SkyBet Acquired By Online Gambling Giant Stars Group

The big thing in the online gambling industry during its history has been the rapid expansion of companies through acquisitions and mergers. The newly renamed Stars Group formerly known as Amaya Gaming is one company that is growing in leaps and bounds with the recent announcement that the Canadian located gambling firm will purchase the UK firm Sky Betting & Gaming. The buyout will subsequently create the largest publicly listed betting company anywhere.

The Stars Group will benefit from the purchase which will expand exposure for its sports betting products as well as increased access to other markets. The arrangement which is subject to approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and gambling regulators has been valued at $4.7 billion.

The sellers private equity firm CVC Capital Partners have an 80% stake with 20% still owned by the original owner Sky Plc. The terms of the agreement states The Stars Group will use cash and stock for the acquisition. The cash portion of the deal comes to $3.6 billion while the rest will be paid in 37.9 million newly-issued common shares. This is the gambling group’s second really large purchase deal in the past four years, following the purchase of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker in 2014 for $4.9-billion.

The Stars Group has been looking at opportunities that would boost its sports betting and casino brands and reduce the current situation with the company’s focus revenue generator online poker.

The Stars Group has been on an acquisition spree of late with the announcement that it would buy a 62% stake in Australian betting operator CrownBet for $117.7 million and with this The Group has secured an entry into the fast expanding Australian gambling market. CrownBet’s acquisition of William Hill Australia will make it the third largest operator in the market. The recently formed merger of Tabcorp and Tatts will however create some stiff competition for the Stars Group enterprise.




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Stanleybet Romania Links With Kambi Group

The partnership strategy is still going strong in the gambling industry with the recent announcement that Kambi Group has signed a deal with leading Romanian operator Stanleybet Romania to provide its sports book across the firm’s online and retail channels.

Since 2004 Stanleybet Romania has become one of the largest sports betting operators in the regulated gambling market in the Romanian jurisdiction. This long-term agreement will see Stanleybet Romania transition its online customers to Kambi's Sports book platform that will eventually be combined with the Oryx Gaming player management system. It was suggested that the whole process will be done just in time for the FIFA World Cup competition coming this summer. An online gambling upgrade is expected by Stanleybet Romania after which Kambi's retail solution will see another launch.

Kristian Nylen, Kambi Group’s Chief Executive Officer commented, "As one of the strongest sports betting brands in Romania, I'm delighted Stanleybet Romania has chosen Kambi and our market-leading Sportsbook to springboard the company to its next phase of growth,"

Nylen continued, "The agreement reflects the strength of our multi-channel offer, as well as the flexibility of the Kambi Sportsbook, with Stanleybet keen to offer their customers a unique and differentiated sports betting experience,"

Sorin Georgescu, Stanleybet’s Romania Chief Executive Officer also had this to say,  "This partnership is a key milestone for Stanleybet Romania's evolution in the local market. During the tender process, it quickly became clear Kambi not only had the best sportsbook in the field but also possessed the most sophisticated proprietary technology in the industry.”

Georgescu added, "Our mission is to offer our customers the best sports betting experience possible and by partnering with Kambi we will be able to do exactly that, with the added flexibility to differentiate and stay true to the strong Stanleybet Romania brand,"






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Secure Funding Methods Key to Online Gambling

The internet gambling experience is dependent on the availability of payment methods that safe and secure. The introduction of payment processing firms to the online gambling mix creates a real concern for players that are not sure if what they are doing is legal or compatible with the jurisdiction guidelines.

Online payment solutions for gambling are continually evolving, as operators try to keep up with the growing action as well as threats to privacy and security in cyberspace. The online gambling industry has been plagued with the problem of payment processing with consumers looking for the best method while operators look for the most secure for protection. Credit cards wire transfers electronic wallets and now complicating things even more there are casinos that accept virtual currencies such as Bitcoin.  

During the evolution of online betting governments and regulatory bodies around the world have used prohibition on money processing as a method to keep internet betting operators legal in their jurisdictions.

Skrill, is a subsidiary of Paysafe Group Limited that is based in the Isle of Man and regulated in the United Kingdom. It was acquired by a consortium of The Blackstone Group and CVC Capital Partners at the end of 2017 and has been a solid example of a safe bet for money transactions involving internet wagering for years.

The firm has an option called Skrill Rapid, allowing users to deposit funds into online gambling accounts directly from their bank accounts without sharing specific details with the gambling operator. The safe use of information by Skrill Rapid still allows instant deposits without extra charges. The Skrill Rapid service is used in partnership with as many as 170 European banks and over 200 Million users now have access to this particular service without having to register personal information. A simple and safe secure transaction method is the key to an enjoyable online betting experience for consumers and operators.    


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Juniper Claims Video Game Gambling Future Is Bright

Research in many forms drives the world of speculative businesses with stats and facts, the main advantage investors have when deciding the fate of their money. Juniper Research for example  specialises in identifying and appraising high growth market sectors within the digital ecosystem. The firm established 2002 has since grown to become one of the leading analyst firms in the mobile and digital tech sector. The idea of future gazing technology research has brought the online gambling industry into a perspective that is dependent on this knowledge.

A recent report by the research firm has revealed that in-game gambling on video games is proving to be a real financial boon currently yielding as much as $30 billion a year. Juniper anticipates that this number could increase to as much as $50 billion by the year 2020.

So called ‘loot boxes’ and ‘skins’ betting are the usual sources of revenue for the companies offering these products. By buying optional enhanced video game characters or by winning game upgrades or prizes with real money the games are considered gambling by some jurisdictions including Australia the USA and Belgium.

Even though there is a controversial aspect, loot boxes are still offered, and are gaining traction and popularity. Now in the face of legislation that could ban them video game manufacturers are making moves to ensure that the activity complies with the regulatory requirements.

The Juniper research report, “In-Game Gambling – The Next Cash Cow For Publishers,” stated that “loot boxes are becoming an increasingly popular means of monetizing consumers and creating longer term engagement with titles.”

Another one of Juniper’s data reports the Mobile & Online Gambling: Casinos, Lotteries, Betting & VR 2018-2022 maintains that total online wagers will leap to as much as 11.4 percent to $700 billion this year compared to a little over $620 billion in 2017. Considering these facts, it would be wise for legislatures to read and learn that the future is bright for online betting companies involved in this sector.


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International Legislators’ Agenda Brasilia April 26th 2018

The potential in the Latin American gambling market is enormous by any standard. The time has come for legislators and those who decide the fate of legal gambling in the many jurisdictions represented by the Latin American to come to grips with the fact that betting can be profitable for some struggling economies.

Coming April 26th 2018 the International Legislators’ Agenda will take place in Brazil’s capital Brasilia in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies following the Brazilian Gaming Congress in Sao Paolo on April 22 through 24th. The event is sponsored by the Association of Gaming Machine Manufacturers and is presented in partnership with the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) and the Brazilian Parliament Front in Defence of Tourism of the National Congress.

The International Legislators’ Agenda is a dedicated educational and networking initiative first organised along with the ICE London event in 2017. The aim is to provide an invite-only platform for policy-makers, legislators, elected officials and government organizations in order to share best practices for the legislation and regulation of the wagering industry.

The Chamber of Deputies in Brazil is at the centre of current legislative debate and study and with international experts being made available by International Legislators’ Agenda there will be answers to the many questions.

The invited speakers include Senator William P. Coley, II, State of Ohio Senate, Becky Harris, Chairwoman, Nevada Gaming Control Board and former NV Senator, Paulo Duarte Lopes, Director of Gaming Activity Planning and Control Director from the Ministry of Tourism of Portugal, Michael Pollock, Executive Director of NCLGS the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States and Carlos Carrion, Chairman Mexico Committee, AGEM.

Incoming NCLGS President, Senator William Coley, commented, ‘NCLGS was created more than two decades ago for the sole purpose of promoting best practices among US lawmakers. Working with Clarion at ICE and in Brasilia, that core goal is now global. The leadership of NCLGS is committed to fostering an international dialogue, and to sharing our experience and ideas.’


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OCG International Signs Content Deal With Betsoft Gaming

Partnerships have shaped the internet betting industry and created a climate that proves the potential of mergers is great and profitable. Betsoft Gaming is one innovative firm that offers casino games for all platforms with a library of almost two hundred random number generated titles. Partnering with the world leading online gambling enterprises is Betsoft gaming’s approach that has proved successful in the past. Utilizing the SLOTS3TM standard Betsoft is striving to keep  expectations high for participants. The cinematic, true-3D slots brings together a great game experience almost like being involved in a movie scene or videogame.

Mobile online gambling has gained a huge following with the expanded use of smart phones and Betsoft was an early pioneer when it launched the ToGoTM portfolio in 2012. Its recent launch of the Shift TM environment supporting cross-platform development while increasing performance, a reduced file size and reformed fast integration has hit all the buttons for success.

Now in 2018 Betsoft Gaming has announced that it has made a partnership deal with Maltese online betting operator OCG International. The deal will see OCG International offering Betsoft’s Slots3 series of casino games, including the Classic Slots collection.

 Anna Mackney, Account Manager at Betsoft Gaming commented on the partnership, “OCG International offers many brands to their ever-growing base of iGaming players,” adding, “We are thrilled to be partnering with them. The target market in Germany is ripe for explosive growth, and we foresee that OCG will be making headlines and leaving their mark on our industry in a very memorable way.”

Director of OCG International, Michael Parlato Trigona also spoke, “We are happy to strengthen our attractive portfolio with the beautiful and exciting games range from Betsoft,” the Director continued to say, “This new game range will help us to become even more attractive to a wide range of players and also will be a highly welcome addition to our existing player base.



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Sweden Proposes New Online Gambling Laws

The Scandinavian online gambling market is strong and available to punters looking for action that compares to most jurisdictions in Europe and beyond.  Sweden’s current government is proposing some new legislation for the regulation of online gambling. The proposed new rules  will install a different licensing system and a possible prohibition that deals with illegal gambling operations and more effective consumer protection measures.

The official governmental press release revealed that the proposed laws will require a fee of approximately $83,260 for an online casino and sports betting license to operate that could become necessary by January 1st 2019.

Scandinavia’s Minister for Public Administration, Ardalan Shekarabi, revealed in a statement, “Unregulated gambling has taken over and gambling is used in criminal activities,” The Minister continued to add, “It is 14 years since the first in a line of gambling inquiries was appointed. It is now time for us to move from words to actions and regain control of the Swedish gambling market.”

Local unlicensed firms would be required to cease operating while those operating from offshore will also need a new license from the authorities. Stronger consumer protections requiring all companies must offer customers self exclusion programs and refrain from offering other bonus offerings with the exception of first deposits. He proposal says the Swedish gaming regulator will be granted the power to order local Internet service providers to display warning messages on unlicensed sites and block any associated funding.

Shekarabi also said in the statement, “We are reinforcing the Swedish Gambling Authority, granting it more and sharper tools,”  “Unlicensed operators will be shut out of the market and license-holders must conduct their activities in accordance with the law.”

A government spokesperson detailed that the proposed legislation would also see licensed operators charged with protecting gamblers from excessive wagering and establish stringent new advertising guidelines. Establishing a government commission to tackle suspected instances of match-fixing is also in the works.



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Playtech To Acquire Italian Gambling Giant Snaitech

Playtech has been in the online gambling business for some time now with its first casino product launch in 2001. Playtech has gone from a software supplier to many major online gambling operators to an operator itself. Acquisitions have been a key factor in the growth of the firm and the recent bid for Italy’s largest gambling company is a good example of the company’s strategy.

The deal allows Playtech to take control of the 1,600 Italian betting shops in Italy owned by Snaitech. The company is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange and is a leader in the Italian Gaming and Betting market. Snaitech was founded by the integration between Snai Spa and the Cogemat group of companies in late 2015, and it has headquarters in Milan, Porcari (Lu) and Rome.

The deal to acquire Snaitech by Playtech will witness Playtech purchasing 70.6 percent of Snaitech in two stages. Securing a majority stake in the Italian betting shops and software provider, Playtech will put up $358 million in the first stage. Playtech will close the first portion of the acquisition hopefully by the end of this year after which Playtech is obligated to buy the rest of the Snaitech assets in 2019 which will include the debt the Italian firm has accumulated.

Snaitech reported it generated earnings of $1.09 billion in 2017 which Playtech has pinned its strategy of improving revenues by entering the lucrative and established Italian betting market.

The move to enter the Italian market by acquiring Snaitech is intended to offset a recent downturn for the Playtech enterprise. In a February financial report, Playtech has reported an 11 percent year-on-year drop in revenue for the first 51 days of 2018. Other issues in the Asian jurisdictions plus the UK Gambling Commission’s action regarding fixed-odds betting terminals is also expected to disrupt the firm’s revenue stream. Solid income gain is the main reason for this major billion dollar purchase by Playtech.



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Players Want Rights Protected If US Sports Betting Legalized

The next big thing for the online gambling on sports in the USA could be the legalization of the activity in the country. The latest news regarding the possibility is the announcement that a group of professional sports players unions have joined together to make their voices heard in the argument for expanding sports betting opportunities in the USA. The unions for the players are making an effort to ensure that possible new laws make sure players’ rights and the integrity of the sports they play are secured.

Many officials of major sports leagues in America including Fay Vincent who is the former commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB), has pledged his support. The current MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has also said he is supporting New Jersey’s effort to overturn the federal 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

Vincent speaking on a radio program said, regulated sports betting would create an “avalanche of money” for professional sports teams in the States.  “It’s going to be the biggest development in the overall business of sports in many years,” Vincent maintains. “My guess when you legalise betting on sports in this country, you are going to generate an absolute avalanche of money for the franchises.

“Once you make betting on sports legal, you change the whole culture of how the games are evaluated and approached; the cultural and social and moral issues are really enormous.”

The group of union players said in a joint statement, “Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalised gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses. “Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses.”  “The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”




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Fear of Gambling On Friday the 13th Origins Revealed

Unfortunately there is always one Friday 13th in a year, and sometimes there are as many as three. Today in 2018 is one of them and yet another comes this July. What this means for avid fans of wagering is interesting with some believers of this particular superstition staying clear of making bets on anything. Yes for some people it is a good day just to remain in bed and take a break from the possible perils of exposure to bad luck.

That being said there are also those who think that a Friday the thirteenth is a special day to make wagers and there is good luck associated with the day. Tracing back the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition it has been referred to as “The Devil’s Dozen” Skepticism as to the real origins of the apparently old superstition is rampant in academic circles so taking a pinch of salt and throwing it over your left shoulder may be an appropriate response for the non believers.

The list of possible origins of this particular fear of the future is long and also interesting because they involve  references to biblical times such as a reference to the death of Jesus which apparently took place on a Friday, followed by the attendance of 13 people at the Last Supper. In Teutonic legend, the god Loki appears at a dinner party seated for 12 gods, making him the outcast 13th  god at the table, which lead to the death of a guest.  

In Italy, it is more likely to be a fear of the number 17 which leads to a change of plans. In Greece, Spain, and Mexico, the “unlucky” day is not Friday 13th, but Tuesday 13th. The reality is it is an emotional response to a number or a day or a particular talisman one keeps close when betting that makes superstition sort of silly but for some convincing. Whether it is bad luck or good depends on the way one sees the world of chance.  

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