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Swedish court rule against media outlets on gambling ad case

Niji Ng

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Swedish court rule against media outlets on gambling ad case
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

A Swedish court has ruled in favour of the country’s regulatory authority Lotteriinspektionen in a case against media outlets regarding online gambling advertising. The court effectively curtailed the media’s ability to generate advertising income from the ads of licensed online gambling companies.

The case started in September 2013 after Lotteriinspektionen issued orders and slapped a fine of SEK45k (US$4,940) on two media outlets, Aftonbladet and Expressen, on account of their publication of links to international gambling sites. The media outlets challenged the order, arguing that the publication of clickable links does not fall under advertising and it is a matter of their freedom of expression.

The Court of Appeal ruling states that the sites’ links to international gambling operators were of a “pronounced commercial nature” and thus ineligible for protection under freedom of expression laws. The Court further ruled that the advertising restrictions detailed in Sweden’s 1994 Gambling Act did not contravene European Union law.

Swedish media outlets enjoyed record revenue from gambling advertisements in 2017, very little of which was spent promoting the (for now) state-run gambling monopoly Svenska Spel. But Lotteriinspektionen has become increasingly bold in warning local media outlets to curb their dealings with international gambling operators.

Lotteriinspektionen director general Camilla Rosenberg said the regulator assumes that “anyone who violates the promotion ban by linking to or promoting foreign gaming now ends with [the Court of Appeal ruling].”

In June, Swedish legislators approved a new Gambling Act that will take effect on 1 January 2019. The new rules will for the first time allow international operators to apply for Swedish online licenses and will further restrict advertising with operators not holding a local license.

 

Source: calvinayre.com

Niji has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. Besides reporting industry headlines from all around the globe, Niji is also head of the content management team at Impressions Content Management, based in Kerala, India, which offers writing and editing services to clients around the world.

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Compliance Updates

Spelinspektionen issues warning to gambling companies over bonus offer rules

Niji Ng

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Spelinspektionen issues warning to gambling companies over bonus offer rules
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Spelinspektionen, the gambling regulator of Sweden, has issues a warning all licensed gambling operators and urged them to stick to the newly implemented rules concerning bonus offers.

Sweden opened up its market to international online casino and betting companies on 1 January 2019. The country has licensed about 70 betting and casino operators and are in the process of issuing more licenses. The regulatory body issued the warning following complaints that some license holders have neglected the rules regarding the offering of bonuses and similar incentives to their customers. Under Sweden’s new gambling law, bonuses can only be offered to players/bettors who register with one licensee or another for the very first time.

Spelinspektionen said in its statement that incentives beyond the ones authorised risk attracting customers with problem gambling behaviour. The regulatory body went to say that it monitors carefully the online gambling space and how license holders comply with bonus rules, and that it has initiated a probe into several gambling companies regarding how they handle bonus offering policies.

Companies offering bonuses and similar incentives beyond the ones allowed under current law risk being slapped hefty fines or even having their license revoked, Spelinspektionen warned.

 

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Is it true that Indian government is planning to legalise online gambling?

Niji Ng

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Is it true that Indian government is planning to legalise online gambling?
Image Source: ipleaders.in
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Rumours are abuzz about Indian government’s plans to regulate online gambling in the country. Overall, gambling is prohibited in India, apart from a few jurisdictions. However, there have been recent staccato calls for legalisation of online gambling. In fact, there exists a few companies who make use of the grey area in the legality of online gambling in the country and offer their services in a surrogate manner.

The recent rumours find their origin in a 150-page long report addressed to the government from the Law Commission of India (LCI). In this report, the LCI recommends the legalisation of online gambling in a regulated manner because it observes that the government cannot practically prevent people from accessing online betting sites. The current law has no provision for this.

The LCI also points to the immense potential for tax revenue that the federal government could benefit from, should it choose to regulate online gambling. In recent statements, the Indian government have said that they are looking into the reports from the LCI with maximum interest.

Despite all this, the rumours are unlikely to be true in the immediate future. The current central government is nearing the end of its five-year term. The general elections will be held in May later this year. The government, which is facing a tough battle for a second term, may not risk doing anything unconventional or what can be dubbed as politically incorrect at this juncture.

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Compliance Updates

The Current Absurdity of the Dutch Online Gambling Law

George Miller

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The Current Absurdity of the Dutch Online Gambling Law
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

The Senate of the Netherlands has been discussing a bill that proposes to regulate online gambling in the country. A vote has been scheduled to take place this week. The bill was passed by the lower house in 2016 and has been languishing for two years because other issues were given priority.

This article seeks to acquaint Dutch online casino players on various aspects of this important topic through the following sections.

  1. The existing laws concerning online gambling
  2. The key points in the proposed bill
  3. The expected steps forward if the bill is passed
  4. Comparison with the online gambling laws in the United Kingdom

Existing Dutch Online Gambling Laws

The key legislation covering gambling in the Netherlands is the Dutch Gambling Act of 1964 commonly referred to as the Wok. Under this Act only one licence for land based casino operations has been issued. This is to the Dutch state-owned Holland Casino. The Act does not cover online gambling at all. There is no provision to issue licenses and none are therefore issued. It is illegal to offer any form of online gambling in the Netherlands as of now.

But the fact is that Dutch players are gambling at hundreds of offshore operators generating revenue of over €800 million from online casino gaming and other online gambling verticals like poker and sports betting. However, it is not illegal for Dutch players to play at these sites. The players themselves will not face prosecution. In the absolute worst case they may lose their deposits if the sites are blocked. If you’re willing to take a risk then you can play at any of our recommended online casinos. They are regulated outside Holland by top notch agencies like the Malta Gaming Authority and the Government of Gibraltar.

The Dutch Remote Gaming Bill

From 2012, the Dutch Gaming Authority, commonly referred to as KSA, had the task of regulating gambling in the country. As a part of its efforts the Remote Gambling Bill for online gambling was prepared. Here it is important to point out that two reasons have been cited for this.

  1. Pressure from the European Union to bring a competitive and regulated online gambling structure in Holland on par with that prevalent in some other countries like the United Kingdom.
  2. The Dutch government sees the massive online gambling turnover as a revenue source that is presently going out of the country. Regulating online gambling will bring taxation and licensing revenue to the national exchequer.

The key points of the Remote Gambling Bill are as follows.

Procedure

  • Interested online gaming operators will have to apply for a license.
  • KSA would scrutinise applications and award a five-year license to deserving operators.
  • Applicants based inside the European Economic Area would be given preference.

Taxation

  • The main revenue would come from a 29% tax on gross gaming revenue.
  • Another 1.5% would be levied to fund the activities of the KSA.
  • 0.5% would be levied to create a Responsible Gambling fund to rehab players inflicted with problem gambling.

Other restrictions

  • Limits have been proposed on marketing sites via non-pay TV channels.
  • There are restrictions on promoting in-play wagers during sports broadcasts.
  • Online gambling operators are to be prohibited from accepting wagers on any sports team with which they have a sponsorship deal.

The Way Forward

If the bill is passed by the Senate then the process of receiving and scrutinising applications can begin. Operators at present serving Dutch players through offshore regulators have expressed intent to become a part of the national regime.

Unfortunately, there is a strong move to exclude the operators presently functioning from overseas locations, also referred to as grey area operators, from the licensing process. If they are not altogether excluded, they are likely to face a cooling off period that may range from two years to five years. This was confirmed by Justice Minister Sander Dekker. This means that the best brands presently operating in Holland will not be given licenses.

  • If they are prevented from operating in the regulated market, Dutch players will be deprived of the best brands.
  • If they continue to operate from offshore locations, then KSA may be unsuccessful in channelizing Dutch players to licensed operators.

In either event, the system as a whole will lose out. There are even whispered rumours that the Dutch government may create a single state owned monopoly to offer online gambling services, as it has done with land based gambling.

Comparisons with the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom implemented a regulated online gambling regime about a decade ago. But it went about the business in a completely different way. It took the offshore operators then functioning in Britain on board. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission insisted that will have to apply for fresh licenses but was sensitive to the concerns these operators faced and tried to find mutually acceptable solutions in an amicable manner.

Today the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is regarded as one of the strictest regulators. It has imposed strict practices to be followed for prevention of underage gambling and problem gambling. Advertisements deemed unsuitable are immediately acted upon. Bonus and promotion offers that do not meet its standards of fairness and transparency have to be retracted. Hefty punishments are imposed on defaulters.

This has created a win-win situation for everybody.

  • The British players are getting products from the best online gaming operators in a favourable environment.
  • The online gaming operators are benefitting from players moving to them from sites that are not licensed in Britain.
  • The British government is getting additional tax revenues in the exchequer.

When one compares the Dutch and British scenarios it is evident that the Dutch absurdities are not likely to really succeed unless corrections are made before the legislation is passed.

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