May to June 2020 in Review: Political whiplash follows Covid storm

Having navigated March and April’s COVID storms, the betting industry was served a political whiplash across European jurisdictions as the months of May and June saw governments order tighter customer controls across all gambling verticals.  

SBC – European governments order tougher controls on gambling’s compliance duties

Following direct orders from the government, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) imposed a series of temporary compliance measures on licensed operators who must carry due diligence on affordability checks and customer care interventions.

Meanwhile in Sweden, the Riksdag approved Ardalan Shekarabi’s direct enforcement of a temporary SEK 5,000 deposit limit as well as additional in-play restrictions across all online gambling verticals from 1 June.

Publishing itsspring report’, Italy’s ADM customs and monopolies agency revealed the damages of COVID on Italian betting. Despite this, Italy’s government shunned bookmakers’ pleas by introducing a temporary 0.5% turnover tax across all betting verticals – with Italy becoming betting’s highest taxed jurisdiction.

Publishing its plans on the ‘phased reopening of non-essential businesses, the UK government denied UK casinos the chance to reopen on 4 July alongside other hospitality and leisure venues – a decision lambasted by Rank Group CEO John O’Reilly as ‘baffling and ‘incoherent.

Insider Sport – Sporting bodies count the cost of COVID damages

In June, all 13 Premiership Rugby clubs approved a significant overhaul of the competition’s salary cap regulations. The proposed changes, as mentioned in the Myners Review, included stricter punishments for breaching the rules such as loss of titles, heavier fines, a return of prize money and potential suspensions.

Whilst in rugby league, the RFL secured an emergency loan of £16 million from the government to support Betfred Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs. The loan was used to financially stabilise rugby league’s ecosystem and safeguard the future of the sport amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Premier League confirmed the first batch fixtures for the revised campaign. On 20 June, AFC Bournemouth’s clash against Crystal Palace was the competition’s first-ever televised match on the BBC. The match reached peak viewership of 3.9 million, narrowly missing out as the most viewed match in the competition’s history.

Meanwhile, England captain Harry Kane announced a unique sponsorship deal with one of his former clubs, Leyton Orient. Under the terms of the agreement, the EFL League Two side’s 2020/21 home shirt featured a thank you message to frontline NHS workers, whilst the Haven House Children’s Hospice appeared on the club’s away kit and the third kit sported the mental health charity Mind’s logo.

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