Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Playtech’s targeting of the Americas, further casino unsuitability for Crown Resorts, penalty action across the UK and Sweden, and a financial update from GAN, all feature as well look back at a selection of the past week’s headlines.
The UK Gambling Commission imposed a financial penalty of £3.15m on Camelot UK, after an investigation found three failures related to its mobile app that negatively impacted customers.
The Commission’s National Lottery Commission is said to have concluded that in each case “the information presented in the App was incorrect, inappropriate, or harmful at the point of delivery to the player”.
In considering the appropriate sanction in respect of the breaches, a UKGC committee is said to have considered outcomes for the National Lottery, players involved, and good causes, in addition to the operator’s financial gain from non-compliance and governance and controls. All £3.15m to be paid by Camelot will be paid to good causes.
A Perth casino royal commission found that Crown Resorts is unsuitable to continue holding a gaming licence in Western Australia, but the company will undergo a two year remediation, to be overseen by an independent monitor, to clean up its act.
Echoing previous findings in New South Wales and Victoria, commissioners Neville John Owen, Carolyn Frances Jenkins, Colin Murphy, identified a series of failures across a near 1000-page report.
The Gaming and Wagering Commission of Western Australia recommended the inquiry last year to assess the group’s suitability, as well as its own effectiveness and that of the Casino Control Act 1984.
A series of findings are outlined following the inquiry, which found that the casino operator failed to minimise gambling related harm, permitted junkets with criminal links to operate at the casino, and was not open, accountable, or competent in communications with the state regulator.
Furthermore, the company was found to have facilitated money laundering and failed to have an effective AML program in place.
The gambling industry’s charity appeal to raise funds for Ukrainians displaced by the Russian military action reached its target of £250,000, but organisers called for one last push until the end of the month.
As so many generous individual and corporate donors from across the gaming sector have stepped up to support the campaign, organisers have decided to keep the GoFundMe campaign running until April, to give even more people the chance to support the Gaming Industry for Ukraine initiative.
The campaign is providing funding to Choose Love, as the registered charity has the ability and infrastructure to target these donations quickly to a range of NGOs on the ground supporting purely humanitarian efforts.
Some of the campaign’s biggest donations came from well-known names in the industry like Betsson (which alone donated £50,000), Spribe OU, Oryx Gaming, Games Global, Microgaming, Funfair Games, Fast Track, FSB, Vixio, Enteractive, OLBG, SBC, Clarion, Just for the Win and Better Collective.
Discussions regarding the on-off sale of Playtech are said to be ongoing alongside TTB partners, with a “possible transaction in relation to Caliente” also a distinct possibility.
An independent board committee has been formed by the group in consideration of the offer, however, this excludes CEO Mor Weizer from all matters related to the potential sale following a request to join the investor group.
“Discussions with TTB Partners are ongoing, and there can be no certainty as to whether an offer for the company will be announced, or the terms on which any offer might be made,” noted Brian Mattingley, Playtech Chair.
Following the sale of its Finalto financial services division in 2021, which met a key requirement of the ultimately doomed £2.7bn Aristocrat takeover, a transaction involving Caliente, with whom Playtech aligned with for the Caliplay joint venture, that would allow the entity to enter selected US states on an accelerated basis, has also been touched upon.
“Should the transaction proceed to completion, Caliplay would be acquired by a US listed special purpose acquisition company, and it is also currently envisaged that the combined business of the SPAC and Caliplay would enter into a long-term commercial agreement with a leading media partner,” it was confirmed.
GAN is looking to build upon the “encouraging momentum” with which it says that it entered 2022, following a past year of “strong growth” despite a slight sporting pullback being endured through the final quarter.
Revenue through Q4 2021 dropped 5.57 per cent to $30.5m (2020: $32.3m) due to “abnormally low” sports hold, with profit down 11.6 per cent to $19m (2020: $21.5m) driven by a drop in sports margin.
This was felt within the B2C segment, where a decrease in revenue, attributed to the aforementioned low sports hold of 4.6 per cent, saw the division close at $19.2m, nine per cent down from $21.1m year-on-year.
On a B2B basis, a slight increase to $11.3m (2020: $11.2m) was felt during the quarter ending December 31, 2021, with a $900,000 increase in platform and content fees offsetting an $800,000 drop in development services.
An adjusted EBITDA loss of $5m (2020: $800,000) was affected by the aforementioned sporting struggles, and net loss dropped marginally to $8.5m (2020: $8.6m).
Bayton was penalised by Swedish gambling regulatory, Spelinspektionen, after the firm failed to report a change to its board of directors.
The group, which operates the JackpotCity, Ruby Fortune, and Spin Casino igaming entities, subsequently received a penalty sanction of SEK 35,000.
This came after an inspection was conducted by the authority on July 16, 2021, which, it says, found “changes in the company’s board on April 11, 2019, when one member resigned and one new accession”.
The Splinspektionen noted that it had “not received any information about this before the change,” adding: “With regard to the obligation to report, it is stated in the preparatory work for the Gaming Act that the requirement on suitability could easily be circumvented by having people replaced as soon as a gaming company has received its licence.
“It is therefore important that the gaming authority receives knowledge of when changes occur in terms of people in the ownership circle, the board and management.
“It is against this background that a gaming company immediately, and no later than within fourteen days, must notify the gaming authority if changes occur in this circle.”