EU Financial Regulator Prohibits Sale of Binary Options to Retail Customers

The European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) has agreed on measures on the provision of contracts for differences (CFDs) and binary options to retail investors in the EU.

The agreed measures include:

  1. A full prohibition on the marketing, distribution, or sale of binary options to retail investors.
  2. Restrictions on the marketing, distribution or sale of CFDs to retail investors, including leverage limits on opening positions, a margin close out rule, a negative balance protection, and a prohibition on the use of incentives by a CFD provider.

The measures are expected to come into force at an unspecified point in the coming months.

Although binary options and CFDs are legally classified as financial instruments, trading in either tends to resemble participating in a game of chance, according to the Netherlands Gaming Authority.


Belgian Court Upholds VAT Exemption for Online Gambling

Following a challenge from Kindred Group, Belgium’s Constitutional Court has struck down a bill that placed a heavy (21%) value-added tax (VAT) load on the shoulders of gambling operators in the country.

“Kindred Group (previously Unibet Group) has challenged the imposed VAT on online gambling for being unfair, undermining policy objectives and lowering channelization with lower consumer protection as a result,” the company stated in a press release.

“Yesterday’s ruling in the Belgian Constitutional Court canceling the VAT on online gambling is therefore welcomed by Kindred. The ruling also points out the inherent incompatibility between consumer protection and tax revenue objectives, especially when products (lotteries vs other products) and channels (retail vs online) are treated differently.”


Upcoming Events

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

  • 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
  • Sweden is on the verge of launching a fully-fledged licensing system for online gaming. Will the country become a new hub for the remote industry? Find out at the iGaming Summit: 26 April, 2018, Stockholm.
  • 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 International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL) will be organizing their annual autumn conference in Prague, Czech Republic, 5-7 September 2018.
  • 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.
  • The 2018 edition of Blockchain Live will feature eight conference stages, including one focused on gaming and gambling. No less than 3,000 attendees are expected to gather in The Grand Hall, Olympia, London on September 26, 2018.
  • The Lisbon Affiliate Conference will take place on 17-20 October 2018 and is expected to bring together the key stakeholders in the iGaming affiliate industry.


Netherlands Gaming Authority Releases Annual Report; Calls for Swift Enactment of Remote Gaming Bill

The Netherlands Gaming Authority has released its 2017 annual report, in which the regulator stresses that swift enactment of the remote gaming bill is urgently needed.

“Too much hesitation or demanding too exacting standards might lead to responsible operators losing interest in the Dutch market. This could jeopardize the channelization objective, which would mean that Dutch consumers cannot be properly protected,” Gaming Authority Chairman Jan Suyver said (p. 6).

Suyver also notes that the regulator currently has only limited powers to fight illegal online gambling. The Dutch government and legislature should therefore take all necessary steps to quickly allow the remote gaming bill to move forward in the country’s Upper House.


Other News

The Dutch government has officially informed the Lower House regarding its latest efforts and proposals to combat match-fixing.


New market entrant FAIRSHARE Loterijen is expected to go live in the Netherlands in Q2. The firm is therefore looking to hire a lottery manager, online marketeers, and several interns.


Holland Casino is looking to hire an Assistant Manager Security & Responsible Gaming for its Rotterdam branch.


The regulated opening of Sweden’s iGaming market remains on track for 1 January, 2019 after the statutory standstill period set aside for review of the legislation by the EC and EU member states expired last week.


Swedish gambling trade body SPER has opened up its membership to foreign operators.


Slovenia’s plans to liberalize its online sports betting market hit a roadblock on Tuesday as the legislature’s upper chamber vetoed the measure.


Online gambling technology supplier Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has acquired a dormant German sports betting license.


Danske Spil has launched a new sportsbook and casino brand dubbed Youbet to help the state-owned operator compete with international sportsbooks.


UK schools should incorporate gambling into their curricula much as they educate students on the realities of sex, alcohol and drug use, according to a new study.


The UK Gambling Commission could require all operators to introduce a “customer due diligence” phase before letting new customers gamble.


Betting adverts shown in the UK during this year’s FIFA World Cup finals are to contain responsible gambling messages throughout the length of the commercial.


European football’s governing body UEFA has announced the signing of an information-sharing agreement with international betting integrity body ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity).


GVC’s takeover of Ladbrokes Coral has overcome its final hurdle after the deal was approved by the UK’s High Court.


ZEAL Group announced that its 2017 results exceeded guidance. Apart from an imminent launch in the Netherlands, the lottery operator is also preparing to enter the Australian market, as well as mulling a launch in Sweden.


Wagers placed on online lotteries will increase from $29 billion in 2017, to $76 billion by 2022 with mobile devices accounting for more than half of this by 2022, a new study from Juniper Research has found.


The Australian federal government unveiled plans to ban betting on national and international lottery games.


Italian operator Snaitech has returned to profit after ten years of consecutive losses.


Sky Betting and Gaming (SB&G) announced an impressive 47% increase in Group revenue totaling £339m in their Half Year Interim Report 2017/18 released on Monday.


However, SB&G was also handed a £1m financial penalty by the UK Gambling Commission for a number of self-exclusion failings.


UK bookmaker Ladbrokes has lost its third case at the country’s Court of Appeal over a £71m tax rebate from HMRC, after justices rejected its appeal.


888 Holdings has reported declining revenue in online poker in 2017 in what was almost entirely attributed to market withdrawals from Poland, Australia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic in the second half of the year.


888 is set to roll out a new casino platform in the coming weeks that will incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning concepts.


Swedish soccer icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced his intention to join forces with the Bethard team. He will not only be an active ambassador for the online betting brand, but also engage in the on-going development of the company’s offering.