Companies: GiG Sports betting GiG’s new sports betting platform goes live Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Topics: Sports betting Tech & innovation Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) is promising “the most advanced and disruptive sports betting platform product of the last decade” after launching its new sportsbook.The platform, developed over the last 18 months, will initially go live through GiG’s own Rizk.com brand before becoming available to external operators.The GiG system is implemented using microservices architecture and uses the ‘actor model’ to distribute and handle millions of messages at the same time.Endre Nesset, director of sports at GiG, said: “Building on our experience from both the operator and platform perspectives, we have come up with what we believe is the ultimate sportsbook solution.“We have created a highly flexible, scalable and significantly advanced platform. Operators will have the freedom to personalise their offering to optimise the user experience. This way they can focus on marketing their brands and driving revenue.”The GiG Sports portfolio consists of three new modules which can either be integrated as standalone products or bundled together with GIG Core (formerly iGaming Cloud).GiG Sports Connect is a proprietary in-house odds and aggregated odds and data service offering operators the freedom to choose their odds for every event and market.GiG Trader features proprietary trading tools and risk management platform, designed to optimise user experience and responsiveness to increase performance.Meanwhile, GiG Goal is a mobile-first front end and middleware solution with integrated machine learning for personalisation and optimised user journey.Nesset added: “We believe our trading tool is more responsive than anything out there. We are poised to disrupt the market in a big way and are extremely confident that we will make a huge difference to the way sports betting is experienced today – and in the future.”Related article: GIG assumes German licence through Nordbet acquisition Tags: Online Gambling AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter 14th June 2018 | By contenteditor Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) is promising “the most advanced and disruptive sports betting platform product of the last decade” after launching its new sportsbook Email Address
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Tags: Online Gambling Regions: Europe Southern Europe Spain 10th September 2018 | By contenteditor Codere boardroom war reignited by H1 results Three Codere directors, including the company’s founders, refused to sign off its latest financial results in another flare up of its boardroom war.Almost half of the Spanish firm’s board would not put their name to the gaming group’s results for the first half of 2018, which showed growth in Europe but an overall 7% drop in turnover due to the adverse effect of exchange rates, most notably Argentina’s Peso.Operating income was at €759.3m (£681m/$880m) as a result of the collapse of revenue in Argentina, which was down 22.5% to €232.6m. Codere pointed out that at a constant exchange rate, revenues would have grown by more than 11%.The Bolsa Madrid operator recorded group-wide consolidated losses of €34m across all its operating divisions. Corporate debt balance is at approximately €840m, down slightly on 2017.Codere’s European segment registered an increase in turnover of almost 10% to €273m, which it said was mainly due to its growth in online and face-to-face sports betting in Spain.President Raúl Sorensen, appointed to replace founder José Antonio Martínez Sampedro in a boardroom coup earlier this year, was among those to sign off the accounts. Martínez Sampedro, his brother Luis Javier and Pío Cabanillas would not put their names to it.The Martínez Sampedros founded the company and were the controlling shareholders until financial restructuring in 2014.They kept their positions until January 2018, when the main shareholder funds appointed Vicente di Loreto as the new CEO and Sorensen as non-executive chairman. The Martínez Sampedros became proprietary board members.Since then they have waged a battle to regain control of the company, including an unsuccessful court challenge to their removal.Codere was recently linked with a takeover by private equity group Blackstone.Image: Luis García (Zaqarbal) Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Strategy Topics: Strategy Company founders refuse to sign off Spanish firm’s financial update Email Address
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Regions: US Kentucky 16th October 2018 | By contenteditor Topics: Legal & compliance Sports betting Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address Kentucky lawmakers have met with various gaming stakeholders to discuss the legalisation of sports betting next year, with plans to establish competitive tax rates and mobile wagering services. The state is now able to legalise sports betting follow the repeal of PASPA earlier this year and a bill to regulate such activities has already been put forward. In September, Representative Dennis Keane filed BR-15 that would require the Kentucky Lottery Corporation (KLC) to establish and regulate a reports wagering system. However, it remains unclear as to whether the KLC will lead sports betting in the state, or if this will be passed to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. The Interim Committee on Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations has now met to discuss this and other key points regarding a potential move to legalise sports betting.Brendan Bussman, director of government affairs at Global Market Advisors, was in attendance at the meeting and, according to Legal Sports Report, called for the state to consider competitive tax rates, integrity monitoring systems and strong regulations as part of any legislation. Bussman also urged Kentucky to include allowances for mobile wagering, as this can help boost non-gaming revenue and land-based sites in the state and also make it more convenient for citizens to bet. Meanwhile, those in attendance discussed the idea of including an integrity fee in legislation. Several major sports leagues in the US are keen to capture some of the revenue from sports betting through this fee, with various lobbyists having visited Kentucky to discuss such matters. None of the states that legalised sports betting since the repeal of PASPA have included an integrity fee in their laws and while Keane’s bill did not make reference to such a fee, but Senator Morgan McGarvey said it could be beneficial to both the leagues and Kentucky. He said: “I think it shows Kentucky is serious about passing sports betting. They wouldn’t be spending the money on all of these lobbyists if we didn’t have a chance at passing a bill. “I’ve already met with one of the lobbyists from the PGA. It’s good to get their opinions, it’s good to get their thoughts on this because they have dealt with it in other states and in other countries.” McGarvey added: “One thing that makes sports betting unique here is that we don’t have any professional sports teams. When the leagues come calling on us, we are willing to meet with them, we want to hear what they have to say. “My goal is pretty simple: the Supreme Court made this legal, (so) let’s not have Kentucky the last state to do something.”Image: Tom Lianza Tags: Mobile State lawmakers keen on competitive tax rates and mobile wagering Legal & compliance Kentucky could legalise sports betting in 2019
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter 17th January 2019 | By contenteditor GVC Holdings shares were up this morning after the Ladbrokes operator said it outperformed expectations in 2018.The group, which also operates the Coral, Bwin, PartyGaming and Sportingbet brands, said in its post-close trading update that it expects 2018 revenue to grow 9% year-on-year, driven by a strong online performance and an increased contribution from its European retail business. Total online net gaming revenue for the year was up 19%, or 21% on a constant currency basis. Revenue was up across all key verticals, with revenue across GVC’s sports brands up 20% from 2017, and gaming brands reporting a 16% increase from the prior year. The operator’s B2B business also performed strongly, up 17% year-on-year. The European retail business also enjoyed a strong year, with NGR up 16%, helping offset a 3% decline in like-for-like UK retail. As a result of this strong performance, the operator says that it now expects underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to come in between £750m and £755m when it publishes its preliminary full-year results on March 5. That would be up to 2.2% ahead of current market consensus of £739mGVC’s 2018 results were aided by a strong finish to 2018, with fourth quarter revenue up 5% year-on-year, or 6% on a constant currency basis. This was down to the online divison, which saw revenue grow 15%, with the operator’s gaming brands the standout performer. Gaming NGR was up 18% year-on-year, with partypoker revenue jumping 43%, revenue for the Gala brands growing 18%, and GVC’s legacy casino brands up 13%.The online sports brands reported a 14% increase in revenue for Q4, though an 18% increase in amounts wagered was partially offset by a gross win margin of 10.7%, 1.5 percentage points behind Q4 2017. The UK retail business struggled over the quarter, with revenue down 3% from the prior year. This was due to a 10% decline in like-for-like over-the-counter revenue, with gaming machine revenue up 3%. The European retail business also reported a decline in revenue for Q4, falling 7%, despite growth in Belgian and Irish revenue, up 15% and 8% respectively. These gains were wiped out by a lower over-the-counter gross win margin in the Italian Eurobet business, however. “The Group’s performance in 2018 has been excellent with the strong momentum reported at Q3 continuing into Q4,” said GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander.“We are materially outperforming the market and taking share in all of our major territories. As the group carries this momentum forward into the new year, and starts to deliver the opportunities provided by both the Ladbrokes Coral integration and our sports-betting joint-venture in the US with MGM Resorts, the board is confident that the group is very well placed for a successful 2019.”The operator’s share price trading up 2.08% to 687.0p per share in London this morning. Tags: Online Gambling Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Finance Topics: Finance GVC outperforms expectations thanks to online gains in 2018 Operator hails “excellent” 2018 performance as business beats full-year projections, anticipating full-year earnings of up to £755m and a 9% year-on-year rise in group revenue. Email Address
Setting up in a new market is never easy, and as the US market continues to grow, complying with regulations across states is vital for survival. We spoke to experts at Continent 8 to learn more about how they are tackling some of the operational pain-points. Topics: Tech & innovation Enabling multi-state operations Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter 16th April 2019 | By Josephine Watson Email Address Tech & innovation Nick Nally has been with Continent 8 for over 13 years and looks after the company’s business development and strategy globally. At this point in time, he is primarily focussed on the development of the US market. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Graeme Price is the commercial development director for Continent 8. Graeme has partnered with a broad range of clients within the US igaming industry to utilise his IT expertise across telecoms, hosting and cloud technologies.As the US market continues to expand and develop at a rapid pace, agility and speed to market continue to be critical.However, the emerging regulatory landscape across the states poses challenges for new entrants and existing companies alike. Addressing all of the various requirements from state to state means managing and maintaining multiple contracts with the necessary infrastructure providers.To provide igaming businesses with the reliability, connectivity and security that they are accustomed to from suppliers across regulated markets in the US, Continent 8 Technologies, an igaming data center and global network solutions provider, is preparing to open their newest data center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on June 1.We spoke with Nick Nally, chief development officer and Graeme Price, commercial development director at Continent 8 to learn more about the development and the challenges their clients are facing in the market.Continent 8 began working in New Jersey in 2013 when online gaming was legalised, however regulations meant that hosting for online gaming providers had to be placed within brick and mortar casinos. Nally explains: “We started working with the regulator, with operators and other various lobbyists and groups to see whether there was a way whereby an independent data centre which had all of the accreditations and standards could be implemented in Atlantic City and would still meet the regulatory requirements of the state.”In order to offer their services, Continent 8 became the only non-gaming company to acquire a Casino Service Industry Enterprise (CSIE) license, with Nally saying: “In any building that we either lease or buy in Atlantic City, we are able to use the license to bring online gaming companies into it. It’s the first time that operators will not need to be in a licensed casino.”This allows the company to act like casino but without the business, and is fully regulated under DGE regulation, via Bill (S185 / A1903), which allows and enable online gaming equipment to be located at a secure facility other than a casino, so long as it lies in Atlantic City.Price continues, saying that having the license ensures that customers’ servers and infrastructure are managed and protected around the clock. DDoS defensesWith recent reports showing that the igaming industry is the second most attacked vertical in the world, DDoS defense solutions are another brick in the foundations of setting up in a new market.This is especially prevalent in the US, with cybersecurity and anti-virus provider Kapersky reporting the country as the second most attacked in the world behind China.Continent 8 has been offering a global DDoS solution to the igaming industry for many years, utilising detection and mitigation technology to monitor and track online threats and alert clients.Price says this is a consistently challenging space: “Attacks change all of the time, and you have to be on top of the knowledge and what’s going on in the industry. If you go to sleep here for a short while, things will catch up with you very quickly.”With the rise of new technologies such as AI, hackers have access to increasingly sophisticated tools to knock sites offline. We’re putting in measures to support that, but it’s a week-by-week process.This same technology will be a core part of their US offering, with Price saying “We wrap this solution in to all of our connectivity, so we’ll be connecting the data center up to a range of local partners to offer dual and even tri-resilience for operators.”Nally continues: “We have two large scrubbing centers situated in the US, one in NJ itself, and in terms of the data center, all of our customers will be directly connected to this facility, which offers a better level of service.” State of connectivitySince arriving in Atlantic City in 2013, Continent 8 has been working to re-design the network topology serving the city. With the advent of sports betting last year, demand for bandwidth has increased considerably.He continues: “We are working with each local connectivity provider in Atlantic City, blending their services and putting in a number of additional links. This means we can offer connectivity up to 10GB from the new site. What that offers is resilience in terms of the different connectivity routes going out of the site, and resilience in terms of the single provider.”In terms of back-ups, the DGE is asking for all operators equipment to be based in Atlantic City, which the duo say can create “a little bit of a headache” when creating an efficient backup solution like those typically deployed, which would sometimes be multi-region, multi-city, etc.“Here, we’re limited by geography to keeping the DR in Atlantic city. So, what we’re offering is a direct link to our present data center provider in Ocean Resort and putting links between that facility and the new Atlantic City data center thus providing adherence to a regulatory backup and data recovery solution.” Patchwork regulationsAs they look forward to further regulation in the US market, Nally says the company anticipates the need for continued agility and preparation: “Some states are asking that service providers to gaming companies or operators are accredited or licensed in some way or another.“Every state looks at this slightly differently – in the case of Pennsylvania, you have to become a gaming service provider in order to supply services to operators and licensees. In Mississippi, there are no requirements for hosting providers to be accredited or licensed, but this may change in the future if they bring in state-wide sports betting and online casino offerings.”Nally explains that Continent 8 is able to have a close working relationship with regulators as a result of their positioning: “We’re sometimes viewed as independent in this industry – of course we want to further aid its growth but we’re not necessarily in it, so we can forge close relationships with regulatory bodies.“For example, in New Jersey, we’re going into the DGE on a regular basis talking about new offerings and new opportunities in the marketplace. We’ve also had these conversations in Pennsylvania, in West Virginia and Mississippi. In a way, we’re here as well to help regulators work through this incredibly complex landscape.” This has been important when it came to engaging with regulations around leveraging cloud technologies in the US marketplace, says Price, explaining that as a result of their cloud services across the world, Continent 8 is able to leverage other regulators acceptance of the technology to hopefully encourage the US market to take it up as well.“This is a big requirement for new entrants coming into the US market, who don’t always have the infrastructure that current regulations require. We’re talking with the regulators on how this can drive down costs to operators and reduce barriers to entry,” Price explains. Contract overloadNally anticipates that as the market develops and matures, companies will have to adhere to standards-based operations, meaning the challenge for operators is to be able to try to avoid becoming inundated with service provider contracts.He says: “If you imagine 10 states come online, and as an IT person you have to find infrastructure in every single one of those states. Ideally you’d look at at least four different data centers in each state. That’s 40 different data centers. From there, you might look at a few different IP providers, so you’ve got another range of contracts, then of course there’s cyber security offerings.”With speed to market being so crucial in the US, Price explains that Continent 8 prepares to enter regulating states before the official announcements by completing due diligence ahead of time so that they can identify the best-of-breed service providers and develop business intelligence.Price says this ensures that when the market does regulate, the company can ensure they are working with the best possible partners as quickly as possible: “We’re able to offer one contract across the US under one master services agreement with service-level agreements sitting underneath all of that.”As the market continues to develop and there remains high importance of agility and flexibility, Continent 8 aims to ensure operators can easily move from location to location without implications to their contract. Price says: “We’ve already shown benefit to operators by doing that in light of the recent DoJ news. We have one single network connecting all of these regulated states, so it’s quite seamless for us to push through and move people from site to site.”Looking to the future, Nally says for him, the company’s objectives are clear – to follow through on their commitment to enter into every significant regulated online gaming market across the United States.
New figures from the Swedish Tax Authority and gaming regulator Spelinspektionen suggest that net gaming revenue for Sweden’s land-based and online gaming market amounted to SEK6.0bn (£479.9m/€559.0m/$626.0m) in the first quarter of 2019. Swedish gaming revenue grows to SEK6.0bn in Q1 Tags: Mobile Online Gambling Slot Machines 8th May 2019 | By contenteditor Regions: Europe Nordics Sweden Topics: Casino & games Finance Legal & compliance Lottery Sports betting Slots Casino & games New figures from the Swedish Tax Authority and gaming regulator Spelinspektionen suggest that net gaming revenue for Sweden’s land-based and online gaming market amounted to SEK6.0bn (£479.9m/€559.0m/$626.0m) in the first quarter of 2019.The figures, which are based on licensees’ tax returns, are preliminary and likely to be adjusted as more data becomes available. Spelinspektionen also noted that they were not directly comparable with the first quarter of 2018.They show that Sweden’s regulated online betting and gaming market generated net revenue (player stakes minus winnings) of SEK3.5bn. While this is higher than the SEK3.3bn reported in April, it includes gambling offered on ships.Svenska Spel’s state lottery and land-based gaming machines monopoly generated revenue of SEK1.4bn in Q1, while a further SEK234m came from its land-based casino operations in the country.Games for charitable purposes and other national lotteries contributed an additional SEK838m, while land-based commercial games, such as restaurant casinos, generated SEK46m in Q1.No figures were available for charitable bingo gaming, and no data was provided on revenue from unlicensed operators.While a direct comparison with the prior year is not possible, the figures do suggest that Sweden is succeeding in channelling players to legal offerings. The SEK6.0bn total for the regulated market in Q1 2019 is higher than total revenue across both licensed and unlicensed offerings in Q1 2018 (SEK5.8bn).For that period SEK4.1bn came from the regulated market, with a further SEK1.6bn coming from offshore operators.By the beginning of May 2019, Spelinspektionen had awarded 123 licences to 78 companies. By this point, the total number of players to sign up for the national self-exclusion database Spelpaus had risen to just under 33,000, a significant jump from the 29,975 self-excluded players at the end of the first quarter on March 31. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Address Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the government of Japan have confirmed that the Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled to start from 24 July, will be postponed as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.With more than 375,000 confirmed cases of the virus around the world, the decision has been taken to reschedule the event at a date “beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021”.This, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach explained, was to safeguard the health of athletes and everybody involved in the organisation of the games.“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the pair said in a joint statement.“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”Pressure had been building on the organisers to cancel the event, with Canada and Australia yesterday announcing that they had withdrawn their athletes from all competitions.It follows the postponement of most major sporting events as a result of the pandemic, with almost all major professional sports across Europe and the US already shut down. Over the weekend it was then announced that Australia’s major leagues, including the National Rugby League, Australian Football League and the A-League, were also being suspended.Currently there are few sports leagues still completing fixtures, such as the Belarussian football leagues and Russian basketball leagues. Baseball looks likely to return to Japan and South Korea in the coming weeks, however, with Nippon Professional Baseball and the KBO League aiming to restart in April. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter People Email Address Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the government of Japan have confirmed that the Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled to start from 24 July, will be postponed as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Regions: Asia Japan Topics: People Sports betting Strategy 24th March 2020 | By contenteditor Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter
Star Entertainment Group has announced it will relax certain novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions at its Star Sydney property from today (1 July), while the Australian operator also confirmed it will reopen some facilities at its Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane venues later this week. Regions: Oceania Australia AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Topics: Casino & games Strategy Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Star Entertainment Group has announced it will relax certain novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions at its Star Sydney property from today (1 July), while the Australian operator also confirmed it will reopen some facilities at its Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane venues later this week.Star Sydney reopened on a restricted basis from 1 June, with visitation restricted to loyalty club members and their guests by invitation. This was later increased to a maximum 900 invitation-only guests at any one time on 19 June.However, due to the New South Wales (NSW) government easing some of its Covid-19 measures, this has allowed Star to increase capacity to up to 5,000 patrons at any one time at Star Sydney.Loyalty club members and the general public will now be permitted to enter the casino, but, in line with NSW government requirements, at least one member of a group of guests will be required to provide their details upon entry.Social distancing measures will remain in place at all gambling positions, but all electronic gaming machines and table gaming positions may be operational.Since reopening at the start of June, Star said average spend per visit for patrons who visited during the month was materially higher than in the first half of its 2020 financial year. Star also said that the performance was consistent with expectations, despite being below normal levels given operating restrictions.Meanwhile, Star will reopen the main gaming floor and private gaming rooms at both its Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane from 3 July, after the Queensland government eased certain Covid-19 restrictions.Up to 2,600 people will be permitted within the casino gaming area at the Star Gold Coast, while 2,300 patrons will be allowed on the floor at the Treasury Brisbane property.As with Star Sydney, social distancing measures will be in place, with its Covid-Safe plan currently in the process of being approved by the Queensland chief health officer.“The health and well-being of our customers and staff remain paramount as we move to this next stage of reopening our properties,” Star’s managing director and chief executive, Matt Bekier, said.“The conservative approach in managing the reopening of The Star Sydney in June 2020 provides us with further confidence in our operating and safety procedures.“This next stage enables us to welcome back an additional approximately 3,000 employees, as well as a large number of our members and guests to safe and entertaining environments.” 1st July 2020 | By contenteditor Star Entertainment eases Covid-19 restrictions at casinos Email Address Casino & games
Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliance Sports betting Bingo Slots Bingo James Noyes on the need for regulatory reform Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter James Noyes’ proposals for reforming key aspects of Great Britain’s gambling industry have received major coverage. They show how sensitive the issues are for all stakeholders and why the industry must engage in a constructive manner. By Jake PollardJames Noyes’ proposals for reforming key aspects of the UK gambling industry are that rare thing when it comes to discussing those topics, in that they are moderate and well-reasoned. With the Gambling Act review set to take place during the course of this parliament, they are also timely.Noyes is Senior Fellow at the Social Market Foundation thinktank and a former advisor to the former Member of Parliament and deputy leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson. His proposals focus on five key areas of reform: gambling licences, content, affordability, tax and regulatory framework.Of those, the topic that has attracted most coverage has been gambling affordability. The report calls for a soft cap of £100 per month on deposits, at which point affordability checks would be carried out by independent third-party providers that would assess whether players could safely afford to go over that level of spending.The Betting and Gaming Council came out strongly against the proposal (but supported the calls for overall reform of the Gambling Act). The BGC said it was “an arbitrary and random low cap on spending and can think of no other area of the economy where the government determines how much an individual can spend”.Media coverage also centred on the measure, saying the report called for “gamblers to prove they can afford losses”. In fact, Noyes tells iGB, the call is “for a soft cap, not a hard cap, on spending.“Others have talked about fixed limits, but it’s about having a soft threshold and then affordability checks if certain criteria are met”.If Noyes wasn’t exactly disappointed with how the proposal was portrayed, he does lament the fact that the headlines were all about “thinktank recommends capping play”.Instead he says, the detail is that when players get close to losing £100, “that is the point when checks come in and source of income, affordability, whether patterns of harm or unsafe play are present, can all be assessed”.Complex and technical The topic points to the febrile atmosphere currently surrounding the GB gambling sector, with the issue of regulation often quickly falling into binary arguments about individual freedom vs. the nanny state.It could be that Noyes’ report is summed up in such simplified terms because it doesn’t lend itself to snappy headlines and easy to digest copy. It grapples with issues that are highly technical, complex, and nuanced.“Some journalists are very knowledgeable and fair, they know their brief and are sometimes dismissed by the industry as just being against the sector,” he says. “But as mentioned, they’re writing for people who have no idea about offshore tax, speed of play or the difference between net gaming revenues and gross profits. Issues can get reduced to binary angles when the challenge is technically complex and politically sensitive.”Clearly the industry doesn’t want prohibitive legislation and must find a way to capture the nuances and respond to the concerns of the man on the street.“It’s such a challenging task and the reason we haven’t moved forward is to do with the fact that the issue is politicised,” Noyes says. “That’s because it is easier to politicise or kick into the long grass a topic that is uncomfortable than it is to answer questions about affordability, white labels, addiction levels or risks of money laundering.”Such comments might come across as damning of the gambling sector, but it can be argued they are accurate. For too long it has deflected and not addressed the issues. This all came to a head during the fixed odds betting terminals fiasco, that dragged on for almost a decade.The infighting and tensions between the casinos, bookmakers and the amusement centres did not help. But that is not an excuse for not discussing the topics openly, especially when the industry is being torn to pieces in the mainstream press. In addition, no amount of denial or press releases can substitute for core competency and taking action.Noyes points out that his objective has always been to take the sting out of the debate and offer clear-headed, moderate and evidence-based policy goals. And it must be said that the BCG recognised this in its overall response to the report. However, the issue of affordability is unlikely to go away and the industry will have to address it.All-Party Politics On the political side, the All Party Political Group on Gambling Related Harm led by the Labour MP Carolyn Harris has endorsed Noyes’s report. He says the industry should look at the number of MPs who support the group and its objectives as a sign of where the debate is headed.It should also be pointed out that the Social Market Foundation’s financial supporters include Derek Webb, the founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling which had such a major impact on reducing stake levels on FOBTs. Webb is also an associate member of the APPG-GRH. The SMF acknowledged this in the report and said: “Neither he (Webb) nor the APPG have had any role in the research or writing of this report. The SMF retains full editorial independence over all its work.”Noyes says: “In the first instance the APPG supports the report because the aim from both is to support player protection and harm reduction. It’s also important to note that the APPG is not just three anti-gambling MPs (Ronnie Cowan of the SNP and Iain Duncan Smith of the Conservatives being the others), as has been claimed by some executives.“The group has over 50 MPs from all parties, including influential ones like Tom Tugendhadt, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Richard Holden, who is a new Tory MP from the so-called red wall of ex-Labour seats,” Noyes points out. “They are vocal members of the APPG. Focusing on Carolyn Harris and painting her as an extreme voice would be a mistake.”The other obvious point to make is that the backbiting worsens a difficult climate further and is not productive.Rather, “the industry should see the current situation as a challenge and show critics why they are wrong”, says Noyes. “It should demonstrate why the critics are wrong, how the industry is truly addressing the issues and how it’s building consensus across sectors and with pressure groups and politicians.”Noyes adds that the reason an MP such as Harris has involved herself in the debate is because families were coming to her with stories of relatives suffering emotional and financial breakdown, huge debt and, in some cases, suicide. “Carolyn Harris is an MP who fights for victims of domestic abuse, disadvantaged children, and is not from a privileged background: she is exactly the kind of MP people want to see, an ordinary woman fighting to make people’s lives better. She got involved because she has seen people be badly affected by certain types of gambling.”The BGC noted in its response to Noyes’s report that UK levels of problem gambling in the UK have remained at 0.7% for nearly two decades. The statistic puts the issue in some context, but amid the noise from campaigners and the impact of radio and TV programmes featuring families that have suffered from gambling harm, the point is that that figure doesn’t register. And if one was being particularly critical, the constant harking back to the low levels of problem gambling has a whiff of the FOBT debate about it.Political momentum “Operators should show Carolyn Harris and MPs on the APPG that they are reforming and adopting new policies for protecting players,” Noyes says. “Some executives understand that, but others don’t and also seem unaware that there is political momentum for reform across political parties.”That last point is beyond doubt and politicians including House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have also committed to reforming the Gambling Act. Noyes says he is confident nuances of what is achievable will be reflected in the discussions between politicians and operators. But because of the history of the FOBT debate, MPs’ urge for reform has only strengthened.“Where there might have been a willingness to balance the needs of horse racing towns, high streets or to keep a close eye on tax revenues, most of them are now committed to change. If the industry responds in a way that is viewed as not being constructive, there is a danger voices will become more strident, the search for consensus will be lost and those calling for moderation will be ignored.“We’re reaching a tipping point, do we listen to the details on how to implement the technology and new measures or do we resort to complaints about overbearing governments and individual freedom or excessive VIP schemes and not protection players?”The other key aspect of the discussion is that there is no major political figure to drive it forward. Tom Watson was a high profile and longstanding politician who had got to grips with how the industry worked. Although Harris and Duncan-Smith are well established, neither hold a government position that would give them the clout to drive the review forward.“If there is no leader there is the risk of polarisation and binary debates that don’t address the underlying problems. We can talk of wanting a broad church, but if there is no senior politician saying: ‘I’m going to own this and make sure it’s done sensibly’, there is a risk of a lack of consensus and no bridge building,” says Noyes.Window of opportunity The pandemic and economic shock that will result from it, to which can be added a potential no deal Brexit, will dominate the agenda. The gambling sector will need to garner the attention of politicians at a time when they will have minimal headspace for the intricacies of how bookmakers generate margins, affordability checks, fighting money laundering – or whether it wouldn’t just be simpler to ban VIP schemes.“This is why on the political side the Gambling Act review should be a true cross-departmental effort, so that there is a real understanding of the issues at play and how they interact with one another,” Noyes says. “For operators, there is a window of opportunity to be heard and explain how complicated, technical reforms can be implemented, while also addressing highly emotive societal subjects.“The industry had Tom Watson as a moderate interlocutor previously, but currently they don’t have a senior politician who can establish common ground across business and politics. Which is why they must not waste this opportunity to show government they can reform and change.”The call for a change of tone from the industry is not new and many senior executives agree with it, even if they won’t go on the record. The problem with not speaking out however is that it leads to a situation where there is no industry leadership to work with politicians.“The review is going ahead and legislation will happen. All of us have a duty to ensure it is successful,” says Noyes.“It’s a chance for the industry to be proactive and steer the debate, rather than being spoken about. The alternative is a total advertising ban, stake and time limits on certain products and content. I remain an optimist for moderate change, but the industry must take this opportunity.” James Noyes’ proposals for reforming key aspects of Great Britain’s gambling industry have received major coverage. They show how sensitive the issues are for all stakeholders and why the industry must engage in a constructive manner. Tags: Online Gambling OTB and Betting Shops Slot Machines 12th August 2020 | By contenteditor Regions: UK & Ireland AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Address
Tags: Covid-19 IGT International Game Technology Sustainability Report This metric looks to quantify the economic activity created through the supplier’s solutions. The value of the economic activity created directly by IGT, was down 32.6% year-on-year at $4.84bn, while the economic value to parties other than IGT came to $4.63bn, down 0.9%. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Topics: Strategy Tech & innovation Management 28th October 2020 | By Daniel O’Boyle The supplier said that $2.80bn of this value was to suppliers, up 0.2%. and $1.15bn of this value was to its employees, down 1.5%, while $264.9m was to governments, down 3.3%. IGT provides $4.84bn in economic value in 2019 IGT chief executive Marco Sala explained that its ability to create this level of economic benefit for stakeholders was down to the business’ product range. Email Address Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Read more on iGB North America. Strategy Gaming solutions giant International Game Technology’s (IGT) latest sustainability report claims the business generated $4.84bn in ‘economic value’ through its products and services last year.