UKGC Defends Regualtor’s Efforts at CMS Gambling Conference

The British Gambling Commission boss has spoken at the CMS Gambling Conference, hailing the regulatory efforts made so far and putting the onus on operators to be more pro-active in resolving the industry’s current problems.

Gambling Commission Boss Strikes Back at Criticism

UK Gambling Commission Neil McArthur has praised the efforts of the regulator, arguing that despite mounting criticism, the British gambling watchdog has been one of the most pro-active overseers of the gaming sector.

McArthur responded to criticism from all parties during his CMS Gambling Conference speech explaining that the Gambling-Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group, which has been actively lambaasting the UKGC over ‘failures to enforce player security,’ was not true.

McArthur said that everyone on his team was committed to making gambling safer and that all UKGC staffers were involved with the sector and staying close to people who have actually suffered from gambling or gambled excessively.

Operators Must Step Up, McArthur Says

Addiction and neglect, McArthur said, were the two things he understood well, citing his career as a local authority child protection lawyer, giving him unique insight into what they can bring upon a family and society as a whole.

Even then, McArthur acknowledged that the Commission still had a long way to go, but he added that many operators had the answers to questions that have been discussed over and over again. McArthur also explained why the regulator had to toughen regulatory measures by so much in 2019:

“We did that because we needed to significantly change the behavior of operators and those who run them. There were far too many failures, too many repeated instances of lessons not being learned and – frankly – standards were not good enough. I realize that each press release we put out adds to the weight of negative stories, but it’s not my job to create positive stories or suppress bad news stories.”

He acknowledged that the current rate of problem gamblers in the UK, cited at some 300,000 people, was unacceptable. In fact, some observers have suggested that this number was closer to 340,000 problem gamblers presently.

McArthur did say that CEOs are committed to making gambling safer, and that he welcomed the move. He cited current efforts with multiple companies, such as Sky Betting and Gaming, Playtech, GVC Holdings and SG Gaming, and the establishment of three industry working groups specifically designed to address pressing issues in the gambling sector.

Overall, McArthur said, all projects and initiatives kickstarted by the Commission had the sole purpose of enhancing player safety plain and simple. The UKGC chief also welcomed the opportunity to make more headway in bolstering the overall security of the sector.

Still, a lot of work has to be done and as McArthur noted himself, operators need to step up.

Image credit: UKGC Twitter

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Macau’s GGR Takes a Tumble in November, 7th Time in 2019

Gross gaming revenue in Macau dropped for the seventh time in 2019 in November, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau revealed, posting the latest results.

Macau’s GGR Drops in November for 7th Month in 2019

Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) took an 8.5% tumble year-over-year in November, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reported. The regulator specified that the amount generated by the industry was $2.84 billion stood at November.

Previously, revenue dropped in August when it shrunk by 8.6%. This coincided with analyst forecasts who had been expecting Macau to take hits, occasioned by over-regulation, investigations in Australia, and a simmering trade war between the United States and China.

JP Morgan, an investment bank, said that the contraction was expected, but also better than original forecasts. The daily revenue amounted to nearly $88 million a day, the bank confirmed.

The VIP segment was also affected, registering a 13% drop in overall performance. More importantly, Macau posted a year in which the months of declining revenue exceeded those of positive growth. November was the seventh such month in 2019.

Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd, a brokerage firm with focus on Macau’s gaming sector, also confirmed the numbers, from falling VIP revenue to overall daily handle. A tightening VISA control from the mainland has also been an issue, as Chinese authorities are now more scrupulous about mainland visitors in Macau.

Meanwhile, brokerage Nomura, suggested that December may bring a modest growth for the gaming hub:

“Assuming December GGR increases sequentially in line with its trailing seven-year median, or up roughly 5 to 6 percent versus November, we estimate GGR for the month should settle around MOP24 billion,” said the institution.”

While Macau has a relative freedom to run its business as it sees fit, mainland China still has a big say in what happens. China President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Macau on December 20, marking the official handover of Macau back to China. Analysts predict that this would curb the growth of GGR in December.

Macau Claims $12bn in Taxes until October

While challenges continue, Macau claimed $11.7 billion in tax revenue from the casino gaming sector in the first 10 months of 2019. Despite several months of drops in the overall GGR, Macau generated 0.4% more handle over the period.

Despite the fairly strong results, Macau’s government has pursued a policy of exclusion whereby gambling revenue is never factored as a reliable source of tying up expenditures for the public purse.

Income is duly redistributed, however. Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong has recently said that Macau will focus on protecting public interest above all else.

Having just stepped into his position, the Secretary is committed to optimizing a number of matters related to the gaming industry in Macau, including the existing gaming concession contracts.

While no details about the future of Macau’s gaming have been revealed, it’s certain that management will be introducing changes.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

DC Superior Court Rules Against Intralot Sports Betting Injunction

  • DC Court Judge Campbell blocks Intralot betting injunction
  • DC Lottery says plaintiff’s claims were baseless
  • Intralot now has green light for sports betting contract

DC Superior Court blocks injunction against Intralot

The Washington DC Superior Court denied a request on Friday for a preliminary injunction that would have blocked a no-bid contract with Greek-based Intralot. The contract will allow Intralot to manage the city’s planned foray into online sports betting. The decision by Judge John Campbell allows the District to move ahead with the contract, although the lawsuit itself is still pending.

The District’s contract with Intralot had been on hold for several weeks as both sides made legal arguments. The lawsuit filed by Dylan Carragher, a DC resident and the founder of a sports-betting technology business, argued that the $215 million contract over five years with Intralot violated federal law because District officials awarded it without competitive bidding.

The lottery’s deal with Intralot has ruffled feathers for a while, mostly because of the ‘unfair conditions’ under which it was awarded. Councilmember David Grosso was among the first officials to call out the lack of a bidding process in February, describing it as a giveway.

In its response to the request for an injunction, the DC Lottery said that Carragher’s claims were “without basis” and that “the plaintiff falls far short in proving entitlement to such extraordinary relief”, Washington Post reports.

Carragher’s attorney, Donald Temple, said that he was disappointed and that an appeal was in order. “It’s clearly a disturbing opinion and contradicts the case law,” he commented. “The city should be concerned that if the case goes to an appellate court and Carragher wins, it loses the money it has paid to Intralot so far,” he clarified.

Arguing authority

Earlier this year, the DC Council narrowly voted to suspend competitive-bidding rules and allow Intralot, which already held the contract to operate the DC Lottery, to continue running the lottery and to also manage the city’s new online sports gambling.

The lawsuit claimed that by suspending competitive-bidding rules for the contract, District officials violated the Home Rule Act, which established local government in the nation’s capital.

Under the Home Rule Act, the District’s chief financial officer is to carry out his office’s procurement of goods and services but must follow District procurement law. Temple argued that because the DC Lottery falls under the purview of the chief financial officer, the council was not entitled to exempt the contract from the procurement law.

The judge disagreed. “We can spend all day asking whether the council should have done it,” Campbell mused. “But it clearly and unquestionably was within the council’s authority to do that,” he stated.

DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said in a statement Friday that he was “glad the court has given this the green light.”

“The fact is that we’re going to see sports betting with a mobile application expand among many states over the next several years, and there’s no reason the District should be left behind,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the DC Lottery, Nicole Jordan, said in a statement that the agency is “fully focused on resuming the modernization of the Lottery and implementation of sports wagering in the District.”

Any further attempts by Intralot to launch its sports betting offer will come head-to-head with the suit against the organization. More developments will come in the following weeks.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Germany’s Ads Industry Boosted by Casino Spending

The German advertisement industry has been boosted by a spike in how much casinos have been advertising their bonuses and promotions across various mediums.

German Casino Ads Spending Goes Up

There is a link between how much the German advertising industry earns at home and how many casinos are looking for ways to sell their promotions, a new report has revealed. Advertisement in Germany has been going well with online casinos investing big buck into spreading the word about their current offers.

The data is based on a study by Research Tools, a consultancy firm. The firm simply collected publicly accessible data from AdVision, a media monitoring company and found out that all online operators have collectively spent around $450 million in running ads for their promotions as of May 31, 2019.

These numbers cover the last 12 months. As Research Tools’ report noted, these numbers were driven mostly by online advertisement in the iGaming sector. Specifically, operators have spent estimated $80 million more on promoting their products year-over-year, or 20% based on Research Tools’ assessment.

In other words, private advertisers have been spending more than state lotteries. Moreover, up to 64 brands have promoted gambling products, another increased compared with 47 a year before that. Specifically, it has been Kindred Group’s Unibet-owned operator, Wunderino, to significantly increase its involvement in the country and put more investment in online ads.

German TV Dominated by Casino Ads

The Research Tools’ study also established that TV remained the dominant medium of promotion in the country, with 80% of all advertisement revenue spent on that. Plus, the majority of the ads focused on stressing how “exciting” these offers were.

Brands also reached out to popular athletes to help them promote their product, such as in the case of Oliver Kahn and Diego Maradona. However, such moves have merited some negative attention from authorities, not necessarily in Germany. The study was focused on 500 consumer magazines, 190 specialist journals, 71 radio and 45 television channels, plus a sample of 500 pages.

Yet, Germany’s casino prospects are somewhat dimmer. The country is looking to enforce the Third State Treaty on Gambling which is coming on January 1, 2020 and will see the first official sportsbook in the country launch on June 30, 2021.

Presently, online casinos are operating in a sort of a grey legal area in the state. Furthermore, Germany has already issued recommendations to payment processors to restrict the transaction of money between German citizens and any offshore operator.

PayPal was one of the operators that needs to enforce the measures. The payment processor has had run-ins with authorities in the past, specifically in the United States and over the same issues with not suspending transactions.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Buenos Aires iGaming Licensing Process Continues in Full

  • 14 operators formally present their offers
  • Slots Machines SA fails to meet prerequisites
  • Buenos Aires will serve as a litmus test of further gambling expansion

Buenos Aires continues to prepare its iGaming sector for a full-scale launch. Argentina may expand gambling across the country if a good working model is found out.

Buenos Aires Moves on with iGaming Licensing

Argentina is preparing to welcome iGaming companies in Buenos Aires, the capital. The process will cover 14 operators which are now looking to make an entry in the country and specifically in the city. Having mulled sports betting for a while, Argentina is now focusing on digital casino games, with the help of a number of established companies.

Originally, 15 companies were expected to join the registration process, but Slots Machines SA failed to show up any viable offer within the specified deadlines. All 14 remaining operators made a presentation hosted by the Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos (IPLyC).

Biyemas, a local operator, has decided to go it solo and not involve other operators, nor any international company. This can be seen as a drawback, as the current pool of participants are all teaming up with a number of companies that have years of experience under their belt.

The full list of local and international partnerships is long and it involves names, such as bet365, 888, and William Hill as some of the most recognizable casino operators in the world. Presently, the partnerships are as follows:

  • Betway and King Bingo
  • Betsson and Casino de Victoria
  • Playtech and Hotel Casino Tandil
  • William Hill and Argenbingo

More big operators are also part of the applicants list. All of them have teamed up with international operators to create a feasible economic model that would let local brands learn from the best and scale their offer as legislation becomes available.

Buenos Aires’ Long-Term Gaming Goals

Buenos Aires and Argentina have the ultimate goal of popularizing online wagering and casino gaming across the country. There has been a strong push from Buenos Aires Governor María Eugenia Vidal to introduce the activity in the first place.

To achieve this, however, a workable framework will have to be established in the country’s capital so as to replicate its success elsewhere.

This won’t be easy for a number of reasons, not least of which because of the arbitrary non-compliance of some operators. Even in a regulated market, such as the United Kingdom, the UK Gambling Commission, the nation’s regulator, has hit gaming operators with fines have hit over £19 million, pointing to serious shortcomings in the work of iGaming companies.

Argentina has no experience with regulating betting and this leaves the country vulnerable to abuse in the iGaming sector. Buenos Aires will be an important litmus test which must come with lessons for both the government and operators.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Denmark’s Q1 Online Gaming & Sports Betting Revenue Increases

  • Land based properties in Denmark lose 10 per cent revenue
  • Online revenue soars – mobile platforms lead the way
  • Sports betting verticals post 10 per cent increase

Denmark continues to be the safest gambling market in Europe. While upholding the best practices in the industry, Denmark has also been able to drive revenue for the iGaming sector while land-based properties have seen a dip in their revenue.

Online Gambling Revenue in Denmark Climbs Up

Denmark’s iGaming sector has posted good results in Q1, 2019. The market successfully consolidated its online presence, but this came at a cost for brick-and-mortar operators which are now struggling to catch up.

The results for the quarter ending on March 31 have revealed a shift towards online gambling. Danish operators have managed to hit over DKK1.6 billion ($910 million) in the three months since the beginning of the years, which is a 4.5-per-cent improvement year-over-year.

Once again, online operators focused exclusively on sports betting which continued to lead the way, generating 619 million in the first quarter online.

This accounted for almost 40 per cent of the total amount that online gambling generated in Q1. Sports betting also marked the highest year-over-year improvement, accounting for 10.4-per-cent improvement compared to Q1, 2018.

Denmark Shifts Towards Mobile Betting

Mobile platforms have certainly seen a spike in the total use for the purposes of gambling, as betting apps accounted for 53.3 per cent of the total wagers placed in Q1, 2019. Desktop betting remained strong as well, with the total accounting for 27.3 per cent. People who opted to place a wager in person accounted for 21.9 per cent of the total, a still decent turn-up.

Denmark Q3 iGaming Results Strong Despite Mild Dip

Casinos also did well, at least the properties operating online that is. Online casinos managed to amass DKK556 million in the period. Q1 brought nearly a million more in terms of revenue. Once again, online slots remained the most lucrative segment, which has accounted for over 60 per cent of the total revenue.

The improved results come at a time when Denmark has successfully continued to enrol problem gamblers in its national self-exclusion scheme. Denmark is the only country in the European Union which enforces consumer protection practices in full.

Sweden, a new entrant in online gambling as of January 1, 2019, has already had to issue fines to prominent gaming operators and threaten with suspension of license – Betway has been among the affected parties. William Hill, another UK-based betting agency has also acquired assets in Sweden.

Sweden and Denmark remain the most challenging markets in the world of iGaming where rules need to be followed to the T lest regulators decide to issue hefty payments. The fact that revenue continues to grow while regulations tighten is a positive sign for the future of sports betting and iGaming. Meanwhile, Denmark remains one of the safest places to gamble and place sports wagers.

The biggest takeaway of the quarter was that revenue at land-based properties, restaurants and other designated areas fell by 3.6 per cent over the period while the seven land-based casinos in Denmark posted 10-per-cent worse performance over the quarter year-over-year.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Sweden’s Pathological Gamers Are Mostly Women

  • Women in Sweden constitute the majority of pathological gambling addicts
  • The number of people at risk from developing gambling addiction has fallen
  • Authorities demand more moderate advertisement efforts

Sweden’s gambling industry has exploded and amid the new gambling options’ arrival there has been interesting data trickling in about the rate of gambling participate and more specifically gambling addiction. As it turns out, women are more prone to gambling addiction than men.

In Sweden, Women Are More Likely to Be Gambling Addicts

Sweden has enjoyed an almost unchanged rate of gambling participation in 2018, but a new, and potentially worrying trend has emerged – the number of Swedish gambling addicts has risen and the main group to show signs of addiction has been women.

The county’s health authority, the Folkhalsomyndigheten, has published the results of a comprehensive study looking into the gambling habits of the nation in the pre-legalized market in 2018. More than 5,000 participants have been interviewed in the institution’s survey.

Sweden’ Regulator Releases 2018 Gaming Survey

The results revealed that 58% of all participants have exercised some form of real money gambling, ranging from casinos, to scratch cards, to other. When scaled for the broader public, the results of the survey established that estimated 225,000 people were at a serious risk of developing gambling addiction or at least a problematic gaming behavior.

60% of all pathological gambling addicts in Sweden are women, a new survey commissioned by the Folkhalsomyndigheten has found out.

Despite a potential increase in the number of actual addicts, the results were much better in terms of how many people are at actual risk of becoming addicts. For example, in 2015, Sweden had around 332,000 people who were close to crossing the thin red line.

Again, in 2015 there were 134,000 problem gamblers and their number was 101,000 in 2018, but the problem was insofar as the really bad cases of addiction lied. Pathological gamblers increased to 45,000 in 2018, which was a very significant uptick from 2015, 31,000. Of those, estimated 60% were women, which surpasses previous estimate that men tended to be more vulnerable to the practice.

The Reasons Behind Sweden’s Increasing Gambling Addiction

Sweden has long been a no-man’s land when it comes to gambling. Some experts have hurried up to blame the latest figures on the expanding gambling network in the country, but this wasn’t the case until January, 2019 when your correspondent was in Malmo and saw the official launch of the industry.

The warnings about the rising number of pathological gamers hasn’t fallen on deaf years, with Sweden’s Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi vowing to act against the aggressive iGaming adds that have been appearing on television.

Companies have already been warned that they will have to observe fair advertising practice or risk getting their licenses suspended – something that Sweden is serious about and prepared to enact without delays.

However, there has still been some uncertainty about the exact meaning of what a less aggressive advertisement means. Authorities have called for moderation, but nobody has really pin-pointed what a moderate amount of advertisement is.

In a market that is in a constant competition for players, it’s unlikely that businesses will be able to sort it out between themselves.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Bet365 Is Preparing to Open Up First Betting Shop in the US

  • Bet365 prepares for New Jersey launch in Marlton
  • The UK gaming & betting company has acquired 19,000-sq-mt property
  • Betting expected to start in summer
  • Bet365 is teamed up with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Bet365 is among the last UK operators that is yet to start expanding into the state. With William Hill and 888 already planning rapid scaling of their operations in other states, Bet365 is making a tentative step into New Jersey.

New Jersey Welcomes Bet365’s First Betting Shop

Bet365’s financial and business successes have kept the company ahead of many other competitors back home in the United Kingdom. However, Bet365 didn’t make serious plans to push into the United States until last summer, when it partnered up with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, signalling its intention to enter the market.

New Jersey’s law obliges any digital entrant to find an established casino property to work with if it wants to introduce its online product. This way land-based casinos and online operators can work together, the state believes. It has worked so far.

Bet365 is behind William Hill and even 888, but it’s determined to catch up. The company’s first shop will be set up in Marlton, around 50 miles from Atlantic City, NJ’s gaming hub. It’s expected that the company will focus purely on sports betting initiatives, though online gaming is another area where Bet365 has been able to excel.

Bet365 certainly has the makings of a promising company. With hefty revenue and executive pay, the UK’s betting firm is easily one of the world’s largest tax payers.

Some Catching Up to Do

Bet365’s name commands a lot of respect, but this alone is not a stepping-stone for success. New Jersey is already full of companies that have clawed a solid share of the market. Without a shade of doubt, the most influential sportsbooks in the state by virtue of their revenue remain:

  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • Borgata
  • FanDuel
  • 888 sport
  • William Hill

FanDuel and DraftKings are usually neck-and-neck whereas the other brands, including William Hill have commanded a more modest share of the market. Still, British companies are doing very well in the United States and in New Jersey in particular, relying on a mix of innovative solutions and tailoring their offer for the US market.

Bet365 is also looking well beyond conventions, hoping to beat everyone to the punch in places like New York where legalizing the industry is not quite yet in sight. It has signed an agreement with Empire Resorts in NY and the company has reportedly paid a lobbyist firm to try and push the legislation forward.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

LeoVegas expands with in the Nordic Countries

Amid the growing Swedish sports betting market, Leo Vegas has decided to expand into an unlikely segment – betting on competitive video gaming or esports.

LeoVegas, and Sweden’s Promising Market

After acquiring a controlling stake in, LeoVegas is finally rolling out its esports book in earnest. The newly-licensed Swedish market is the perfect moment for the company to launch competitive video gaming betting.

With a successfully acquired permit from Spelinspektionen, the national regulator, is arriving in one of the most esports-friendly countries and home of the DreamHack festival.

EveryMatrix Expands Offer with New Esports Markets is also planning for the long-term, having cut a five-year licensing deal with the regulator. The offer launched today, on February 26, with the majority of the offer focusing on esports, a still very young segment.

There are inherent challenges to this segment of the industry as well, so following’s ambitious progress would be like a weathervane for other operators.

Esports Betting and the Challenges Ahead

Esports betting has been growing since 2013. Though the segment wasn’t explored until later on when Betway and Pinnacle entered the market with modest offer, 2018 has been particularly generous for the industry.

At the end of 2017, only 5% bookmakers had registered a profit out of introducing esports. With conventional tactics failing with esports fans, who have turned out to be much smarter and better informed about odds and the winning probabilities, the best companies have been adapting their offers. is the result of the rapid expansion of the segment. LeoVegas now holds 51% in the company and they don’t intend to attempt any of the known techniques that have worked for mainstream sports.

There’s no need for bonuses, for example, as esports fans tend to get capricious with anything that may appear to be too complicated or even fraudulent.

Another great boon to’s offer in Sweden is that esports fans won’t have to undergo the traditional KYC process if they opt for the Pay & Play payment option, which will additionally slash time for everyone.

A Nordic Beginning will be focusing primarily on Nordic markets as they tend to be some of the richest, both in terms of purchasing power among the customers there and the fact that all youths play video games in one form or another, although not necessarily esports.

Pixel Digital CEO, Eirik Kristiansen had the following to say commenting on the latest developments:

With this licence we gain the opportunity to offer our product and passion for esports betting to the Swedish market. Moreover, we have added a truly exciting casino experience that we know customers will appreciate.

This springboard in Sweden will also position us for continued expansion internationally.

Meanwhile, LeoVegas’ won top brass has seen reason to invest in, citing “economies of scale” as one of the main factors for advancing in the company.”

During a year when we focus on strong growth but also on cost efficiency, it is inspiring to see that are developing well and that we as a group, ” LeoVegas Group CEO Gustaf Hagman said. is also a member of the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), a body that focuses on uprooting match-fixing in esports contests.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

National Bulgarian Lottery adds Scientific Games’ Products

  • National Lottery Bulgaria partners up with Scientific Games for online iGaming products
  • The products bring in BGN1 million within 24 days
  • Bulgaria generated nearly $2 billion in gambling revenue in 2017

The National Lottery Bulgaria has teamed up with Scientific Games to introduce an enhanced experience for customers.

The National Lottery and Scientific Games Team Up

A middling market, Bulgaria has offered some leeway for sports betting operators and online casinos to prosper. Not over-restrictive, the country’s National Lottery has been generating good financial results mostly through the sale of scratch cards and holding televised raffle shows on national TV.

The addition of Scientific Games as a partner to the Lottery, signals the operator’s readiness to shift towards online solutions, which promise to generate the highest number of revenues for the gambling industry in future. SG has introduced a number of its products, including:

  • 88 Fortunes
  • Giant’s Gold
  • Rainbow Riches

Within 24 hour of launch time the games had already generated €500,000 or BGN1 million. Following the success, the Lottery is now planning to add more products to its portfolio. National Lottery Managing Partner Milen Ganev had the following to say:

Scientific Games’ digital products have proven an excellent fit for National Lottery Bulgaria, outperforming our expectations within the first 24 hours of launch. Our players are engaging with the games immediately, and we see demand and repeat gameplay growing every day.

Scientific Games CCO Steve Schrier has also commented on the newly-struck deal, saying that the National Lottery Bulgaria was a quintessential example of the type of partners that the lottery wants to work with.

Gambling Is a Huge Business in Bulgaria

Bulgaria does have its underbelly when it comes to gambling, but today the majority of businesses are mostly legal and regulated, although land-based casinos are not necessarily a preferred choice among locals.

In 2017, Bulgarian gambling revenue reached the heady $1.9 billion or BGN3 billion. The country’s GDP in that year was $59 billion, highlighting the immensity of the industry. It all started back in 2013, when legislators voted to introduce further tax breaks for gaming operators.

Without the corporate tax to worry about, gaming parlors started booming. The National Lottery Bulgaria has developed to the point where it’s a past-time for many people, too.

There hasn’t been much talk about the level of gambling addicts in the country nor the social responsibility of gaming companies, though, which needs to be addressed by Parliament.

Bulgaria presently harbors over 1,300 companies related to gambling and iGaming in one form or another, including Vasil Bozhkov’s New Gaming SA, Eurobet Ltd and National Lottery SA. Mr. Bozhkov’s net worth is estimated at over $1 billion. Much of this is thanks to his involvement with gambling.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Catena Media to Continue Acquiring Big Businesses in 2019

  • Catena will focus on growing organic traffic in 2019
  • The company will seek to integrate existing products better into its core business
  • Growth in the US is happening faster than expected
  • New markets and acquisition also planned for 2019

Catena Media, one of the largest owners of iGaming affiliate businesses, has said that it’s ready to pursue new Merger & Acquisition opportunities, recovering from a slowdown in 2018.

Catena to Continue Expanding in 2019

Catena Media marked a slight dip in its organic performance in 2018, but nothing too serious to dissuade the company from pursuing a course towards growth today.

According to Per Hallberg, Catena executive, the company will now re-focus its efforts on big acquisitions and business opportunities rather than snapping up small chains.

Organic growth may indeed have been a bit slow in Q4, 2018, but Catena managed to notch up $120 million in revenue, over 50% year-over-year. EBITDA hit $54 million, with the company now hoping to pursue a course of growth that would lend it at $100 million by 2020.

Catena has kept busy by mid-2018 when it concluded the acquisition of and ASAP Italia, marking for the last major deals of the year. During the company’s earning call published on February 7, Mr. Hallberg said:

The process of transitioning from a distinct acquisition strategy to an increased focus on organic growth is progressing and the results have already been favourable, with clear indicators that we are on the right path.

Organic Growth Opportunities This Year

Catena wants to prioritize organic growth as its most important metric in 2019. This makes sense as inflating the numbers might backfire eventually. However, Catena is no where near giving up on pursuing important deals that will secure it better positions in future. Mr. Hallberg confirmed that the company will continue to pursue growth:

Focusing on organic growth does not mean that Catena Media will not make any acquisitions. We will make acquisitions in 2019.

At the same time, he noted that Catena is now focused on achieving more with its existing products, including the integration of new assets into the core business of the company.

Catena’s sales have been growing exponentially, Mr. Hallberg said and new markets, including Japan and the United States.

The defeat of PASPA had also played an important part in this strategy, with Mr. Hallberg now saying that growth in the US market has outpaced any previous forecasts.

However, he didn’t mention anything about the DoJ’s recently reversed opinion on the Wire Act, which will effectively slash the performance in places such as New Jersey, Nevada, and the ambitiously opening-up market of Pennsylvania.

With subscriptions and search revenue increasing, Mr. Hallberg and Catena have big expectations for the future.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

UKGC Cautions Operators about NDAs and License Compliance

  • The UKGC cautions that NDAs don’t rule out reporting issues pertaining to licensing
  • Operators shouldn’t bar customers from revealing information that can identify issues with licensing
  • People who suffer from gaming addiction should be able to impart information with health specialists
  • A failure to self-report an issue by an operator would be considered an aggravating factor in ensuing legislation

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) continues to work on improving the overall gaming climate in the country. Recently, the UKGC cautioned that negotiating NDAs mustn’t prevent customers from reporting license violations.

UKGC Reminds That License Obligations Take Precedence over NDAs

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) reminded that settlements between customers and operators shouldn’t come at the expense of reporting license violations, strong-arming participants with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

In a similar vein, the UKGC believes that even if an NDA presupposes that a customer shouldn’t disclose certain information, the Commission still believes that customers who suspect license violations must be able to report any breaches of the Gambling Act.

Jeremy Wright Mulls Credit Card Ban for Gambling Use

The UKGC also cited another problem with NDAs whereby individuals who are known gambling addicts might be forced to withhold essential information for their treatment.

Here’s how the official statement of the Commission read: “Some of these agreements may have had the effect of preventing those consumers from reporting regulatory concerns to us, by either excluding disclosure to any third party or, in some cases, explicitly preventing customers from contacting the Gambling Commission.”

The Commission listed several scenarios in which NDAs could be disruptive, including:

  • Preventing regulators oр law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations
  • Limiting the UKGC’s ability to identify breaches in the license conditions
  • Stopping customers from making complaints to the Commission
  • Limiting the scope of gambling treatment for vulnerable individuals

Understandably, the UKGC is aware of the business value of such NDAs, but they should never impede, prevent or deter a person from reporting a pertinent issue to the regulatory body. The Commission was very specific in the do’s and don’ts:

If a customer in the course of negotiating a settlement agreement states that they intend to report a matter to the Commission, we expect licensees will normally be able to inform the customer that they have already self-reported an incident.

The Commission also explained that it was up to the operators to self-report the incident. A failure to do so would be considered an aggravating factor in any ensuing regulatory action pursued by the Commission.

UKGC’s Continuous Efforts to Curb Harm

Given the steady number of people addicted to gambling, the UK has been transforming its offer significantly via a number of social responsibility and regulatory measures. In light of the growing regulatory climate, operators announced that they would introduce a voluntary water-shed ban on all live sports betting contests.

The UKGC and the Government negotiated a reduction of the FOBTs rates that will come into effect in April, with bookmakers in Ireland taking their cue and opting to comply before a law is even passed.

Meanwhile, the gaming revenue is going to go up to 21%, an on-the-border tax that some businesses fear could render their operations non-profitable.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

The MGA Suspends Bet Service Group License

  • The Malta Gaming Authority has suspended the license of Bet Service Group and its brands
  • No new deposits can be made and registration is closed
  • Customers with outstanding payments need to contact MGA for information how to claim their money
  • License suspension is reserved only for the most severe cases of violation

Malta Gaming Authority has taken aim at Bet Service Group temporarily suspending its license over alleged wrongdoing.

Bet Service Group Halts Operations at MGA Behest

The Bet Service Group has come under fire by one of the world’s most esteemed regulators, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). As per the temporary prohibition, Bet Service Group may no longer accept new customers or take bets.

The MGA issued a decision whereby Bet Service Group’s brands should immediately cease all operation. The Group will now have to submit a full report of its operations from across all brands and activities, which will then undergo review at the MGA’s headquarters.

Despite the quick and abrupt decision, MGA has issued no formal comment as to why it has suspended the Group’s license. The regulator has also advised customers with outstanding payments to contact the Malta Gaming Authority via e-mail where they will be instructed how to access their funds.

In order to verify their identities, users will have to send a full list of personal information, similar to their identity confirmation process at a casino. Players must also attach a screenshot of their account balance before the MGA can take any actions:

  • Name and Surname;
  • Registered Address;
  • Date of Birth;
  • Copy of Passport or ID Card;
  • Telephone Number;
  • Description of Product i.e. casino or sportsbook;
  • User Name;
  • Screenshot of Balance or any pending Cash Outs (if not available an estimated balance is to be submitted).

Crackdowns of Yore

The Malta Gaming Authority hasn’t been in the habit of suspending or revoking licenses much. The last time it did so was in 2017 when Mr. Ringo went down in similarly unspecified circumstances. Once again, the MGA remained available, helping customers retrieve their outstanding payments and account balances.

In general, the MGA has been issuing warnings to online gaming venues it has suspected of coloring around the lines, with license suspensions being reserved only for the cases whereby operators have been blatantly flouting the rules of their license.

Why the MGA Suspends Licenses?

There are multiple reasons why MGA could seek to suspend a license. Starting with stilting the Random Number Generator (RNG), to staging inside agents as winners, to failing to honor payments.

Most commonly, though, this measure is reserved only for companies that have repeatedly failed to uphold the minimum of their legally-binding license, leading to an outright license revocation.

Centurion Limited was another suspended casino back in June, 2017 with the MGA again keep the lid on the reason for the suspension. The MGA remains committed to upholding the industry’s best practices which could mean license suspension in the cases where operators repeatedly fail to meet the necessary standards.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Alberta Plans to Launch Online Gaming in the State in 2020

  • Alberta’s Gaming & Liquor Commission looks to launch online gambling
  • Discreet call for proposal has been made
  • Estimated CAD$385m are lost to third-parties outside the country

Alberta’s Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) has begun looking for companies to create a reliable online gambling system that can be used state-wide.

Alberta Is Looking into Online Gaming Expansion

Canada isn’t exactly lax when it comes to gambling regulations. The country has long established a monopoly on the market through the use of individual state watch dogs.

In light of the expanding sports betting and gaming operations down south, some of that seems to have rubbed off the Canadian province of Alberta. It’s hardly all good news for Canada when it comes to the U.S. opting out of the federal ban known as PASPA.

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) is actively looking into ways to find reliable suppliers that will be able to discreetly develop a new online gaming system to go wide state-wide.

Under the request for proposals, the AGLC has already been enjoying significant interest from established companies, which are still not announced to the public.

Why the Sudden Change?

Canadians have a proclivity for gambling which has often been quenched at offshore sportsbooks and gaming operators.

With the industry growing and the AGLC estimating as much as CAD$385 million going to unregulated markets, the watchdog sees reason in bringing the market closer to home.

Instead of focusing on land-based infrastructure, which would be difficult to outpace the offshore gaming industry, the regulator wants to push ahead with plans to directly introduce online gaming on the territory of the state.

Despite years of mulling over the issue, this has been the first marked step towards legalizing the industry in full, as reported by CBC Canada. Interviewing the AGLC representative Chara Goodings, CBC has fleshed out some of the details around Alberta’s burgeoning iGaming industry.

The report published in CBC also cites Canadian Gaming Association representative Paul Burns who reaffirmed Ms. Goodings position of revenue potentially slipping away from the country:

Offerings coming from licences through provincial gaming corporations are the clearly legal route in Canada. Where the grey area has come in Canada law is the offshore sites.

Alberta is not new to gaming entirely. GameHost, a popular supplier of land-based gaming slots & table games, is also located in the state, giving a unique opportunity to seek a potential expansion of its activities in light of the new legislation.

The company to take over online iGaming in Alberta will be chosen by this summer and the official launch will come in 2020.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Genting Denies Wynn Copyright Claims, Prepares for Court

  • Genting Berhard denies wrongdoing, responding to Wynn Resorts’ claims that the company had copied its design for an upcoming integrated resort property in Las Vegas
  • The company has presented visual proof and pushes ahead with construction while preparing to meet Genting in court
  • Massachusetts wraps up probe against former CEO Steve Wynn

Embroiled in a dispute over copyrights, the impasse between Genting Berhard and Wynn Resorts remains unchanged. Genting Berhard has denied wrongdoing or attempting to copy the design of Wynn in the newly-constructed Resorts World Las Vegas LLC integrated resort.

Genting Berhard Says It Didn’t Copy Wynn Resorts’ Design

In December, Wynn Resorts lodged a lawsuit against Genting Berhard’s Resorts World Las Vegas LLC and its property under construction in Las Vegas. The $4-billion project developed by Genting’s subsidiary is due to arrive late in 2020, located in the vicinity of an already existing Wynn property.

Last week, Genting filed their official rebuttal of Wynn Resorts’ demands to halt construction and overhaul the exterior design of the property. In their filing dated December 21, 2018, Wynn Resorts said that the property had “a substantially similar architectural design and trade dress.”

Wynn Wins Temporary Extension on Report Confidentiality

On the other hand, Genting has been set against the position outlined by the plaintiff. According to the company, the Resorts World Las Vegas will not resemble its neighbor, with Genting laying down the following argument:

[Wynn’s position] is predicated on speculative extrapolation regarding the appearance of the Defendant’s unfinished resort and casino, which is still in an early stage of construction with nearly two years left to go before opening.

Genting’s answer said that the final property would look “dramatically different” than Wynn’s own property. Furthermore, Genting said that the design would in no way suggest to a customer that they are entering a Wynn-owned property.

Based on Genting’s position, so far there has been no substantial evidence that proves, within reason, that the company’s subsidiary was actively trying to copy the design of its main competitor. Genting will push ahead with its integrated resort construction plans while at the same time gearing up to face Wynn in court if need be.

Genting even included a “pictorial representation” of the completed Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV) resort and casino in order to assuage fears that the company was intentionally copying the design of the plaintiff.

Genting’s position is well-presented, which means that they are fully-prepared to take action in court. Wynn Resorts has been embroiled in a sex scandal, investigated by Massachusetts that has now finally come to an end. Nevertheless, no public information is available yet, as the state’s investigators have agreed to honor a request from Steve Wynn, the former CEO of the company.

A public release of the report might give grounds to opponents of Mr. Wynn to pursue legal recourse against him, the position read.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

GiG Teams Up with MegaLotto to Introduce

  • GiG partners with MegaLotto to enter the lotteries vertical
  • The companies will launch their offer in mid-2019
  • GiG will see results at the end of 2019

Gaming Innovation Group, an established iGaming company, is preparing to expand into a new vertical – lotteries. The company has already struck up a deal with MegaLotto, an up-and-coming start-up.

GiG Inks Deal for the Future of Lottery Vertical

The Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) will work along with MegaLotto in order to create a polished lottery experience for international customers. The lottery portal will include a number of casino games in a bid to appeal to an international audience as well as expand into many unrelated markets.

Establishing a global footprint will be a top priority for the companies, which will be pushing ahead with a quick launch in the summer of 2019. Because of the rather delayed launch, revenue will remain largely unaffected for GiG in 2019 following the partnership. With GiG and MegaLotto gearing up to launch in full, there is still the question of which markets the company will operate in.

GiG has already entered the United States thanks to its partnership with Hard Rock casino in October, 2018. Later in November the same year, GiG tied up another partnership with casino games aggregator Join Games.

As to the specific deal with MegaLotto, GiG CCO Ben Clemes expressed his satisfaction with the developments, noting the following:

I am delighted to add further growth potential for GiG by entering the Lottery vertical with MegaLotto. We share the same ambitions of a fun, fair, responsible and innovative user experience.

Lotteries is the sole missing verticals which GiG is now happy to offer to its customers worldwide. Having obtained a license in the newly-regulated Swedish market, GiG may be pushing ahead with introducing lotteries in Europe, as it’s one of the primary markets for the activity.

However, places like Germany can prove too restrictive, given the adamant local opposition and favorism towards national totalizators.

Expanding into Lotteries – A Healthy New Opportunity

The expansion into the lottery vertical, however, is not at all surprising, following last year’s Q3 earning call when CEO Robin Reed spoke of the healthy pipeline opportunities ahead of the company. Apart from working with the Hardrock brand, GiG has also been selected to deliver the sports betting software for MRG and Gamingzone.

Growing the sports betting business is a priority for GiG which will now be nicely complemented with the expansion of the lottery vertical. In the United States, different states see the point of maintaining their lottery operations scaling. In fact, lotteries are one of the main reasons why he infamous Wire Act doesn’t apply to some forms of gambling products, with New York challenging the motion back in 2018.

Now that GiG has eyes set on lotteries, the company is about to monetize on a new sector. How successful its efforts will only become clear towards the end of 2019 or later in 2020.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Pennsylvania Rakes in More Revenue from Slots in December

  • Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board releases stronger December 2018 slot revenue numbers
  • Slots bring $2.3bn in 2018 for Pennsylvania
  • 2019 will be a test whether the market has been saturated

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has issued a report outlining a very successful season for the state’s slot operators. Revenue from slot machines jumped by 8% in December 2018.

Slots Revenue Goes up in Pennsylvania in December, 2018

Pennsylvania’s slots profits have increased substantially in December, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has revealed. According to the report, the state has generated 8% more year-on-year revenue from slots.

All 13 properties featured in the report have notched up better results than in 2018, occasioned by the push for legalizing all sectors of the iGaming industry and sports betting across the United States.

The property to benefit the most by the increase was Parx Casino, which grew only 8.25% in terms of revenue, but the total handle hit $35,450,000. The Rivers Casino noted an impressive amount, adding extra $2.76 million on top of what it had earned in December 2017.

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Valley Forge Casino managed the highest increase compared to the profits it achieved in 2017, adding 18.2% more revenue in 2018. The cumulative amount generated from casinos in December 2018 hit $15 million more than the same month a year before. The strongest results came amid a slight dip in the number of slot machines available, 400-odd fewer than in 2017.

The five properties to rake in the biggest handle posted the following results:

  • Parx Casino – $35,450,000
  • Rivers Casino – $25,830,298
  • Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem – $25,814,799.42
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course – $18,391,456.46
  • The Meadows Racetrack and Casino – $18,087,428.74

The report also summed up the accomplishments of the iGaming sector in 2018. Slots brought in $2.3 billion in revenue, or 1.4% higher than the results in 2017. The good results come after a slow-down in November when the performance fell 3.5% year-on-year. With the renewed uptick in operations, 2019 may start on a strong note if the market has not already reached its maturity, meaning that the sums will not vary much in the months, and possibly years, to come.

Casinos in Pennsylvania earn $2.3bn in 2018 from slot revenues, the PGCB has revealed.

Pennsylvania’s gambling industry has been developing at a steadfast pace well before PASPA was defeated in May, 2018. The slots have been one of the preferred pieces of entertainment for locals who have been contributing generously to the gaming budget of the state.

The state is also pushing ahead with significant expansion with new casinos obtaining their licenses and preparing to launch in 2019. Overall, Pennsylvania managed to add $385 million to its coffers in 2018 from issuing licenses alone.

The expansion meant a lot for the state’s finances, completely beating the original expectation which put the revenue from legalizing the industry at $100 million. The revenue did continue to grow, though. Each applicant had to pay $10 million to obtain the full-package of gambling products.

In the meanwhile, companies started focusing on Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), which will see the light of day in Pennsylvania in 2019.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Romania Introduces 2% Tax on Gross Gambling Revenue for 2019

  • Romanian government adds 2% to the gambling tax in the country
  • The tax will have operators pay retroactively for 2018 in one lump-sum payment
  • This is not the first time Romanian lawmakers have hit the industry with hefty taxes
  • 888 could reportedly be withdrawing from the market

Romania has introduced a new tax on gambling turnover, adding more strain on operators to cope with expenses.

Romania’s New Gambling Tax Bites into Profits

Romania has introduced a new 2% tax on gambling revenue, which will directly impact the profits of operators in the country. The measure was voted and pushed along ahead of the Christmas holidays, with the government having long been warning for a new uptick in the tax levels related to gambling.

The government has introduced a number of other taxes affecting other industries as well, such as telecommunication services and the banking sectors. All changes are now in effect as of January 1, 2019. The 2% tax imposed on gambling operator is an auspicious development given the initial plans of the government, which wanted to introduce a much more restrictive and potentially industry-disruptive measure.

Originally, Romanian lawmakers planned 5% turnover tax on all online properties and mere 3% on any land-based casinos. On top of that, all operators already have to pay 16% on their gross gambling revenue. The new 2% hike will be lumped together with the existing rate, leading to 18% tax levy on gambling operations.

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This is not too high, given that gambling tax in the United Kingdom and Italy is going up year in and year out. However, the Romanian government wants to bank quickly on the changes and is going to apply the tax retroactively, meaning that financial performance in 2018 will be levied with the new +2% rate.

All operators have time until February 25 to honor all payments. The money will have to be paid as a single instalment to the budget. It has been the custom of lawmakers to buffet the gambling industry in the country with restrictive measures, using the fact that the sector is not loved by the public.

A Brief History of Gambling Taxes

In 2015, the government made a staggering decision whereby any future licensed companies would need to pay back taxes equal to 20% of the generated revenue from Romanian government between 2015 and 2009 – a decision that has fallen through since due to inability for any of the active operators to furnish such an amount.

As to the active operators and brands on the Romanian market today, the 22 players feel the mounting pressure that bites not only into their profits, but the viability of their business. Recently, 888 poker cancelled a tournament initially scheduled for March, 2019 and issued a statement that despite the scale-down, the company was not planning to withdraw from the Romanian market.

However, 888 is not planning on starting any marketing campaigns any time soon in Romania, which can be interpreted as a clear sign of the company’s hesitation to operate in the market.

Meanwhile, neighboring Bulgaria’s economic growth has been marked with the iGaming market expanding accordingly. Bulgaria also serves as headquarters for a number of software makers and casino brands and already has seen important players enter the country, such as NetEnt and BetGames.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Denmark Limits the Scope of Illegal Online Operators

  • Denmark successfully narrows down scope of illegal gambling
  • Danish operators are the EU’s safest
  • Esports betting is also targeted

Denmark is a model gambling market. It’s hailed as the only place in the European Union where all standards are kept to ensure the safety and security of customers. Now, the country has announced that it has been successful in narrowing down the scope of operation of illegal actors.

Denmark Cracks Down on Illegal Gambling

Denmark has done it – cleaning its online space from illegal gaming operators, or at least coming remarkably close. Hailed as one of the only jurisdictions in the European Union where gaming laws truly consider the well-being of customers and gamers, Denmark has just reported a “limited” market for illegal online casinos.

Denmark has been recognized as a safe harbor for casino lovers with the country having been mentioned in a report by the European Gaming & Betting Association, which evaluated all EU Member States’ laws insufficient to protect their customers, bar Denmark, where safety gaming measures were working fine.

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Meanwhile, Denmark’s Spillemyndigheden, the gaming watch dog, has produced a new report in which it outlined the fight against illegal actors as successful due to the “continually falling numbers of such operators” (paraphrased by Casino Classic). The measures targeted:

  • Casino operators
  • Card rooms
  • Esports betting websites

In December 2018, the Spillemyndigheden initiated three separate searches trying to pinpoint the online venues of unregulated gambling websites. The tally included 742 websites that were either deemed dangerous or with not an entirely established legal status.

The watchdog admitted that the organization had intentionally broaden the search parameters to make sure that it wouldn’t miss any potentially dangerous actor. At the same time, Denmark has been adding to the numbers of legal operators.

Despite the large number, only 22 websites were targeted specifically, with the Spillemyndigheden notifying the owners that they had violated the Danish Gambling Act. Out of these, 18 had to be blocked by their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) over a failure to respond to the regulatory body’s inquiries.

While the Danish authorities issued fewer petitions this year, they still blocked more operators than in the past, pointing to the more efficient measures taken by the government in targeting these specific bad apples.

Esports – A New Frontier

Esports betting (the act of placing money on the outcome of competitive video gaming) has also proven a divisive issue. Overall, 95 websites that haven’t quite met the criteria were identified. The main problem with these has been the offer of “skin betting”, i.e. staking in-game goods that led to a massive scandal back in 2016 and a class-action lawsuit for Valve, a game developer, who was accused of facilitating underage gambling.

In total, Denmark’s regulator accomplished the following:

  • Auditing 742 regular websites
  • Blocking 18 operators
  • Looking into 95 esports betting websites
  • Blocking 6 esports websites that didn’t comply with the Danish Gambling Act

The Spillemyndigheden issued 17 petitions to esports websites and subsequently requested that six of these are blocked. While esports betting has been gaining traction in the United States and Europe, skin gambling is completely off limits, though some operators have been using third-party services, using the argument that “they themselves didn’t touch the skins directly”.

More of a liability than a loophole, such attitude can lead to more restrictive actions from regulators in the future. The watchdog also cautioned about the rise of social gambling on popular platforms such as Facebook, which was another lucrative area for shady operators to turn a quick profit.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.

Blockchain Platform Unikrn Introduces Self-Betting Options

  • Unikrn introduces self-betting options via UMode
  • The esports betting platforms accepts wagers from 41 states in the U.S.
  • Esports are going to be worth $1.4 billion in 2020
  • Unikrn is a blockchain-based and Isle-of-Man-licensed esports betting platform which recently introduced its “skill-based wagering” whereby gamers can stake money based on their own performance.

    Betting on Yourself and Esports with Unikrn

    Unikrn is the only operator in the United States operating in 41 states and the only blockchain esports betting operator in the world, although Luckbox, a rival service, is coming in early Spring, 2019.

    Unikrn allows you to make wagers in a specific blockchain-based currency, UnikoinGold or by placing real FIAT money instead. With the May repeal of PASPA, the sluicegates of sports betting were opened.

    The concept of betting on the outcome of video games is not at all strange. Games are excessively competitive and tournaments, such as The Dota 2 International Championship, come with prize money worth $26 million for a single event.

    Dota 2’s developer (a fantasy game that pits teams of five and allows them to choose from hundreds of unique characters with a set of distinct abilities) Valve has reportedly spent over $100 million in 2018 alone to back the industry. As an industry, esports are expected to be worth $1.4 billion by 2020.

    It’s in this context that Unikrn wants to capitalize on this promising new segment, developing a comprehensive esports betting platform available worldwide.

    UMode, the latest arrival championed by CEO Rahul Sood and his team at Unikrn, allows players to take “skill-based wagers”, meaning individual players can bet on themselves and their chances of achieving specific in-game goals (not necessarily defeating the enemy).

    It creates a heightened state of excitement when you play these games. Gaming is a great application for the blockchain, or the decentralized ledger that is secure and transparent. Sood said the company has been working on the flexible.

    Mr. Sood is quite confident in the financial and emotional gains that can be derived from developing an (esports) betting mode that puts the individual customers in the center of the experience.

    What’s Stopping Players from Cheating?

    Unikrn will ensure the safety and honesty of all bets by using comprehensive data models that can spot aberrations in the behavior of players. This way, if a professional is ‘smurfing’ (the act of playing against lower-ranked players from a dummy account), the system would know.

    Rahul Sood posing for a picture.
    Rahul Sood smiles at the future of UMode and esports betting.

    Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) Secretary Ian Smith has cautioned against this mode of esports betting, warning that the regulatory body doesn’t have the resources to track down potential cheaters and that the onus would be entirely on Unikrn to regulate its own markets.

    Given the reach of the platform, though, with customers from 41 states already reportedly accessing the website and operations launching across the world, Unikrn is unlike any mainstream betting operator.

    Unikrn has been expanding rapidly around the world allowing FIAT or crypto betting, based on the legislation it choose. Initially, the company was offered a chance to grow even quicker, if it were willing to operate within a loophole whereby it offered fantasy esports, but the company scrapped the idea quickly.

    Today, it’s all about the customer and Unikrn is banking on that trend quite well by the looks of it.

George Hansen

Taking a liking to the occasional bout of slots, George used to moonlight as a roulette dealer, giving him a unique perspective into the casino world. From there he continued his journalist education and has been with us ever since a star-aligned graduation brought him and our team together.