EGBA, Bally’s, Bragg & the BGC: the week in numbers

Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Today, we take a look at a pair of EGBA developments, acquisitions detailed by Bally’s Corporation and Bragg Gaming, and Sweden’s online gambling trade association calling for an end to ongoing restrictions.

14

BOS, the Swedish trade association for online gambling, called on the country’s government to “quickly end” the temporary gambling restrictions, that are still in place, and were recently extended until November 14, 2021.

This came after the Constitutional Committee of the Riksdag, the highest decision-making assembly in Sweden, criticised the basis with which Ardalan Shekarabi, minister for social security, imposed the constraints, which first came into play on July 2, 2020.

The Committee said that a suggestion that gambling at online casinos would have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic was based upon information that would have not allowed such a definitive conclusion to be made.

The rules, which are said to be aimed at “particularly risky forms of gambling,” have subsequently been extended several times, and are currently set to run until the penultimate month of the year.

2022

A European digital identity could have “significant and positive impacts” on how customer identity is verified in the continent’s online gambling sector, said the European Gaming and Betting Association.

This followed European Commission proposal for an electronic identity wallet to permit EU citizens to access public and private services online, which the EGBA says would lead to “more common approaches” to identity verification for many online sectors in Europe.

The new European digital Identity wallets would enable all Europeans to access services online without having to use private identification methods or unnecessarily share personal data.

To make it a reality as soon as possible, the Commission invites member states to establish a common toolbox by September 2022, and to start the necessary preparatory work immediately. This should include the technical architecture, standards and guidelines for best practices.

17

A number of UK charities are set to benefit from a “major” cash boost, after a selection of Betting and Gaming Council members signed-up to donate all profits gained from a flagship horse race.

This will see Prostate Cancer UK, Marie Curie, three Armed Forces charities and Care Radio all benefit from the Britannia Stakes, which takes place at Royal Ascot on June 17.

Participants include BGC members Flutter Entertainment (Paddy Power, Betfair, Sky Bet), bet365, Entain (Ladbrokes, Coral), William Hill, Kindred (Unibet), BetVictor, Betway, Rank Group (Grosvenor Sport), the Tote and Fitzdares.

The operators have agreed to hand over all profits they make from win and each-way bets, after levy and duties are deducted, on the big-field heritage handicap. If they do not make a profit on the race, a donation to the charities will still be made

30

Bragg Gaming is continuing to execute on its US gaming aspirations after the igaming tech and content provider announced a deal to acquire Las Vegas-based Wild Streak Gaming for $30m.

The acquisition of the content creation studio, which has a portfolio of 39 slot titles supported across online and land-based applications, follows last month’s deal to acquire Spin Games in a $30m cash and stock transaction.

Upon completion of the two, Bragg says that it will have successfully executed on a strategy of acquiring “the essential resources and technology assets required to become a tier one vertically integrated B2B gaming business operating in US and Canadian market”.

Pursuant to the transaction, which closed simultaneously with the signing of the purchase agreement, the sellers of Wild Streak received $10m in cash and will gain $20m worth of common shares of Bragg over the next three years, subject to acceleration in the event of a change of control.

125

Bally’s Corporation closed the acquisition of Bet.Works, which saw the group detail an intention to diversify its operations through the creation of two distinct operating divisions.

The transaction, which includes Bet.Works’ proprietary technology stack and turnkey solutions comprising marketing, operations, customer service, risk management and compliance, was for $125m, half of which was paid in Bally’s common stock, which Bet.Works shareholders agreed to hold for at least one year.

With the closing of the transaction, Bally’s will create two distinct operating divisions of ‘Bally’s Casinos,’ which will include the company’s physical gaming and entertainment properties, and ‘Bally’s Interactive,’ which will comprise all of Bet.Works’ sports betting operations. 

The latter will also include Monkey Knife Fight, the daily fantasy sports site in North America, and SportCaller, a global B2B free-to-play game provider.

5.3

The EGBA also submitted a formal state aid complaint to the European Commission in response to the German Bundesrat’s proposal to set a 5.3 per cent tax on online poker and slots stakes in the country.

This follows the association urging members of the German parliament to reconsider the proposed gambling tax measure last month, stating that tax at punitive rates would lead to more players using unlicensed websites. 

The EGBA believes that the proposal breaches EU state aid rules because it would apply only to online operators, and would lead to online poker and slots stakes in Germany being taxed at rates four to five times higher than land-based gambling establishments.

The EGBA, representing Europe’s leading online betting companies, has previously warned that the proposed online tax would result in a substantial and unfair tax advantage to Germany’s land-based gambling establishments. 

In Bavaria, for example, it says that the tax measure would lead to online poker and slots stakes being taxed at rates four to five times higher than their equivalent in land-based casinos, and 15 times higher than slots offered in land-based amusement arcades, resulting in a tax advantage of €290m each year for the state’s land-based operators. 

It believes that this constitutes an illegal state aid under EU law, and estimates that the extent of the illegal aid for land-based gambling establishments in Germany would be €741m each year should the measure be approved.

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