Q&A: Per Thorn, Hero Gaming

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter 28th June 2018 | By Louella Hughes Topics: Casino & games Q&A: Per Thorn, Hero Gaming This month we catch up with the head of product management for casino gamification pioneer Hero Gaming, which this week expanded its brand portfolio to four with the launch of no-registration brand Speedy, to find out more about its strategy, which content is performing best and plans for the Swedish market next year Casino & games This month we catch up with the head of product management for casino gamification pioneer Hero Gaming, which this week expanded its brand portfolio to four with the launch of no-registration brand Speedy, to find out more about its strategy, which content is performing best and plans for the Swedish market next yearWhich recent slot titles are performing particularly well for Hero Gaming, and what variances are you seeing across your four main brands of Casino Hero, CasiTabi, Betser and now Speedy? We can see a variance between our brands because we wanted it that way to ensure we don’t target the same players and cannibalise any of these brands. People underestimate the difference between markets and think all players play the same games.For instance, the most popular slots in Scandinavia are very different compared to those in the UK, which is not exactly far away!On Casino Heroes, Book of Dead has done very well without any help from specific promotions, as in our case, we can give out gifts to players that win our Boss Fights.We have recently launched Big Time Gaming titles such as Bonanza and Extra Chilli which are being played a lot.The slots that perform very well now are basically modern versions of older games. Many new versions of the classic game Book of Ra are available right now. Also high volatility games with the help from YouTube and Twitch where streamers upload their latest wins. Bonanza is a great example, for which I recently saw a video of someone winning over 18,000x the bet in the free spins mode.Which suppliers’ content performs most strongly and consistently for Hero Gaming, and why? This is actually pretty interesting, and what it comes down to is how creative we are with the supplier. Play N’ Go is a great example. We discuss and plan together how we should release their new games. If we just add a new game to the lobby it might disappear among all the other slots we have available so it’s important to work with our partners [to prevent this].Play N’ GO recently released the slot House of Doom, which is not a particularly special game from my perspective, but together we put together a great promotion where we built a whole new island in our adventure only for this game and the Swedish rock band that did the music for the games were bosses in our Boss Fights. This was a huge success and during this promotion House of Doom was our most played game by far.We have also worked very closely with NetEnt since we launched four years ago, and whenever we do something special together we always see great results too.What would you say are the major challenges for someone in your position for an online casino in 2018? We need to be clever in what we do to stay ahead of our competitors. We also need to be ready for new markets, ensuring we stay on top of the compliance requirements while at the same time making sure the product remains stable, safe and secure. It’s also important to strike the balance between being innovative and ensuring our product provides a world-class experience for our customers.Sometimes I just want our programmers to stop whatever they are doing and focus only on a new awesome idea that either myself or any another Hero has come up with. It’s always a challenge to stop myself when this happens!You take content from a wide variety of suppliers across your main brands. From your side, what would you like to see them do better or more of? What do they generally get wrong? I would love to see them being a lot more innovative and getting round the table with us and asking what we would like to see in a game, and most importantly what our players would like. After all, it’s all about the players and keeping them entertained. We started our own Boss Fights feature to enable our players to progress in our adventure, and the suppliers could definitely do something similar.Casino Heroes is focused on the Scandinavian countries, and the largest market there, Sweden, is set to regulate next year. What is your view of the proposed regulatory and tax framework there and is this viable enough for you to take a licence? We see this as something very positive and we will be applying for a licence. All the key stakeholders and management at Hero Gaming have been in the industry for many years and we are happy to see this market regulated.We would like to see more regulated markets because it is easier it is for us to make long-term strategic plans as a company, instead of being uncertain about what will happen next.I remember when the US shut down back in 2011, I was working from Costa Rica and we had 90% from our revenue coming from the US market at the time, which hit us hard.What games players are playing and staking on is obviously the main factor deciding a game’s position or ranking on your main homepages, but to what degree and on what basis do you intervene here. Also, how is the availability of data and AI changing how you deliver and personalise this? The ranking of our games is based on game rounds so we always have the most popular games by market at the top of the lobby. We can overwrite this if we want to push something specific, as we welcome innovation from our suppliers.We are much more likely to undertake custom development to ensure new games are well promoted if they are innovative. We love innovation and if we get help from a game provide in this area, we are ready and waiting to do our part.Data is everything these days. We segment players by various means ensuring individual players receive the offers and game releases that cater for their needs. Recently we launched a new live casino lobby that is the first step towards AI.It’s innovative, it’s personalised and can get players to the table quicker than before. It also remembers the games they have played before, always presenting these first to the player when they return to the site.Speedy Casino operates a no registration model. How do the players here differ from those signing up and playing via the conventional model?’ We only launched Speedy Casino [in Sweden and Finland] on 26 June, so it’s too early to give you an answer based on the data we have collected so far. But from earlier research we know that Swedish players love the simplicity of the no-registration and no-contact model.To deposit players must use Bank ID, which is very trustworthy in Sweden. When a player sees this they instantly trust us as a casino, which has been a struggle for the sector for many years.Our main goal with this new brand is to reach the players we might not reach with our adventure brand Casino Heroes or with our sports-focused brand Betser, and of course also to simply deliver what players want – and do it better than our competitors. You may be wondering what we are working on right now to make us stand out from the competition, but I can’t reveal that so you will have to wait and see!Casino Heroes uses gamification and elements drawn from non-gambling games with the aim of increasing player engagement. Have you tested how much longer this keeps players inside the casino ecosystem for and its impact on other KPIs such as lifetime values, time on site, spend per visit etc.? Without doubt gamification increases engagement. We have some of the best retention rates in the industry because our players are rewarded for simply playing the games they love which in turn leads to higher lifetime values and extended player sessionsWhat is your primary focus for the product side of the business over the next 12-18 months? Our focus on the product side right now is to stay compliant and be ready to adjust our product to follow the upcoming guidelines that will soon come for Sweden.Speedy Casino actually only took four weeks to build from scratch following our first meeting about it. We already have a lot of work planned for our developers to further improve this brand and can’t wait to release the next wave of exciting features we and of course introduce this concept to new markets.The thing I’m most proud of and most excited about is something we are developing right now. This is something completely new in our industry and it will be a game changer, I can seriously promise that. I have been in this industry for over 15 years and I have never been this excited before. I can’t wait to release it. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Addresslast_img read more

Read More
RG Week special: Changing the conversation

first_img7th November 2019 | By Stephen Carter Topics: Legal & compliance Strategy Tech & innovation Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Legal & compliance The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling’s Responsible Gambling Week has grown rapidly since its 2017 launch. Chair John Hagan explains its aims to Daniel O’Boyle and says the sector needs to prove its year-round commitment to safer gambling The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling’s (IGRG) Responsible Gambling Week has grown rapidly since its 2017 launch. With negative mainstream perceptions meaning that operators’ commitments to safer gambling are often met with suspicion, it has never been more important. IGRG chair John Hagan explains its aims to Daniel O’Boyle and how the sector needs to prove its year-round commitment to these.Responsible Gambling Week’s messages for 2019 are designed to be hard to miss.These will take in pop-up and banners adds on online gambling sites, advertising space in Football League stadia and matchday programmes, posters in betting shops and the screens of gaming machines.All will include the week’s slogan, “Let’s talk about responsible gambling,”For John Hagan, partner at Harris Hagan and chair of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG), making the message hard to avoid was a major part of one of the IGRG’s goals for the week: to make it clear that its messages were for everyone.“What we are trying to do is to make the safer gambling messaging part of the experience for everybody. It’s a perfectly normal, responsible thing to set limits on how much you spend, on how long you’ll play for. It’s like putting on a seatbelt when you get in a car. It’s for everybody. By having these messages everywhere we’re trying to get that message across to all gamblers and not just those who are experiencing problems with their gambling.”The ubiquity of a slogan, however, is naturally secondary to its content and to Hagan, “Let’s talk about safer gambling,” means exactly what it says.While there will be many targets for the week, Hagan said that the number of conversations about responsible gambling will be among the most important, alongside making players aware of responsible gambling tools and engagement with RG week resources.“An important part of the week is our Responsiblegambling.org site which is an information hub for everything you need to know about safer gambling, and will be available year-round,” Hagan said. “But I also want to hear about the number of conversations being had in betting shops and casinos, I want to hear about the number of interactions there have been in the online world.“I’d also like to think – and we can’t measure this – that there would be many conversations going on among friends of people who gamble, between family members, that responsible gambling week has acted as a natural trigger for those conversations to happen both in the shops and at home”. Tough crowd Yet if surveys are any indication, those conversations that occur around the UK may not be kind to operators.In the Gambling Commission’s 2018 report on gambling behaviour and attitudes, 71% agreed with the statement that gambling is dangerous for family life, 58% agreed that gambling should be discouraged and 25% agreed that it would be better if gambling was banned altogether.A May 2019 poll from YouGov may have contained an even more worrying figure for operators promoting responsible gambling messages during the week: 71% of respondents said operators were ‘not serious’ when they say they want people to gamble responsibly.“I think that it is undoubtedly the case that the industry has a poor public reputation at the present time for lots and lots of reasons,” Hagan said. “And as a result, unfortunately, it is likely that many people will see this campaign and view it with cynicism.“What that says to me is that even when the industry does something that is unquestionably good, when it’s raising awareness of how to gamble responsibly, when it’s telling people where help is available, even then it’ll be viewed with suspicion.“But my experience, working and being immersed in this sector for 20 years, is that I’m seeing positive cultural change from the CEO down to those who interact with gamblers on a day-to-day basis. I’m seeing enormous improvements.“This week is part of that but there’s a bit of a lag and it will be some time before the results of all the efforts that the industry is making now are seen by the wider public.”Cutting throughHagan added that he believed there was still a significant cohort of society whose opinions on gambling could be swung by positive action from the industry.“The surveys are showing that the public has a dim view of the industry,” Hagan said. “But what I say to that is that the public takes a dim view of most things. They certainly take a dim view of politicians. I don’t know where we fall in the spectrum.“There are broadly, and I’m generalising enormously here, but broadly three categories. There are people who are gambling consumers, love what gambling offers and think that it’s great. Then there’s a group who are against gambling and frankly will be against gambling no matter what the industry does. They will not be happy until gambling is banned.”“So who I’m hoping to reach [those in that first group] who gamble themselves, who need to be treated openly and fairly by operators, and then those in the middle who maybe don’t gamble themselves but think the industry can do better. And those are the people who I would like to see that the industry is improving, changing, doing better and that this week is just one part of that.”While much of the public may not believe operators’ commitment to such messages, Hagan said that doesn’t take away from the importance of awareness. Hagan highlighted that awareness of specific tools such as the National Gambling Helpline and self-exclusion tool Gamstop, which will both receive focus in IGRG messages, could still do with serious improvement.“I think awareness is extremely important, and that’s the reason for the week,” Hagan said. “And I don’t think there is enough awareness yet. Not enough people are aware of our responsible gambling messages and a huge number believe there should be such a campaign.“But it’s critical to understand that this is just one suite of measures that operators should be taking year-round. Year-round, operators should be exploring the development and trialing of algorithms to identify those that play online who may be experiencing harm and then interacting with them. That’s a key focus for operators throughout the year. This week is just one part of that.”While Hagan believes that there has been positive change in the industry, he says that doesn’t mean there haven’t been failings. In Hagan’s view, many issues operators have with problem gambling start with a lack of knowledge of the customer, making it difficult to recognize when they are gambling with money they can’t afford.With affordability checks and mandatory loss limits often discussed as attempts to solve problem gambling issues, Hagan says it’s important to strike a balance between addressing clear problem gamblers and excessive interference.“I think, where the industry at the moment is at is that they should be addressing obvious unaffordability,” Hagan said. “If someone is gambling well beyond their means or experiencing obvious harm from their gambling, they should be reacting and interacting with the costumer as appropriate in relation to that particular customer.“The further you move away from the line being obvious affordability, the more difficult the territory is and I would have to await the outcome of further industry work and consultation before I could say how to address the specifics.”Deeper commitment While Hagan says he has seen a great deal of improvement in his two decades in the industry, he still wants to see operators’ commitment progress further, treating RG as they would another business area with all of the technological and financial investment that entails.“I want to see the industry approach responsible gambling the way they approach every other aspect of their business – they’re putting technology into it, they’re interested in how it works, they’re evaluating how it works and they’re making improvements.“They’re not just sticking something on a website for appearances sake, they’re constantly looking at new ways to do this better and improve what they’re doing.”To find out more about Responsible Gambling Week and the resources available, please visit the websitecenter_img Tags: Online Gambling RG Week special: Changing the conversation Email Address AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterlast_img read more

Read More
Lottoland and MoPlay partner Rightlander to improve affiliate compliance

first_img Regions: UK & Ireland Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Legal & compliance Lottoland and MoPlay partner Rightlander to improve affiliate compliance Lottery betting operator Lottoland and Addison Global-owned sports betting brand MoPlay have signed deals with Rightlander to enhance their affiliate compliance and responsible gambling measures.Compliance specialist Rightlander will provide both operators with access to a number of tools, including its Automated Compliance Monitor, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Monitor and Proactive Affiliate Finder.Rightlander said that the Automated Compliance Monitor enables operators to discover affiliate sites linking to their brands that they are currently unaware of. This allows the operators to ensure the affiliates sending traffic to their sites are acting responsibly. Proactive Affiliate Finder scans millions of web pages each month to identify new and prominent sites across geo-locations including the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Australia and the US.Both Lottoland and MoPlay will focus their compliance and responsible gambling efforts on the UK market. This comes after the GB Gambling Commission issued an industry-wide warning to operators to ensure their affiliate partners are not offering free-to-play games without age verification controls in place.“The Gambling Commission has made it very clear that the onus is on operators to ensure affiliates are acting responsibly, and Rightlander takes on much of the leg work required to do this,” Rightlander founder Ian Sims said.Stephanie Cook, senior affiliate manager at Lottoland, also said: “Our partnership with Rightlander will allow us to properly monitor our affiliate partners and ensure compliance.  We strongly believe that when it comes to affiliate compliance, the buck stops with the operator and we look forward to working with Rightlander.”Mark Henrich, general counsel at MoPlay added: “Compliance is key for us at MoPlay and the Rightlander compliance platform is the most efficient way for us to monitor affiliate content. Rightlander enables us to quickly and efficiently check all affiliate sites to ensure that their links are up-to-date and all their content is GBGC compliant.” AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Topics: Legal & compliance Strategy Tags: Online Gambling Lottery betting operator Lottoland and Addison Global-owned sports betting brand MoPlay have signed deals with Rightlander in order to enhance their affiliate compliance and responsible gambling measures. 19th November 2019 | By contenteditor Email Addresslast_img read more

Read More
iGB-Pentasia Salary Survey 2019: Part 2

first_img iGB-Pentasia Salary Survey 2019: Part 2 Regions: Africa Asia Europe LATAM UK & Ireland US Southern Europe Gibraltar Malta In Part 2 of the iGaming Business Salary Survey, Pentasia’s regional specialists provide an overview of the trends and drivers of salaries in their respective territories, including the UK, Malta, Gibraltar and North America 27th November 2019 | By Stephen Carter AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Tags: Card Rooms and Poker Online Gambling Overall, salaries are continuing to rise across the continent.The migration of many operational roles to cheaper cost centres in Eastern Europe seems to have slowed.Meanwhile increased demand, triggered by changing regulation and growing demand, has pushed up salaries in Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. (Cara Kerr)Asia Pacific  +20% China’s anti-gambling stance has caused a severe tightening in the overall market. Short supply of top talent has pushed up salary expectations.Also significant variation between salaries depending on location; a position in Singapore could be filled for half the cost in Kuala Lumpur. (Simon King)Africa n/a small sample size Africa boasts many individual emerging markets, where sales and commercial professionals with relevant experience are extremely valuable.Seasoned product managers, especially those who have worked in sportsbook operations and mixed online- and offline-businesses can earn a premium if relocation is an option (Alastair Cleland).South America n/a small sample size A region with significant potential for expansion in nations with an appetite for igaming, but little established or regulated infrastructure.Future growth could have a noticeable impact on the competition for talent in Spain and Portugal, where those with iGaming credentials could switch focus to territories such as Brazil and Argentina (Alastair Cleland).In Part 3 tomorrow, we provide a detailed breakdown of salary trends by department and role.Related articles: iGB-Pentasia Salary Survey 2019: Part 1 center_img Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address Topics: Casino & games People Sports betting Poker In Part 2 of the iGaming Business Salary Survey, Pentasia’s regional specialists provide an overview of the trends and drivers of salaries in their respective territories, including the UK, Malta, Gibraltar and North AmericaThe UK  +20% Despite the continuing uncertainty over the UK’s departure from the European Union, the igaming sector here remains healthy.Decentralisation is now clearly evident. While London was always the strong heart of the UK industry, more and more jobs are moving away from the capital.Certain roles are generally relocated elsewhere in Europe, but a significant – and growing – number are being relocated elsewhere within the UK.In the Midlands and in northern cities such as Manchester and Leeds, there is a strong demand for talented and experienced igaming professionals, and employers are increasingly willing to relocate candidates there from elsewhere in the country and from further afield.Leadership, product and commercial roles are still prominent in the UK, while we have seen analysts and sales positions break the £100,000 barrier here.Tech experts can now command over £150,000 and business directors and finance professionals in excess of £200,000. (Andrew Cook)Malta +2% The Mediterranean island remains a vibrant, active market where job opportunities in igaming are among the very most sought after.Salaries in Malta are lower than the European average, though this largely reflects the significant quantity of entry and junior level roles that are based here.Employers in Malta are renowned for offering exceptional ‘lifestyle benefits’: travel allowances, free smoothies, in-office chefs.While large and established employers control much of the talent market, they regularly have their hands tied by legacy salary structures and can find themselves outbid for talent by ambitious and confident start-ups.Notable ‘talent bottlenecks’ in Malta include tech professionals and multilingual country managers – particularly those who bring experience of emerging markets in regions such as Scandinavia, Africa and Asia.The fast-growing payments and fintech sector in Malta is also starting to stray into the talent pools traditionally used by igaming businesses, adding further challenges. (Christine Hili)Gibraltar  +13% If you look purely at the overall salaries, Gibraltar appears to be in good health as a destination for people wanting to work – or further their careers – in igaming.However, the 13% rise in average salary is more indicative of the decline in the overall number of jobs in the territory, with remaining roles tending to be more senior.Other factors have made Gibraltar less attractive to candidates. The uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU means the nature of The Rock’s future relationship with Spain is uncertain.There have already been issues with the crossing to the mainland, which have significantly impacted on daily commuting life for those who live in Spain and journey into Gibraltar and back each day.Ceuta – the Spanish-owned territory about 10 miles away on the coast of North Africa – has meanwhile experienced a significant uplift in both companies and job opportunities this year. (Andrew Cook)North America  -2% Demand for sports betting and digital gaming talent in the USA has increased exponentially post-PASPA. Yet with little chance of importing talent, (it remains intensely challenging to secure US visas for even those with exceptional industry expertise), employers are struggling to scale up operations.There has been a significant increase in the number of junior roles needing to be filled in the US, mainly operational, and average salaries have decreased slightly as a result.Packages for those at the top, though, remain extremely healthy. Many C-level positions command salaries in excess of $250,000 and some even top $500,000.As the industry looks to grow rapidly, it is now offering some of the most attractive compensation packages available to specialists like digital marketing experts, product managers, designers and analysts; $100,000+ packages are commonplace.  To achieve its ambitions, the US sports betting industry must embrace a talent strategy that includes proactive acquisition tactics for expertise, a commitment to investing in staff progression internally and a comprehensive training strategy that allows talent from outside of the industry to ramp up effectively and efficiently. (Marwa Mitchell)Europe +6% Casino & gameslast_img read more

Read More
Head in the cloud

first_img5th March 2020 | By Josephine Watson Email Address Tags: Online Gambling Tech & innovation AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Subscribe to the iGaming newslettercenter_img iGaming Business looks at the key takeaways from Akamai’s latest white paper on how cloud technology fits into the gambling industry Head in the cloud iGaming Business looks at the key takeaways from Akamai’s latest white paper on how cloud technology fits into the gambling industryCloud technology has become part of everyday life for many of us. Whether it’s to store our own data, or as part of video streaming, banking or e-mail solutions, we interact with the cloud in many ways.While exciting on a global scale, cloud technologies pose many significant challenges for the gambling industry.In a recent white paper from Akamai, titled “Gambling and the cloud: Securing the future”, the cloud security solutions provider discusses how the industry can best approach the technology, and what the benefits may be. From homegrown to the cloudThe whitepaper begins by noting the legacy challenges that operators face as a result of their early entry to the online space: “Many firms launched their online businesses using in-house, on-premises platforms and applications, often because they couldn’t find standard solutions that address unique needs in security and critical transactions.”While initially this granted operators more ownership over their systems and data, as well as easier compliance with regulatory requirements, as time has progressed, these systems can have limitations when used at scale in today’s igaming landscape.Akamai notes that these challenges typically fall into three categories – a lack of flexibility and extensibility, a constant need to review security and risks to performance and reliability.Cloud technology is often touted as the solution to such limitations, as it negates the need for many of the complex hardware legacy systems require, and also offer cost savings to operators.Expanding on this opportunity, Paul Jackson, senior manager at Akamai, says: “Cloud means many things to many people – but typically allows flexible growth, modern development environments and less reliance on onsite hardware”Additionally, cloud technology can serve operators by helping them meet demands on some of their key priorities, such as performance and customer security. Limiting the limitlessDespite these benefits for the industry, security and cloud outages remain a concern, and with increasingly sophisticated hacking threats such as DDoS and credential stuffing, keeping ahead of bad actors is critical.As part of this white paper, Akamai produced a hierarchy of needs specifically for securing the cloud to help businesses understand the most effective methodology for protecting themselves against cyber threats (see left).Commenting on this, Jackson says: “Like Maslow’s original hierarchy of needs, as you satisfy one level of cloud security, you move up to the next. Naturally, this gets harder as you get further up, and few firms will be able to make it to the top without a sustained effort over time.”The white paper goes into further detail about how each of these unique threats presents themselves in the gambling industry, with a view that real-time tools are the most effective way to achieve the most secure technology stack possible: “As these layers stack up, so does the processing and administrative overhead; efficiency can be increased by expanding processing capacity and redundancy, relying on partner organisations, and vetting potential bottlenecks.” Making the cloud workAs the white paper notes, there are also unique challenges the industry must address that others may not face.Akamai says the strengths of cloud technologies lie in what the company calls its “anywhere, anytime power”. However, by nature of the gambling industry, this power is limited by regulatory requirements, Akamai says.Many regulatory infrastructures require operators to keep data tied to certain geographies. Akamai notes the burgeoning US market as a prime example of this, noting: “the fledgling US online betting market is already recreating its own versions of these restrictions on data flow — which will vary hugely by state — so this isn’t just a legacy issue.”In this sense, gambling firms cannot fully capitalise on the benefits of the cloud when it comes to cost savings, scalability and flexibility.What Akamai recommends is instead moving a portion of online services to the cloud and creating a hybrid solution, which still enables operators to reap the benefits of easier partner and developer integration, better security and easier integration during M&A processes.Additionally, as real-money transactions pose no challenges, companies offering daily fantasy or social betting offerings can use the cloud more flexibly.By observing the IT journey of financial services that have (and still are) migrating to the cloud, gambling firms can learn more about how crafting a cloud solution that suits an industry’s unique needs can allow businesses to direct their focus to what matters most – providing their customers with the best possible experience and products. Topics: Tech & innovationlast_img read more

Read More
Caesars to pay record £13m over ‘systematic’ VIP failings in UK

first_img Caesars Entertainment UK (CEUK) has agreed to pay a record settlement worth £13m (€14.7m/$16.1m), after the GB Gambling Commission ruled it had breached a number of social responsibility, money laundering and customer interaction regulations related to VIP customers. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Casino & games 2nd April 2020 | By contenteditor Regions: UK & Ireland Subscribe to the iGaming newslettercenter_img Caesars Entertainment UK (CEUK) has agreed to pay a record settlement worth £13m (€14.7m/$16.1m), after the GB Gambling Commission ruled it had breached a number of social responsibility, money laundering and customer interaction regulations related to VIP customers.Three of the operator’s senior managers also surrendered their personal management licences following the investigation, while new staff were appointed to a number of senior roles, including managing director, group compliance director and money laundering reporting officer.The Commission’s investigation focused on activities at CEUK’s 11 land-based casinos across the country between January 2016 and December 2018, setting out numerous examples of how the operator had failed to follow licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).The review found systemic failings within CEUK’s governance arrangements, resulting in a disconnect between the operator and its casinos primarily related to preventing money laundering and protecting vulnerable people.The regulator also noted senior personal management licence (PML) holders within CEUK at the time failed to mitigate risks and provide sufficient and effective oversight of the licensed activities.“The failings in this case are extremely serious; a culture of putting customer safety at the heart of business decisions should be set from the very top of every company and Caesars failed to do this,” the Commission’s executive director Neil McArthur said. “We will now continue to investigate the individual licence holders involved with the decisions taken in this case.“We are absolutely clear about our expectations of operators – whatever type of gambling they offer they must know their customers. They must interact with them and check what they can afford to gamble with – stepping in when they see signs of harm. Consumer safety is non-negotiable.”Focusing on specific failings, the Commission said that CEUK breached licence condition 12.1.1, which requires compliance with the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as a related failure for account ordinary code provision 2.1.1 regarding anti-money laundering (AML) protocols for casinos.CEUK accepted that during the period, its casinos failed to adhere to these licence conditions, admitting its AML controls did not address the issues presented by higher-risk customers.According to the Commission, this included CEUK failing to review its money laundering assessment on an annual basis as required, while its AML policies were outdated and had not been updated since March 2016.Other failings here included that key PML holders did not maintain adequate oversight and were not sufficiently curious in respect of source of funds or source of wealth, while the compliance team responsible for ensuring AML procedures were put into practice was not adequately resourced.The Commission added that there was a disconnect of understanding between the compliance team and front-line staff operations at casinos, as well as inadequate documentation and audit trail to demonstrate decision making.Giving examples of customer failings related to this licence condition, one player was able to spend £820,000, losing £240,000, over a 13-month period at a London casino. The customer’s spending triggered several agreed financial alerts, but CEUK did not take the sufficient action to confirm source of funds. In January 2019, the player provided bank statements, which prompted immediate termination of the relationship. The Commission noted a similar situation with another customer, who was able to spend £800,000 and lose £795,000 during a 13-month period at a London casino, despite being flagged as a high risk individual. The regulator said CEUK did not obtain proof of source of funds or evidence of the individual’s wealth, adding that the player was suspended in January 2019 after a detailed customer review.In addition, another customer spent £3.5m and lost £1.6m at a London casino in just three months. Iit transpired that the player had, at times, been using a company business card to withdraw cash to fund his gambling. It was later ruled that the customer’s play should have been terminated at an earlier stage.CEUK was also found in breach of social responsibility code provision 3.4.1(4), related to policies and procedures for customer interaction, particular when identifying at-risk customers and to interact with customers designated as VIPs.These policies, the Commission said, should include provisions for making use of all relevant sources of information to ensure effective decision-making, as well as to identify at risk customers who may not be displaying obvious signs of problem gambling. In addition, there should be a specific provision for VIP players.CEUK accepted it failed to ensure its safer gambling policies and procedure were up to date, admitting that its responsible gambling policy had not been changed since March 2015, while key PML holders did not maintain adequate oversight of this area of business.The operator said local arrangements within casinos put an over-reliance on player interactions being carried out by casino management, while policies did not always prompt effective interactions where customers may be displaying signs of problem gambling.Giving specific examples of the failings, the Commission highlighted how a player at a London casino was allowed to buy-in for £1.1m and lose £323,000 in 12 months. The customer had displayed signs of problem gambling – including 30 sessions exceeding five hours – which should have prompted interactions, but the response from the casino was deemed inadequate.Another player was able to spend £430,000 and lose £112,000 over 12 months, despite the casino not holding appropriate source of funds details to identify whether this level of spend was sustainable. CEUK said that the last recorded intervention with the customer was dated 2007 – 11 years previously.In addition, a customer spent £335,000 and lost £65,000 in six months, despite the casino being aware they had previously self-excluded from gambling. The customer visited the casino 54 times in 13 months, including 14 sessions that exceeded five hours and three sessions that exceeded 10 hours. The customer interactions were deemed inadequate, particularly given the casino’s knowledge of the customer, time spent and level of spend.Aside from these two primary failings, the Commission found that CEUK was also in breach of several other licence conditions. This included 5.1.1, which requires licence holders to implement appropriate policies and procedures concerning the usage of cash and cash equivalents.However, the regulator said the CEUK cash desk policy document designed to give staff operational guidance had not been updated, therefore placing it in breach of the condition.Meanwhile, the Commission noted a breach of licence condition 15.2.1, which require the licensee to notify the regulator of any key event that could have a significant impact on the nature or structure of their business. Events can include the dismissal against the holder of a personal licence, or disclosure related to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or Terrorism Act 2000.The Commission said that, during 2018, a number of key event reports subject of notification had not been submitted by CEUK, as required under condition 15.2.1.CEUK was also found in breach of licence condition 15.3.1, which requires the holder to, when required, provide the Commission with information about their facilities. This may include the number of visitors, type of gambling taking place and the operator’s policies for problem gambling.However, it transpired that CEUK casinos did not submit regulatory returns by the required due dates, which the Commission said indicated that this failing occurred as responsibility rested with a single point of contact who had failed to make the submission.In addition, the Commission said CEUK failure to comply with code of practice issued under Section 24 Gambling Act 2005, treating this as a breach of licence condition Social Responsibility Code Provision 10.1.1, related to assessing local risk.Here, licensees must assess the local risks to licensing objectives posed by the provision of gambling facilities at each of their premises, and also have policies, procedures and control measures to mitigate such risks.Specifically, the Commission said CEUK’s London Clubs Southend facility had not carried out this local risk assessment. This should be structured to offer sufficient assurance that licensed premises have suitable controls and procedures in place.  CEUK admitted to all of the failings listed by the Commission and agreed to pay £13m payment in lieu of a financial penalty, which be used to support the regulator’s National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. CEUK will also pay £115,000 towards the Commission’s costs of investigating the case.Since the review, CEUK has put in place an improved system of governance, including the appointment of an Independent Compliance Committee to oversee compliance risk.The operator has also revised its regulatory policies and procedures designed to deliver compliance and appointed new senior staff in various posts, including managing director, group compliance director, money laundering reporting officer and senior compliance manager.Other changes include increased resourcing with responsibilities for compliance, a review of high value customers and, where appropriate, suspended business relationships, as well as an external risk and governance review.However, the Commission has added a number of conditions to CEUK’s licence in response to the review. These include that all PML holders, senior management and key control staff undertake outsourced AML training.CEUK must also put into effect an AML and SR training programme for all staff, as well as complete an annual review of the effectiveness and implementation of the group AML and SR policies and procedures. In addition, CEUK shall instruct a firm of auditors independent of CEUK to undertake an annual audit of the reviews.The £13m settlement eclipses the previous record payment made by Betway last month, when the operator agreed to pay £11.6m for social responsibility and money laundering failures related to high-spending customers. Caesars to pay record £13m over ‘systematic’ VIP failings in UK Topics: Casino & games Finance Legal & compliance Email Addresslast_img read more

Read More
7 April: Where’s the action?

first_img Tags: Mobile Online Gambling AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter iGB, in partnership with sports data specialist Abelson Info, is providing an updated list of the sporting events taking place each weekday throughout the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Sports betting Topics: Sports betting iGB, in partnership with sports data specialist Abelson Info, is providing an updated list of the sporting events taking place each weekday throughout the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.This will ensure our readers have a regularly updated roster of the sporting events happening that day. The format has been tweaked, with a full table of the day’s action at the bottom of the page.Darts The Icons of Darts tournament continues today, with Wessel Nijman leading the standings after the first day.Football With the Tajikistan Premier League kicking off on 4 April, this also heralded the return of its Reserve League, which holds matches today.Golf Yesterday it was announced that the 149th Open Championship, due to take place in July in England, had been shifted to 2021, with three other men’s majors shifted back to later in the year. However today the Outlaw Tour’s Orange Tree Classic will tee off in Arizona.Greyhounds Events in Australia and the US take place after Abelson’s 10:59am cut-off.Horse Racing Today’s US and Australian schedule narrows slightly, with racing taking place at just two US tracks, Nebraska’s Fonner Park and Oklahoma’s Will Rogers Downs. There is, as usual, a fuller schedule in Australia.Ice Hockey Russia’s Liga Pro holds matches today, with no matches scheduled for Belarus’ Minsk Championship.Table Tennis Table tennis, as usual, takes place across Russia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and all events are subject to change. iGB is working on adding an esports component to this round-up.Abelson Info was set up by Ed Abelson in 2003 to supply the bookmaking industry with the crucial sports data it required as the online betting industry began to boom. Starting with just a handful of employees and even fewer clients, the business has since grown and evolved to accommodate the ever-changing requirements of the industry.We now supply data and technical services to the majority of the top tier bookmakers and platform providers in the UK, along with many of the biggest media corporations and development firms across the world. We have a stellar reputation for delivering top quality data and are always on hand to support customers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.center_img 7 April: Where’s the action? Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter 7th April 2020 | By contenteditor Email Addresslast_img read more

Read More
GiG signs expanded sportsbook deal with Macedonia’s KAK

first_img GiG signs expanded sportsbook deal with Macedonia’s KAK The deal will see GiG provide its platform, sportsbook and front-end development services for the operator roll out online betting and gaming in the regulated Latvian market, through a three-year contract. “Our recent decision to expand into both the retail and online sportsbook market was a natural step for us, building on our successful land-based casino activities and we see it as a very exciting proposition,” KAK chief executive Ognjan Cigovski said. 20th November 2020 | By Robert Fletcher Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has agreed to expand its partnership with KAK DOO Skopje and provide the North Macedonian casino group with online and retail sports betting solutions. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Under the deal, GiG will provide KAK with its end-to-end omni-channel sportsbook solution. The retail aspect of the agreement will cover an initial 25 KAK land-based sports betting locations across North Macedonia. Sports betting Companies: GiG “We can now offer our customers a full suite of products across multiple locations as well as online.” Tags: GiG KAK DOO Skopjecenter_img GiG chief executive Richard Brown added: “By adding our online and over-the-counter sportsbook technology offering to the online casino also powered by GiG, KAK’s end users will have a seamless end-to-end experience. “We are very much looking forward to working with them to deliver a great product to the local market.” Last week, GiG also sealed a long-term contract to power a new digital offering for Latvian land-based gambling operator Admirālu Klubs. Regions: North Macedonia Topics: Sports betting Online sports betting Product & technology Retail sports betting The deal, which is based on a combined fixed fee and revenue share structure, will see the new sports betting offerings go live in the second quarter of next year. The sportsbook arrangement builds on an existing partnership that was signed in September, under which GiG agreed to power KAK’s online migration. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter GiG’s partnership with Betgenius will also mean KAK will have access to end-to-end live data, trading and risk management services, allowing it to offer players official sports betting content from over 300 competitions around the world. Email Addresslast_img read more

Read More
Stats Perform’s Opta named exclusive data partner of NZ Cricket

first_img Topics: Sports betting Online sports betting Product & technology “We are thrilled to have renewed our partnership with New Zealand Cricket. We look forward to continuing to provide extensive coverage for all of the premier Cricket New Zealand matches and supporting the production of live streams from previously un-broadcast competitions,” Stats Perform chief rights officer Alex Rice said.  Sports data specialist Stats Perform has renewed its exclusive data partnership with New Zealand Cricket (NZC), the sport’s governing body in the country, for international and domestic competitions. The agreement will see the supplier’s Opta subsidiary granted exclusive rights to collect, analyse ball-by-ball event data and insights for broadcast, media, fantasy and betting operators. This will also be used by the NZC’ digital and social media teams, to provide deeper engagement for fans and bettors alike. Online sports betting Stats Perform will also distribute live streams to licensed sportsbook operators via its Watch&Bet platform for an expanded range of NZC competitions, including the Ford Trophy and Plunket Shield, which have never before been broadcast. The deal further strengthens Stats Perform’s cricket rights portfolio, which already includes the England and Wales Cricket Board; Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa, as well as the international governing body for the sport, the International Cricket Council. This, the supplier pointed out, makes it the largest provider of cricket data in the market. Regions: Oceania New Zealand “Through our new agreement, Stats Perform data and video will be used to maximise significant opportunities for global engagement and improve the way it is experienced and understood by fans,” he said. “We look forward to providing an expanded premium in-play gaming experience, improved data insights and providing more content for sponsors.”center_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter 26th November 2020 | By Robin Harrison It covers all of NZC’s international fixtures, across all formats, and domestic competitions including the Super Smash men’s and women’s T20 competitions. Tags: Stats Perform New Zealand Cricket Stats Perform’s Opta named exclusive data partner of NZ Cricket Email Addresslast_img read more

Read More
KPMG eSummit Virtual Series: Current Themes in AML/CFT

first_imgThe session forms part of the new KPMG eSummit Virtual Series, launched by KPMG in the absence of physical conferences. The topics covered by the participants include emerging trends, risks, threats and typologies; best practices for monitoring and supervision; levels of collaboration between the MGA and FIAU; the importance of employing and empowering independent MLROs and benefits of third-party AML/CFT audits and assessments KPMG Malta, organisers of the KPMG Malta eGaming Summit for which iGB is a media partner, recently organised a virtual fireside session alongside the MGA and FIAU on Current themes in AML/CFT – Insights from the Regulators. Topics: Finance Legal & compliance Compliance Legal Regulation Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Legal & compliance KPMG eSummit Virtual Series: Current Themes in AML/CFT 23rd December 2020 | By contenteditor We provide this on-demand below. The discussion features Alex Azzopardi, Director, Risk Consulting Advisory, KPMG Malta; Kenneth Farrugia, Director, Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) and Joseph Attard, Head of Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering | MLRO, Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).last_img read more

Read More