Every week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most fascinating stories. The Swedish government’s proposed gambling tax increase, the UK Gambling Commission’s regulatory action against Lindar Media and New Jersey’s August revenue figures feature in this week’s round-up.
The Swedish government has announced plans within its 2024 budget to increase the tax on gambling GGR as it believes the country’s market is now stable following legalisation in 2019.
From 1 July 2024, Regeringskansliet plans to increase Sweden’s gambling tax from 18 per cent to 22 per cent in hopes of raising an additional SEK 540m (£39.4m) per year.
With concerns surrounding low channelisation, the Swedish government hopes that by increasing the gambling tax, a channelisation target of 90 per cent can be achieved with little negative impact on the legal market.
The proposal – which can be found on pages 289-290, section 12.20 of the 2024 Budget – is expected to be put forth before the Riksdag for approval in the spring of next year.
However, the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling – Branschföreningen för Onlinespel – has argued that the proposed changes don’t take into account the current state of the market and the future it is heading toward.
Data from GamCare has indicated that the percentage of people calling the National Gambling Helpline for gambling support related to online slots has almost doubled in the last five years.
With this data in mind and in response to the UK government’s gambling white paper consultation, the gambling support charity is calling for the maximum stake for online slots to be set at £2.
The data revealed that 73 per cent of the 5,660 callers to the National Gambling Helpline last year struggled with online gambling.
Of those who contacted the helpline last year, 60 per cent reported online slots as one of the main gambling activities they were struggling with, which is up from 34 per cent in 2018-19.
Meanwhile, the proportion of people citing challenges with betting exchanges has risen from 0.3 per cent to 7.6 per cent over the last five years. The percentage of gamblers having problems with online financial markets such as cryptocurrency and high-risk trading platforms has increased from 0.02 per cent to 2.17 per cent.
However, the proportion of those who have had difficulties with online sports betting has decreased, falling from 34 per cent in 2018-19 to 20 per cent in 2022-23.
Lindar Media Limited, the operator of online casino Mr Q, is facing regulatory action by the UK Gambling Commission and has been ordered to pay £690,947 for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.
The regulatory action follows an investigation by the UKGC into Lindar Media, which found failings in the operator’s processes aimed at preventing money laundering and protecting individuals from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
The commission found failings in Lindar Media’s implementation of AML policies, procedures and controls, deficiencies in its responsible gambling policies, procedures, controls and practices, and weaknesses in its reporting arrangements in respect of key events.
Tabcorp along with eight venues have been charged by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission for allegedly allowing minors to gamble.
In breach of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003, Tabcorp faces a total of 54 charges from the VGCCC, including 27 counts of allowing a minor to gamble and failing to reasonably supervise its electronic betting terminals.
The VGCCC has charged eight venues for allowing a minor to gamble, allowing a minor within a gaming machine area and failing to ensure gambling vending machines were reasonably supervised at all times between 8 September 2022 to 1 November 2022.
New Jersey gaming revenue increased by almost 13 per cent in August in comparison to the previous year, as all verticals saw improvements year-over-year.
Data from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement stated that total gaming revenue from the Garden State’s casinos, racetracks and their partners in August amounted to $531.6m. This figure was a 12.9 per cent increase on the previous year (August 2022: $470.7m).
For the year-to-date, total gaming revenue currently stands at $3.77bn, up 11.2 per cent YoY (2022: $3.38bn).
New Jersey’s nine casino hotel properties led the way in terms of contribution towards August’s revenue total with $280.3m, followed by igaming with a win of $155.3m and sports wagering with gross revenue of $96m.
August’s casino revenue of $280.3m was a 2.3 per cent uptick in comparison to the previous year (2022: $274m). YTD, casino revenue currently stands at $1.93bn, once again a 2.3 per cent increase YoY (2022: $1.88bn).
Slot machine win generated $210.5m towards the casino total for August, up 3 per cent YoY (2022: $204.3m), while table games amounted to $69.7m, a slight improvement on the previous year (2022: $69.6m).
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has declared that it is transitioning to become solely a gambling regulatory agency, moving away from its dual role of an operator and a regulator.
Alejandro H Tengco, CEO and Chair of PAGCOR, stated that the move, to be completed by 2025, has been put in place to fulfil the corporation’s aim of levelling the playing field to “ensure future growth and viability for all gaming industry players”.
“We have started preparing for this transition in earnest, and we are starting where it matters most – within PAGCOR itself,” said Tengco.
Knowing its strengths and limitations, Tengco remarked that PAGCOR aims to become “the gold standard in the Asian gaming scene,” and while it recognises that the shift could impact some employees, it is preparing plans to help those affected avoid displacement, especially those that work in PAGCOR-operated casinos.