Confidentiality norms relaxed by Danish tax court for regional gambling oversight. Contentious gaming laws in Malta were finally approved. In the meantime, party political lotteries are under scrutiny as Sweden's government launches an investigation. No more sports betting license for Tipster in Germany. And Finland targets to get rid of the gambling monopoly by 2026.

Danish tax court eases confidentiality rules for the regulator

The ruling allows the local watchdog Spillemyndigheden to limit comments and information disclosure while addressing access requests for documents. The court clarified that the more rigid duty of confidentiality does not apply to the Gambling Act. Consequently, Spillemyndigheden can now release more information about "financial and business conditions" and comment on specific cases under the new confidentiality rules. 

However, the general duty of confidentiality remains intact, safeguarding private information, trade secrets, and personal data in accordance with data protection laws. Matters pertaining to tax and duties continue to be subject to the special duty of confidentiality, as per the Tax Administration Act. Spillemyndigheden will evaluate each case individually to determine the extent of information it can provide.

Malta's contentious gaming legislation gets the green light

Maltese legislators have given their seal of approval to the highly disputed Bill 55, a law that shields offshore operators based in Malta from foreign legal obligations.

On June 16th, President George Vella of Malta officially enacted Act No. XXI of 2023 – the Gaming (Amendment) Act, directing courts to reject foreign judgments targeting Malta-licensed operators operating within the European market. Initially proposed on April 24th, this legislation aims to preempt any legal action against Maltese operators delivering gaming services that fall within the scope of their licenses.

Numerous prominent companies headquartered in Malta, including major players in the industry, offer online gaming services across the European single market. Companies engaged in these endeavors emphasize that their gaming provisions are safeguarded under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, enabling the unobstructed flow of services throughout the European continent.

Yet, European authorities invoke the European Commission's 2017 resolution to terminate gambling-related infringements and grievances as the basis for their contention to limit the acceptance of bets by Malta-based enterprises in their respective domains. Ongoing legal disputes have further intensified this legal ambiguity.

Party political lotteries are under investigation in Sweden

Elevated concerns have surfaced regarding the utilization of gambling as a means to finance political organizations, along with the special privileges accorded to these lotteries, exempting them from credit bans, bonus limitations, and gambling taxes. The review endeavors to ascertain the validity and suitability of existing regulations governing political party lotteries, assessing their justifiability and adequacy while considering necessary modifications to fortify player protection. Additionally, it will explore the feasibility of issuing licenses for such lotteries. 

The inquiry will examine the exemptions and propose a requirement for full funding disclosure. The government emphasizes the importance of transparency in political party financing and the need to maintain trust in the political system. Gunnar Larsson, renowned as the former consumer ombudsman and director general of the Swedish Consumer Agency, has been entrusted with spearheading the review. The report is slated for completion by the 29th of February, 2024, under his guidance.

Alongside this inquiry, Sweden is considering other changes to gambling regulations, including increased penalty fees for breaches of the Money Laundering Act and mandatory fees for owners of supplier licenses starting 1 July, as announced by Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen.

Germany revokes Tipster's sports betting license

Tipster Ltd's sports betting license in Germany has been abruptly revoked by the German watchdog, citing non-compliance with the license requirements and the need to prioritize player protection. As a result, Tipster has been removed from the country's approved gambling operators' white list. GGL board member Ronald Benter emphasized the enforcement of essential rules from the State Treaty on Gaming as the basis for their actions. 

Interestingly, this development occurred shortly after lawyer Dr Jörg Gollnick assumed the role of provisional insolvency administrator for Tipster, amidst ongoing insolvency proceedings against the company. In a separate incident, a significant investigation spanning two and a half years resulted in raids conducted across several German locations, targeting an undisclosed sports betting operator suspected of engaging in illegal gambling and participating in criminal organization activities. 

Notably, the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) confirmed that the operator implicated in the raids was not associated with their organization.

Finland aims to get rid of the gambling monopoly by 2026

The new government plans to replace the current system with a licensing model, prioritizing the prevention of monetary and social damage caused by money wagering. This reform seeks to increase the country's legal gambling offerings. Encompassing online casino games and sports betting, the licensing system will entail the restructuring of the state-owned gaming monopoly Veikkaus, splitting it into distinct entities under the same conglomerate.

The government acknowledges the shortcomings of the current policy and aims to enhance regulation, allocate adequate resources to the regulator, battle money laundering and sports integrity breaches, establish a unified self-exclusion platform, and ensure responsible marketing practices. The government emphasizes the need for a thorough examination of the reform's social impact, particularly its effects on gambling-related issues.

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