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Compliance Updates

Russia’s State Duma Approves Overhaul of Sports Betting Laws

Niji Narayan

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Russia’s State Duma Approves Overhaul of Sports Betting Laws
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The Russian State Duma has approved the legislation that will significantly overhaul the Russian sports betting industry, imposing tax on bets placed on overseas events and extending financial obligations to all market participants. The State Duma passed the bill in the second and third reading.

The new rules pose limits on the types of events that can be wagered on, limiting activity to those held by Russian national sports federations and professional sports leagues. It also allows sports events held by international sports organisations.

Operators accepting bets on non-Russian sports will now be required to pay contributions to Russian sports federations, which amount to at least 5% of GGR every three months.

An operator may have a license withdrawn if it fails to pay the relevant contributions within a three-month reporting period. Furthermore, it will no longer be possible to have a license on both sports betting and tote betting.

All licensees will now be required to have a RUB500 million bank guarantee and RUB1 billion of assets in place. The bill will enter into force 60 days after its official publication, with the measures expected to take effect in mid-autumn 2020.

Compliance Updates

EU Report Suggests Consumer Protection Approach to Tackle Loot Boxes

Niji Narayan

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EU Report Suggests Consumer Protection Approach to Tackle Loot Boxes
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A report commissioned by the EU Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee has recently come to the conclusion that the EU should stop approaching loot boxes as a gambling issue and treat the practice as a consumer protection issue.

The report concludes that while the problematic practice can be dangerous due to the way that it can prey on obsession and addiction, especially in younger players, gambling can only be regulated on a country to country basis. This would leave the rule of law for loot boxes and gambling in gaming fragmented among the Member States that make up the EU as each country will be allowed to create there rules separate from the others.

“Since gambling is a national competence of the Member States, approaching the issue from this angle may lead to a fragmented market for video games within the EU… It is therefore recommended to tackle problematic game designs from a wider consumer protection perspective,” the report said.

As a result of this report, the recommendation has been made that loot boxes and problematic game designs be treated as a consumer protection issues, which the EU has the power to set standards for across all Member States. This conclusion comes from the risks that loot boxes can pose to vulnerable and younger players who either may build addictive behaviours, or not understand the true values of their purchases.

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Compliance Updates

Gaming Innovation Group receives CSIE license in New Jersey, USA

George Miller

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Gaming Innovation Group receives CSIE license in New Jersey, USA
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Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) is pleased to announce its subsidiary, iGaming Cloud Inc., has today been granted a permanent casino service industry enterprise license (CSIE) from the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) in New Jersey, USA. The application was filed back in June 2018, and GiG has supported Hard Rock International’s casino operations in New Jersey under a so-called transactional waiver pending the final approval.

The license is granted for five years and gives GiG a permanent license to provide its real-money online casino platform solution to operators in the state of New Jersey.

Richard Brown, CEO of GiG says: “We are delighted to receive the CSIE license after a long and comprehensive process. This is a great achievement for GiG and gives us a solid confirmation that our platform, procedures and operations are meeting the highest standards out there.”

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Compliance Updates

Smarkets introduces betting exchange to Swedish market

George Miller

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Smarkets introduces betting exchange to Swedish market
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Betting exchange Smarkets has launched in Sweden after receiving approval from the national regulator. The London-headquartered company operates one of the world’s leading peer-to-peer platforms for trading on sport, politics and current affairs, and it is now available to users in Sweden at smarkets.com.

Smarkets will become the second licensed betting exchange in Sweden, where online gaming and betting operators reported revenues of SEK14bn (£1.2bn) in 2019, according to figures from regulator Spelinspektionen and the Swedish Tax Agency.

As well as its UK base, Smarkets also has offices in Los Angeles and Malta, and is one of the industry’s only operators to own its full technology stack.

Jason Trost, Smarkets CEO/Founder, said: “We know that customers in Sweden have been eagerly anticipating us going live, so I’m very excited to launch the Smarkets exchange there.

“I am confident that our market-leading prices and superior product will appeal to Swedish customers. The fact that we own our tech stack is one of the reasons we are able to offer the best pricing in the industry, and I’m really looking forward to growing our user base in Sweden.”

Sweden is the second new market in which Smarkets has recently launched. Whilst Swedish customers will be able to use the Smarkets betting exchange, the company also introduced its SBK sportsbook app to bettors in the US state of Colorado in June, and plans to release SBK in Indiana before the end of the year. Smarkets has been available to users in the UK and Ireland since 2010.

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