The prospect of a 12% tax on winnings under EUR 500 in Italy was reported by the country’s media in October, having had a preview of the government’s plans for the 2020 Budget. It was also reported that this winnings tax would increase in line with the winnings, up to a rate of 23% for the larger lottery jackpots. But these proposals in Italy are by no means exceptional. Across the world governments are seeking to take money off winning punters.
GBGC spoke on a panel at the MannBenham Online Gaming Conference which discussed the topic of international regulatory creep in gambling. Across all gambling sectors in the last 18 months, GBGC has found more than 40 instances of increased regulation, the introduction of a licence ban or increased taxes. The trend for extra regulation shows no sign of slowing down. One particular trend has been that of a tax on players’ winnings. Across the world, from Argentina, to Tanzania, to Russia, gamblers now face the prospect of losing some of their winnings in extra tax, especially for casino gaming and lotteries. All of this regulatory creep has come at considerable cost to shareholder value. Take Bwin as an example. Bwin merged with PartyGaming for GB£ 1.1 billion. PartyGaming was a FTSE 100 company and listed with a market cap of GB£ 4.6 [...]
Developments in artificial intelligence (AI) could pose a threat to the future viability of internet poker. It all started in 1997 when IBM’s Deep Blue computer beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Two decades later and Deep Mind’s (the Google owned AI company) Alpha Zero has taught itself how to play chess to a high standard in just four hours. At the World Chess championship in London 2018 Alpha Zero was evaluating the moves of the champions and making adjustments. According to Wired Alpha Zero’s twist, achieved through its “deep neural network architecture”, is to combine factors human players considered unimportant, such as the restriction of the opponent’s king, into a whole game strategy: “For example, taking unusually early action to create a weakness in the opponent’s king’s position and then using this weakness as a motif throughout the rest of its [...]
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into “addictive and immersive technologies” has called for loot boxed to be banned for children and for in-game spending to be regulated by gambling laws. Those in the gambling business following the inquiry will be sadly familiar with way the cards are falling for the video games sector. The committee’s chairman Damian Collins MP has argued that the video games industry should make a financial contribution to fund independent research into the long-term effects of gaming: "Gaming disorder based on excessive and addictive game-play has been recognised by the World Health Organization.” "It's time for game companies to use the huge quantities of data they gather about their players to do more to proactively identify vulnerable gamers." On the specific topic of loot boxes he argued: "Buying a loot box is playing [...]
The announcement by the Stars Group (PokerStars) that redundancies will be made at its Isle of Man headquarters is the latest consequence of the maturation of the e-gaming sector. For PokerStars one key event in this process was the sale by the company’s founders and the transformation from private company to public company with outside investors to satisfy. The process of regulation has also made the need for offshore licences less essential. The model of one licence targeting many markets is now less relevant for public companies. The Stars Group, for example, states it now “holds licenses or applicable approvals to operate in 23 jurisdictions”. In fact, according to the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, the only PokerStars URL now run under an Isle of Man licence is the free-play .net website. With licensing has come increased taxation and [...]
In 2018 the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) provided advice to the Gambling Commission on reducing harm to gamblers. The advice noted that gambling with borrowed money, including with a credit card, is a well-established risk factor for harmful gambling. The Gambling Commission stated that people should not gamble with money they do not have. To help with a better understanding of the problem the Commission is seeking information from stakeholders including operators and financial institutions on the topic of credit cards. The consultation will last for twelve weeks. About six percent of gamblers use credit cards to bet on the internet, and eleven percent use wallets. Whether those that use wallets fund them with credit cards or debit cards is not widely known. Gamblers that GBGC has talked to largely use debit cards but some prefer credit cards because [...]