A huge month for sports saw the football world’s showpiece officially get underway in Qatar as the first winter men’s FIFA World Cup brought hope and optimism to many around the world.

In Australia, the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup was won by England in a five wicket triumph over Pakistan, while in England the Rugby League World Cup ended with Australia securing a three-peat courtesy of a 30-10 victory over Samoa at Manchester’s Old Trafford.

Elsewhere the US Powerball rose to a world record of $1.9bn after no winners for more than three months, while the FTX scandal hit the headlines for the first time as founder Sam Bankman-Fried filed for bankruptcy amid accusations of financial mismanagement and criminal misconduct.

Adopting an industry focus, It was a busy month in both the UK and Netherlands, with Sweden and Australian land-based casinos also prominent features through the 30 days.

Feature of the month

One of Europe’s most established territories for gaming still offers a wealth of opportunity as the Italian ecosystem seemingly goes from strength to strength in its appeal to many across the industry. 

With the potential of the market well known, across a two-part special Vladimir Malakchi, Chief Commercial Officer at Evoplay; Dionysia Ntentopoulou, Account Manager Team Lead at Kalamba Games; Andrea Luca Migliozzi, Country Manager Italia at Blueprint Gaming; and Tamas Kusztos, Playson CCO, delved into a range of issues.

In the news

In the UK, regulatory action saw Aspire Global hit with a £237,600 financial penalty for anti-money laundering failures, while LEBOM, which bills itself as a football predictor game, saw its licence suspended and for a failure to integrate to GAMSTOP, and then lifted upon compliance five days later.

Andrew Rhodes, UKGC CEO, also made a far-reaching address of the industry in a speech that was designed to set out the regulatory path being undertaken in the years ahead and what that means for industry and players.

“Our role is to permit gambling as long as it is safe, fair and crime free, not to make a moral judgement on how much money is spent on gambling,” he said.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Dutch regulator issued a 24th licence to TonyBet, which came a few days before Toto Online was fined €400,000 for targeting advertising at young adults aged 18-23.

The country also saw a warning issued should licensed entities fail to cease the offer of cashback bonuses, as well as a reminder to the industry after violations of the country’s Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act (WwFt) were unearthed.

Staying on the regulatory front, the Swedish gambling authority has issued a total of SEK 18.9m (£1.49m) to PinBet, ATG and Kindred’s Spooniker regarding money laundering and how firm’s ensure sufficient knowledge of customers.

Sweden’s Culture Committee also advised that additional measures should be introduced in a bid to ensure strong consumer protection and a long-term sustainable gaming market, with measures approved by the Riksdag, the country’s highest decision-making assembly.

Star Entertainment’s troubling time continue in November with show cause notices issued a Queensland, a second class action lawsuit launch in Victoria and federal court proceedings alleged serious and systemic non-compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws commenced by AUSTRAC.

“We will transform our culture, be more transparent, have more robust governance, greater accountability, be open and honest with our regulators and act swiftly when issues arise,” asserted Robbie Cooke, new MD and CEO of Star Entertainment, in a maiden AGM address.

Fellow Australian casino operator Crown Resorts, which isn’t averse to the aforementioned itself, received a mammoth A$120m in fines from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission to take its total received in the state to A$200m.

The company also stood down a contractor and issued an apology to Virat Kohli after employees were allegedly filmed in a Perth hotel room of the Indian cricket superstar.

On the M&A front, Glitnor cited market conditions and stated that “now is not the time to fully complete the acquisition” after announcing that its purchase of KaFe Rocks would no longer go ahead.

A short time later, the group launched a venture capital vehicle, named Glitnor Ventures, with a view to accelerating a vision of becoming the “most entrepreneurial and fastest growing business group” in the industry.

Recommended reading

“The growth of esports, gaming and gaming betting continues to race along at record speed,” noted Paul Findlay, EPIC Risk Management’s Director of CSR, upon reflection of how an INTENTA alliance came about in our latest 100 Club special.

This puts the spotlight on one of a number core focus areas of the consultancy, which, in turn, places the importance of education among those most likely to utilise these aforementioned segments as a “logical outcome”.

To this regard, and in a bid to drive awareness, and strategise the global prevention, of gambling and gaming-related harm, EPIC inked a 12-month partnership with INTENTA, who also participated, whose mission statement is to spearhead safe play and positive mental health.

Readers also flocked to a three-part special regarding the football World Cup, an occasion that represented an exciting opportunity for igaming companies, with the holiday season already being a prosperous time for the industry. 

In this roundtable, we spoke to Jo Purvis, Director of Key Accounts and Marketing at Blueprint Gaming, Ian Catchick, Chief Product and Business Development Officer at BetGames, Thomas Smallwood, Head of Marketing at ESA Gaming and Sergei Belikov, CEO of Mobinc, to learn more about this potentially once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

Video of the week

The latest episode of Beyond the Reels saw SlotBeats blast off into the Cosmos with Lady Luck Games‘ Head of Marketing, Dorota Gruszka, as she manoeuvred us through the stars to explain their new slot. 

Astro Anna is a 5×5 reel slot with a maximum win of up to x2,500 the player’s bet and no paylines, as players are challenged with connecting pipes to collect cash values.

When a player spins the reels, a set of 25 pipes rotate to reveal new positions. Around the reels are multiple different prize values, ranging from x0.5 to x10 the player’s stake. 

The aim of the game is to fill up Astro Anna’s fuel tank by connecting pipes to lead to the cash prizes. The top middle cell contains a red immovable pipe that connects down on all sides to start leading the fuel to different areas of the reels.