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Compliance Updates

GambleAware Calls for Mandatory Levy in Gambling Act Review Consultation

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GambleAware Calls for Mandatory Levy in Gambling Act Review Consultation
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GambleAware has published its submission of Call for Evidence to the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in response to the Gambling Act review.

The submission outlines ongoing issues in the gambling sector found by GambleAware, with a particular focus on the prevention of gambling harms and research to inform policy.

It comes in response to the UK government’s December 2020 review of the 2005 Gambling Act. As part of the review, the DCMS launched a call for new evidence to investigate issues such as spend limits and how gambling affects young adults.

The findings are intended to inform changes to the 2005 Gambling Act.

Most prominently, GambleAware continued its advocacy for a mandatory levy to fund research, education and treatment (RET) related to gambling and gambling-related harm.

Currently, British gambling law requires licensed British operators to donate a portion of funds to responsible gambling initiatives, but there is no minimum on how much should be donated.

GambleAware reported that in the last twelve months, it received ÂŁ15.6m in voluntary donations, a rise from ÂŁ11m the previous year. In June 2020 the Betting and Gaming Council pledged ÂŁ100m to GambleAware on behalf of the 4 largest gambling operators in Britain: Bet365, GVC Holdings, Flutter Entertainment and William Hill.

“The voluntary nature of the current arrangements results inevitably in uncertainty of funding year to year and to significant variations in cash flow within the year,” the submission reads.

“This unpredictable funding model represents a significant challenge given that a key function of GambleAware as a commissioning body is to provide assurance to funded services about recurrent income streams so that expert clinical teams can be established and sustained to provide treatment and support for those who need help.”

Compliance Updates

MGA and Ghanaian Gaming Commission Strengthen Collaboration in Gaming Regulation

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The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has recently welcomed a delegation from the Gaming Commission of Ghana for a visit aimed at fostering collaboration and sharing best practices in the field of gaming regulation and supervision.

The visit provided the Ghanaian delegation with the opportunity to learn more about the MGA’s set-up and structures. The Authority also shared an overview of its licensing and compliance processes, criminal probity assessments, anti-money laundering supervision processes and risk-based approach to regulation.

The delegation hailed the MGA’s “wealth of knowledge and expertise in the gaming industry,” adding that the Ghanaian Commission should benchmark their processes and procedures against those of the Authority.

“This visit has demonstrated the importance of engaging more with stakeholders, and of adopting a more robust data collection process and a wider range of enforcement approaches and guidelines,” Deputy Commissioner Kobby Annan said.

The MGA’s Chief of Policy and International Affairs, Kinga Warda, said that the Authority believed in fostering global partnerships and sharing knowledge to enhance the integrity and sustainability of the gaming industry.

“Our collaboration with the Gaming Commission of Ghana signifies our commitment to promoting responsible gambling practices, regulatory excellence, and fostering a secure and transparent gaming environment,” she said.

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Compliance Updates

Metropolitan Gaming Wins Compliance Team of the Year Award

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Metropolitan Gaming has won the “Compliance Team of the Year – Non-Financial Services” at the ICA Compliance Awards Europe 2023, recognising its effective approach in terms of ensuring player protection, combating financial crime and meeting high compliance standards.

The success of Metropolitan Gaming’s compliance output follows adoption of an advanced “3-lines of defence” strategy. In addition, the Group worked to further mitigate AML and social responsibility risks and to develop a more fluid customer journey. It also invested in additional manpower at venue level and centrally to develop more effective management information tools. Its delivery and monitoring regime was reviewed regularly, and a period of continuous improvement has since followed across the company-wide compliance programme.

Evidencing this in the HM Treasury Supervision Report 2020-22, the Gambling Commission presented Metropolitan Gaming as a positive case example of how far the company has progressed by making “significant improvements in culture, policies, procedures and delivery”.

ICA President, Bill Howarth, commented: “We congratulate Metropolitan Gaming for their outstanding achievements and for driving excellence in financial crime prevention and compliance. We have been really impressed by the volume and quality of entries and congratulate all winners and highly commended entrants for being recognised for their collaboration, innovation and dedication. Thank you to everyone who attended the ceremony last evening and we look forward to welcoming you again for another successful edition in 2024.”

Jimmy Howard, Group Compliance Director at Metropolitan Gaming, added: “Metropolitan Gaming strives to benchmark standards in compliance across the industry and we are honoured to be recognised for the work and commitment on the part of so many that has helped us to achieve this award. This award recognises the excellence within our venue teams who deliver compliance and the support teams that provide the tools to facilitate compliance.”

The ceremony was attended by over 360 guests, bringing together regulatory and financial crime prevention professionals, to celebrate the contributions of individuals and companies combating financial crime and meeting high compliance standards. The evening celebrated the achievements of a total of 119 shortlisted finalists. Selecting the winners for 2023 was an esteemed judging panel comprising 66 senior compliance and financial crime prevention leaders from across the ICA membership, ICA subject matter experts and the wider compliance community.

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Compliance Updates

France Considers New Bill to Legalise Online Casino in the Country

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France’s National Assembly is analysing a bill that could lead to the legalisation of online casino in the country. The core proposal of the initiative is for a “five-year moratorium”, whereby online casino gambling would be legal for a period of five years but only for “national actors”.

Introduced last week by Philippe Latombe of the Democratic Movement party, Bill 1248 sets out proposals to open a regulated online casino market in France.

Article 2 of the bill set out that this measure would run through until 1 January 2030. After this, the market would be extended past existing casino licensees and opened to other operators interested in offering online casino.

This, the bill said, would allow existing licensees to develop in “serene” economic conditions before the market fully opens.

“If the opening were to be total and immediate, it would upset our regulatory frameworks, weaken the national casino industry and the economic balance of the municipalities where it is located. This could then lead to potentially devastating consequences for employment in this sector,” the bill said.

Meanwhile, Article 1 makes reference to authorising operators to offer online casino games, similar to those currently available in land-based casinos.

Finally, Article 3 said that online casino games would be subject to the same levies operated by the state and local authorities for other forms of gambling.

At present, online casino is not legal in any form in France. Internet sports wagering and horse racing betting is permitted through approved operators, while licensed land-based casinos are also legal.

According to Bill 1248, the changing habits of players means that their preference is now to gamble online. However, with internet casino currently deemed illegal, this has forced consumers to gamble with offshore, unlicensed sites that do not offer protection measures.

Legalising online casinos and issuing licences to approved operators, the bill said, would help create a safer environment for players. This market would also help generate additional tax income for the country, the bill added.

“The ban in force against online casinos is reaching its limits, even if the authorities try to identify and block illegal sites using court orders,” the bill said.

“Faced with these developments, it appears that the absolute prohibition regime is de facto not very protective for consumers. This justifies raising the question of the evolution of the French legal framework in order to adapt it to new practices.”

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