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Lee Willows: ‘We should be humbled that addiction levels are coming down: do we really think that big state programmes, funded by a statutory levy and controlled by the NHS could do any better?’

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Lee Willows: ‘We should be humbled that addiction levels are coming down: do we really think that big state programmes, funded by a statutory levy and controlled by the NHS could do any better?’
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Lee Willows, the long-standing lived-experience leader who came into the gambling space following an addiction that almost drove him to suicide, has warned that the UK risks losing its status as a world-class leader in Social Responsibility. Commenting after the Westminster Media Forum – Next steps for UK gambling regulation and Labour Party MP Carolyn Harris’s Westminster Hall debate on the statutory gambling levy, Willows said: “I firmly believe the UK is a global leader in Social Responsibility, but I worry that flame might be dimming as the funding debate becomes more about a desire to break-up the very eco-system that supported me and today supports many others. It is this Third Sector-led eco-system that to my mind, makes us world-class.”

Addressing the nature of the debate he questioned: “Why have we allowed it to come down to narrow choices between the NHS or the Third Sector to deliver a national programme of treatment – why can’t both co-exist? I have often said we need a choir of voices and organisations in this space. Why is it so difficult for start-up organisations – often led by individuals with Lived Experience – to access funding? Why is the funding debate consistently tarnished by some who feel there is a lack of independence as opposed to recognising the impact of that funding, which in my experience is completely independent. Finally, why are we not humbled that addiction levels are coming down and education and awareness is now at an all-time high, being led by superb charities in a considered, well-thought and evidenced manner?

“These divisions and the potential introduction of a statutory levy carry significant risks to my mind and in many ways undermines a lot of the good work that’s been undertaken. We have built an eco-system to deliver treatment, support and prevention that has impressive reach across the United Kingdom. This didn’t happen overnight, it took time, and a huge collective effort on behalf of many very decent people. A statutory levy risks being seen by operators as another tax and as a result dilute their level of involvement in reducing harms.

“Whilst there is much more to be achieved, we should be humbled by this progress. Do we really think that big state (NHS only) programmes, funded by a statutory levy can do any better? Will big state programmes enable agility and innovation? Will big state programmes deliver better value for money? Will big state programmes really provide the funding for very local services or take a risk on start-up organisations or ideas, particularly from those with Lived-Experience, often starting out as sole-traders? Will big state, one size fits all programmes, be able to deal with the complexities around gambling addictions?

“Several years ago, I led the work of a national reducing re-offending charity at the time when the Probation Services were being privatised. A slightly different scenario, but a similar outcome in that the PLC companies and the state won many of the contracts, forcing many charities to close. Wind the clock forward and re-offending rates today remain broadly where they were prior to privatisation. The tragedy is that re-offending rates were beginning to drop, prior to privatisation. Beneficiaries of services often would say that they had a personal connection with the staff member supporting them from charities, whereas they were more like a number when being supported by the larger companies. It has also been proven consistently that charity-run services almost always deliver better value for money.”

“It will not surprise you that I do not support a statutory levy. There is much comfort to take from the current eco-system and the many charities and non-profit organisations working hard in this space and it would be a big mistake to risk this. Additionally, I believe our prime commissioner of services in this space might want to ask themselves what they can do better to support start-up organisations and foster agility, spending their income in a timely manner, with a percentage aimed at small start-up organisations. I also believe they might consider their ballooning establishment chart, which for many seems excessive.”

Looking to the short/medium-term Lee Willows has identified an action plan in order to facilitate innovation, encourage agility and maintain the UK’s world-class status. He explained: “Firstly the new strategy to reduce gambling-harms should be fully costed (so we actually know how much funding we need as opposed to a blanket 1%); secondly some mandated guidance should be given to operators when making donations, based on percentages for treatment, prevention and research; finally larger businesses should in my opinion, be mandated to commit 50 percent of their LCCP RET donations to fund three-year funding commitments in order to ensure sustainability. Operators need certainty, so they can budget donations; charities and non-profit organisations need certainly so they can plan services”.

“The notion of a Gambling Commission held RET list is something I continue to support, but I would also question if it is appropriate that the Gambling Commission administer Regulatory Settlements. Perhaps having another body or organisation to oversee these would bring about some of the reflections I am proposing, particularly where prevention is concerned. This would enable the Commission to focus on its regulatory responsibilities.”

 

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Germany Becomes Latest Jurisdiction to Partner with TPD

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Deal with German Tote sees race tracking and data monetisation available across thoroughbred and harness tracks in Germany

German Tote has selected Total Performance Data (TPD), the world’s leading live horse racing data provider, for race tracking and data monetisation across all 19 thoroughbred racecourses and several harness tracks, starting at Berlin’s Hoppegarten for the beginning of its turf season in late March.

German Tote recognises the numerous ways in which horse tracking can enrich the sport, with live running orders displayed on racecourse big screens a significant aspect of its appeal. TPD is also tasked with providing data feeds and in-play odds to bolster engagement and betting turnover.

In addition to showcasing live race graphics, German racing punters will gain insights from state-of-the-art sectional timing and stride data that TPD delivers.

The deal means that renowned races such as the Deutsches Derby and the Grosser Preis von Berlin will now join prestigious events like the Dubai World Cup, Ascot, the St Leger, Melbourne Cup and Breeders’ Cup within the comprehensive racing data portfolio of TPD and follows the news of the recent announcement of the merger between TPD and Australasia’s largest live racing data company, tripleSdata.

“After a careful review and trials of different systems, like many others, we chose TPD,” the Managing Director for German Tote, Riko Luiking, said. “It has a great system, significant experience and represents value for money. We have also been impressed with its hardware partner, GMax, who is already underway and expecting to have all 19 racecourses live by August.”

“We’re so pleased to welcome German Tote and German racing after over a year of work between both teams,” the Chief Executive Officer for TPD, Will Duff Gordon, said. “It’s important to produce in-race performance metrics to boost interest in German horse racing, especially its classics, with breeders, punters and horsemen ready to act on the content.

“On the back of our recent merger with tripleSdata, it’s great to keep up the momentum as we surpass 120 worldwide racecourses.”

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Issuance of Common Bond Loan

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The Athens Stock Exchange welcomed today representatives of the Management team, senior executives, and partners of INTRALOT on the occasion of the commencement of trading of its corporate bond on the Main Market of the Athens Stock Exchange. INTRALOT’s Chairman and CEO, Sokratis Kokkalis, declared the commencement of trading by ringing the traditional bell.
Mr. Yianos Kontopoulos, CEO of the Athens Exchange Group, welcomed INTRALOT’s Management team and highlighted the company’s successful Public Offering, from its entry into the Parallel Market of the Athens Stock Exchange in 1999 to the present day: “INTRALOT’s journey to the Athens Stock Exchange began 25 years ago, in November 1999, when the company was listed on our Parallel Market with a market capitalization of approximately €220 million. Today, with a market capitalization of €720 million, it is one of the companies listed on the Main Market. Since last November, INTRALOT has been included in the composition of the FTSE/Athex Mid Cap Index with the highest participation (12.2%) among the 20 companies in the index. With the successful completion of a €135 million share capital increase in October 2023 and today’s issuance of its €130 million corporate bond, INTRALOT is demonstrating its confidence in the important role the stock market can play as a lever to raise capital for business development.”
The Chairman and CEO of INTRALOT, Mr. Sokratis Kokkalis stated: “INTRALOT is a company that produces technology in Greece and has been operating successfully for many years in a highly competitive global environment, including the US, where we have had a strong presence for twenty years. I would like to thank the Greek investment community that participated in the recent Bond Issue and everyone who contributed to this success. Our company is moving forward, focusing on growth opportunities and strategic partnerships that leverage our extensive experience and proven next-generation technology in a digital world.”
On her part, the Vice-Chair of the Hellenic Capital Market Commission, Mrs. Natassa Stamou, noted: “During its 25 years on the Athens Stock Exchange, INTRALOT has always confirmed the value of being listed on the stock exchange, using the financial tools available and raising capital through the issuance of shares and bonds for the benefit of investors and the market. INTRALOT’s outward-looking
approach and presence in various jurisdictions highlights and promotes the potential of raising capital in Greece. The successful issuance of its bond is further evidence of INTRALOT’s strong confidence in the Greek economy and market.

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ITV Studios deal unlocks more huge brands for Jogo Global

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Jogo Global, the mobile and land-based platform provider and game content developer, has sealed a landmark deal with ITV Studios, gaining access to huge entertainment brands including The Voice and Hell’s Kitchen.

The collaboration agreement sees IP from many of ITV Studios’ leading shows, including global hits Love Island and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! available to add to Jogo Global’s hugely popular collection of Fast Games.

The Fast Games category is a new and novel vertical of casino games, developed by Jogo Global for online, mobile and land-based platforms. Fast Games are immersive multiplayer products, packed with social and community engagement tools and featuring a wide range of highly engaging game concepts, such as Crash, Double, Mines, Pick and Pull Tabs.

David Marcus, CEO of Jogo Global, said: “The start to 2024 has been incredibly positive for Jogo, and nothing has thrilled me more than this hugely significant deal with ITV Studios.

“The Fast Games category continues to go from strength to strength and to be able to build new titles around the IP of shows such as The Voice and Love Island is very exciting. We cannot wait to bring these games to market.”

Steve Watling, SVP Gaming, Global Partnerships, ITV Studios added: “The team at Jogo Global has a track record for taking highly valued IP and combining it with clever concepts to deliver compelling gaming experiences and this collaboration, alongside global operators, will open opportunities in new and established markets.

“We are not only happy to trust Jogo with some of our most valued brands, but we cannot wait to see the games.”

This latest deal with ITV Studios strengthens Jogo Global’s collaborations with world leading entertainment IP and brands.

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