Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. This week’s edition looks at gambling tax alterations in Europe, as well as a heavy fine for Rank.
In a damaging blow to the Irish gambling sector, the national budget was unveiled yesterday delivering a significant increase to betting tax in the country.
After much speculation and heated debate, Ireland’s minister for finance Paschal Donohoe increased the overall betting tax in the country to two per cent, reversing the 2007 budget which had previously halved it to one per cent.
“This is the final nail in the coffin for most if not all the smaller independent retail betting operators in Ireland and is a continuation of attacks on the betting sector from government, media and the public,” said Thomas McBride, owner of McBride Racing told AffiliateInsider.
“The expected tax windfall will fail to materialise when you consider the loss of jobs, media rights fees, corporate tax returns etc. The betting industry continues to be an easy target by those that oppose gambling but understand little about it. This will drive betting into the black market.”
Ireland isn’t alone in altering its public policy on gambling, with Spanish news sources reporting that the country’s impending 2019 budget, will likely carry severe advertising restrictions for licensed gambling operators.
Last week, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (PSOE – Socialist Workers Party) struck a budget proposal deal with socialist Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias.
The 2019 budget agreement, will have caught the eye of Spanish football clubs, who have previously been criticised by Pablo Iglesias and Podemos for their ‘indifference to betting advertising and sponsorships.
NetEnt has already spent three years in the US building a footprint in the US market, having had a presence in New Jersey since the fourth quarter of 2015.
The supplier outlined that it’s looking to utilise the experience gained in New Jersey to strengthen its position as the market opens up.
In an interview with CasinoBeats, NetEnt Americas’ Erik Nyman commented on how the US gambling market has evolved: “In the beginning, US online casino players recognised the land-based content so it’s taken some time to familiarise New Jersey players with our games.
“However, we have a strong market position, and this has been achieved through a very tight collaboration with our partners, raising the general awareness of what works and what doesn’t with the online casino player top of mind. Our strong portfolio has really made a difference for us in New Jersey, and it’s positive that we can capitalise on our learnings as we expand into other regulated states.”
The Rank Group has been sanctioned with a £500,000 financial penalty by the UK Gambling Commission for social responsibility shortcomings.
The fine relates to a customer being able to lose in excess of £1m, that had been credited to his account, in one 24-hour period.
The failures highlighted that Rank had shown a disregard when it comes to interacting with the customer who was displaying problematic behaviour.
The individual in question, a long-standing Grosvenor Casinos’ customer, saw gambling activity escalate rapidly in 2017, after opening an online account.
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director, stated: “We expect all operators to protect any consumer who may be experiencing problems with their gambling, and operators shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that VIP customers don’t experience difficulties.
“No matter how wealthy customers are, operators still need to monitor them effectively to ensure they aren’t showing signs of problem gambling. It is certainly not appropriate to visit customers during a period when they are self-excluded.”
One fortunate German PokerStars Casino player bagged the €3.5m jackpot while playing NetEnt’s Mega Fortune slot online.
The unnamed player from Lower Saxony became the eighth Mega Fortune player this year to win a jackpot of more than €1m.
“After breaking yet another record, NetEnt’s Mega Fortune has once again underlined its legendary status among slots players,” said Henrik Fagerlund, NetEnt’s chief product officer.
“This time it has paid out the biggest cash prize in Stars’ history, with the jackpot swelling the number of Mega Fortune millionaires to eight in 2018.”
The UK CMA has cleared the $4.7bn acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming by The Stars Group, following a Phase 1 review under the UK Enterprise Act 2002.
As the deal, which was finalised in July edges closer to completion Richard Flint, who previously served as CEO of Sky Bet has been appointed as executive chairman of SBG, while former CFO Ian Proctor becomes SBG’s new chief executive. Flint and Proctor will report to Stars CEO Rafi Ashkenazi.