UK Gambling Becoming the “New Tobacco?”

The UK, Europe’s biggest and most important gambling market, is becoming increasingly hostile to the regulated gambling industry.

For instance, Claire Murdoch, head of mental health for the country’s National Health Service (NHS) recently wrote a scalding letter to the chief executives of five major gambling companies stating that incentives offered by companies to persuade people to bet “appear designed to undermine people’s ability to stay in control” and asked the executives to provide “urgent detail” on their efforts to prevent gambling addiction.

The NHS’s letter may be “suggestive of a coordinated campaign to position gambling as the “new tobacco” – an activity that is inherently harmful,” said Francesca Leyland of gambling consultancy Regulus Partners.

“In recent months, we have seen repeated examples of misrepresentation of survey data; the rejection of scientific enquiry in favour of a priori views; the use of academic journals and research grants to influence regulatory and fiscal policy on gambling; and apparent attempts to meddle from other government departments,” Leyland added.

In fact, the near-continuous stream of horror stories regarding the UK’s gambling sector (not all of which are unfounded) may be setting the stage for a new and drastic overhaul of the country’s gambling regulatory framework.

 

Sweeping Changes Imminent for Spain’s Gambling Sector

During an interview with Spanish broadcaster La Sexta, Alberto Garzón, Spain’s new Consumer Affairs Minister, announced new, far-reaching industry measures “within two to three weeks” in order to protect Spanish communities from “the extremes of gambling.”

Despite the negative tone of the interview, Garzón maintained that he believed gambling to be a “legal economic activity,” indicating that a full ban on gambling advertising would be unlikely.

Besides additional advertising restrictions, the industry should also brace itself for a new “management fee” on all licensed operators, funding gambling addiction treatment by Spanish health networks.

In related news, a Spanish consumer rights body has asked Garzón, to introduce a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling.

 

Upcoming Events

The following events may be of interest to members of the GiH community.

  • The world’s largest gambling exhibition, ICE 2020, will take place 4 – 6 February in London.
  • The Hospitality Summit, which takes place on 4 – 6 February, 2020 in London, is a brand new conference dedicated to hospitality tailored for gaming.
  • GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards 2020, which celebrate excellence in compliance and responsible gambling initiatives, will be awarded on 22 April, 2020 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in Central London.
  • The World Gaming Executive Summit will return to Barcelona from 30 June – 2 July,  2020. Key themes on the agenda include AI, the future of land-based gaming, CSR, sustainable marketing, regulation updates, fantasy sports, and emerging marketing opportunities.

 

Operators Invited to Join Us for the Gaming in Holland Lunch @ICE 2020

The Gaming in Holland Lunch at the ICE trade show is back!

On Wednesday February 5, Gaming in Holland will once again organize the traditional GiH Lunch at ICE London, the world’s largest gambling exhibition.

If you would like to join us, please send an email to rsvp@gaminginholland.com.

Operators interested in acquiring a Dutch remote gaming license are expressly invited. Remember: the application period is expected to open on January 1, 2021 – less than a year from now!

Please note: places are limited. After registration, we will let you know as soon as possible whether we will be able to accommodate your request.

We hope to see you in London!

 

Other News

A vocal minority in the Dutch Senate continues to push for a gambling advertising ban. There is, however, virtually no chance they will succeed.

 

Nederlandse Loterij is looking to hire an Internal Communications Consultant.

 

Executives of Germany’s 16 autonomous Länder are currently debating which state legislature should become the leading supervisory authority of German gambling, should it approve the final conditions of the 4th Interstate Treaty on Gambling.

 

More than 700 jobs in Malta’s online gaming sector were left unfilled at the end of 2018 according to the latest skills gap report from the island’s regulator.

 

Sweden’s trade association for online gambling, Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), has criticized gaming regulator Spelinspektionen’s proposal to prohibit operators from offering odds on rule violations, such as a yellow card in football or a fault in tennis.

 

Swedish-headquartered operator ComeOn has changed its name to ComeOn Group to clear up uncertainty over the parent company and the consumer brand.

 

The UK Gambling Commission has confirmed that it will create three new collaboration groups focusing on game and product design, advertising technology, and high value customer incentives, in order to help facilitate the implementation of safer gambling standards.

 

Six online gambling operators offering buy-in options on their slot games have now removed the features from their sites, after being contacted by the UK Gambling Commission.

 

UK football clubs could be facing a ban on betting shirt sponsorships.

 

GVC Holdings expects its full-year results to show an “excellent” operational and financial performance throughout 2019, as stated in the operator group’s post close trading update for the year to 31 December 2019.

 

Unibet has extended its sports betting partnership with French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to the end of the 2022/2023 season.

 

The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), the sport’s anti-corruption body, has revealed it received 138 reports over suspicious match activity in 2019, the lowest annual amount since its integrity data was first made public in 2015.

 

However, a total of 24 football matches in Lithuania were suspected of having been affected by match-fixing in 2019, according to the Lithuanian Football Federation.

 

FIFA, world football’s governing body, has announced the launch of an enhanced integrity toolkit.

 

Ukraine’s legislature has approved a bill that would legalize gambling in the country in its first reading, with 260 of the country’s 450 deputies voting in favor.