E.C. Drops Online Gambling Compliance Complaints

The jurisdictions in the European Union have now been handed a go ahead letter from the European Commission stating the Commission will no longer bother with online gambling issues. Recently the E.C. told online gambling trade associations and other stakeholders in writing that all current infringement procedures against protectionist measures by online gambling interests in the E.U. will no longer be considered.

Confirmation of the decision also came to light recently with the E. C. stating it had a “political commitment to be more strategic in enforcing EU law,” and thus it was “not a priority for the Commission to use its infringement powers to promote an EU Single Market in the area of online gambling services.” The E.C. maintains it will continue to support member states in “efforts to modernize” their online gambling market and pledged to help facilitate cooperation between local gambling regulators.

Rulings were issued by the E.C. with regard to licensed E.U. online gambling operators giving them the right to access customers in EU member states. The EC is confident that gambling complaints “can be handled more efficiently by national courts” on the basis of these earlier responses. EU member states are allowed to restrict access to their gambling markets provided they can demonstrate that these actions are socially responsible.

The Secretary general of the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA), Maarten Haijer was not happy with the Commission’s hands off approach, declaring the decision,  “shows a baffling lack of understanding of the digital consumer” and he suggests that the E.C. is not “taking its role as guardian of the treaties seriously.”

Mr. Haijer stressed that the EC’s announcement “does not change the legal situation and – as the Commission states itself – cannot be read as any form of ‘greenlighting’ existing breaches of EU law in the Member States’ laws.”


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Volatile Bitcoin Gamble Paying Out At Over 1500 Percent

The Bitcoin gamble or virtual currency bet has a lot of people excited on the internet. Bitcoin has reached unbelievable heights in recent weeks crashing through barriers many thought were impossible to achieve. There are high stakes gamblers watching the meteoric rise of the crypto currency and loving the volatile nature of the exchange. The profit from a single Bitcoin purchase back in the beginning of 2017 is over 1500 percent and not many investors or online gamblers can stomach that kind of uncertainty.

A recent article points to the obvious as an exchange group which plans to launch Bitcoin futures maintains there are "ominous signs" that rising transaction costs could cause the crypto currency to collapse in value. American financial market company operating an options and futures exchange CME Group has announced it will begin offering a trade in Bitcoin futures contracts. It will be the second major exchange to allow speculators to bet on Bitcoin's price moving in either direction. The expanding interest in Bitcoin by institutional investors has prompted the move.

Executive director and senior economist at CME Group, Erik Norland, has said that transaction costs are showing "ominous signs" that could signal another price correction is imminent.

Norland shared his understanding of the volatile situation with his clients, "Transaction costs spiked from $2 to around $30 per transaction in late 2010 just before Bitcoin prices suffered a 93% collapse. As Bitcoin transaction costs subsequently fell, another bull market developed. Transaction costs edged higher in 2012 and then soared to over $80 by early 2013, which coincided with another collapse in Bitcoin prices. By 2015, transaction costs eased toward $8 when another bull market began."

Transaction fees are those paid to Bitcoin "miners," Miners are rewarded for their efforts with the creation of Bitcoins. Unfortunately the more Bitcoins that are "mined," the less the reward meaning the cost to create a Bitcoin will rise.



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Catena Expands With Sports Affiliate Baybets Purchase

Watching the expansion of online gambling is a fascinating look at the dynamics of internet commerce. The recent acquisition of German focused sports affiliate Baybets Ltd. by Stockholm-listed industry affiliate marketing network Catena Media is a prime example of the ever changing gambling market.

The Baybets acquisition is part of Catena’s European market expansion plan, an increased focus on services and coverage for the German facing sports betting market.

Catena Media has agreed to an initial payment of €26.5 million for the Baybets’ 50 website presence. An additional €65 million in ‘earn-out payments’ based on the performance of acquired assets over an initial 24-month period is also part of the agreement.

Chief Executive Officer at Baybets Jan Steffen, commented on the arrangements,  “I would like to thank all the people that have been involved in the company’s journey so far, bringing us to where we are today. We now look forward reaching new heights together with Catena Media on a long-term basis, both from an operational perspective and as shareholders. We are excited about all the upcoming opportunities that a-wait”

Present acting Chief Executive Officer for Catena Media Henrik Persson Ekdahl,  spoke about the acquisition deal, “We are proud to announce the largest acquisition made by Catena Media since company inception, making us one of the strongest sports betting affiliate players on the market. We have set ambitious financial targets for the company, and the acquisition is fully in line with those targets. We are excited about being able to complete this deal, given the upcoming sports year of 2018, which will have both the Winter Olympics and the World Cup. ”

Catena’s sports betting division based in Malta will provide the integration for the takeover that will engage the 23 member team from Baybets.

Last May 2017 Catena strengthened its position in the U.K. by acquiring Online Media, a UK based fast-growing sports betting affiliate.


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Police In Hong Kong & China Break Up Illegal Gambling Operation

An investigation that was triggered by a tip last April has resulted in yet another bust in Hong Kong and mainland China of a major illegal online gambling operation.

China’s state media outlet Xinhua recently posted that authorities had detained 71 individuals suspected of involvement in an online gambling operation that involved illegal betting by Chinese mainland gamblers on Hong Kong’s legal gambling network.

Police in the Chinese province of Guangdong were made aware of websites that let mainland gamblers place bets on international football matches, as well as horseracing organised by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

The large contingency of police raided dozens of suspected illegal gambling locations in both Guangdong and Hong Kong resulting in the arrest of 48 people in one jurisdiction and 23 more alleged criminals in the other. Between the Guangdong and Hong Kong police efforts they revealed they have stopped RMB 21m (US $3.2m) worth of online bets and wagers worth around HKD 100m ($12.8m).  A significant amount of cash, as well as computers, cell phones, betting slips and other gear related to the illegal operation.

Organized Crime and Triad Bureau chief inspector Bert Lo Chung-wong was quoted in the South China Morning Post as saying that the ring was organized into four tiers, “overseas bookmakers, senior brokers, brokers and gamblers. The senior brokers sometimes acted as the bookmakers and received bets directly from gamblers. Or they passed the bets to overseas bookmakers to earn brokerage.”

Chinese officials have been adamant about eliminating illegal online gambling and have stepped up efforts to identify wrongdoing and arrest and punish perpetrators. China’s Ministry of Public Security is cooperating with other jurisdictions in Asia to fight over the boarder illegal gambling.

The FIFA World Cup will take place in Russia this year where there will be close proximity to China in prime viewing hours illegal betting is expected. More cross border crack downs are in the works before the series as China anticipates a large volume of illegal betting activity.


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Micrgame SportPesa Partner For Success In Italy

Privately held company sports betting platform SportPesa which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya has decided to enter the Italian market and prior to the launch has partnered with Italian online gambling company Microgame.

In 1998, Microgame was one of the first in the online sports betting market and subsequently, it became the first Italian service provider in the field and expanded services into Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Georgia, Malta, Austria, and United Kingdom.

Kenya’s, SportPesa is owned and operated by Pevans East Africa, a firm with shareholders from Bulgaria, Kenya, South Sudan and the USA.

The proposed online sportsbook and casino in Italy will be worked on by the Microgame and SportPesa teams with future additions including table games, bingo, internet poker, and virtual games for the Italian online gambling market. Integration of the SportPesa portfolio will be handle together by the Microgames and SportsPesa development experts.

SportPesa manager Luca Magnano commented on the progress of the Italian launch, “We’re delighted to be teaming up with Microgame to create a best-in-class gaming experience for the Italian market; we have quickly developed a strong understanding and working relationship with our new partners and we believe that together we will soon be recognised as industry leaders in Italy,”

Marco Castaldo, chief executive of Microgame, also spoke on the arrangement,  “We are extremely proud to have been chosen outsourcing partner by a successful international group such as SportPesa for its launch in Italy.” Castaldo continued,  “We are confident about the great potential of this project and will deploy all the resources necessary to ensure its success.”

Microgame also recently secured a reseller deal with Microgaming-powered Prima Networks. It appears the right moves are being made by SportPesa in providing a solid foundation for success in the competitive Italian online gambling jurisdiction.




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EuroMillions Lottery Now Prohibited in the U.K.

Protecting the interests of online gambling consumers from outside influences is a big part of the responsible efforts made by gambling commissions and authorities in many jurisdictions around the world. Following public complaints from National Lottery operator Camelot, which stated that Lottoland was undercutting its EuroMillions revenue by not matching the higher ticket prices charged by the National Lottery the government in the United Kingdom has prohibited third-party betting on EuroMillions lottery draws.

Last March, the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS) created an open consultation on ‘Prohibiting Third Party Betting on Non-UK EuroMillions Draws.” The resulting action by the DDCMS is, “to introduce a new license condition to prohibit consumers in Great Britain from placing bets on EuroMillions games which take place outside the UK.”

The DDCMS commented it is “mindful of the effect on impacted businesses” like Lottoland, and thus it will “tailor the license condition to ensure it is in line with our aims to reduce consumer confusion.” The fine of £150k was levied against Lottoland for not being upfront with consumers that they were, “betting on the outcome of a lottery draw and not actually taking part in a lottery.”

CEO of Lottoland, Nigel Birrell called the DDCMS decision “unjustified” and would set “a dangerous precedent for policy-making on the basis of no evidence.” Birrell, who criticised UK lottery operators’ outdated business model, said the decision “will do nothing but stifle innovation in the sector.” The business model of Lottoland has been criticised because it takes away money from good causes and charities: many lotteries such as the British National Lottery give a sizeable percentage of ticket sales to charity, while secondary lotteries such as Lottoland do not.

Lottoland’s disruptive business model is causing issues in other jurisdictions, including Australia, which recently announced it would prohibit third-party betting on domestic lotteries.



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1X2 NETWORK Content To Be Added to GAN Worldwide

The competition for the online gambling consumer’s attention has become fierce with content topping the list for players seeking quality entertainment. One firm that has published more content for leading gaming manufacturers than any other company in the sector Game Account Network has recently announced it will be adding the 1X2 NETWORK collection of HTML5 virtual sports games, table games and slots to GAN’s worldwide platform.

 1X2 NETWORK is the new corporate name for the 1X2gaming group of companies. An independent software company based in the UK, it has been pioneering software for gaming content since 2002. The 1X2 NETWORK also consists of the new Iron Dog Studio brand that produces high production slots available for the UK, Malta, Gibraltar, IOM and Italian jurisdictions.

GAN offers an option to players when accessing the content by using a ‘Simulated Gaming’ option or real-money regulated internet gaming mode.  

GAN’s  Chief executive officer Dermot Smurfit commented on the distribution deal with 1X2 NETWORK,  “We are delighted to support independent UK software companies such as 1X2 NETWORK and their game studio clients in distributing their innovative gaming content to GAN’s clients worldwide, enabled for real-money internet gaming and virtual currency, based Simulated Gaming,”

Chief commercial officer at 1X2 NETWORK, Kevin Reid, also spoke about the deal, “Our partnership with GAN allows us to continue our growth into additional markets where there is a real desire for fresh, innovative games such as those available from 1X2 NETWORK.”

The company is in a good position to see revenue growth with the signing of the law allowing Pennsylvanian’s to enjoy internet betting. GAN is very well prepared for Pennsylvania to regulate with a full Internet gaming system already active in one of Pennsylvania’s leading  casinos, hold a full gaming license in New Jersey as well as being a registered authorized gaming services provider in Pennsylvania since 2014.




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Big Fish Games Acquired By Aristocrat Leisure

The online gambling industry is focusing its attention increasingly on the social aspect of betting on the internet. Recently an acquisition by gambling service and product provider Aristocrat Leisure to acquire social gaming company Big Fish Games for $990m (€833.9m) is clear evidence of the trend.

Aristocrat Leisure Limited is an Australian firm licensed in 240 gaming jurisdictions and operating in 90 countries. Big Fish Games has offices in Seattle, Washington, Oakland, California USA and Luxembourg.  The cash deal will end with Big Fish operating as a standalone business alongside Aristocrat’s Product Madness and Plarium, another social gaming enterprise which Aristocrat also purchased recently.  

Aristocrat is eager to excel in the social gaming market place and by acquiring these companies is now well equipped to succeed. Aristocrat is financing this acquisition utilizing cash reserves and an incremental $890m seven-year Term Loan B debt facility.

Chief executive officer and managing director of Aristocrat, Trevor Croker, commented on the purchase, “The acquisition of Big Fish will immediately provide scale across our entire digital platform, following the recent acquisition of Plarium, which expanded our digital business into the fast growing social gaming market.

“Our digital revenues approximately double from Aus$651m, pro-forma for the acquisition of Plarium, to Aus$1.3bn for the year ended September 30, 2017.

“Our social casino business will become the second largest social casino publisher globally, with revenues increasing from Aus$383m to Aus$641m for the year ended September 30, 2017.

“The acquisition of Big Fish will also materially expand our social gaming footprint, positioning Aristocrat to further capitalise on growth in mobile gaming following the acquisition of Plarium.

“Through continued optimisation of Big Fish's existing successful applications, together with Big Fish's attractive pipeline of new titles across both social casino and social gaming, this transaction ideally positions us to capitalise on the positive growth outlook in each of these mark.”


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US Online Gambling Market Confusion Continues

The lucrative online gambling market in the USA is still struggling to emerge as a legal revenue source for governments and companies seeking relief from mounting debt. Politicians in various jurisdictions in the USA have come to the conclusion that if properly regulated online gambling can be a stable and safe source of revenue. The number of American jurisdictions discussing and passing online gambling legislation is growing but so is renewed opposition from those who think online betting to be detrimental to the fabric of society. Currently there are four states that have laws in place that allow a fully regulated and legal online gambling framework New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada and most recently Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s decision to give the online gambling business a chance has given rise to supporters of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act which would rewrite the Federal Wire Act of 1961 with the goal of extending the Wire Act to ban most forms of online gambling.  The legislator’s decision in Pennsylvania to legalise online gambling has moved Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to write a letter to Rod J. Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, US Department of Justice.

The concerned senators remind the Deputy Attorney General that back three years ago they warned  that the nation would experience “the most fundamental change in gambling in our lifetimes, as computers, tablets and mobiles became casinos available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

It is unlikely that President Trump will interfere with the various jurisdictions need to make money from online betting even though Sheldon Adelson, an avid Trump and Republican supporter is firmly committed to trying to have internet betting banned in all forms in all of America.

What the letter will accomplish remains to be seen but with so many other issues on the table in the coming session of Congress the odds are ‘nothing’ will happen.


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BetterBetting Building Peer-to-Peer Sports Betting Marketplace

The concept is not that hard to grasp if the process is explained in plain language. The Bitcoin rise has everyone who didn’t have faith in crypto currency rethinking the past year and an investment that has made the most massive gains that anyone has seen since the dot com revolution.  

Gambling has a reputation as being risky business but those big time fund managers are still raking in millions using other peoples cash, after all that’s what banks do right. They charge big to lend you money and offer very little in interest to those ‘smart’ people who save their money in the banks.  

It is no wonder gamblers want a different kind of funding system and are finding crypto money is the key to that new way of trading services and goods on the internet.

A recent announcement by the BetterBetting Foundation that it will launch an initial coin offering that will introduce investors to BETR, a new betting crypto currency.  BetterBetting Foundation maintains that the virtual currency sale will “lay the foundations of the first truly decentralised peer-to-peer sports betting marketplace on the internet”.

Chief executive officer and founder of Better Betting Foundation, Adriaan Brink, commented, “By combining the power of blockchain with our experience and knowledge of the sports betting industry, we are introducing a new betting currency that understands the underlying structure of a sports bet, ensuring fair and robust betting opportunities between two parties, who do not have any relationship with one another.

“Working with major industry players, this decentralised liquidity marketplace for sports betting can be used in many different ways and provides automated programmatic interfaces so that existing sports books can link into the system.

“Working with, rather than against, major industry players with a zero margin model, we seek to provide the railway tracks for sports betting in the future."









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