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Slovakia: How iGaming sites can build traffic

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Slovakia: How iGaming sites can build trafficReading Time: 5 minutes

Are the Slovaks about to liberalize their iGaming market? Is it worth it to wait for any new laws? This deep-dive into the Slovak market takes a closer look at the reality on the ground and how you can profit from it.

This year in May, the Slovak government announced a planned liberalization of its restrictive iGaming laws.
This change would abolish the current state-owned monopoly on online casinos and it is hoped it will attract foreign operators. The plan is still in its early stages, but the detail released so far suggests the change will come into force in 2019, with a planned 23% tax on revenue.

What this deep dive will cover

We will go behind the headlines and cover the current market situation in Slovakia as it really is.

From the domestic players, to international operators, to the best-performing affiliates, you will see who is making money in the Slovak market right now.

We are also going to look at potential marketing strategies for those who want to build traffic from Slovakia.

Who this deep dive is for

If you are an operator who is considering applying for a licence, then you should read this.

If you are an operator or affiliate who has been scared away from the Slovak market by news reports of IP-blocks, payment processor bans, and €500,000 fines, then you should definitely read this.

But first a legal disclaimer

I am just a Slovak-speaking iGaming/marketing geek and not a lawyer, so none of the information below should be seen as legal advice—it isn’t. These are just my observations on Slovakia and iGaming.

Make sure to get proper legal advice before entering any grey market like Slovakia, Czech Republic or Hungary.

The legal situation today (June 2018)

Only the state-owned monopoly Tipos is permitted to run an online casino, which it does alongside a sportsbook and a lottery product.

Operators with a land-based betting business may also run online sportsbooks, and there are a number of Slovak and Czech betting firms which offer this. These firms currently pay a 27% tax on revenue.

Foreign firms who market to Slovak residents without a licence are named on a blacklist published by the Slovak Ministry of Finance. The list is updated every Monday and can be found here.

The current blacklist is a mixed bag of household names (William Hill, Bet365, Bwin), smaller operators based in the likes of Curacao, and a few affiliates.

As of June 2018, some of the names still on the list have removed any Slovak language options on their site, and yet they still appear there. The blacklist seems to be like the Hotel California—you may check in, but you may never leave.

If the firms do not shut down their websites to Slovak visitors within 10 days of going on the blacklist, Slovak Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must IP-block the website from Slovakia. However, all my technical tests show it is possible to access all the sites on the list while based in Slovakia.

The blacklist also contains IBAN details for each operator. Although there have been some public threats to stop Slovak payment processors from sending payments to these companies, I haven’t heard of this ever happening.

Indeed, there is no mention of any payments ban on the current version of the list.

The Slovak Ministry of Finance also threatens to issue fines to persistent offenders. There is a potential fine of €500,000 for operators and €250,000 for advertisers/affiliates.

Again, we haven’t heard of such fines being either issued or paid. Considering that the Dutch have failed to collect any fines since 2015, it’s probably safe to assume that no international operators have ever paid any Slovak fines.

Proposed changes to the law (by 2019)

The Ministry of Finance has recently proposed ending the state monopoly on online casinos, allowing domestic and foreign firms to seek a licence in the country.

The new proposed tax rate is 23% on revenue. This tax rate might tempt more applications for a licence than the Czech Republic did in 2017 with a 35% tax rate on revenue.

An important note on political risks to new gambling legislation

In general, Slovak political parties see anti-gambling laws as a big vote-winner.

In a further complication, Slovakia has a slightly unstable political climate, with coalition governments ruling almost exclusively since independence. These coalitions of two, three, four or more parties, all with different outlooks on gambling, mean that it’s very difficult to predict what the next government will actually do.

A perfect example of this instability is the recent disagreement between the Bratislava city council and the Bratislava regional government on the subject of banning land-based gambling in the Slovak capital. The next Slovak parliamentary election is due in 2020.

Frankly, basing an iGaming strategy on this proposed law being passed and then staying in place for more than a few months, is highly risky.

The iGaming market in Slovakia today

If you choose to enter this market, you should know what the current landscape looks like, particularly with regards to who the established competition is.

Apart from the state monopoly (Tipos), there are several betting operators with a physical presence in the country, who have a licence to also market a website to Slovak customers.

On top of this, there are plenty of international operators who continue to offer their sites in the Slovak language, including some big names.

Below are the main domestic, government-approved players with sites in the Slovak language.

– Tipos.sk – this is the state-owned monopoly, offering sportsbook, casino and lottery games. The betting odds are reasonably in line with the international market, but as the only licenced company offering online casino in the country, the selection of slot games looks dated and limited.
– iFortuna.sk – offering sportsbook only, this is the online version of a Czech gaming group which has land-based betting shops in Slovakia.
– Nike.sk – offering sportsbook only, the online version of a Slovak gaming group which has land-based betting shops in Slovakia.
– Tipsport.sk – Slovak sportsbook
– Doxxbet.sk – Slovak sportsbook, who also have sites in other countries e.g. Nigeria

On top of these domestic players, there are plenty of international operators which currently offer services in the Slovak language:

– bet365.com (licensed in Gibraltar and soon Malta, offering sportsbook & casino – they are currently on the blacklist)
– kajot-casino.com (licensed in Malta, casino only, currently on the blacklist)
– vulkanbet.com (licensed in Malta, sportsbook & casino, NOT mentioned on the blacklist)
– 1xslot.com (licensed in Cyprus, casino only)
– bohemiacasino.com (licensed in Malta, casino only, NOT mentioned on the blacklist)
– slotv.com (licensed in Cyprus, casino only)

Due to the similarities between Czech and Slovak, it’s easy for Slovak customers to read and speak the Czech language, making websites offering support in Czech a possible option for these customers.

Lots of international sites were scared off the Czech market, but a few still offer this language option, and presumably are of interest to Slovak customers.

Here are a couple you should be aware of: williamhill.com (licensed in Gibraltar, sportsbook & casino); ceskecasino.com (licensed in Curacao, casino only)

Affiliates offering content in the Slovak language

Of course, affiliates also play a key role in Slovakia. Here are the top 5 performing affiliate sites for the Slovak market: mistrcasino.cz; casino-online-sk.com (included on the blacklist); kasino-online-sk.com (included on the blacklist); najlepsiecasino.com; casino-hry.sk.
It’s interesting to note that none of these top-performing affiliates are working with any of the government-approved Slovak-based operators.

 

Written by: Ivana Flynn for Calvinayre.com. Ivana is a Malta-based SEO Consultant dedicated to helping iGaming operators and affiliates improve their organic search rankings. Her biggest professional passion is using SEO to break into new and tricky markets. In her spare time, she bakes, works out and plays with her cats.

 


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network

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eCOGRA To Provide Alternative Dispute Resolution Service To Malta Operators

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Players at over 1,000 online gambling sites able to submit disputes to eCOGRA

 

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has authorised eCOGRA, the independent testing laboratory, to make available its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service to players at certain MGA licensed online gambling operators.

eCOGRA’s fast and impartial dispute resolution service has been available free of charge to players for over 15 years as part of the organisation’s self-regulation activities, and since 2015 eCOGRA has been approved by the UK Gambling Commission to provide its ADR service to remote gambling operators licensed in the British market.

To date, over 10,000 disputes have been handled by eCOGRA, involving leading operators such as 888, White Hat Gaming, bwin.party, Sportingbet, Unibet, 32Red, Bet-at-home, Casino Rewards, Betway, Gamesys, Skill On Net and Mr Green.

Tex Rees, a Clear ADR Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator, is in charge of eCOGRA’s dispute resolution service, which includes an experienced team committed to resolving most disputes within a week.

“All Malta licensed operators are now required, in terms of the MGA Player Protection Directive 2018, to provide their players with access to an impartial third party dispute resolution service. Since many of our multi-jurisdictional clients are licensed by the MGA, we’ve made available our ADR service to these operators. We know, from their perspective, how important it is that they can come to us for a full suite of compliance services”, Rees said.

Players can currently access eCOGRA’s dispute resolution services at 1,159 online gambling sites listed on www.ecogra.org.

 

ABOUT eCOGRA:
Founded fifteen years ago to establish and improve operational standards and player safety requirements in the online gambling space, eCOGRA has amassed a wealth of experience in implementing international best practice standards and requirements, and ensuring these are maintained through regular review and monitoring.
eCOGRA acts as a regulatory audit partner to over 100 multi-jurisdictional operators, software providers and other relevant service providers in the online gambling industry. The independent testing laboratory is staffed by a team of professional auditors with Big 4 auditing firm experience, information security experts, test engineers and responsible gambling specialists.
The company has been awarded the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) ISO approval ISO/IEC 17025:2005 : General Requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories for the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark, as well as ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015, which is a prerequisite for carrying out third-party ISO/IEC 27001 audits and accredited certifications of Information Security Management Systems (ISMS).


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network

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Lucky Day Partners with the L.A. Clippers

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The app that loves winners awards one-of-a-kind gameday experiences to L.A. Clippers fans

 

Popular lifestyle app, Lucky Day, has joined forces with the L.A. Clippers in its first ever NBA team partnership. The collaboration between Lucky Day and the Clippers boasts an array of unique gameday experiences designed to provide Clippers fans a chance to add a little luck to their days.

Lucky Day offers its users the opportunity to play a set of daily scratchers, raffles, and lottery – 100% risk free. “We believe in giving everyone a chance to add a little luck to their day, and nothing makes us happier than to see the expressions on peoples’ faces when they win,” says Joshua Javaheri, CEO of Lucky Day. “We are thrilled to be a part of the Clippers family and look forward to the many winning moments that will occur throughout the season.”

Lucky Day and the L.A. Clippers share the common goal of creating an energetic, exceptional experience through a fan-first approach and a commitment to winning. “We are committed to giving Clippers fans the best experience possible every time they interact with our team, and especially when they attend our games,” said Scott Sonnenberg, Chief Global Partnerships Officer, L.A. Clippers. “This new partnership with Lucky Day will help us create memorable moments for Clippers fans at our games and extend the excitement to fans across Los Angeles.”

The partnership also includes gameday signage, digital and social media activations, hospitality elements and on-court fan promotions customized to engage fans.

 

ABOUT LUCKY DAY:
Lucky Day, number 1 app on the App Store and top 5 on Google Play, is a sweepstakes app allowing users to win money and prizes by conveniently playing a range of ad-sponsored scratchers, raffles, and lottery, daily. Lucky Day’s mission is to give everyone a chance to win up to $100,000 and have a lucky day, risk-free, because “we love winners”. Millions of dollars have been awarded with thousands of winners redeeming daily.

ABOUT L.A. CLIPPERS:
Led by Chairman Steve Ballmer, the L.A. Clippers in 2018-19 are competing in the franchise’s 49th season and 35th in Los Angeles. They recently extended a franchise record, completing their seventh consecutive winning season in 2017-18. The team has logged the NBA’s 5th-best record over the course of head coach Doc Rivers’ five-year tenure. The Clippers are committed to the city of Los Angeles and through the L.A. Clippers Foundation, provide resources and opportunities that make a positive difference toward leveling the playing field for youth in Southern California.

 

Source: Lucky Day


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network

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Nomination Committee appointed for LeoVegas ahead of 2019 Annual General Meeting

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Nomination Committee appointed for LeoVegas ahead of 2019 Annual General MeetingReading Time: 2 minutes

 

In accordance with the principles for appointment of the Nomination Committee of LeoVegas AB (publ) (“the Company” or “LeoVegas”) adopted by the Annual General Meeting on 29 May 2018, the Nomination Committee shall consist of five members appointed by the four largest shareholders as per 30 September 2018. The fifth member shall be the Chairman of the Board.

Based on the above, the Nomination Committee ahead of the 2019 Annual General Meeting has been determined to consist of the following persons, who together represent approximately 29% of the number of shares and votes in the Company as per 30 September 2018:

  • Joachim Spetz, representing Swedbank Robur Fonder
  • Anders Fast, Nomination Committee chair, representing Gustaf Hagman
  • Dan-Alp Lindberg, representing Robin Ramm-Ericson
  • Erik Sjöström, representing Skandia Fonder
  • Mårten Forste, Chairman of the Board

The Nomination Committee’s recommendations will be presented in the Notice of the 2019 Annual General Meeting as well as on the Company’s website: www.leovegasgroup.com.

Shareholders who wish to submit proposals to the Nomination Committee may do so by email to ir@leovegas.com. In order for the Nomination Committee to be able to consider a proposal, it must submitted well in advance of the Annual General Meeting, but by 1 March 2019 at the latest.

LeoVegas’ Annual General Meeting will be held in Stockholm on 29 May 2019.

 

About the LeoVegas mobile gaming group:
LeoVegas’ passion is “Leading the way into the mobile future”. LeoVegas is Sweden’s premier GameTech company and is at the forefront of using state-of-the-art technology for mobile gaming. A large part of this success can be credited to an extreme product and technology focus coupled with effective and data-driven marketing. Technology development is conducted in Sweden, while operations are based in Malta. LeoVegas offers casino, live casino and sports betting, and operates two global and scalable brands – LeoVegas and Royal Panda – as well as a number of local brands in the UK. The Company’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm.


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network

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