Wednesday, March 4, 2020
By Andrew Tottenham
Managing Director, Tottenham & Co

Once a year, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) publishes a report on the gambling activity and attitudes toward gambling of the adult population of Great Britain. The report is based on quarterly telephone and online surveys carried out the during the year. The 2019 report, which can be accessed here, contains both good news and bad news for the UK’s gambling industry. 

Let’s start with some of the bad news. Sadly, only 29% of those surveyed think that gambling “is conducted fairly and can be trusted”. In other words, more than two-thirds of the adult population believe gambling in the UK is crooked. Whilst this has not changed since 2018, in 2009, only half of those surveyed held this negative opinion. I cannot think of anything that has happened regarding the gambling industry in the interim to negatively impact their opinion, apart from the continuing torrent of negative media output as it relates to regulated gambling.

The Euro News Revue
by Hannah Gannagé-Stewart and Andrew Tottenham
SBC News - 4 March 2020
Addison Global brand MoPlay has declared itself insolvent after its licenses were suspended by both the Gibraltar Gaming Authority and Gambling Commission of Great Britain last month. Both interventions by the regulators occurred after customers stopped being able to withdraw their funds on 22 February. Before the sites came offline, MoPlay referred players to clause 9 of its terms and conditions, which states, “If there was ever a situation where we became insolvent, your funds would not be considered separate to the other company assets and you may not receive all your funds back”.  (HGS)
SBC News - 4 March 2020
It was always going to be a tough one to argue. Stanleybet, having had no luck in the Italian courts, brought an appeal against Italy’s Customers and Monopolies Agency to the European Court of Justice. Italy allows the acceptance of bets through retail terminals and Stanleybet was processing the bets made through its terminals in its data centre in Malta. The company argued that the bets were made in Malta and not in Italy, therefore they should not be subject to any tax the Italian authorities may impose. The court found against Stanleybet and they now need to pay up €8 million – che sorpresa(AT) - 4 March 2020
It wasn’t the first in Europe — Casinò di Venezia has that privilege — nor will it be the last. The Circus Casino in Carnac was ordered closed for at least two weeks following two people in the town being diagnosed with the coronavirus. The virus can be spread by touch. Apparently, on average, we touch our faces at least 23 times an hour, mainly our mouths, noses and eyes – all points of entry for the virus. Casinos, with buttons on slot machines, plus tokens and chips, are ideal places for the virus to spread. 
This got me thinking about how to clean coins, tokens and chips and reminded me of a piece of technology I saw in Japan a few years ago. A company showed me its coin-transportation systems, thinking they could be used to automatically transport coins from machine to coin dispensers and to the count room, eliminating the buckets under each machine and their daily removal. In typical Japanese fashion, not only were the coins transported, but they were also cleaned and polished before being recycled. (AT)
iGaming Business - 2 March 2020
Norway has announced plans to amend its Broadcasting Act to ban advertising by unlicensed operators. The country has been trying to crack down on overseas operators trading and advertising, but after limited success is now mooting plans to ramp up the powers of the Norwegian Media Authority, in the hope it can clamp down on TV distributors allowing the ads on Norwegian stations. Currently, the law enables offshore operators to broadcast adverts via channels from foreign locations; the only operators permitted to advertise are state-owned Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. The move is similar to that taken by the country last year in a bid to block payment providers from processing payments to unregulated providers.  (HGS)
European Gaming - 4 March 2020
Working in partnership with the Danish Tax Authority, Denmark’s gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden blocked access to 25 online gambling websites in 2019. The two bodies conducted surveys of hundreds of websites last year, identifying those that were operating illegally or with illegal features, such as skin betting. The regulator does not have jurisdiction over land-based gambling, but is understood to have helped the police in 19 cases involving unlicensed slot and poker offerings. Denmark published a responsible-gambling guide at the start of the year, placing greater onus on operators’ duty of care to players and threatening harsher sanctions where they fall short.  (HGS)
Intergame Online - 4 March 2020
Responsible gambling is also being pushed further up the agenda in the Netherlands, where the gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has opened a consultation on a proposed responsible-gambling strategy. Online gambling is tabled to launch in the Netherlands on 1 July 2021, with the new law stating that stricter responsible-gambling protections must also be in place by that date. One of the KSA’s proposals is the provision of 24/7 assistance for gambling addicts, likely via a free and anonymous helpline. The consultation has been opened to stakeholders, who have until 13 March to respond.  (HGS)
SBC News - 4 March 2020
Germany’s media owners’ association, Vaunet, has joined critics of the country’s Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, saying its restrictions on gambling advertising seek to undermine “regulated market channelling efforts”. Vaunet represents 150 German media firms. Its chairman Dr Matthias Kirschenhofer has argued that blocking gambling adverts from broadcast and digital platforms between 6:00am and 21:00pm both undermines the financing rights of those platforms and defeats aims to channel players to regulated operators. There is also uncertainty among Vaunet members about how such an advertising blackout could be implemented on digital platforms within the available timeframe.  (HGS)
iGaming Business - 04 March 2020
The UK’s National Audit Office (NAO), a body that scrutinises public spending for Parliament, heavily criticised the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in a recent report. One of the concerns highlighted by the NAO was that although the Commission had a core responsibility to protect consumers and had stated that they wanted to reduce the harms related to gambling, it has failed to develop these “high-level outcomes into detailed, measurable success criteria against which to judge progress.” Business 101: If you don’t define what success looks like, how do you know if what you are doing is achieving the goal?  (AT)
This report is edited by Andrew Tottenham and Deke Castleman
Tottenham & Co
232 Cranmer Court
London SW3 3HD, UK