Wednesday, January 15, 2020
By Andrew Tottenham
Managing Director, Tottenham & Co

The UK Gambling Act 2005 has come under a lot of fire recently from politicians of all persuasions, as well as the UK press, which is not known for its restraint or reliance on facts. Opponents of gambling argue that the 2005 Gambling Act is too lenient, did not foresee the application of new technology and is therefore not fit for purpose and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has not been diligent in regulating the industry. In fact, they say that the Act has rendered the UKGC “toothless”.

One of the arguments in support of this supposition is that the gambling industry has been allowed to advertise extensively without any control, and even with a voluntary code, the control of gambling advertisements needs to be put on a legislative footing.

By Paul Sculpher
Special to CDC Gaming Reports

We can all name any number of new casino projects in our respective jurisdictions which have failed miserably, and there are plenty of reasons why this can happen.

Some of the more spectacular failures in the UK have involved companies from overseas investing gigantic amounts of money in larger sites — possibly anticipating regulatory change in slot numbers and prizes — only to end up producing a cavernous echo chamber with a cost profile that sinks the business.

These aren’t restricted to companies coming to the UK. Anyone who remembers the Aladdin debacle in Las Vegas will know it can work the other way too. But why are these hugely expensive mistakes so common?

The Euro News Revue
by Hannah Gannagé-Stewart and Andrew Tottenham
The Independent - 13 January 2020
As expected, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced a ban on the use of credit cards to fund online gambling. The ban will go into effect April 14 this year; it is also likely to forbid the use of e-wallets and payment services, such as PayPal, to fund accounts. According to UKGC research some 22% of people who use credit cards for online gambling are problem gamblers.

The latest crackdown has not led to a let-up in the pressure on the industry. The MP, Caroline Harris, who chairs the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group has the bit between her teeth and after receiving this news attacked the Gambling Commission as “not fit for purpose.” She is also leading the charge for a limit of £2 per bet for online casinos. It is doubtful that things will calm down now, and what other restrictions are imposed on the industry will very much depend on how it reacts. 
G3 Newswire - 13 January 2020
The directors and officers of Groupe Partouche, the French casino group, must be breathing a sigh of relief. An official tax audit has confirmed that it did not owe any to the State following allegations of wrongdoing by the Central Service of Race and Games (SCCJ) at Casino 3.14 in Cannes. A judge in June 2019 cleared the company, but an audit was required to ensure the revenues declared were correct.

It all started in March 2018 when police, after an investigation, raided the casino and arrested three managers, alleging ‘money laundering and tax evasion,’ ‘unlawful possession of a casino’ and ‘abuse of social good’, which sounds a bit like under-declaring revenues to me.

What made it worse was that the police had obviously tipped off the media and a television cameraman was present during the raid. The head of the SCCJ went on television a few days later to speak about the investigation and the raid. Groupe Partouche is a public company and news of the police action led to a fall in the share price of more than 20%.  (AT)
SBC News - 13 January 2020
Ukrainian politicians have returned to the Rada (parliament) this week to discuss the country’s proposed gambling reforms. At the end of last year, seven draft regulatory proposals were submitted for ending a ten-year prohibition on gambling. SBC reports Maksym Liashko, a partner at Kiev-founded firm Parimatch, believes: “The state is now moving away from the liberal concept that was put to the vote in December. And most likely in January, a new bill will be introduced, which will contain more restrictions, primarily on the number of licenses and other conditions for operating a gambling business in Ukraine”. Legislators appear to be finding common ground on safer gambling initiatives, but may take some time to agree on licensing conditions and restrictions. (HGS)
iGaming Business - 10 January 2020
Speaking to iGaming Business (iGB) at the end of last week, a spokesperson for GVC Holdings mooted plans for the company to relocate its tax residency to the UK from the Isle of Man. “Under the group’s current articles of association and tax residency, we are unable to hold board meetings or shareholder meetings within the UK,” the company’s head of media relations Jay Dossetter told iGB. GVC has undergone unparalleled growth since it launched in 2004, and its articles of association were drafted in 2010. Having pursued an aggressive M&A strategy, the business now owns several major brands, including Ladbrokes Coral and Australia’s Neds. Dossetter said the move would “reflect where the company is today.” (HGS)
SBC News - 10 January 2020
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has warned the Spanish government to remain ‘balanced and proportionate’ in its approach to drafting new gambling legislation. The EGBA is broadly supportive of Spain’s proposals to include greater consumer-protection measures and stricter advertising restrictions and review online-gambling taxation, but has urged legislators not to fall into the trap of unintentionally pushing consumers toward illegal operators. SBC reports that in a statement last week, EGBA secretary Maarten Haijer also pointed out: “While we recognize that advertising can be seen to be excessive by regulators or public opinion, a certain level of advertising is required to ensure that consumers remain within the regulated online environment.”  (HGS)
GamingIntelligence - 9 January 2020
Chinese lottery operator, which acquired a majority share of The Multi Group (TMG) in May 2017, has suspended Swedish operations of the company after TMG failed to renew its Swedish igaming license before it expired. Gaming Intelligence reports that the expects the license to be renewed and to resume operations in mid-February. TMG generated around 99 per cent of’s total revenue during the third quarter of 2019, 61% of which was generated in Sweden. Toward the end of 2019, became embroiled in allegations of bribes to officials involved in developing Japan’s proposed integrated casino resorts. On New Year’s Eve, the New York-listed firm announced it was investigating the allegations and has since seen the departure of two senior executives. (HGS)
SBC News - 6 January 2020
In keeping with the Europe-wide theme of additional restrictions being placed on online gambling companies, Belgium´s gambling regulator, Kansspel Commissie, is the latest to propose some limits on advertising around sports competitions. In a recent report, the regulator criticised the amount of advertising around the Jupiler Pro (Belgium´s first-division soccer league) playoffs. Does this sound familiar?  (AT)
GamingIntelligence - 6 January 2020
Having submitted its draft regulatory proposals to the European Commission last week, Greek legislators have revealed that operators that have been blacklisted in Greece, within 12 months of applications opening, will be excluded from the initial licensing process. The draft submission stated that separate seven-year licences would be issued for online sports betting and other online games, costing operators €3m and €2m respectively. The bill passed by the Greek parliament in October last year stated that companies with temporary licences from 2011 would be allowed to continue operating until 31 March 2020, and then expected to reapply. (HGS)
This report is edited by Andrew Tottenham and Justin Martin
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