Legislation News of the Week: Berlin’s Betting Shop Regulation Stands Strong, Czech Republic Tightens Gambling Act

Berlin's gambling legislation prevails against legal opposition as the court upholds the betting shop law. The Czech Republic bolsters its Gambling Act with even more stringent measures. In the meantime, Betfred encounters a substantial £3.25m penalty due to breaching compliance regulations in Great Britain. The Dutch gambling authority gives the enthusiastic green signal to LeoVegas for an anticipated comeback. Furthermore, the UK considers excluding crypto trading from the classification of gambling activities.

Berlin's betting shop regulation withstands court challenge

In a blow to unnamed operators, the Berlin Administrative Court has upheld the 2020 legislation that requires a minimum distance of 500 meters between gambling venues in the city, including betting shops and gaming halls. The operators had filed a legal challenge, claiming that the law unfairly favored gaming halls over sports betting outlets and violated EU law. However, the court disagreed, asserting that individual jurisdictions have the right to shape their own gambling policies.

The operators further argued that the distance requirement would not effectively safeguard minors and vulnerable people from gambling-related harm. Despite these claims, the 4th Chamber of the Berlin Administrative Court disregarded all criticisms, stating that the regulation was consistent with higher laws.

According to the court, state legislatures have the authority to determine how gambling should be regulated in their respective regions, and the regulation in question indeed provided protection against addiction for players.

Czech Republic refines Gambling Act with stricter measures

The Czech Republic is updating its Gambling Act through new revisions to enhance player safety and combat illegal activities. The proposed changes include:

  • Panic button. An obligatory panic button feature for users, blocking gambling access for 48 hours when activated, with the option to extend the self-exclusion period.
  • Live dealer games. The law allows legal games with live dealers in addition to the existing RNG and digital table games.
  • ISP blocking. More stringent measures to block illicit online gambling, considering all operators with games accessible in the country as active there.
  • Deposits license. A new framework for determining the deposits license applicants must pay, based on their customer activity and game risk profile.
  • Precise definitions. Clearer definitions of various gambling elements and rules for regulating payouts and player account termination.

These amendments aim to create a safer and more supervised gambling climate in the country.

Betfred faces a £3.25m fine for GB compliance breach

In a landmark decision, the UKGC has hit Betfred, operating as Done Bros, with a substantial £3.25m (€3.78m/$4.25m) fine due to severe lapses in AML and social responsibility efforts. Rather than a conventional financial penalty, the operator has been directed to make this substantial payment as part of a distinctive regulatory settlement with the Commission. 

Following a meticulous examination and subsequent regulatory assessment, a trail of failures at Betfred spanning from January 2021 to December 2022 was exposed.

These transgressions extended beyond mere flaws in executing AML protocols, procedures, and restraints, delving deep into the deficiencies within their social responsibility policies.

Dutch gambling authority greenlights LeoVegas for the exciting return

LeoVegas Group is gearing up to make a triumphant comeback in the Dutch gambling scene, following the approval of a fresh license in the country.

With the seal of approval from the Dutch regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the new license is set to remain valid for a substantial period of five years. This permit encompasses the full scope of the operator's 21 Heads Up Limited business, extending its reach to online casinos, live gambling platforms, and sports betting platforms.

Eager to embark on this new adventure, LeoVegas plans to introduce its eagerly-awaited services to the Dutch market in the latter half of this year.

Crypto trading unlikely to be classified as gambling in the UK

The UK government opposes categorizing crypto trading as gambling, despite the parliamentary committee's recommendation. The committee emphasized the lack of intrinsic value in unbacked crypto-assets, comparing their volatility and consumer behavior to gambling.

Nevertheless, the Treasury, led by Andrew Griffith, firmly disagrees with this proposal for multiple reasons. These include potential misalignment with international standards, blurred regulatory roles, unique risks of crypto trading, and a lack of expertise within the Gambling Commission. 

Opting for an alternative approach, the government favors a robust financial services regulatory framework to tackle the challenges posed by crypto trading.

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