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Five BGC Members Pledge £100M to Combat Problem Gambling

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Five BGC Members Pledge £100M to Combat Problem Gambling
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Five members of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) have confirmed that they will spend £100m to improve the treatment services for problem gamblers.

bet365, GVC, PaddyPower Betfair, Sky Betting and Gaming (which are both now part of Flutter Entertainment) and William Hill, announced that they will provide funds to GambleAware charity who will be the main commissioning agent for ensuring funds reach people who require counselling and treatment.

These operators have already pledged to increase the amount they spend on research, education and treatment (RET) services from 0.1% to 0.25% of their annual revenue in 2020, 0.5% in 2021, 0.75% in 2022 and 1% in 2023.

Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter Entertainment, said: “GambleAware has a long track record in commissioning treatment services and working with providers for the benefit of problem gamblers.

“Through the provision of this unprecedented level of financial support, we aim to achieve a step-change in the treatment and counselling available to those experiencing gambling-related harm.

“As an industry, we are taking significant strides to build in further protections for customers. From increasing safer gambling messages in response to Covid-19, to a £10 million nationwide education initiative targeting all 11-19 years olds across the country, we are creating a safer environment for our customers while devoting resources to protecting the vulnerable and under-age.”

BGC has also confirmed that £2.5 million will be made available to the YGAM/GamCare gambling education project in this financial year. Also, the operators will continue to provide 0.1% of their annual revenue to GambleAware’s funding of RET, while BGC members will give an additional £3.8 million of funding to the BetRegret 2020 advertising campaign to encourage safer gambling.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I’ve seen first hand how problem gambling can damage people’s mental health and affect the lives of those around them – and I’ve been determined to help protect vulnerable people from the impacts.

“So I’m delighted the Betting and Gaming Council is taking these steps to support treatment and provision for problem gamblers.

“The Government will continue to tackle the consequences of problem gambling by rolling out specialist services on the NHS, which will offer expert care and treatment for those who need it.”

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Skywind soars with Livespins partnership

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Skywind soars with Livespins partnership
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Developer’s full suite of content has been integrated into the provider’s innovative live streaming platform that is live on casinofriday and offers an entirely new way for players to experience online casino

Skywind has become the latest supplier to join the Livespins revolution by integrating its full suite of slots into the provider’s cutting-edge live streaming platform.

The partnership will see Skywind’s popular slots made available to Livespins streamers for the first time, including player favourite titles such as Big top Bonanza Megaways, Shaolin Showdown and Teller of tales.

Livespins is on a mission to socially charge the online casino space and it is doing this by delivering shared player experiences through its innovative platform, offering an entirely new category of play.

The provider has assembled a lineup of the best streamers in the business and players can watch but also join in with the action taking place across the reels by betting behind the streamer.

This creates a group bet and a shared experience on the same spin but with each player able to set their own bet amount and number of spins.

Social interaction is offered through the ability for players to chat with the streamer and each other throughout, as well as by adding reactions to the action taking place across the reels.

Michael Pedersen, CCO at Livespins, said: “Livespins is revolutionising the online casino experience for players but the driving force behind any successful stream is the game being played by the streamer.

“Players expect to be kept on the edge of their seats and with Skywind we have a content partner that knows how to get pulses racing and deliver the excitement and entertainment that players, and streamers, are seeking.

“Skywind makes for a great addition to our growing portfolio of games, and I look forward to tuning in to broadcasts of our streamers and players engaged with the action taking place across the reels.”

Hilary Stewart-Jones, CEO at Skywind, added: “The meteoric rise of online casino streaming has been phenomenal and increasingly a mainstay of our business. Livespins is at the heart of this in driving the streamer community forward with a unique platform and player experience.  We are very excited to become a part of that.

“Our games have been designed to thrill and excite with each spin which makes them perfectly suited to streaming and we look forward to seeing Livespins streamers and players enjoy the fast-paced, high-engagement action they provide.”

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Compliance Updates

Norwegian Government Submits New Gambling Act for Consultation

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Norway’s Ministry of Culture and Gender Equality has launched a consultation on the country’s new proposed Gambling Act. The new Gambling Act will replace the Lottery Act, the Totalizator Act and the previous Gambling Act.

The draft legislation is open to comments from stakeholders until 5 August. While much of the law simply consolidates aspects of the previous three acts in place, it does come updated enforcement rules.

Among the most significant parts of the new act is the introduction of “infringement fees” for operators that violate the Gambling Act, including those who target the country without a licence. In Norway, only monopolies Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto may offer online gambling.

The Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gaming had criticised the bill when it was introduced for keeping the monopoly model in place.

Regulator Lotteri-og Stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet) may require operators to pay up to 10% of turnover – before winnings are paid out – if they break the rules laid out in the Act.

In deciding the size of the fine, Lotteritilsynet may consider its preventative effect, the “gravity and duration” of the infringement, the financial capability of the offender, the degree of cooperation with the authorities and any previous violations.

If approved, the rules are set to come into force on 1 January 2023.

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Compliance Updates

Swedish Court Rejects Mr Green Appeal Over €3.1M Fine

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The Administrative Court in Linköping has rejected Mr Green’s appeal against a sanction for breaches of the Money Laundering Act and Gambling Act.

The gambling regulator Spelinspektionen had issued Mr Green with two warnings and fines totalling SEK31.5m (€3.1m) in August due to breaches of know-your-customer (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML) and responsible gambling rules.

The Administrative Court has ruled that Mr Green’s routines on money laundering were lacking and that it violated the Money Laundering Act’s rules on customer knowledge. It found that the two warnings issued by Spelinspektionen were “sufficient” and the penalty fees “proportionate”.

The largest fee of SEK30m relates to breaches of the operator’s duty of care on responsible gambling. A second warning and related penalty of SEK1.5m were issued for AML and KYC failings.

Spelinspektionen launched a review of Mr Green’s AML measures after receiving complaints in November 2019. It inspected 15 customer accounts, including accounts belonging to customers that Mr Green had reported to Sweden’s financial police.

Spelinspektionen said the fact that Mr Green had reported the accounts showed the operator had suspicions about possible money laundering.

The regulator noted that one customer had made deposits totalling SEK39.3m and had lost SEK3.2m despite having a declared income that hardly covered the loss. However, Mr Green had decided not to take further action to investigate possible money laundering after the customer stopped playing.

Spelinspektionen also audited five customers due to responsible gambling measures. It found that Mr Green had attempted to contact all five by email or phone due to increases in their gambling activity but that one customer had made several deposits per day on multiple occasions and had lost more than their announced taxable income for several years.

Mr Green eventually closed these customers’ accounts, but Spelinspektionen said the operator had not made sufficient contact with them to ensure they were gambling with their own funds and doing so responsibly.

Mr Green responded that some customers suspected of money laundering had not been identified due to technical problems with a new detection system that had failed to issue warnings over high-risk customers. It said the new automated system had identified a larger number of customers than expected and had placed customers in a queue according to level of risk, resulting in delays.

It added that it was now using a better case management system to help perform risk assessments and that it has increased its number of money laundering investigators to manage the increase.

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