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Brussels, 18 May 2018 — Today the European Commission is publishing the results of the 2018 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), a tool which monitors the performance of Member States in digital connectivity, digital skills online activity, the digitisation of businesses and digital public services.
According to it, the EU is getting more digital, but progress remains insufficient for Europe to catch up with global leaders and to reduce differences across Member States. This calls for a quick completion of the Digital Single Market and increased investments in digital economy and society.
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “This is a shift, albeit small, in the right digital direction. As a whole, the EU is making progress but not yet enough. In the meantime, other countries and regions around the world are improving faster. This is why we should invest more in digital and also complete the Digital Single Market as soon as possible: to boost Europe’s digital performance, provide first-class connectivity, online public services and a thriving e-commerce sector.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said: “We look forward to a rapid progress on major reforms such as the European Electronic Communications Code aiming at boosting investments in enhanced connectivity. This year’s Digital Economy and Society Index demonstrates that we must deploy further efforts to tackle lack of digital skills among our citizens. By integrating more digital technologies and equipping them with skills, we will further empower citizens, businesses and public administrations. This is the way to succeed the digital transformation of our societies.“
Over the past year, the EU continued to improve its digital performance and the gap between the most and the least digital countries slightly narrowed (from 36 points to 34 points). Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands scored the highest ratings in DESI 2018 and are among the global leaders in digitalisation. They are followed by Luxembourg, Ireland, the UK, Belgium and Estonia. Ireland, Cyprus and Spain progressed the most (by more than 15 points) over the last four years. However, some other EU countries still have a long way to go and the EU as a whole needs to improve to be competitive on the global stage.
DESI 2018 shows:
Connectivity has improved, but is insufficient to address fast-growing needs
- Ultrafast connectivity of at least 100 Mbps is available to 58% of households and the number of subscriptions is rapidly increasing. 15% of homes use ultrafast broadband: this is twice as high as just two years ago and five times higher than in 2013.
- 80% of European homes are covered by fast broadband with at least 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) (76% last year) and a third (33%) of European households have a subscription (23% increase compared to last year, and 166% compared to 2013).
The number of mobile data subscriptions has increased by 57% since 2013 reach 90 subscriptions per 100 people in the EU. 4G mobile networks cover on average 91% of the EU population (84% last year).
Indicators show that the demand for fast and ultrafast broadband is rapidly increasing, and is expected to further increase in the future. The Commission proposed a reform of EU telecoms rules to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boost investments.
More and more Europeans use the internet to communicate
The highest increase in the use of internet services is related to telephone and video calls: almost half of Europeans (46%) use the internet to make calls, this is almost a 20% increase compared to last year and more than 40% increase compared to 2013. Other indicators show that 81% of Europeans now go online at least once a week (79% last year).
To increase trust in the online environment, new EU rules on data protection will enter into force on 25 May 2018.
The EU has more digital specialists than before but skills gaps remain
- The EU improved very little in the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates (19.1 graduates per 1000 people aged 20 to 29 years old in 2015, compared to 18.4. in 2013);
- 43% of Europeans still do not have basic digital skills (44% last year).
Alongside the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, the Commission has launched the Digital Opportunity Traineeships to tackle the digital skills gap in Europe. The pilot initiative will provide digital traineeships for up to 6,000 students and recent graduates until 2020 in another EU country.
Businesses are more digital, e-commerce is growing slowly
While more and more companies send electronic invoices (18% compared to 10% in 2013) or use social media to engage with customers and partners (21% compared to 15% in 2013), the number of SMEs selling online has been stagnating over the past years (17%).
In order to boost e-commerce in the EU, the Commission has put forward a series of measures from more transparent parcel delivery prices to simpler VAT and digital contract rules. As of 3 December 2018, consumers and companies will be able to find the best deals online across the EU without being discriminated based on their nationality or residence.
Europeans use more public services online
58% of internet users submitting forms to their public administration used the online channel (52% in 2013).
- 18% of people use online health services.
In April 2018, the Commission adopted initiatives on the re-use of public sector information and on eHealth that will significantly improve cross-border online public services in the EU.
The annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) aims to measure the progress of EU Member States towards a digital economy and society. It helps EU countries identify areas requiring priority investments and action. The DESI is also a key tool when analysing digital in the European Semester, which allows EU countries to discuss their economic and budget plans and monitor progress at specific times throughout the year.
This year, both DESI and the more detailed analysis of national digital policies, providing an overview of progress and of policy implementation by Member States (previously called Europe’s Digital Progress Report) are published jointly using the DESI name. A more detailed Telecoms Chapter for each Member State is annexed to the reports. To make better comparison between Member States, DESI also develops cross-country analyses in connectivity, skills, use of the internet, take-up of digital technology by businesses, digital public services, ICT R&D and innovation investment and use of Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme funds by Member States.
The Commission has presented 29 legislative proposals under its Digital Single Market strategy and called, in a recent Communication, the European Parliament and Member States to adopt these proposals by the end of 2018.
BetConstruct partners with Fazi
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BetConstruct has announced a new partnership with Fazi, an online games developer creating high-quality content in the casino gaming environment.
A wide range of 4,000+ games of BetConstruct Casino Suite is now freshened up with content from Fazi. All the games delivered by the provider are made in HTML5 with full HD graphics. Helping BetConstruct continue delivering diversified content to its partners. The new partnership expands Fazi’s ideas, work and effort in the evolving online gaming industry. Some of the most popular Fazi games such as Roulette, Book of Spells, Turbo Hot 40, Fruits and Stars are now available on BetConstruct Casino platform.
Bojan Mitić, Fazi CEO, said, “We are proud to see Fazi games on one of the most sophisticated platforms in the iGaming industry. We have eagerly anticipated collaboration with BetConstruct – the award-winning developer and provider of online games and a globally recognized company. It is extremely important for us that BetConstruct recognized our quality, uniqueness and innovation and we are confident that Fazi games will be warmly received by players “
Vigen Badalyan, BetConstruct’s Founder & Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are thrilled to inform that we already partner with Fazi. Fazi’s omnichannel content featuring modern graphics, exciting animations and bonuses will provide a highly interactive gameplay for our operators’ players.”
BetConstruct is an award-winning developer and provider of online and land-based gaming solutions with development, sales and service centers in 16 countries.
BetConstruct’s innovative and proven offerings include an extensive range of products and services, including Sportsbook, Sports Data Solutions, Retail Solutions, RNG & Live Dealer Casino, VR Casino, Poker, Skill Games, Fantasy Sports, Social Platform and more. The latest addition is the industry-first complete management infrastructure, SpringBME (Business Management Environment).
All partners benefit from the BetConstruct Spring platform with its powerful back office tools and all-inclusive services that empower operators’ growth and help contain their costs. From stand-alone set up to turn-key and white label solutions, BetConstruct offers its partners unfettered opportunity to succeed.
Fazi is one of the leading online content providers, manufacturers of electronic roulettes and software developers in the Balkans. Fazi was founded in 1991 and ever since the day it was founded until today, the basic principle of the Company’s business has been based on constant growth and development, on the creation of new, innovative products and on conquering new markets.
Fazi Interactive has achieved remarkable success in markets all over the world. Fazi online content is innovative and characterized by modern graphics and quality animation. All the games are made in HTML 5 technology with Full HD graphics. Due to Fazi jackpots, interesting and unique graphics, great themes and great prizes, Fazi games are very popular among players.
BtoBet’s World Cup Specials: Strategies For Player Acquisition And Retention
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Boasting a high level of interest from bookmakers, BtoBet’s Director of the Sports Department, Davide Ruggeri, is of the opinion that the company’s products unveiled and offered to operators prior to the World Cup that will shortly kick off in Russia will deliver a new standard of sports betting, providing the players with distinct options based on varying factors.
Which will be the four nations to play in the Semi-Finals stage? Who will be the referee in charge of the Final? Will it rain? Will a particular team win or lose all the matches at group stage? Will there be a field invasion during the manifestation? How many matches will end goalless in the group stages? Who will be the beast goalie, defender, assist man, or attacker of the tournament?
These are just a few of the infinite variety of bets that BtoBet’s World Cup 2018 Specials will present to the player, with Ruggeri describing the products as “the first step to avoid the usual high churn rate that sees players moving away from betting over the World Cup period”.
Ruggeri stressed that operators should see the World Cup event as a massive opportunity for player acquisition but most importantly for player retention. “It is much less expensive to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new customers. And this can only be achieved by providing them with a tailored offer to catch their attention. It means treating these players as VIP players with the goal to inspire a positive experience from their side.”
For a deeper insight download BtoBet’s latest Industry Report, “World Cup: Risks, Challenges and Opportunities for Operators”.
BtoBet is a multinational company and is part of a group with 20 years of experience in software development in IT, finance, telecommunication, e-commerce and banking, strongly committed to technology and widely investing in technology research and development. The experience gained in these advanced environments, allows BtoBet to be visionary in the iGaming and Sports betting industry with a deep understanding of the requirements of the market, catching changing trends and anticipating bookmakers’ and operators’ needs. BtoBet is a true partner in technology, offering a standalone platform and services for the iGaming and Sports Betting industry. It counts on a very talented, continuously trained development team and day to day management support to clients. BtoBet allows licensees to be unique in the market, by giving them the opportunity to completely personalise their offers for Sports betting and iGaming business, online mobile and retail. BtoBet has technical branches with large ever-growing teams of developers in Skopje, Ohrid, Bitola, Belgrade, Nish, Tirana, and Rome. Malta hosts the commercial and marketing centre. Visit our site on: www.btobet.com
IMF spotlights Malta’s work in the gaming sector
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) praised Malta’s work in the gaming sector and labelled it as exceptional.
It’s well known by now that Malta is one of the best places in europe when it comes to monitoring the new trends, working to set the best legislation but also for it’s pro-business approach.
The international monetary entity highlighted Malta’s dedication to strengthen the gaming sector by reinforcing the existing legislation that regulates the gambling industry and by implementing the EU Anti-Money Laundering directive.
Earlier this month, the Maltese Parliament approved new gaming provisions that seek to heighten the jurisdictional profile of Malta from a regulatory perspective by strengthening the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) supervisory role. The approval of the third and final reading of the new Gaming Act also wants to strengthen the compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve the regulatory objectives, in line with concurrent developments relating to anti-money laundering and combating the funding of terrorism.
The Maltese Government will see that the Malta Gaming Authority, as the regulator of the gaming industry, has all the resources to carry on her work effectively and will ultimately lead in further protection to customers and will base its work on concrete evidence.
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