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UK Gambling Groups Unify

The Association of British Bookmakers and the Remote Gambling Association unified, under the name Betting and Gaming Council. The group with officially launch in autumn of this year and has the ambition to give a united voice from the UK’s gambling industry, allowing for UKGC licence holders to apply for membership, to have their say conveyed through the new council.

The chair of the council will be Brigid Simmonds, who will be stepping down from her CEO position at the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). She stated that – “The gambling industry is a hugely significant contributor to the leisure industry and the economy. There are however, critical issues facing the sector and that is why I will ensure creating a safe gambling environment is top priority.”

Simon Emeny, a BBPA Chairman, commented on Simmonds saying that
“During her tenure, Brigid has led numerous successful campaigns to reduce beer duty and improve access for pubs to business rates relief. She is powerful in her argument and a rapier-sharp in negotiating with politicians. I know I speak on behalf of all the BBPA members when I say that the BBPA’s loss is most definitely the gambling industry’s gain.”

Malaysia set to Update Gambling Laws

Since the start of the year, the police force in Malaysia have been kept busy, with raiding a number of illegal gambling operations. The result of the raids have been just short of $1 million being seized and over 14,700 arrests. The country has growing concerns that they are on the brink of an illegal gambling epidemic and is looking to stop the activity before it gets worse.

The method for the lawmakers of Malaysia is to update the gambling legislation, as most of the currently enforced laws were written during the 1950’s and 1960’s. A recent interview with Malaysia’s Home Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin revealed that he intends to have the laws brought up to the because they do not cover any activity around online gambling

Along with the increase in illegal gambling activity, it has been revealed that it’s attracting people who are meant to be stopping it. Parliamentary member Alice Lau told the press that there has been an increasing number of police officers who have been taking part and facilitating illegal operations. Yassin commented to say that the government will be taking appropriate action against any law enforcement officer found to be involved in the illegal industry.

Android’s Gambling Self Restriction Tool

The company BetBlocker has launched a new feature which allows for players to add restrictions on gambling-related apps on Android devices. The intention is to help users to self-exclude themselves from over 5,900 operator websites and over 1,000 applications.

Duncan Garvie, BetBlocker Managed said “with more and more people accessing gambling via their mobile devices it is more important than ever that there is a resource available for those who feel that gambling is getting on top of them to take action to help themselves limit their exposure to this addictive activity. Restricting gambling apps further improves our service for Android users, limiting one more avenue of access.”

It’s been said that BetBlocker is hoping for the feature to transition into a “community project” with users reporting sites and apps that have been missed by the blocking system, to continuously improve it. Currently the feature only blocks sites that are confirmed to be gambling sites, instead of using keywords to determine, in an effort to prevent “false negative” results

When using the Gambling Self Restriction tool, users are able to choose their own restriction length, from anywhere between 24 hours and 5 years. Once activated the user will not be able to deactivate the restriction until the set time has been met. Users can also select to include gambling information sites too, to ensure they are not exposed to advertising for gambling or have their self-control challenged.

Swedish Regulator Confirms Licence Revocation

The Administrative Court in Sweden, has rejected SafeEnt’s appeal after the gambling regulator Spelinspektionen revoked their gambling licence. SafeEnt, which runs Ninja Casino, was found to have serious deficiencies in the operations of the company, including a lack of gaming responsibility and measures against money laundering.

The Swedish regulator had spent a considerable amount of time investigating the operations of the company and in doing so, had found many violations of the regulators most important laws which were put in place to protect players. One of the biggest discoveries was that customers were able to spend large amounts of money without the company having an appropriate reaction. It was also found that players were able to continue playing far beyond their own set deposit limits.

Additionally, when it came to the measures taken to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, there were a number of shortcomings. The final nail in the coffin was when they found SafeEnt to be offering numerous bonuses to their players, which is strictly against the agreement

SafeEnt claimed they were constantly working to implement new measures to correct the deficiencies that have been outlined. However, Spelinspektionen have said that the actions are too little too late and stated that SafeEnt lacks understanding of important parts of the local gambling laws and in turn, has revoked the licence with immediate effect.

UKGC Warns about Underage Players

The UK Gambling Commission has reminded their license holders that they are responsible for ensuring that underage users are not accessing gambling related products, including free-to-play titles. They further highlighted that they are responsible for the traffic driven by their affiliates and that they will be held accountable for those who promote them.

The reminder came after the changes to the license conditions in May, where age verification measures were outlined. Operators were told they must carry out thorough checks on a player’s age before they are able to access free-to-play games.

The statement from UKGC informed operators that they have “been made aware that licensees may be benefiting from affiliate advertising models, which offer free-to-play versions of real money games on their websites without the necessary accompanying age verification of users

The reminder from the UK’s gambling regulator concluded by saying “You should take steps immediately to ensure that your free-to-play games cannot be accessed by children and young people via affiliate’s websites.”

Spelinspektionen Strikes 8 Operators over Underage Matches

Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s gambling regulator has given any breathing room to operators who have been slipping up. This time, eight operators found themselves lumped with a fine after they were found to have been offering wagers on sports games which had underage players – which is a direct violation of the law.

The operators have been named as Betfair, Bethard, Casinostugan, Electraworks, Hillside, Polar Limited, TSG Interactive and Zecure Gaming, with the total fines equaling a sum of SEK41.2 million ($4.4 million). Each of the operators were fined different amounts, depending on the size of the offense, with TSG Interactive and Hillside receiving the bulk of the fine, with a $1.08 million fine each.

The wagers that were in question took place during U19 and U21s league fixtures, where many of the players were under the age of 18. This runs against the regulation of the country, which states that
underage matches are prohibited from being bet on due to the “direct danger to minors being exposed” to match fixing.

It’s speculated that these operators have been being monitored for some time. Looking back to May, where the regulator warned all of their operators that they need to stay clear of underage matches. At this time, they did not name any of the offending operators, but with the size of some of these fines, it’s likely that some operators have been breaching this rule for some time.

New South Wales Working on Responsible Gambling

Responsible and safe gambling is the subject of conversation for many countries around the world and Australia is no exception. Last week, we saw one of the country’s banks withdrawing their credit cards from being used to purchase anything gambling related. This week, New South Wales has announced that they are developing new initiatives and have already invested around $800,000 in player protection measures.

The funding for the new player protection measures saw a sum of $100,000 sent to the University of Sydney’s Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic. The clinic will spend the funding developing a website which will be focused around self-exclusion from gambling venues. Currently the self-exclusion will be limited to in-person venues and will not initially have support for online casinos

Natalie Wright, the director of the New South Wales Responsible Gambling segment said: “Just as technology is changing the way people gamble with the rise of online and app-based betting, it is also driving exciting new initiatives to support people to gamble responsibly. By funding programs and research projects like these, we will further develop and underpin the evidence base for responsible gambling policy and programs.”

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