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European Gaming Congress 2024

Compliance Updates

UKGC confirms gambling on credit cards to be banned from April 2020

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The Gambling Commission has announced a ban on gambling businesses allowing consumers in Great Britain to use credit cards to gamble.

The ban, which comes into effect on 14 April, follows the Commission’s review of online gambling and the Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures. A public consultation was carried out between August and November 2019.

24 million adults in Great Britain gamble, with 10.5 million of those gambling online. UK Finance estimate that 800,000* consumers use credit cards to gamble.

Separate research undertaken by the Commission shows that 22%** of online gamblers using credit cards to gamble are classed as problem gamblers – with even more at some risk of harm.

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The ban, which will apply to all online and offline gambling products with the exception of non-remote lotteries, will provide a significant layer of additional protection to vulnerable people.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: 

“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.

“Research shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm.

‘“We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability. There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”

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Mr McArthur said although he understood that some consumers used credit cards because they were convenient, the risk of harm to others was too high to allow the use of credit cards to continue.

“We realise that this change will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly but we are satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken.” he said. “But we will evaluate the ban and watch closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers.”

Mr McArthur warned that although likely to reduce gambling harm, the banning of credit cards needed to be accompanied by other efforts.

“The ban is part of our ongoing work to reduce gambling harm. We also need to continue the work we have been doing with gambling operators and the finance industry to ensure consumers only gamble with money they can afford to spend.”

Last year Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) ministers also met with banks and gambling operators to discuss their growing concerns, and how companies could use technology and customer data to help those at risk of developing gambling problems, including those using credit cards.

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Culture Minister Helen Whately said: 

“Whilst millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction.

“There is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them.

“In the past year we have introduced a wave of tougher measures, including cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals, bringing in tighter age and identity checks for online gambling and expanding national specialist support through the NHS Long Term Plan. We have also secured a series of commitments from five leading gambling operators that will include £100 million funding towards treatment for problem gamblers.

“But there is more to do. We will be carrying out a review of the Gambling Act to ensure it is fit for the digital age and we will be launching a new nationwide addiction strategy in 2020.

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“We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm.”

Today has also seen the Commission announce changes to licence conditions which will require all online gambling operators to participate in the GAMSTOP scheme and offer their customers the service from 31 March.

Neil McArthur said:

“We welcome the fact that GAMSTOP have got to this stage in their development and encourage them to continue to improve their offer, particularly in relation to preventing those who have self-excluded being targeted by direct marketing.

“It is important that self-exclusion schemes are as effective as possible and they will be most effective when used in combination with other blocking tools such as gambling blocking software and payment card blocking.

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Helen Whately added: 

“We have been clear to all businesses that have connections to gambling, such as operators, social media platforms and banks, that they must be socially responsible and use the power of technology and data to help consumers manage their spending and protect them from harm.

“I have been encouraged by the majority of major high street banks introducing measures to allow customers to switch off spending on gambling through mobile apps.

“By making it a regulatory requirement for all online gambling websites licensed in Great Britain to sign up to Gamstop. I am confident that people who have taken the significant step to opt out of gambling will be well supported, alongside a wide range of other tools.”

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Compliance Updates

How Curacao new AML requirements differ from other flexible license jurisdictions

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By: Dmitry Hotsyn, Senior Consultant and Head of CIS Desk at 4H Agency

Discussing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules in a way that keeps everyone awake is a real challenge. The iGaming industry often overlooks anything filled with jargon like KYC, AML, CDD, and SoWs—terms that just breed myths and misconceptions about jurisdictions supposedly having lax AML standards and low compliance burdens. For a while, Curacao was viewed as one of these almost mythical places.

Not anymore.

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A significant shake-up has occurred with Curacao’s latest overhaul of its AML regulations, set to take effect on September 1, 2024. This update has triggered quite a bit of debate among gambling operators who view these new rules as unwelcoming, especially since Curacao is known for its sluggish pace in updating its gambling regulations.

But may it really be as bad as Curaçao’s deadline management?

Curacao’s AML Regulatory Changes: An Overview

Curacao is continuously revamping its regulatory frameworks, taking a page from Malta’s book — Maltifying the industry may work best to describe this process. The new AML rules, while perceived as burdensome, are in fact a balanced update alligning the Curacao practices with generally acceptable standards. Key aspects of the new regulations include:

  • Clear Customer Due Diligence (CDD) thresholds: Operators must conduct CDD at the earliest practical time, but no later than when a player engages in a transaction amounting to approximately EUR 2200;
  • Sanction and Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) Screening: Mandatory for at least EU, US and UN sanctions lists;
  • High-Risk Indicators: A detailed list of indicators for high-risk cases has been provided, noting that the use of cryptocurrencies increases risk, though it is not outright prohibited;
  • AML Officer Role: Each operator shall have a dedicated AML officer, equipped with sufficient resources and headcount to manage risks effectively;
  • Policies and Guides: Ah year, more internal docs, rules and practice guides are expected from the operators holding licences in Curacao.

Despite the extensive nature of Curacao’s new rules, in essence, they closely resemble those enforced in Malta and other EU countries, as well as competing jurisdictions offering flexible licenses. The upcoming webinar hosted by 4H Agency and Hipther Agency will delve into these comparisons, focusing on jurisdictions like Anjouan, Kanawake, and Tobique, alongside Curacao.

Key Insights on AML Across Jurisdictions

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  • Detailed AML Frameworks: Curacao and Tobique lead with the most comprehensive AML regulations. Kanawake’s requirements are also robust albeit not as detailes as Curacao rules;
  • CDD Thresholds: Similar financial thresholds exist across these jurisdictions (approximately EUR 2000), with varied stipulations on the timing of CDD post-player registration (again, Curacao is not the leader here);
  • Outsourcing AML Functions: All jurisdictions permit outsourcing some AML activities to third-party providers, providing flexibility in compliance strategies;
  • Stringency of Regulations: Tobique’s regulations are notably stringent, casually requiring additional checks like adverse media searches to identify higher risk profiles;
  • Anjouan the Outlier: Anjouan stands out for its outdated AML framework, lacking specific provisions for the gambling sector. For now, this could attract operators seeking more AML-friendly environments. However, Anjouan will inevitably follow the Curacao’s reformatory steps if the country intends to make iGaming an important factor of the now-struggling economy.

The evolution of AML regulations in Curacao represents a predictable shift towards more robust regulatory environment, aligning more closely with global standards. While initially perceived as onerous, these changes are in line not only with international practices, but with the rules already in force in a competing jurisdaction.

Our upcoming webinar will further explore these developments, providing attendees with comprehensive insights into flexible licensing options in 2024.

The post How Curacao new AML requirements differ from other flexible license jurisdictions appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Compliance Updates

Dutch Regulator Warns JOI Gaming Over Use of Celebrities

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JOI Gaming, the operator of gambling brand Jacks in the Netherlands, has been warned it could face a maximum penalty of €1m if it repeats a violation of breaches of the ban on role models in gambling marketing.

The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), said that at the Jack’s Racing Day event in 2023, role models for the operator signed caps with the event logo and the Jacks brand name.

Meanwhile, role models posing with hostesses wearing corporate clothing with the Jacks logo were pictured and posted on the Jack’s Racing Day website and on social media.

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“These posts were still available when the order was imposed. If JOI Gaming does not remove these statements immediately, the company must pay a penalty of €50,000 per day,” the KSA said.

If the violation is repeated in the run-up to or during future editions of Jack’s Racing Day, JOI Gaming must pay a penalty of €200,000 per day with a maximum penalty of €1m, the regulator said.

Jack’s Racing Day 2024 is set to be held on August 2-4 at TT Circuit Assen. “To protect vulnerable groups such as young people and risk and problem gamblers, strict rules apply to the use of role models for gambling advertising,” the KSA said in a statement.

“Role models include celebrities, (former) professional footballers, influencers and models. The use of role models is prohibited for high-risk gambling, such as casinos and online gambling.

“For lower-risk gambling, such as lotteries, they may be used under strict conditions.”

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The post Dutch Regulator Warns JOI Gaming Over Use of Celebrities appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Compliance Updates

Danish Authorities Form Agreement to Tackle Illegal Gambling Marketing

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In a new agreement between the Consumer Ombudsman, the Gambling Authority and the Gambling Board, the authorities and the board will coordinate their efforts when they have to take action against gambling companies’ illegal marketing of games in Denmark.

Gambling companies’ marketing can cross jurisdictions. Therefore, the Consumer Ombudsman, the Gambling Authority and the Spilreklamenævnet have just entered into a cooperation agreement with a view to avoiding duplication of effort and strengthening the overall coordinated effort when it comes to the regulation of gambling companies’ marketing in Denmark.

The Gambling Advertising Board will forward cases to the Consumer Ombudsman or the Gambling Authority if gaming companies do not comply with the board’s criticism, or if the board finds violations of the authorities’ rules by a company.

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Conversely, the Consumer Ombudsman and the Gambling Authority will inform complainants of the possibility to complain to the Gambling Advertising Board if a company breaks the industry’s code of conduct, but not the rules handled by either the Consumer Ombudsman or the Gambling Authority.

The Consumer Ombudsman and the Gambling Authority oversee various areas in relation to the marketing of games. The Consumer Ombudsman is responsible for the supervision of gambling companies’ compliance with the Marketing Act, as well as other consumer protection rules, while the Gambling Authority supervises compliance with the rules on the marketing of games in section 36, subsection of the Gambling Act. 1, as well as the rules on sales promotion measures in relevant gaming announcements.

The Gaming Advertising Board, which is a board set up by players in the gaming industry, handles complaints about gaming companies’ marketing that is in breach of the industry’s code of conduct. The purpose of the code is to strengthen the social responsibility of the industry’s marketing towards vulnerable groups and children, as well as to limit gambling addiction.

It has been agreed that the Consumer Ombudsman, the Gambling Authority and the Gambling Advertising Board will regularly inform each other of relevant cases, as well as hold annual meetings.

Consumer Ombudsman Torben Jensen said: “Our new cooperation agreement with the Gambling Authority and the Gambling Advertising Board strengthens our supervision of gambling companies’ marketing. The agreement involves better internal communication, ensures coordination and prevents duplication of work, which benefits consumers.”

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The post Danish Authorities Form Agreement to Tackle Illegal Gambling Marketing appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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