Just last week the Italian gaming news agency Agimeg reported that Italy’s gambling regulator had so far received “less than 10 applications” for the new licenses, which cover mostly all gambling activities – sports and race betting, casino, poker, exchange betting, virtual sports, etc.
The licenses cost €200k apiece and are valid through 2022. Applicants must already hold an online gambling license in a European Union member state and boast annual turnover of at least €1.5m over the past two years. If applicants can’t meet these standards, they have to put up an additional €1.5m bank guarantee.
My latest interviewee is among the leading lawyers in Italy. Quirino Mancini is Partner and Global Head of Gaming & Gambling Practice at Tonucci & Partners.
Thank you for accepting this interview. My first question would be what are your expectations from the call for bids from online gaming operators? How will this change the Italian gaming industry?
Quirino: Judging by the first enquiries I have gathered since the announcement of the new licence tender, it would seem that notwithstanding the Italian market is already packed, there still are operators willing to enter it. This applies not only to B2C operators but to B2B ones too, even though unlike, most European regulated markets, the Italian licensing model does not require B2B operators to hold a local licence in order to offer their services, so if the trend is confirmed I reckon the Italian market will be somewhat re-shaped as a result of the advent of the “hybrid” operators (B2C+B2B).
The launch of the bidding process was expected much earlier. What hindered the launch, and does this have any effect on the process of bidding?
Quirino: The only reason for an otherwise inexplicable delay in calling the remote gaming licences tender is the quite populistic and very often ill-informed political pressure, notably across the whole parliamentary board, to restrict the gaming offer. Unfortunately the local gaming industry has so far proven unable to pull their acts together in terms of putting together a consistent, coordinated and effective effort to somehow redress the mounting wave of discredit and bias thrown at operators who are fully legal, legitimate, licensed and do pay taxes in Italy as if instead they were a bunch of offshore-based pirates ripping and abusing the poor Italian consumers.
There are several online gambling licenses which have already entered the Italian iGaming market and now only require the renewal of their licenses. My question is what is your opinion how difficult this process will be for the rest of the applicants?
Quirino: The licence tender process is all but difficult provided the prospective applicants duly meet the eligibility requirements and take timely action filing-wise. The real challenges for them, once licensed, are (i) going live in less than one full year bearing in mind the many technical peculiarities and specificities of the Italian remote gaming model that notably entails a 24/7 connection of the operator’s servers with the central control system ran by the regulator, (ii) having a good product fit and also customised for the local players, and (iii) having a clear vision for an effective and creative marketing strategy.
The delay in the online gaming licensing might have had an effect on the shared online poker liquidity agreement signed by Italy as well. What is your opinion regarding this problem?
Quirino: I believe that when it comes to shared international liquidity, the more newcomer operators join the party, the better it is for the players in terms of creating a sufficiently large pool.
It has recently been announced that Italy will not join the official start of the project. Will you, please share your ideas related to this issue?
Quirino: On 4 March 2018 general elections will be held in Italy. As already mentioned in a previous reply, at this time there definitely is too much focus, bias, propaganda, mis-information and pressure surrounding the gaming business for any sensible politician to want to be seen as the one who facilitated the offer of more gaming services to Italians, and because regulators take instructions and directions from the government and the parliament, you may easily figure out the rest of the story
To meet Quirino 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.
Quirino Mancini is the global head of the gaming and gambling practice at Tonucci & Partners(www.tonucci.com), a top-ten Italian general practice firm with offices in Rome, Milan, Brescia, Padua, Florence, Tirana, Bucharest and Belgrad.
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 customised 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 organisation gathering regulators, lawyers and advisors, in-house counsels and educators engaged in the gaming business. Fellow member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA)
Anticipate a different EUROMAT Summit this year as the best is yet to unfold
The annual European Gaming and Amusement Federation (EUROMAT) Summit has been scheduled to commence from the 4th of June this year. As promised by the Association President, Jason Frost the event is expected to unfold in a very different way this year than the previous years. Concluding on the 6th of June the summit will last for 3 consecutive days. Traditionally the Summit has been a pan-European gathering of the associations representing land-based gaming and amusements, along with regulators and policymakers.
However, Jason Frost pointed out that: “Previous summits have proved extremely productive but there is no doubt that the event has acquired something of a reputation for exclusivity. The landscape of gaming and amusements is shifting and we are confronting many new challenges. Ultimately, many of the solutions will rest with equipment manufacturers and operators.”
“It’s really important, therefore that the summit becomes more inclusive and that all facets of the industry are represented. The event will provide the perfect opportunity for those at the sharp-end to meet regulators and legislators face-to-face in a relaxed and informal environment,” assured Jason.
In a preponderant step towards a more inclusive environment EUROMAT has opened a Corporate Membership category, custom- made to allow members to input into the policy recommendations made to the EU and other European institutions, as well as benefit from alerts and insight into legal and regulatory issues.
One of the original corporate members, JVH Gaming, confirms that membership has been very rewarding, with CEO Eric Olders commenting: “International cooperation and consolidation is becoming increasingly important, in the land-based gaming market. Our EUROMAT membership helps us in obtaining a more international perspective. The network creates an opportunity for international learning and cooperation. Furthermore, the international knowledge, expertise, and size of EUROMAT is very much welcomed in our local lobby efforts as well.”
In addition to being updated on the latest legal developments, manufacturers and other summit participants will also have the opportunity to engage with several European regulators.
A fresh new format sees the summit devoting an entire day to Social Responsibility, including self-exclusion, technology, and problem gambling. Also new for 2018, amusements will have their own focus, with a session exploring potential opportunities for Redemption in the French market.
Speaking about commercial opportunities created by the Summit, Jason Frost revealed, “At recent trade expos we’ve seen some truly revolutionary developments in payment technology. We have a limited amount of space for product demonstrations and it’s my hope that some manufacturers will seize this opportunity to introduce their products to a highly influential audience.”
Contact: Organiser Karen Cooke: email@example.com for more information about exciting opportunities for showcasing your brand and latest technology at the EUROMAT Summit.
The location for The EUROMAT Summit will be the spectacular Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, located on its own peninsula within Monte Carlo. Jason Frost explains the choice of location: “This year we are reaching out to a wider gaming and amusements community and we wanted to offer them something truly memorable. A programme of cocktail receptions, lunches and a Gala Dinner at one of Monaco’s most iconic venues will add to the compelling business arguments for attending.”
To register, or for more details about attending the EUROMAT Summit and adding your voice to that of the European amusements and gaming industry, visit www.euromat.org
Prague Gaming Summit 2018 welcomes SBTech as Registration Sponsor
Prague – 14 March 2018 – We are honored to announce the support of SBTech as Registration Sponsor at the second edition of Prague Gaming Summit which will be held at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague on the 29th of March.
As we’ve announced in earlier press releases, the event will be fully packed and the content of the seminar promises to set the bar even higher than usual.
With 30 experts speakers sharing information about legal updates from Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Austria and also focusing on Responsible Gambling, Effective Marketing, AML, Blockchain, Conversion, Retention and Gambling Licensing Procedures in the European Union, the program of the event is unique in the industry.
Make sure you register in order to get a chance to networking with the representatives of Fortuna Group Entertainment, Sazka, Superbet, NetEnt, Cubits, Payout s.r.o., Nmi Gaming, Data Bet, Pangea Localization Services, PMU, BMM Testlabs, ROMBET, All-In Translations, Betgenius, Endorphina, Vemantia, Kajot, Genii Limited, Quickspin, Apollo Games, Astra Games, Ladbrokes Coral, Mr.Green, Boston Link and much more.
Visit the official website of the event for more details: https://praguegamingsummit.com/
SBTech is a global leader in omni-channel sports betting and gaming, with over 1,000 employees in 11 locations worldwide. Since 2007, SBTech has developed the industry’s most powerful online sports betting and casino platform, serving more than 50 licensees in over 20 regulated markets.
SBTech’s clients include many of the world’s premier betting and gaming operators, state lotteries, land-based casino and horse racing companies, and igaming start-ups. The group supplies uniquely flexible betting and gaming solutions to clients looking for speed to market and exceptional configurability, supported by the best business intelligence and reporting capabilities.
The SBTech offering includes its Seamless Sportsbook, the Chameleon360 iGaming Platform, Managed Services, and retail and omni-channel solutions that provide players with constant access to sports and casino products across all touchpoints: online, mobile and retail.
Backed up by unrivalled expertise in trading and risk management, regulatory compliance, AML and KYC procedures, acquisition and CRM, SBTech’s partners consistently achieve rapid growth, enhanced brand loyalty and peak profitability.
For more information, visit: www.sbtech.com
Exclusive Interview with Jan Řehola (Partner at PS Legal) and speaker at Prague Gaming Summit 2018
This week it’s all about the Czech Republic and our latest interviewee is a highly respected expert who shares his expertise at gaming events. Jan Řehola is a frequent speaker at our events and always bring quality information about the market’s updates. You can meet Jan in person by attending the second edition of Prague Gaming Summit which will be held on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague. You can find more details here.
Hello Jan, thank you accepting this interview, please tell us little bit about yourself, with now over 7 years of experience in the gaming industry, how did you continuously venture to the industry, I mean what was the main reason and what are your key activities, now within the niche?
Jan: As a gambling lawyer I found myself the most beneficial in helping operators, suppliers, testing labs and all other stakeholders involved in gambling industry to be still fully updated and fully complaint with constantly changing regulation. As gambling is highly controversial topic often in spotlight of politicians – regulation is changing very quickly so legal, and especially compliance, plays still more and more important role. What I really like the most on my work is helping my clients to develop and successfully introduce new products on market. By being part of client’s development team, I have priceless opportunity to learn new competences what helps me go every day to my office with joy and enthusiasm.
Working for 4 years for the Ministry of Finance – Czech Gambling regulator, firstly as a Head of the Legal Unit and later as a Director of Gambling Department, what do you consider you could share with us and with the readers as updates on the Czech Gaming Market?
Jan: Czech gambling market is currently undergoing the biggest restructuring from the velvet revolution in 1989. We have new Gambling Act fully in force from 2017. This Gambling Act for the first time in history introduces specific regulation for online gambling and opens whole Czech gambling market for companies established anywhere within EEA. With gambling tax based on GGR and reasonable license conditions, because new regulatory framework on paper looks very good. Unfortunately, in fact application of new Gambling Act caused some difficulties. Considering some recently issued secondary regulation (e.g. guidelines on Bonuses) and transposition of 4th AML Directive unfortunately it can be concluded that to some extent those things spoil idea of regulated, modern and highly competitive market. Currently it is very hard especially for foreign operators to meet specific requirements of Czech regulator and therefore we still have just one foreign operator with licence based on new Gambling Act (Pokerstars holds licence for sport betting, poker and so called “live game”). With new government in place some changes are expected to happen in near future. It can be presumed that some requirements which form obstacles could be potentially removed. Ministry is still working on pack of secondary regulations dealing with technical standards and also preparing big public tender for control monitoring system. Potential stakeholders on Czech market should therefore follow and supervise this preparatory works with due diligence.
Going further, You were responsible for all gambling policy issues, including drafting of new legislation, issuing of gambling licences and cooperation with other European regulators as a member of European Commission Expert Group on Online Gambling, what can you tell us about this year’s updates(in 2018), can we expect major changes on the Czech Gambling Market as we know were some tensions between governments, regulators and the gambling industry.
Jan: As mentioning before we can presume that with new, more business-oriented government in place, regulator can to some extent be more reasonable in licensing procedure. Those operators, suppliers and testing labs having experiences with licensing process in the Czech Republic can provide a testimony that hitherto regulator was more focus on formal requirements than on real substance of licenced product. Some requirements are Czech specific and therefore hardly understandable for foreign licence seekers. This could be changed. As regulator is expected to be more open, I see big room for suppliers and testing labs delivering products in many regulated market to open dialogue with regulator and help him to rebuilt licence process to be more substance oriented.
Due to your background and well versed in all aspects of gambling operations, please tell us more about how PS Legal works, as PS Legal has a rich experience in gambling field and provide professional and high quality legal and compliance consultancy to key players on Czech gambling market.
Jan: I am really enjoying our teamwork at PS Legal. This law firm has long history but when me and my colleagues joined its teams it becomes leading company in gambling field in the Czech Republic. We are focusing not only on gambling but trying to offer expertise in all new emerging industries and technologies where clients can suffer in finding professional legal help with knowledge of this specific industry. Currently we are for instance building division focusing on legal help in field of cryptocurrency or rather blockchain technology in general. We strongly believe that this rapidly developing market can play huge role in upcoming years. What I really like the most is that we are young but highly educated bunch of friends having fun in helping our clients to meet regulatory requirements in versatile areas. By doing this we are still learning and therefore our work is far from being routine.
What are your main responsibilities at PS Legal, as it is a Prague based law firm specialized in providing legal services to all sectors of the gaming industry?
Jan: In PS Legal I am heading its gambling department. This takes currently more than 70 % of my work capacity. As mentioned before we are currently building also department dealing with cryptocurrency and data protections issues. For this I am helping with head hunting process as our team is growing at a fast pace. This type of work I found very fulfilling. I am trying to use experience I got from Ministry of Finance where I was responsible for team of 35 people. I really like see how young people grow in front of your eyes as you gave them room and responsibility.
Do you have a personal opinion regarding the Gambling Market focusing on Czech Republic and the Czech Gambling-related Market? What are the PS Legal company’s future plans in the gaming sector and what are your personal next steps and projects regarding your professional life and achieving your personal goals?
Jan:I am sure that Czech market would become more competitive in year 2018. With many applicants seeking to get licence and with licensees seeking to get new product on market we can see rapidly evolving market. Currently we see huge restructuring and M&A in land-based market that undergoing huge changes and some M&A could be expected in online world too. I believe, PS legal would play still important role in this process. Whit our expertise and experience I also hope we can help to establish dialog among all stakeholders and regulator to work together on common goal – functioning regulated market where player is protected, and operators can offer them attractive product.
To meet Jan 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.
Jan Řehola has over 7 years of experiences in gambling field, both from the public and private sector. He is a master of Law from the Charles University in Prague.
Jan has been working for 4 years for the Ministry of Finance – Czech Gambling regulator, firstly as a Head of the Legal Unit and later as a Director of Gambling Department. In his work for the Czech Gambling regulator Jan was responsible for all gambling policy issues, including drafting of new legislation, issuing of gambling licences and cooperation with other European regulators as a member of European Commission Expert Group on Online Gambling.
Due to his background, he is well versed in all aspects of gambling operations.
PS Legal is Prague based law firm specialized in providing legal services to all sectors of the gaming industry. PS Legal has rich experience in gambling field and provide professional and high quality legal and compliance consultancy to key players on Czech gambling market.
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