Every week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most fascinating stories. We take a trip around the world in nine headlines this week, as the UK white paper, Veikkaus redundancies, Dutch lotteries control databases, M&A and US developments come under the microscope.
The UK Gambling Commission provided further details on exactly what it is looking for in the second round of the Gambling Act review white paper consultations.
In a blog post on the commission’s website, Executive Director of Research and Policy Tim Miller presented an update on the UKGC’s plans for the next batch of consultations.
The first round of consultations focused on four areas: age verification on premises; remote games design for online casino games; direct marketing and cross-selling; and financial risk and vulnerability checks for remote operators. These closed last month, and the UKGC is analysing the responses it has received.
Miller noted that the second round of consultations – consisting of seven topics and to be opened in the coming weeks – will focus on fulfilling the UKGC’s “aim to progress White Paper recommendations at pace”, but also address other aspects of regulation.
Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Addiction and Drug Issues, Drogenbeauftragte, has published the Glücksspielatlas Deutschland 2023: Numbers, Data, Facts, providing insight into the country’s gambling.
One of the headline figures of the report was that 2.3 per cent – 1.3 million – of the German population have been impacted by a gambling disorder, about 7.7 per cent of all gamblers in the country.
The report was based on publications by experts from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Addiction and Drug Research and the Gambling Research Unit at the University of Bremen, with the German Center for Addiction Issues as a co-publisher.
The Court of Justice of the EU ruled against the European Commission after the European Gaming and Betting Association challenged a previous “refusal to open a state aid investigation into the granting of lottery licences in the Netherlands”.
This saw the EC mandated to investigate potential unlawful financial advantages that could have stemmed from the way in which licences were granted to incumbent lotteries in the Netherlands.
In welcoming the ruling, Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA, took to social media to voice reluctance in taking such action, but hopes that this “will serve as a wake up call for the Commission”.
This followed a 2020 EC ruling that determined a formal investigation was not necessary, which suggested that “the procedure did not provide incumbent lotteries with illegal state aid”.
Following up on the original complaint that was filed some four years earlier, the EGBA lodged an appeal in March 2021. It was argued that a refusal to investigate the case infringed upon its rights under EU law.
Veikkaus detailed that up to 215 redundancies could be felt across the group, with a potential 150 to witness a shift in roles, as the group continues to prepare for the implementation of a multi-licensing system.
This confirmed noise emanating from the company earlier in the year, as Finland moves towards a licensing model, which is expected to be implemented as of January 1, 2026.
Veikkaus’ digital gambling business is intended to become part of the international licensing gaming market, however, lottery and physical slot machines will remain within the monopoly.
In addition to detailing cuts to employment contracts and venues, Veikkaus is to also undertake an organisational restructure in a bid to “support our strategy-based goals”.
An aggressive US assault has led Aristocrat to declare a “high quality result” for the full-year ending September 30, 2023, with increases underpinned by the “outstanding growth” of its land-based gaming segment, social casino “resilience” and maiden RMG steps.
This latter point was once again a key talking point of an address delivered by CEO and MD Trevor Croker, who stressed that the company is focused on continuing to navigate challenges ahead.
This includes focusing “on portfolio performance and capturing the significant strategic opportunities in front of us”, which comprises delivering on its online gaming ambitions and maximising the impact of the impending NeoGames purchase.
Within the group’s latest financial breakdown, Aristocrat reported a revenue increase of 13 per cent to A$6.29bn (2022: A$5.57bn), with the aforementioned factors, in addition to “the benefit of our strategic investments”, said to be “particularly evident”.
Mecca Bingo became the latest company to fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority after two complaints, which were upheld, raised an issue with an Instagram post that featured Baga Chipz.
This displayed contrasting images of the celebrity drag queen, with one in plain, dark clothes and no make-up contrasted to its opposite that comprised a happy expression, champagne and glamorous appearance.
A caption read “a good game can transform you! Don’t you just love that post-bingo glow. Over 18s only. BeGambleAware.org. DrinkAware.co.uk. Ts&Cs apply. #letaplaymeccabingo #meccabingo #winning #bingo #winningfeeling #feelinggood #bagachipz”.
This brought a pair of complaints to the ASA’s attention, with it being believed that the ad in question suggested that gambling could enhance a person’s self-image or self-esteem. It was questioned whether the ad was irresponsible and breached the code.
Better Collective has seen a concerted push into North American markets move “faster than expected” as “value added transactions” maintain the group’s push for global expansion.
The latter saw the purchase of Brazilian sports media platform Torcedores and a $54m deal to acquire Playmaker secured during the year’s third quarter. Following Q3, the firm’s second largest transaction was secured via a definitive agreement to acquire Playmaker Capital for €176m.
This latest addition is said to represent a “significant step towards realising our vision of becoming the leading digital sports media group”, noted Co-Founder and CEO Jesper Søgaard.
These comments came during a three month period that saw revenue grow 25 per cent to €75.43m (2022: €59.72m), while operating profit reached €11.49m (2022: €9.63m) and EBITDA closed at €20m, up 35 per cent from €15m year-on-year.
Across the board decreases were felt by Detroit’s trifecta of land-based gaming establishments through October as the impact of ongoing casino strikes is laid bare.
This has seen the three venues report revenue of $82.8m, which is down 19.45 per cent from $102.8m year-on-year. Table games and slots generated $81.7m (2022: $100.7m), while sports betting declined to $1.1m (2022: $2.1m).
This is due to approximately 3,700 workers electing to strike from October 17, 2023, in a bid to protect their healthcare and improve wages that are not keeping up with the cost of living, along with improved job security and fair workloads.
Earlier in the week, workers launched a digital advertising campaign that called on players to boycott four online casino and sports betting platforms.
These are associated with three land-based gaming establishments, namely MotorCity Casino, Hollywood Casino at Greektown, and MGM Grand Detroit. FanDuel, BetMGM, Hollywood iCasino and ESPN BET are those potentially affected.
Holland Casino was warned that it could face a financial penalty if its control database does not meet legal requirements within a six week time frame.
In a ruling imposed by the Kansspelautoriteit, an instruction was sent to the land-based and online operator in June, however, an objection to the decision, and request of a provisional injunction, was subsequently issued.
The six-week period was suspended during this procedure, however, the regulator has notified that on November 16, 2023, the District Court of The Hague rejected the requests for interim relief. Therefore, the decision has now been published and the aforementioned time frame imposed.
The gaming authority’s board of directors determined that the control database of Holland Casino does not comply with the technical and operational requirements imposed by, or pursuant to legislation and regulations, regarding such maintenance.