Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. The latest edition features a UKGC gambling related-harm injection, removal of adverts and the urging of Swedish proposals to be reversed.
The UK Gambling Commission is making £9m in funds from regulatory settlements available to GambleAware in a bid to boost the resilience of gambling harm treatment services during COVID-19.
After receiving $27m in penalty packages since January of this year alone, the charity and its partners are to use the windfall to help ensure treatment and support services can continue to operate effectively and withstand additional pressures brought by the outbreak.
This follows research undertaken by the regulator that indicated an overall fall in gambling participation since lockdown commenced, however concern was raised over “evidence of an increase in the use of certain gambling products such as online slots, poker, casino gaming and virtual sports.”
Furthermore, it was also said that funds will help to address any increase in demand for such services, support the move of services to alternative models of delivery, such as online, as well as building resilience in the treatment and support system during the uncertainty.
The European Gaming and Betting Association has urged Swedish decision makers to withdraw proposals that would see further restrictions imposed on the country’s online gambling market.
Calling on the country not to exacerbate an “already harmful unregulated gambling problem and jeopardise consumer protection even further,” the comments follow the publication of a new study undertaken by Copenhagen Economics.
Published this week by Sweden’s online gambling trade association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel, it found that 22-28 per cent of online casino gambling and 15-20 per cent of sports betting is unregulated, higher than the previous official estimates.
“Online gambling is a consumer-driven market and customers will shop-around for better value, bonuses and products – and even look outside the regulated market to find these,” Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the EGBA.
“Significant numbers of Swede’s already gamble in the unregulated market and the proposed restrictions to the regulated market will encourage more to do so. For these reasons, black-market companies will be the only people celebrating the restrictions.”
Members of the Betting and Gaming Council have agreed to the voluntary removal of all gaming product advertising on TV and radio during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Despite a drop of ten per cent in advertising spend and the volume of TV sport and casino advertisements, BGC members have made the decision that all existing TV and radio advertising slots will be replaced by safe gambling messages, donated to charities or removed from broadcast where contracts permit.
Operators have until May 7 to implement the changes which will remain in force for six weeks and at a minimum until June 5 of this year. This voluntary change will apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will only be reviewed when lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher commented on the removal: “From day one of this crisis we have sought to protect customers potentially at risk, including announcing stepping up safer gambling measures as part of our ten pledges for COVID-19 in March.
“This latest move by the regulated industry further underlines our commitment to safer betting and gaming with many people cut off and feeling anxious.
The Danish Gambling Authority Spillemyndigheden has been successful in taking action to block a further 16 websites from the market after bringing fresh action to the District Court.
Taking the total number of successful actions against illegal entities to 90 since 2012, this becomes the sixth time that the authority has gone to court to have illegal websites blocked that, without a licence, offer betting, online casino and skin betting to Danes.
The Spillemyndigheden stipulates that initially 17 entities were identified, however, one provider stopped the illegal provision before the case was conducted. Those blocked included seven online casinos as well as seven skin betting and two betting portals.
In a media release the regulator maintains that efforts to find and block sites that offer gambling illegally are an important part of its work to ensure a fair and legal gambling market in the country.
“We work to protect players against illegal gambling, and we also need to ensure that the operators who are licensed to offer gambling in Denmark can run their businesses under orderly conditions. That is why it is very important for us to clamp down on gambling offered without a licence”, stated director of the Danish Gambling Authority Morten Niels Jakobsen.