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Wednesday, September 19, 2018
by Andrew Tottenham  

Managing Director, Tottenham & Co

That quotation from Peter Drucker goes back a few years, before the advent of the internet and online systems, when customer playing data was notoriously inaccurate and subject to the whims of the people rating the players. Slot machine players were practically ignored. Laboriously inputting machine data into spreadsheets was not a fun task, was prone to errors, and did not tell anyone very much.

The advent of online communication has increased the availability of data exponentially. Every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created, that is 2.5 times ten to the power of eighteen. In fact, there is so much data that we are swamped with it; parsing and making sense of it is extremely difficult.

by Luke Haward
CDC Gaming Reports

In past editions we've covered the phenomenon of virtual reality (VR), considering how it may impact on the gambling industry as it is picked up by more consumers and gradually (inevitably, if the budgets behind the tech are to be believed) becomes more mainstream. But many industry experts are tipping augmented reality (AR), a cousin of VR, to overtake and become an ever more omnipresent aspect of our daily technological reality.

It is so early in terms of uptake or even development of this technology that integration into the gambling world is, for the most part, still some years off, though projections are for this to be a multi-billion dollar (non-gambling) industry within just a few short years. Still, many still struggle to distinguish VR from AR conceptually, so let's sketch out a working definition.

The Euro News Revue
Luke says: We managed quite a trick of prescience last edition, with our full article mulling over the increasingly blurred distinctions between gaming and gambling, and the new issues arising as more traditional "video games" become more likely to feature gambling or pseudo-gambling, or are monetised in a variety of new ways. We said that in the future it will likely prove ever tougher to distinguish degrees of skill and chance in emergent games, partly due to the very pace of technological change, and we'll surely face ever bigger brouhahas over the issue. Now comes a joint statement from a large number of national regulators across Europe, saying that they intend to investigate the games industry concerning these very issues. Nailed it! In all seriousness though, the ultimate aim behind this is to protect children, and what's more important than that? Surely not profits.  
Luke says: The popcorn is still badly in need as the horror show continues for the industry in Italy. The new government did warn that the gambling ad ban was just the first step in a series of measures aimed at reforming the gambling industry, and there are rumours now circulating as to what's to come next. One likely measure will be to halt the redesign of the sports betting market in Italy, which was in mid-flow, pending further scrutiny. There had been new licenses in the works for an expansion of the sports-betting scene in Italy, which now, if we're honest, seems wholly unlikely to take place in anything close to the anticipated manner.  
Andrew says: Casinos Austria International (CAI), the wholly owned subsidiary of Casino Austria AG that operates its non-Austrian businesses, has seen results improve in the first half of 2018. Revenues were up 17.6% to almost €73 million and operating profit was up 137% to approximately €5.8 million - the optics being helped by a small denominator. (You may remember that CAI was up for sale, but with poor revenue results, it could not attract a buyer who was willing to take on the whole business for a price close to Casinos Austria's expectation.) 
Luke says: A clause within the latest Greek gambling legislation, published last week, excludes online random number generated (RNG) casino games from the country's licensing procedure. This will have obvious impacts on operators, in some cases very costly impacts, and they appear to be somewhat reluctantly considering challenging this legal aspect. The reluctance is that such a challenge would unfortunately further delay the integration of the new legislation into the body of existing laws in Greece. The currently licensed operators have been working under "interim" legislation for seven long years now, and naturally crave more stability, which would enable more forward thinking and better planning for the future. It's astonishingly tough to do planning without knowing what will be permitted next year, and doubly so for firms working with costly technological implementations, not to mention attempting to function within Greece's turbulent economy.  
Andrew says: A Munich Court has ruled that debts incurred by Germans gambling on unlicensed, therefore illegal sites are not enforceable. While this ruling may make it more difficult for those operators willing to take the grey, or should I say black market risk and face the risk of customers refusing to pay their losses, it could also have a wider impact. For example, banks could decide that they don't want to offer credit card processing services to online gambling sites, even those not just targeting German players.  
Luke says: In this BBC investigation into the links between the UK's football scene and gambling, the details of a deeply intertwined relationship are revealed. For example, 37 teams in the top two divisions (a full 60%) have gambling firms emblazoned on their playing shirts. Whether on shirts, hoardings [billboards, in the US], or live TV breaks, there is no doubt that gambling ads abound in UK football. This report comes amidst multiple pieces across the press since the World Cup, expressing concerns about the normalisation of gambling through overexposure (to ads and apps), and in particular about the exposure of children to such ads. There have been some fairly high profile issues surfacing in recent weeks, with the CEO of the National Health Service complaining about the lack of funding from the gambling industry for treatment of problem gambling, and yet another scandal concerning junior sections of football websites sporting gambling ads and banners.  
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