Covid-19 – A message from UKGC chair, Neil McArthur to online gambling operators
Since I wrote to you last week, the response to Covid-19 has affected everyone in Great Britain.
Over the last week, I have spoken to representatives across the industry and understand the significant impact that these uncertain and unsettling events are having on your businesses, your customers and your employees. We have been drawing up an initial assessment on the impact recent events will have on the gambling industry and assessing how we should approach our own work over the coming months.
Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling has always been a major priority and we are very mindful – as you should be – of the fact that the risks of harm arising from online gambling have increased as a result of recent events. As you know, the social distancing measures that have been imposed this week now mean that anyone other than key workers will be at home for most of the day. We are already seeing reports of an increase in online slots, poker, casino gaming and virtual sports.
In light of these developments, whilst I recognise the enormous challenges businesses are facing, I want to make the Commission’s expectations absolutely clear:
- Consumer protection must be paramount
- We expect you to act responsibly, especially around individual customer affordability checks and increased social responsibility interactions.
- We expect you to be very mindful that customers may be vulnerable and experiencing financial uncertainty, whilst others may be experiencing other effects of being isolated including, for example, feelings of anxiety, loneliness or boredom.
- We expect you to know your customers and step in if they are showing signs that they are experiencing or at risk of harm.
- Marketing must be conducted responsibly
- We expect you to on-board new customers in a socially responsible way.
- You must not exploit the current situation for marketing purposes and should be very cautious when seeking to cross-sell online gaming products to customers who signed up with you in order to bet.
- We expect you to ensure that your affiliates are conducting themselves appropriately.
- Compliance with licence conditions and codes of practice
- We expect you to act in a way that minimises the risks to the licensing objectives.
- Treat consumers fairly and communicate with them in a clear way that allows them to make a properly informed judgment about whether to gamble.
- Work with the Commission in an open and co-operative way and act in accordance with both the letter or the spirit of the regulatory framework we have set.
If we see irresponsible behaviour we will step in immediately. So, whilst I know that the current climate is unprecedented, gambling operators must play their part in making sure that people are kept safe.
If you want to share your own analysis of impacts to the industry, or share other information that may be relevant to our work on this issue, you can talk to Ben Haden, Programme Director for Industry Insight, who is collating all of the information about how Covid-19 is affecting the industry.
If you have information or concerns about the behaviour of an operator then our Confidential Intelligence Hotline is continuing to take calls or you can email the team. Finally, you can continue to contact your Account Manager in the normal way to notify of any key events or questions you have during this time. If you have other questions or queries, please let us know and we will do our best to get you an answer.
XLMedia Partially Disposes Personal Finance Assets for $1.3 Million
XLMedia has announced the part disposal of the Group’s Personal Finance assets for a total cash consideration of $1.3 million (the Disposal). The Disposal comprises domains and websites including Investor Junkie, Greedy Rates and Young and Thifty owned by XLMedia Publishing Limited and Webpals Systems SC Limited, subsidiaries of XLMedia plc. The cash generated from the Disposal will be utilised in the day-to-day operations of the business.
The Disposal is in line with the Company’s strategy to exit non-core activities while focusing on the Group’s Sports and Gaming business, expanding its North American Sports footprint, while also refining and developing the Group’s EU Sports portfolio, and the Group’s Gaming assets in selected markets, including the US.
In the year ended 31 December 2022, the assets relating to the Personal Finance division generated revenues of $1.9 million and EBITDA loss of $1.3 million.
The Personal Finance assets were excluded from continuing operations as disclosed in the Company’s year ended 31 December 2022 results and have no impact on earnings in the current financial year.
Following the sale of these assets to MPD Media, the process to sell the remaining Personal Finance assets is at an advanced stage, but there is no certainty that a transaction or transactions will complete.
IGSA Celebrates 25th Anniversary
The International Gaming Standards Association (IGSA) is celebrating 25 years of its role in support of gaming industry standards.
IGSA president Peter DeRaedt said: “In addition to the many champions and pioneers of our technical standards, we’re also proud and honoured to have featured a keynote video by Trevor Croker, CEO of Aristocrat Leisure, a founding IGSA member, and this week to feature a keynote video address by Rich Schneider, chief product officer of Light & Wonder and another 25-year IGSA member.”
Mark Pace, vice-president of the IGSA, said: “It has been great to see the congratulations and well wishes come in from all over the world from our current and former members, friends and colleagues.
“These companies have joined in celebrating IGSA’s 25-year anniversary through video messages that we have posted on our social media channels and website.
“We invite all our current and past members to join us at our annual meeting celebration and get-together at Canaletto in the Palazzo on October 10 while you’re at G2E.”
Former iGaming Director Unveils Holistic Wellbeing Platform for the Gaming industry
HabitRewire, an industry leader in health and wellbeing for the iGaming sector, announced the debut of its innovative iGaming wellbeing platform. The turnkey white-label wellbeing solution can be accessed at any time, anywhere via a user-friendly app, helping employees across the world improve their wellbeing 24/7, inside and outside the workplace.
Presented as a ready-to-use white-label solution that can be branded as the company’s own, it offers an holistic, wide-ranging, and result-driven wellbeing solution that can be instantly deployed.
The platform draws upon HabitRewire’s ‘Habit Rewiring’ methodology, which is backed by robust scientific evidence. This innovative method is engineered to stimulate sustainable behavioural change, helping employees use daily practices to build the skills and habits to improve their physical health, mental wellbeing, and workplace productivity.
“True health and wellness stretch beyond diet and exercise,” affirmed Leo Judkins, Founder of HabitRewire. “Our platform delivers personalised, comprehensive wellbeing interactions across nutrition, movement, sleep, stress, time management and productivity to help employees reach their goals efficiently and effectively, wherever they are.”
The uniqueness of HabitRewire’s platform lies in its CRM capabilities and unique focus on the iGaming industry, reflecting Judkins’ rich, 12-year experience as a CRM Director in the field. His extensive knowledge from developing marketing automation platforms and managing global marketing teams, combined with personal journey of losing 35kg has directly influenced the creation of the HabitRewire platform.
“We use behavioural data, customer segmentation, and automated lifecycle campaigns to create personalised interactions throughout the employees entire wellbeing journey. From the initial stages of activation, onboarding and engagement, right through to retention and reactivation phases.” Judkins noted.
HabitRewire’s platform incorporates an various features such as weekly challenges, daily check-ins, community chats for peer-to-peer encouragement, leaderboards, workouts, recipe books and lifestyle guides.
Designed with the modern workforce in mind, the platform provides employee with a personalised dashboard that includes training advice, nutrition tips, and recovery strategies. The app allows users to schedule coaching calls with a team of experts that includes certified nutritionists, online personal trainers, sleep coaches, stress management professionals, and behaviour change specialists. Additionally, users can track their progress in real-time and sync their data with wearables and services like Apple Health.
“Most wellbeing solutions aren’t accessible for the employees who need it the most. They simply don’t have the time or energy to participate, which a key part of the problem. Our objective is to help people achieve their health and wellbeing goals, no matter where they are in their journey or what’s going on in their life right now” stated Judkins.
HabitRewire’s innovative platform signifies the shift towards proactive and individual care in the workplace, delivering wellbeing solutions directly to employees’ fingertips, no matter if they work from home or from an office.
Companies using HabitRewire’s platform can expect enhanced performance, increased productivity, and a significantly improved working environment. All quantified in weekly management reports that show measurable results.
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