Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Financial performances across Entain and NeoGames, Safer Gambling Week analysis, further objections at recent Dutch penalties and $4m Flutter Entertainment settlement with the SEC.
N1 Interactive followed the lead of Videoslots in issuing a categorical disagreement with a recent fine issued by the Dutch regulator, the calculation to determine the amount of which has been labelled “incorrect and baseless”.
Last week, the Kansspelautoriteit issued a penalty of €12.64m to N1 Interactive for offering online games of chance to Dutch residents without a licence. This represented a repeat violation after a similar fine was issued in July 2021.
Regarding the perceived breach, N1 Interactive has asserted that it “categorically disagrees with the KSA’s considerations that led to the (alleged) violation,” noting that the group “has taken several measures to prevent participation in games of players from the Netherlands”.
In addition, in a further move that echoed the aforementioned Videoslots statement, N1 also stressed a belief that the regulator “adopted an incorrect and baseless calculation to determine the amount of the fine”.
This, it was added, made the figure issued “disproportionately high”, which “contradicts the legal basis for levying and calculating a fine under Dutch law”.
Flutter Entertainment agreed to pay a $4m penalty to settle violations brought against the gambling group by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The financial market watchdog reported that it had charged the gaming and sports betting company with books and records and internal accounting controls violations stemming from business activities in Russia.
This is related to the group’s PokerStars subsidiary, which was obtained by Flutter in May 2020 after an $11bn merger with The Stars Group was completed.
The order alleged that between May 26, 2015, and May 15, 2020, while the company’s shares were registered with the SEC, Flutter paid approximately $8.9m to consultants in Russia in support of the company’s operations and its efforts to have poker legalised in that country.
Moti Malul, Chief Executive Officer of NeoGames, has reiterated confidence that the group is “very well positioned” to achieve the lofty internal ambitions set following a 2022 that was hailed as ending “on a very strong note”.
In a fourth quarter and full-year earnings call, Malul first turned his attention to that of lottery and a principal mission of achieving expansion ambitions on a global scale.
“…we think the actions and decisions we made during the past year have moved us further along that path as we continue to build a global leader in the industry,” he noted.
“As I have mentioned many times before with the lottery business going digital, we see an increasing amount of convergence. Our lottery customers require a broad range of products and services to support them across lottery, sports betting and online gaming.”
An analysis of Safer Gambling Week demonstrated that the campaign “made a huge impact” and remains a “vital platform” in encouraging uptake in relevant tools and solutions, said the Betting and Gaming Council.
The inspection of the October 2022’s campaign is said to have revealed that 200,000 accounts set deposit limits, which is up 12.5 per cent compared to the same month one year earlier.
Elsewhere, it was also said that 61 per cent of individuals setting deposit limits did so for the first time, while the number utilising reality checks rose by 300 per cent.
Furthermore, the cross-sector initiative is reported to have “smashed previous social media records” after generating almost 30 million impressions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This is a 21 per cent increase year-on-year.
“Another year of strong financial, operational and strategic progress” was detailed by Entain, as the group looks to build on the past 12 months to “continue to look to the future with confidence”.
Revenue through the period increased 12 per cent to £4.29bn (2021: £3.83bn), a figure that would represent growth of 18 per cent if excluding the group’s 50 per cent share of BetMGM.
Group-wide gross profit through the year climbed 12 per cent to £2.71bn (2021: £2.43bn) while underlying EBITDA increased 13 per cent to £933.2m (2021: £881.7m). Operating costs swelled 18 percentage points during 2022 to £1bn (2021: £952.7m).
Regarding the group’s North American-based efforts, NGR is reported as rising 71 per cent year-on-year to $1.44bn, which is ahead of expectations.
René Jansen, Chair of the Kansspelautoriteit, called on the adoption of a deeper duty of care within the Netherlands as the regulator detailed “interesting” findings as part of an ongoing investigation.
After being triggered in 2022, the Ksa noted that due to a rise of “new, in-depth questions about what the duty of care looks like in practice,” the inquiry has subsequently been extended into the second quarter of the current year.
“The exact manner in which providers must fulfil the duty of care has not been clearly prescribed,” Jansen said.
“I expect that our research will lead to a better understanding of the way in which the providers have shaped and put into practice their duty of care.”
A 46-year-old resident of Corpus Chisti, Texas, is to serve over two years in jail after being convicted of conducting an illegal gambling business.
In an update issued by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, Nathan Nichols, who pleaded guilty on March 21, 2022, was also sentenced for conspiring to steal US government property.
Handing down the sentence, the court noted the dangers and potential damage that could be caused, with 27 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by two years of supervised release.
In addition, he was ordered to pay over $1m in restitution, with $2.18m also forfeited, as part of guilty pleas, in proceeds from the illegal activity.
NorthStar Gaming stressed a focus on achieving strategic online casino ambitions after finalising a reverse takeover with Baden Resources.
Following the completion, the company asserted a focus on swelling its presence across the Canadian province of Ontario, in addition to “looking ahead to the future with the goal of reaching other markets”.
The business combination, said the company, resulted in the enlarged group changing its name to NorthStar Gaming Holdings and delisting its common shares from the Canadian Stock Exchange.
Furthermore, as expected, the group also listed its common shares on the TSX Venture Exchange.