latvian-parliament-rejects-amendments-to-the-law-on-gambling-and-lotteries

Latvian Parliament Rejects Amendments to the Law on Gambling and Lotteries

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The Latvian parliament has decided to reject amendments to the Law on Gambling and Lotteries. The proposed amendments would have been used to limit gambling in the country.

These amendments were developed by members of the New Conservative Party and KPV LV. Saeima deputy Juris Jurašs urged other members of the parliament to support this legislative draft, commenting that about 80,000 people in Latvia suffer from gambling addiction and for 15,000 of them this problem is severe.

He believes the proposed amendments would become a small step towards forming a healthier society.

“Gambling halls in Latvia are a lasting disease that certain people rich, it needs to be treated,” he said.

Jurašs stressed in particular that the gambling situation is critical. After the parliament had rejected the legislative draft Saeima deputy Krišjānis Feldmans from New Conservative Party wrote on his Twitter profile that Attīstībai/Par! political party is a plague for Latvian politics, commenting how the party voted against limiting gambling.

35 Saeima deputies voted in favour of passing the draft to the Budget and Finance Committee, 15 voted against and 27 deputies abstained. And so the legislative draft was rejected somehow.

The annotation mentions that the purpose of the proposed amendments is limiting the number of gambling locations in Latvia and reducing the negative effect gambling has on public health and people in general.

The legislative draft explains that people who participate in gambling and lotteries are subjected to an excessive addiction risk. Gambling addiction or a pathological need to engage in gambling is characterised with frequent gambling episodes, which quickly become the person’s main point of interest, impacting his or her social, professional, and family values, as well as negatively impacting his or her finances.

According to the study performed by SKDS in 2016, 26% of respondents who engaged in gambling in the past 12 months admitted having situations when gambling took over so much of their life that the outside world ceased to exist to them for some time.

The legislative draft also proposed making it so that casinos would be permitted only in four or five-star hotels in Latvia.

The annotation mentions that studies show that localization or limitation of gambling halls and casinos is one of the ways to limit and reduce problematic gambling habits.

It was also planned to impose a limit on open hours of gambling halls.

Deputies also proposed prohibiting alimony avoiders from engaging in gambling. The Maintenance Guarantee Fund Law already provides multiple restrictions for debtors to motivate them to fulfil their duties – pay alimony and provide their children with finances.

lithuanian-regulator-issues-fine-for-illegal-ads-on-basketball-website

Lithuanian Regulator Issues Fine for Illegal Ads on Basketball Website

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Lithuania’s Gambling Supervisory Authority has fined an employee of a digital media business for placing illegal gambling ads on basketball news and information website Krepšinis.net, after a court confirmed its authority to take action.

The site was found to be hosting gambling ads with slogans and animated backgrounds, and featuring promotional bonuses, all of which are prohibited under Lithuanian regulations. These ads also lacked the mandatory warnings required in gambling ads.

The regulator said that Krepšinis.net had been a “refuge for illegal gambling advertising for several years.” This, it explained, was due to the site being registered outside of Lithuania, making it difficult to enforce advertising regulations.

However, the Vilnius City District Court ruled that advertising gambling in a way that contravenes Lithuanian law on the site is not permitted, as the site targets Lithuanian customers.

“With gambling advertised on Krepšinis.net, law-abiding Lithuanian portals found themselves in an unequal situation, and citizens were illegally encouraged to participate in gambling,” the regulator explained.

After conducting an investigation, the Gambling Supervisory Authority determined that the ads were placed by a business named UAB All Media Digital, which provides advertising services for websites. As a result, the employee responsible for placing the ads was fined €1500.

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Tom Horn Gaming continues Latvian charge with SynotTip

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Tom Horn Gaming has deepened its Latvian footprint after taking its portfolio of award-winning slot games live with SynotTip, an operator brand powered by SYNOT Interactive, part of the SYNOT Group.

SynotTip runs on a platform provided by a Czech content aggregator and platform provider SYNOT Interactive and is lauded as one of the biggest operator brands in Latvia, with a number of new players steadily growing every day.

Through the agreement with SYNOT Interactive, the operator’s users are now able to enjoy Tom Horn’s popular titles like 243 Crystal Fruits, The Secret of Ba as well as some of the most recent additions.

Ondrej Lapides, CEO at Tom Horn Gaming said of the partnership: “Combining our strong product and the local competence of SynotTip allows us to confidently look forward to strengthening our presence in Latvia. Our focus on high quality content and superb technology aligns well with our new partners.

We already see that our products are in huge demand among Latvian players and we’re looking forward to catering to their increasing appetite for an exciting online gaming experience that is safe and fair going forward.”

“We’re extremely happy to onboard Tom Horn Gaming as we continue to improve our content offering with exciting new titles that appeal to local audiences. Tom Horn Gaming is a leading igaming supplier in many markets, including the Baltics, and its expertise in slot provision coupled with a profound knowledge of the local player preferences is a guarantee of success.

We’re sure this will be a long-lasting and fruitful partnership and together we will grow our footprint in many regulated markets for years to come, “ added Michal Hýbl, CEO at SYNOT Interactive.

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OneTouch launches live casino product with Bombay Club

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Mobile-first provider partners with premium brand to create industry’s most compelling live games

Mobile-first games developer OneTouch has partnered with VIP casino Bombay Club to launch a series of new online live casino products as it continues to expand its innovative iGaming portfolio.

Bombay Club High Roller Studio, part of the Coingaming Group, is an Estonia-based live casino studio designed to provide the ultimate luxury entertainment experience to VIP players.

The product provides 16 premium quality Roulette, Baccarat and Blackjack tables, giving the option of multi-table betting alongside an innovative live chat function enabling interaction between players.

The crypto-compatible offering can be enjoyed at a faster pace than traditional live dealer games, featuring a luxuriously designed betting area and a dedicated VIP room with distinct rewards and promotions.

The multichannel release fills a gap in the live dealer market for mobile-first products, retaining the single-touch interactivity for which OneTouch’s game collection is known.

Petra Maria Poola, Head of Business Development and Operations at OneTouch, said: “Providing a real-life land-based casino experience to players on the move, we’ve created a world-class set of live dealer games within a lavishly designed betting area for those in search of authentic casino interaction.

“With lockdown restrictions gradually lifting across the globe, demand for mobile content that can be enjoyed on the go is rapidly rising, and we’re here to deliver for players and partners alike.”

 

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Entain Secures Regulatory Approvals for Enlabs Acquisition

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Entain has confirmed that it has secured all the necessary approvals from the relevant competition and gaming regulatory authorities for the takeover of Enlabs.

As a result, the condition for the completion of the group’s offer regarding the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals has been met. However, the firm has yet to gain the approval of all Enlabs shareholders.

Entain initially made a public cash offer of £250 million to the Entain shareholders to tender all shares in the operator on 7 January 2021. This represented an offer of SEK 40 per Enlabs share.

However, although company Chairman Niklas Braathen approved the bid, one of the key shareholders in the Baltic firm, US-based hedge fund Alta Fox, criticised the offer as having “materially undervalued the company.”

The FTSE 100 firm has subsequently increased the offer price to SEK 53 per share, valuing Enlabs at around €365 million, and further stated that the bid “is final and will not be increased.” Additionally, the group’s proposed buyout currently has the “irrevocable” approval of 51% of Enable shareholders.

Upon acquiring the relevant regulatory approvals, Entain stated that it “reserves the right to extend the acceptance period of the offer as well as to postpone the date of settlement.”

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Slotmill games certified for Lithuania

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Slotmill has had its games certified to meet the regulations in Lithuania. Slotmill has previously certified its games for Lativia and Estonia and the addition of Lithuania further demonstrates Slotmill’s commitment to meet local regulations.

Founder Johan Ohman said: “In addition to last week’s announcement, it is extremely encouraging to gain certification also for Lithuania. At Slotmill, quality is of utmost importance and we feel that meeting local regulations aids in achieving the quality we desire.”

entain-increases-its-offer-to-acquire-enlabs-by-32.5%

Entain Increases its Offer to Acquire Enlabs by 32.5%

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Entain has increased its offer to acquire Enlabs by 32.5%, from SEK 40 per share to SEK 53 per share. The increased offer price is final and will not be increased by Entain.

Rob Wood, CFO and deputy CEO of Entain, said: “As a world leader in sports betting and gaming entertainment, Entain’s ambition is to revolutionise betting and gaming to create the most exciting and trusted entertainment for every customer.

In a highly competitive and regulated industry, where consolidation is a key theme, Entain is able to provide the scale and platform needed to further support Enlabs’ long-term growth, and we firmly believe that Entain will be the best home for Enlabs, its employees and customers. Against this background, we have decided to make a final offer of SEK 53 to all shareholders, providing an opportunity to exit their investment at a very attractive valuation.

We are pleased that shareholders with around 51 per cent have now irrevocably agreed to accept the offer and would urge other shareholders to do the same by 18 March.”

lithuanian-gambling-supervision-service-clarifies-warning-requirements-for-sponsors

Lithuanian Gambling Supervision Service Clarifies Warning Requirements for Sponsors

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The Lithuanian Gambling Supervision Service has clarified the rules around its requirement for a warning in gambling ads and how these rules apply to sponsorships.

In February 2020, the country’s legislature, the Seimas, passed a law that introduced mandatory warnings about gambling-related harm on all gambling advertisements from July 1 that year. The bill was passed by consensus after no objections were raised at its first reading.

The Gambling Supervision Service initially determined that the law did not apply to sponsorships. However this week, a year after the first law was passed, the Seimas passed another law clarifying that certain sponsorships that resemble traditional advertising will be covered.

The Supervision Service has now outlined the exact cases when a sponsorship does and does not require a warning.

It said that warnings are not required where an advertisement is worn on the clothing of a sponsored person or team, nor is it required at an event where the person or team is participating. It is also not required if the name of an event or team is sponsored.

However, the warning is necessary if a message does not refer to a specific event in which a sponsored person or team partakes and the time and place at which the event occurs. It must also exist if the sponsorship message contains more than the brand name and trademarks, particularly if the message includes a mention of the types of gambling services offered.

The regulator also ruled that these deals can only be referred to as “sponsorships,” and not “partnerships” or similar language.

entain-extends-acceptance-period-for-enlabs-bid-to-march-18

Entain Extends Acceptance Period for Enlabs Bid to March 18

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Entain has extended the deadline for Enlabs to accept the takeover bid until March 18. Entain is still standing firm on its offer despite some recoil from Enlabs shareholders.

The FTSE 100 company said it had filed applications with competition and gaming authorities to obtain the necessary approvals for the takeover, but added that it did not expect those to come through during the current acceptance period, which ends on February 18.

As a result, it had extended the acceptance period to March 18.

“Provided that Entain announces that the conditions of the offer have been satisfied or waived on 23 March, settlement is expected to commence on or around 30 March,” the Entain board said.

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Lithuania’s Online Gaming Growth Fails to Offset Land-based Decline in 2020

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Lithuania’s regulated gambling market saw revenue decline in 2020, despite a 47.1% jump in online gaming revenue mitigating much of the country’s land-based struggles.

Total revenue across all verticals and channels declined 8.1% year-on-year to €103.5m, with the online advances accompanied by a 39.1% drop in land-based revenue to €43.9m.

With customers confined to their homes between March and May as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, igaming participating grew sharply. Total customer spends surpassed $1bn, a 64.3% year-on-year increase, while total revenue grew to €59.6m.

Category A slots were the primary source of online revenue, after the product’s total almost doubled year-on-year to €29.4m.

Despite major sporting events being suspended between March and mid-May as a result of Covid-19, sports betting contributed the second-largest share of any vertical. Betting revenue was up 10.5% to €26.5m, on stakes of €444.1m, a 5.2% improvement on 2019.

Online table game revenue soared, albeit from a low base, to €1.9m, while revenue from Category B slots was up 47.4% to €1.2m.

After Covid-19 pandemic forced in-person facilities to shut their doors from 16 March to 17 May, Lithuania’s land-based market struggled, however.

Customer stakes across all products fell 39.5% below the prior year’s total, to €288.6m.

Category B slots – which limit stakes to €0.50 per spin and have win amounts capped at 200 times the original stake – made up the majority of revenue for the year, at €20.3m, down 37.9%

Table games followed, though again revenue fell, to €10.2m. Category A slot revenue – with uncapped stakes and winnings – dropped 36.1% to €7.8m.

Retail sports betting’s contribution, meanwhile was almost halved, to €5.7m. Not only did the sector face the Covid-19 shutdown, but also saw most major sporting events suspended as a result of the pandemic.

The country’s national lottery Olifėja also reported a year-on-year decline in revenue for 2020. Ticket sales fell 6.7% to €106.3m, and after payouts to players, this left revenue of €46.9m, down 5.9%.