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SOFTSWISS Expands to Greece

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SOFTSWISS is excited to announce that the brand recently received the Greek gaming licence for Online Casino operation from the Hellenic Gaming Commission. This marks a new stepping stone for SOFTSWISS as it gains a foothold to operate in the regulated Greek market. It is the latest in a series of national licences awarded to SOFTSWISS.

In February 2021, the brand received the national licence in Nigeria The Greek gaming licence was received earlier last month with SOFTSWISS already finalising its very first project N1CASINO.GR on the Greek iGaming arena.

The licence allows for local operation in Greece for players with Greek passports and IDs as well as those holding local Greek bank accounts. This major milestone will now allow to further strengthen the SOFTSWISS market presence in Europe, as well as establish new partnerships and boost existing ones. 

The very first project announced to launch very soon this year N1CASINO Greece. The project forms a part of N1 Partners Group. The licensed online casino brand plans to integrate sports betting at later stages. The client’s team is in final stages before going live and is announced to be released in the next few months. 

Ivan Montik, Founder of SOFTSWISS, notes: “It’s a tremendous landmark and an amazing achievement for us to receive the Greek gaming licence to be able to do business in a regulated national market and expand our reach! It’s even more exciting to be officially announcing our very first client for the Greek region to be N1CASINO Greece. We’ve recently made strategic moves to fast-developing markets like Nigeria and are now establishing ourselves more in the European continent. It is opening new horizons for us and we’re ready to go for it. SOFTSWISS is not only planning on doing business in Greece but also making a positive impact through charity and corporate social sustainability efforts in the country.

 

About SOFTSWISS 

SOFTSWISS is an international tech brand supplying widely acclaimed, certified software solutions for managing iGaming operations. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licenses, providing a “one-stop-shop” white label solution by taking care of all technical, legal, and financial processes on behalf of its customers. The company has a vast product portfolio, which includes an Online Casino Platform, Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, an affiliate platform, and a recently launched sportsbook platform. In 2013 SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a bitcoin-optimized online casino solution. The company has thus been regarded as the leading technical expert when it comes to the use of cryptocurrencies in online gaming.

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Dutch Gambling Regulator Imposes €500,000 Fine on N1 Interactive Limited

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Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has imposed a fine of €500,000 (£425,967.50) on Maltese-based company N1 Interactive Limited.

Since the Netherlands operates a regulated offline gambling market, whereby online gambling is not yet (but soon to be) allowed, N1 received a fine for offering illegal gaming to Dutch players.

Words like “Amsterdam” were used as bonus codes aimed towards the Dutch audience, alongside zero indication on the N1 website of the Netherlands being a prohibited country for online gaming. The amount of the fine was determined across a number of circumstances; and extra fines were accrued by N1 for failing to add a visible age verification option alongside charging players extra for “inactivity fees”.

Legally, offering any online gambling is only permitted if a company has a licence. It is especially unlawful to offer any type of online gambling via the internet to the Netherlands, a country which previously banned online gambling, and according to the KSA is deemed as “forbidden”.

There seems to be a slight revamp in this regulation since 1 April when the Remote Gambling Act (KOA) came into effect. With this, it will now be possible to apply for a licence to offer online gaming from 1 October 2021.

With a view to protecting the Netherlands from illegal online gambling, the KSA has ensured N1’s website, Betchan, has since been removed and is no longer accessible.

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Online Gambling Allowed in Philippines to Boost Covid Response Funds

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Despite previously being against online gambling in the country, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he was forced to allow the activity to boost the country’s Covid-19 response funds.

In a pre-recorded meeting with his political party officials, Duterte said allowing gambling operations was the most “sensible” thing to do, considering the government is running short of funds.

Duterte acknowledged that he was previously against the online gambling industry, noting that he even insisted on a no-casino policy in famous resorts in both Boracay and Bohol.

Duterte, however, said he is still against gambling “in the barangay-level” noting that it would be more difficult to control.

Malacañang recognises the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) as the government’s tax revenue generators amid the prevailing health crisis, but would not let them evade paying the right taxes. Around 60 POGOs have secured licensed to operate in the Philippines.

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Ukrainian Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy Publishes Final Gambling Tax Bill

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The Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy has published the final gambling tax bill that will accompany Ukraine’s new gambling legislation, which was passed last year.

The committee has made a number of minor changes and clarifications after reading bill 2713-D for a second time.

On its first reading, the committee introduced a flat 10% tax rate for all Ukrainian gambling verticals and removed a clause that temporarily tripled licence fees for the period up until a national monitoring system could be introduced.

The new changes include a clarification that the first licensees, such as Parimatch and Cosmolot, that have already paid the higher licence fees will have the amount they overpaid put towards future renewal fees.

The bill also now orders the National Bank of Ukraine to examine maximum cash limits for land-based casinos to ensure strong anti-money laundering practices.

Another change deals with gambling winnings, allowing casino and slot players to deduct losses from any winnings they make in the same 24-hour period. Winnings of over UAH480,000 (€14,900) a year will be taxed at 18%.

The bill will now receive a second reading in parliament, which may see it passed and sent to President Volodymyr Zelensky to be signed into law.

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Norwegian Gaming Regulator Lottstift Orders BML Group to Leave Market

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The Norwegian Gaming Authority Lottstift has ordered BML Group to stop offering gambling services to Norwegian players.

The regulator has notified the Malta-based group that it found its brands, which include Betsson, Betsafe, Nordicbet, Norgesautomaten and CasinoEuro, were offering gambling and lottery without a licence. It said the group had been using sites with Norwegian names and symbols and had marketed them on Norwegian television.

It said: “Although BML Group’s gambling licence is provided by the Maltese authorities, the illegal gaming offer takes effect in Norway by the company offering the games on the internet, inviting players in the Norwegian market to participate, and allowing Norwegians to register as players.”

“The Lottery Act and the Gambling Act also apply to gambling from abroad when the offer is directed at Norway. The Norwegian Lotteries Authority’s work with the payment service ban has also revealed that BML Group Limited is actively seeking to circumvent the Norwegian ban on arranging payment to and from foreign gambling companies.”

Under Norway’s monopoly system, the state-controlled company Norsk Tipping is the only operator licensed to offer online casino games.

Lottstift added in its letter to BML: “If the illegal relationship does not cease after the decision has been made, the Norwegian Lotteries Authority will consider notifying coercive fines that run until the illegal gambling offer has been rectified or terminated.

“A coercive fine is not a punishment, and the obligation to pay a coercive fine is not depending on guilt, but is triggered when an illegal relationship occurs, and should be set so high that it does not pay financially for the person responsible not to comply with the decision.”

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GLI to Provide Expertise to Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board of Uganda

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Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) has been appointed by the Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board of Uganda to support them in developing new technical standards for the gaming industry in the country.

GLI will advise the Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board on the review of existing gaming technical standards and draft new technical standards where required. GLI will also provide training to the Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board staff and gaming inspectors to introduce the new technical standards and ensure the successful adoption and ongoing compliance with the standards.

“The development and adoption of a robust set of technical standards to govern the integrity of gaming software and equipment and ensure the protection of players is our number one priority. The Board has a good relationship with GLI, and we look forward to working with them in an advisory capacity on further developing the technical standards of gaming in Uganda,” Juliet Namuli, Acting CEO of the Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board of Uganda, said.

“We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to partner with the Lotteries and Gaming Board of Uganda and are well-positioned to deliver the services required. We have significant expertise in delivering similar projects for a number of global jurisdictions, including several in Africa, such as Seychelles and Nigeria,” Devon Dalbock, General Manager for GLI Africa, said.

“Our team in Africa is expanding as demand for GLI services and advisory continues to grow across the continent. We know that we still have a long way to go before things start returning to normal in Africa, but we want the gaming industry to know that we are here and ready to support them when they are ready for us to do so,” he added.

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The long-awaited opening of the German market has arrived

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Catalin Negoita, Commercial Manager at Kalamba Games

The long-awaited German legislation allowing online gaming nationwide finally enters into force this week. Even before fully opening up, the market has become a key focus for many industry players, with a multitude of factors making the potential of the region an attractive proposition.

Firstly, there is the sheer size of the country itself. With a population second only to Russia in Europe and relatively high average earnings, the potential value of the player pool is vast. The second reason is perhaps more subjective, but we have found that German players are fairly easy to satisfy. Their preferences are well established, which makes it straightforward for an online casino supplier to adequately cater for this sizeable new clientele.

Because of the country’s strong history of land-based gambling, classic games that resemble titles found in brick-and-mortar venues with popular themes like ancient Egypt and book games work very well with local players. Taking inspiration from what works in the land-based sector is therefore often a safe bet in Germany. Mobile usage is also a lot higher than your average market because of the good infrastructure so it’s worth considering creating games that are optimised for mobile.

Strict rules and regulations around responsible gaming and player protection have already presented some challenges for the industry with slot suppliers required to make fundamental changes to the makeup of their content.

Operators must adopt a €1 maximum stake limit on online slots, alongside a 5-second minimum duration on slot spins. Jackpots will be banned, removing an important acquisition and retention tool for operators. Monthly deposit limits of €1,000 will also be introduced and players must be offered tools to set spending and time limits, along with cooling-off periods.

These restrictions will influence the shape of the market with the main effect being that retention will have a greater focus than in many other markets with fewer restrictions.

Despite being a hot topic in the industry for quite some time, providers will now be trying even harder to retain more players for longer and will have to be creative in order to succeed. Legislative changes are part of every regulated market and it is key for operators and suppliers to embrace them and try to adapt as best we can. We are known to be a very innovative industry and I’m sure as the market matures, we will see pioneering new ways to acquire and retain players while ensuring maximum player protection.

Basically gamification, customer service and the quality of games in general will be the differentiator in the German market, and that is for both providers and operators to address.

Gambling will become more of a social thing because the maximum limit is so low. It’s not exactly going to be the thrill of winning big – it will be the social aspect and making sure that retention factors, gamification side missions and different functionalities are top notch.

You could say a laser-like focus on promotional tools and social gaming elements, such as those that we are introducing on our own Kalamba Bullseye platform, are going to be very important. Basically, everything that enhances the player experience will be key such as promotional tools, UX elements, and/or in-game gamification features. Similarly, game production values will have to be high and match those of other entertainment media.

At Kalamba, we believe that Germany will be a very strong market. The way to monetise the market will just be a little bit different there. There won’t be VIP players, so the industry will have to adjust to a volume model. Player values will decrease but because of the social acceptance of gaming, and slots in particular, the player numbers will increase and that’s how it will balance itself out over time.

Initially, when the legislation comes into force, we will just have to analyse the player behaviour and see in what direction the market is going and how we can fully capitalise on this new opportunity. Germany will be a market that could completely change with providers having to adapt to the new conditions as there will be a lot of new players entering the market now that it’s completely regulated.

We must work very closely with our partners to figure out the best way to make the player experience as engaging as possible and this will lead us to success in this new and exciting environment.

norwegian-government-introduces-new-legislation-to-crack-down-on-unlicenced-operators

Norwegian Government Introduces New Legislation to Crack Down on Unlicenced Operators

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The Norwegian government has introduced new legislation to crack down on unlicenced operators and affiliates promoting them.

The new legislation unifies the country’s previous Lottery Act, Gambling Act and Totalisator Act while maintaining the market monopoly shared by Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto by “strengthening the exclusive rights model”.

The new gambling law was first proposed in June 2020, before the government notified the European Commission of the proposal in August of the same year.

Minister of culture and gender equality Abid Raja said the law would specifically crack down on operators who are not permitted to offer gambling in Norway.

“I am pleased to finally be able to present the new gambling law, which is a milestone in the government’s work to prevent gambling problems and ensure responsible gambling.

“We are tired of foreign gambling companies that do not respect Norwegian law, and that do not operate with proper accountability measures. Therefore, the new law provides the Norwegian Lotteries Authority with new tools for detecting, reacting to and sanctioning violations of the law.”

Under the new law, marketing gambling without a Norwegian licence is prohibited. The government said that this would apply not only to operators, but also to those who “pass on” customers, such as affiliates.

“Violation of the ban can result in punishment,” the government said.

Furthermore, marketing gambling to children will be a criminal offence, and there is a blanket ban on gambling with credit cards so as to promote responsible gambling habits.

Any operators are also obliged to introduce accountability measures, and any marketing to self-excluded gamblers will be a criminal offence. Marketing must also “not go beyond what is necessary to attract players to the legal gaming offers”.

Raja added: “Things are happening in the gambling field in Norway. The government has worked consciously for many years with gambling policy and this is yielding results.

“Foreign gambling companies and their payment intermediaries are withdrawing from the Norwegian market, their turnover is declining and advertising is no longer as easy to reach.”

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Ukrainian Gambling Tax Bill Progresses to Second Reading

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Verkhovna Rada, the parliament of Ukraine, has sent a bill that would set gambling taxes in the country to a second reading, though an attempt to wave through the proposal with a single vote failed.

The proposal – bill 2713-D – was first put forward by a legislative committee in February this year and would set tax rates at 10% of gross revenue for all verticals. In addition, the proposal also repeals a threefold increase in licence fees that would have applied until the country established a central monitoring system for gambling.

The Rada first voted on whether to pass the bill into law, without the need for a second reading. Although many more deputies voted for the bill than against, by a 217-59 margin, 55 members either abstained or didn’t vote. As a result, the bill fell short of the 226 votes required to pass a bill without a second reading.

After this vote failed, deputies then voted on whether to instead simply pass the bill to a second reading. In this case, 229 deputies voted for the bill and 58 against, allowing it to pass.

The bill had previously been scheduled for a first reading on 19 May, but this vote was delayed to June.

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Austrac Accuses Australian Casinos of Money-Laundering

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The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), a state-run financial intelligence organization, has leveled allegations against many of the major land-based casinos in the country.

Crown Resorts, Star Entertainment and SkyCity Entertainment Group are among those who have received notices. Austrac has also reportedly contacted National Bank of Australia (NAB) regarding the matter.

Austrac is taked with monitoring financial transactions in and identifying money laundering, organised crime, tax evasion, welfare fraud and terrorism financing.

According to Crown Resorts, Austrac sent a notice mainly regarding potential non-compliance with Australia’s money-laundering rules in connection with the operations of Crown Perth, a casino in Perth.

Star Entertainment revealed that the notice it received was about its Star Sydney property, for the same money-laundering non-complaince.

The company issued a statement, which asserted:

“The Star takes its anti-money laundering obligations very seriously and will fully co-operate with Austrac in relation to its requests for information and documents and the investigation.”