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Compliance Updates

Spain to Change Gambling Regulations Next Month

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The changes to gambling regulations in Spain could happen in February. According to Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, they will reveal the regulatory changes for the gambling industry in “two or three weeks.”

After announcing his interest in regulating the operations of the industry, Garzón said that he will discuss with representatives to reach an agreement that benefits all. “There won’t be measures taken unilaterally,” he explained.

“The subject of gambling advertising is pure chaos. It is a public health problem where we have to intervene,” Garzón said.

“Some autonomous communities have a list of banned sites, people who know they have a problem sign up and are already forbidden to play, but if they pass to another autonomous community, which can be five kilometres away, it is not on the list. These gaps exist, but there are mechanisms to regulate,” he added.

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Before assuming, the new president, Pedro Sánchez, gave a speech in which he spoke in favour of the regulation of gambling advertising. In response, Cejuego and Jdigital called for dialogues with the president and a balanced and fair regulation for the sector.

“The advertising of the entire game is regulated without making distinctions, that is, that it affects both the public game (SELAE and ONCE) as well as the private game. And specifically, that is regulated in terms of quantity, messages and schedules,” Cejuego said.

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Compliance Updates

Gammix Limited slams “outrageous and unsubstantiated” €19.7m KSA penalty

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The operator vows to fight on all fronts against the Dutch regulator’s ‘unjust’ ruling.

Gammix Limited has announced its intention to contest the “outrageous and unsubstantiated” penalty handed to them by the Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA).

In response, Gammix stated that the record €19.7m penalty imposed is based on “falsified data, extreme inaccuracy and highly suspect mathematics”.

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In the ruling the regulator said that Gammix was adjudged to have allowed online gambling access for Dutch consumers, as well as not requiring age verification upon sign-up – something the company wholeheartedly disputes.

Gammix reports that accounts used to access its sites during the investigation were created in Luxembourg, with deposits made via credit card. Gammix added that such action violates the sites’ terms and conditions, specifically the provision of false information upon sign-up.

The operator asserts that the penalty, totalling €19,679,000, has been calculated using figures from a proprietary web-traffic aggregation service and a multiplier of 240 Euros per click. Gammix believes this would show turnover that doesn’t exist.

Furthermore, Gammix strongly condemns the KSA’s “mystery shopper” style of investigation, which, the operator states, is an unjust basis for this record-breaking penalty.

Phil Pearson, Director of Gammix Limited, has vowed to “fight on all fronts until it receives an apology and retraction!.

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He said: “The KSA has imposed upon our company a penalty that is both outrageous and unsubstantiated. Now that we are able to talk openly about the case, we can confirm that we are fighting on all fronts as, to us, this is an extraordinary and unnecessarily heavy-handed action from a regulator that many already regarded as unapproachable.

“When we received the first notice of a possible penalty, we reached out to them to say we have blocks in place. We also asked for any information they had that was material to the investigation, to ensure we remained in compliance with all guidelines  – a request they appeared to ignore. Our lawyers also approached the regulator, in writing, to gain more information, but again no response was forthcoming.

“We had enabled a block on Cloudflare for any Dutch IP, we have no Dutch language or direct Dutch payment methods, and categorically do not target Dutch traffic. If affiliates list any of our brands on Dutch-facing sites, we cannot be held responsible for those promotions. However, once players reached the end site, they would not be able to register an account.”

Pearson concluded: “This fine is an absolute joke, and we will contest this in every possible way, at every possible turn. We will only rest once this outrageous penalty has been rescinded and we have received the apology we deserve.”

 

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Atlanta

Scientific Games Testifies at Maryland House Ways and Means Hearing in Support of Proposed iLottery Legislation

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The Public Policy and Government Affairs Senior Vice-President for Scientific Games, Christine Wechsler, testified today before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee to share the company’s support of House Bill 1218, State Lottery – Internet Sales Authorization and Distribution of Proceeds. If adopted, the legislation would authorize the Maryland Lottery to offer its games to in-state consumers through online sales channels.

Wechsler discussed the importance of remaining competitive and modernizing at the same pace as other gaming products offered in the market in order to maintain and grow the Maryland Lottery’s more than $714 million in profits returned annually.

“The Maryland Lottery is like all other businesses selling products to consumers; it must modernize to meet changing consumer demand,” Wechsler said in a prepared testimony. “Providing convenient and relevant experiences to consumers online and at retail will be critical to enable the Maryland Lottery’s sustainability and maximize revenue potential for the state.”

Wechsler also shared key iLottery facts with the Committee as it considers this legislation, which included:

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  • iLottery doesn’t cannibalize bricks-and-mortar retail sales. Of the twelve United States lotteries selling online today, none have experienced cannibalization at retail. Retail sales have grown faster in iLottery jurisdictions than in states that do not sell online.
  • Online sales platforms provide player protections and tools that support healthy, responsible lottery play. Key platform features can include the ability to self-exclude, engage in cooling-off periods and/or set limits on deposit and play amounts.
  • iLottery is a new, convenient sales channel to offer lottery products; it is not designed to be a substitute for or compete with casino games. iLottery has proven in other states to successfully co-exist with iCasino, sports betting and other forms of gaming.

As a 27-year partner to the Maryland Lottery, Scientific Games provides the systems technology, terminals and communications infrastructure supporting sales of its lottery games at retail. The company also provides the Maryland Lottery with other key products and services including printed instant games and inventory management software as well as manages the entire interactive category which includes the My Lottery Rewards loyalty program, associated mobile app and second-chance promotions.

“Our focus has always been on delivering solutions and services to facilitate retail growth and maximize profit returned to Maryland’s beneficiaries,” Wechsler said. “And we are invested and fully committed to helping shape a successful iLottery framework for the state that responsibly drives continued growth across the Maryland Lottery’s established bricks-and-mortar retailer network while providing incremental online revenue.

Scientific Games is the global leader in retail instant games, a major provider of retail systems and technology and an industry pioneer in iLottery and digital lottery solutions that drive profits for government-sponsored lottery programs. The company is a trusted partner to more than 130 lotteries spanning 50 countries including over 30 iLottery customers.

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Alabama

The Edge Interviews Steve Bittenbender: Discusses Sports Betting in Georgia, Alabama and Missouri

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Half of all SEC states do not have legal sports betting. On The Edge with Larry Henry, Gambling.com Group’s Steve Bittenbender predicts sports betting legislation could be approved during this year’s legislative sessions in Alabama and Georgia in part because of ‘more acceptance among some conservative’ lawmakers.

Sports betting then would require a public vote in Alabama and possibly Georgia. Bittenbender said those two states stand a good chance of legalizing sports betting. “Those are the two, I think, I’m most bullish on,” Bittenbender said of Alabama and Georgia.

In Missouri, ‘rancor’ in the state Senate means a sports betting bill probably won’t pass, Bittenbender said, but the state’s major sports leagues are circulating a petition among registered voters to let the public decide on the November ballot.

The pro sports teams aren’t waiting for the Legislature, Bittenbender said.

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“They’ve been down that road before and they’ve seen how that story ends up,” he said. “The best chance that it’ll have is through this referendum process.”

On Alabama and Georgia:

“In Georgia, it passed the Senate and it’s now going over to the House. And in Alabama, it’s the other way around. It cleared the House first and now it’s going to the Senate. The Senate in Alabama; there’s going to be some opposition to it (sports betting legislation), some conservative opposition.

“But you’ve got Governor Ivey who’s a big supporter of this and I think that’s going to help tip the scales in gaming’s favor.

“And it’s not just sports betting in Alabama, it would give them a lottery. They’re one of five states that don’t have a state lottery so it would give them that. It would give them fully-fledged casinos. There’s a couple of tribal casinos in the state but now they would have, I think, seven Class 3 casinos across the state. And then you would also have sports betting as well.

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“That kind of omnibus legislation, especially with the people that are supporting it, will help get that through in Alabama.

“Georgia is a similar situation but they’ve actually scaled it down. There had been talks in recent years about doing casino resort legislation but they’re just focused right now on doing sports betting, getting that through and maybe looking at other expanded gaming later on down the road.

“In Georgia the question is going to be whether or not it will need a constitutional amendment. There are proponents for it that cite a former Supreme Court judge from the state, who says: sports betting is a lottery game, the lottery is legal under the constitution, so you don’t need an amendment.

“Some people though are kind of concerned, they fear a legal challenge might happen. So, they want to see a referendum on it.

“If it requires a referendum, that would require essentially two votes in the legislature. One to pass the enacting legislation, which would need just a simple majority in both chambers. But a second one for a resolution calling for the referendum, that would require a two thirds majority in both chambers. That’s a little trickier.

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“The way the vote came down in the Senate earlier this month, they had the votes for the two thirds majority in Georgia in the Senate, but I don’t know if they would have that in the House and that’s a key concern that needs to be addressed.”

On Missouri:

“I think it’s happening already (the sports betting petitions having success). The proponents have already started in St Louis, right around the time of the Cardinals FanFest event earlier this month.

“So, they’re not waiting for the legislature, they’ve been down that road before and they’ve seen how that story ends up. And with the way that there’s a lot of rancor right now in the Missouri Senate, not just about sports betting but a lot of things in between, there’s a real fracture between Republicans in that chamber and that’s stalling a lot of things.

“I’m not optimistic at all that a sports betting bill would pass the legislature even though there’s support for it in Jefferson City. The best chance that it’ll have is through this referendum process.”

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