Casting an eye across Eastern Europe, it is clear that different jurisdictions are taking very different approaches to gambling. Some are embracing regulation and expanding into interactive gambling regulation, whilst others continue to maintain outright bans. As ever, one common feature is tax.
In the two days following the statement by Gambling Commission CEO Neil McArthur (12 February 2020) that he would consider slashing the maximum stake for online slots to £2, the shares in GVC Holdings, the largest of the UK’s gambling operators, fell by 11.6%, mirrored by other UK gambling stocks.
“An interim reform measure” was how David Stanton, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, described Ireland’s Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act 2019 during a debate in July 2019.
VIPs have become a contentious topic in the e-gaming sector. At the start of 2020, The Guardian claimed to have obtained a copy of a UK Gambling Commission report regarding e-gaming VIP programmes. The newspaper focused on the operators’ apparent reliance on a small number of accounts for their deposits and the high number of problem gamblers in the ‘VIP’ category.
The number of UK betting shops is at its lowest level since they were legalised in 1961 and their number will fall further, given the regulatory and operational difficulties they are facing.
Hapless UK lottery players have missed out on more than GB£ 2 billion in unclaimed prizes over the last two decades, according to research by Global Betting and Gaming Consultants.
Several years ago, the government of South Korea had plans to more than double the number of Chinese visitors. By 2020 it wanted to have 10 million Chinese coming to the country. One way of helping to achieve this target was to allow various new casino resort projects. In 2016, when there were 8 million Chinese visitors, it appeared that the government was well on the way to hitting the target. But, since then, events have intervened, and it looks almost certain the 2020 visitor numbers will fall well short.