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October 8, 2019

UK Government publishes checklist to help gambling industry ahead of Brexit

The UK Government has published an eight-point checklist which has been put in place to help those who are working in the gambling industry to prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on October 31 while talks are continuing to go on over a deal, but with the deadline being just over three weeks away, the Government has issues specific advice for people employed in the gambling sector in the event of a no-deal scenario.

Employers have been advised to check of their staff are in need of a visa or work permit and make any requirements for their profession to work in the country they’re going to, as they may not be able to work in or even enter another country without the correct permit or visa.

All staff who work in the gambling sector should be checking if they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, as this may impact whether they are indeed allowed to continue to live or work in the UK.

Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, employers and staff may not be able to enter the EU, which includes the cross from Spain over into Gibraltar, if they are unable to show that they meet the correct immigration rules. The Government has also advised workers to check if they have the correct documents before travelling.

Meanwhile, there could also be changes to the way in which operators and other businesses in the industry access personal data from the EU and European Economic Area. The Government advised reviewing contracts to ensure that operators can do so legally.

According to the Government, most data protection rules that apply to small to medium-sized businesses and organisations would stay the same if the UK were to leave without a deal.

The Government has also said that it is committed to maintaining General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards as well as plants to incorporate this into UK law after Brexit.

Similar advice has applied to accounting and reporting, with gambling businesses being warned that they may breach requirements in EEA countries if they do not make any required changes.

In terms of accounting, the UK-based public companies with a UK listing will now need to prepare accounts using UK adopted IAS for all accounting periods beginning the day after the UK leaves the EU.

UK public companies with an EEA listing must comply with rules of the country where the subsidiary is based and produce accounts that comply with the UK Companies Act 2006.

Source: Affiliate Insider

July 2, 2019

Leading UK operators set out plans for safer gambling environment

GVC Holdings, bet365, Flutter Entertainment, William Hill and Sky Betting and Gaming have followed up plans to increase funding for problem gambling treatment and safer gambling by setting out a plan of action to create a safer gambling environment. 

The centrepiece of the plan is the commitment to raise the current voluntary contribution towards funding problem gambling from 0.1% to 1% of gross gambling yield by 2023, as announced in June. The operators said that this tenfold increase will reach a contribution of approximately £60m (€67.1m/$75.7m) per year by 2023, with plans to maintain this level going forward.

The initiative, developed in partnership with the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), also see the operators contribute 0.1% of their GGY directly to GambleAware each year, to support its existing treatment commitments and to continue its independent research programme.

“This is an unprecedented level of commitment and collaboration by the leading companies in the British betting and gaming sector to address gambling-related harm and promote safer gambling,” Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson said.

“The whistle-to-whistle advertising ban was a good start, now we are funding a significant expansion in treatment and we continue to work on a number of areas of collaboration and best practice. Our aim is nothing less than a step change in how we tackle gambling-related harm.”

Funds will primarily be used to support treatment, with the five operators having already committed to spending £100m over the next four years. They will work with the DCMS, the Department for Health and Social Care and providers of existing services, with the aim of quadrupling the numbers of those accessing treatment from 2.5% to 10%.

The operators have also agreed to increase safer gambling messaging across their advertising, support dedicated campaigns and review the content of all marketing, advertising and sponsorship. This will include using technology to divert messages away from problem gamblers.

In addition, the operators will share more data to help protect problem gamblers from experiencing further harm. This builds on the launch of GAMSTOP, the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, and its land-based equivalent.

Each brand has committed to reporting publicly on the progress of commitments set out under the initiative. This will be published in their annual assurance statements to the Gambling Commission, including confirmation of the payment of the 1% voluntary contribution.

“This initiative should ensure that the necessary reforms to protect the young and vulnerable particularly with the growth of online gambling will be rooted in independent research – on everything from online gambling harms to associated suicide,” said Lord Chadlington, the Conservative peer who has been a leading advocate for safer gambling measures. “That evidence base should also be used for education and for treatment.

“We must be certain that through the consultation process, a means is secured for the funds to be administered and the programmes evaluated, independent of the contributing companies and the gambling industry as a whole,” he explained.

William Hill chief executive Philip Bowcock added: “There is an unprecedented level of agreement among leading companies that now is the time for the industry to step up to the plate and ensure we play our full part in addressing the issues surrounding gambling related harm. 

“Our hope is that this begins a new era of cooperation within the industry and between the industry and experts, charities, government and the regulator to promote safer gambling and minimise the risks.”

Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware, has also welcomed the move, saying it is essential that there is sufficient funding to provide for treatment and support for both problem gamblers and for those who are ‘at risk’, particularly the young and vulnerable.

Etches said: “Customers should be able to gamble in a safe environment, where help and advice is readily available at the point of need. 

“It is vital that we work closely with the commission, government and other organisations to ensure that operators continue to focus on making gambling products safer, and that treatment and support is properly funded alongside other initiatives including the Safer Gambling campaign, Bet Regret.”


5 June 2019

Apple will only allow native iOS gambling apps in App Store

Apple has announced that it will only allow gambling apps native to iOS to be hosted in its App Store, giving operators until September 3 to ensure their products comply.

In an updated series of guidelines for App Store reviews, the tech giant stated that HTML5 games distributed within apps “may not provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations, and may not support digital commerce”.

This means that only native apps, those developed specifically for Apple’s operating system, will be accepted in the App Store. Operators running sports betting, poker, casino, bingo, lottery or horse racing betting that fail to comply now risk having their products removed.

The majority of gambling apps currently hosted in the App Store are HTML5 sites in a native wrapper, or so-called container apps, both of which are cheaper and faster to develop than a fully-fledged native product, according to digital marketing agency Degree 53. 

The Betfred-backed agency warned that developing native products could be an expensive and time-consuming process, especially with a deadline of September 3. This falls just days before the start of the National Football League season in the US, and weeks after the start of the European football season. 

“Three months to build a fully featured native sportsbook app from scratch for a major operator is a massive undertaking and potentially unrealistic,” it said.

“It will require sizable and skilled native development teams to ensure all functionalities are fully compliant. However, operators with less complex products may be able to meet the deadline if they start now.”

The updated guidelines apply to all existing apps currently available in the App Store, in addition to any new apps that are added between now and the deadline of September 3.

However, Degree 53 noted that while Apple was likely to reject new updates to non-compliant apps, these were likely to be allowed to remain in the App Store until the September deadline.

Customers will still have access to these products on their own mobile devices, but may not be able to download any new updates. New players will also be unable to download them from the App Store.  


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May 23, 2019

Spanish government urged to ban gambling advertisements

Spain’s acting ‘Civic Ombudsman’, Francisco Fernández Marugán, has urged the Spanish government to roll out a blanket ban on the advertising of gambling products and services which would extend to the media, radio, television and internet.

The proposed ban, which would specifically exclude the state-run lottery operators, Lotteries and ONCE comes as a ‘soon to be formed’ Spanish coalition government is expected to be implementing new gambling regulations, which will add stricter controls on advertising and consumer standards.

If the ban is to be imposed, it could have a significant impact on the ways in which affiliates can promote their brands and services on social media platforms. The cull in TV advertising could mean that gambling brands and affiliates have to diversify their marketing strategies, from social media and WhatsApp groups, to perimeter boards and shirt sponsorships.

According to the Spanish media, the acting ombudsman, has submitted proposals to the government on Monday.

Recommendations have been made by Marugán, which have been addressed to the Ministries of Finance and Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare. The detail of the framework of an ‘open-ended action plan’ is included, which will be open for discussion – regarding the proliferation and intense publicity of gambling ads and bookmakers.

Similar plans have been previously announced by Spain’s Finance Minister, María Jesús Montero, to place a similar ban on gambling advertising, to the one in place for tobacco products.

This ban would mean that operators would be prohibited from displaying any form of broadcast pertaining to gambling products and services before a particular time – in addition to the prohibition of celebrity endorsements and gambling signage at sporting events.

Marugán has stated that any operator found to be in contravention of the proposed ban could result in the cancellation of an operator’s licence, however this can only be justified if a total ban is imposed. The current advertisement policy in Spain is not yet regulated, and so this proposal would significantly alter the ways in which operators can promote products.

The Ombudsman considers that the advertising of gambling and bets, “should not be considered protected in the freedom of business, as it is not in products such as tobacco or addictive substances.”

He argued that the possibility of a blanket ban could be justified by claiming that the right of a business to advertise was not enshrined in Spanish law. Marugán further stressed that gambling was “a public health issue that requires a regulatory framework with imperative legal norms.”

Source: Affiliate insider