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BOS Claims Swedish Banking Institutions Have Suspended Services Provided to Licensed Gambling Operators

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BOS Claims Swedish Banking Institutions Have Suspended Services Provided to Licensed Gambling Operators
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Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary-general of the Swedish trade association Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel (BOS), has claimed that all of the country’s major banking institutions have suspended services they provide to licensed gambling operators.

BOS said that “all major Nordic banks” – including SEB, Swedbank, Nordea, Handelsbanken, DNB Nor and Danske Bank – stopped providing services to Swedish-licensed gambling operators at some point this year.

Claiming this is in violation of Swedish law, Hoffstedt has filed a complaint to the country’s Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen).

Most of these banks, Hoffstedt said, cited internal risk assessments or Sweden’s Anti-Money Laundering Act (PTL) as the reasons for account closures. The BOS secretary-general added that “in some cases the banks have not stated any reason at all”.

“As far as I am aware, no concrete justification for the dismissals and banks’ assessment has been provided in any case,” Hoffstedt said.

Hoffstedt added that gambling operators cannot function without banking services.

“Online gambling companies are, as stated above, dependent on basic financial infrastructure in the form of banking and payment services to conduct their business,” he explained. “This requires [them] to be able to store customers’ funds as well as receive deposits and make payments to customers.”

He added that the suspension of services meant that operators could no longer use Bank-ID, used to verify players’ identities. This meant they had lost access to a tool that was vital for fighting fraud and money laundering, Hoffstedt.

“Without access to the Bank-ID system, online gambling companies need to use alternative solutions to identify their customers. These solutions risk being neither as effective for companies nor as safe for users,” he explained.

Swedish Banks also provide the Swish payment service, which Hoffstedt said was also “very important” for operators.

Hoffstedt said that the banks’ decisions had worsened operating conditions for the country’s igaming licensees, as well as counteracting the goals of the Gambling Act.

He went as far as arguing that the actions were illegal.

Hoffstedt said banks have a contractual obligation to continue to provide banking services to these customers, unless there is a clear reason to break this agreement. Only in incidents where continuing to provide banking services would violate the PTL, or if the banking customer had committed misconduct, could agreements be broken, he claimed.

While Hoffstedt noted that banks may terminate agreements if they suspect a customer has connections to money laundering, he pointed out the PTL made clear that these assessments are at the customer level. They can, therefore, not be applied on a sweeping basis to a legal industry.

“Given that a large proportion of BOS members also received notice or notice of termination from the banks – all with general and overarching references to the risk of money laundering in the business – it seems obvious that the basis for the dismissals is a general business policy decision rather than a valid application of PTL,” he said.

“Under these circumstances, there is no possibility for the banks to deviate from their contractual obligation.”

BOS requested a dialogue with the Financial Supervisory Authority and said the regulator “should initiate a supervisory investigation of the banks’ handling and possibly intervene against the banks”.

SEB – one of the banks mentioned by BOS – however, argued it was not systematically ending relationships with gambling operators but rather examined the risk for every client on an individual basis.

“We always make an individual assessment of individual client relationships,“ SEB said. “When it comes to gambling companies, we generally have a cautious approach based on the raised risk level, not least connected to risks relating to money laundering and financial crime.”

Danske Bank, meanwhile, denied it had a policy specifically preventing gambling businesses from operating, but did say these businesses undergo a stricter screening process.

“Danske Bank does not exclude banking services for gambling operations as such,” Danske Bank said. “However, our assessment is that the gambling industry in general is associated with high risk and due to that we have tailored screening principles to ensure that the companies operate responsibly.

“In a case where a specific gambling client does not meet the requirements of our KYC-process or ESG-assessment, the ultimate consequence could be that we limit our offerings or refrain from enter into a business relationship.”

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Veloce Racing bow out of Island X Prix after pacey Sardinia outing

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Veloce Racing bow out of Island X Prix after pacey Sardinia outing
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Extreme E team show strong speed in penultimate round of the season but ultimately fail to reach the final following spectacular crash for Sarrazin 

Veloce Racing’s hopes of a second Extreme E podium were extinguished at the Island X Prix in Sardinia following a dramatic barrel roll in the aptly named ‘Crazy Race’.

The London-based squad arrived in Italy with high hopes following the team’s efforts to the reach the final in Greenland, which ultimately fell short during Stéphane Sarrazin’s spirited excursion through the infamous ‘Rock Garden’.

Veloce got off to a strong start in Sardinia when Sarrazin and team-mate Emma Gilmour topped the timesheets in the initial practice runs and eventually finished third in the session.

Qualifying

Qualifying 1 in Sardinia was arguably the team’s most competitive outing of the inaugural Extreme E season. Calm and committed runs from both Gilmour and Sarrazin saw the duo finish an impressive third just 18 seconds adrift of pacesetters X44.

The team carried this momentum into the second qualifying session of the day and looked on course for another promising result as Sarrazin kept pace with X44 during the early stages of his run.

It was not to be, however, with the ODYSSEY 21’s front suspension failing during the course’s unforgiving second sector, forcing Sarrazin to grind to a halt and slip out of contention.

The disastrous Qualifying 2 run meant that Veloce Racing was eighth overall – just three points shy of second place, highlighting the volatility of the Island X Prix – and would take part in the Crazy Race on Sunday.

The Crazy Race

As the lights went out for the Crazy Race, Gilmour’s lightning-quick reactions weren’t enough to withstand the advances of Kevin Hansen in the JBXE car who capitalised taking the optimum route.

The New Zealander seized the initiative and switched lanes, trying an alternate line to gain the advantage into the first gate. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off and the Veloce Racing car slipped into third position.

Gilmour handed the reigns over to Sarrazin hot on the heels of Christine GZ. The Frenchman immediately began applying the pressure to the Italian, and it paid off as the second-place car pulled over with mechanical gremlins releasing Sarrazin to hunt down JBXE.

The attack was short-lived, however, as Sarrazin hit a dip and fired the back of the car up into the air, pitching the ODYSSEY 21 into a spectacular barrel roll. Mercifully, Sarrazin emerged from the wreckage unscathed, but the team’s aims of a second Extreme E podium were over.

As a result of the crash, the Veloce Racing ODYSSEY 21’s chassis was compromised and subsequently, the team are unable to take part in next week’s Extreme E damper test and rookie test.

Stéphane Sarrazin, Extreme E Driver, Veloce Racing said: “It was a crazy race. I did my best to catch the JBXE car, the team were keeping me updated on the time difference and I was catching.

We knew we had to win to get to the final so we had to push. I attacked one of the compressions straight instead of side on and unfortunately the car rolled. I’m disappointed for the whole team as we really had the pace to be at the front this weekend.

Emma Gilmour, Extreme E Driver, Veloce Racing said: “Absolutely gutted. Stéphane and I had such good pace this weekend and to end up in the Crazy Race was really disappointing to start with.

“Personally, I’m disappointed I didn’t get a better start, from then on we were struggling with the dust and I handed over to Stéphane in P3. He did a great job to get past Christine GZ but got caught out in the rough stuff so glad he’s OK but just really sad for the team as we had good pace this weekend and it started so positively.”

Daniel Bailey, CEO, Veloce Racing added: “Despite the setbacks we faced at the Island X Prix, I think there are a lot of positives that Veloce Racing can take away from Sardinia. Pace-wise, this was our most competitive outing so far.

“We were fast in practice setting the pace early on and ending up P3 and we followed that up with another P3 in Qualifying 1. We got unlucky in Qualifying 2 and in the Crazy Race but this is motorsport and these things happen. I think we’ll come away from this weekend as a stronger team and we’ll aim to finish on a high note in Dorset in December.”

Jean-Eric Vergne, Co-Founder, Veloce Racing commented: “The most important thing was to see that Stéphane [Sarrazin] is out of the car and seems OK. It’s a shame because Emma [Gilmour] did a great job to hand the car over within the 25-second range that we wanted. Stéphane knew he had to push very hard to get it done at the end of the race so it’s unfortunate.”

Now, the St. Helena – Extreme E’s floating paddock – makes the trip to Dorset, England (18-19 December) where the inaugural Extreme E season will reach its dramatic conclusion.

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ACMA Orders ISPs to Block Five More Illegal Gambling Websites

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ordered the Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block further five illegal offshore gambling websites.

The sites include Spin Bit, Fight Club, Kim Vegas, Queenspins and Yoju Casino. Following numerous complaints about these services, the ACMA undertook investigations which found them to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Website blocking is one of a range of options to protect Australians against illegal online gambling. Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 324 illegal gambling websites have been blocked.

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PRAGMATIC PLAY PROMISES UNTOLD RICHES IN STAR PIRATES CODE™

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PRAGMATIC PLAY PROMISES UNTOLD RICHES IN STAR PIRATES CODE™
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Pragmatic Play, a leading content provider to the iGaming industry, is calling for players to walk the plank in its riveting pirate-inspired release, Star Pirates Code.

Here, players will need to rely on their navigation skills to find their way to a bounty full of gold, and thanks to the skull multipliers, will also be able to unlock a treasure trove of wins and big prizes along the way!

The base game is played out in a coastal environment with waves crashing and lanterns glowing behind the reels. The four low-paying symbols are represented by purple, green, red and blue coloured gems, with premium symbols arriving in the form of treasure chests, silver and gold coins.

The Compass Wild feature is a mechanic that populates reels in one random direction with Wilds, and whenever a compass symbol lands, the re-Spin feature is triggered, awarding players 1 re-spin.

Multiplier values on Wilds are applied to each win that they are part of, and when no Wilds are landed, the re-spins feature session ends, returning players to the base game.

The mechanics in Star Pirates Code™ mean it should be easy to understand for various player types, making it a game with mass market appeal. The action becomes compelling during the re-spin feature and the graphics shown during a winning combination are highly engaging to players.

Star Pirates Codearrives swiftly after Mexican-themed Day of Dead™, and recent hits Cash Bonanza™, and Mystic Chief, joining a collection of more than 200 HTML5 titles in Pragmatic Play’s award-winning games portfolio.

Julian Jarvis, Chief Executive Officer at Pragmatic Play, said: “We are very satisfied with how Star Pirates Codehas materialised, bringing an exciting new theme together with our time-tested mechanics.

“We’re eager to see how our audiences receive the pirate-themed adventure, made all the more sweet by the incredible prizes that are on offer.”

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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