Category: Regulation

18 May 2020

Lockdown in Italy: bars reopen from May, the 18th, betting and bingo halls from June, the 15th

With the latest decree of the President of the Council of Ministers relating to the reopening of public places in Italy, further closure of arcades, bingo and betting activities is foreseen.

“The activities of gaming all, betting and bingo halls, discos and similar premises are suspended”, the provision issued by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte affirms, where the ways of the reopening that will take place today, Monday, May, the 18th, are written in detail, pursuant to the law decree approved by the Council of Ministers and published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale on Saturday , May, the 16th. The provisions of the Prime Ministerial Decree of May, the 17th, are valid until June, the 14th and, as anticipated by GiocoNews.it, confirm the closure of gaming locations. Although some of the games will in the meantime be able to start again in the bars. But not everywhere. The reopenings, in fact, have been entrusted to the individual Regions: therefore, up to 20 different criteria could be decided for each region. Indeed, not all Italian regions will start again from May, the 18th, but only a few. In addition, each Region can decide whether to further limit some activities: for example, some regions such as Piemonte have specified that the bars, which will open from May, the 25th, will not be able to turn on the slots. While in Trentino Alto Adige the slots are allowed and already active since today.

07 May 2020

Gaming in face of Covid-19: industry and regulators united on responsibility and fight against illegality

In the international Digital Panel of Gioconews.it, a first-level group of regulators analyzes the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on the gaming sector and proposes a restart plan.

In an emergency like the one we are experiencing today, it is crucial within the global gaming industry to look at the data to understand how things have gone and how the sector is evolving. We have seen growth in online casinos and other verticals, but we need to understand why. Certainly, operators must very quickly adapt to new opportunities and those mainly land-based must give always more importance to their digital section. I doubt, therefore, that these operators return to be just like before.”

This is the analysis by Heathcliff Farrugia, Ceo of the Malta Gaming Authority, who spoke at the GiocoNews.it Digital Panel with the main international gaming experts to naturally speak of the effects of Covid-19 on the sector (here, the full live streaming of the event).

According to Farrugia “it will be difficult to predict the future, many times we have seen decisions made without relying on some data and sure proofs and I believe that if we want to act well both from the point of view of the operator and the regulator, we must carefully analyze all the elements at disposal”. By focusing, in particular, on the need to work more and better to combat the illegal market: “To be honest – he adds – I believe that the whole system, therefore governments, regulators and all those involved, we focus too much energy on licensed and legal operators, forgetting – and sometimes it is potentially convenient not to admit it – that the black market exists. Indeed, there is a black market, which is huge and in a situation like this, where there are these restrictions, black market grows. But here there is no consumer protection, we have no idea what happens, we have no idea if there is responsible gaming, we have no idea if there is money laundering or not. Unfortunately, many times because of the black market that doesn’t have to implement a series of restrictions from different countries, they are able to give a better offer than that of legal operators because they have less costs to be managed”.

We are in a situation where, I would say, 80 percent of each country’s energy is concentrated on licensed operators, who pay taxes, who have all responsible gambling measures in place. And only 20 percent of the energy is aimed at illegal operators who bypass all regulations, who have not purchased licenses from anyone, who simply have apps to attract players. Sometimes, we don’t understand that in the online world, a player, most of the players, if he finds an online site, he bets on it and maybe even wins some money, and everything is fine for them. Without wondering if it is legal or not. As long as they get the money back, it’s all right for them. And unfortunately some of the black market companies become popular just based on this aspect. So in my opinion, we have to dedicate more energy or at least give the same importance in terms of restrictions to legal operators, but we have to dedicate the same energy in stopping the black market.”

Also Birgitte Sand, Iagr Patron for Denmark and with over 12 years of experience leading the Denmark gambling authority, thinks the same. “As regulators, we have never been more busy than today and I believe that all regulators in the world are working hard and aware of the changes taking place in the gaming world, ready for short and long term changes”.

“Data is undoubtedly the key and the support for the opening of the land-based market. In times of crisis it is important not to panic and not forget the long-term perspective. We have to stay connected, it is not a race but we have to find solutions on how to support the legal market and protect ourselves from illegal gaming”, Sand ends. “It is very important that regulators make choices, they can’t take care of everything, and that they stay together and support each other.”

“With Covid-19 we have to face a big problem. We know a lot but at the same time too little. We have to do research and find the best practices. Which direction should the industry take? I think it won’t change much”

Pieter Remmers, president of Assissa Consultancy Europe, a body that worked on responsible gaming policies and programs in many countries, focuses in particular on communication on social media – “a good means to stay in contact during the lockdown, but meeting people physically it is not the same”, he underlines – remembering that the United Kingdom has blocked advertising but that we should also” look at social media such as Facebook. The influence of advertising is limited, while the limits today don’t concern social networks, introducing ineffective restrictions”. And, often, even harmful ones, from the point of view of opposing illegality”.

As Andrea Rossi, Managing Director Southern Europe & Latam – Betsson Group/StarCasino, highlights, who in addition to explaining how the industry is working to cope with the emergency, also focuses on the issue of restrictions and legality. “

“I believe that, in handling an emergency, we really have to understand both sides and both points of view: the political and the commercial one. As an industry, we have probably been too ‘aggressive’ in the past, too commercial I would say, we never focused on what I like to call ‘brand strategy’. For example, in Italy with our Starcasino brand before the advertising ban was put in place, we had already decided to remove all bonuses and announcements. And honestly we haven’t seen a change in acquisitions: indeed, I have to say that we have increased acquisitions. And this makes me think: we are doing something that we probably believe is good for business, but in reality it is not. So I would like to put on the table the proposal to say: we have the possibility of promoting legal brands in an informative way, therefore in a way in which we can inform the customer more than pushing some offer, as in the end all the successful brands we see do, from nike to others. Advertising today must be built on how you perceive it in terms of transparency. This is the way I would like to discuss to be introduced into gaming, instead of going ahead with the bans. Therefore, let’s try to embrace different concepts by making our industry more mature in this sense. This may be the best opportunity, in my opinion”.

From the business point of view, however: “The crisis from Covid-19 has affected all operators, some more, especially betting operators, while those of online casinos have increased their activity. Our strategy has been to diversify the product and good casino activity” Rossi explains.” Sports betting is important to us but casinos can mitigate their decrease. People are more at home and looking for entertainment. Although we have seen an increase in new customers on our platform , we didn’t see an increase in the expense”.

The key points to move forward? “A strong (mutual) cooperation with regulators, a different way of communicating with customers, the differentiation of products, which will have to increase and be transversal, not just vertical. Unfortunately, there is also a risk that customers move to illegal operators, because of the ban on advertising”

According to Francesco Rodano, Playtech’s Chief Policy Officer, “Covid-19 has significantly changed our operating way and we are trying to learn a lot from this situation, which however remains very negative. This has shown that the human being can adapt to situations. In Playtech, we have intensified virtual programs and social responsibility towards consumers”.

Gaming data records a 30 percent fall in the sector and it means that even if the industry reacted very quickly, there was no total online transformation. There is greater attention from operators in this market, this is clear.

For this reason, also the approach to gaming by the players has changed: “Bingo and poker players, social gaming players in general have grown, to try more entertainment experience than this, compared to the strong emotions that pure gambling can give. And our intention is to continue protecting problematic players” Rodano continues.
Best practices to be absolutely maintained in order to also create a definitely more performing and social responsible industry: “We should use these attentions in the future in retail gambling too – the CPO of Playtech ends – there may be the risk that the revenues will hardly return to the levels of before, but this greater attention will lead to greater sustainability in the sector with players more attentive to entertainment and their spending power”.

The president of Glms, Ludovico Calvi, thinks the same way and highlights the necessary steps for gaming companies to adapt to the Covid-19 emergency. “Review organizational processes to adapt to existing needs.” This is what gaming companies will have to do according to Calvi. But it is also “important to carry out tax review programs, to allow companies to continue through a difficult year.” Attention also to the products that have a new momentum at present: “We must make esports solid. They are a great opportunity and there is a high rate of attention. What is the new normal? The human being has returned to the center of many companies. We also see how customer behavior has changed. We have also seen the increase in the level of compliance. Governments need to be careful about the degree of compliance. Data are the basis on which decisions will be taken. What do I think is important? We have never experienced anything like this and I don’t believe who is sure to exactly define what will happen, because it has never happened before. “

“It is important to create credibility – Calvi ends – and I warn, as licensed operators, that we must communicate with customers. I can see that we must supervise sports organizations more and we cannot lose credibility, not only in the world of gaming but also of sport. We must create credibility towards communication. We must be more careful about what happens in sport.”

05 May 2020

Gaming in face of Covid-19: the full streaming of the Gioco News Digital Panel

Tee Gioco News’ Digital Panel with the must gaming experts to talk about Covid-19 crisis and restart.


In the mood of great uncertainty in which the global gaming industry is, only one thing is sure: nothing will be the same. What are the drivers that operators must follow and the new rules to regain consumer confidence and lead them in the new paradigm? Has the time come to change the whole way of “making” gaming?
A series of questions that Gioco News wants to try to answer, calling on the main international experts, for a global reflection that takes into account all needs: economic, industrial, health and organizational ones.

SPEAKERS:
Welcome by: Alessio Crisantemi, direttore GiocoNews.it
– Heathcliff Farrugia, CEO Malta Gaming Authority
– Birgitte Sand, gambling consultant, IAGR Patron
– Pieter Remmers, President Assissa
– Jason Frost, President Euromat
– Francesco Rodano, Chief Polic Officier Playtech
– Ludovico Calvi, President GLMS
– Andrea Rossi, Managing Director Southern Europe & Latam – Betsson Group / StarCasinò
MODERATOR: Christian Tirabassi, Ficom Leisure
Qui di seguito alle ore 11:00 la finestra YouTube dove seguire l’evento, in questo link per iscriversi al Digital Panel su Zoom!
05 Feb 2020

Castaldo (Microgame): ‘Omnichannel, a practical and effective distribution channel’

Marco Castaldo, Ceo of Microgame, takes stock of omnichannel strategies in the gaming sector, also in the light of the provisions of the Dignity decree.

London – “We talk in a little light way about omnichannel, a term used by many people for the definition of exploitable and playable games on several fronts. But what we are talking about here is a concept of a more practical and effective distribution channel”.
Marco Castaldo, Ceo of Microgame, underlines that in his speech about the focus on the Italian gaming market in the light of recent regulatory changes, organized by Gioco News within the Wrb – World Regulatory Briefing, hosted by the Ice Vox conferences cycle of the Ice London 2020 show.
“Land-based operators have been restrictively affected by the Government with the provisions of the Dignity decree prohibiting gaming advertising, they were convinced to invest more in digital marketing and are increasingly using land-based networks to develop customers. This trend of omnichannel is the most important part to follow and exploit, considering the current situation”.
Castaldo also takes stock of the online gaming invitation to tender: “We have some customers who have already started even before obtaining the concession and have started operations with the skins of our network to start working. We have some signed agreements and other companies that will work with us in the coming months. Based on this, I would say that for us, at least so far but also in perspective, the result of the new invitation to tender is already positive”.
And as for future projects, Microgame, Castaldo reveals, aims to “reinforce investments, trying to find customers not only online or in land-based way but in all recruitment methods”.

The full video of GiocoNews’s panel can be seen here.

05 Feb 2020

Ice London, Tirabassi: ‘Adv ban, physical gaming operators have an advantage over others’

At the Gioco News panel in Ice London, the advisor Christian Tirabassi (Senior Partner Ficom Leisure) draws the evolution of physical and online gaming, in an omnichannel perspective.

London – “There was an industrial growth in 2019. And it was quite important. You can see the first effects of the adv ban, which leaves a significant advantage to land-based operators, compared to the others. In this way, it is possible to attract customers for online gaming and this can be seen in numbers. We are talking about operators with betting rooms and Vlt rooms, in short, land-based places”.
Word of Christian Tirabassi, Senior Partner Ficom Leisure, one of the speakers protagonist of the focus on the Italian gaming market in the light of recent regulatory changes, organized by Gioco News within the framework of the Wrb – World Regulatory Briefing, hosted by the Ice Vox conferences cycle of the 2020 Ice London fair.
“We advisors are starting to see that many operators who have only online gaming in the DNA are thinking of making acquisitions of physical networks to counteract the advantage we were talking about before. We talk about big brands. When there are the tenders, these operators will be able to compete in a 360 degree omnichannel. We see a future in which there will be consolidation, product and channel integration both mobile online and also on the territory”, Tirabassi ends.

The full video of GiocoNews’ can be seen here.

 

10 Jan 2020

Eag Expo: amusement market between regulation and development

In the three days of London dedicated to the entertainment sector, two days of conferences and insights with a special focus on Italy: between restrictions and new developments.

Italy is the center of worldwide attention (also) as regards the so-called “Amusement” market: that is, that of “pure entertainment”, made up of video games, pinball machines and foosball that everyone knows, but that too many continue to ignore: as politicians systematically do, in the face of a sector essentially abandoned by the legislator, that despite the various problems and regulation attempts some time ago (those who have a good memory will remember the reform proposed by the then undersecretary for games Alberto Giorgetti, written and never implemented), is still remained in limbo, waiting for who knows what. Except, however, that not all politics has continued to ignore the sector: unfortunately for the professionals, a few years ago, some regional administrators adressed the matter and, instead of proposing a reorganization or regulation of the market, thought of introducing, on the contrary, some restrictions: pointing at some of these games for children as “dangerous”, because preparatory to cause gaming addictions. Following the theory, that according to many it must be considered bizarre, proposed at the time by a tv show and followed by some critics who pointed the finger, in particular, against ticket redemptions. Well, the affair didn’t end at the moment, as one of the many boutades that often locally are born and die, with various regions that, on the contrary, carried on the battle against the sector, going to forbid to minors games only designed for minors. Although these games are present in practically all the markets in the world.

THE “ITALIAN CASE” OF TICKET REDEMPTIONS – Professionals know well this story and they fight it for some time now, trying to establish a contact with politics, asking to protect their activities and trying to understand that the offer of pure entertainment should be encouraged and not opposed, just as an antidote to gambling, if we really want to worry about addictions. But the message still seems to be unheard.
However, these movements had already been brought to the attention of other European subjects last year, explaining that the “Italian case” of ticket redemptions should not be considered as a purely national thing, as a possible ban on ticket redemptions on our country could affect the entire international industry and, even worse, inspire other European countries and beyond. For this reason, the subject had been presented at the last edition of the Eag Expo in London, last January, in a debate organized by GiocoNews.it, which was attended by representatives of the Italian industry together with Jason frost, president of the European federation of operators. A meeting that, in addition to arousing considerable international attention, had also led to the subsequent partnership between Euromat and Sapar and Consorzio Fee, for an agreement and a common action aimed at protecting the sector, signed at the next fair Enada of Rimini.

THE CONFERENCE IN LONDON – But unfortunately the “Italy case” has not yet been solved and, indeed, the situation continues to be compromised. For this reason, also in the 2020 edition of the Eag fair in London, scheduled in January, 14-16, we will talk about the Italian market and its problems again, in a new edition of the conference entitled: “Ticket redemptions: the future is at stake”, scheduled for Wednesday, January, the 15th at 12 pm. Once again, the Euromat’s President Jason Frost, together with the Sapar Service’s President, Paolo Dalla Pria, the New Asgi Italia’s president, Vanni Ferro and the gaming expert lawyer, Cino Benelli, will attend the event. And a veteran of entertainment like David Snook, InterGame’s columnist, will moderate it.

A LOOK AT THE FUTURE AND ESPORTS – But luckily we don’t have only problems. For this reason, in addition to looking at problems from a regulatory point of view, the London fair will also be an opportunity (and above all) to look to the future and new trends that promise to change and revolution the offer of the arcades at an international level. Also looking at the opportunities provided by the emerging eSports phenomenon. The other conference is dedicated to that, organized by GiocoNews.it and scheduled for Tuesday, the 14th, January at 3 pm, entitled: “Competitive video games in a competitive market”. What are the possible links between eSports and Amusement and what are the business opportunities? We wonders in the debate. And again: how are videogame competitions linked to the world of arcades and FECs? How can the scenario change with the diffusion of AR/AI in retail gaming? Gioco News talks about it with the main international experts. Some of the leading experts in the field talk about it, such as: Robert-M. Fankhänel, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Hologate; Jan Goetgeluk, founder and CEO of Virtuix and Giovanni Antonioli Fantini, CEO of Sandbox Games, developer together with Tecnoplay of the now famous Race Craft driving simulator, that is emerging in arcades all over the world, thanks to the competitive mode. Ian Donegan, chief reporter at InterGame & InterFun, will moderate the debate. In short, we will have a great time in London, trying to interpret the future of the sector, in our country and beyond.

23 Dec 2019

Gaming revolution in Italy: all the new rules in force since January 2020

What changes for public gaming following the provisions contained in the tax decree and in the 2020 financial budget.

With the tax decree now converted into law and the Budget bill that will come into force from 2020, January, the 1st, we can take stock of what will change for Italian gaming in 2020, in the light of the provisions of the two final measures, by now.


THE TAX DECREE – The text provides for the extension of the tenders for betting and bingo concessions, the postponement of the start of remote slots, the establishment of the single Register of gaming operators (to which the holders of the venues to refill remote gaming accounts must register, but not the operators offering gaming without cash winning) and the “undercover” agent, the block of payments to subjects without concession and the fight against evasion in the betting sector. Actually, there is also an article on the increase in the Preu for slots and Vlts, but the financial budget repeals it, having set new withdrawal limits, together with the reduction in the payout. In addition, the arrival of the receipt lottery has been postponed to 2020, July, the 1th.

THE BUDGET LAW – Gaming provisions provide for the further taxation of the winnings at the Vlts (from €200 up, we will pay a rate of 20 percent, starting from 15 January 2020), but also those on lotteries, Win for Life, Win for Life Gold and SiVinceTutto (20 percent of those from €500 up, starting from 1 March 2020), as well as the tender for devices concessions. Preu of slots is increased (23.85 percent until the end of 2020, 24 from 2021 onwards) and Vlts (8.5 percent until the end of 2020, 8.6 percent since 2021), to modify (and repeal) the provisions contained in the Tax Decree, but the minimum payout for slots (65 percent) and Vlts (83 percent) is reduced.

THE WORK OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE – Even if the text of the financial budget is unchangeable, it continues, as the parliamentary procedure foresees, its study by the Chamber’s Budget Committee, which must also study the amendments (all intended to be rejected).
Paolo Trancassini (FdI) expresses his astonishment to the colleagues of the Movimento 5 stelle for the changed attitude on some delicate subjects they have always claimed as ‘historical battles’ “, such as “for example, the subject of pathological gambling addiction” And he mentions how “through provisions added in previous measures, they believed they could definitively defeat this serious problem”, while “the draft budget for 2020, instead, plans to collect more revenue from gaming winnings to use them for the needs of the ministry of cultural heritage rather than using them for the recovery of subjects affected by gambling addiction”.

Mauro D’Attis, Forza Italia, criticizes “the way in which the taxation on games has been set, affecting legal gaming without the greater revenue deriving from the taxation of gaming winnings being used to remedy the damages caused by gaming addiction”. On the contrary, Luigi Marattin (Italia Viva), asks “how can we say that the measure in question leads to an increase in taxes” and invites the government representative to “clearly indicate what the expected revenue is for the tax measures introduced, such as the Robin tax, the sugar tax, the plastic tax and the increase in taxes on games and tobaccos”.

The amendment by Mauro D’Attis (Forza Italia) is with no hope of approval, but with political “weight”, which brings into play gaming: “For the strengthening of the control purposes on games and to ensure the certainty of the withdrawal, in order to achieve the progressive objective of reducing the use of cash, from 1 January 2020 the marketing of public gaming on the physical network may also take place through a prepaid card, issued by the concessionaires registered in the single register of public gaming operators, pursuant to article 27 of decree-law 26 October 2019, n.124, exclusively usable for the purchase of gaming services marketed by the issuing entity in the points of sale authorized by the Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli and part of the physical network of the same. The prepaid card can be purchased by the player at the concessionaires’ points of sale for an amount not exceeding two hundred and fifty euros and can be equipped with the functions of memorizing the bets recorded by the national totalizer, having the legal effects of the participation receipt and refill for amounts corresponding to the winnings achieved, without prejudice to the applicability of the current anti-money laundering rules at the time of withdrawal of any sum from the card itself. Concessionaires notify to the Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli the start of the marketing of public gaming via prepaid card by transmitting the specifications of the installed system”.

30 Nov 2019

Castaldo (Microgame): “New market phase, strategic physical network”

Marco Castaldo, Ceo of Microgame, at the GiocoNews.it panel at Sigma in Malta, points out that land-based sales points are less compromised by the ban on gaming advertising.

Ta’Qali, Malta – “The ban on gaming advertising, which is the result of a bad policy and a wrong approach to the sector, is however to be considered as an unavoidable consequence of the irreverence of the operators who made too frequent and excessively aggressive communication campaigns that ended up to offend somebody”.
This is the opinion of Marco Castaldo, Ceo of Microgame, who spoke at the GiocoNews.it panel at the Sigma fair in Malta dedicated to the ban on advertising.
“However, the upside is that online gaming market has nevertheless maintained its growth trend, confirming the Italian sector as a land of great opportunities”, Castaldo continues.
The ban on advertising has therefore not compromised the business, even though it has certainly changed. “What we face today is a new market with new rules in terms of marketing and communication and within which the physical network plays a highly strategic role, with the land-based sales points that are less compromised by the ban and become fundamentals in terms of affiliations”.

Here the full video of the GiocoNews’ conference

30 Nov 2019

Rossi (Betsson): “Ban on advertising penalizes smaller operators”

At the GiocoNews.it conference at Sigma in Malta, Andrea Rossi (Betsson Group) points out that the ban on gaming advertising is penalizing above all the smaller operators.

Ta ’Qali, Malta – “Despite the problem represented by the ban on advertising ordered by the Dignity decree, the Italian online market has not yet shown contraction effects and therefore the negative impact that many expected there wasn’t. Even if, in all probability, this scenario will still occur later, when this new regime will be consolidated”.
Andrea Rossi, manager of Betsson Group, says that during the GiocoNews.it conference hosted by Sigma Malta and dedicated to the ban on gaming advertising.
“But what can be seen, looking at the data, is that the contribution of the smaller operators has been significantly reduced in the total contribution of gaming collection and this data – although it will have to be analyzed in more detail, because it is also linked to other factors – could however depend on the ban on advertising, which undoubtedly penalizes the smaller operators and the less consolidated brands that have yet to be affirmed”.
Speaking of the ongoing strategy change, Rossi emphasizes the tendency of the big brands to promote “alternative gambling services”, as an unavoidable consequence of the ban, “focusing on contiguous gaming channels, such as the publishing industry, or the game for fun offer. Something that could be consolidated as a new form of marketing if will pass the controll of the authorities”.

Here the full video of the GiocoNews’ conference

30 Nov 2019

La Rosa: ‘Ban on advertising, weak points on the EU and Italian front’

The lawyer Rodolfo La Rosa highlights the weak points of the legislation that in Italy forbid the advertising of gaming with cash prizes.

Qa ‘Tali, Malta – The ban on advertising introduced with the Dignity decree has changed the scenario of the Italian online gaming. This is highlighted by the lawyer Rodolfo Gherardo La Rosa, a consultant of BridgeLaw, in his speech at the Gioco News focus: “Regulatory repression: the changing face of the Italian iGaming landscape“, scheduled for the Affiliates & Cmo conference.

After describing the provisions of the law decree of 12 July 2018, converted into law on 6 August, and the guidelines issued by Agcom on last 18 April, La Rosa highlights the weak points of the current legislation. First of all, as regards the European law. In fact, La Rosa underlines the “failure to notify in advance to the European Commission the draft law decree and the consequent violation of section 5 of the European directive 2015/1535, which provides that the Member States immediately communicate to the Commission any draft technical regulation”, as well as the “violation of the right of establishment and provision of services as established by sections 49 and 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union”. The lawyer also observes how the ruling of the EU Court of Justice has been violated “according to which restrictions on internal market freedoms must be suitable, necessary and proportionate”.

But there is also an “internal” front, concerning compliance with license agreements with the Italian gaming authority. According to La Rosa, there is a “possible conflict between the total prohibition of advertising and the obligation for the authorized operator to carry out the marketing activity [of licensed games] exclusively through the chosen channels, engage in information activities for consumers, as regards gaming regulations and the protection of legal gaming and the promotion of safe, legal and responsible gaming”.

Here the full video of the conference.