss limits was the subject of a public consultation which ended today (23 Nov.).
Mississippi’s regulated sports betting market saw total wagers increase by 27 per cent to $61.2m in October.
Following the start of the new NFL season in September, American football generated the bulk of the total with wagers of $38.5m, with baseball contributing $8.0m and basketball $2.3m.
Sports Parlay Cards contributed a further $7.1m during the month, while other sports accounted for wagers of $5.3m.
MISSISSIPPI SPORTS BETTING HANDLE: OCTOBER 2020 (US$)
Central Coastal Northern TOTAL
American Football 4,646,814 25,416,917 8,593,099 38,656,830
Basketball 219,049 1,636,412 463,638 2,319,099
Baseball 466,459 5,826,905 1,692,057 7,985,421
Sports Parlay Cards 2,493,981 3,457,035 1,128,660 7,079,676
Other 143,159 4,866,835 323,404 5,333,398
TOTAL 7,787,462 41,204,104 12,200,859 61,192,425
The Coastal region’s 12 casinos saw wagers increase by 23 per cent year-on-year to $41.2m in October, comprised of American football wagers of $25.4m, baseball wagers of $5.8m and basketball wagers of $1.6m. Sports Parlay Cards contributed wagers of $3.5m, and other sports a further $4.9m.
Wagers from the Northern region’s seven casinos increased by 33 per cent to $12.2m, with nearly three-quarters of the total derived from American football wagers at $8.6m. Baseball contributed wagers of $1.7m, with basketball accounting for $0.5m, Sports Parlay Cards $1.1m and other sports the remaining $0.3m.
Sports betting wagers from the Central region’s seven casinos rose 44 per cent to $7.8m, including American football wagers of $4.5m and wagers from Sports Parlay Cards of $2.5m. Baseball accounted for a further $0.5m in wagers, with basketball wagers at $0.2m and other sports at $0.1m.
Overall, the state’s licensed sportsbook operators generated taxable revenue of $8.8m in October, down 29 per cent compared to a year ago, comprising $5.3m from Coastal casinos, $1.8m from Northern casinos and $1.7m from Central casinos.
New York-listed lottery and gaming supplier Scientific Games will provide the Massachusetts Lottery with instant games, second chance promotions and digital engagement programs under a new five-year contract.
The new contract extends the company’s long-term relationship with the Massachusetts Lottery, which launched its first instant game from Scientific Games in 1974 and last year generated $3bn in sales from the company’s instant games portfolio.
“The combined expertise of the Mass Lottery team and the teams at Scientific Games has resulted in great instant game entertainment that has generated strong revenues to benefit programs in the Commonwealth,” said Ed Farley, chief marketing officer of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission. “We look forward to continuing this partnership and working to expand player digital engagement.”
The new contract also aims to address the shift in player preferences to digital forms of entertainment through the launch of additional second-chance promotions such as the James Bond Lottery Challenge, which is played through desktop and mobile applications.
“It goes without saying that the Mass Lottery has been the highest performing instant game lottery in the world for many years and continues to set the bar for lotteries around the globe. We are extremely proud of the results of this trusted business partnership over the past four decades,” said John Schulz, SVP of Lottery Instant Products at Scientific Games.
Scientific Games Lottery
“Our 2nd chance and digital services are second to none, and we look forward to further expanding Scientific Games’ services to player engagement in online/mobile channels in Massachusetts.”
Shares in Scientific Games Corp. (NSQ:SGMS) closed 2.95 per cent higher at $35.20 per share in New York Monday.
New York-listed lottery and gaming supplier International Game Technology (IGT) has posted a 15 per cent fall in total revenue to $982m for the third quarter of 2020, despite seeing strong growth in digital and betting revenue during the period.
Third quarter results reflected the continued global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but at a lower level compared to the second quarter.
Global lottery revenue grew by 3 per cent to $570m, driven by double-digit growth in North America same-store sales. This was offset by a 31 per cent fall in global gaming revenue to $412m, impacted by pandemic-related closures and restrictions.
The US and Canada represented just under a half of IGT’s Q3 total as revenue fell by 18 per cent to $443m, while revenue from Italy rose 3 per cent to $416m and the rest of world revenue declined 42 per cent to $123m.
Overall, digital and betting revenue rose 41 per cent to $104m, equivalent to 11 per cent of total revenue.
“The resilience of our portfolio, particularly in lottery, and benefits from our swift cost reduction initiatives are on full display in our third quarter results,” said IGT CEO Marco Sala. “Strong player demand and a host of compelling new games, systems, and digital solutions led to a sharp, sequential improvement in our most important markets.
“We continue to monitor the evolution and impact of the pandemic around the world. With a simplified organization firmly in place, we are creating a leaner, stronger IGT.”
Q3 AND JAN-SEP 2020 RESULTS COMPARISON (US$)
Q3 2020 Q3 2019 Jan-Sep 2020 Jan-Sep 2019
Revenue 981.5m 1,153.2m 2,559.2m 3,532.4m
Cost of Services (541.1m) (575.6m) (1,479.6m) (1,765.5m)
Cost of Product Sales (81.5m) (136.2m) (239.8m) (397.2m)
Selling, General and Administrative (180.3m) (201.4m) (515.9m) (616.5m)
Research and Development (48.0m) (68.8m) (140.1m) (200.3m)
Restructuring 0.1m (16.2m) (47.0m) (21.9m)
Goodwill Impairment — — (296.0m) —
Other Operating Expenses/(Income), Net 2.1m 1.2m 3.7m (24.7m)
Operating Income/(Loss) 128.5m 153.9m (162.9m) 555.7m
Total Non-Operating (Expenses)/Income (257.5m) 21.2m (490.5m) (145.2m)
(Benefit from)/Provision for Income Taxes (26.6m) 44.5m (34.8m) 160.5m
Net Income/(Loss) (102.3m) 130.6m (618.6m) 250.0m
Less: Net Income Attributable to Non-Controlling Interests (25.7m) (27.0m) (37.3m) (101.4m)
Net Income/(Loss) Attributable to IGT (128.0m) 103.6m (655.9m) 148.7m
Basic EPS (0.62) 0.51 (3.20) 0.73
IGT reduced total operating expenses by 15 per cent to $853.0m in Q3, as cost of services fell 6 per cent to $541.1m and cost of product sales declined 40 per cent to $81.5m. Selling, general and administrative expenses were down 10 per cent at $180.3m, while research and development costs fell by 30 per cent to $48.0m.
Operating income in the third quarter was 17 per cent lower than a year ago at $128.5m, while total non-operating expenses amounted to $257.5m, comprised of $101.0m of interest expense and foreign exchange losses of $149.4m. As a result, IGT posted a net loss of $128.0m for Q3 compared to net income of $103.6m a year ago.
For the first nine months of 2020, total revenue was down 28 per cent at $2.56bn, generating a net loss of $655.9m compared to net income of $148.7m last year.
“Robust cash flow generation during the quarter and year-to-date periods have enabled us to improve our liquidity and reduce net debt,” said IGT chief financial officer Max Chiara. “We are on track to achieve our 2020 temporary cost-reduction targets and have identified a number of initiatives that will enable us to deliver over $200m of structural savings over the next two years.
“As a result, the improvement in our profitability should support our continued focus on reducing debt.”
As at 30 September the company held cash and cash equivalents of $1.14bn compared to $763.7m a year ago.
Shares in International Game Technology plc (NYSE:IGT) closed 2.16 per cent lower at $9.96 per share in New York Wednesday.
Germany’s new State Treaty on Gambling has been signed by leaders of the country’s 16 federal states, paving the way for its implementation from July 1, 2021.
The government of the state of Berlin announced the signing of the treaty Monday in its capacity as the current chair of the prime minister’s conference, with the treaty now subject to ratification by each state parliament before its entry into force next year.
The new treaty regulates online casino gaming for the first time in states that choose to allow it, as well as online and land-based sports betting and retail gaming nationwide. The licensing process under the treaty is managed by the state of Hesse, while the state of Saxony-Anhalt will serve as national regulator.
The Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock (DLTB), which represents the interests of Germany’s state lotteries, welcomed the signing of the new treaty for securing the state monopoly on lotteries.
“We see the new regulation as further confirmation of the public interest-oriented lottery monopoly in Germany and expect that the regulation, especially in the online area, will suppress the illegal market,” said Jürgen Häfner, managing director of Lotto Rheinland and current head of the DLTB.
“After the signature, action must follow,” added Lotto Baden-Württemberg chief executive Georg Wacker. “Now the ball rests with the state governments to convert the treaty into valid state law so that the new regulations can come into force as planned on July 1, 2021.”
“In terms of effective youth and player protection, the supervisory authority in Saxony-Anhalt must be able to get to work as quickly as possible,” Wacker added. “If this does not happen, the proliferation of games of chance on the Internet that has been observed for years will accelerate. The legal guard rails must be controlled and violations sanctioned, otherwise the new State Treaty on Gambling is nothing more than many pages of paper.”
Authorities in Hesse issued the first 15 sports betting licenses under the new state treaty in mid-October, with double that number of applications still pending.
The period leading up the implementation of the new treaty will be governed by the transitional regime adopted in September, which allows operators to serve the market in accordance with the new regulations coming into force on July 1 next year.
New York-listed casino operator Las Vegas Sands has reported an 82 per cent fall in net revenue to $586m for the third quarter of 2020, as the company begins to recover from government mandated casino closures due to COVID-19.
Revenue from Macao operations were down 92 per cent year-on-year at $171m, while revenue from Marina Bay in Singapore fell by 65 per cent to $281m.
Las Vegas properties contributed $152m in revenue during the quarter, a decline of 63 per cent versus the same period last year.
“I am pleased to say the recovery process from the Covid-19 pandemic continues to progress in each of our markets,” said Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. “Our greatest priority as the recovery continues remains our deep commitment to supporting our team members and to helping those in need in each of our local communities of Macao, Singapore and Las Vegas.
“We remain optimistic about the eventual complete recovery of travel and tourism spending across our markets, as well as our future growth prospects. We are fortunate that our financial strength supports our previously announced capital expenditure programs in both Macao and Singapore, as well as our pursuit of growth opportunities in new markets.”
The operator generated higher revenue from casino during Q3, although revenue was still down 85 per cent year-on-year at $340m as a result of closures relating to the pandemic. Rooms contributed a further $76m in revenue, with food and beverage contributing $54m. Revenue from malls amounted to $83m, while revenue from convention, retail and other contributed $33m.
Las Vegas Sands reduced total operating expenses by 49 per cent to $1,196m in Q3, with resort operations expenses down 60 per cent at $791m.
As a result, the company posted an operating loss of $610m for the quarter, compared to operating income of $899m a year ago. After interest expenses of $137m, net loss amounted to $731m for the period, of which $565m was attributable to Las Vegas Sands.
For the first nine months of 2020, total revenue declined by 76 per cent to $2.47bn, with net loss attributable to Las Vegas Sands amounting to $1.39bn.
Shares in Las Vegas Sands Corp (NSQ:LVS) closed down marginally by 0.56 per cent at $45.94 per share in New York Wednesday.
The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has called on Business Secretary Alok Sharma to intervene over the Government’s decision to close betting shops and casinos under Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.
Bookmakers and land-based casinos have been included in the list of businesses having to close in areas placed under Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions in the UK, such as Merseyside and Lancashire.
This is despite all venues re-opening in June with stringent anti-COVID measures in place, including perspex screens and track and trace systems.
The BGC has accused the Government of behaving in an “ill-informed and arbitrary” way over the decision to order the closure despite a lack of evidence that they contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
In a letter to Business Secretary Alok Sharma, BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said that the move puts tens of thousands of jobs in the industry at risk.
“The singling out of betting shops for closure is unfair, unnecessary and runs counter to the sensible approach the Government had previously adopted,” said Dugher. “This decision looks ill-informed, arbitrary, and along with plans to close COVID-secure casinos (that had offered to give up selling alcohol) it frankly looks anti-gambling industry.
“It will have a hugely negative impact on our businesses and staff, despite their efforts to ensure a very safe environment for customers that is well beyond any other non-essential retail business.”
Under the Tier 3 restrictions, bookmakers and casinos are the only part of non-essential high street retail having to close.
The BGC has also written to local leaders in Tier 2 areas urging them to oppose the forced closure due to the lack of evidence that they spread the virus.
Dugher pointed out that SAGE, the committee of scientific experts advising the Government on its COVID response, had noted that high street shops have a “very minimal impact” on the spread of the virus.
“I therefore would like to ask for your support to intervene on behalf of betting shops, an important part of high street retail and an industry that contributes over £3bn in tax every year,” said Dugher. “I share one hundred per cent the Government’s determination to tackle the spread of COVID.
“The decision to close betting shops won’t help with that, but it does put in jeopardy an industry that will be much-needed to help power the economy and the Exchequer to recovery.”