Dutch Appeals Court Rules against Smoking Areas in Hospitality Sector

The Appeals Court in The Hague has ruled that closed smoking areas as employed by the hospitality sector, which are a currently permitted exception to the smoking ban in publicly accessible buildings, constitute a violation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (2004).

The case was brought by anti-smoking organization CAN against the Dutch state.

Although the exact implications of the ruling remain as of yet unclear, a complete ban on indoor smoking could have a significant impact on the land-based casino industry.

It is not yet known whether the Dutch government will decide to appeal the ruling.


Organizers of ICE Totally Gaming Promise Action Plan against Sexism

Clarion Events, the organizers of ICE Totally Gaming, faced widespread criticism – including a warning from the UK Gambling Commission that it could boycott the event in the future – over the use of promotional girls by exhibitors and rampant sexism at last week’s conference.

In response, Clarion Events have promised an action plan to tackle sexism on the show floor.

Not everyone, however, agrees with Clarion’s decision. In an open letter to Clarion, gambling consultant Steve Donoughue, for instance, vehemently objects against “diktat[s] laid down by unappointed and unaccountable industry suppliers.” Any change should be left to “market forces” instead.

Putting forth a more nuanced view, Dan Waugh argued on behalf of consultancy firm Regulus Partners that the industry should focus on more fundamental issues than swimsuit-clad promo girls:

“We need to understand – using credible research – why it is that more women are not represented in gambling’s C-suite. How much is choice and how much bias? If we don’t understand the nature of the problem, we risk arriving at poor solutions, making wrongful             accusations and damaging trust.”


Upcoming Events

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

  • On February 21, Dutch trade association VAN Kansspelen, in cooperation with the Netherlands Gaming Authority, will hold a meeting to discuss the Public Administration (Probity Screening) Act (Wet Bibob), with a particular focus on the Act’s impact on license applications from (prospective) land-based slot machine operators.
  • Ruud Gullit will be keynote speaker at the Esports Insider Super Forum, a part of the wider Betting on Football conference, taking place 20-23 March at Stamford Bridge Stadium, London.
  • The next Slot Academy training course takes place 10-12 April in Leiden, The Netherlands. Download the course agenda here.
  • 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.
  • It’s Better Live! Join us for the 2nd Annual Live Gaming Summit in Barcelona, which is bringing together providers, operators, experts, and other stakeholders to discuss the latest developments in the live gaming industry on 26 April, 2018 at Casino Barcelona. Check out the event’s website for more details, or contact Willem van Oort at willem@vanoort.com.
  • Early bird tickets for the Gaming Summit, the conference of the German slot machine industry, on June 14 in Berlin are now available.
  • In 2018, the iGaming Super Show, EiG and Amsterdam Affiliate Conference come together as iGB Live!, a consolidated three brand event. The first edition of iGB Live! will take place 17 – 20 July 2018 at The Amsterdam RAI.
  • The 12th EASG Conference on Gambling Studies and Policy Issues is now scheduled for 11-14 September 2018 at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Valletta, Malta.


Many Compliance Failures in Smaller Amusement Arcades

Late last year, the Netherlands Gaming Authority visited thirty amusement arcades to check for compliance issues. The regulator’s investigation focused on smaller operators, that, at most, own a few separate amusement arcades.

In a mere three out of thirty arcades that were visited by inspectors from the Gaming Authority no compliance failures were found.

“It is not known how many of the amusement arcades that were inspected are members of trade association VAN,” the Gaming Authority’s press release stated.

Sanne Muijser, General Secretary at VAN Kansspelen, said that his organization has been consulting with the Netherlands Gaming Authority on how to inform the industry, including those operators who are not members of VAN, of their regulatory responsibilities.

“Obviously, VAN Kansspelen is willing to do its part in order to ensure a responsible and safe game offering,” Muijser added.


Other News

Netherlands Gaming Authority CEO Marja Appelman explained on Dutch national radio the restrictions that apply to lottery advertising.


The European Casino Association (ECA) has elected a new board. ECA’s members elected Janny Wierda, Corporate Vice President Security and Responsible Gaming at Holland Casino, as one of the new board members.


The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will investigate the proposed acquisition by GVC Holdings of Ladbrokes Coral Group.


Ladbrokes Coral Group could shed as many as 1,600 jobs as part of its proposed merger agreement with GVC Holdings.


The UK Gambling Commission has fined GVC Holdings approximately £350,000 for alleged marketing infringements.


The Malta Gaming Authority is set to launch an investigation into all of its Italian online licensees as it attempts to root out connections between the island and illegal, Mafia-connected betting shops in Italy. The project is reportedly the first stage in a concerted crackdown on Italian gambling businesses based in Malta.


The Malta Gaming Authority also unveiled a new anti-money laundering unit.


Despite a year-on-year increase in revenue and profit, Nordic online gambling operator Betsson AB closed out 2017 with another double-digit earnings decline and warnings that the situation may not improve until the end of 2018.


In more upbeat news, Betsson has launched its flagship Betsson brand in Spain.


Scientific Games is to open a remote development center in Poland to support its new SG Digital division. The center will become SG Digital’s fourth major development hub in Europe, complementing existing facilities in London, Athens, and Stockholm.


Novomatic has said that it expects to post a record €4.8bn in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year.


Italy’s regulated online gambling market started 2018 off on the right foot, by posting double-digit sports betting gains and setting a new online casino record in the month of January.


The French online gaming market generated €962m in revenue during 2017, an increase of 18% on the previous year.


Spain’s regulated online gambling market reported gains across all major verticals in Q4 2017.


Paddy Power Betfair announced it is to add new tools to its websites to offer assistance to problem gamblers.


LeoVegas has acquired the Germany facing sports betting operator World of Sportsbetting Ltd, which holds a sports betting and casino license in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, for €2.6m.


LeoVegas also reported a two-third increase in its Q4 revenues, thanks in part to the acquisition of online casino Royal Panda.


Mr Green has partnered with NetEnt to launch a digitally enhanced live casino product dubbed Live Beyond Live. This is what it looks like.


Swedish operator Mr Green has increased its revenues 29% and doubled its earnings in 2017.


Sweden’s state-run gambling monopoly Svenska Spel reported negative growth in 2017 despite surging online and mobile gambling activity.


Swedish operators have significantly ramped up their marketing spend ahead of the regulation of online gaming in the country.


Video game loot boxes may be restricted in Sweden as early as January 2019 if a legislation seeking to classify it as gambling becomes a law.


Playtech has agreed a deal to supply Sociedade de Apostas Sociais (SAS), Portugal’s largest online gaming and betting operator, with its player management platform and sportsbook offering.


Several US hedge fund giants are reportedly considering a bid for Cirsa, Spain’s largest casino and bingo hall operator.


Catena Media posted €67.6m in revenues in 2017, an increase of 69% year-on-year, while EBITDA increased 65% to €32.6m.


The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) continue to press their demand for a 1% cut of legal sports betting handle.


The winner of a $560m Powerball jackpot, has started a court case in order to stay anonymous.