Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Today we feature Australian bushfire donations, a UKGC address and 32Red response to alleged ‘breached data’.
32Red has issued a response to allegations that UK betting firms engaged with the ‘breached data’ of the ‘Learning Records Service’ educational index, stating that the Sunday Times report is “untrue and unfounded”.
Coming a short time after the Betting and Gaming Council issued its own statement, as it also labelled the report “untrue,” the Kindred Group brand stated “as a responsible betting operator we have zero tolerance on under-age gambling”.
The Sunday Times reports that the data breaches relate to third party access of the Learning Records Service by Chester-based intelligence firm GB Group, which had a business agreement in place with employment screening firm Trust Systems Software.
The database in question contained the names, ages and addresses of a reported 28 million children aged 14 and above, designed for the purposes of verifying academic records and monitoring pupils’ educational needs.
GB Group is said to have utilised the data as a cross-referencing service for online gambling operators seeking to verify and age check customers.
Pennsylvania sportsbooks closed 2019 with a record handle of $342.6m, with online poker drawing significant interest as the popularity of igaming entities continues to grow, according to analysts from PlayPennsylvania.
Online casino games and poker produced a record $10.6m in December gross revenue, up 22 per cent from $8.7m in November. This yielded $2.3m in state taxes.
Poker generated $2.5m during the month, all at the Mount Airy Casino Resort, with the property and PokerStars leading the online casino and poker market with $3.5m in revenue on $73.6m in bets.
“The interest in poker so far in Pennsylvania is dramatic compared with neighbouring New Jersey, where about 3 per cent of online casino and poker revenue comes from poker,” Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “New Jersey got off to a hot start, too. So the question now is can the Pennsylvania sustain the initial enthusiasm.”
As well as generating $342.6m in handle, online and retail sportsbooks brought in $1.5bn in wagers, including $1.1bn in online bets, during the year.
PlayPennsylvania stresses that with a full year of online sports betting ahead and an increasingly robust offering of operators, Pennsylvania should more than double that handle this year.
Further regulatory consequences have been threatened to UK betting leadership by Neil McArthur, chief executive of the UK Gambling Commission, unless all round improvements are made regarding consumer protections in 2020.
McArthur addressed both industry leaders and wider stakeholders at ‘CMS Gambling Conference’ in London, in which he underlined the UKGC’s obligation of protecting consumers first and foremost.
Opening up to those in attendance, the chief executive shared personal stories with the room and discussed how the UKGC is trying to ‘change mindsets’: “It is easy to accuse regulators of being ‘asleep on the job’ but it isn’t true. I lead a team who are passionately committed to making gambling safer.
“I have colleagues on our contact centre dealing directly with consumers, some of whom are in crisis and need help. We meet frequently with people with lived experience and we try and bring them into our work and will try to do more of that, because it helps change mindsets.
“I have gambled and I can see why people gamble, provided it doesn’t become a problem. At the same time, I spent my early career as a local authority child protection lawyer – I know the terrible effects that addiction and neglect can have on families.
“Consumers have always been at the heart of our approach to regulation and they always will be. We don’t suggest that we know better than they do, we bring them into our work and we want to do that more and more in the future.”
SkyCity Entertainment Group has announced that all proceeds generated from Sky Tower admissions on Australia Day, Sunday 26 January, will go to the South Australian Country Fire Service Foundation.
Coming in the aftermath of the devastating bushfire crisis sweeping Australia, the Sky Tower will be also be lit up green and gold to stand in solidarity with the cities, communities, wildlife and firefighters that continue to be affected by the fires.
The CFS Foundation financially supports local volunteer firefighters and their families who have suffered death, injury, loss or damage of property whilst in the line of duty.
This represents one of the initiatives that SkyCity Entertainment Group has undertaken to support Australia during the bushfires, with SkyCity Hamilton and Adelaide Casino also engaging in fundraising events.
Michael Ahearne, group chief operating officer, asserts that it’s important the Sky Tower enables kiwis to raise much needed funds for those risking their lives in the line of duty: “Our thoughts go out to Australia during this tragic time, including the communities and cities in which we operate.
“Through Adelaide Casino, SkyCity is a member of the tourism community in South Australia and as such we are choosing to support the South Australian CFS who have done such a terrific job in the Adelaide Hills and on Kangaroo Island.