Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Managing Director, Tottenham & Co

Although this article is mainly about the value of a licence for online gambling, I will start with land-based casinos. Originally, licences were granted to casinos for two reasons: as a means of controlling both who could own a casino and where a casino could be located. With regards to ownership, jurisdictions around the world have tried to control that by demanding that licensees must prove they are “fit and proper” to hold the licence.

Jurisdictions control the number of gambling venues, or at least the location, through laws or regulations. Some of this control is through taxation; for example, Germany’s high taxation on casinos discourages there being many of them. I have seen an Interior Minister in one region in Germany, who wanted to drop the region’s gambling tax to encourage an investment, come up against the Finance Minister, who refused to reduce the tax because he felt it would lead to discord amongst the other regions and an uncontrollable number of casinos.

Special to CDC Gaming Reports
In the UK, while slots and electronic versions of table games are an ever-increasing revenue stream, the casino industry has always been reliant on revenues from table gaming. The history of the table game offer in the UK is a curious one however – from as tightly controlled a selection as anywhere in the world to, arguably, now the easiest environment in which to try out a new game.

The piece of legislation that defined casinos last century was the 1968 Gaming Act. This Act and its related regulations were exceptionally restrictive, allowing a very small number of “Banker’s Games”. The regs even mandated many of the details of the games – it was illegal, for example, to have a player dealt their card, on a Blackjack double, face down, because the regulations insisted all cards should be face up. The order of numbers on the (single zero) roulette wheel was listed, although curiously nowhere in the regulations did it say you actually had to spin the ball!

The Euro News Revue
by Hannah Gannagé-Stewart and Andrew Tottenham
Gioconews Casino - 3 June 2019
A drop in the ocean: the commune of Campione has been offered a lifeline by the Central Government of Italy. The casino that was forced into bankruptcy last year was practically the only taxpayer, and I use that term lightly, in the commune. The Central Government has offered a payment of €5 million per year, although it is yet to be approved by parliament. That’s not anywhere near the €50 million that Campione used to receive in taxes, in the good years, but something is better than nothing. (AT)
Casino Beats - 3 June 2019
Nasdaq-listed Century Casinos has ploughed forward with plans to expand in Europe, adding 4,000 square feet to the gaming floor of its Marriott Hotel casino in Warsaw. The expanded property is the flagship of a portfolio of seven Polish licenses held by Casinos Poland, in which the Colorado headquartered group holds a 66.6% stake. The casino group has become a hot tip for investors in recent months, having reported growth in Canada, Poland and the US. The bolstering of its European presence followed the opening of its Century Mile Racetrack and Casino in Alberta, Canada, in April. (HGS)
G3 Newswire - 30 May 2019
SBC News - 3 June 2019
Codere, the Spanish based gaming operator with businesses in South America and Mexico, managed a solid set of results, considering the business is exposed to the Argentine market. The Argentine peso devalued by of 50% against the Euro in 2018, but improving businesses in Spain and Mexico allowed the company to turn in an EDITDA (€69 million) in Q1, similar to the same period last year.

The company is still at war with its founders, the Sampedro brothers. The main shareholders hope that the annual general meeting to be held in late July will settle matters once and for all, and the last representatives of the Sampedros will be removed from the board. Accusation and counter accusation have been flying around, with the founders alleging the PE buyers did not follow the correct procedure at takeover and the PE buyers saying that the Sampedros have reneged on the takeover agreement. When the dust settles, it’s unclear who will be left standing; in the meantime, the shares are at an all-time low. (AT)
Racing Post - 1 June 2019
Where some see doom and gloom, others see opportunity. Irish company BoyleSports is to enter the depressed retail betting market in Great Britain. BoyleSports has bought the thirteen betting shops owned by Wilf Gilbert and is hoping to rapidly expand to more than 100 shops. High Street rents are falling rapidly and given that the main high street operators, Ladbrokes and William Hill, are both expected to close some of their venues this year, maybe now is a good time to cherry pick the best locations. (AT)
iGaming Business - 31 May 2019
Access to the highly-sought millennial market in Sweden may be more difficult than some operators predicted if self-exclusion figures from the jurisdiction are anything to go by. Nearly half of those that have signed up to the Swedish gambling self-exclusion register,, are between 25 and 34 years old, according to the country’s regulator, Spelinspektionen. The data probably reflects both a greater recognition of gambling harm among the younger generation and a greater propensity to use an online self-exclusion system. It is perhaps a reflection of evolving attitudes to the industry, which operators would be wise to heed. (HGS)
Gambling Insider - 30 May 2019
Figures published by the Gambling Commission (GC) last week revealed that FOBTs were on the decline even before the minimum stake was cut to £2 in April. As Gambling Insider reports, GGY from the country’s B2 machines fell 18% year-on-year to £1.5bn ($1.89bn) between October 2017 and September 2018. The average number of machines fell by 1% to 33,190 in the same period, so that didn’t cause the fall in GGY. A gradual slide away from the high street may be to blame, as online gaming saw a 4% rise. The industry awaits the regulator’s next round of stats, when the impact of the FOBT ban will be clearer to see. (HGS)
iGaming Business - 29 May 2019
The Czech Republic has confirmed a controversial restructure of the tax regime for gambling products. Beginning 1 January next year, tax on lotteries, live games and bingo will rise from 23% to 30%, while tax on fixed odds betting will increase from 23% to 25%. Sitting alongside tax hikes for alcohol and tobacco products, the move is part of a wider campaign to tackle addiction in the country. However, it has been met with derision by senior politicians, including the government’s former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek, who told Czech newspaper Pravo in April that the 30% rate was “absolutely disproportionate and unnecessary.”  (HGS)
iGaming Business - 24 May 2019
As Brexit rumbles on in the UK, Bet365 has become the latest gaming company with concerns over Gibraltar’s trading position within the EU, if and when withdrawal happens. iGaming Business reports that the Stoke-on-Trent based firm will maintain a presence in the overseas British territory but hedge its bets by focusing more resource in Malta going forward. “From an operational and technical perspective and given our operating model, it has become increasingly challenging to efficiently run multisite”, a spokesperson told the magazine. Despite the protracted uncertainty, there are execs, such as outspoken Lottoland boss Nigel Birrell, who remain confident in Gibraltar’s role as an industry hub. (HGS)
This report is edited by Andrew Tottenham and Justin Martin
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