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EGBA Proposes Changes for German iGaming Market

Niji Narayan

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EGBA Proposes Changes for German iGaming Market
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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has outlined several recommendations aimed at improving the proposals for a Third State Treaty on gambling.

EGBA welcomes the progress towards developing a new online gambling regulation but warns that the draft treaty proposals are inconsistent, overly restrictive in the context of current consumer demand and jeopardise the task of developing a fully functioning online gambling market in Germany.

“A new online gambling regulation is badly needed in Germany, but these new proposals could make the current regulatory dysfunction even worse. An attractive product offer is absolutely essential to achieving a safe and well-channelled gambling environment – but the proposed restrictions would prevent this,” Maarten Haijer, Secretary-General of EGBA, said.

Given the importance of channelling, consumer choice and the “shop-around” nature of online betting, EGBA is concerned that the restrictions proposed in the new state treaty will undermine the success of the future online gambling regulation. Specifically, the cumulative effect of the current product restrictions and the comprehensively restricted access to online casino games, which has been part of the European Commission’s repeated criticism of Germany’s gambling regulations.

To ensure this new regulation is a success, EGBA makes the following recommendations:

  • Online casino: A full product range is essential to support effective channelling; there should be no opt-out for the Länder when it comes to the regulation of casino games.
  • Bet types: Extensive restrictions should be avoided when defining permissible bet types. Any restrictions on live betting would undermine the objective of channelling consumers.
  • Deposit limits: A mandatory cross-provider deposit limit of EUR 1000 will be difficult to implement on a technical level and raises concerns about data protection. A recent study found that the setting of voluntary deposit limits is effective and gamblers who set their own deposit limits would spend significantly less money, compared to players who had not.
  • Player account activity: The proposed waiting times for switching between products and operators are not justified and will undermine channelling because they ignore the “shop-around” nature of online betting behaviour and the nature of price and odds comparisons.
  • Regulatory authority: EGBA welcomes the proposal to set up a central competent regulatory authority but has concerns about how long it will take to set up and how this could affect licensing decisions.

Asia

Singapore to Establish New Gambling Regulatory Authority in 2021

Niji Narayan

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Photo source: ramboll.com
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Singapore is set to establish a new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) by 2021 to consolidate and optimise all gambling regulatory resources within a single agency.

The GRA will see the current Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), which oversees Singapore’s casinos, and the Gambling Regulatory Unit, which regulates remote gambling services and “fruit machines,” come under one umbrella.

The GRA will also govern terrestrial gambling services currently overseen by the Singapore Totalisator Board, illegal gambling activities enforced by the Singapore Police Force and even responsible gambling measures currently controlled by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that while Singapore’s current gambling regulatory framework has delivered positive outcomes, there are “emerging trends” that can have a significant impact on the gambling landscape.

“For example, technology has changed the way people gamble and made it more accessible. Business models have evolved to suit changing customer preferences by introducing gambling elements in products that are traditionally not seen as gambling,” the MHA said.

In response, the new GRA “will consolidate and optimize gambling regulatory resources within a single agency. This will allow GRA to stay even more effectively abreast of technological and global trends, respond faster to emerging products in particular those that cut across different domains, and take a more holistic approach to gambling policies and issues.”

“Even as we update our laws, MHA will retain a generally prohibitive stance towards gambling, and continue to maintain a risk-based regulatory approach towards existing gambling operators,” it said.

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Compliance Updates

German Court Orders Suspension of Sports Betting Licensing Process Until Further Notice

Niji Narayan

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German Court Orders Suspension of Sports Betting Licensing Process Until Further Notice
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The Darmstadt Administrative Court in Germany has ordered to suspend the nationwide sports betting licensing process until further notice. The move came after an Austrian betting operator, which is not a member of the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV), claimed that the licensing procedure was not transparent and non-discriminatory.

“The decision of the court is a big blow to our members. Even though we were promised concessions by the legislator back in 2012, an early approval, which should have been made possible by the State Treaty on Gaming, which has been in effect since the beginning of the year, is now once again in the stars,” Mathias Dahms, President of DSWV, said.

“It is particularly annoying that there could have been permits for a long time. The Gambling Council (Glücksspielkollegiums) has not been able to reach an agreement for weeks, even though decisions were all set to be made. This body of 16 competent officials from the state ministries is responsible for the final release of the permits,” he added.

“Sports betting providers in Germany are once again denied access to a regulated market and thus legal certainty. The applicants have once again invested a lot of effort and energy into the process and prepared for the regulated market. I also feel sorry for the employees in the Hessian Ministry of the Interior and the Darmstadt Regional Council, who have been very committed in the past few months to finally make the approval process a success. We hope the authorities can continue to issue permits quickly,” Dahms added.

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Compliance Updates

UKGC Suspends Two Operator Licences Over GAMSTOP Participation Failure

Niji Narayan

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UKGC Suspends Two Operator Licences Over GAMSTOP Participation Failure
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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has suspended the licences of two online operators for failure to fully integrate with the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme. All online operators were notified in January that participating in GAMSTOP by 31 March was a requirement of their licence conditions.

The decision to suspend the licences of Dynamic, trading as Prophet, and Sportito was taken for failure to comply. After the suspension is implemented, Sportito has now integrated and its suspension has been lifted.

“We have made it clear to operators that we are ready and willing to use our powers to protect consumers, as this action demonstrates. Self-exclusion is an important tool to protect vulnerable consumers, which is why we made it compulsory for all online operators to be signed up to GAMSTOP by 31 March. We took action because the operators had not complied by the deadline, which placed vulnerable consumers at risk,” Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of UKGC, said.

“One of the suspensions has now been lifted as the operator is now compliant. Our investigations into both operators continue,” Neil McArthur added.

The suspension of Dynamic’s licence will remain in place until the Commission is satisfied that the operator has fully integrated the GAMSTOP scheme and is fully compliant with their licence conditions.

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