The progress of legalising online gaming across Germany has been patchy, but there was a breakthrough on 12 March 2020 when the latest GlüNeuRStV was approved by the German heads of state. It acts as a compromise between states wanting the market to be open and those wanting gambling to be more restricted.
This treaty will open up the online market to all products and verticals, specifically poker and virtual slots, with the legislation set to come into force on 1 July 2021. It will, therefore, significantly liberalise the market, subject to strict conditions concerning player protection.
Ahead of July 2021, a transition period was agreed to enable all existing operators and the German Länder to adapt to the new legal framework. This period began on 15 October 2020 and will be used to clarify existing and forthcoming mandates, including those on age verification. However, it’s important to note the industry must comply with the new laws as of 15 October (with a few exceptions deferred to 15 December).
Age verification has been a hot topic in Germany since an investigation by the Bavarian Consumer Centre highlighted the ease at which under-18s could access five major online gambling sites. To get a license in Germany under the new regime, online gambling operators will need to demonstrate a robust age verification solution.
The risks of failure to demonstrate a system of age and identity verification, are significant. It will likely result in a licence application being rejected. For current operators in the German market, it could lead to the revocation of their license and fines of up to €500,000.
ZITRO’S WHEEL OF LEGENDS IS NOW LIVE AT CASINO ZÜRICH IN SWITZERLAND
Casino Zürich, a member of the Swiss Casinos group, has once again bet on Zitro to introduce immersive experiences with the addition of the premium multi-game, Wheel of Legends. Along with other renowned Zitro games, this slot title has captivated players thanks to its stunning graphics, performance, and compelling game mechanics.
Wheel of Legends is featured on Altius Glare, which stands out on any casino floor, thanks to its large screens and unique game themes. Altius Glare features an impressive 55” 4K top display and 27” Full HD base game display and an intelligent LED Halo, making it the perfect form-factor for an immersive player experience.
André Zünd Gaming Manager at Swiss Casino Zürich commented: “Zitro’s new game title has been an outstanding addition to our product catalog. We are confident that it will appeal to our loyal customers, along with the impressive Altius Glare cabinet. We are pleased to partner, once again, with such an important casino supplier as Zitro”.
“We are delighted to announce this agreement with Casino Zürich at an exciting period of growth in this market. It thrills us that players will also be enjoying one of Zitro’s new and most popular titles, and we have no doubt that it will be as successful as it has been in many casinos around the world”, added Nadège Teyssedre, Zitro’s Regional Director for EMEA.
Slovak Gambling Authority raided again! Secured were especially the so-called crypto-mining machines
The Gambling Regulatory Authority seized 54 illegal gaming machines in a recent nationwide raid. This is the second successful move carried out by the Authority in the last four months to combat this type of illegal gambling.
Seized were especially the so-called mining machines and quiz machines. The majority were taken based on searches carried out by inspectors of the Office for the Regulation of Gambling (URHH). “As these gaming machines have not been issued or granted a valid licence, we consider them illegal. Our staff actively monitor these machines’ occurrence; most of them have been seized due to their diligent work. Some have also been seized because of complaints from the players,” said general director URHH, Dávid Lenčéš.
The recent seizures were carried out in all regions in accordance with § 81 article 11 of the Gambling Act in cooperation with the police force. According to the director general of the URHH, the role of the police officers was to maintain public order and security of the employees as public officials, as not every seizure went smoothly. “It has happened in the past that the office staff has faced physical attacks or had to remove some equipment by professional locksmiths. Illegal operators sometimes try to make the seizure impossible by fixing machines firmly against the floor or the wall.”
According to the Gambling Act, small operators, such as pubs, cannot operate gaming machines. The URHH must license each gaming machine since it is the only official body authorised to issue a licence.
However, some speculators try to bypass the law by operating machines that have been “authorised” by other entities or posing as knowledge competitions or cryptocurrency mining machines. In each case, URHH carefully investigates whether a gambling game is taking place on the device, regardless of its name, visual elements, or type of device.
The most significant number of machines was seized in the Bratislava Self-Governing Region, representing half of all. Nine machines were held in the Košice Region, 8 in the Banská Bystrica Region, 7 in the Nitra Region, 2 in the Žilina Region and 1 in the Prešov Region. Among the 54 machines seized nationwide, the majority were cryptocurrency mining.
A “mining machine” is a device that pretends to be used to mine cryptocurrencies, and a “quiz machine” seems to be a knowledge game. In both cases, the game played on these machines fulfils the characteristics of a gambling game. However, on these gambling games, the Authority is not granted an individual licence; if someone is operating them without a licence, it is undoubtedly an illegal activity.
Operating gambling without an issued licence is prohibited in Slovakia.
In many cases, these were premises where illegal technical equipment had been seized. “Their operators are unteachable, as they operate illegal machines again despite previous experience. On the other hand, there are more and more machines whose owners are persuaded by the vision of profit and place unlicensed machines on their premises. According to § 95 article 2 point h) of the Gambling Act, such operators are liable to a fine between 20 000 EUR and 250 000 EUR,” said Dávid Lenčéš. The penalty of up to 500 000 EUR faces the owners of the gambling machines if it is proven that they are operating gambling without an individual licence or a general licence. The sealed gambling machines have been taken to the URHH warehouse, from where they will go to further proceedings.
FSB secures major new partnership with Olympic Entertainment Group
Award-winning technology services provider furthers European momentum in significant omni-channel partnership with leading Baltic casino group.
Global B2B sports betting & iGaming supplier FSB has strengthened its European presence by entering into a multi-year multi-market agreement with Tier 1 sports betting, online games and gambling operator, Olympic Entertainment Group (OEG) and its “OlyBet” brand that is a leading sports, games and entertainment platform in Europe.
The fresh partnership will see FSB power OEG’s “OlyBet” brand across the online casino vertical in selected European markets enabling the Baltic giant to leverage the supplier’s fast-growing casino platform, proprietary player account management services and gaming content totalling access to over 10,000 games.
As part of the agreement, FSB will integrate its over-the-counter retail solution into multiple OEG casino venues across key Central and Eastern European markets. This upgrade will equip these environments with a seamless omni-channel experience by enabling players to make credit and withdrawal transactions directly to or from their online account at the venue.
The announcement follows the recent news that FSB has opened up new technical delivery offices in Scotland and Colombia as the EGR Multi-Channel Supplier of the Year continues to rapidly expand it’s global footprint.
Ian Freeman, Chief Revenue Officer at FSB , said: “This was a long, competitive and extensive selection process and we are delighted to have been selected. The new partnership with the Olympic Entertainment Group is another major step forward for the business. OEG has great heritage as well as being a highly skilled operator, our selection is further testament to the strength of our Tier 1 omnichannel tech stack and the fantastic team we are building at FSB.
Corey Plummer, Chairman and CEO at Olympic Entertainment Group, said: “We are excited to work with FSB as part of our expansion strategy in CEE markets. The partnership enables Olympic Entertainment’s brands, products and operations to build connected, experiential environments that our customers enjoy.”
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