Minnesota to consider remote sports betting bill 4th March 2019 | By contenteditor Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Regions: US Minnesota Minnesota’s Senate Tax Committee will this week discuss a new bill that would legalise online, mobile and in-person sports wagering in the state. Tags: Mobile Online Gambling Minnesota’s Senate Tax Committee will this week discuss a new bill that would legalise online, mobile and in-person sports wagering in the US state. Sponsored by a cross-party group of senators, bill SF1984 would establish the Minnesota Sports Wagering Commission to regulate the market. Consumers would be able to place bets on professional and collegiate sporting events, but wagering on virtual events would not be permitted in the state. Any person over the age of 18 would be able to place legal wagers. The new Commission would take responsibility for awarding licences, with operators to be taxed on 6.75% on their sports wagering net revenue. However, the bill did not state how much the sports betting licences would cost under the new regulations. Language in the bill refers to a fee, but, at present, it does not include an exact figure. Licences would permit operators to conduct sports betting at racetracks and on tribal land, as well as via a website or mobile application. The bill also allows for operators to enter into third-party agreements to offer such services. The bill does not clarify whether consumers would need to be located at a licensed facility in order to place a mobile or online wager, or whether this would be possible from anywhere inside Minnesota. The Minnesota Senate Tax Committee is due to debate SF1984 at a hearing on March 7. Should it progress into law, the bill would become effective from September 1, 2020. Last month, Representative Pat Garofalo put forward a bill that would legalise sports betting at tribal casinos in the state. As is the case with SF1984, Garofalo’s Safe and Regulated Sports Gambling Act of 2019 would create the Minnesota Sports Wagering Commission to regulate the market. The bill would permit in-person sports wagering at casinos runs by recognised tribes in Minnesota, while consumers would also be able to place bets via mobile and other electronic devices on-site. The bill requires any mobile app to block access to consumers if they are more than 20ft away from a tribal property.Image: Tony Webster Casino & games Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliance Sports betting AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Address
Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliance Marketing & affiliates Sports betting Bingo Poker Horse racing New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published a new code for gambling adverts in the country, with a focus on protecting children, young people and other vulnerable people from gambling-related harm. New Zealand sets protection focus with new advertising code AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Regions: Oceania New Zealand 11th April 2019 | By contenteditor Bingo New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published a new code for gambling adverts in the country, with a focus on protecting children, young people and other vulnerable people from gambling-related harm. The new code applies to ads for gambling products and venues, as well as betting on racing or sports events. It has been developed by the ASA Codes Committee, with input from advertisers, agencies and representatives of media companies and public bodies, and in consultation with industry and public sectors. The code will come into effect on August 5, 2019, although operators will have until November 4 to ensure their ads comply with the new code. “Reviewing and updating the Codes is an important part of the ASA’s work and it is great to have the new Gambling Advertising Code in place to support responsible advertising to consumers,” ASA chief executive, Hilary Souter said. The code sets out how all gambling ads should be created with a high standard of social responsibility to both consumers and society as a whole. No gambling ad should purposely target children under the age of 14 or young people aged up to 18. As such, operators should ensure their ads do not feature content that may appeal to younger people, while both the time and location where ads are placed should be taken into account so as not to appear most before children and young people. The code also states gambling ads must not portray or represent anything that will, or is likely to, cause, condone or encourage harm from gambling activities. This includes not promoting gambling as a means of relieving or improving a person’s financial, professional or personal difficulties. Ads should not misrepresent the level of financial risk associated with gambling, nor state or imply a promise of winning or portray unrealistic outcomes from winning. In relation to this, a section in the code sets out how operators must ensure ads do not mislead or be likely to mislead, deceive or confuse the customer about their trust or exploit lack of knowledge. This covers issues ranging from implications, inaccuracies and ambiguity to exaggerations, unrealistic claims, omissions and false representation. The ASA advises that adverts must not make claims about the chance of winning unless they are factual and able to be proven, exaggerate the chance of winning or the size of the prize, or falsely imply that a customer’s skill can influence the outcome, unless this is actually the case. All adverts must include the terms and conditions or a reference to where they can be found, while these must be easily understood and not contradict the ad content. Email Address Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Tags: Card Rooms and Poker Online Gambling OTB and Betting Shops Race Track and Racino
Legal & compliance 12th September 2019 | By contenteditor AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Apple has granted developers an extra six months in which to ensure their apps are updated to be fully native to iOS.Gambling app developers now have until 3 March, 2020 to develop iOS apps, rather than HTML5 products hosted within a native wrapper. After this date, all non-native apps will be removed from the technology giant’s App Store.The announcement was made days after the original deadline, set in June, passed on 3 September.In June, Apple amended its App Store review guidelines to announce that any product not built purposefully for its operating system “may not provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations, and may not support digital commerce”.This caused a potential headache for the gambling industry, with the majority of iOS apps built as ‘container apps’ where an iOS frame is built around an HTML5 product. This practice has been widespread in the industry, as it is less expensive and time-consuming to develop.At the time, Betfred-backed digital marketing specialist Degree 53 warned that building a fully native iOS app in just three months was “a massive undertaking and potentially unrealistic”.“It will require sizable and skilled native development teams to ensure all functionalities are fully compliant,” Degree 53 explained.Businesses that fail to develop iOS apps by the deadline not only face their apps being withdrawn from the App Store, but are also likely to see Apple reject updates to non-compliant apps. It is also likely that customers will be unable to download updates to products already installed on their phones. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Apple extends native app deadline by six months Tags: Mobile Apple has granted developers an extra six months in which to ensure their apps are updated to be fully native to iOS. This follows its announcement in June that gambling apps built with a native wrapper holding an HTML5 product would no longer be hosted in its App Store. Topics: Legal & compliance Tech & innovation Email Address
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Svenska Spel rolls out Verisec’s ID technology Email Address Sweden-facing gambling operator Svenska Spel has launched Verisec’s Freja eID technology as part of an effort to enhance its customer identification processes.Svenska Spel agreed a deal in May to begin using Freja eID and has now integrated the solution across its Svenska Spel Tur and at Svenska Spel Sport & Casino platforms.Customers had previously been referred to a single e-ID, but the introduction of Freja eID will mean that players are no longer locked to a specific login method.Under new laws that came into effect in Sweden in January, licensed operators active in the country are required to use an e-ID to register customers in order to clarify their age and identity.“Most companies that digitise their services put considerable resources on good user experience and to eliminate eventual friction for users who want to access the digital service,” Verisec’s chief executive Johan Henrikson said. “Thus, not keeping users locked to a specific sign-in solution is an important step.“We believe that this is not only positive for the users, we also believe it is a strong competitive factor in that Svenska Spel is the first gaming company with a gaming license that offers its users more than one e-ID.”Svenska Spel has, on numerous occasions, stated its commitment to increasing the protection of its customers. This week, Svenska Spel’s chief executive Patrik Hofbauer declared his support for plans to introduce a ban on select betting markets in Sweden in order to help clamp down on match fixing in sport.The operator this month also published a new report that suggested player protection measures must now be tailored to different age groups, and that mandatory limits are more effective than voluntary in ensuring players can gamble safely. Regions: Europe Nordics Sweden Tech & innovation Topics: Tech & innovation 16th October 2019 | By contenteditor Sweden-facing gambling operator Svenska Spel has launched Verisec’s Freja eID technology as part of an effort to enhance its customer identification processes. Tags: Online Gambling Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter
20th February 2020 | By contenteditor Tags: Online Gambling Affiliate marketing giant Catena Media has reported a full-year loss of €10.5m (£8.8m/$11.3m) for 2019, primarily due to impairment charges related to assets acquired between 2016 and 2018, while all core business units struggled in the period. Catena Media posts full-year loss of €10.5m for 2019 Topics: Finance Marketing & affiliates Email Address AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Affiliate marketing giant Catena Media has reported a full-year loss of €10.5m (£8.8m/$11.3m) for 2019, primarily due to impairment charges related to assets acquired between 2016 and 2018, while all core business units struggled in the period.Revenue for the 12-month period through to 31 December 2019 amounted to €102.8m, down 2.1% from €105.0m in the previous year.Catena noted a 1.8% year-on-year decline in search revenue from €89.9m to €88.3m, while paid revenue also dropped 15.0% to €11.9m and subscription revenue 57.7% to €2.6m.The affiliate giant said revenue share arrangements were responsible for 43% of total revenue for the year, with 40% attribute to cost per acquisition revenue, 15% from fixed fees and 2% from subscriptions. Catena also noted that around 81% of revenue was generated in locally regulated or taxed markets.In terms of spending, Catena has issued a warning earlier this week that higher costs related to certain areas of the business would likely impact its full-year financial performance.Total operating expenses amounted to €108.5m, an increase of 64.9% on 2018 as Catena felt the impact of various additional costs. Direct costs were up 4.6% to €13.6m, while personnel expenses climbed 18.8% to €22.8m, and depreciation and amortisation spend jumped 62.1% to €14.1m.However, Catena said impairment costs on intangible assets totalled €32.1m. As the business noted earlier this week, this write-down was related to assets acquired between 2016 and 2018.These impairment costs included a write-down of €17.9m related to intangible financial assets that are primarily focused on the European Union, as well as €13.2m related to casino assets acquired in 2016, and €900,000 in reference to assets in the sports market.Exceptional costs also included €2.7m for loss allowances on trade receivables, as well as €2.0m for a refinanced bond, and further spending on credit facility and reorganisation costs.Significantly higher operating costs, coupled with the decline in revenue, meant Catena posted an operating loss of €5.7m for the year, compared to a profit of €39.1m in 2018.Loss before tax amounted to €10.3m, down from a profit of €33.1m in 2018, and after paying €178,000 in taxes, loss for the year stood at €10.5m, a stark contrast to €30.8m in profit in the previous year.“As the efforts we have put into our products now show a positive growth trend, we also saw challenges with some of our previously acquired assets not performing as planned,” Catena’s chief executive Per Hellberg said.“In our strategic review, operational efficiency programmes and evaluations of previously acquired products, we are writing down the value of certain assets acquired in the period 2016-2018, which simply can’t perform under today’s market conditions.“Now, with only two earn-out commitment to be settled, and with a strong operating refinancing of the company; we will communicate further details as soon as we have information to give.”In terms of the fourth quarter, during which most of the additional spending took place, revenue was down 2.6% to €26.6m, with year-on-year declines across search revenue, paid revenue and subscription revenue.Q4 operating expenses amounted to €53.8m, up 200.6% on the previous year, which contributed to an operating loss of €27.3m, compared to a profit of €9.4m in 2018. Loss before tax totalled €32.2, in contrast to a profit of €13.1m last year, while loss after tax stood at €31.1m, down from a profit of €12.4m in 2018.“We will continue to execute on our strategy to focus on few brands, invest in new markets, and continue our focus on cost control,” Hellberg said. “We are prepared for continued improvements in 2020 and beyond.” Finance Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter
France’s Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) has confirmed Philippe Augier as the president of its board today (9 June), replacing Bertrand Méheut in the role. France’s Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) has confirmed Philippe Augier as the president of its board today (9 June), replacing Bertrand Méheut in the role.Augier was confirmed in the role at PMU’s annual general meeting, with his candidacy already ratified by the Ministries of Agriculture and Food, and Public Action and Accounts.The president of France’s thoroughbred racing governing body, Edouard de Rothschild, and trotting organiser president Jean-Pierre Barjon, both supported him for the role.He has served as mayor of the commune of Deauville since 2001, and has previously held a number of roles in the racing industry, such as director general of thoroughbred auctioneer l’Agence française de vente du pur-sang between 1989 and 2006. Augier has also served on PMU’s board since 2019.He replaces former Canal+ president Méheut, who ended his tenure as PMU president in May after just over two years, in order to pursue other personal and professional projects.Cyril Linette, who joined in March 2018 having also previously worked for Canal+, will continue as chief executive of the business.PMU said Augier takes on the presidency at a crucial point in the business’ history, as it emerges from the “unprecedented” health and economic crisis caused by novel coronavirus (Covid-19). With French racing suspended and its retail network shut down, the business was forced to furlough 95% of its workforce.With French horse racing resuming from 11 May, he has been tasked with helping to ensure the business can quickly rebound from the disruption caused by the pandemic.“I am honoured by the confidence that PMU stakeholders, racing’s governing bodies and the public authorities have in me,” Augier said. “The teams at PMU are of the highest quality and I look forward to working with them at a pivotal moment for the business.“I am aware of the scale of the task at hand and together, we have the will, the energy and the necessary skills to carry it out successfully.” PMU confirms Philippe Augier as new president Topics: People Sports betting Horse racing 9th June 2020 | By contenteditor Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Horse racing Tags: OTB and Betting Shops Race Track and Racino Email Address Regions: Europe Western Europe France
Regions: Africa Southern Africa South Africa Finance Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Topics: Finance Sports betting Creditors of stricken South African horse racing operator Phumelela have voted to accept a business rescue deal from Mary Oppenheimer Daughters (MOD), effectively rejecting a takeover bid from British operator Betfred. Creditors of stricken South African horse racing operator Phumelela have voted to accept a business rescue deal from Mary Oppenheimer Daughters (MOD), effectively rejecting a takeover bid from British operator Betfred.The business rescue plan will the operator sell its racetrack business and its assets as well as Phumelela Gold International, its joint venture with tote betting operator Gold Circle, to Mary Oppenheimer Daughters, an organisation run by the family of the late industrialist Harry Oppenheimer.Under the deal, creditors Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and Investec would receive 100% of debts owed, while other creditors would receive ZAR242.0m, or 72.2%, of the ZAR335.0m owed. An additional ZAR100m would be available for shareholders.The creditors “voted overwhelmingly in favour” of the deal in a “large majority vote”, despite the presence of a bid from Betfred to purchase the entire Phumelela business. Betfred said this deal, worth between ZAR875m and ZAR925m, would “result in all creditors being paid 100% of their claims”.MOD, however, noted that the Betfred deal was not a binding offer, but rather proposed “good faith negotiations” to enter into an agreement.“This is, in effect, an agreement to agree, with final terms yet to be negotiated,” it said.In addition, it said the short time frame offered to creditors to accept the bid and negotiate the terms was “naïve, optimistic and commercially unrealistic”.“The fact that Betfred has failed to get beyond a non-binding proposal of a few pages over such a protracted period is telling and it renders the suggestion that Betfred can negotiate and sign definitive legal agreements within five days implausible,” it added.After creditors voted for the rescue package, MOD said its restructuring team is working on transforming South African horse racing to ensure it can grow in relevance domestically and abroad.“The restructuring task team, which represents MOD, have identified key target areas for investment and development to ensure the South African horse racing product improves and transforms, becomes more relevant, accessible, and is distributed both nationally and internationally,” it said.Charles Savage of the restructuring task team said MOD will invest greatly in the South African racing industry to make this happen.“We are very happy that creditors have voted in favour of the business rescue practioner’s MOD-backed plan,” Savage said. “We have an exciting journey ahead as we begin to manage and invest in the assets that MOD will be acquiring. We see a bright future for racing in South Africa and MOD will need the support of the whole industry to deliver a strong, unified South African racing product.“What is critical to our success will be the reinvestment of profits into the industry, from grass-roots up, to make racing a broad-based, sustainable and relevant product for all South Africans.”However, Gold Circle has issued a legal challenge against the deal that could halt the process. This challenge alleges the business rescue practioner may not agree to sell more than 61% of Phumelela Gold International as it claims ownership of 39% of shares of the business. Gold CIrcle argues the business rescue practioner “refuses to recognise” its ownership of this stake.Gold Circle claims that “throughout the years”, Phumelela has accounted for this stake and “made payment accordingly”.The business rescue practioner, John Evans, meanwhile, argues that this agreement came to an end and a new agreement was reached and points to the fact that Gold Circle’s financial statements do not refer to this ownership stake. Gold Circle claims Evans “provides no details” of this new agreement.This claim will be considered by the Guateng Local Division of the South African High Court. 3rd September 2020 | By Daniel O’Boyle Phumelela creditors accept rescue deal, snub Betfred AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Address
Regions: US Louisiana Topics: Casino & games Casino & games Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Caesars offloads Harrah’s Louisiana to Rubico Acquisition AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Caesars Entertainment – the operating name for the newly combined Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Eldorado Resorts business – has agreed to sell its Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment property to Rubico Acquisition for $22.0m. Caesars Entertainment – the operating name for the newly combined Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Eldorado Resorts business – has agreed to sell its Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment property to Rubico Acquisition for $22.0m (£16.6m/€18.6m).Caesars will receive $16.5m in proceeds from the sale, with $5.5m going to VICI Properties, a real estate investment trust spun off from the operator in 2017, subject to customary adjustments for cash and net working capital.The acquisition agreement also stated that annual base rent payments under the regional master lease between Caesars and VICI will remain unchanged.Subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, Caesars expects the acquisition to close at the end of 2020 or early next year.Read the full story on iGB North America. 4th September 2020 | By contenteditor Email Address
Email Address Lotteritilsynet said that this was still a grey area, and while it believed that protections should be put in place for players, this should be done through a separate set of regulations, rather than as part of the Gambling Act. This could change in future, it noted, should the lines between gambling and gaming become blurred further. 2nd October 2020 | By Aaron Noy Topics: Legal & compliance Regulation However, the regulator suggested that in order to better protect players, a provision to have all forms of gambling only open to players that have an account with a legal provider should be added. These games were only considered safe to offer to players because of the strict player protection controls offered by Norsk Tipping, and direct competition could put players at risk, the regulator continued. Therefore it suggested that the new act explicitly stated that Norsk Tipping was the sole operator permitted to offer these games, which “require special public controls”. The Ministry launched its consultation in June as it looks to consolidate the country’s Lottery Act, Gambling Act and Totalisator Act into a single regulatory framework, and notified the proposed changes to the European Commission last month. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter It explained that if the likes of Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping were to be expected to maintain a high standard of consumer protection, a complete view of each user’s gambling activity would help them do so. Lotteritilsynet also suggested that a provision should be added to explicitly prohibit direct competition to the state-owned operators in the legislation. This, it said, was necessary due to the fact that Norsk Tipping in particular offered a range of online casino games that were associated with “problematic gambling behaviour”. Norway’s gambling regulator Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet) has responded to the Ministry of Culture consultation on regulatory reform for gambling, suggesting that player protection measures could be ramped up further only allowing players to gamble after registering for an account. It then argued in favour of more flexibility for small non-profit organisations to offer gambling without a licence, suggesting that businesses with turnover of less than NOK200,000, should be allowed to operate digital platforms. Lotteritilsynet urges account-based play across all products Further flexibility for Norsk Rikstoto was also welcomed, namely the option for it to add fixed-odds race betting products to its portfolio. This, Lotteritilsynet said, would ensure players are channelled away from illegal operators. In its response, Loteritilsynet said the move would allow for a “more holistic” regulation of the gambling market, which in turn would help raise player protection standards. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Regulation The consultation, as well as gathering feedback from stakeholders on the new regulatory framework, also called for comments on loot boxes, and whether these should be considered a form of gambling. Regions: Europe Nordics Norway However, while the new act gives the regulator the power to have internet service providers block access to offshore sites, it said more clarity was needed on how it could exercise this right. Currently, it explained, it was unclear whether it would be expected to contact with operator with a cease and desist request before issuing the blocking order. While the Ministry of Culture’s consultation came to an end on 29 September, the legislation remains subject to an EC-mandated standstill period, which runs until 13 November.
Regions: Poland Finance 27th January 2021 | By Daniel O’Boyle Of this total, about 90-95% will be used for “extraordinary growth events” such as mergers and acquisitions. It is hoping to target established studios with both “compelling return on advertising spend” and potential for further growth and valued between $20m and $300m. Huuuge plots M&A drive with IPO proceeds A major reason for the increases in revenue and earnings was a growth in daily active users, from 851,000 in 2018 to 911,000 in 2019 and 965,000 through the first nine months of 2020. This was revealed in the prospectus document for the developer’s Warsaw Stock Exchange offering, which has been approved by Poland’s Financial Supervision Authority (KNF). Topics: Finance Strategy Social gaming M&A AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter However, the business noted that Gauffin intends to retain a “significant” shareholding. While it could not yet report its 2020 revenue, it appears set to easily surpass 2019’s total, as Huuuge brought in $244m in the first three quarters of the year, 30% more than in 2019. Its monthly active users, meanwhile, grew to 4.0m in 2019 and 4.7m to the end of September 2020. The developer has already identified around 60 possible acquisition targets. The IPO will begin with a book-building from today (27 January) until 4 February. Huuuge will then accept share subscriptions from 5 February to 9 February and anticipates that it will list on the exchange on around 19 February. The IPO will be made up of a public subscription for up to 15,000,000 newly issued shares and a public sale of up to 18,350,000 existing shares. The existing shares will be those held by investors in the business, including Big Bets OÜ, which is owned by company founder Anton Gauffin and holds 42% of Huuuge shares. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), meanwhile, came to $24.8m in 2019, up 147%. This is also set to rise dramatically in 2020, totalling $54.2m for the first nine months of the year. Email Address In terms of operating profit, Huuuge made $14.2m in 2019, up 47% from 2018. In the first 9 months of 2020, it drastically exceeded this total, with $50.1m. Tags: Huuuge Based on the PLN50 (£9.71/€11.00/$13.33) price, this means it could raise more than PLN1.5bn, making the offering the largest IPO of a gaming company in the history of the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Social games developer Huuuge intends to use the proceeds of its IPO to acquire other social game developers, and has already identified about 60 possible targets. The newly issued shares are expected to generate about PLN 565m, or $150m, in gross proceeds. In the prospectus, the business also reported 2019 revenue of $259.4m, up 12.1% from the previous year. Its net profit, meanwhile, came to $4.3m in 2019, 48.2% more than it had been in 2018, while this figure came to $24.8m for the first nine months of 2020.