Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Arrests regarding an alleged money laundering syndicate in Melbourne, M&A activity being undertaken by Kambi, calls to establish a national regulator and Veikkaus suggesting an end to its monopoly are all featured in our latest recap.
“Finland needs to start thinking about bringing all gambling under the same regulation,” suggested Olli Sarekoski, CEO of Veikkaus, after witnessing a decline in its online market share.
As gambling “strongly” moves to the digital channel, Veikkaus recorded a five per cent drop in its slice of the country’s entire digital market during January to June. This, said Sarekoski, sees the company heading towards a “critical 50 per cent limit”.
According to H2 Gambling Capital, and quoted by the group in its H1 review, the market stood at approximately €520m during the period, with online gambling of services other than Veikkaus’ reported as growing by 14 per cent.
The Finnish monopoly, which noted that it “operates in the current competitive digital market under different conditions than its competitors,” said that the above means approximately €260m “was transferred to places other than Veikkaus’ service”.
Three people were charged after a multi-organisational investigation exposed an alleged money laundering syndicate at a Melbourne gaming venue.
Australian Federal Police made the arrests after it was alleged that paying patrons were made to sign-over their winning cheques from electronic gaming machines.
This saw the ringleader, a Springvale south woman, 49, along with a man, 63, and a woman, 61, charged with dealing in money reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime and engaging in conduct in relation to money or property that was proceeds of general crime. The maximum penalty for the offence is 20 years’ imprisonment.
AFP, assisted by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, AUSTRAC and National Australia Bank, concluded a 12-month, multi-jurisdictional investigation this week. Investigators seized more than $170,000 in cash and gold bullions hidden inside the property.
Police alleged that the scheme saw punters paid in cash if they handed over their winning cheques, which would then be issued in the name of a syndicate member. This would later be deposited later into a bank and attributed as legitimate gambling winnings.
René Jansen, Chair of the Dutch Gaming Authority, has voiced that he is in favour of tightening up the country’s duty of care after questioning if sufficient protection and safety is offered to players.
In a panel discussion at the European Association for the Study of Gambling in Oslo it was argued that tighter limits on behaviour and expenditure should be imposed by the government.
Furthermore, licensees are also urged to “go further than simply applying a limit,” with it noted that the current rules are not an “excuse to ‘sit back’ until a player has reached the deposit or loss limit”.
The comments, which were also elaborated on in a blog post featured on the regulator’s site, saw Jansen cite recent research, undertaken by the Ksa, that examined the implementation of the duty of care to prevent gambling addiction in 21 European countries.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform said that the Australian government “must establish a national gambling harm regulator” after research revealed that over $11.4bn was lost on poker machines in pubs and clubs across five states last year.
The fresh figures, compiled by the Gambling and Social Determinants Unit at Monash University, revealed that in the 30 years to 2019 losses in hotels and clubs in the country amounted to $308.4bn.
Furthermore, researchers have also warned that without pandemic restrictions hotel and club gambling machine losses could exceed $13bn next year.
Annual losses in New South Wales and Victoria dropped by an average of 17 per cent, or $1.6bn, due to COVID enforced restrictions, while losses in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania increased from 2018/19 to 2021/22 by $492m.
Machines are not permitted in pubs and clubs in Western Australia, while data was not available for the Australian Capital Territory or Northern Territory.
Kambi elaborated on “another important step” regarding the group’s continued global charge after acquiring Shape Games for an upfront consideration of €38.5m.
The transaction also includes a performance-related earnout of up to €39.6m that could potentially bring the total consideration to €78.1m. All of this would be paid in cash.
This latest step builds upon “an established partnership” between the two, and comes as Kambi looks to enhance its provision across the sports wagering value chain.
Shape Games will continue to provide its services on a standalone basis to all operators, however, it is hoped that a closer technical and commercial integration with Kambi will enable a bolstered service to be offered to current and future clients.
Bragg Gaming secured funding of $8.7m that the group intends to utilise to make further progress with ongoing growth ambitions, which it is hoped will further strengthen its foundation for maintained top line growth.
The funding agreement has been entered into alongside Lind Global Fund II, an investment entity managed by The Lind Partners, a New York-based institutional fund manager.
This funding will come in the form of an $8.7m convertible security that will have a face value of $10m. Bragg will receive net proceeds of approximately $8.2m after fees.
The face value of the convertible security will have a 24-month maturity date and can be paid in cash or converted into common shares.
Las Vegas Sands and the operator’s Marina Bay Sands facility established a $1m fund that is tasked with developing a pipeline of talent for Singapore’s hospitality industry.
The scholarship program, which will be run through the Sands Cares community engagement initiative, intends to advance such career prospects and capitalise on projected “tremendous” tourism growth projected over the coming years.
The project, which aims to nurture the next generation of hospitality talent, will commence in 2023 and will look to encourage more of the region’s brightest talent to consider a career in the industry.
Furthermore, the $1m investment also intends to build on a longstanding commitment by the company to support Singapore’s economic and tourism goals.