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What Can European Markets learn from the UK’s iGaming Sector?

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What Can European Markets learn from the UK’s iGaming Sector?
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When discussing Brexit in terms of the iGaming market, most experts believe that the UK will shoulder the biggest potential impact.

From the future of Gibraltar to a potential talent drain and exodus of UK firms from these shores, there is certainly a great deal of uncertainty surrounding Brexit and Britain’s lucrative iGaming market.

While the UK market may be disrupted after Brexit, however, it remains relatively robust and a true leader in the global space. Also, there are several lessons that European markets could learn from the UK, including the following:

 

The Need for Harmonised Rules

According to a recent, EU-wide public consultation on the future of the continent’s fast-growing iGaming industry, the market has reached the point where it must be governed by a harmonised set of rules.

This is definitely the opinion of Sigrid Ligné, who’s the Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and recently spoke to EURACTIV in a detailed interview.

“Online gambling is a cross-border market”, she said. “Consumption is cross-border as well. Clearly, there is a strong need for harmonised rules, and we believe that there’s good momentum for the EU to assume leadership in this area”.

It is hard to argue with this assertion, especially given the EU’s track record in creating single points of control and regulatory bodies across a wide range of commercial sectors and applications.

For example, the Commission has created standardised rules for both food import standards and financial market regulation in member states, so it is definitely capable of doing something similar in the iGaming realm.

To achieve this, the EU Commission could well follow the template set by the UK, which introduced robust but progressive legislation in the form of the 2005 Gaming Act.

The Labour government of the time also created an omnipotent and independent regulator in the form of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), which provides a comprehensive range of market services and operates as a single point of control in the marketplace.

Of course, creating this type of body to oversee 27 member states may be far more challenging, but it’s something that the EU must move towards if it’s to create a safe market that can scale successfully over time.

 

Focus on Promoting Responsible Gambling

Thanks to the clearly defined infrastructure of the UK market, the regulator has been able to drive responsible gambling and impose sanctions on operators that fail to protect their customers.

This has been borne out by the huge financial sanctions imposed by the UKGC since 2018, when it announced the safeguarding of potentially vulnerable players as its core strategic objective through 2021.

This has impacted on every aspect of the market, from the decision of operators to partner with responsible gambling agencies and the emergence of independent comparison sites for the most trusted betting sites in the UK.

The regulator has also imposed a diverse range of measures to help raise standards industry-wide, from the banning of credit cards (which are prohibited in some European markets and are still permitted in others) to the imposition of more stringent age verification measures on iGaming operators.

Not only this, but UK operators have invested heavily in responsible gambling tools and technologies, with some of the latest innovations enabling players to track their behaviour in real-time and utilise operator insights to highlight any issues before they become too challenging.

Of course, key stakeholders broached this subject at the latest quarterly meeting of  European Gaming body on June 10th, so there are signs that the market may be moving in the right direction as it looks to protect operators and players alike.

 

Offering Casino Games Under One Roof

As we have already touched on, gambling rules vary wildly from one jurisdiction to another in Europe, with Germany the latest to announce a relatively complex and detailed selection of guidelines.

The approach to slot gaming is particularly interesting, initially because the regulator has imposed a €1 maximum wager limit per spin. This is similar to the proposal put forward by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for gambling-related harm in the UK, although the maximum threshold discussed here is £2.

However, it is interesting to note that Germany and some other European markets require operators to make slots and different forms of gambling available via different Internet domains, unless the site in question houses independent and geographically separate landing pages for each vertical.

While there are genuinely good reasons for this, it can have an adverse impact on the typical online gambling experience, particularly in terms of accessibility and navigating a particular operator’s site.

At the same time, this does not necessarily provide much in the way of protection for vulnerable players, so it may be a rule that regulators look to relax over time.

This is an important lesson to heed from the UK market, whose casino sites are incredibly easy to navigate and responsively designed to open across a wide range of devices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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236 suspicious betting alerts reported by IBIA in 2021

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236 suspicious betting alerts reported by IBIA in 2021
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The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) reported 236 cases of suspicious betting to the relevant authorities during 2021, with 69 alerts in the fourth quarter (Q4). The annual figure is a 13% reduction on the 270 cases reported in 2020. The 2021 figure is consistent with recent years, with the average number of annual alerts at 240 during 2018-20. The 2021 alerts spanned 13 sports and 49 different countries, with tennis and football continuing to dominate. Europe also continued to provide the highest number of alerts with 50% of the annual total.

Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, said: “Another challenging year for the sector has passed with the spectre of Covid and its impact on sporting events declining, and hopefully a potential endgame in sight. It is therefore welcomed that the alerts for 2021 showed a downward trend and a return to pre-Covid numbers. Challenges however persist, notably with the growth of private sports events and establishing integrity protocols to the levels seen in traditional sports bodies. The association is working with a number of stakeholders in this area to improve integrity provisions.

“Indeed, the dangers of betting corruption remain, and as the Optimum Betting Market report published last year highlighted, that equates to around $25m per annum in lost revenue for the regulated betting sector globally. It is therefore welcome that the requirement for operators to be part of an integrity monitoring system have gathered pace across the US, and have been endorsed in Sweden, to add to existing requirements in the Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic. The approach in Ontario is particularly worthy of attention and is a best practice model. The association looks forward to working with a wider range of operators on integrity as a result.”

Other key data for 2021:

  • 80 – Total tennis alerts, a decrease of 18% on the 98 reported in 2020
  • 66 – Football alerts, an increase of 8% on 2021 and the highest annual number reported
  • 27 – Alerts on sporting events in Russia, the highest number for a single country in 2021
  • 11 – Successful sporting or criminal sanctions during 2021 from IBIA alerts
  • 10 – Alerts reported in North America, a 54% decrease on the 22 reported in 2020
  • Over the five-year period 2017-21, IBIA reported 1,222 alerts across 19 sports and 101 countries.

The International Betting Integrity Association is the leading global voice on integrity for the licensed betting industry. It is run by operators for operators, protecting its members from corruption through collective action. Its monitoring and alert platform is a highly effective anti-corruption tool that detects and reports suspicious activity on its members’ betting markets. The association has longstanding information sharing partnerships with leading sports and gambling regulators to utilise its data and prosecute corruption. It represents the sector at high-level policy discussion forums such as the IOC, UN, Council of Europe and European Commission.

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Evolution launches Bac Bo, its unique Dice Baccarat game

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Evolution launches Bac Bo, its unique Dice Baccarat game
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Evolution today announced the launch of Bac Bo, a unique dice game created by Evolution in the spirit of Baccarat.

Bac Bo is essentially a simpler version of Baccarat played with dice. Instead of using cards, in Bac Bo the Player score and the Banker score is made up of the sum of two dice, automatically shaken in four individual shakers, two for each hand. Banker and Player both roll their pair of dice, and the resulting two numbers are added together. The highest two-dice total wins or, if the totals are the same, the round ends in a Tie, which offers payouts of up to 88 to 1.

Todd Haushalter, Chief Product Officer at Evolution, said: “Bac Bo is another unique creation from our very talented product team and developers. It blends the essence of two classic games, Baccarat and Sic Bo, and creates something entirely new and different. You get the elegant flow and excitement of a ‘come from behind win’ that makes Baccarat so popular – but with the visual excitement of a dice game.”

Haushalter added: “Whilst very much in the spirit of Baccarat, Bac Bo is a game that’s quick to understand. It has easier to follow rules and gameplay compared with Baccarat, with just the outcome of the simple dice rolls to consider. The dice rolls – and the excitement – just keep on coming!”

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Gambling in the USA

Spearhead Studios becomes new Fusion™ partner

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Spearhead Studios becomes new Fusion™ partner
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Aspire Global’s Pariplay Ltd, the leading aggregator and content provider, has taken content from Spearhead Studios live on its Fusion™ platform.

Games produced by Spearhead Studios, the gaming development company of EveryMatrix, are currently being rolled out in regulated markets worldwide through Fusion™, Pariplay’s innovative solution.

Spearhead Studios develops high-quality video slots, table games and other online real-money games, with a strong focus on localised and data-driven production. Its content is currently live with over 100 online casino operators in 14 markets across Europe, Latin America, and soon the U.S.

Pariplay’s Fusion™ aggregation platform incorporates a suite of back-office conversion and retention tools that enhance player value, while featuring thousands of titles from the industry’s leading games developers.

The Spearhead Studios content deal is the latest in a string of new partnerships as Pariplay furthers its growth in regulated markets globally.

Callum Harris, Director of Partnerships at Pariplay, said: “Spearhead Studios has carved out a deserved reputation for delivering slick content that is very carefully designed to appeal to local audiences.

“The addition of this innovative studio’s product portfolio on Fusion™ is the latest step within our mission to offer players a wide variety of content that appeals to a range of demographics in markets around the world.”

Mathias Larsson, Managing Director of Spearhead Studios, said: “By integrating with Pariplay’s aggregation platform, we are able to reach a significantly larger range of operators in regulated markets globally.

“We believe our content hits the sweet spot in terms of giving players in local markets experiences that resonate with them. We look forward to a long and successful partnership, characterised by mutual growth.”

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