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UKGC: New rules to make online gambling in Britain fairer and safer

George Miller

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UKGC: New rules to make online gambling in Britain fairer and safer
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Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The UK Gambling Commission has announced new rules which online operators must follow to make gambling safer and fairer.

The new rules, which follow an open consultation, will ensure operators verify customers’ age and identity details faster which will benefit consumers.

Safer for children

Until now, online gambling businesses have been allowed 72 hours to carry out age verification checks. The operator cannot permit customers to withdraw winnings until age verification has been completed and must return stakes if the person is found to be underage.

But to guard against the risk of children gambling, new rules mean operators must verify customer age before the customer can:

  • deposit funds into an account
  • gamble with the licensee with either their own money or a free bet or bonus.

In addition, the Commission is now also insisting that customers must be age verified before they are able to access free-to-play versions of gambling games on licensees’ websites. While free-to-play games are not technically gambling (there is no prize involved), there is no legitimate reason why they should be available to children.

Fairer and safer

In March 2018 the Commission announced that some online operators were treating customers unfairly by requesting additional identity information when the customer attempted to withdraw winnings. Around 15% of complaints to its contact centre were about licensees not allowing a customer to withdraw funds until they submit certain forms of ID.

The new rules require remote licensees to:

  • verify, as a minimum, the name, address and date of birth of a customer before allowing them to gamble
  • ask for any additional verification information promptly
  • inform customers, before they can deposit funds, of the types of identity documents or other information that might be required, the circumstances in which the information might be required, and how it should be supplied to the licensee
  • take reasonable steps to ensure that information on their customers’ identities remains accurate.

The changes will help operators better prevent harm or detect criminal activity because they have more information about their customers. In addition, the changes will mean that operators cannot demand that customers submit ID as a condition of cashing out, if they could have asked for that information earlier.

However, these measures won’t relate to online gambling sites with no verification that have integrated Pay N’ Play platform, as they use Bank ID instead of many documents.

Finally, the changes will increase the likelihood that someone will be identified if they attempt to gamble while self-excluded. This applies equally to the operator’s own self-exclusion schemes and the online multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, Gamstop. This is because effective verification by operators will mean that a customer will not be verified, and therefore unable to gamble, until they provide correct details. These details will then be checked against both the operator’s own self-exclusion database and the verified data held by Gamstop.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “These changes will protect children and the vulnerable from gambling-related harm, and reduce the risk of crime linked to gambling.  They will also make gambling fairer by helping consumers collect their winnings without unnecessary delay.’’

“Britain’s online gambling market is the largest regulated market in the world and we want to make sure it is the safest and the fairest. Today’s changes follow our review of online gambling and our ongoing widespread regulatory action into the online sector.  We will keep using our powers to raise standards for consumers.”

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“These significant changes mean operators must check someone’s age before they gamble, and not after. They rightly add an extra layer of protection for children and young people who attempt to gamble online. By extending strong age verification rules to free-to-play games we are creating a much safer online environment for children, helping to shut down a possible gateway to gambling- related harm.”

The new rules come into force on 7 May.

The Gambling Commission will shortly be launching a consultation on plans to make explicit our expectations about how to interact with a customer who may be experiencing gambling-related harm and will be calling for evidence on the use of gambling blocking software.

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Skywind Group Enters into Partnership with Sisal

Niji Narayan

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Skywind Group Enters into Partnership with Sisal
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Skywind Group has entered into a partnership with Sisal, one of Italy’s largest operators. As per the deal, Sisal will now gain access to more than 350 premium games alongside Skywind’s innovative and adaptive player engagement tools.

The partnership with Skywind will provide Sisal with premium, market-specific video slot games, including branded titles, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Lothar Matthaus: Be a Winner and El Principe. It also includes series of chicken theme titles such as Vinci La Gallina, La Gallina D’oro and Punto La Galina.

Combined with the premium games, Skywind provides strong acquision and retention tools in the form of unique, customisable player engagement tools. Skywind’s player engagement tools include split pot jackpots, time and amount based jackpots, in-game tournaments and the innovative reward system set to upend free spins, Bonus Coins.

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Spiffbet to Acquire Manisol Gaming

Niji Narayan

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Spiffbet to Acquire Manisol Gaming
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Online operator and supplier Spiffbet has signed a letter of intent to acquire Manisol Gaming, which operates Scandibet and TurboVegas.

Spiffbet will pay SEK20m to acquire the brands, while it will also acquire SEK10m in debt in doing so, meaning the debt-free initial price for the acquisition is SEK30m. An additional purchase consideration of up to SEK6m may be paid by the end of 2022 depending on meeting certain targets.

This payment may be made either in cash or with 50 million newly issued Spiffbet shares. Spiffbet shares are currently trading at €0.039 each on the Nasdaq First North Exchange.

“With this acquisition, Spiffbet reaches a critical mass and becomes a player to be reckoned with in the gaming industry. This also opens up opportunities for major acquisitions and structural deals in the future,” Henrik Svensson, chief executive of Spiffbet, said.

“The ambition is to get the maximum return on the advantage of being listed on the stock exchange, through our proven ability to carry out acquisitions and the large cost advantages that can be achieved thanks to higher turnover. This also strengthens the synergy effects between gaming services and our casino operations. We will continue to act as a locomotive for acquisitions,” he added.

The operator was founded and is owned by Johan Styren, who led LeoVegas’ Malta operations from 2012 to 2017, a period of major growth for the business. Styren will act as a strategic advisor to Spiffet’s board after the deal.

“It is very fun to find a new owner for Manisol at Spiffbet. Both companies have a good organisation with different qualities that I think will work well together. The companies really complement each other and can utilise each other’s strengths,” Styren said.

“It will be very fun to follow the business both as a major shareholder and strategic advisor in the future. And we can now significantly increase the pace of the investments we have already begun with establishment in additional markets, both in and outside Europe,” Styren added.

Spiffbet head of casino operations Maria Boelius said Styren and the entire Manisol team would help improve Spiffbet’s business.

“We really welcome Manisol with all employees. It will be a perfect reinforcement of our team and solve part of our recruitment needs. It is also an asset to have Johan Styren as a sounding board in the future with his solid industry experience. In one fell swoop, our conditions for growing and creating profitability are improved in a fantastic way,” Boelius said.

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Flutter Announces Safer Gambling Measures in Ireland

Niji Narayan

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Flutter Announces Safer Gambling Measures in Ireland
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Flutter Entertainment has announced that it will introduce a series of measures aimed at increasing betting security in the Irish market.

The measures include the commitment of 1% of Net Gaming Revenue (NGR) to support the research, education and treatment of problem gambling, the banning of credit card use on customers’ online and retail accounts, and a pre-watershed whistle-to-whistle advertising ban that will restrict advertising during live sport.

These measures are supplemented by a range of measures already in place to facilitate intervention when signs of harmful gambling behaviour are identified through artificial intelligence and human monitoring.

Conor Grant, CEO of Flutter UK & I, said: “We welcome the Irish Government’s commitment to introducing gambling regulation during its lifetime. But gambling operators must act responsibly without being required to do so.

“We recognise that gambling has undergone a technological transformation over the past two decades. The influence of the smartphone, social media, and on-demand streaming has been profound. We understand that legislating for these developments is complex and may take some time. We have decided to introduce several measures, well in advance of the legislation, to enhance the effectiveness of our safer gambling policies in Ireland.

“There is an extensive range of safer gambling measures already in place in our Irish business. There are clear benefits if these or similar measures were to be adopted market wide in Ireland. We have not always got it right as an industry and we must ensure collectively that we are doing all we can to prevent problem gambling. The reality is that protection and promotion measures will continue to evolve over time and new measures will need to be considered to promote moderation, safety and enjoyment in this era of digital gambling.”

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