Ban On U.K.'s EuroMillions Lottery Now In Effect

The Lotto Betting Group consisting of WorldLottery Club, Lottoland, and Multilotto tried in vain recently to squash the banning of consumers betting on EuroMillions lottery draws by the U.K.’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The ruling has come into effect referring to betting on non-UK EuroMillions through a statutory licence condition, bringing the activity in line with established regulations on betting on UK National Lottery draws.

The Lotto Betting Group said there is no “econometric evidence to support the claim that betting on non-UK Euromillions draws is having any statistically significant impact on UK EuroMillions tickets sales”.

The group’s argument last February stated, “The Lotto Betting Group believes that the decision to prohibit betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws was unjustified and was based on inconclusive evidence,” adding, “This belief has been supported by the recent publication of the National Audit Office report, which confirms that the fall in National Lottery income for good causes in 2016-17 was due to a move away from National Lottery draw-based games to Instant games and not as a result of lottery betting.” “Instant games have a lower return to good causes, which led to the decline. The letter before the claim asks the DCMS to suspend the Parliamentary approval process.”

Director of online lottery syndicate Lotto Social, Almira Mohamed, has praised the U.K. government for taking action over an issue that could impact revenue that goes to good causes.

"It is encouraging that the government has acknowledged the risks posed by lottery betting to charitable causes so dependent on National Lottery sales,” Mohamed said.

“Whilst this is a win for the National Lottery and the significant work it does for Good Causes, we also need to recognise that consumers are demanding alternative and more cost effective ways to play the National Lottery, particularly in these times of austerity.”




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Wagering Interest Building For FIFA World Cup In Russia

The news these days regarding Russian interference in various government elections and spy situations has everyone questioning the idea of Russia hosting the FIFA World Cup this year. The biggest question posed by gamblers will be whether betting on the games will be fair and safe. According to reports these games are to be the most bet upon in history.

There are a number of exciting opportunities presented for gamblers wishing to bet on the matches. Even though Russia has been plagued by allegations of match fixing for decades the government of Russia is doing its best to restore the tarnished image of some athletes, while also applying strict regulations to curtail the illegal and grey area gambling activities. Illegal gambling on the World Cup 2018 may be a factor in the jurisdiction but it won’t stop people from taking advantage of the many promotions and deals available from the numerous bookies and web site offerings.

Each year the FIFA World Cup gains more interest worldwide with exciting games in South Africa and Brazil creating a benchmark for wagering strength. The games this year are filled with the possibility that a new team will challenge the favoured teams such as Spain Germany or Brazil. Argentina is poised to challenge the world best teams with Lionel Messi looking to lead the team to victory. Columbia is also a strong contender in the running for the championship.  

It seems too early to predict the outcome of the tournament but it is coming on fast and furious with the betters already proposing the possibilities that include the dark horses such as Croatia and England. Russia's first-ever World Cup will take place from June 14 to July 15 in 11 cities, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod and Yekaterinburg. There have been over 100,000 tickets already sold to South Korean fans who plan to attend the matches.

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U.K.'s ASA Deems PokerStars Ad Offensive

Advertizing standards are created for the gambling industry to keep the industry honest and going strong. Advertizing online betting sites has been the backbone of internet wagering whether it is on television or on billboards it has to be acceptable to everyone that comes in contact with these ads.

The UK Advertising Standards Agency announced that it has ruled that a television advert run by PokerStars was “socially irresponsible. ” The broadcast adverting was focused on how participants can ‘bluff’ their way to a victory in online poker games.

The particular advert that was deemed controversial featured a player going all in on a bluff. The player featured risked all of funds anticipating the other participants would fold their hands.

A voice in the ad said: “Here you are, the moment when bluffing is the only way to win, you’re freaking out kiddo, but think about all those times you bluffed yourself.” “Like the pull-up bar waiting for you to get back in-shape, that book you’re definitely going to read, your parents never ever had sex.” “Use that talent because if you can bluff yourself, you can bluff anyone.” “Pokerstars…you’re already a great poker player.”

The ASA said, “As the ad only showed the player being able to bluff in real life, non-poker related circumstances, and did not imply that they had any other experience of the game, we considered that the ad suggested that players could excel at poker without any previous experience of the game.

“This, therefore, portrayed gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible.

“While we acknowledged that big “all in” bluffs were a part of the game, we considered that the message that bluffing should be attempted without any experience of playing poker or any understanding of poker strategy portrayed gambling behaviour in the context of recklessness and in a manner that could lead to financial harm.”

ASA has warned PokerStars, “their ads did not portray gambling in a socially irresponsible manner or in the context of recklessness”.



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Bulgaria A Profitable Destination for Online Gambling Operators

Bulgaria has become a destination for online gambling fans from all over the world. Operators of gambling service providers are delighted with the regulatory situation in that jurisdiction. Online betting operators enjoy massive tax benefits when they are licensed in Bulgaria.

The Center of the Study of Democracy (CSD) in Bulgaria revealed that data from Moody’s Amadeus exposed licensed gambling operators in the country paid taxes worth BGN177 million ($111 million) in 2016 and BGN144 million ($90.32 million) during the first nine months of 2017 thus creating a large increase in profit for the operators.

The Bulgarian government implemented a revised set of gambling regulations in 2013, according to the recent report. The new rules removed the corporate tax on licensed gambling operators and gave them a different tax. The virtual gambling providers now pay a 20 percent levy on revenue while terrestrial operations are taxed on the number of gambling devises and products they offer. Offshore gambling product providers are required to put up a BGN100,000 ($62,725) licensing fee.

CSD analyst Tihomir Bezlov told media outlet, “If the tobacco product market is estimated at BGN3.5 billion in 2017, then the excise duties paid and the VAT are about 3 billion levs. With huge gambling profits, the tax paid for 2016 is BGN 177 million,”

Gambling operators have relocated to the Bulgarian jurisdiction to benefit from the positive changes in the tax regulations. It was reported that there are now 1,327 registered companies involved in wagering products.

New Gaming SA, Eurobet Ltd and National Lottery SA, have been the most profitable in the jurisdiction. Owned by Vasil Bozhkov, New Gaming SA and National Lottery SA reported a turnover of €88.5 million ($108.5 million) and €15.3 million ($18.76 million), respectively in 2017.  The total turnover of these two operations rose to €296 million ($362.97 million). Proof that Bulgaria is a destination to turn to for profits.


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Masters Golf Tournament's 2018 $11 Million Purse

Spring has arrived with the beginning of The Masters Tournament one of the four major championships in professional golf. The exclusive private Augusta National Golf Club which was established in 1934, in beautiful Augusta Georgia is the venue for the championship game.

The 82nd year of the first major championship of the season, the Masters is also the only one of the four major tournaments played at the same course every year. Augusta National is a par-72 measuring 7,435 yards. A total of 87 players are set to tee it up April 5th on the tournament’s smallest field this century. The only golfers to win all four of the major tournaments, the U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship and the Masters are Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. McIlroy is looking to become the sixth golfer to complete a career Grand Slam.

The odds on favourite to take the title was Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland at +900, but he has now slipped to a +1000 second-favorite to Jordan Spieth (+900). McIlroy has come close to taking the championship at Augusta a couple of times. He was dominating in the 2011 tournament until a back-nine down fall led to a final-round 80 and a 15th-place finish. McIlroy was tied in seventh place last year.

Former green jacket winners such as Tiger Woods who has won four green jackets, is tied for second-most green jackets with Arnold Palmer behind Jack Nicklaus’ six with Woods in the odds running at (+1400). Spieth, Justin Thomas (+1100), world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+1100), and Justin Rose (+1400) rounding  out the odds favorites. Spieth was runner-up at the 2014 Masters, and won it the next year. He should have won it in 2016 but fell short on the last day and was runner-up, finishing tied for 11th in 2017.The purse for this year’s Masters Tournament is $11,000,000 which is sure to get all the players excited.

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Penn National Moves Ahead On Pinnacle Entertainment Merger

Penn National Gaming, Inc. is an operator of casinos and racetracks based in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania USA. The firm operates 29 facilities in the United States and Canada, many of them under the Hollywood Casino brand. The publicly traded company employs almost 19 thousand people and earned approximately $473 million in 2017. The company has assets worth $5.2 billion and generated $3.1 billion in revenue last year.

It was recently announced that shareholders at Penn National Gaming have voted to approve a planned merger with Pinnacle Entertainment in a deal worth $2.8bn US. Approximately 86% of Penn’s outstanding common shares were voted and about  99% of these votes were in favour of the proposed merger with Pinnacle.

Prior to the merger which was announced back in December Pinnacle agreed it would sell the operations of four properties to Boyd Gaming for $575 million. Pinnacle Entertainment origins go back as far as 1938. It is located in Spring Valley Nevada USA with its operations employing as many as 16 thousand people in 2016.

Timothy Wilmott, chief executive officer of Penn National, commented on the merger,  “The shareholder vote was another important milestone toward completing the acquisition of Pinnacle later this year.

“We are pleased by the support of our shareholders, which we believe reflects their confidence in the significant near and long-term value this transaction will create for investors in both companies.

“The acquisition of Pinnacle’s operations will allow Penn National to further raise the bar on providing unparalleled entertainment and gaming experiences for our regional gaming customers while providing long-term growth opportunities and efficiencies related to our increased scale.”

The deal is still subject to the usual regulatory approvals and other closing conditions with the merger expecting to be completed by the second half of 2018 with the result being the addition of twelve new properties to Penn National's holdings.


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Gambling Deeply Engrained In Western Cultures

Gambling has been installed as a cultural necessity in some jurisdictions. The way governments reap the benefits from all the different types of betting is a case of needed regulation. Governments are becoming just as dependant on the revenue gains from the wagering public as they do on their income tax.

We have become addicted to the culture of wagering. Television adverts, sports team sponsorships and many other media sources encourage the public to bet. British bookies and operators of online gambling web sites are upset the U.K. Gambling Commission wants to set limits on the way they offer their products. Some critics have even suggested the betting shops and online sites should be nationalised, in the same way the lottery is owned by the public. The British National Lottery Camelot is run by a private company with a small percentage going to the company but the majority of the profits are returned to community projects and the general well being of the citizens. The efforts to stop money laundering and problem gambling would be easier to address.

There has been a lot of discussion regarding fixed-odds betting terminals which are considered by many to be a mindless form of taxation that the owners of these machines collect to excess. In the year ending September 2016, £1.8bn was wagered on them in the U.K. including 233,000 sessions where players ended up with more than £1,000 in losses. Most of this cash was turned into profit for the bookies.

Keeping in mind we have become accustomed to the adverts and the sponsorship efforts and the perceived understanding that the gambling industry will control itself it seems to be a little late for the regulatory bodies to scale back the intertwined culture. Gambling problems are not just for individuals but also for governments that need the revenue. There are a lot of people employed by the betting industry and they pay taxes and buy groceries.


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UKGC "Review of Online Gambling" Report Published

The United Kingdom is taking steps to minimize harm in the gambling industry which has been reviewed at length by the regulatory body responsible, the U.K. Gambling Commission. The recent release of its promised “Review of Online Gambling” is finally published. The lengthy 63-page report was published with an announcement that the UKGC plans to continue strengthening various aspects of its consumer-protection effort.

There are four key policy recommendations which are most likely to be implemented. Improved age verification, improved KYC checks on customers’ financial status, misleading and unfair marketing and promotional practices, and ineffective customer interaction have been identified as the basic goals of the Commission.

Some of the more pressing issues of concern are actions to ban underage access even to free-play offerings, and the revelation that the regulator may even consider banning the use of credit cards for depositing onto online betting sites.

Other jurisdictions realize the importance of restricting underage participants to any type of gambling site that may serve as conditioning gateway that could increase the chances of problem-gambling behavior later.  The Commission has recommended what amounts to verifiable pre-registration for all  UK regulated domains. The changes will be vast for the online betting industry which will have to comply with the UKGC’s plan to require age registration for all offerings not just those that have real money transactions.

The Gambling Commission has its work cut out for it after it was revealed during the probe into the regulations that there were many failures because operators do not know enough about their customers early enough in the relationship. The Commission is asking the industry to provide due diligence requiring players to be verified before they were allowed to wager.

Misleading adverts are also of some concern in the UKGC report as well as the much needed requirement that online gambling operators also do more to identify problem gambling before the harm is done. A set of rules must be followed and if not there will be fines, says the Commission.

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“SandpaperGate” Rocks Australian Cricket Integrity

Revelations have come out regarding the game of cricket ball tampering scandal in Australia. The match fixing effort has been exposed with Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann stepping down as part of the fallout from “SandpaperGate,” in which the national team cheated by tampering with the ball in an attempt to gain an edge over South Africa in a test match.

The very emotional vice captain David Warner issued an unreserved apology for his actions in Australia’s ball-tampering scandal. He said the decision he made is one he, “will regret as long as I live”. The cricketer said he took full responsibility at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first time after being removed as the Australian cricket team’s vice-captain.

Lehmann’s decision to resign has shocked the cricket world, mostly because he was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by Cricket Australia. It was revealed during the probe that the players acted on their own and he was unaware of the plan. Lehmann’s reason for stepping down wasn’t that he ordered captain Steve Smith and batsmen Cameron Bancroft to tamper with the ball, but that he was feeling responsible.  “After viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting, it’s only fair that I make this decision. I’m ultimately responsible for the culture of the team.”

Warner was identified by Cricket Australia as being also responsible for the events that unfolded during the third Test in Cape Town. Steve Smith received a one match fine, one match suspension (ICC), a one year suspension from international cricket and a two year suspension from serving as Australia team captain from Cricket Australia.  Cameron Bancroft received a one match fine from the (ICC) and a two year suspension from serving as Australia team captain from Cricket Australia.  David Warner got a one match fine a one match suspension from the (ICC) Also a one year suspension from international cricket, and he will not be considered for any future captaincy from Cricket Australia.


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Former PokerStars Exec Joins E-Sports Start Up Luckbox

eSports which is also called electronic sports, esports, competitive video gaming, professional video gaming, or pro gaming are a form of competition using video games. The activity is the new kid on the gambling scene with huge events being presented online and off. As soon as gaming became competitive, participants and audiences have wanted to place bets on it. The technology has improved and online betting on esports has grown in popularity.

The maturation of eSports betting has seen the rise of web locations that specialize in the activity. Owned by Real Time Games Holdings Limited headquartered on the Isle of Man Luckbox is claiming it will be fully regulated and compliant with the highest-level gaming jurisdictions ensuring visitors can play in a safe and secure environment. Participants can play using traditional currency, crypto currency and in-game items or skins. Consumers can convert their funds to Luckbox’s own crypto token called LUCK to take advantage of enhanced bonuses and features. Luckbox takes a modern approach to data science, artificial intelligence and decision theory.

The innovative eSports betting site is operated by a team with great experience in iGaming, eSports and crypto currency is happy to welcome Quentin Martin, appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer. Quentin will head a major position in scaling up Luckbox operations as the enterprise concludes its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and prepares for launch later this year. Quentin has a massive amount of experience in the gambling sector, formerly as Head of Social Poker at PokerStars.

Quentin commented on his position, “As a scale-up COO, my role is incredibly flexible and tough to define – essentially, everything that isn’t product, marketing, or finance falls under my purview, one of which I’m honoured to undertake. I’m here to enhance the organisation and to make sure we stay on track operationally. The job description could most accurately be described as ‘get things done’!”


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