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No more advertising free spins and bonuses – Belgium amends gambling laws

George Miller

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No more advertising free spins and bonuses - Belgium amends gambling laws
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On 4 April 2019, the Belgian Parliament approved a whole series of amendments to the current Gambling Act of 7 May 1999. In this article, you will read everything that will change with this new law and how it will affect the online gambling industry.

New playing limits
Players can now only deposit a maximum of € 500 per week on any gambling site, or a total of € 2000 per month. Gamblers, have the option to increase this limit. However, this is only possible after verification with the National Bank. If a player are not registered as a defaulter, the casino can then increase the deposit limit. It is difficult to predict whether this will really have an effect on the gambling behaviour of Belgians. It could lead to players diversifying where they play, since there is nothing to prevent a player from opening an account at multiple online casinos. The limit is set per gambling site and not for all gambling sites at the same time.

Casino bonuses are limited
Casinos can still offer bonuses, but the bonuses are limited in size. Since 1 June 2019, casinos are allowed to offer a maximum of € 275 in their welcome bonus. This would make problem gamblers less inclined to make huge deposits.

No more gambling with credit cards
A wise gambler knows that he should not play with borrowed money. Now, the Belgian government is taking that possibility away. Since June 1 2019, players can no longer gamble with a credit card. This was already the case, but the government has tightened the restrictions. You could simply charge your PayPal, Neteller or Skrill account with a credit card to make a deposit. That possibility now seems to have disappeared. The Belgian Gaming Commission states:
“The holders of a class A +, B + or F1 + license are obliged to refuse any intervention of electronic payment systems when charging game accounts if these electronic payment systems allow the player to use his credit card as a deposit method”

Going by this information, it seems that e-wallets such as Neteller and Skrill will be a thing of the past. On the other hand, we see that large gambling sites such as Unibet.be still have Skrill, PayPal and Neteller on their list of accepted payment methods. How this part should be interpreted is therefore not 100% clear.

Virtual Sports disappear
Since June 1 2019, you can no longer bet on virtual sports in Belgium. These are fictional sports competitions that you could find on different sites in different forms. These were, for example, virtual horse races, or fictional football games. Although these types of games are staged, they are fair, since they are programmed with RNGs.

Possible to prohibit certain bets
With the new law, the Belgian Gambling Commission has the ability to prohibit certain fraud-sensitive bets.

Youth games or games with minors are seen as particularly sensitive to fraud. Soon it will also no longer be possible to bet on games with a high percentage of underage players.

Other types of bets are also being targeted, such a bets on certain types of match statistics and events. The reasoning is that it is too easy for players on the field to manipulate these statistics, without purposely losing a game.

Restriction on online gambling advertising
Advertising for cashback bonuses, and cashbacks themselves must disappear completely. Casinos can still offer welcome bonuses and free spins, but are limited to advertising them on their own website only. This means no more TV commercials with about free spins or bonuses, and greatly affects the affiliate market, with most Belgian affiliate site removing all mention of bonuses and free spins. Players can only find them on the casino sites themselves.

“Gamble in moderation” and advertising limits
The text “Gamble in moderation” (“Gok met mate”) will also have to be mentioned on every advertisement for online gaming. There can only be one gambling advertisement per advertising block, while gambling advertisements must disappear before 8 pm and during major sporting events. This probably means that advertising slots for gambling will go up in price, which will probably benefit the larger players on the Belgian market.

Find more gambling news at FreeSpinsNoDepositNoWager.com.

Industry News

GVC Restructures its Customer Care Teams

Niji Narayan

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GVC Restructures its Customer Care Teams
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Ladbrokes Coral operator GVC has announced that it will reorganise its customer care teams in order to prepare for new VIP requirements in Great Britain. The announcement comes after the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) adopted new rules for VIPs, created by a GVC-led Gambling Commission working group, including limiting the schemes to those aged 25 or older.

Last month, the Gambling Commission then launched a consultation on whether to make these changes part of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) for all licensees.

“GVC was the lead operator in the industry working group on what were formally referred to as VIP schemes,” a GVC spokesperson said.

“This work paved the way for the creation of the new code, which introduces significant enhancements to responsible gambling safeguarding measures for high-value customer (HVC) schemes and reduces the number of customers eligible to participate, including a complete restriction for those aged under 25.”

The spokesperson said in order to facilitate these changes, GVC has begun a restructuring of its customer care team.

He added that certain roles were placed at risk of redundancy under the restructuring, but said the operator expects the number of redundancies to be low.

“As a result of the restructure, a number of roles have been identified at risk, though it is hoped and expected that by offering alternate positions within the group, compulsory redundancies will be kept to a minimum.”

VIP schemes have become a controversial element of British operators’ businesses following a number of regulatory failings involving players designated as high-value customers.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling Related Harm said in its report on industry performance and regulatory change last month that these “highly problematic” loyalty programmes be banned.

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Industry News

Spinmatic Partners with Italian Platform Provider Pixelo

Niji Narayan

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Spinmatic Partners with Italian Platform Provider Pixelo
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Online casino games developer and supplier Spinmatic has partnered with the Italian platform provider Pixelo. Spimatic’s whole suite of video slots will soon be available to all the clients that have integrated the Pixelo platform.

The first operator to benefit from going live with Spinmatic games will be Vincitu, on its main website www.overplus.it, and other sites. Vincitu has its own package of casino games and it is among the most successful ones on the Italian market.

“Spinmatic is one of the main casino game providers on the market and Pixelo is a young but very dynamic and growing company. We are sure that thanks to Spinmatic’s high-performance games the successes will be even greater and our position on the Italian market as a software platform will be increasingly consolidated and appreciated by our customers,” Cristina Ferrario, CCO of Pixelo, said.

“Working with Pixelo for this integration was very easy, and we are very happy that our video slots are going to be part of its suite of games. Italy is a very special market for us, and I am sure this agreement will be very successful,” Gianfranco Arrichiello, Sales Manager at Spinmatic, said.

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Industry News

Gaming Realms Signs New Distribution Deal with Rank Group

Niji Narayan

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Gaming Realms Signs New Distribution Deal with Rank Group
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Gaming Realms has signed a new three-year distribution deal with the Rank Group.

Rank Group casino and bingo brands such as Aspers Casino, Lucky VIP Casino and Kitty Bingo now offer players the entire Slingo Originals portfolio of Gaming Realms, including top performing titles Slingo Monopoly, Slingo Rainbow Riches and Deal or No Deal Slingo.

“We are delighted to announce the continued strengthening of our relationship with Rank through this agreement. We constantly strive to bring new and exciting content to an increased audience and believe that through Rank’s great portfolio of brands we can further enhance the Slingo brand here in the UK,” Michael Buckley, interim CEO and chairman of Gaming Realms, said.

Gaming Realms already provides its Slingo portfolio to Rank’s Mecca brand in the UK, with the new agreement extending their distribution to the Stride Gaming brands acquired by Rank last year.

“We’ve been huge fans of Slingo ever since it hit the UK market, so the opportunity to add ALL the Originals to our game portfolio this year is genuinely exciting, and well worth the wait! We look forward to building on its success and bringing this market-leading content to a wider audience than ever before,” Riaan Slabbert, chief product officer of Rank Digital, said.

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