Latin America is on the verge of becoming the hottest market in the world for online gamblers. Online gambling operator Vision Media has become the first company in the region to order a white label sports book from software provider OddsMatrix. OddsMatrix Ltd was founded in 2007 by BetBrain Ltd. in the United Kingdom. Registered in Malta 2008 holding a class 2 betting license in Malta. The firm currently has offices in Malta, England, Denmark, China, and Romania. OddsMatrix is a provider of a full service sports betting solution, known commonly as a white label solution. The new operation will be displayed across the Vision Media network of online gambling sites, which includes BetMotion.com, CopacabanaPoker.com, ApostoGano.com, and ApostouGanhou.com, offering a mix of poker, casino and bingo. The manager of business relations at Vision Media, Stefan Sluijter, commented, “Sports betting is an important component of Vision Media’s future growth strategy and we were looking for the right partner to help us deliver this content. We will offer a sports betting service with competitive odds across a comprehensive range of events and markets." The network OddsMatrix software will be available in time for action on soccer's World Cup this year with full integration with the Vision Media platform allowing punters to bet with existing accounts. CEO of EveryMatrix, owner of the OddsMatrix white label solution, Stian Hornsletten, said, “Our partnership with Vision Media will enable them to enhance their overall product offering, and will give EveryMatrix access to Latin America. We’re confident that sports betting will very quickly start to contribute to the growth of the Vision Media business.” OddsMatrix is growing in popularity as the software white label of choice as the list of clients suggests now including Tell Gaming, Chili Gaming, Tower Gaming, Setanta Bet, NoiQ, BetFriends, Best Games, Pepe Games, BeteXpress, Mr123, EuroPoker, Vision Media, BetWize, JuegosLucky, Mermaid Poker, Sun Poker, GUTS.com, Danbook, BetClick, Centrebet, Globet, Oxygen, Zedbet and IASbet.

 

 

 

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Kentucky has decided it's going to go after an online gambling operation and file a law suit against Pocket Kings owner of one of the largest poker rooms on the planet Full Tilt Poker. The Ireland based company is also on the investigating hit list by a Grand Jury in New York State. Kentucky, has been attempting to gain control of 141 internet gambling and poker domains to shut them down and is now trying to recover money lost by Kentucky residents wagered at the Full Tilt Poker web site. The commonwealth filed the new case, listing Pocket Kings, Ltd., as the owner of Full Tilt Poker. It states, “the Commonwealth is entitled to sue and recover triple the value of the money lost during the statutory period between March 25, 2005 and September 25, 2009 (the five year period preceding this Complaint but excluding the most recent six months) by persons located within the borders of Kentucky.” Pocket Kings is recorded as the only named defendant, the commonwealth officials goes on to list almost every gambling and poker site in operation as “unknown” defendants. The Louisville Kentucky Courier-Journal recently posted an article online describing the law as problematic for the commonwealth. With experts suggesting the case has no merit and may be dismissed before it is brought to a court. Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown has brought the legal action against the online gambling operators with a 14-page folder charging that Full Tilt Poker has “purposefully and knowingly conducted commercial transactions with persons whom they knew to be located within the Commonwealth.” Testimony in the Kentucky Court of Appeals has revealed that 13,000 Kentucky residents have played online poker games. Kentucky attorneys are seeking pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, attorney fees and other costs, and any “further relief as the Court deems just and proper.”

 

 

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Barclays Capital is a leading global British investment bank, with 23,000 employees. The bank has a balance sheet of over £1.2 trillion, with a net income of $10.334 billion. In a recent equity research report for the internet gaming sector, Barclays Capital found that Sportingbet was "best-in-class sports betting system giving it the highest gross win margins in the online gambling industry." Good news for the punter that has the choice as to which casinos or sports book to use when making a bet. In this case Barclays Capital is convinced the best payout percentage with Sportingbet's win margins averaging over 9% over the past four years and, more recently,10% or more. It adds that Bwin's win margins were only about 8% and Party Gaming's as low as 5.5%. The report concluded that in-running now accounts for over 50% of Sportingbet's European sports betting, with an achievable margin of 8-10%. The Sportingbet site runs on the GTECH G2 MarginMaker platform. The Business Development Director of Sportingbet, Simon Gregory, says, "In particular, the automated set up features for in-running betting has enabled Sportingbet to drive this part of our business to over 75% of bets in some sports, meeting consumer demand and producing exceptional returns". SportingBet started using MarginMaker when it was just getting started and now the customised GTECH G2 platform, "allows Sportingbet to exploit the markets to their full potential" Gregory added.

Chief Technology Officer of GTECH G2, Predrag Popovic, commented "Sportingbet are one of our oldest customers and they have worked closely with us and invested in continuously evolving the platform. We are delighted that this commitment has been reflected in independently benchmarked commercial success." Sportingbet has recently renewed its agreements with GTECH G2 for the next three years, including all poker, casino and game products plus a new G2 bingo offering.

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Whenever anyone sees the eCOGRA logo on an online gambling web site one can be sure that casino or poker room is in good standing and can be trusted. There are a few things that every online gambler wants and the number one requirement is honesty. Operators of virtual gambling establishments know the value of the eCOGRA certification in helping to obtain new clients and build a sustainable working business. Boss Media, certainly One of the Internet gambling industry's most respected pioneer software companies, has achieved the eCOGRA seal of approval. Boss Media powers many reputable online casino and poker rooms, and operates the International Poker Network. Bradley Khoury, a Chartered Accountant and Information Systems Auditor, did the audit in Växjö Sweden where the firm, is part of the GTechG2 group along with companion companies Finsoft, Dynamite Idea and St Minver. Bwin, Sportingbet, Svenskaspel and Bet-At-Home are all licensed to use the Boss Media software package. Khoury said, "The Boss Media staff members were exceptionally cooperative and well organised during the on-site review," adding, "The requirements of our follow up review were excellently structured and quickly resolved in a highly professional manner." eCOGRA's Andrew Beveridge, chief executive officer, said, "This is a highly respected industry company that has been active in the business for over a decade, and the process efficiencies and very high software quality reflect that," he said. "On behalf of eCOGRA's Independent Directors I congratulate Boss Media and its employees on a very professional effort." Johan Berg, Boss Media's CEO said, "Our achievement in meeting eCOGRA's demanding software certification standards reaffirms that commitment and provides us with a useful and internationally accepted benchmark against which we can measure our performance," The public can also now be sure the web site they are using is compliant with the most comprehensive set of rules in the online gambling industry.

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Massachusetts is set to throw all bets aside and make online gambling and online poker a criminal activity within it's borders. Expanding gambling within Massachusetts is being discussed but only terrestrial based casinos and gambling not internet gambling in fact the new proposition will make the thousands of people that already play online casinos and poker rooms in the state felons. According to the wording in the bill, online gambling participation could net a person up to two years imprisonment and or a fine of no more than $25,000 USD. The state will benefit from the addition of land based gambling with the government's cut being 25% of casino revenue and 40% from slot machines. The abolishment of online activity would create in effect a more lucrative brick and mortar business for the state of Massachusetts. Ironically Barney Frank, a Democrat is the leading representative for the taxation and regulation of online gambling, comes from Massachusetts. The lobby groups are massing for and against online gambling legalisation in the States that is already supported by at least sixty representatives in the Senate. Poker players are leading the battle lobbying for a regulated environment for online poker rooms with the Poker Players Alliance having more than 25,000 members in Massachusetts alone. Governor Deval Patrick has come out against the proposed bill according to the Boston Globe newspaper. Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo introduced the bill which is reportedly backed by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. DeLeo is not planning on any public debate on the issue stating that hearings have already been held on the topic and “everything has been studied thoroughly.” As part of the bill, two Massachusetts casino licenses will be issued, each with a price tag of $100 million. In addition, four slot machine licenses will be awarded for $15 million each. More police will be added in Massachusetts to help keep everything under control.

 

 

 

 

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Full Tilt Poker is thee second largest poker room in the world second only to PokerStars. Full Tilt Poker, is known for hosting the highest stakes games in online poker, and was site to the 100 biggest online pots of 2009, including the ten largest pots in online poker history. Team Full Tilt Professional Patrik Antonius beat the anonymous Swedish player Isildur 1 for a $1,356,947 pot in a hand of Pot Limit Omaha: the largest online poker pot in history. The Financial Times recently reported that Full Tilt Poker is being investigated by a Federal grand jury in Manhattan N.Y. USA to determine whether the poker site is violating US gambling and money-laundering laws. Most of the report was pure speculation as no real or direct information has been released regarding the suggested investigation. Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer controllers of the firm could face criminal charges should any wrong doing be found by the Grand jury. Los Angeles civil attorney Eric Jackson, who represents Lederer and Ferguson, was not prepared to say anything and said he was not informed about any such probe. In the USA 2.5 million people put as much as $30 billion on the line each year. with online poker operations such as PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker taking around $1 billion, of the USA poker industry’s revenue all which is considered illegal as the law permits currently. Relying on the vagueness of the Wire Act of 1961 and the Illegal Gambling Business Act poker is enjoying a thriving business. Officials a cautious about proceeding with these cases because of the ambiguous position that poker holds, with lawmakers not sure whether poker is a game of skill or a game of chance. Companies like Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars have been able to thrive in the US market without too much trouble. Most insiders see this as an example of intimidation by the Department of Justice in the US to make online gambling companies aware of the possible trouble they would be in should a solid case be made against them in the USA.

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Harsh criticism has been heard from Ireland's horse racing industry about the monetary shortfalls being experienced by many horse racing venues in the country. The gulf between the Irish horse racing industry and the betting operators grew wider recently as opposing sides squared off as a committee meeting on sports convened. One respected voice in racing circles slammed Paddy Power chief executive officer Patrick Kennedy for showing "absolute disdain" for the racing industry. Kennedy fought back stating in an interview with the Racing Post that "Irish breeding is world class but our racing is not" adding that, Horse Racing Ireland "hides behind the success of our breeding industry." Basically the argument goes that the government wants gambling operators to foot more of the bill for Irish racing which survives mostly now on government subsidies. When things were good in the pre recession years tax receipts from gambling paid it's fair share of the costs but now as receipts have diminished things have changed and politicians have not been keeping up with the new situation. The biggest change is in the betting world, while there is still a strong, traditional betting shop trade in Ireland, the real growth has come through internet and telephone betting. The online betting market is mobile, and can be sourced anywhere in the world. Brian Kavanagh Horse Racing Ireland's chief executive officer said, "while betting in Ireland has increased four-fold to more than €4 billion, the tax take to the State has fallen from €68m to €31m," all within the last ten yeas. Paddy Power was quick to point out that to remain loyal to Ireland and become the cash cow gambling operator for the horse racing industry is simply not fair when other online gambling operations are making money in jurisdictions offshore without this kind of tax burden. Paddy Power executives are being loyal to their share holders who look at the bottom line. Horse racing in Ireland is a viable industry that helps drive the country's rural economy, and political solutions must be found quickly to close the tax gap and keep everyone working.

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The Financial Post recently ran an article on gambling in Hawaii, America's tropical island state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It seems that Hawaiians like many Americans like to wager and play casino games with enthusiasm and conviction. Frustrating to many is the ban on gambling on Hawaii's eight separate islands, with would be punters looking for ways to feed their entertainment desires. Las Vegas is the closest venue to play within the USA and many Hawaiians head for the gaming capital every year in droves. The population of the beautiful tourist filled state of Hawaii is only 1.2 million that creates a staggering 150,000 excursions to Las Vegas every year with some travelers taking five or six trips per year to gamble and watch the shows. It is estimated that Hawaiians alone spend more than $100 million dollars in Vegas with many seeing Las Vegas Nevada as a good place to live and an estimated 80,000 Hawaiians have taken up residence there. Moves towards legalising gambling in Hawaii have been very slow as the conservative government in the State like things the way as they are and have squashed proposal after proposal to bring casinos to the tourist oriented state. Arguments that the state needs the money that could be generated from taxing gambling and the fact that the money that goes to Vegas stays in Vegas have fallen on deaf ears. The Financial Post reports, “ The anti-gambling lobby is a powerful one, with roots going way back to the 19th century when the Christian missionaries insinuated the hand of God into every corner of society,” There is no change on the horizon as the Financial Post points out, “As a result, about 3,000 Hawaiians each week will continue to get on a plane and travel to the “ninth island” and spend millions. Others will simply continue to gamble illegally at home,” Online gambling is something that is part of today's society and would be a welcome addition to the gambling venues available to the punters of Hawaii should it ever become legal there.

 

 

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According to various reports the Governor of New Hampshire USA has publicly stated he is considering the merits of legal online gambling in the state. New Hampshire Governor, John Lynch while opposing the expansion of land based slot machine installations, says he may be a supporter of internet gambling. Spokesperson for the governor Colin Manning, reported to the news that Lynch plans to unveil his plan for gambling shortly and legalizing online gaming is among the ideas he's considering. Lynch opposes a Senate approved bill that is being hotly debated in the House allowing 17,000 slot machines and casino-style games to be installed in certain locations within the State. Lynch feels this bill does little to curb the proliferation on gambling in New Hampshire. Lynch detractors who are lobbying to have a brick and mortar casino built near a golf course have a lot to say. From one point of view former state Senator, Bob Clegg, who works as a lobbyist for Green Meadow Golf Club, with the aim of bringing a casino and resort to Hudson says, "The governor is worried about proliferation of gaming but it sounds like he’s going to make every computer terminal in every home and every Blackberry, including those BlackBerrys held by kids in high school, a gambling facility," The lobby group says the area needs work for the businesses involved in the construction of the casino hotel and resort in Hudson. Clegg said that aside from stifling business growth, online gambling would allow for unchecked addictions," adding "Who’s going to keep track of the social costs?" "A real-life casino keeps track and is looking at problem gamblers." Clegg concluded. Many jurisdictions have been able to maintain a decent tax base by licensing and regulating the online gambling industry providing sustainable long term employment without the huge overhead associated with operating a land based hotel and casino.

 

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It wasn't many years ago that anyone of age that wanted to gamble in the USA had to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada or Atlantic City, New Jersey to put there money into a slot or play the green tables. The American Gaming Association states that there are now in 12 states 445 full service casinos and 423 operating casinos on Native land. This is plenty enough evidence for cash strapped states that the gambling market is growing with an additional 11,500 card rooms and e gaming establishments. Research by the Rockefeller Institute of Government has shown that as many as twenty five US states are looking to expand or add gambling operations, including online gambling. H2 Gambling Capital research from the U.K. revealed the total gross revenue for the gambling industry was $335-billion USD in 2009. Not only are governments wading into gambling in general with more lotteries and casinos and of course online access to casinos and poker rooms, but private equity firms are looking at online gambling and casinos as a good investment strategy knowing that there are solid returns from gambling. It is interesting that the Canadian provincial governments are setting in motion a claim for some of the gambling industries profits. the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan one of the largest pension funds in Canada has made it's investment moves into gaming. It recently failed in a bid to win the licence for Australia's New South Wales lottery, but managed a coupe over a Luxembourg based buyout firm CVC Capital Partners to acquire Camelot Group PLC, operator of the U.K. National Lottery, for a smooth $590-million. Wayne Kozun, who is senior vice-president of public equities at OTPP said, "These types of investments are like infrastructure without the physical assets," Lee Sienna, vice-president of long-term equities for OTTP, likes the steady 3% growth from lottery sales. Web based gambling is the fastest-growing sector and will continue to grow at 11.1% per annum, according to data from H2 Gambling Capital.

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