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Exclusive interview with Mare Balticum Gaming Summit speaker, Valts Nerets(Senior Associate at Sorainen Latvia)

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My latest interviewee is a well known lawyer in Latvia and internationally. Valts Nerets is Senior Associate at Sorainen Latvia and has been practising law since 2008. Valts will be among the speakers at the inaugural edition of Mare Balticum Gaming Summit Riga, which is going to be held on the 8th of May at Astor Riga. You can find more details here

Thank you very much for being available for this interview. I read in your biography that you are senior associate and have been practicing law since 2008. As head of the Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences Sector Group in Latvia you specialized in dispute resolution, distribution and trade, transport and maritime, information technology and data protection, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, and telecommunications. You also have extensive experience in litigation and arbitration, administrative law and procedure, contract law and international investment law. Why did you also choose the gambling industry and what other information about you would you like to share with us?

Valts: My work in Sorainen started more than seven years ago and back then my knowledge in gambling laws was very limited. One of the very first assignments that allowed me to obtain an in-depth insight into gambling law peculiarities, was back in 2011 when the Ministry of Finance of Latvia planned enacting a new Lotteries and Gambling Law. The online gambling industry was furious about the proposed changes which were very inconsiderate and were aimed into imposing more and more restrictions on the industry without any proper reasoning. It took many hours of work, letters, opinions and meetings, to convince the Ministry of Finance that the wording was incompatible. And a new law was not enacted back then and has not been enacted yet. Also, for example, to a very large extent it is thanks to our efforts that for obtaining a Latvian gambling license the law now requires that the foreign capital in the company does not exceed 49% excluding investors not only from the EU, but also from the EEA and the OECD member states.

I maintain close contacts with the gambling industry, but my passion is dispute resolution and in particular investment arbitration. I hope that in the future we also manage to defend the gambling industry players in investment cases against the State.

Would you please tell us more about the projects you have worked on and about the difficulties and successes you have experienced during your career?

Valts: It is indeed true that every case is unique and sometimes the smallest assignments are those which require most attention. Apart from our successful work on the gambling law amendments, already just in the very first two months of 2018 I have completed work on two very important assignments related to government relations. First, we drafted amendments to the Law on State Funded Pensions which hopefully will make Latvia not to be the last EU member state having no mechanism for inheritance of the funded pension capital. Second, we assisted our client in drafting amendments to the regulations on ridesharing. Both are crucial for every individual and I believe we have contributed to make life better for every citizen in Latvia.

What is your personal opinion about the gambling industry in general in Europe or in the countries you know better?

Valts: In many European countries the situation with gambling is similar: it is not considered as an industry beneficial for citizen well-being. The legislators are very indolent in liberalising the gambling laws. Advertising opportunities are almost limited to zero and taxes are constantly increasing. It is of course true that the increasing AML risks must be duly handled, but at the same time the feeling is that the legislators impose restrictions without carefully evaluating the risks and without taking into account the industry’s opinion.

Please tell us more about the Latvian gambling industry, the challenges of this market, the Latvian laws and regulations and their acceptance by the public.

Valts: With about 2 million population the Latvian market is very small and is seen as cost ineffective to most gambling organisers who must obtain a Latvian licence to operate there. There are only less than 10 casinos operating in Latvia, about 350 gambling halls with roughly 9000 slot machines and 100 roulette and card tables run by 13 licensed gambling operators. There are seven online gambling operators in Latvia, and it is expected that this number will increase. During the last few years the supervisory authority has put a significant effort in combating operation of unlicensed gambling operators in Latvia by blocking access to their websites, albeit not fully efficiently.

We know that gambling in Latvia is completely legal and has been regulated by the government since 1988. Online gambling is also legal if the operator is licensed in Latvia. What important issues can you relate regarding gambling and online gambling in Latvia?

Valts: To operate online gambling in Latvia, the gambling organiser must obtain a Latvian licence. The requirements for obtaining the licence are the same as for land-based gambling. The most significant requirement is establishing a capital company in Latvia with a paid-up share capital of not less than EUR 1,4 million. Since 2016 the requirement to locate the equipment in Latvia that is used for operating the gambling has been abolished and is replaced with granting the State authority access to such equipment. The competition in online gambling in Latvia is increasing, as more and more gambling operators are considering obtaining a licence due to the blocking of unlicensed operators’ websites.

 

Tell us please about your future plans, projects regarding your professional life.

Valts: In today’s business providing legal advice requires industry-specific know-how and keeping yourself up-to-date on the latest sector developments. That is the only way how to provide an exact solution to the client. Thus the professional challenge is keeping myself updated on the industries where my clients operate, including gambling. IT solutions and digital platforms like Avokaado, which Sorainen recently has started to use for contract automation, offer incredible opportunities also for lawyers. Law firms must be IT-focused and increase their efficiency to meet the needs of their clients. This is even more true in such relatively small markets as Latvia.

To meet Valts in person, make sure you register for Mare Balticum Gaming Summit and gain access into compliance related content about the Baltics and Scandinavian region.

Interviewee profile:

Valts Nerets, a senior associate has been practising law since 2008.

He is head of the Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences Sector Group in Latvia. Valts specialises in dispute resolution, distribution and trade, transport and maritime, information technology and data protection, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, and telecommunications. In particular, he has extensive experience in litigation and arbitration, administrative law and procedure, contract law and international investment law. Valts has further developed his knowledge by participating in summer schools and additional courses in such fields as maritime law and mediation. Before joining Sorainen, Valts specialised in telecommunications and dispute resolution, through his work as a senior in-house lawyer for the leading satellite and telecommunications equipment wholesaler in the Baltics.

Additionally, Valts has vast experience in lecturing, and today he maintains successful cooperation with several universities. He is a lecturer at the Riga Graduate School of Law for courses in Private international law and international civil procedure, International sales law and Comparative constitutional and administrative law, as well as a lecturer and programme director at the College of Business Administration. International investment law is the main field of interest where Valts continues his research.

Valts has authored several learning manuals on administrative law and procedure.

The Legal 500 recommends him in the shipping and transport practice.

Reka is an Experienced English second language teacher with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Microsoft Excel, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Translation, Foreign Languages, and Lecturing. Strong education professional with a Bachelor’s Degree majored in English Language and Literature/Letters. Reka is in charge of conducting the exclusive interviews on European Gaming and our printed magazine

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Balkans

Save the date for CEEGC 4 and CEEGC Awards 2019 Budapest, registrations are open, 24-25 September 2019 – Ritz-Carlton

Zoltan Tundik

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We are happy to announce that the registrations for the fourth edition of CEEGC and CEEG Awards in Budapest are open and the dates of the conference are 24-25 September 2019.

In 2019, we are adding a second day which will be dedicated for networking and a special boat trip is announced on the Danube in Budapest.

The 4th edition of the yearly must-attend conference of the gambling industry will focus on bringing new content and a different angle of view on already established and emerging market.

The discussions include compliance and investment opportunities in the regulated Central and Eastern European jurisdictions such as Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Croatia or Slovenia, and the Emerging CEE jurisdictionsSlovakia, Hungary, and Poland.

Beside the CEE focus, the discussions include the Balkan Gaming Industry Briefing and an exclusive IMGL MasterClass™ which highlights the opportunities for the gambling industry in Asia, Africa and North America.

Starting with 2019, the conference will also focus on shedding light the recent updates of the D-A-CH region and industry experts will also examine the impact of regulations on innovation, with emphasis on Loot Boxes, Sports betting, Casino, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Fintech.

You can find more details about the speaker lineup, agenda and networking opportunities on the official website: www.ceegc.eu

Same venue as in 2018

The venue of the conference is selected with the aim of providing a luxurious and comfortable setting for the delegates. As in 2018, the 2019 edition of CEEGC & CEEG Awards will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, a luxury hotel which offers palatial retreat moments from iconic landmarks and the Danube. The Ritz-Carlton Budapest was also voted by the attending delegates as their favorite venue for CEEGC Budapest.

CEEG Awards 2019

The prestigious CEEG Awards will once again reward and applaud the top 20 companies that drive the industry forward in the region by continuing to the tradition of bringing a transparent and unbiased award for the gambling industry.

Starting 2019, the process will also involve a nominations committee, which in parallel with the industry, will nominate companies that might have been overlooked in the past years.

The public nomination phase is open and you can submit your company until 15.07.2019 on the following link.

Register here or View the Agenda!

Browse the official event website here: www.ceegc.eu

Here are a few testimonials from the attending delegates:

Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference is undoubtedly becoming one of the industry’s most iconic events. Zoltan and Betty have put a lot of thought and expertise into designing it and their efforts have certainly paid off. I personally had a great time and met a lot of amazing people and initiated new business relationships. The family-like atmosphere creates a special ambiance that makes this event stand out from other industry conferences. I look forward to attending next year.” ~ Sara Urbanovicova – Chief Commercial Officer, Tom Horn Gaming

I have been attending the yearly CEEGC Budapest for 3 years now and I can surely say that the event has proven itself as a must-attend conference for companies seeking information about compliance around Central and Eastern Europe. The conference offers content of the highest quality which is rarely seen across the events in Europe and you can also maximize the top class networking opportunities.” ~ Nadiya Attard – Director of Business Development in EMEA and Asia, NetEnt

Quality content and information, key people from the iGaming industry, a professional but friendly environment and an entire Awards procedure behind a truly Boutique Event – just congrats for the superb work!” ~ Maria E. Arnidou – Marketing & Communications Management, Fantasy Sports Interactive (FSI)

Bitpay were proud to attend and catch up with Eastern European gambling merchants who are adopting bitcoin payments.” ~ Chris Denny – European Sales Manager, Bitpay

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Baltics

UltraPlay is now the Best eSports Service Provider in the Baltics

George Miller

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UltraPlay is now the Best eSports Service Provider in the Baltic
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The company received high industry recognition in the 2019 BSG Awards

 

Twenty-one industry accolades were handed to the winning companies in the first Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Awards, which were held during Mare Balticum Gaming Summit, on the 9th of May, in Vilnius, Lithuania.

UltraPlay received Best eSports Service Provider in the Baltics – the first award for the year and 6th in total for the company’s unrivaled eSports odds service. Lyubomira Petrova, Chief Marketing Officer at UltraPlay commented on the award:

“UltraPlay’s leadership in eSports betting was once again highly recognized. It is an honor to be acknowledged as the Best eSports Service Provider from the BSG Awards 2019 – a true inspiration for the entire team of UltraPlay and high recognition from the industry in the region.”

Above 100 delegates from the gambling industry attended the second edition of Mare Balticum Gaming Summit. This year the Summit had a strong focus on the gaming regulations and jurisdictions in the Baltics and the Nordics. As part of the discussion panel “Gambling Industry in 2020”, Lyubomira Petrova (CMO at UltraPlay) shared her knowledge on eSports and its significance in the following years, while  Zlatan Omerspahić (Data Protection and Compliance Lawyer at NSoft),  and Robert Toth (Key Account Manager at Global Bet) talked on GDPR and Virtual Sports.

“I had the pleasure to speak at Mare Balticum Gaming Summit and present why eSports is going to play a key role in the gambling industry in 2020 and beyond. Discussing what the future holds for the industry, we see the tremendous growth of eSports and its importance in terms of betting and player’s engagement.”, added Petrova.

The company is now heading to G2E Asia, Macao and is nominated in 2 categories for the G2E Asia Awards: UltraPlay’s eSports White Label Solution is shortlisted in the “Best B2B Digital Product Solution” category, and Dariy Margaritov, founder of UltraPlay is nominated in the category “Best industry rising stars”.

UltraPlay will be attending G2E Asia, Macao, from May 21st to 23rd, 2019. How to establish a profitable eSports betting brand will be the exclusive session to be held at the company’s booth #D909 by Mario Ovcharov, CEO of UltraPlay, on May 22nd, 11:30 am. You can book your meeting in advance at sales@ultraplay.net.

 

About UltraPlay:
UltraPlay is a modern technological company, founded in 2010, with the core ambition to offer an innovative approach to the online gaming industry by providing advanced betting solutions, focused on sports and eSports betting, live betting, white label, online casino and blockchain technology.
Assembled by a team of iGaming professionals with vast experience in betting product development, operations, eSports and marketing, UltraPlay is a trusted partner for delivering superior sports software and odds products to its customers. Learn more about the company here: www.ultraplay.co

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Baltics

How big data helps to shape the future of marketing strategy for operators with Alex Kornilov (BETEGY) in Vilnius

Zoltan Tundik

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Nowadays, in the digital era, most of the gambling industry operates on the Internet and the global data volume is dramatically growing. That large portion of data is called Big Data and it is not just a large amount of information, but a unique technology aimed at data processing and usage, particularly, the ways to find the necessary information in large data sets.

When it comes to business, the concept of Big Data stands for many tools, approaches and methods to analyze and process both structured and unstructured data, its further employment in specific areas and achievement of various goals.

The Big Data term emerged in 2008. Since then, it has been explained in different ways. However, the main thing you need to know for a holistic understanding of Big Data is a few simple words: data storage and processing.

It’s safe to say that the primary purpose of using Big Data technology is to achieve maximum efficiency in processing a large amount of information. (source: https://medium.com/@slotegrator/)

During the second and up to date, the most important edition of MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit, Alex Kornilov, CEO & Founder at BETEGY, will have a keynote presentation which is titled “How big data helps to shape the future of marketing strategy for operators” and will focus on the following key points:

– sports content as the most valuable content online
– why does the US lead the way in data visualisation
– operators vs. media companies
– how operators can utilise sport data in marketing communication
– new approaches for content creation and content distribution on a scale

MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit will take place on the 9th of May at Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel and is gathering the gambling industry from the Baltic and Scandinavian.

Register here or View the Agenda!

About Alex Kornilov

Alex Kornilov is a serial entrepreneur who started his first business at 18. In 2007 he won “Dragons Den” TV show and had his first steps for a big success in the tech industry. Since then he got involved in several “big data” projects. In particular, he took part in various research projects executed by The State Institute of Complex Technical-Economic Researches.

In 2012, he founded “BETEGY” which is the sports data analytics company. The team created an automated self-learning system which predicts outcomes of football games with high accuracy (betegy.com). The company also licenses the data and visualization systems to global sports betting and media companies like ESPN (USA), Turkcell (Turkey), Ringier Axel Springer (Eastern Europe), Wozhongla.com (China), Yahoo Sports (UK), Bwin (Russia) and others.

Make sure you take advantage of this unique opportunity of learning and networking with the gambling industry in the Baltic and Scandinavian region via the MARE BALTICUM Gaming platform which has been launched in 2018 and is committed to bringing together industry shareholders and government officials from the Baltic and Scandinavian region on a yearly base.

Browse the official event website here: www.marebalticumgaming.com

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