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Measures for a safer gambling market – CEO call from the gaming industry

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The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS (Branschföreningen för Onlinespel)) has today published the following open letter:

The Ministry of Finance’s proposal for placing further restrictions on the Swedish gambling market has been met by strong and unanimous criticism. All stakeholders in the gambling industry (state and private), as well as sports clubs, the Swedish Gambling Authority, and international and national media have all stated that the proposals are unrealistic and how they play into the hands of the unlicensed market. The Minister for Public Administration then chose to adjust the proposals somewhat, but only to improve conditions for state-controlled companies. Now a new report shows that implementing deposit limits on online casinos alone would mean that almost half of all bets would end up being placed with unlicensed companies. The entire Swedish gambling industry has been beset by uncertainty, with many customers abandoning licensed companies and moving instead to unlicensed companies. If we don’t start to cooperate and introduce long-term measures grounded in facts, we risk turning back the clock to what the market looked like prior to re-regulation.

Recently, the independent research firm Copenhagen Economics published a new report describing how deposit limits would affect online casinos. The report, which is based on turnover data, consumer surveys, interviews, and international research, shows that the channelization for online casinos will fall from an already low 75% to an even lower 52-63% if deposit limits come into force. This means almost half of all bets will be placed with unlicensed companies.

Neither the Ministry of Finance nor any other stakeholder has presented facts to support the underlying assumption that gambling in general – and play on online casinos in particular – have increased during the covid-19 crisis. In its recent report to the Swedish government, the agency responsible for the Swedish gambling market also confirms it hasn’t detected increased gambling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government is aware of the alarmingly low percentage of online casino players who now play within the licensed Swedish system. The government has also seen data from the Swedish Tax Agency that show gambling on horse races – and not online casino gambling – has increased during the coronavirus crisis.

We share the government’s view that protection for and of players is of the utmost importance. We agree that this work must continue and that together we can create a sustainable gambling market with strong consumer protections. But the work must be based on facts.

The Ministry of Finance has the opportunity to implement a number of fact-based measures that would improve consumer protections without damaging the important channelization. On the contrary, the channelization would benefit with these measures, which would also strengthen consumer protections.

Expand licensing requirements

Introducing licensing requirements for companies that supply games as well as the companies that provide customers, so-called B2B licenses, would increase the Swedish Gambling Authority’s ability to regulate the market and prevent the black market from targeting Swedish gamblers. The measure would promote the channelization and is therefore welcomed by the licensed gambling industry as well as gambling addiction organizations.

IQ campaign for the gambling industry

There is very little awareness about Spelpaus, the central self-removal register, as well as other regulated consumer protection measures. The Swedish Gambling Authority and the Swedish Consumer Agency should be tasked with increasing public awareness about these tools. Systembolaget’s IQ campaign could serve as inspiration for a proactive information portal.

Gambling companies’ data is part of the solution

The digital gambling industry collects and processes large amounts of data on customers’ gambling behaviour. The Ministry of Finance should instruct the Swedish Gambling Authority to request regular reports, with anonymized data, on customers’ gambling behaviour in order to increase understanding about gambling habits and identify any systematic problems. The gambling companies have this data and already share it with researchers.

Great strides have been made in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Computers are capable of handling huge amounts of data and identifying the patterns required for increasing understanding and providing the basis for decisions. The gambling industry is also making progress in this area and sees great opportunities for improving our ability to detect and stop harmful phenomena such as problem gambling, match fixing, and money laundering. The Ministry of Finance has a golden opportunity to initiate a strategic collaboration in this area together with authorities, researchers, the gambling industry, and gambling addiction groups.

Sharing of data between companies

The EU’s strict data protection laws are generally a good thing. We share the view that each individual should own their own data. Having the opportunity to share personal data between gambling companies as well as between gambling companies and authorities would make it easier to quickly identify and prevent gambling problems or fraudulent activities. Today, every gambling company can make these discoveries on their own but can’t share the information in a simple and legal way.

Risk ratings for players, not products – and with support from actual data

Addictive and unhealthy behaviour by individuals is individual and is easy to track in the gambling industry thanks to the large amount of data that is continuously collected from all players. Any future risk classification system must be based on the conditions and actions of the individual.

Extend the Swedish Gambling Authority’s mandate

The government must clarify the Swedish Gambling Authority’s mandate to ensure the integrity of the licensing system and in so doing strengthen the all-important degree of channelization.

Extend the Duty of Care to more industries

The challenges we have in society are rarely isolated to one individual stakeholder or industry. In order to curb increased indebtedness stemming from gambling, the lending market – and the instant lending market in particular – also need to take responsibility for lowering excessive debts. Today, the gambling industry can access information about a customer’s liquidity, but it’s hard to determine whether the money is borrowed or earned. A central self-removal register like Spelpaus should be considered for instant loans.

Stockholm 2020-06-08

Pontus Lindwall, CEO, Betsson AB
Henrik Tjärnström, CEO, Kindred Group
Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO, LeoVegas
Therese Hillman, VD, NetEnt AB
Ulrik Bengtsson, Group CEO, William Hill Plc
Lahcene Merzoug, CEO, ComeOn
Alexander Stevendahl, CEO, Videoslots
Tomas Backman, CEO, Hero Gaming
Henric Andersson, CEO, SuprNation
Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary General, Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS)

Industry News

Entain Launches Pitching In Volunteer Hub

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The Entain Foundation and the Trident Leagues announced the launch of the Pitching In Volunteer Hub, an innovative online portal that will become a one-stop-shop to connect football fans and potential volunteers. The Pitching In Volunteer Hub has been created for all 248 clubs that make up the Trident Leagues, at Steps three and four of the English National League System.

The new Volunteer Hub provides a simple web-based interface through which clubs are able to post volunteering vacancies, while fans can search for available opportunities either at a specific club or based on their location. The hub also enables prospective volunteers to proactively offer their services to clubs and register their skills. In addition to providing the platform, Entain will promote volunteering through its network of community-based Ladbrokes and Coral betting shops.

Contributions made by volunteers are the lifeblood of community football. From matchday activities such as manning the turnstiles, stewarding and catering, through to pitch maintenance, ground upkeep or providing administrative and professional support, there are many areas where volunteers play a vital role in ensuring their local clubs continue to thrive.

The hub is fronted by Pitching In ambassador Stuart Pearce, who knows all about the value of the volunteers from his early days in non-league football. Commenting on the launch, the former England captain said:

“This is a fantastic initiative that will be a real gamechanger for promoting volunteering at the community level. I know from my time at Wealdstone just how important volunteers are to local clubs. Equally, it can be a hugely positive and rewarding experience for those that volunteer, I encourage anyone to give it a go and find out for themselves.

“Pitching In has been unbelievable for non-league football, providing finance at every level for the Trident Leagues. So many people have benefited from this great investment from Entain.”

Pitching In partners with the Trident Leagues (the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues), as a groundbreaking grassroots sport investment fund backed by Entain. In addition, Entain is also the founding partner of the Trident Community Fund, which enables the Leagues’ clubs to apply for funding for a broad range of community engagement projects.

Entain’s Director of Corporate Affairs Grainne Hurst added:

“As the name suggests, our ambition for Pitching In when we partnered with the Trident Leagues was not just to provide financial backing but to bring communities together and encourage everyone to play a part. The Volunteer Hub makes it easier than ever for fans to pitch in and help out their local club.”

In a joint statement, Pitching In Southern League vice-chairman Anthony Hughes, Pitching In Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson and Pitching In Northern Premier League chairman Mark Harris said:

“We are really excited about the development of the Pitching In Volunteer Hub as part of the tremendous support received from Entain. Volunteers are vital to the running of our clubs we want to welcome as many as possible to play an active part in their Clubs and their communities.”

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Betway Signs Multi-year Partnership with Playtech

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Betway, one of the leading global brands in online betting and gaming, has signed a new multi-year partnership with gambling technology company Playtech.

Under the strategic partnership, Betway has launched Playtech’s award-winning Live Entertainment products across the UK, Mexico and .com markets — with Casino games to follow in the near future.

With a continued focus on safer gambling, Playtech’s core strategy is to offer long-term sustainability and innovation for operators and a safe, enjoyable environment for players. This agreement is a prime example of Playtech’s commitment to bringing great entertainment value to its partners in both new and established markets.

“We’re proud to be growing our partnership with Playtech, whose Live Entertainment products across a number of markets have already been a hit with our customers. The new games in our agreement will expand upon our existing suite of games to provide new, exciting, and engaging gaming experiences within a safe and secure environment,” Anthony Werkman, CEO of Betway, said.

“Betway’s commitment to the Live Casino vertical demonstrates just how important an entertainment-led experience is becoming for the modern player. Our partnership comes at a time when we are launching more new games with exciting new variants than ever before. We’re delighted to be working with a global brand in online betting and gaming like Betway to deliver an exciting and innovative Live offering for their players,” Said Edo Haitin, CEO of Live Casino at Playtech, said.

“Betway is a key strategic partner for Playtech and a company renowned for delivering an excellent player experience internationally. We are confident that Playtech’s innovative products and services can enhance that experience even further and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership,” Shimon Akad, Chief Operating Officer at Playtech, said.

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Slotegrator Launches New Platform for Online Casino Operators

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Slotegrator has announced the launch of a new platform that includes a wide range of functions for online casino and sportsbook operators. The product was released on May 16.

The technologies included in the modern microservice architecture of Slotegrator’s new platform have improved the product and provided the company’s customers with a higher level of service by optimising speed, security and stability. The project launch process for operators has been significantly accelerated — a typical launch will take no more than a few days, and the requests of end users, online casino players, will be implemented in the shortest possible time.

The new platform gives the operator more opportunities for integration with various systems, including game content developers, payment services and mobile applications. The user-friendly interface of the back office and intuitive dashboard make the onboarding process as comfortable as possible for operators. The adaptability of the back office for tablets and smartphones is provided for managing projects from anywhere in the world.

Slotegrator’s longstanding clients are already using the product. The features retained from the previous platform have been upgraded. For example, the bonus module has been improved in terms of UI — now it is much easier to create bonuses In addition to modules from the previous platform that were updated and transferred to the new model, the new platform has new tools and modules — in particular:

Casino Builder, which allows the client to make various changes to his gambling site using simple tools. From the back office, the operator can independently build a lobby and fully customise the frontend of his project, making it easier than ever to create its layout by choosing how to display providers, banners, etc. There is also a set of ready-made casino front-end presets for deploying the project in 3 clicks.

The business intelligence (BI) module, which gives the operator access to the site’s analytics, such as key markers like GGR, unique players, marginal profit, and number of active users for a selected period of time — per day, week, month, or year. By comparing performance over different periods and analysing the current situation, the operator can easily make the right strategic decisions and increase productivity. The module is constantly being developed, expanded, and supplemented, providing more and more opportunities for the most effective project management.

A separate KYC module, which helps make the player verification process smoother and more consistent.

The launch of the new platform is an important event for Slotegrator. A number of additional key improvements are planned in the coming months after the launch, which will facilitate the work of all operators. The system is unified — when a developer updates services, customers immediately get access to these updates — so, all operators use a single version of the product.

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