Lottoland Australia's Proposal Considered Not Genuine

The internet provides global access to news sports and entertainment which online gambling is a big part of for many people. The number of jurisdictions that allow or don’t allow the use of the internet to place real money bets is staggering. There are places that allow certain kinds of online betting and those that don’t allow it at all. There are other issues that the industry faces such as competition among providers of certain gambling products.

The government involvement in the gambling industry is sometimes a monopoly and at other times a battle to keep a legal lid on operator’s actions on the internet. Australia is an example of a nation in flux with the gambling industry at odds over the continued competition between international gambling operators and lotteries and local product suppliers. The so called war of words has been going on for some time in Australia between Lottoland and Australia’s newsagents. The recent proposal from Lottoland Australia that asks Newsagent’s customers to nominate their local agent and that agent would receive 10% of each wager the customer places on the website. In return, agents are requested to advertise Lottoland on the premises, providing all advertising is limited to only lotteries from other domains.

Lottoland’s CEO, Luke Brill, said: “Lottoland has listened to Australian newsagents and this model is recognition that we need to work together. Newsagents will always have a longstanding cultural link to lotteries, but as it stands there is no infrastructure for them to take advantage of overseas lotteries and online betting. This needs to change.” Brill added, “Every bet on an overseas lottery is incremental revenue, part of which can now flow fairly to newsagents. This model complements in-store lottery purchases and opens a channel for these businesses to benefit from the emerging pool of ‘online only’ punters.”

The competition is still on with agents saying it is not a “genuine or helpful idea”, with some considering it “insult added to the injuries already caused by Lottoland”.


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Pennsylvania USA Steps Closer To Legal Internet Betting

The state of the online gambling industry in the USA has been a gamble for politicians who see the potential revenue gains of a regulated and licensed system. Governments in the various jurisdictions in America need more funding for social programs and are looking at betting products available online as a way to obtain the needed funds.

Pennsylvania has been a jurisdiction that has recently passed a gambling expansion bill that could lead to making online gambling legal.  The Pennsylvania Senate voted 31-19, moving the bill to the state House, where it will be examined again. The bill had been in a stagnant state due to a disagreement regarding the subject of video gaming terminals and whether these machines should be permitted on a large-scale basis in Pennsylvania. Internet games and a number of new casinos across Pennsylvania legal games at highway truck stops and the possibility of legal sports betting in the future were part of the proposed legislation.  

House Bill 271 has gone through the next step with The House voting 109-72 in favour of the expansion bill. If the bill gets final approval, the state lottery will be able to sell an opportunity to win online while daily fantasy sports operators may also be able to operate in the state if Congress clears these activities nationally.

Executive vice-president of Spectrum Gaming Group, a New Jersey-based consultancy, Joe Weinert, said the bill was one of the most “aggressive” he has ever witnessed. Weinert commented, “Aside from any state initially authorizing casino gambling, this is one of the most aggressive gambling expansion bills we’ve ever seen.”

Pennsylvania plans to tax internet games the same rate as casinos pay for live play at their physical locations.  A portion of slots revenue is destined for property taxes and other online games contributing to the state’s general revenue needs.


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Russian New Online Betting Site Launched

Russia is a new frontier for the online gambling industry and there are those who see the gap in availability and are trying to fill it with services and gambling products. Last June it was reported that Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut was planning to join with GVC Holdings and bwin GVC’s main sports betting brand to launch an online sports betting platform in the jurisdiction. Mamut reportedly said he will spend up to €10m ($11.2m/£8.6m) per year over the next three years to develop the brand.

Now Bwin is moving ahead with an announcement of a mid November launch in Russia. The platform which has already gone live for preliminary registrations is giving away a shared bonus pot of RUB100m (£1.31m/€1.47m) to all new sign-ups to the site.

The Russian magnate owns the company that was granted a license to operate Digital Betting LLC, and online technology company Rambler & Co. Bwin was the first offshore gambling firm to acquire a license in Russia since the country started to regulate sports betting a few years ago.

A spokesperson for the venture was quoted as saying it as a “highly competitive market” with about ten major Russian bookmakers already offering services and products including Liga Stavok, Fonbet, and 1xstavka. The spokesperson continued to say that Rambler & Co alone had as many as 42 million active monthly users. The spokesperson also said, “Our entry into the Russian market is thought to be a pioneering movement - we are the first foreign brand to operate in the market ever - and will pave the way for the entrance of other major betting sites,” adding, “We understand many players still bet offline due to there being plenty of betting shops. We did a lot of research to prepare for the launch and are ready to meet the expectations of those who believed and continue to believe in us.”








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Eastern European Gaming Summit Sofia Bulgaria Nov 20-22

The European jurisdictions that are holding their own in the competitive and difficult online betting industry are in the Balkans. Those eastern European nations such as Bulgaria Hungary and Romania are becoming tech hubs with a population of educated people supporting the growing consumer base for gambling services and products.

The recent announcement that the tenth anniversary Eastern European Gaming Summit is about to take place in Sofia, Bulgaria on November 20th through to the 22nd 2017. This most prestigious Eastern European forum for the gaming industry has brought the brightest and best professionals together again to share their experience. Participants will benefit from the ideas and scope of experts at this summit covering the online and terrestrial gambling sectors including tourism and leisure divisions from around the globe. Developments in other parts of Europe as well as Asia the USA and Russia will be examined and discussed.   

The Inter Expo Center will be the large venue for this exchange of professional information concerning expanding gaming business. The agenda starts with the introduction of virtual reality and how it may possibly become the next big trend in the online casino industry with notable speakers on the subject it is a great beginning topic. Just as interesting in terms of the impact that technology is having on the online gambling world is artificial intelligence and its repercussions and financial benefit. The agenda for the three days is extensive covering almost every aspect of the industry’s future direction. The inclusion of a segment on Blockchain will be welcomed by many operators and attendees willing to embrace this new system. Along with that subject comes discussion and information about the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation to be implemented in May of 2018 in Europe requiring online gambling operators to be vigilant protecting data associated with their customers. The extended events schedule also includes a round table for operators hosted by the Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling.



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LeoVegas Acquires Online Gambling Firm Royal Panda

The age of internet gambling has possibly reached a peak according to those venture capitalists looking for opportunity in the industry. The merger and acquisitions activity has been strong in the online gambling world with some smaller firms and some very large ones making purchase deals.

The recent revelation by the Swedish firm LeoVegas that it has entered into an acquisition agreement of the Malta-based company Web Investments Limited is another example of this trend. LeoVegas is a mobile gaming company and provider of online casino and sports betting services founded in 2011.

The group of the Web Investments Limited maintains the Royal Panda trademark which will provide LeoVegas with the opportunity to expand further in regulated gaming markets.  Royal Panda was launched in March 2014 and holds a license to operate granted by the U.K. Gambling Commission.

The announced purchase price comes to €100 million, with a possible earn-out payment of additional €60 million. The acquisition deal was expected to be finalised by December 1st 2017 after necessary regulations are met. The not so recent acquisitions and merger mergers have always kept pace with the growth of the industry although some of these purchases are massive and affect the whole business.

Competition is fierce in the global online gambling market and even stronger in the regulated jurisdictions such as the U.K. so firms that are bigger have a better chance of surviving the diverse market conditions.

Market conditions are brutal when they are constantly changing or threatened by amended regulations and platform changes. Now online gambling operators have to contend with the extra expenses of cyber security, legal issues, advertizing opportunities and government fees which are difficult to handle for  start ups and smaller firms.

Mergers and deal making is a big part of the internet betting industry, it makes betting on the industry a game of its own.  


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Rest Of Bit8 Stake Acquired By Intralot

In 2015 Intralot confirmed that its Intralot Global Holdings subsidiary had acquired a 35% stake in sports book and casino platform Bit8. Included in the deal was a call option for Intralot to increase its participation in Bit8 up to 60% in the next two years if certain financial targets were met.

Intralot first entered into the partnership with Bit8 in order to commence a joint development and marketing approach in the international online sports betting platform market. Bit8 chief executive Dr Angelo Dalli said back in 2015, “We are very pleased to further our strategic cooperation with Intralot, which gives Bit8 the necessary global reach that will enable us to achieve our vision of offering the best gaming platform in the industry complemented with a wide range of professional services and solutions,”

Now in 2017 Intralot has agreed to a share purchase deal to acquire the remaining 65 % interest in the gaming technology company Bit8.  Bit8 and Intralot have worked on a number of projects including the development of Intralot’s PULSE customer relationship management platform.

Chief executive officer of Intralot, Antonios Kerastaris, commented,  “PULSE has become a major pillar of our Digital Transformation strategy for Lottery Modernisation and a strategic asset in our product portfolio.

“Bit8 becomes a full member of the Intralot family, carrying enormous promise for future growth and product development by playing an important role in the successful deployment of our ‘All About the Player’ product design strategy.”

Founder of Bit8 Angelo Dalli, also added,  “I am thrilled for the success of our cooperation with Intralot and today’s development that promises to bring a new cycle of growth, portfolio enhancement, and international recognition for Bit8.

“Like every founder who has worked hard for the creation of a successful company I am proud about the company’s evolution and look forward to our future cooperation to reach new targets.”



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Bede Gaming Expands Content With The Games Company

The customers of online gambling are always looking for something of interest that adds to the value of the entertainment accessed. Content variety and innovation keeps the player coming back which is the ultimate goal of the operator.

Bede Gaming has been powering online gambling regulated markets globally since its inception in 2012. The flexible, scalable, modular and fully open platform processes tens of millions of transactions per month.  Bede Gaming is headquartered in Newcastle upon-Tyne U.K. and is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.

Bede Gaming has announced it has significantly expanded its content portfolio by agreeing to a partnership with independent games development firm The Games Company. The Games Company’s Black Cow powered platform offers operators and suppliers a real open platform for delivering and distributing the best casino content.TGC has its HTML5 development team in Portugal but is headquartered in the U.K.

Managing Director of The Games Company, Hans Winkelmann, commented, “Bede Gaming is known for its high-performing gaming platform, and we’re thrilled to be working alongside them.”

“The integration process has been very straightforward, thanks to the platform’s flexibility and scalability. The speed of it means we are quickly accessible and the openness of Bede PLAY means our content is now available to any of their clients’ brands without need for separate integrations.”

“Bede’s platform offers a completely flexible gaming solution and robust security measures, and is fast establishing itself as the first-choice option for innovative operators globally.”

CEO of Bede Gaming, Michael Brady, also commented, “Adding premium content to our offering is a key part of our ambition to become the first-choice gaming platform in regulated markets. Partnering with The Games Company is a major step towards achieving that goal.

“We’ve been hugely impressed with the high standard of games they offer, and with their games performing well, they make an attractive proposition for our customers.”


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U.K.Gambling Regulators Send Operators A Warning Letter

Facing the fact that gambling operators have been bending the rules regarding advertizing for their products has created a new awareness of the extent to which adverts for gambling is aimed at youth.

Concerns for the well being of vulnerable young people when it comes to being exposed to online betting has been documented on a number of occasions before by news outlets and watch dog organizations. The recent publishing of a letter sent to more than 450 operators in the U.K. states, “We are writing to advise you to amend or remove immediately any ads on your website or in third party media that are likely to appeal particularly to people aged 17 or younger … and generally available to view.”

“This relates particularly to freely accessible ads for play-for-free and play-for-money games and includes all graphics and images displayed on a website or in third party media.

“The use of particular colours, cartoons and comic book images, animals, child and youth-orientated references and names of games such as Piggy Payout, Fluffy Favourites, Pirate Princess and Jack and the Beanstalk are likely, alone or in combination, to enhance appeal to under-18s.”

The communication was signed by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Remote Gambling Association said that sanctions could be applied if sites failed to comply with the CAP code, which requires socially responsible marketing for gambling.

Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Simon Blackburn, commented, “Councils have previously called for greater restrictions on gambling advertising to protect children and we are pleased to see the steps taken by the Gambling Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority... It is vital our children and young people are kept safe and protected from the problems gambling can cause.”

Protecting the young from bad influences seems like a difficult task with so much at risk it is important to at least try to control the overt methods companies are currently employing.  



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Aristocrat Leisure Takes Control Of Plarium Global

Privately owned, free-to-play mobile, social and web-based developer Plarium Global Limited was recently acquired by Aristocrat Leisure for $500m (€426m) in cash. Plarium Global is headquartered in Israeli and the company employs as many as 1,200 people with multiple offices throughout Europe, Israel and the US.

Back in August when the announcement was made Chief executive and managing director of Aristocrat, Trevor Croker was noted as saying, “Aristocrat has continued to deliver significant growth and outstanding results in our digital social casino business.” “The acquisition of Plarium allows Aristocrat to expand our addressable market into logical adjacent segments in the fast-growing mobile gaming market. The strategic and financial benefits are compelling for Aristocrat shareholders. Following the acquisition of Product Madness in 2012, Aristocrat’s Digital division experienced exceptional growth and Product Madness is now a top 5 social casino gaming publisher globally.”

“Plarium provides a unique opportunity to continue and accelerate this growth by diversifying into attractive new mobile gaming segments, including strategy, RPG and casual.”

Croker continued to add, “The acquisition of Plarium increases our pro forma Digital revenue contribution from 14% to 22% for the year ended March 31, 2017.”

Now in October as promised Aristocrat Leisure has finalised its acquisition of the social gaming company. Aristocrat has now obtained all necessary regulatory and other approvals, with Mr. Croker, explaining, “This acquisition is truly compelling as it increases our presence in the high-growth mobile gaming market and substantially increases the digital segment’s pro forma earnings contribution to Aristocrat.

“The acquisition reiterates our firm commitment to pursuing high growth adjacencies and increasing our recurring revenue base.

“Importantly, the acquisition is expected to be EPSA accretive in year one and key management personnel have remained in the business.

“We are delighted to have Plarium and its exceptionally talented team join the Aristocrat family; we look forward to continue building our already very successful digital business together, for the benefit of Aristocrat’s shareholders and other stakeholders.”






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Norway Keeps Its Gambling Monopoly

Scandinavians are known for their love of casino games and poker and now Norway has opted to remain a nation that will not be re-structuring the internet betting industry.  Despite other Scandinavian countries such as Denmark deciding to re-structure their gambling industries and welcome foreign investment Norway feels that keeping the nation’s state-run gambling model will maintain player safety.

Director General of the Norwegian Gaming Authority, Atle Hamar, revealed the move at the International Association of Gaming Regulators conference in Johannesburg, stating that Norway’s prioritized model is the safest environment for local gamblers. Hamar is also to have noted that the gaming authority plans to protect Norway’s domestic market.  

Unlike other Scandinavian countries Norway does not permit offshore operators to operate within their jurisdiction making the online gambling industry a monopoly in Norway.

Only two operators, Norsk Rikstoto, operating Norway’s horse racing industry and Norsk Tipping, which operates all other gambling venues are permitted in the jurisdiction. Claiming the decision to remain a monopoly is to safeguard the nation’s players from corrupt operations the government has finally made a clear choice. In December of last year a bill presented by the Minister of Culture detailed how the country’s current casino and online gambling platform had been proven to be safe for punters. The bill detailed how the gambling industry should not be re-structured with the concern for player safety.

The other countries in the area such as Sweden and Finland are also in the process of reviewing their gambling policies regarding online betting but are remaining locked into a state-run system until they come up with a more inclusive model.

Denmark has led the charge for regulatory change providing a workable model for others in the region successfully implementing a system compliant with European Commission rules for e-commerce free trade.  

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