Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Today, we take a look at a further Gambling Commission fine, developments in the Playtech pursuit, a potential UAE casino, and Rank’s H1 performance.
Genesis Global received a £3.8m fine, as well as being issued with a warning and told it must undertake “further extensive auditing,” following a UK Gambling Commission investigation.
The sanctions came less than two years after the operator was suspended from operating in Britain, after enquiries revealed what the UKGC calls “significant social responsibility and money laundering failures”.
Three months later the ban was lifted following “significant compliance improvements,” however, a subsequent examination has led to yet more penalties being handed down to Genesis Global, which runs 14 websites such as Genesis Casino, Casino Planet, and Casino Cruise.
The regulator has warned the British gambling industry that it will “use all tools at its disposal to ensure consumer safety” following this latest enforcement action.
The Swedish government proposed further regulatory reforms for the country’s online gambling market, which are slated to enter force in 2023.
Ardalan Shekarabi, minister of social insurance, outlined this latest wave of proposals, which have been done with an ambition of ensuring strong consumer protection and a long-term sustainable gaming market.
Among other things, the motions intend to put an end to “aggressive gambling advertising on the most dangerous games,” as well as exclude illegal players from the region’s digital marketplace.
Elsewhere, BOS, the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling, welcomed a decision to waive a reintroduction of COVID restrictions for online casinos, after previously urging caution and calling for a rethink on the matter earlier this month.
Playtech maintained a commitment to finalising its £2.7bn Aristocrat transaction; urging shareholders to vote in favour of the proposal at its upcoming meeting at the start of the next month.
The gambling tech firm sid that the deal represents “an attractive opportunity” to accelerate long-term volume, ahead of shareholder meetings to approve the offer on February 2, 2022.
The comments followed a Sky News report which speculated that company directors are drawing up contingency plans to break-up and offload its separate business divisions should this Aristocrat agreement collapse.
Concerns that the transaction could be blocked by a collection of Asia-based backers were specifically cited, with it speculated that these investors, which are mooted to own approximately 25 per cent of the company, could vote in concert to prevent a sale.
The Rank Group asserted confidence that the pandemic “will see a strong recovery in revenue and profitability,” after returning to profitability in H1 due, in part, to an improving performance across its venues through Q1 and into Q2.
A “high customer demand” in the absence of restrictions, which was dampened somewhat amid the emergence of the Omicron variant, was reported regarding its retail estate, with the gambling group’s online businesses now said to be “better positioned to continue to deliver on our digital ambitions”.
Through the six months ending December 31, 2021, Rank saw group underlying net gaming revenue increase 90 per cent year-on-year to £333.5m (2020: 175.9m), although this does represent a 19 per cent drop from the £408.5m recorded in 2019.
Underlying LFL operating profit for H1 of £24.1m is contrasted to a £41.2m loss one year earlier, and, Rank said, reflected the venues business being open throughout the period as well as the continued impact of COVID-19 on leisure and hospitality venues. 2019 was 60 per cent ahead at £59.8m.
A plan to develop a multibillion dollar integrated resort on the man-made Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, was rolled-out by Wynn Resorts and Marjan.
The planned destination, which will be developed “with significant foreign direct investment by Wynn,” will feature a hotel with more than 1,000 rooms, shopping, meeting and convention facility, exclusive spa, more than 10 restaurants and lounges, entertainment choices, a gaming area, and other amenities
Lauded as “the largest project of its kind in the Emirate’s growing hospitality sector,” the IR, which is set to be completed by 2026, aims to drive value to the local economy by accelerating tourism, creating jobs, and energising the growth of related sectors.
The resort is in the initial stages of design and development and will be applying for an integrated resort licence from Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.
Mr Green was issued with a warning from Denmark Gambling Authority, Spillemyndigheden, after being found to have breached know your customer sections of its anti-money laundering act.
The reprimand related to the online casino’s source of funds protocols, after a “young player” deposited DKK 325,000 (£36,601) to his account during the course of a year.
This, said the regulator, was done without Mr Green having “sufficient knowledge about whether or not the player’s funds originated from criminal proceeds”. It added that this means that the firm had failed to comply with its obligations on KYC measures.
In its assessment, Spillemyndigheden stated that Mr Green learned the player’s profession and his approximate level of income through internet searches.
The doomed casino resort proposal in the Virginian capital city of Richmond has been revived, with lawmakers to be requested to schedule a second referendum regarding the potential construction.
Local media reported that the resolution to resurrect Urban One’s One Casino Resort passed through city council by a vote of 8-1, with the referendum potentially being included on a ballot during the current year.
In November 2021, Urban One accepted defeat in its quest to develop the $565m venue, after a referendum ended with a little over 51 per cent of voters choosing to dismiss the proposal.
As local media outlets report differing views on a potential second coming for the facility, city staff have also proposed a two-cent tax rate reduction.
This, it is said, would bring additional revenue of over $560m that could be utilised for capital improvement projects for Richmond public schools as well as the city itself.
While the proposals have to be vetted, further potential community benefits are stipulated as no city funding being required, influx of over 1,500 jobs, $16m to support local community organisations, and $325,000 to support transit mobility solutions.