Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In the latest edition we take a look at a record UKGC penalty, unlicensed gains in Sweden and self-exclusion urges.
Caesars Entertainment has accepted a series of “systematic failings” that has seen the firm issued a £13m regulatory settlement following a UK Gambling Commission investigation.
As a results three senior managers have departed the firm and a series of improvement must be made after the regulator documented social responsibility, money laundering and customer interaction failures, including those involving ‘VIPs’.
All £13m from the case, which has seen the aforementioned senior personnel at the company surrender their personal licences, will be directed towards delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
Continuing the UKGC’s inquiries into PML holders, the investigation into Caesars, which operates 11 casinos in Britain, found the failings in the way the company took decisions about VIP customers between January 2016 and December 2018.
Data produced by customer-first affiliate brand Bonusfinder.com claims almost a third of Swedish players are searching online for ‘unlicensed casinos,’ with growing numbers said to be turning to black-market brands due to the market’s restrictive gaming regulations.
Research, which was carried out by Bonusfinder, has monitored the Swedish market since re-regulation in January 2019. It revealed a spike in Swedish players searching for a group of black-market keywords.
The report claims that up to “30 per cent of players have searched for terms such as ‘unlicensed casino’”. Furthermore, the report goes on to state that the aggressive restrictions on licensed operators drives players to search and “convert” to unlicensed black-market brands.
Fintan Costello, managing director of Bonusfinder.com, said: “Instead of misguidedly declaring phase one of Swedish legislation a ‘success’ regulators should be focusing on the rising proportion of players searching for ‘unlicensed’ brands.
“Equally concerning is that newly regulating markets such as Germany appear to be ignoring their mistakes. There is no regulated market on earth that is proposing such damaging rules, and we would urge them to take heed of Sweden’s rapid plunge toward encouraging unlicensed activity.”
The impending multi-billion dollar Flutter Entertainment and Stars Group merger agreement has moved another step closer after the UK Competitions and Markets Authority issued a green-light.
The all-share combination, to be implemented through an acquisition of The Stars Group by Flutter, has been given unconditional phase one clearance by the non-ministerial government department.
Set to boast a combined £1.5bn revenue and encapsulating a number of brands, such as Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Bet, the CMA focused its investigation on the potential impacts felt by punters as a result of the combination.
In particular this looked at whether, as a result of the deal, customers who choose to place bets online could be offered less favourable odds, less generous promotions or poorer quality products, for example, as a result of reduced innovation in pricing or app experience.
Gamstop, the UK’s online gambling self-exclusion scheme, has urged people who are worried about their gambling while they are stuck at home during the COVID-19 lockdown to “exclude themselves from all online gambling websites” to limit the risk of problem gambling.
This follows concerns raised by the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group which suggested that the enforced lockdown could result in an increase in problem gambling levels.
More than 130,000 people have registered with Gamstop since the scheme went live in April 2018, with 73 per cent opting to self-exclude for five years, the maximum period available.
However, since the nationwide lockdown was triggered, early evidence has shown a spike in calls from users registered with Gamstop in an attempt to try and lift their self-exclusion before their chosen minimum period has expired so they can begin gambling again.