U.K. ASA. Concerned With Volume of Online Gambling Ads

The FIFA World Cup is over for another four years with this 2018 version being the most gambled upon in history. The concentration of online betting firms competing for the attention of consumers presented in various media outlets is unprecedented and not without some controversy. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the U.K. received 115 complaints from members of the public during the month long FIFA event in Russia. Most of the concern was about the concentration of gambling advertising being broadcast. The number is quadruple the volume of complaints during the month leading up to the World Cup.

The Authority is probing into whether World Cup advertising by Bet365 and William Hill bent the new U.K. gambling guidelines.

The Committees of Advertising Practice published guidelines for advertising in which the organisation identified ‘impulsiveness and urgency’ as specific concerns.  It created a provision for operators that “makes clear that ads should not unduly pressure people to gamble.”

The guide “specifically cautions against the use of urgent calls to action when gambling opportunities offered are subject to a significant time limitation; for example, the use of 'Bet now!' during a live sporting event”. The ASA explained that live odds themselves are not prohibited, while conditions to offers, such as time limits "are important bits of information that need to be included in ads otherwise they run the risk of being misleading."

Research by the University of Sheffield, Box of Broadcasts and the Guardian revealed that gambling ads totalled around 80 minutes during the World Cup, with vehicle ads logging in at around 60 minutes. GambleAware chief executive Marc Etches said, “It seems to have gone too far. And for young people growing up there just seems to be a stronger and stronger affiliation between the two [gambling and sport] and I’m wary of that.”


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Artificial Intelligence Potential Revealed At The 'AI Malta Summit’

The world today is very much controlled by algorithms which predict everything from the weather to the odds on sport related events. The use of artificial intelligence is becoming more prevalent than ever in the wagering industry on a global scale. Innovation in the online betting industry includes the use of intelligent technology.

Coming up fast is an opportunity to acquire the knowledge required to better understand the use of AI in the internet betting industry. The ‘AI Malta Summit’  iGB Live! expo will take place in Amsterdam from the 17th till the 20th of July 2018.

Joining a panel of experts discussing the various applications for Artificial Intelligence in the online gambling industry is BtoBet’s Alessandro Fried. BtoBet’s latest Industry Report “AI The Present and the Future of iGaming” suggests that Artificial Intelligence provides the player with a more holistic gambling experience as well as doing much to aid the operator in its day to day tasks. Fried maintains that Artificial Intelligence is entrenched in the process for success.

BtoBet is a multinational company with expertise in software development in IT, finance, telecommunication, e-commerce and banking. The firm has made a strong commitment to technology and has invested a great deal in technology research and development. BtoBet has an experienced understanding of the requirements of the gambling market, ahead of the trend curve by anticipating the needs of operators.  BtoBet offers a standalone platform and services for the Sports Betting industry allowing licensees to be unique in the massive market. BtoBet has technical branches with teams of developers in Skopje, Ohrid, Bitola, Belgrade, Nish, Tirana, and Rome. Malta is the commercial and marketing centre for the firm. BtoBet will be sponsoring iGB Live!’s B2B Lounge, BtoBet’s team of experts will take the opportunity to exhibit and demonstrate AI’s potential.   


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Dutch Online Gambling Regulator Issues Fines To Bet-at-home

Regulators in almost all online gambling jurisdictions are saddled with the difficult task of policing the activity. The internet is apparently not an easy place to control as many regulators have discovered in recent months as the FIFA World Cup began in Russia.

The main issue for licensed online gambling jurisdictions are the pirate operators offering gambling products that target their specific areas without acquiring the authorization of the regulator.

Fines for the transgressors has been one method used by the various authorities such as the U.K.’s Gambling Commission. Following suit the Kansspelautoriteit, the Netherlands Gaming Authority has issued a fine of €410,000 (£362,000/$480,000) to online gambling operator Bet-at-home for targeting Dutch gamblers without obtaining a license.

Referring to the offering the Dutch regulator said the operator targeted Dutch citizens between June 14 and October 11 last year. The operator was warned by Kansspelautoriteit about its observations of the violations back in 2012 and 2014 and then “via a television channel aimed at the Netherlands” in May of last year. The fines of €210,000 and €200,000 were given to Bet-at-home.com Entertainment Limited and Bet-at-home.com Internet Limited respectively.

A spokesperson for the Kansspelautoriteit told iGaming Business, "Terminating the offence is the primary goal at all times. The enforcement action is first and foremost a means aimed at ending the violation of the laws and regulations. By imposing a punitive sanction, future violations... can be prevented."

The Dutch government has pledged to keep a lid on illegal online gambling operations targeting Dutch punters while the liberalization of Dutch gambling laws continues to evolve. The Kansspelautoriteit is focusing on underage betting and identifying unlicensed operators offering wagering to Dutch citizens during the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament. The Dutch regulator said it will provide more information on the success of its program after the Championship game is played on July 15th.


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Columbian Regulated Online Gambling Success

The expansion of the global regulated online gambling is creating some issues for emerging new jurisdictions such as Latin America. Columbia has been issuing online betting licenses in relatively big numbers since it decided to liberalize it gambling market.  Regulation is challenging for a newly formed regulatory body and with a greater the number of online gambling operators the task becomes more difficult. The government of Columbia is determined to build an online gambling hub on regulated soil to help with its economic problems.

The Columbia regulatory body Coljuegos CEO Juan Pérez Hidalgo used the licensing of Royal Betting Solutions announcement to reveal the regulated market’s performance to date since the market’s first licensee launched a betting product in July 2017.   The Royal Betting announcement followed the issuing of the 11th license to Italy’s HBG Gaming Group last month. Hidalgo renewed his assertion there would be 17 online licensees taking wagers by the end of this year. Colombia made online gambling history last year by becoming the first Latin American jurisdiction to legislate a regulated online gambling market.

To make sure there is no mistake the government of Columbia means business Hidalgo repeated a  warning to gambling operators both domestic and international that serve Colombian punters without Coljuegos’ licensing. If discovered on Colombian soil, illegal gambling operators can face prison for up to eight years in addition to fines of over COP234m ($80k USD).

 When the FIFA 2018 World Cup began in Russia the 870k Colombian Columbian gamblers that were registered at local regulated sites leaped thirty five percent over the previous month. It was revealed the majority 85 percent of the bettors were men mostly under forty years old.  About 97% of player deposits are made in cash although the average deposit was small at COP20k ($7). The number of punters and operators has grown a great deal so it is a success for now.

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GameArt Will Supply Games To Croatia's SuperSport Brand

GameArt is a privately held casino software company that specialises in offering casino slot games to both terrestrial and online casinos. Founded in Malta in 2013 by a team of former casino executives and programmers. GameArt maintains its game design, platform development and marketing teams in Slovenia, Italy, Malta and Serbia. The company has a client base that includes established operators that want to expand or diversify their offering as well as rival brands looking to increase market-share, plus start-up operators in newly-regulated gambling markets.

GameArt’s core technology provides multi-platform capabilities and a game management system that provides licensees extensive integration options as well as predictive business intelligence tools to help maximise game-player retention.  

Expanding once again the firm has announced it will supply games to the licensed operator SuperSport, Croatia’s most significant sports betting brand. SuperSport was founded in 2000 and holds licenses and concessions with over 300 terrestrial  venues and online sports betting licenses. GameArt will supply 40 certified games games including the popular Atlantis World, Tesla, Gold of Ra, Caligula, and Thunder Bird.

Maja Lozej, Chief Executive Officer of GameArt, commented on the deal, “Croatia’s SuperSport, is one of the market leaders in this fast-growing regulated market and we are therefore delighted that our games portfolio will be accessible for their players throughout Croatia.”

Co-CEO of SuperSport, Radim Haluza commented, Thanks to GameArt’s core technology and their high-level bonus management, and player engagement features, our SuperSport players will enjoy these quality games.”

Co-CEO of SuperSport Goran Đurić said this about the arrangement,  “We are thrilled to seal this supply partnership with GameArt, as the company is known for providing its customers with the highest quality games content in the industry. We at SuperSport select our slots gaming partners very diligently and therefore look forward to developing this partnership.”



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U.K.'s Sky Betting and Gaming Now Owned By The Stars Group

The online gambling industry has been expanding for the last decade and some firms have taken the lead when it comes to mergers and takeovers. The most spectacular acquisitions have come from the Canadian online gambling giant The Stars Group formerly known as Amaya. Amaya came into existence when it purchased The Rational Group for an outstanding price of $4.9 billion in June of 2014.

Now the company has completed a deal started in April of 2018 to acquire the assets of the U.K.’s Sky Betting and Gaming for cash and stock worth $4.7 billion. The deal includes Sky Bet and its various brands acquired from CVC Capital Partners and media giant Sky PLC.

The Stars Group is now considered the largest publicly traded online gambling enterprize in the world. Rafi Ashkenazi The Chief Executive officer for The Stars Group called the acquisition of Sky Bet as “a pivotal moment” in the company’s evolution since it will now be able to develop sports betting “as a second customer acquisition channel.”

Ashkenzai said in a statement, “Sky Bet’s mobile-focused sportsbook pairs well with our industry-leading poker offering to create two premier customer acquisition channels. We believe this combination along with our combined online casino offerings positions The Stars Group for continued growth in the evolving online gaming industry,” The Sky Bet purchase is expected to enhance the diversity of the product range with a more balanced content offering including casino games poker and sports betting within a broad geographic and demographic area. Ashkenzai added that acquiring Sky Bet will assuredly increase The Stars Group’s presence and availability in locally regulated markets.The Stars Group spent $3.6 billion in cash while the balance will be in the form of newly-issued shares. The twenty percent stake British media company Sky, has in Sky Bet, was compensated with £425 million  in cash aside from the shares.


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French Bettors Confident They Will Win The World Cup

Confidence was obvious in the French football team today when they won 1 - 0 against the strong competitor Belgium. There may be something the general public who bet on the FIFA World Cup tournament don’t know as the French gamblers are setting betting records in 2018.

Arjel the French gambling regulator recently revealed its official statistics on local gambler’s outlay on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. During the 48 group stage matches between June 14 and 28, French gamblers bet which was a total of €363m, more than twice the €166m bet on the 2014 World Cup’s group stage and €73m more than the total €290m bet on the entire 2014 FIFA event.

By July 5th the amount wagered on the 2018 event was €159m and was placed with the 27k points of sale of the Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) retail sports betting monopoly. The other €204m was placed with Arjel’s 12 online sports betting licensees.

The Brazil vs.Switzerland match on June 17 took top spot for the highest betting volume of the championship to date at €17m. This met the stats for the second-highest betting volume on any single event since the French online market was opened up in 2010.

Understandably the three World Cup events featuring the French national team generated a significant betting volume. Some €39m was bet on these three matches alone which was about 11% of the group stages total revenues. French regulator Arjel president Charles Coppolani has put his support behind the government’s efforts to unify France’s gambling regulatory structure under a single all encompassing authority. Coppolani said “a single regulator was needed to respond with the proper speed to address a rapidly shifting gambling environment and to impose the necessary consumer protections.”

France is in a position to win the cup and more betting records are sure to be broken in that country.  


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Ethereum Rapidly Becoming Cryptocoin of Choice for Online Gambling

The tech savvy individual today knows something about blockchain and its business applications such as wagering on the internet. The use of cryptocurrencies or virtual money is gaining traction within the online gambling industry. Choosing an online casino can be hard enough and the added debate as to what cryptocurrency is better becomes another challenge.

There are many cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin topping the popularity stats but is Bitcoin the best bet? The factors which make using a virtual currency to gamble with are things such as fees and convenience.Compare another cyber coin like Ethereum which is a decentralized platform for applications that run exactly as programmed without any chance of fraud, censorship or third-party interference to Bitcoin which also utilizes blockchain.

Ethereum is rapidly becoming the coin of choice for online gambling even though Bitcoin has the cache of being the original digital money platform.

Bitcoin’s popularity has started to wain, with a congested network leading to delays in processing.The speed and the low fees have disappeared leaving room for an improved crypto funding platform such Ethereum.

There the debate is clearly in Ethereum’s favour with some features such as the use of smart contracts which enforce transactions in the cryptocurrency world. The platform is influencing in the online gaming sector in a big way. Ethereum has  advantages and Ethereum is gaining major traction in the online gambling market.

Ethereum’s transactions are not only processed much faster than the rival plus the fees are lower which can be all the difference when it comes to deciding whether to game using Bitcoin or Ethereum. Time is money as the saying goes so it makes sense to go with Ethereum. Saving money and saving time,  considering Ethereum is a good bet for betting. Blockchain is the future especially in our virtual world.


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BetVictor Launches Innovative Intuitive Marketing Platform

The online gambling industry has witnessed many firsts on the technology front. The constant need for fresh ideas to keep up with the latest improvement challenges is what forward thinking operators are looking for.Marketing has always been a priority for online gambling firms who are always innovating in the targeting of products relevant to the consumer.

One such innovation has recently been launched by BetVictor, one of Europe’s leading online gaming companies.  The in-house developed Real-Time Automated Marketing Platform is the first market solution designed to provide a seamless tool to foster interaction with consumers in a more effective manner in real-time. BetVictor utilizing its new system analyses customer likes and dislikes and can form campaigns specifically suited to them all with this single marketing automation platform. RAMP is one of the most intuitive marketing tools now available for the online gambling industry, RAMP has the ability to create cross-channel promotional campaigns in every language.

Research has shown that specific targeted personalized promotional notifications are more likely to be clicked on and read.

Leo Judkins, Head of Retention at BetVictor, commented on the system,  “Today, more than ever, customers receive dozens of emails, push notifications, and texts from companies attempting to sell products that aren’t always relevant to them. At BetVictor, by leveraging our own predictive modelling capabilities, we’re able to target our customers with eye-catching offers and campaigns that are of their interest.” Judkins continued to add, “Our innovative and intuitive marketing platform, RAMP, further enhances and simplifies two-way engagement between our teams and our customers, providing them with an enriched experience”

BetVictor is an established innovator in the gaming industry with headquarters in Gibraltar and tech hubs in London and Budapest.  BetVictor’s focus is to offer customers a simple, intuitive and personal betting experience. The company provides in-house technologies and product development capabilities for consumers in 150 countries.  


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Loot Box Issue Decided In France

Many gamblers aren’t particularly interested in video gaming per say but the governments of a number of countries are concerned that gambling has infiltrated the video gaming world. In video gaming there are items called loot boxes which contain items such as weapons or armour that can be obtained and redeemed for enhanced play. Purchasing a loot box is a gamble in itself because the boxes are sold as a random package with the contents hidden until bought. Rare objects are granted if a number of loot boxes are bought. The prizes are a type of monetization, with the players either buying the boxes directly or receiving them while playing games such as League of Legends, and Star Wars Battlefront II. Countries are dealing with the cross over gambling aspect that loot boxes present.  

The French gambling regulator ARJEL maintains that “loot boxes could qualify as gambling if the generated item has a real-world monetary value”, according to the English version of French gambling law. The regulator states that this would be the case if the loot box item is sold outside the gaming platform and a prize was obtained. ARJEL then states that in order for that to happen the game operator would be required to first permit such a transaction away from the platform.

ARJEL’s statement read, “a certain number of investigations are in progress” regarding the authorization of in-game loot boxes. In response, the regulator has voted for a combined and coordinated action, adding that this would allow European financial regulators to “provide a coherent analysis of micro-transactions embedded in video games”.

It should be noted that in the French jurisdiction only three types of online gambling are permitted those being poker, horse betting, and sports betting. In the Netherlands it was revealed that an investigation of ten popular video games with loot boxes and found that four of them had violated Dutch gambling laws. Game developers were given two months to fix the illegal loot box issue.






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