Balkan Entertainment and Gaming Expo Bulgaria Nov 21-22

The online gambling jurisdictions that are showing a promise of profit are many but there are those that stand out as ones that are rapidly becoming the best. The Balkans is on that list of areas that are making progress in developing a viable regulated system for wagering. To get involved with this booming market the Balkan Entertainment and Gaming Expo is an event not to be missed.

Coming to Eastern Europe, on November 21st and 22nd at the Inter Expo Center in Sofia Bulgaria the BEGE will take place for the eleventh time. Supporting the business development of the area as a technological center this expo will be attended by a large number of international and local firms in the entertainment and gaming industry.

Firms committed to the expo aims are the likes of Novomatic, Ainswort, Casino Technology, EGT, Suzohapp, BetConstruct, Interblock, Merkur Gaming, APEX, Alfastreet Trade BG, IGT, Zitro and others. The BEGE focus will be highlighted by attention to start ups entering the industry with the Gaming Start up Challenge. The Innovation Zone and the Sales Pitch Zone are also a big part of BEGE this year at the two-day exposure to the future of gaming technologies.  BEGE is the meeting place for the gaming and entertainment industry in the Eastern European region. The event is business oriented and provides opportunities for commercial contacts and presentations of products for the leisure, gaming and entertainment industry as well as technology products for optimizing operational, management and control processes.

The exhibition gathers over 5000 international visitors from 35 countries with more than 80 companies, situated in 3 halls exhibit at BEGE providing in-depth knowledge about hot updates and legal cases from senior level industry experts. Bulgaria is rapidly becoming a hub for the online gambling industry especially in the Eastern European jurisdictions.





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India Clamps Down On Lottery Tax Evasion

Taxes are one of the only things that are for sure wherever one goes in the world. Taxation of gambling products has been a struggle for operators everywhere that puts a damper on excessive profits and exploitation of the activity. Governments realize they need these levies to maintain their social programs and divert the money spent on gambling to harm reduction and issues that need to be addressed.

Online gambling service providers complain that taxes are putting them out of business and some have found ways of avoiding them by simply not paying them. Such is the case revealed recently in India where the government is going after companies that have neglected to pay the imposed taxes on lottery products.  In June of 2017 the GST Council in India mandated a dual GST tax rate for its lotteries. State lotteries distributed by private firms are required to pay a 28% GST tax on the face value of the tickets but products marketed and distributed by the government directly are required to submit only 12%. Dealers found this unacceptable but were unable to convince the government of the unfairness presented with this regime.

Now however many of these lottery distributors in India have reportedly been charged with trying to evade paying the taxes. Three operators Martin Group, Sugal & Damani Group and Essel Group have been singled out for attempting to avoid remitting the Goods and Services Tax on their sales.

The Central GST Commissioner has launched suits against E-Cool Gaming Solutions Pvt. Ltd and Pan India Network Limited of the Essel Group, Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt. Ltd. of the Martin Group and M/s Skill Lotto of Sugal & Damani.

The companies in question allegedly collected tax from consumers and according to reports did not pass all of it on to the treasury department. These firms if found guilty of tax evasion will be required to pay millions to settle the score.


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Netherlands Court Rejects Online Gambling Fines Appeal

The courts in the Netherlands has given its blessing to the regulators of gambling in the country to levy fines for violating the rules the Dutch jurisdiction demands. The right to impose heavy fines on two international online gambling operators was granted by the District Court in The Hague that ruled that the Kansspelautoriteit regulatory body has the right to impose six-figure fines for those operators offering Dutch punters without the regulatory body’s authorization. The fines in question included 180k euros levied against Malta-licensed Co-Gaming Limited which was then operating as ComeOn Europe in 2015, and  a combined 150k euro fine against Gibraltar licensed Mansion Online Casino Ltd. and ONISAC Ltd. the previous year.

Even though the fines were paid the companies in question decided to attempt an appeal of the ruling.

Now a few years later the Dutch Council of State has rejected the appeal by the firms in question. The ongoing liberalisation of the online gambling in the Netherlands has been slow in coming creating a situation that Dutch players don’t care for. Offshore operators are taking advantage of the Dutch with ads in the Dutch language and  the targeting of the jurisdiction. The European Commission has been looking at the way the government of the Netherlands is rolling out it version of a fair regulated online gambling market.

It is a concern for other online gambling operators serving the European Union without the licenses required by the various jurisdictions. The tools are few for the governments faced with interloping operators. The suggestion has been made by the Netherlands Minister for Justice and Security Sander Dekker that operators who have been sanctioned by the Dutch gambling regulatory body should be required to take a time out before they can apply for a new Dutch online betting licence.


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Remote Gambling Association Searching For New CEO

The online gambling industry is a global activity that has many critics and proponents with some individuals and organizations that stand out for honest and realistic comments concerning the business of gambling.

Clive Hawkswood is one of those people and he has announced that he will be leaving his position as chief executive officer of the Remote Gambling Association.

Although a date of departure has not been revealed Hawkswood, who has held the position for 14 years, announced his departure to the Remote Gambling Association’s board at a meeting recently. Hawkswood, who is 61, hopes to be able to remain in his position with the RGA until the beginning of 2019 January. Hawkswood is expected to be part of the plan to replace him and will most likely agree to participation in a review committee in the near future.

Reflecting on his fourteen years with the gaming organization Mr. Hawkswood spoke to iGaming Business recently,  “There have been so many changes. I am of course pleased with the development of GamStop, which will be fully launched in the next few months, and the introduction of the industry’s advertising code.

“I believe the successor should have experience of the industry – it’s not like most other industries, so it would be a big step for someone to come completely from the outside.”

The RGA has been instrumental in giving the gaming industry a voice of reason with a single voice when negotiating with legislators and regulators in many circumstances that requires a diplomatic approach in this global industry. The London and Brussels located association was fortunate to have Mr. Hawkswood who brought his experience as an advisor at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to the RGA job.  Hawkswood decided some time ago to look for a new challenge and it has been suggested that he will maintain his links with the gambling industry.


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Spain's Regulated Online Gambling Industry Expanding Fast

The last decade has seen a number of jurisdictions in the European Union liberalize and modernize their gambling laws opening up the market to international online gambling operators. Spain is an example of the regulation trend that has been gaining traction and producing decent financial results.

Spain legalized internet betting back in 2011 and added exchange wagering in 2014. The beginning was slow to ignite but has now stepped up the pace with 2017 showing a gross revenue of $678 million a growth of 31.9 percent as compared to the $514 million garnered in 2016.

One significant factor affecting this outstanding growth in Spain’s online gambling industry is the government giving the licensed operators a 5 percent tax break which was established on July 1st. This along with a more liberal attitude has revealed a continuing trend in 2018 with a gain of 27 percent in the first quarter and a 40.1 percent increase year on year in the second quarter.

Gains were established over most of the available gambling offerings with sports wagering being the most popular in Spain translating to 46.7 percent of the revenue total gains over last year. Casino games were the second biggest vertical in the market with slots as usual making up over 50 percent of revenue while roulette took a 33 percent share of the sector while commanding a higher spend rate.

Spain has recovered significantly from financial hardship in 2008 and it offered a tax reduction to the gambling industry from 25 percent to 20 percent of GGR. Commenting on the impact of the move, gaming law firm Asensi Abogados said, “Operators will be able to make better offers to the players who will not go to illegal markets. The latest figures from the DGOJ show all areas of online gaming are expanding, particularly with sports betting and online casino games, so I believe that these new measures will also lead to more tax being collected.”




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Vietnam Arrests Online Gambling Ring Worth $25m USD

The online gambling situation in Asia is risky for those individuals running illegal operations as police in jurisdictions such as Vietnam arrest the criminals. The amount of money these individuals take from the people that are hoping to win big is staggering and it hurts the population in many ways. The recent arrests of those responsible for the illegal online gambling ring network which was operating in several provinces of Vietnam, including within the central and southern regions comes as welcome news for the people being used by the gang. The arrested suspects reportedly offered illegal high-interest loans and also hired debt collection services that used force to get their money. The individuals face harsh penalties in Vietnam where almost all kinds of wagering are illegal as an example, operating an online betting ring can garner a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

The investigations regarding illegal gambling operations are ongoing and back in March 2018 a bust resulted in 83 individuals being arrested 41 of which were charged with organizing a gambling ring while 38 were charged with gambling. Other charges included illegally trading invoices and money laundering.

Recently though Vietnamese officials declared that a gambling operation had been in taking bets since July and it had been halted. The ringleaders who were detained operated several online sites that provided sports betting and gambling options. The leader is said to be Huynh Quoc Viet, a 37 year old. The police statement read, “We arrested seven people and three others turned themselves in. The investigation is still ongoing to see if anyone else is involved.”

Multiple user accounts were created on an American based gambling portal Bongmore taking in more than VND600 billion (US$25.7 million) in wagers. This bust was small in comparison to last March when Vietnamese authorities arrested a cyber crime police chief who allegedly was involved and led to 83 people being arrested. That gambling ring was estimated to be worth US$422 million.


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Sweden Suffers Offshore Betting Growth Despite Regulation

Sweden has the same issues with online gambling operators that many other jurisdictions have, namely the international access to offshore web locations that the internet provides to gambling consumers. Sweden is re-regulating the online gambling industry with a liberalised approach offering licenses to operate in the country. License applications were opened up at the beginning of August with many operators already applying yet the Sweden’s gambling regulator Lotteriinspektionen says new figures indicate unlicensed gambling operators continue to make gains over those operating legally.

Lotteriinspektionen said licensed firms held 73% of the market, with Swedish companies’ SEK 8.2bn of trade down almost 2% while non-Swedish firms were up 12.5% to SEK 3.0bn.

Svenska Spel, the government gambling monopoly turnover was down by 1.3%.  Analyst for Lotteriinspektionen, Magnus Granlund said to iGaming Business, “The long-term trend continues with the regulated market losing ground to the operators without Swedish permit,” adding,  “This general trend is likely to continue for the next two quarters.

“Marketing is expected to increase in the lead up to January, which could imply even stronger growth in GGR, especially for the operators without Swedish permit.

“It also shows the importance of a re-regulation of the Swedish gambling market with a new gambling law and a license system coming into force. The massive advertising for operators without Swedish permits also affects the outcome.” Even though unlicensed operators continued to grow market share, Granlund maintains they may not be completely satisfied with the performance, “The operators without Swedish permit, who usually show double-digit growth numbers, came out a little bit weaker the second quarter 2018 than one could have expected considering the heavy marketing and events such as the World Cup - albeit some of the effect of this probably will be seen in the numbers for Q3.”  adding, “ATG has shown stable growth despite increased competition.”


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New Research Reveals More About Problem Gambling

The time it takes to cure an addiction such as gambling is long and difficult mainly because like many things today it is pervasively available on the internet. Advertising of lottery and gambling applications is everywhere, on television on sports team kits in print and just about every other media outlet imaginable.

The reasoning behind gambling addiction has been studied for years by scholars looking for the solution to a growing problem affecting youth and the most vulnerable who dream of escaping the real world of bills and life’s hardships. A investment in gambling is cause for concern for those who cannot leave the slot machine or blackjack table while other people can have a good time playing and walk away satisfied. The losing player always feels slightly cheated and wants to win before the money all runs out but the addicted player spirals into the deep and continues to lose significant sums sometimes causing harm to family friends and self.  

In the USA alone people who wager lose a staggering $120bn (£917,880,000) every year and that number will increase with the new legislation in the USA allowing citizens to bet on sports. When gamblers engage in risky behavior research using neuroscience has revealed clues that precipitate the problem that addicted player’s experience. A John Hopkins University research team think they have found the region in the brain that has an important role in making those risky decisions. The research claims the area of the brain known as the supplementary eye field (SEF) which is important for the regulation of eye movements and is a key influence in making all types of decisions. Funding is being made available to organizations around the world to deal with this ever growing dilemma faced by governments coping with the advancements in the online gambling industry and its resulting problem gambling issues. Science is gradually unravelling the circuitry of risk and reward in the brain and may come up with more effective treatments and behavioral interventions.



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AGA Reveals Amount Gambling Adds To US Economy

There is no doubt after a recent financial report by the American Gaming Association that people in the USA like to wager. The AGA released figures for the year 2017 recently that reveals that the gambling industry has contributed $261.4 billion in business sales to the economy of the country in 2017. This amount is an increase of 9.5%  from numbers shown in 2014.

Oxford Economics partnering with the AGA was instrumental in creating these calculations, the  $261.4 billion spend made $40.8 billion in federal, state and local taxes, including $10.7 billion of which were gambling taxes.

The report stated, “The $40.8 billion of tax revenues supported by the gaming [industry] represents an injection into public budgets that pays for a range of services including public safety, hospitals and schools. In fact, total tax revenues… generated by the gaming industry are enough to pay for the salaries of approximately 692,000 teachers,”

The AGA says the gambling industry supported 1.8 million jobs in 2017, an increase  from 1.7 million in 2014, which calculated provided $74 billion of labor income which  included wages, salaries, tips and other benefits. The organization maintains “The gaming industry supported more direct jobs than in other industries such as plastics manufacturing, or the motion picture and sound recording industry,”

Some of the statistics were put on the table with 1.8 million workers, 727,000 were directly employed in the gambling industry, these workers earned $33.3 billion.  Terrestrial casinos employed 361,000 people, who earned $17.4 billion. Native American casinos, employed 198,000, taking home $9.1 billion in income. Direct spending in the gambling industry came to a total of $109 billion dollars.

Twelve percent of the $89.4 billion in casino spending was spent on food, beverages, lodging and entertainment,





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GVC Announces Launch Of 20 New Titles From CR Games

Choosing a casino or poker room can be a matter of liking the presentation or not but there is one part of the equation that stands out and that is content. Slot players for example want a certain entertainment quality and a selection of games that makes them want to go back to that particular casino.

GVC recently announced it has integrated a selection of new content developed by CR Games, the in-house software studio of the Ladbrokes Coral Group, into its casino product lineup. GVC’s new product portfolio will be 20 games added to the online gambling brands such as Party Casino and Sportingbet and bwin. The first hand full of five titles will be introduced this month including the CR Games popular title ‘Big Banker’ slot game. The plan is to launch the full suite in the regulated markets of Denmark Italy and Possibly New Jersey in the USA before the year’s end.

Kenneth Alexander, chief executive officer at GVC, commented,  “The acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral completed on March 28 and the integration of that business is progressing well. We have now identified capex synergies of at least £30m in addition to the £130m cost synergies and we are well placed to deliver those savings while driving top line growth.”

Alexander continued, “We are gaining market share in all our key markets and we will look to reinvest to further strengthen our market position.”

Liron Snir, the chief product officer at GVC, commented,  “This is an important milestone in the integration of GVC and Ladbrokes Coral and demonstrates the benefits to customers of bringing the businesses together. Snir continued, “At GVC, content is king and we believe building a unique gaming offer, which marries exclusive in-house developed games with the very best titles from third-parties, is a win-win for our players.”




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