The German regulatory body has deemed daily fantasy sports unlawful and prohibited its operation. France's ANJ has declined six proposed gambling plans. Meanwhile, the UK revised white paper has garnered a reaction from the affiliate industry. Bet365's operator has been fined SEK79m for failing to provide adequate player protection in Sweden. And the Dutch regulator has imposed a fine on Merkur Casino for violating regulations related to self-excluded players.

The German authority prohibits daily fantasy sports as unlawful

Recently, the German watchdog GGL conducted a review of multiple daily fantasy sports (DFS) formats and concluded that some of them could be categorized as illicit gambling under German law. This decision was based on the country’s Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, which mandates that the GGL must strictly authorize gambling activities. 

As a result of the hearing, a recognized DFS provider stopped operating in Germany. Ronald Benter, a member of the GGL board, stated that the decision was taken to safeguard local players from addiction and unlawful gambling activities, Benjamin Schwanke, the CEO of GGL, emphasized that fighting against unlawful gambling requires a collaborative effort from regulators, authorities, and law enforcement bodies. 

France's ANJ rejects six gambling action plans

France's supervisor, the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), has expressed its dissatisfaction with the progress made by operators in preventing problem gambling and has rejected six action plans. The ANJ reviewed the action plans submitted by 235 racetracks, 203 casinos, and seven gaming clubs and discovered that only a handful of them had made noteworthy progress or introduced inventive measures. 

Specifically, ANJ has demanded that casinos enhance their safer gambling endeavors, staff training, and monitoring tools, and will release a practical guide to help identify and support those struggling with gambling addiction. On top of that, the ANJ has stressed the importance of racing establishments maintaining a clear distinction between areas intended for family-friendly activities and those designated for betting.

While the watchdog has praised advancements made in combating money laundering, it has also criticized Française des Jeux (FDJ), the French national lottery operator, for an inadequate advertising action plan.

The white paper sparks affiliate industry response in the UK

The white paper has triggered a response from the affiliate industry in the UK, prompting the iGBA to gather opinions on the proposed changes. One confirmed change is that the GB Gambling Commission will hold operators accountable for any marketing done by their affiliate partners. 

There is also a potential stake limit on slots, with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport providing consultations on whether it should be set between £2 and £15 per spin. 

Furthermore, individuals who incur losses of £1,000 within a 24-hour period or £2,000 within a 90-day period will be subject to affordability assessments. In addition, operators will be required to perform "passive" checks on gamblers with a net loss of more than £125 per month or £500 per year.

While some industry leaders believe that the existing player protections are adequate, others fear that further regulations could push responsible gamblers toward offshore operators. Ultimately, there is concern that over-regulation could be harmful to both consumers and the legal gambling business.

Bet365's operator to pay a SEK79m fine in Sweden

Bet365's operator, Hillside, has been ordered by Spelinspektionen, the Swedish regulator, to pay a hefty sum of SEK79.0m (€7.0m) for multiple failures to protect gamblers from excessive money-wagering. The penalties imposed are divided into two separate parts, with Hillside Sports being fined SEK 65.0m, and Hillside Gaming being fined an additional SEK 14.0m. Both entities have also received an official warning from the Swedish regulatory body.

The failures for which the penalties were imposed include inadequate measures to prevent problem gambling, such as failing to assist players in reducing their gambling activities when there are indications of potential harm. The operator also allowed clients to play without setting deposit limits, and they failed to proactively respond to problematic gambling behavior. 

According to the local watchdog, the two companies took too long to take action to stop continued dangerous gambling. Furthermore, the original action plans did not provide details of the steps that should be taken to address problem gambling among young players aged between 18-24 years old, and those who had previously been suspended.

Merkur Casino has been fined by the KSA

Merkur Casino has been slapped with a €45,000 fine by the Dutch regulatory body, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), for violating KOA, the Netherlands' gaming law. This was after a player, who was registered with the country's self-exclusion system Cruks, was allowed entry into Merkur's casino premises in Almere on nine different occasions between 17 February and 2 March 2022. 

The player had informed KSA of the violations, triggering an investigation that revealed an error message had prevented employees at the casino from checking the gambler's self-exclusion status. Despite contesting the sanction, Merkur was unable to prevent its publication, though it can still appeal. The KSA has recently made updates to Cruks to simplify the process for players who wish to take temporary breaks from money-wagering.

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