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Taking effect on Oct 26, the Canadian government has lifted capacity limits for gaming establishments requiring proof of vaccination in Ontario The most populous province of Canada allows casinos, bingo halls, and another gambling establishments to return to full capacity if requiring proof of full vaccination, starting Oct 25. Covid restrictions nationwide are being gradually lifted as the vaccinated population percentage rises and hospitalization of Covid patients plummets. Ontarian indoor venues requiring the jab are now almost all back at pre-pandemic normality. The lifts also remove social distancing requirements. Capacity limits are the first measures to go on the road to post-Covid life. Ontario Premier Doug Ford believes in a slow and cautious approach to lift all remaining safety measures over a time span covering half a year. With a harsh winter on the doorstep, Ford is seeking to avoid another lockdown and set the goal for total recovery to be March 2022. Up next after casinos and co will be night clubs. The long-awaited reopening of nightlife bunkers is set for Nov 15. That is of course under the condition that key indicators do not show any pejoration of the situation. Next up: Malta Week Don’t miss out on amazing networking opportunities and exclusive industry insights at Malta Week. Four leading shows will bring the best of the business back-to-back to a first-class meeting point. Malta Week will consist of , ,  and , each presenting the top developments of their focal industries. The cross-collaboration of each brand makes Malta Week the number one destination for leading think-tanks of the gaming sector, emerging tech, digital health, and digital marketing. The middle of the Mediterranean is the perfect place for multi-faceted business deals and face-to-face conversations with leading affiliates, policymakers, and thought leaders. https://youtu.be/r5brNkAIWks
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Entain shares plummet as a result of disappointing Q3

Entain is responding swiftly to its disappointing Q3 2023 financial results. The company reported a less-than-stellar performance in its online Net Gaming Revenue (NGR) following the summer season. With Q3 2023 online NGR growth expectations in the high single digits and proforma NGR facing a similar decline, Entain is challenged with multiple factors contributing to this setback. These include adverse sporting results, the ongoing implementation of safer gambling measures, regulatory hurdles and slower-than-expected growth in Australia and Italy. As a result of these challenges, Entain's shares plunged by over 8 percent this week.

Bright outlook for acquisitions and retail segments

Despite the hurdles, Entain's recent acquisitions have resulted in a positive impact, particularly SuperSport in Croatia. The retail segment also delivered robust performance, with BetMGM in the US staying on course to deliver positive EBITDA in H2 2023.

Long-term growth

Over the past three years, Entain has been actively reshaping its strategic approach to enhance earnings quality and deliver long-term shareholder value. With a shift from a brand-focused approach to a regional strategy, Entain is prepared for potential senior position eliminations and organizational restructuring. To accelerate performance and delivery, the company plans a comprehensive market review with an emphasis on sustainable organic growth. Additionally, Entain aims to streamline its group structures, migrate acquired businesses to its advanced technology platform, optimize capital allocation and move closer to achieving a 30 percent online EBITDA margin target.

Resilience and adaptive strategies

Research Analyst Neil Shah, director at Edison Group, acknowledged Entain's challenges but also recognized the company's resilience and adaptive strategies in navigating the ever-evolving online gaming landscape. In H1 2023, Entain demonstrated impressive growth, with an 11 percent rise in overall NGR and significant surges in online revenue. The operator's commitment to cost-cutting, efficiency and optimized capital allocation positions it for future success.

While Entain faces uncertainties, investors and analysts like Peel Hunt maintain a positive outlook, highlighting the company's leading position in the US market through BetMGM and its untapped potential from recent acquisitions. Peel Hunt reiterated its Buy rating for Entain stock with a slightly adjusted target price.

Entain Plc (ENT.L) is currently trading at GBp929.00 (-1.20 percent).

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Stop Press: SiGMA CURAÇAO, held in association with the Ministry of Finance, is taking place from 25 -28 September.

A national controversy – no end in sight for Okada Manila

Lea Hogg 2 days ago
Corporate Moves: Betfred Group’s COO Mark Stebbings announces resignation

Mark Stebbings, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Betfred Group, has announced his resignation, which will take effect later this week. Stebbings confirmed that he will be leaving his position at the end of the month via his social media posts. After nearly three decades with Betfred, Stebbings expressed that it is the right time for him to depart, highlighting his pride in being part of the company's remarkable growth journey.

Tribute to Fred Done

He expressed gratitude to Betfred founder Fred Done for his mentorship and unwavering belief in him as he rose from a trainee betting shop manager to group COO. Stebbings acknowledged that his last week in the role would be emotional as he bids farewell to many colleagues he has worked with for years. He expressed confidence in Betfred's continued growth and wished Fred Done and the team ongoing success.

Following his resignation, Stebbings intends to take a brief break to spend time with his family before considering his next career steps, according to his LinkedIn post.

Industry stakeholders, including Avenue H principal Benjie Cherniak and Stephen Crystal, who collaborated with Stebbings on Betfred's expansion into the US market, extended their well wishes.

Betfred searches for new Group COO

Betfred is expected to begin the search for a new group COO following Stebbings' departure, although the company has yet to issue an official statement on this matter.

In a related development, Bryan Bennett, COO of Betfred USA, also announced his departure from the company, He described his time with the operator as both challenging and rewarding, and referred to the experience as beinng exciting.

Betfred's online operations are currently active in seven US states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. Additionally, the company operates retail sportsbooks in Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington.

Related topics:

Stop Press: SiGMA CURAÇAO, held in association with the Ministry of Finance, is taking place from 25 -28 September.

A national controversy – no end in sight for Okada Manila

Lea Hogg 2 days ago
Chris Rock’s bring Hollywood gold to BetMGM UK

BetMGM, the newly launched UK iGaming and online sports betting brand from MGM Resorts International, has kicked off its first advertising campaign, featuring stand-up comedian and actor Chris Rock.

Having recently launched the brand, the fully integrated campaign reflects how BetMGM provides the best Las Vegas has to offer, bringing entertainment to the UK betting industry and promising to introduce a new golden era in sports and online casino.

As its ambassador, globally recognised entertainer, Chris Rock will appear in a number of marketing initiatives to advertise BetMGM's UK launch. The first of these campaigns has been rolled out, with the actor promoting the launch by sharing information about numerous special deals. The first advert showcases Chris Rock, travelling in a gold speedboat from the Bellagio Fountains to the Thames with a lion in tow. A responsible gambling advert has also been launched. Entitled “Stay Golden”, the ad features Chris Rock listing tools available to players to “keep things golden with responsible play.”

Chris Rock, BetMGM UK
Chris Rock talks responsible play in BetMGM UK ad.

Sam Behar, UK Director BetMGM, said: “We are incredibly excited to launch BetMGM in the UK and give customers something new. This campaign leverages the heritage of MGM Resorts’ best-in-class Las Vegas entertainment to deliver a unique proposition to the UK market. Alongside standout promotions and our A-list ambassador Chris Rock, this campaign clearly demonstrates BetMGM’s commitment to bringing a fresh and entertaining approach to the market. It’s showtime!”

The move to the UK reflects MGM’s commitment to expanding in the European market.

The UK BetMGM Sportsbook is using the platform provided by the partnership between the Kambi Group and LeoVegas. BetMGM continues to operate in the US and Canada using the technology and platform provided by Entain. The UK BetMGM casino and sports betting operations would be handled by LeoVegas, the brand having been acquired by MGM Resorts International in late 2022.

Join us in Malta between the 13 - 17 November for SiGMA Europe 2023

SiGMA Europe’s Malta Week festival brings together a diverse and international group of industry leaders for a convergence of expo, conference, and networking. The event will be held at the Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH), a larger, more dynamic venue that promises a raw, industrial, and unconventional space unlike anything ever used before.

In the words of SiGMA Group founder Eman Pulis, “We’re redesigning your entire experience, from the minute you land in Malta until the very last moment. I look forward to welcoming you with open arms to this iGaming festival.”

Find all the details here.

https://youtu.be/74qQqvlVmy0
Shirley Pulis Xerxen 2 days ago
Is self-regulation of UK gambling ads working?

The answer is no, at least based on findings from a study of media coverage during the kick-off weekend of Premier League football (11-14 August).  The coverage included TV and radio broadcasts and social media. Perhaps the most significant conclusion reached by the study is that gambling ads and messages “were omnipresent and virtually unavoidable” and “saturated the media landscape”.

One of the more significant findings of the study is that 92% of content marketing ads on social media were in breach of regulations “by not being clearly identifiable as advertising, representing a serious violation of consumer rights.” During the televised 6 Premier League matches included in the study only 14.5% included gambling harm reduction messages, while 11.1% included age warnings.

UK-report-gambling-ads-Table1
Some of the study findings in numbers.

The study concluded with three main recommendations. The first was the introduction of legislation to comprehensively regulate gambling messages during football matches. The second recommendation called for legislation that clearly bans sponsorship on football shirts. Finally, the study recommended a clarification and strengthening of regulations pertaining to social media content marketing.

The Betting and Gaming Council challenged the research, saying it “fundamentally misunderstands advertising and how it is regulated”.

“Betting advertising and sponsorship must comply with strict guidelines and safer gambling messaging, which promotes safer gambling tools and signposts to help those concerned about their betting, is regularly and prominently displayed,” a spokesperson said. 

Earlier this month, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned an ad for the People’s Postcode Lottery.  The ad seemed to suggest that playing the lottery could help solve financial troubles. The ad showed a couple who had to call of their wedding after one of them was made redundant. Wedding bells were back when they won a five-figure sum on the lottery.

The study was carried out between the University of Bristol and ITN, an independent production company.

Join us in Malta between the 13 - 17 November for SiGMA Europe 2023

SiGMA Europe’s Malta Week festival brings together a diverse and international group of industry leaders for a convergence of expo, conference, and networking. The event will be held at the Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH), a larger, more dynamic venue that promises a raw, industrial, and unconventional space unlike anything ever used before.

In the words of SiGMA Group founder Eman Pulis, ““We’re redesigning your entire experience, from the minute you land in Malta until the very last moment. I look forward to welcoming you with open arms to this iGaming festival.”

Find all the details here.

https://youtu.be/74qQqvlVmy0
Shirley Pulis Xerxen 3 days ago
SOFTSWISS shares 54 vital KPIs for online casinos and sportsbooks

SOFTSWISS experts have compiled a comprehensive guide containing 54 essential metrics, a curated list of valuable analytical tools, and insights into global trends in the casino and sports betting industry. The guide is readily available for free download.

The document helps increase understanding of the most important iGaming key performance indicators (KPIs), covering top-level, derivative, and operational metrics. This authoritative glossary delves into the often-overlooked complexities of KPIs, dividing the content into four core parts:

  • The Financial Metrics section highlights not only Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) and Net Gaming Revenue (NGR), but also the importance of Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), Conversion Rate, and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  • The Player Engagement Metrics section draws attention to key engagement indicators such as Active Players, Depositing Players Count, and Total Deposits Sum.
  • The Operational Metrics section explores player acquisition and retention strategies, with a specific focus on their role amidst major sporting events.
  • The Analytical Tools and Trends section focuses on the usage of real-time dashboards, data warehouses, and the evolving significance of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Each KPI on the list includes a definition, formula, type, and keynote regarding its impact on the iGaming business. For example, NGR is categorised as a top-level KPI, providing a clear snapshot of the casino’s financial health. Monitoring NGR closely allows operators to evaluate their operational efficiencies and make informed decisions about scaling their offerings or optimising existing operations.

Max Trafimovich, CCO at SOFTSWISS, comments: “By launching this useful glossary, SOFTSWISS is continuing its commitment to help operators develop their businesses in the most efficient way. Listed KPIs are the essential metrics that measure the overall performance of a casino or sportsbook. By classifying them into strategic, tactical, and operational categories, operators can gain a comprehensive view of business beyond just financial metrics, including brand resonance and player experience. By aligning KPIs with unique business goals, our partners can develop a robust and adaptable strategy that sets them apart in the highly-competitive iGaming landscape.”

SOFTSWISS has recently published another helpful overview of the iGaming business – the market report ‘iGaming in Brazil’. This exclusive report provides a comprehensive overview of the Brazilian iGaming landscape, equipping operators with the essential information to launch an online casino or sportsbook in the region.

Join us in Malta between the 13 - 17 November for SiGMA Europe 2023

SiGMA Europe’s Malta Week festival brings together a diverse and international group of industry leaders for a convergence of expo, conference, and networking. The event will be held at the Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH), a larger, more dynamic venue that promises a raw, industrial, and unconventional space unlike anything ever used before.

In the words of SiGMA Group founder Eman Pulis, ““We’re redesigning your entire experience, from the minute you land in Malta until the very last moment. I look forward to welcoming you with open arms to this iGaming festival.” Find all the details here.

https://youtu.be/74qQqvlVmy0
Antoine Thomas 3 days ago
Full House Q2 reports high growth and innovation

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, Full House Resorts remains at the forefront, capitalizing on opportunities, expanding its reach and delivering compelling experiences to its patrons.

In the second quarter of 2023, Full House Resorts reported consolidated revenues of US$59.4 million, a 33.8 percent increase from the previous year. However, it also incurred a net loss of US $5.6 million, including preopening costs for the Chamonix project and significant depreciation charges for The Temporary. Adjusted EBITDA was US $10.5 million, down from US $12.1 million in the previous year, due to various factors including marketing and training expenses for The Temporary.

Full House Resorts had US$113.6 million in cash and cash equivalents as of end of June 2023. Their debt primarily consists of US$450 million in outstanding senior secured notes due 2028 and US$27.0 million under a revolving credit facility.

Comments from President and CEO

“As with last quarter, our financial results continue to benefit from structural changes throughout the company,” said Daniel Lee, President and CEO of Full House Resorts (in photo above).

“These operating results are significantly above not only the 2020 period, but also meaningfully above any second quarter or first-half results in at least the past five years. These strong continued results have allowed us to continue to re-invest in, and improve, our properties. For example, with the ramp-up of our new marketing systems at Bronco Billy’s and Rising Star largely complete, we now look forward to upgrading the casino marketing systems at our two Nevada properties, scheduled for this year’s fourth quarter.”

First full quarter for The Temporary by American Place

A new casino, The Temporary by American Place reported its first full quarter of operations with US$20.3 million in revenue and US$4.1 million in Adjusted Property EBITDA. Visitor numbers initially surged, and win per admission increased since opening. However, expenses were higher due to personnel training and marketing. The property currently operates 30 out of 48 planned table games due to staffing challenges. The high-end restaurant is set to open later in the year, and an on-site sportsbook partnership with Circa Sports is expected to launch soon.

Hiring dealers in Waukegan, Illinois

The Temporary casino in Waukegan, Illinois, opened in February 2023 with limited services and hours. It now operates 24/7 on weekends and extended hours during the week. The property has increased table game betting limits and is hiring and training more dealers to expand its gaming offerings. An on-site sportsbook in partnership with Circa Sports is also anticipated to open soon.

Chamonix project, Colorado to open in December

Construction continues at the Chamonix project in Colorado, with the main hotel tower nearing completion. Furniture installation is set to begin, and the casino and high-end restaurant millwork is in progress. Hotel reservations for Chamonix will open soon, with a planned opening date of December 26, 2023, aiming to be one of the best casino hotels in the Midwest.

Second quarter highlights and subsequent Events

In the second quarter of 2023, the Midwest & South segment, which includes Silver Slipper Casino and Hotel, Rising Star Casino Resort, and The Temporary by American Place, reported revenues of US $49.9 million. This marked a substantial 51.5 percent increase compared to the prior-year period when it generated US $32.9 million. Additionally, Adjusted Segment EBITDA increased to US$9.4 million, reflecting a 2.6 percent rise from the previous year's US$9.1 million.

The significant growth in revenue and Adjusted Segment EBITDA can be attributed to the opening of The Temporary in February 2023. During the second quarter of 2023, The Temporary contributed US$20.3 million in revenue and US$4.1 million in Adjusted Property EBITDA. The company anticipates further improvement in The Temporary's results in the upcoming quarters as its customer database expands, and early expenses related to marketing and labor normalize. It's worth noting that in the same quarter of the previous year, Rising Star's sale of "free play" contributed US$2.1 million in revenue and income.

Excluding the results from The Temporary, same-store revenues decreased to US$29.6 million from US$32.9 million. This decline is primarily attributed to the sale of "free play" at Rising Star, along with increased labor expenses and insurance costs at Silver Slipper, which led to a decline in Same-store Adjusted Segment EBITDA to $US5.3 million fromUS $9.1 million.

Bad weather in Lake Tahoe impacts results

West Segment: The West segment includes Grand Lodge Casino, Stockman's Casino, Bronco Billy's Casino and Hotel, and the expected Chamonix Casino Hotel opening in December 2023. In the second quarter of 2023, this segment reported revenues of US$8.1 million, a decrease from the prior-year period when it generated US$9.3 million. Adjusted Segment EBITDA for the current quarter was US$0.2 million, significantly lower than the previous year's US$1.7 million.

The decline in revenue and Adjusted Segment EBITDA can be attributed to the temporary loss of all on-site parking and on-site hotel rooms at Bronco Billy's due to the construction of Chamonix. Additionally, heavy winter snowfall in the Lake Tahoe region delayed the return of seasonal residents to Incline Village during the current period.

Growth in sports wagering

The Contracted Sports Wagering segment encompasses on-site and online sports wagering "skins" in Colorado, Indiana, and, upon launch, Illinois. In the second quarter of 2023, both revenues and Adjusted Segment EBITDA were $1.4 million. This reflects the activation of all three permitted skins in Colorado and two of the three skins in Indiana. In the prior-year period, both revenues and Adjusted EBITDA were US $2.2 million. This decrease is primarily due to an acceleration of deferred revenue for two agreements that ceased operations in May 2022 when one of the contracted parties terminated its online operations.

It's important to note that the results from the Illinois sports skin are not yet included in this segment. For the Illinois sports skin, the company will receive a percentage of revenues as defined in the contract, subject to a minimum amount of $5 million per year. Revenue payments for the Illinois sports skin are expected to commence in August 2023, irrespective of whether online sports wagering operations have begun. The total annualized minimum amount for all six of the company's current sports wagering agreements will reach $10 million once the Illinois skin is live.

Revolving credit facility

As of June 30, 2023, the company had a total of US$113.6 million in cash and cash equivalents. This amount includes US$78.1 million held in reserve under their bond indentures, allocated for the completion of the Chamonix construction project. The company's debt primarily consists of US$450.0 million in outstanding senior secured notes due in 2028, which can be called at specified premiums starting in February 2024. Additionally, there is US$27.0 million outstanding under the company's revolving credit facility.

Full House Stock Qyote (Daily)

Pioneering growth

Full House Resorts is a dynamic player in the gaming industry, with a diverse portfolio of owned, leased and operated gaming facilities across the United States. These properties include The Temporary by American Place in Waukegan, Illinois; Silver Slipper Casino and Hotel in Hancock County, Mississippi; Bronco Billy’s Casino and Hotel in Cripple Creek, Colorado; Rising Star Casino Resort in Rising Sun, Indiana; Stockman’s Casino in Fallon, Nevada; and Grand Lodge Casino, located within the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa, and Casino in Incline Village, Nevada.

Full House Resorts has consistently demonstrated its commitment to growth and innovation, as exemplified by the recent opening of The Temporary. This new addition to their portfolio reported impressive revenue and EBITDA figures within its first quarter of operation. The company is poised for further success with the upcoming launch of Chamonix Casino Hotel in Cripple Creek, Colorado, projected for December 2023.

Expansion in the gaming industry

Full House Resorts' strategic vision and dedication to growth in the gaming industry are evident in its expanding portfolio of properties and the impressive performance of recent additions like The Temporary. With the imminent opening of Chamonix Casino Hotel, Full House Resorts is well-positioned to continue its success and provide exceptional gaming and entertainment experiences to a broad audience.

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A national controversy – no end in sight for Okada Manila

Lea Hogg 5 days ago
M&A: UK regulator provisionally approves Microsoft’s $75 billion Actvision deal

Microsoft's ambitious bid to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard has taken a significant stride towards completion of this signficant M&A deal. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally accepted the proposed amendments to its US $75 billion takeover of the renowned "Call of Duty" developer. This development comes after a series of regulatory obstacles that have loomed over the world's largest video game deal.

Addressing Regulatory Concerns

The CMA, which previously blocked the merger in April, had expressed concerns about the potential adverse impact of the takeover on competition. In response, both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard submitted a revised merger agreement aimed at addressing the CMA's apprehensions. The primary concern was whether the merger would harm competition in the industry.

The pivotal change proposed by Microsoft and Activision Blizzard in their revised pitch to the CMA involved a deal to sell Activision's cloud streaming rights to the French-based gaming rival, Ubisoft. Under these terms, Microsoft would be restricted from exclusively releasing Activision's games, including popular titles like "World of Warcraft" and "Diablo," on its own cloud streaming service, Xbox Cloud Gaming. Instead, these games would continue to be available on Xbox Cloud Gaming alongside offerings from competitors.

On the way to final approval

The CMA expressed cautious optimism regarding these amendments, stating that they substantially addressed their initial concerns. However, some "limited residual concerns" remain, which could potentially be circumvented, terminated, or not enforced.

The CMA's new consultation period will extend until October 6, setting the stage for the final approval process before the extended deadline for completing the deal on October 18.

Despite the hurdles and delays, Microsoft remains optimistic about the deal's eventual approval and completion. The company's President, Brad Smith, expressed encouragement over the positive developments in the CMA's review process and reaffirmed their commitment to addressing any remaining concerns.

This provisional approval marks a significant milestone in the long and complex journey towards finalizing the merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.

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A national controversy – no end in sight for Okada Manila

Lea Hogg 6 days ago
Political betting contracts blocked

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has rejected an application by KalshiEX LLC to offer "event contracts" related to betting on the outcomes of the 2024 federal elections. These contracts would have allowed investors to bet on which political party would control the House and Senate.

Controversial decision by CFTC

This decision has stirred controversy in the financial and political realms. KalshiEX LLC, a futures exchange, is therefore prohibited from allowing investors to place bets on which political party would control the House and Senate following the elections.

Chairman raises concerns

CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam, (pictured above), in a statement released today, highlighted his concerns regarding this specific type of financial contract. He pointed out that federal law obliges the CFTC to thoroughly evaluate such proposals to determine whether they violate any state laws and whether they serve the public interest. According to Behnam, the event contracts proposed by KalshiEX failed to meet both criteria.

Behnam expressed his apprehensions, stating that approving these political event contracts would essentially transform the CFTC into an "election cop." This role would require the agency to actively monitor elections, candidates, and the various participants involved in political activities, both in traditional media and the digital space. The primary goal would be to prevent manipulation and the spread of false information within the political system—a responsibility that the CFTC currently lacks the mandate to assume.

Precedents and dissent

KalshiEX is not the first company to venture into regulated event contracts for U.S. investors. PredictIt, a platform based in New Zealand, previously offered such contracts under a "no action" letter granted in 2014 to Victoria University of Wellington. This arrangement aimed to facilitate research into the effectiveness of prediction markets in forecasting events.

However, the CFTC took a significant step last year by revoking the "no action" letter, resulting in PredictIt discontinuing its political contracts in the U.S. in February. Additionally, in January of the previous year, the agency settled charges with New York-based Polymarket for offering event contracts without registering with the CFTC. The settlement involved a hefty $1.4 million fine. Although Polymarket ceased offering contracts to U.S. customers, it continued its operations in other global jurisdictions.

CFTC commissioner Summer Mersinger, a Republican, expressed dissent regarding the decision on KalshiEX. Mersinger argued that the agency might be exceeding the authority granted to it by Congress. She suggested that a formal rulemaking process, involving public input, should be initiated to determine the extent to which political event contracts may violate existing laws.

This decision by the CFTC has sparked a debate on the regulatory boundaries surrounding financial contracts linked to political events, raising questions about the agency's role in overseeing such markets and its implications for the broader political landscape.

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A national controversy – no end in sight for Okada Manila

Lea Hogg 6 days ago
Swedish government faces push back on GGR increase

Sweden’s government has announced plans to raise the gambling tax from 18 percent to 22 percent applicable to Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR). 

This proposal is set to take effect on July 1st 2024 with a projected SEK 540m annual increase expected in addition to Sweden’s current tax revenue.

This decision is based on the belief that the Swedish gambling market has stabilised since the re-regulation inaugurated in 2019 which saw licensed operators authorised to offer services to Sweden.

Government concerns

The Swedish government is attempting to address increasing concerns regarding channelisation rates in Sweden and has forecast that a tax rate exceeding 20 percent will be a step in achieving upwards of 90 percent channelisation.

Swedish government faces push back on GGR increase.
Rikstag, Stockholm, Sweden.

Additionally, the current tax rate will have been in place for almost 5 years when it is replaced, with the government seeing the need to increase in order to support government activities without overly impacting companies or the tax base.

Criticisms

The Online Gaming Industry Association ( BOS) has criticised this new tax proposal expressing disappointment as well as concern with regard to the government’s understanding of the market’s vulnerabilities as well as its projected dynamics.

Contrary to the government’s predictions, BOS has emphasised that an increase in tax would in actual fact decrease the channelisation rates. 

In actual fact, BOS’ own research has shown that 77 percent of Sweden’s online gaming market is channelised, considered critically low. 

The new tax rate is seen as a massive step back, perhaps prompting a return to the 2019 rates that caused the incited the initial re-regulation, with the BOS stating: 

“Sweden’s government must perform much better than this. There is still time to withdraw the proposal.”

Prepare for SiGMA Curaçao!

SiGMA Curaçao is just around the corner, kicking off in less than a week. Save the dates, from September 25th to 28th, for this thrilling event presented by the Ministry of Finance in partnership with SiGMA Curaçao.

Don’t miss out on this exceptional opportunity at SiGMA Curaçao. Join us to gain valuable insights into the latest in gambling regulations, dive into the dynamic iGaming world, and connect with influential figures in Curacao’s thriving industry.

Shirley Pulis Xerxen 6 days ago
TikTok under fire for gambling hypocrisy

TikTok has been heavily criticised for hypocrisy in its removal of a video on its platform heavily criticising gambling advertising. 

Kate Susabu has had a video in which she criticises gambling advertisements on broadcast TV removed from TikTok’s platform.

In the video, Susabu mentions her grandfather’s addiction and also links her viewership to an anti-gambling petition asking broadcasters to stop using advertising funds from gambling companies as a source of funding.

Susabu also referenced research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies showing more than 70 percent of male gamblers between 18 and 35 years of age are at risk of problem gambling behaviours.

Citing an infringement on community guidelines at the time, TikTok removed Susabu’s video, as any content that specifically mentions gambling is prohibited by the social media giant. A measure that has since been removed from the guidelines.

Accusation of hypocrisy

However, advertisements may be exempt from this prohibition if they are subject to an authorised agreement with four gambling companies. 

What’s more, after signing an agreement with Australia’s largest gambling operator, Sportsbet last year, TikTok chose to remove its ban on gambling content altogether.

This move came with heavy backlash, with public health professionals accusing the firms of utilising the deal to attract a new generation of gamblers.

This opposition would continue to grow but in spite of this, TikTok expanded its betting partnerships once again to include companies Neds and Dabble. 

Another concern is that the content now being produced by these partnerships regularly features former athletes and personalities and is at times native and not clearly identifiable as advertising material. 

Beyond disappointing

Commenting on the removal of her videos, Susabu was overwhelmingly disappointed stating:

TikTok under fire for gambling hypocrisy.

“My focus is on positive social change and considering how gambling is shown to exacerbate social problems, it is mind-boggling that TikTok removed the video promoting my anti-gambling petition and not once but twice.”

She would go on to call into question TikTok’s hypocritical moves, as an app that markets itself as something enjoyable for teens and young people while using incredibly significant advertisements to make enormous sums of money. 

Other marketers have also accused gambling companies of using TikTok to advertise to young women in an effort to diversify the gambling customer base. 

TikTok’s dispute

The world’s 6th largest social media platform replied to this criticism stating that any advertisements featuring gambling content are strictly targeted towards adults 21 and over and there are limits in place for how many times these may be shown.

Further to this point, a spokesperson from TikTok added:

 “There is an opt-out feature for those who do not wish to see the ads. We are also continuing to monitor the ads to ensure that all users have a safe experience.”

Australia’s gambling advertising

All gambling advertising is set to be banned in Australia in the next three years, subsequent to a parliamentary inquiry, in order to prevent the manipulation of what was described as an “impressionable and vulnerable” audience.

This action would follow suit with several European countries that already adhere to similar legislation such as Poland and Moldova. 

Added pressure is also being mounted on the federal government from gambling companies and multiple other proponents of harm reduction. This has already resulted in TikTok requiring content related to gambling including phrases aimed at minimising gambling harm.

Prepare for SiGMA Curaçao!

SiGMA Curaçao is just around the corner, kicking off in less than a week. Save the dates, from September 25th to 28th, for this thrilling event presented by the Ministry of Finance in partnership with SiGMA Curaçao.

Don’t miss out on this exceptional opportunity at SiGMA Curaçao. Join us to gain valuable insights into the latest in gambling regulations, dive into the dynamic iGaming world, and connect with influential figures in Curacao’s thriving industry.

Jake Graves 6 days ago
£690,947 regulatory action against Lindar Media Ltd.

Lindar Media Ltd. Is facing regulatory action to the tune of £690,947. During the compliance assessment conducted in September 22 and the subsequent regulatory review, officials from the UK Gambling Commission found failings relating to social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML).

The regulatory settlement consists of a payment of £690,947 in lieu of a financial penalty, including a divestment of £50,947. The money will be directed for socially responsible purposes. The settlement includes an agreement to the publication of a statement of facts and payment of the Commission’s investigation costs.

The company has been fully co-operative throughout its dealings with the Gambling Commission. It took immediate steps to rectify the breaches and, in some cases, had implemented changes prior to the compliance assessment. It also made early disclosure of all relevant facts, accepted the failings at the earliest opportunity and made an early regulatory settlement proposal.

AML failings

A number of failings related to Lindar Media Limited’s implementation of its AML policies, procedures and controls. The Licensee failed to have an appropriate ML and TF risk assessment, as it had adequately assessed risk relating to customers, means of payment, additional inherent risks and emerging risks operator control. One of the key risk factors that the company failed to adhere to is obtaining information about customers’ financial resources to determine whether customers’ spending is proportionate to their income or wealth. Additionally, at the point of registration all customers were automatically assigned a money laundering (ML) risk rating of low. This resulted in insufficient information about the customer at the start of the business relationship to adequately profile the customer and assess the risk of ML or Terrorist Financing (TF).

Responsible gaming failings

The Commission identified failings relating to the customer interaction processes, specifically identifying customers who may be at risk of or experiencing gambling harm. The series of safer gambling triggers used to proactively identify when customers may be experiencing harms were not always effective. Indeed, new customers were able to deposit at high velocity. Furthermore, the Licensee did not have processes in place to identify customers at risk of gambling related harm, or implement early and quick interactions.

Additional failings outline by the Gambling Commission in its findings include:

  • weaknesses in its reporting arrangements in respect of key events;
  • the Head of Regulatory Compliance occupied other management posts without the Commission’s approval;
  • failure to advertise its marketing products in a socially responsible manner;
  • failure to make an annual financial contribution to an organisation which supports research, prevention and treatment for those harmed by gambling.

Lindar Media Ltd. trades as Mr Q and runs MrQ.com

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Shirley Pulis Xerxen 6 days ago
Durango Casino receives official green light from Nevada Gaming Commission

Nevada's gaming commissioners have granted the green light to Red Rock Resorts for the upcoming launch of Durango Casino. This eagerly awaited property is set to welcome its first guests on November 20th, nestled in the southwest corner of the valley.

Excitement builds for Durango Casino opening

David Horn, the General Manager of Durango Casino, shared insights with the commissioners, emphasising the resort's standing as one of the company's luxury venues. The anticipation is palpable.

"We will have 209 rooms as well as 28 suites. We will have a fabulous pit with 63 table games and about 2,300 slot machines. We will have a high-limit area," Horn said. "We anticipate room rates to be on par with Red Rock Resort rates. However, it's due to activity around the city."

Horn also shed light on the culinary delights awaiting visitors. The resort is poised to house its own steakhouse, seafood restaurant, an oyster house, and collaborate with multiple culinary partners.

Community excitement is mounting, with a surge of job applications indicating the widespread enthusiasm for the potential employment opportunities associated with Durango Casino's opening.

"We've had 25,000 applicants. We plan on employing 1,450 people ourselves in the building and there will be an additional 400 to 500 people hired by tenant partners," Horn said. "There's lots of competition in this city and we couldn't be happier with the results. As of Wednesday, about 55% of the workforce has been hired and accepted roles with us. We expect that to ramp up over the next couple of weeks as we get closer to opening."

Horn mentioned that approximately 30% to 40% of the current hires are relocating from other Station Casinos properties, while the remaining workforce consists of newcomers to the company.

"There's stress and anxiety at different levels throughout this process with bringing everything together at the same time," Horn told commissioners. "The building getting finished, people getting hired, transferring those people in, training them to what our level and standards are, making sure they're comfortable, making sure they get everything they expect when coming into the building and making sure their areas are functioning and working. I think that the people we've hired and the people that are part of my executive team have been through several openings and I think that adaptability allows them to create a team that can have a fantastic opening for us."

Nevada boasts a rich history of legal gambling, anchored by the iconic Las Vegas, often dubbed the 'Entertainment Capital of the World.'

The long shadow cast by persistent labour dispute

As the property prepares for its grand opening, a labour dispute persists between Station Casinos properties and members of Culinary Workers Local 226. At the hearing's public comment session, several employees voiced their opinions both in favour of and against Station Casinos. Nonetheless, gaming commissioners opted not to take a stance, citing ongoing litigation with the National Labor Relations Board, which is currently overseeing the matter.

"With respect to the labour disputes, it's not my intent to get in the middle of them but they do concern me," commissioner Rosa Solis-Rainey said. "I've seen both sides of Station. These allegations are a side that hasn't been defined or found so I'm not holding that against anybody. They've done a tremendous amount of good in the community so to see these disputes is troubling to me and hopefully, you can work them out. Family doesn't always see eye-to-eye on things but they're still family and they still have to take care of each other."

Chairwoman Jennifer Togliatti reiterated the commission's stance.

"There is active litigation going on before the NLRB. It's very protracted and it's very complicated and it's very prolonged," Togliatti said. "When you're a judge, you treat similarly situated persons and situations the same so people can come into a court system and rely on consistency and expectation. I believe our board does the same thing."

According to Station Casinos, Durango is one of seven properties they're looking to open over the next decade. However, since 2009, Red Rock Resorts has closed Texas Station in North Las Vegas as well as the Fiesta properties in North Las Vegas and in Henderson.

Prepare for SiGMA Curaçao!

SiGMA Curaçao is just around the corner, kicking off in less than a week. Save the dates, from September 25th to 28th, for this thrilling event presented by the Ministry of Finance in partnership with SiGMA Curaçao.

Don't miss out on this exceptional opportunity at SiGMA Curaçao. Join us to gain valuable insights into the latest in gambling regulations, dive into the dynamic iGaming world, and connect with influential figures in Curacao's thriving industry.

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Matthew Calleja 6 days ago