SBC CIS Weekly Digest: 5 — 9 December

Each week, SBC CIS editors look back at the events of the previous week to highlight the most interesting and resonant ones for you.

2022 FIFA World Cup may become a record-breaking tournament with the amount of bets wagered surpassing the $35bn mark, Dutch KSA issues another warning to sports betting operators for violating the advertising rules, UKGC demands feedback from gambling operators on the recently proposed Remote Customer Service Guide, Ukrainian Gambling Council Head calls on the licensed operators to “keep their documents up-to-date”, Setanta Sports is starting to broadcast in Uzbekistan, Olimpbet receives the permission to operate in Kyrgyzstan, and Cloudbet registers a surge in crypto betting.    

More on these, as usual, in our digest below.

Up to $35 billion may be wagered during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a 65% increase over the tournament held in 2018, analysts at Barclays Plc note. They believe that the projected value of wagers is that high due to the fact that the tournament takes place at the best time for Europe — in the winter, when fewer people take vacations, local championships are on pause and every football fan is watching what’s happening at the playing fields in Qatar.

Kansspelautoriteit or KSA, the Dutch gambling regulator, has once again warned sports betting operators against  illegal advertising practices during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

According to the statement by KSA, a number of providers of games of chance were again called to account for the prohibited use of role models in promos and advertising. The regulation disallows sports betting operators to use their names or logos  in the same communication together with the image, voice, or names of a role model (aka a famous person, an influencer). 

The regulator further noted that such restrictions were aimed “to prevent impulsive behavior among viewers of the football matches.”

The ongoing World Cup in Qatar is the highlight of all football tournaments, held once in four years and thus draws mind blowing levels of attention. A total of 14 warnings have already been issued by the Dutch regulator since the start of the competition, and if violations were to continue, they could take measures to tighten the industry regulation. 

UKGC has notified licensed operators to provide feedback on the recently released Remote Customer Service Guide (RCSG).

Operators in the UK have pledged to implement 14 new measures to identify customers at risk of harm and take immediate action to reduce their number.

Remote operators are required to track and record certain indicators of gambling harm to individual players.

Further action will require operators to mark indicators and take action in a timely manner as well as prevent the use of marketing and new bonuses for customers at risk.

The European Commission expects all RCSG measures to be implemented by February 12, 2023, giving licensed operators more time to make technical changes and adjust their customer service.

Anton Kuchukhidze, Head of the Ukrainian Gambling Council (UGC) has stressed the importance of keeping licensing documents up-to-date for all operators that got their licenses to work in Ukraine. 

Such a reminder from the Head of UGC, an institution that represents the interests of all gambling businesses operating legally in Ukraine, comes at the time of heightened scrutiny that most of the licensees have come under after numerous allegations that some of them are being controlled or in some way connected to the aggressor-state, in particular, 1xBet

It is believed that there are several other gambling brands that are currently operating under the official licenses in Ukraine, that also may have connections to the aggressor state, while some of the land-based casino operators got their licenses to set up operations in hotels and haven’t yet started to. 

In order to clean up the bureaucratic mess that some of the operators in Ukraine have gotten themselves into, the UGC’s Head stresses the importance of keeping their licensing records up-to-date. 

Setanta Sports received a license to broadcast in Uzbekistan. The company currently broadcasts on digital and cable platforms in Europe and Asia and exclusively offers local viewers the access to watch English Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, UFC, NBA, Formula 1, NASCAR, and many other sporting events and tournaments.

Setanta Sports is a sports television company based in Dublin, Ireland. In 2021, the company began to develop OTT platforms and, along with TV channels, introduced app to its users.

The list of countries where Setanta Sports currently operates include Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, and now — Uzbekistan.

Olimpbet, one of the leading sports betting operators in Central Asia, has received a license to operate in Kyrgyzstan. This made the company the second operator after 1xBet to receive a license to conduct gambling activities in the country.

Interesting fact: gambling establishments in Kyrgyzstan prohibit citizens of the country from participating in gambling. Only foreigners over 21 years old may engage in the gambling activity. Such rules are stipulated by the gambling law adopted in Kyrgyzstan this summer. 

Olimpbet is also present in neighboring Kazakhstan, where it is one of the largest taxpayers among the representatives of the gambling business.

Cloudbet, the world’s oldest online crypto sportsbook and casino, has taken part in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The company’s spokesperson noted that with the recent scandal around FTX’s implosion they weren’t sure what to expect later in the year. But they noted that new Cloudbet accounts were being opened at a record pace, first time deposits have nearly doubled with bettors showing an incredible enthusiasm. The 2022 FIFA World Cup became that catalyst that brought crypto traders and holders out of their funk and back into the arena.

«Our highest deposits by volume during the current World Cup have been from TRON, which is new for us. We expect it has to do with bettors moving funds to stablecoins during market uncertainty, and then using those stablecoins to buy into the sportsbook», — mentioned the Cloudbet’s representative, noting that the next largest tokens were Smart Chain from BNB, followed by Ethereum and Bitcoin.

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