Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In our latest edition we feature Las Vegas Sands’ expansion plans, Dutch warnings, an ACMA legal battle, Crown Resorts takeover delay, and GambleAware reiterating calls for a one per cent levy on gross gambling yield.
The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, urged licensees to take note of the lessons learned thus far in the region, warned of further government intervention, and cautioned operators of the line at which to stop when looking to gain market share.
René Jansen, chair of the Ksa, issued the call after previous warnings that if operators “do not take sufficient responsibility, the government will at some point,” as well as stating that political patience on Dutch gambling advertisements “is very limited”.
“In the run-up to the opening of the legal online market (on October 1), I said a few times publicly that I hoped that the legalisation of online games of chance in the Netherlands would be a textbook example,” a blog penned by Jansen read.
“That other countries that take this step would say: look, the way it went in the Netherlands, that’s how we want it too. Unfortunately, we have to conclude that this was not entirely successful.”
This, the Ksa chair noted, was driven by the number of ads evidenced from online gambling providers, despite prior pleas for control and potential government intervention.
GambleAware reiterated calls for the introduction of a one per cent levy on gross gambling yield on the industry as a condition of licence that it says could raise $140m per year.
The charity asserted that the growing cost-of-living crisis, ongoing financial impact of the pandemic, and shift to online “means there could be an increased risk of people experiencing gambling harms”.
This came as one part of six principle outlined by GambleAware regarding which it stated “needs to be done to prevent gambling harms,” adding that the industry “should take the necessary and responsible steps” by committing the aforementioned figure to treatment, prevention, and research.
Despite many industry incumbents offering voluntary contributions, GambleAware believes that a mandatory funding model would provide stability and “enable better longer-term planning and commissioning for services to prevent gambling harms”.
Crown Resorts disclosed a three-week delay to a scheme meeting regarding the proposed takeover by Blackstone due to regulatory setbacks.
This congregation, which will be held in a virtual setting, will allow James Packer, as well as fellow shareholders that control approximately 64 per cent of the casino and entertainment operator, to vote in favour or against the proposal.
Despite Blackstone reporting that “good progress” has been made in obtaining the gaming regulatory approvals, local media reported that regulatory delays in assessing the merits of the proposed acquisition across New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia have caused the aforementioned delays.
Furthermore, directors of the Melbourne headquartered group once again took the opportunity to reaffirm that they “unanimously recommend” that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme.
This, it is said, comes in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an independent expert continuing to conclude that the scheme is in the best interests of the group.
The European Gaming and Betting Association backed the findings of a survey published by the City, University of London that called for the creation of pan-European adult surveys on gambling-related matters.
The study, which reviewed the monitoring and reporting frameworks of 20 European countries as well as gambling engagement levels, concluded that a more common approach to problem gambling would help drive understanding of such harms in addition to its prevalence across Europe.
The EGBA commissioned study found that levels of problem gambling in European countries range from 0.3 per cent (Ireland in 2019/2020) to 6.4 per cent (Latvia in 2019) of the adult population.
However, it is noted that existing divergences in survey methodologies, screening tools, timings and target age ranges “make any meaningful comparisons between jurisdictions very difficult”.
Kindred witnessed a decrease in its share of revenue derived from harmful gambling through the year’s first quarter, as the group also teamed-up with RecoverMe in a bid to drive its quest to zero further still.
The gambling firm reported that its share of revenue from harmful gambling decreased to 3.3 per cent through a 90 day rolling period between December 20, 2021, and March 19, 2022, with Kindred asserting that the first quarter historically witnesses “lower shares of revenue from harmful gambling”.
Furthermore, the firm noted that an optimised process for manual interventions towards high-risk customers has seen fewer customers being redetected, with a “more cautious approach” to the 18-25 demographic also adopted.
This, said Kindred, resulted in a larger decrease in the percentage of harmful revenue from this demographic group.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority commenced civil penalty proceedings in the country’s Federal Court against three parties for alleged violations of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
The Australian government statutory authority said that this comes after a “detailed” investigation into prohibited online gambling services was carried out, and which could carry maximum individual penalties of up to A$1.66m.
This refers to an entity that was originally operating under the PPPfish moniker but that subsequently rebranded to Shuffle Gaming and later Redraw Poker.
It is alleged by the ACMA that these were online poker services, which is a type of gambling service that is prohibited under section five of the IGA.
Las Vegas Sands is to “continue to build our digital presence” and will maintain an exploration of “multiple opportunities,” as the group also eyes land-based opportunities in Asia as well as across the US.
Regarding the latter, the operator is to embark on a $1bn renovation project of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, while in Macau the Londoner is said to be “near completion”.
Robert Goldstein, Chair and CEO of LVS, emphasised that the group’s “confidence in the long-term opportunity in Singapore remains deep,” after voicing hopes of a continued uptick in the recovery of both aforementioned jurisdictions in the near future.
Regarding retail casino opportunities across the US, Goldstein added that the firm remains “in the hunt” for a New York casino licence, as well as being focused on opportunities further afield.
Furthermore, it was also suggested that “any place there’s very large-scale buildings that can create large EBITDA” would interest LVS, with Texas and Florida also cited as regions that could deliver the return on investment sought by the company.