Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Today, we look back on a trio of legal fights concerning Betfred, Apple and FanDuel and Flutter Entertainment, as well as Dutch pilot events and UK Gambling Commission objectives.
Betfred was ordered to pay £1.7m to a Lincolnshire man after High Court Judge Mrs Justice Foster ruled that the company didn’t have grounds to withhold a jackpot payment.
Andrew Green won the huge sum playing the Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven Blackjack game via mobile on January 26, 2018, before an alleged software glitch led the gambling firm to withhold payment.
The company claimed that the defect made the game, which was provided by, and was the intellectual property of, Playtech, more likely to pay out higher sums in winnings than intended, and that this was covered in the game’s terms and conditions.
However, Justice Foster ruled that “I am of the clear view that these clauses in the terms and conditions are inadequate to exempt Betfred from the obligation to payout on an ostensibly winning bet or series of bets”.
Green, whose official winnings was £1,722,500.24, celebrated with family and friends to the tune of £2,500 following the triumph, with Justice Foster stating that when he contacted Betfred they “did not seek at this point to suggest other than that he was a big winner”.
Flutter Entertainment affirmed that it will “vigorously defend its position,” after the Fox Corporation confirmed that it has filed a lawsuit against the digital gambling giant over a stake in FanDuel Group.
Responding to media reports of the legal dispute, Fox, which has an option to acquire a stake in the US sports betting and gaming brand in July, said that it had made its move to acquire an 18.6 per cent ownership “for the same price that Flutter paid for that interest in December 2020”.
This saw Flutter increase its interests in FanDuel to 95 per cent after the acquisition of a $4.175bn (£3.131bn) 37.2 per cent share in the group that was previously held by KKR-led consortium Fastball Holdings.
Responding to the legal manoeuvres, Flutter has labelled Fox’s position as “incorrect” and “without merit,” stating that it would “represent a windfall to Fox compared to the fair market valuation as of July 2021”.
Apple was hit with a class action lawsuit in the United States which alleges that the tech giant is breaking the anti-gambling laws of twenty-five states.
The lawsuit, filed by plaintiffs Joshua McDonald and Michael Helsel in the US District Court Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, alleges that the group has been profiting from illegal gambling games developed by DoubleU Games Co.
The plaintiffs are seeking statutory damages and costs, as well as the implementation of an injunction prohibiting Apple from taking part in the allegedly illegal acts. A jury trial is also demanded.
The suit alleges that ‘Apple permits and facilitates illegal gambling by operating as an unlicensed casino,’ citing the use of in-game currencies as a major contributing factor.
The UK Gambling Commission outlined five core strategic objectives which it says will shape ongoing work during the coming years in striving to “make gambling fairer and safer”.
The regulator has detailed its vision for the next three years in its Corporate Strategy, published alongside its 2021/22 Business Plan, which sets out a continued focus on protecting the public and players from harm.
Confirming comments made by Tim Miller, executive director of the UKGC, in a keynote address to the CMS Virtual Gambling Conference last week, the new strategy will be delivered through five priority areas.
These are protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling; a fairer market and more informed consumers; keeping crime out of gambling; optimising returns to good causes from the National Lottery; and improving gambling regulation.
The European Gaming and Betting Association welcomed the introduction of the Netherlands’ long-awaited Remote Gambling Act as a “significant achievement,” however, channelisation warnings have been issued.
The April 1 debut, which the trade association says “brings the Netherlands into line with other EU countries,” means potential licence holders are now able to submit applications to the Dutch Gambling Authority, Kansspeelautoriteit, ahead of market opening on October 1. The Ksa expects to issue 35 licenses.
In welcoming the move, the EGBA adds that it is “pleased that the new regulations focus on achieving a high-level of consumer protection and acknowledge the consumer-centric nature of online gambling by allowing a broad scope of online gambling products”.
However, the group warns that “significant concerns remain,” most notably that of an objective to achieve 80 per cent channelisation of the newly regulated market within three years.
A new report from Gamstop highlighted the number of bettors utilising the self-exclusion tool during February has increased by 21 per cent, according to the Guardian.
The national self-exclusion scheme now has nearly 200,000 sign-ups, with 326 new registrants recorded on 22 February, a single-day record for the charity.
Additionally, Gamstop pointed to the number of registrants who attempted to bet after signing up to the self-exclusion service as evidence that blocking software is not a ‘silver bullet’ for preventing gambling related harm.
Overall, the Guardian has reported that 49,328 out of a possible 177,039 self-excluded gamblers attempted to bet but were stopped from doing so due to their registration with Gamstop.
Holland Casino confirmed that six of its properties are to welcome back a select number of patrons later this month, as the group participates in the country’s pilot events programme.
The move comes after a series of extended closure orders have been mandated by the country’s government, the most recent of which came in March and will continue to apply up to, and including, Tuesday 20 April.
However, the latest update from the operator will see its casinos in Enschede, Venlo and Breda open on Saturday 24 April, with Amsterdam West, Utrecht and Leeuwarden, set to follow suit the following day.
Holland Casino’s remaining branches in Amsterdam Center, Rotterdam, Scheveningen, Zandvoort, Groningen, Nijmegen, Valkenburg, and Eindhoven, will remain unaffected and shutdown.