The Safe Side of Online Gambling in Finland

Will Finland open up its gaming monopoly?

It has long been known that the government in Finland has an air-tight Monopoly on the €10 billion per year gambling industry within the country. Unsurprisingly, this is much to the chagrin of EU, which has exerted pressure to end all forms of state run monopolies and open up markets to competition. Despite the pressure, Finland has remained steadfast and have yet to budge on the issue. So, will things ever change? Will international operators ever get a piece of the Finnish gambling pie?

The Case for Opening Up to Competition

While it might be extremely profitable to have total control of such a large and lucrative market, and the Finnish government undoubtedly use profits for social good, there are genuinely good reasons for opening up the market, too.

First, competition spurs innovation, meaning better experiences and products for everyone. With a total lockdown on the gambling market, where is the incentive for improvement and innovation?

Second, it would actually give the Finnish government a greater degree of control. While this sounds counterintuitive, there are lots of online sites offering casino games and poker to Finnish players, and as it stands the government can not control or regulate them.

Opening the market to international operators would force these sites to apply for a license, and hence force them to play by the rules set by regulators.

Lastly, it would arguably increase the profit in the industry. International operators bring lots of cash with them, and with a greater selection of products and services to choose from, it’s very possible that opening up would actually increase the size of the gambling industry, providing even more jobs and generating extra revenue.

Online Gambling in Finland – The Dos and Dont’s

First and foremost, it should be noted that the Finnish government does not recognize any online gambling sites not run by one of its three sanctioned organizations:

  • RAY, which runs casino games such as slots and card games.
  • Veikkaus Oy, which runs lotto, sports betting, and scratchcards.
  • Fintoto Oy, which runs horse racing.

All of the above-mentioned organizations have licences under the Lotteries Act (2001), and are deemed legal.

With that said, there are no actual legal mechanisms in Finland to stop online gamblers from playing wherever they like. It is only illegal for outside operators to advertise to Finnish players, but they do so anyway through the web. Should you chose to play online, it’s wise to follow these tips to stay safe.

1) Use a Professional Casino Comparison Tool

Visit newonline-casino.com, a comparison site created by experts to see which sites are run by licensed, legitimate operators. It’s unfortunate that scam sites exist, but they do, and they can be avoided by checking out a casino on a site like this first.

2) Declare Your Winnings

It is necessary for all gambling operators to declare profits and pay an 8.5% tax on winnings. If you have won a jackpot from a site outside of the state approved list, it is highly advisable to declare your winnings to stay on the right side of the law.  No tax may be owed, but it is always best to play it safe and have peace of mind.

3) Never Attempt to Offer or Promote Gambling

In such a heavily regulated market, it would be extremely unwise to try to arrange real money poker tournaments or slots tournaments, for example, or to promote sites doing so such as by acting as an affiliate.

It is also illegal under the lotteries act to publish material promoting unlicensed gambling. For this reason, it is advisable to seek legal advice before becoming an affiliate of any operator outside of the state approved three, and especially so before offering your own games.

So, Will Finald Open Up and Liberalize?

At the moment, it’s extremely unlikely. Despite the strong case for market liberalization, the pressure from the EU currently is nothing more than letters expressing disapproval. This is unlikely to change anything where such ludicrous profits are involved.

Unless the EU changes tactics, we can expect the Finnish gambling market to remain a monopoly closed to outside operators for some time to come.

Health and Wellness at the Workplace: Measuring Efficacy of Employee Benefits

Helping employees make better, healthier options in their lives can have high returns in terms of productivity at work

 

The implementation and growth of health and wellness programs among gaming companies has become a very hot topic in terms of health investment returns. The crucial question with regards this matter is not figuring out what to implement, but how to measure what has been implemented.
Many company benefits, for instance, free gym classes as well as healthy food and juices, are given freely to employees without measuring their effects on them. In other words, there is not a way to analyse the real effect of such company employee benefits.

In order to ensure an effective design and implementation of health and wellness programs, it is important to establish a practical measuring system that can accurately track their performance and evaluate the results.

Our recent study “BIA test: a SMART system for an health company” conducted within a gaming company, shows how the BIA test (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) can be a SMART system (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Trackable) that analyses the health status of employees. The BIA test is a simple and non-invasive method that tracks the body composition and nutritional status of each company member in terms of total body water, body fat percentage and energy expenditure.

The results of the study show how male game presenter are more likely to be dehydrated and undernourished compared to their female colleagues and managers of both genders.

On the other hand, female game presenter working on night shifts are more likely to be overweight not only in comparison to their male colleagues but also to their female colleagues working in morning shifts.

However, it has been found that all already implemented company benefits do not have a significant positive effect on the health status that ultimately leads to an increase in productivity. Gaming companies have to carefully analyse the employee health status in order to personalise their benefits and have a significant return on their investment.

A user friendly BIA system, which is easy to implement in all branches of a company, is herein being developed by Boody ltd, with the scope of measuring biometric values more accurately, providing the utmost physical potential to the human resources of a company.

Sweden to Reregulate iGaming Market and Open to International Operators

Sweden is set to reregulate its liberal gambling market in a move that will open the door to international operators wishing to target Swedish punters

Sweden plans to reregulate the iGaming Market. The draft legislation, proposed in December 2017 after a study which began in 2015, would see a new licensing system, a set of strict rules governing the industry, and an 18% tax on licensed operators. The legislation, which is currently being considered by the Council on Legislation, will likely take effect on January 1st, 2019, and is largely expected to be green-lighted when the final bill is drafted.
The news has been welcomed by most involved in the industry, with affiliates and casino operators arguing it will usher in an era of robust competition and end what many view as a monopoly run by Svenska Spel, the dominant player in the Swedish Gambling market. To meet the players’ needs, nya-casinon.online is constantly analyzing the marked and is offering a complete review of the online casinos out there. It keeps the players informed, helping them finding a casino that best fits their needs.

Who will the licensing requirements apply to?

Any operator targeting the Swedish market for real money gambling will require a license under the proposed legislation. Software providers such as NetEnt and Quickspin, as well as any others which operate in Sweden, will also require a license. The licences will be required by the entire spectrum of the gambling industry including sports betting, poker, casinos, and bingo.

How much will licensing applications cost?

If the final legislation follows the fee structure outlined in the initial report which recommended it, the fees will depend on financial turnover. Smaller firms could pay as little as SEK 60,000 while larger operators could pay as much as SEK 700,000. Annual renewal fees will also apply.

Are there any concerns regarding the proposed legislation?

Some smaller operators have expressed concern that gambling giants like Svenska Spel and horse-racing powerhouse ATG will be able to gain an upper-hand by using their already strong positions to get ahead of the competition, which will naturally take some time to adjust to the new rules. However, the move to regulate is seen by most as a way to increase competition, rather than further cement the positions of these dominant operators.

How will the legislation be enforced?

A number of measures have been discussed as enforcement options including ISP blocking of unlicensed sites and warning messages alerting potential players that a given site does not hold a valid gaming license. The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling does not favour ISP blocking, but does back the idea of warning messages, allowing the player to then make an informed decision.

Will this make Sweden competitive as compared to other countries?

The ability for operators to apply for licences to operate in Sweden will certainly create competition within the iGaming sector itself, but some critics claim the 18% tax rate is too high, citing the UK’s 15% tax rate a more competitive rate. While nothing has been set in stone yet, there will no doubt be further discussion on whether to bring the tax rate into alignment with the UK in order to make Sweden at least as competitive.

What is the objective of this proposed legislation?

There are several overall objectives, including creating competition and a more regulated iGaming environment, but the main objective is to entice Swedish iGaming operators to return home from places like Malta, where huge firms like LeoVegas have offices. Whether or not the legislation will pass seems a foregone conclusion in the affirmative. What remains to be seen in the coming months are the final details and exactly when the new rules will kick in.

EEGMedia/EEGEvents Announce Rebranding

EEGMedia/EEGEvents initiate re-branding phase to increase visibility and strengthen evolution strategy

One of the fastest growing media and events companies of the gaming industry has just celebrated its 3rd anniversary. EEGMedia/EEGEvents kicked off the new year with an important announcement for the company’s partners, subscribers and readers.

EEGMedia (Eastern European Gaming Media) / EEGEvents (Eastern European Gaming Events) will be re-branded to European Gaming Media and Events. The move has followed after the company started to cover the latest news of the industry for a larger demographic and broadened the portfolio of live events/conferences to outside regions of CEE.

Zoltan Tundik, Founder, Co-Owner and Head of Business, Zoltan Tundik, said, “We are excited about the future of the company. The re-branding has been conceived to strategically reach more readers and a larger audience while also keeping our already established portals and operations. Big changes are coming to the European gaming industry and we want to fully benefit of being among the top media outlets to cover the headlines.”

Last year, the company has been expanding at the fast pace and launched new media outlets to make a content spread more diverse. The company has also announced the launch a new media outlet which will cover more industry insights, news compliance updates and event related reports.

The new portal can be accessed here: www.europeangaming.eu

Currently the collected information is served/distributed strategically via the following channels:

  • www.eegaming.org
  • www.gamblingindustryb2b.com
  • www.igamingradio.com
  • www.gamblingaffiliatevoice.com
  • www.eegreportmagazine.com
EEGaming.org will remain an essential part of the company

EEGaming.org is already an established website which covers news from the Central and Eastern European gaming industry; it will still remain a vital part of the company.

Launched on the 13th of February 2015, it soon caught up with the top online publications and got top rankings in just 6 months. With more than ten years of experience in the gaming industry, the content team strives to bring all the inside news, press releases and interviews from the demographic area.

The website offers Press Release publishing services, directory listing options, market analysis and business intelligence tools, exclusive reports and covers more than 35 gambling events that are held in Europe annually. The team aims to visit most of the gambling related events in Europe to contribute to the industry. The EEGaming logo can be found listed at all events of the industry within the European continent.

EEGReport Magazine will be rebranded to European Gaming Report

EEGReport Magazine comes out three times a year and is created for the wide audience of the gaming industry. It will be re-branded to European Gaming Report starting from February 2019.

Both printed and online versions of the magazine are appreciated by its readers and subscribers. Currently, the printed version of EEGReport Magazine has more than 800 subscribers and the team promises to enhance its distribution channels this year.

About European Gaming Media and Events (EGM)

Founded in 2007, the company encouraged branding and marketing via personalized t-shirts while helping clients to increase their visibility.

In 2009, it made a first move towards the gambling industry when the company launched its first affiliate websites, which contained poker room reviews. EGM has progressed into the media sector of the online and land-based gambling industry by 2015 and ever since has grown into a large network of media outlets. EGM has also expanded the live events/conferences that the company is now organising in different locations of Europe.

 

Norway and the Authentic Gaming Deal Breakthrough

Authentic Gaming and  Foxwoods Resort Casino announced their future collaboration

Norwegian live games operator Authentic Gaming has announced a landmark deal with US-based Foxwoods Resort Casino. It is a landmark move that will allow Authentic Gaming to stream live roulette games straight from the floor of the fifth biggest land casino in the world, giving European players a live gaming experience previously inaccessible to them.

Jonas Delin, CEO of Authentic Gaming, emphasized the firm’s commitment to providing novel and interesting gaming experiences for players, stating that it has been their vision from day one to stream live games from the world’s most exciting land-based casinos.

What will this deal mean for European players?

For the first time, European players will be able to play live dealer roulette from America’s largest casino resort. Authentic is touting the experience as unprecedented, emphasizing that players will also enjoy footage from the casino, taking them on a virtual journey. However, this deal also points to a larger shakeup in the Norwegian market, which has been notoriously restrictive until this point. It points to a liberalization of the market, which in turn will spur competition and innovation as competitors try to outdo each other.

Many involved in the Norwegian online casino industry agree that it is long overdue a shakeup and are welcoming the news of this deal.

What does this mean for European operators and affiliates?

Naturally, this will only affect operators and affiliates connected to casinos which opt to promote Live from Foxwoods. LeoVegas is one such casino, since Authentic Gaming is actually a subsidiary of LeoVegas AB. Both operators and their affiliates will have access to a large library of marketing material which will help them attract new players seeking a novel gaming experience.

If the product lives up to the hype, there’s lots to be excited about as an operator or affiliate promoting this product, then.

How does this deal reflect on Authentic Gaming?

This is a huge step for Authentic Games, and speaks volumes about its relative position in the overall live games market. Facing stiff competition from other European live games operators like Evolution Gaming, this deal indicates that Authentic Gaming means business and is vying for the top-spot in the industry. It is also clearly in alignment with the stated direction the company wants to go, which is offering a blend of local destinations and international, exciting casino destinations to its live players.

It remains to be seen how competitors will respond, but for now it’s a significant victory for Authentic.

Who are Foxwoods and why is this such a big deal?

Foxwoods is the largest casino resort in the USA and the fifth biggest in the world. The Foxwoods resort casino is over 9 million square feet of games, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. It is rumoured that operators will also offer the chance to win trips to Foxwoods in America as part of the effort to market the new live games experience. The deal also works in Foxwoods’ favour, allowing the brand unprecedented penetration into the European market.

 

Multilotto: Win Bitcoin on the Lottery

Players can now win a jackpot worth 1000 bitcoins
sigma-igaming-multilotto-at-sigma17

Multilotto at SiGMA 2017

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, has taken the world by storm — and Multilotto is on board.

The lottery is running from January 11th onwards. Customers at Multilotto can now play their new Bitcoin lottery to have a unique chance of winning a jackpot worth 1000 bitcoins —  the value is currently around €11 million.

Tickets cost €3 and the draw takes place every day of the week, apart from Sundays, at 9.30pm (CET), according to Multilotto.

There is the option to take the cash, but those interested in getting a major share of the digital currency action can take the 1000 bitcoin windfall instead.

Players will need to pick 6 numbers from 1-49 and if they match the lot, they’ll hit the jackpot. You can try it for yourself here.

 

 

Danny Thomas Returns to Kootac as New CEO

Danny Thomas is recruited as new CEO to bring a wealth of experience to premier lotto platform provider

Maltese lotto platform provider Kootac has appointed Danny Thomas as its new chief executive.

Thomas has taken up the new role after working with Brombat Ltd, Gr8odds Ltd and Avinit Online Ltd. Thomas previously served as Kootac’s head of strategy from 2012 until 2014, and will now return to the company to help strengthening and consolidating its performance as both a B2C operator and a B2B service provider.

Danny Thomas said, “It’s great to be back at Kootac. After a couple of years away I’m happy to be back at the company I was instrumental in building. My mission for 2018 is to put Kootac back to the front of the pack where it belongs, at the forefront of the online lottery business and with an enhanced reputation for quality, service and innovation.”

Kootac was is the company behind PlayEuroLotto.com, online lottery betting website, which was founded in 2011. Kootac has more recently been expanding its services offering into B2B online lottery solutions. With clients including Cherry AB’s EuroLotto, the company has been providing iFrame lottery game integrations. 

Danny Thomas said, “It’s great to be back at Kootac. After a couple of years away I’m happy to be back at the company I was instrumental in building.”

Commenting Kootac’s B2B strategy, Thomas said,  “Our focus going forward will be product, product and more product! I’ll be looking to overhaul our current product selection with the addition of several new and exciting lottery-style games.

“We’ll be simplifying our integration process and offering risk aggregation through our new ‘least cost’ routing tool, which will allow smaller operators to enter the market without massive insurance premium down payments.”

In regards to Kootac’s, he added, “On the B2C level we’ll be looking at regulated markets with growth potential as well as emerging markets. We’re also planning to add flexibility to our core platform, which will allow us to geo-target our products and offer a wider range of lotteries.

“Not only will this provide the wide choice players want, it will also help our B2B partners to implement a winning product, no matter which jurisdictions they’re targeting.”

 

Dench eGaming Solutions Prepares for GDPR with ISO 27001 Certification

The online gaming platform provider has been awarded the certified status in recognition of its ability to meet strict ISO requirements

Dench Solutions is a standout platform provider recognised for the “highest level of security” echelon – as confirmed by the award of an ISO 27001 Security Management certification by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

Hot on the heels of a wildly successful sales drive with several newly-acquired, EU-regulated operators in 2017, the online gaming platform provider has been awarded the ISO 27001 certificate, which according to Dench eGaming Solutions’ CEO Dobromir Mitev wasn’t obtained easily.

«It required positioning our focus and efforts on a number of different areas within our organization and aspects of the business respectively,» Mitev said. This confirms Dench Solutions’ acumen in the field, and its prowess with the stringent security standard requirements related to information.

Dobromir Mitev added, «Managing data safely has never been more important, particularly with the General Data Protection Regulation due to become law next year. Operators and players are even more aware of security risks and are demanding more strict measures when it comes to protecting their data.»

ISO 27001 is the global benchmark for information security, established and given out by the ISO following a comprehensive and complete audit of candidate organizations. The associated prestige outlines Dench’s ongoing loyalty to its client base by ensuring the delivery of products with the highest security standard across all areas of the business.

Mitev  said, “ISO 27001 is а solid attestation that we are committed to provide and deliver the highest possible security standards in a safe environment while maintaining our agility and “hands on” approach in the development of new features. Operators require more flexibility when it comes to new products, however the newly regulated markets are placing greater emphasis on the data security, which we perfectly acknowledged and prioritised in our roadmap.»

 

Wazdan Strengthens Management Team to Meet Growth

The major casino games producer expands its executive team

Wazdan has named former Rank Group executive Jeremy Fall as head marketing and brand. IT specialist with an extensive experience Michael Follett has been appointed as head of product management. David Mann takes on the business development role; and Lauryn Duncan key sales role with new and existing clients.

Previously to his new role, Jeremy Fall has been working with Grosvenor Casinos, Betclic and Evoke Gaming, where he served as brand custodian for Bertil Bingo and Casino as well as MamaMia Bingo and Casino. Before serving with Wazdan, Fall was with WebFusion and New Era Publishing in high-profile marketing roles.

Michael Follett is the former Head of Evoke Core, at Evoke Gaming. Follett is responsible for managing the product strategy and implementation of systems and services. He is also a CRM specialist and has significant exposure to consultancy and revenue-building around customer acquisition, retention and reactivation.

David Mann has more than ten years of industry experience. Prior to his time at Wazdan, he served as head of sales at Spigo after working with William Hill and Betway.

Duncan, formerly head of sales and marketing at NetRefer, is appointed for sales and business development role at Wazdan. Before her appointment with the company, Lauryn Duncan worked as Head of Operations at NetRefer after executive positions at S.A. Ladder in South Africa and Hirst Handling. Duncan’s experience spans Europe, Africa and Asia following a stint in Hong Kong.

 

sigma-igaming-Wazdan's-expanded-executive-team

Wazdan’s expanded executive team

 

Warden is the major casino games producer with products covering slots, table games and video poker with many games powered by their innovative suite of added-value tools, Volatility Level, Double Screen Mode, Unique Gamble Feature and Energy Saving Mode, which allows operators to activate a number of features. These features are designed to improve customer experience and engagement while improving retention, stimulating extended play and increasing yield.

Malcolm Ferrante, a Director of Wazdan, said, “Jeremy, Michael, David and Lauryn all share our unique Wazdan vision, and are now supporting brand penetration as well as spearheading the development of a number of investments to further bolster our outstanding innovation in game development.

“We believe their passion and professionalism in the casino industry will help us on our mission to be the industry’s first choice for slots games that have outstanding features including our world’s-first Volatility Levels. It’s a very exciting time for Wazdan and we will be making further major announcements in the run-up to ICE that truly exhibit our passion for game-making.”

 

Habanero to Enter Italian Market

Premium slots and table games provider Habanero extends expansion plans throughout Western Europe

Habanero is to push into Western Europe. Quality slots and table games supplier kicked-started 2018 with a targeted commercial expansion to Italy.

The diverse portfolio of 33 titles developed by Habanero in 2016 and 2017 have already been certified to the requirements of AAMS, the Italian regulator — with the remaining titles as well as all upcoming games to follow in the future.

The company is currently discussing the idea of taking the games live with several leading operators in Italy. Habanero’s expansion is an inceptive of Arcangelo Lonoce, an experience gaming executive who has been serving as European Head of Business Developmen since November 2017.

Former BetVictor executive Lonoce said, “We have progressed our global reach significantly in recent months and are delighted to have all of our most recent games certified in Italy. Habanero is entering an exciting phase of its growth, with expansion across Western Europe one of our core priorities as we lead into 2018.”

In 2017, the supplier agreed on a range of operator and supplier integrations. The most recent agreement has been signed in December with Digitain — multi-channel casino platform provider.

Habanero’s growing portfolio now offers over 80 video slots titles, 10 table games, and 10 video poker titles. Available in 24 European and Asian languages, these titles are integrated with over 60 operators and aggregators.