It’s only April, but the global iGaming industry has already seen some big changes. From social responsibility in Europe to “self-regulation” in India, Ayvar Gabidullin, Business Development Manager at Slotegrator, shares in his latest column the top stories of the last three months.
The online gambling industry is dynamic, exciting, and fast-changing. It can be hard to keep up with all the big changes, but Slotegrator always keeps an eye out for the latest developments. Here’s a list of the biggest stories in the first quarter of 2023:
1. Social responsibility in Europe
The EU and the UK are home to some of the world’s most established gambling markets, and the regulations they set in place are often copied by other authorities around the world.
If the trend holds true, Europe could become the epicenter of a rising tide of social responsibility in the gambling sector — two European organizations, the Malta Gaming Authority and the European Committee of Standardization, are taking steps to emphasize gambling brands’ responsibility to the wider community.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is planning to develop an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Code of Good Practice.
ESG standards help socially conscious investors choose projects and encourage companies to behave responsibly towards their culture and environment. By encouraging licensees to use the voluntary ESG platform, the MGA hopes to attract more investment into the gambling sector. Additionally, an EU body and the MGA are both moving to create guidelines for operators to monitor markers of harm.
The European Committee of Standardization is set to develop a pan-European framework for markers of harm when it comes to online gambling at the behest of the European Gaming and Betting Association.
Certain patterns of behavior can indicate if a player is more likely to develop problem gambling behavior. For example, one marker of harm can be increased use of control tools such as joining self-exclusion programs.
2. A bumpy road gets bumpier in Uruguay
A proposed online gambling bill in Uruguay has been beset by critics objecting to “weak and insufficient” controls and the fact that only brick-and-mortar casinos will be allowed to run online platforms. The Football Association of Uruguay (AUF) would object to any law that doesn’t allow advertising partnerships between teams and online sportsbooks (athletic sponsorships are one of the most effective marketing tools in the LatAm market).
3. Curaçao launches new website
As part of an upcoming overhaul of the island’s gambling regulations, the Curaçao Ministry of Finance opened a website where gambling policies will be published. According to the revamped regulations, there will be a new regulator — The Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA) — which will issue both B2B and B2C licenses, as well as a new schedule of fees. Licensees will be required to have 3 key employees working on the island and be subject to enhanced money laundering controls.
4. Georgia to introduce new online casino restrictions
Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili has approved restrictions preventing all but holders of land-based licenses from offering online gambling. The new restriction comes after a series of measures to curb problem gambling in the country, including raising the gambling age for Georgians to 25 and higher taxes on gambling revenues.
5. Belgian authorities ban gambling ads
A royal decree in Belgium is set to ban gambling advertising in the country. There is a small handful of exceptions. The national lottery will still be allowed to advertise, and there will be limited sports betting advertising; licensees can broadcast sponsorship messages, but they cannot be longer than five seconds, there can be no more than two an hour, and they must only appear in the 15 minutes before and after a match. The new restrictions will apply from July 1, 2023.
6. Almost all bets in Germany are placed on legal websites
According to a recent report from German regulator GGL, 95% of bets in the country are placed on legal websites. The impressive channelization rate likely comes as a surprise to the most vocal detractors of the country’s regulations, who predicted that the €1000-per-month deposit limit and €1-per-spin limit would drive players to the black market.
7. Self-governing iGaming in India
In January 2023, the Ministry of Electronics and IT published rules that would establish a series of governing bodies to oversee online gambling in India. Instead of a bureaucratic agency keeping tabs on the private sector, the “self-regulatory bodies” will be made up of online gambling businesses themselves.