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Exclusive Interview with Jan Řehola (Partner at PS Legal) and speaker at Prague Gaming Summit 2018

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This week it’s all about the Czech Republic and my latest interviewee is a highly respected expert who shares his expertise at gaming events. Jan Řehola is a frequent speaker at our events and always bring quality information about the market’s updates. You can meet Jan in person by attending the second edition of Prague Gaming Summit which will be held on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague. You can find more details here.

With this occasion, I would also like to thank you for following my interview series and for sharing these information with your colleagues and partners. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please send me an e-mail to reka.szalo@europeangaming.eu and I will happily get back to you!

Hello Jan, thank you accepting this interview, please tell us little bit about yourself, with now over 7 years of experience in the gaming industry, how did you continuously venture to the industry, I mean what was the main reason and what are your key activities, now within the niche?

Jan: As a gambling lawyer I found myself the most beneficial in helping operators, suppliers, testing labs and all other stakeholders involved in gambling industry to be still fully updated and fully complaint with constantly changing regulation. As gambling is highly controversial topic often in spotlight of politicians – regulation is changing very quickly so legal, and especially compliance, plays still more and more important role. What I really like the most on my work is helping my clients to develop and successfully introduce new products on market. By being part of client’s development team, I have priceless opportunity to learn new competences what helps me go every day to my office with joy and enthusiasm.

Working for 4 years for the Ministry of Finance – Czech Gambling regulator, firstly as a Head of the Legal Unit and later as a Director of Gambling Department, what do you consider you could share with us and with the readers as updates on the Czech Gaming Market?

Jan: Czech gambling market is currently undergoing the biggest restructuring from the velvet revolution in 1989. We have new Gambling Act fully in force from 2017. This Gambling Act for the first time in history introduces specific regulation for online gambling and opens whole Czech gambling market for companies established anywhere within EEA. With gambling tax based on GGR and reasonable license conditions, because new regulatory framework on paper looks very good. Unfortunately, in fact application of new Gambling Act caused some difficulties. Considering some recently issued secondary regulation (e.g. guidelines on Bonuses) and transposition of 4th AML Directive unfortunately it can be concluded that to some extent those things spoil idea of regulated, modern and highly competitive market. Currently it is very hard especially for foreign operators to meet specific requirements of Czech regulator and therefore we still have just one foreign operator with licence based on new Gambling Act (Pokerstars holds licence for sport betting, poker and so called “live game”). With new government in place some changes are expected to happen in near future. It can be presumed that some requirements which form obstacles could be potentially removed. Ministry is still working on pack of secondary regulations dealing with technical standards and also preparing big public tender for control monitoring system. Potential stakeholders on Czech market should therefore follow and supervise this preparatory works with due diligence.

Going further, You were responsible for all gambling policy issues, including drafting of new legislation, issuing of gambling licences and cooperation with other European regulators as a member of European Commission Expert Group on Online Gambling, what can you tell us about this year’s updates(in 2018), can we expect major changes on the Czech Gambling Market as we know were some tensions between governments, regulators and the gambling industry.

Jan: As mentioning before we can presume that with new, more business-oriented government in place, regulator can to some extent be more reasonable in licensing procedure. Those operators, suppliers and testing labs having experiences with licensing process in the Czech Republic can provide a testimony that hitherto regulator was more focus on formal requirements than on real substance of licenced product. Some requirements are Czech specific and therefore hardly understandable for foreign licence seekers. This could be changed. As regulator is expected to be more open, I see big room for suppliers and testing labs delivering products in many regulated market to open dialogue with regulator and help him to rebuilt licence process to be more substance oriented.

Due to your background and well versed in all aspects of gambling operations, please tell us more about how PS Legal works, as PS Legal has a rich experience in gambling field and provide professional and high quality legal and compliance consultancy to key players on Czech gambling market.

Jan: I am really enjoying our teamwork at PS Legal. This law firm has long history but when me and my colleagues joined its teams it becomes leading company in gambling field in the Czech Republic. We are focusing not only on gambling but trying to offer expertise in all new emerging industries and technologies where clients can suffer in finding professional legal help with knowledge of this specific industry. Currently we are for instance building division focusing on legal help in field of cryptocurrency or rather blockchain technology in general. We strongly believe that this rapidly developing market can play huge role in upcoming years. What I really like the most is that we are young but highly educated bunch of friends having fun in helping our clients to meet regulatory requirements in versatile areas. By doing this we are still learning and therefore our work is far from being routine.

What are your main responsibilities at PS Legal, as it is a Prague based law firm specialized in providing legal services to all sectors of the gaming industry?

Jan: In PS Legal I am heading its gambling department. This takes currently more than 70 % of my work capacity. As mentioned before we are currently building also department dealing with cryptocurrency and data protections issues. For this I am helping with head hunting process as our team is growing at a fast pace. This type of work I found very fulfilling. I am trying to use experience I got from Ministry of Finance where I was responsible for team of 35 people. I really like see how young people grow in front of your eyes as you gave them room and responsibility.

Do you have a personal opinion regarding the Gambling Market focusing on Czech Republic and the Czech Gambling-related Market? What are the PS Legal company’s future plans  in the gaming sector and what are your personal next steps and projects regarding your professional life and achieving your personal goals?

Jan:I am sure that Czech market would become more competitive in year 2018. With many applicants seeking to get licence and with licensees seeking to get new product on market we can see rapidly evolving market. Currently we see huge restructuring and M&A in land-based market that undergoing huge changes and some M&A could be expected in online world too. I believe, PS legal would play still important role in this process. Whit our expertise and experience I also hope we can help to establish dialog among all stakeholders and regulator to work together on common goal – functioning regulated market where player is protected, and operators can offer them attractive product.

To meet Jan in person, make sure you register and attend Prague Gaming Summit 2018, held on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague.

Interviewee profile:

Jan Řehola has over 7 years of experiences in gambling field, both from the public and private sector. He is a master of Law from the Charles University in Prague.

Jan has been working for 4 years for the Ministry of Finance – Czech Gambling regulator, firstly as a Head of the Legal Unit and later as a Director of Gambling Department. In his work for the Czech Gambling regulator Jan was responsible for all gambling policy issues, including drafting of new legislation, issuing of gambling licences and cooperation with other European regulators as a member of European Commission Expert Group on Online Gambling.

Due to his background, he is well versed in all aspects of gambling operations.

PS Legal is Prague based law firm specialized in providing legal services to all sectors of the gaming industry. PS Legal has rich experience in gambling field and provide professional and high quality legal and compliance consultancy to key players on Czech gambling market.


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Pennsylvania Gambling Expansion Nears $400 Million for the State in First Year

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Pennsylvania Gambling Expansion Nears $400 Million for the State in First YearReading Time: 2 minutes

 

Upfront licensing fees a short-term boon for state coffers, but revenue from gamblers will still have to wait, says PlayPennsylvania.com

 

Gambling has injected more than $385 million into Pennsylvania coffers in the first year since a law was passed to expand gambling in the state, surpassing state budget estimates. Upfront licensing fees for casinos, online casinos, and sportsbooks, as well as mini-casino auction profits and tax revenue from lottery expansion and daily fantasy sports, have combined to net Pennsylvania more than $1 million a day since late 2017, according to a recent analysis by PlayPennsylvania.com.

“The most notable aspect of the significant revenue that has been generated is that this is almost completely from fees, rather than tax revenue gained from gamblers,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Clearly there is enough interest in Pennsylvania’s enormous market so far to generate the fees.”

The revenue estimates were tabulated by PlayPennsylvania.com using a combination of official statistics and estimates based on iLottery, keno, and virtual sports sales numbers. A detailed accounting of the revenue generated so far can be found at playpennsylvania.com/revenue.

Using return-to-player rates of the games, PlayPennsylvania estimates that the state has collected more than $23 million in revenue from online lotto games ($19.6 million), keno ($3.6 million), and virtual sports ($87,000) through October.

Other sources of revenue so far from the law include:

  • Mini-casino auction profits, $128 million
  • Interactive gaming petitions, $94 million
  • Casino licensing, $78 million
  • Sports betting petitions, $60 million
  • Daily Fantasy Sports tax revenue, $1.4 million

By comparison to the gambling expansion, the state collected $799.8 million in taxes from statewide slot revenues in fiscal 2017-18. Pennsylvania estimated in February that the state will generate more than $34 billion in general fund revenues for its 2018-19 fiscal year.

“If the point of the expansion was to fill short-term gaps in the state’s budget, then the expansion would have to be considered a success so far,” Welman said. “We believe that the gambling expansion will eventually prove to be a winner for the state’s budget, but the long-term picture is less certain. More casinos and sportsbooks must open before we get a clear picture of whether Pennsylvania’s relatively steep tax rates and license fees will produce the desired outcome.”

With the November opening of the sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Penn National, the rollout of sports betting is just beginning in Pennsylvania. More openings are expected in December and January, too.

In addition, Pennsylvania should begin adding revenue from online gambling in early 2019, and further down the line, mini-casinos should enter the fray.

“The addition of retail sports betting should help buoy a slowing Pennsylvania casino industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “If New Jersey is any indication, though, the more significant revenue generator will be online sports betting. A successful rollout there should generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.”

 

About The PlayUSA Network:
The PlayUSA Network and its state-focused branches (including PlayNJ.com, PlayNY.com, PlayPennsylvania.com, and PlayCA.com) is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the U.S.

 

Source: PlayPennsylvania.com


Source: European Gaming Media

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Week 49 slot games releases

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Week 49 slot games releasesReading Time: 3 minutes

 

We’re back with the latest slots releases!

 

Innovative game development studio: Evoplay Entertainment has released its latest out of this world slots game, E.T. Lost Socks. Alexander Levchenko, Chief Executive Officer at Evoplay Entertainment, said: “E.T. Lost Socks is one of our most adventurous slots yet, and proof that we really aren’t alone. This highly engaging, all-action game will appeal to every type of slots fan across the globe. E.T. Lost Socks joins a 50-strong portfolio of slots, table, and instant games produced at the company’s development studios in Ukraine.

 E.T. Lost Socks Slot Game

 

Tom Horn Gaming takes slots players on an icy adventure in the kingdom of perpetual winter with it’s release of Frozen Queen! Wandering through a 4-reel frozen landscape in the base game, players might get lucky and come across two special Scatter Symbols in the form of magic crystals. These crystals activate 10 non-retriggerable Free Spins and introduce the Frozen Queen that materialises like the Sticky Expanding Wild, forming the 5th reel.

Tom Horn Gaming Frozen Queen slot

 

Santa’s got to get the sleigh ready for Christmas and what better way to do it than with the charming Naughty or Nice girls in their new bikini car wash? With five reels and 30 fixed lines, you can find yourself getting lucky with the Lucky Feature (5-7 free games), or the hit three Naughty or Nice III scatters for seven Free Spins, or, the toughest decision you’ll have to make playing this game, choose between the two girls and see what you get with the Pick A Girl Bonus. Tough choice!

Naughty or Nice 3 slot from RTG Asia

 

Green Jade Games, a company in the MRG Group, has launched its innovative slots portfolio with Hammer of Fortune. Green Jade’s games clearly stand out from what is currently available on the market. “Hammer of Fortune is the ideal game to introduce Green Jade Games to the market. It’s innovative and represents a new iGaming genre. Green Jade Games’ future is set to be very interesting,” – commented Per Norman, CEO of MRG.

 Green Jade Games - Hammer of Furtune

We end our weekly roundup, with perhaps the most anticipated release: Aristocrat is all set to launch a slot game based on the sci-fi-fantasy TV programme Westworld. The game leverages full potential of the fantasy and takes players on a thrilling journey through Delos Lab and Westworld, filled with unexpected twists and turns, fan-favourite characters and beautiful landscapes, as well as high-definition footage of the most memorable scenes, episodic photography and the show’s distinctive music. It promises to be a unique gaming experience in which fans can play in two different worlds.

Aristocrat to launch Westworld slot

 


Source: European Gaming Media

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Gaming Partners International Announces Special Dividend

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Gaming Partners International Announces Special DividendReading Time: 1 minute

 

Gaming Partners International Corporation, the leading worldwide provider of casino currency and table gaming equipment, announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a special cash dividend of $0.12 per issued and outstanding share of common stock to be paid no later than 21 December 2018 to stockholders of record as of 10 December 2018. As of November 27, 2018, the Company had 8,045,968 common shares issued and outstanding, resulting in an aggregate dividend of $965,516.

 

About Gaming Partners International Corporation:

GPIC manufactures and supplies casino table game equipment to licensed casinos worldwide. Under the brand names of Paulson®, Bourgogne et Grasset®, Gemaco®, Dolphin® and Bud Jones®, GPIC provides casino currency such as chips, plaques and jetons; playing cards; table layouts; gaming furniture and table accessories; dice; and roulette wheels. GPIC pioneered the use of security features such as radio frequency identification device (RFID) technology in casino currency and provides RFID solutions including RFID readers, software and displays. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, GPIC also has manufacturing facilities, warehouses and/or sales offices in Beaune, FranceSan Luis Rio Colorado, MexicoBlue Springs, MissouriAtlantic City, New JerseyGulfport, Mississippi; and Macau S.A.R., China. For additional information, please visit http://www.gpigaming.com.


Source: European Gaming Media

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