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Casino Guru’s complaint data reveals scope of UK players gambling at unlicensed websites

George Miller

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Casino Guru’s complaint data reveals scope of UK players gambling at unlicensed websites
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The Gambling Commission’s recent calls for evidence and views from the industry and the public regarding upcoming changes to Great Britain’s gambling regulation has seen a number of professionals emphasize the potential rise of black-market gambling as a consequence of tightening regulations.

These claims have been largely backed up by a PwC report, which estimates the number of UK online gamblers using unlicensed operators to have more than doubled from 2018 to 2020, from c.210,000 to c.460,000 gamblers.

Later on, UK gambling firms have been accused of exaggerating the scale of black-market gambling in an attempt to influence the GC’s decision to introduce tougher regulations. The GC’s chief executive Neil McArthur commented that the report delivered by PwC is not consistent with their intelligence picture and lacked any evidence to show an increase in illicit betting. He added that GC’s own evidence suggests that the impact may be being exaggerated.

Simon Vincze, Casino Guru’s Responsible Gambling Projects Manager, has been keeping up with the heated discussion taking place in British media and looked into their data on player complaints to get an idea about the scope of the issue: “I understand the need for regulation in the gambling market and its usefulness in keeping children and vulnerable players safe. It’s something I deeply believe in and work towards in my position as well. However, it didn’t seem right to me to just disregard the negative effects of tightening regulations altogether.”

Casino Guru operates a casino dispute mediation service, in which players can complain about any online casino if they feel to have been mistreated, regardless of its license, and get assisted for free. After looking into their data, Simon discovered 666 complaints submitted by players from the UK, of which 145 is about casinos with a license from GC and 521 is about casinos without it. This means that 78% of all complaints submitted by UK players have been about operators without a GC license.

“Of course, this doesn’t mean that 78% of UK players gamble at foreign websites. Because of the generally lower quality of service and reputation of these operators, it can be expected that these players will run into issues more often, resulting in a higher proportion of players submitting public complaints. However, it is also a clear sign that there are UK players gambling at casinos without a GC license, and that there is quite a lot of them,” Simon commented on this data.

He also compared the British situation to what has happened in Sweden: “When gambling regulations get more restrictive, an increased proportion of players usually start looking for unlicensed operators to avoid those regulations. Sweden is a great example of this, where 40% of casino players and 34% of sports betters gamble on unlicensed websites or would consider doing so in future, according to a study published back in April 2020. Taking a look at Google search data, there has been a major increase in Swedish players actively looking for unlicensed casinos since introducing the country’s gambling regulations with a strong focus on player safety.”

“With tighter regulations being introduced in Great Britain, the GC should be aware of the possibility of an increasing number of British punters actively looking for unlicensed sites in attempts to avoid the strict regulations. These players then gamble on foreign websites without the strict limits present at UK-licensed ones, ending up more susceptible to problematic gambling habits as a result of lower responsible gambling standards of some foreign operators, on top of other negative qualities that can be present at these websites.”

Data from the PwC report suggests that 4,5% of UK players gamble at foreign websites, while 78% of all complaints submitted to Casino Guru by UK players are related to these foreign websites.

Simon commented: “Combining this data would suggest that 4,5% of players are responsible for 78% of all casino complaints, which would signify a huge imbalance. Of course, the numbers are based on different data and there may be other factors in play, but I think that the imbalance is there, and has to do with the fact that players gambling on foreign websites simply run into issues more often. These can range from unclear bonus terms and bad implementation of responsible gambling features all the way to unscrupulous casinos outright scamming players.”

“If an increasing number of players leave the regulated market and go for foreign alternatives, they may be subject to a higher risk of developing problem gambling and losing money to foreign websites, some of which can have unscrupulous tendencies. This seems like a good enough reason to seriously consider the risk of rising use of black-market gambling websites by UK players,” he added.

While the GC is examining evidence presented by stakeholders and working towards updated gambling regulation, it remains to be seen how the situation ends up being handled and what new rules get implemented. Only time will tell whether tighter regulation really does increase the use of black-market sites or not, and whether the benefits will outweigh possible drawbacks.

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Denmark’s Gross Gaming Revenue Down 8.7% YoY in 2020

Niji Narayan

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Denmark’s Gross Gaming Revenue Down 8.7% YoY in 2020
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Denmark’s gross gaming revenue has declined 8.7% year-on-year in 2020. The closure of land-based gambling facilities, coupled with the cancellation and postponement of many sports events, is the reason for the revenue decline.

Figures released by the national gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden showed that revenue in 2020 amounted to DKK6.00bn (€806.7m), down from DKK6.57bn in the previous year.

Online casino overtook sports betting to become the primary source of gambling income, for the first time since regulation, with revenue here rising by 4.5% to DKK2.45bn. Spillemyndigheden said this was due to players switching to iGaming while land-based facilities were closed, but noted that the 4.5% increase was lower than the average annual increase of 13.0% since regulation in 2012.

Sports betting revenue declined 8.9% year-on-year to DKK2.29bn, while retail slot machine revenue dropped 29.3% to DKK986.0m. Revenue at land-based casinos was also down 31.7% to DKK239.0m.

“One might have expected that there would have been a marked increase in online casino games when the physical gaming halls and casinos were closed down and the opportunities to bet on sports were severely limited,” Anders Dorph, Director of Spillemyndigheden, said.

“However, that is far from the case. Although online casino increased a bit, it is the smallest increase since 2012, and it therefore far outweighs the massive decline we have seen in the other areas.”

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Industry News

Microgaming Signs Exclusive Supply Deal with GONG Gaming Technologies

Niji Narayan

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Microgaming Signs Exclusive Supply Deal with GONG Gaming Technologies
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Microgaming has signed an exclusive supply deal with game development studio GONG Gaming Technologies.

Launched in 2020 by a team of passionate industry veterans with more than two decades’ experience in the gaming industry, GONG is devoted to the creation of sensational, premium entertainment products.

Prior to this agreement, GONG had previously collaborated with Microgaming on the creation of two new games, the swashbuckling Pirate’s Quest and the gloriously ghoulish Skulls Heap.

GONG’s first exclusive release under the new deal, Inferno Gladiator, is available via Microgaming’s leading online gaming platform. Set in a fiery colosseum, this high-volatility Roman-themed slot comes packed with free spins and sticky wilds.

“We at GONG are honoured and excited to collaborate with Microgaming! Our main goal is to create high-quality, entertaining and engaging games, and we’re constantly looking to improve and innovate. We were really pleased with the feedback we received for our two recent Microgaming releases, Pirate’s Quest and Skulls Heap, and we can’t wait to take our future content to the next level alongside Microgaming,” Dima Farbman, Co-Founder and CEO at GONG Gaming Technologies, said.

“It’s great to see a new studio bringing multiple games to the market so quickly, and we’re thrilled to welcome GONG to our platform. With a maths-first logic, and some great creations to their name already, GONG are actively pursuing innovative content. We believe they have the potential to deliver even more sophisticated gaming technology, wrapped up with strong artwork, into the future,” Andrew Booth, Director of Games at Microgaming, said.

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Asia

Trinity Gaming joins hands with sports communication firm Artsmith to create career awareness in gaming and esports ecosystem

George Miller

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Trinity Gaming joins hands with sports communication firm Artsmith to create career awareness in gaming and esports ecosystem
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Trinity Gaming—India’s top gaming talent management company, has signed sports communication agency Artsmith to create awareness among the gamers & influencers wanting to pursue a career in gaming content creations and how they can monetise and create a brand for themselves. With this partnership, the country’s one of the top new age communication firms Artsmith, which specialised in sports and esports PR, has added Trinity Gaming to their esports bouquet of the client list.

Currently managing more than 250 top content creators in India, Trinity Gaming has successfully established a strong platform for these specialised gamers and has transformed them into entertainers and influencers who bring much more value than just merely playing in the gaming ecosystem. The company, which was founded in 2019, has channelised the passion for gaming among millennial gamers and transformed it into a viable career option for many. Committed to bringing professionalism to the ecosystem, they have been one of the first movers in the sector and currently curate content for some of India’s top brands.

Commenting on the tie-up, Abhishek Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO of Trinity Gaming, said: “Gaming is all about passion and there are some brilliant minds with amazing ability to create content and these creators did not have the right backing and a strong voice to understand how to create values or a career out of it. We saw an opportunity to create a unique support system where not only the talents are groomed but also amalgamate with brands. According to the recently released EY FICCI 2021 report, online gamers grew 20% from 300 million in 2019 to 360 million in 2020. The numbers themselves validate how big is the community is. The potential is unlimited but creating a strong awareness programme is equally necessary to optimise the opportunities and I personally believe Artsmith has all the necessary experience to roll out this narrative among the gaming community.”

Artsmith, as an agency, brings in years of experience and expertise in creating an innovative mix of PR and digital communication that is innovative and value for money. “Artsmith has the experience and understanding of handholding talents and building a strong brand positioning with maximum visibility. We have worked with top Indian athletes and worked closely to transform them into sustainable content creators as well as influencers and we are confident of positioning Trinity Gaming as a new-age talent management firm with the efficiency of elevating gamers on similar lines and create India’s largest brands story experiences,” said Udita, the Founding Principal of Artsmith.

Artsmith has been successfully managing communications for global sports brands like PUMA as well as creating communications for international and national sporting events and sports leagues in the country. The company has the exclusive communication mandate for premium sports tournaments with Tata Open Maharashtra, India Open—the country’s only Superseries badminton tournament organised by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) being some of the key clients in the roster.

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