Bet365 Trade Mark Issues Somewhat Resolved

The right to maintain an image and brand and trademarks has been called into question in many jurisdictions within the European Union with issues concerning copy rights remaining unresolved. A particular legal battle that has lasted over seven years still has not been totally settled. Back in 2007, online gambling Bet365 put a bid in to trademark its name in the E.U. but a particular examiner rejected the application, stating ‘bet’ was just a generic term and ‘365’ merely was the number of days in a year.

Not to be daunted by the rejection the operator Bet365 Group Ltd from Britain and one of the world's leading online gambling operators with over 19 million customers in almost two hundred countries decided to challenge the ruling.

The examiner decided that the Bet365 application was valid. Then in 2013, an individual filed to have Bet365’s trademark declared invalid, based on the person’s trademark ‘b365’ brand and for three years the Bet365 Group blocked the efforts of the German citizen.

In 2016 however the Fifth Board of Appeal at the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) upheld the other individual’s appeal and Bet365 appealed that decision to the European Union General Court (EGC). That court has recently annulled the ruling by the EUIPO and said that Bet365’s plea for annulment was “well founded.” The European Union General Court said the Fifth Board of Appeal had not sufficiently substantiated the decision concerning the gambling and betting services in class 41. A statement from the General Court read, “Consequently, with regard to those services, the single plea in law seeking annulment is well founded and there is no need to examine the last arguments put forward by the applicant concerning the lack of opinion polls or evidence from a chamber of commerce in respect of which it was criticised by the Board of Appeal.”

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Vienna International Gaming Expo May 2018

Vienna International Gaming Expo will be back in 2018 with the second edition of one of the fastest growing conferences in Central Europe. The 2018 edition of VIGE is a reincarnation of the inaugural edition and the motto of the event is “Do it for your karma”.

 The event will be held between 30 May and 1 June in 2018, and will highlight some of the latest launched firms, but also feature established providers of the online gambling industry.  Focusing on bringing together both software providers and service providers of the online gambling industry to encourage collaborations in the casino, sports betting, eSports, daily fantasy sports and virtual reality game offerings.

VIGE2018 will be held at a new location this year after feedback about the location was acknowledged from delegate at the inaugural expo event. Austria´s tallest skyscraper, the Danube City Tower will host the event with spectacular views of the city and the river.

ViGE(Vienna International Gaming Expo) is a unique annual event  aiming at to bring together the online and land based gaming industry from all over the world.

Last year’s ViGE2017 set a benchmark for the internet betting industry events in Central Europe’s jurisdictions by building common ground resources for networking, deal making and information sharing. The Expo has become a hub for the gambling industry, including regulators, third parties, media and industry captains. The success of the original ViGE is witnessed by the quality and numbers with well over 500 registrants from 47 countries. The opportunities presented at the expo have created a hub for the area that professionals regard as full of potential.

In parallel with the exhibition, an iGaming Knowledge Seminar conference is dedicated to highlighting some of the key techniques and a services available to operators to increase revenues, decrease fraud and catch up with regulatory updates in trending new markets. There is time to organize your delegation and “Do it for your karma”.



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Coingaming Group Upgrades Sportsbet Bitcoin Offering

Coingaming Group has been on the leading edge of virtual currency betting for some time now an it has recently announced that it will be rebranding its Bitcoin oriented sports book and introduce a new live streaming service to its platform.

Coingaming Group offers localised Live Dealer gaming from operations in Asia, Europe and Central America. The's Live Dealer solution is available 24/7 and it attracts punters who enjoy the higher level of trust afforded by "live interaction".

A new web location will support based on the company’s mobile focused platform and will still be offering customers the same service across all of its channels.

Coingaming also has plans to include Brazilian, Russian and Portuguese language versions to its options in the near future with features that include one-click bets and fast withdrawal options. The will also now be the unique Bitcoin focused sports book to offer consumers access to live streaming on events, while gamblers will also be able to bet using other virtual currencies such as Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Bitcoin Gold, Litecoin and Ethereum.

Director of the sports book at Coingaming  Group Joe McCallum, commented on the upgrade,  “ has performed beyond expectations since its launch in 2016, and introducing this revolutionary new product so soon after the first is yet more proof of our commitment to putting the customer at the centre of our universe.” McCallum continued to add, “We have streamlined the site considerably, with significant investment in the user experience and design of a functional and personalised service, which we believe has raised the bar for the sports book experience, in keeping with our fun, fast & fair mantra.”

Betsoft a leader of true 3D cinematic gaming also extended its partnership with Coingaming in June of 2017. Julian Camilleri of Betsoft said back then, “ has a masterful command over the new Bitcoin currency as it applies to the constantly evolving iGaming industry,”

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Norway Will Attempt To Reduce Online Gambling Adverts

Norway has some of the strictest anti-gambling laws in all of Europe. Norway isn't a member of the European Union and is not subject to the pressure that its neighbors in Finland and Sweden are experiencing to liberalize the state operated monopoly.

The only two legal betting sites in Norway are Norsk Riskoto for horse racing and Norsk Tipping for lotteries, sports betting, poker, keno, and scratch card games. In 2008, Norway made it illegal for punters to play at offshore gambling sites even though the Norwegians play at unlicensed offshore sites without any issues.

The Payment Act of Norway which was passed in 2010 makes it difficult sometimes to do online gambling banking. The legislation isn’t targeting individual punters it only addresses the banking industry operating in Norway. It is the Norwegian version of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and similar to the UIGEA, the Payment Act attempts to curtail illegal online gambling in the jurisdiction.

Now in yet another measure to stop the flow of funds out of the country Norway is ratcheting up its protectionist crackdown on internationally licensed online gambling site’s advertising campaigns.

The current culture minister for Norway, Linda Hofstad Helleland, has announced plans to introduce legislation to restrict the ability of international gambling operators to send marketing campaigns into Norway.

Helleland revealed Norway’s restrictive advertising regulations only “hit a part of the market” as operators have learned to “adapt” their lines of communication to circumvent the restrictions. Helleland maintains that she conferred with European Union officials regarding how best to combat the unwanted advertising. This protectionists motive was supported by the European Commission confirming that it will dropping all online gambling infringement proceedings against EU member states.

Acting secretary-general of Norwegian anti-addiction organization ACTIS, Pernille Huseby, was quoted by Norway Today saying international gambling operators were running an average of 62 commercials per hour using Norwegian-language channels.



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Catena Media Pursues Expansion With Acquisitions

The aggressive and sometimes risky mergers and acquisitions strategy of online gambling service providers has been the trend for some time now with no signs of the tendency abating.

A recent announcement by the affiliate marketing network Catena Media is proof that the goal of consolidation has not peaked at least for this firm. The company which has been operating since 2012 is setting an ambitious corporate target relying on its strategy of optimising and revamping acquired assets. Catena Media has evolved into one of the world’s most successful online lead generation companies in the industry, with over 190 plus employees operating in three corporate offices located in Malta, Serbia and the United Kingdom.  The focus for Catena Media is on organic growth in combination with geographical expansion and acquisitions.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of Catena Media, Henrik Persson Ekdahl commented on the approach,  "2017 has been characterized by several new and important acquisitions, a list change to Nasdaq Stockholm Mid-Cap and entry into new markets.” Persson Ekdahl continued, "Since we announced our new financial targets in November, we have also completed the company's largest acquisition since company inception. We are now looking forward to 2018, a year when the new businesses shall reap the results while we continue our rapid growth rate."

The company goal came closer to reality with the last two acquisitions in 2017. November saw the firm acquire Malta based financial services firm Beyondbits for €9.25 million, the first non-gambling industry asset purchase for Catena. It was also announced that Catena had secured a €26.5 million arrangement for the complete acquisition of German sports betting network, Baybets. Catena Media is one step closer to its goal of becoming the world’s number one provider of high-value internet gaming  leads.

The merger and acquisitions trend is far from over as the online gambling industry continues to consolidate and become safer and stronger for the player and operator.


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Steam Will No Longer Support Bitcoin As Payment

Watching the volatility of the virtual currency Bitcoin going up to astronomical heights and then diving deep into obscurity has just a few entrepreneurs having a sleepless night or two. Steam, the massively popular gaming store began accepting Bitcoin as payment for games back in April of 2016 but has now stopped accepting payments in the virtual currency because it is too volatile.

Steam engineer Kurtis Chinn wrote in an info blog, "As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method on our platform due to high fees and volatility in the value of Bitcoin."

The decision has nothing  to do with the various issues associated with virtual currencies such as the huge energy drain or criminal activity but the massive transaction fees.

Chinn explained, "In the past few months we've seen an increase in the volatility in the value of Bitcoin and a significant increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network. For example, transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin)."

Chinn continued saying more problems are created when the coin plunges, "When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of Bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of Bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the Bitcoin network. The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different."

Steam is the major rival of Sony's PlayStation Network as the world's biggest gaming service, with 67 million monthly active players compared to Sony's 70 million active users.




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All-in Diversity Project Partners With Paddy Power Betfair

The All-in Diversity Project is an industry-driven initiative which aims to bench-mark and generate an open and constructive discussion about diversity, equality and inclusion across the global betting and gaming sector. This is a noble cause, considering the politics today and the need for fundamental change in the gambling industry.

A recent announcement that Paddy Power Betfair has partnered with All-in Diversity Project is good news and a call for action in the betting business. Paddy Power Betfair will serve as an integral part of the initiative both as a Founding Member and Participant in its inaugural year.

The All-in Diversity Project’s aim is to measure and facilitate an open and objective dialogue about diversity across the whole of the industry on a global level acting as the primary resource for all data relating to diversity and inclusion.  

The first objective of the project is to build an industry standard index focused on a benchmark measurement of the current situation and with this tool chart future change and progress. The year to year progress update, highlight successes, challenges and opportunities, will provide information to make best practice recommendations for corporate governance, internal policies, recruitment practices, equal pay, employment legislation, unconscious bias and marketing.

Co-Founder of the All-in Diversity Project, Kelly Kehn, commented, “We established the All-in Diversity Project because we believe the industry itself has a role to play in improving how we do business. We believe the best way to push the industry forward, is to create the tool for all businesses globally to use in benchmarking their own diversity initiatives.”

Fellow Co-Founder Christina Thakor-Rankin also said, “The All-In Diversity project is not about pushing quotas or agendas. It’s about acknowledging that the expectations and aspirations of the next generation of employees and customers is very different to ours, and understanding that if this industry is to be able to attract and retain the employees and customers of the future it needs to start making changes now.”


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BetStars Launches Czech Online Sports Wagering

Former Amaya Gaming now the Stars Group operating the world’s largest online poker room, PokerStars and its online sports betting brand BetStars will be the first to launch an offering in the Czech Republic. BetStars offers participants a seamless experience between sports betting, casino and poker, with a single financing wallet for all three. is accessible on desk top, and mobile devices on both iOS and Android to consumers in the Czech Republic. players are now able to play a portfolio of over twenty sports and specialized wagering opportunities now granted by the licence issued by the Czech State Supervision of Gambling and Lotteries.

Managing Director of BetStars, Zeno Ossko, commented on the launch “It is a great honour to be the first international sports betting operator to launch in the Czech Republic,” continued to add, Ossko “The BetStars team have worked very hard to make this a successful launch and we hope customers in the Czech Republic will enjoy the range of betting options available.”

Unfortunately the neighbouring nation of Slovakia did not grant the international firm BetStars a go ahead in that jurisdiction and was in fact banned from operating there.  PokerStars and BetStars domains were added to the online gambling blacklist in Slovakia. The finance ministry in Slovakia brought out its online blacklist last July much to the dismay of consumers.

Though not as bad as the measures taken in Russia where over seven thousand domains were banned Slovakia which hasn’t liberalized the online poker and casino market has decided to leave the business of betting to the state-owned TIPOS national lottery.

The Czech Republic has a very high concentration of terrestrial casinos and a fairly restrictive regulatory regime with high taxes and fees as well as government imposed curbs on online bonuses and free bet promotions. BetStars however has the resources to build on the existing online gambling market in the Czech Republic.

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E.C. Drops Online Gambling Compliance Complaints

The jurisdictions in the European Union have now been handed a go ahead letter from the European Commission stating the Commission will no longer bother with online gambling issues. Recently the E.C. told online gambling trade associations and other stakeholders in writing that all current infringement procedures against protectionist measures by online gambling interests in the E.U. will no longer be considered.

Confirmation of the decision also came to light recently with the E. C. stating it had a “political commitment to be more strategic in enforcing EU law,” and thus it was “not a priority for the Commission to use its infringement powers to promote an EU Single Market in the area of online gambling services.” The E.C. maintains it will continue to support member states in “efforts to modernize” their online gambling market and pledged to help facilitate cooperation between local gambling regulators.

Rulings were issued by the E.C. with regard to licensed E.U. online gambling operators giving them the right to access customers in EU member states. The EC is confident that gambling complaints “can be handled more efficiently by national courts” on the basis of these earlier responses. EU member states are allowed to restrict access to their gambling markets provided they can demonstrate that these actions are socially responsible.

The Secretary general of the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA), Maarten Haijer was not happy with the Commission’s hands off approach, declaring the decision,  “shows a baffling lack of understanding of the digital consumer” and he suggests that the E.C. is not “taking its role as guardian of the treaties seriously.”

Mr. Haijer stressed that the EC’s announcement “does not change the legal situation and – as the Commission states itself – cannot be read as any form of ‘greenlighting’ existing breaches of EU law in the Member States’ laws.”


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Volatile Bitcoin Gamble Paying Out At Over 1500 Percent

The Bitcoin gamble or virtual currency bet has a lot of people excited on the internet. Bitcoin has reached unbelievable heights in recent weeks crashing through barriers many thought were impossible to achieve. There are high stakes gamblers watching the meteoric rise of the crypto currency and loving the volatile nature of the exchange. The profit from a single Bitcoin purchase back in the beginning of 2017 is over 1500 percent and not many investors or online gamblers can stomach that kind of uncertainty.

A recent article points to the obvious as an exchange group which plans to launch Bitcoin futures maintains there are "ominous signs" that rising transaction costs could cause the crypto currency to collapse in value. American financial market company operating an options and futures exchange CME Group has announced it will begin offering a trade in Bitcoin futures contracts. It will be the second major exchange to allow speculators to bet on Bitcoin's price moving in either direction. The expanding interest in Bitcoin by institutional investors has prompted the move.

Executive director and senior economist at CME Group, Erik Norland, has said that transaction costs are showing "ominous signs" that could signal another price correction is imminent.

Norland shared his understanding of the volatile situation with his clients, "Transaction costs spiked from $2 to around $30 per transaction in late 2010 just before Bitcoin prices suffered a 93% collapse. As Bitcoin transaction costs subsequently fell, another bull market developed. Transaction costs edged higher in 2012 and then soared to over $80 by early 2013, which coincided with another collapse in Bitcoin prices. By 2015, transaction costs eased toward $8 when another bull market began."

Transaction fees are those paid to Bitcoin "miners," Miners are rewarded for their efforts with the creation of Bitcoins. Unfortunately the more Bitcoins that are "mined," the less the reward meaning the cost to create a Bitcoin will rise.



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