Tag Archive : government

Gambling an ‘easy target’ for UK Government after coronavirus pandemic, say barristers

The gambling industry could be seen as an easy target for the UK Government as it looks to raise funds in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Richard Littler QC and Ian Whitehurst from Exchange Chambers.

The two barristers believe the Gambling Commission could start to base fines on a gambling company’s turnover, being handed greater power by the Government with public support in favour of coming down harder on the sector.

In a press briefing, Littler QC and Whitehurst outlined the political landscape gambling finds itself in, especially in light of societal concerns surrounding the industry, and that the UK Government has “set its sights” on gambling.

They wrote: “There is a risk of the Commission becoming judge, jury and executioner with operators becoming compliant for fear of something worse occurring.

“The risk is dramatically increased if the fines in future are or could be linked to the overall turnover of the corporate enterprise.

“Following the current COVID-19 crisis, there will no doubt be an increase in licensing and regulatory activity across a number of industrial sectors, with a view in substantial part to generating funds for the Treasury.

“The gambling industry will not be immune from further regulatory activity and may be perceived as a somewhat ‘easy mark’ in a changed political and economic landscape.”

Given the current climate, the barristers believe there is a “substantial risk” the UK Government and Gambling Commission will continue to “flex their muscles,” viewing gambling as a low-risk source of revenue and “easy political capital.”

Kambi to defer executive salaries and apply for government support

Kambi has announced a series of cost-cutting measures and will apply for financial support packages from the Swedish and UK governments.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic bringing major sport to a halt, Kambi has announced “strong” Q1 revenue expected to be in the range of €27.5-28.0m ($29-30m), with its cash balance at the end of the quarter in the range of €45-47m.

In the last week, however, the sports betting supplier says revenue has been as low as 25-30% of Q4 2019 levels.

Based on the measures Kambi plans to implement, operating expenditure in Q2 2020 will be 10-20% lower than Q4, with “associated savings in capitalised development costs” of 20-30%.

The measures put in place, along with certain by-products of the current situation, include:

  • Applying for financial support packages designed to protect jobs, recently announced by Swedish and UK governments
  • Kambi board members, its CEO and executive management have agreed to salary deferrals of 20%, 15% and 10% respectively
  • Significantly reduced travel and marketing costs
  • A freeze on staff recruitment and a substantial reduction in data costs associated with fewer sporting events

Kambi, though, did warn the “unlikely event” of the sporting calendar remaining this inactive would create an average quarterly cash outflow of between €7m-€9m after Q2.

Macau forecasted GGR for 2020 halved by Government

The forecast for Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) has been halved by the jurisdiction’s Government for 2020.

As reported by GGR Asia, the full-year projection has been slashed to MOP130bn (US$16.3bn) from MOP260bn, due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, which has already had a detrimental effect on casinos in Macau.

The revised forecast is part of a new 2020 budget plan announced by local authorities on Thursday 19 March, which needs approval by the city’s legislative assembly.

GGR for 2020 will decline by 55% compared to last year, according to the forecast. Also in the release, the Government now expects to collect lower tax revenue from the city’s gaming industry.

The virus, which has caused more than 9,000 deaths worldwide out of 223,000 reported cases, caused February GGR for Macau to drop 88% year-on-year to MOP3.10bn.

Casino operations were closed for two weeks until 20 February, where casinos were given 30 days to resume full operations.

Earlier on Thursday, Macau recorded two more confirmed cases of coronavirus, taking the total tally to 17.

SPiCE India 2020 Postponed After New Indian Government Advisory and Travel Ban

Based on developments in the last 24 hours, relating to the travel advisory issued by the Indian government dated 11 March 2020, which cancels all existing visas for foreign nationals except diplomatic and employment visas until 15 April 2020 to curtail the COVID-19 impact, Eventus International has concluded that unfortunately, it is impossible to continue with SPiCE India 2020 as per its current schedule of 25-27 March 2020.

We are, at this time, left with no choice but to postpone SPiCE India 2020, which will be rescheduled. New dates will be announced shortly after discussions with our stakeholders and advisors.

Expressing disappointment at the postponement, Yudi Soetjiptadi, Managing Director of Eventus International, commented, “Although our team was fully ready to host the event as per schedule and all preparations were done, due to recent developments and the most recent travel ban issued by the Indian government, it is impossible for us to continue with SPiCE India 2020 on schedule. We are evaluating the situation further and will discuss with our advisors and stakeholders before making an announcement on the new dates. Despite this postponement we look forward to welcoming all our clients to the third annual SPiCE India on its new dates. We hope everyone stays healthy and safe!”

The Eventus International team would hereby like to thank all SPiCE India 2020 participants for their support and understanding in the matter which is beyond our control. We would also like to give all participants the assurance that the event will take place on the new dates once decided, and Eventus International will continue to promote SPiCE India through our various channels for optimum brand exposure for all current sponsors and exhibitors.

Dutch government sets out guidelines for online gambling

The Netherlands government has published regulations underlining the key points of the Remote Gaming Act with parliamentarians able to submit their views, as online sports betting moves a step closer.

The regulations form part of the Remote Gaming Decree, setting out how operators should behave, and certain conditions which must be met, in order to obtain a licence.

Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), will be in charge of handling licence applications, which will be available to operators for five years. The KSA will make a final decision on applications within six months of submissions.

The licenses will cover online betting, such as peer-to-peer casino games like poker,  casino games where players bet against the house and horse racing. Sports betting is also covered, but odds will not be permitted on youth or amateur competitions, as well as on events that are deemed ‘easy to manipulate.’ However, the online lottery will not be included.

Gambling adverts will not be allowed to be shown until after a 9pm watershed. Justice Minister Sander Dekker, in a letter to parliament, warned against tighter restrictions on advertising, and would consider adding a six-month extension to the two-year cooling off period, where operators who had previously targeted Dutch players without a licence, would be unable to enter the market in that time.

The Dutch senate approved a draft bill on Remote Gambling in February 2019, with online gambling, which is currently illegal, set to go live in the Netherlands from 1 July 2021, six months later than the original date of 1 January.