SBC Summit Barcelona is Back!

The SBC Summit Barcelona will be held at Fira de Barcelona, Montjuic between September 20-22, 2022. It gives an exciting opportunity for you to explore an array of product releases that are the latest and most-anticipated.

They will be exhibited across a vast space of 18,000 square meters. The conference and exhibition will also feature 200 world-class suppliers. Some of the global industry leaders have been brought in for the event to share their knowledge. They will also be discussing the future of the industry. Among them are Shay Segev, CEO of DAZN Group and Paris Smith, CEO of Pinnacle Sports.

The event will cover the most comprehensive agenda of the year. More than 300 specialists and senior executives are expected to speak at the conference. You can get a Full Access pass for some excellent networking opportunities at Barcelona’s hottest spots.

If you are a games provider or a casino brand and you want to catch up with CasinosJungle at SBC Barcelona to take a look at your newest releases you can contact us on business@casinosjungle.com. See you there!

The zones

The venue will comprise 5 different zones, having their own exhibition floor, conference stage, and areas for networking. At each of these zones, you can meet fellow professionals, get some interesting industry insights, and see new products.

Sports Betting Zone

This zone gives you the chance to meet the influential specialists and senior executives from the globally renowned operators. You can browse the next-generation sportsbook products from the most innovative suppliers and exchange ideas about the latest industry developments.

In the Sports Betting Zone, you can also dive into some important issues. They include the future of e-sports betting, relationship between media companies and operators, and exclusivity in data rights. Each of these issues will be discussed during a series of panels on the Sports Betting stage.

You can also visit the exhibition, which features new products and services. The representatives from hundreds of operators will be participating in the Sports Betting Zone. Among them are the sportsbook directors, C-Level executives, and other key decision makers.

Casino and iGaming Zone

You’ll get the chance to discover the next generation titles from some of the major developers at the exhibition of Casino and iGaming Zone. It will also give you some valuable insights on the latest products and services from the providers of gaming platforms. You can interact with the player acquisition specialists and content aggregators as well.

The zone will have a Casino and iGaming stage. This is where you will get to hear the most influential executives from the i-gaming industry. They are expected to speak on some crucial issues faced by the industry today. Participants in this zone include casino product managers and live casino managers.

Payment and Compliance Zone

The world’s leading safe gambling specialists, KYC experts, and payment service providers can be seen in this zone. Expert panels will share some key information on topics associated with payment and compliance. Among them are how to develop payment experiences without any friction, safer gambling solutions, and impact of contactless technologies.

The experts are also expected to talk on mitigating risks of using cryptocurrency and technology for improving players’ protection. You will be able to explore the next-generation payment systems, identity verification, and open banking in this zone. Among the participants in the Payments and Compliance Zone are compliance directors, responsible gambling managers, and heads of payments.

Affiliate, Marketing, and Media Zone

In this zone, you will find star affiliates, leading industry publications, and digital marketing specialists. You can keep yourself up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies, strategies, and regulatory changes. The Affiliate, Marketing, and Media Zone also connects you with the affiliate teams and super-affiliates. Some of the powerful conversations will happen in the conference room involving some influential industry experts.

They will share important facts and ideas on topics such as media partnership and affiliate licensing. Influencer marketing strategies for the i-gaming industry and the future of SEO will be discussed. The zone’s floor has the right environment for affiliates to connect with operators that offer affiliate programs.

You can meet the providers of innovative marketing services and marketing technology suppliers. If you are an affiliate, they can help you take your business to new heights. The industry experts such as heads of affiliate programs and marketing directors will give some interesting insights in this zone.

Emerging Tech, Blockchain, and Metaverse Zone

Emerging technologies always spark an interest among many. The Emerging Tech, Blockchain, and Metaverse Zone at the SBC Summit Barcelona will answer some of the questions associated with such technologies. The newer entrants into the digital world are NFTs, bitcoin, and augmented reality. They are also expected to revolutionize the sports betting and i-gaming.

You might have a lot of doubts about these technologies. The Emerging Tech, Blockchain, and Metaverse Zone will discuss such technologies and also give you the right answers. The delegates can have a first look at the latest technologies in The Emerging Tech, Blockchain, and Metaverse Zone. This zone will provide great value for new start-ups, heads of product and technology, investors, and stakeholders.

About SBC Summit Barcelona

Founded in 2016, SBC Summit Barcelona brings together the key decision makers from the global sports betting and i-gaming industry. It also gives attendees the chance to reach out to these decision makers and connect with them. “It is the events like this which allows the industry to grow and innovations to realize,” says Archil Kakhidze, CEO of adjarabet.com

According to him, this is the place to meet colleagues from the industry and discover companies that are innovative and bring great value to the business. The SBC Summit Barcelona features over 350 top-level speakers. They share their insights on the emerging opportunities, operational challenges in sports betting, payments and compliance, and i-gaming.

The line-up of speakers at the event includes senior executives from the marketing, product, and legal fields. They are representatives of regulators, operators, affiliates, and suppliers. The SBC Summit Barcelona is an opportunity to get some valuable industry-related information.

Delegates can expect to learn about the next-generation technologies and games. The event also hosts a series of product launches coming from the most creative and innovative suppliers.

Mr Green to Close Down Its UK Sportsbook Operations

888 Holdings has decided to stop operating Mr Green Sportsbook in the UK this month. The decision of closure was taken a few months after the operator closed down its German sports betting operations. The operator had announced earlier this year that it will no longer operate sports betting in the country.

According to the company’s announcement, this move will help offset its losses. Mr Green has informed its British customers and fans that the sportsbook will close down on September 8. Access will be available for players tomorrow from September 6 to 8. During this period, they can check the bets that have been placed.

However, they will not be able to place new wagers. The operator has also informed the players that unresolved bets will not be canceled. All the bets that are due for settlement will be honored after the closure of the sportsbook. The accumulated winnings will be sent to the accounts of players automatically.

They will not face any restrictions while making the withdrawals. Players can get in touch with the customer support team through live chat in case they have any queries. The operator has also announced that its Ireland sportsbook will continue its operations as usual. The closure will only affect players in the United Kingdom. And of course, players can still enjoy the excellent Mr Green online casino.

The trouble had started brewing much earlier

Over the past few years, Mr Green has been facing legal troubles in several countries. For many fans of the sportsbook, this is something unbelievable. Enda Gaffney, the Head of Sportsbook at Mr Green, was interviewed by SBC in 2018. “This week has been a tremendous week for Mr Green. We just launched our Green Gaming Tool and also we’ve launched Sportsbook 2.0,” Gaffney had said in the interview.

William Hill had acquired Mr Green for £242 million in 2019. Soon afterwards, the German side of its operations had to close down owing to ‘compliance issues’. Another news doing the rounds was about the fine levied on the operator by the Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit.

The operator was found guilty of offering its products in the Netherlands without a license. Mr Green tried to appeal Kansspelautoriteit’s fine and the case reached the court. However, the judges ruled in Kansspelautoriteit’s favor. Mr Green has also been fined in Sweden over the past few years.

The £3 million penalty

The UK’s Gambling Commission ordered Mr Green to pay a penalty of £3 million on February 27, 2020. An additional payment of £10,349.77 was also levied on the operator towards investigative costs. The Gambling Commission had been keeping a watch on Mr Green Limited for a while.

It found systematic failures of the operator in implementing Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Social Responsibility (SR) policies. The company lacked effective processes to keep a check on its customers’ gambling activities.

One of them had won £50,000 and had deposited more after gambling away the entire amount. The company failed to freeze the customer’s account. “We will continue to crack down on operators who fail in this area,” said the executive director of the Gambling Commission, Richard Watson.

New UK Gambling Commission Rules

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck at the beginning of 2020, online gambling witnessed a boom in the UK. This was mainly because of the lack of access to entertainment venues and land-based gambling establishments. According to a May 2020 BBC report, the searches for online casinos during lockdown had reached an all-time high.

Once the lockdowns came to an end, people were back to their brick-and-mortar casinos. As a result, some of the online gaming companies suffered massive losses in 2021. They included the gaming and entertainment provider, Flutter. The new wave of regulations from the UK government made things even worse for the online gaming companies.

The new rules from the UK Gambling Commission will be going into effect on September 12, 2022. Several restrictions will be put in place for the operators. Some popular online casinos such as WinTrillions were forced to cease their operations in the country as a result.

Just like Mr Green, Entain Group was fined for its AML and SR failures. In this case the amount of fine was £17 million. The information in this regard was put up on the UK Gambling Commission’s website on August 17, 2022. A few days ago, the website had also informed about a financial penalty of £630,000 on Smarkets (Malta) Limited.

What have been their SR and AML failures?

Operators in the UK need to be aware that the country’s Gambling Commission constantly monitors them. If such failures continue to occur in the future, the casino operators may lose their license. One of their serious SR failures is not interacting with at-risk customers.

They must interact with customers in a way that minimizes the potential risk of harms from gambling. Another major SR failure is not restricting customers who fail to provide their source of funds. Other failures include not escalating cases of customers staking more amounts after losing a significant sum.

AML failures are mostly associated with suspicious financial transactions. Some operators don’t conduct an adequate assessment of risks involving large financial transactions. They allow customers of their online casino to deposit huge amounts without tracking their source of funds. There’s always a probability of such large amounts being used for terrorist financing or money laundering.

They must also conduct enhanced due diligence checks on their customers. Some operators fail to scrutinize or monitor customers who stake large sums of money. They make the mistake of relying too much on open-source searches to know their customers’ source of funds.

What the future holds for the casino operators

Online gambling in the UK has seen the best times in the past two years owing to the COVID-19 lockdowns. However, the casino operators in the country need to pay some serious attention to the government regulations. They might need to bring about significant changes in their methods of assessing their customers’ risk.

At the same time they must also be careful not to make their customers feel offended. As long as they play by the rules, the casino operators in the UK have nothing to fear.

Jake Paul announces Betr’s new “micro-betting” sports bet app

Jake Paul describes micro-betting as “the TikTok-ification of sports betting.”

He states “We’re in it for the long haul, and we’re committed to doing it correctly… By the decade’s end, we plan to have established ourselves as the preeminent sports betting and media consumer brand.”

Betr’s first foray into the media industry will be the BS with Jake Paul web series. Other works will follow. Mike Denevi, formerly of Bleacher Report, has been hired as Betr’s head of media.

Levy told Axios, “You can certainly expect 10+ videos a day from rising content creators we’ve recruited into the firm.” But at first, we’re concentrating on natives with premium content, beginning with Jake’s show.

Levy said the business hopes to monetize its performances through sponsorships and drive brand exposure through media. The company has had discussions with streaming services about licensing its material. However for now it has no intentions to develop original programming for any platforms other than the most popular social media apps.

A freemium launch with payment models to follow

Betr will employ the technology developed by Levy’s other gambling software startup, Simplebet, to launch its betting operation. In the beginning, it will be a freemium game, later expanding to other payment models and additional states. The firm claims to have established equity relationships that will allow it to expand its gambling operations.

The initial $50 million in seed funding is being provided by a diverse group of backers, including several high-profile individuals and organizations in addition to venture capital firms such as Florida Funders (8vc), Aliya Capital Partners, and Richard Sherman, Ezekiel Elliott, and Travis Scott (Betr is headquartered in Miami).

Investing in new hires, research, and development are high on Betr’s list of plans for the money. Levy seeks access to many betting markets and will reveal his first set of partners in the coming weeks.

According to Levy, the company is spending much less on agreements with market access partners like land-based casino operators than it initially expected. Rather than compensate them monetarily, the company is giving them ownership holdings in Betr so that the funds may be put toward building the business and attracting new customers.

”Our best-in-class technology will be a potent force in the industry when combined with Betr’s distribution channels’ redesigned user experiences, reach, and influence. We are thrilled to be at the center of this cooperation, which brings together many of the best aspects of the fast growing convergence of sports, media, and technology, said Paul.”

Betr Founders

Paul found fame on Vine, a now-defunct social video platform, before transitioning to YouTube. He also had a role on the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark. Still, He was fired after he and his brother, fellow social media sensation and boxer Logan Paul, got into some publicity-negative mischief.

In 2018, Paul started boxing, and in 2020, he got professional. Paul has emerged as a significant player in the boxing industry. He’s produced some high-profile bouts and recruited notable fighters like Amanda Serrano and high school phenom Ashton Sylve. Through his venture capital firm, Anti Fund, Paul has invested in businesses like Moonpay (a cryptocurrency payments company). Other ventures include Alchemy (a blockchain startup), and Osmind (a mental health platform).

Levy is credited as a co-creator of Simplebet, a B2B technology that introduced the concept of “micro-betting” to American sports. Betr is an online sports betting platform that allows users to wager on individual outcomes within an event. For example, pitches, at-bats, plays, and drives in baseball and football games. Betr, using the technology developed by Simplebet, will launch its app “in the coming weeks” with a free-to-play version available in all 50 states. This will be followed by a state-by-state release of its licensed real money betting experiences later in the year. By forming “strategic equity-based partnerships that the firm will be disclosing shortly,” Betr claims it has gained entry to markets in several states in the United States.

Paul claimed that the sports betting industry has long relied on famous young people to promote their products to draw in more members of the millennial generation who enjoy gambling.

Drawing in a millennial generation onwards

Paul, who has 70 million social media followers, stated in an interview, “They were paying me millions to promote their sportsbooks for my fights.”

For something to move forward, they require movers and shakers. Finally, we get to replace the dinosaurs.

Betr’s media and betting arms are separate but complementary businesses. In his new post as president, Paul oversees the media division.  Here they develop social shows and promotions aimed at a younger demographic. He’ll be in charge of marketing, assembling a team of influencers, and hosting a weekly show. Joey Levy will oversee all gambling operations.

Betr has also brought on Alex Ursa, formerly the president of product at FanDuel, and Mike Denevi, formerly the head of media at Bleacher Report, to help launch. To increase awareness of the service, Paul will host a new talk program, “BS with Jake Paul,” inviting other influencers, celebrities, and athletes to debate today’s critical sports topics.

What is Micro Betting?

Micro-betting is a growing part of the gambling market. It lets people bet in real time on specific moments during games. It is basically a subset of live in play betting. In this set up you can bet on the outcome of short term events rather than the end result. For example, you could bet on what will happen in the next pitch. The odds will fluctuate during the game and it makes for an exciting betting style.  European sports bettors will already be familiar with the concept. In play betting in soccer offers bets on next goal, yellow card, corner kicks and so on.

Betr, a sports micro-betting app, will debut in beta in the following weeks. Thus, the firm will use its new media investments to promote the Betr brand. The software will be released later this year as a free-to-play experience in 50 states. This is following a beta testing period. You can sign up for beta testing here https://www.betr.app/ Levy explained that “free-to-play” is more of a “tutorial” or “glimpse” into the future of fan involvement, sports betting, and micro-betting. Ultimately free to play is part of the registration, onboarding, and conversion funnel for our real-money betting experiences.

MGM and LeoVegas Merger & Impact

About MGM Resorts International

International entertainment corporation MGM Resorts International, with sites in the United States and across the world, offers a broad variety of hotels, casinos, restaurants, nightlife, and retail establishments, as well as state-of-the-art meeting and conference facilities. With a wide range of Las Vegas-inspired brands, MGM Resorts provides unforgettable, immersive experiences. There are 29 distinct hotel offers in the MGM Resorts portfolio. These include some of the most well-known hotel brands in the market. The firm is spreading throughout the United States.

Who is LeoVegas?

LeoVegas is a rapidly expanding online gambling brand with a significant presence in multiple European markets. This partnership will help MGM gain access to new players who might not have interacted with their brands, giving them an advantage over competing casinos. It also allows them to share data about customers’ in-game preferences, allowing MGM to target its marketing better towards players who might be interested in additional products like sports betting or poker. Finally, we’ll likely see some casino branding on some of MGM’s more popular TV shows in the future – perhaps as a cross-promotion/marketing tactic with LeoVegas.

The MGM and LeoVegas Merger

MGM Resorts and LeoVegas have announced that they will be merging. This is one of many mergers in recent years as casino companies are struggling to compete with technological changes while keeping their brands relevant in an increasingly competitive market. The most notable merger was Caesars Entertainment’s merger with Hyatt Hotels. The new company, Caesars, owns over 50 casinos across America under several different brand names. MGM has struggled to keep its heads above water in a hyper-competitive casino market; the company even discussed bankruptcy only months ago before plans were made to merge with LeoVegas.

Why Does It Matter?

It’s common knowledge that casinos are consolidating in brick-and-mortar establishments and online. One company has been leading the charge: MGM Resorts International. The casino giant recently finalized a $1 billion deal to purchase peer Caesars Entertainment Corporation, giving total control over two major brands: Caesars Palace on Las Vegas Strip and its online betting site, Planet 7 Casino. Overlapping businesses isn’t uncommon in business mergers, but it was an unusual pairing. The deal was particularly unique because Meruelo Group (which also owns the Chilean soccer team Universidad Católica) already owned Planet 7.

How Much Will The Industry Change?

Back in 2011, it was rare to see a significant casino brand bought out. Such deals are becoming more commonplace as casino conglomerates compete for market share. Two such organizations recently got together: MGM Resorts International has announced plans to purchase Swedish gambling giant Leovegas AB. The $4 billion deal will combine two companies with a lot in common:

both have ties to sports betting as well as operations in Macau;
both are leaders in online gaming;
both operate outside Las Vegas (LeoVegas runs out of London, and MGM is based near Detroit).
That makes some pundits question how much further change we’ll see—and whether other brands might follow suit.

What Can Casino Operators Do?

It is increasingly challenging to find ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors in a growing market. However, if you’re looking to take your casino game above and beyond expectations, then consider utilizing virtual reality in your overall strategy. Whether it’s a tabletop machine that allows players to interact with their avatar on-screen or even an entire area dedicated to VR games/rooms, you can use VR as a gateway tool that leads to bigger-ticket revenue streams.

What Does This Mean For Casino Players?

Casinos have become increasingly consolidated as brands are bought out or merged with larger companies. Several of these mergers occurred within just a few months in 2017. For example, The Rank Group, which owned PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, merged with Oryx Gaming in March 2017. Then in June 2017, Scientific Games acquired Bally Technologies for 5 billion dollars. With MGM purchasing a 15% stake in Leovegas, there will likely be further consolidation between different casino brands to make room for newly minted giant—LeoVegas. This type of consolidation might be troubling if you were betting on one particular brand staying independent to retain your business.

Other Changes To Expect In The Future

This year has already seen some significant changes to our favorite casinos. These mergers will continue happening as more online casinos need more investment capital. This year has seen an exciting merger between Betway and Aspire Global and several changes in ownership of brands such as Ignition Casino, which is now owned by The Stars Group (formally Amaya). The growth of technology will also impact how people gamble with their mobile devices becoming ever more powerful. You should expect that we will see our current favorite games continue to be played on these mobile platforms, but new games could include augmented reality or virtual reality versions that we can access with only our phone or tablet. We may even see new types of gambling introduced – like betting on sports events via your phone!

To Conclude: Why is MGM buying LeoVegas?

This might come as a shock to some, but not everyone is on Instagram. In fact, in 2015, just 9% of people over 50 used social media. Facebook is the largest, with 68% penetration among US adults. But Instagram has more 18-29-year-olds as active users than any other platform – leaving Snapchat behind. So it makes sense that MGM and LeoVegas want to target younger gamblers through Instagram’s new IGTV feature. The deal will allow MGM Resorts International to use IGTV videos across its casino brands, including Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Mirage. The company will also be able to access LeoVegas’ existing user base of 1 million followers. MGM hopes to attract younger gamblers by using these videos, but they hope that LeoVegas’ experience in video content creation will help them improve their offerings.

ICE London Returns April 2022

Almost everyone in the online gambling industry has heard about ICE, even if they haven’t actually attended yet. This massive B2B gambling business event brings together over 30,000 industry attendees from all over the world. ICE London is held every year in London’s ExCel Centre.  This event is well known for extravagant parties, and plenty of networking over drinks and canapes. However, the Covid pandemic put everything on hold for the last 2 years and that unwelcomed hiatus means this year will surely be extra charged with energy!

What is ICE London?

The International Casinos Exhibition initially allowed operators, suppliers, marketers and investors an opportunity to meet face to face with a wide range of other gaming professionals. There is a huge space dedicated to landbased casino operations. You’ll see hundreds of game terminals from industry giants from around the world. They are showcasing their latest technology and making new business connections, finalising sales and catching up with existing customers. Over the years since the event moved from West London the online casino gambling space has grown significantly too.

An Evolved Event

In our opinion as attendees for a long time; attitudes and marketing techniques have also evolved over the years. Back in the 2000’s, operator stalls were frequently hosted by scantily clad women offering free drinks and branded merchandise. Free T-shirts, keyrings and notepads filled attendees free tote bags. The event was noticeably male dominated too. Today though the stars of the show are the gaming brands themselves. Huge stands with multi-levels, dizzying displays showcasing new technology and games vie to catch attendees attention. There are fun social tournaments, games and hands on testing of the latest technology. The online gambling industry has grown so much, and with it the floorspace required to cater for all the new brands.

A great way to reflect on the industry’s growth not just in value but in maturity is the knowledge sharing that goes along with it. Panels bring to the forefront sensitive topics on problem gambling, diversity and equity in the industry.

A 2022 ICE London Party

The website itself currently promotes a sense of celebration with a fireworks background. So many strong partnerships, idea sharing and business growth bloom from face to face meetings in the gaming industry, ICE itself is a firm fixture on everyone’s business and social calendar. A time for making new acquaintances, sure. But a strong element that keeps people returning every year is the knowledge they will be regrouping with old colleagues, business partners and friends.  As the event goes on, more and more of these encounters will have a few hungover faces in attendance too!

ICE London Attendance Tips

Experienced igaming professionals will already know how to navigate this colossal industry event but if you’re new to gaming or this is your first time here’s a few tips to help you through.

  • Plan your days realistically. The space is huge! Give yourself a short break between meeting where possible – back to backs will have you running late.
  • Give yourself some free time to explore. There are always a whole range of new companies in attendance and stepping over from online to offline or vice versa is an interesting opportunity to see first hand what’s trending.
  • Check out the attendees list beforehand. Earmark in advance who you want to meet with and let people know you’ll be attending so you can book meetings if necessary.

The ICE London event will be held 12th until 14th April. For more information on attendees and to register click here

Gambling crackdown plans in motion in the UK

Plans are currently underway for a crackdown on the gambling industry. An influential and powerful alliance has emerged, bringing together some of the oddest collaborators. It consists of health professionals, academics, regulators, and religious leaders. Cases made for the crackdown on policies are lauded by both the Daily Mail and The Guardian. Politicians who would normally never agree on anything have also united on this.

This attitude is built on the belief that gambling is a significant public health concern. This alliance want to put limitations on people who bet and aim to challenge previously accepted freedoms.

If they succeed, anybody intending to place a wager of any kind would face affordability checks. They would have no choice but to let an ombudsman appointed by the state review their financial affairs. Whether or not they spend money on betting will no longer be their decision.

Figures on both sides of the argument agree on one point; the next round of the crackdown might result in the most significant changes to gambling regulatory laws in a generation.

Some people increasingly refer to gambling as if it were a bad word despite being a completely legal pastime. Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary behind the 2005 Gambling Act accused critics of her relaxation of gambling regulations of snobbery.

As bookmakers have added online operations to their offerings, the nature of betting has expanded. Gambling has undoubtedly evolved. Once upon a time, the image of a bookmaker conjured up in people’s minds was rather different. A man in a sheepskin jacket screaming the odds from a wooden box at Kempton Park would probably have come to mind. That caricature has now faded from the spotlight.

A revolution has transpired in the industry. There is now gaming where there was once only bookmaking. Although the two are distinct from each other they are frequently the same companies who operate them. As a result, many people regard them as the same thing, deserving of the same scorn.  Few things have sparked as much rage as fixed-odds betting terminals. Their popularity in betting shops skyrocketed as a result of the 2005 legislation.

The machines are now strictly regulated, however, with maximum stakes reduced from £100 to £2 back in 2019. Other forms of betting and the freedom of gambling firms to advertise have all been part of the debate.

The shift in attitude may be as a result of the transition in betting from a physical, in-person experience to one that is more virtual. It is now less focused on human interaction.

The development of online gambling has altered how the general public views betting in a negative way.

It is a tricky balance to manage.  Many people enjoy gambling and have no qualms about it. However many people don’t like the types of things heavily promoted alongside it.

If you sign up to bet on horse racing or sports, you will be cross-sold other things as well.  The convergence of bookmaking and gaming items is the issue that makes a lot of people uneasy.

Politicians on both sides of the divide are just one of the major groups in the crackdown on gambling. They believe that gambling is one of the most serious public health concerns of our day. High-profile figures in the public health sector have also been among the most outspoken critics of gambling.

The result is a lobbying alliance that is becoming increasingly powerful and successful. The Guardian for example plans to publish a book by one of its writers that promises to expose the gambling industry. The Daily Mail has also covered it.

Public health is gradually infiltrating all areas of our lives attempting to assert control over what we eat, drink and spend our free time on.

Ian Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice released a paper titled “Not a Game: A Call for Effective Protection from Gambling Harms” on May 17, 2021.

Duncan Smith states in the report’s foreword that the gambling industry now poses a very real threat to our communities. He believes the time has come to get a grip on this pernicious addiction. He also points to the strong link to social problems including drug and alcohol addiction, debt and family breakdown.

The CSJ proposes a solution based on Big Brother-style state surveillance of gamblers. It advocates for the implementation of affordability checks which would be an unparalleled infringement on civil liberties. Those who wish to gamble would lose a significant amount of privacy. Banks would be required to disclose client information with the ombudsman. Betting companies would then be required to act by potentially rejecting a bet. The mandatory tracking of all transactions would be critical to the system’s success. The state may use the precedent to record, monitor, and analyse all financial activities.

Banks can use machine learning to assess gambling customers’ financial circumstances. An algorithmic technique assures neutrality in affordability calculations while also limiting any privacy issues, however.

Many people would prefer to stop betting completely than allow their personal transactions to be scrutinized by authorities via these crackdown measures.

The ramifications for the gambling business would be significant. The outcome would be similarly disastrous for horseracing, which is primarily sponsored by punters.

Affordability checks, according to British racing’s executives, could cost the sport more than £60 million a year in lower levy money and media rights fees. Furthermore, the CSJ wants the government to prohibit the promotion of bookmakers, betting, or gambling.

They demand a complete ban on gambling marketing, enticements, and advertising throughout the United Kingdom. They recommend a strategy similar to that used in tobacco control. This in effect covers all types of advertising, including promotion and sponsorship.

The crackdown on gambling has spread to commercial broadcasters like ITV and earlier channels. These companies rely on partnerships and advertising arrangements with bookies to generate revenue. The ban would certainly put an end to practically all mainstream television coverage of the sport. Racetracks would also lose their single largest source of sponsorship revenue.

Suncity and the Macau gambling clampdown

Macau casino operators The Suncity group share prices’ have plummeted, following the arrest of 11 people on suspicion of money laundering and illicit gambling, Authorities have said his case is being handled according to Macau’s gambling laws. These are different from those in mainland China and the investigation is separate from the one in Wenzhou.

Authorities had previously stated that they were questioning Alvin Chau, a prominent figure both in the gaming industry and in the public eye. Mr Chow’s way of life embodied the best of what the city had to offer. He patronised motor racing events, developed movies, and posed for pictures with celebrities. Mr Chau, a Macau native with Portuguese citizenship, made his money in the city’s VIP clubs. Starting around the year 2000 he built his way up. He was managing a VIP suite in a renowned hotel by 2007. Within three years, he was on a list of Macau’s most prominent personalities. It wasn’t unusual to see him at social events dressed like a film star.

He once showed off a tattoo with the words “Suncity Group” as he posed bare-chested.

Mr Chou won favor in Beijing by advocating for greater links between mainland China and Macau and Hong Kong. However, by creating casinos overseas aimed at Chinese gamblers he appeared to be overstepping the mark. The mainland regulators rejected his proposals.

Chinese official media suspected him of leading a cross border gambling network. The mainland of China has prohibited gambling. However, since Macau permitted gambling it has overtaken Las Vegas to become the world’s largest casino hotspot.

Alvin Chau headed up Suncity Group Holdings. This company encompassed the largest junket operator in Macau which organizes vacations to Asian gambling destinations. SunCity had 4,500 employees and casinos in Russia and Vietnam by 2019. In July of that year, a state-run newspaper claimed that the SunCity Group were enabling gamblers to evade Beijing’s restrictions. This was leading to the transfer of billions of dollars out of the country.

Mr Chou disputed the charges but publicly apologized for the damage to Macau’s and the gaming companies’ reputations. He put out a video presenting the company’s bank documents a year later claiming that they weren’t soliciting gamblers in China. Mr Chou resigned as chairman of the group following his arrest.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has halted trading in Suncity Group shares

This has hit many operators hard. MGM China dropped 10%, Wynn Macau was down 8%, and Sands China was down more than 6%.

The Global Times identified Mr Chau as the boss of a cross-border gambling criminal gang. They claim that it has over 12,000 gambling operators and 80,000 participants all across China. Mr Chau is also a majority shareholder of Sun Entertainment Group, a Hong Kong-listed cremation services and film production company. It has since stated in a stock exchange filing that its management had acknowledged the accusations. Suncity has come out and stated that the company, its subsidiaries, and employees are not being investigated in connection with Chau’s arrest. They did state however that losing Chau’s financial support would have a negative impact on the company’s business and operations.

The Sun Entertainment Group’s stock fell by almost 30% in the fallout of the news.

In recent months, officials have increased their monitoring of Macau’s casinos in order to successfully oversee their operations. Lei Wai Nong, the city’s secretary for economics and finance, announced a 45-day review period on gambling operators in September. The aim of which was to identify and highlight flaws in the industry.

Mr Lei outlined nine items for discussion during a news conference. These included better sector regulation and government officials overseeing daily casino management. Casino gambling is prohibited on the mainland and Chinese tourists are by far the most frequent visitors to Macau. High flyers’ huge wagers helped Macau become one of the richest places on the planet. A status-based primarily on gaming earnings. Although Macau’s six casino owners have no official ties to junkets like Suncity, they have relied on them to bring in high rollers for decades. In 2021, the VIP customers accounted for almost 35% of their $68 billion in gambling revenue.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the industry, essentially eradicating Macau’s main source of revenue. In October, casinos suffered their worst month of the year. Gaming revenue was down 40% from 2020. In 2019, revenue was down 83 percent from pre-pandemic levels. All this is a long way away from Suncity’s heyday in 2013. That year saw the company’s VIP rooms take more than HK$180 billion in a single month.

Since 2020, China has ramped up its anti-cross-border gambling campaign.

It has released a number of government and legal announcements. In addition, it has revised its legislation to specifically prohibit mainland Chinese nationals from gambling abroad.

State media has reported that Beijing’s top envoy in Macau will be appointed as the local government’s national security adviser. The matter has drawn additional attention to Macau’s junket system. This is a network of brokers tasked with attracting high-rollers, lending them money, and recovering loans. Junkets were first introduced to Macau by the late tycoon Stanley Ho, who controlled the city’s gaming monopoly until 2002.

According to Morgan Stanley, the VIP industry that brought the junkets in was the greatest source of government tax revenue in Macau in 2018. It accounted for around 60% of the total overall gambling revenue. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, Suncity accounted for approximately half of Macau’s junket industry. According to the investment bank, VIP business plummeted by 38% in 2019, as the pandemic severely impacted Macau’s entire industry. The Macau casino stock index was down more than 40% by the end of 2021. This resulted in it being the worst year since the China stock market bubble burst in 2015.

New gambling laws in Macau

The release of new gambling laws in Macau is a significant event for all those in the industry. While the legislation is still awaiting approval, it provides a clear picture of what casino owners should expect. Among the many changes envisaged is a greater focus on responsible gaming and community engagement.

The Macau government released the draft bill during a press conference where they outlined their pressing concerns concerning gambling laws. Following the imminent retendering for casino licences, the government confirmed the provision of six concessions. Each concession would be for 10 years. Each option would have a possibility of a three-year extension in some cases. MGM China, Wynn Macau, Sands China, SJM Holdings, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts all have licenses set to expire in June.

Under current regulations Macau draft gambling laws bill concessionaires can operate a maximum number of gaming tables and machines each year.

The Chief Executive of Macau will keep an eye on the sector to set a minimum annual gross income for each gaming table or machine. If the minimum annual income is not met for at least two consecutive years, the city’s leader has the authority to decrease the number of machines used.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will be more of a focus in the future as opposed to how much money the casino floor generates. In the future, Macau’s casino operators will need to place a greater emphasis on gambling laws that focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. The city will require operators to boost small and medium-sized enterprises. There will be a focus on local industry diversification, better labor rights, and the hiring of disabled persons.

They must also be willing to invest in programs related to education, science and technology, the environment, culture and sports.

The Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau will audit concessionaires every three years to observe commitment to the contract.

The Secretary of Economy and Finance will refer any concessionaire who does not follow the conditions of their contracts or is not diligent in adhering to them. The number of shares publicly listed are capped at 30% for each licence holder. Authorities must be made aware of any other financial transactions.

The government has stated that it has the authority to cancel the casino’s contract for a variety of reasons, including public interest or breach of contract.

Part of the compliance check will be based on an annual report that operators will need to submit. This includes CSR initiatives as well as the operator’s responsible gaming solutions.

The updated gambling laws in Macau must include additional information about the future of Macau’s junkets. The gaming legislation reforms will also restrict revenue-sharing agreements between gambling concessionaires and junkets.

The Secretary of the Treasury and Finance will keep issuing junket licences to certified VIP promoters. However, they will limit promoting games to just one concessionaire per licensee. This is in sharp contrast to previous years. Large junkets companies used to dedicate VIP suites or numerous rooms in the concessionaires.

The bill includes a prohibition of gaming junkets or similar third-party businesses unless in circumstances judged necessary. This is dependent on their partners, employees, or management group.

Macau avoided raising its gaming tax, introducing a licence charge, or stationing a government observer inside big casinos, however. This came as a comfort to the territory’s operators. This should have eliminated most investors’ fundamental concerns about the updated gaming law.

The legislation will also require executive directors who are permanent Macau permanent residents to own at least 15% of the license holder’s share capital.

This is up from 10% previously. It is unlikely to have a direct impact on operator stocks listed in Hong Kong however.

In a report released after the news, JPMorgan analysts expressed surprise at the government’s actions. They believe the measures will help to normalise multiples. They also believe that they will make the industry more accessible to a broader range of investors.

The law has had a huge impact on casino owners’ stock prices. It has accentuated the severe drop already experienced as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. Even after the rebound, a Bloomberg index tracking the six largest Macau casino firms listed in Hong Kong was down nearly 50%.

While this new draft regulation provides some clarity in the short term, it does not necessarily mean a return to the industry’s heyday.

Macau’s secretary for administration and justice, Cheong Weng Chon, said he had considered the city’s economy when setting the maximum of six licences. They also took into account a proper scale of expansion for the gaming industry.

Macau’s legislative body hasn’t approved the legislation yet. This will happen within two months, which means that existing casino concessions may not be extended.

Evolution Gaming brings its live-dealer online casino games to Ontario

Online gaming innovator Evolution Gaming Group AB is one of the famous live casino operators. It’s also a firm favorite amongst live dealer casino players. In late October 2021, Evolution declared that web-based casino players in the eastern Canadian region of Ontario would now be able to play live-dealer online casino games. Evolution shared its product portfolio with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). The OLG.ca domain hosts the venture.

All live dealer online games are played through the OLG website. Evolution’s Live dealer Ontario launch included all the top live casino products. This includes real-time baccarat, blackjack and roulette titles. Games stream directly from Evolution’s Vancouver studio.

Now its possible to access brand new live casino products in Ontario 

There are a number of games players can access through the service. Professional live casino dealers host the game through a video feed. They can speak directly to players. Games are streamed in real time and in high definition. 

OLG is the 4th province partner in Canada to team up with Evolution. Prior to this venture collaborations were made with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), and Loto-Quebec.

OLG chief digital and strategy officer Dave Pridmore welcomed the opportunity to be partnering with Evolution. 

“We want to provide the best live dealer experience available, and we are confident that our players will love the quality and the choice of these games, playing at tables with other Canadian players and game presenters.” – OLG chief digital and strategy officer Dave Pridmore

Lottery partnerships with Live Dealer Ontario Canada

Evolution Commercial director for North America Jeff Millar remarked that the company partnership is one more opportunity to fortify the organization’s situation in the country. Millar affirmed that Evolution is effectively looking to make a studio offering. One that is completely fit for overhauling each lottery in Canada.

“We are excited to provide OLG our growing library of live dealer games and share the invaluable insight we have gained in serving the other Canadian provinces,” Millar concluded.

Evolution Gaming have offered a few motivations to Canadian gamers. The Wildz extra codes are a good example. Wildz casino offers an assortment of new player bonuses and loyalty rewards. For example; players can claim free spins rewards and cashback. The firm has reported a benefit of 98% in the second from last quarter and the new arrangement in Ontario is set to improve this figure.

Building the Live Dealer Ontario and wider Canadian Gambling Industry

The Evolution and OLG collaboration is the most recent passage into the Canadian market. It further builds on the live dealer landscape already in place. The move also highlights the capability of the Canadian gaming and gambling club industry. Or perhaps more importantly; it signals it’s potential for growth. As the market develops, the Canadian government becomes more enthusiastic about introducing regulation. The aim is to keep a balance of revenue and social safety from harm. This will surely just be the beginning of Ontario’s prominence in Canadian online casino gaming. 

Government to protect Catawba Nation casino

The government have now officially recognised a measure supporting the Catawba Indian Nation’s Two Kings Casino project.

If there was ever a chance that the South Carolina tribe’s building of a casino in North Carolina may face a new challenge, it has now vanished. President Joe Biden signed the Catawba Nation Indian Nation Lands Act into law at the very end of last year. The National Defense Authorization Act now includes it. The law according to Catawba chief William Harris represents the final step in a decade-long effort to gain government authorization for the casino.

Despite the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ continuing opposition, the casino has been under construction for some time.

They contended that the Catawba had no claim to the property in North Carolina. The Catawba, on the other hand, was not convinced. A recent ruling by the Department of the Interior sided with the South Carolina tribe regarding the casino.

The Cherokee people claim the territory as their original home.

The Department of the Interior put the area in trust for the Rock Hill-based Catawba Indians in March 2020. Thereby designating it as the tribe’s aboriginal land. A US District Court dismissed the EBCI’s most recent case. The EBCI has since filed an appeal.

There was also another opposition. Gambling is opposed by the North Carolina Family Policy Council. It is a nonprofit education and research organization created in 1991 with the declared goal of defending Judeo-Christian principles. They have called the move a dangerous precedent noting that it is the first time Congress has enacted legislation to build an off-reservation tribal casino. There are certain casinos that are not on the reservation system, however. According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a casino needs to be within commutable distance of the reservation. The Secretary of the Interior must determine that the casino will not be harmful to the community and will benefit the tribe.

The incorporation into the legislation of the land act will certainly have a substantial impact on the Eastern Band’s appeal. The Catawba Nation Lands Act gives the Department of Interior’s decision federal support.

Any challenge to the Catawba ownership of the land becomes a question of federal law now. A legal challenge to the casino will not be able to change that.

The Catawba Two Kings Casino was able to hold a soft launch in July with 500 machines in a trailer. It was right in the middle of the building site off an exit ramp in Kings Mountain. The casino was so successful that the tribe increased the number of machines to 1,000 a few months later. This was on the same day that Congress enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. The tribe was once again put at odds with the Cherokees, who had previously managed the sole casinos in North Carolina. Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino have over 1,000 slot machines, as well as video gaming and table games.

The Cherokee have not yet commented on the NDAA, but in a statement on its website, the tribe opposes the Department of Interior’s decision. It attached documentation to back its view that the land belongs to the Cherokee and court filings arguing for the land’s restoration. The statement outlined the “flawed” decision which they believe is a clear example of reservation shopping. This is the process of casino developers matching a willing Indian tribe with a city or county that is open to a casino. It then asks the federal government to create a new reservation outside the willing tribe’s aboriginal territory.  

Catawba Tribal Chief Bill Harris stated that he expects the NDAA will have a significant impact on the Cherokee’s federal lawsuit against the Department of Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs. He congratulated North Carolina senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr for their contributions to the rule’s passing.  He hopes that the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act will reinforce the US Department of Interior’s recognition of their historical and ancestral links to North Carolina. 

The full project, which includes a $273 million casino and resort, is still under construction.

Although an opening date has not yet been set, a temporary, smaller location is presently open. The bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives by Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

According to the Catawba, the construction of the casino will provide thousands of construction jobs. Eventually, it will also employ roughly 2,600 permanent employees thereby boosting the local economy. They hope that this legislation means more people will have higher incomes. Also that children will receive a better education and more people will have better housing and health care. 

The congressman said he is glad to have worked with his colleagues in both the House and Senate to pass this bipartisan legislation. He has stated he believes the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act is a very major step toward addressing historic injustices against the Catawba Indian Nation.  This bill will be critical in ensuring the Catawba Indian Nation’s economic independence.

Except for Rep. Dan Bishop, who objected to aspects of the bill’s military requirements, every member of North Carolina’s delegation voted in support of the NDAA. The law passed with an overwhelming majority of 89-10 in the Senate and 361-55 in the House. Senators Chuck Schumer, Thom Tillis, Lindsay Graham, and Richard Burr backed it in the Senate. Clyburn, together with Representatives Alma Adams, David Price, William Timmons, Joe Wilson, and G.K. Butterfield sponsored the bill in the House.