E-Sports Betting Upset By Appalling Behaviour

The e-sports gambling trend has resulted in a number of issues that leave betters not sure of the validity and safety of the process. A recent post has revealed X-bet and UltraPlay have stopped offering markets on the ProDotaCup esports event over allegations of  match-fixing and betting irregularities.

Betting operator X-bet, a sponsor of the competition, made the claim after providing evidence of fixing and collusion in a game between Sqreen’s Squad vs Nemiga Gaming during the Upper-Bracket Preliminary of ProDotaCup Europe #25.

X-bet maintains it has discovered at least three such instances of fixing and irregularities in the six months since it began sponsoring the ProDotaCup.

Russ Stevens, of X-bet.co, commented on the situation,  “Match fixing causes a financial loss to the operator but what is worse is that it jeopardises the relationship between the teams and the esports fans which affects the esports community as a whole.

“We have been surprised to see that there are bettors with a 100%-win rate on chosen ProDotaCup matches during the last three months. That made us think more about the existence of a tight-knit syndicate around the PDCup tournament, with usage of insider information in order to wager on the match outcomes.”

Peter Ivanov, Head of esports trading department, also commented, “We have evaluated the cases related to ProDotaCup and have decided to stop offering odds on this tournament to our network. We believe that any existence of match-fixing and betting collusion is damaging both financially and reputationally the organisations involved, but moreover they badly affect the overall esports betting ecosystem.

“We are covering a wide range of games and their respective tournaments and when such cases pop up we have to move quick, together with all related parties, in order to eradicate these practices and send a strong message to teams and players that we will not tolerate such appalling behaviour.”

ProDotaCup has been contacted, but is yet to respond to the allegations.


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Magnet Gaming  Portfolio Supplies Chanz

Content is king in the online gambling industry but the need for innovation comes on strong when the competition is so fierce. Social gambling for real money has been gaining traction in the market and those companies that succeed have seen that providing punters with new and better games attracts customers.

Denmark headquartered Magnet Gaming has recently announced it will be supplying Estonian social gaming brand Chanz with its varied portfolio of games. Popular titles such as Fish Tank, Gold Rush, Diamond Express and Candy Kingdom, as well as latest releases Treasure Coast and Haunted House, are to be offered. The full suite of HTML5 slots, designed to work without issues across a full range of platforms. Magnet Gaming, holds a number of gambling licences that allow direct integrations with operators

The games are also available using Microgaming’s Quickfire, NYX’s OGS, EveryMatrix’s CasinoEngine, and iSoftBet’s GAP distribution platforms.

Head of Game Licensing at Magnet Gaming, Thomas Nielsen, commented on the arrangement, “We are delighted to be working with Chanz, an operator who shares our belief that gambling should be sociable and fun. We are constantly developing our games to promote gambling as a form of social entertainment and are confident our slots will go down really well with their players.”

Anton Krasnitksi, management board member at Chanz, also commented on the deal,  “We are always looking to add the best slots games to our site, and with the quality of Magnet Gaming’s portfolio, we have certainly done that. We know our players will love the social side of Magnet’s games, as well as the top-quality graphics, sounds and narrative. We look forward to a long and beneficial relationship.”



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Betway Employees Donate To English Federation of Disability Sport

The Betway Group's flagship brand, "Betway", is an international gambling company that operates across regulated online marketplaces and holds licences in the UK, Malta, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Belgium,  Germany and Ireland. The Betway Group is based in Malta and Guernsey, with support from London, Cape Town and the Isle of Man. The Betway Group also has a partnership with the Professional Players Federation, which promotes, protects and develops the collective interests of professional sportspeople in the UK. Betway is also a supporter of the Responsible Gambling Trust.

The employees of the firm have recently raised more than £70,000 ($95,000/€80,000) for one of its charity partners, the English Federation of Disability Sport. The operator said the funds will go towards the EFDS’s Inclusive Fitness Initiative, which supports facility providers to improve their services to become more inclusive for disabled individuals.

Anthony Werkman Betway’s Chief Executive Officer commented, “We are really pleased to have raised over £70,000 for the English Federation of Disability Sport, and are proud of all Betway Group employees who have contributed to this worthy cause.” Werkman continued, “We are always looking to contribute to different charities and in 2018, our employees will vote on which charities Betway should partner with.”

Employees at Betway Group raised £25,000 for the charity last year when more than 100 employees  participated in the Silverstone Half Marathon. A donation of almost £16,000 to a children’s charity was also announced after the UK Snooker Championship in York. The donation went to charity Jessie May Children’s Hospice At Home. "After a thrilling Betway UK Championship, we are once again delighted to be able to make this donation to such a fantastic cause," Werkman said.

Children’s Hospice At Home spokesperson Julian Withers commented, "A huge thank you to Betway for sponsoring the UK Championship and to the players for scoring so highly, enabling this fantastic donation.”




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Bet365 Trade Mark Issues Somewhat Resolved

The right to maintain an image and brand and trademarks has been called into question in many jurisdictions within the European Union with issues concerning copy rights remaining unresolved. A particular legal battle that has lasted over seven years still has not been totally settled. Back in 2007, online gambling Bet365 put a bid in to trademark its name in the E.U. but a particular examiner rejected the application, stating ‘bet’ was just a generic term and ‘365’ merely was the number of days in a year.

Not to be daunted by the rejection the operator Bet365 Group Ltd from Britain and one of the world's leading online gambling operators with over 19 million customers in almost two hundred countries decided to challenge the ruling.

The examiner decided that the Bet365 application was valid. Then in 2013, an individual filed to have Bet365’s trademark declared invalid, based on the person’s trademark ‘b365’ brand and for three years the Bet365 Group blocked the efforts of the German citizen.

In 2016 however the Fifth Board of Appeal at the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) upheld the other individual’s appeal and Bet365 appealed that decision to the European Union General Court (EGC). That court has recently annulled the ruling by the EUIPO and said that Bet365’s plea for annulment was “well founded.” The European Union General Court said the Fifth Board of Appeal had not sufficiently substantiated the decision concerning the gambling and betting services in class 41. A statement from the General Court read, “Consequently, with regard to those services, the single plea in law seeking annulment is well founded and there is no need to examine the last arguments put forward by the applicant concerning the lack of opinion polls or evidence from a chamber of commerce in respect of which it was criticised by the Board of Appeal.”

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Vienna International Gaming Expo May 2018

Vienna International Gaming Expo will be back in 2018 with the second edition of one of the fastest growing conferences in Central Europe. The 2018 edition of VIGE is a reincarnation of the inaugural edition and the motto of the event is “Do it for your karma”.

 The event will be held between 30 May and 1 June in 2018, and will highlight some of the latest launched firms, but also feature established providers of the online gambling industry.  Focusing on bringing together both software providers and service providers of the online gambling industry to encourage collaborations in the casino, sports betting, eSports, daily fantasy sports and virtual reality game offerings.

VIGE2018 will be held at a new location this year after feedback about the location was acknowledged from delegate at the inaugural expo event. Austria´s tallest skyscraper, the Danube City Tower will host the event with spectacular views of the city and the river.

ViGE(Vienna International Gaming Expo) is a unique annual event  aiming at to bring together the online and land based gaming industry from all over the world.

Last year’s ViGE2017 set a benchmark for the internet betting industry events in Central Europe’s jurisdictions by building common ground resources for networking, deal making and information sharing. The Expo has become a hub for the gambling industry, including regulators, third parties, media and industry captains. The success of the original ViGE is witnessed by the quality and numbers with well over 500 registrants from 47 countries. The opportunities presented at the expo have created a hub for the area that professionals regard as full of potential.

In parallel with the exhibition, an iGaming Knowledge Seminar conference is dedicated to highlighting some of the key techniques and a services available to operators to increase revenues, decrease fraud and catch up with regulatory updates in trending new markets. There is time to organize your delegation and “Do it for your karma”.



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Coingaming Group Upgrades Sportsbet Bitcoin Offering

Coingaming Group has been on the leading edge of virtual currency betting for some time now an it has recently announced that it will be rebranding its Sportsbet.io Bitcoin oriented sports book and introduce a new live streaming service to its platform.

Coingaming Group offers localised Live Dealer gaming from operations in Asia, Europe and Central America. The CoinGaming.io's Live Dealer solution is available 24/7 and it attracts punters who enjoy the higher level of trust afforded by "live interaction".

A new web location will support Sportsbet.io based on the company’s mobile focused platform and will still be offering customers the same service across all of its channels.

Coingaming also has plans to include Brazilian, Russian and Portuguese language versions to its options in the near future with features that include one-click bets and fast withdrawal options. The Sportsbet.io will also now be the unique Bitcoin focused sports book to offer consumers access to live streaming on events, while gamblers will also be able to bet using other virtual currencies such as Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Bitcoin Gold, Litecoin and Ethereum.

Director of the sports book at Coingaming  Group Joe McCallum, commented on the upgrade,  “Sportsbet.io has performed beyond expectations since its launch in 2016, and introducing this revolutionary new product so soon after the first is yet more proof of our commitment to putting the customer at the centre of our universe.” McCallum continued to add, “We have streamlined the site considerably, with significant investment in the user experience and design of a functional and personalised service, which we believe has raised the bar for the sports book experience, in keeping with our fun, fast & fair mantra.”

Betsoft a leader of true 3D cinematic gaming also extended its partnership with Coingaming in June of 2017. Julian Camilleri of Betsoft said back then, “Coingaming.io has a masterful command over the new Bitcoin currency as it applies to the constantly evolving iGaming industry,”

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Norway Will Attempt To Reduce Online Gambling Adverts

Norway has some of the strictest anti-gambling laws in all of Europe. Norway isn't a member of the European Union and is not subject to the pressure that its neighbors in Finland and Sweden are experiencing to liberalize the state operated monopoly.

The only two legal betting sites in Norway are Norsk Riskoto for horse racing and Norsk Tipping for lotteries, sports betting, poker, keno, and scratch card games. In 2008, Norway made it illegal for punters to play at offshore gambling sites even though the Norwegians play at unlicensed offshore sites without any issues.

The Payment Act of Norway which was passed in 2010 makes it difficult sometimes to do online gambling banking. The legislation isn’t targeting individual punters it only addresses the banking industry operating in Norway. It is the Norwegian version of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and similar to the UIGEA, the Payment Act attempts to curtail illegal online gambling in the jurisdiction.

Now in yet another measure to stop the flow of funds out of the country Norway is ratcheting up its protectionist crackdown on internationally licensed online gambling site’s advertising campaigns.

The current culture minister for Norway, Linda Hofstad Helleland, has announced plans to introduce legislation to restrict the ability of international gambling operators to send marketing campaigns into Norway.

Helleland revealed Norway’s restrictive advertising regulations only “hit a part of the market” as operators have learned to “adapt” their lines of communication to circumvent the restrictions. Helleland maintains that she conferred with European Union officials regarding how best to combat the unwanted advertising. This protectionists motive was supported by the European Commission confirming that it will dropping all online gambling infringement proceedings against EU member states.

Acting secretary-general of Norwegian anti-addiction organization ACTIS, Pernille Huseby, was quoted by Norway Today saying international gambling operators were running an average of 62 commercials per hour using Norwegian-language channels.



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Catena Media Pursues Expansion With Acquisitions

The aggressive and sometimes risky mergers and acquisitions strategy of online gambling service providers has been the trend for some time now with no signs of the tendency abating.

A recent announcement by the affiliate marketing network Catena Media is proof that the goal of consolidation has not peaked at least for this firm. The company which has been operating since 2012 is setting an ambitious corporate target relying on its strategy of optimising and revamping acquired assets. Catena Media has evolved into one of the world’s most successful online lead generation companies in the industry, with over 190 plus employees operating in three corporate offices located in Malta, Serbia and the United Kingdom.  The focus for Catena Media is on organic growth in combination with geographical expansion and acquisitions.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of Catena Media, Henrik Persson Ekdahl commented on the approach,  "2017 has been characterized by several new and important acquisitions, a list change to Nasdaq Stockholm Mid-Cap and entry into new markets.” Persson Ekdahl continued, "Since we announced our new financial targets in November, we have also completed the company's largest acquisition since company inception. We are now looking forward to 2018, a year when the new businesses shall reap the results while we continue our rapid growth rate."

The company goal came closer to reality with the last two acquisitions in 2017. November saw the firm acquire Malta based financial services firm Beyondbits for €9.25 million, the first non-gambling industry asset purchase for Catena. It was also announced that Catena had secured a €26.5 million arrangement for the complete acquisition of German sports betting network, Baybets. Catena Media is one step closer to its goal of becoming the world’s number one provider of high-value internet gaming  leads.

The merger and acquisitions trend is far from over as the online gambling industry continues to consolidate and become safer and stronger for the player and operator.


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Steam Will No Longer Support Bitcoin As Payment

Watching the volatility of the virtual currency Bitcoin going up to astronomical heights and then diving deep into obscurity has just a few entrepreneurs having a sleepless night or two. Steam, the massively popular gaming store began accepting Bitcoin as payment for games back in April of 2016 but has now stopped accepting payments in the virtual currency because it is too volatile.

Steam engineer Kurtis Chinn wrote in an info blog, "As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method on our platform due to high fees and volatility in the value of Bitcoin."

The decision has nothing  to do with the various issues associated with virtual currencies such as the huge energy drain or criminal activity but the massive transaction fees.

Chinn explained, "In the past few months we've seen an increase in the volatility in the value of Bitcoin and a significant increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network. For example, transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin)."

Chinn continued saying more problems are created when the coin plunges, "When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of Bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of Bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the Bitcoin network. The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different."

Steam is the major rival of Sony's PlayStation Network as the world's biggest gaming service, with 67 million monthly active players compared to Sony's 70 million active users.




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All-in Diversity Project Partners With Paddy Power Betfair

The All-in Diversity Project is an industry-driven initiative which aims to bench-mark and generate an open and constructive discussion about diversity, equality and inclusion across the global betting and gaming sector. This is a noble cause, considering the politics today and the need for fundamental change in the gambling industry.

A recent announcement that Paddy Power Betfair has partnered with All-in Diversity Project is good news and a call for action in the betting business. Paddy Power Betfair will serve as an integral part of the initiative both as a Founding Member and Participant in its inaugural year.

The All-in Diversity Project’s aim is to measure and facilitate an open and objective dialogue about diversity across the whole of the industry on a global level acting as the primary resource for all data relating to diversity and inclusion.  

The first objective of the project is to build an industry standard index focused on a benchmark measurement of the current situation and with this tool chart future change and progress. The year to year progress update, highlight successes, challenges and opportunities, will provide information to make best practice recommendations for corporate governance, internal policies, recruitment practices, equal pay, employment legislation, unconscious bias and marketing.

Co-Founder of the All-in Diversity Project, Kelly Kehn, commented, “We established the All-in Diversity Project because we believe the industry itself has a role to play in improving how we do business. We believe the best way to push the industry forward, is to create the tool for all businesses globally to use in benchmarking their own diversity initiatives.”

Fellow Co-Founder Christina Thakor-Rankin also said, “The All-In Diversity project is not about pushing quotas or agendas. It’s about acknowledging that the expectations and aspirations of the next generation of employees and customers is very different to ours, and understanding that if this industry is to be able to attract and retain the employees and customers of the future it needs to start making changes now.”


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