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What USA needs to learn from European gambling

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The US and European markets are diverse: one, well established with decades of operational and regulatory experience, the other, on the cusp of what’s hailed as the new digital gold rush.

As the birthplace of online casinos and sportsbooks, European jurisdictions and operators have perfected the online gambling experience and regulatory framework through decades of experience. While, in the USA, the first state launched legal NJ online gambling in 2013, with the latest state, Connecticut, going live just two weeks ago. Previously, onshore gambling was not permitted, and offshore casinos proffered their services to US customers.

With gambling revenue now flooding into several states (the iGaming market was worth $2,178.29 million in 2020) and more looking to legalize, discussing what the US market can learn from Europe is a key discussion point.

US casinos vs Europe casinos

The US gambling market is highly complex. In each state that has legalized the activity, there is an individual regulatory body, set of rules, and licensing procedure, with each operator and supplier requiring state-by-state licensing. While there are some similarities across the board, such as all gambling states linking licenses to land-based casinos (only land-based casinos can apply for gambling skins; hence online operators must partner, then apply), there is no standardization procedure, and implementation times depend on each licensing authority.

This means breaking into the US market is challenging for operators and suppliers, with most starting in the largest market, New Jersey, before expanding to other states, creating a bottleneck.

As a result, US online casinos are smaller than European sites, with game lobbies maxing out at around 10000 titles and usually featuring no more than a handful of suppliers. The newest, launching with as few as 100 titles. In contrast, Europe has mega gambling brands (only a few of whom currently operate in the US, like 888 and Betway), with thousands of licensed suppliers and operators, meaning the only restriction of the size of online casinos is the operator’s budget, not availability. This also leads to more innovative European online platforms that pioneer the latest gaming and player trends, like VR casinos and gamification.

The most important lesson that the US can learn from Europe in this respect is how to scale the market, allowing standardization of gambling regulations and potentially even licensing agreements across states (similarly to how the UKGC worked in EU gambling jurisdictions, pre-2015). This would facilitate the quicker implementation of licenses for operators and suppliers, allowing the market and products to grow faster in a more innovative and competitive setting. 

Marketing strategies

European and US gambling marketing strategies are quite different. In the USA, Gambling advertisements are protected under the first amendment, so as long as the details advertised are correct, there’s no issue. There is also the widespread practice of sports sponsorship, making the market very visible.

European jurisdictions used to be more open to gambling advertisements, but things have changed drastically over the last five years, with markets like the UK strictly controlling the content and placement of gambling advertisements, even banning it during sports events, and removing sponsorship logos from kits. For the most part, these changes reflect a firmer stance on responsible gambling: not excessively advertising or tempting players, not placing advertising where underage gamblers can access them, and not using bonus terms unfairly to misconstrue deals.

The fact that EU markets have moved from a more liberal marketing stance to a more controlled one, based on responsible and fair gambling measures, means there’s a lesson to be learned here from a player safety perspective.

Legislation differences

We touched a little on regulation when looking at the differences between US and EU casinos, but what we didn’t cover is that the land-based casino – online skin licensing system puts a total cap on the gambling market in each state. This doesn’t exist in Europe and leads to a much tighter regulatory approach as there are fewer licensee holders, making new measures easier to implement. 

In contrast, the European market isn’t capped in numbers, leading to a more competitive and innovative market, but one that is ultimately harder to control. Many argue that we are now seeing the effects of this, with different European markets hastily implementing renewed measures (like the UK and German jurisdictions limiting spin speeds on slots, bonus sizes, advertising, and other factors) that forget online gambling is a source of entertainment and make a return to offshore options more tempting for players.

As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages to the differences in the regulatory approaches. Ultimately, with similarities in the cross-border market makeup, the US should use Europe as a test case, examining what works and what doesn’t for best practice, aiming to build a robust gambling industry that keeps players gambling safely and onshore.

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PayPal Introduces New Software to Help Block Gambling Transactions

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PayPal Introduces New Software to Help Block Gambling Transactions
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PayPal, one of the largest and most popular online payments services, has recently adopted new software to help give customers better control over their gambling habits. The software, developed by Gamban, allows users to set up a block to prevent their accounts from being used for gambling transactions. This move comes not long after the UK banned gambling sites from accepting credit card payments.

PayPal is widely used around the world, processing over 3 billion transactions a year, with a value of $311 billion US dollars. While the majority of these are for online shopping and other online purchases, the service is also used on gambling platforms. PayPal has become a popular way of making deposits and withdrawals at online gambling sites, as it’s fast, safe and easy to use. Users can create an account, add funds from their bank or card and then make simple online payments.

Because of how popular it is all over the world, most online gambling services accept payments made using PayPal. It’s used international, so a wide range of the best online casinos and sports betting sites offer support for PayPal payments. Most iGaming platforms advertise this fact to their users, letting them know they can sign up and easily make a deposit to start playing.

Why Does PayPal Allow Users to Block Gambling Transactions?

Although gambling is fun for most people, it can become a habit and even an addiction. There has been a strong push lately for iGaming sites to encourage responsible gaming, as well as offering support for those with a problem. Most iGaming licence providers will only offer licences to sites that protect players and encourage them to gamble responsibly.

One of the most effective ways of encouraging responsible gambling is giving users the ability to block transactions. Most sites will offer deposit limits that allow players to set how much they’re allowed to deposit each week or month. In addition, the UK recently banned all gambling sites from accepting payments from credit cards.

In 2019, PayPal reviewed its services and found that a significant percentage of transactions were used for online gambling. While this wouldn’t normally be an issue, the review also found that a lot of these transactions were linked to problem gambling. As such, it partnered with Gamban, a software provider, to introduce an automatic blocking system.

PayPal users can now go into their settings and set the service to automatically block all payments made to an iGaming site. This allows anyone with a gambling problem to easily refrain from adding funds to a gambling site if they’re trying to recover. In a statement, Gamban announced that the move was a welcome one that, along with self-exclusion and support, would give players a better chance of recovery.

What Does This Mean for the Future of iGaming Payments?

With gambling authorities such as the UK Gambling Commission now paying close attention to responsible gambling, iGaming sites need to be more mindful of what payments they offer and how they treat players. Additionally, payment services themselves need to consider the impact of allowing unrestricted gambling payments.

As software solutions improve, payment providers have more options that allow them to give players control over their spending habits. This software can automatically detect if a payment is made at any kind of gambling site, including those that are gambling-related. Users can set it to block transactions at gambling tip sites or other sites involved in iGaming.

Other payment services may also follow suit over the coming months and years, with most payment providers also wary about being associated with problem gambling. The more payment services that get on board, the better, as problem gamblers will be able to control their habits more easily and avoid falling into debt. 

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OKTO joins bacta

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OKTO joins bacta
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OKTO, the award-winning fintech specialist, has strengthened further its relationship with the UK market by joining the domestic trade association bacta. The announcement follows the appointment of experienced gaming industry senior executive Rob Peché to the position of UK Country Manager.

Simon Dorsen, CCO of OKTO, believes joining bacta reflects OKTO’s commitment to the UK industry and is indicative of the brand’s strategy moving forward. He explained: “Rather than being an arms-length technology provider OKTO’s approach is to immerse itself in the markets where it is active. The UK is one of the most important jurisdictions internationally and one in which the brand has rapidly achieved considerable success partnering with leading brands.

“Being a member of bacta places OKTO where we want to be, which is at the centre of all of the key discussions and debates surrounding payments in the UK gaming industry, across AGC, Bingo, Casino, LBO, Pub and Bar sectors.”

Simon added: “This is another example of our company showcasing its ongoing commitment to work with the local industry in order to provide safe, secure, and responsible payment solutions in the gaming, leisure and entertainment sectors.”

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Bali Confirmed as Host of the 2022 World Esports Championships Finals

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Bali Confirmed as Host of the 2022 World Esports Championships Finals
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Indonesia looks to set new standard of Esports competition at the 14th WE Championships

 The International Esports Federation (IESF) has confirmed that Bali, Indonesia will be the host of the 2022 World Esports Championships Finals. Bali was handed over the honors during a special ceremony following the conclusion of the 13th World Esports Championships in Eilat, Israel.

The 14th edition of the WE Championships Finals is slated for 27 November to 8 December 2022 and will feature the world’s best Esports athletes competing across multiple games on the beautiful island of Bali. Over 120 countries are expected to compete in the regional and national qualifiers for a coveted spot in the Finals. 

IESF President Vlad Marinescu congratulated host city Bali and said: “Big thank you to the President of the Indonesian Olympic Committee and to the entire Indonesian team here with us. We appreciate your support and we look forward to seeing the biggest and most inclusive World Esports Championships in history! We are bringing the largest and freshest sport to this beautiful tropical destination for the first time.”

IESF has staged the WE Championships every year since 2009, and it remains the sole international Esports event where athletes represent their countries. After a successful 2021 edition, the World Esports community looks to come back even stronger and generate more international opportunities and media exposure for the sport in the lead-up-to and during Bali 2022. 

Indonesian Olympic Committee Commission Chairman Desra Firza Ghazfan said during the press conference: “Bali is the island of GOD, it’s always been the melting pot of rich traditional and modern culture. Now with the 14th World Esports Championships happening in Bali, Bali is the melting pot of the past, the present and the future. I would like to welcome you all to Bali 2022 and to meet with our 45 million players in Indonesia. Be prepared and let the best win!”

 

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