Author: Editorial Board

16 Aug 2012

Joa Casino de la Seyne Fully Equipped with Crystal.net

iPad FloorMasterCongratulations to the new Joa Casino de la Seyne, which opened its doors on 5 July 2012 fully equipped with Crystal.net on 75 slot machines and 7 electronic roulette machines. The solution includes Crustal.net casino floor network and applications, and Galaxis™ modular system solutions including Star Slots™, Star Tables™, Star Cage™ and FloorMaster® monitoring tool.

– Crystal.net is a casino floor network with touchscreen interface that allows casino operators to provide interactive communications with players. It also supports multimedia. It is the hardware base for innovative applications, such as myBar and access to the jackpots and members’ loyalty club.

– myBar™ allows players to conveniently order their drinks on the interface. The drinks are delivered to the slot without interrupting play.

– Other applications allow privileged access to the casino’s jackpot information directly from via the player interface, as well as club member access to their account status.

– Galaxis is a modular system solution and consists of the various Star modules for different applications in the casino. With its scalable design and customizable modular integration, Galaxis offers a powerful and diverse casino management tool set for both slots and table games operations.

– Star Slots™ provides all the functions necessary for efficient slot accounting and slot floor maintenance.

– Star Cage™ is a complete vault, front cage, and credit management tool.

– Star Tables™ is an advanced table management system with features such as accounting, player tracking, and statistics.

– Star Marketing™ delivers player-related functions tailored to business needs with player tracking, player management, and loyalty club.

– FloorMaster gives hands-on floor management and real-time activity reporting and monitoring, on a tablet touchscreen.

Joa is the third largest casino operator in France, with 20 casinos and more than 2,000 slot machines and 80 tables, as well as restaurants and bars. France is one of the largest and most sophisticated casino markets in Europe with around 200 casinos and revenues in excess of €2.3 billion.

Spielo International is the number one external supplier of games and systems in France, where they have been operating for over 25 years. Joa has been a Spielo International Casino Systems customer since 2001.

Didier Tomas, Spielo International’s Casino Systems regional sales manager, said: “It’s a great honour for Spielo International that Joa Group has once again chosen our systems solutions, including our innovative applications and Crystal.net technology for their new casino in La Seyne sur Mer. This decision is a clear indication that they put their players first, and demonstrates that our customers recognize the value and power of our comprehensive and flexible systems solutions.”

14 Aug 2012

Betradar and Don Best Sports announce partnership agreement for American Odds Monitoring Services

accordoBetradar, the world’s leading supplier of sports and betting related data, and Don Best Sports, the leading supplier of odds services for North American sports, are proud to announce their new partnership agreement.

The partnership includes the launch of a new Betradar American Odds Monitoring service based on data provided by Don Best.

The new American Monitoring Service has been carefully designed to extend Betradar’s monitoring services into the growing US Sports marketplace. The first version of Betradar’s American Monitoring offers comprehensive coverage of American Football, Basketball, Baseball and Ice Hockey matches playing in the US and Canada for all relevant professional and college leagues. The new product offers a wide range of Betradar’s unique features. Expected Total Points and Supremacy Values allow users to easily compare any spread or total against their own or any of the selected bookmakers. It offers a comprehensive but simple alert system based around bookmakers’ own odds that can be easily configured to suit exclusive needs and desired thresholds. Furthermore, it offers a new and innovative feature to quickly follow all market trends. Plans have already been made to extend coverage into other sports that have strong links to US sportsbooks and casinos industries.

Benjie Cherniak, president of Don Best Sports, stated: “We are very excited to be launching a partnership venture with Betradar. Given Betradar’s vast distribution capabilities within the European sports market, the partnership will enable us to better meet the growing need for reliable and consistent information relevant to North American sporting events. This venture is part of Don Best’s continuing goal of expanding the geographic scope of our sports information service”.

Carsten Koerl, group chief executive officer, Sportradar, said: “It has been widely noted that the overall interest in traditional American sports has been steadily growing year on year allowing European bookmakers the opportunity to tap into revenue streams that are outside their local time zones. To ensure we can provide our existing clients with the best information and data possible we are happy to have entered into a unique partnership with Don Best Sports, the foremost authority in American sports odds services.”

14 Aug 2012

Merkur Gaming – the must-visit stand at the forthcoming G2E

las vegasstripMerkur Gaming will once again have a strong presence at the upcoming G2E that will take place in Las Vegas, USA, between 2nd and 4th October. The gaming solutions continue to expand and remain extremely focused on player experience. These solutions will be on display at stand number 2665. As the international gaming representative of the German Gauselmann Group, Merkur Gaming belongs to an enterprise, which has a track record that spans over five decades of offering the right mix of player experience, machine quality and finesse, a great games collection alongside ‘made in Germany’ reliability.

Mr. Thomas Niehenke is the COO of the Gauselmann Group and sums the strength in depth that Merkur Gaming offers, “Today more than ever it is essential to have a strong partner at your side with a proven track record. The Gauselmann Group is family-owned and family-managed and thus the management team is completely focused on this long-term strategy of bringing the right gaming solutions to each individual market. The numbers mirror this goal – global turnover topped 1.7 billion euros in 2011 and the number of our staff is over 6,300. We place utmost priority on research and development as the Gauselmann Group plays a leading role in international gaming”.

This focus on marrying new ideas and technologies will be on display at the G2E. A fine example is the sheer size of the games collection that includes a strong variety of different themes, gripping features, thrilling free games and unique win-line concepts. Thus, players can find the right game that suits them amongst such diversity. Merkur Gaming Spokesman of Executive Management, Mr. Rolf Falke, explains a classic example of Merkur GamigG catering for local gaming needs, “We at Merkur Gaming understand how important culture and local tastes are. Naturally we have an abundant games collection that reaches out internationally to players. Our strategy is to combine these global games successes with local games. Our Cantinflas game is a perfect example. Cantinflas was a much-loved actor and comedian in Latin America, the so-called ‘Charlie Chaplin of Mexico’. We have played a major role at the Latin American exhibitions this year and each time our expectations for this game were exceeded. Naturally we are now developing further games around the Cantinflas theme”.

The Merkur Gaming games feel right at home with its exquisite cabinet choice. These stylish, durable and ultra-modern cabinets combine the latest technology with the highest quality standards that offer maximum player convenience. The Evolution cabinet is the slant top that caters for special casino flair. The Privilege cabinet is the new wide-screen upright cabinet that includes two 22” monitors for optimum game presentation. The innovative prowess is exemplified in the Highflyer cabinet. This truly unique cabinet is a real ‘made in Germany’ innovation as the second, upper monitor seems to float in mid-air. Studies have shown that specific players prefer to focus on one monitor only. Such players can choose to focus on the lower monitor or lean back in the specifically designed chair and enjoy a more relaxing gaming experience via the upper monitor. A further player benefit is that the player has a clear, unobstructed view between the monitors around the gaming location. The design of the Highflyer has been such a hit that Merkur Gaming can even offer the cabinet design with just the lower monitor. This cabinet is called the Uno.

Merkur Gaming has proven experience and success in the VLT / SBG market and is – for example – a major player in the VLT markets in Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Mr. Peter Amling, Managing Director at Merkur Gaming, explains, “VLT / SBG technology is complex and many facets must be perfectly mastered. Gaming and technology must flow constantly together. The amount of development work required to master this technology can be daunting. Not for MERKUR GAMING. As the international subsidiary of Germany’s Gauselmann Group, Merkur Gaming fulfils all the requirements to ensure the long-term success in VLT / SBG technology”.

The Merkur Dispenser 100 – the ideal banknote recycler for gaming, change and redemption machines – will naturally be on proud display at the Merkur Gaming booth. This proven modern cash management system can dispense 102 separate notes of three individual denominations. Well over 60,000 such units are in daily operation. Merkur Gaming has further developed the Merkur Dispenser 100 to cater for worldwide banknote needs as well as being able to offer the option for ticket-on, ticket-out.

Merkur Gaming will be joined by two further sister companies in Las Vegas. GeWeTe – the leading manufacturer of change machines in Germany – will be exhibiting its extremely wide range of money changing and payment systems. edict egaming is the specialist for online gaming platforms and focuses on the development and technical operation of online casino solutions and system platforms in the gaming market. The edict team will be present on the Merkur Gaming stand alongside GeWeTe. The whole team is looking forward to welcoming visitors at the forthcoming G2E.

10 Aug 2012

GTI Asia China Expo receives exhibitors’ enthusiastic support!

gti-asia-china-expoThe 4th GTI Asia China Expo, which will soon take place on September 23~25 in the China Import & Export Fair Pazhou Complex, Guangzhou, China, has smoothly organized two waves of booth assignment in early July and received enthusiastic support from exhibitors. About 200 companies have registered, including famous Japanese firms such as SEGA, Namco Bandai Games, Konami, Sanwa Denshi, Nippo, Fluke and Jing Mi, and Korea-based Simuline, K-River and Vogos. Also, there will be a good number of Taiwanese exhibitors including Paokai, Huai I, Bingotimes, Taiwan Yuamei, Jyuee Ang, Advantech, Zeroplus, Skyinn, Gamtec and CYE. Chinese companies that have enrolled for the show include Wahlap, Golden Dragon, UNIS, Hero, Game Plus, Mecpower, Tong Li, Sealy, Macrown, Shun Hong, Hua Tong, Bao Hui, Hua Qin, G-Look, Guang Yang, Ji Xing Yu, Zhongshan Ocean, Hua Tai, Karen, Hua Han, Zhongshan Luck, Sun Wing, PACO, Chi Long, Game Art and Y.E.S., Guangzhou Enjoy, Xin Jia Hui, Yue Hua Token, Yatta Lunta Deshi Kaisha and Titan from Hong Kong, US-based SUZO-HAPP and Australia-based Iplay will also be present at the show. These exhibitors are expected to showcase all types of the most popular and topic-raising amusement machines and products.

Currently, the e-game industry is thriving in China. Building animation industry parks and supporting Chinese companies to move towards independent development have become one of the policies adopted by many local governments of China. Few years ago, a rising number of international firms were interested in plumbing the enormous Chinese market and eager to directly make effective promotions at the domestic tradeshows in China. Although they got a bunch of choice, these trade fairs’ inconsistent quality stopped them from making quick moves. Witnessing this developmental trajectory, the GTI Asia China Expo made its China debut in 2009. The show was organized by GTI Magazine, the company that has rich experience in holding the annual trade fair GTI Asia Taipei Expo, and received great support from the local and central Chinese governments as well as many e-game related industry associations in China. With abundant resources of the brand and the principles of being professionalism-oriented and putting the industry as the top priority, the event has successfully highlighted its effectiveness and value in the arena full of trade shows of different scales has become the most representative e-game trade event in China. The visitor numbers of the show has surpassed 30,000 and the show has become a must-attend annual event with a 20% annual growth rate in show scale.

09 Aug 2012

Innovative Bally products win five of six honors in hospitaly operation technology (hot) awards 2012

bally-technologies-logoBally Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BYI), a leader in slots, video machines, casino-management, interactive applications, and networked and server-based systems for the global gaming industry, today announced it won five of the six awards in Casino Enterprise Management’s third annual Hospitality Operations Technology (HOT) Awards.

The HOT awards honor leading gaming-technology products that make a positive difference in a casino-hotel’s operations. A panel of expert judges, including several gaming and hospitality executives, evaluated the award submissions. Bally’s winning products are:

Service Tracking Manager™ (STM) for Employee Productivity and Efficiency.

Bally iGaming Platform for Internet Services.

Bally Mobile Platform for Self-Service Products.

CoolSign® Video Wall Controller for Media and Content Management.

Elite Bonusing Suite™ with Virtual Racing™ for Guest Experience Enhancement.

“Winning first place in five of the six categories is great recognition of our innovation momentum and the extraordinary work of our engineering team,” said Bally Technologies’ President and Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Srinivasan. “Our forward-thinking team is continuously innovating solutions for trailblazing technologies that ensure our customers can provide their guests with exceptional service, an exciting gaming experience, and most of all, a good return-on-investment.”

STM is a browser-based dispatch system that interfaces with handheld smart devices such as the iPhone® and iPad® for faster routing of casino-floor personnel to customers. When a service request is generated through the system such as a machine malfunction or patron requesting service help, casino personnel closest to the patron are immediately notified, increasing the efficiency of casino operations and customer satisfaction.

Bally iGaming Platform enables casino operators to quickly enter the online gaming space with free-play, virtual credits, and wager-based gaming as it is legalized in their jurisdiction. The platform creates an additional revenue stream as well as a new channel through which operators can market their products and services while collecting valuable player data. Bally’s business-to-business iGaming platform, with mobile integration, helps gaming operators create a seamless view of the player between the traditional and online casino environments. The platform’s open architecture enables operators to choose from best-of-class content from a multitude of providers for poker, casino table games, video slots, bingo, keno, and sports wagering when authorized.

Bally Mobile Platform enables casinos to create custom applications and mobile websites running across all devices from one central content manager, enabling casino personnel to create special content and offers and immediately distribute them to targeted customers and potential customers. Operators may alert players anytime about special offers, even if they are just driving by the property. Casinos can target content in countless ways – from age to player’s card level, from the month of customers’ birthdays to how far they are from the property. Nearly 5 million Bally apps have been downloaded from dozens of casinos.

With this cloud-based solution, operators input the information directly into the content-management system, and Bally’s Mobile Platform translates the information to an iPhone® app, a native Android® app, a native BlackBerry® app, an iPad® app, and even a mobile website that works across hundreds of devices. From there, operators can track how the patrons who receive the information behave, seeing if they react to offers immediately.

CoolSign Video Wall Controller technologies link directly into Bally’s casino-management and slot-management systems, and provide real-time alerts to players about promotions, winners, and last-minute specials for items such as show tickets, dining, and even discounted rooms. The integration of CoolSign with other Bally Systems products provides a significant competitive advantage for the hundreds of casinos currently using Bally Systems.

Elite Bonusing Suite – Virtual Racing puts players in the driver’s seat and creates a thrilling community event. This entertaining and interactive secondary bonus game is already proven to increase coin-in and carded play. The Virtual Racing application allows casino operators to create exciting community events that every player currently at a machine on the floor can participate in – from any gaming manufacturer. Players select their favorite horse, race car, or other contest-driven event.

07 Aug 2012

MiGS|12 Promises Most Diverse Programme To Date

malta5With organisers applying the finishing touches, the 2012 Malta iGaming Seminar is set to cement its position as the most informative and enjoyable event of the iGaming calendar. Malta is regarded by many as the home of iGaming and the organisers of MiGS|12 are keen to ensure that delegates benefit from a packed programme in a stunning location.

MiGS|12 has secured the services of more than 20 prominent speakers representing every facet of the international iGaming industry whilst seminar content has been driven by requests from delegates and will be wide reaching and topical.

Subjects to be covered include, amongst others, Cloud-Based online gaming, The Changing European Landscape, Malta-Regulation (Lessons Learned), Tax Options in The New Europe and The Future of Gambling.

MiGS|12 has attracted sponsorship from several prominent members of the iGaming sector including Experian, EUK Host, Megabyte, NMi, PayPoint.net and Betting Promotion as well as the MIGS members BMIT Ltd, Greentube Malta, RE/MAX Malta and Trust Alliance Project, all of which plan to be active participants in the proceedings.

In its short life MiGS has acquired a reputation as an extremely sociable event. Indeed, the first night cocktail party held overlooking the Portomaso waterfront, a free poker tournament, and the final afternoon pool party all promise to deliver extensive networking opportunities.

Anyone wishing to secure one of the remaining few spaces should register at www.maltaigamingseminar.com or, alternatively, call Karen Cooke of Swan Events on +44(0)1582 767 254

02 Aug 2012

Bally Technologies and Hig 5 Games announce multi-year game development agreement

accordoBally Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BYI) and High 5 Games (H5G) announced today that they have entered into an agreement that will publish a substantial number of new H5G games under the Bally brand for the worldwide land-based, mobile, and online business-to-business casino gaming markets.

The multi-year agreement includes the creation and development of a variety of unique games for Bally Technologies.

“We’re excited to partner with a game creator that has such a world-class track record of developing high-performing and engaging game content,” said Jean Venneman, Vice President of Product Management and Licensing at Bally Technologies. “We look forward to leveraging H5G’s newest game content to help casino operators across the world drive revenues and delight players.”

Ramesh Srinivasan, Bally’s President and Chief Operating Officer, added, “The partnership with H5G reflects our commitment to delivering best-of-breed, cross-platform game content to our customers. This promise is reflected in the more than 25 game studios we have established across the globe, augmented by relationships with proven game developers like H5G that enable us to deliver a diverse array of creative, interactive, and exciting game content.”

“We are delighted to partner with Bally Technologies, a long-time leader in the casino gaming industry,” said Anthony Singer, Chief Executive Officer of High 5 Games. “With Bally’s sophisticated new ALPHA 2™ game platform, and a new Bally Interactive division committed to mobile, online, and social business-to-business game content, we believe that the sky is the limit for this next generation of H5G games.”

In recent years, H5G has created some of the most popular slot-machine games in the industry.

“We are very proud of our tradition of creating high-performing games to fuel the success of our partners,” Singer said.

27 Jul 2012

Lottomatica Group announces 2012 second-quarter results: Sala (Ceo), “Resiliency and sustainability of our business”

lottomatica stand2Lottomatica Group S.p.A.’s Board of Directors, chaired by Mr. Lorenzo Pellicioli, today examined both the second-quarter and six-month consolidated results, and approved the financial statements for the first six months of 2012 which ended June 30, 2012. “Lottomatica Group had a good quarter,” said Marco Sala, CEO of Lottomatica Group.  “The results underscore the resiliency and sustainability of our business. Our diversified product offerings and the wide-ranging geographies we serve have supported the Group well in the face of economic uncertainties in some of the jurisdictions in which we operate. Notably, the potential for additional private manager opportunities is very encouraging. Through the half year, we are delivering on our commitments and are confident that we will achieve our full-year guidance”.

“The underlying operating cash generation for the Group was good,” said Alberto Fornaro, CFO of Lottomatica Group. “Strong cash flow provided the capacity to fund payments for dividends, minorities, and income taxes in the quarter. Net income attributable to the parent in the second quarter grew by 38% when compared to the prior year.”

Second-Quarter Consolidated Results – For the second quarter ended June 30, 2012, Revenues totaled €742.7 million, compared to €702.6 million in the second quarter of 2011, up 5.7%. Revenue growth was driven by business performance outside of Italy and favorable foreign exchange rates. On a constant currency basis, revenues for the second quarter of 2012 grew approximately €11.5 million, or approximately 2%, compared to the same period last year.

EBITDA increased 5.8% in the second quarter of 2012 to €259.7 million versus €245.4 million in the same period last year, driven by positive performance of all business segments, led by GTECH Lottery. At constant currency, EBITDA grew approximately €6.3 million, or approximately 3%, compared to the second quarter of 2011.

Italian Operations – Total revenues from Italian operations were approximately €444.7 million, compared to €451.9 million in the second quarter of 2011. The 1.6% decrease is the result of lower instant-ticket sales, lower late number lotto wagers, and higher sports betting payouts, which were partially offset by higher interactive revenues and machine gaming wagers.

Machine gaming wagers grew 12.5% in the second quarter to €2.99 billion from €2.65 billion in the same period last year, driven by a 19.7% increase in Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) wagers to €1.88 billion, including replayed credits. Revenues from machine gaming increased to €162.2 million from €160.8 million in the second quarter of 2011.  Second quarter machine gaming revenues are net of the 4% gaming tax on VLTs, up from 2% last year. At June 30, 2012, approximately 63,700 AWP machines and 10,000 VLTs were installed.

Lotto wagers for the quarter were €1.55 billion compared to €1.61 billion last year. In the second quarter of 2011, a higher incidence of late numbers occured which did not recur in the second quarter of 2012.

Instant-ticket wagers were approximately €2.43 billion in the quarter, compared to €2.64 billion in the same period last year. Approximately 534 million Scratch & Win tickets were sold in the quarter, with an average price point of €4.56.

Wagers from sports betting in Italy increased to €209.1 million in the second quarter from €207.9 million last year.

Interactive wagers totaled €572.4 million, up over 400% versus €107.6 million in the second quarter of 2011. The increase was principally driven by the launch of new games including Poker Cash and Casino games in July 2011.

Total GTECH Lottery revenue for the second quarter of 2012 was up 24.0% to €238.3 million compared to €192.2 million last year.  On a constant currency basis, revenues grew by 10.9%. GTECH Lottery U.S. same store service revenue grew approximately 7% in the second quarter of 2012 versus the same period last year.  GTECH benefited from strong performance in California, Illinois, and Texas where instant-ticket sales grew by 32%, 24%, and 9%, respectively.  International Lottery same store service revenue also grew approximately 7% compared to the second quarter of last year due to solid performance in Poland and Colombia as well as the positive sales impact from GTECH’s customer in the Czech Republic, following its bankruptcy last year.

GTECH also benefited from compensation for Northstar’s management services in Illinois and favorable foreign exchange.

During the quarter, GTECH secured a lottery operator contract in Costa Rica, as well as announced and/or signed contract extensions with customers in Oregon, Finland, and Ireland.

SPIELO International – Second-quarter revenues for SPIELO International were up 10.7% to €71.9 million when compared to the same period last year, primarily due to higher service revenue from VLTs in Italy as well as favorable foreign exchange.

SPIELO International continued working with Canadian lottery customers to finalize VLT and central systems replacement agreements, including an agreement to provide 1,700 VLTs to the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. SPIELO International now provides gaming equipment and services to four gaming machine concessionaires in Italy, including Lottomatica.

23 Jul 2012

Sports Pinball: Krisztián Szalai won in Marmore, but it is a joy for the Italian pinball world and not only for it

marmore premiazioniMarmore – Krisztián Szalai wins the Marmore Pinball Tournament – Pinball at the Waterfalls, that took place last weekend in the beautiful setting of the Marmore Waterfall next to Terni, in Umbria. For the Hungarian player, number 26 in the international ranking, this is a very important victory in their personal prizewinners because it could bring him in the top 20 of the ranking. This time Daniel Acciari, our Italian super champion, didn’t win and he only ends in the third position, after has been defeated in the semifinal match by Cesare D’Atri, the revelation of the Marmore tournament, who ended in the second position, giving up only under the undisputed supremacy of Szalai that during these two days dedicated to the sports pinball never lost a match, qualifying himself in the first qualifying session on Saturday with an en plein, winning all the nine games.

On the first day of the tournament, moreover, added to the qualifying games of the main tournament, also a classic tournament took place, that is to say a second tournament held on the so-called ‘classical’ pinball machines, the electro-mechanical ones, of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s . Also in this case the Hungarian Krisztián Szalai distinguish himself, but he ended at the fourth position after the compatriot Istvan Szabo, and Super Mario Anzini, coming from Verona, won the tournament, failing the qualification for the main tournament, despite according to the forecasts, he was the favourite for both the competitions. Marino Milan, the other player coming from Veneto, arrived at the second position in the classic tournament.

acciari premiazione ifpaitaliaAt the end of the weekend in Marmore all the players come satisfied at home, thanks to a very successful two days in the middle of nature and carachterized by the sports pinball, where we have been moments of great competitive spirit, but above all, where we have been a lot of fun. And the Marmore tournament also gave the opportunity to celebrate  Daniel Acciari, the World Champion in office, and number one of international rankings, with a prize given to the national Italian player of sports pinball by Ifpa Italia, to thank him for the extraordinary performances that make the Italian pinball world pride. “I’m incredibly happy for the results I obtained in these 5 years of competitions that caused to me many sacrifices – the champion said receiving the award – and I must thank IFPA Italia and the Tecnoplay sponsor who supported me in this extraordinary journey. But now I have a request, directed especially to the players: I wish that many more of them would follow me in the tournaments abroad, because often I went to win some points in competitions outside of Italy leaving alone or at maximum in two persons for these journeys. It would be the time to start believing in this sport and in our chances also among the other players because I am sure that in this way we can further strengthen the role of Italy at the international level “.

Today the Italian sports pinball can count on another important event that is added between the leading appointments of our country – the IFPA Italia association writes in an official statement – given the great success of the Marmore Pinball Tournament also at an international level, it becomes a duty to repeat the event also next year considering the edition of this weekend, then, as the number one edition and as the beginning of a new way. Sincere thanks, as well as players who came to Marmore from various parts of Europe, to Casa Lina, the local cultural association that co-organized the event, and to the companies and the individuals who offered their machines and their time: to Tecnoplay – historical partner of IFPA Italia and of the national sports pinball –  to Italgiochi2001 in Rieti, to Automatic Service in Terni and to the collectors Claudio Mortini, Dino Merluzzi and Daniele Verrocchio“.

20 Jul 2012

Cjeu concerns on compliance of polish and latvian gambling law with eu rules

corteueEGBA welcomes two separate judgments from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) today; on the Polish failure to notify draft gambling legislation and the Latvian restrictions to the freedom to provide gambling services;    

CJEU QUESTIONS POLISH RESPECT OF OBLIGATION TO NOTIFY GAMBLING PROVISIONS
The first ruling in the joined Fortuna case (C-213/11, C-214/11, C-217/11) looked at the key question “whether the provisions of that Law may be relied upon against an individual when they were not notified to the Commission under the procedure prescribed by Directive 98/34”(see below, and paragraph 20 of the ruling). The ruling casts serious doubts on the respect by Polish authorities of important procedural EU rules when adopting the 2010 Gambling Act.

The CJEU confirms that:

  • The provisions at stake “are capable of constituting ‘technical regulations’…drafts of which must be the subject of communication” (paragraph 40) in line with Directive 98/34
  • It is to the national judge to establish “those provisions constitute conditions which can significantly influence the nature or the marketing of the product” (paragraph 40)

The European Parliament was alerted in 2010 to the Polish Gambling Act regarding issues of compliance with EU law, including the lack of notification; consequently the Petition Committee questioned the European Commission and issued a report in 2011.(1)   

LATVIAN RESTRICTIONS ON GAMBLING MUST MEET STRICT CONDITIONS UNDER EU LAW
The second ruling regards the Latvian Garkalns case (C-470/11), questioning whether the gambling law, which allows Latvian authorities to restrict the market on the particularly broad grounds of ‘substantial impairment of the interests of the State and of the residents of the administrative area concerned’, is compatible with the Treaty.

This specific case gave the CJEU the opportunity to recall that:

  • such restrictions; “must be based on objective, non-discriminatory criteria known in advance, in such a way as to circumscribe the exercise by the authorities of their discretion so that it is not used arbitrarily” (paragraph 42)
  • “it is also necessary for the competent authorities to base each of their decisions on reasoning which is accessible to the public, stating precisely the reasons for which, as the case may be, authorisation has been refused” (paragraph 43)
  • For the national courts to ensure … that legislation genuinely meets the concern to reduce opportunities for gambling and to limit activities in that domain in a consistent and systematic manner.” (paragraph 44)
  • “it is therefore for the national court to verify, in particular, that the State strictly supervises the activities related to betting and gaming; that the refusal of the local authorities to authorise the opening of new establishments of that type genuinely pursues the declared objective of protecting consumers; and that the criterion of ‘substantial impairment of the interests of the State and of the residents of the administrative area concerned’ is applied without discrimination.” (paragraph 47)

EGBA Secretary General Sigrid Ligné comments: “The Court has reconfirmed that Member States are required to notify draft gambling legislation. If they fail to do so, the legislation can´t be enforced against operators. Likewise, we are satisfied that the Court firmly recalls that restrictions to the market can only be justifiable subject to strict conditions.”

Ligné added: “What is worrying is that these are well known and longstanding requirements that Member States should, but many do not comply with. As recently confirmed by Commissioner Barnier, Member States’ compliance with European rules is essential. The Commission has acknowledged that in addition to the 9 pending infringement procedures, 28 complaints against 12 Member States will now be investigated. We are confident that the Commission will take appropriate legal action.”