Sarah Harrison is to leave the Gambling Commission for a role at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sarah Harrison, credited with giving the Gambling Commission far more teeth in her time as chief executive, is to leave the industry regulator at the end of February to take up a senior role with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Harrison took over at the commission in October 2015 having joined from energy regulator Ofgem, where she had shown a willingness to impose stringent penalties.
She continued down that path at the Gambling Commission, with recent examples including the record £7.8 million penalty online firm 888 suffered due to serious flaws in their social responsibility measures and the £2.3m penalty Ladbrokes Coral received last month for breaching regulations.
The commission has also teamed up with the Competition and Markets Authority to take action over gambling industry terms and conditions.
Harrison said: “I am proud of the work that all at the commission have delivered together. I am very confident that as the commission delivers its new strategy it will go from strength to strength and will continue to make gambling in Britain fairer and safer.“
The commission said the search for Harrison’s successor was already under way. Neil McArthur, the commission’s chief counsel and executive director, will be appointed as acting CEO from February 28 until the permanent replacement can take up the post.
Gambling Commission chairman Bill Moyes said: “The Gambling Commission has set an ambitious agenda and clear priorities for treating customers fairly and making play safer and our new three-year strategy embeds this approach for the future.
“Sarah’s impact has been significant in shaping this direction of travel. I and my board colleagues wish Sarah every success for the future and look forward to continuing to work with her to deliver this agenda over the next few months.“
Harrison has warned the gambling industry that the commission would back a statutory levy on operators if they fail to increase their financial contribution to fighting problem gambling and on Thursday Rosena Allin-Khan, the shadow sports minister, pledged that a Labour government will introduce a compulsory system.
Speaking to delegates on the second and final day of the GambleAware Harm Minimisation conference, she described as “unacceptable” that operators took “a record £13.8 billion” but only contributed £8 million to problem gambling charities instead of an expected £10m.
She added that Labour would also seek to ban football shirt advertising, citing the long-term impact on young people in terms of “normalising” gambling.
Labour is also seeking a £2 limit per spin on betting shop FOBTs and Allin-Khan later added there was also great concern about the growing impact of online and mobile gambling.
Armenian parliament adopts bill on gambling in the first reading
The Armenia National Assembly voted overwhelmingly to adopt the draft law on making amendments in the law on combating terrorism in the first reading at today’s sitting.
The parliament fully adopted the draft law on making amendments and supplements in the law on the “RA Investigative Committee” and the attached package of draft laws in the second reading with a vote of 85 for and 7 against.
The issue of adopting the draft law on making addendum to the Criminal Code initiated by MPs Karen Avagyan and Hrayr Tovmasyan in the second reading was also put up to voting.
The bill passed overwhelmingly the parliament’s second reading. In a speech ahead of the voting, Tsarukyan faction MP Naira Zohrabyan voiced the faction’s intention to support the bill in the second reading since the proposals submitted by the bloc over the measure had been accepted.
The Armenian parliament also overwhelmingly voted to adopt the draft law on making amendments and supplements in the law on energy and the attached bill package in the first reading.
The draft law on making amendments and supplements in the law on “Games of Chance, Online Games of Chance and Casinos” and the attached package passed the parliament’s first reading, receiving a total of 93 votes in favour.
The National Assembly also fully adopted the law on the Constitutional Court and the attached draft package in the second reading with 87 votes for and 7 against.
Play’n Go launches Mystery Joker 6000
Omni-channel slots specialist Play’n Go has reinvigorated the much-loved fruit slot in its latest title Mystery Joker 6000.
The three-wheel, five-payline game delivers the same classical symbols known to slots fans, with the introduction of the Joker symbol which triggers free spins and big wins on finding it.
When players land a Joker on a payline that runs across reels one and two, the third will re-spin while the rest are held, and if a third Joker is found, the innovative mystery wheel feature is triggered, potentially paying out up to 6000 times the current coin value.
Mystery Joker 6000 allows players to transfer winnings from the main game into the super meter mode, where bets cost double but wins even bigger, and with the mystery wheel even easier to find.
Landing three jokers randomly across the reels in the base game will pay out randomly up to 6000 times the coin value, with three on the one payline automatically awarding the full 6000 times to the player.
Significantly, super meter mode offers an RTP of over 100%, hugely attractive to players looking for consistent wins, and unique for what appears to be a traditional fruit slot.
Johan Törnqvist, chief executive officer of Play’n Go, said: “The traditional fruit slot has been a mainstay of the casino space for decades with players loving its simplicity and regular payouts.
“We’ve decided to add the Play’n Go creative touch to the classic and reinvigorate the genre for today’s player, and we’re sure they’ll enjoy Mystery Joker 6000’s much-improved gameplay.
“The Super Meter mode will offer players constant choice between big wins or potentially even greater ones should they feel lucky, particularly as the Mystery Wheel will come into play when finding just two Jokers.”
Mystery Joker 6000 marks Play’n Go’s final release of an award-winning year, which has seen it launch 60 new titles across various genres. It’s set to build on this in 2018, with a product roadmap in place that will see even more innovative and enjoyable slot releases.
Hard Rock details Maldives plan
The casino operator announced its plans to expand its portfolio in the Maldives.
Hard Rock International revealed yesterday its plans to expand its portfolio with Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and Hard Rock Cafe Maldives. The operator is set to participate in what will be the first integrated resort in the Maldives.
The facility that will be located within one of the Maldives’ largest lagoons, Emboodhoo Falhu, is expected to debut in October 2018. The first phase of the development includes a US$311 million investment that expected to boost tourism, and offer new services like hotels, entertainment and retails. Hard Rock Hotel Maldives is set to be part of the three resorts included in the project, and will include 178 guest rooms, family suites and beach villas.
Todd Hricko, senior vice president, head of global hotel development for Hard Rock, said: “Known for its vibrant culture, top-of-the-line luxury and some of the most breathtaking white-sand beaches in the world, Maldives is truly a slice of paradise and one of the world’s most desirable destinations. Traditionally regarded as being a popular honeymoon destination, we at Hard Rock are excited to work with the Singha Estate team to captivate multi-generational travelers, showcasing that the destination can cater to more than just newlyweds.”
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