Japan's Government Approves Integrated Resort Casinos

There has been a development in Japan regarding gambling that is very significant for the gambling industry. Japan’s parliament approved a bill that will allow up to three casinos to open in the country. This issue of allowing integrated resorts with casinos in Japan was on the government’s agenda before the response to the devastating mudslides in the west of the country earlier which was put at the top of the agenda ahead of the closure of the Diet’s extended session. The likelyhood of the integrated casinos opening before the second half of 2020 is slim. The new casino law has a number of restrictive caveats.

The opposition to the legislation was clear that it did not agree with the integrated resort bill  after a poll by Jiji news agency revealed as much as sixty percent of citizens were against it. Opposition parties even brought forward a motion of no confidence against the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.The motion of no confidence was voted down in the lower house with the Bill supported by Japan’s ruling parties including the LDP, Komeito, Nippon Ishin or Japan Innovation Party and the Party of Hope.

The plan is to allow three locations in the beginning with possible expansion to be reviewed in seven years. Local regions will now bid for the right to host one of the three initial locations. Tax is set at 30 percent of gross gaming revenue and casino space will be restricted to three percent of the total resort area. Japanese residents will be prohibited from visiting casinos more than three times per week or 10 times per month. Visitors are able to visit the casinos for free, and there will be a set price of ¥6,000 (£41/€46/$54) per visit for residents. No timeframe has been established, and a regulatory body to oversee the program has not been created yet.


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Russian Digital Gaming Affiliate Opportunities Expanding

In the last few years the opportunities in the numerous jurisdictions around the world for the online gambling entrepreneur have grown tremendously but taking advantage is a challenge. Looking at the gambling market in Russia for example the recent rise in the use of digital media has presented a somewhat unique situation for the affiliate sector.

According to Dominik Johnson, director of key account development at Yandex Europe the expanding use of digital media in Russia is giving affiliates an excellent opportunity to connect with Europe’s internet users.

Speaking at the Amsterdam Affiliate Conference in Amsterdam recently Johnson told attendees how Yandex Europe had expanded its mobile app portfolio. He said more than 50 offerings covering all aspects of everyday life from travel to food had been added. Johnson commented that, “Users are going more into the mobile space,” he continued, “Russia is the No.5 country in terms of app downloads worldwide and there will be a 55% increase between 2017 and 2022. We’re just at the beginning.”

Russia is experiencing a significant growth in online and mobile usage. It has been suggested that internet advertising will eclipse the  television advertising purchase by 2020. The value of the advertising sector in Russia in 2017 grew by 14%, with internet advertising expanding by 22%. The growth projected is despite the fact that only around a dozen locally-licensed online sports betting websites are available in Russia.  The government of the country has taken steps to block its citizens from wagering on international web locations. Banks have been ordered to block all online gambling transactions beginning in June this year.

Johnson offered this advice to those accessing the opportunities, “If you are offering a gaming service, you need to think outside the box,” he continued, “You can see how others are successful, but you should never copy and paste what they are doing. If you are just replicating what others are doing, how are you going to be better?”


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Tabcorp Leaves UK-Facing Sun Bets Joint Venture

Australia’s Tabcorp Holdings Limited is a wagering, gaming and Keno operator and one of the world’s largest publicly listed gaming companies. The firm’s three core businesses - Wagering and Media, Lotteries and Keno, and Gaming Services are delivered to consumers through our retail, digital and Sky media platforms.

The company has announced that it will exit its UK-facing Sun Bets joint venture with News UK. Tabcorp will make a payment of £39.5m (€44.2m/$51.4m) in order to exit the joint venture and Sun Bets will cease trading. Launched back in 2016 the Sun Bets online wagering and gaming business was branded News UK newspaper The Sun.

Managing director and chief executive officer at Tabcorp, David Attenborough commented, “The performance of Sun Bets has been below expectations and we do not expect a material improvement over the next 18 months. As such, we have reached an agreement with News UK to exit the agreement.”

“While we didn’t get it right, we have taken valuable learnings from the Sun Bets start-up process and operations which will inform our approach across our portfolio. I would like to acknowledge the Sun Bets team for their efforts in building the business from start-up phase.” Attenborough added, “We continue to have a strong relationship with News Corporation.”

Consumers going to the Sun Bets site are now met with a message, "Tabcorp UK Ltd has ceased providing gaming services on behalf of Sun Bets. Please withdraw any funds you may hold with us immediately."

A News UK spokesperson said recently,  “The Sun is the #1 newspaper and digital news brand in the UK and we have launched many successful brand extensions such as Sun Bingo and Dream Team.” “We are increasingly confident in the reach and power of the brand and will firmly remain in the betting and gaming business.” adding,  “We now look forward to executing our vision.”


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Regulated Online Gambling Not Likely In India Experts Warn

The recently released report by the the Law Commission called the, ‘Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India’ calls for gambling to be regulated for those of 18 years and older, with wagers linked directly to Aadhaar or PAN identity cards.  

The proposed move is aimed at reducing the risk of money laundering and possibly match fixing. However according to an expert on India’s gambling industry the government is unlikely to accept the Law Commission’s recommendation that gambling and sports betting should be regulated. Mumbai-based corporate lawyer, Jay Sayta was quoted as saying that although the recommendation is a “positive step forward for the gaming industry” in India, change is unlikely to be imminent.

“One must understand that the Law Commission is merely an advisory body whose suggestions may or may not be accepted by the central government,” “Given the current complex political situation, it is unlikely that the commission's recommendations will be accepted and implemented by the central government any time soon.” added Sayta.

The commission’s chairperson Justice BS Chauhan, commented on the topic noting regulating gambling would “ensure detection of fraud and money laundering”.

Sayta maintains that “the commission's recommendations have come with a lot of riders and stringent, unrealistic conditions”.Another critic of the report a commission member, S Sivakumar, was against the recommendations, revealing the report could “lead to an unhealthy and unwarranted discussion”. The need for consensus is essential according to Sayta, “Although the norm is that normally all commission's members unanimously approve its recommendations, there was a strong dissent by one of the members who noted that no form of gambling should be allowed,” continuing Syta added, “The issue of regulating gambling thus remains complicated even today and there is unlikely to be any consensus on the issue in the near future.”




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Bitcoin Conference Switzerland October 9 2018

Dealing with the new cryptocurrency craze takes some time with old school thinking hovering in the wings the learning curve can be difficult. The best way to absorb the mountains of information presented to the novice virtual money user is to attend a conference where experts share their knowledge and experience.

This October Geneva Switzerland the European fintech hub will host the Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Switzerland. On October 9, 2018 "Smile-Expo" has put together the second blockchain conference with experts in the industry, leading specialists, and forward thinking professionals in the blockchain world.

Topics for developers, payment processing operators, legal representatives and entrepreneurs will be covered during the event. A shared approach will be prevalent for those who want to know more about blockchain technology development around the world.

There are so many aspects of blockchain that require some understanding to realize the virtual money potential. Utilizing FinTech learning and experienced business solutions for virtual coin projects will allow participants at the conference to navigate the technical aspects of working with the smart technology.

To comply with the regulatory requirements in the various gambling jurisdictions there will by legal representatives to guide prospects through maze of legalities.

Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference is a series of events being held in a variety of countries. This year over 20 events are planned including the recently in the Philippines, Australia, India, Thailand, with upcoming conferences in France, Switzerland, and Malta.

The Geneva event will include a demonstration area where firms will present an array of products.  The venue, the Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva, Switzerland is a comfortable space for this conference. Switzerland is a country with a well developed banking system with a motivated interest in fintech innovations. Switzerland has its own “crypto valley”, the city of Zug, where a functional blockchain ecosystem has been developed.


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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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