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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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Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

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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Bulgarian Legislature Approves the Bill to Abolish Gambling Commission

Niji Narayan

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Bulgarian Legislature Approves the Bill to Abolish Gambling Commission
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The Bulgarian legislature has approved the second reading of a bill that aims to abolish Bulgaria’s existing gambling regulator and hand its duties to the National Revenue Agency, as well as to introduce new capital requirements for licensees.

Bill 054-01-51 to Amend and Supplement the Gambling Act was introduced in June and approved by the Committee on Budgets and Finance, the Committee on Culture and the Media, the Committee on Children, Youth and Sport and the Committee on Budgets and Finance before being adopted on its first reading on 17 June.

Initially, the bill planned on creating a new regulator, the State Gambling Agency, which would be a new specialised body within the country’s Council of Ministers. However, it was amended by various members of the party GERB to instead allow the National Revenue Agency to take over this role.

It was then approved at its second reading on July 23, sending it to President Rumen Radev.

“The changes are aimed at clarifying the status of the gambling regulator and ensuring transparency in its work, which, in turn, will lead to optimisation and increase the quality of its activities,” one of the bill’s sponsors, Alexander Ivanov, said in a committee hearing.

The bill also sets out new capital requirements for licensees after an amendment put forward by Valeri Simeonov. This includes a BGN1m capital requirement for slot licensees, a BGN1.5m requirement for casino licensees and a BGN3m requirement for those offering online gambling.

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Playson joins forces with SuperSport

George Miller

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Supplier partners with Croatian market leader

Casino software provider Playson has signed a content distribution agreement with SuperSport, Croatia’s foremost operator.

The online sportsbook will significantly enhance its casino offering by directly integrating a thrilling set of Playson titles, including Buffalo Power: Hold and Win, Solar Temple and Solar Queen.

The partnership also covers the developer’s Timeless Fruit Slots and Funky Fruits portfolios, which are likely to perform well in a jurisdiction where classic fruit-themed games resonate with a wide audience.

SuperSport will also benefit from access to Playson’s retention-boosting suite of integration-free engagement tools, such as bonus spins and regular tournaments with daily prize drops.

The deal sees Playson further enhance its impressive player reach in regulated markets across the globe, as the games studio continues to go from strength to strength in Europe and beyond.

Blanka Homor, Sales Director at Playson, said: “We are thrilled to team up with Croatia’s most prominent operator in SuperSport, in a move that cements our leading credentials as a premium supplier of quality slots.

“With a packed game collection boasting widespread appeal, alongside an engagement toolkit that is proven to drive player retention, we’re ready to deliver for our latest operating partner.”

Tugomil Cerovecki, Online Casino Manager at SuperSport said: “Playson’s absorbing portfolio is enjoyed by an ever-growing legion of global fans, so we are very pleased to partner with the company.

“The provider’s premium quality games, in particular its Timeless Fruit Slots and Funky Fruits portfolios, will undoubtedly help us to continue standing out in a competitive commercial environment.”

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Balkans

Gaming Innovation Group signs with LeGrand Casino in North Macedonia

George Miller

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Gaming Innovation Group signs with LeGrand Casino in North Macedonia
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Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG) has signed a heads of terms agreement with K.A.K. DOO Skopje, Hospitality, tourism and services company (K.A.K.) for the provision of GiG’s platform, front end development and managed media services to launch their digital operation in the regulated North Macedonian market.

K.A.K. is one of North Macedonia’s leading leisure groups with two casinos offering both slots and table games, LeGrand Casino Skopje and LeGrand Casino Bitola, along with four hotels (Hotel Epinal in Bitola and hotels Sport, Bistra and Lodge in Mavrovo) and the Mavrovo Ski Resort.

Having traditionally been a closed market to online operators, the Macedonian government is now allowing land based operators to apply for online licenses that must directly reflect their offline offering. Through their LeGrand casinos, K.A.K. will, therefore, be one of a handful of operators in North Macedonia to offer table games to online players along with a complete slots portfolio. K.A.K. has selected GiG’s casino platform offering as well as GiG’s managed media services to capitalise on their digital transformation from land based to online gambling.

The final agreement is expected to be signed in August 2020, and will be on a combined fixed fee and revenue share structure. The casino offering is expected to go-live by Q1, 2021, and this partnership is expected to make a positive contribution to GiG’s revenues from 2021 onwards.

Ognjan Cigovski, Chief Executive Officer of K.A.K. DOO Skopje says: “Gaming Innovation Group is known in the iGaming industry as a reliable and trustful company with a history of success working with land based operators like ourselves. We are pleased to have them supporting our digital transformation and online player acquisition strategy as we expand into the newly regulating online market. We believe that by joining our efforts we can translate the feel and look of our LeGrand casino’s into an online offering that both caters for our current players as well as attracts new ones. We are looking forward to a long lasting and mutually beneficial partnership.”

Richard Brown, Chief Executive Officer of GiG says, “North Macedonia has a long history in the landbased casino segment, and is a major casino tourist destination in the region. Partnering with a leading brand, hospitality and entertainment group in the region is an exciting opportunity for GiG and we look forward to helping replicate LeGrand Casinos retail success online as the market regulates”.

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