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  1. The online gambling industry has really come into its own over the last few years and that is unquestionably due to the creation of regulated gambling jurisdictions around the world. With the installation of various gambling authorities has come mainstream adoption of online gambling, a real discussion about the challenges of safer gambling and the oversight necessary to allow players to gamble with the peace of mind that comes with having regulation protecting your interests. While we clearly understand the benefits provided by working with regulatory bodies what is not as clear is exactly what they do and what their responsibilities are. Join us as we look at the most recent Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) Annual Report by CEO Carl Brincat and try to understand more about this important aspect of the online gambling industry. ✓Core Vision and Functions When it comes to overseeing the regulated gambling of an entire country there must be a unifying set of standards and objectives to ensure that the various departments are all working to achieve a common goal. The MGA has outlined the following Vision Statement to help guide their decision-making processes: To sustain Malta’s position as one of the most reputable jurisdictions in the gaming industry. To raise standards within the global gaming sector to make gaming fairer and safer, thereby protecting consumers’ interests. To ensure gaming is kept free from crime by intensifying international collaboration efforts. To adapt Malta’s gaming regulatory framework to evolving market needs, aiming for excellence. Their Vision Statement works hand in hand with their key list of functions which includes: Regulating gaming; supervising our licensees and overseeing their gaming operations; ensuring the fitness and properness of individuals and companies in possession of a gaming licence issued by the MGA; ongoing monitoring and ensuring that our licensees are in compliance with the laws and regulations; acting as a supervisory authority in accordance with the Prevention of Money Laundering and funding of Terrorism Regulations; assessing licence applications and issuing approvals that are in line with our requirements; supporting and investigating player complaints; advising the Government on new developments and risks in the sector; and submitting legislative proposals to address changes within the sector. By simply following the news we report on here at GamblersPick is it easy to see that the MGA abides by these guidelines daily as they withdraw licenses from bad actors, collaborate with international bodies to shut down fraud rings and drive innovation in regulatory circles. ✓Ongoing Management of Regulatory Processes Given the ever-evolving nature of any online-focused industry, a reputable gambling authority must not only create a regulatory process that can effectively deal with the requirements of today but also one that has the flexibility to allow for the unknown. “Our main focus remains to improve the operational mechanisms to adapt to any external challenges that market conditions and industry developments may bring about, always acting within the spirit of the law that governs the gaming sector and our regulatory objectives as established thereby.” An overly rigid legal framework can be hamstrung by changes in definitions and the invention of new types of gambling or gambling-adjacent products. A key example of this how the rigid UK gambling laws are hampering their ability to effectively address the issues such as the impact of lootboxes in video games, despite their mandate to protect youth and children from gambling-related harms. To this end the MGA has three key segments to their regulatory processes: Licence Issuance Compliance Enforcement Each of these covers a necessary part of the MGA’s jurisdictional responsibilities but in a manner that allows for review and even amendment without damaging the work done by other departments. ✓Issuing Gambling Licences Once a valid application has been received it is evaluated using four specific processes. Each of these will ensure that once finally approved the applicant will be a provider that will treat players fairly and has displayed the characteristics the MGA consider important in a trusted licensee. Fit and Proper checks – Checks the legal status of the applicant, determining whether there are deep-dive investigations required or if they appear fit to be considered for a gambling license. Evaluation of business planning and feasibility – A committee of experts reviews the viability of the proposed business plan. This group takes into consideration the marketing plan, financial projections and even the HR plan of the proposal. Review of operational and statutory requirements – A team of legal experts then considers the plan in terms of the current legal framework and whether the applicant has proven they can effectively comply with local and international laws. System Review – The final step is for the applicant to build out their operation in a technical environment. This test build is then audited against the proposal and the standards of the MGA. If approved, it can then go live. This four-tier approach allows the gambling authority to move beyond a theoretical understanding of the operators’ intentions and abilities, as the entire application can be denied right up to the final phase should they appear to fall below the MGA’s standards. ✓Ensuring Operator Compliance With a clear objective to protect both their players and their reputation, the MGA takes the ongoing compliance management of their licenses very seriously. This is managed on a practical level through the use of several compliance instruments, which include: Prudential compliance mechanisms require licensees to submit to regular system and financial audits, as well as inspections of business and gaming premises. Ongoing reviews by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) aimed at uncovering any Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing activities. Strict adherence to Responsible Gambling requirements, specifically those aimed at protecting vulnerable and at-risk players. These must include both internal safeguards and external programs. Ensuring that all licensees have sufficient Player Funds on call to honour all player withdrawals and jackpot wins. They also ensure that procedures are in place to protect the financial prospects of players when a licensee loses their approved status. The analysis and control of approved marketing materials by the Commercial Communications Committee. This ensures that no illegal marketing methods are used which may attract at-risk players or youth to the operation in question. Taking a proactive stance on Sport Integrity to ensure that no licensee is involved in any activities which may be construed as match-fixing. This has included setting up a process to allow staff and punters to anonymously report suspicious betting practices. These ongoing reviews and activities are aimed at ensuring that while the business of gambling is free to grow and make a profit it is never done in a manner that will harm the individual player, the integrity of the sports world or harm the reputation of the Authority. ✓Enforcing Adherence While it would be fantastic if all applicants who have adhered to the stringent vetting of the MGA turned out to be honest and customer-focused that is sadly not the case. To deal with the bad actors in this case the MGA has installed a Compliance and Enforcement Committee which has the authority to investigate and apply the necessary enforcement actions. The actions include: Suspending a license Cancelling a license Issuing warnings and imposing penalties Where the breach of any related code of conduct also falls into the realm of criminal activity the MGA works closely with the relevant local authorities to bring about prosecutorial and other legal actions. ✓Dealing With the Unexpected Once again, the need for the overall Vision and Function come into play when the MGA needs to deal with an unexpected event. The most notable in recent history is the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It fell to the MGA and other gambling authorities to consider the broader impact of the pandemic on the gambling habits of level-headed players who displayed healthy gambling habits normally but who might be pushed into compulsive gambling through panic or loss of income. They had to make decisions on how to approach land-based gambling venues, considering the close-quarters nature of the casino floor, the jobs at stake and the uncertain nature of the virus. Not only that but they had to create policies to address advertising campaigns, should operators be allowed to speak about the pandemic, how to handle financial support for industry workers and much more. Most impressive of all this entire process, during normal times and during the recent chaos is managed by only 176 staff members, including upper management. A testament to the efficiency and integrity of their processes.
  2. As human beings, we are remarkably resilient creatures that can adapt and evolve to survive anything served to us. 2020 quite simply proves this fact and provides yet another historical showcase of how we manage to take a bitter scenario and create a fabulous silver lining from it. The COVID-19 pandemic was certainly one of the worst global disasters we have had to face in recent history, yet we have managed to adapt and become even stronger because of it. One of our greatest assets during the past year has been our push for global digitalisation. Our love for technology has worked tremendously in our favour and has made lockdown and social distancing so much easier. In fact, 2020 is a defining moment in the refinement of the digital realm. Great advancements were made to cater to the scenario, such as improvements in online shopping, digitised payment solutions, advancements in live chat technology, and so much more. The effects of the pandemic challenged us to find a new normal that could pander to our needs as social beings. Fans of online gambling have experienced a similar renaissance in response to these worldwide improvements in working, living, and playing online. In search of our very own silver lining, we have discovered 5 ways in which the online gambling industry has become safer, more secure, and more popular over the last 24 months. Newly Regulated Regions Many countries previously opposed to online gambling have seen reason when it comes to digital gaming and recognise its positive impact on regulated economies. While land-based gambling establishments closed in various countries due to lockdown protocols, online casinos have taken over and provided socially distancing residents with sought-after ways to amuse themselves. Did you know? More states in the USA are looking to legalise online gambling at the moment. These include regions like California, Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York. As more countries and regions move to legalise iGaming, it only improves the security of the citizens in those areas. Many players gamble without the security and protection of regulation, so steps to regulate the market are set to create a safer environment for all punters. Thriving Business Where various businesses were forced to close their doors to limit social interaction, digital companies like online casinos have had the privilege of remaining in full operation over the lockdown periods, which has had a hugely positive effect on the overall market. Quick Fact: According to the Online Gambling Market Report 2020-2025, COVID-19 has led to a sudden rise in online gambling revenues, with some reports citing a 67% increase. An influx of people has moved over to the digital gambling realms, as it presents one of the few forms of entertainment available to adults in an environment where social distancing and staying at home is the societal norm. Active Approach Towards Legislation Thankfully, regulators recognised the need for rapid changes to gambling legislation. Laws that would have taken months or years to pass before, were passed quickly to cater to the sudden growth in popularity of internet gambling. Did you know? Official figures show that online gambling has emerged as one of the most popular pass times during the pandemic alongside online retail, food delivery, and subscription services. It’s only natural that its infrastructure would adapt to keep up with its growth. Various regions are in the process of passing laws to establish viable iGaming markets to ride the gravy train to wealth. There is much to recover and make up for, especially with land-based casinos only operating at limited capacity right now. A Proponent for Responsible Gambling The sudden attention of the masses in the online gambling sphere was a positive catalyst for governments and gambling commissions to improve their oversight and increase their focus on maintaining a responsible gambling environment. With much more time to play casino games, it was evident that enhanced responsible gambling protocols were needed to protect the playing public. Regulators in Spain and Britain were among the first to increase their safety protocols. Some of these security measures have included lowering the betting limits, the introduction of enhanced verification measures, and restrictions on marketing. Quick Fact: Spain has been the most heavy-handed with its laws on gambling marketing and has recently passed laws to prohibit sports teams from being sponsored by gambling institutions in the region. Some gaming commissions have limited the types of bonuses and promotions allowed at online casinos with certain regions putting a hold on such offerings. At the end of the day, these improved protocols ensure a safer gaming experience, despite the fact that old-school gamblers have not been in favour of these security enhancements. New Betting Avenues Although it is an online betting practice, sports betting has not faired as well as online casino entertainment because of the banning of live sports events. While football has since made a return, along with many other prominent sports, their initial absence from the scene caused bookmakers to become more innovative. Now that sport is back, there are far more options for the public to enjoy. Egaming became extremely popular thanks to the global lockdown. More and more people took to the exciting video gaming world to pass the time away. Of course, competitive protagonists found it the perfect platform to stage competitions and tournaments. This in turn provided an opportunity for sportsbooks to expand their repertoire and add new gaming options into their libraries – something that has been well-needed to this point anyway. Quick Fact: While you may think that games like FIFA Soccer would have ranked highly in the Esporting arena, the number one game for total winnings in 2020 is held by a shooter game. ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’ forked out $14.75 million in winnings to its players last year! Esports is only gaining momentum and is an area of interest that needs watching over the next few years. Heightened regulation may be needed in this arena to protect under-aged players from getting caught up in the betting aspect of the market. Round-Up It’s always good to find the positive in any negative situation. The iGaming industry is one of the only markets that can safely do this when looking back over the last two years.
  3. In a world where there are hundreds of gambling licences each with their own unique and potentially contradictory requirements, it has become increasingly difficult for online gambling operators to ensure they comply with the stipulations of their licences. We spoke to Ian Sims, founder of compliance monitoring company Rightlander, to learn more about the challenges facing the industry and how Ian has morphed his years of affiliate marketing experience into a leading compliance product. GP: Ian, you had a long and successful career in affiliate marketing, how did you pivot from driving traffic to creating the Rightlander.com compliance platform? Ian: I developed some tech to watch my landing pages to see when they changed or died or lost relevance. Each week I would get a page of screenshots back which made it really easy to spot where the customer journey was broken or could be improved. That was the foundation for Rightlander so when I sold my affiliate network, I decided to develop that out. Compliance became a big thing while that was happening, so it was a natural sidestep. GP: Could you clarify what it means to be “compliant” in the iGaming space? Ian: Being compliant means recognising that we offer an addictive form of entertainment which can exploit human vulnerabilities and then taking action to ensure that we minimise the impact. That might be through education, ethical marketing, or appropriate messaging but in my opinion, it is not about removing the ability for people to make their own choices to protect the vulnerable. GP: Given the nuances and intricacies of various regulatory bodies, is it possible to set a single compliance standard? If not, how does Rightlander.com navigate these individual market requirements? Ian: I don’t think it is possible. Addiction triggers can be different for different people. For some it is boredom, for others it’s lifestyle, for others it might be something else and as a result, you need to find different solutions. The common denominator is that an addict has to want to stop and not all addicts do. But that being said, from a marketing angle there are some common ideas to minimise the risk and impact, and most of that is just common sense. The trouble is that a lot of marketers don’t really understand the impact of what they are doing so you need to have guidelines and create conversations that provoke them into thinking about it. GP: The internet is a massive and evolving ecosystem. How does the Rightlander.com platform cover the bases you spoke about while addressing the thousands of pages of content that are added to the web daily? Ian: It’s impossible to police the web, but it is possible to remove a significant amount of threat if you know the most likely places to look. When you work in a vertical like gambling, our crawler can recognise relevant content fairly easily but social platforms and closed message platforms present significant challenges because of their transient nature. Technology has to constantly evolve but also, technology alone isn’t always the solution. You need the right people to back it up and often to investigate the data that has been found. Rightlander isn’t so much a data provider as a massive time saver for a person with a responsibility to ensure their affiliates perform compliant marketing. GP: On Rightlander.com your intro video refers to the fact that online gambling operators are responsible for the messaging affiliates use in connection with their brands. Why is this and what is non-compliant marketing messaging? Ian: It is the logical approach for a regulator who has limited resources. Someone needs to be accountable and if an operator chooses to market via affiliates, they do arguably have to take some of the responsibility. Affiliates are essentially a sales team, and while not employed by the company per se, they are representing them in an official capacity. Affiliate licensing will happen in some jurisdictions, which, no doubt, operators will welcome, and I agree that is a sensible move from an accountability standpoint. However, it will take time and resources and of course, the industry will have to foot the cost. GP: In practical terms how do the services that Rightlander.com offer benefit the online gambling operators – looking at both the short term (day to day operations, reputation protection) and long term (market growth, brand awareness etc)? Ian: Compliant marketing is mandatory in many countries now, so we have standard sets of reports for most countries that cover the essentials, but we also do a lot of customised reports depending on what needs the client has. Sentiment, PPC monitoring for non-compliant messages of brand bidding, investigative services for serious issues, monitoring of subscription content, brand coverage and brand protection monitoring are all services we can and do provide for individual clients. Image monitoring, discovering old logos and even monitoring video scripts on YouTube are all requests which come up, but the technology is very versatile. GP: Does the compliance magic that Rightlander weaves also have a tangible benefit for the player? Ian: No-one on the licensed side of the industry wants a problem player and the problems often start with the marketing messages that prey on the trait of human greed or exploitation of the vulnerable so obviously, the more items we can help operators to remove, the better. However, my main concern right now is that over-regulation will remove the fun. It’s almost like politicians see that as the answer but in my opinion, it will push players to unregulated operators and undo all the good that has been achieved. GP: Looking to the future, what do you foresee being integral to the success and maturation of the online gambling market? Ian: Instilling some common-sense into regulation, marketing, and the product. For operators, we need a shift in mindset from getting punters thinking of gambling as a way to make money to instead, thinking of it as a form of entertainment. For regulators, they need to start thinking about not what to prevent but how to control it. When the whole industry recognises the damage that bonusing and incentivising have done, I think things will start to improve dramatically. However, the problem is that the regulators and politicians cannot give them the safe environment to do that yet because everyone knows that the unlicensed operators will just jump in and take advantage. GP: In closing, what does the future hold for Rightlander.com? Are there any exciting new products and developments you can share with us? Ian: Rightlander’s USP is that we are driven by our clients. I always wanted Rightlander to be a different thing to different people rather than a set-in-stone set of products. The buzzword I think is ‘agile’! That makes it remarkably interesting to run but also challenging in that you never quite know what is next! An Eye Opening Conversation When considering a new online casino to play at we often look at bonuses, wagering and online reputation. Compliance practices are not high our list of considerations however thanks to Ian we now have a clearer understanding of its importance in ensuring we have a safe and secure gambling experience. Playing at a compliant casino ensures they remain above board with their marketing practices, retain their regional licences and we have the peace of mind of gambling with the protection of our local gambling authority.
  4. The early 2000s were a boom period for online gambling in the United States. The World Series of Poker was huge on ESPN, which helped to create an online gambling craze, and more and more poker rooms and casinos kept popping up. Millions of gamblers were taking to the online tables, not only playing poker but also betting on sports, roulette, and myriad other games of chance. Online gambling was considered perfectly legal, then it all came crashing down. One of America's most unpopular presidents, George W. Bush, signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2016 (UIGEA), which essentially made online gambling illegal. It wasn't that gambling itself was illegal for citizens, though more of a way to keep Americans from accepting money for gambling or operating any sort of sites. This caused PayPal and other large e-wallets and payment processors to stop dealing with Americans and online gaming, as it also chased most reputable sites away from accepting Americans. Some were shut down, and billions of dollars were left frozen or seized. The end result was a depression, of sorts, where most online gambling options for Americans dried up. The point of this short story is that who our president is in America matters a great deal. Whether we end up with four more years of Donald Trump, or a long-shot like Berne Sanders, the implications on the gaming world will be felt. So it stands to reason that many gamblers have a stake in the 2020 Election, and want to know which potential president would be the best for online gambling. The Presidential Candidates and Their Take on Online Gambling Donald Trump America's current POTUS, and the front-runner for the 2020 Election, Donald Trump, was initially thought a shoo-in for legalized online gaming After all, Trump's name was on many casinos in Atlantic City, and he has deep ties with Las Vegas. So this is a man who understood the love for online sports betting, poker, etc, right? Wrong. If anything, Trump has been pretty bad for online gaming due to the fact that he prefers the status quo. Approve or disapprove of the man's politics, the facts suggest that he's economy-focused, factory jobs and wages and the like. He has shown no interest one way or the other in lifting the UIGEA, nor has he commented on further sanctions. while some might take this indifferent stance to be a good thing, it shows that there's no priority in the Trump administration to even consider legal poker or any relenting on the nation's iGaming regulations. This may actually be worse than if he were to push for more regulations against. The reasoning here is that, if it were the case he wanted to go after online poker, his staunch opposition would gladly battle him on further regulations in the house, just for the fact of it being a Republican pushing the idea, and thus the topic would be brought to the fore, argued and battled. By keeping things within the status quo, the George Bush poker-killing regulations still stand untouched by anyone. Joe Biden The leading Democrat in the race for the 2020 Election for POTUS is Joe Biden, who's seemingly blowing past Bernie Sanders in delegate count. This isn't exactly a worst-case scenario for online gamblers either. While Biden has made no plans to loosen restrictions or to overturn the UIGEA, he has also stated unequivocally that he doesn't plan to impose further sanctions on online sports betting, poker, or any other sort of iGaming in the nation. So, why is this good? It's basically political speak for "I'm open to actually lifting regulations; just let me get settled." Okay, some might think that inference is a little generous, bordering on far-fetched, but also remember that Biden was around with Bush and disagreed on the crackdowns back then. Plus Joe Biden's son was a former lobbyist for Party Gaming. The kicker here, however, is that Joe Biden was also once a potential positive voice for repealing the UIGEA, although the Bill never managed to get off the ground due likely to typical politics cropping up. Suffice to say, however, that the gambling world seems to have Biden's ear, and he's not opposed to online gambling. In his position as Senator and then as Vice President, however, he's never been in a position to push for overturning the stifling anti-Gambling laws. Bernie Sanders At this point. Sanders is the dark horse Democrat candidate, and it's very unlikely he would win. In the past two USA elections for POTUS, media have entirely turned on Sanders, and he has felt this sting; first with Hillary Clinton, now with Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders is an admitted socialist who stands against capitalism and certainly against the status quo in America's business and politics. However, do not allow that to fool you. Sanders is very much anti-gambling. For whatever reasons, it's really unclear, but his voting history shows that every single time something comes from the House into the Senate that's anti-gambling, Sanders votes in favor of it passing. So no matter what it has been, online or not, Bernie has burned his bridges here and has voted to pass anti-gambling legislation time and again. There's absolutely no reason to consider he wouldn't stick with this. At best, he'd ignore the genre entirely and let the UIGEA and other regulations stand. At worst, he'd come after it harder, and online gambling being legal would never happen under a Sanders administration. The Right POTUS Pick for Legalized Online Gambling Whether he'd be good for jobs, the climate, world peace, or anything else is anyone's guess; but for online gambling, Joe Biden is the best friend a betting person has going into the 2020 Election. He has a history of reconnoitering around the edges of repealing the laws already on the books. All he's lacked in doing so is the power and pull. The Vice President's position is largely ceremonial; just ask Mike Pence, Dick Cheney notwithstanding. And as a Senator, he was only one of one hundred. Though as President of the United States, Biden would be in a much better position to argue for legalized online gambling. This is especially true in a House of Representatives with a Democrat majority. The good news for gamblers out there is that Biden is likely going to win the Democrat nod easily, then it's just a matter of facing down an unpopular incumbent. So the point here is that legalized online gambling may be closer than you think. Fingers crossed.
  5. Online gambling is a lucrative and growing industry worldwide. While many countries have banned gambling in one form or another in their regions, there are key countries that have been far more liberal about gambling activities inside their borders. Many of these regulated jurisdictions are controlled from within Europe, including the United Kingdom and the European Union. Progressive thinking governments have seen the advantages of allowing controlled gambling, which quite simply put – contributes to their revenues each year. Of course, this means that casinos and betting businesses are therefore being taxed. But, have you ever stopped for a few seconds to wonder how this taxation is conducted? Players seem to be far more concerned about whether they need to pay taxes, that many of us don’t give a second thought as to how the government benefits from the operators themselves. Land-Based vs Online Betting Levies A few decades ago, when talking about casinos, it was taken for granted that we were talking about physical betting premises with physical game cabinets, tables, roulette wheels and more. We cannot be as assuming today, as online gambling has reached fever pitch, affording its own segment in the gambling industry. It goes without saying that the costs involved in running a brick and mortar casino versus running an online operation vary greatly. For starters, the overheads in a physical premises ought to be much higher, not to mention the salary cheques paid every month to the massive staff compliments. So there is a distinct difference in the business makeup in each of these sectors, but are these various platforms seen in a different light by the governing authorities and therefore taxed differently? – This is the question we hope to answer. We will take a look at some of the prime gambling districts in Europe to draw our conclusions, namely the United Kingdom (under the regulation of the UK Gambling Commission) and most of the European Union (most of which gambles under the banner of the Malta Gaming Authority) and Sweden (which is a new regulated jurisdiction under the Spel Inspektionen). A Kingdom of Difference in the UK The United Kingdom is commonly accepted to be the most tightly regulated market in the world. The legislation in place is far more bias towards the player’s interests than the casino’s needs, yet still commands a lot of ‘dough’ from the operators to boost their coffers. In the online sector, the general taxation on remote gambling operations lawfully catering to UK citizens under license rose from 15% to 21% of the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) in October of 2019. This constituted a steep climb in taxes, and together with further tougher laws coming into place with regards to betting limits and credit card payment restrictions, online casinos are sure to feel the pinch. The pinch is not as painful as that experienced by land-based operators, who face taxes of up to 50% GGP. The tax system for land-based operators is on a tiered system, so some casinos and betting facilities could pay as little as 15% of their income, while those gaming giants yielding in excess of £5 million in revenues will be subject to the maximum tariffs. All the while, players in the UK needn’t worry about coughing up for the tax man, as all gambling wins are exempt in this regard. GGR: Gross Gaming Revenue is calculated by subtracting wins paid out to players from the total revenues paid from players to the casino. Machine Mayhem in Malta The Malta Gaming Authority is one of the fairest and most well-balanced gaming regulators around often said to be the benchmark for gambling regulatory bodies around the world. While the taxation seems far more lenient than those set out by the United Kingdom, there is once again a marked trend in extra costs for land-based operators. While all gambling establishments must foot the €25,000 per annum licensing costs, additional taxation of 5% on the GGR is required year on year. While this already sounds favourable, the costs do not stop here. All land-based operations must pay separate levies on each gaming device offered on their gambling floors. This could see the casino or betting facilitator paying around 30% of the GGR on those devices, depending on the type of game being offered. But it doesn’t stop here. Both land-based and online operators must also pay a Compliance Contribution based on the types of games that they offer to the public. The maximum tax level incurred here is around 4% with a set cap for each type of game offered. Traditional casino gambling is split into: Type 1 Games: These are casino games of chance controlled by RNGs. The tax cap is €375,000. Type 2 Games: These are casino games similar to those in Type 1 gaming, but where the game outcomes are not determined by RNGs. The Tax Cap is €600,000. Type 3 Games: These are facilitated games, where the operator promotes and abets the gaming, but where players play against other players and not the house (Like World Series Poker). The tax cap is €500,000. From the above information, it is discerned that land-based gambling operations are run at a greater cost than online vendors. Did you know: The RTP on slot games run at land-based casinos are lower than those offered by online games? This is because the overheads and taxation costs are generally higher and a higher profit is therefore needed to make ends meet. The Swedish Switchover For a long time Sweden operated gambling via state run casinos, who offered both land-based and online casino entertainment to its citizens. Though they were always allowed to issue licenses to other parties, they never did. The country has since relaxed its hard stance on solely government owned casinos, and now issues licenses freely (without compromise of quality of regulation) to remote casinos who want to operate within the borders of the country. Whether an independent casino is land-based or online, they are taxed in exactly the same way (though licensing costs will differ), at a fixed rate of 18% of GGP. All social and public gaming remains tax exempt. This rate falls a little below the UK, which is why many UK Licensed casinos are now turning their attention to the budding Swedish market to grow their platforms. Tax Highs and Lows Though we have concentrated efforts on three of the most well-known regulated jurisdictions in Europe, there are many more countries incurring either much higher or much lower taxation levels. For instance, the most expensive country to run a casino from would be Germany. Here the taxation rate is as high as 90% in some provinces, which is shockingly high. It puts a new light on the term ‘sin taxes’. Then there is Gibraltar. This region runs a tight ship when it comes to gambling regulation, to such a degree that the UK Gambling Commission will allow Gibraltar-licensed casinos to trade within their borders, but of course, they must cough up the remote gambling tax of 21% for doing so. Normal taxes levied by the Gibraltar government are very low, having just recently dropped from 1% of GGP to a meagre 0.15%, constituting as a casino ‘heaven’ for operators. Russia, however, is surprisingly the most accommodating country in the world when it comes to gambling operators, as the tax rate on casinos is 0%. Here, players pay more on their winnings declared than the casinos do (an amount of 13%). Verdict Despite the already pressing expenses incurred at brick and mortar casinos, it seems that regulators believe that they have the most to gain from these establishments, as they load the levies for land casinos. Online casinos are treated more mildly and are left with a great opportunity to earn rewards with minimal expense, especially if they are licensed in the right area.
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