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Switzerland’s online gambling law gains momentum to survive referendum

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Switzerland’s voters seem to be in a mood to support the gambling law that would restrict online gambling to sites operated by local land-based casinos, while banning the domains of other operators.

A recent survey of 1201 adults conducted by GfS Bern revealed that 52 per cent of respondents are ready to support the country’s new gambling law when a national referendum is conducted on June 10. Around 39 per cent intend to vote ‘no’ while a mere 9 per cent remain undecided.

Swiss legislators had already approved the new gambling law, which requires would-be online gambling operators to partner with local brick-and-mortar casino operators.

Swiss internet service providers would be required to block the domains of internationally licensed online operators that continue to serve Swiss gamblers without local authorisation.

However, the youth wing of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) managed to garner enough petition signatures to force a national referendum on the legislation. Local telecom firms and civil libertarians have joined the campaign to strike down the law but it appears that their efforts are coming up short with Swiss voters.

Support for the legislation is strongest among women, older people and residents of Switzerland’s French- and Italian-language regions. GfS Bern co-director Lukas Golder told SwissInfo.ch that “there is potential for a protest vote” but the law’s opponents “have focused too heavily” on the censorship issue.

The referendum campaign has featured tit-for-tat accusations of impropriety, with one “no” parliamentarian claiming he was offered a board seat with a casino operator if he would change his vote, while the casinos claim international gambling sites are underwriting the “no” campaign.

SWISS CASINOS BOSS OKAY WITH ONLINE TAXES

The casino executive who made that offer to the parliamentarian was Swiss Casinos Group CEO Marc Baumann, who this month told the Berner Zeitung media outlet that he wasn’t trying to “buy” the parliamentarian’s vote but says he now recognises that he “should have made the request only after the referendum.”

Asked why Switzerland shouldn’t let international online operators simply apply for local licenses without having to partner with a local casino, Baumann said he “cannot imagine that they are interested,” in part because “the levies that the federal government plans are the highest in Europe.”

On March 2, Switzerland’s Federal Council opened a consultation on its new gambling rules. Among the subjects up for discussion is the proposed online tax rate, which starts at 20 per cent for the first CHF3m (US$3m) of revenue, rises to 40 per cent on revenue up to CHF10m, then rises incrementally for every CHF1m above that, capping out at a maximum 80 per cent rate.

At those nosebleed rates, it is perhaps not surprising that the government expects to raise an annual CHF40–75m from online gambling taxes (from a population of less than 9m people). The Federal Council’s consultation concludes June 15, assuming voters vote “yes” five days earlier.

Despite this onerous online tax burden, Baumann said his Swiss Casinos Group remains interested in launching online gambling services. The Group currently operates a free-play casino site, Swissonlinegames.ch, and is “currently examining cooperation with a foreign company that has experience” in the real-money online sector.

Baumann insisted that this prospective partner is not a company that currently serves Swiss punters, because only companies with “a perfect reputation” will be allowed to operate under Switzerland’s new regime.

Source: calvinayre.com


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Google to Help Russia Block Online Gaming Sites

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As a country, Russia has some of the strictest guidelines in the world for the regulation of access to online casino sites. Any online gambling sites that are unwilling to comply with the licensing regulations set forth by the Russian government will not be given access to Russian players. Currently, major sites like 888, Bet365, Betfair, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Unibet and William Hill are all blocked.

To enforce its policies, the Russian government has enlisted the services of telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor. As part of that company’s strategy to keep unwanted online casino operators from having access to Russian players, the company is continually putting pressure on worldwide search engine Google to use its filters to block said sites from being listed within Russia’s domain. To date, Roskomnadzor has blocked as many as 14,500 sites without any assistance from the search engine giant. Many of these sites are currently listed at www.choicecasinos.com.

In what industry experts call a surprise move, Google has finally relented and decided to help the Russian regulator do its job of blocking unlicensed websites from popping up on any search results related to online gambling. The move came after Google was assessed a $7,500 fine for not complying with prior requests for help. It’s interesting to note the size of this fine is well below the maximum amount that could have been assessed based on Russian guidelines.

This surprise move comes outside the scope of the normal mode of operation for Google. The company has always been far more likely to refuse to pay said fines and instead, seek relief from the appropriate court system. While the size of this fine might seem irrelevant to a company Google’s size and stature, it’s the cowering to foreign governments that have always spurred Google to fight back. Then again, Google may have decided to comply at this time because of recent threats by the Russian government to assess fines of up to 1% of annual gross revenues on tech giants who ignore its ruling. In Google’s case, that amount would have been around $6.4 million, based on its earnings in Russia in 2017 and probably high in 2018.

When asked why he felt Google agreed without pushback, Doskomnadzor’s deputy chief Vadim Subbotin stated, “If we come to a dead end … the state makes changes to the law, and for the non-execution of Russian laws the most severe punishment is possible – such as blocking.” It would be unfathomable to think that a company with Google’s stature would be blocked from operating in any industrial country.

Going forward, Russia’s federal state information system (FGIS) will be charged with making sure Google does as requested and blocks any unwanted online gambling sites from appearing. The FGIS provides a database of all known gambling sites that can be automatically cross-referenced to anything that might show up in relevant search results.

There is a possibility this could set precedent. It will be interesting to see if other countries might try to use similar tactics to try to strong-arm Google into blocking various search results as requested.


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Google to Help Russia Block Online Gaming Sites

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Big Win at Svenbet on Wazdan’s Great Book of Magic Deluxe

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Last week one lucky player secured €90,775.02 in total winnings following a streak of wins playing Wazdan’s Great Book of Magic Deluxe at Svenbet’s online casino.

Svenbet offers a diverse portfolio of casino and live casino games, virtual sports betting, skilled games and pool betting. They cherry-pick only the best gaming providers to bring players a selection of seamless online and mobile experiences.

In what was sure to have been a thrilling day for the fortunate customer on the Svenbet site, there was not just one big win, but a variety of smaller wins that made up the final pot. Nail biting highlights of the triumphs included a €26,125 win during the bonus game with one bet of €100, not one but two €25,000 wins with bets of €100, a €23,500 win during the bonus game with one bet of €100, and a €19,825 win during the bonus game with one bet of €100.

Taking advantage of Unique Wazdan Features, the player opted to spin the reels in Ultra Fast Mode and change the Volatility Levels™ throughout the gameplay. Wins were hit on both Standard and High Volatility Levels™, with the player taking home a massive €90,775.02 at the end of the day.

The game in the spotlight, Great Book of Magic Deluxe slot is a Wazdan favourite featuring five reels, 20 pay-lines and a variety of special symbols, including Free-Spins-awarding Scatters and Expanding Bonus Symbols. In addition to the Unique Wazdan Features of Ultra Fast Mode and Volatility Levels™ that were used in the player’s recent win, Great Book of Magic Deluxe also offers the Unique Wazdan Features of, Double Screen Mode, Unique Gamble Feature and Energy Saving Mode.

Regarding the momentous win, Head of Sales at Wazdan, Andrzej Hyla, says: “We are beyond thrilled to see a player win such a significant amount playing one of our beloved games, Great Book of Magic Deluxe. This game is a favourite among both players and operators, and we are really happy to see that the player’s dedication to spinning on Great Book of Magic Deluxe played off generously for them. As we have been expanding significantly of late, we look forward to more games being played and announcing even more of these exciting wins in the future.”

For further information visit www.wazdan.com

 

ABOUT WAZDAN:
Wazdan is a popular game producer, developing innovative casino games that deliver an original, fun and truly omni-channel player experience. Offering an extensive game library of over 105 HLML5 slots, table games and video poker games, Wazdan is gaining popularity in the iGaming market thanks to the great quality of their games, interesting themes and engaging gameplay. Wazdan’s game portfolio consists of popular titles Great Book of Magic Deluxe, Magic Target Deluxe, Valhalla and Wild Guns as well as amazing new slot games including Los Muertos™, Mayan Ritual™ and Captain Flynt™ amongst others. Wazdan releases new, exciting titles on a regular basis and equips them with Unique Wazdan Features: innovative Volatility Level™, exciting Unique Gamble Feature and mobile-friendly Energy Saving and Double Screen Modes. Wazdan holds a number of European trademarks including a trademark for their world’s-first Volatility Level™. Their extensive portfolio of clients includes some of the top gaming operations in the industry. The company is headquartered in Malta and holds licenses issued by the UKGC, the MGA and complies with Curacao regulations. Furthermore, their games use the RNG certified by the NMi, which ensures reliable, fair and secure gameplay. Wazdan’s Sales team is showcasing their products at ICE in London from 5-7 February 2019 on stand S8 202.


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Big Win at Svenbet on Wazdan’s Great Book of Magic Deluxe

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AskGamblers Awards 2019 Winners Have Been Announced

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After more than 3 months of the voting phase, AskGamblers Awards 2019 finally have their winners! The AskGamblers Awards 2019 ceremony took place on the 17th of January 2019, in Hyatt Regency in Belgrade.

 

The AskGamblers Awards 2019 winners have been announced at the crowning gala event, that took place yesterday, January 17th, 2019, in Hyatt Recency hotel in Belgrade, Serbia. AffiliateINSIDER was the AskGamblers’ official media partner and the ceremony was attended by the AskGamblers Awards team members, the finalists, and the key stakeholders from Catena Media office, from Malta.

There were 10 final contenders in each of the categories: Best Casino, Best New Casino, Player’s Choice, Best Partner, as well as the Best Slot released in the year 2018. Altogether, there were 8 software suppliers nominated in the Best Game Provider category. Now, without a further ado, here’s an entire list of the AskGamblers Awards 2019 Winners:

• Best New Casino: Campeonbet Casino

• Best Casino: Betsson Casino

• Player’s Choice: BitStarz Casino

• Best Partner: 7Stars Partners

• Best Slot: Legacy of Egypt by Play’n GO

• Best Game Provider: NetEnt

Denis Ristic, AskGamblers Product Owner, shared the excitement: “We are very proud that the AskGamblers Awards event is getting bigger and better. It’s only the second year and we are already noticing that the Awards have made an impact on our regular users, while reaching new players and creating a real buzz in the world of online casinos.

The event itself is a great opportunity for us to meet with our dear colleagues and partners from the iGaming industry sector and we look forward to seeing how the AskGamblers Awards will progress in the future. Once again, we would like to congratulate all the winners and thank all the players who took the time to vote and help us single out the best candidates!”

To find out more about the AskGamblers Awards 2019 ceremony and the winners, feel free to visit the AskGamblres Awards website anytime.

 

About AskGamblers:

AskGamblers, officially the Best Casino Website in 2016 and 2017, provides the most trusted, unbiased online casino, slot, and bonus reviews. It also features real player opinions and ratings highly valuable in the iGaming community. Thanks to its unique Casino Complaint Service, over $20 million has been returned to players thus far. Get the truth, then play!


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: AskGamblers Awards 2019 Winners Have Been Announced

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