Allwyn confirms “advanced” talks to purchase Camelot UK

Over the weekend, Sky News, citing sources close to the talks, said Allwyn had opened talks with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), the current owner of Camelot UK, over a deal worth approximately £100m (€117m/$116m).

Sources said an agreement could be reached within a matter of weeks and lead to Allwyn taking ownership of Camelot’s entire UK operations, including its current rights to operate the National Lottery until February 2024, when Allwyn is set to take over.

Allwyn issued a response to confirm the talks but added that any deal would be subject to regulatory approvals.

“In response to speculation, we can confirm that Allwyn is engaged in advanced discussions with OTPP which may lead to it purchasing Camelot’s UK operations.” Allwyn said. “If an agreement were to be reached, it would be subject to regulatory approvals. 

“Our shared objective is to reach an agreement which would best serve the interests of the many stakeholders of The National Lottery, in particular the good causes it supports as well as the employees of Camelot and Allwyn UK.”

Allwyn was formally awarded the fourth UK National Lottery licence last month, officially ending Camelot’s 28-year tenure as operator.

The Gambling Commission entered into an “enabling agreement” with Allwyn, previously known as Sazka, meaning Allwyn had officially been awarded the licence and the transition to a new lottery operator had begun.

This came after In March, the Commission announced that Allwyn as its preferred applicant for the licence, ahead of incumbent Camelot, The New Lottery Company and Sisal.

Camelot and its technology provider IGT criticised the decision and eventually challenged it in court, arguing the Commission had not been forthright in its communication and that its employees were “owed a proper explanation” as to why its licence was not reviewed. 

This led to the High Court automatically suspending the licensing decision, but Camelot in September withdrew its challenge following media reports that money for good causes could be at risk in a lengthy court case – removing Allwyn’s final obstacle in receiving the licence.

While Camelot said it would proceed with a separate claim for compensation, a source told Sky News this would be halted if Allwyn was to succeed with its takeover. 

A source also said the deal would guarantee Camelot’s full co-operation with Allwyn in the period leading up to the licence transition. 

Allwyn is due to assume control of the UK National Lottery in February 2024.

Nigeria introduces new permit for offshore-licensed operators

Businesses will be eligible for a remote operator permit if they already hold a licence in another jurisdiction and wish to offer their services to Nigerian players.

It will allow operators to offer casino games, bingo, slots, sports betting and poker.

The permit will be valid for five years. Operators will pay an initial $100,000 to receive the permit, followed by fees of $50,000 in each of the next four years.

The Nigerian National Lottery Regulatory Commission will issue terms and conditions which permit-holders must adhere to.

Holders of the new permit will be allowed to offer their services in Nigeria and to advertise within the country in print media or via affiliate programmes.

Key to the new regime will be an updated tax collection system, powered by UK based Fintech company E-Technologies Global Limited’s Sentinal product. This will allow payment providers to deduct taxes at the point of transaction and remit funds immediately to the Treasury.

Mohammad Nami, executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria, said the new system was an important way to boost tax revenues at a time when this was a major priority for governments everywhere.

“The world is entering a challenging time where there is a strong obligation on Governments to increase tax revenue as a percentage of GDP so as to provide much needed funding for local infrastructure and public services. 

“Nigeria needs to innovate and harness technology to ensure that online transactions are taxed and accounted for.”

“We have been very impressed with the Sentinal System which allows us to not only collect tax revenues at source, but also provides us with tax reporting and monitoring tools in real-time. The system will integrate with our own TaxPro Max portal.”

Lanre Gbajabiamila, director general of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission of Nigeria, said that the country would welcome any offshore operators that pass its screening process.

“Online gaming continues to grow rapidly in Nigeria, particularly on mobile, and the adoption of E-Technologies’ Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a huge step to allow us to capture gaming duty at source,” he said.

“We are welcoming all responsible offshore gaming operators to apply for a Remote Operator Permit as long as they pass all the relevant criteria including full AML screening and responsible gaming practices. 

“We are proud to be the first country to adopt the Sentinal System and we believe it will bring a real national benefit to Nigeria.”

E-Technologies CEO David Kicks said the deal was a major step in the increased expansion of the regulated sector at the expense of grey markets.

“This landmark deal will herald a new era in rapidly opening new regulated markets for responsible gaming operators, as grey market operating becomes increasingly problematic,” he said.

KSA: Reduce gambling ads during World Cup or risk greater backlash

The upcoming ban on “untargeted” advertising will mean broadcast ads will be banned from 1 January which will be followed up by a sponsorship ban by 2025. This will complement the existing rules prohibiting role models in Dutch gaming ads, announced on 16 June.

While the World Cup will occur before the implementation of the new rules, in a new letter the KSA warned advertisers that violations of existing standards would warrant enforcement action. The regulator also stated that it would be at a higher level of alertness at the activities of illegal providers during the event.

In a blog post commenting on the letter, KSA Chairman René Jansen warned advertisers that a failure to curb the excesses of sports betting advertising ahead of the event could lead to a repeat of the dynamic that followed the opening of the regulated market on 1 October 2021; wherein the profusion of advertising led to a political response from both the Dutch parliament and regulator.

“I just hope that the underlying message has got through to the gambling providers – that is: there is a limit to what society accepts,” he said. “This was clearly exceeded by the sector after the opening of the legal online gambling market. The industry as a whole and individual gambling companies individually have not excelled in displaying well-considered behaviour.”

“Earning money quickly and gaining additional market share should not be considered more important than carefully and jointly building a sector where consumers can enjoy recreational and controlled participation in games of chance in a safe environment.

“There is an old Dutch saying that applies here: better to turn halfway than to be completely astray. A new tidal wave of advertising would mean an extra blow to the image of the sector and perhaps the prelude to even more far-reaching regulation of what is allowed in the field of advertising. I’d say don’t let it get to that point.”

H2 ups 2023 global gambling revenue forecast to $483bn

In addition, H2’s estimation for total revenue in 2027 has grown by $500m to $585bn.

H2 also said that due to inflation, revenue in real terms for 2023 is set to be only 4.2% more than what was generated in 1998.

In terms of year-on-year growth, revenue is set to increase by 16.5% in 2022. However, after considering inflation, this would be a rise of only 7.8%.

Revenue from 2022 is expected to be 3.6% higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019. But H2 reported that after taking inflation of 17.5% over the last three years into account, the gambling sector is 12.0% behind where it was before the pandemic.

In September, H2 reported that gambling revenue rose by 11% in the second quarter of the year.

Macau Covid restrictions back with MGM Cotai lockdown

On Sunday, officials announced a lockdown at the Cotai after a small number of cases were detected – with staff and guests expected to remain in place until 1 November. Until the situation is resolved, every single person in the special administrative region is expected to take a daily COVID test.

Casinos themselves are expected to implement a number of health measures, keep strict records of their staff’s activities and conduct a host of inspections as part of the disease control effort.

“In order to improve the efficiency of epidemiological investigations during the epidemic, people with a common trajectory are reminded to take tests as soon as possible,” regulator the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) said.

“This is so that the health authorities can find people at risk of the disease, as well as manage and control infections. This is so as to reduce and curb the risk of the virus spreading in the community.”

The news is a blow to the casino sector, which has struggled to recover as it continued to implement a “Covid zero” policy. Under this policy regime, even relatively small outbreaks by western standards have led to firm government responses. The city is three months removed from the end of its most recent lockdown, in which all casinos were closed.

Macau’s casino revenue remains 50% below 2021 levels in September. This figure itself is much reduced from the pre-pandemic peak.

Despite upping certain measures, the Macau and mainland Chinese governments have not indicated any plans for a U-turn on the planned relaxing of visa rules set to begin on Tuesday. The sanction of online and group visas will increase the Macau number of daily visitors to 40,000 according to a prediction from the Macau chief executive, Ho Iat-Seng.

SuperBook launches online sports betting in Iowa

Players in the state can download the official SuperBook app or place bets on a range of sports and events via the operator’s website.

The launch means SuperBook’s reach now extends to six states, with the operator also live in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey and Tennessee, with further roll-outs planned in other states.

In August, SuperBook also announced it was to open a new retail sportsbook at Oriole Park at Camden Yards ballpark, the home of Maryland-based MLB franchise the Baltimore Orioles.

“From the Cyclones and Hawkeyes to the Field of Dreams, Iowa has one of the best sports traditions in the country,” SuperBook chief executive Mark Lipparelli said. “Many sports fans from Iowa have undoubtedly visited our iconic Las Vegas sportsbook, and now they can access those same great betting options from home.”

SuperBook’s vice president of race and sportsbook operations, Jay Kornegay, added: “I’ve known sports fans in Iowa to be among the most loyal and knowledgeable. We’re off and running and we welcome new sign-ups to compare us against the others.

“We focus on building the best odds anywhere we operate, and we offer several generous odds boosts and other promotional bets.”

Rhode Island falls just short of revenue record in September

Revenue was 60.0% higher than the $4.0m recorded in September 2021 and also 113.3% up from $3.0m in August this year.

The total was also just short of the monthly record of $6.7m posted in November 2021.

Mobile betting accounted for $3.6m of all revenue during the month, with Twin River’s retail sportsbook contributing $1.6m and the Tiverton Casino posted $1.1m from its land-based sports betting facility.

In terms of player spending, handle for the month was $41.7m, up 1.2% from $41.2m in the same month last year and 50.5% ahead of $27.7m in August this year. This was helped by the start of the new NFL season, which kicked off at the start of September.

Consumers wagered $26.8m online in September, while $14.8m was spent at the two retail sportsbooks. Twin River’s facility drew $9.9m in bets and Tiverton Casino’s $4.9m.

For the state’s financial year to date, revenue in the three months to the end of September was $12.2m, while handle amounted to $94.6m.

DC sports betting handle continues to climb in September

Handle for the month amounted to $19.4m (£16.8m/€19.5m), which was 48.1% higher than $13.1m in August of this year, but down 26.2% from $26.3m in September 2021.

Gross gaming revenue was $3.6m, double the $1.8m generated in August, and also 125.0% higher than $1.6m in September last year.

Looking at individual operator performances, Caesars retained its grip on top spot in DC with $1.4m in revenue from $7.3m in total bets during September.

Gambet, operated by the DC Lottery and powered by Intralot, placed second with $1.1m in revenue from $6.0m in player spending. BetMGM, which is partnered with MLB team the Washington Nationals in DC, was next with revenue of $678,061 from a $4.0m handle.

Flutter Entertainment’s FanDuel, which runs a FanDuel-branded retail sportsbook at Major League Soccer team DC United’s Audi Field, generated $250,932 in revenue from $1.6m in bets.

Grand Central Bar, which offers sports betting via an agreement with Elys Game Technology, completed the list with $128,971 in revenue from a $546,641 handle.

Tab NZ falls short of budgets despite withdrawal of last Covid-19 measures

Gross betting revenue reached NZ$33.6m (£16.9m/€19.7m/US$19.5m), which was below budget by 3.5%, or $1.2m.

Reported profit for the month was $11.3m, which was also behind budget by $1.2m, while turnover amounted to $212.7m, missing Tab’s budget by 2.0%, or $4.4m.

The followed similar results in both July and August, during which Tab fell short of revenue and profit budgets.

September’s missed budgets came despite New Zealand’s government having dropped the Covid-19 Protection Framework/Traffic Light System from 13 September, which eased the last of all remaining restrictions in retail and hospitality.

Tab said the easing of mask restrictions had a positive impact on retail traffic, other factors, including the continuing soft economic conditions, abandoned race meetings and another month of a drop in starters across all three racing codes, contributed to missed budgets.

The operator also noted the average number of thoroughbred starters per race was 10.1, below the average of 10.6 in its 2022 financial year.

Operating expenses were $100,000 above budget at $10.5m, though total payments to Racing Codes during the month stood at $12.3m, in line with budget. 

In terms of betting activity, the most popular sporting event to bet on was the national team’s rugby union clash between New Zealand and Australia on 24 September, which attracted $1.2m in bets. 

For racing, the Tarzino Trophy G1 race at Hasting on 10 September drew $616,000 in bets.

BlueBet makes strategic investment in Low6

BlueBet said the investment will allow it to expand its own product offering into free-to-play games, as well as assist in onboarding and engage with its customer base.

The provider also said the arrangement will enable it to launch products on Low6’s platform over a five-year period.

Low6 specialises in white-label gamification services to betting operators and sports brands around the world, assisting in customer acquisition, engagement and retention with branded gaming experiences.

“We see free-to-play gaming as a huge adjacent opportunity to our core sports books and know there is real appetite from our customers – particularly our younger customers who make up a considerable portion of our book – to extend their playing time with BlueBet into new formats such as fantasy sports,” BlueBet chief executive Bill Richmond said.

“We look forward to working with Low6 to create bespoke igaming solutions which fit with our differentiated consumer brands, which will attract new customers to BlueBet in Australia and ClutchBet in the US.”