Spanish gaming market worth €35bn, Forbes Says. Technology Bringing New Opportunities to Rapidly Maturing Market

The Spanish gaming market, which is worth 35 billion euros annually, offers an “open window on the ongoing transformation” of Spanish society, according to Forbes. Technology is changing the sector as much as it is changing society as a whole, offering fresh opportunities to new market entrants who are looking for ways to shake up the status quo.

On October 27, Gaming in Spain and EGR Intel will organize a one-day, English-language conference in central Madrid to discuss the time-limited opportunities brought about by the Spanish regulator’s latest online licensing round.

Tickets can be purchased at Don’t forget: the Gaming in Spain conference will kick off in sixteen days. Register today!


New Parliamentary Questions on “Children’s Casinos”

Last week, the CEO of Dutch amusement arcade operator Gamestate, which earlier this year had been accused of running so-called “children’s casinos,” said that his games were not addictive in addition to unveiling plans for ongoing expansion.

Furthermore, the mayor of Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ second city, declined to take action against a local branch of the arcade chain after being pressed on the issue by local representatives of political group CDA.

However, MP Madeleine van Toorenburg (CDA) has now asked the Minister of Security and Justice to further consider the question whether these specific amusement arcades offer games that could be considered games of chance.


World’s Biggest Betting Companies Preparing for Further Consolidation

A “flurry of M&A deals is expected after the outcome of a UK regulatory review due this month,” the Financial Times writes.

Companies reportedly drawing up plans include GVC, Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair, The Stars Group (formerly Amaya), 888 Holdings, Rank Group, and Jackpotjoy.

A previously collapsed merger attempt between GVC Holdings and Ladbrokes Coral appears likely to have been revived. “The two companies are further towards completing a deal than previously known, having agreed on the shape of a new executive team and board, according to several people close to both groups.”

Likewise, William Hill and The Stars Group are said to be once more engaged in preliminary merger talks.


Upcoming Events

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

  • Ulrik Bengtsson, former President & CEO of Betsson Group, will share his experiences and insights at EiG 2017. Registration for the event, which will be taking place 30 October-1 November 2017 in Berlin, is now open.
  • The Slot Academy, taught by renowned Slots expert Lucien Wijsman, is taking place 6-9 November in Leiden. Download the course agenda here.
  • 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 ICE 2018, which is to take place 6-8 February 2018 at ExCeL London, goes live. As always, there will be a Gaming in Holland Lunch – on 7 February – at next year’s foremost gathering of gaming professionals in the world.
  • The GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards 2018, celebrating excellence in the field of regulatory compliance and responsible gambling, will be hosted at The Sheraton Grand Hotel, London – 18 April 2018.


Dutch Coalition Agreement Stipulates Licensed Online Operators Will Need Physical Presence

Following months of negotiations, political groups VVD, CDA, D66, and ChristenUnie finally concluded a coalition agreement, paving the way for a new government.

The agreement adds a new provision to (presumably) the secondary legislation accompanying the remote gaming bill currently under consideration by the Senate.

Applicants for an online gaming license will need “some form” of physical presence in the Netherlands (pp. 4-5).

Additionally, “special attention will be paid to reducing gambling addiction and maintaining the existing policy for contributing to sports and good causes.”

As the physical presence requirement is a concession to CDA, which originally opposed the remote gaming bill in the Lower House, it now appears likely that the way has finally been cleared for adoption of the bill by the Senate.

“With this provision, the path is now clear for the modernization of Dutch gambling policy. Further progress in the Senate and in drawing up the secondary legislation is now possible,” commented Bert Bakker, former MP and senior consultant at lobbying firm Meines Holla & Partners.

The added stipulation, however, could possibly clash with existing EU regulations, Alan Littler, gaming lawyer at Kalff Katz & Franssen said:

“Naturally we welcome the fact that the new cabinet will continue the work to introduce a licensing regime for remote games of chance. Equally, we are intrigued by reference to the need for some sort of establishment in the Netherlands. A local presence was something the CDA pushed for when in opposition; in light of the discussions at the time and the demands of EU law, we are keen to see what the first proposals will reveal.”

Frits Huffnagel, chairman of trade association VAN Kansspelen, added: “We have taken notice of the proposed requirement that online licensees will need a physical presence in the Netherlands as we await the discussion of the remote gaming bill in the Senate.”


Other News

As part of a wider national investigation, the Netherlands Gaming Authority inspected thirty gaming machine halls to check their compliance with statutory duty of care provisions.


Dutch poker player Fedor Holz has won the Partypoker LIVE Grand Prix Austria High Roller event.


JVH Gaming & Entertainment is looking to hire a senior company lawyer.


Dozens of police officers in the Belgian city of Antwerp used law enforcement information systems to commit identity theft in order to gamble online. Belgian police officers are normally not allowed to gamble or to participate in wagers.


The Danish Gambling Authority (Spillemyndigheden) has released a mobile app to help players keep track of their gambling behaviors.


The Danish regulator also revealed last week it is planning to block a number of non-compliant affiliate websites in coming months.


Bet365 has written to its affiliate partners warning them of a new “zero tolerance” policy for any affiliates not sticking to the operator’s guidelines.


The owner of affiliate portal Online Casino Reviewer last night initiated legal proceedings against an affiliate program for inserting a clause into its T&Cs that defaults affiliates to 10% commission if they failed to send the required number of players over a two-month period.


Stockholm-listed online gambling operator Kindred Group is phasing out its UK-facing Stan James Online brand in favor of its flagship Unibet brand, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.


Mr Green has signed chartered psychologist and gaming behavior expert Dr Richard Wood, to evaluate the Green Gaming Predictive Tool that was launched in September.


UK betting shop staff are not properly trained to spot problem gamblers and are even encouraging customers to chase losses or adopt useless strategies, according to a report commissioned by the betting sector’s Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG).


The IGRG also published its latest enhanced socially responsible advertising codes, in which it addresses the issue of affiliate liability.


UK-listed online gambling operator 888 Holdings’ share price tumbled after the family of one of its founders sold their entire stake in the company.


The eSports betting platform Unikrn is ready to expand their real money offering throughout Europe after receiving a gaming license from the Maltese Gaming Authority.


Global gaming technology heavyweight Scientific Games has announced the acquisition of Las Vegas blackjack games specialist Tech Art Inc for an undisclosed fee.


Romanian operator Superbet has taken a major step into the regulated Polish market after securing a retail betting license ahead of a planned online launch next year.


Multi-license online gaming developer ALEA has confirmed its acquisition of from the IGT Group for an undisclosed fee.


UK betting operators are prepping the roll-out of in-play horserace betting based on global positioning system (GPS) technology.


US DFS operator DraftKings has drawn up plans to expand into the Irish market.


After receiving approval in July from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the territory of Crimea has completed all preliminary work and is all set for the creation of a new gambling zone. The Russian government, however, also announced plans to gradually increase the country’s gambling tax rates tenfold.