Sportech Wins Dutch Tote Betting Contract
Following an open tender process that started in November last year, incumbent provider Sportech has won the Dutch tote betting contract. The new license will run for five years, from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2022.
Even though remote gaming is still in the process of being regulated in the Netherlands, Sportech will also be allowed to offer an online version of the product, as long as the online version replicates the offline offer.
Will the US Finally Allow States to Legalize Sports Betting?
The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the State of New Jersey’s appeal of its challenge to a federal law that prohibits states from legalizing sports betting:
“The case, which the court will hear in the fall, will be a major test for the federal ban on sports betting as established by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as Paspa, which Congress passed in 1992 outlawing betting on amateur or professional athletes except in four states that already had operations.”
Several European firms stand poised to take advantage of a market that is estimated to be worth $150bn annually.
Betsson Threatens Legal Action Against KSA Enforcement
On Friday, Malta-based Betsson publicly announced that the company would refuse to abide by the recent changes in the Netherlands Gaming Authority’s (KSA) enforcement policy that would, among other things, see the regulator target operators that employ typically Dutch brand names or visual elements:
“Betsson purchased the brands Kroon and Orange when [the 2012 prioritisation] criteria were in place with legitimate expectations that such brands did not infringe the prioritisation criteria and the fact that the new framework was imminent. However, while the law is still not forthcoming, the goalposts (prioritisation criteria) have further been changed without any legal basis. […]
As a gesture of goodwill, we will continue to operate in accordance with the criteria as was put in place in 2012 but we will not change operations further as the change in policy has no legal basis.
Enforcement by the KSA is against central EU legal principles. Betsson Group will take all action necessary to defend any attempt of enforcement. We draw your attention to the recent ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) […] which provides that where a national regulation is in violation of EU law, a Member State is precluded from sanctioning an operator holding an EU licence.”
Ulrik Bengtsson, President and CEO of the Betsson Group, further clarified:
The current law in the Netherlands is not in line with EU law. We have now spent five years in a state of uncertainty in the Netherlands, while being promised a new EU-compliant law that will open the market. During this time, the Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA) has been using the “carrot” of the possibility of receiving a license to convince European operators to comply with their changing prioritization criteria.
It is now clear that the KSA no longer have any regard for the channelization of customers into a regulated Dutch environment, as was the original objective. This indicates that the KSA – like us – is actually in doubt whether the regulated environment will be implemented at all.
We at Betsson wish to work in locally regulated markets, where we can operate within a secure environment that provides certainty for our consumers. Understandably, we are frustrated with the confusing environment the KSA is at present creating for the Dutch consumer. Given the political landscape in the Netherlands, we now believe that no fair and transparent regulation enabling local licences will be in place until after the next election.
Betsson will continue its business as usual, in accordance with the original prioritization criteria and provide Dutch customers the best customer experience in a safe and regulated environment.”
Last week, the Netherlands Gaming Authority sent out its monthly newsletter, which included a “factsheet online enforcement,” a plea for instituting an EU-wide mechanism for collecting fines from unlicensed gambling operators, and a response to recent reports on the alleged dangers of amusement arcades.
Former politician Robin Linschoten (VVD) believes that the Dutch government should halve the current gaming tax rate. “Otherwise, licensed online operators will lose out to cheap Caribbean competitors who do not have to pay taxes.”
Holland Casino is the new sponsor of the Dutch bobsleigh team that is currently trying to qualify for the Winter Olympics.
New details regarding the soon-to-be-built Holland Casino branch in Utrecht have been announced.
A short film titled “Bonne Chance,” with a bit part for Dutch poker professional Mark Roovers, has been released last week.
French gambling operator FDJ has agreed a deal to become an official sponsor of the Tour de France annual cycling event. FDJ will serve as the event’s “official luck supplier.”
Just days after agreeing to build Europe’s largest casino in Cyprus with Melco International and a local partner, global casino operator Hard Rock has sold its stake in the country to Melco.
Instead, Hard Rock has applied for a casino license to build an integrated resort (IR) near Tarragona, some 100 kilometers southwest of Barcelona. Hard Rock has been the only company to submit a bid before the 30 June government deadline.
Portugal’s National Association of Online Gamblers (ANAon) announced that it would be presenting parliament with a petition bearing the signatures of 4,600 gamblers who want their government to lessen the tax burden imposed on locally licensed online operators. One operator, Betclic, said taxes claim 66% of its Portuguese revenue, leaving little to pay for marketing and other operating costs, let alone profits.
Ladbrokes could face an investigation from the UK Gambling Commission over an incident in which confidential information about betting addicts, including photos, names and addresses, was found in a bin bag on the street.
PokerStars will soon start relocating much of its current London operations to a new Sofia hub. The city is already home to a growing number of gaming companies, including William Hill and Bede Gaming.
A new breed of operator is springing up to accommodate sports bettors who have been banned or limited at other firms for consistently beating the house.
Betway will be one of the key sponsors of Counter-Strike tournament ESL One Cologne 2017.
App developer SlotGuru has become a partner of the European Casino Association.
Turkey is preparing to unleash a major anti-gambling campaign.