January to February 2020 in Review: New year sees betting accept its new duties

SBC recounts the events of an unprecedented and relentless 2020, an unforgettable year that has disrupted all betting components and relationships…

SBC – Spain cracks the whip as betting leadership accepts wider responsibility remits

European online gambling leadership was given no grace period to ease into a new decade of regulatory complexities, as a newly formed Spanish coalition government signed off an immediate reform of federal gambling laws led by newly appointed Consumer Affairs Minister Alberto Garzon.

Tough regulatory opening was followed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) enforcing its widely anticipated credit card wagering ban across all gambling verticals to be imposed from 14 April 2020.

Despite criticism from MPs, the UKGC stated that it would maintain close cooperation with licensed operators to form new working groups of safer gambling initiatives in the key areas of VIP incentives, advertising safeguards and product design.

Acknowledging changing headwinds, Fabio Schiaviolin, Chief Executive of Italian betting group Snaitech SPA, said that European leadership required a deeper skillset to navigate its political headwinds and recognise its deeper social commitments.

As fires ravaged Australia’s Gold Coast, Tabcorp Holdings hosted ‘Bushfire Relief Draws’, with all lottery proceeds donated to the Australian emergency services fighting the nation’s biggest environmental catastrophe.

Showing no respite, January and February’s early proceedings indicated that the industry would once again be in the political spotlight as it entered a new year… though nobody could have predicted what came next on the industry’s menu.

Insider Sport – Government pressured to maintain its pledge on sponsorship reforms 

Kicking off the year, Gambling With Lives and The Big Step penned an open letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, stating that sponsored partnerships with betting companies should be banned ahead of the 2005 Gambling Act review.

Incidentally, in the same month, Wycombe Wanderers striker Scott Kashket was issued a two-month suspension and fined by the FA after admitting to placing over 180 bets on football matches, and Hamilton Academical coach Brian Rice also admitted to breaching the Scottish FA’s gambling rules.

The Scottish FA called time on its partnership with William Hill later in February after assessing the tumultuous regulatory landscape. The long-running association began almost a decade ago in 2011, with the bookmaker sponsoring the national team and the Scottish Cup. Everton FC also chose to terminate its contract with SportPesa after reviewing its commercial strategy.

Meanwhile, Fitzdares announced that it would be donating all winnings from the Australian Open 2020 to the Red Cross. CEO William Woodham called upon the wider sports and betting industries to support victims and the emergency services tackling the bush fires which were ravaging the Gold Coast of Australia.

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