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Gambling industry veteran, Steve Donoughue opposes recent illiberal statements in an open letter

Zoltan Tundik



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Reading Time: 4 minutes

There is a fresh statement published by the organizer of ICE Totally Gaming, which has been released due to the recent turn of events. (You can read the statement here…)

This statement should be taken seriously by the industry and should be debated in order to reach a common ground, otherwise the escalation of the harm done to the gambling industry can lead an irreversible situation.

We have pointed out some clear facts about some clear radical feminist acts coming from both the regulator and event organizer, however it seems that we are not the only one considering that such acts should be commented.

The subject has been dissected on social media and we have found that most of the comments come from individuals that are not taking any sides in the topic which is very alarming. This is certainly a sign of fear and it seems that some companies are scarred to comment this issue just for the sake of avoiding discussions from certain crowds.

This is not the case of industry veteran, Steve Donoughue, who is one of the UK’s leading management consultants and specializes in the gambling industry, both offline and online. Steve has today published an open letter which you can read below or on this link.

Open letter to Clarion’s Kate Chambers
posted by Steve Donoughue

In an article posted on iGaming Business entitled ‘Clarion pledges Action Plan to tackle industry sexism’ posted on the 12th February 2018 it states that Clarion will be canvassing stakeholders views about your plan to eliminate promotional girls from all your gambling events through your Ampersand Think Tank and Research initiative that you say enables you to communicate directly with the industry.

As an industry veteran of 25 years who speaks at many conferences and has done for over 20 years, I am unfortunately not one of your chosen Ampersand members so have been forced to write this open letter.

I am categorically against your plan to dictate to the gambling industry what is acceptable behaviour at industry events. We have laws made by Parliament that control our behaviour not diktat laid down by unappointed and unaccountable industry suppliers

In no way am I condoning sexism, exploitation, discrimination and all the other nasties that the world is beset with, but I do not think this is what is happening at ICE or any other show.

What I do think is happening is that a small bunch of privileged women from outside our industry are trying to impose their own political agenda on an industry they dont know and possibly dont like and as a result, hundreds of promotional girls will have food taken from their tables for no justifiable reason.

The promotional girls are not exploited, they know fully well what is expected of them and they do their jobs professionally and happily. There has been no reports of harassment or assault and if there was, the law would apply and the perpetrator prosecuted. The promotional girls like the job, keep coming back and most of all value the employment that you begrudge them. They are in most cases employed by female run agencies being commissioned by female run marketing departments.

I fully understand the argument that using promotional girls is old-fashioned, that may be the case, but it is not up to you regulate it. Much as flares are old fashioned but we dont ban them however much we might want to. Market forces may make exhibitors try another approach to presenting their business but this is their choice not one to be forced upon them

Not only have what you and Sarah Harrison done is unfairly bring more acrimony upon an already under attack industry but you have ignored the hundreds of women who work in the industry throughout the year, not just at the conferences that pay your wages. Some of us are old enough to remember when there were practically no women working in this industry, the mirror image of what the exhibition industry now just you have very few men and seem not to be so exercised about this lack of diversity.

We can at least be very proud of the numbers of women we have and safe in the knowledge that more are being attracted to the industry. I have not heard any voices against the promotional girls from women in the industry, all the ones I have talked to do not consider it an issue. yet again this attack on our industry is coming from a small number of privileged outsiders

What is at stake here is your attempt to tell us – your customers – what to do and how we should do our business and that is wrong.

You can dress it up by saying its about respecting women but you seem to have no respect for those you wish to force out of legal employment.

Once you ban the girls what will you ban next?

Will you lead a campaign against the costumes women competitors wear on Strictly?

I would not be saying this if this was another industry. Skimpily clad girls are out of context at an accountancy exhibition. Not at a gambling exhibition where members of the public are not invited. Gambling has always been an adult form of entertainment with sexual motifs prevalent throughout both time and the breadth of the industry.

The girls must stay

No one is asking for nudity just the ability to dress as the client wants – which is no more than many girls dress on a Friday night

We are kindly asking all our readers to send us their opinion to and let us know what would they do in order to keep radical feminism out of the industry.

Please take our survey about the topic, by submitting your reply below:


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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Vietnam to reduce tax incentives for casinos in SEZs

Niji Ng




Reading Time: 1 minute

Vietnamese officials are planning to reduce tax incentives previously promised for casino operators in the country’s special economic zones (SEZs).

The Standing Committee of the National Assembly, while discussing the draft law for Vietnam’s SEZs, is expected to announce this. This is following criticism from some Assembly delegates that plans to offer tax incentives to gaming operators in Van Don in Quang Ninh Province in the north, Bac Van Phong in Khanh Hoa Province and Phu Quoc in Kien Giang Province in the south are too generous.

Under the previous proposal, projects in Vietnam’s SEZs would be granted a 100 per cent tax deduction for the first four years of operation, 50 per cent for the next five years and 10 per cent for another 21 years before reverting to the standard tax rate.

The new proposal would see them paying preferential corporate income tax of 17 per cent from the day of opening for the first five years and a higher excise tax, up from 10 to 15 per cent, for the first 10 years. Unlimited land and sea lease exemptions would also be scrapped and the exemption period slashed to a maximum of 30 years in Van Don and Bac Van Phong and 20 years in Phu Quoc, according to local media.


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Gambling expert moots WADA-style anti-corruption unit

Niji Ng




Reading Time: 2 minutes

Charles Livingstone, an Australia-based gambling expert, has called for an international anti-corruption unit to monitor athletes, much like the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that monitors illegal drug-taking by athletes.

He said he hopes the US entry into live sports betting might help his efforts for an international anti-corruption unit to monitor athletes.

Charles Livingstone is the head of the gambling and social determinants unit at Melbourne’s Monash University. He has been calling for several years the formation of the monitoring agency for potential corruption among athletes.

 “Now that the United States is going to allow gambling on sporting events, I’m hoping it might become a real possibility,” Livingstone said.

A US Supreme Court decision last week clearing the way for states to legalise sports betting came 10 years after Australia’s highest court did similar to allow more widespread betting on sporting events Down Under.

After a gambling agency challenged existing laws, a 2008 Australian High Court decision removed restrictions preventing bookmakers licensed in one jurisdiction from advertising in another. This change prompted the entry of international corporate bookmakers into the Australian sports market to capitalise on the country’s penchant for both gambling and sport.

It has spurred a whole range of new betting options, including some on minute detail.

Livingstone said one way to reduce the potential for corruption among athletes would be to stop so-called “spot betting” where gamblers can bet on such things as how the first points in a game might be scored, or when the first double-fault might occur in a tennis match.

Australian rugby league player Ryan Tandy was convicted of trying to manipulate the first score of a 2010 National Rugby League match and a former Australian Open junior champion was banned for seven years for purposely losing the first set of a match at a low-level tournament.

“Ban spot-betting,” Livingstone says bluntly. “There is enormous potential for corruption. It’s a small step from there to starting to throw games.” He says a WADA-style agency monitoring corruption could also help educate athletes, as the anti-doping agency does.

Government figures show that 80 percent of Australians gamble, the highest percentage of any country (Singapore is second, Ireland third) although that figure includes those who might bet once a year on a horse race or play the lottery. More than a billion Australian dollars ($758 million) is spent each year on live sports gambling in the country.

Source: AP

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Genting aims to land first casino license in Andorra

Niji Ng




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Reading Time: 1 minute

Genting Group, a Malaysia-based tourism and gambling company, has submitted a massive bid of $164.6 million to obtain the first casino license in Andorra, the tiny mountainous independent principality between Spain and France.

Genting has submitted its bid through its UK unit.

To enter its bid, Genting teamed up with Andorran businessman Marc Giebels van Bekestein, British investor David Gray and Arc Resorts President Mark Vlassopulos. If approved, 70 per cent of the venture will be held by Genting.

Genting has proposed an integrated resort (IR) project for Andorra that would create 400 permanent jobs and 600 temporary construction jobs. The project would offer two floors of private rooms and suites, a spa and a “gastronomy market.”

Genting currently owns 43 licenses in the UK. It operates the Resorts World Birmingham, worth approximately $201.5 million. The Andorra casino resort would be the company’s first on continental Europe.

Other bids have been submitted by France’s Partouche, Barrière, Raineau and Casinos Austria. The winner of the project is expected to be announced by the end of June.

Andorra is on a mission to increase tourism in the area. The regional government enacted legislation two years ago that would allow casino gaming. Licenses would be valid for 20 years and would be contingent upon a minimum investment of $11.7 million (€10 million). Additionally, the Andorra Tourism Board participated in the ITB China event last week. Ctrip International, a Chinese provider of travel services, and the board’s Joaquim Tomas held talks regarding opening new markets and upgraded travel products to increase bilateral cooperation.

Genting was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It operates and markets casinos and IRs around the world, including in the Americas, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, the Philippines and the UK. Its annual revenue is estimated at around $2.23 billion.


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