As a year in which normality has returned for many draws to a close, and increasingly fleeting glances begin to be taken towards what lies ahead, CasinoBeats is once again revisiting an unexpected 12 months full of ups, downs, and everything in between.

During a month in which England saw COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift, the UK Gambling Commission was busy with a pair of significant penalty packages, as Allied Esports Entertainment’s on/off World Poker Tour sale took a number of twists and turns, and Atari captured readers attentions.

Feature of the month

For the second time in three months Gibraltar becomes a primary point of focus, as Paul Foster, CEO of the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association, urges that the industry must get on the front foot and stop being reactive to regulatory change.

These comments came in the immediate aftermath of the trade association, which represents online gaming operators that have been issued a remote licence in Gibraltar, completing the set-up, formation and funding of the Gibraltar Gambling Care Foundation as a registered charity.

“Responsibility is at the centre of Gambling today and as a jurisdiction, Gibraltar, wanted to drive the responsibility agenda and make a real difference,” Foster stated.

“Given there is a concentration of gambling companies and therefore related data, the opportunity to work with an independent body at the University of Gibraltar was a clear opportunity. 

In the news

The UK Gambling Commission was busy during the month of March, with two licensees in hot water for an array of failures that brought combined fines of £9.4m.

Firstly, a series of historic social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures at Casumo saw the firm pay a £6m fine, undergo extensive auditing, and receive an official warning.

Elsewhere, Intouch Games received an official warning, £3.4m fine and was required to undergo extensive auditing after an assessment revealed social responsibility, money laundering and marketing failures.

Staying in the UK, Simon Thomas, CEO of Hippodrome Casino, voiced delight at the property’s impending reopening, should England’s lockdown exit proceed as planned with the reopening of betting shops on April 12 and adult gaming centres, bingo halls and casinos on May 17.

The month also saw Caesars stipulate April 1 as the expected date when it would finalise its £2.9bn acquisition of William Hill, before subsequently doing so three weeks later.

Furthermore, Allied Esports Entertainment witnessed a bidding war break-out between Bally’s and Element Partners for its World Poker Tour entity, with the protracted saga subsequently coming to an end, at the latter’s joy, months later.

Readers’ attention was also captured by a pair of developments at Atari, as the group struck deals for an array of branded hotels as well as a crypto casino.

Recommended reading

March saw Ezugi explain the latest developments in live casino, with particular emphasis on Africa, as well as NetEnt assessing its long-awaited US entry and long-term market potential.

Elsewhere, FunFair Games became the latest supplier to invite CasinoBeats to a ‘Virtual Media Day,’ complete with a more than generous hamper delivered just a day earlier and taking place amid one those rarest of rare days – a sunny day in Manchester.

Videos of the month

In the first of two video entrants SlotBeats spoke to Marcus Honney, managing director of AvatarUX, who offered guidance through the company’s most recent addition to its PopWins portfolio in TikiPop. 

Whie Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Grainne Hurst and Girls Who Code take to the camera in celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, which saw Entain make a $250,000 donation to the latter in a bid to offer encouragement to young women working within the technology industry.