News Summary for July 2023: Gambling, Crypto & Payments

Fast Offshore brings you the top news from Gambling, Fintech, and Crypto in July 2023.

Popularity of mobile betting surges in Central Europe          

The popularity of mobile sports betting in Central Europe has surged significantly in recent years, and there is no sign of it slowing down. This trend has been fueled by cutting-edge technology and the widespread availability of smartphones, making online sports betting more accessible than ever before. Central European countries such as Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic have witnessed a notable shift from traditional brick-and-mortar betting shops to mobile sports betting platforms. 

The convenience factor plays a pivotal role in this transformation, as sports enthusiasts can now place bets from anywhere at any time, attracting a younger and tech-savvy demographic. Online betting platforms offer a wide range of betting options, including in-play betting, adding excitement to the overall experience. The introduction of lucrative promotions and bonuses by online bookmakers further fuels the growing preference for mobile sports betting. 

Despite its popularity, responsible gambling practices are essential, and industry stakeholders and regulatory authorities must collaborate to ensure the well-being of bettors. In conclusion, mobile sports betting has revolutionized the betting experience in Central Europe, offering a thrilling and convenient way for sports enthusiasts to engage with their favorite sports events and teams.

Ontario announces stellar casino game data 

The iGaming Ontario (iGO) has released data showcasing the immense popularity of online casino games in comparison to sports betting in Central Europe. The province’s regulated online gaming market, introduced in 2020, offers licensed operators the chance to provide casino games, sports betting, and poker services. The recent data reveals that Ontarians placed a total of $14 billion in wagers during the April-June quarter. Of this amount, $11.6 billion was bet on casino games, $2 billion on sports, esports, proposition, and novelty bets, and $350 million on peer-to-peer poker games. These wagers resulted in gaming revenues of $545 million, signifying a substantial increase from the $162 million generated in the same quarter the previous year.

The remarkable growth of the online gaming market in Ontario has been a positive development for both government revenues and private operators. However, concerns have been raised regarding problem gambling, as the province has seen over 900,000 active player accounts in recent quarters. Experts like Michael Naraine, an associate professor at Brock University, emphasize the increasing risk of gambling addiction and harm due to the surge in gambling activity. Nigel Turner from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) acknowledges the heavy promotion of various online gambling products and the impact of excessive advertising on potential gambling-related issues.

Despite these concerns, the Ontario government celebrates the success of the market and its positive impact on the province’s economy. Andrew Kennedy, a spokesperson for the provincial attorney general, highlights the substantial funding provided for problem gambling initiatives, with $31 million allocated annually for support, treatment, education, and prevention efforts. iGaming Ontario remains optimistic about the market’s performance, pointing out that the province now boasts over 40 operators. Companies like Fitzdares view Ontario as a benchmark for a healthy market, drawing attention from other provinces and global markets.

The data also illustrates the dominance of casino games over sports-related products in Ontario’s regulated market, a trend in line with industry expectations. Sports leagues and broadcasters have faced pressure to reduce aggressive promotion of betting services, especially to young audiences. The iGO data indicates that nearly $28 billion was spent on casino games and peer-to-peer bingo, while sports and esports wagers amounted to $7 billion during the regulated market’s first year. Poker wagers totaled $992 million. The continuous growth of online gambling presents a challenge to addressing potential risks and maintaining a responsible gaming environment. Experts stress the importance of promoting resources for individuals affected by problem gambling and implementing measures to ensure safe and enjoyable betting experiences for all users.

Australian inquiry recommends banning iGaming ads

 The debate over the regulation of online gambling advertisements has reached a new milestone in Australia, as a recent inquiry recommends a complete ban on such ads within the next three years. The inquiry, led by the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform, has been examining the impact of gambling advertising on the Australian population and the potential risks associated with its widespread promotion.

The recommendations come in response to growing concerns about the influence of online gambling ads on vulnerable individuals, particularly young people and those with gambling addictions. The inquiry’s findings reveal that the constant bombardment of these ads has contributed to normalizing gambling behavior and creating a culture of excessive betting.

The call for a ban on online gambling ads aligns with the broader efforts to address problem gambling in Australia. Lawmakers and experts argue that restricting the visibility of gambling ads will mitigate the potential harms associated with addictive behavior and protect vulnerable groups from falling prey to the allure of online betting.

The ban, if implemented, will apply to a wide range of platforms, including television, radio, and online media. This move is seen as crucial in curbing the impact of these ads on the Australian public and reshaping the nation’s relationship with gambling.

The proposed three-year timeline for the ban aims to provide stakeholders, including gambling operators and advertising agencies, with sufficient time to adjust their business practices and comply with the new regulations. It also allows the government to prepare for the potential economic and social impacts of the ban.

However, the recommendation faces its share of challenges, particularly from industry representatives who argue that a complete ban could have adverse effects on the economy, leading to job losses and a decline in revenue for the media and advertising sectors.

Proponents of the ban emphasize the need to prioritize public health and safety over economic considerations. They argue that the potential short-term losses in revenue are outweighed by the long-term benefits of reducing problem gambling and its associated social and financial costs.

The recommendation marks a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to address the impact of gambling on Australian society. If adopted, the ban on online gambling ads could serve as a model for other countries grappling with similar concerns and set a precedent for responsible gambling practices in the digital age. As the debate unfolds, all eyes will be on the Australian government’s response and the potential implications for the broader gambling industry in the country.

US iGaming sector brings in $3 billion in H1

The online gambling industry continues to thrive, with impressive revenue figures for the first half of 2023. According to recent reports, online gambling revenue in June 2023 alone surpassed $3 billion, marking a significant milestone for the sector.

The surge in online gambling revenue can be attributed to various factors, including the growing popularity of online betting platforms, advancements in technology, and the increasing acceptance of online gambling among the general public.

The convenience and accessibility offered by online gambling platforms have played a crucial role in attracting a broader audience. With just a few clicks, players can access a wide range of casino games, sports betting options, and other gambling activities from the comfort of their homes or on-the-go using mobile devices.

Additionally, the continuous innovation in the online gambling industry has introduced new and engaging gaming experiences for players. The incorporation of virtual reality, live dealer games, and interactive features has enhanced the overall gaming experience, making it more immersive and enjoyable.

Furthermore, the pandemic-induced lockdowns and restrictions have contributed to the growth of online gambling as land-based casinos and betting shops faced temporary closures. This shift in consumer behavior led many to explore online gambling alternatives, and once exposed to the convenience and variety of options, a significant number of them chose to stick with online platforms even after restrictions eased.

Regulatory developments in various regions have also played a role in boosting online gambling revenue. As more countries legalize and regulate online gambling, it opens up new markets and opportunities for operators to expand their services.

The impressive revenue figures for the first half of 2023 demonstrate the resilience and potential of the online gambling industry. As the sector continues to evolve and adapt to changing consumer preferences and technological advancements, it is expected to maintain its upward trajectory.

However, with the growth of online gambling comes the responsibility to address potential issues related to responsible gambling and player protection. It is essential for industry stakeholders and regulatory authorities to work together to implement measures that promote responsible gambling practices and safeguard the well-being of players.

As the online gambling industry continues to thrive, it is evident that it has become a significant player in the global gambling market. With robust revenue figures and a continuously expanding customer base, the future of online gambling looks promising, provided it embraces responsible practices and maintains a focus on player satisfaction and safety.

European Commission to scrutinise Malta Gaming Bill

The European Commission has set its sights on scrutinizing the recently proposed Malta Gaming Bill, signaling a potential review of the country’s gaming regulations. The bill aims to overhaul Malta’s existing gaming framework, which has been in place for nearly two decades.

The European Commission’s move comes amidst growing concerns over the effectiveness of Malta’s current gaming legislation and its ability to address emerging challenges in the rapidly evolving iGaming industry. With Malta being a prominent hub for online gambling operators, ensuring strong regulatory standards is crucial to maintain the country’s reputation as a reliable and reputable jurisdiction for iGaming businesses.

The proposed gaming bill seeks to introduce several key changes, including the establishment of a new regulatory authority, the Malta Gaming Authority, which would replace the current Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). The new authority aims to streamline regulatory processes and enhance oversight of the industry.

Additionally, the bill addresses issues related to player protection and responsible gambling, reflecting the growing global focus on safeguarding consumers in the online gambling space. The European Commission’s review will assess whether these proposed changes align with EU standards and ensure a fair and secure gaming environment for players.

The scrutiny of the Malta Gaming Bill by the European Commission highlights the importance of maintaining robust regulatory frameworks within the iGaming industry. As the sector continues to expand and innovate, it is imperative for jurisdictions like Malta to adapt their regulations to address new challenges, such as the rise of online gaming, advancements in technology, and changing consumer behaviors.

The outcome of the European Commission’s review will play a significant role in shaping the future of the iGaming industry in Malta. A favorable assessment could reinforce Malta’s position as a leading iGaming jurisdiction, attracting more operators and investment. On the other hand, any shortcomings identified by the review could prompt the need for further revisions to the proposed gaming bill to ensure compliance with EU standards and maintain a competitive edge in the global iGaming market.

Ultimately, the review process serves as a timely reminder to all gaming jurisdictions of the importance of staying ahead of the curve in terms of regulatory best practices to create a secure and sustainable environment for both operators and players alike.

MGA steps up responsible business conduct bid

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has taken a significant step towards promoting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices within the gaming industry by launching a public consultation on the ESG Code of Conduct. This move demonstrates the MGA’s commitment to fostering sustainability and responsible business conduct among gaming operators in Malta.

The consultation invites stakeholders, including operators, industry experts, and the public, to provide valuable feedback on the proposed ESG Code of Conduct. The code aims to establish a comprehensive framework that will guide and regulate the implementation of ESG principles within the gaming sector.

By seeking input from various stakeholders, the MGA aims to ensure that the final ESG Code of Conduct reflects the industry’s collective insights and best practices. This collaborative approach ensures that the code will effectively address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by gaming operators concerning environmental impact, social responsibility, and corporate governance.

The launch of the public consultation on the ESG Code of Conduct underscores Malta’s commitment to becoming a leader in sustainable and socially responsible gaming. It aligns with the growing global focus on ESG factors, where businesses are increasingly expected to incorporate ethical, environmental, and social considerations into their operations.

The gaming industry’s adoption of ESG principles not only enhances its reputation and credibility but also contributes to a more sustainable and inclusive business environment. The MGA’s initiative sets a positive precedent for other gaming jurisdictions to follow suit and integrate ESG practices into their regulatory frameworks, fostering a culture of responsible gaming that benefits both operators and society as a whole.

Curacao reiterates new standards for iGaming operators

In a significant development for the online gambling industry in Curacao, the jurisdiction has announced that it will assess online gambling operators under stricter and internationally recognized standards. The move comes as part of Curacao’s efforts to enhance its regulatory framework and boost its reputation in the global gaming market.

The decision to subject online gambling operators to more stringent scrutiny reflects Curacao’s commitment to maintaining integrity and transparency within its gaming sector. By aligning its standards with international norms, the jurisdiction aims to attract more reputable operators and provide a safer and fairer gaming environment for players.

Under the new assessment process, online gambling operators in Curacao will be evaluated based on a set of comprehensive criteria, including responsible gambling measures, player protection protocols, anti-money laundering practices, and adherence to international gaming regulations. This holistic approach will not only strengthen the oversight of the industry but also elevate the overall standard of gaming operations in Curacao.

The move is particularly timely, given the increasing emphasis on responsible and ethical gambling practices worldwide. By adopting more rigorous standards, Curacao aims to bolster its position as a respected licensing jurisdiction that prioritizes player safety and welfare.

The online gambling industry is highly competitive, and players are becoming increasingly discerning about the platforms they choose to engage with. Therefore, Curacao’s decision to raise its regulatory standards is not only a positive step for the jurisdiction itself but also for operators seeking to establish a reputable presence in the global market.

Overall, the assessment of online gambling operators under stricter and internationally recognized standards is a testament to Curacao’s commitment to continuous improvement and responsible gaming. As the gaming landscape evolves, this proactive approach positions Curacao to thrive in the evolving iGaming industry while reinforcing its reputation as a responsible and trustworthy jurisdiction for operators and players alike.

Uk government rejects regulation of crypto gambing

In a recent development in the world of cryptocurrency gambling, the British government has rejected calls to regulate the sector. The decision comes amidst growing concerns about the potential risks associated with crypto gambling and its impact on vulnerable individuals.

Advocates for regulation argue that the lack of oversight in the crypto gambling industry could lead to increased cases of problem gambling and financial harm to players. They believe that implementing stringent rules and guidelines would provide a safer and more secure environment for those engaging in cryptocurrency betting.

However, the government’s decision to reject the call for regulation is based on its belief that existing laws and regulations already provide sufficient protection for consumers. The authorities contend that the Gambling Act of 2005, which is in place to regulate traditional gambling activities, adequately covers crypto gambling as well.

While the decision not to regulate the sector may come as a disappointment to some, it reflects the government’s cautious approach towards introducing new regulations on emerging technologies. The crypto gambling industry is still relatively new, and its complexities may require a more comprehensive evaluation before any regulatory changes are made.

Critics argue that without proper regulation, the crypto gambling sector may be more susceptible to illicit activities, such as money laundering and fraud. They believe that clear guidelines and oversight are necessary to ensure fair play and protect players from potential harm.

As the popularity of cryptocurrency continues to rise, the debate over its regulation in the gambling industry is likely to persist. Both proponents and opponents of regulation will continue to present their cases, emphasizing the need for balanced measures that strike a chord between consumer protection and technological innovation.

In the absence of specific regulations, players engaging in cryptocurrency gambling should exercise caution and conduct thorough research before using any platform. Responsible gambling practices, such as setting limits and seeking support when needed, remain crucial for individuals participating in any form of betting, whether with traditional currencies or cryptocurrencies.

Ultimately, the British government’s decision not to regulate crypto gambling reflects the ongoing discussions and complexities surrounding this evolving sector. As the landscape continues to evolve, policymakers may revisit the issue and reconsider the need for tailored regulations to ensure a safe and secure gambling environment for all.

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