Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Today we take a look at a pair of UK-based problem gambling initiatives and recommendations, plunging US revenue and the necessity to ensure payment flexibility on casino floors.
Five of the largest members from the Betting and Gaming Council has committed to spending £100m on improving treatment services for problem gamblers.
The operators, which include Bet365, GVC, PaddyPower Betfair, Sky Betting and Gaming and William Hill, have already pledged to increase the amount they spend on research, education and treatment services from 0.1 per cent of annual revenue to 0.75 per cent by 2023.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher commented: “As the new body representing the regulated betting and gaming industry, we are committed to driving up standards.
“This latest funding commitment is yet more evidence of the industry’s determination to improve the quality and provision of treatment for problem gamblers – and of our members’ eagerness to get on with it as quickly as possible.”
The funds will go to GambleAware, which will be the main commissioning agent for ensuring funds reach people who require counselling and treatment.
The American Gaming Association has released a new framework which focuses on regulatory flexibility to enable digital payments on the casino floor.
The document, entitled Payments Modernization Policy Principles, comes at a time when 57 per cent of those who have visited a casino during the last year have reported that the option for digital or contactless payments is important to them because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Advancing opportunities for digital payments has been one of our top priorities since my first day at the AGA,” said Bill Miller, AGA President and CEO. “It aligns with gaming’s role as a modern, 21st century industry and bolsters our already rigorous regulatory and responsible gaming measures.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made it all the more important to advance our efforts to provide customers with the payment choice they are more comfortable with and have increasingly come to expect in their daily lives.”
The AGA pointed out that enabling payment choice will allow casino customers the option to supplement cash with safe and secure digital payment options on the casino floor.
A cross-party group of MPs have called for an urgent review of stakes, deposit and prize limits as part of its final report into online gambling harms.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm released a list of 30 recommendations to improve the procedures in place to tackle problem gambling, including an overhaul of the UK Gambling Commission and a blanket ban on gambling advertisements.
Following a year-long inquiry, the 50-strong group of parliamentarians have called for a ‘smart levy’ to fund research, education, prevention and treatment. The GRH APPG has suggested that a new Gambling Act should be introduced which is ‘fit for the digital age’ while establishing a Gambling Ombudsman is necessary to support consumer redress.
In its findings, the GRH APPG claimed that the ombudsman would replace the ‘unfit for purpose’ UKGC, which it claims ‘is struggling to keep pace with the fast growing industry’ and is ‘behind that of many other countries’.
Citing the recent pandemic as an example, the GRH APPG emphasised that the new ombudsman would deliver ‘greater protections to customers across all verticals.
Circa Resort and Casino CEO and developer Derek Stevens has confirmed that the resort is ahead of schedule for opening, with plans to open its doors on October 28, 2020.
The resort will be the downtown’s first such entity to be built from the ground up in over three decades. The 1.25 million-square-foot, 777-room property will stand as the tallest structure north of the Las Vegas strip, and will house a two-story casino that contains 1,360 slot machines and 49 table games.
Stevens had originally earmarked a December 2020 launch following a 22-month construction process. Upon completion, the resort will have approximately 1,000 employees.
Striving to become “a mecca for sports gamblers,” fans will be able to take in three levels of action taking place on a 78-million-pixel high-definition screen, billed as “the largest sportsbook screen in history”. The Vegas Stats and Information Network will also have its own on-site studio offering bettors in-depth analysis from a roster of experts.
Another of Circa’s key features will be an outdoor pool amphitheater. Its six rooftop pools will be operated 365 days a year and boast an almost 14-million-pixel screen playing the day’s sporting events.
May proved to be another challenging month for Pennsylvanian sportsbooks with PlayPennsylvania estimating that operators lost out on about $275m in potential bets.
While $1.8bn was wagered on online table games and slots during the month, up from $1.4bn in April, operators were still out of the $286.1m that was generated by land-based casinos in May 2019.
“As welcome as the online revenue has been, it can’t come close to replacing what was lost with the shutdown of land-based casinos,” Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com, stated.
“So far early signs are good for Pennsylvania’s land-based casinos, but they are still navigating diminished capacity and uncertain demand as they reopen. For that reason, online casino games and poker will remain critical in bridging revenue gaps as Pennsylvania casinos recover.”
PlayPennsylvania’s online sportsbook generated £77.5m in wagers in May, a 68.4 per cent increased from April’s $46m handle, according to official data.