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Conferences in Europe

Practicing my free speech: Feminism

Zoltan Tundik

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Photo credits: rebelcircus.com
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Even though this article might not hit the headlines (because the truth is always kept off the record or some might not share it due to their politically correct worldview), I am going to share my thoughts on the current wave that is sweeping the world and the gambling industry.

I have been thinking a lot before engaging into the topic. However, if one keeps silent and just shares Press Releases and Latest News, one question pops up immediately: what’s the role of journalism in all this?

Growing up in a former communist region (about which some of you have only a theoretical knowledge) makes me raise awareness about the dismaying times towards which we are heading.

The dual-systems theory of patriarchy and capitalism which was a common form of socialist feminism in the 1970s and ‘80s was viewed as a failed project by many in the 1990s and beyond. In any event, the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe probably had a negative effect on the popularity of socialist feminism.” (Source: monthlyreview.org)

It is clear that if you switch on the TV, listen to the radio, read printed newspapers and browse through the online media, you will find the words “sexism” and “feminism” everywhere. There is no denying that with these public allegations and mainstream media helping the movement, we are heading towards the theory Marx developed in 1844.

Probably the majority of you would contest these facts, stating that Western society is a free one and will never apply Marxism to its social realities. However, the statements of the UK Gambling Commission Chief Executive, Sarah Harrison, and the statements of the representatives of Clarion Gaming Events are exactly related to Marxist theory.

Marxism has always been at the forefront of the cause of women’s emancipation and the Bolsheviks always took the question of revolutionary work among women workers very seriously. Lenin, in particular, attached an enormous importance to this question, especially in the period of the revolutionary upsurge from 1912-14, and during the First World War. It was at this time that International Women’s Day (8th March) began to be celebrated with mass workers’ demonstrations. It is not an accident that the February (March, according to the new calendar) revolution arose from disturbances around Women’s Day, when women demonstrated against the War and the high cost of living.

Now, don’t get me wrong here: I’m a billion miles away from being sexist and was just pointing out the fact that the ideology of these “Wonder Women” is clearly a sign that the spirit of Marx is living today and has now made its way into all industries.

Just by reading that the British Gambling Commission (GC) issued a demand to halt the promotion of sexism in the Gambling industry, referencing to this week’s ICE Totally Gaming event and that the regulator emphasized that it could boycott the trade show unless there is some change in this attitude makes you raise an eyebrow and ask: What exactly is the real role of Ms. Harrison?

It’s utterly funny how she tries to de-eroticise the adult entertainment industry while the modern society is full of women drinking themselves into stupor, parading their naked derrière and flashing of their breasts in public after the booze starts kicking in. Why? Because this is seen as THE attention-grabbing behavior. The cool one.

Credits: dailymail.co.uk

 

I guess the women in this picture are all part of some promoter’s group which was contracted by a company active in the gambling industry. Now that’s class for you! Why not starting an education program about women’s self-esteem in today’s society if you want to trigger off a movement? Commenting on marketing techniques and promoters just looks like silly tactics towards a straw dummy.

This sounds clearly like some grand plan that will make the world better. Probem is that it’s hooking a large audience and snaking its way into many industries out there. Basically it’s happening in all industries. Just read through the article about Sexism in eSports or just consider what is happening in the auto industry, where the subjects of the new rule have made a statement saying that their activity should not be scrapped because they don’t see it as a sexist or exploitative job.

How are the “ladies” in the picture above “classier” than the ones pictured below, who are used for brand or sport promotion? Guess promo girls are being mistreated and forced to strut their bodies. It’s farcical how feminists from all corners of the world like to dress sexy on dates and go out partying in seminude clothes. Or maybe they’re going out in their jammies and slippers?

 

Credits: examiner.co.uk

 

Do you really think that men are going to races or watching live broadcast because they want to see the promo girls? I bet that if there were male models promoting this or that brand, the female audience would be chatting incessantly about them during their girl talk.

Most of the female sports fans are following athletes or racers for their good looks (e.g. Beckham, Ronaldo, Hamilton…). Now, following the slippery logic of feminist vigilance, shouldn’t FIFA ban famous players from doing underwear commercials because it’s scandalously sexist?

If you’re smart enough to get this correctly or if you’re an ‘out of the box’ type of person, you will easily see that scrapping stereotype behavior should not be combated by rules. It should be encouraged by the genuine role models via proper education.

Back to the gambling industry and the clear statements meant to abolish sexism in the industry….

Bringing to notice some previous editions of the event, the Chief of the UK Gambling Commission spoke about the “scantily clad” women who were featured on stands to promote certain gambling products and services. Referring to her own visit to the show last year, the authority figure said this is a “significant stain on the industry’s reputation” and that it led her to speak with the senior figures from across the gambling sector about implementing a big change to this.

Taking a look at the situation of the UK’s gambling industry, which is currently being bombarded with irrational changes, we can already declare that the Gambling Commission has started this boycott based on skirt length of mannequins and just goes with the flow to somehow keep the industry on a tight feminist leash.

Credits: Firelotto.io Twitterfeed

The photo and some of the promoters were subject to outrage by BBC and, of course, Chief Sarah Harrison, who earlier this week told BBC’s Radio 4 about her dismay at seeing a gender disparity at the show, with some women on exhibition stalls doing promotional work in revealing clothing.

“The men were wearing smart suits and women were being asked to wear not much more than swimsuits. That’s totally unacceptable; it’s not reflective of the modern economy,” she said.

“This isn’t about political correctness. It’s about good regulation and good governance, because businesses that have a more diverse workforce are more likely to make better decisions. And that’s critical from a regulator’s point of view.”

Now I ask you: how is this different than seeing the minds that shape the youth in society doing promotional skits for different brands? See the picture below with Katy Perry showing that she is a fangirl of West Ham United.

Credits: mirror.co.uk

Another statement that got under my business owner skin was the statement issued by the organizer of the event. Given the fact that all these companies attending and exhibiting at the event are already obeying thousands of rules and paying heavy money for their participation, they have to commit to promoting their brand names via personalized agendas or pens (freebies that are usually thrown away by delegates anyway) without having any instant presence of their brands in the eyes of attending delegates.

The European Casino Association (ECA) and Clarion Gaming, which are the event’s organisers, have backed the UKGC, issuing an open letter urging exhibitors to take note of the warning before the event opens tomorrow.

According to The Guardian, the letter said: “In the spirit of the 21st century, when both women and men play strategic and decision-making roles in businesses, we encourage all exhibitors to mindfully represent support staff promoting their products at the show in a non-offensive and non-stereotyping way.”

The question here is: Are women not allowed to take part in decision-making bodies in the gambling industry? Having the experience in organizing events and discussing marketing plans, 90% of the decision makers which I’ve discussed with and which gave the green light for everything promotional; were women. There is nothing wrong with and the statement makers should closely consider the fact that all the promoters and their outfits are mostly picked by female event planners and event managers working for the exhibiting companies.

Do you really think that “male” business owners are attending these events to ogle at the promo girls? I think that we have passed this point a couple of years ago and the ones that do attend especially for such entertainment are just plain old horny anyway. I mean, let’s not squeeze the male mindset evolution into the stereotype thinking you are claiming to oppose.

It’s really funny how just 8 – 9 names have evolved to the statuses of leaders of a movement which is backed by their egos and is just shared by fellow industry colleagues (from both genders) just to be associated with the leading company.

As I put it in the article’s introduction, I don’t expect many to share my view on the situation, but just think about how such a rewrite of social codes is taking back open mindedness to a dangerous level where you are inhibited to wear clothing that has been the subject of harsh regulation.

The subject will be a main discuss on “The Morning Show” with Hawkie which is streamed Monday morning on iGamingRadio.com

Make sure you add your comments on our social media channels and look forward to receiving your backlash!

PS: The featured image was picked to lure in the female readers of the article. How stereotypical of me…..

 

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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Conferences in Europe

Gambling in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Austria, moderated by Dr. Joerg Hofmann at Prague Gaming Summit 2018

Zoltan Tundik

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Prague – 21 February 2018 – The most important boutique style gaming conference in Prague is going to welcome leading experts of the online gambling industry on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague. The second edition of Prague Gaming Summit is gathering new and old faces of the industry in order to highlight the trending topics for the attending delegates.

The key to a successful panel is in the careful selection of the panel moderator. The panel moderator brings the session to life: often selecting and prepping the panelists, determining the format to ensure a lively and informative conversation and having excellent facilitator skills to keep the conversation focused and moving along.

We have always searched to find the best possible mediators for the panel discussions and Prague Gaming Summit will continue to bring these quality dialogues.

The latest announced moderator is a familiar face at gaming events and is known for his experience in the industry. Dr. Joerg Hofmann (Melchers Law Germany) is the Immediate Past President of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL), the pre-eminent global gambling law networking and educational organisation. He has been consistently ranked as a “Leading Individual” in Gaming & Gambling by Chambers Global since 2011 and is the only German Lawyer listed among “Germany’s Best Lawyers” in the category “Gaming Law” by Handelsblatt and BestLawyers since 2014. Joerg is based in Heidelberg/Germany. He frequently publishes articles in international expert’s magazines and periodicals and speaks regularly on international gaming law conferences around the world.

Dr. Joerg Hofmann will moderate the “Focus on Czech Republic” and the “Focus on Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria” panel discussions, which promise to offer some inside information around the markets.

More speaker profiles will be releases soon, but you may want to check the already confirmed line-up of speakers and register in time. The event is limited to 125 seats.

Visit the official website of the event for more details: https://praguegamingsummit.com/

To hear more about the subjects and meet Joerg  in person, make sure you register and attend Prague Gaming Summit 2018, held on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague.

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Conferences in Europe

Exclusive Interview with Piotr Dynowski (Partner and Head of IP, Media, Tech & Comms practice at Bird & Bird’s Warsaw Office)

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Polish gambling industry has been the subject of many major changes, however not all of them are clear for the operators and shareholders.

So, I took advantage of the opportunity to catch up with Piotr Dynowski (Partner and Head of IP, Media, Tech & Comms practice at Bird & Bird’s Warsaw Office), who is going to be among the speakers at Prague Gaming Summit 2018 (more details here...), to gain an inside perspective on the Polish gambling market.

I would also like to thank you for following my interview series and for sharing these information with your colleagues and partners. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please send me an e-mail to reka.szalo@europeangaming.eu and I will happily get back to you!

I would like to thank you for spending time to answer our questions. First I would kindly ask you to shortly introduce yourself.

Piotr: My name is Piotr Dynowski and I’m a partner and head of IP, Media, Tech & Comms practice at Bird & Bird’s Warsaw office. For over 10 years now, as part of my practice, I have advised clients on all aspects of gaming law, in particular online gambling and betting, social gaming and e-sports. I advise on licensing regimes, regulatory issues, as well as advertising and provision of B2B services to gambling operators.

What is your personal opinion about the European gambling industry and could you make a comparison with the market that you know better and the European situation in terms of gaming and gambling?

Piotr: Unfortunately, Poland is still one of the most restrictive markets in Europe with respect to gambling and doing business by gambling operators in Poland is still pretty difficult, but apparently the changes to the Polish gambling regulations introduced last year were quite beneficial to the licensed betting operators and helped them almost double their turnover in comparison to the previous years. In general running gambling business, even in the EU, is very difficult as legal regulations differ significantly from country to country, some are very restrictive, others pretty liberal, and it is one of probably very few industry sectors left in the EU that are still completely unharmonised and where it seems the fundamental freedoms on which the EU is based do not really apply. Gambling industry has also to struggle all the time with negative perception by many governments and sometimes also negative image in the society. Generally gambling is still often perceived as something a little doggy and causing a lot of harm to the society despite all the efforts of the industry towards fraud protection, fighting gambling addiction and other important initiatives to prove that it is not a different industry than  any other entertainment industries.

In several Eastern European countries there are significant regulatory changes concerning online gambling. What advise would you give for the operators; which are the most attractive markets?

Piotr: Yes, we have seen recently some major changes to the gambling regulations in several Eastern European countries, but unfortunately most of them did not have too much impact on the situation of the private operators. Either they aimed at expanding and strengthening of the state monopoly like in Poland or Hungary or in theory created new opportunities for private operators to apply for new licences, but in practice turned out to be impossible to complete as in the Czech Republic. It seems that only Romania with its relatively liberal regulation in the region sees a major growth of its gambling market. The next big thing in Europe will most probably be Sweden which after years of strict monopoly will open soon to private operators. Taking into account that already a big number of companies in gambling industry are in fact of Nordic origin, the opening of the Swedish market will create enormous opportunities.

I would like to ask you to speak about the recent updates of the Polish gambling market. What can be expected in 2018 in terms of regulations, changes in this particular industry in Poland?

Piotr: Unfortunately, I’m afraid, there no major changes with respect to gambling regulations in Poland that we can expect in 2018. In my view any major future changes will depend on how successful the new online casino operations of the state monopoly will be, but there are delays with the launch of it, so it will take still some time to see how they are doing. If it is successful, the Polish government will have no incentive to liberalise the regulations and to let the private operators compete with the monopoly. But if it is a failure, they may reconsider whether it is not better to allow private operators to operate more freely and generate revenue for the state from the taxes. The only area where there may potentially be some changes in the foreseeable future is lowering slightly the taxes on gambling in Poland as they are currently very steep and one of the reasons many operators do not even try to apply for a licence here. Such change would certainly be welcome by the industry and could generate some more action on the market.

To hear more about the subject and meet Piotr in person, make sure you register and attend Prague Gaming Summit 2018, held on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague.

Interviewee profile:

Piotr is one of the leading Intellectual Property, patent and IP litigation lawyers in Poland.

Piotr advises on all aspects of gaming law, in particular online gambling and social gaming. His expertise covers licensing regimes, regulatory issues as well as advertising and provision of services such as electronic payments in relation to gambling products.

In 2011, as the Polish expert he participated in the research conducted by Cambridge Health Alliance together with Harvard Medical School and Harvard Law School, investigating associations between European gambling regulations and the actual gambling behavior of players.

In 2011, he represented the two largest European online gambling industry organisations in complaint proceedings against Poland to the European Commission for violation of the EU law by Polish gambling regulations, which resulted in the European Commission launching proceedings concerning violation of the EU law by Poland at the end of 2013 which terminated only in January 2016 after a number changes to the Polish gambling regulations were introduced.

He is a legal expert of the Polish Chamber of Commerce

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Conferences in Europe

Exclusive interview with Tom Edmonds (Harris Hagan), speaker at Prague Gaming Summit 2018

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

It was my pleasure and honor to conduct the below interview with such a experience professional of the gambling industry.

I would also like to thank you for following my interview series and for sharing these information with your colleagues and partners. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please send me an e-mail to reka.szalo@europeangaming.eu and I will happily get back to you!

My current interviewee is Tom Edmonds (Harris Hagan), who is going to be among the speakers at Prague Gaming Summit 2018 (more details here...)

We are very grateful for your generosity to answer our questions. First I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself and tell us when and why you started working in this industry.

Tom: My first taste of working in the gambling industry was advising on the sale of a major gambling company, when I worked at Travers Smith (a UK firm specialising in corporate transactions).  This gave me an appetite to work in the industry and I moved in-house to Betgenius, a B2B sports betting provider.  I then continued my journey into the world of gambling when I joined the specialist gambling law firm Harris Hagan in 2014.

Before joining Harris Hagan in March 2014, you worked at Betgenius as an in-house solicitor. Which are those professional experiences or which is the knowledge you accumulated there and proved to be useful in your present job?

Tom: It was valuable to develop a detailed understanding of the sports betting sector, as well as a general overview of the rest of the industry.  This has enabled me to better assist clients by anticipating issues which a client has not necessarily considered but which I’m aware will come into play.

You advise clients on regulatory requirements from a gambling law perspective, product classification and on making operating license applications in the UK. Which are the most common problems your clients ask your help in and what are your most important suggestions?

Tom: We regularly assist clients with applications for a Gambling Commission licence.  At the outset this involves dealing with the fundamental question of which company/ companies need to be licensed and which licences they need to hold – a question which you might imagine to be simple, but which can be complicated and which is vital to get right.

We then work with clients to ensure they remain compliant with the requirements of holding a Gambling Commission licence and, if they should breach such requirements, assisting them in finding the best resolution.

In several Eastern European countries there are significant regulatory changes concerning online gambling. What is your opinion about the European market in general? What advise would you give for the operators; which are the most attractive markets?

Tom: In general, Europe is moving towards ‘point of consumption’ licensing regimes, as in Great Britain, where operators need a licence in each country from which they take play.  As a result, operators must be prepared to spend increasing amounts of time and money on compliance as they have to deal with the requirements of more licensing regimes.  Conversely, and with regards to the most attractive markets, there are still unregulated markets which may prove more profitable but which also carry a higher risk profile.

You are particularly interested in areas of this industry where sports and gambling meet. How would you characterize this area of the gambling industry and which are the new trends, important changes that you would like to speak about?

Tom: There has been a significant tightening of the rules regarding advertising of gambling, including those adverts shown around televised sporting events.  At the time of writing (mid-February 2018), the advertising regulator in Great Britain has just issued wide ranging new guidance that is intended to have a substantial impact on the content (and tone) of such adverts.  Adverts will have to change but we wait to see how significantly operators will change their adverts and what action is taken against non-compliant operators.

To hear more about the subject and meet Tom in person, make sure you register and attend Prague Gaming Summit 2018, held on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague.

Interviewee profile:

Tom works in the Gambling Group and specialises in regulatory, commercial and corporate matters.

Before joining Harris Hagan, Tom worked as an in-house solicitor at Betgenius, a technology company which provides sportsbook solutions to bookmakers. At Betgenius, Tom gained first-hand experience of the online industry and advised on a broad range of commercial contracts and regulatory matters. Prior to working at Betgenius, Tom trained and worked for four years at Travers Smith where he specialised in M&A, including advising on the sale of a large gaming company.

Tom joined Harris Hagan in March 2014 and deals with all aspects of gambling law including advising major land based casino operators, online B2B and B2C operators and start up companies. Tom regularly advises clients on regulatory requirements from a gambling law perspective, product classification and on making operating licence applications in the UK. Tom has a particular interest in areas where there is a cross-over between sport and gambling including sports betting, advertising gambling at sports events and spot-the ball competitions

In his spare time, Tom enjoys playing or watching sport, planning adventures overseas and having the occasional flutter.

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