EUROPEAN GAMING CONGRESS 2018

16 October, 2018 – Grand Hotel Union, Ljubljana

A message from the organizer: European Gaming Congress is a must attend event for the development of the industry

European Gaming Congress is specially designed to bring together industry experts, regulators, operator and service providers in order to discuss burning issues some of the markets are facing when working with compliance updates and licensing. The event also offers networking sessions which will help attending delegates to meet and greet some of well known faces of the gambling industry in Europe. The agenda will give the opportunity for attending delegates to dive into regulatory updates from Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Greece and many more jurisdictions. We look forward to seeing you in Ljubljana with a full day of quality content and networking.

Zoltán Tűndik, Founder, Co-Owner and Head of Business at European Gaming media and Events

Key topics on the agenda

Focus on Slovenia

Slovenia’s attempt to introduce a new legislation on the online gambling has failed this year. The majority of the country’s legislators voted against the bill that proposed to open up the online gaming industry in the country, as per the provisions used by the European Economic Community.

The main supporters of the bill point out that due to the limited choices for online gaming in Slovenia, people have turned to unregulated sites for sports betting and online gaming.

The story will unfold by the end of the year as some key changes are expected in a new bill which will be presented to the Parliament this year.

Focus on Bosnia and Herzegovina

This jurisdiction grants licenses for online and land-based business and in order to obtain a license companies must be willing to pay 200 000 KM as an application fee (about 100 000 EUR).

Corporate tax is 10% and there is also a 4% tax that must be paid from the difference of the total amount of bets accepted from players and the total amount of winnings.

Focus on Serbia

At the begining of February, according to data from the Electronic Register of Games of Chance, the Serbian Ministry of Finance, as well as the Serbian Business Registers Agency, the Serbian gambling market generated revenues of approximately 44 billion dinars or 355 million euros. In 2016, this sector directly employed close to 9500 people and the costs of salaries and compensation for employees amounted to 7 billion dinars or 56.5 million euros.

For the taxes, fees, utility costs, as well as investments, the gaming sector has expenditures of around 35 billion dinars. According to the financial statements of 2016, the sector of the total amount it receives has a profit of only 4.2%. There are 4162 clubs in Serbia (slot clubs, casinos and casinos), of which there are 1850 betting shops and 2 casinos. The total number of slot machines in February 2018 is 27,363. A total of ten companies are organizing games online gambling.

Source: Jakta

Focus on Croatia

Croatia has always been a key destination for land-based gambling and it’s no surprise that just 6 months ago, two giants of the industry have announced their intention to entering the market.

Last October, NOVOMATIC Group has opened a brand new gaming and entertainment attraction – the Grand Casino ADMIRAL Zagreb.

The modern Las Vegas-style complex comprises the ADMIRAL Hotel, Grand Casino ADMIRAL and Sports Bar, as well as a restaurant and café.

The announcements hasn’t stopped there, Josh Littman, Hard Rock International’s Vice President of Development in charge of markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa, has also confirmed that the company is interested in developing hotels in Croatia.

Focus on Montenegro

Gambling and casinos have become an integral part of the good tourist offer of Montenegro. It all started with the well known movie Casino Royale (about famous agent 007 – James Bond), which in one part takes place in Montenegro. Today in Montenegro, you can enjoy gambling in top casinos that are mostly located in the most attractive hotels.
There is also a modern casino at Hotel Avala, where gamblers and fun entertainers are happy to gather.

Budva is a place in Montenegro where you will find the largest number of top casinos and clubs that offer this kind of relaxation.

There are debates on the future of the Montenegro gaming license and steps to increase the credibility and licensing issues faced in Montenegro. The story is unfolding this year, with some changes coming for the online gambling sector.

Focus on Greece

From recent reports, the legalisation of video lotto terminals (VLTs) has increased turnover of the leading Greek gaming company OPAP to 1 billion Euros. This rise in revenue has not resulted from new players discovering slot machines, but rather from the legalisation of the existing illegal market.

It is estimated that about three-fourth of the official growth of VLT turnover is because of the legalisation of illegal gambling. And it raises the government revenues too. The gambling sector contributed gross gaming revenue (GGR) taxes of 662 million euros in 2017, which is about 35 million euros more than that in 2016.

Focus on Spain

The Spanish authorities have proposed new tax cuts for a fast-growing online gambling industry. The Spanish online gambling market is projected to touch $1.22 billion by 2023.

Cristobal Montoro, the Minister of Finance and Public Function, revealed the idea to the lower house of the Spanish Parliament during the draft budget presentation.

The suggested tax cut, from the current 25–20% of gross gaming revenue, is intended draw more legal, licensed operators to Spain’s thriving online gambling market as the country continues to battle offshore operators to keep its slice of the tax revenue pie.

With the market set to grow exponentially, the government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is looking to licensed online gambling as a way to further the slow but steady economic recovery his People’s Party has ushered in despite the recent turmoil of the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.

Focus on Portugal

After France and Italy, Portugal is geared to join shared poker liquidity by May, according to Stars Group chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi.

Last year, regulators from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal inked a deal that would allow operators who are active in more than one of the markets to merge their player pools.

In February this year, the Portuguese Gambling Regulatory Authority (SRIJ) passed a resolution to authorise shared liquidity with other countries.

According to the the Gaming Regulation and Inspection Service, online gaming and betting generated €122.5 million in 2017 from 800,000 registered players on sites in Portugal.

Focus on France

The preceding year 2017, saw France’s online gambling market operating in its full vigour with even the much-criticised poker and horseracing verticals posting their robust and positive growth.

As per the official figures releasedby the French gaming regulator ARJEL, the online sports betting turnover was found to be growing nearly one-third to €704m in the fourth quarter of 2017. Simultaneously the online betting revenue surged 82% to a new quarterly record of €163m.

Earlier this year the French government has moved ahead with its plans to sell 50% of its stake in Francaise des Jeux (FDJ), the national lottery company, through an initial public offering (IPO) at the stock exchange.

The late figures released at the beginning of May by the French gaming regulator ARJEL showed the country’s licensed online sports betting operators handled wagers worth €847m in the three months ending March 31, a 34% rise over the same period last year and a new record for online betting handle since the regulated market launched in 2010.

Focus on Italy

Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM), the gambling regulator of Italy, has revealed the names of 70 gambling operators who have submitted applications for a license to operate in the country or to have their existing license extended.

ADM had earlier announced that there were 80 applications as on the deadline day of March 19, meaning that some of the operators have submitted separate applications for multiple licenses. The regulator has scrutinised the applications and found all of them valid.

 

A study undertaken by the Pisa branch of national research council CNR highlighted that gambling activities are on serious hike in Italy. Whilst the number of those who gambled at least once has seen a serious rise, activities among underaged has dropped.

The CNR study also reportd that the number of people who gambled at least once in 2017 is around 17 million these number in 2014 was only around 10 million people. ANSA reported that approximately one million people were aged 15-19, down from the 1.4 million people that gambled at least once in 2014. This number being much higher in South Italy.

Focus on Malta

There have been many changes in Malta this year. Heathcliff Farrugia has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of the MGA with effect from April 24, by the Malta Gaming Authority board after consultation with Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri.

He succeeds Joseph Cuschieri, who earlier this month was appointed chief executive officer of the Malta Financial Services Authority.

It was this year that the Maltese Parliament has given its nod for the third and final reading of the new Malta Gaming Act.

The Act will provide more powers to Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) as the supervisor of all gaming activity in the country. It will monitor compliance and perform enforcement functions to better achieve regulatory objectives and in line with concurrent developments in anti-money laundering and combating the funding of terrorism.

The new Act will segment the role of a Key Official within a licensed entity into various key functions for direct scrutiny and targeted supervision controls.

In addition, the player protection framework will be supported by the formalisation of the MGA’s Player Support Unit which will act as a mediator between aggrieved players and operators.

Focus on Austria

An amendment to the Gambling Act is anticipated to be presented by the Ministry of Finance with respect to Online Gambling. The draft which is expected to be presented in the near future will further establish the existing gambling monopoly by halting the suppliers from entering the market.

Irrespective of the Casinos Austria Group holding a monopoly over online casino in the country, it is estimated that approximately 60 percent of the share of the market is held by unlicensed providers.

The new Gambling Act proposes that the country’s ISPs should ban IP addresses of all gambling operators offering their services to players from Austria. Much like in Germany, all of these sites operate in a grey zone and aren’t sanctioned by the state. Therefore, all those who refuse to stop marketing their services in the country should be blocked.

However, not everyone agrees with this solution. The ban would effectively create a monopoly, because only one site, Casinos Austria, partially owned by the state, is actually licensed in Austria. By blocking other reputable operators who can’t apply for a license, many believe an opposite effect would be created, where players would be pushed towards shady, unregulated sites.

Instead of this, large gambling companies licensed in Malta and Gibraltar propose a different approach similar to the one found in the United Kingdom and Denmark. Interested online casinos and gambling sites would be able to apply for local licenses and would need to adhere to local laws, but they wouldn’t be forced out of the market.

General sponsors

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Location

  • Grand Hotel Union
  • Miklošičeva cesta 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • grand@union-hotels.eu
  • +386 1 308 12 70
  • 24/7