ACMA Requests ISPs to Block More Illegal Gambling Websites

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested that Australian internet service providers (ISPs) block more illegal offshore gambling websites.

The sites include Bao Casino, Pokie Place, Reels of Joy and Ozwin Casino. Following numerous complaints about these services, the ACMA undertook investigations which found them to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal online gambling. Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 263 illegal gambling websites have been blocked.


Leander awarded coveted ISO 27001:2013 Certification for ISMS

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Leander Games, working with TÜV Rheinland global auditors has been awarded the coveted leading international ISO 27001:2013

Throughout this rigorous process Leander demonstrated its ongoing and systematic approach towards security and demonstrated its commitment to protecting sensitive information and critical assets while consistently delivering quality service for customers.

Leander’s CEO, Steven Matsell, says:

“Receiving the ISO 27001 certification is testament to our commitment towards security and further enforces Leander as a trusted partner for operators and suppliers.”

“This accreditation acknowledges our commitment to compliance and security across our operations it enables us to deliver our 2021 strategy to grow aggressively in specific regulated markets.”


France’s ANJ Flags Concerns Over Licensees’ Player Protection Strategies

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L’Autorité nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has approved or suggested improvements to player protection plans licensees were ordered to submit as part of the French gambling regulator’s increased focus on social responsibility.

 The regulator examined action plans from all operators active in the country, including the two former monopolies, La Française des Jeux (FDJ) and Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU).

 As well as approving 96 plans, the ANJ said it may make decisions later on some land-based casinos which may only open at a later date because of restrictions related to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

 There was no indication that any plan was rejected outright.

 The ANJ said it prioritised four main issues: prohibiting minors from gambling, allowing for self-exclusion and other checks, identifying and supporting potential problem gamblers and having a general policy that focused on protecting these groups.

 Examining the plan of FDJ, the regulator approved the plan with no further conditions. It said the lottery operator “reflects the operator’s desire to meet” the French government’s objectives regarding protecting minors and problem players.

 “It is distinguished in particular by the setting up of an ambitious program aimed at guaranteeing the ban on gambling by minors on all game types, innovative prevention initiatives, diversified and adapted to the profiles of players, and the existence of an advanced player identification and support system for pathological gamblers,” the regulator said.

 For PMU, however, it raised some concerns and thus added further conditions.

 “Further progress is expected from the operator to fully achieve the objective of preventing excessive or pathological gambling,” ANJ said.

 In particular, it said tools and resources for problem gamblers were not easily available, while identification of problem gamblers and training of employees were also not up to standard.

 While the ANJ approved this plan, it told the operator it must improve these areas. This included providing technical specifications of its system to recognise problem gamblers, taking the effort to strengthen its training system and ensuring the accessibility of RG tools.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic “Facing Three-year Ban” That Would End Career Amid Investment Allegations

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AC Milan and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s career is at risk as he could face a three-year ban due to his association with a betting company, according to reports in his native Sweden.

Ibrahimovic’s Stockholm-based company Unknown AB owns 10% of the shares of Bethard, a gambling site with offices in Malta.

That’s according to Aftonbladet, while the Swedish Football Association has been aware of the potential problem brewing for three years.

The report claims this is why Ibrahimovic was left out of Sweden’s squad for the 2018 World Cup, when a return to the national side was mooted, despite having retired from international duty two years earlier.

Now it’s claimed that FIFA and UEFA are finally preparing to intervene and make an example of the ex-Manchester United striker.

Neither FIFA nor UEFA allow players who feature in their competitions to have financial interests in gambling companies.

But Ibrahimovic may have breached these rules during AC Milan’s Europa League qualifier with Shamrock Rovers in September 2020 and Sweden’s World Cup qualifier with Georgia last month, after he returned to the national team set-up.

His involvement with Bethard could be punished with a substantial fine and a three-year ban by FIFA which, given the Swede is 39, could spell the end for his career.

UEFA’s punishments are less clear, while Aftonbladet approached both governing bodies for a comment but were refused one.

The Swedish newspaper claims Ibrahimovic’s company is the fourth-largest owner in Bethard, which made a post-tax profit of £25.79 million in 2019.


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.


Camelot to Enforce 18+ Age Restriction on UK National Lottery Products from April 22

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The Camelot Group has announced that it will enforce an 18+ age restriction on all its UK National Lottery products from April 22, six months ahead of the UK Government’s October deadline to introduce the measure.

From that date, anyone under the age of 18 will no longer be able to purchase any of the national lottery operator’s products, whether that be online or in a retail environment.

The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced last December that it would be raising the minimum age to play the lottery from 16 to 18 years following the release of its “Review of the Gambling Act 2005 Terms of Reference and Call for Evidence” policy paper.

Originally, online lottery sales to under-18s were to be banned first from April, with a deadline of implementation across retail by October 2021, but now Camelot has acted to enforce the age limit across all verticals sooner than required.

A Camelot spokesperson said: “From 22 April 2021, players must be 18 or over to play National Lottery games online, in-store and on the app. This is in line with the government’s decision to raise the legal minimum age to play The National Lottery, which we fully support.

“Encouraging healthy play is at the heart of everything we do. Remember, you can set limits for the amount you deposit and spend each week, moderate your Instant Win Games play limit or even take a break from playing.”


GambleAware Calls for Mandatory Levy in Gambling Act Review Consultation

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GambleAware has published its submission of Call for Evidence to the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in response to the Gambling Act review.

The submission outlines ongoing issues in the gambling sector found by GambleAware, with a particular focus on the prevention of gambling harms and research to inform policy.

It comes in response to the UK government’s December 2020 review of the 2005 Gambling Act. As part of the review, the DCMS launched a call for new evidence to investigate issues such as spend limits and how gambling affects young adults.

The findings are intended to inform changes to the 2005 Gambling Act.

Most prominently, GambleAware continued its advocacy for a mandatory levy to fund research, education and treatment (RET) related to gambling and gambling-related harm.

Currently, British gambling law requires licensed British operators to donate a portion of funds to responsible gambling initiatives, but there is no minimum on how much should be donated.

GambleAware reported that in the last twelve months, it received £15.6m in voluntary donations, a rise from £11m the previous year. In June 2020 the Betting and Gaming Council pledged £100m to GambleAware on behalf of the 4 largest gambling operators in Britain: Bet365, GVC Holdings, Flutter Entertainment and William Hill.

“The voluntary nature of the current arrangements results inevitably in uncertainty of funding year to year and to significant variations in cash flow within the year,” the submission reads.

“This unpredictable funding model represents a significant challenge given that a key function of GambleAware as a commissioning body is to provide assurance to funded services about recurrent income streams so that expert clinical teams can be established and sustained to provide treatment and support for those who need help.”


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 Krepš, 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 Krepš 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 Krepš, 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.


Japan’s Draft Casino Regulations List Nine Games to be Permitted

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Japan’s Casino Regulatory Commission has listed nine casino games that will be permitted to operate inside the nation’s casinos, with traditional Japanese games such as pachinko, pachislot and mahjong all notable exclusions.

The nine games, contained within the Casino Regulatory Commission’s draft regulations, include 21 variants of games currently banned in Japan but set to be legalised as part of the government’s IR development plans.

The nine games are listed as baccarat (2 types), blackjack (4 types), poker (8 types), Sic Bo, craps, Casino War, money wheel and pai gow, plus electronic games.

Public feedback on the draft regulations will be accepted until May 9. After that, final casino regulations will be decided.


NSW Regulator: Crown Likely to Regain Sydney Licence This Year

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New South Wales chief gaming regulator Philip Crawford has said that the reinstatement of Crown Resorts’ license in New South Wales is a “realistic prospect.”

Since the ILGA officially declared Crown Resorts unsuitable to hold a state licence for its Crown Sydney casino, the casino operator has begun an attempt to put its ship in order to gain approval for the opening of the new casino.

Several board members have resigned, and Helen Coonan has stepped in as executive chairman on an interim basis replacing former CEO Ken Barton. It is now working to provide the ILGA with a written action plan.

The head of the New South Wales regulator, Philip Crawford, has said that Crown has made progress but needs to demonstrate complete rehabilitation to be found suitable to hold its licence.

Crawford stated: “Let’s be under no illusion, if I’m not satisfied, if the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s not satisfied that they have rehabilitated themselves, they won’t be found suitable.”

However, he also noted that the reinstatement of the licence in the second half of this year is a “realistic prospect.”

Blackstone Group has made an unsolicited non-binding offer to acquire all remaining shares in Crown Resorts for AU$11.85 cash per share.

However, Blackstone Group’s proposal is subject to several conditions, including arranging debt finance.