Latest Gambling News: Swedish Consumers Have Warped Gambling Perspective and more

Kat Pilkington


December 4, 2023

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

Swedish Consumers Have Warped Gambling Perspective

A survey of Swedish consumers by local online gambling trade group BOS has revealed a massively negative view of gambling among the general public.

The research, carried out by Novus, asked people of a variety of ages and geographical locations within Sweden for their guess on how many people were suffering from gambling addiction in Sweden, for example.

On that question, Swedes estimated that a massive 23 percent of the entire population were gambling addicts, while data suggests it is at most 1.3 percent.

Survey respondents also believed that gambling companies return to player rate is around 21 percent, while it is in fact 95 percent.

“This report shows a huge knowledge gap and it's clear that we need to work harder to spread the true picture of the gambling industry, said BOS general secretary Gustaf Hoffstedt.

“It is no wonder that many demand even tighter regulation of the gambling industry when the general opinion is that almost every fourth Swede suffers from a gambling addiction, when the real figure is one in 100,” he said.

Danish Regulator Issues First Illegal Advertising Fines

The Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) has issued its first fines for websites advertising unlicensed gambling sites in the country. 

An unnamed individual who operated websites that hosted unlicensed gambling adverts accepted two DKK50,000 fines totaling DKK100,000, according to a DGA press release on Tuesday (November 28).

The DGA said the online adverts “very specifically referred to websites where you could play, even if you are registered in ROFUS”, the country’s online and land-based self-exclusion scheme.

On August 30, 2023, the DGA announced a similar DKK10,000 fine for a streamer for advertising unlicensed gambling operators via the Twitch platform. This was the first time the regulator fined a streamer for illegal gambling advertising.

Spillebranchen, a trade group for online gambling companies in the Danish regulated market, congratulated the regulator for its “good work” on social media, but warned that “problems with illegal gambling are growing rapidly at the moment, and the authorities cannot stop it”.

“Unfortunately, a small Google search shows that there are 50+ Danish-language websites that market Games Outside ROFUS. In fact, there seems to have been a massive increase in illegal websites marketing unlicensed gambling operators in the past year,” Spillebranchen said.

Currently, the DGA refers most violations to police or prosecutors and sanctions against licensees are not public information, in contrast to neighbouring countries such as Sweden.

However, a proposal to amend the Gambling Act that was submitted to the European Commission on November 3 would introduce a requirement for the gambling regulator to name companies when they violate the gambling law. 

UK Affordability Set For Day In Parliament

A petition demanding that the government scrap its plans to introduce financial risk checks in the UK has passed 100,000 signatures and must now be considered for a full parliamentary debate.

The affordability plans have proved controversial, particularly among those with links to horseracing, who argue that new requirements for operators to check the spending power of their customers will drive many punters offshore.

The government has pledged not to roll out the regulations until the checks are "frictionless". In an earlier response to the petition, the government said it remained "committed to a proportionate, frictionless system of financial risk checks, to protect those at risk of harm without over regulating".

Opposition To Ireland’s New Gambling Law Grows

There is increasing opposition and criticism of Ireland’s Gambling Regulation Bill 2022, with both charities and lottery betting operator Lottoland pushing for amendments ahead of its introduction.

Local media reports from this week revealed that a county council is preparing to write to minister James Browne TD, who is in charge of gambling policy, to highlight how local charities will be adversely affected by the new gambling advertising restrictions.

It follows concerns raised by charities and radio stations over the fear that banning betting advertising between 5:30am and 9pm will stop the promotion of some fundraisers.

Separately, Lottoland vice president Mike Kirwan called on Browne to “re-engage” with the sector and “listen to our concerns” after Ireland Thinks undertook a study of attitudes in the country on the incoming regulations. 

The research found that despite 75 percent backing plans to introduce new regulations, 19 percent of existing bettors would seek alternative methods of gambling in the event that it is restricted in Ireland.

Concerns have previously been raised around the drafting of the law. 

However, these concerns were not addressed when the bill passed the committee stage on July 11, 2023.

The gambling bill is expected to finish its journey through the Oireachtas (parliament) early in 2024, according to the Department of Justice.

Miriam Adelson Sells $2bn In Las Vegas Sands Shares

Miriam Adelson, the largest shareholder in Las Vegas Sands, plans to sell $2bn in shares of the company’s stock to purchase a majority interest in the National Basketball Association’s Dallas Mavericks. 

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday (November 28), Adelson would remain the company’s largest shareholder owning approximately 52 percent of the outstanding shares, down from 56. 4 percent.

The Dallas Morning News reported owner Mark Cuban, 65, would maintain operational control of the franchise, but Adelson would acquire a majority stake in the teams. The pending deal is subject to customary approval by the NBA Board of Governors. 

Cuban purchased a majority share of the Mavericks in January 2000 for $285m. 

Based in Las Vegas, the company owns and operates casinos in Macau and Singapore. Adelson, 78, is the widow of Sheldon Adelson, the founder of Las Vegas who died in 2021. 

Las Vegas Sands intends to repurchase up to $250m of shares, based on the assumed public offering price set at the close of trading on Monday at $48.56 per share. Las Vegas Sands trades on the New York Stock Exchange. 

In February 2022, Las Vegas Sands sold The Venetian, Palazzo and Venetian Expo Center to VICI Properties, a real estate investment trust, and private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $6.25bn.

Coalition Of Tribes Oppose Latest California Sports-Betting Initiatives

A coalition of three California gaming tribes expressed their opposition to two sports-betting ballot initiatives in comments submitted to the state attorney general’s office, according to a letter obtained on Tuesday (November 28) by Vixio GamblingCompliance.

The Wilton Rancheria, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians submitted a three-page letter arguing the backers of the Tribal Gaming Protection Act and the Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act would enable off-shore operators to “monetize and profit from their operations.”

According to the three-page letter, tribal officials highlight that their proposals exempt any “illicit offshore online gaming operations” sold to California tribes from background checks and licensing by tribal regulatory agencies. They also exempt equipment and operating systems from testing and certification regulations for two years.

“This problematic new language advances the agenda of offshore online gaming operators to exploit and monetize their illicit assets,” read the letter signed by Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon Tribe, Lynn Valbuena, chairwoman of San Manuel, and Jesus Tarango, chairman of the Wilton Rancheria.

“Rigorous regulation and oversight are critical to ensure the integrity and honesty of tribal gaming.” 

The letter was among four comments submitted to the attorney general’s office prior to Monday’s (November 27) deadline. Both measures can now begin collecting signatures and have until April 23 to collect 874,641 valid signatures to make the November 5, 2024, ballot.

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