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New support for NHS to treat gambling addiction

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New support for NHS to treat gambling addiction
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The NHS is set to benefit as new levy will raise an estimated £100 million of new funding for research, prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.

Following publication of the gambling white paper in April, the Government is now taking the next step in mandating payments from the sector by launching a consultation on the design of the proposed gambling operator levy.

Currently, not all gambling companies contribute equally towards the existing voluntary levy, with some operators paying as little as £1 towards research, prevention and treatment. The Government is therefore acting to ensure all operators contribute their fair share.

In order to improve research, prevention and treatment of gambling harm, the Government is minded to set the levy as a new 1% fee on gross gambling yield for online gambling operators, while traditional betting shops and casinos will pay a proposed fee of around 0.4%.

The white paper has proposed a fair and proportionate approach to levy rates between various operators, taking into account the difference, for example, in operating costs and the levels of harmful gambling associated with different gambling activities.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:

We are taking the next step in our plan to protect those most at risk of gambling harm with a new levy on gambling operators to pay for treatment and research.

All gambling operators will be required to pay their fair share and this consultation is an opportunity for the industry, clinicians, those who have experienced gambling harm and the wider public to have their say on how the proposed gambling operator levy should work.

The introduction of this levy will strengthen the safety net and help deliver our long-term plan to help build stronger communities while allowing millions of people to continue to gamble safely.

Technology has reshaped where, when and how people gamble and there has been a significant rise in online gambling behaviour due to the ease of access on smartphones, with people able to gamble anytime and anywhere.

Figures from the NHS Digital Health Survey also indicate that some of these online products are associated with elevated levels of gambling-related addiction and harm with ‘problem gambling’ rates eight times higher for online slots and casino game players than in the population as a whole.

Under the proposed levy, the gambling industry will no longer have a say over how money for research, prevention and treatment is spent. Instead, the Gambling Commission will distribute funding directly to the NHS and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which coordinates research and innovation funding, under the strategic direction of government. The levy will be underpinned by legislation meaning firms will be required to pay.

The funding delivered through the levy, which will deliver substantial new investment for the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales, will increase access to treatment and support for those experiencing gambling-related harm. It will also help to develop a truly national approach to prevention and fund independent, high-quality research to inform policy and practice.

In July this year, the NHS announced that seven new specialist gambling addiction clinics will open in Milton Keynes, Thurrock, Derby, Bristol, Liverpool, Blackpool and Sheffield this year. This is in addition to the seven clinics already in operation in London, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, and Telford, as well as an additional national clinic, which treats both gambling and gaming addiction in children and young people, in London.

Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew said:

We know that gambling addiction can devastate lives, which is why we are working quickly to implement our bold plans for reform.

This consultation brings us a step closer to being able to provide £100 million of new funding for research, prevention and treatment, including ring fenced investment for the NHS to help gambling addicts.

Gambling firms should always pay their fair share and this new statutory levy will ensure that they are legally required to do just that.

Health Minister Neil O’Brien said:

Harmful gambling can affect people’s savings, ruin relationships, and devastate people’s lives and health.

Gambling companies should pay their fair share towards the costs of treatment services, but we want to hear from as many people as possible about how the new statutory levy should work.

We continue working to support those affected by gambling harms. Twelve of the planned fifteen NHS gambling addictions clinics have now opened across the country providing vital support services for thousands of people experiencing gambling-related harms as well as their loved ones. The remaining three are expected to open by the end of the year.”

Henrietta Bowden-Jones, National Clinical Advisor for Gambling Harms, said:

I welcome this Levy which reflects the government’s decision to fund gambling treatment, prevention, research and education in an independent and evidence- based way allowing us to continue our work of eradicating all gambling harms from society.”

NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch said:

Gambling addiction destroys people’s lives and with record numbers turning to the NHS for support, the health service has met this demand head on by opening four new specialist clinics in recent months, with a further three opening later this year.

The NHS has long called for a statutory levy because it is only right that this billion-pound industry steps up to support people suffering from gambling addiction and I am pleased that action is being taken to prevent people from coming to harm in the first place. It is now vital we continue working in partnership to ensure we provide effective prevention, education and treatment for this condition.

The Government’s gambling white paper, published in April 2023, set out a range of measures to improve player protections and reduce the risk of gambling addiction and harm in the smartphone era. Measures such as financial risk checks to better alert operators to risky behaviours, stake limits for online slots, tighter controls on marketing of bonuses and a new mandatory gambling operator levy are designed to reduce risk and improve player protections.

The Government and Gambling Commission continue to implement the measures set out in the white paper with a view to having key elements in place in summer 2024.

Compliance Updates

Gammix Limited slams “outrageous and unsubstantiated” €19.7m KSA penalty

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The operator vows to fight on all fronts against the Dutch regulator’s ‘unjust’ ruling.

Gammix Limited has announced its intention to contest the “outrageous and unsubstantiated” penalty handed to them by the Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA).

In response, Gammix stated that the record €19.7m penalty imposed is based on “falsified data, extreme inaccuracy and highly suspect mathematics”.

In the ruling the regulator said that Gammix was adjudged to have allowed online gambling access for Dutch consumers, as well as not requiring age verification upon sign-up – something the company wholeheartedly disputes.

Gammix reports that accounts used to access its sites during the investigation were created in Luxembourg, with deposits made via credit card. Gammix added that such action violates the sites’ terms and conditions, specifically the provision of false information upon sign-up.

The operator asserts that the penalty, totalling €19,679,000, has been calculated using figures from a proprietary web-traffic aggregation service and a multiplier of 240 Euros per click. Gammix believes this would show turnover that doesn’t exist.

Furthermore, Gammix strongly condemns the KSA’s “mystery shopper” style of investigation, which, the operator states, is an unjust basis for this record-breaking penalty.

Phil Pearson, Director of Gammix Limited, has vowed to “fight on all fronts until it receives an apology and retraction!.

He said: “The KSA has imposed upon our company a penalty that is both outrageous and unsubstantiated. Now that we are able to talk openly about the case, we can confirm that we are fighting on all fronts as, to us, this is an extraordinary and unnecessarily heavy-handed action from a regulator that many already regarded as unapproachable.

“When we received the first notice of a possible penalty, we reached out to them to say we have blocks in place. We also asked for any information they had that was material to the investigation, to ensure we remained in compliance with all guidelines  – a request they appeared to ignore. Our lawyers also approached the regulator, in writing, to gain more information, but again no response was forthcoming.

“We had enabled a block on Cloudflare for any Dutch IP, we have no Dutch language or direct Dutch payment methods, and categorically do not target Dutch traffic. If affiliates list any of our brands on Dutch-facing sites, we cannot be held responsible for those promotions. However, once players reached the end site, they would not be able to register an account.”

Pearson concluded: “This fine is an absolute joke, and we will contest this in every possible way, at every possible turn. We will only rest once this outrageous penalty has been rescinded and we have received the apology we deserve.”

 

 

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MiFinity Recognised for Information Security Excellence with ISO 27001 Certification

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MiFinity, an award-winning eWallet provider, proudly announces the achievement of ISO 27001 certification, a testament to its unwavering commitment to safeguarding sensitive information.

The attainment of ISO 27001 marks a significant milestone in MiFinity’s journey, underscoring its dedication to maintaining the highest standards of information security management. Following months of rigorous assessment and preparation, the payment services company has successfully demonstrated its adherence to the internationally recognised criteria, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information across all operational domains.

The Chief Executive Officer for MiFinity, Paul Kavanagh, emphasised the significance of this achievement, stating: “Attaining ISO 27001 certification underscores MiFinity’s commitment to preserving the integrity of data and maintaining robust information security protocols across our operations. By doing so, we will further strengthen our resilience and ensure the ongoing protection of our valuable assets. I extend my sincerest congratulations to our entire team for their collective efforts in realising this significant milestone, which reflects our relentless pursuit of excellence.”

The Information Security Manager for MiFinity, Alan Ludden, commented further on this achievement, stating: “ISO 27001 certification not only validates our proactive approach to managing information security risks but also reinforces our credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of our customers, partners, merchants and stakeholders. It positions us as a reliable custodian of their confidential information, further enhancing our competitive edge in the payments market. This was a team effort and wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and collaboration from across the company.”

ISO 27001 is the internationally recognised standard for information security management. It provides a framework for organisations to establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain and continually improve an information security management system (ISMS). By implementing its best practices, organisations increase their security posture protecting them from cyber threats and enhancing data protection.

Looking ahead, MiFinity will continue to uphold the principles of ISO 27001, continuously improving its information security management system and staying abreast of emerging threats and best practices.

For more information about MiFinity and its ISO 27001 certification, please visit www. MiFinity. com.

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French Publisher TapNation tops Financial Times FT1000 list of Europe’s Leaders in Tech Media

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TapNation, a Paris-based leading mobile app publisher has been identified in the FT1000’s ranking of fastest-growing companies in Europe. TapNation, known for its work in the mobile app and gaming space, has ranked in the Top 14 of companies according to FT1000’s data provider Statista. Among the Media and Entertainment categories, TapNation has secured the number 1 ranking among all companies across Europe.

This announcement falls on the heels of a recent announcement that TapNation was also the Top ranked company of the esteemed Les Echos “Champions de la Croissance 2024” French ranking, representing the fastest-growing businesses in France. These accolades underscore TapNation’s commitment to innovation, growth, and excellence in the competitive mobile app industry.

A Leader in Mobile App Entertainment

These two recognitions followed a 2023 year of enormous growth for TapNation, which began with their selection for the French Tech 120 program, a government program that scales up promising new start ups within France’s tech space.

Additionally, earlier in January of this year, TapNation acquired UAHero, a leading monetization and user acquisition platform, as a subsidiary to diversify their presence in the mobile market. And even more recently, TapNation announced a 15M€ fundraising before signing a partnership with the Web3 platform Immutable to deliver new Web3 functionality for their player base.

“We are immensely proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish over the last year,” says TapNation Co-founder , Hervé Montoute. “We are honored to be recognized as the Top ranked French company for business growth, and how that ranking reflects in our position within the broader European market. 2024 is on track to be our best year yet, and this distinction reflects the hard work of our teams and our dedication to excellence.”

“This distinction also supports the growth of France’s domestic game and entertainment industry, as we are deeply committed to supporting growing studios both domestically and beyond.”

As of 2024, TapNation games have surpassed over a billion downloads worldwide across multiple markets and genres.

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