Posts Tagged ‘european online gambling’

EU Looks to Scrutinize Online Gambling Laws

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

european-union-countries-mapThis week, the European Union (EU) announced that it would focus on imposing stricter online gambling rules within the burgeoning online casino industry. The new focus will target underage gambling throughout the wide ranging and successful European online gaming market.
There are currently several online casino gambling markets throughout Europe and most certainly more to come. In an effort to ensure safety and fair play for all markets in this huge but fragmented market, a new look at laws will continue to regulate the exploding market.

In Europe, most any and all forms of gambling are available – from poker to sports wagering and everything in between. The worldwide online gambling market is soaring, with Europe being one the most successful. EU findings show that in 2012 alone, 7 million Europeans gambled for real money at online casinos where wagering is regulated throughout the region. 7 million players equates to about 45% of the worldwide internet gaming market. It is also reported widely that the worldwide online market raked in $33 billion (24 billion Euros) in 2012.

Regulated online gambling took off throughout Europe, after countries such as Malta and Britain helped paved the way. Other countries, such as the Netherlands and France, did not jump onboard right away, but pressure by demand forced these country’s to open up to the concept and liberalize their markets, although at varying levels.

In this week’s EU announcement, an EU spokesperson stated that it seeks to “better protect all citizens, and in particular, our children from the risks associated with gambling”. The EU is calling on all European online casino markets to match its enthusiasm in protecting consumers. This includes casinos themselves. Seeking to scrutinize laws to better convey an utmost level of protection for players throughout the EU in an era of digital advancement is the EU’s heightened goal.

The new plan is to guarantee that online casinos be the most transparent in all ways, including clearer warnings on casino websites, more thorough registration requirements to better eliminate underage gambling online, and further develop effective forms of support for addiction. The EU is also looking to curtail advertising of online casino sites and make sure ads are also free of pressure to wager and honest about odds.

The European gambling industry is looking for better uniformity in general, and this new focus on gambling in Europe should be well received. Here at OnlineCasinoSuite, we have to agree. As a site designed to advocate the safest, most reputable casinos online, consumers certainly ought to have the best protection throughout the EU and beyond. An EU-wide enforcement level for online gaming is evidently necessary just as it is in the US. That said, perhaps the US will take note and begin a nationwide form of regulation as it sees the European market trying to join in a blanketed form of regulation. Like in the US (and throughout Europe), gambling online is a heated issue. The fine line between being a source of state revenue and the potential cause of harm is easily crossed by many.

Interestingly enough, the EU said it decided to draft recommendations, versus outright legislation, as the latter takes too long and easily lacks being a sure thing. With several European countries in the process of creating national legislation, the EU recommendations can be used as assistance.

Ireland to Double the Tax Rate on Internet Betting Operators?

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Seemingly following in the footsteps of Great Britain, lawmakers in Ireland are apparently considering reaping more revenue from online gambling activity. And just like the UK, Ireland could be setting itself up for a loss in business if said “reaping” is too much for online betting operators.

As reported by the Irish Examiner, Ireland’s Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan is considering doubling the current tax rate on remote gaming revenue with a 2% tax on all wagers made through Ireland-based and regulated betting sites. Of course, the operative word here is “speculation”. But considering the history of online gambling regulation, if Ireland does indeed impose a 2% winnings tax, it certainly wouldn’t be a big shocker.

When you have the likes of Paddy Power and the Irish Bookmakers’ Association (IBA) voicing concern about such a tax, the reality is that there is indeed some truth behind the speculative claims that Minister Lenihan is, himself, seriously considering the tax spike. IBA’s chairwoman, Sharon Byrne, commented, “We believe that 400 of the 1,200 would shut up overnight. It would kill jobs in the industry”, while a Paddy Power spokesperson said that passing the tax would be “insane”.

Not surprisingly, all of the betting sites and online bookmakers operating out of Ireland, highly oppose the tax. The one exception could possibly be land-based horse racing and dog tracks, which the Irish government has apparently shorted some 30 million Euro’s in government funding.

The idea behind imposing such a spike is that it could generate 60 billion Euro’s in tax revenue per year. Therefore, it would seem the online betting industry would be the most conducive place to turn to for generating some badly needed funds. The gamble, however, is that by increasing the tax rate, many operators will either leave Ireland to do business elsewhere, or simply shut their doors for good. It has been estimated that some 33% of operators will have no choice but the latter.

Jadestone Launches Liar’s Dice; Expanding Online Casino Platform

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

jadestone01Jadestone Networks has announced a new dice game, called “Liar’s Dice” has been launched live and is now available in multi-player mode throughout the European online betting demographic. In actuality, “Liar’s Dice” isn’t as new as you might think. Dating back to the travels – or rather – conquests of the Spanish conquistadors in South America, Liar’s Dice achieved popularity in the “New World”, only to receive a recent surge of interest after being featured in Disney’s hit movie, Pirates of the Caribbean (which your’s truly actually had the pleasure of playing an extra in!).

This is precisely why Jadestone – to celebrate the launch and generate buzz – is giving away a vacation trip to “pirate waters”, aka, a beautiful, resort destination somewhere in the Caribbean. All cash money players who play “Liar’s Dice” (available at Bwin, BetFair and Unibet) during the month of September will be entered into a raffle.

Referred to as the “ultimate game of bluff” that is “deceptively simply and rewards the player’s with the strongest nerves” by Jadestone’s Business Development Director, Tobias Nissen, “Liar’s Dice” is much like head’s up poker in many respects. Two players compete against one another in a series of betting rounds where bluffing…err…lying becomes a valued skill and I dare say artform.

liarsdiceThe game begins by each player rolling five dice – the outcome of which is only viewable to the player who is rolling. This is followed by one player making a bid (a dice hand between one-pair and five-of-a-kind), and a fixed bet that grows each betting round. The opponent will then have the choice of either folding or calling (contributing the same amount into the pot). If the bet is called, the player then has the option of challenging or accepting. A challenge puts all betting to an end and a winner is revealed based on the dice outcome. If the player accepts, the bet must be raised and the process is repeated with the other player. The game is over when either player folds or challenges. During the entire game, each player has the option of rolling one or or more dice two times.

If you have ever played skill games, that’s pretty much what Liar’s Dice is. Jadestone offers it to online betting operators via the DiceArena platform, which also includes Dice Hold’em (another poker variation with dice), Shoot the Moons and the original skill dice game, Backgammon. Jadestone’s GamArena platform offers even more, with a large selection of the next generation online skill games, including the highest quality sports, arcade and puzzle games.

Rounding out their collection of games is a new online casino platform which Jadestone has been launching in phases this year. In development for over a year, the instant play online casino platform has over forty games available in practice or real money mode, and consists of Mini Games (designed specifically for the small screen and to be played in conjunction with other games), Slot Machines (over thirty lined up) and multi-player casino games. The casino server is licensed from Swedish developer, Play ‘n Go, while the slot machines are licensed through Paf.

In other words, all of you European online casino gamblers out there should be seeing more of Jadestone in the near future. As an established skill gaming provider, Jadestone is poised to tap the casino gaming sector with the best in next generation entertainment software platforms. As their company tagline says, Jadeston is “Always in Play”.

The GamArena platform includes everything from the server back-end to the actual site, complete with a rich selection of games. Jadestone also offers all services required for day-to-day operation: customer support, payment processing, marketing support, etc. GamArena is currently available in English and more than 20 other European languages.

Million Dollar Scratch Card Won Online at Neo Games’ Hopa.com

Monday, September 6th, 2010

hopa-1millionwinnerAnother day, another millionaire online. Okay, maybe it doesn’t happen every day. But in the vast world of online gambling, becoming a millionaire is not as rare as you might think. Granted, the odds that you and I personally will become a millionaire are very slim. Yet, isn’t it that way for everybody else? For those of us who are playing the right games at the right online betting destinations – which, these days, includes more than just online casinos – the odds get that much better.

Case in point is the recent millionaire to come out of Neo Game’s online scratch card site, Hopa.com. You heard right. Online scratch cards are a budding form of internet betting that has become very popular the world over, especially in Europe. This is precisely the area of the world in which Hopa caters to, and probably the region in which the lucky player, Lydie A., to bag the 1 million Euro jackpot calls home. Due to understandable privacy reasons, the location of winning players at Hopa is not divulged.

If you ask me, that’s just another reason to give Hopa a try. Privacy should be a major concern for online bettors, and Hopa (under the directorship of Neo Games) honors that better than most online casinos out there requiring big winners to pose for photographs and the like.

The only other thing we know about Lydie A. is that she has a touch of good luck. Not only is the 1 million win an impressive feat by itself, Lydie A. scored a 100,000 win almost one year ago playing the Super Slot 7 at Hopa – And that was only just months after Hopa was launched by Neo Games. Looks like loyalty pays off in more ways than just rewards points, does it not?

Describing the win to a Hopa representative, which was published in a press release this morning, Lydie A. stated,

hopawinner2When I was playing… and when I saw the amount that appeared on my screen as a win of 25 + 4 zeros, I became stuck to my chair and could not believe what was happening to me. I looked at it, and then looked again at the 250,000 Euros appearing in my cashier! Then, a member of the HOPA team contacted me to congratulate me on my 1,000,000Euros win! I could not believe it because only 250,000Euros were in the cashier but the winning card, itself was showing 1,000,000Euros.

I guess the software platform wasn’t used to dishing out 1 million wins, although the game itself does indeed say the opportunity exists! In fact, this was actually the first 1 million winner at Hopa, and will very likely not be the last. Furthermore, when all is said and done, Hopa has given away several million Euros in just under two years. Last month alone, Hopa gave away over 85 Million to lucky winners! And Multi-thousand Euro winners happen here every day – Check out the “Recent Winners” live feed on the Hopa homepage to see for yourself.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering about the game in which Lydie A. won the 1 million jackpot, it was the multi-scratch card game, Super 3 WOW. Want to find out more? Give Hopa.com a visit.

888’s Second Quarter Earnings Report: Online Casino and Bingo up; Poker Down

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Man Alive! What’s to be done about the online poker slump? You mean you didn’t hear? Okay, well maybe the players aren’t in a slump, per say. However, the leading U.S. facing online poker rooms (at least the one’s who used to do business in the States) are beginning to see just how bad the online poker industry depends on Uncle Sam.

Granted, I’m not referring to the poker rooms still doing business with American citizens. For them, it’s business as usual. In other words, lots of money to be had. Poker Stars and Doyle’s Room, for instance, are experiencing gains in poker activity, while rooms like 888 Pokrt are being hit with all-time record losses.

Just how bad is the damage? Well, according to 888’s Chief Executive, Gigi Levy (don’t you love that name?), who announced company earnings last month, pre-tax profit is down 43%, which equates to a difference of $6.3 million from last year’s profit of $14.9 million. Let me put it another way – 888 earned more revenue from online bingo than poker.

Uh ya, so apparently 888 is going to be undertaking some cost cutting programs in order to prevent further losses ($6 million overhead reduction), although Levy didn’t say exactly how that will be obtained. Granted, much of 888’s loss in online poker revenue can be attributed to a slumping global economy and the World Cup, which is what William Hill’s CEO blamed for his company’s losses as well! 888 has been closed to the U.S. for some time now, which goes to show that market shifts do indeed take place as a result of factors other than government infringement.

However, one can only surmise just how much this loss would have been offset if 888 was still tapping into the lucrative U.S. online poker industry. Just how lucrative you ask? Well, let’s save that for another blog post. The latest issue of iGaming Bussiness magazine has some very interesting things to say about online poker in the State of California alone – and I definitely have some things I want to share regarding this in another post. In other words, stay tuned.

As far as talks about 888 going into a merger this year, Levy reiterated his earlier comments in the year that consolidation looked “highly likely”, and after being pressed for hints, did not rule out the option of merging with Ladbrokes. Following the merger between giant’s, Bwin and Party Gaming, 888 certainly needs to do something in order to stay in the games. Thus far, things are looking better – online poker revenue for August jumped 15%, in line with normal levels. As for online casino revenue, it was up for the second quarter.

Struggles of Online Casino Software Giant Result in a Resignation & Layoffs

Saturday, August 14th, 2010
At this rate, Cryptologic Software may just find a place in the museum...

At this rate, Cryptologic Software may just find a place in the museum...

All I can say is Holy #%&*! When I checked out the news headlines today and saw that top-tier online casino software developer, Cryptologic, reported 2nd Quater losses of $12 million and $16 million in losses for 2010 thus far, my mouth dropped and those were the words that came out. God forgive me. Better yet, God, please forgive Cryptologic’s longtime, now-former CEO, Brian Hadfield, who announced his resignation along with the 2nd Quarter report.

And not that Hadfield personally needs to do any repentance. I don’t know, maybe he does. But to blame a single person for one company’s performance isn’t entirely fair. Mr. Hadfield certainly brought plenty to the table when we was appointed Director of the company little over three years ago and CEO just ten months thereafter. Playing an active management role at Unisys for over twenty years, Hadfield oversaw a workforce of 9,000 employees as Managing Director and grew the company’s revenue nearly a quarter to over $1 billion.

So ya, going from said success to a company which was already sort of in the danger zone, is a big change to say the least. Personally, if I was CEO of a company and had to explain a $16 million quarter loss, I’d probably step down as well. But then again, I guess Cryptologic hasn’t been doing that well for quite some time.

In my opinion, I think it was the passing of the UIGEA and the company’s decision to drop out of the U.S. market that put a major toll on the software developer. Also, other than Inter Casino, Cryptologic doesn’t have an impressive cadre of online casinos and wide area progressive jackpots as say Microgaming or Playtech.

More specifically, it was Cryptologic’s decision to focus on licensing it’s online casino software platform to third party operators, rather than creating an online casino platform of it’s own – a business model which Playtech Software has accomplished with great success – that several industry analysts have blamed Cyrptologic’s woes on. Even with clients the likes of Betfair, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Victor Chandler, not to mention a licensing agreement with Marvel and DC Comics (resulting in some impressive big-brand online slot machines), Cryptologic has remained in the red since 2007.

I mean, at this stage in the game, it really makes you wonder about all those anti-Cryptologic websites out there claiming the company is run by the Russian mafia. Why is Cryptologic reporting all these losses, while the rest of the industry (at least top-tier software developers) are still doing just fine? Why is Brian Hadfield really resigning from his post? Conscience gotten the best of him? Too much vodka breath, aka Russian mafia breathing down his back?

Conjecture aside, Cryptologic is a NASDAQ and London Stock Exchange-listed company and one of the “founding fathers” of the online gambling industry. The “propaganda” out there, however, could be having more of a negative impact than anyone would like to admit…other than those spreading it, of course.

As for the future fate of Cryptologic, that will be in the hands (on a interim basis) of Chairman, David Gavagan. In the meantime, the company plans on making cuts to its 200+ workforce, none of which will take place in the company’s Dublin-based headquarters, where roughly 20-30 employees still hold post.

Popular eWallet, PayPal, Back to Processing Payments at European Facing Online Casinos

Monday, July 26th, 2010

PayPalVerifiedWith a name like PayPal, it’s practically a given the online payment processor would be a great service to the online gambling community. And they certainly were at a given point in time – to be more precise, before the U.S. government started making threats and Google had ceased allowing online casinos to bid on AdWords.

Easy to use, quick, free, safe and secure, PayPal was, quite really, the ideal solution for getting funds transferred to and from an online casino. Furthermore, PayPal is accepted just about everywhere online. Of course there were other eWallets to partially fill the stead of PayPal, such as Neteller, Click2Pay, EcoCard, yet these two were forced to back out of doing business with U.S. customers.

However, whereas the aforementioned eWallets did not cease doing business with online casinos altogether – opting to focus on the European market and legally regulated online gambling jurisdictions – PayPal simply said no to online gambling period.

And that’s why I am happy to report great news. Guess what? PayPal is back!!!! Obviously, PayPal is not going to be doing business with U.S. online gamblers any time soon, but just like it’s competitor eWallets, PayPal is opening their virtual doors to the European online gambling industry.

Specifically, PayPal is now being accepted at the highly reputable Ladbrokes online casino. And rumor has it that Gibraltar regulated, 32Red Casino will soon be offering PayPal to their real money players. So get ready all you fans of 32Red – no more will you have to pay extra fees to guarantee your withdrawals. PayPal has your back once again!

Playtech-Powered Euro Partners Online Casinos Integrate Fifteen New Casino Games

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

When it comes to the best Playtech-powered online casinos catering to the European online gambling scene, there is hardly any network better than Euro Partners. At one time some of the leading U.S. facing online casinos in business (pre-UIGEA), Euro Partners has managed to develop a large and varied clientele throughout all of the European online gambling hotspots.

One might think that after dropping out of the U.S. market, Euro Partners had to change its course in terms of the overall gaming package available for European online gamblers. And while there may be a few more versions of European Roulette than what might have been had the UIGEA online gambling ban not been passed into law, nothing has really changed other than geo-targeted marketing and advertising.

Euro Partners has simply continued doing what made them successful in the first place – offering a great overall gaming package. FYI, some of their online casinos, such as Casino Tropez, have been around for almost a decade. Other properties, like Europa Casino and Casino Bellini, have been enormously successful catering to specific European countries, such as Germany, Italy and Spain.

One of the qualities befitting a top online casino is the selection of games. While this is largely because of software developer, Playtech, Euro Partners has always been amongst the first to integrate new games into their Playtech online casinos. And with Summer at hand, which is apparently a “great time to introduce new games to players”, according to Euro Partners Marketing VP, Marc Kenigsberg, Euro Partners now has fifteen more titles to add to its repertory of 100+ casino games.

True to form, Playtech has come out with some uniquely themed, entertaining and loaded slot machines, including two movie themed games, “Pink Panther” and “Rocky” (yes, the guy who yells Yooooooo Andrieeeeeene!), as well as “Penguin Vacation” and for the more action inclined players, “Punisher: War Zone”. As alluded to earlier, there is also a series of Premium Roulette games available, including Premium American Roulette.

For more information on the gaming package offered through Euro Partners online casinos, please see the OCS Playtech Software page.

European Court of Justice Ruling Viewed as a Setback for Online Gambling Liberalization

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Nevermind the ruling, I want to know which judge is missing from their seat!

Nevermind the ruling, I want to know which judge is missing from their seat!

“Discriminatory” is a tricky word. In fact, it’s trickier than the the word tricky itself. You see, an entire European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling rests on this lone, yet powerful word. And I’m not talking about just any ruling. As you might guess, this being the Online Casino Suite Blog and all, said ECJ ruling pertains to online gambling activities.

Said ECJ ruling is also a big blow to liberalizing online gambling laws in Europe, and consequently, centralizing regulatory protocols. Although the ruling is specifically applicable to advertising, the larger principle of the matter conjurs up the notions of protectionism – something many EU member States know all too well.

This time around, Sweden is at the heart of the ECJ case which ruled that a national ban in Sweden against advertising offshore internet betting services could be imposed on religious, cultural and/or moral grounds, so long as such as ban was not “discriminatory” (there’s that magic word) in practice. The ruling further stated that Swedish legislation prohibiting the promotion of online gambling services by operators in other EU member states for profit is “consistent with Community Law.”

On a side note, the one component of the ECJ ruling that could be seen as a small dent to protectionist activities in Sweden states that laws imposing administration penalties on Swedish-based gaming companies operating without proper licensing credentials need to reflect current laws imposing criminal sanctions against offshore operators advertising in Sweden. In other words, everyone needs to play by the same rules.

The ECJ is certainly no stranger to cases pertaining to cross border gambling activities. Being a relatively young and lucrative industry, contention is practically a given. There is lots of money to be made on the internet, and even more at gambling. So, it’s pretty understandable when outside operators swoop in to profit, yet return nothing back to that particular economy.

With regulation, this is not so much an issue. However, now that more European countries are regulating online gambling, they are doing all they can to profit the most off their specific constituents. In other words, state-run operations are the way to go if a government is seeking more than just licensing fees from outside online operators.

Eastern European Governments Open to Prospect of Regulating Online Casinos

Monday, July 12th, 2010

These days, the benefits of regulating online gambling are looking, well, more beneficial. Especially in countries that are experiencing more hardship during these tough economic times, any way to generate more tax revenue to keep government programs afloat is more readily embraced, even by those who would normally be in opposition.

Such is the case in Eastern Europe, where the governments of both Romania and Moldova are seriously considering the prospects of legalizing and regulating many forms of internet betting, including online casino gambling. In Romania alone, it is estimated that $500 million Euro’s are spent wagering online.

Secretary of State for the Finance Ministry of Romania, Bogdan Dragoi, has openly stated that the Finance Minister is seeking to investigate the prospects of regulating online gambling. Doing so would assuredly help Romania’s ailing economy, which was hard hit by the global recession. Currently the law prohibits gaming operators from doing business with operators, but does not prohibit Romanians from partaking in online gambling activities, which many assuredly do.

Giving promise to the potentially positive effects of regulating online casinos in Romania is last year’s amendment to a law regulating brick ‘n mortar casinos. By simply raising the tax rate on casinos, the government was able to substantially increasing gaming revenue. Although applying to the land-based industry, the principle of taxation coupled with a demand for gambling by many Romanian’s cannot be denied.

In nearby Moldova, the Ministry of the Economy has initiated a project with funding from the European Union to amend current gambling regulations. Becoming compliant with EU trade laws is helping to facilitate the project, which currently is making slow progress. If and when a majority consensus is obtained regarding how to go about setting up effective regulatory framework, it is rumored that both Party Gaming (Party Casino) and Poker Stars will be amongst the first to apply and likely be issued online gaming licenses for doing business in Moldova.