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YGAM calls for Government to support education as part of the Gambling Act Review

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Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust
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The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has told the Government that the need to educate our future generations on the potential harms of gambling is more important than ever, regardless of any legislative changes.

The charity has submitted its written evidence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part the call for evidence for the Gambling Act Review. In their response, YGAM outlined the importance of education and the impact of their portfolio of evidence-led programmes.

The Gambling Act Review has been labelled a ‘once in a generation’ moment for everyone connected to the sector and YGAM believes the process presents an opportunity for the UK to set standards for the world to follow.

YGAM wants the issue of gambling harm to be is given the same level of focus as other public health issues such as alcohol and drugs. In their response, the independent charity has called for increased long-term funding to be directed towards research, education and treatment and meaningful engagement from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. YGAM has also encouraged the Government to ‘support the progress that has been in the third sector and promote initiatives that demonstrate meaningful impact’. The charity is supporting the notion of a statutory levy.

James Matthewson, Marketing & Communications Manager at YGAM said “The Gambling Act Review presents a much-needed opportunity for the regulation to catch up but also an opportunity to demonstrate the ongoing progress being made to educate and safeguard future generations.  This review will scrutinise all aspects of regulation and, as an education charity, we do not claim to have the expertise to contribute to most of these intricate policy decisions. We believe keeping our young people safe should be the key focus of any outcomes from this review. Prevention is a better solution than treatment and we want Government to recognise that education has a vital role to play.”

The topic of gambling harm prevention now features on the PSHE curriculum in England and whilst YGAM welcomes this, they argue it should be a compulsory awareness session for young people during secondary education. Figures released by YGAM earlier this year show that the education charity trained 2,906 practitioners in 2020 (up from its original target of 2,592) as part of the Young Peoples Gambling Harm Prevention Programme. With this training, those practitioners have reached an impressive 184,700 young people to provide vital educational sessions on the harms associated with gambling and gaming (up from a target of 170,300).

The written evidence submitted by YGAM also calls for the gambling industry must do much more to protect consumers and admits that education alone will not prevent gambling harms. They charity welcomes the introduction of any further protections for young people and wants to see more done to minimise the exposure that children have to gambling advertising.

Lee Willows, Chief Executive of YGAM recently wrote a column for The Times newspaper in which he said ‘we have a responsibility to educate young people about the risks of gambling’ and highlighted YGAM’s close working relationship with the education sector.

Industry News

Patrick Svensk Resigns as Chairman of Betsson

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Patrick Svensk, Chairman of the Board of Betsson AB (publ), has informed the Nomination Committee that he is resigning from Betsson’s Board of Directors and the assignment as Chairman with immediate effect. The Board has appointed Johan Lundberg, currently a member of Betsson’s Board, as the new Chairman.

Patrick Svensk has been a member of Betsson’s Board of Directors since 2005, and Chairman of the Board since 2017. The decision to resign from Betsson’s Board of Directors is based on the fact that the company’s major shareholders have stated that they no longer have full confidence in Patrick Svensk as Chairman of the Board. The lack of full trust is due to how the dismissal of the CEO was handled, which the company communicated in a press release on September 17, 2021.

“It is very sad, and I am sorry that I have disappointed our major owners, but I have done what I thought was best for the company. I am proud of what we have achieved during these years and wish everyone at Betsson great luck in the future,” Patrick Svensk said.

Johan Lundberg, who has been appointed as new Chairman by the Board, has been a member of Betsson’s Board since 2018. Johan Lundberg is the founder of NFT Ventures and a Board Member of Loomis, Svolder and Ölands Bank.

“I would like to extend a warm thank you to Patrick Svensk for his valuable contributions to the Board for almost 17 years. I look forward to continuing the work with the rest of the board to recruit the next generation of international leader to Betsson and at the same time complete the strategic work that is going on with renewal and growth,” Johan Lundberg said.

The Chairman of the Nomination Committee Michael Knutsson has expressed full confidence and support for the remaining Board members and its election of a new Chairman and supports the decision to seek the next generation of international leader for Betsson.

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Industry News

Holland Casino Expects Gains in H2 2021

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Holland Casino is preparing for recovery after a rough first half of the year, having been forced to close for more than 5 months due to measures taken against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As anticipated by the Dutch state-owned company, the extended closure had a negative impact on its financial results for the first half of the year. But as its 14 branches have been operating again since June 5, the operator now expects to post positive results for the second half of 2021.

Turnover achieved in June shows that Holland Casino will soon be able “to operate in a healthy manner” again. Moreover, after having completed “necessary restructuring,” the company expects to become a more efficient and agile organisation, according to a press statement released on Wednesday.

Turnover for H1 2021 posted a low €28.8 million. Net results for tax purposes amounted to a loss of €64.8 million, compared to a loss of €37.8 million over the same period in 2020, in which the company remained open for several months.

“Although Coronavirus also hit our company head-on in the first half of 2021, notably our anniversary year in which we celebrate 45 years in business, we still look ahead with confidence. All in all, Netherlands was deprived of legal casino offer for almost a year, but now that the measures are disappearing little by little, recovery is in sight,” Erwin van Lambaart, CEO of Holland Casino, said.

“We see bright spots in the potential offer of online games of chance as of October 1, for which we have applied for a license, and the opening of our new world-class casino branches in Venlo and Utrecht,” van Lambaart added.

CFO Ruud Bergervoet considers that having sufficient liquid assets in the past six months was key to the company getting through the difficult period of closure. That, along with the NOW scheme, the deferral of tax payments, strict cost control measures and tight operation management, led to the company being able “to safeguard the continuity” of its operations over the past year and a half.

“The significant tax debt of €190.5 million is offset by a strong liquidity position without bank debt. We are therefore considering paying off this tax debt more quickly if no new Coronavirus measures are introduced and the recovery actually continues. The results after June are promising in that regard,” Bergervoet said.

Despite all branches now being open, certain pandemic measures are still being enforced, and Holland Casino is receiving guests at limited capacity in its gambling venues. The company expects that these measures will be phased out, with the hope to open at full capacity and without restrictions “towards autumn.”

“We are also looking forward to the reintroduction of poker, live bingo and our NXT zones so that gaming can really be experienced together again. We also hope to be able to offer our bars and restaurants after midnight, which currently all close at midnight,” van Lambaart said.

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PRAGMATIC PLAY IS CHOSEN SOFTWARE PROVIDER FOR RELAUNCH OF HEART BINGO

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PRAGMATIC PLAY IS CHOSEN SOFTWARE PROVIDER FOR RELAUNCH OF HEART BINGO
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Pragmatic Play, a leading content provider to the iGaming industry, is delighted to announce that it plays a vital role in the relaunch of the iconic Heart Bingo brand, alongside licensed operator BetVictor.

The popular brand has been revitalised by BetVictor, introducing a range of exciting new features provided by Pragmatic Play. The deal marks a continuation of the fruitful partnership between BetVictor and Pragmatic Play, following the operator taking Pragmatic Play’s complete Bingo solution live earlier in the year.

Pragmatic Play’s bingo solution brings tried and trusted new products to market, headlined by Bingo Blast and Drop Pots, as its network grows globally in regulated markets.

The provider’s new feature Reels Room has also gone live and is exclusively available to Heart Bingo players for a limited period before it is rolled out to the network in November – a move that will reinforce the Heart Bingo brand in bringing a fun and fabulous gaming experience to their much loyal audience. This is cemented even further with the coincided Drop Pots games getting well and truly under way in their own dedicated room. Drop Pots is only available on the Pragmatic Play network and offers players 3 different multi-trigger jackpots all available to be won every day!

Claire McDaid, VP of Bingo at Pragmatic Play, said: “Heart Bingo is one of the most recognised bingo brands in the UK and we couldn’t be happier that BetVictor has chosen to partner with us to relaunch and refresh its offering. We’ve worked closely with the team for months to optimise the Heart Bingo offering and ensure their loyal players have a better than ever experience.”

Turlough Lally, Director of e-gaming at BetVictor, said: “Pragmatic Play was the natural choice for our bingo product provider. We’re excited to be partnering with such a well-respected name in the iGaming industry for our next venture and we are fully committed to creating an improved and safer gambling experience in partnership with Pragmatic Play’s market-leading software. Heart Bingo players are sure to love all the new features, games and surprises we have in store!”

Pragmatic Play currently produces up to five new slot titles a month, while also delivering Live Casino and Bingo games as part of its multi-product portfolio, available through one single API.

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