Latest Gambling News: Allwyn Parent Still Has Russia Ties, Guardian Says, and more

Kat Pilkington


February 5, 2024

Catch up on six of the stories our gambling compliance analysts have covered lately, and stay up-to-date on the latest news.

Allwyn Parent Still Has Russia Ties, Guardian Says

The parent company of Allwyn, the company that just took over the UK National Lottery, has yet to cut ties with Russia-owned gas company Gazprom, nearly two years after the company won the contract to run the lottery, according to a British newspaper.

Allwyn, which received a ten-year contract to run the lottery in March 2022, is majority owned by Czech entrepreneur Karel Komárek, via his holding company KKCG.

He promised to end ties to a joint venture with Gazprom as Allwyn won the contract, according to The Guardian, where the story originated.

When asked for a comment, the UK Gambling Commission, which awarded the contract over past licence holder Camelot, supplied a letter it wrote to a parliamentary committee which said that it was “satisfied that no sanctioned entities or individuals are involved in funding the Incoming Licensee, nor have they been previously”.

A KKCG spokesman supplied a timeline that included Komarek’s condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and notes from Czech competition authorities.

Allwyn formally took over the National Lottery contract on February 1. 

Ex-Alabama Baseball Coach Penalized In Gambling Case

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) handed down a five-year suspension as part of a 15-year show cause order against former Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon on Thursday (February 1).

The decision effectively bans Bohannon from college coaching after he provided information to a gambler who used it to make illegal wagers against Alabama.

Shortly after Bert Eugene Neff received that information, he attempted to place a $100,000 wager on the Alabama game versus Louisiana State University on April 28, 2023. Sportsbook staff limited him to a $15,000 wager and declined his attempts to place additional bets due to suspicious activity.  

Alabama and the NCAA negotiated a resolution to the case that led to the university being placed on three years probation, a $5,000 fine, and additional education programming for athletes, coaches and staff on the potential harms of gambling. 

"Integrity of games is of the utmost importance to NCAA members, and the panel is deeply troubled by Bohannon's unethical behavior," said Vince Nicastro, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the Big East and chief hearing officer for the panel. 

Uganda Launches Long-Awaited Online Monitoring System

Uganda’s gambling regulator has announced the long-awaited launch of its National Central Electronic Monitoring System (NCEMS), which will allow it to track industry activity in real time.  

The National Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board said the system will offer “enhanced compliance and increased revenue collection, improved enforcement and prioritizing responsible gaming”, in a press release on January 29.

Operators are now beginning to integrate the monitoring system and it is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2024. 

Revenue collected from the gambling industry is projected by the regulator to grow from UGX$151.9bn (€36m) in the 2022/2023 financial year to UGX$160bn in 2023/2024, and UGX$300bn in FY2024/2025.

Polish Competition Watchdog Ends Match Score Fees Probe

Polish competition watchdog UOKiK has announced that, as a result of its intervention, the Polish Football Federation (PZPN) and Ekstraklasa, the operator of the top tier of Poland’s professional football league, have modified their policy on match score fees.

Local gambling industry representatives have long criticised the two entities for the fees they had imposed on Polish bookmakers, ranging from 0.5 percent of the companies’ gross and net revenues, to at least PLN10,000 (€2,300).

Over “the course of our investigation, the Polish Football [Federation] and Ekstraklasa … changed the way they had charged their fees and their amount for the use of football [match] results. We consider the new charging mechanism satisfactory from the point of view of antitrust law, which puts our actions against PZPN and Ekstraklasa to an end,” Tomasz Chróstny, the UOKiK’s president, said in a statement.

In 2019, local gambling industry association PIGBRiB filed an open letter to the two entities.

The organisation criticised the PZPN and Ekstraklasa for collecting “horrendous fees for [allowing local bookmakers to] use the scores of football matches” that should be considered publicly available information.

The PIGBRiB accused them of applying varying rates to Polish bookmakers without sufficient transparency.

Lithuanian Regulator Fines Top Sport Again

The Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority has imposed a €15,000 fine on Top Sport UAB for again allowing a player to gamble on its site from outside the country.

Lithuania-based operator Top Sport claimed that the player in question was accessing their gambling account from Lithuania; however, the authority says he was accessing it from Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to a press release from the gambling regulator.

Top Sport has been fined several times in Lithuania in recent years, including three different times in a single week in June 2023. One of these fines was also €15,000 and issued for allowing someone to gamble from outside the county.

A separate €15,000 was issued to Top Sport in November 2022 for accepting an online customer from outside Lithuania.

Jackpocket Launches iGaming In New Jersey

Jackpocket has become the first lottery platform to enter the online gaming market, launching its iGaming project Wednesday (January 31) in New Jersey. 

"This launch immediately expands Jackpocket's entertainment offerings in New Jersey and will do the same for fans in other markets in the future," said Jackpocket CEO and founder Peter Sullivan.

"As the iGaming space continues to grow, we're excited to provide our engaged lottery user base with an easy and fun way to get involved in games we know they already love." 

Jackpocket Lottery users in New Jersey will be able to move between the two apps easily once registered. Besides New Jersey, the third-party lottery courier app is available in 17 additional jurisdictions including Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia.

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