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Exclusive Interview with Morten Ronde, CEO of the Danish Online Gambling Association (DOGA)

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EEG interview with Morten Ronde
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Our colleague, Szaló Réka interviewed a true veteran of the industry, Mr. Morten Ronde 

 

Morten has 18 years of experience from working in the gambling industry.

His background is in gambling regulation. He started his career in the Danish State Lottery and worked later 12 years as legal counsel for the Danish Gambling Authority. During his time as a regulator he drafted the Danish online gambling reform that allowed for open licensing of betting and online casino operators in Denmark. The Danish gambling model is still considered one of the best gambling regimes in the world and has inspired many countries to adopt similar regulation.

Morten received the ”European Regulator of the Year Award” in 2010 from the International Masters of Gaming Law.

Since 2012 Morten has been working in the private sector of the gambling industry and has been advising clients in all sectors of the industry on regulatory affairs issues.

Morten acts as CEO of the Danish Online Gambling Association (DOGA), a trade association for online gambling operators in Denmark and as Director of Education and Association Development of the International Masters of Gaming (IMGL), the pre-eminent global gambling law network.

 

Mr. Rønde, thank you very much for being available for this interview and answering our questions.
You have 18 years of experience working in the gambling industry. My first question would be: what is your opinion about the European gambling industry in general? What differences or similarities, problems arte there, that worth talking about?

Ronde: In some ways, the gambling industry has not changed much since I started working in it. It is still the same overarching concerns that all countries have when they license gambling: Prevention of crime, player protection and raising revenue for the States. The type of products that the industry offers are also the same but obviously the technical evolution has impacted the way the products are offered and to whom they are offered. Regulatory compliance plays a much bigger role today than it did 18 years ago and looking forward, I believe ever increasing regulatory requirements is a great threat to the financial viability of the business.

There was a gambling reform in 2012 in Denmark. Which were the most useful and best changes this reform has brought for this industry?

Ronde: The Danish gambling reform was really a win-win solution. The players got more choice of exciting games and higher payout. The Danish State benefitted from a massive influx in tax revenues. In 2016 the betting and casino market was up to almost €600 mEUR in GGR and the Danish State collected approx. €150 m EUR in various taxes from this market. This makes the Danish market among the best performing markets in Europe.

How much did all these changes contribute to the fact that the Danish gambling model is still considered one of the best gambling regimes in the world, and many countries intend to adopt similar regulations?

Ronde: The numbers speak for themselves. When the numbers for the online gambling market in Denmark are shown to regulators in other European countries they attract a lot of attention. There is still interest in various European jurisdictions in adopting DK-style regulation.

What is your opinion about the legislation framework of the East European countries? Will you please make a short comparison with the situation in Denmark as far as the online gambling industry is concerned?

Ronde: It’s difficult to see the Eastern European market as one – as it would be to see Western Europe as one. The legislative frameworks in the Eastern European countries vary a lot from viable to completely unworkable. Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic countries have adopted far more liberal approaches and have opened their markets to operators wishing to play by their rules, without imposing exclusionary market entry barriers. Of course, all of the countries have their own issues which makes life a little harder on market entrants.

Czech Republic and Poland have on paper “opened the market” but the conditions set out for operators are so restrictive and cumbersome that it makes little sense for operators to enter these markets. As these countries have not yet been able to create viable markets for operators and local players which means that numbers are not growing the same way as they could.

What do you think about the future of this market particularly in your country and generally in Eastern Europe?

Ronde: Some markets in Eastern Europe are on a good path and seeing growth year on year. Examples of such markets are Romania and Latvia. Other markets need reregulation to succeed. The regulation in the Czech Republic was very disappointing for the industry and it is not likely that it will meet its potential. Hopefully, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland will introduce (re)regulation in the immediate future.

You are one of the main speakers invited to the Mare Balticum (Baltic Sea) Gaming Summit, 2018. What do you intend to speak about, of course without revealing the speech itself, will you please just give an outline of the topic you are going to present?

 

5. Mare Balticum (Baltic Sea) Gaming Summit, 2018

 

Ronde: In my speech, I will try to give update on the things that are going on in Denmark and in the Nordics in general and I would like to make a comparison with the latest regulatory trends in the Eastern European countries.

Since 2012 you have been working in the private sector of the gambling industry advising clients in all sectors of the industry on regulatory issues. What are the clients’ most frequent problems, question you can help in?

Ronde: As a former government regulator, my expertise lies in the regulatory field. What I can give my clients is an insight in how regulation works and in best practices for regulation throughout Europe. My clients are operators, suppliers and other service providers on business strategy who need assistance with regulatory compliance or lobbying projects to influence local regulation. Among my clients are also local governments who need training or assistance with understanding best practices in gambling regulation.

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

Ronde: I have recently opened Nordic Gambling which is a Nordics facing law firm with two other partners and together we have opened offices in Copenhagen and in Stockholm. We will be focusing a lot on the Swedish market in 2018 and 2019 as it is expected to open for licensing of betting and casino in the near future. With our experience in processing licence applications for operators in Denmark, we believe that we will have a strong platform for assisting gambling operators with being licensed in Sweden.

Who is your favourite actor or actress?

Ronde: I do not have favourite actors or actresses per se. These days I watch much more TV-shows on Netflix and HBO than I watch movies. The latest show I watched was the second season of Stranger Things where Winona Ryder makes a great performance and comeback as actress.

Where would you travel the most in Central Europe?

Ronde: My favorite place in Central Europe is by far Budapest. I really like this city, the climate, the relaxed life-style and the friendly people there.

What is your hobby? What do you like doing in your free-time?

Ronde: In my free time I like watching sports, drinking good wines and enjoying time with my kids, my girlfriend and my friends.

What does success mean to you and do you consider your career a successful one?

Ronde: In all modesty, I think I have done well so far but there are many things to achieve yet. Success is not a goal in itself, for me it is important to have a job that challenges me and allows me to be involved in projects that impact the industry. I think I am very lucky to have a job which enables to me to travel and to work with interesting projects and people from various countries.

What motivates you? What are your sources of energy?

Ronde: Having an interesting and challenging life at work and in private is what motivates me and gives me energy.

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Baltics

BETBY TO POWER ESTONIAN BRAND WINNERZ WITH SPORTSBOOK SOLUTION INCLUDING PROPRIETARY ESPORTS FEED SOLUTION

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BETBY TO POWER ESTONIAN BRAND WINNERZ WITH SPORTSBOOK SOLUTION INCLUDING PROPRIETARY ESPORTS FEED SOLUTION
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Betby, a leading provider of sportsbook solutions, has announced a long-term partnership with the Winnerz brand. The partnership entails the provision of Betby’s cutting-edge sportsbook solution and its proprietary esports feed solution to the Estonian online casino brand.

The inclusion of the Betby Games esports feed solution comes on the heels of Betby Games receiving approval earlier this year from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which allows the sports betting supplier to provide its esports odds feed comprising of pre-match and live odds, round-the-clock content coverage, statistics hub, and resulting, either as part of the Betby Sportsbook solution or as a separate esports data feed to all operators holding an MGA license and other licensed operators in jurisdictions which accept MGA license.

Players on Winnerz’s casino platform now have access to an enriched sportsbook content portfolio featuring over 210,000 monthly events covering as many as 125 sports. The Betby Games esports feed solution will further boost the content offering with a broader and more engaging esports content, including 11 Betby Games e-simulator titles. This includes Betby Games’ renowned customized leagues, enabling operators to offer customizable esoccer football tournaments which are fully tailored to any brand’s identity.

Chris Nikolopoulos, Betby’s Chief Commercial Officer said: “I am very pleased to have agreed a broad collaboration with the Winnerz brand, as together we seek to grow the brand’s local marketshare. By continuing to deliver our extremely strong esport vertical to noteworthy brands, we stay true to our growth strategy, and bring incredible betting experiences to the operator’s customers.”

Kevin Liivamägi, Winnerz’s Head of Sportsbook, said: “I’m thrilled to provide our players with a premium sportsbook solution featuring one of the most extensive content portfolios in the industry. Their extensive range of content is truly impressive, and we’re confident that Betby’s comprehensive sportsbook solution and products are in line with our mission to provide our players with a fully immersive and well-rounded betting experience.”

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Baltics

In gaming culture, phones are replacing computers: “Charge your dopamine for the whole day in 5 minutes”

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

It is common to think that gaming culture and its best experiences are only associated with computers and consoles. However, the gaming environment has changed significantly over the past few years. Once considered quite niche, mobile devices have now become the dominant force in gaming. Games on smartphones now account for more than half (according to Statista, 51%) of the global gaming market revenue.

According to one of Lithuania’s most famous gaming community members and the country’s most popular streamer, Karolis Jankauskas (“LTU Republic”), whose broadcasts are followed by more than 130,000 followers on the “Twitch” channel, we are living in a time of transformation.

User engagement and the number of game downloads illustrate that gaming culture is rapidly migrating to phones. Do you think it is starting to catch up with traditional gaming among true enthusiasts?

In the Baltics, events for games with mobile devices are just beginning to be organized, but the number of interested participants and their level of engagement is rapidly growing. Observing this activity, we can assume that gaming culture on phones can not only match but in some cases even surpass the traditional one.

We used to have many various popular consoles and other devices — from “GameBoy” to “PSP.” Now, the experiences they created are also available on phones. Does gaming on a smartphone match the quality of gaming on consoles? How is the gaming community reacting to these technological changes?

Comparing mobile games and gaming on consoles or computers is quite difficult. I would say it’s like comparing a car to a motorcycle. Both move, but one offers more entertainment, excitement, and emotional experiences, while the other offers more practicality.

A similar situation exists with gaming devices. You could say that smartphones have worse graphics or a more superficial gameplay experience, but their simplicity and pace open up a completely different gaming experience. Additionally, they are accessible anywhere and anytime. You don’t have to play only at home.

Currently, true gamers who play on consoles or computers don’t yet consider themselves in the same category as mobile device players. However, I think this attitude will change over time.

At the end of May, you invite your community to meet at the “Brawl Stars” mobile game tournament “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.” Is it true that this is a gaming phenomenon? It is already estimated that “Brawl Stars”

downloads have exceeded 500 million. What is the secret of its popularity? How does this mobile game already have its own e-sports team today?

“Brawl Stars” stands out with its brilliantly designed combination. The game is extremely simple, and its concept is very straightforward. Defeat your opponent, and you will be the best. And the matches are super fast. You can play 3-5 matches in 5 minutes and charge your dopamine for the whole day. This is probably the main secret of the game’s success. Plus, there are various game accessories and special events that are very engaging.

Additionally, these are the reasons why this mobile game has its own e-sports team. It is competitive and easily understandable to a wide audience.

What will make the upcoming tournament of this game different from others?

For the gaming community, this “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” is relevant because it gives us an impression of how many people are engaged in gaming with smart devices. “Brawl Stars” players have a unique opportunity to test themselves against the best players. Participants are also motivated by the impressive prize—a “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra”.

In the qualifications and selections, players will play in teams of two, and in the finals, the teams will be changed—the players who make it will be assigned one of the Lithuania’s famous content creators participating in the event. This should add a lot of intrigue and excitement, as it will show how well the best players can communicate with content creators who may not be as good in the game as they are.

More and more gaming-oriented phones are being introduced to the market. For example, the new “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra”. How do they help the culture of gaming on phones grow? Can a phone even influence game results?

Just like athletes or racers need the best equipment or gear, a powerful phone gives a player an advantage. The fewer technical issues you have in the game, the faster you can progress.

Meet the most famous gamers

All gaming enthusiasts and professionals will have the opportunity to experience the best gaming moments on May 24-26 in Vilnius at the largest popular culture event in the Baltic States, “Comic Con Baltics powered by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.”

The “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” will take place at the impressive “Galaxy AI” booth. Here, visitors will also meet K. Jankauskas (“LTU Republic”), Simas Anužis (“Svarbeuse dariti”), Edvisss, and other famous players in the Baltics. There will be an opportunity to get up close with the most advanced “Samsung” smart devices, discover new opportunities that innovative “Galaxy AI” artificial intelligence features open up for gaming.

At the beginning of this year, “Samsung” was the first to offer its users a smartphone with artificial intelligence features. These change many ways of using and controlling the phone, as well as the habits users have adopted until now. At the event, you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with and try out AI features such as “Search by highlighting,” “Photo editing,” “Notes assistance,” “Live translation,” “Chat assistance,” and others.

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Baltics

Hitting the Networking Jackpot: Iconic MARE BALTICUM Gaming & TECH Summit Launch at Tallinn Olympic Park Casino

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Hitting the Networking Jackpot: Iconic MARE BALTICUM Gaming & TECH Summit Launch at Tallinn Olympic Park Casino
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

HIPTHER, leading event organizer and parent brand of online media outlets for Gaming and Technology, is thrilled to announce the iconic kick-off of their MARE BALTICUM Gaming & TECH Summit at the flagship Olympic Park Casino!

The Welcome Meet, scheduled for 3 June 2024 from 18:30 to 22:00, promises to set the stage for an unforgettable experience! Attendees will gather at the renowned Olympic Park Casino, located in the heart of Tallinn at the Hilton Tallinn Park hotel, where the MARE BALTICUM Summit is scheduled to take place. This premier venue offers a stunning 1,600 square meters of Las Vegas-style entertainment and is open 24/7, ensuring a lively and engaging atmosphere for all participants.

Guests at the Welcome Meet will enjoy a stylish, warm reception with welcome drinks, snacks, a separate lounge area, and €10 play money to experience the casino’s exciting games. Olympic Park Casino boasts the city’s nicest cocktail bar and a comfortable lounge, along with 76 state-of-the-art slot machines from top manufacturers like IGT, Novomatic, and Aristocrat. The casino also features 14 table games, including Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette, and various forms of Poker, with a 24-hour table hall, poker tournaments, multi-level jackpot systems, and a VIP room.

The #hipthers are proud to announce Olympic Casino and OlyBet as official Welcome Meet Sponsors of the MARE BALTICUM Summit 2024, and are excited to host the event at the prestigious and iconic venue of the Olympic Park Casino, setting the tone for an extraordinary summit promising insightful discussions, networking opportunities, and a deep dive into the future of gaming and technology.

Olympic Entertainment Group (OEG), the parent brand of Olympic Park Casino and online brand Olybet, is the leading sports betting and gaming services provider in the Baltics and operates casinos across Slovakia, Croatia, and Malta. With a presence in six countries and 145 casinos, OEG is renowned for its commitment to regulated markets and exceptional customer service.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to network in style with industry leaders and enjoy the luxurious amenities of the Olympic Park Casino. Register now for the MARE BALTICUM Gaming & TECH Summit 2024 and join us for an iconic kick-off in Tallinn!

For more information and to register, visit: https://hipther.com/events/tallinn/

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