Search engine optimisation firm Latitude considers it's self a leading edge company in the sector with clients that include Bet365, Virgin Games and Victor Chandler. It has made public in an interview with Crain's Manchester Business news, that it is working hard to be a front runner in the USA when and if the online gambling market opens up in that country. Alex Hoye, CEO of Latitude said after he was attended the recent International Gaming Expo in London he was convinced, judging by the mood of the industry professionals who where at he Expo that the USA will eventually regulate and licence online gambling there. Hoye who is from North Carolina USA said, “We operate campaigns in America and we have lots of experience in the gaming sector so it would be very significant for us.” referring to the possible repeal of theUnlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. At Latitude, Hoye is pinning growth hopes on the gaming, retail and SME sectors now that Latitude has emerged from a refinancing in January which saw it briefly go into administration. Barclays Bank was reported to have written off about £5m of the company's debt while private equity backers Vitruvian Partners put in more funding. The refinancing has also given the new company, Latitude Digital Marketing Ltd, more capital for potential acquisitions and technical updates. Latitude has resisted moving it's operations offshore to India with a responsible approach to keeping jobs in the U.K. Latitude employs 75 mostly technical professionals in Warrington and about 20 staff in London who are primarily involved in sales.

Rival SEO firm Just Search, managing director, Paul Yates, commented, “We have had some gaming clients but to be honest we have always found that clients in that industry are quite restricted on spend,” he added. “Because it is restricted in other markets, getting a gaming company a good listing organically takes a lot of work. Legalisation (in the states) would be fantastic for anyone in our industry.”



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The most gambled on game in America is arguably the Super Bowl played this year in Florida where the weather was perfect and both teams at the top of their form. This year’s 44th Super Bowl was a great spectacle for anyone who watched the game, it was exciting and tension filled. The betting was rampant in both Reno and Vegas but even more so online. The stats that have come in so far surpass last year’s results by a long shot. With the New Orleans Saints coming onto the field as the underdogs and winning the toss the game became a minute by minute betters dream. The odds were tight with the Colts favoured to win, so punters who followed their hearts were surprised when the Saints took charge and changed things in their favour.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority an estimated 278,000 Super Bowl fans came to the top gambling destination to wager and have some fun. This figure is up by almost 14-percent over last year's Super Bowl weekend. The betting volume of over $81.5 million last year is sure to be surpassed. This is however is not expected to break the record $94.5 million made during the 2006 Super Bowl event. The Reno Gazette reported that hotels and casinos were full and people were definitely in a good mood. Some Casinos said that things were as good or better than last year's attendance which they consider a sign that the economy must be improving in the USA. It was reported that traffic on the Google search engine was dominated by Gambling911. Sports books across the board offered many options for the punter everything from which team would win the toss to how much of a point spread there would be at the end of the match. Win or lose it was a great game with some surprising results.

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Probability plc the U.K. mobile gaming technology specialist was founded in London in 2004 and appeared on the London Stock Exchange in 2006. Their vision is to be the global leader in mobile phone gambling services. Recently the company issued it's quarter on quarter financial report that indicated a drop of 8 percent. Executives from the company said the decrease was caused by "higher withdrawals running up to Christmas" and a decline in the number of new registered players. Probability's premier game was the new X Factor branded slot title, which attracted over 2.5 million GBP in wagers during the screening of the live shows. Probability's CEO Charles Cohen, said, “As we expected, net gaming revenues were slightly lower than the previous quarter as players cashed in their winnings in November to finance their Christmas expenditure.
“We were buoyed by the success of the X Factor slots game toward the end of the quarter, which saw significant traction through December as the live televised finals progressed. December trading all round was very encouraging with record bets taken and net gaming revenues 30 percent higher than November, which followed a strong month in October. We were very pleased that the new server capacity in which we have invested was online in time for this busy period and ensured that our systems performed well, giving players a great experience and handling a record number of mobile bets.” Regarding this downturn as short term the company issued a statement saying, “Our plans were accelerated following changes in the market environment, which have opened considerable new opportunities for us,” “In particular, the uptake of the iPhone and the Google Android platforms have shifted consumer expectations of mobile services generally and significantly improved the prospects for mobile gambling.
“Our newly created higher margin business-to-business division is also experiencing strong demand from electronic gaming businesses and online sports books for a ‘white-label’ offering from Probability to allow them to address these opportunities themselves,"

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The delay in the implementation of the enforcement of the ban on internet gambling in the USA has given the proponents of legalization a chance to gather momentum. According to the Washington Post recently, the poker lobbyists are pushing to legalize the activity on the web in the United States by this year. Backed by a large war chest of cash the poker players are trying to convince social conservatives, sports leagues and religious and moral opponents that this is as much about freedom of choice as playing a friendly game of poker online. Barney Frank has a lot of support for his cause and is making great strides in bringing a diverse number of representatives from both sides of the house on board. The newspaper contends that as much as half of the 16 billion dollars wagered online is generated from the USA. The proponents of legalization and regulating of online gambling in the USA say the action could bring a large portion of that money spent back into American coffers. The NFL, the Focus on the Family and other Internet gambling opponents, have predicted that chaos will come to America should citizens be allowed to gamble on the internet. The 1.2 million member strong, Poker Players Alliance funded largely by the Interactive Gaming Council, a lobby group for offshore gambling firms has put $4 million into the effort on Capital Hill in Washington D.C. over the past year. John Pappas, the Poker Players Alliance's chief executive officer stated recently,

"I think there's a growing realization in Washington that prohibition probably isn't going to work, just like prohibitions throughout history have not worked," Banks and other financial institutions urged a delay, saying that the statute was vague and unenforceable convincing lawmakers they should take some time and listen to both sides of the debate. The Congress is at this time very busy trying it's best to oversee a massive agenda, so the delay may be too little too late, and the full impact of the prohibition in the USA may very well come to pass.

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The Czech republic is one of the most progressive countries in Europe with laws that are current and fair. One exception seems to be the laws regarding gambling. While 2009 was a record year for online gambling sites in the Republic owners of the web sites were not particularly happy with the results. They claim the outcome should have been much better blaming the second rate returns on outdated gambling laws and a less than respectable execution of the existing regulations. It was suggested that offshore online gambling sites were taking away players at the expense of the Czech operations. Unfair taxation is the most discussed issue among local firms, with licensed legal operators having to comply with a higher than normal tax regime within the Czech regulatory framework. This makes competing with offshore operators nearly impossible for the local online gambling industry. Lubomír Ježek spokesperson for Tipsport the Czech Republic's most profitable betting agency commented, "It is an incredible situation," adding, "We have to pay all the fees and taxes on one hand, and, on the other, we have to compete with bookmakers who do not have any such obligations to pay taxes here."

Larger advertising budgets from offshore companies offering online gambling in all forms have been targeting the Czech player with success making for a hostile and frustrated environment in the Republic. Local operators have been voicing their frustrations to government officials asking for changes and getting nowhere fast.

Jakub Haas a spokesperson for the Czech Finance Ministry said, "A new gaming bill has been on the table for a number of years, but with no success," adding, "The new bill attempts to create common principles for all the types of gambling, so online gambling would not be otherwise disadvantaged." Licensed online gambling firms in the Czech Republic have to pay a premium thirty percent tax over and above other taxes as well as having to contribute to social programs for the public good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Swedish online gambling software provider Net Entertainment has posted a huge increase in it's profits according to recent financial statements from the company. The surprisingly successful report stated that after taxes were paid, profits were up a full 35 percent over last year. The operational profits were posted at an even higher rate moving the firm up 37 percent. Despite the hard times experienced by many online gambling operations Net Entertainment's revenue was up a remarkable 46 percent. All this translates into a happy management that is celebrating the success and hoping the momentum can be maintained. Johan Öhman Chief Executive Officer at Net Entertainment commented that the fourth quarter showed stronger performance than the third, and that the upward trajectory has continued into 2010. “We saw strong growth at the end of 2009 with a revenue growth of 12 percent during the fourth quarter compared to quarter three," Öhman explained to the press, "The increase was the result of organic growth by existing licensees. The number of game transactions increased by 23 percent during the same period. Combined, this result shows that there is a strong market development and demand for our products. This positive trend has continued in January 2010.” Mr. Öhman continued with his upbeat address, “We have a solid order backlog comprising, for example, Expekt and Microgame which, together with Sportingbet rolling out CasinoModule on additional geographical markets, will create new license revenues.

“The implementation of Seamless Wallet is ongoing with our major licensees. This functionality enables operators to place Net Entertainment's games in other parts of the web portal than the casino and thereby offer games to a larger share of their players, creating a foundation for increased gaming revenues from new player segments.

“CasinoCafé had positive development during the fourth quarter with increasing volumes; however, from a low level. Delta Invest continues the roll-out of CasinoCafe, which has been slower than expected, with focus primarily on the Ukraine market.”

 

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Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Microgaming, the well established software developer to create a series interesting video slots based on the popular The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Tolkien’s world famous Lord of the Rings trilogy has been one of the most popular offerings to audience around the globe. Microgaming now has the right to develop online video slot games using animation material, themes and characters from The Lord of the Rings series. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings, and The Return of the King are all to be developed. A spokesperson for Mirogaming said, “It is a strategic and timely decision to secure exclusive, online video slot game rights to a trilogy that generated $3 billion in worldwide box office and was nominated for a total of 30 Academy Awards; of which they won 17, including Best Picture,” CEO at Microgaming, Roger Raatgever, commented, "We’re excited about creating state-of-the-art video slots from the best movie trilogy of the decade. We look forward to bringing The Lord of the Rings into the online gaming sphere, where our expertise in game quality and speed to market will ensure its success. The Lord of the Rings has a huge entrenched fan base with over 97 percent awareness of the film franchise, as well as phenomenal and unprecedented home video success.”  

Microgaming is always pushing the envelope by developing and maintaining a huge umber of games every year. The company is expected to launch it's usual number of internet games this month with offering that are timed perfectly with the action in the market. Winter Gold is a 5 reel 10 pay-line slot themed in time for the Winter Olympics, Love Potion, a lovely slot in time for Valentines day this month, and Hot Air, another new slot, which is themed on an aerial adventure aboard a hot air balloon.



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It is without a doubt a most controversial subject in most countries that are not licensing or regulating online gambling. In Canada in the province of Quebec on the Mohawk Nation's land within Quebec's borders online gambling has been supported for years.

 

Ordinary Quebecers currently have access to approximately 2000 online gaming and gambling sites. It is suggested that without regulations the growth of this activity results in negative consequences both for players and the community. Representing about 1,200 croupiers at three of Loto-Québec's four land based casinos, Jean-Pierre Proulx of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, has said that the government move to open access to online gambling is going to impact the business in a negative way. He feels that poker revenues will suffer and existing casinos will have trouble competing with existing online operations that have millions of players around the world. Proulx and other CUPE members contend that Quebec's online gambling offering will contribute to problem gambling. He says trained casino staff can identify and offer help to problem gamblers while an online casino does not have the same safeguards. Jeffrey Derevensky, co-founder of McGill University's International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems, said "it is very easy to track behaviour" and follow a person's gambling habits online. He added "Loto-Québec has assured me that they will be popping up warning signs to people when it looks like they will be gambling excessively,"

Opposition Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois, has been critical of the present government for allowing Finance Minister Raymond Bachand to start up an online gambling industry in the province. Marois stated she was, "very disappointed Loto-Québec chose this path," The minister defended his decision saying internet sites that now draw about $80 million a year will generate about $50 million from its online poker and sports betting operations in 2012. The President and CEO of Loto-Québec, Alain Cousineau, said, "Loto-Québec will apply its internationally-recognized expertise in responsible gaming and ... will introduce a number of control and prevention measures,"

 

 

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HeadsUp Entertainment International, is set to launch Canadian Poker Player. tv. a new entertainment source for the thousands of Canadian Poker players. It is estimated that there are over 3,500,000 poker players in Canada, a country which is now the second largest online revenue generating country in the world in the poker industry. The network will work with Heads-Up's publication, Canadian Poker Player Magazine to offer current content. HeadsUp President and CEO Kelly B. Kellner said, "Both the magazine and our online network will give players from across the country a forum and showcase as we strive to build new poker superstars."

Soon to begin in the land of snow will be the online poker channel that will start off by scheduling over 20 hours of programming from some of Canada’s biggest poker tournaments, featuring the game’s most famous players. Canadians will be watching Gavin Smith, Joe Hachem, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak and Huck Seed play cards win or lose. The Canadian Open Poker Championships offers up great showmanship with Roger Sarna and Joe Hachem. Moving throughout the country the show will feature head to head games between 'Yukon' Brad Booth and popular Huck Seed. The Stampede Classic in Calgary Alberta Canada home of cowboys and oil men is going to be aired and studied. The new poker channel will present the documentary showcasing the Canadian Poker Tour’s Invitational Finals shot in the Dominican Republic.

888.com, which is prominent online poker room and casino will be the first sponsor on the site with an impressive array of commercials to entice us to play. Exclusive offers during the promotional launch period over the next few months are also there to build up interest in the new Canadian Poker Channel. Kellner, is very optimistic about the future of the new online poker channel and believes the new venue will create a new era for Canadian poker marketing. “We believe we will see changes in the way sponsors react to their customers and having the ability to reach large scale audiences with on-the-spot promotions. I am excited to be able to deliver a medium for innovation of content delivery.”

 

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Mastercard will no longer be processing online gambling transactions according to the latest news on the web. According to various sources the action taken by Mastercard coincides with a Federal appeals court ruling recently upholding a contempt order for refusing to comply with a grand-jury subpoena levelled against two former online gambling payment processing companies. The blocking of all deposits made by US citizens linked to poker sites and online casinos will be imposed, immediately as Mastercard starts to comply with the eventual Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act enforcement. In what seems like a never ending problem for the financial institutions Mastercard has attempted before to block online transactions but were thwarted by gaming sites who were able to remove the code identifying the transaction from their sites. Mastercard’s last attempt to block gambling transactions lasted about 2 months before gaming sites were able remove the code making them invisible again. Doylesroom, Bodog, Absolute Poker, UltimateBet, Cake Poker Network and Sportsbooks will be affected by this action by the credit card giant.

Visa continues to be widely used in the US at online poker and casino sites but it has been suggested they are working on similar plan to refuse transactions from online gambling sites or players. This will not be the end of punting in America or gambling on your favourite poker site. Alternatives to credit card deposits are still available at most gaming sites with Echecks, Ewalletexpress and Usemywallet some of the most popular. The use of electronic cheques is also gaining usage, they are deposited directly with the online poker site. These are quick, usually free from charges, and they can also be used to withdraw cash. Other options like Fedex checks or bank wires are also often used by players on the net. With America's Superbowl football game, coming soon this move by Mastercard will surely cost them millions of dollars in lost fees.  

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