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EGBA Warns Spanish Proposals are Counterproductive

Niji Narayan

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EGBA Warns Spanish Proposals are Counterproductive
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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has cautioned that the new ad restrictions in Spain could lead to an increase in illegal gambling, as well as a detrimental impact on the football clubs in the country.

Proposals by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs will see online gambling ads only allowed between 1 am-5 am, with no exceptions for sporting events, a complete ban on gambling sponsorship of sports uniforms, kits and stadiums, and a ban on welcome bonuses.

The state-involved lotteries of the world, which account for 65% of the revenue from the gambling industry, will be exempt from the key elements.

The government is scheduled to finalise the regulations in Autumn this year, with a three-month transition period for gaming firms to adapt to the law changes.

EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer has explained: “Advertising has a crucial role to play in informing consumers which websites are regulated, and which are not. The near absolute advertising ban proposed in Spain will deprive Spanish players of any information where they can play in a safe and secure environment.”

The EGBA claims that unregulated gambling in Spain is already a problem, with 414 unregulated sites blocked in April-May alone this year by the country’s gambling authority.

The proposals will also have a negative impact on 41 of 42 football clubs in La Liga, which currently reel from COVID-19’s financial impact, costing them up to €80 million in lost advertising revenues.

“This is highly counterproductive and we urge the Spanish authorities to reconsider the proposals, and focus instead on strict regulation of the contents of advertising,” Haijer stated.

“We fully agree that advertising should be responsible, both in terms of content and design, and that is why we recently published a code of conduct on responsible advertising.

“The code offers practical ways in which gambling advertising can be conducted in a socially responsible way and as a conduit for informing citizens about important consumer protection measures, such as age restrictions and safer gambling tools.

“Finally, exempting state-involved lotteries, which account for two thirds of Spain’s gambling market, from the restrictions is unjustified, protectionist and discriminatory.”

Industry News

Mindway AI Appoints Birgitte Sand as a Board Member

Niji Narayan

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Mindway AI Appoints Birgitte Sand as a Board Member
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Mindway AI has announced the appointment of former director-general of the Danish Gambling Authority Birgitte Sand as a board member.

Being the previous director-general at the Danish Gambling Authority for 12 years, Birgitte Sand brings extensive experience with regulating the gambling industry. She was responsible for a gambling licensing regime covering both betting, online casino, land-based casinos, lotteries and gaming machines. Today, Birgitte Sand is the CEO and owner of Birgitte Sand & Associates ApS and provides expert advice to governments and the gambling industry.

With Birgitte Sand entering the board of directors, the regulatory perspective in Mindway AI’s ongoing pursuit to create a sustainable and safe gambling experience is strengthened.

“We are very pleased to welcome Birgitte Sand as our new board member. From her many years as Director General at the Danish Gambling Authority and her national and international recognition, Birgitte has a level of regulatory expertise and insights that will further support our vision to improve responsible gambling and create a sustainable gambling environment,” Rasmus Kjaergaard, CEO of Mindway AI, said.

“I am extremely pleased to have this opportunity to support the expansion and deployment of software solutions that have so much to offer in both prevention and protection. Innovation in this area is highly sought after, and Mindway AI has in a short time created convincing solutions and at the same time demonstrated great potential,” Birgitte Sand said.

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Industry News

Holland Casino’s Gross Income Down 54% in 2020

Niji Narayan

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Holland Casino’s Gross Income Down 54% in 2020
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Holland Casino has reported a gross income of €333m for the full year 2020, a 54% decrease from the prior-year period.

The operator reported a loss before corporate tax of €80.7m, a 190% decline from 2019. Visitor numbers meanwhile were down 60% year-on-year to 2.5 million, largely due to government restrictions amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with the firm’s 14 branches closed for the majority of 2020.

Throughout the year, the venues were completely closed for 143 days, open with restrictions for 151 days, and open without restrictions for 71 days. Average spend per visit did, however, increase by 14% year-on-year to €133.

“Despite the constantly changing circumstances and major challenges that this crisis year caused, I firmly believe that we will get through it well,” Erwin van Lambaart, CEO of Holland Casino, said.

“This is due to the resilience of our people, general government support measures, focus on cost control and a clear strategic investment vision for the future. Together, this has meant that we were always able to anticipate the consequences of this crisis.”

Looking to the future, the operator commented: “Holland Casino is a cyclical company and will therefore suffer from the expected economic recession. Nevertheless, the company is optimistic about the future. The restructuring means that everyone is in the right place, the organization is more efficient and agile, and there is a future-proof new structure that guarantees continuity.”

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Industry News

UK Court Clears William Hill’s £2.9B Takeover by Caesars

Niji Narayan

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UK Court Clears William Hill’s £2.9B Takeover by Caesars
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William Hill has said that its £2.9bn takeover by Caesars Entertainment had been cleared by a UK court despite shareholder protests.

The bumper merger had been held up by a court hearing after minority shareholder HBK Capital Management raised concerns about disclosures relating to the deal.

HBK and fellow US hedge fund GWM Asset Management both wrote to the board arguing that the terms of the joint venture were not properly disclosed by William Hill last year.

The court process was delayed for almost three weeks, but in the latest statement, the bookmaker said the deal had been sanctioned by the court.

The deal, which was agreed in September, highlights efforts to cash in on the burgeoning US betting market amid a relaxation of regulations.

“The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect,” Tom Reeg, chief executive of Caesars, said.

“William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast growing US sports betting and online market.”

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