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Online Gambling in Italy, Quirino Mancini (Tonucci & Partners) shares insights in an exclusive interview

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Just last week the Italian gaming news agency Agimeg reported that Italy’s gambling regulator had so far received “less than 10 applications” for the new licenses, which cover mostly all gambling activities – sports and race betting, casino, poker, exchange betting, virtual sports, etc.

The licenses cost €200k apiece and are valid through 2022. Applicants must already hold an online gambling license in a European Union member state and boast annual turnover of at least €1.5m over the past two years. If applicants can’t meet these standards, they have to put up an additional €1.5m bank guarantee.

My latest interviewee is among the leading lawyers in Italy. Quirino Mancini is Partner and Global Head of Gaming & Gambling Practice at Tonucci & Partners.

Thank you for accepting this interview. My first question would be what are your expectations from the call for bids from online gaming operators? How will this change the Italian gaming industry?

Quirino: Judging by the first enquiries I have gathered since the announcement of the new licence tender, it would seem that notwithstanding the Italian market is already packed, there still are operators willing to enter it. This applies not only to B2C operators but to B2B ones too, even though unlike, most European regulated markets, the Italian licensing model does not require B2B operators to hold a local licence in order to offer their services, so if the trend is confirmed I reckon the Italian market will be somewhat re-shaped as a result of the advent of the “hybrid” operators (B2C+B2B).

The launch of the bidding process was expected much earlier. What hindered the launch, and does this have any effect on the process of bidding?

Quirino: The only reason for an otherwise inexplicable delay in calling the remote gaming licences tender is the quite populistic and very often ill-informed political pressure, notably across the whole parliamentary board, to restrict the gaming offer. Unfortunately the local gaming industry has so far proven unable to pull their acts together in terms of putting together a consistent, coordinated and effective effort to somehow redress the mounting wave of discredit and bias thrown at operators who are fully legal, legitimate, licensed and do pay taxes in Italy as if instead they were a bunch of offshore-based pirates ripping and abusing the poor Italian consumers.

There are several online gambling licenses which have already entered the Italian iGaming market and now only require the renewal of their licenses. My question is what is your opinion how difficult this process will be for the rest of the applicants?

Quirino: The licence tender process is all but difficult provided the prospective applicants duly meet the eligibility requirements and take timely action filing-wise. The real challenges for them, once licensed, are (i) going live in less than one full year bearing in mind the many technical peculiarities and specificities of the Italian remote gaming model that notably entails a 24/7 connection of the operator’s servers with the central control system ran by the regulator, (ii) having a good product fit and also customised for the local players, and (iii) having a clear vision for an effective and creative marketing strategy.

The delay in the online gaming licensing might have had an effect on the shared online poker liquidity agreement signed by Italy as well. What is your opinion regarding this problem?

Quirino: I believe that when it comes to shared international liquidity, the more newcomer operators join the party, the better it is for the players in terms of creating a sufficiently large pool.

It has recently been announced that Italy will not join the official start of the project. Will you, please share your ideas related to this issue?

Quirino: On 4 March 2018 general elections will be held in Italy. As already mentioned in a previous reply, at this time there definitely is too much focus, bias, propaganda, mis-information and pressure surrounding the gaming business for any sensible politician to want to be seen as the one who facilitated the offer of more gaming services to Italians, and because regulators take instructions and directions from the government and the parliament, you may easily figure out the rest of the story

To meet Quirino 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:

Quirino Mancini is the global head of the gaming and gambling practice at Tonucci & Partners(www.tonucci.com), a top-ten Italian general practice firm with offices in Rome, Milan, Brescia, Padua, Florence, Tirana, Bucharest and Belgrad.

Quirino is one of the leading Italian gaming and gambling lawyers with a specialist practice of almost 20 years.  He acts for Italian and foreign-based online and land-based companies operating in the Italian gaming market, advising them on legal, licensing, regulatory, day-to-day compliance and any other operational aspects connected to their activities.  He also runs a bespoke matchmaking and business strategy service to provide clients with a customised type of assistance that includes also introduction and facilitation of dealings with the local regulatory authorities, banks as well as scouting and suitability checks on potential business partners.

Quirino is a regular speaker at most international gaming conferences and sits in the editorial board of various sector reviews and magazines.

Co-founder and editor of www.gaminglaw.eu, a pan-European information and commentary portal focusing on legal and regulatory issues under European and national gaming laws.

Secretary and fellow member of the Leadership Committee of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL), a worldwide organisation gathering regulators, lawyers and advisors, in-house counsels and educators engaged in the gaming business.  Fellow member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA)


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Swiss Casinos forges partnership with Playtech for online launch

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Swiss Casinos forges partnership with Playtech for online launchReading Time: 1 minute

 

Swiss Casinos, a major land-based casino operator in Switzerland, has signed a partnership with Playtech, the premier gaming software development company based in Isle of Man, for the launch of its online casinos.

The move is significant as the Swiss market will host iGaming for the first time from January 2019.

According to the newly passed Swiss legislation, only the land-based casino operators in the country will be eligible for the licence to run iGaming facility through their online channel from January.

“We are extremely excited to have found an internationally experienced and innovative partner in Playtech,” Swiss Casinos Group chief executive Marc Baumann said. “We will now be able to offer our customers in Switzerland an attractive iGaming offering.”

Playtech chief operating officer Shimon Akad added that his company was pleased to have partnered Switzerland’s leading casino brand.

“Playtech has a long history of success in cooperation with leading brands in the world’s most important gambling markets, and we are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with Swiss Casinos,” he said.


Source: European Gaming Media

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UK may implement cut of FOBT maximum stakes earlier than announced

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UK may implement cut of FOBT maximum stakes earlier than announcedReading Time: 1 minute

 

The British culture minister Jeremy Wright said the government is planning to prepone the implementation of the planned reduction of the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Earlier, the date of implementation was October 2019. It could be proposed by six months to April 2019.

It is a real twist in the tale, following the resignation of sports minister Tracey Crouch, who blamed the government of delaying to October the planned the reduction of maximum stake from 100 pounds to just two pounds.

The government had been staring at a possible defeat on its budget legislation in parliament, as many legislators from the governing Conservatives backed an amendment which would have forced them to bring forward the timing of the cut.

Wright said the implementation of the proposed rise in Remote Gaming Duty, paid by online gaming operators, could also be preponed to April to cover the negative impact on the public finances.


Source: European Gaming Media

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SportCaller launches all-new £1m ‘Jungle Jackpot‘ game with Lottoland for new series of hit show

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SportCaller launches all-new £1m ‘Jungle Jackpot‘ game with Lottoland for new series of hit showReading Time: 3 minutes

 

FTP specialist releases £1m Jungle Jackpot, an innovative new free-to-play game with Lottoland, to connect with a fresh mainstream audience


SportCaller, the free-to-play (FTP) game specialist, has broken new ground by partnering with leading bet-on-lotteries operator Lottoland for the launch of Jungle Jackpot, another fresh concept in its ever-expanding portfolio of products and clients.

The £1m jackpot FTP game is set to roll out for the upcoming series of ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’, hosted by Declan Donnelly and Holly Willoughby.

Jungle Jackpot offers players the opportunity to win £1m if they can correctly forecast the final placings of the celebrities in the smash-hit ITV programme, by predicting the order in which they will leave the jungle. A secondary daily prediction game, once the evictions start, will also provide players with the chance to win smaller rewards and cash prizes, based on their following of the show and what’s happening day-to-day in the camp.

The main jackpot will see Lottoland partner with some of the UK’s biggest digital properties to promote the game and reach a broad and highly social target audience, opening up the opportunity to introduce them to the value and innovation provided across Lottoland’s lottery betting and wider gaming products.

Having cornered the market for free-to-play sporting games, SportCaller MD Cillian Barry said the launch was the provider’s first foray into mass-media events in order to engage a new and truly mainstream audience.

Barry noted: “It’s a real coup to be collaborating with Lottoland on a jackpot product which speaks to a broader demographic, over and above the sports betting community that is our usual focus. Our combined ability to deliver presents a genuine test case for FTP flourishing outside its original sporting-betting domain by bringing to market a game that will appeal to the wider general public. Jungle Jackpot is a genuine industry-first for such a popular TV show.”

“Novelty betting has been around for years with Paddy Power et al, but this game is now redefining novelty appeal for non-gambling-focussed users. Jungle Jackpot sets a new standard for the next generation of online media consumers – it’s fun, fast, accessible and instantly immersive. In a typically standardised market for sign-up promotions and bonuses, SportCaller offers a third way to market. With our jackpot prediction games, we empower operators and media owners by converting traffic into transactional customer accounts, delivering trackable levels of increased player-activity and loyalty, which means clear, measurable payback.”

Nigel Birrell, CEO for Lottoland added: “The ability of SportCaller’s games to organically harness player engagement around sports events made them the perfect fit for this partnership. We’ve no doubt Jungle Jackpot will provide a real and immediate boost to both our acquisition and the cross-selling of Lottoland’s array of popular products.

“The social elements of this game can also deliver significant potential for growth. The main £1m Jungle Jackpot game gives every adult fan of the show the chance to win a lottery-level prize from a simple prediction mechanic. After all, who doesn’t have an opinion on what will happen each year when this rag-tag group of celebs heads into the jungle? The daily prediction games also represent a very accessible way to make a prediction on who will leave the jungle next, giving viewers a chance to test their opinions for rewards, and ultimately a share of a £10,000 cash prize, if proving to be the ultimate jungle judge!”

All games are fully compliant with global regulations, and are available across mobile and desktop channels on http://junglejackpot.sportcallerI’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!.com. The Jungle Jackpot microsite hosting the games is geolocated to UK & Ireland players only, via SportCaller’s geo-restricting tech.


Source: European Gaming Media

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