Every week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most fascinating stories. An array of financial sanctions, update to a break-up of Finland’s gambling monopoly and Betsson entering the M&A arena once again, as well as one licence suspension being confirmed and another potentially being implemented, form part of our latest headline reflection.
Intouch Games had its operating licences suspended by the UK Gambling Commission, which becomes the latest action taken after three penalty packages were handed down over the past four years.
The regulator is to commence a review under section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005 following concerns that activities may have been carried out contrary to licensing conditions. This may mean that the licensee may be deemed unsuitable to continue with activities.
It is suspected the operator failed to follow licence conditions related to money laundering, fair and transparent terms and practices, and reporting key events.
In January, the UKGC cited a “history of failings” in handing down a £6.1m penalty, taking its total to £11.7m, for social responsibility and money laundering failings.
This followed a £2.2m settlement being paid in 2019 for regulatory failures, as well as a £3.4m action and warning in 2021 after a UKGC assessment revealed social responsibility, money laundering and marketing failures.
Stake resumed its services as normal after becoming the target of hackers that reportedly exploited the company for $41.3m.
Taking place onMonday 4 September, the suspicious transactions were confirmed by the online casino and sportsbook as affecting its Ethereum and BSC hot wallets.
However, in a post on X, the group did offer assurances that its consumers’ funds were safe, with Bitcoin, XRP and other wallets said to have been unaffected and remained fully operational.
A number of reports have the exact figure drained standing at $41.3m, although this has not been confirmed by the operator.
SkyCity Entertainment could be on the brink of receiving a temporary suspension of its casino licence for a period “in the range of 10 days” following a customer complaint.
The operator issued an update on the potential course of action after being informed by the Department of Internal Affairs that its Secretary, Paul James, intended to make an application regarding such a course of action to the New Zealand Gambling Commission.
A decision will subsequently be assessed by the Commission regarding a potential suspension and duration, however, it is reminded this “may not be forthcoming for a number of months”.
The application follows a customer complaint that was made in February 2022 by a former customer that had gambled at SkyCity’s Auckland-based gaming venue between August 2017 to February 2021.
Tipwin accepted a fine of DKK 100,000 (£11,473) after the group was referred to the police by the Danish gambling authority, Spillemyndigheden, in June 2022.
This course of action was initially taken after breaches of the rules on risk assessment, policies, business procedures, and supervision of sections of the Anti-Money Laundering Act were discovered.
The referral was issued by the DGA as Tipwin, up until May 16, 2022, had not prepared a risk assessment of their sale of land-based betting products, and did not have written procedures on their provision of such products.
Furthermore, it was also found that the company did not have sufficient business procedures for and supervision of their provision of land-based gambling products in relation to anti-money laundering up until May 25, 2022.
Carol Boate, Regulator of the National Lottery, revealed that a €150,000 penalty was levelled against Premier Lotteries Ireland during this past year following a breach of self-exclusion protocols.
This failing was disclosed upon the publication of an annual report and accounts for the office of the Regulator of the National Lottery and the National Lottery Fund for the year ending December 31, 2022.
It was said that this stemmed from an IT incident concerning a number of permanently self-excluded player accounts being deleted in error, following which an investigation was launched.
Finnish state-owned gambling operator Veikkaus stated that it plans to make several reductions across the organisation as it prepares for upcoming changes to the country’s gambling industry.
As Finland moves towards a licensing model, which is expected to be implemented no later than 2026 according to government, the company has stated that cuts could occur in employment contracts and venues.
Veikkaus’ digital gambling business is intended to become part of the international licensing gaming market, however, lottery and physical slot machines will remain within the monopoly.
The Dutch gambling authority, Kansspelautoriteit, issued three warnings after untargeted advertising was witnessed in public places.
The regulator noted that “several providers” had violated the new advertising rules regarding online gambling that were introduced at the turn of July.
At the time of these entering into force, the Ksa had warned the industry “not to push the boundaries” regarding a prohibition that is intended to heighten protections for vulnerable groups against the risk of addiction.
However, following this, the receipt of “several signals” have been detailed by officials, which highlighted numerous examples, across billboards and bus shelters, from various unnamed online gambling providers that ads are still visible in public places.
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission’s enforcement crusade continued with a A$1m fine being imposed on Tabcorp, the largest received by the company within the state, for a major system outage during the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival.
Set against the backdrop of a 2021 royal commission and numerous recent financial sanctions and gambling reforms, the scale of the fine, the VGCCC said, reflects a failure to comply with directions to provide information concerning the issue. This left the group’s wagering and betting system unavailable for around 36 hours.
Betsson reiterated that M&A remains at the forefront of its quest for global expansion, following recent activity in Belgium and a vow that acquisitions are permanently on the radar when in conversation with SBC’s iGaming Daily podcast.
This followed the completion of a €75m bond issue, which saw Betsson stress that this move better positions the operator to make significant progress on multiple long term ambitions, of which acquisitions forms a key facet.
The senior unsecured bonds have a framework of up to €25m, tenor of three years, floating interest rate of EURIBOR three months plus 460 bps and final maturity date in September 2026.
This, the group noted, will be used towards general corporate purposes, which include, but are not limited to, acquisitions.
Licensed gambling companies in Sweden recorded a slight drop in revenue year-on-year through 2023’s second quarter, with the figure of SEK 6.7bn down a little over one percentage point from SEK 6.77bn.
However, this does represent a slight nudge of 1.77 per cent from the SEK 6.58bn witnessed through Q1. For the year-to-date, overall revenue is down less than half a percentage point after closing at SEK 13.28m (2022 SEK 13.33bn).
Looking at the country’s latest quarterly revenue in more detail, online betting and gaming maintains its front running status when highlighting each individual reporting segment, despite revenue dropping 1.5 per cent to SEK 4.18bn (2022: SEK 4.23bn).