Canadian Gaming Summit 2017 June 19-21 Vancouver B.C.

Canada is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year and is pulling out all the stops to make the country proud of its history. Canada has always been a place where the entrepreneurial spirit rules with the resourceful population inventing and innovating in every field.

The gambling industry is no exception with numerous start ups heading up north to build a business. To help facilitate the drive for more information the Canadian Gaming Association, a not-for-profit organization has with  MediaEdge Communications Inc. created the Canadian Gaming Summit due to commence this June 19th through to the 21st 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.

Major government wagering organizations from every corner of Canada will be in attendance. It is expected that the use of blockchain technology will be explored in depth at the Summit. Gambling operators use virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. The  technology for Bitcoin makes use of cryptography to create a distributed ledger system to hold and spend money in a more open, transparent and flexible manner compared to the traditional bank or credit card companies. In the future, the technology could help unify the global payments system by enabling banks to process transactions directly, instantly and securely in a matter of seconds.

During the Summit's “Blockchain 101-Why Should I Even Care?” it is sure to be a hit among the participants as they experience a panel discussion on the topic moderated by Gary Boddington, CRO of BTL Group. The experts in the field on the panel will include Guy Halford Thompson, CEO of BTL Group; Ron Segev, technology and iGaming lawyer of Segev LLP; Ray Walia, CEO of Launch Academy and Victory Square Ventures; and Peter Law, senior manager of Ernst & Young. They will endeavour to explain the significance of blockchain advances and whether it is just a tempest in a teapot or a serious encounter with something new that needs addressing.





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Bwin Online Gambling Partners With Russian Billionaire

Wagering in Russia is not as simple as it appears but there are operators willing to try to offer a legal form of betting in the jurisdiction. Russia introduce legislation last February with the intention to have banks and payment processors block transactions with international online gambling locations.

An estimated $3b per annum leaves Russian gambler’s bank accounts for the coffers of international online gambling operators. To stem that tide of cash exiting the country the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Communications also known as the “Roskomnadzor” have made efforts to block related sites.  Roskomnadzor blocked 12,561 gambling domains in 2016, second only to sites offering “extremist materials.” The regulator blocked more an estimated 2,810 gambling sites in January and the trend continues to escalate.

It was recently announced that GVC Holdings, the parent of Bwin, will partner with Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut to launch an online sports betting platform in the restrictive jurisdiction. Mamut’s holdings include all of the necessary requirements. He acquired a Russian online gambling license in 2016 and according to the media provider Kommersant, Digital Betting LLC, and will use Mamut’s technology firm Rambler & Co. to service the offering.

The media outlet also revealed that the billionaire will invest as much as €10m ($11.2m/£8.6m) every year for the next three years to establish the online sports betting brand. It has been estimated by Kommersant that the regulated online gaming market generates only €15.7m in total annual revenue currently. The numbers are expected to go up as the number of available online gambling sites becomes more localized.

The blocking of fund transactions with international online gambling companies has done little to deter interest in gambling in Russia. At the time there are but 10 book makers approved to offer online betting   consumers in Russia. Bwin's entry into the regulated real money online gambling market may be an experiment of sorts that will foster more activity.





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Wagering On Trump Surges With Comey Revelations

One of the biggest gambles the USA has ever taken was the recent election of Donald Trump as the forty fifth president of the great nation. Many voters were certain they picked the right man for the job who promised a wall on the Mexican border and to drain the swamp of politicians that were not for making America great again.

So far the man has chosen to find fault with just about all the free world and has alienated the rest in a brash and determined manner pushing the limits of political decorum. In a country that has in its past checks and balances to ensure the continued transparency of the democratic process the wagers are on that are dependent on the adherence to the rule of law.

Online gambling operators in the  U.K. have been watching the side show for some time now posting the latest odds on various Donald Trump’s episodes including whether the boss will get fired or resign before his first four year term is completed.

The recent FBI director’s testimony under oath is causing some punters to reach for the sky and put some money down after assessing the potential damage to the Trump administration that Mr.Comey’s  statements may have caused.  Newsweek has reported that the U.K. online betting operator Ladbrokes revealed there was an uptick in wagers after Comey’s testimony. The odds of impeachment  or resignation went from 4/5 to 4/7, translating into a 63.6 percent chance that the President  will not make it to 2020.  

Columnist for The Hill, Brent Budowsky wrote recently, “Appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel was a profound and historic move that will ensure the facts come out. As the Trump presidency enters a summer of scandal and hearings, revelations and leaks and disastrous poll ratings, many Republicans in Congress, who will continue to face contentious town hall meetings, will belatedly run from Trump like Olympic sprinters.”


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'Drone Racing' Newest Betfair Betting Offer

The newest sport to enter the world of online gambling is exciting and fun to watch and bet on. The online betting operator Betfair sees huge potential in this flying race specifically for drones. Flying a drone is not that difficult but competing at high speeds of over 90 miles per hour on courses designed to challenge even the most skilled pilots is another story altogether. The UK’s Betfair and the Drone Racing League (DRL) have partnered to offer punters markets on professional drone racing.

Drone racing was featured in a number of media posts as the next big thing.  The Drone Racing League struck a deal last September with sports network ESPN to broadcast events for the League. The final race of the Allianz World Championship circuit will be held on Tuesday 13 June, hosted by Alexandra Palace in London England.

Six of the world’s most accomplished drone pilots will vie for the Championship held in conjunction with London’s Tech Week the first ever profession drone completion. Tech oriented individuals with fast reflexes are being feted by the Drone Racing League urging them to consider a career as a professional drone racer. The lucrative contracts of as much as $100,000 to command a high tech flying machine for the professional sports league is a position some young adults are aspiring too.

DRL co-founder and CEO Nick Horbaczewski commented, “Drone racing is a sport made for betting. It combines the raw thrill of short track racing with the complexity and strategy of motor sports.

Stephen Mault, Paddy Power Betfair’s Chief of Marketing said,  “This is a great opportunity and we're excited to see how a partnership like this will play out for us in the future given the rise in popularity of the sport of drone racing.

“Innovation and technology are the lifeblood of everything we do at Betfair and we are committed to constantly finding ways of enhancing and improving the experience of our customers."



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New York's Online Poker Legislation Now In Doubt

Online gambling is going through massive changes in the USA ever since the Department of Justice in 2011 declared online poker acceptable and legal when the Online poker in the United States is a topic that generates a great deal of conflicting information government unsealed indictments against Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.  PokerStars eventually reached a settlement with the US that resulted in Stars acquiring the assets of Full Tilt Poker and the suspension of charges against both companies with no wrongdoing admitted. There are no federal laws that prohibit US players from having an online poker accounts and playing for real money online.  State law however creates a different scenario with outdated gambling laws that fail to directly address the inclusion of online poker sites in the USA.

Amaya’s PokerStars is still in the news as the Empire State of New York works at creating an online poker friendly environment for its citizens. New Jersey has regulated online gambling and it neighbour New York is making its way towards passing legislation to legalize online poker but with a few different elements. PokerStars is expected to be excluded from being involved in the market there.  So called “bad actor” terminology has now been added to Senate Bill 3898 that deems any operator that did not comply with the UIGEA after December 31, 2006 will be not able to apply for a potential internet poker license in New York.

Sen. John Bonacic who initiated the Bill had a spokesperson state, “Senator Bonacic amended the online poker bill to provide the Gaming Commission with the opportunity to take into consideration an applicant’s prior bad acts in relation to determining suitability for a license. He is committed to moving the bill forward and looking forward to working with his colleagues in the Senate and Assembly to do so.”





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Fantasy Sports Offering Coming From The Sports Network

The attraction of customers to the sports betting environment takes many routes that do a great job of getting the newly interested player involved. The Sports Network is a Canadian English language sports specialty service. TSN is the largest specialty channel in Canada regarding gross revenue, with a total of $400.4 million in revenue in 2013. The media company (TSN) has launched a new fantasy sports service in partnership with the American football competition and the Canadian Football League.

Beginning on June 22, 2017 the free-to-play offering will run throughout the upcoming football season. Those who play will be able to choose six active offensive players and a defence player from one of the  nine teams on the CFL roster while they adhere to a salary cap. Fantasy managers are eligible to win weekly  prizes and at the end the big winner will get a  all expenses paid trip for two to the championship 105th Grey Cup game.

CFL senior vice-president of marketing and content, Christina Litz, commented on the offering, “We’re absolutely thrilled to offer sports fans, whether they have always loved the CFL, are new to the CFL, or just love to play fantasy sports, a product that is challenging and exciting while easy and fun to use,”

Ken Volden, Vice-president and executive producer of news and information for The Sports Network, also commented on the new game, “TSN and the CFL have a longstanding partnership, and we are excited to expand on that as we launch TSN CFL Fantasy.” Volden continued, “We look forward to seeing fans immerse themselves in the on-field action as they compete for prizes throughout the upcoming CFL season.”

The fun aspect is part of the offering and will be sure to be a hit even for the new player which is the basic intent of this game and its producers .



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IGT Completes Social Casino Deal With DoubleU Games

International Game Technology, which was formerly Gtech  and Lottomatica, is now a multinational gaming company that produces slot machines and other gaming technology. The company is headquartered in London, with major offices in Rome, Providence, and Las Vegas USA. In July of 2014, Gtech agreed to acquire International Game Technology (IGT), the world's largest slot machine manufacturer, for a total of $6.4 billion, including $4.7 billion in cash and $1.7 billion in assumed debt. The companies combined under a new holding company based in the United Kingdom, and the Gtech name was dropped in favor of IGT. The merger was finalized in April of 2015.

In April of 2017 IGT agreed to a deal to let go of its Double Down Interactive LLC social casino subsidiary to an affiliate of DoubleU Games Co. The purchase agreement proposes social casino operator DoubleU Games, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, will purchase the business unit for $825 million (€774.9 million). IGT said the arrangement, “establishes a new multi-year strategic partnership between IGT and DoubleU Games to provide innovative player experiences in the social casino market worldwide”.

Now in June of 2017 as expected the sale of the of its Double Down Interactive social casino subsidiary to an affiliate of DoubleU Games Co. has been completed for the agreed purchase price.  

IGT stated its intention to process the funds generated by the acquisition to help reduce debt. Chief Executive Officer for IGT Marco Sala, remarked, “We are also entering into a long-term game development and distribution agreement with DoubleU Games for social casino content.” Sala continued, “This is an important development in supporting our strategy of leveraging our substantial content catalogue across multiple distribution platforms."

“Through this partnership with DoubleU, we will continue participating in the social casino market, as we will be collecting ongoing royalties on our casino game content.”



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Nevada Governor Formalizes Esports Betting Law

In November of last year the gambling state of Nevada USA started to consider the esports trend sweeping the nation. Interest in esports has grown fantastically and The Nevada Gaming Policy Committee realized they needed to address the implementation of an esports wagering framework for Nevada’s sports books. The Committee agenda for November 16, 2016 included 'Esports in Nevada: how Nevada can become the esports capitol of the world'. On the 18th of November 2016 the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee urged gambling regulators in Nevada to create a new set of rules regarding wagering on esports contests.

The competition to be first game ramped up quickly when on the 22 of November it was announced that William Hill had become the first gambling operator to acquire a licence to offer betting lines on esports competitions in the Nevada.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board, granted the licence, saying wagering will take place under Regulation 21.120, allowing for “wagers on events other than a horse race, greyhound race or athletic events”.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said in a statement then,  “This announcement is a major step toward ensuring Nevada becomes the esports capital of the world.” Adding, “By embracing this unique opportunity and incorporating innovation and technology into our gaming industry, we’re expanding the potential of one of our oldest industries.” It appears the licence comes when Nevada still is dealing with an uncertain future regarding real money gambling on esports.

Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill recently amending the pari-mutuel wagering rules paving the way for the future plans of esports entrepreneurs to become a center for the activity. The approval of Senate Bill 240 formalizes esport betting legality under state law. Effective July 1 2017 other sports will be included to the pari-mutuel wagering category, including esports and wagers on various awards shows.  






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German Interstate Treaty on Gambling Flaws Revealed

The news travels fast when politicians do the wrong thing and it is finally discovered and revealed by academics. An example of the process and how it keeps the truth active is Germany’s controversial Interstate Treaty on Gambling which has been the subject of a rigorous study assessing the Treaty’s impact on integrity in sports, customer protection and revenue from taxation. The study has concluded the results are mostly negative.

Assessing the success of the legislation three noted academics spent six months collecting data for the study entitled “Fact-based Evaluation of the Interstate Treaty on Gambling.” The process involved using  methodologies including economic, legal and sociological silos.  Germany’s restrictive online gaming regime resulted in the jurisdiction having the lowest percentage of punters going to regulated gambling offerings placing Germany last on the list for compliance.

Professors from the Dusseldorf Institute for Competition Economics, the Institute for Sports Integrity at the German School of Sports in Cologne and the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, revealed their results of the comparative ‘Channelisation Index’ at a press conference in Berlin recently.  

The report on the 300-page study was supported by lobby groups such as the German Sports-betting Association (DSWV), which was optimistic that the results would convince the politicians to apply more equitable regulations for the online betting industry.

Professor Martin Nolte, director of the Institute for Sports Integrity at the German School of Sports in Cologne said current integrity legislation as going “completely beyond the reality” of the situation and that the country was missing opportunities to fund sports integrity initiatives.

Professor Justus Haucap, director of the Dusseldorf Institute for Competition Economics commented, “Only when online gambling is legalised can the State achieve a number of goals: protecting players, combating gambling addiction and preventing the manipulation of sports,” Haucap continued to add,  “This is exactly where the current legislation fails, along so many lines.”


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New Online Gambling Regulations Causing Operators Stress

The online gambling industry is a worldwide business with many different jurisdictions and rules which affect its development. The new regulations imposed by Australia and the Netherlands have created a crisis of sorts for the operators who have decided to exit those areas and comply with the regulators.

The Netherlands for example has been an attractive destination for online gambling operators responding to the demand for this kind of offering from a local market. The recently imposed  regulations basically prohibited online gambling without a license from the Kansspelautoriteit effectively closing off access to international suppliers.  

The same situation is presented in the Australian online betting market where the government voted for proposed amendments to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. A recent announcement that GIG will be leaving the Australian market after the decision comes as no surprise to industry leaders. By the time the new regulations come into play it will be hard if not impossible for offshore operators to apply for an online gambling license and actually get one. Unlicensed online casino and poker operations will become illegal in the jurisdiction. GIG announced prior to the implementation of the new regulations that Guts, Betspin, Rizk, Thrills, Kaboo, and SuperLenny brands are not available to Australian players as of May15th 2017.

Other reputable online gambling service providers have also left the Australian market place before the new regulations come into effect. Vera&John left the local market late last year, and 888poker followed suit leaving the punter in Australia looking for alternatives. Another Gibraltar-licensed  operator 32Red also exited Australia after Australian MPs approved the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016. It is certain that the domino effect will be witnessed as many other gambling service providers find complying with harsh restriction and expensive regulations imposed by jurisdictions in Europe and elsewhere becomes to arduous. The online gambling public is left with less choice and more risk.


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