OCUK News Centre

Rough Start to New Year for Playtech Following £25 Million Tax Bill

Gaming developer Playtech has started 2019 on the wrong foot following tax issues in two separate countries.

In an announcement made on January 2, the software provider for UK brands such as Bet365, Betfair and Paddy Power said it will pay the Israeli Tax Authority €28 million/£25 million. The unexpected bill is the result of a civil tax audit on Playtech’s activities in Israel between 2008 and 2017.

Hands Out After Arm’s Length Calculation

The decision to hit Playtech with an additional charge is due to transfer pricing adjustments. As it is in the UK, tax authorities have the right … Read more

UK Gaming Scandals in 2018: Stabbing, Gabbing, Cheating, and Stealing

From a stabbing outside one of London’s leading casinos to poker cheats and some unlawful online practices, 2018 has been yet another year of controversy for the UK gaming industry.

Knifed at Casino

In July, the country was rocked by another knife attack. With Londoners on high alert after a spate of similar incidents across the capital, tragedy struck outside of Leicester Square’s Empire Casino.

Although information on the attack was lacking at the time, it later emerged that the victim, David Downes, worked for the casino. Why he was attacked was unclear, but reports linked it to a wave … Read more

The fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBTs) debate turned from talk into direct action in 2018, following a long-running battle between both sides of the gaming divide.

FOBTs dominated the regulatory narrative as the new year dawned. With anti-gaming advocates calling for a complete ban on the high street betting terminals, Playtech chief executive Mor Weizer gave his take on the situation.

Despite Playtech itself being online-focused, Weizer said that drastic changes would simply move the goal posts.

I believe that if FOBTs would be impacted, self-service betting terminals (SSBTs), a similar machine for sporting results, would enjoy additional benefits,” Weizer

Read more

Regulatory Drama in 2018: UKGC and ASA Both Get Tough on British Gaming

It was another year of regulatory ructions in 2018 within the UK gaming industry, leading to some heavy fines for the country’s leading operators.

With the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) taking an aggressive stance on infractions of all types, even the biggest brands in the country have been forced to clean up their acts this year. However, despite repeated calls to offer safer and more responsible products, there were some that simply didn’t cut the mustard.

UKGC Hits Hard and Fast

Setting the tone in January, the UKGC put 17 casinos on alert. Prior to her departure, former UKGC … Read more

Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC Holdings will usher in 2019 with a new set of responsible gaming strategies following a recent partnership with EPIC Risk Management.

Making the announcement on December 19, GVC has entered into a multi-year agreement with the intention of training Group employees in three key areas:

Strategic advice, including how to best interact with customers showing signs of problem gambling.

Hosting workshops for high-risk populations as well as charitable organisations.

Delivery of face-to-face gambling awareness programmes to 12,000 children across 100 UK state schools.

GVC Raising Standards for All

Commenting on the partnership, GVC’s Director of Responsible … Read more

Barclays Promotes Responsible Gambling with Merchant Control Feature

Barclays bank has launched a new type of responsible gambling feature that will allow customers to manage their spending habits by restricting deposits to online gaming sites.

Currently applicable to debit card transactions, the new switch off feature is called merchant control and is available in the latest version of the Barclays mobile app. Although the update isn’t designed to target the gaming industry specifically, online and offline transactions to betting operators are named among the list of controllable industries.

Barclays Merchant Control will cover the following  areas:

Gambling

Premium-rate websites and phonelines

Restaurants, food outlets, pubs and bars

Petrol … Read more

Political Pressure Could Ban Betting Ads During Sporting Events

A whistle-to-whistle ban on betting adverts could be on the cards but the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has stressed that it’s far from a done deal.

According to a report by the BBC, a new RGA proposal will see its members agree to not show adverts during live sporting events.

As per the December 6 article, the ban would exclude horse racing broadcasts but include all other sports. Additionally, the ban will prevent betting ads being shown during events that start before but end after the 9pm watershed.

Political Pressure Challenges Operators

In response to the BBC report, the RGA … Read more

GVC Holdings boss Kenneth Alexander has been caught in another pay row after the Investment Association (IA) warned 32 FTSE companies about potential shareholder revolts.

The trade body representing UK investment managers named Alexander as part of a 15-strong list of company chairman receiving so-called fat-cat pay cheques. At the heart of the recent warning from the IA is the GVC boss’s £18.4 million salary.

Pay Cut Doesn’t Cut It

Despite being £1.4 million less than he took home in 2016, the IA has said that Alexander and others on its list are ignoring the concerns of shareholders.

“While many

Read more

UK Gaming and Betting Brands Spend £1.1 Billion on Online Advertising

UK gaming and betting companies now spend the majority of their marketing budgets in the online world according to a recent report by Regulus Partners.

Outlined in the Gambling Advertising and Marketing Spend in Great Britain 2014-17 report, operators spent £747 million on online adverts in 2017. As well as being almost 50 percent more than 2014’s £400 million total, the latest figure is £513 million more than the industry’s TV advertising expenditure.

Billion Pound Budgets

Breaking down the statistics, betting, casino, bingo and poker operators are responsible for the bulk of the industry’s online spending. Compared to the lottery’s … Read more

MPs Line Up to Vote Down Philip Hammond’s FOBT Changes

Fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are threatening to split the government as Tory members line up to vote against Philip Hammond’s recent budget announcement.

In the wake of Tracey Crouch resigning as Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Westminster insiders have said that there are more than 20 MPs ready to take action against FOBTs.

As part of the parliamentary process, Hammond’s 2019 budget will have to pass a vote before the new levies, rates and taxes come into effect.

According to political publication The Spectator, Conservative MPs, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, have signed a Commons amendment calling for the FOBT … Read more