“No purpose in new licences,” says UK gaming industry
ritain does not require a new licensing regime for overseas online gaming operators wanting to promote their services in the UK, according to sector
experts assembled on a panel by GTech G2.
Peter Wilson of commercial law firm Memery Crystal, who moderated the panel, said it concluded that “first, there is not any specific consumer protection probl
the current licensing system that needs fixing. “Secondly, the proposals were the product of the
Department of Culture, Media and Sport [DCMS, the ministry that oversees gaming] feeling it needs to be ‘seen to be doing something’ in the face of an ongoing erosion of an already comparatively small number of operators holding British remote licences. They are certainly not industry-driven reforms.
“Thirdly, an intention to require overseas operators in the
European Economic Area, whitelist territories or Gibraltar to apply for British licences that is intended to be enforced by a law without extra jurisdictional effect would largely be relying on operators’ goodwill to apply for the necessary licences. The U.S. experience was cited as a clear example that not all operators will fall into line.”
The panel included Paul Bolt, Director of Sport and Leisure at the DCMS, who is the principal civil servant dealing with the gaming sector; Simon Burridge, CEO of Virgin Games; Nick Hawkins, Legal Director and Company Secretary at Danoptra; and James Hollins, Gambling Equity
Analyst at Daniel Stewart.
As Casino International went to press, Britain’s new coalition government had yet to indicate its position on the proposals to require foreign operators to apply for licences.
They come as a downturn in consumer leisure spending with
by Britons hits the gaming business especially hard. In corporate advisory firm Zolfo Cooper’s recent Leisure Wallet Report, it was expected to be the worst affected of all leisure sectors by declining spend over the next six months.
Thirty percent of Britons surveyed expected to spend less on Bingo and casinos in the next six months, with a similar number predicting they would cut their sports betting. Online gaming fared only slightly better, with 24 percent anticipating they would reduce the amount they bet.
Currently, the average gambling spend by British consumers is £13.64 per week ($19.48), according to the report.
About half of Britons gamble regularly, most of them
offline. Recent research for the Gambling Commission, the nation’s regulator, found that 55.2 percent of adults had gambled in the previous four weeks, while 10.5 percent had gambled remotely.
News in brief
was its largest ever, attracting more than 50 regulators to discuss issues including Internet gaming and the VLT market. Its next event, on 28 September in Buenos Aires, focuses on the Latin American sector.
I only go there for the foie gras
The Rank-owned Grosvenor and G Casino chains in Britain have launched new food menus across the country. Mark Frost, Head of Food and Beverage at Grosvenor Casinos, said: “Many people don’t realise you’re welcome to come into our casinos just for a good meal.”
Canada’s Chartwell Technology has
received eCogra’s Certified Software seal. The firm makes software for online gaming operators.
Macau imposes tough limits on further casino expansion
acau’s government is forcing casino operators to drastically cut back their expansion plans as Chief Executive Fernando Chui seeks to reduce the Chinese special administrative region’s economic dependence on gaming.
Some details of its exact plans appear to be self- contradictory, but the administration has said it will not give the go-ahead to any new casinos.
However, Francis Tam, Secretary for Economy and Finance, was quoted as saying “those casino developments that have already been approved may continue to complete their construction”.
And just as alarmingly for existing casino operators in Macau, only 500 new gaming tables are to be allowed
8 JUNE 2010
over the next three years. The city’s six incumbent operators are understood to have wanted to add 1300 in just the next year.
The government – reliant on gaming for a massive
70 percent of its income – is believed to be worried that the sector is overheating and to prefer a more diversified economy. Macau’s gaming revenue leapt by 66 percent in just the first two months of this year, and the administration would like to see a much more sedate growth rate of around four to five percent annually.
It is also thought that the Chinese government in Beijing is concerned that its citizens are spending excessive amounts of their savings on Macau’s packed gaming floors.
Points win prizes
London Clubs International says its relaunched Player Rewards loyalty programme gives consumers the highest return available in the UK. Players now earn twice as many points as before when they gamble, and for the first time will also collect points for food and beverage purchases. The operator is part of the Harrah’s group.
An online casino claiming to offer “green, responsible gaming” is now targeting British players. Mrgreen.com
is already available in Finland, Norway and Sweden as well as Austria.
Two new categories at the 2011
International Gaming Awards will recognise achievement in customer experience and sports books. Entries are being accepted now; the deadline is 18 October.
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