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Malta in the focus at inaugural European Gaming Congress (EGC 2018) with Dr. Olga Finkel (Founder of WH Partners)

Zoltan Tundik

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Ljubljana – 15 August 2018 Although Malta is recently in the headlines for becoming “The Jurisdiction Of Choice For Blockchain Businesses”, we must not omit the fact a new Gaming Act has come into force starting August 1, 2018.

Approved by Maltese Parliament on 8 March 2018, together with the subsidiary legislation and Authority-issued binding instruments which establish the detailed processes and procedures constituting the holistic regulatory framework for the gaming sector, the Gaming Act came into force after undergoing the EU Technical Regulation Information System (TRIS) process, in line with European Union Directive 2015/1535.

The new framework elevates the jurisdictional profile of Malta from a regulatory perspective by strengthening the MGA’s supervisory role, specifically the Authority’s compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve its regulatory objectives. This is in line with concurrent developments relating to anti-money laundering and combating the funding of terrorism.

The new regulatory framework also empowers the Authority to be more agile in its decision-making, by removing unnecessary regulatory burdens not conducive to the regulatory objectives, whilst simultaneously strengthening supervision and focusing the regulator’s efforts on areas which present a higher risk profile.

Furthermore, the reform enhances consumer protection standards and responsible gaming measures, while promoting a risk-based approach towards regulation. It provides the MGA with wider powers in the fields of compliance and enforcement and establishes objective-oriented standards to encourage innovation and development.

During the inaugural edition of European Gaming Congress, Dr. Olga Finkel will share her insights and expert opinion about the latest developments which are the direct result of the new Gambling Act.

The Maltese market update is part of the “Market updates from Mediterranean Europe” panel discussion which will be presented by Quirino Mancini (Tonucci & Partners), Dr. Olga Finkel (WH Partners), Eduardo Morales-Hermo (iGamingCo & Ficom Leisure), Martin Stofler (OSM Solutions) and will focus on bringing insights into the following markets: France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Malta.

About Dr. Olga Finkel

Dr. Olga Finkel (founder of WH Partners, a Malta-based law firm) has been practising law in the gaming, gambling and technology fields for over 18 years and is a widely regarded as a specialist in this field and a leading internet and e-commerce lawyer, being consistently top-ranked by the Chambers and Partners’ Global Gaming and Gambling legal guide, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal.

Olga’s specialisation includes regulatory frameworks for real money gambling, skill games and social gaming, blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation, as well as privacy, AML and corporate transactions. In addition to advising a range of gaming companies on regulatory, compliance, strategic and commercial matters, Dr Finkel assisted the Malta Gaming Authority in a complete redesign of the regulatory framework for gaming in Malta, both in land-based and remove verticals.

Olga holds a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Malta as well as a Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Economics from the Academy of Economics, Kharkov, Ukraine.  She is a member of the International Masters of Gaming Law since 2003 and lectures gaming law at the University of Malta.

Make sure you register your seat in time to benefit of the great lineup of speakers that will share their knowledge for operators and industry connected companies about France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Netherlands and Belgium.

The inaugural edition of European Gaming Congress which will be held on the 16th of October at the Grand Union Hotel in Ljubljana and will bring together industry experts from all over Europe and create a platform which will enable both networking and learning at the highest quality.

You can view the full agenda on the following link.

Full detail about the event can be found on the official website of the event: https://europeangamingcongress.com/

Make sure you grab your seat as the seats are limited to 100 registrants!

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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Conferences in Europe

#PragueGamingSummit3 – Speaker / Moderator Profile – Dr. Matthias Spitz (Senior Partner, MELCHERS LAW)

Zoltan Tundik

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We are delighted and honored to announce that Dr. Matthias Spitz (Senior Partner, MELCHERS LAW) will join the third edition of Prague Gaming Summit as a speaker in the “DACH market industry trends” compliance panel discussion and as a moderator in the IMGL MASTERCLASS™ which focuses on Advertisement banning trends in the European Union and the Balkans.

Dr. Matthias Spitz is a senior partner with the German law firm MELCHERS and specialises in gaming law, with a focus on administrative matters and European law. Since 2013, he is a member of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL).

His areas of practice cover regulation of sports betting, land-based and online casino gaming as well as social gaming. He was involved in all relevant licensing processes in Germany on behalf of major gambling companies over the past years, including the Schleswig-Holstein licensure and the sports betting licensing process under the Interstate Treaty on Gambling. Further, he advises clients on the implementation of new gambling products on the German market, gambling-related tax issues, AML and developing advertising strategies. Coordinating litigation against Interstate Treaty enforcement in a number of German states, he is well acquainted with the enforcement risks arising from German gambling regulation.

Being a frequent contributor to leading journals of the gambling industry, recent publications include the European Gaming Lawyer, the Online Gambling Lawyer, the European Lawyer Reference Gaming Law and the International Comparative Legal Guide (ICLG) to Gambling.

Do not miss this opportunity to attend the leading conference in the region offers the opportunity for both new companies and veterans, to learn about industry insights and compliance updates, while also take part in several industry related discussions with the leading groups that are at the forefront of the gambling industry in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.

You can Register here or View the Agenda

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Advertisement banning trends in the European Union and the Balkans, subject of the IMGL MasterClass in Prague

Zoltan Tundik

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There has been a recent wave that has swept across the gambling industry and had the form of banning gambling related advertisement. This is the case in many European jurisdictions, but we are not excluding that this is a global wave. Media outlets have reported that such bans are scheduled to be included in Asia as well.

In Sweden, new online gambling operators may lose their ability to market their products entirely if the government takes note of new survey results which shows more than half (53%) of Swedes believe gambling advertising should be banned.

The latest survey results are not a surprise and come to complement the Minister of Civil Affairs Ardalan Shekarabi beliefs, who has summoned all 69 Swedish online gambling licensees to a meeting on the 14th of February to discuss their marketing activities. Just earlier, Shekarabi publicly contemplated following the UK’s lead and banning all gambling promos during live sports broadcasts.

About two weeks ago, Niels Folmann, director of the state-run former gambling monopoly Danske Spil, told local media that the Danish government should follow the UK’s lead and enact a blanket prohibition on gambling advertising during televised live sports events.

These subject are among the reasons why we have asked the experts of the industry from IMGL to present a MasterClass during the event which will focus on these aspects and treat the industry is currently facing in several European jurisdictions and also in the Balkans.

You can Register here or View the Agenda

Italy in the focus – Good news and bad news

The Italian gambling authority, Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli (ADM), released the list of the approved candidates that will be allowed to operate in the local market. Their licenses will be valid through December 31, 2022. The regulator has awarded 66 concessions and has also issued licenses to four other companies which will treat with reserves for reasons it said it would communicate to the licensees themselves.

Even if the Seria A gambling sponsor ban has been delayed until July, there are still lots of tensions in the “lo Stivale”.  The Italian soccer clubs have been permitted to keep existing betting deals until the end of the season. The extension follows the enforcement of a government-led blanket ban on gambling advertising throughout Italy.

The ban applies to all gambling-related products and services across all media platforms – including television, websites, and radio – and sports clubs are also to be prohibited from carrying sponsors from the industry.

While the delay to the implementation of the ban is a positive for soccer clubs in the country, the move merely marks a delay to a law that could have severe consequences for Italy’s soccer industry.

Operators within the gambling industry have criticized the new measures, warning that prices may rise and the illegal gambling sector could benefit as a result.

In an open letter written in July to Luigi Di Maio, the government’s Deputy Prime Minister who authored the decrees, Italian-licensed gambling operator LeoVegas added that the ban wouldn’t achieve a significant reduction in gambling activity. Rather, he wrote, it would lead to a surge in advertising by gambling operators not holding Italian licenses. (source sportspromedia.com)

Quirino Mancini, the Global Head of the Gaming and Gambling Practice at Tonucci & Partners will take the role to give an in-depth review of the Italian market.

The company he represents, Tonucci & Partners, is a top-ten Italian general practice firm with offices in Rome, Milan, Brescia, Padua, Florence, Tirana, Bucharest, and Belgrade.

Quirino is one of the leading Italian gaming and gambling lawyers with a specialist practice of almost 20 years. He acts for Italian and foreign-based online and land-based companies operating in the Italian gaming market, advising them on legal, licensing, regulatory, day-to-day compliance and any other operational aspects connected to their activities. He also runs a bespoke matchmaking and business strategy service to provide clients with a customized type of assistance that includes also introduction and facilitation of dealings with the local regulatory authorities, banks as well as scouting and suitability checks on potential business partners.

Quirino is a regular speaker at most international gaming conferences and sits in the editorial board of various sector reviews and magazines. Co-founder and editor of www.gaminglaw.eu, a pan-European information and commentary portal focusing on legal and regulatory issues under European and national gaming laws.

Secretary and fellow member of the Leadership Committee of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL), a worldwide organization gathering regulators, lawyers and advisors, in-house counsels and educators engaged in the gaming business. A fellow member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA)

You can Register here or View the Agenda

Britain to blame for the situation?

If you have read the intro part of this article, you will find one common fact. In each situation, the UK gambling ban is cited. It seems everyone is following the idea of the advertisement ban which has been sparked last year.

UK press has just announced that it has been decided that gambling adverts will no longer be allowed to appear on websites or in computer games that are popular with children, under new rules designed to stop irresponsible gambling.

Bookmakers will be required to use every targeting tool possible to ensure online gambling promotions are not seen by under-18s. They will also have to avoid placing gambling adverts on parts of websites that are popular with children and stop using celebrities or other people who appear to be under 25 in their promotions. (source: theguardian.com)

Coming into force on 1 April, the guidelines devised by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which is responsible for writing and maintaining the UK advertising codes, will prohibit online ads for gambling products being targeted at individuals likely to be aged under 18. These standards cover all digital media including social networks and other online platforms.

This complements many other banning procedures, as you may know, from July 2018, the British betting industry has implemented a “whistle-to-whistle” ban on all TV betting adverts during pre-watershed live sports programming, with the exception of horse and greyhound racing.

William Hill has become the first UK-listed operator to call for a media strategy review in 2019, with competitors likely to follow suit as betting leadership adjusts to new advertising realities.

Russell Mifsud (Gaming industry specialist – Associate Director at KPMG Malta) will take on the role to discussing these aspects and how will report how operators are taking steps in order to comply while also keeping an eye on the brand strategy and business run.

Russell is an Economist and Associate Director at KPMG, who leads the firm’s gaming department. Russell provides insight on the industry externalities and commercial strategy for KPMG and our clientele across the board. He also helps drive a core group of professionals who specialize in gaming within the KPMG network globally. Russell also sits on the board of the Malta Remote Gaming Council and Silicon Valletta. He works closely with the KPMG Audit, Tax & Advisory teams locally and internationally in order to assist network with identifying risks and opportunities, with a view to adding strategic insight and guidance to clientele across the board.

Russell Mifsud and Quirino Mancini will be joined by leading experts from Central Europe, the Balkans and Germany to complement advertisement banning procedures which are being implemented or discussed in their jurisdiction.

Jaka Repanšek (Media and Gaming Expert), Zlatan Omerspahić (Data Protection and Compliance Lawyer at NSoft) and Martin Arendts (Founder of ARENDTS ANWAELTE) be the experts taking on this role while the MasterClass will be moderated by Dr. Matthias Spitz (Senior Partner, MELCHERS LAW)

Do not miss this opportunity to attend the IMGL MasterClass presented by members and non-members of the International Masters of Gaming Law at Prague Gaming Summit 3!

You can Register here or View the Agenda

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Central Europe

Dr. Raffaela Zillner, LL.M to speak at Prague Gaming Summit 3

Zoltan Tundik

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As announced earlier, the 3rd edition of Prague Gaming Summit will feature a special DACH region oriented panel in which the experts will discuss and debate the likely options of regulation updates that will allow operators to fully engage in gambling activities.

We are honored to present one of the leading experts who will join the “DACH market industry trends” compliance panel discussion.

Dr. Raffaela Zillner, LL.M. runs the General Secretariat of the Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG). She has been in this leading position for well over 2 years and she’s the first point of contact for all association matters. Raffaela holds a law degree as well as a Master’s degree in Information and Media Law and a doctoral degree in law. Furthermore, Raffaela successfully passed the Vienna (Lawyers) Bar exam. In her professional career, she has worked as an Associate at a Vienna-based law firm with a special focus on gambling and sports betting law.

The Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG) is an Austrian special interest group aiming to create awareness of the industry in the minds of opinion-formers and political decision-makers. Through lobbying, the association would like to contribute to achieving greater fairness between the providers in the Austrian market and to illustrating the diversity of the industry. The association concentrates on the online gambling and sports betting sector.

The association was founded in August 2016 and comprises full members and associate members. The members are subject to stringent acceptance criteria, see also values in this respect. Most members are active as sponsors of sports clubs or sports associations. The list of members includes bet-at-home.com, Mr. Green, CashPoint, Lopoca, Interwetten, LeoVegas and Kindred Group.

The Executive Committee is headed by Claus Retschitzegger (bet-at-home.com), the President of the Association. The other members of the Executive Committee are Jan Tjernell as deputy (Mr Green), Michael Wondra (Cashpoint) and Simos Mantzouranos (Lopoca).

Do not miss this exciting opportunity to hear the latest information first hand at Prague Gaming Summit 3 and discuss collaboration possibilities with attending delegates!

You can Register here or View the Agenda

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