Stars Group About to Crack Open Online Poker In India

India is one huge nut to crack when it comes to internet betting but it looks as if the world famous operator Poker Stars has managed the task. The domain has been purchased and online poker games may soon be available on the world’s most popular poker site.

Canadian based Stars Group has been working on the logistics of entering the internet poker market in India for a long time which hasn’t been easy due to India’s strict gambling restrictions. The law regarding gambling in India stipulates that a license to operate a poker web site requires the firm to be located in the country. To comply with the law PokerStars sought to partner with a local operator. PokerStars attempted to launch an offering last year but failed to secure a partnership deal in the licensing timeframe.

Now however the Stars Group which owns PokerStars has partnered with lottery and gaming conglomerate, Sugal & Damani, for its India focused online poker website

The domain name ‘‘ is actually owned by Kolkata registered Sachiko Gaming Private Limited, which is a subsidiary of Mumbai located online skill games company Sachar Gaming Private Limited which is said to be connected to the Indian lottery conglomerate, Sugal and Damani Group.

Sugal & Damani has business interests in lotteries, hospitality, real estate, information technology and financial services. The Group has claimed it operates skill games websites under the brand ‘khelplay.’

Last year The Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi commented, “We want to be there in time and we want to make sure that we are, as usual, the market leader when it comes to poker.”Ashkenazi  further estimated that the Indian poker market would be worth around US$150 million per year and is growing.

The arrangement may open the proverbial Pandora’s box when it comes to legal online poker betting in India.

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UK National Lottery Detects Security Breach

The incidences of distributed denial of service (DDoS) are increasing in the online gambling industry even though the operators are working constantly to keep their domains secure. Last October 2017 the UK National Lottery operator Camelot apologized to players when the Lottery website was knocked offline.  The Lottery’s official Twitter feed posted “sincere apologies” and directed punters to the 46 thousand gambling retailers who were “unaffected” by the actions of the hackers.

Now the UK National Lottery operator is advising online lottery punters to change their passwords following a suspected security breach. The company recently issued a statement telling customers that its online security monitoring had detected some “suspicious activity on a very small proportion of our players’ online National Lottery accounts.” The firm also stated the police, the Information Commissioner’s Office and other appropriate authorities were alerted of the attack.

Calling for the changes in customer passwords is considered a precautionary measure by Camelot. The operator also revealed the action affected a small number of online lottery accounts approximately 150 out of 10.5m total registrations had experienced an unauthorized log-in. “Fewer than 10 accounts” were subject to “some limited activity” after being accessed, however Camelot maintains that “no player has seen any financial loss.”

Camelot also stated that “all the necessary steps to fully understand” the extent of the intrusion, but had suspended all of the affected accounts and is helping the few affected players to reactivate their accounts.

A National Lottery spokesperson explained the hackers were thought to have made use of a widely circulated list of credentials. They then employed ‘credential stuffing’ to inundate various websites with email addresses and password combinations and watch for what matches are revealed.

Hacking in the online betting world is a serious threat which the industry combats with the latest technology keeping one step ahead of the attackers.

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Maltese Parliament Proposes New Gambling Regulations

Malta has been one of the online gambling industry’s most important regulators for a long time and it has decided its regulatory platform needs an overhaul. To maintain its respected position in the regulatory world the government of Malta is acting by announcing  a proposed new regulatory framework that will strengthen the MGA’s compliance and enforcement functions.

The Honourable Silvio Schembri Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation, has tabled a motion in Parliament which will repeal all the existing legislation and replace it with a singular primary Act of Parliament.  The new act will include subsidiary legislation plus a series of technical directives and guidelines that are being consulted on by the Malta Gaming Authority.

Schembri explained the motion presented to parliament,  “This Bill marks a major step in streamlining and encompassing the governance of all gaming services offered in and from Malta and across all channels under the competence of the MGA.

“The Government wants to ensure that the gaming industry continues to be run responsibly, fairly and free from criminal activity, so that the Maltese jurisdiction provides a safe and well regulated environment where the industry can also develop and innovate.”

Executive Chairman of the MGA, Joseph Cuschieri, discussed the changes in Malta’s gambling laws,  “This is an important milestone and we welcome this major step forward by the Maltese Government.

“This Bill contains draft proposals that aim to bridge the regulatory gap between various gaming verticals and channels, including new technologies serving as a platform to future proof gaming regulation, whilst ensuring that consumers enjoy a consistent level of protection.”

The MGA will be strengthened with the new platform in order to comply with efforts to stop money laundering, corruption and bolster the existing player protection framework. The recent revelation that the Italian mafia was operating using a Maltese gambling licence has prompted the review.



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Australia Rules Daytime Gambling Ads Prohibited

Australian gamblers are very active and the government has viewed the activity with some concern for the future influence it has on youth and vulnerable citizens. Australia’s federal government recently announced that on March 30 2018 a prohibition on advertising during daytime live sports broadcasts will be implemented.

The issue that the advertizing for gambling presents has become a social question for politicians and the public. Understanding the need for strict regulations has the politicians looking at the future of betting in the country with some critics declaring the past time is out of control.

News source Mumbrella revealed that the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association will impose the new advertising regulations includes  the ban of all gambling ads during live sport coverage between 5 a.m. and 8.30 p.m. The rules were approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority under the provisions in the Commercial Radio Code of Practice. A period of community consultation began back in May of 2017 when federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield confirmed the office was preparing to restrict gambling advertisements.

Commercial Radio Australia has declared the change in the rules has given online media operators a suspected advantage. The organization said that similar restrictions for online platforms had seen delays, creating an unfair situation. Fifield explained that the advert ban was meant to protect the welfare of children and the vulnerable. Fifield also said more complete legislation will ensure similar rules apply to any online content.

A spokesperson for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Stephen Mayne was critical of the announcement, maintaining that some aspects of the new code of conduct appear to be open to interpretation.

Mayne commented, “The code is complex and some of the provisions are open to interpretation, such as whether Western Australian and South Australian viewers will face advertising earlier than the east coast.”






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Betfred Partners With Vapour For Security and Compliance

The internet is getting more complex everyday and dealing with the safety and amount of data generated by online gambling solutions are also becoming more complex. U.K. online betting operator Betfred is making changes to its call centre infrastructure by enlisting the services of UK located  technology specialist Vapour Cloud. The firm have announced it will enter into a new partnership with Vapour Cloud in a deal said to be worth £1m (€1/1m/$1.4m).

Vapour Cloud delivers cloud computing, connectivity and voice solutions via a number of platforms.  Betfred will take on Vapour’s omni-channel platform Höllr. Voice communication is changing in the way we consume it, the expectations we place upon it and the potential it has to change businesses. Höllr is the dedicated voice communications application that Betfred will employ. Höllr will present recordable voice, video, SMS, email and social media dialogue. Betfred will also benefit from access to a secure payment gateway that passes the needed regulatory requirements.

Betfred has put the solutions through an exhausting three month ‘proof of concept’ period and will continue to launch the application over a six month time slot.  

Vapour Cloud chief executive officer and co founder, Tim Mercer commented on the arrangement with Betfred, “This really is a ‘next generation’ solution, particularly suitable for businesses with a B2C contact centre operation where security is a must,” Mercer continued to add, “Betfred has long prioritised the security of its customers details, but as cloud-based tech evolves so too do the opportunities to ensure even greater compliance.”

“The investment will also promote greater flexibility within the team, without any detriment to the customer experience.”

Head of customer services at Betfred, Mark Hilton, also commented,   “We are delighted to secure a deal with Vapour Cloud, which will greatly improve the customer experience and make us even more efficient.”




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Door Opens For Possible Daily Fantasy Sports in India

The great debate about some types of betting whether it requires skill or just luck to win has been going on since governments all over the world have attempted to legalise wagering online and off. Skill has been the reasoning behind the fantasy sports betting argument which has been struggling to be recognized as a legal betting activity.

India is dealing with a large population which likes to wager but it also has corrupt elements that plague the sports industry. Although it is still premature to say that daily fantasy sports betting will be legalized, India’s  top court has in a fashion revealed it will accept online fantasy sports betting in the country by providing the opinion that fantasy sports is not gambling and requires gaming skills.

Last year there was a complaint submitted by Lawyer Varun Gumber against an online fantasy sports domain called Dream11. The result in court was that Justice Amit Rawal ruled that DFS does not constitute gambling and requires a significant amount of skill. Gumber not satisfied, took the case to the Punjab and Haryana High Court where Justices Rohinton F. Nariman and Sanjay Kishan Kaul announced they backed Justice Amit Rawal’s position and Gumber’s petition was dismissed.

The seven million players of daily fantasy sports in India indicated the interest in the activity with growth in the past time topping about thirty percent ever year. The use of smart phones in India is numbered at nearly four hundred million giving massive access to daily fantasy sports play. Sports betting in India is big and daily fantasy sports fills a gap with the desire for more activity.  Dream11 was India’s first DFS platform launched in 2012 by Bhavit Sheth and Harsh Jain in an attempt to fill the void.

The recent ruling by the courts that daily fantasy sports is a skill based activity has given a small amount of leverage for DFS to be legalized at some time in India.

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U.K. Labour Party Says Gambling Addiction Needs Attention

Great Britain is committed to maintaining social security in a regulated environment which serves to protect the vulnerable. The government has allowed gambling to find a place in the fabric of the country while attempting to make it safe for responsible punters.

It has been suggested that there are almost a half a million people in the United Kingdom that are affected by a gambling addiction. The lives of those affected can be devastating ruining families and communities in the process. The social cost to treat the problem which may include criminal justice, welfare, housing, and more reaches as much as £1.2billion every year. These numbers indicate there is a crisis brewing in the U. K. and with but one National Health Service funded addiction clinic for gambling there is some political attention being paid.

GambleAware is the body hired by the government to do commissioning research, education and specialised treatment into gambling addiction. The process is funded by a voluntary industry levy of 0.1%.  Of the gambling industry yield amounting to £13.8billion each year, only £8.75million is destined for the treatment of gambling addiction and gambling related harm. This amount is not considered sufficient in order to relieve the damage done by being addicted to betting.

The Labour party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights and is compelled to look at how gambling behaviour continues to be normalised in our society.  The review of gambling in Britain also includes the impact of advertising and sponsorship on the citizen’s behaviour. The party is investigating methods to protect children, and the process of updating laws to regulate gambling online ensuring an increase in gambling addiction is avoided.

The opposition Labour party has vowed if elected to tackle what they consider the UK’s hidden epidemic of gambling addiction along with changing the current gambling laws.

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Gibraltar Online Gambling Focused On Future After Brexit

The British online gambling industry in Gilbraltar was under threat when the country decided to leave the European Union. The online gambling industry in Gibraltar are now feeling some relief from the nervousness after the UK government has assured the British Overseas Territory there will be continued access to the betting market in the United Kingdom  until 2020. According to a recent report published by the Gibraltar Chronicle the UK and Gibraltar have agreed to establish a new framework that will work as commercial and business guidance when the government in Britain separates from the European Union.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, said to the media, “Great care has rightly been taken by the UK and Gibraltar to ensure regulatory standards will be maintained between us in a manner that will be designed to assure customer protection and equivalence on regulatory outcomes going forward,”

The new set of guidelines for industry access was the solution to the call from Gibraltar based operators according to minister of state at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Robin Walker. Mr.Walker added the agreement between the two entities was created to give them more time “to design a new, modernized agreement, based on similar high standards of regulation and enforcement.”

It has been suggested that the arrangement will give the gambling market a confidence boost in Gibraltar which is headquarters for more than 30 online wagering firms due to the territory’s low corporate taxes and full membership in the European Union. The online gambling industry employs   well over 5000 people in Gibraltar. The Brexit decision has some operators licensed in the U.K. looking closely at the licensing agreements realizing the change may “open the door to a new status for Gibraltar that is favorable to all involved parties and acceptable to the legitimate interests and aspirations of Spain.”




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Intertops Online Casino Celebrates Twenty Years

The online gambling industry has evolved in the number of years it has been operating. The internet has been improved immensely and access via mobile devises has delivered gambling to punters all over the world 24/7. Companies that realized the potential of online betting way back when have learned that change is necessary to keep customers coming back. Loads of operators have come online in recent years but there are still some of the original movers and shakers offering gambling products and services.

Twenty years in the casino business is a special time for one internet casino and sports book called Intertops. Celebrating the milestone event, Intertops Casino players will be competing against each other for nearly a quarter million dollars in bonus prizes. Commencing in the 1980’s Intertops opened the world's first offshore international sports book then it went live on the Internet in 1996. In 2000 the company launched a fully-mobile site, becoming the first sports book to do so. The launching of the first "all-in-one" casino, sports book, and poker site in 2003 was also ground breaking for the online betting world. During celebrations the $210,000 Spring Fun casino bonus contest, which will continue until April 23rd, punters will earn points when they play online casino games and players with the most points will win weekly prizes of up to $500 each.

The Intertops’ casino manager, commented on the event, “It’s hard to believe, but it was 20 years ago this week that we took the first real money wager in our online casino,” “We’d been taking sports bets before that, but we launched our first casino games in 1998. We’ve come a long way since then – and we’re proud that so many of our regular players have stayed with us so long.”

There will be draws and more cash prizes during celebrations for those who enjoy the Intertops offerings and betting products.


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Playtech Announces OmniChannel For Ladbrokes Coral

Omnichannel  is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar location.

Headquartered in the Isle of Man, Playtech is a gambling software development company founded in 1999. The company provides software for online casinos, online poker rooms, online bingo games, online sports betting, scratch games, mobile gaming, live dealer games and fixed-odds arcade games online. Now the firm has announced it will deliver a single account omnichannel functionality throughout the entire Ladbrokes Coral UK realm.

The unified platform is in line with the Playtech ONE Omni-Channel strategy and is fully integrated with Playtech’s IMS player management system. The integration of self-service betting terminals is the final stage of the process.

Ladbrokes Coral Groups’ retail commercial director, Richard Lang, commented on the announcement, “The collaboration between Ladbrokes Coral and Playtech BGT Sports to integrate SSBTs to the Ladbrokes omni-channel platform is the final piece of the jigsaw,” Lang added, “The integration will further support the objective of delivering a true omni-channel experience to our customers across all retail touch points.” “This is a really exciting development for the product and will help us deliver growth.”

Armin Sageder, chief executive of Playtech BGT Sports, also commented on the strategy, “Today is a landmark in the evolution of our sports betting products at Playtech and we’re delighted to have completed the work with Ladbrokes.” Sageder continued, “The work the sports team has done for the last year to 18 months to unify both the retail and digital platforms and integrate it with IMS will generate further significant growth with operators from regulated and newly regulated markets seeking to implement our leading single wallet sports book offering.”





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