U.K.'s Sky Betting and Gaming Now Owned By The Stars Group

The online gambling industry has been expanding for the last decade and some firms have taken the lead when it comes to mergers and takeovers. The most spectacular acquisitions have come from the Canadian online gambling giant The Stars Group formerly known as Amaya. Amaya came into existence when it purchased The Rational Group for an outstanding price of $4.9 billion in June of 2014.

Now the company has completed a deal started in April of 2018 to acquire the assets of the U.K.’s Sky Betting and Gaming for cash and stock worth $4.7 billion. The deal includes Sky Bet and its various brands acquired from CVC Capital Partners and media giant Sky PLC.

The Stars Group is now considered the largest publicly traded online gambling enterprize in the world. Rafi Ashkenazi The Chief Executive officer for The Stars Group called the acquisition of Sky Bet as “a pivotal moment” in the company’s evolution since it will now be able to develop sports betting “as a second customer acquisition channel.”

Ashkenzai said in a statement, “Sky Bet’s mobile-focused sportsbook pairs well with our industry-leading poker offering to create two premier customer acquisition channels. We believe this combination along with our combined online casino offerings positions The Stars Group for continued growth in the evolving online gaming industry,” The Sky Bet purchase is expected to enhance the diversity of the product range with a more balanced content offering including casino games poker and sports betting within a broad geographic and demographic area. Ashkenzai added that acquiring Sky Bet will assuredly increase The Stars Group’s presence and availability in locally regulated markets.The Stars Group spent $3.6 billion in cash while the balance will be in the form of newly-issued shares. The twenty percent stake British media company Sky, has in Sky Bet, was compensated with £425 million  in cash aside from the shares.


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French Bettors Confident They Will Win The World Cup

Confidence was obvious in the French football team today when they won 1 - 0 against the strong competitor Belgium. There may be something the general public who bet on the FIFA World Cup tournament don’t know as the French gamblers are setting betting records in 2018.

Arjel the French gambling regulator recently revealed its official statistics on local gambler’s outlay on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. During the 48 group stage matches between June 14 and 28, French gamblers bet which was a total of €363m, more than twice the €166m bet on the 2014 World Cup’s group stage and €73m more than the total €290m bet on the entire 2014 FIFA event.

By July 5th the amount wagered on the 2018 event was €159m and was placed with the 27k points of sale of the Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) retail sports betting monopoly. The other €204m was placed with Arjel’s 12 online sports betting licensees.

The Brazil vs.Switzerland match on June 17 took top spot for the highest betting volume of the championship to date at €17m. This met the stats for the second-highest betting volume on any single event since the French online market was opened up in 2010.

Understandably the three World Cup events featuring the French national team generated a significant betting volume. Some €39m was bet on these three matches alone which was about 11% of the group stages total revenues. French regulator Arjel president Charles Coppolani has put his support behind the government’s efforts to unify France’s gambling regulatory structure under a single all encompassing authority. Coppolani said “a single regulator was needed to respond with the proper speed to address a rapidly shifting gambling environment and to impose the necessary consumer protections.”

France is in a position to win the cup and more betting records are sure to be broken in that country.  


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Ethereum Rapidly Becoming Cryptocoin of Choice for Online Gambling

The tech savvy individual today knows something about blockchain and its business applications such as wagering on the internet. The use of cryptocurrencies or virtual money is gaining traction within the online gambling industry. Choosing an online casino can be hard enough and the added debate as to what cryptocurrency is better becomes another challenge.

There are many cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin topping the popularity stats but is Bitcoin the best bet? The factors which make using a virtual currency to gamble with are things such as fees and convenience.Compare another cyber coin like Ethereum which is a decentralized platform for applications that run exactly as programmed without any chance of fraud, censorship or third-party interference to Bitcoin which also utilizes blockchain.

Ethereum is rapidly becoming the coin of choice for online gambling even though Bitcoin has the cache of being the original digital money platform.

Bitcoin’s popularity has started to wain, with a congested network leading to delays in processing.The speed and the low fees have disappeared leaving room for an improved crypto funding platform such Ethereum.

There the debate is clearly in Ethereum’s favour with some features such as the use of smart contracts which enforce transactions in the cryptocurrency world. The platform is influencing in the online gaming sector in a big way. Ethereum has  advantages and Ethereum is gaining major traction in the online gambling market.

Ethereum’s transactions are not only processed much faster than the rival plus the fees are lower which can be all the difference when it comes to deciding whether to game using Bitcoin or Ethereum. Time is money as the saying goes so it makes sense to go with Ethereum. Saving money and saving time,  considering Ethereum is a good bet for betting. Blockchain is the future especially in our virtual world.


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BetVictor Launches Innovative Intuitive Marketing Platform

The online gambling industry has witnessed many firsts on the technology front. The constant need for fresh ideas to keep up with the latest improvement challenges is what forward thinking operators are looking for.Marketing has always been a priority for online gambling firms who are always innovating in the targeting of products relevant to the consumer.

One such innovation has recently been launched by BetVictor, one of Europe’s leading online gaming companies.  The in-house developed Real-Time Automated Marketing Platform is the first market solution designed to provide a seamless tool to foster interaction with consumers in a more effective manner in real-time. BetVictor utilizing its new system analyses customer likes and dislikes and can form campaigns specifically suited to them all with this single marketing automation platform. RAMP is one of the most intuitive marketing tools now available for the online gambling industry, RAMP has the ability to create cross-channel promotional campaigns in every language.

Research has shown that specific targeted personalized promotional notifications are more likely to be clicked on and read.

Leo Judkins, Head of Retention at BetVictor, commented on the system,  “Today, more than ever, customers receive dozens of emails, push notifications, and texts from companies attempting to sell products that aren’t always relevant to them. At BetVictor, by leveraging our own predictive modelling capabilities, we’re able to target our customers with eye-catching offers and campaigns that are of their interest.” Judkins continued to add, “Our innovative and intuitive marketing platform, RAMP, further enhances and simplifies two-way engagement between our teams and our customers, providing them with an enriched experience”

BetVictor is an established innovator in the gaming industry with headquarters in Gibraltar and tech hubs in London and Budapest.  BetVictor’s focus is to offer customers a simple, intuitive and personal betting experience. The company provides in-house technologies and product development capabilities for consumers in 150 countries.  


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Loot Box Issue Decided In France

Many gamblers aren’t particularly interested in video gaming per say but the governments of a number of countries are concerned that gambling has infiltrated the video gaming world. In video gaming there are items called loot boxes which contain items such as weapons or armour that can be obtained and redeemed for enhanced play. Purchasing a loot box is a gamble in itself because the boxes are sold as a random package with the contents hidden until bought. Rare objects are granted if a number of loot boxes are bought. The prizes are a type of monetization, with the players either buying the boxes directly or receiving them while playing games such as League of Legends, and Star Wars Battlefront II. Countries are dealing with the cross over gambling aspect that loot boxes present.  

The French gambling regulator ARJEL maintains that “loot boxes could qualify as gambling if the generated item has a real-world monetary value”, according to the English version of French gambling law. The regulator states that this would be the case if the loot box item is sold outside the gaming platform and a prize was obtained. ARJEL then states that in order for that to happen the game operator would be required to first permit such a transaction away from the platform.

ARJEL’s statement read, “a certain number of investigations are in progress” regarding the authorization of in-game loot boxes. In response, the regulator has voted for a combined and coordinated action, adding that this would allow European financial regulators to “provide a coherent analysis of micro-transactions embedded in video games”.

It should be noted that in the French jurisdiction only three types of online gambling are permitted those being poker, horse betting, and sports betting. In the Netherlands it was revealed that an investigation of ten popular video games with loot boxes and found that four of them had violated Dutch gambling laws. Game developers were given two months to fix the illegal loot box issue.






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Unpredictable Tennis Championships at Wimbledon 2018

Tennis is a most interesting sport to watch and follow although the wagering on the activity may be difficult during this 2018 tennis Championships at Wimbledon which has been been held at the All England Club in London since 1877.

The latest news has been disturbing for some fans of the game with unpredictable things happening to disrupt the course of events. The flying ants invading the courts during the devastating loss for # 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova is an example of the unexpected events that makes betting on an outcome hard.Wozniacki even asked the umpire for bug repellent saying, “You want to focus on playing tennis and not eating bugs”.

Perhaps the most unpredictable aspect of the Championships at Wimbledon is the weather with rain and the unimaginable heat the weather takes a toll on both the players and the viewing public. The Daily Express news points out that, "The average peak temperature of the ’76 tournament was a phenomenal 30.8 degrees. The hottest day in Wimbledon history was in 2015 when tennis fans were collapsing in 36 degree heat. Monday was the second hottest opening day in the tournament’s history, with temperatures soaring to 29 degrees.”

Most recent news today saw two-time Wimbledon champion Nadal working hard against Kazakhstan's Kukushkin to set up a third-round meeting with Australian Alex de Minaur. Time violations were also a factor in the match with Nadal getting a time violation for taking too long to change his clothes in his second-round win at Wimbledon.The world number one was given the penalty at the end of the second set in the 6-4 6-3 6-4 win over Mikhail Kukushkin finding out later he had been also given one for overshooting the warm-up.

In the women’s division both Serena and her sister Venus Williams welcomed the scheduling of women’s matches on the main Show Courts at The Championships over the opening three days.




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Canada's Open Online Gambling Industry Under Threat

Canada has been growing quickly over the last 150 years and has become a very Liberal nation that will even include the legalization of cannabis for recreational use on October 17th 2018.

The attitude of Canada that the citizens deserve to have the freedom to choose a vise and voice their opinion on all matters is part of the new identity. While other nations are keeping refugees out Canada is allowing more in. Online gambling is an example of a pastime many people enjoy in Canada and the rules are lacking in clarity.

Not all jurisdictions or provinces and territories have the same online betting regulations with Ontario Quebec and British Columbia being the main government operators. The provincial casinos, PlayNow, Espacejeux, and PlayOLG, have been finding it difficult to compete when the legislation which states it is legal to bet online, provided the online casino or poker site does not have a physical presence in Canada.

The gambling industry in Canada made $17.3 billion CND.last year and it is expected to grow. The province of Quebec is trying to stop the competitive offshore gambling websites from cashing in with legislation to block at the ISP level.In 2016 the government in Quebec passed Bill 74 which  included a provision to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block international online casino operators. A consortium of ISPs, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), formally filed complaint to the national body governing telecommunications, the CRTC, considered the only organisation who legally have jurisdiction in this case. The CRTC came back with a recommendation that the law was unconstitutional and that they alone, along with the Government of Canada, have jurisdiction A court decision on this is pending. If the case goes in favour of the Quebec ruling Canada could go from one of the most open societies in the world to one that restricts free speech and freedom on the internet.



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Calvin Ayre Making Good Things Happen Around The World

The gambling world especially poker has a number of legendary poker players which have gone down in history as those brave people who take chances.and for the most part people like risk takers because they're exciting and admired by those who don't  take chances. The online gambling industry was originally spurred on by the massive interest in texas holdem and the massive stakes that were being wagered in front of a world audience.

Entrepreneurs who saw the potential of online gambling quickly created an industry that was not fully understood by politicians and law legislators and therefore subject to legal scrutiny.

One of the boldest and successful entrepreneurs is Calvin Ayre. The son of a Canadian prairie farmer Calvin Ayre has managed to build an online gambling empire that he runs now from Antigua and Barbuda a tiny but luxurious little island in the Caribbean. The Calvin Ayre Foundation has been helping charitable causes in over 8 countries around the world. For over 10 years The Calvin Ayre Foundation has been diligently working with local organizations and communities to make a difference and ensure that we leave the world in a much better place than we found it. Antigua has gone through some disastrous storms lately and with the help of the Calvin Ayre Foundation it is slowly recovering.

Mr. Calvin Ayre has not stopped using his entrepreneurial skills yet and is now very involved in a large project involving  a $100m five-star resort on Antigua funded by profits from digital currencies. Ayre was appointed Antigua and Barbuda’s special economic envoy and was excited to announce the upmarket tourist resort on Antigua’s Valley Church beach project had commenced.

The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, commented,  “We expect the resort’s novel and exciting concept to broaden Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism product and bring a new category of tourists to our islands.”


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Czech Government Claims Success Purging Illegal Online Gambling

The are many online gambling jurisdictions in Europe that have enacted measures to keep unlicensed operators from accessing their markets with some of them successful. The Czech Republic installed a new gambling regulatory platform on January 1, 2017 that resulted in most internationally licensed online operators leaving the Czech gambling market. The new regime with the heavy taxes of 23% on sports betting, up to 35% for slots, all of this on top of a 19% corporate tax has pushed offshore operators out of the competition. There are also restrictions on bonus offers which hinders attracting new participants. Some offshore firms have come back to the Czech gambling market despite the reduced profitability.

The Czech Ministry of Finance recently released the official statistics revealing that in 2017 gambling revenue was up only 1.1% from 2016 even though gambling spending rose 14.1%. Online gambling rose 56% year-on-year representing a little better than one-fifth of the overall market. Online fixed-odds sports betting also saw a healthy increase in activity.

The Czech government is cashing in with its new structure setting new fecords for profit due to the tax reforms and licencing fees attached to online gambling operations.

A forecast regarding revenue generated by gambling was presented by Finance Minister Alena Schiller which revealed that the state’s 2018 gambling take would likely fall to a level which is then expected to stabilize over the next couple of years. The Finance Minister maintains that the effort the government has made to rid the Czech gambling market of unlicensed online gambling operators has been ninety percent successful. The illegal offshore online betting aspect is only part of the Czech government’s problem with the authorities also closing about two hundred illegal terrestrial  gaming venues, seizing around 1,500 electronic gambling machines while doing so.




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Sports Betting Now Legal In Rhode Island USA

The times are changing rapidly in the USA with regards to gambling the many jurisdictions in the country are jumping onto the sports betting bandwagon. It is a gamble that political leaders in the various states will make now that it is federally legal to offer sports betting to adult citizens.

The risk factors are high for the political leaders when sorting out the process of legislating and implementing a sports betting offering and regulatory platform acceptable to both operators and government.

Examples of the difficulty of this process starts with Pennsylvania being one of the first states to consider legal sports betting in its domain. Politicians in the Keystone State took the leap of faith that the Supreme Court would overturn the old law and passed a law in 2017. The gamble has not really paid off because Instead of following the lines of Delaware and New Jersey, or replicating taxes in the same manner as Nevada, the politicians tripled the state fees, ending up with a total of 36% on all winnings. With a $10 million fee to obtain a sports betting license, partners and sports betting companies have remained distant assessing the potential after costs.

The model presented by other jurisdictions such as New Jersey and Delaware which legalized sports betting with just about 10% in fees on all winnings,

Now Rhode Island has become the third state in the US to legalize sports betting but high fees might kill revenue opportunities with the fee structure proposed. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo opened the opportunity for sports betting within the Ocean state. Its projected that the approval will bring in additional revenue. Rhode Island is imposing a 51% in tax on all winnings. A sure win for the government but maybe not with the highest in the nation.



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