HomeGambling IndustryMinor gamblers in Europe, new Dutch tax, and legal moves in Sweden

Minor gamblers in Europe, new Dutch tax, and legal moves in Sweden

6 min. read
Weekly roundup

This week had a lot of everything – new appointments, fresh game releases, and big regulatory movements. With the United Kingdom announcing new general elections to be held on July 4, many have asked themselves – and perhaps justly so – whether the planned changes to the gambling industry, which include a host of player protection measures, would actually happen.

The Tories have less than a 1% of holding onto office, and with Labor most likely coming in, the gambling reform may be taking a hit and be deferred once again. Regardless, there has been a lot happening on the regulatory front. The Netherlands is mulling whether to raise the current gambling tax to 37.8% from the current 30.5% rate.

Should the proposal go through, it would add another €202m to state coffers, the reasoning goes, yet not everyone agrees. According to the Online Gambling Industry Association (NOGA), a trade group, even a small increase of several percentage points would significantly crimp the regulated market’s competitiveness and lead to poorer channelization.

These warnings come against a backdrop of worrisome research presented in the Netherlands, specifically that illegal operators are targeting minors by allowing them to deposit without any consideration for carrying out ID checks to block payments from underage individuals. The research conducted by Keurmerk Responsible Affiliates and shared with NOGA and VNLOK, urges the Dutch Gaming Authority to step in and do more to stop this from happening.

Speaking of minors and underage individuals who may be perniciously influenced by gambling, new research shared by Hina, a local media outfit in Croatia, says that 73% of all high schoolers in the country have experienced gambling in one form or another. Croatia currently has 50,000 problem gamblers, the source added.

If true, these numbers are worrisome, to say the least, as gambling experienced at a young age is most commonly associated with more serious problems later in life, including a lifelong battle with gambling addiction.

In the meantime, Sweden is looking to roll out more measures designed to prevent credit card use for gambling. Previously, only certain verticals were banned from being funded with credit, but this is now expanding to any exemptions that earlier regulatory efforts may have overlooked, strengthening the overall health of the market by steering consumers away from harmful practices. This measure has been backed by the country’s gambling regulator.

The Swedish Gaming Authority has also issued a ban against an operator that it alleged was providing skin gambling to local consumers. WiseAvant OÜ, the regulator said, allowed players to gamble with these digital cosmetic goods, a conclusion that was rejected by the company, which argued that since there was no real money involved, the company’s product did not fall under the remit of the gambling regulator. The watchdog did not accept this argument.

In the meantime, SBC Events announced a new super-event that combines the company’s North American and Latin American gatherings into one new format, the SBC Summit Americas, whose first edition will be held in May 2025, and which will bring together the SBC Summit North America and SBC Summit Latinoamérica under the same roof.

In this week’s scoop of corporate rumours and big moves, we found two big things. For one, Entain may be considering divesting Crystalbet, with the company potentially flogging off the asset as the FTSE100 giant continues to pare down assets and streamline operations. Entain’s new leadership has vowed to end the practice of imprudent purchases, focusing on long-term sustainability and operational results, as well as driving shareholder value.

Hard Rock International has denied rumours that it is mulling buying Star Entertainment Limited in Austria only a day after initial publications suggested as much. The confusion arose from the fact that a partner company of the international hospitality giant had been in talks with Star Entertainment Limited and may have left the wrong impression that HRI was indeed interested in the purchase, which it flatly denied not to be true.

Meanwhile, Scientific Games has bumped Beth Bresnahan to Chief Communications and Brand Officer, as the company continues to strengthen its C-suite. EveryMatrix, a tech company with a multi-pronged approach in the gambling industry, also picked a new Chief Technology Officer in the face of Mihnea Dobre.

In this week’s conversations with industry insiders, we had a number of truly fascinating interviews. We spoke with Casino Guru’s Social Media & Community Specialist, Radka Atomic, with whom we took a deep dive into what it is to build a community for a major company, and how she develops the brand’s social media channels. The full interview offered a rare insight behind the scenes of one of the most successful brands in the sector.

Two other important conversations also took place. One is with Itak Zak, Executive Director at Digicode, who discussed the dynamism of the industry, and how the gambling industry has learned to take proactive action while also responding reactively to certain big changes. Zak’s in-depth analysis of how the gambling industry responds to change is a delight to read in its entirety, and it’s a very well-researched insight into the very DNA of what gambling companies do to remain in business in what is an increasingly challenging environment.

Not least, we spoke with Department of Trust CEO Charles Cohen who addressed the rather pressing matter of whether gambling operators can implement truly frictionless checks into their offers at a time when regulators are demanding for tougher screening checks and budget limits. Cohen is optimistic about the future but explains what core differences there are between the gambling industry and say, the banking sector in general.

Image credit: Casino Guru News

24 May 2024
6 min. read
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