Category Archives: Business

US offered Antigua pennies on the dollar to resolve WTO dispute


antigua-america-wto-dispute-ronald-sandersOn Friday, Sir Ronald Sanders, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States and the Organization of American States for Antigua and Barbuda, appeared before the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body, to update his government’s position on its 14-year online gambling trade fight with the United States.

The dispute, which has been covered at length on this site, involved US efforts to block Antigua-licensed gambling sites from doing business with US customers. The WTO found the US to be in violation of its international trade obligations, and dismissed US efforts to overturn this ruling.

To pressure the US into abiding by its obligations, the WTO authorized Antigua to collect $21m in annual penalties from the US. To date, the US has neither altered its protectionist stance on the online gambling issue, nor has it paid Antigua a single penny of the $270m in outstanding penalties that have piled up since the WTO first ruled in Antigua’s favor.

Earlier this month, Sanders (pictured) urged the US to honor its debt to Antigua to help fund the rebuilding efforts in Barbuda, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma’s Category 5 fury.

On Friday, Sanders repeated his call for timely justice, and also revealed that the US had offered Antigua a mere $2m to resolve the matter last year — a sum that represents less than 1% of America’s outstanding obligation. Sanders noted that $2m would not even cover the legal fees that Antigua has spent pursuing justice at the WTO, and that the US has failed to respond to Antigua’s communications since making this pitifully small offer.

Sanders also noted that Antigua has yet to undertake its ‘nuclear option’, i.e. offering royalty-free digital downloads of US intellectual property, despite the WTO having granted Antigua full authority to take this step. Sanders said it would be “very regrettable” if Antigua was forced to take this route, as Antigua would prefer not to inflict harm on individual copyright holders, and because Antigua has and continues to view America as a friend. Sanders’ full speech is reprinted at the bottom of this article.

In its response, the US Trade Representative reportedly expressed sympathy for Barbuda’s plight and said it was working with Antigua to aid Barbuda’s recovery, while repeating its claims that it remains committed to resolving the online gambling dispute through future engagement with Antigua.

Lip service aside, it’s clear the US had bigger fish to fry at the WTO on Friday, including injecting more molasses into the process by which international trade disputes are resolved. The DSB had permitted certain judges to continue to work on files after their four-year terms had expired, essentially allowing judges with experience in certain cases to finish their work, rather than turn the process over to new members who may not be as up to speed on the details.

The US rejects the validity of reports filed by these former judges, and claims that disputes should now be decided by unanimous content of the judges present. Critics say this creates the possibility that lone judges could nullify appeal rulings, and believe that such tactics reflect US President Donald Trump’s disdain for all international bodies that could interfere with US hegemony.

Tellingly, Friday saw the US approve a ruling involving some of these former judges, but only because it involved a dispute between Indonesia and the European Union, i.e. the US had no skin in this game, and thus could afford to look committed to the idea of ‘and justice for all.’

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WT/DS285: United States – Measures Affecting the Cross-Border Supply of Gambling and Betting Services

Antigua and Barbuda’s DSB Statement
By Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders
on
Friday, 29 September 2017

Mr Chairman

It continues to be most unfortunate that, despite 14 long years of deprivation, Antigua and Barbuda has to appear before this body, year after year, to report that the United States has not seen it possible to offer fair and equitable terms to my small country for the significant losses in trade revenues that it has suffered as a result of U.S. violation of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

At the last meeting of this body on 23rd November 2016, at which this matter was discussed, the delegation of the United States indicated that it had offered “a broad range of useful suggestions to settle this dispute in November 2013, only to have Antigua ignore the U.S. offer for a long period of time before finally indicating that it was not acceptable”.

For the record, Chair, my delegation is compelled to advise that, in accordance with the award made to my country by the Arbitration Panel established by this Body, the trade losses to Antigua and Barbuda now stands at more than US$200 million.

The U.S. offer that my Government found “not acceptable” did not amount to $2 million.

It should be no surprise, therefore, that my Government could not accept the offer.

It cost my small country much more than $2 million simply to bring the trade dispute to the attention of this Body and to seek redress in conformity with established and binding rules.

The U.S. delegation also told this body last November that “pursuant to Article XXI of the GATS”, the U.S. offered “a generous package of services concessions as compensation for removing internet gambling from the U.S. schedule”, adding that “Antigua is the only Member to block the United States from completing this process”.

My delegation is further obliged to point out that my Government has not “blocked” the United States from removing its commitment from its schedule.

We have acted to safeguard our rights.

And at such time as the U.S. makes a fair, equitable and just offer to Antigua and Barbuda for the extreme harm done to our economy, we stand ready to act in an appropriate manner consistent with the rules of this Organization that the U.S. helped to fashion.

Chair, other countries – not named by the U.S. delegation last year – have released the U.S. from its GATS obligations in this particular matter because, although these countries did not pay the cost of bringing it before this Body, the U.S. has settled their losses in ways that remain undisclosed to this Body and to my government.

It can hardly be fair or just that the U.S. has reached settlements with other countries and not with my small country which was the principal victim of losses in trade revenues and employment.

The delegation of the United States also told this Body last year that “the regulation of cross-border gambling is a matter of public morality”.

Consequently, my delegation is obliged to point out that in April 2005, the Appellate Body of this organization found that the U.S. could not invoke a “morals defense” to its violation of the GATS.

What is more, while the U.S. has banned internet gaming from foreign providers, domestic gambling service providers continue to operate and thrive.

Last November, the U.S. delegation advised this body that the government was reviewing “the most recent communication” from my government and that it “will continue to work expeditiously toward finding a realistic settlement”.

It is with profound regret that my delegation has to advise that 10 months later, my Government has not received a response from the U.S. despite many overtures, including our most recent letter of 5th June 2017 to the US Trade Representative which has gone unanswered.

Chair, my delegation points out that the size of Antigua and Barbuda’s economy is a mere US$1.4 billion; the size of the US economy is US$18 trillion.

Further, over the 14 years in which my small country has suffered trade revenue losses in this particular matter, exceeding US$200 million, we have in no way taken any hostile or retaliatory action against the U.S.

Indeed, the contrary is the truth.

For, over that same period, the U.S. enjoyed a trade surplus with Antigua and Barbuda of U$2 billion, as we continue to purchase almost 70 per cent of goods and services from the U.S.
We have not diverted our purchases away from the U.S. market.

Therefore, while the trade revenues losses to my small country is almost 20 per cent of our Gross Domestic product, settling with us would represent only .0011% of one year of the GDP of the United States.

Chair, my country has just suffered enormously from the ravages of Hurricane Irma.

Three weeks ago, the island of Barbuda, our second most populous island, was completely decimated by the Category 5 hurricane’s battering which left all the inhabitants homeless and with no potable water, no electricity, no hospital and no school.

My government was forced to declare the island a disaster and to evacuate all the residents to Antigua where they are now being maintained in difficult and cramped circumstances despite our best efforts with limited resources.

For the first time in 300 years, there is not a single permanent resident on Barbuda, and Antigua is faced with an unexpected and unscheduled increase of 3 percent of its population and all the demands that such a sudden influx of people entails.

Additionally, we are confronted with an estimated cost of more than US$250 million to rebuild Barbuda and to resettle its inhabitants in their homeland.

There would be no better time than now, for the United States to settle this long-running issue which mars an otherwise friendly relationship between our two countries that has existed for generations.

Of course, Chairman, Antigua and Barbuda has the option of implementing suspension of U.S. intellectual property rights which is the award given by the Arbitral Bodies of this Organization.

Over these many years, we have not done so, not because we can’t, or because we haven’t had offers to help us implement the award in a transparent way and consistent with the DSB’s authorization.

We have not done so because we have too high a regard for the U.S. owners of intellectual property who have contributed much to the enjoyment and advancement of the world.

We had hoped that the U.S. government would respond to our restraint in ways that would settle this issue without causing any loss of income to U.S. copyright holders.

Chair, we are aware that in 2010, Brazil was awarded the right to suspend payment of U.S. intellectual property rights in compensation for trade losses.

The US settled with Brazil by cash payments of over US$440 million and other ways in 2010 and 2014.

It would be very regrettable, Chair, if tiny Antigua and Barbuda were compelled to be the first country to have to suspend payment of U.S. intellectual property rights despite its best efforts to reach a settlement with the U.S., its largest and richest neighbour to whom it has always been – and remains – a friend.

Thank you, Chair.

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Uruguay to block online gambling domains, payments, marketing


uruguay-bans-online-casino-pokerUruguay has made good on its threats to impose strict prohibition of online casino and poker sites while introducing new taxes on state-approved forms of gambling.

Last week, the Uruguayan Senate voted 30-6 in favor of the country’s new Accountability Law, which includes the new gaming provisions. The bill was previously approved by the country’s lower house, and was signed into law on Monday by Uruguyan President Tabaré Vázquez.

Among Law 19.535’s gambling-related changes is a new 0.75% tax on gambling turnover made through officially approved casinos, gaming halls, racetracks, sports betting shops and the operations of the state-owned National Directorate of Lotteries and Quinielas.

The national lottery operator is also the only operator approved to operate online gambling, and only for sports betting. Law 19.535’s Article 244 states that “casino games such as poker, roulette, slots” and similar products are “absolutely prohibited” via any remote channels.

To ensure this restriction is observed by internationally licensed online gambling operators currently serving Uruguayan punters, Article 245 empowers the state to “adopt various preventive and sanctioning measures to prevent the proliferation” of online gambling, including “blocking of access to websites, financial frauds, as well as the prohibition of commercial communications, sponsorship and advertising of unauthorized games.”

Uruguay’s Ministry of Economy and Finance had signaled its intention to take the prohibitionist road in July, while National Party deputy Jorge Gandini had publicly railed against the fact that GVC Holdings’ Sportingbet brand was able to market its wares in the country via its sponsorship of local sports icons Club Nacional de Football.

Uruguay’s regressive stance stands in stark contrast to the new regime in Colombia, which became the first South American jurisdiction to formally approve online gambling legislation last year. Colombia has since issued two online gambling licenses, with four more reportedly coming in the coming weeks, although Colombia too has found it necessary to impose domain- and payment-blocking measures to wall off its regulated market.

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Schleswig-Holstein vote dooms Germany’s new gambling treaty


germany-gambling-treaty-schleswig-holsteinGermany’s latest gambling treaty appears dead in the water after two state parliaments decided not to sign on.

In March, the leaders of Germany’s 16 länder approved the country’s new State Treaty on Gambling, which was to take effect on January 1, 2018. But the treaty required the unanimous approval of each state’s legislature, and legislators in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein voted on Friday to opt out of the treaty.

Schleswig-Holstein’s vote wasn’t unexpected, as the state’s newly elected government announced in June that it planned to revive the state’s previous gambling legislation, which, unlike the federal treaty, was cool with operators offering online casino and poker in addition to sports betting. Friday’s vote wasn’t even close, with only the Social Democratic Party members voting in favor of the federal treaty.

Schleswig-Holstein had also announced in June that it would team with the state governments in North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse on a new regulatory scheme based on the original Schleswig-Holstein licensing regime that it hoped the rest of the states would eventually join.

Earlier this month, legislators in North Rhine-Westphalia announced that they too would not be ratifying the new law, and therefore the state didn’t intend to take over responsibility from the state of Hesse for implementing the new federal treaty.

The net result is that the status quo will likely prevail in Germany for the foreseeable future, meaning German-facing sports betting operators holding licenses in other European Union jurisdictions can continue to serve their German punters provided they pay attention to anti-money laundering responsibilities and don’t violate advertising restrictions.

The new treaty the states agreed to in March was intended to address the failings of the 2012 treaty, which capped the number of available sports betting licenses at 20. That cap, along with the unnecessarily opaque licensing process that followed, was routinely rubbished by both local courts and EU legal bodies.

But the new treaty was similarly condemned by the European Commission just days after its release, and a temporary workaround proposed by Hessian regulators met its Waterloo in a local court a couple months later.

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Australian online bookies face new taxes, bonus restrictions


australia-online-bookmakers-new-rulesAustralian online sports betting operators are facing new taxes and promotional restrictions as state governments continue efforts to rein in the nation’s only authorized online gambling activity.

On Thursday, the state government in Western Australia (WA) unveiled its latest budget, which included a 15% point of consumption tax (POCT) for online bookmakers who generate revenue from WA punters. The new tax, which will take effect January 1, 2019, makes good on a promise the WA government announced one year ago.

South Australia was the first Aussie state to introduce an online POCT, based on its belief that Northern Territory-licensed online bookmakers weren’t paying their fair due. This view was supported by domestic operators Tabcorp and Tatts, who have a physical presence across Australia and thus face a much higher tax burden.

The Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) industry group protested WA’s plans, claiming that a go-it-alone approach will complicate the federal government’s plans to develop a national POCT policy.

RWA director Stephen Conroy claimed bookies are facing an effective tax rate of 40% on their WA punter revenue, and Conroy warned that operators will pass on at least some of these costs to WA bettors. This will encourage bettors to seek out more competitive offers from internationally licensed betting sites, which will result in “lower returns to the state’s racing industry and an increased reliance on government funding.”

NEW CURBS ON BONUSES, FREE BETS
Meanwhile, a meeting of federal and state ministers has agreed on new rules that will ban online bookmakers from offering punters certain types of free bets and other inducements.

On the chopping block are bonuses for new account signups and ‘refer a friend’ programs, and operators must allow punters to withdraw bonus bet winnings with no further turnover requirements.

Bookies will also require punters to ‘opt in’ to receive marketing pitches, and information on how to turn off these alerts must be made more accessible.

A national self-exclusion register must be operational by the end of 2017, while a voluntary pre-commitment scheme – under which bettors can set binding deposit limits – will be mandatory as of June 2018. New customers will also be prompted to set deposit limits when they open accounts.

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FTC lets skin betting shills TmarTn and ProSyndicate off the hook


csgolotto-skin-betting-promoters-ftc-settlementA pair of eSports promoters has pretty much gotten away with shilling for a skin betting site without disclosing their ownership of said site.

On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission released a consent order of a settlement it reached with Trevor Martin (aka TmarTn) and Thomas Cassell (aka ProSyndicate) for using their social media status to promote skin betting on the CSGOLotto site without revealing that they each owned a 42.5% stake in the site.

Over a year ago, an observant eSports fan revealed that Martin and Cassell were posting YouTube videos showing them betting ‘skins’ – virtual goods earned via game play or purchased with cash – on CSGOLotto, while leaving viewers with the impression that the site was something they just happened to stumble across, but gosh golly wow, was it cool.

The pair also paid four- and five-figure sums to other individuals with large YouTube followings to promote CSGOLotto without requiring these YouTubers to disclose that their endorsements were bought and paid for.

The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection investigated these allegations and submitted a draft complaint to the FTC, which determined that there was sufficient evidence that Martin and Cassell had violated the Federal Trade Commission Act. However, this complaint has been set aside following the settlement, which is about as meek a punishment as a federal agency is capable of meting out.

The deal essentially requires the pair not to pimp any more products or services without disclosing any financial interests they might have in said product or service. Martin and Cassell must also ensure that any hired third-party shills endorsing a product owned or operated by Martin and Cassell must disclose their financial ties to the pair.

Should Martin or Cassell fail to live up to these requirements, they could be liable for civil penalties and other relief. Or perhaps just another stern talking to.

The FTC’s acting chairperson Maureen Ohlhausen issued a statement saying consumers “need to know when social media influencers are being paid or have any other material connection to the brands endorsed in their posts.” Ohlhausen claimed the settlement “should send a message that such connections must be clearly disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions.”

The CSGOLotto affair was just one of a number of high-profile scandals that cut the legs out from under the skin betting sector last summer. The pressure eventually led developer Valve Corp to order skin betting sites to stop accessing its Steam marketplace, via which skins were traded or purchased in order to have currency to wager on the betting sites. Many skin betting sites folded their tents shortly thereafter.

Last September, the UK Gambling Commission filed criminal charges against a different pair of YouTubers for illegally promoting gambling on eSports titles. The pair originally pled not guilty, but ultimately admitted that it was a fair cop and paid a combined £265k in fines and costs.

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Sky Betting & Gaming scrap UK affiliate program on risk concerns


sky-betting-gaming-scrap-uk-affiliate-programOnline gambling operator Sky Betting & Gaming (SB&G) is scrapping its UK affiliate program, just days after local media ran scathing articles on affiliates’ allegedly predatory behavior.

On Monday, SB&G’s UK-facing affiliates reported receiving communication from the company informing them that their services will no longer be required as of October 2. The company claimed the decision came following “a comprehensive strategic review” that focused on “changing regulatory requirements” in its home market. While the Affiliate Hub portal will cease to exist as of October 2, SB&G’s notice made no mention of any forthcoming changes to its Oddschecker and Sportinglife affiliate platforms.

The notice said UK online operators were “experiencing increased obligations regarding their regulatory responsibilities and level of compliance.” SB&G’s opinion is that its UK program “is no longer viable and managing the output of affiliates presents a significant risk to our business from a regulatory perspective.”

In June, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced that it had teamed with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate several online licensees for “potential breaches of consumer law,” including misleading promotions with excessive rollover requirements. An update on this investigation has been promised for October.

SB&G offered no indication how long its review had been underway, but the termination of its affiliate program came the week after the Guardian published articles detailing affiliates’ use of third-party data to target gamblers on the lower end of the socio-economic scale, and exposing how some affiliate touts deliberately push long-odds wagers on punters in order to ensure greater returns from their revenue-sharing deals with operators.

The UK’s anti-gambling media have also gotten a lot of mileage out of last month’s publication of new survey results indicating a rise in the ranks of the nation’s problem gamblers, although the overall figure remains at just 0.8% of the overall population.

The media was further emboldened by last week’s record £7.8m fine the UKGC slapped on online licensee 888 Holdings for its failures to prevent self-excluded gamblers from continuing to wager via the company’s online bingo site. And the entire industry is braced for this the release this autumn of the results of the government’s triennial review of the gambling industry, which is expected to recommend further curbs on industry activity.

The current climate will undoubtedly convince other UK operators to follow SB&G’s lead. Ladbrokes Coral, which was one the five bookies included in the UKGC/CMA probe, recently announced that it was keeping a tighter leash on its affiliates’ behavior to ensure their practices didn’t get the bookmaker in even more hot water.

SB&G released its fiscal H1 results last month, which showed revenue up 47% to £229.8m in the 26 weeks ending December 22, 2016. Betting revenue was up two-thirds to £140.8m, gaming rose nearly one-quarter to £89m and total customer ranks improved 43% to 1.67m.

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Antigua and Barbuda Government welcomes vindication of Calvin Ayre as part of the failure by US to comply with WTO ruling on Internet Gaming


St John’s…    The Government of Antigua and Barbuda congratulates Mr. Calvin Ayre on the resolution of the criminal case brought against him in the United States.

The dismissal of all felony charges against Mr. Ayre, in a matter that dragged on for over 5 years, vindicates him entirely.

Mr. Ayre took up permanent residence in Antigua and Barbuda in 2007 after acquiring an existing gaming company. At all material times, his company was licensed by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) to carry on gaming activities and complied with the stringent laws and regulations governing Internet Gaming.

Antigua and Barbuda Government welcomes vindication of Calvin Ayre as part of the failure by US to comply with WTO ruling on Internet GamingIn February 2012, Mr. Ayre was indicted by the US Attorney for Maryland on charges of illegal gambling, despite a legally-binding ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in March 2004 that the US government, by outlawing access of cross-border gaming, violated its treaty obligations to Antigua and Barbuda, under the General Agreement on Trade in Services.

In 2005, a WTO Arbitration panel dismissed an appeal brought by the United States. Two years later in 2007, the WTO instructed that Antigua and Barbuda has suffered harm to the tune of US$21 million annually, and the country may seek authorization from the WTO to sell US intellectual property, without the payment of fees and royalties, in order to recover the trade losses to its economy.

Over the past 10 years successive governments of Antigua and Barbuda have engaged the United States government, at the latter’s request, to settle the matter in a fair manner. To date, these efforts have failed despite reasonable proposals by Antigua and Barbuda.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda is continuing its efforts to reach a fair and amicable settlement with the US, but will reinvigorate the issue at the WTO at the next meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body this year if there is no appropriate action by the US.

In light of the WTO ruling in Antigua and Barbuda’s favour, prosecutions by the United States of licensed gaming entities and their principals in Antigua and Barbuda, such as Calvin Ayre, are completely contrary to binding international agreements. In this context, Calvin Ayre and all other Antigua and Barbuda licensed gaming operators, who were indicted in the United States on Internet Gaming charges, are victims not culprits.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda welcomes Mr. Ayre’s investments in the economy of Antigua and Barbuda. The construction of the US$25 million multi-story office complex off Friar’s Hill Road and the expansion of his business locally, with the resultant increase in employment, are applauded. His philanthropic work, including assistance to needy and abandoned children and empowerment of young people through education, is also laudable.

The Government acknowledges that Mr. Ayre has been an upstanding part of the Antigua and Barbuda society, and looks forward to his continued involvement in the socio-economic development of the country and its people.

The Director-General of Communications for the Government is Mr. Maurice Merchant. He can be reached at Maurice.Merchant@ab.gov.ag.

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Sports bettor Billy Walters gets five years in prison, $10m fine for insider trading


billy-walters-five-years-insider-tradingFamed sports bettor Billy Walters has been fined $10m and sentenced to five years in federal prison for insider trading.

In April, Walters was convicted on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy for his role in an insider trading scheme that netted him $32m in profits while avoiding $11m in losses. On Thursday, US District Judge P. Kevin Castel called Walters “a cheater and a criminal, and not a very clever one.”

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged Walters in 2016 over a series of trades involving Fortune 500 company Dean Foods based on inside information fed to Walters by Dean’s former chairman Thomas Davis, who was heavily in debt at the time. Davis, who has yet to be sentenced, testified against Walters after striking a plea deal with prosecutors.

On Thursday, Castel called Walters’ scheme “amateurishly simple,” in part due to a detailed paper trail that led prosecutors right to Walters’ and Davis’ doors. Castel also claimed that Walters’ scheme was less to do with an actual need for cash, but rather because Walters viewed acquiring riches as “a way of keeping score.”

Castel said restitution and forfeiture will be determined at a later date, but denied Walters’ bid for bail while his attorneys file an appeal. Walters was ordered to surrender to federal authorities on October 10.

Walters was a notorious figure in Nevada sportsbook and international online sportsbook circles, to the point that 60 Minutes did a profile on his betting activity and tout services illegally piggybacked on his name to boost their business.

Walters’ attorneys had sought a one-year prison sentence, claiming that the 71-year-old suffered from poor health, but prosecutors filed papers last week noting that Walters had made 77 visits to a San Diego golf club in the past couple years, and played three rounds in just the last two weeks. “Since Walters’ age and health concerns are not so serious as to keep him off the links, they should not provide a basis to keep him out of jail.”

Walters is/was good friends with pro golfer Phil Mickelson, who, like Walters, is known to enjoy a wager. Mickelson was part of the original investigation into Walters’ trading activity but Lefty managed to wriggle free of prosecutors’ grip after agreeing to repay slightly more than $1m in profit and interest on the trades he made based on discussions with Walters.

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Lottery betting site Lottoland fined £150k for misleading consumers


uk-gambling-commission-lottoland-fine-misleading-consumersThe UK’s gambling regulator has slapped a £150k fine on lottery betting operator Lottoland for misleading customers as to what they were betting on.

On Tuesday, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced it would require Lottoland to make a £150k contribution to socially responsible causes after determining that the operator “did not make it clear to consumers that they were betting on the outcome of a lottery draw and not actually taking part in a lottery.” Lottoland was dinged a further £9k to cover the costs of the UKGC probe.

In February, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) spanked Lottoland over a radio advert that the watchdog felt misled consumers as to whether they were in fact directly participating in a EuroMillions lottery draw rather than betting on a lottery outcome.

The UKGC says its own investigation found that Lottoland’s website, social media and third-party marketing promotions “failed to make it clear” that customers were in fact betting on the outcome of a lottery draw.

UKGC enforcement and intelligence director Richard Watson said Lottoland had “used ambiguous terminology in their marketing and advertising, which was misleading.” Watson said this ambiguity was “not acceptable and the £150k penalty package reflects the seriousness of Lottoland’s failures.” Watson urged other gambling operators to learn from Lottoland’s mistakes.

As stated above, Lottoland allows customers to bet on the outcome of lottery draws, including the EuroMillions partnership. This has earned the ire of National Lottery operator Camelot, who has complained about Lottoland offering punters a more cost-effective way to pursue a EuroMillions jackpot.

This March, the UK government announced it was reviewing whether to prohibit “third party betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws.” While lottery betting accounts for only a small slice of overall lottery spending, the government wondered if these options were “resulting in customer confusion” as to whether a portion of their spending was going to socially responsible causes.

The UKGC has been clamping down on its online gambling licensees’ marketing activities, recently announcing a tandem probe with the UK Competition and Markets Authority that found fault with five operators – including Ladbrokes and William Hill – for potentially violating consumer law via misleading sign-up offers.

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