Author: Editorial Board

17 Aug 2019

Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sport Competitions: the New Testament of sport integrity

The Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sport Competitions: from its conceptualisation to the entry into force.

(Written by: Ludovico Calvi, President of Global Lottery Monitoring System)

The Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions is the first legally binding international tool to fight sport competition manipulations. Its purpose is to prevent, detect and punish the manipulation of sports competitions, as well as to enhance the exchange of information and national and international co-operation between the public authorities concerned and with sports organisations as well as sports betting operators. The Council of Europe Convention was opened for signatures on September 18 2014, following a two-year consultation period. On 15 May 2019, Switzerland became the 5th state, which ratified it (following Norway, Portugal, Ukraine and Moldova) and triggered the entry into force of the Convention. Italy also completed its ratification process on 11 June 2019. The present article seeks to briefly present the history of the Convention as well as conferring its basic provisions, outline its added value and reflect over next steps.

The Convention will now officially enter into force on 1 September 2019. On June 11 Italy also ratified the Macolin Convention becoming the 6th state that ratified. The commitment of the Italian Government, the Parliament, the Italian Gaming Regulator and, in particular the personal engagement of the Undersecretary of State at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Giancarlo Giorgetti has been remarkable. Italy has always been in the front line in the fight against match fixing with several scandals in the recent years and such strong commitment shows determination and willingness to truthfully protect Sport Ethics, which means safeguarding the passion and integrity of our children and therefore the future of our society. Beyond the 6 ratifications, a total of 37 countries, including Australia, have now signed the convention, while others have also expressed their interest. The Convention shall now officially enter into force on September 1st and as per article 30-31 of the Convention, the Council of Europe shall within one year from the ratification convene the Convention Follow-Up Committee. States which have ratified will have a seat in the Convention Follow-Up Committee, while interested and relevant organisation will be able to ask for an Observer status.
At an Eu level, the position of the European Commission has been that states are free to sign and take measures against the phenomenon, however, the ratification by the Eu and its Member-States should be done in a coordinated manner. The ratification of Italy though might assert pressure to other Eu states, while the fact that only states which have ratified the Convention will have a seat in the Follow-Up Committee might also play a role towards the same direction. The Finnish Presidency of the Eu (starting on July 1st) having sports integrity as one of its priorities, might also try to overcome the deadlock.
In summary, the Convention constitutes the “bible” for the global fight against the phenomenon. It deals with all relevant matters in a compact way and no doubt will provide significant help to states – as a legal instrument – to deal efficiently and globally with the issue. Taking into account that Lotteries have since the beginning of its drafting phase been very supportive of the Convention and El-Wla-Glms have been playing an active part of the Kcoos and Kcoos+ projects, Glms is now extremely pleased to see the Convention finally entering into force. At the same time, Glms is looking forward to being involved in the Follow-Up Committee and support the relevant discussions with its input and expertise.
Most importantly, Glms welcomes the good quality work carried out at the level of already set up national platforms, as well as the Group of Copenhagen. Being an operational partner of the Group of Copenhagen in terms of the development of the experimental phase of the LogBook1, Glms is looking forward to being further involved and supporting the Council of Europe in all relevant initiatives.
In terms of topics to look for into in the future:
Further promotion of the Convention and increasing the number of ratifications – Just the fact that the Convention will be now entering into force does not mean that the effort for its promotion is over. States need to be recalled that if they have not ratified, they will not be part of the Follow-Up Committee. Therefore, it is of vital importance that more states – also beyond Europe – proceed to the ratification in order to profit from the key provisions of the Convention, but also form part of the upcoming Follow-Up committee of which Italy as already ratified state will certainly be.
It is important to highlight that only Collective Actions and Collective Responsibilities by all stakeholders will be effective against this fight. The creation of an environment of trust is something that all stakeholders should be focusing on.
National Platforms – As mentioned above, national platforms are considered as the cornerstone of the Convention and the overall fight against sport competition manipulations. However, on many occasions, national platforms have not assumed a full active role, which is about the overall coordination of the national fight against the phenomenon and they are limited only to the sharing of alerts in relation to irregular betting patterns. This is something that has to be properly explained and addressed. Glms shall support the Council of Europe in this effort also via the Kcoos project
The definition of illegal sports betting which is clearly defined by the Convention (article 3 par 5a) is another key matter. The measures against illegal sports betting by the states (article 11) is a condition sine qua non for the other articles, including the effective sharing of information (article 12), the underage betting (article 10), the reporting and monitoring and even the efficient work of the national platforms. Any decisions by the national regulatory authorities would be undermined so long as there are betting operators active in a jurisdiction operating without a national license and therefore not following the national regulatory framework provisions. The sharing of information cannot be effective as long as non-licensed operators, which are operating in a fully regulated jurisdiction disregard any sports integrity measures provided by the Convention. Therefore, the concrete provisions against illegal sports betting are vital for the whole effective implementation of the Convention.
Data protection – is also dealt with by the Convention, as it is a crucial aspect of the risk assessment process (article 14). There is no conflict with the existing Data protection laws, as Parties are required to respect them. The risk aspect refers to the sharing only of necessary data between the relevant stakeholders at the relevant time and that this does not take longer than necessary (art 14par3). Therefore Parties are required by the Convention to ensure legislation to this effect. A method to reduce the possibility of risk could be to set up working committees to ensure that all stakeholders have an input and understand before arriving at a consensus on the methods of data sharing to appropriate share information but also to ensure the security of the data. In this respect, with the new Eu Gdpr being in force, ministries and state authorities could liaise with national Data Privacy Law Enforcement Authorities to interpret and apply the directive in the highest interest of Sports Integrity without jeopardizing the effort to intercept and manage manipulation of sport results effectively.
Glms shall continue using its best efforts to promote the Convention, support the Council of Europe, regulators, law enforcement, sport bodies and states with the implementation of its provisions and looks forward to its involvement in the Convention Follow-Up Committee as well as to the Group of Copenhagen.

Who is he?
Since September 2017 Ludovico Calvi has funded his own Strategic Betting Consultancy Practice providing strategic, regulatory and operational consultancy services to private and public stakeholders including lotteries, private licensed operators, governments, ministries of finance, regulators, sport federations and law enforcement agencies.
Since June 2015 he is a Member of the Global Lottery Monitoring System Executive Committee and since June 2017 elected President and re-appointed again in May 2019 for the term 2019-2021. Since May 2019 he is also a Member of the World Lottery Association (Wla) Sports Integrity Committee. Since May 2015 he is a Member of the American Gaming Association Sport Betting Task Force. From 2006 to 2016, Ludovico was Head of Betting and since 2009 on the Board of Directors of Lottomatica Scommesse Srl, acting as Ceo from 2009 to 2016 and as Board Director from 2016 until today. From May 2013 Ludovico was Vice President, Product Marketing Betting at Gtech Plc and from April 2015 until August 2017, held the position of Senior Vice President Global Product Marketing Betting at Igt. Earlier in his career, he worked for Sisal Spa (Italy) and William Hill Plc (Uk).

16 Aug 2019

Georgia iGaming Affiliate Conference: a full event about gambling strategies in this area

On October 18, Georgia will host the first training event dedicated to relevant issues of online and offline gambling, its marketing aspects and prospects.

Georgia iGaming Affiliate Conference will bring together gambling operators, government officials, affiliates, and webmasters. The event is organized by Smile-Expo International Company.

Conference speakers will talk about new gambling legislation, advantages of Georgia as a gambling region, and a specific nature of casino establishment. A part of the program will cover traffic generation and affiliate network promotion. Meet experts who will highlight these topics.
Teona Shiukashvili, Head of Gambling Business Regulation Division at Georgia Revenue Service since December 2018. She has been operating in the public sector for 13 years. The expert has 10 years of experience in the issuance of business permits for the gambling activity and control over the conditions of issuance.
Teona will make a presentation: Amendments in laws and regulation of Georgian gambling business.
Cezary Zieniuk, Managing Director at IBCCS Georgia, with a presentation about “Establishment of gambling business in Georgia. Boost at the start”.
Sofia Karapetyan, Marketing manager at Eclipse Casino Batumi, with a speech about “Gambling analytics and marketing for entrepreneurs. The increase of what metrics will provide the largest profit”.
Roman Manuylov, Chief Marketing Officer and PR at Alfaleads, will explain how to get maximum quality traffic and save money when promoting products using affiliate networks.
The icing on the cake of Georgia iGaming Affiliate Conference is a panel discussion titled ‘Offline and online casinos. Review of tools aimed at user attention’. Meet the first participants: Shota Amiranashvili, President of the Association of casinos in Adjara, and Giorgi Gvenetadze, Head of Product Marketing Department at Adjarabet. Giorgi will also deliver an individual presentation at the conference.
What is better: online or offline? Is there a need to choose? You will be able to discover this as part of the panel discussion. Participants will discuss advantages of land-based gambling venues and their online analogs, as well as their interaction methods.

14 Aug 2019

Global Football 2019: the number of suspicious betting patterns has decreased from 397 to 377

Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football 2019 Report released by Stats Perform Integrity and Starlizard Integrity Services.

Stats Perform Integrity and Starlizard Integrity Services released their second annual Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football Report, completed in collaboration with TxOdds and aims to provide fellow stakeholders in the sports integrity community with a meaningful and informative overview of current trends in suspicious football betting.

The 2019 report was compiled with data from 62,250 football matches played in 2018, including domestic and international competitions across 115 countries and 6 continents. It compares the findings from the 2018 report and, once again, examines the geographical hotbeds of suspicious activity, breaks down suspicious matches by level and competition, and looks in detail at youth, international, friendly and women’s matches.

This year’s report is based on the review of nearly 14% more matches than in the previous year and uses the same methodology, the number of matches identified as having suspicious betting patterns has decreased from 397 to 377.

Youth matches continue to be an area of particular concern. Although this year’s report shows that the number of suspicious youth matches has declined from 62 matches seen in 2017 to 58 matches in 2018, they are still highly overrepresented in this year’s report: youth matches account for 5.6% of all matches analysed in this year’s report, but 15.4% of all suspicious matches identified.

Jake Marsh, Head of Integrity Stats Perform, said: “This report is intended to provide football and integrity stakeholders with a meaningful insight into matches with suspicious betting markets on a global scale. We believe that by shining a light on suspicious activity in a non-accusatory public forum we can elevate understanding of the latest trends and areas of concern to integrity stakeholders. The efforts of integrity stakeholders, sports governing bodies and law enforcement are amplified when working together towards a common goal. To this end, we share the results of our analysis with stakeholders on a non-commercial basis in order to assist their efforts in protecting the integrity of football.”

Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services, adds: “It is important that the football world remains diligent and alert to integrity threats at all levels of the game. In producing this report, a huge effort has been made and a vast amount of data analysed in order to provide sports and integrity stakeholders with detailed intelligence on suspicious betting patterns across many different competitions and countries.”

13 Aug 2019

Media support tops 65 as global channels back second edition of Ice Africa

ICE Africa continues to attract acclaim from the entire gaming ecosystem with 66 media channels drawn from 24 countries confirming their support for the second edition of the prestigious pan-African event. The list of media that will be reporting on Clarion Gaming’s free-to-attend two day conference and exhibition comprise first of alla the Gioco News Network, thanks to a long time partnership between Gn Media publishing group and Clarion Gaming.

“We’ve worked hard in partnership with the market to curate an event which chimes with gaming’s direction of travel  across the African continent”, said Daniel Tyler, Senior Conference Producer at Clarion Gaming: “I consider this level of support to be extremely encouraging on the basis that an event that is well supported by the media is, by definition, relevant and news worthy.  I am delighted that so many media channels are previewing ICE Africa and that so many will be with us in person in October”.
He add: “ICE Africa has been created to help delegates to learn, network, see the latest gaming products from the industry’s leading innovators and, as a result, to stay ahead of the curve. Our media partners play a major role in disseminating that insight and we are extremely grateful for their support.”

The ICE Africa free to attend conference and exhibition provides an invaluable opportunity for operators, regulators and suppliers to meet, network, share best practice and see the very latest gaming products from the industry’s leading innovators.  Described by industry observers as ‘A showcase event that Africa can be proud of’ attendees will benefit from a programme of engaging content including Thought Leadership, Training, Regulation, Online vs Retail, Integrated Resorts, Branding, Marketing, Sports and eSports.

07 Aug 2019

Jaldung (Eca): “Casino is crucial in the tourist offer of an area”

Per Jaldung, president of Eca, highlights the importance that gambling houses have in the overall tourist “package” of the area.

Weare not in Las Vegas, nor in Macau. But when we talk about tourism, European casinos have a lot to tell. Per Jaldung, president of the European Casino Association, is sure of this, and highlights: “Casinos are very much part of the tourist appeal of the communities in which they are based. Many attract tourists from across Europe and even the world in some cases, for instance from Asia. Modern casinos  are increasingly providing more than just gambling, but also offer high-class restaurants, bars and shows.

A recent economic impact report of the licensed land-based casino industry showed that the estimated total spend by nternational visitors to the licensed landbased casino industry including the casino visit, is estimated at over €3 billion. This is an important contribution to local economies. The tourist appeal also comes from the investment in heritage conservation, such as investments in old buildings funded by casinos, as in Venice, San Remo, Stockholm, Baden Baden, or the Hippodrome Casino in London. The economic impact report demonstrated that over €11 billion was invested by Eca members into infrastructure and product offers over last ten years”. According to the President of Eca: “The location of the casino is important to determine what the offer can be. It should include entertainment, various F&B opportunities and shows. It is the overall experience of a visit to the casino that makes it attractive – not only the gambling offer. It is also crucial for the casinos to be closely attuned to local situation and interests”.

Could the limitations to gaming advertising have negative consequences on the activity of the casinos, as happens in Italy?

“The impact of the ban on the licensed industry is of great concern for us. The most immediate impact is however for consumer protection. Without the possibility for advertising by nationally licensed gambling operators, customers struggle to differentiate between licensed and unlicensed providers. They would therefore be more likely to choose the unlicensed offer, which presents severe issues for consumer protection. It is important to note that
the core ethos of gambling advertising for the nationally licensed land-based casino industry is responsibility and sustainability. Hence, there is a need to implement a strict regulation that allows gambling advertising to channel the demand towards legal and licensed gambling operators, while stopping advertising for illegal gambling operators”.

What do you think about the health of European casinos, on the whole?
“The industry has been stable for the last few years with growth in some areas. There are some exciting new projects on the way such as an Integrated Casino Resort in Cyprus, and a new Casino in Finland. The trend is to further develop an overall entertainment offer that attracts customers beyond just gambling. This is necessary to compete with the pure gambling that online casinos offer, including shows, restaurants and other leisure activities. The licensed and strictly regulated industry is however still negatively impacted by illegal online and land-based gambling, leading to major issues that undermine the regulatory framework and consumer protection” In Italy, the Casino di Campione has been closed for a year, with very serious consequences for the entire community.

What do you think and what do you hope about it?
“We were devastated to hear about the closure, especially as a result of the negative impact on the local community and employees. This is a very difficult situation for all stakeholders involved. We hope that the casino can either reopen or be re-purposed and the employees find new positions”.

(The full interview is shown in the July/August issue of the Gioco News magazine, which can also be read online.)

06 Aug 2019

Payment Expert Forum: 18 September at Olympia London

Payment Expert Forum, the only event for payments technology in the online gambling industry, has attracted an impressive speaker line-up that includes senior staff from leading operators such as GVC Holdings, Stars Group, Pinnacle and Betsson Group, and payments solutions suppliers Trustly, SafeCharge, Hipay and Checkout.com.

Organised by SBC in partnership with PaymentExpert.com, the event at Olympia London on Wednesday 18 September is designed to allow suppliers to discuss their latest innovations and for payments professionals from operators to share insights into the sector’s rapidly-changing requirements.

Samuel Barrett, Director of Gaming for Trustly, is to chair the Payment Expert Forum, which he sees as a must-attend event for all stakeholders in the sector: “I’m excited to be chair of what is a key event for the payments industry, with an impressive line-up of speakers drawn from major betting companies and some of the most innovative suppliers. It’s the best opportunity for anyone involved in payments in the online gambling sector to learn about the latest developments and meet professionals from both operators and suppliers.”

Paul Bolton, Head of Payments for GVC Group, said: “The rapidly-changing nature of the payments sector presents operators with many opportunities, but also poses some very real operational challenges. Payment Expert Forum provides the chance for payments specialists to share insights into how to manage that change to ensure compliance with existing and planned regulations, while also helping to deliver a better experience for customers.”

Isabelle Delisle, Head of Payments for Pinnacle, added: “There are a lot of challenges on the horizon for digital payments in the gambling industry, so the timing of the Payment Expert Forum couldn’t be better. It’s the perfect opportunity for the payments sector to connect and share best practice for the future health of the industry.”

Payment Expert Forum takes place at Olympia London on Wednesday 18 September and is part of SBC’s international flagship event Betting on Sports 2019, which runs from 17 – 20 September.

06 Aug 2019

The growth of online gaming and the drive of casino games

Since the last Monopoly’s update, the continuous growth of online gaming has emerged, driven by casino games and virtual slots.

Online gaming sector continues to grow. As it clearly appears from the last update of the data provided by the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli, through the publication of the Libro blu for 2018, the online segment went from a value of the “played” of about €17 billion in 2016 to that of 24.6 billion in 2019.
As is well known, the so-called “casino games” give the greatest boost, with particular regard to the virtual slot machines, which went from a “played” of about 7.1 billion in 2016 to that of over 12.8 billion in 2018. Confirming the strong appeal that this mode of gaming, in its legal form, continues to have on the public, confirming the choice of the legislator to regulate new forms of gaming to remove players from the illegal market, which is also very widespread in Italy.

MORE WINNINGS AND PROCEEDS – However, the winnings for players grow hand in hand with the bets: in 2018 online slots brought over 12.3 billion into the pockets of Italians, compared to about 6.8 billion in 2016 . While the Treasury received approximately 183 million in 2018 against approximately 132 million in 2016.

MORE LEGALITY AND AWARENESS – However, the regulator’s control in the online segment is also growing, as well as player awareness and legality. As clearly appears from the section of the Libro Blu concerning “controls and investigations”. As regards the online, the data reveal that in 2018 the quota of 1042 irregular gaming websites closed by the administration was reached, compared to 207 in 2007 or 580 in 2017. A clear sign of the still very strong proliferation of illegal websites in our country, fought by the activity of the regulator. However, the number of attempts to access such illegal websites registered by ADM shows greater awareness: in 2018, there were “only” about 269 million, compared to over 2.5 billion in 2009 and over 360 million in 2017.

06 Aug 2019

Games in Italy: sports betting (+10.4%) and online (+24.5%) increase, Awps at -5.3%

In the substantially stable expenditure recorded by the Italians for games, plays on slots decrease in favor of bets and online, according to the data contained in the Monopoli’s Libro Blu for 2018.

Although the overall expenditure of Italians on gaming products is stable, compared to previous years, recording the share of €18.9 billion in 2018, the figures for individual gaming products change. In particular, according to the processing of GiocoNews.it on the data contained in the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli’s Libro blu, the amusement machines keep the first place in absolute expense, with €7.1 billion, but with a decrease of 5.3 percent compared to the previous year. While expense for VLTs increases (at 3 billion), recording an increase of 7.1 percent.

NEW BALANCES – Sports betting (with an expense of 1.4 billion, +10.4 percent) and online casinos (710 million, +24.7 percent) are between the increasing gaming offers, as well as virtual bets (267 million, +14.1 percent). Also betting exchange increases of 33.3 percent with a total expense of 8 million, while poker still decreases: the tournament mode decreases to 82 million (-1.2 percent), while “cash game” records an expense of 65 million, a decrease of 7.1 percent.
On the contrary, the expense for lottery and scratch and win is of 2,4 billion, a slight decrease compared to the previous year (-0.8 percent), while Lotto records 2.3 billion, a decrease of 4.1 percent, compared to 2017.