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Current state of the online gambling market in Slovakia with Dr. Robert Skalina at CEEGC 2017

George Miller

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Robert Skalina at CEEGC 2017
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The organizers of the event are honored to announce that Dr. Robert Skalina (Partner at WH Partners), who will be a key speaker about the Czech regulation, will also give a briefing about the situation of the online gambling industry in Slovakia.

The recent regulation of the markets in Eastern Europe show a clear sign that unlicensed online gambling will soon be eradicated from Europe.

Illegal gaming operations have been blocked recently in Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic and the European authorities have announced major crackdown on illegal gaming operations as unlicensed platforms. Under recently approved regulations, three administrations decided to introduce ISP blocking to end unauthorised gaming operations just this year.

Although ISP blocking has been criticized by all involved companies, the European governments are reinforcing the legal battle against international gaming operators without license by banning the platforms in their jurisdictions. According to experts, the ban, however, is easy to break as ISP blocking is not very effective. Authorities from Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic also stated that illegal operators could be charged with over US$587k fines.

Czech legislators have been holding a long discussion on gaming laws, as the government seeks stricter control on the industry. Furthermore, the new proposal would establish time limits for players’ participation in gaming services. Operators would have to comply with new amendment, which would set a maximum limit on hour basis.

Poland has already blocked over 1k domains and is holding the stricter crackdown on online gaming platforms. Meanwhile, the Gambling Insider revealed that the Ministry of Finance of Slovakia announced last month a list of 16 operators which would be blocked, including William Hill, 888 and GVC.

In mid-July, the Slovak Financial Administration came out with a list of 10 naughty online gambling operators, including familiar faces like 888 Holdings, Bet365, Bet-at-Home, Bwin, William Hill and 1xbet, along with Curacao-licensed Eatsleepbet.com as well as Malta-licensed LVbet.com and Kajot-casino.com.

The list, however, has grown to 16 at the end of July, according to Slovak news outlet Zive.sk.

Slovakian authorities want the operators to take down the websites within 10 days, before they were issued a judicial order that will oblige the ISPs to block the sites based on DNS. Those who will not follow will have to pay a penalty of up to €500,000 ($587,107).

Most internet service providers said they are ready to block the websites, but they’re still waiting for a judicial order before proceeding. Tereza Molnar, spokeswoman for O2, told the news outlet that they have yet to receive “any regulation from the authorities on illegal gambling blocking.”

The providers have also expressed frustration at the government for imposing fresh responsibilities on them without allocating any funding to account for the extra work. Network operators O2 and Telekom previously said they will bear the costs in full “as our contribution to the fight against illegal gambling.”

Some operators had already exited the Slovakian market in recent months after the government announced it would begin enforcing its new gambling regulations, under which online sports betting licensees must pay 27% tax on their gross gaming revenue from local punters. Online casino and poker activity remains the sole responsibility of the state-owned TIPOS national lottery.

Slovakia’s harshening attitude towards gambling isn’t limited to the digital realm. In April, officials in the nation’s capital Bratislava banned gambling—but not sports betting shops or lottery retailers—within city limits, although current casino and slots hall operators will be allowed to continue operating until their existing licenses expire.

“The growth of regulated markets in the Eastern European region” panel is scheduled to be held between 11:00 – 12:00 (Budapest Local Time) on the 19th of September (Day 1) during the second edition of the Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference Budapest. (you can view the full agenda here).

More about the speaker:
Dr. Robert SkalinaDr. Robert Skalina (Senior Advisor to WH Partners)
Dr. Robert Skalina is Czech Advocate as well as a Registered European Lawyer in Malta. He is currently a Senior Advisor to WH Partners, a Malta-based leading law firm with a business focus and expertise in gaming & gambling, technology, financial services, tax, M&A and corporate finance.

Robert has vast experience advising clients in the gaming/gambling industries on all aspects of their operations. He also provides advice to wide range of investment managers and funds, and regularly advises clients on complex cross border transactions and mergers and acquisitions.

 

He has previously held the position of head of legal of a London based investment advisor active throughout EMEA region. Robert holds LLM from the London School of Economics and a Master of Laws degree from the Charles University in Prague.

 

How to secure your seat?

Early Bird Rate is set for 299 EUR and can be booked with the 50% discount until September the 3rd, 2017. Limited seating! (Online payment, Bitcoin or Bank Wire Available)
Register here: https://ceegc.eu/registration/

For more details visit the official website, www.ceegc.eu or contact the organizers directly by email (organizers@ceegc.eu) or by phone (0040 735 559 234).

Watch this space for more interesting updates about #CEEGC2017Budapest

 

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Conferences in Europe

#PragueGamingSummit3 – Speaker / Moderator Profile – Dr. Matthias Spitz (Senior Partner, MELCHERS LAW)

Zoltan Tundik

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We are delighted and honored to announce that Dr. Matthias Spitz (Senior Partner, MELCHERS LAW) will join the third edition of Prague Gaming Summit as a speaker in the “DACH market industry trends” compliance panel discussion and as a moderator in the IMGL MASTERCLASS™ which focuses on Advertisement banning trends in the European Union and the Balkans.

Dr. Matthias Spitz is a senior partner with the German law firm MELCHERS and specialises in gaming law, with a focus on administrative matters and European law. Since 2013, he is a member of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL).

His areas of practice cover regulation of sports betting, land-based and online casino gaming as well as social gaming. He was involved in all relevant licensing processes in Germany on behalf of major gambling companies over the past years, including the Schleswig-Holstein licensure and the sports betting licensing process under the Interstate Treaty on Gambling. Further, he advises clients on the implementation of new gambling products on the German market, gambling-related tax issues, AML and developing advertising strategies. Coordinating litigation against Interstate Treaty enforcement in a number of German states, he is well acquainted with the enforcement risks arising from German gambling regulation.

Being a frequent contributor to leading journals of the gambling industry, recent publications include the European Gaming Lawyer, the Online Gambling Lawyer, the European Lawyer Reference Gaming Law and the International Comparative Legal Guide (ICLG) to Gambling.

Do not miss this opportunity to attend the leading conference in the region offers the opportunity for both new companies and veterans, to learn about industry insights and compliance updates, while also take part in several industry related discussions with the leading groups that are at the forefront of the gambling industry in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.

You can Register here or View the Agenda

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Balkan's

Advertisement banning trends in the European Union and the Balkans, subject of the IMGL MasterClass in Prague

Zoltan Tundik

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

There has been a recent wave that has swept across the gambling industry and had the form of banning gambling related advertisement. This is the case in many European jurisdictions, but we are not excluding that this is a global wave. Media outlets have reported that such bans are scheduled to be included in Asia as well.

In Sweden, new online gambling operators may lose their ability to market their products entirely if the government takes note of new survey results which shows more than half (53%) of Swedes believe gambling advertising should be banned.

The latest survey results are not a surprise and come to complement the Minister of Civil Affairs Ardalan Shekarabi beliefs, who has summoned all 69 Swedish online gambling licensees to a meeting on the 14th of February to discuss their marketing activities. Just earlier, Shekarabi publicly contemplated following the UK’s lead and banning all gambling promos during live sports broadcasts.

About two weeks ago, Niels Folmann, director of the state-run former gambling monopoly Danske Spil, told local media that the Danish government should follow the UK’s lead and enact a blanket prohibition on gambling advertising during televised live sports events.

These subject are among the reasons why we have asked the experts of the industry from IMGL to present a MasterClass during the event which will focus on these aspects and treat the industry is currently facing in several European jurisdictions and also in the Balkans.

You can Register here or View the Agenda

Italy in the focus – Good news and bad news

The Italian gambling authority, Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli (ADM), released the list of the approved candidates that will be allowed to operate in the local market. Their licenses will be valid through December 31, 2022. The regulator has awarded 66 concessions and has also issued licenses to four other companies which will treat with reserves for reasons it said it would communicate to the licensees themselves.

Even if the Seria A gambling sponsor ban has been delayed until July, there are still lots of tensions in the “lo Stivale”.  The Italian soccer clubs have been permitted to keep existing betting deals until the end of the season. The extension follows the enforcement of a government-led blanket ban on gambling advertising throughout Italy.

The ban applies to all gambling-related products and services across all media platforms – including television, websites, and radio – and sports clubs are also to be prohibited from carrying sponsors from the industry.

While the delay to the implementation of the ban is a positive for soccer clubs in the country, the move merely marks a delay to a law that could have severe consequences for Italy’s soccer industry.

Operators within the gambling industry have criticized the new measures, warning that prices may rise and the illegal gambling sector could benefit as a result.

In an open letter written in July to Luigi Di Maio, the government’s Deputy Prime Minister who authored the decrees, Italian-licensed gambling operator LeoVegas added that the ban wouldn’t achieve a significant reduction in gambling activity. Rather, he wrote, it would lead to a surge in advertising by gambling operators not holding Italian licenses. (source sportspromedia.com)

Quirino Mancini, the Global Head of the Gaming and Gambling Practice at Tonucci & Partners will take the role to give an in-depth review of the Italian market.

The company he represents, Tonucci & Partners, is a top-ten Italian general practice firm with offices in Rome, Milan, Brescia, Padua, Florence, Tirana, Bucharest, and Belgrade.

Quirino is one of the leading Italian gaming and gambling lawyers with a specialist practice of almost 20 years. He acts for Italian and foreign-based online and land-based companies operating in the Italian gaming market, advising them on legal, licensing, regulatory, day-to-day compliance and any other operational aspects connected to their activities. He also runs a bespoke matchmaking and business strategy service to provide clients with a customized type of assistance that includes also introduction and facilitation of dealings with the local regulatory authorities, banks as well as scouting and suitability checks on potential business partners.

Quirino is a regular speaker at most international gaming conferences and sits in the editorial board of various sector reviews and magazines. Co-founder and editor of www.gaminglaw.eu, a pan-European information and commentary portal focusing on legal and regulatory issues under European and national gaming laws.

Secretary and fellow member of the Leadership Committee of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL), a worldwide organization gathering regulators, lawyers and advisors, in-house counsels and educators engaged in the gaming business. A fellow member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA)

You can Register here or View the Agenda

Britain to blame for the situation?

If you have read the intro part of this article, you will find one common fact. In each situation, the UK gambling ban is cited. It seems everyone is following the idea of the advertisement ban which has been sparked last year.

UK press has just announced that it has been decided that gambling adverts will no longer be allowed to appear on websites or in computer games that are popular with children, under new rules designed to stop irresponsible gambling.

Bookmakers will be required to use every targeting tool possible to ensure online gambling promotions are not seen by under-18s. They will also have to avoid placing gambling adverts on parts of websites that are popular with children and stop using celebrities or other people who appear to be under 25 in their promotions. (source: theguardian.com)

Coming into force on 1 April, the guidelines devised by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which is responsible for writing and maintaining the UK advertising codes, will prohibit online ads for gambling products being targeted at individuals likely to be aged under 18. These standards cover all digital media including social networks and other online platforms.

This complements many other banning procedures, as you may know, from July 2018, the British betting industry has implemented a “whistle-to-whistle” ban on all TV betting adverts during pre-watershed live sports programming, with the exception of horse and greyhound racing.

William Hill has become the first UK-listed operator to call for a media strategy review in 2019, with competitors likely to follow suit as betting leadership adjusts to new advertising realities.

Russell Mifsud (Gaming industry specialist – Associate Director at KPMG Malta) will take on the role to discussing these aspects and how will report how operators are taking steps in order to comply while also keeping an eye on the brand strategy and business run.

Russell is an Economist and Associate Director at KPMG, who leads the firm’s gaming department. Russell provides insight on the industry externalities and commercial strategy for KPMG and our clientele across the board. He also helps drive a core group of professionals who specialize in gaming within the KPMG network globally. Russell also sits on the board of the Malta Remote Gaming Council and Silicon Valletta. He works closely with the KPMG Audit, Tax & Advisory teams locally and internationally in order to assist network with identifying risks and opportunities, with a view to adding strategic insight and guidance to clientele across the board.

Russell Mifsud and Quirino Mancini will be joined by leading experts from Central Europe, the Balkans and Germany to complement advertisement banning procedures which are being implemented or discussed in their jurisdiction.

Jaka Repanšek (Media and Gaming Expert), Zlatan Omerspahić (Data Protection and Compliance Lawyer at NSoft) and Martin Arendts (Founder of ARENDTS ANWAELTE) be the experts taking on this role while the MasterClass will be moderated by Dr. Matthias Spitz (Senior Partner, MELCHERS LAW)

Do not miss this opportunity to attend the IMGL MasterClass presented by members and non-members of the International Masters of Gaming Law at Prague Gaming Summit 3!

You can Register here or View the Agenda

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Central Europe

Dr. Raffaela Zillner, LL.M to speak at Prague Gaming Summit 3

Zoltan Tundik

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As announced earlier, the 3rd edition of Prague Gaming Summit will feature a special DACH region oriented panel in which the experts will discuss and debate the likely options of regulation updates that will allow operators to fully engage in gambling activities.

We are honored to present one of the leading experts who will join the “DACH market industry trends” compliance panel discussion.

Dr. Raffaela Zillner, LL.M. runs the General Secretariat of the Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG). She has been in this leading position for well over 2 years and she’s the first point of contact for all association matters. Raffaela holds a law degree as well as a Master’s degree in Information and Media Law and a doctoral degree in law. Furthermore, Raffaela successfully passed the Vienna (Lawyers) Bar exam. In her professional career, she has worked as an Associate at a Vienna-based law firm with a special focus on gambling and sports betting law.

The Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG) is an Austrian special interest group aiming to create awareness of the industry in the minds of opinion-formers and political decision-makers. Through lobbying, the association would like to contribute to achieving greater fairness between the providers in the Austrian market and to illustrating the diversity of the industry. The association concentrates on the online gambling and sports betting sector.

The association was founded in August 2016 and comprises full members and associate members. The members are subject to stringent acceptance criteria, see also values in this respect. Most members are active as sponsors of sports clubs or sports associations. The list of members includes bet-at-home.com, Mr. Green, CashPoint, Lopoca, Interwetten, LeoVegas and Kindred Group.

The Executive Committee is headed by Claus Retschitzegger (bet-at-home.com), the President of the Association. The other members of the Executive Committee are Jan Tjernell as deputy (Mr Green), Michael Wondra (Cashpoint) and Simos Mantzouranos (Lopoca).

Do not miss this exciting opportunity to hear the latest information first hand at Prague Gaming Summit 3 and discuss collaboration possibilities with attending delegates!

You can Register here or View the Agenda

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