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Compliance Updates

Kansspelautoriteit Wins Gambling Advertising Case

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Kansspelautoriteit Issues 14 Warnings for COVID-19-related Ads
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The Council of State, the highest administrative court in the Netherlands, has ruled in favour of Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) in a case concerning the use of text-based promotions for online games of chance.

KSA had argued that using promotional articles to publicise online games, which are currently prohibited in the country, was a form of advertising and as such should not be permitted.

The Council of State agreed with the regulator’s assessment, ruling that promotional text falls under the same category of advertising and is not allowed under current laws. The decision supports an earlier ruling made by the District Court of The Hague in February 2019.

The original case related to incremental penalty payments that the KSA had issued to Content Publishing Limited, a subsidiary of Betsson, in 2017, after the regulator said the operator had published promotional articles for online gambling on various websites.

Content Publishing had argued in the District Court of The Hague that the KSA’s definition of promotion in the Gambling Act was too broad and that its articles constituted editorial information, rather than advertisements.

However, the Court disagreed, saying in its ruling “the primary objective (…) was to forward potential players to providers of online casino games” and that the KSA rightly regarded this as promoting illegal gambling. The Council of State ruling supported this initial decision.

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Compliance Updates

EGBA Welcomes Confirmation Of Frankfurt As Seat Of New EU Anti-Money Laundering Authority

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EGBA Welcomes Confirmation Of Frankfurt As Seat Of New EU Anti-Money Laundering Authority
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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), the association representing Europe’s leading gambling operators, welcomes the recent confirmation of Frankfurt as the seat of the new European Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA). This agreement, reached by the EU institutions, creates a European anti-money laundering authority which will operate together with, and in addition to, the already existing national anti-money laundering (AML) authorities of the EU member states.

AMLA, which will commence operations in mid-2025 with over 400 staff members, will possess both direct and indirect supervisory powers over obligated entities, including the EU’s biggest financial institutions. With the power to intervene in cross-border cases, AMLA is expected to provide comprehensive guidance that further harmonises AML rules and their application, including creating a standardised reporting template for Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs), which will greatly benefit various sectors, including gambling, by standardising reporting formats across EU countries.

The establishment of AMLA as a new authority is a fundamental part of the ongoing reform of the EU’s anti-money laundering framework, which is expected to be finalised and agreed by the EU institutions before the end of the current EU mandate in June 2024.

As the EU finalises the new AML legislative package, EGBA has developed industry-specific guidelines on anti-money laundering to help online gambling operators comply with the AML rules in the EU, including the upcoming EU AML Regulation. Developed collaboratively with our members, the guidelines offer a risk-based approach and include practical direction for operators in areas such as risk assessments, customer due diligence processes, suspicious transaction reporting, and record-keeping.

To ensure the effectiveness of the guidelines, EGBA members will engage in regular discussions on their implementation and are obliged to submit annual reports to EGBA summarising their progress. To promote transparency and accountability, these regular discussions and reporting will help to identify and address potential issues or areas for improvement in the guidelines and ensure they remain up to date with the latest developments. Other operators are invited to adopt the guidelines and participate in the reporting requirements.

“We welcome Frankfurt as the chosen seat of the new European Anti-Money Laundering Authority. Given the city’s position as the centre of European finance, it is a logical choice. We look forward to collaborating with AMLA to ensure the representation of the gambling sector’s voice in future EU-level AML discussions and help contribute positively to the fight against money laundering. The standardisation of STRs will really benefit gambling operators, particularly those who operate in many countries, because there are currently many different reporting formats across EU member states. By implementing our AML guidelines, operators can also already be well positioned for the EU’s incoming AML rules and play their part in raising standards across the industry.” – Dr. Ekaterina Hartmann, Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, EGBA.

 

Source: EGBA

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Compliance Updates

BOS Opposes Swedish Government’s Credit Card Ban

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On Friday, the government came out with a proposal to ban the use of credit cards for gambling. The government is thus going against its own state investigation into the matter, the so-called Over-indebtedness Inquiry.

In a previous opinion, BOS has supported the Over-indebtedness Inquiry’s conclusion to continue allowing credit cards for gambling.

“It is sad that the government does not listen to its own expertise and instead proposes a ban on credit cards when gambling, contrary to what the government investigation has concluded. Interestingly, the government does not propose a corresponding credit card ban for the purchase of alcoholic beverages, which in Sweden is only offered by a retail monopoly owned and operated by the government itself,” Gustaf Hoffstedt said.

“The government is handing yet another competitive advantage to the unlicensed gambling market, which has a 41% market share when it comes to online casino. The risk is great that unlicensed gambling will overtake and gain a larger total market share than licensed gambling in 2024. The government needs to change focus and show that it is on the same side as the licensed gambling companies and the safeguarding of consumers,” Gustaf Hoffstedt added.

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Compliance Updates

James Blake Fined for Breaching Tennis Sponsorship Rules

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Miami Open tournament director and former top 10 player James Blake was fined $56,250 for violating tennis’ rules about betting sponsorship, the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced Wednesday.

The London-based ITIA said the violation was unintentional and Blake “cooperated fully with the investigation and did not contest the charge”.

If Blake breaks the rules again during an 18-month probationary period that began on Feb. 9, the agency said he would be subject to an 18-month suspension and an additional fine of $131,250.

The TACP rules state that: “No Covered Person shall directly or indirectly, facilitate, encourage and/or promote Tennis Betting (Facilitation).”

Karen Moorhouse, CEO of the ITIA, said: “Across our members – the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slams – the rules prohibit accredited individuals from having commercial relationships with betting companies.

“This case is more a matter of perception, rather than corruption. The rules apply to players, coaches, officials and accredited tournament staff – who all have the ability to influence results or have access to inside information.

“We urge anyone in the sport who is unclear or is considering commercial deals like this to get in touch with us to seek guidance.”

The ITIA is an independent body established by its tennis members to promote, encourage, enhance and safeguard the integrity of professional tennis worldwide.

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