English Football Association Calls It Quits With Ladbrokes

Sponsorship situations are important for the gambling operator that relies on the exposure to maintain customer interest. The English Football Association recently announced it has ended its partnership with U.K. gambling service provider Ladbrokes.

The recent scandal regarding Premier League football star Joey Barton and his eighteen month suspension from the game has the English Football Association rethinking the deals it has with gambling firms. Last year saw Ladbrokes create a relationship with the Football Association of Ireland that is expected to run for two years, until the 2018 FIFA World Cup coming to Russia.

The board of directors for the League met recently to examine the current issue of illegal betting by players and have decided that continuing the relationship with betting operators is not the best course of action. The English Football Association said it would end all sponsorships with gambling operators beginning after the 2016-17 season has ended.

Chief executive officer of the FA, Martin Glenn, commented, “We would like to thank Ladbrokes for both being a valued partner over the last year and for their professionalism and understanding about our change of policy around gambling.”

Ladbrokes Coral’s chief executive officer Jim Mullen, also commented on the changes, “We understand the FA’s decision regarding their commercial partnerships on gambling.

“Football is a passion of ours, and our customers, and we remain committed to working with the FA to ensure the integrity and trust of the sport is maintained for the fans of the game and the millions of customers who enjoy betting on it week in and week out.”

The English Football Association will continue however to work with Ladbrokes and other gambling operators on sharing information related to suspicious gambling patterns in an effort to stop the rampant corruption and match fixing in the sport of football.  





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Czech Republic Online Gambling Growth Stalled

The over indulgences of some government plans that allow for online gambling participation are keeping operators and consumers from engaging. Put bluntly the administrative maze is difficult to navigate and frustrating for everyone involved in the process. One government experiencing the results of its overly taxed online gambling industry is the Czech Republic with an extremely slow start to its newly regulated betting business.

PokerStars is the only offshore site operating in the wagering market in the Czech Republic with rival PartyPoker taking its business elsewhere avoiding the prolonged licensing process altogether. The combination of the difficult application process, high taxation and the most difficult hurdle, the physical verification of players’ identity in order to open an online gambling account have created a fail for the online gambling industry.

Head of the legal and methodology unit at the State Oversight Over Gambling Department of the Ministry of Finance in the Czech Republic, Tereza Cejpova,  told iGaming Business recently,  “Usually the foreign applicants have two main issues. The first of them is the face-to-face verification as a primary verification principle and the other one is that our procedures are formal and time consuming.”

Vice president of corporate communications for PokerStars, Eric Hollreiser, commented on the situation, “There are ways around a lack of local presence, for example, players can register at banks, notary offices or Czech Points, local administration points found in places such as town halls, but in practice it can prove prohibitive for players to sign up. The face-to-face verification at the 7,500 Czech Points doesn’t always work as it should and isn’t a process required in other jurisdictions.”

The Czech Ministry of Finance announced that as many as ten offshore operators were applying for licences. The operators and consumers are waiting for some changes in the administration’s rules for the online gambling industry but there is little to see on that front in the immediate future.


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Australian Gambling Merger Will Benefit Public

The online gambling industry is constantly progressing towards bigger companies that have merged and amalgamated to form some of the most lucrative businesses on the planet. The fact will remain forever that people love to bet and play games to stay engaged and entertained. It is a recession proof business in so much that when the economy is bad people gamble even more as their wish list grows and their hopes get higher.

The recent merger of two of Australia’s largest gambling service providers brings to mind the joining of many other firms that have experienced the value of joining forces to conquer the betting industry.

A giant new firm consisting of Tabcorp and rival Tatts Group has been approved by the Australian Competition Tribunal with one condition before the $11 billion AD deal is complete. Federal Court judge and tribunal president John Middleton said that Tabcorp must proceed with the sale of the Odyssey gaming machine monitoring operation in the state of Queensland. The Australian Competition Tribunal found the merger would have "substantial public benefits." Despite the concerns it had regarding the merger which could result in less competition for wagering licenses and media sales. ," Justice Middleton said in a statement, "The tribunal is satisfied in all the circumstances that the proposed merger would result, or would be likely to result, in such a benefit to the public that the acquisition should be allowed to occur,"

Chairperson for Tabcorp,  Paula Dwyer, commented, "[It] is expected to deliver significant value for both sets of shareholders and material benefits to other key stakeholders, including Australian racing industries, business partners, employees, customers and governments," adding,  "The combination will bring together two great Australian businesses, well positioned to invest, innovate and compete in a global gambling entertainment marketplace." Tabcorp and Tatts are confident that joining forces will compete with the growth of online betting a major concern for some Australian gambling operators.   


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Jamaican Regulated Online Gambling Coming Soon

Jamaica is a beautiful island in the Caribbean that has been independent since 1958. It was announced by Audley Shaw, the Minister of Finance and Public Service for Jamaica that Jamaica’s three state organizations that deal with gaming, the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission  and the racing and casino regulators will be merged into an all encompassing organization to be known as the Jamaica Gaming Commission (JGC). This move is expected to be completed by the end of the year with online gambling regulation implementation expected before that.

At the end of May of 2014 the government of Jamaica enacted changes to its gambling laws that  paved the way for the country to regulate online gambling. Gary Peart, chairman of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission said then the only way to shore up the government’s balance sheet was with additional gambling tax through an expansion of the country’s current gambling offering.

Shaw announced during the 7th Caribbean Gaming Show and Summit, hosted by the BGLC in Montego Bay that the regulatory body was “in the process of drafting legislation establishing a licensing regime as well as regulatory supervision for operators of interactive gambling.” Shaw also said that the Jamaican government will “fast track” this legislation due to the fast pace of technological change and “the need to facilitate the growth” of the gambling industry in Jamaica.

The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian revealed that Shaw said, “Since last year, the Casino Commission has met with two large international investors, which are now advanced in the preparation of their applications for Integrated Resource Development status,” adding, “With these developments, there is a lot of optimism for the growth potential of the gaming sector.”

Regarding illegal gambling activities in Jamaica Shaw said, “Reports indicate that illegal gambling operations are raking in an estimated two billion dollars each year; a big chunk of that money is used to fund the criminal underworld and we must band together to stamp out this phenomenon.”



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Another Jurisdiction In India Bans Online Gambling

India is a place of many contrasts and a portion of massive population likes to gamble while others don’t go near it. Despite the existing prohibitive legislations, there is extensive illegal gambling in India. The Indian gambling market is estimated to be worth around $60 billion USD per annum. It has been suggested that only half is wagered legally. Indian law classifies games in two categories, a game of skill or a game of chance. The fines and jail charges are hefty for even entering a gambling house let alone operating one.

The Information Technology Act 2000 regulates cyber activities in India and prohibits publication or transmission of information that can disrupt the people. This includes online gambling and the punishment for such activities is much more serious than for offline gambling operations. Online gambling is a banned in Maharashtra, a state spanning west-central India, best known for the fast-paced capital, Mumbai (formerly Bombay). This sprawling metropolis is the seat of the Bollywood film industry.

Online gambling is in its infancy in India, but Sikkim considered one of the most liberal states. The Government of Sikkim became the first to move towards legislation regarding online gambling, which has been prohibited for most states in the country for many years. It is also one of the states to permit lotteries with the Sikkim State Lotteries being one of the most popular lotteries with draws held frequently.

Legalizing sports betting in the country has been discussed because much of the money wagered goes into criminals pockets instead of community improvement efforts.  Many Indian professionals as well as online forums have urged the government to introduce legal but regulated gambling in India to put an end to the corrupt practices of the thieves and villains.

Telangana  one of the 29 states in India, located in southern India which was formed in June 2014 as the youngest state in India, just issued an ordinance to amend the Gaming Act to ban online gambling.  

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Gibraltar's Online Gambling Operators Lose Legal Battle

The fact that some online gambling jurisdictions are better than others makes the divorce between the European Union and Britain particularly difficult for those operators located in Gibraltar. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries. It also settles legal disputes between government, corporations and individuals.

In this case the decision was made regarding The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) and its legal case over whether Gibraltar was effectively part of the United Kingdom and can be treated as a single EU member for some aspects of EU law, receiving a ‘single entity’ ruling.

Unfortunately the case was lost and now Gibraltar and the UK territory are now considered a single Member State. This is bad news for the online gambling industry in Gibraltar. This decision means that the European law that stipulates there should be the freedom to provide services among Member States would not be applicable to the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association’s request for a change to the introduction of 15% Point of Consumption (POC) tax in the UK in 2014.

 The (GBGA) represents nearly all of the Gibraltar based online gaming operators. The GBGA argued that Point of Consumption tax is not legal under European Union law because it violates Article 56 of the treaty.  The online gambling organizations did tried hard to make their point earlier in the UK courts but, following a review, the case was referred to the Court of Justice for the European Union. The CJEU said that the 1972 Act of Accession applies and EU acts do not apply to Gibraltar in certain areas of EU law and that the freedom to provide services is not one of the noted exceptions.






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Probe Reveals Money Laundering in B.C. Casinos

A story that broke a few days ago is creating a bit of a stir in Canada’s western province of British Columbia where it is alleged that a criminal organization has laundered millions of dollars through the casinos there. This seems to come as no surprise to many who can see the difficult task the government of British Columbia has in controlling its vast coastal area from illegal transactions and criminal intent.

CBC news reported that a large amount of cash was seized as part of a year-long investigation into money laundering at British Columbia’s casinos.  The investigation has been going on for a year and resulted in the detention of nine people according to B.C.'s gang task force.

The assistant commissioner Kevin Hackett of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) said that the investigation started last May when it was revealed that a number of illegal betting parlours were laundering drug money and were also involved in extortion, kidnapping and excessive money lending practices.

Assistant Commissioner Hackett stated at a news conference recently, "It's safe to say that we're looking at millions of dollars being laundered,"  "Money laundering, loan sharking and illegal gaming provide an attractive source of income for organized crime," Hackett said.

"Clients who utilize these services need to be aware that often the cash being provided to them is from illegal activity, and that using such services provides financial support to criminals and funds their illegal enterprises and operations."

No charges have yet to be laid. Investigators are revealing little about the alleged criminal group, saying the investigation is still ongoing and that more arrests are anticipated. The casinos in question have not been revealed other than that three or four illegal gambling establishments have been identified.

The CFSEU's new Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team, including members of the provincial government's Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch have taken responsibility for this probe with more results forthcoming.




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Camelot Lottery Investments Intend to Boost Sales

The U.K.’s National lottery has been experiencing a recent downturn in generated revenues and it intends to review its situation and remedy it.  Camelot, has said it is to conduct an in-depth review of its strategy after it revealed an 8.8% drop in sales of its product to £6.92bn (€7.86bn/$8.8bn) for 2016/17, from £7.59bn for the previous year. This year however was the fourth highest sales on record in Camelot’s history but it is facing increased competition from other lottery providers such as Lottoland which are not compelled to share any of their revenues with charity organizations.

Camelot was purchased in March of 2010 by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in Canada for £389m. The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada With $175.6 billion in assets as of December 31, 2016.

The strategy review announced will aim its sights on four key areas, those being commercial plans to boost sales performance, more investment in technology and systems, the current structure of the business and long-term succession.

Chairman of Camelot’s board, Jo Taylor, commented on the review,  “Achieving the fourth-highest ever sales, creating a record number of lottery millionaires and raising over £30 million every week for Good Causes is no mean feat.

"However, sales in 2016/17 fell well short of where we’d like them to be – and that’s largely down to a disappointing year for draw-based games and Lotto in particular.

"It will therefore take time to turn things around and I anticipate a further sales decline this year.

"I am, however, confident that the review will enable us to put the business on the best possible footing to get back into growth – and so deliver even more for our players and the millions of people for whom National Lottery funding is so crucial over the remainder of this licence period.”







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Australia's Poker Community Seeks Inquiry Into Laws

Australia has been using politics to deliberately confuse the online gambling industry and keep certain gambling activities legal and others prohibited. The battle online gambling operators have been waging with the system comprised of various political interests is making it more difficult for the consumer to enjoy.

The Australian government has proposed The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill which primarily focuses on closing loopholes in the previous Interactive Gambling Act which allowed sports betting firms to effectively work around it. The latest twist in the Australian online gambling saga sees Senator David Leyonhjelm leading the launch of an online inquiry regarding Australia’s online poker market.

Senator Leyonhejlm said during an interview with pokernews.com, "I don't think they understood what they were doing." Referring to the introduced legislation that closed the loopholes for sports books but also prohibits the operation of online poker destinations.

The outspoken Senator also said after unsuccessfully lobbing parliament to amend the bill after it passed in March, "If I initiate an inquiry which highlights the stupidity of the law as it stands, perhaps some changes can be implemented." Leyonhejlm added,  "The fact that our country allows online sports betting and horse racing so freely, which are both truly gambling, and doesn't allow online poker is truly embarrassing."
Senator Leyonhejlm is a proponent of the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA), a local organization of poker players opposing the new legislation.
Joseph Del Duca, media contact for the AOPA also spoke to pokernews.com saying,  "It is amazing just how many poker players have come out and supported our fight to keep online poker in Australia,"
“The support has ranged from people of all ages from right across the country. It just shows that poker is truly a game which can be enjoyed by everyone. This is why we are fighting so hard to keep it.”



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Mr Green Mobile Online Casino Garbo Re-Launched

Today the new focus in the online gambling industry is the attraction of young people and women which has operators developing new offerings with that aim. Nordic European online gambling operator Mr Green & Co (Mr Green) recently announced the re-launch of its online casino sister brand Garbo.com.

Using the well known Greta Garbo image the Swedish American actress has become the focal point of Mr Green’s sister casino site. Garbo.com was part of the acquisition Mr.Green took on in 2014 and it took a while to materialize as Mr.Green’s management reorganized and expanded other properties in its portfolio. The firm’s intent is to launch the newly developed platform for Garbo.com in the Swedish online gambling market.

The task of re-launching the Garbo.com offering has been given to Oskar Mühlbach Mr.Green’s Chief Venture Officer soon to be unveiling its new marketing campaign for the platform.

Mühlbach described the new Garbo.com offering, “Garbo will have a catchy, clever tonality, Garbo will be fun, crisp and at the same time personal. There is a big number of mobile gaming sites on the Swedish market, however, with Garbo’s sometimes provocative profile, I believe there is a position open for us.”

Per Norman CEO of Mr Green has been solidly behind the new development, revealing that Garbo.com will strengthen Mr.Green’s current Scandinavian collection of titles. .

“We believe that Garbo has the potential to become a strong, global brand, just like Mr Green. This is a cost-efficient introduction due to the fact that we can take advantage of Mr Green’s competences, digital knowledge and supplier relations”.

The mobile offering will certainly attract the female punter with its pink colour scheme and unicorn presence. The headquarters and technical development for Mr.Green are based in Stockholm, with operations in Malta. Mr Green has gaming licenses in Malta, UK, Italy, a casino license in Denmark and Sports book license in Ireland. The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm’s main market.



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