In a case that could have wider national implications, Canada’s Loto-Quebec has reached an out-of-court settlement worth millions of dollars with problem gamblers in the province, following a class action lawsuit filed against the provincial state lottery operator nine years ago.
Source: Gaming Intelligence
The proposed European Parliament Intergroup on gambling, backed by key MEPs such as Christel Schaldemose (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Denmark) and Mario Mauro (European People’s Party, Italy) has not gathered the sufficient amount of backing from other politicians, therefore it will not be able to go ahead. The EUROMAT secretariat understands that now that the intergroup is shelved, supportive MEPs will continue with a ‘plan B’, in which they intend to hold a gambling related event every three months or so which will likely focus on the promotion of responsible gambling and corporate social responsibility. The EUROMAT secretariat will maintain contact with the offices of MEPs Schaldemose and Mauro and will keep the membership up to date on any upcoming gambling-related events when they have been confirmed.
Marking the company’s most significant B2B deal to date, PartyGaming plc has been awarded a five year contract to provide an online casino and poker platform to Danish gaming monopoly holder Danske Spil, ahead of the country’s planned partial liberalisation of the online gaming market next year. Source: GamingIntelligence.com
Finland’s schedule to review its outdated lottery law is slipping as politicians endorse the social responsibility concerns lauded in the ECJ’s Bwin Liga decision, but, at the same time, a new advertising campaign by the monopoly lottery operator Veikkaus is stirring controversy by apparently targeting children. Source: GamblingCompliance.com
French gaming operator FDJ has said that the occurrence of three Friday the 13th’s in 2009 helped it to generate an additional €200 million in revenues, which coupled with a broader gaming offering, saw the company achieve total revenues of €9.99 billion, an 8.6% increase on the previous year. Source: Gaming Intelligence
An Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will deliver an advisory opinion on the validity of Germany’s state gambling monopolies on 3 March 2010, following oral hearings on 7 and 8 December at the ECJ that examined seven cases referred to the ECJ by German courts. When Italian Advocate General Mengozzi delivers his opinion to the ECJ in March, legally it is non-binding but it is usual for the judges to consider this opinion when preparing their own ruling. It is expected that the final verdict will be delivered sometime in the second half of 2010.
One year on from the introduction of the Germany State Treaty on Gambling, the German Lotto and Toto Block (DTLB), a union of the country’s 16 national lottery operators, has revealed that the amount spent on lottery games and sports betting products increased by 2.9% to €6.72 billion during 2009, despite the economic crisis impacting customer spend. Source: Gaming Intelligence
The governing body of racing in Ireland has warned the industry “will disintegrate before our eyes” unless the government reforms the funding system and secures more money from offshore bookmakers and betting exchanges. Source: GamblingCompliance.com
Italy’s operators are jostling for a share of the action from new and lucrative products to be made available during the first half of 2010, as the schedule for the introduction of new VLTs, cash poker and online gaming becomes clear. Source: GamblingCompliance.com
After a year of major regulatory change in Italy and the implementation of new legislation to expand regulated online gaming, bwin’s Gioco Digitale has become the first gaming operator to launch real money online bingo. Source: GamingIntelligence.com
On 1 December 2009, a EUROMAT delegation met with Mr. Jose-Luis Fernandez Sanz of the Spanish Permanent Representation to the EU to discuss the upcoming Spanish Presidency of the EU. Mr. Fernandez explained that the Spanish Presidency will be likely to continue the same work started under the French Presidency in 2008 but will maintain a low profile. In fact Spain intends to hold the minimum number of meetings for a Council working party, which is two. The Council Working Party on Gambling and Betting will meet on 5 March and 5 May 2010. The Spanish Presidency has indicated that it will focus its attention on the fight against illegal provision of gambling services particularly, blocking of Internet Service provision and Financial transaction blocking. The Spanish Presidency will then draft a progress report which is expected to be presented to the Competitiveness Council on 26 May 2010. Source: Euromat
The head of Spain’s main charity lottery has cited the findings of this year’s ‘Schaldemose’ report in the European Parliament, adding ONCE’s voice to calls for Spanish regulation of internet gaming, while state-owned rival LAE faces the disquiet of lottery retailer groups in the country. Source: GamblingCompliance.com
The European Court of Justice has confirmed that it will examine Austrian and Swedish rules on online gambling in January in separate oral hearings. The Austrian case - number C-64/08 - also relates to the freedom to provide services under European law, and in particular Articles 43 and 49 of the EC Treaty. The case was referred to the ECJ by the Austrian Court in Linz, who sought clarification on whether the country’s two current gambling licensing regimes are in violation of the EU’s competition legislation. If that is the case, then the national court wants to know if current Austrian gambling legislation can be legitimately used to gambling operators based in other Member States. Source: Euromat
Advocate General Yves Bot of the European Court of Justice has delivered his opinion on the cases involving Betfair, Ladbrokes and the Dutch monopoly of De Lotto. His opinion is in favour of Member States maintaining a monopoly on gambling services and their right to grant licences to one single operator, as a means to protect consumers from fraud, crime and gambling addiction. In his very lengthy opinion, Advocate General Bot stated that free competition in the EU promotes the harmonious development of economic activities and employment. However, he then added that these advantages do not apply to the gambling sector as competition among gambling operators will push consumers into spending more than they can afford and may induce an addiction to gambling. The opinion of Advocate General Bot is non-binding but it usually indicates the way in which the ECJ will deliver its final verdict. For the Bwin/Santa Casa Portuguese case, which was concluded in September, his opinion at the time favoured the Portuguese monopoly and he supported Members States maintaining exclusive access to their gambling markets. The eventual verdict obviously upheld the same view as the Advocate General. Source: Euromat
The announcement of new licensing requirements for UK-facing online gaming providers has raised speculation that any new Conservative government would also tax offshore gaming – although lobbyists believe that a wider review of UK gambling policy under the Tories would be far less likely. Source: GamblingCompliance.com
At The Races and the Racecourse Media Group have entered into an equal participation joint venture, pooling their respective international distribution rights to all UK and Irish racecourses to create a new unified broadcast service which will be tasked with maximising the revenue opportunities for British and Irish racing. Source: Gaming Intelligence
With neighbouring Pennsylvania and Delaware stepping up competition after both states recently passed legislation to allow table games, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission has reported a 13% drop in Atlantic City casino revenues to US$3.9 billion in 2009, the worst financial returns for the east coast gambling city since 1997. Source: Gaming Intelligence
Concluding a three year investigation by several United States law enforcement agencies including the IRS and the FBI, former BetonSports CEO David Carruthers was sentenced last month to 33 months in prison for his involvement in the now defunct online gambling operator. Source: Gaming Intelligence
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