Every week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most fascinating stories. A stake being taken in 888, strategic alternatives being considered by IGT, potential closures and debuts in Australia, UK performance figures, Maltese confidence and new Newcastle United and Fun88 alliance all form a part of latest headline reflection.
United States District Judge Robert Lasnik approved the terms of a Washington-based class action lawsuit that was levelled against International Game Technology and its former DoubleDown Interactive subsidiary.
The litigation was initially brought forward by a pair of locals against IGT, which previously owned the latter before selling off the asset in 2017 for $825m to South Korean studio DoubleU Games.
Benson v DoubleDown Interactive alleged that the offer of social casino games, including roulette and slots that can be played with virtual chips and with no cash prizes, within the state of Washington represented illegal gambling.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, $415m will be paid into a settlement fund of which IGT’s subsidiaries will contribute $269.75m with DDI to provide $145.25m.
Furthermore, the IGT board of directors also signalled the start of an evaluation process to assess strategic alternatives for the group’s global gaming and PlayDigital segments in a bid to “unlock the full value” of each.
It was noted that a broad range of potential alternatives are being explored, with the process including, but not limited to, a sale, merger or spin-off, in addition to retention of, and further investment into, both division.
FS Gaming Investments, an investment group composed of former gambling industry executives, acquired a 6.5 per cent stake in 888.
The investment group is led by the former GVC Holdings leadership duo of Kenneth Alexander and Lee Feldman, and includes the support of ex-Betfair executive Stephen Morana and igaming investor Daniel Shribman.
An RNS filing also noted that DAZN CEO Shay Segev allowed his two per cent share in 888 to be controlled by the investment group to help facilitate the total 6.5 per cent share acquisition.
The UK Gambling Commission reported a five per cent year-on-year GGY increase through January to March as the region’s ecosystem reached the £1.3bn mark.
This latest data set, which is said to have been sourced from operators and covers approximately 80 percent of the online gambling market, suggested that the increase was driven by the real event betting and slots, which rose 13 per cent and two per cent, respectively.
Online slots GGY reached £551.7m, up the aforementioned percentage points from £540.16m, while the total number of spins increased nine per cent through the quarter to 19.5 billion to reach a new peak.
The Dutch gambling authority, Kansspelautoriteit, issued a second financial sanction to online gambling provider Bingoal following a further violation within the country.
A fine of €400,000 for advertisements being aimed at young adults (18-24) follows a €350,000 penalty being handed down In February. This came after it was found that “for a number of days in June 2022” players were permitted to access the site without consulting the Cruks self exclusion system.
In addition, the regulator’s compliance crusade continued after a pair of enforcement notices were also issued to Winning Poker Network and Goldwin.
Staying in the Netherlands with the Ksa, a legislative letter was sent to the Minister for Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind, requesting amendments to the Remote Gambling Act.
For the upcoming evaluation of KOA in 2024, the KSA asked Weerwind to give the gambling authority access to “false identity documents for enforcement and supervisory purposes”.
The gambling authority added that the communication was submitted in a bid to foster an increasingly “safe and responsible gambling system that properly protects and informs the Dutch player and prevents abuses”.
As such, the KSA believes two topics must be addressed as soon as possible: false ID creation for compliance purposes and the use of online data for analysis and investigation.
Carl Brincat, Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Gaming Authority, stressed that the outlook remains positive for the future of the industry after disclosing a range of accomplishments through the past year.
In the regulator’s latest annual report and financial statements, which covered the land-based and online ecosystems, Brincat cited a range of initiatives, such as “forward-facing policies” to boost innovation and a player protection directive, as evidence to drive the industry forward.
Despite reflecting on “three years of unprecedented uncertainty,” the MGA reported steady growth in terms of value added and employment, as well as an overall resilience that it “largely attributed to its ability to remain flexible and adapt to change.”
At the end of 2022, the number of companies licensed by the MGA and operating in Malta, including online and land-based entities, stood at 350
The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority is to consider initiating a crackdown on the availability of electronic gaming machines across the state after dissecting the results of a new study.
Conducted by Roy Morgan Research and funded by the NSW government’s responsible gambling fund, the investigation was said to have uncovered a “significant link” between late-night poker machine gamblers and problematic gambling behaviour across licensed venues.
Titled the ‘impact of electronic gaming machine late night play on EGM player behaviours,’ it was found that “problem gambling increased significantly” among those playing later in the day.
The study discovered that a little over a quarter of those accessing EGM’s usually gambled in the day/early evening (8am-7pm). Most were found to gamble between 7pm and 10pm (43.7 per cent), followed by 18.5 per cent between 10pm and midnight, 6.8 per cent between midnight and 2am and just under 5 per cent between 2am and 8am
Newcastle United entered into a fresh multi-year agreement with Fun88, however, the Asia-facing betting and gaming operator will be stepped down as front of shirt sponsor.
Fun88, which has disclosed a number of sporting alliances over recent times, first entered into partnership with the St James’ Park-based club, ahead of the 2017/18 season.
This saw the brand’s logo featured on the front of the Magpies’ kits and training wear for a total of six seasons after an extension was signed ahead of the 2020/21 season.
Under the terms of the latest alliance, the operator will “continue to support the club’s commercial growth in Asia”, which will be achieved via in-market initiatives, official club merchandise and VIP experiences for supporters.
The Star Entertainment Group disclosed a further delay to the ongoing A$3.6bn Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development, with an expected opening now pushed beyond the current year.
It was previously anticipated that the project would begin welcoming guests, at a rate of 1.4 million per year, during the latter stages of 2023.
However, it has now been advised by Destination Brisbane Consortium, the privately-owned and operated joint venture between The Star and its partners Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium, that a change to the expected opening date has been issued.
This came following a review of the current construction progress, with an amended delivery timeline now placing an expected opening date to be met in April 2024.