Betsson Seeks Preliminary Injunction Against Enforcement by Dutch Regulator

Betsson and the Netherlands Gaming Authority squared off at the preliminary injunction court in The Hague, as the Malta-based online operator sought to prevent the Dutch gaming authority from taking steps against its Kroon Casino and Oranje Casino brands in accordance with the regulator’s recently tightened enforcement policy.

Unfortunately for Betsson, it seems unlikely that the operator will prevail at this stage of the proceedings.

A detailed explanation of the court case is available here.

In related news, Betsson CEO Ulrik Bengtsson has resigned his position effective immediately following a disagreement with the board over the company’s strategic priorities.

“According to a number of sources, the fallout was prompted primarily by a difference in opinion on the future of Betsson’s Turkey-facing business, as well as disagreement over the pace of its acquisition strategy,” EGR Intel reported.


Novomatic Releases H1 Interim Report, Confirms Acquisition of Dutch Arcade Halls

Novomatic AG has published its interim financial report for H1 2017. The company reported an 11.3% increase in revenues compared to the same period in the previous year.

The company also confirmed that it acquired 100 percent of shares in Dutch land-based gaming operators Super Game BV and Biermann’s Bingo BV, the Netherlands, which operate a total of seven gaming arcades. In addition, the company also acquired Casino Admiral Holland Appelscha BV.


888 Hit with Record Fine

888, one of Britain’s biggest online gambling firms, is to pay a record penalty package of over £7.8 million as a result of serious failings in its handling of vulnerable customers, the UK Gambling Commission announced last week.

Not only were over 7,000 customers who had chosen to self-exclude from 888’s casino, poker, or sports betting platform still able to access their accounts on their bingo platform, the company also failed to recognize visible signs of problem gambling behavior displayed by an individual customer, which was so significant that it resulted in criminal activity.


UK Gambling Operators, Affiliates under Fire

Although betting companies top the list of donors treating UK MPs to gifts, benefits, and hospitality, the UK gambling industry is increasingly drawing fire from local legislators and regulators.

It has not gone unnoticed, for instance, that the UK gambling industry now takes £14bn a year from punters, a 65% increase since gambling laws were liberalized a decade ago.

UK newspaper The Guardian recently reported that affiliates, masquerading as successful tipsters, deliberately recommend losing bets to punters in order to maximize their revenues.

In response to an earlier UK Competitions and Markets Authority investigation, Ladbrokes Coral decided to adopt a much stricter oversight of its affiliates.

Also anticipating new and stricter rules for the currently unregulated affiliate sector, UK operator Sky Betting & Gaming released the following statement, as it decided to entirely shut down its UK-facing affiliate program:

“The regulatory landscape in which the industry operates is developing and maturing and operators are experiencing increased obligations regarding their regulatory responsibilities and level of compliance.

In order to operate in a compliant manner, we feel that operating the [affiliate] programme is no longer viable and that managing the output of affiliates presents a significant risk to our business from a regulatory perspective.”

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson announced that under a Labour government football clubs will be banned from signing shirt sponsorship deals with betting companies, as the party pledges to tackle a “hidden epidemic” of addiction and protect children from early exposure to gambling.


Upcoming Events

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

  • On 12 September, the World Regulatory Briefing London 2017 will take place at the OXO2 conference center. WrB London 2017 will focus on responsible gambling politics, technology, and commercial strategy. The event’s latest agenda is available here.
  • SBC Events’ Betting on Sports Conference is set to take place on 12-15 September at the Olympia Conference Center in London. Richard Flint, CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming, which just shut down its affiliate program, will be among the conference speakers. Don’t forget: Members of the GiH community are offered a 25% discount if they use the promotional code GIH25 when registering.
  • Eurocoin Gaming is organizing two open days on 13 and 14 September at its headquarters in Waalwijk, the Netherlands. All gaming industry representatives are welcome!
  • Starting on September 18, a three-day Casino Marketing Academy course aimed at labd-based casino professionals will kick off in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The course director is Arjan Korstjens. A review of an earlier Casino Marketing Academy course is available here. Members of the GiH community who are interested in attending this course may claim a 10% discount by emailing Willem van Oort.
  • On 24 November, Malta’s largest iGaming conference SIGMA’17 will feature a session on regulatory developments in the Netherlands, moderated by GiH founder Willem van Oort. Conference registration is open. Gaming in Holland and Leaseweb invite SIGMA’17 attendees to join us for drinks on Thursday, 23 November 2017, starting at 7:30 pm. Places are limited, so please reserve your place today by registering here.
  • Registration for the 2017 Excellence in Gaming conference, which will be taking place 30 October-1 November 2017 in Berlin, is now open.


Private Monopoly or Open Market? Dutch Government Offers Policy Options for Lottery Reform

In 2012, as part of its coalition agreement, the Dutch government decided to lessen its direct involvement in the lottery market in the Netherlands.

In late 2016, the Ministry of Security and Justice commissioned a research company to map the effects of four previously specified policy options on overall state income, contributions to good causes, and player payouts.

The resulting report was finally published last week.

Our analysis of the report’s findings, as well as a description of the policy options under consideration is available here.


Other News

The Holland Casino branch in the city of Leeuwarden is considering expansion now that the casino chain’s branch location in nearby Groningen was destroyed by fire.


OneTime has announced the Best Casino of the Netherlands 2017 Award. Eight different casinos have been nominated.


Ben Bensimoun has won the WSOP Circuit Rotterdam Main Event, while Hakim Zoufri was the last man standing at the WSOP Circuit Rotterdam High Roller Event.


Grand Casino Brussels is being shopped to potential buyers.


The average lifetime value of multichannel customers is twice as high as that of non-multichannel customers, Ladbrokes Coral CEO Jim Mullen said during a Q2 earnings call.


The Czech government has imposed curbs on online bonuses and free bet promotions.


Gaming companies can now apply online for a Maltese gaming license.


UK and Ireland sportsbook operator Ladbrokes Coral has announced a 7% year-on-year rise in its operating profits for the first half of 2017.


IGT and Scientific Games have agreed a patent cross-licensing agreement.


bwin has agreed a deal to become the first-ever official betting partner of Italian Serie A football club Internazionale.


Good causes increasingly feel the pinch as UK National Lottery sales fall.


The gaming company owned by the Swedish social democrat party, Kombilotteriet, has sold lottery tickets on credit to punters with problematic debts.


Colombia plans to impose payment-blocking measures against internationally licensed online gambling sites serving local punters.