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EU Court of Justice OKs European Commission’s consumer protection guidelines

(PRESS RELEASE) — The EU Court of Justice (CJEU) has ruled that the European Commission acted within its rights by issuing guidelines to member states on how to protect consumers from online gambling services. The CJEU rejected a claim by the Belgian Government that the Commission had gone beyond its Treaty-based competences by issuing the guidelines and found the guidelines did not interfere with the right of Member States to regulate online gambling services. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) welcomes the CJEU decision and supports the full adoption of the Commission guidelines by Member States.

The guidelines, published in 2014, contain a number of practical recommendations aimed at fostering a high degree of consumer protection in Member States and prevent minors from online gambling. The Belgian Government had claimed that the guidelines interfered with Member State sovereignty and competences to regulate national gambling markets.

While the guidelines are not legally binding, EGBA supports the implementation of the guidelines as an important tool to encourage Member States to apply a high and consistent level of consumer protection for online gambling activity in the EU. The standards adequately compliment the European Committee for Standardization’s (CEN) workshop agreement on Responsible Remote Gambling Measures, which EGBA members voluntarily adhere to and are regularly audited against.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, said, “We welcome the decision by the Court and strongly support the Commission’s guidelines for online gambling services which aim to protect consumers and minors across all EU Member States. We now call upon the Commission to evaluate the implementation of its guidelines by Member States and identify any gaps and corrective action needed to encourage Member States to achieve a high level of consumer protection.”

Source: Online.CasinoCity.com

Playtech welcomes former UKGC manager

(PRESS RELEASE) — Playtech, the world’s leading omni-channel gaming software, systems and services supplier, is pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Bayliss, former Senior Online Manager at the U.K. Gambling Commission, to its Compliance team as Regulatory Compliance Manager.

In his new role, Richard will play a key part in leading the direction of Playtech’s responsible gambling initiatives.

Ian Ince, Group Head of Regulatory Affairs, Playtech, said, “Everyone at Playtech is delighted to welcome Richard. With a wealth of experience with UKGC, his insight will be a major bonus as we strive to stay at the forefront of regulatory compliance developments. I’m certain he will be an invaluable addition to the team.

“A commitment to promoting responsible gambling and fostering a safe and entertaining environment for players is central to everything we do at Playtech. Richard’s appointment and his enthusiasm for joining Playtech demonstrate the strength of that commitment and is a key part of our ongoing investment in exceeding regulatory expectations.”

During his 11 years with the U.K. Gambling Commission, Richard played a central role in monitoring technological and product innovation within the gambling industry and assessing their potential impact on the British regulatory system.

Richard Bayliss said, “After more than a decade assessing the regulatory impact of technological developments in the industry, I’m looking forward to seeing some of these developments firsthand in my new role. Playtech has long had a reputation as a major innovator in online gambling, and I’m very excited to be joining the team.”

Source: Online.CasinoCity.com

Relax Gaming signs LeoVegas deal

(PRESS RELEASE) — Innovative supplier Relax Gaming has signed up leading online casino operator LeoVegas for the start of a content distribution deal.

The agreement will commence with a rollout of Relax’s new high-quality table games, made available at industry-leading rates, with more exciting products to follow during 2018.

Based on Relax’s own unique RNG engine and developed in HTML5, the roulette features highly realistic ball movement and gameplay, while the blackjack allows players to play three hands at once.

Karolina Pelc, Casino Director at LeoVegas, said, “Relax Gaming has demonstrated innovation with their table games, and we will eagerly follow their journey of game development. Mobile is the future of online casino and core to LeoVegas; Relax has recognized this and produced content with this in mind.

“Table games are an important part of catering to our customers’ needs, and we expect widespread appeal with the updated versions that Relax has created. Expanding on an already great partnership, we are excited by the prospect of developing this further.”

Patrik Österåker, Relax Gaming’s CEO, said, “We’re delighted that LeoVegas has opted to take our table games, and it is very satisfying to be able to supply them with a reliable, cost-effective solution.

“Our versions of these table games are not only visually impressive and intuitive to use for players, they are proven performers for operators in multiple markets around the world.”

Relax recently moved to strengthen their product distribution with the appointment of former NetEnt executive Simon Hammon as Chief Product Officer. He was joined by Andrew Crosby as Head of Account Management.

Source: Online.CasinoCity.com

Easy Payment Gateway signs deal with SG Digital

(PRESS RELEASE) — Online payment specialist Easy Payment Gateway has struck a partnership deal with SG Digital and has finalised the integration of its unique payment gateway into the NYX Open Platform System.

Scientific Games acquired the NYX Gaming Group last year, combining it with its Scientific Games Interactive division to form SG Digital.

Jose Manuel Peral, COO and director of Easy Payment Gateway, said, “We are delighted to have been selected as a payment provider for SG Digital’s platform, allowing us to offer our payment software to tier one gambling merchants around the globe, as well as a real one-stop solution for gambling merchants.”

Keith O’Loughlin, SG Digital Executive Vice President, Sportsbook, said, “The integration of the Easy Payment Gateway platform gives SG Digital partners the option to pick one of the top payment platform providers of the industry.

“In addition, the platform allows merchants to automate many processes using their advanced routing and fraud tools.”

The news comes shortly after Easy Payment Gateway signed a similar deal with sports betting operator Colossus Bets, BetConstruct or PariPlay. The provider has significantly increased its number of partners after closing a £5.5 million funding round last year.

Source: Online.CasinoCity.com

UK operators must stop unfair promotions, says CMA

(PRESS RELEASE) — As part of a major overhaul of how the gambling industry operates online, three leading operators — Ladbrokes, William Hill and PT Entertainment — have formally committed to change the way they offer bonus promotions to ensure players can always access and release their own money.

These landmark changes must now be adopted across the sector. Firms not doing so will face regulatory action from the Gambling Commission. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Gambling Commission have been working in collaboration to improve conditions for players gambling online.

The changes come in response to an investigation by the CMA to make sure the sector was not breaking consumer protection law and mean players can be sure they can withdraw their own money when they play as part of a bonus promotion.

The firms involved have also agreed to be more upfront and clear in the terms and conditions of their bonus promotions. In particular, the changes mean:
Players won’t be required to play multiple times before they can withdraw their own money.
Gambling firms must ensure that any restrictions on gameplay are made clear to players and cannot rely on vague terms to confiscate players’ money.
Gambling firms must not oblige players to take part in publicity.
The promotions under particular scrutiny are designed to attract players onto casino-like gaming websites by offering bonus funds when players put in their own money. The CMA found that certain terms in these promotions were likely to be “unfair,” in breach of consumer protection law, and could mislead consumers. There was particular concern people could be made to play for longer than they had bargained for before being able to withdraw their own money.

These problems were found to be common across the £4.7 billion online gambling sector, and in October 2016 the CMA launched an investigation in collaboration with the Gambling Commission to tackle the shared concern around transparency and fairness.

The Gambling Commission has made clear that firms across the whole sector must promptly adopt similar changes to address the concerns identified.

George Lusty, Project Director, said, “Gambling always carries a risk, but players should never face unfair restrictions that prevent them from getting at their money. Firms must not stack the odds against players by putting unfair obstacles in their way or making it difficult for them to stop gambling when they want to.

“The CMA is here to make sure businesses’ terms and practices are fair for their customers. We welcome the commitment from these leading firms to address the problems our investigation uncovered by making important changes to their terms and conditions.

“We now expect others to follow and look forward to the Gambling Commission’s continued work to make sure all operators in this sector play fair with their customers’ money.”

Gambling Commission Executive Director, Sarah Gardner, said, “We back the action taken by the CMA today. Gambling firms must treat their customers fairly and not attach unreasonable terms and conditions to their promotions and offers.

“We expect all Gambling Commission licensed businesses to immediately review the promotions and sign-up deals they offer customers and take whatever steps they need to take to ensure they comply.

“Operators should be very aware that we will continue to work closely with the CMA to ensure customers are getting a fair deal across the gambling industry.”

Further enforcement activity by the CMA in the sector is ongoing. The CMA will continue to look at obstacles facing customers trying to withdraw their money after gambling online, whether as part of a promotion or not.

This includes considering terms that force players to withdraw prize money in small instalments over a long period of time and terms which allow firms to confiscate funds if they haven’t been played with for a few months.

Source: Online.CasinoCity.com

Betsoft announces deal with Snaitech

(PRESS RELEASE) — Betsoft Gaming has announced further expansion into the Italian market with a deal to provide content to leading Italian gaming operator SNAITECH.

The agreement gives Snaitech access to Betsoft’s suite of AAMS certified games via the GAN platform. The portfolio of games includes Betsoft’s Slots3 and ToGo series of HTML5 games, developed on their SHIFT platform and certified for Italy’s regulated market.

“We are incredibly thrilled to have completed a deal with Snaitech,” said Francesca Raniolo, Betsoft sales executive. “It is very encouraging that a highly respected name such as Snai is eager to expand its offering in the Italian market with our product. Its intense work over the last two years to create a multi-channel offering, capturing both the retail and online client base, has returned remarkable results. The collaboration is a compliment to the Betsoft brand and our dedication to growth.”

“We are glad to include Betsoft games into our already substantial collection,” said Alessandro Allara, sportsbook and online director. “Betsoft’s new and exiting titles keep players entertained and engaged. Each new game they release has something fresh to offer. This deal represents a smart move for the future of our company, and we are keen to see where Betsoft will take their games next.”

Source: Online.CasinoCity.com