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Compliance Updates

Sweden to execute new licensing scheme

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Sweden to adapt new online licensing scheme
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With the standstill period for the European Commission and member states expiring yesterday, a new path has been paved for the execution of a  new licensing scheme in Sweden.

It is anticipated that the online gambling world in Sweden would adapt to the new licensing scheme by January 2019 with the expiration of the standstill period set for legislation review by the European Commission and other member states on March 20. A copy of a draft gambling legislation to the European Commission for vetting was sent by the government of Sweden in mid-December. The three-month window gave the member states the opportunity to comment on the draft and establish if it was in sync with the EU treaties or not.

Back in December, the Swedish government disclosed about its confidence in the new market launch date set for January 1, 2019. Moreover, it said that it could start accepting application for new licenses by July 2018.

Lotteriinspektionen, the Swedish gaming regulator, has been showing for months that internationally licensed online operators have been expanding their services in Sweden and now control one-quarter of the overall gambling market. While the new legislative piece gives the state control over lotteries, land-based casinos and gaming machines, the online sports betting sector, casino, bingo and other online products would be open to applicants that meet the required regulations. The licenses would be valid for five years, and licensed operators would pay 18 percent taxes on gaming revenue.

One of the biggest changes would be that servers must be based in the country, even if some exceptions can be made for those who are in jurisdictions that Sweden accepts. Those who are based outside the European Economic Area have to establish a representative in the country. The opening of the online market comes with a tougher regulations, such as a strengthening on the control, as it is believed that consumers being better protected give more chances of a clean industry: gamblers must be 18 years to participate in wagering, except those who enter land-based gambling facilities, which will be required to be 20 years or above.

Operators that do not meet their license obligations can revise fines totalling as much as 10 percent of their annual turnover. Unauthorised operators offering services to Swedish players, or even those who promote the services, can face higher fines and prison time. The Swedish government also gives the chance to licensed online operators to promote their products without any type of punishment, as long as they are not targeting minors. If an operator signs a sponsorship with a sport team, it has to make sure that the logos and brand names do not appear on products targeted for minors.

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Compliance Updates

Northern Ireland Gambling Amendment Bill Reaches Assembly

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New regulations for the gaming industry in Northern Ireland have been introduced this week in the country’s Assembly, significantly amending the current laws.

The Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Bill creates new offences in permitting children to play gaming machines and provides powers to impose a statutory levy on gambling operators.

It establishes a mandatory code of practice for licence holders, broadens the definition of cheating to include attempted cheating, makes gambling contracts enforceable in law and permits bookmakers and bingo clubs to open on Sundays and on Good Friday.

The minimum age for minors to play a gambling machine is now 18 and it will become an offence to invite a person below that age to play. Previously, it was not an offence to permit an under-age person to gamble.

The statutory levy on gambling operators will be employed in a manner similar to the practice in England, where the money raised is used for community projects and treatment of problem gamblers.

An overhaul of online gambling legislation will form a second phase of the changes to Northern Ireland’s gambling scene and will follow after discussions.

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Compliance Updates

OKTO receives PCI DSS certification

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OKTO receives PCI DSS certification
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Confirming once again OKTO’s commitment to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure, and compliant service offerings to its customers, OKTO obtained the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard certification

OKTO has received the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification proving once more its continuous investment in leading and reliable technologies, adhering to high industry technological standards to offer enhanced security on consumer financial data and increased trust in the payment ecosystem. The fintech firm’s OKTO.WALLET solution meets all the requirements set forth as a Level 1 Service Provider, ensuring the security and protection of payment cardholder data.

Compliance validation of the OKTO solution involved the evaluation and confirmation that the security controls and procedures have been properly implemented as per the policies recommended by PCI DSS. According to the requirements formed by the international payment systems, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and other members, all entities that store, process, and ensure the transfer of data to their cardholders must comply with the unified PCI Data Security Standard.

John Zacharakis, CTO at OKTO, comments: “PCI DSS certification is a key step of our high-quality offering to our customers and commitment to the industry’s highest standards in the most regulated markets. OKTO meets the objectives of the PCI DSS and assures that its clients obtain a fully PCI DSS compliant services, adhering to high security technical standards which ensure the security of the network infrastructure, and apply required controls around cardholder data to minimize credit card fraud.”

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Compliance Updates

1400 Arrests, $8M Seized in Illegal Gambling at Euro: Interpol

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An Interpol operation targeting illegal gambling during Euro 2020 led to 1400 arrests and the seizure of $7.9 million (6.7 million euros) in cash, the Lyon-based global crime agency reported.

Thousands of raids in Asia and Europe also resulted in the confiscation of computers and mobile phones connected to almost $465 million in bets.

“While most of us were watching the UEFA European Football Championship as simple fans, hundreds of specialized officers across 28 countries were targeting organized crime groups looking to earn millions from illegal gambling and related money laundering activities,” an Interpol statement read.

Hong Kong police detained more than 800 suspects, “including the alleged kingpin of a triad-controlled bookmaking syndicate,” the statement said.

In what was described as one of Hong Kong’s most successful operations ever they seized $2.7 million in cash and records detailing hundreds of millions in bets.

In Italy, home of the European champions at the pandemic-delayed tournament, Operation SOGA VIII inspected 280 betting shops and delivered 1.3 million euros in sanctions for illegal betting schemes.

In all, Interpol’s eight SOGA operations have led to more than 19,000 arrests, cash seizures of more than $63 million and the closure of over 4000 illegal betting dens.

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