GamCare, Playtech, BGC & another lockdown: the week in numbers

Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In this latest edition we look at more states legalising igaming and sports betting, the fall out from a Peers for Gambling Reform report, another Victorian lockdown, and GamCare calling for UK financial institutions and businesses to work together.

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GamCare called for a more collaborative response to address “gambling block loopholes,” after the charity hosted a sector wide Gambling Related Financial Harm workshop.

It says that a number of ways were identified which would allow self-excluded gamblers to deposit to online operators, which highlights the need for more information to be available to banks, payment processors and operators to prevent these from being sidestepped and to enhance protection.

It was also suggested that gambling blocks similar to those applied by banks across the UK are introduced by e-wallet providers, with a system of cross-referrals between financial service firms and partners from the TalkBanStop pilot, including  the trio of GamCare, GamStop and Gamban, also endorsed.

Further recommendations include raising awareness about the dangers of unregulated gambling operators; developing a mechanism for consumers to report when gambling blocks fail, and active monitoring of new payment methods which do not get traced by gambling blocks.

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Playtech is to focus on its technology-led offering across B2B and B2B gambling, after the group confirmed the long-mooted sale of its Finalto financial trading division for up to $210m.

The purchasers are led by Barinboim Group, and backed by Leumi Partners and Menora Mivtachim Insurance, alongside whom Playtech confirmed that talks were taking place in January following media speculation.

The disposal, says that gambling tech firm, is in line with a strategy to simplify the group’s operations; will unlock significant capital; and increase predictability and stability of cash flows.

Completion is anticipated to take place during the year’s final quarter, with the transaction unanimously supported by the Playtech board as being in the best interests of shareholders.

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The Betting and Gaming Council reaffirmed a commitment to change and confidence that “ministers will make sensible decisions for the future that are based on serious evidence,” rather than what the association calls “fantasy figures” in today’s Peers for Gambling Reform report.

The report, from NERA and commissioned by PGR, suggested that reforming the gambling industry would likely have positive societal outcomes on employment, tax revenue and employee earnings.

The review assessed the economic impact of reforms to the UK gambling sector proposed by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry.

These include structural limits on the online stake sizes and play speed, affordability checks for online play, the introduction of a mandatory levy for gambling operators, the classification of video game loot boxes as gambling and a ban on direct sponsorship by gambling operators.

“We 100 per cent committed to change and we hope that the white paper will lead to a package of reforms that continue recent significant improvements in safer gambling,” said Michael Dugher, BGC chief executive.

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Crown Resorts’ Melbourne business operations have shut down for a one week period, after the state of Victoria entered its latest circuit breaker lockdown following an increase in COVID-19 infections.

On the advice of its public health team, James Merlino, Victoria’s acting premier, updated that the region would implement the added restrictions from 11:59pm on Thursday, 27 May, 2021, until 11:59pm on Thursday 3 June, 2021.

This comes just days after the return of other rules, which included private gatherings in the home being limited to five visitors per day, public gatherings limited to 30 people and face masks needing to be worn indoors, unless an exemption applies.

The region reported 12 new cases acquired locally in the past 24 hours, which takes its total number of active cases to 34. In total, Australia has recorded a little over 30,000 cases and 910 deaths.

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Aristocrat Leisure is targeting strong growth over the full year to September 30, 2021, after detailing a one per cent drop in revenue for the first half of the year in the group’s latest financial update.

The company says that it enters the second half of 2021 with “excellent momentum, resilience, and confidence,” after revenue declined one per cent to AU$2.22bn (2020: $AU$2.25bn) for the six month ending March 31, 2021.

This, says Aristocrat, was principally driven by an “outstanding performance in digital,” as well as a “robust recovery” across North America gaming operations.

Aristocrat digital recorded a 14.3 per cent H1 revenue increase to AU$1.19bn (2020: $1.04bn), with the group’s Australia and New Zealand segment also recording an uptick to finish the period at $209.1m, a 1.7 per cent rise from $205.6m.

The Americas division declined 11.1 per cent to AU$810.2m (2020: $911m), with its ‘International Class III’ segment down 81.5 per cent to AU$16.8m (2020: AU$90.6m).

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The final legislative approval from the state senate for a bill which will see legalisation of online gaming and sports wagering within Connecticut was welcomed by state governor, Ned Lamont.

Anticipating a start date of September 9, in time for the first day of the NFL season, the legislation is set to be transmitted to the governor for his signature, and comes as a result of an agreement the Lamont administration reached earlier this year with the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.

The legislation is House Bill 6451, an act concerning the authorisation, licensing and regulation of online casino gaming, retail and online sports wagering, fantasy contests, keno and online sale of lottery tickets.

Lamont said that he plans to sign the bill in the coming days. Following that, his administration and the tribes will seek approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the US Department of Interior to amend the state’s compact with the tribes.

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