Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. As Ontario ticked past a significant one year anniversary, GambleAware made a pledge to double funding, a further penalty was issued by the UK Gambling Commission, Macau optimism was expressed and a pair of purchases enjoyed different fortunes.
TGP Europe became the latest group to fall foul of the UK Gambling Commission after being issued with a £316,250 financial penalty for anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures.
In addition, the operator, which counts 19 websites on a white label basis, including Duelbits, Stake, SportPesa and Sportsbetio, also received an official warning and had additional conditions added to its licence.
“Additional licence conditions setting out action the licensee must take to ensure thorough due diligence checks are conducted have been added to the operator’s licence,” the regulator said.
The Victorian government introduced a further raft of reforms in a bid to crackdown on gambling harms across the state, which must be implemented by Crown Melbourne within six months.
After previously identifying a number of failures by the Crown Resorts venue, which has received A$200m in financial penalties within the state thus far, the introduction makes headway into recommendation 11 of a previously undertaken royal commission.
Of the 33 recommendations from this commission, 29 have been either fully implemented or legislated and awaiting commencement in the coming months.
Among the introductions having to be made is a limit on the length of time individuals can continuously gamble at the casino.
Further guidance for responsible gambling staff is also included, detailing how and when they should interact with a person demonstrating observable signs of gambling harm.
Alterations in advertisements will also be witnessed, with it found that evidence based warnings that challenge people to think about their gambling activity and minimise harm are more effective.
A collection of operators basked in the delight of a first year of an open Ontarian igaming market as an array of reports marked the region’s anniversary.
Flutter, bet365, Rush Street Interactive and PENN Interactive were among those to have reflected on a maiden 12 months as iGaming Ontario marked the milestone with key figures and player trends.
The subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario revealed that the province delivered $46.5bn in total wagers and approximately $1.4bn in total gaming revenue.
Delving into the figure a little further, iGaming Ontario statistics highlighted that the monthly spend per active player account over the last year stood in the region of $70.
In addition, an Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of the AGCO revealed that around 85 per cent of respondents who gambled online in Ontario over the past three months gambled on regulated sites.
Within online casino, slots (48 per cent) were the most popular segment, ahead of live casino offerings (32 per cent) and computer-based table games (19 per cent).
Sticking with the province, GeoComply suggested that data collected provides “compelling evidence” that Ontario’s regulated market is attracting attention from around the world.
The fraud prevention and cybersecurity solutions provider revealed that more than 744,000 users from around the world attempted to log in 19.9 million times to Ontario operators since the market debuted on April 4, 2022.
Data collected by the group also highlighted that over 54,000 users from within the US attempted to log in 305,000 times to Ontario operators.
In addition, in excess of 3.3 million location spoofing attempts into the province’s operators also occurred from around the world.
However, operator customer data demonstrated that over 219,000 devices have been prevented from gambling for fraud reasons, with 1,045 fraud rings affecting multiple operators detected.
GambleAware is aiming to broaden its reach at a local level after pledging to double funding over the next year for the newly named National Gambling Support Network.
The former National Gambling Treatment Service, which comprises a range of third sector treatment providers, is looking to meet the growing and changing needs of those at risk of gambling harms in Great Britain.
A specific focus will be placed on early intervention, which it is hoped will prevent an escalation of harms and support required that it is hoped will subsequently help relieve pressure on the NHS.
Part of the refreshed service will also include improved referral routes for those experiencing harms from gambling, with a holistic, joined-up service permitting local providers to speedily direct individuals into the treatment service that is right and appropriate for them.
A mandatory levy to fund research, education and treatment would be welcomed by members of the Betting and Gaming Council, however, a warning has been issued regarding the implementation of a blanket fee.
The industry standards body suggested that any such potential introduction, which is expected to be included in upcoming government reforms to betting and gaming in the UK, should be independent and tiered to protect land-based establishments.
The BGC added that a mandatory levy should comprise a sliding scale and smaller percentage contributions from land-based gambling businesses that it says “have disproportionately higher fixed costs like more premises and staff”.
Additional pressures already being felt by businesses, such as casinos, bingo halls and betting shops, were cited in cautioning against a statutory one per cent levy.
These, it was added, include severe economic headwinds, including a slower than expected post-covid recovery, rising fixed operating costs, high inflation and pressures on customers caused by the cost-of-living crisis.
Melco International Development confidently suggested that the “shadow of COVID-19 is finally receding after three long years” after reflecting on the group’s performance during the past year.
Beginning his latest address, Chair and CEO Lawrence Ho pointed to a pair of developments through the current year in bringing optimism for the casino and entertainment operator during the period that lies ahead.
In addition to gaining a fresh ten-year gaming concession from the Macau government, Ho noted a relaxation of social distancing measures in January that resulted in an “upsurge in visitors” that has created “optimism for the city’s immediate future”.
This optimism came despite the group reporting a 32.4 per cent drop in revenue through the past year to HK$10.57bn (2021: HK$15.64m).
Melco aligned the shortcoming to travel restrictions in Macau and mainland China related to COVID-19 during the year, as well as a government mandated temporary closure of casinos in Macau in July 2022.
Century Casinos confirmed an expansion into Nevada via the finalised purchase of the operations of Nugget Casino Resort from Marnell Gaming for approximately $100m.
The company had previously shelled out $95m to purchase 50 per cent of the interests in Smooth Bourbon, which owned the land and building on which the gaming venue is located.
The Nugget Casino Resort and Smooth Bourbon have a lease agreement for the land and building for an annual rent of $15m. Following the acquisition, Smooth Bourbon will be a consolidated subsidiary of Century.
Kings Entertainment announced that a settlement has been reached with Sports Venture Holdings regarding an ultimately doomed business combination agreement.
The merger agreement alongside the holding company of the Canadian sportsbook and online casino brand Bet99 was first detailed in late May 2022, with the deal subsequently being pursuant to three extensions in a bid to nudge the combination over the line.
However, during March Kings released a statement that suggested that “despite months of consistent effort” SVH was “refusing to complete” the merger.
The parent company of LottoKings and WinTrillions moved to confirm the termination, which sees SVH repay a $2.5m advance made by the company as well as reimburse $1.75m of costs and expenses built-up in connection with the proposed transaction.