The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has unveiled new measures to further prevent under-18s from seeing digital media adverts.
The standards body, which represents the UK regulated betting industry, has announced changes that will be published in the Seventh Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising (IGRG code).
As well as raising advertising standards for young people, the new code will extend the current commitment, which ensures 20% of TV and radio advertising is devoted to safer gambling messaging, to digital media advertising too.
BGC members have already taken major steps to ensure only those legally allowed to bet see online marketing for regulated betting and gaming products.
Previous rules ensured all sponsored or paid for social media adverts must be targeted at consumers aged 25 and over unless the website can prove its adverts can be precisely targeted at over 18s.
Under the new guidelines, the 25+ rule will be extended to all digital media platforms who provide an appropriate age filter.
The new code, which will come into force on 1 December 2023, is the latest example of the BGC’s determination to drive up standards within the betting and gaming industry.
Other measures already introduced include the whistle to whistle ban on TV gambling adverts, cooling off periods on gaming machines, encouraging deposit limits, new ID and age verification checks and massively increasing funding for research, education and treatment.
A BGC code of conduct was also introduced placing a ban on football clubs using their social media accounts – which are popular with youngsters – posting direct marketing on betting odds and sites.
BGC members have also led on a push with social media platforms to allow the public to opt-out from receiving betting and gaming advertising online. BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher wrote to DCMS earlier this year, urging the Department to put pressure on social media platforms to do more.
DCMS Minister Stuart Andrew MP has since confirmed he will convene a meeting to help drive change.
BGC members take a zero-tolerance approach to betting by children. According to the Gambling Commission’s “Young People and Gambling Report” (2022) the most popular forms of betting by children are arcade games like penny pusher and claw grab machines (22%) bets between friends (15%), playing cards for money (5%) and fruit machines (3%) – not with BGC members.
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, said: “As the standards body for the regulated sector, we are committed to continuing to drive up standards and make big changes across the betting and gaming industry. Helping protect young people is our number one priority.
“BGC Members have already taken significant steps to ensure adverts by our members only reach the right audiences. With more help from the platforms, we can do even more.
“Safer gambling messaging is also absolutely crucial. It is about ensuring that customers use safer gambling tools like setting deposits limits and time outs, but also it is about the vitally important work of signposting the help that is out there to help the minority of gamblers who might be struggling with their betting and gaming.
“The new edition of the IGRG Code is further evidence of our determination to continue to ensure that standards are rising and are as high as they can possibly be.”
BGC worked alongside Bacta, Bingo Association and the Lotteries Council to formulate these new rules and ensure it was a cross industry effort.
Around 22.5 million UK adults enjoy a bet each month. The regulated betting and gaming industry in the UK contributes £7.1bn to the economy in GVA and generates £4.2bn in taxes which fund essential public services, the industry also supports 110,000 jobs across the country.
Participation in gambling by children (11-16 years) has fallen significantly since 2011 – from 23% of children participating in some form of gambling on a past-week basis to 7% in 2022 (GC Young People and Gambling Report 2022).
Aspire Global Facing Pair of Legal Battles
Prominent online gaming software and platform provider Aspire Global has been named as the defendant in a pair of court cases that could potentially result in it being ordered to pay compensation totaling up to €101 million ($109 million).
In the first complaint, Aspire Global is being sued in the United Kingdom by the founders of sports betting software, solutions and services provider BtoBet, Alessandro Fried and Igor Lestar, for €36 million ($39 million). This pair inked a deal in 2020 to sell their company to the Malta-based defendant in exchange for an upfront payment of some €20 million ($21.6 million) as well as an earn-out consideration tied to future earnings before tax.
However, Fried and Lestar through their Sousa Enterprises Limited and Eltsar Limited entities are alleging Aspire Global, which was last year acquired by NeoGames as part of a deal worth some €402.3 million ($423.5 million), violated the terms of this share purchase agreement by spending too little and not charging enough so as to deliberately decrease revenues and the subsequent earn-out sum.
The complex case with its many intricacies is not expected to go to trial before 2025 but could well result in Aspire Global being ordered to pay more than the €36 million headline figure. The financial implications are even more concerning as the defendant’s NeoGames parent is currently in the process of being acquired by Aristocrat in an arrangement valued at north of €1 billion.
In the United States and Aspire Global has also been separately named as the offender in an action brought by Ebet Incorporated, which is the operator of the Karamba, Griffon Casino, Hopa, Generation VIP, Scratch2Cash, Gogawi, Dansk 777 and Bet Target iGaming brands. This Nevada action is seeking some €65 million ($70 million) embracing compensatory damages, punitive fines and other financial penalties to be proven at trial and moreover names AG Communications and other affiliated entities as defendants.
Ebet Incorporated acquired specific business-to-consumer (B2C) assets and associated websites from Aspire Global in 2021 and simultaneously entered into a ‘white-label’ operator agreement embracing collaborative efforts on the future running of the purchased assets. The plaintiff is claiming the defendants breached these deals by manipulating their books to falsify and overstate active player data and exaggerate the health of the acquired properties.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Aspire Global is furthermore being accused by Ebet Incorporated of violating the terms of the agreements by materially failing to maintain necessary operations in Germany, falsifying records and violating industry regulations. The allegations could potentially shape the future trajectories of these companies as they also run to reputational harm, fraud, breach of contract and other unnamed violations due to be proven during the course of the trial.
Habanero obtains Swedish B2B licence for slots and RNG portfolio
Premium slots and table games provider Habanero has been granted a licence from the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) in a move which will further boost its presence in Europe.
The supplier is now permitted to provide its entire full catalogue of games to operators in the region, including the likes of perennially popular player-favourites such as Hot Hot Fruit, Mystic Fortune Deluxe and Santa’s Village.
Marking the latest milestone for Habanero, it follows the provider’s MGA licence award as well as approvals in the likes of Romania, the Argentinian-regulated City and Province of Buenos Aires, and Panama.
Habanero is now live in 22 European markets and has major agreements with tier-one operators such as Entain, Sisal, Sportium and Betway.
Commenting on its latest licence, Arcangelo Lonoce, Head of Business Development at Habanero, said: “Being awarded our Swedish licence is both gratifying and exciting for Habanero as we look to scale up our operations in the market and partner with leading stakeholders to bring the wonderful world of Habanero to even more players than ever before.
“This new licence is a testament to our dedication to our adaptability as well as our commitment to navigating and complying with regulatory landscapes worldwide.”
ELA Games obtains the MGA Recognition Notice
ELA Games is delighted to announce that it has been authorized by the Malta Gaming Authority. Marking the beginning of our expansion into select global markets in collaboration with MGA.
ELA Games continues its strategic expansion in Europe and it is another major step in its ability to access distribution and commercial partnerships with companies based in the iGaming hub of Malta.
Mike Cini, Business Owner at ELA Games, commented: “We’re delighted to have obtained our MGA Recognition Notice as it is another major milestone in our regulatory expansion. Malta is the leading iGaming hub in Europe and being authorized there will enable us to work even more closely with our operators and bring player engagement to the next level for our partners.”
ELA Games focuses on producing high quality products that are stacked with gamification features, quality design and animation. Recent releases include Vikings Wild Cash and Lucky Dwarfs. They have already received amazing feedback from operators and players and the studio looks forward to signing more partnerships and launching more games in the coming months.
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