August 18, 2017

Japan start public hearings on Integrated Resorts

Japan has started month long open public hearings on the future of casino resorts in the country with comments accepted on how the government will shape how casinos with operate in the country.

Following the hearings the debate will move to lawmakers on what will be allowed and what will not, given that half of the nation is still opposed to the opening of casino resorts the coming month will be very interesting on how they will be restricted.

Some of the topics that will be covered in the hearings are the limit on casino space in resorts, tax rates on operators, a potential ban on ATM’s in casino resorts to limit impulsive gambling and a limit on the amount of visits local residents can make to a casino.

International operators who are eyeing the Japanese gaming market are concerned that their growth could be limited if the government make too many restrictions towards gaming.

During the hearings casino operators are also allowed to make observations and comments on the process which is held in Tokyo.

Many involved in the gaming industry application process to build integrated resorts fear the potential $25 billion a year revenues in Japan could be dramatically lower if too many restrictions are imposed.

Playtech BGT Sports momentum continues with BoyleSports extension

Playtech BGT Sports has agreed a deal to extend distribution of its self-service betting terminals (SSBTs) with BoyleSports.

As part of the agreement, another 325 of the terminals will be deployed within the Irish operator’s 225-strong estate, doubling the number to over 1,000 in the last 12 months.

Individual shop SSBT density will increase once the additional terminals have been installed, with many of the operator’s best performing shops hosting in excess of five SSBTs as they look to build upon their operating objective to offer their customers an all-encompassing service through a variety of modern mediums.

Dr. Armin Sageder, CEO of Playtech BGT Sports, said: “Our partnership with BoyleSports has been very successful since our initial deployment, and our second extension to the deal this year proves the strength of the product for the Irish customer base.

“Many shops will host more than four terminals, which illustrates that customers are seeing the tangible benefits of the machines, which have been shown to greatly add incremental revenue and increased margins, without the threat of cannibalisation to the over-the-counter product.”

Jenna Boyle, Head of Retail at BoyleSports, said: “Customer feedback for the increased offering provided by PBS’ SSBTs has required us to greatly increase the number of them across our estate to keep up with demand.

They have helped us generate record-breaking SSBT football betting turnover, and the significant incremental revenue each one generates has led to us making the decision to further increase the average density in our shop in order to further enhance our market leading retail offering.”

This agreement comes just four months after a similar deal extension, which saw PBS provide an additional 200 terminals to BoyleSports.

August 17, 2017

The National Lottery found out the hard way how moronic consumers can be

You would think marketers would have worked it out by now. But many appear still to live in a perfect rose-tinted bubble in which communications are seen as a clarion call, brands are something that people want to fall in love with, and consumers are positive, upbeat citizens of the world who can’t wait to get inspired by purpose and consumption and buying stuff.

That’s how things probably look in most marketers’ Powerpoint presentations. But a dose of market orientation would change everything. You remember market orientation? It’s the core concept of marketing and can be neatly summarised with the mantra: ‘You are not the consumer’.

I prefer to take it further with clients and point out that they are, quite literally, the least qualified people on the planet to see their product or service the way that their consumers do. If you make the product you can’t see it from the customer perspective. Similarly, if you work in an agency your view of campaigns and brands and customers is total bollocks. You work from the comfortable part of the spear – the pointy end is totally different.


Campaigns are not clarion calls that unite a nation and change attitudes. They are little nudges that play on existing attitudes and interests and just do enough to turn the dial in our favour. Sure, we have our case studies where a single ad changed the world: Wonderbra, Guinness, Marmite and so on. But for these epic moments of impact there are thousands of channel-changing, page-turning, screen-swiping failures.

What’s more, these ads – the ones that interrupt the morning music or absorbing late night movie or interesting news feed – are despised. People hate advertising. They tolerate it but, offered a red button, would exterminate it tomorrow.

Brands aren’t loved by anyone either, other than the marketers who manage them. Most of these marketers live a virtual reality existence of brand love and corporate purpose. These marketers have forgotten that the fact they spend their lives working on a brand does not make up for the brief seconds of time it takes up in the consumer’s life.

Most brands are totally ignored. A few have a tiny dollop of salience, which proves enough to win market share. Still fewer have genuine meaning for customers. But this vision of consumers establishing relationships and love for brands is over-wrought marketing horseshit – the wet dreams of marketers that never actually hang out in the supermarket aisle, or listen in to call centre staff, or stand in the rain while consumers trundle past their hot new visual merchandising in that shiny big window that no-one notices.

Consumers are not consumers – only marketers think of them that way. They are people; people who view consumption, for the most part, as a mundane and necessary part of a much more interesting existence.

They don’t think that toilet paper is innovative. They don’t think their toothpaste says something about their personality. They don’t give a fuck about the brand purpose of the lightbulb they try, swearingly, to screw into the socket of their bathroom ceiling. And despite all the bright, aspirational, stock-art faces that populate marketing Powerpoint slides with the title ‘target consumer’, most of them are cynical and unpleasant. Many are total dickheads.

Now don’t take any of this to be negative. It’s realistic. And don’t assume that means campaigns and brands cannot work on consumers. Of course they can. But marketing enjoys a much harder task and less likely success rate than most would have you believe. A lot of it depends on not taking a rose-tinted view of everything, but using market orientation to understand the real situation.

Of course, that rarely happens. Instead we continue to ride our pink unicorns through the candy-coated world of marketing, building ridiculous campaigns that push for unrealistic brand goals from target consumers who do not actually exist outside of Powerpoint decks projected on a screen above a Starbucks somewhere off Charlotte Street.

Take, for example, the wonderful new work of The National Lottery and British Athletics at the London World Championships. In an attempt to “unite athletes and fans as one” the new “digitally led” campaign created an official hashtag for the British Athletics team: #Represent.

If you live in marketing land then the whole idea provides an inspirational, beautiful vision of athletics bringing together a nation and uniting people of all interests and orientations. You probably think the ad will work. You believe it will connect people to British athletics. You can see consumers being inspired by the #Represent campaign.

That’s why you also create a social media campaign in which these suddenly excited consumers can share their inspiration with others and demonstrate just how much they have united with British Athletics, as The National Lottery did. What could be better than a digital tool that allows people to select their favourite athlete, the one they connect with most, and add a personal message of inspiration and support on a board held by the sportsperson in question? And then, best of all, they can share it with other equally engaged fans and unite with them too. All in one massive, positive, entirely unrealistic vision conjured up by marketers who don’t get it.

What you get instead is a sudden reality shot from the real, cynical and entirely moronic world of the consumer. They don’t care about athletics. Or uniting with athletes. They really only care about having a laugh and being a dickhead.

And so the #Represent campaign became, for a few brief hours, before it was swiftly yanked from the public consciousness, a window into the gap between how marketing sees the world and how it really is. Rarely does the juxtaposition present itself so clearly.

Collected at the top are some of the (less offensive) messages that the #Represent campaign generated. I will not comment on them. Feel free to feel shock, anger, humour, disgust or any other emotion. But also feel the distinct separation of marketing and reality.

The messages are not pleasant but I encourage you to navigate them and take a long, hard whiff of market reality. Use them as strategic smelling salts the next time someone puts up an image of a smiling clip-art consumer, or talks about engagement or brand love or any of the other horseshit that pervades our industry.

Everything else might be wrong about the #Represent campaign, but the word itself is perfect.

How gambling has replaced beer on Premier League shirts this season

The season began with Emirates Airlines against Thai duty free giant King Power. Saturday’s games included the clash of the Malta-based bookmakers, ManBetX against Ope Sports, and another all-gambling clash when Kenya’s SportPesa take on England’s very own Bet365.

Premier League shirt sponsorship has changed beyond recognition since the days when Queens Park Rangers promoted Classic FM and Blackburn Rovers McEwan’s Lager. Just as the league itself has modernised, globalised, a magnet to foreign interest and foreign money, the shirt sponsorship market has followed.

This season will see just four UK-based brands on Premier League shirts, the lowest number in history. And, not unconnected to that, it will see nine bookmakers as shirt sponsors, one down from last season’s record of 10.

Looking at the changes in shirt sponsorship over time shows how clearly the market has changed. When the Premier League started, in 1992-93, the biggest sectors for shirt sponsorship were consumer electronics, with six deals, and beer, with four, according for research for The Independent by Ken Berard. Electronics and beer remained a steady presence through the 1990s before dwindling in the 2000s. Last season there was just one beer sponsor, Chang Beer on Everton’s shirts. They have now been replaced too, and this year, for the first time in Premier League history, there will be none.

The story of the second half of the Premier League era has been the story of gambling replacing alcohol as the sector that dominates its shirts. When BetFair first appeared on Fulham’s shirts in 2002-03 it felt quirky but now it is utterly commonplace.

Alcohol was synonymous with the first decade of the Premier League, which had Carling as its title sponsor from 1993 to 2001. But while beer partnerships are still part of the fabric of English football, those brands do not take quite the same direct approach as they used to. “The market reflects a changing dynamic among alcohol brands,” explained Tim Crow, CEO of leading sports marketing firm Synergy, “as beer brands have moved away from shirt sponsorship.”

The Portman Group is made of Britain’s leading alcohol producers and three years ago they brought out a new sponsorship code advising brands to be responsible in their sponsorship of sports, in part because they do not want to be seen to be marketing to children. Of course all Premier League teams have their own alcohol partners, but those brands have now stepped back from shirt sponsorship itself.

Into that space, gambling firms have moved. It is easy enough to see why it is an attractive move for them. With global viewing figures higher than ever, a shirt sponsorship is a fairly cheap way to reach millions of people all over the world. “The Premier League is a global advertising platform because of its reach,” Crow explains. “As a global advertising campaign for a brand, shirt sponsorship can be a cost-effective media buy.”

The big six clubs are so famous now that their shirt sponsorship deals are appropriately expensive. Chevrolet pay an estimated £53million to sponsor Manchester United’s shirts, Yokohama Tyres pay £40m each year to Chelsea. But while the top clubs charge a premium, for the smaller 14 it is a buyers’ market. Their shirts will cost in the mid-single figures of millions for each year. Not a big price to pay to be seen all over the world.

Online gambling is becoming bigger and bigger business, as anyone who watches football on television knows. In 2014 football revenues exceeded those for horse racing for online bookmakers in the UK and the gap has continued to grow since.

While only Bet365, who sponsor Stoke City and BetWay, who sponsor West Ham United, target the UK betting market, there has been a recent rise in investment from foreign bookmakers. They are far less interested in the UK markets, and more in the global audience the Premier League provides. That is why Sport Pesa, ManBetX, Fun88, LeTou, M88, Dafabet and Ope Sports – brands not especially well-known in the UK – are now seen on our televisions every weekend, during the segments of football that break up the adverts for British bookmakers.

While there is some criticism from the marketing industry that shirt sponsorship is a very “blunt instrument” ill-suited to reaching a targeted audience, there is little doubt that the sponsors themselves are happy with their investment. A source close to one such deal said that the sponsor found it to be “incredibly effective”, not just through the shirts on the players themselves, but the LED exposure around the pitch and even fans wearing the shirt all over the world.

But there is also a concern that, not for the first time, English football has sold out to the highest bidder. There are times when a Premier League match, whether live or on television, can look like an advertising channel for the gambling industry.

In June this year the Football Association ended its sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes, deciding that it was not appropriate for a governing body to have a gambling partner, in the light of the Joey Barton ban. In doing so the FA gave up an estimated £12m. That moment could yet mark a change in English football’s relationship with gambling money. Or, as the tide of cash comes in, and the clubs keep saying yes, it may not.

August 12, 2017

England Bans Betting in Soccer, but Not for ‘The Lizard’

They call Tony Bloom “The Lizard” in poker circles. But the Lizard is more than just a gambler.

For the first time in more than three decades, the soccer club Mr. Bloom owns, Brighton & Hove Albion, has been elevated to the Premier League. That means one of the best-known leagues in soccer now counts one of the most prominent soccer gamblers among its owners.

Star Lizard Consulting, which was set up by Mr. Bloom’s associates to provide support for his betting syndicate, operates like a quantitative hedge fund. About 200 employees — traders, software engineers and analysts — focus on helping Mr. Bloom’s syndicate make data-driven bets on soccer and other sports. He did well enough to purchase a controlling stake in Brighton for nearly $130 million in 2009, back when the struggling club was in League One, two notches below the Premier League.

Betting is ostensibly banned by the Football Association, the governing body of soccer in England, which recently banished a Premier League player for 18 months for gambling.

But the association told The New York Times it also has a set of unpublished rules for Mr. Bloom and other owners involved in betting.

Louisa Fyans, an F.A. spokeswoman, said in an email that when the association updated its rules in 2014, it took into account that some owners had significant gambling interests.

“These clubs would be materially impaired by the F.A.’s position on betting,” she said, so the association created “provisions whereby those individuals could continue to have both an interest in football clubs and in betting companies/entities but subject to very stringent rules and reporting obligations.”

The association declined to share those provisions. The Premier League did not respond to requests for comment.

In the United States, a man like Mr. Bloom, a hybrid of high-rolling gambler and sports team owner, is unheard-of, and would run afoul of the typical sports league bylaws. The appetite for mixing sports and gambling waned nearly a century ago, after eight baseball players were accused of trying to fix the World Series. Even allowing a major sports team, the Oakland Raiders, to move to Las Vegas represents a cultural shift in America.

But the blending of gambling and sport is accepted practice in Britain, where winnings aren’t taxed. Mr. Bloom’s ascension has caused barely a ripple, even though his soccer gambling and poker playing career has been well chronicled.

Part of the reason is that Mr. Bloom is not alone. Dozens of clubs are sponsored by betting firms. The family that owns a betting platform called Bet365 also owns the Stoke City football club, which plays in the Premier League. Matthew Benham, who runs a similar operation to Star Lizard called Smartodds, owns the Brentford football club, which plays in a league between League One and the Premier League.

Both Mr. Bloom and Mr. Benham are known for bringing a data-driven approach to their pursuits.

“Tony is a hugely mathematical and analytical type of person, so clearly he looks at numbers as a means of gaining confidence in decision-making,” said Paul Barber, Brighton’s chief executive, adding that his team had its own data and scouts apart from Star Lizard.

While his team’s players “are aware that Tony is a professional gambler,” they are more interested in his poker skills, Mr. Barber said, adding, “Some of them like to play cards.”

Chris Bonett, an integrity officer at U.E.F.A., European soccer’s governing body, described Mr. Bloom as an ally.

“I know there is an ethical argument, should betting companies be in sports, but we are in a free market,” he said.

Star Lizard and other organizations have provided information to the European governing body for years to help it detect fixed matches, and have formal agreements in place to do so.

“I think they are on our side, because a fixed match defrauds the betting company first and foremost,” Mr. Bonett said. “With Star Lizard, we have a relationship that has been going on quite some time.”

In a statement, Star Lizard said, “Tony’s betting is beyond reproach in terms of integrity,” adding that their knowledge “of how the betting markets should play out before and during the match are incredibly valuable to the anti-match-fixing work carried out by numerous football authorities.”

A representative of Star Lizard also said that Mr. Bloom did not bet on Brighton.

Sam Tomlinson, a partner at the London office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the firm had audited Star Lizard “to confirm their compliance with the applicable F.A. regulation” and filed those audits with the association. “That’s probably as much as I can say.”

Mr. Bloom, 47, grew up with the team. His late grandfather Harry Bloom served as its vice chairman in the 1970s.

“He also had a big love of gambling and betting,” Mr. Bloom said last year, at the opening of a stadium restaurant he named in his grandfather’s honor, adding, “Through the blood it came into me, and I was fortunate enough to be successful at that.”

Mr. Bloom, who is known as the lizard “because ice-cold blood allegedly flows through his veins,” as one article about him put it, has thrown himself into the club, even drinking with merrily chanting fans on a train after a match.

His gambling business is far less visible. Star Lizard operates like a hedge fund, but is not based in a stately Mayfair townhouse. Instead, Star Lizard can be found in the Camden Locks, in a bohemian neighborhood known for drug raids, food hawkers, throngs of tourists and a devotion to Amy Winehouse.

Mr. Bloom’s name doesn’t even appear in Star Lizard’s business filings. It does show up on an affiliated company, Blue Lizard Consulting, which he gave a nearly $30 million interest-free loan last year, records show.

Inside Star Lizard’s headquarters, there is a cafeteria that provides three meals a day, a gym, pool tables, a dart board and a library. There are traders and analysts, but the real focus is on data. A recent posting by the company’s recruitment manager suggests how much Star Lizard outguns normal bettors: “We are currently expanding and need a number of software developers and support staff with skills in C# / F# / Java / Python / Full Stack Development / DevOps,” it read.

A more recent entry is Stratagem, a London-based firm that operates a sports hedge fund.

“We take in lots of data,” said Charles McGarraugh, Stratagem’s chief executive and an ex-Goldman Sachs trader, from the prices on various betting lines to data from games underway to “less structured data from sports journalism or social media.”

“It’s like a firehose, and at the other end what you want to get out is a one or a zero for a buy or a sell.”

Much of the action for such bettors comes as odds shift even after a game has begun.

Mr. Bloom speaks very little about his betting strategy. His soccer team is another matter. While he said he now had to “make some tough decisions” in his ownership role, watching the games is “the same as when I was watching 40 years ago.”

“In those 90 minutes,” he said, “I just love it like any other fan.”

August 02, 2017

Bulgaria’s National Lottery picks Kambi for ‘High Expectations’ 7777.bg sportsbook

Nordic Nasdaq-listed industry sports betting platform provider Kambi Group Plc has confirmed that it has entered a services agreement with Bulgarian licensed gaming group National Lottery AD.

The agreement will see Kambi become lead betting platform and technology provisions supplier for National Lottery AD’s digital gaming brand 7777.bg, which is considered Bulgaria’s most popular lottery and gaming destination.

Last year, 7777.bg added a sports betting product to its portfolio, however, in order to meet growth objectives, National Lottery AD had decided to upgrade to Kambi’s sports betting provisions.

Licensed by the Bulgaria’s State Commission on Gambling, 7777.bg has an established customer base in excess of 2 million registered players.

Kristian Nylén, CEO of Kambi, commented on the partnership: “We are delighted to be partnering with the National Lottery AD in Bulgaria. We share the same vision, which is to supply the best sports betting to 7777.bg’s customers; one that is engaging, entertaining and safe”.

Nylén further notes National Lottery AD’s high ambitions for 7777.bg’s sports betting product, which aims to quickly become the lead online destination for Bulgarian betting consumers

“The 7777.bg brand is at the very heart of gaming in Bulgaria and is widely respected and popular across the numerous verticals in which it operates. We are very excited by 7777.bg’s growth plans to gain the number one position in all its verticals in Bulgaria. With the power of the Kambi Sportsbook and 7777.bg’s impressive customer base, together we will build a sustainable market leading proposition.” Nylén added

“The signing of the National Lottery AD fits well with Kambi’s strategy of targeting Tier 1 operators and market leaders in regulated markets, which can bring us and our operators increased market share and strong revenue growth.”

The deal represents Kambi’s second major client win in as many months. In June, the company announced a partnership with Colombia’s Corredor Empresarial S.A., Latin America’s largest private ‘games of chance’ network. Kambi will provide its scalable sportsbook solution to the operator’s new BetPlay brand.

Looking forward to the start of the partnership Milen Ganev, Marketing Director of National Lottery AD commented: “We are known to work with only the highest quality providers and Kambi is just that. We do this clearly and purely to serve our end customers and to give them the ultimate experiences they deserve. Together, we believe this partnership will support our mission to become the country’s leading provider in sports betting experiences.”

July 27, 2017

How much does Philippines’ Online Gambling Contribute Towards PAGCOR’s Revenues?

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is a government-owned agency established in Metro Manila, Philippines, for the operation of floating casinos and slot clubs in major cities across the country. The agency also supervises and regulates private casinos, bingo parlors, and e-gaming cafes in the region. PAGCOR, as a corporation, is registered under the Office of the President of the Philippines.

Ever since it was established, PAGCOR has been establishing gaming pools and conducting casino games across the country. PAGCOR is expecting an amount of P6 billion as tax revenue from online gaming parlors. Moreover, the corporation is considering a move to limit the number of operators to 50 owing to a probable oversupply of players in the market. This also shows that online gaming has immense potential, with gamblers operating right from their home.

The casino operators and gaming regulators in the Philippines reported a one-quarter increase in profits in the beginning of 2017. But figures released by PAGCR reveal its revenue from online gambling increasing by 8.4 percent every year to P28.3 billion in the half year ending June 30. However, PAGCOR’s profit rose by 24.9 percent to P3 billion. PAGCOR’s contribution to the government treasury amounted to P13.4 billion.

The year-over-year increase in revenue was slower in the second quarter due to the temporary shutdown of gaming operations after the gun attack at the Resorts World Manila in June. However, the agency is now considering a complete transition to a regulatory role. But the casinos reported a revenue of P5.2 billion and slot machines a revenue of P6.1 billion. Income from electronic bingo was P4.4 billion but its licensed private casinos added a revenue of less than P9.5 billion.

The Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) reported income of less than P1.1 billion in the first quarter. PAGCOR hopes that the POGO program would generate an income of $120 million eventually. The tax rate on revenues from RNG games remains pegged at 2% but operators would have to pay a sum of $150K as Monthly Minimum Guarantee Fee (MGF).

The POGO program was initiated as a part of the government’s efforts to foist tighter supervision over operations, which were overlooked by authorities in the Philippines’ special economic zones. PAGCOR would also be deploying monitoring teams to ensure that POGO licensees comply with regulatory requirements.

Aspiring Cop Caught Stealing $125,000 Worth of Chips in the CCTV of Melbourne’s Crown Casino

A man by the name Gunawan Akay had been recently caught by a CCTV camera, stealing over $125,000 in casino chips from the Crown Casino in Melbourne. Following trials in the local court, Akay was sentenced to community correction.

The 38-year-old guy was slapped with a sentence of two years for robbing the casino off $125,000 worth of gaming chips in December last year. Akay later pleaded guilty in the court of law for attempting to grab 25 chips of $5000 each while playing in the Maple Room, an exclusive gambling room featured at the Crown Casino.

The CCTV footage revealed that while the casino employee was busy dealing the hand, Akay dexterity reached out to a pile of casino chips and grabbed a handful before escaping from the room and trying to flee in a taxi.

Claire Quin, the County Judge, stated that Akay had been struggling with a grave financial crisis that might have been the motivation behind carrying out this unsophisticated crime. While sentencing Akay to the two-year community correction order, the judge announced that the former had grabbed the gambling chips from a table in the Maple Room and rushed out of the casino in a bid to flee.

Sources reveal that a terribly guilty Akay lost nearly all of his gambling chips in his attempt to run away and eventually tossed the remaining three chips into the Yarra River in a state of excessive panic. A member of the Gold Signature Crown Rewards, Akay was a regular at the Crown Casino and had been playing with his partner’s cash for over six hours when he planned the doomed attempt at stealing the gambling chips.

In a series of events that led him to commit the amateur crime, Akay had recently witnessed a bank foreclosure on a majority of his properties and was trying to make some money in order to ensure that he and his girlfriend did not have to leave their home due to eviction.

Following the completion of the trial proceedings, Judge Quin remarked that Akay had been terribly contrite and had acknowledged his accountability for the crime, showing that he might have great prospects at early rehabilitation. As per the order, Akay will have to perform supervised work for a total of 150 hours during his correctional stay.

El Gordo

IIn the early 2000s, Costis Mitsotakis of Greece met a Spanish girl named Sandra del Pozo. They fell in love, and not long after, bought a small RV, left Greece and headed to Spain. Their destination — Sodeto, a town in the northeast corner of the country, where Sandra’s grandmother lived.

Sodeto is one of about 300 little farming villages that the dictator Francisco Franco built in Spain in the 1950s, in an effort to bring people and agriculture to isolated places. All the towns built during this time look similar, and Sodeto is no exception — there’s a church in the center of town and one bar, which is also the one restaurant, which is also the one place to hang out. The houses are the color of sand, and each has a red-tiled roof. About 200 people live in the town.

Sodeto is not the kind of place that makes news. But all that changed in 2011 when almost everyone in this little village won a piece of the biggest lottery jackpot in Spain. By chance, Costis Mitsotakis had found himself in the luckiest town in the world.

In the United States, as far we know, an entire town has never won the lottery. Sometimes large groups do win together, but more often than not, lotteries jackpots in the U.S. are divided by just a few people.

In Spain, they do the lottery differently. First of all, it’s a country-wide obsession — about 75% of Spaniards buy a ticket. There’s more than one lottery in Spain, but the one that Spaniards are the most passionate about is “La Lotería de Navidad” (“The Christmas Lottery”). This lottery has taken place every year since 1812.

For better or worse, lotteries have long been considered by governments as useful ways to raise funds for public programs. But lotteries were, and still are, thought to be regressive taxes on the poor. Karl Marx called them a sinister instrument of the state, designed to dupe the poor into believing there was an easy way out of poverty. The church found lottery play to be blasphemous and superstitious. In 1826 the British outright banned the lottery for nearly a hundred years.

And in 1862, Spain responded to the criticisms as well: by re-designing their national lottery so that it wouldn’t take as much money from the poor. The government thought if the they set the price of tickets high, only rich people would buy them. But that’s not what happened. People began “syndicate” playing, or playing in groups. The lottery became more popular than ever.

In the Christmas Lottery, any number from 00000 to 99,999 can win. It’s very expensive to own an entire number, so organizations will buy a share of a number and then sell off even smaller shares to individuals — five euro shares, two euro shares, etc. Thousands of people may own small fractions of the same number. The smaller the share you have, the less you get of the total jackpot if your number should win.

Making it expensive to own a number outright has turned the lottery into a huge social event. Local organizations sell tickets at a markup for fundraisers. Most Spaniards end up with a stack of tickets — all different tiny shares of different numbers that they’ve been talked into buying.

The numbers go on sale in the summer for the drawing on December 22nd. It is held in Madrid, in the same theater and the same way every year. There’s a stage, holding two giant golden orbs, containing balls with the numbers and prize amounts. After the balls drop, two children sing the numbers and prize amounts in a kind of Gregorian chant. The whole event lasts for hours.

Everyone waits for the biggest prize of the day – “El Gordo” ( the fat one). The “El Gordo” prize is often worth close to a billion dollars. As soon as the El Gordo-winning number is announced, reporters scramble to find out in what part of Spain it was sold.

And on December 22, 2011, it was the people of Sodeto, Spain who held the winning number.

The winning tickets had been sold all over Sodeto by The Housewives Association — a group of women who host parties and activities in town. The association sold tickets, door to door, for six euros. Five euros for the lottery ticket, one euro for their fundraising.

Maria-Carmen Lambea from the Association had chosen the winning number. When she heard that they had won El Gordo, she started calling friends. No one could believe it. Soon everyone was gathered on the plaza. Each six euro ticket the house-wives had sold was worth 100,000 euros.

Ana, the bartender had won, Paco, the farmer, and his wife Marisol won. Rosa, the mayor of the town had won. It seemed that every single resident of the small town of Sodeto had won a piece of El Gordo. The people of Sodeto were not the only ones to win on the number 58,268 in 2011. A few thousand other people also had small shares of the number — mostly scattered around in towns nearby. The total jackpot that year for EL Gordo was about 750 million euros, but it was divided by thousands of people. In Sodeto – the people who bought more tickets got more money, and everyone got at least 100,000 euros.

Everyone, except one. Costis Miksotaksis. Somehow the housewives had missed him when they went knocking on doors.



Six years later, Costis still lives in Sodeto. He and Sandra have parted ways, but remain friends. When we asked if he felt any regret or jealousy, he laughs. “No, nothing,” he says — because Costis feels he got something that day too. He’s a filmmaker and he’s been documenting how the town has responded to this sudden wealth. He believes the town has become a little more insular since the win — more focused on the nuclear family and less on the community as a whole.

But Maria-Carmen doesn’t believe the town has changed that much. Sodeto is a town of farmers, and some of them installed new irrigation systems, or bought new tractors. Some people added modest additions to their homes, but nothing extravagant. It’s been a wonderful thing for everyone in this little working-class town, says Maria-Carmen, to live without the worry of debt.

And that’s the thing about this syndicate style lottery: unlike the Powerball Jackpot in the United States, which heaps hundreds of millions on one or two winners, the money from the Christmas Lottery gets divvied up among thousands of people.

The people who win El Gordo don’t generally win enough to buy mansions and yachts. They win enough to pay off their debts and buy a Honda civic. The lottery brings wealth to a whole geographic area, and distributes it relatively evenly, at least among those lucky enough to have a ticket.

Economists have long struggled to figure out why people play the lottery. It’s not a rational investment The odds of winning the big jackpots are terrible — worse than any other form of gambling. But in Spain, it’s pretty obvious why people play this lottery. It’s the social thing to do. You buy because you don’t want to be that one guy who doesn’t win. You don’t want to be Costis. The lottery organizers actually exploit this fear in their advertising each year.

The Housewives Association, now officially called the “Women’s Association,” continues to choose a number each year for the Christmas Lottery.

The women used to knock on doors for months to sell the tickets, but now the people come to them, and tickets sell out in a few days. “They were lucky once and they could be again,” people say, and no one wants to be left out.

July 26, 2017

UKGC launches new tool for customer complaints

The UK Gambling Commission announced the release of Resolver, a tool which will enable consumers to file gambling-related complaints.



From 1 August, gambling consumers will be able to use Resolver, the online support tool, to make complaints related to gambling.

Resolver is a free, independent tool for consumers. It provides information about the issue the consumer wants to complain about, and support to help the consumer write emails and letters of complaint.

Resolver is not an intermediary, and doesn’t act on the consumer’s behalf – but it does help the consumer to make their complaint in a structured way, and to make informed choices about what actions to take.

This can help businesses to deal with complaints more efficiently when they receive them, and manages customer expectations about their complaint issue.

Resolver also helps the consumer to store all the complaint information in one place, and acts as an email service. This means the consumer’s complaint will be sent from a Resolver email address, rather than the customer’s usual email address. We expect operators to accept complaints customers send via a Resolver email address just as they would from other email services.

July 25, 2017

Czech legislators to add new gaming regulations

National legislators held a session yesterday discuss gaming regulations, according to Prague Monitor. After the meeting, new amendments could be added to federal laws in order to control potential public corruption through gaming operations. Earlier this year, the Congress approved a gaming law, which was previously modified by a lobbying organisation.

“During the legislative process, the gambling bill underwent several changes as a direct consequence of the gambling lobby’s intervention, which led to particular interests being put above public interests,” revealed a public analysis issued by the office of Human Rights Ministry.

Czech Republic Cabinet met yesterday in order to review the analysis and discuss further regulations for gaming activities. According to the document, the industry could represent a risk of corruption in public administration, as “favouritism, non-standard lobbying, economic and media pressure” could influence government officials, as reported by the local news outlet.

The Ministry’s document also reveals connections between gaming companies and national former and current authorities. The main example is the SYNOT gaming company owned by Senator Ivo Valenta, which employs former Finance Ministry officials. Czech Republic has been allegedly experiencing “Revolving Doors,” a phenomenon where gaming businessmen achieve governmental positions and after their periods, they return to their previous businesses.

July 18, 2017

Uncertainty reigns in ‘Game of Thrones’ markets

With series seven of Game of Thrones rapidly approaching, William Hill’s market for who will end series eight as the ruler of the kingdom took a sudden and unexpected spike.

Cersei Lannister came in from 14/1 to become the overnight favourite at just 5/2. However, despite a mass influx of overnight bets, Cersei has drifted back out in the market and Daenerys Targaryen now appears to be destined for supremacy.

Nonetheless, tragedy has played a prominent role thus far in Game of Thrones and season seven doesn’t look like being subdued, it is just 6/4 that one or more of Cersei, Daenerys, Jon Snow or Tyrion lannister reach their demise in series seven.

“If our punters are to be believed, Cersei is going to have a very prominent role in these last two series of Game of Thrones,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.

Fortuna hurdles Romanian acquisitions legal debacle

There’s no more legal impediment that will bar investors of the Eastern European betting and lottery operator Fortuna Entertainment Group from voting on its proposed acquisition of four Romanian gambling companies after a Dutch appellate court dismissed a petition against the firm’s move.

SeeNews reported that the Amsterdam Court of Appeals threw out the petition for injunction that Franklin Templeton investment funds as it seeks to stop the purchase of Bet Active Concept, Bet Zone, Public Slots and Slot Arena.

Per Widerström, CEO of Fortuna, lauded the court’s Monday decision, saying the company may now move forward with their plans to boost the company’s Romanian market presence. The company has scheduled an extraordinary meeting of shareholders planned on August 1 to vote on the acquisition plans.

“This acquisition, together with previously acquired Casa Pariurilor (as part of Hattrick Sport Group), means that Romania will become our biggest market and that Fortuna Entertainment Group will become the number one regulated sports betting and gaming operator in the Romanian market,” Per Widerström, CEO of Fortuna, said, according to the news report.

In March, the Czech Republic-based Fortuna announced it was in the process of negotiating the acquisition of Romanian companies Bet Active Concept SRL, Bet Zone SRL, Public Slots SRL and Slot Arena SRL from Fortbet Holdings Ltd for €47 million (US$54 million).

Fortbet is the majority shareholder of Fortuna and the subsidiary of Penta Investment Group.

The purchase, however, was delayed after the Amsterdam Court of Appeals granted the petition filed by a group of shareholders advised by Templeton to stop the sale in April.

During the same month, Fortuna announced a €135m deal to acquire Hattrick Sports, which controls Romania’s leading betting brand Casa Pariurilor. That deal alone made Fortuna the number one retail betting operator in Romania, while also expanding its operations into Croatia.

Fortuna, which was established in 1990, posted a 12.2 percent revenue increase in the first quarter of 2017, thanks in part to its online betting operations. In the three months ending March 31, 2017, Fortuna said that its revenue grew to €42.7 million.

July 12, 2017

Partypoker owner GVC in the mood for more deals

The lack of a major sporting tournament this year has failed to knock the owner of online gambling brands Sportingbet and Bwin, as the acquisition-hungry firm said it would not rule out another deal.

GVC, which was catapulted into the FTSE 250 on the back of its most recent deal to buy Bwin, feels it is now in a position to seek out another rival in spite of completing two major deals in three years.

“The organic opportunity is significant, whilst we are also well positioned to pursue further acquisition opportunities should they arise,” chief executive Kenny Alexander said.

He added the amount the company spends on marketing would return to more normal levels at the end of the year meaning he was confident about the group’s potential performance.

The business freed up some cash earlier this year after refinancing a short-term loan from Cerberus Business Finance it had used to fund the Bwin acquisition. It agreed a €320m (£280m) lending deal with investment bank Nomura, comprising €250m to pay Cerberus the remainder it owed them, and a €70m credit facility.

In the six months to June 30, GVC saw net gaming revenue - the amounts staked minus winnings - rise 10pc to €484.8m. This was higher than the 7pc growth rate of the comparable year in spite of that period benefiting from the first few weeks of the 2016 European football championships.

While sports betting was down in terms of the amount of wagers being made by customers, its gaming brands more than took up the slack, with a 17pc rise in net gaming revenue to hit €1m per day.

The rise in customers within its gaming division has been helped by the Bwin acquisition, which completed in February last year, as Partypoker and other casino brands enticed players. The firm bought Sportingbet in March 2013.

July 07, 2017

This startup is building AI to bet on soccer games

Listen to Andreas Koukorinis, founder of UK sports betting company Stratagem, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that football games are some of the most predictable events on Earth. “They’re short duration, repeatable, with fixed rules, so if you observe 100,000 games, there are patterns there you can take out.”

The mission of Koukorinis’ company is simple: find these patterns and make money off them. Stratagem does this either by selling the data it collects to professional gamblers and bookmakers, or by keeping it and making its own wagers.To fund these wagers, the firm is raising money for a £25 million ($32 million) sports betting fund that it’s positioning as an investment alternative to traditional hedge funds. In other words, Stratagem hopes rich people will give Stratagem their money. The company will gamble with it using its proprietary data, and, if all goes to plan, everyone ends up just that little bit richer.

It’s a familiar story, but Stratagem is adding a little something extra to sweeten the pot: artificial intelligence.

At the moment, the company uses teams of human analysts spread out around the globe to report back on the various sporting leagues it bets on. This information is combined with detailed data about the odds available from various bookmakers to give Stratagem an edge over the average punter. But, in the future, it wants computers to do the analysis for it.It already uses machine learning to analyze some of its data (working out the best time to place a bet, for example), but it’s also developing AI tools that can analyze sporting events in real time, drawing out data that will help predict which team will win.

Stratagem is using deep neural networks to achieve this task — the same technology that’s enchanted Silicon Valley’s biggest firms. It’s a good fit, since this is a tool that’s well-suited for analyzing vast pots of data. As Koukorinis points out, when analyzing sports, there’s a hell of a lot data to learn from. The company’s software is currently absorbing thousands of hours of sporting fixtures to teach it patterns of failure and success, and the end goal is to create an AI that can watch a range of a half-dozen different sporting events simultaneously on live TV, extracting insights as it does.

At the moment, though, Stratagem is starting small. It’s focusing on just a few sports (football, basketball, and tennis) and a few metrics (like goal chances in football). At the company’s London offices, home to around 30 employees including ex-bankers and programmers, we’re shown the fledgling neural nets for football games in action. On-screen, the output is similar to what you might see from the live feed of a self-driving car. But instead of the computer highlighting stop signs and pedestrians as it scans the road ahead, it’s drawing a box around Zlatan Ibrahimović as he charges at the goal, dragging defenders in his wake.

Stratagem’s AI makes its calculations watching a standard, broadcast feed of the match. (Pro: it’s readily accessible. Con: it has to learn not to analyze the replays.) It tracks the ball and the players, identifying which team they’re on based on the color of their kits. The lines of the pitch are also highlighted, and all this data is transformed into a 2D map of the whole game. From this viewpoint, the software studies matches like an armchair general: it identifies what it thinks are goal-scoring chances, or the moments where the configuration of players looks right for someone to take a shot and score.

“Football is such a low-scoring game that you need to focus on these sorts of metrics to make predictions,” says Koukorinis. “If there’s a short on target from 30 yards with 11 people in front of the striker and that ends in a goal, yes, it looks spectacular on TV, but it’s not exciting for us. Because if you repeat it 100 times the outcomes won’t be the same. But if you have Lionel Messi running down the pitch and he’s one-on-one with the goalie, the conversion rate on that is 80 percent. We look at what created that situation. We try to take the randomness out, and look at how good the teams are at what they’re trying to do, which is generate goal-scoring opportunities.”

Whether or not counting goal-scoring opportunities is the best way to rank teams is difficult to say. Stratagem says it’s a metric that’s popular with professional gamblers, but they — and the company — weigh it with a lot of other factors before deciding how to bet. Stratagem also notes that the opportunities identified by its AI don’t consistently line up with those spotted by humans. Right now, the computer gets it correct about 50 percent of the time. Despite this, the company say its current betting models (which it develops for football, but also basketball and tennis) are right more than enough times for it to make a steady return, though they won’t share precise figures.

At the moment, Stratagem generates most of its data about goal-scoring opportunities and other metrics the old-fashioned way: using a team of 65 human analysts who write detailed match reports. The company’s AI would automate some of this process and speed it up significantly. (Each match report takes about three hours to write.) Some forms of data-gathering would still rely on humans, however.

A key task for the company’s agents is finding out a team’s starting lineup before it’s formally announced. (This is a major driver of pre-game betting odds, says Koukorinis, and knowing in advance helps you beat the market.) Acquiring this sort of information isn’t easy. It means finding sources at a club, building up a relationship, and knowing the right people to call on match day. Chatbots just aren’t up to the job yet.

Machine vision, though, is really just one element of Stratagem’s AI business plan. It already applies machine learning to more mundane facets of betting — like working out the best time to place a bet in any particular market. In this regard, what the company is doing is no different from many other hedge funds, which for decades have been using machine learning to come up with new ways to trade. Most funds blend human analysis with computer expertise, but at least one is run completely by decisions generated by artificial intelligence.

However, simply adding more computers to the mix isn’t always a recipe for success. There’s data showing that if you want to make the most out of your money, it’s better to just invest in the top-performing stocks of the S&P 500, rather than sign up for an AI hedge fund. That’s not the best sign that Stratagem’s sports-betting fund will offer good returns, especially when such funds are already controversial.

In 2012, a sports-betting fund set up by UK firm Centaur Holdings, collapsed just two years after it launched. It lost $2.5 million after promising investors returns of 15 to 20 percent. To critics, operations like this are just borrowing the trappings of traditional funds to make gambling look more like investing.

David Stevenson, director of finance research company AltFi, commented there’s nothing essentially wrong with these funds, but they need to be thought of as their own category. “I don’t particularly doubt it’s great fun [to invest in one] if you like sports and a bit of betting,” said Stevenson. “But don’t qualify it with the term ‘investment,’ because investment, by its nature, has to be something you can predict over the long run.”

Stevenson also notes that AI hedge funds that are successful — those that “torture the math within an inch of its life” to eek out small but predictable profits — tend not to seek outside investment at all. They prefer keeping the money to themselves. “I treat most things that combine the acronym ‘AI’ and the word ‘investing’ with an enormous dessert spoon of salt,” he said.

Whether or not Stratagem’s AI can deliver insights that make sporting events as predictable as the tides remains to be seen, but the company’s investment in artificial intelligence does have other uses. For starters, it can attract investors and customers looking for an edge in the world of gambling. It can also automate work that’s currently done by the company’s human employees and make it cheaper. As with other businesses that are using AI, it’s these smaller gains that might prove to be most reliable. After all, small, reliable gains make for a good investment.

June 28, 2017

Ladbrokes could face inquiry after betting addicts' details found in bin bag

Ladbrokes could face an investigation from the gambling regulator over an incident in which confidential information about betting addicts, including photos, names and addresses, was found in a bin bag on the street.

The Gambling Commission said it was looking into the bookmaker’s compliance with data protection laws after a passer-by found the sensitive documents outside a branch of Ladbrokes in Glasgow.

The data included personal details of customers who signed up for the betting industry’s multi-operator self-exclusion scheme (Moses), which allows problem gamblers to ban themselves from placing bets voluntarily.


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Bookmakers carry information about customers who have signed up to the Moses system to help shop staff identify customers who should not be allowed to bet.

The information includes their names, addresses, photographs and information about why they have chosen to exclude themselves but does not include bank account numbers or detailed information about their betting history.

The Gambling Commission said it was looking into why such sensitive data was not disposed of in a way that ensured customer’s personal information was protected.

“Customers trust that their personal data will be collected carefully and then protected properly,” said the Gambling Commission executive director, Tim Miller.

“We expect gambling operators to adhere to all data protection laws or regulations, which are enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

“In an instance where personal data has been breached, we would expect operators to do whatever they can to mitigate any harm caused.”

Ladbrokes usually collects such data from its stores and disposes of it securely through a company-wide procedure.

A statement on the Moses website reads: “Your personal details are kept confidential and only shared with the participating bookmakers their group companies’ and the central team administrators.”

Ladbrokes did not say how the information ended up in a bin bag on the street. But a spokesperson said: “We are taking this extremely seriously and [are] undertaking a full investigation.”

Ladbrokes is understood to have written to all of its shops reminding them of the need to dispose of sensitive information in the right way.

It has also begun an internal investigation to be sure that its procedures are as watertight as possible, according to the Scottish Sun.

Marc Etches, chief executive of leading charity GambleAware, said: “We really hope this situation does not put anyone off using self-exclusion, as research we published in March found that 83% of those who have used it found the scheme to be effective, although we would always recommend professional treatment alongside such measures.

“Self-exclusion is often a last resort for those already suffering from a gambling addiction and it’s important we identify those who are at risk as early as possible and prevent problems developing.”

Individual bookmakers have their own self-exclusion scheme but also use the industry-wide scheme Moses, managed by a responsible-gambling body called the Senet Group, founded by four major bookmakers in 2014.

Gamblers can voluntarily self-exclude for a year, a binding decision that cannot be reversed during the period.

At the end of the year, the self-exclusion will remain in place automatically for six months, unless the customer requests otherwise.

Amaya investors approve ‘The Stars Group’ name change

Following this month’s Annual General Meeting, Amaya Inc shareholders have approved the corporate name change of the company to ‘The Stars Group’.

The name change proposition was put forward by Amaya governance last May following the firm’s Q1 2017 trading update. Following a shareholder vote, Amaya governance details that The Stars Group name change has gained outright stakeholder backing.

The The company will now move to implement a full corporate rebrand, with its new name and logo. Amaya leadership expects to unveil its new corporate identity by August of this year coinciding with the relocation to a new head office in Toronto Canada.

Further to the name change approval, company shareholders also voted to approve continuance under the Business Corporations Act (Ontario), with Amaya to become an Ontario corporation.

The online gambling group, detailed that it had proposed a name change to investors in order to better represent its corporate assets and future vision within the global gambling sector.

Following a busy Q2 2017 period in which Amaya has undertaken an executive team overhaul led by Chief Executive Rafi Ashkenazi. The company has confirmed the leadership appointments of Brian Kyle as new Financial Officer and the appointment of Dr Jerry Bowskill as new Chief Technology Officer.

June 27, 2017

William Hill shutting its online operations in Israel, laying off more than 200

Оnline gaming giant William Hill plc will be shutting its operation in Israel. More than 200 of the company’s approximately 250 Tel Aviv based employees will be laid off, and the company’s offices at the Azrieli Towers will be vacated.

A small number of William Hill Israel key employees will be offered relocation to head office in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

Sources at the company were quoted as saying that representatives of William Hill had begun meeting individually with Tel Aviv based employees, explaining the company’s decision to consolidate the online portion of its business, which is what the Israel operation dealt mostly with.

Israel is a major center in the online gaming world as well as in areas such as online marketing and software development which are essential to the industry. However the strong Shekel, combined with rising real estate prices and low unemployment levels, has made Israel a much more expensive place in which to do business. Israeli technology companies have also been actively outsourcing to lower cost locations such as India and Eastern Europe.

William Hill began operating in Israel in 2008, when it created William Hill Online as a joint venture with Teddy Sagi’s Playtech PLC. Playtech transferred assets and technology into William Hill Online, including a large number of Israel-based employees, in return for a 30% interest in the venture. William Hill bought out Playtech’s holding in the JV in 2013 for £424 million.

June 23, 2017

Football Association ends links with all betting firms after review

The Football Association will no longer have a betting partner after terminating a contract with Ladbrokes worth around £4m a year following a string of high-profile gambling controversies in the sport.

The decision follows a three-month review by the governing body into how appropriate such a deal was when the FA is noticeably becoming stricter in enforcing its ban on those connected with the game gambling on football.


It also comes after Joey Barton, serving an 18-month ban for gambling offences, accused the FA of hypocrisy over the deal. It had three years of a four-year contract to run. The chief executive, Martin Glenn, said: “We would like to thank Ladbrokes for both being a valued partner over the last year and for their professionalism and understanding about our change of policy around gambling.”

The EFL said the FA decision had no bearing on its own partnership with Sky Bet, which is in its fifth year. A spokesman said: “The EFL is of the firm belief that there is no conflict in having a commercial relationship with the gaming industry, as it is the FA who have the ultimate responsibility of enforcing any breach of the existing betting rules that all those who participate in our competitions have to adhere to.”

The FA chairman, Greg Clarke, has led the move to put space between the governing body and bookmakers, although he insisted the review was not linked to the Barton case. The player, who was banned in April having placed 1,260 bets on matches between 2006 and 2013, claimed this amounted to “hush money” and that it might prevent the ruling body from discovering match-fixing.

He told The Sunday Times last week: “What are the FA going to do, march into Ladbrokes and say: ‘Show us everyone who’s had a bet on this game?’ Ladbrokes are going to say: ‘Eff off, we pay you £10m a year [sic], keep your mouth shut.’ Do the FA not understand that’s hush money? Because if they don’t do it to Ladbrokes, they can’t do it to Betfair, Paddy Power, William Hill.

“They’ve given me such a harsh sentence because they want to maintain to the world, to the people who buy TV rights, that this is a very high-integrity game here. People who work for betting companies have told me that’s the key issue. The FA have no actual interest in [tackling] betting. And they can’t solve the problem, especially when they’ve got Ladbrokes as a partner. Because the players are going: ‘I’m not doing anything wrong.’”

The EFL said it would not be reconsidering its title sponsorship with SkyBet in light of the FA’s decision, arguing there was no conflict of interest.

“The EFL (as a competition organiser) is of the firm belief that there is no conflict in having a commercial relationship with the gaming industry, as it is the FA who have the ultimate responsibility of enforcing any breach of the existing betting rules that all those who participate in our competitions have to adhere to,” said a spokesman.

June 07, 2017

Pagcor to limit Philippine online gaming licenses to 50

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said this week it is planning to initially trim the number of online gaming operators in the country to a maximum of 50. This measure is to prevent an oversupply of players in the industry.

Philippines flagJose Tria Jr., assistant vice president of Pagcor’s Offshore Gaming Licensing Department, said the regulator is eyeing to impose a moratorium to limit the number of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) until it is sure that the increase in players is not overtaking the demand. “We need to evaluate first if the industry is already oversaturated,” Tria told in an interview.

However, the Pagcor official clarified that such moratorium could be lifted anytime. “It depends on the evaluation. The saturation of the market can be seen in the audit system. If the income of each operator goes down from the previously reported, this means there are too much operators,” Tria added.

Tria said an oversaturation means that additional operators do not bring in additional income to the industry. “They are just dividing between themselves [the income] instead of increasing it. That means it’s already saturated,” he said.

Pagcor has so far issued 42 licenses to offshore operators to date. Pending applications, meanwhile, have gone down to 12 from the initial list of 44, Tria said. “After we released the list, we wrote a letter to the pending applicants. A lot of them did not pursue their application.”

Should the moratorium be imposed, only eight new operators stand to get their license application approved.

May 16, 2017

Japanese tennis player banned for life over match-fixing charge

Japanese tennis player Junn Mitsuhashi has been banned for life for match-fixing and gambling offences.

The 25-year-old, who reached a career high of 295 in the world in 2009, has also been fined $50,000 (£39,000/€45,000) by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU).

He has been found guilty of making corrupt approaches to other players, betting on tennis matches and refusing to cooperate with the TIU investigation.

In November 2015, he asked Joshua Chetty, a player he had previously coached, to approach another player during an International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures F1 tournament in Stellenbosch in South Africa.

The player was offered $2,000 (£1,500/€1,800) to under-perform in a singles match and $600 (£465/€543) for a doubles match, the TIU said.

South Africa's Chetty was himself banned for life in September.

Mitsuhashi then made an approach to another player in December 2015, according to the TIU.

This took place at an ITF Futures F4 tournament in Lagos in Nigeria, with the player asked to fix certain aspects of a match.

The Japanese player, who was ranked 1,997 in the world at the end of 2015, was also found to have bet on 76 tennis matches.

"In spite of repeated requests to engage with the TIU, the player refused to respond or co-operate with enquiries into the allegations against him," a TIU statement said.

"Failing to cooperate is an offence in its own right."

Mitsuhashi will not be allowed to play in any tournaments organised by the governing bodies of the sport or even attend the venues.

His case was considered by independent anti-corruption hearing officer Ian Mill QC, who imposed the lifetime ban and fine.

Tennis has faced significant match-fixing problems, particularly at levels where prize money is low.

It was the sport involved in 45 per cent of reported cases of suspicious betting during the first quarter of 2017, according to the European Sport Security Association.

In March, ITF President David Haggerty announced plans for tours with a limit of 750 male and 750 female players.

It is thought that around 14,000 are currently competing among the full-time ranks, with nearly half of these failing to win any prize money.

This, it is thought, can cause some players to be tempted by corruption.

May 11, 2017

New York Senate Finance Committee passes online gaming bill

On Tuesday, the state Senate Finance Committee approved legislation that would make New York the fourth and most populous US state to welcome legal and regulated online poker. Approved by a vote of 27-9, the bill S3898 now goes to the entire Senate, where a majority vote would send it to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.

If it reaches the governor’s desk, there will be a 10-day period where it may be signed into law or vetoed.

Sponsored by Senator John Bonacic, the bill seeks to legalise online poker as a game of skill, or specifically hold’em and omaha, which are deemed by the senator, apparently, to be the most skillful variants. That will be the key point for debate the take place in the Senate.

The Empire State’s long-running efforts to legalise internet poker had first moved forward last february after the legislation passed the Senate Gaming Committee by a unanimous 11-0 vote.

The bill originally introduced in late January would authorise the New York State Gaming Commission to hand out online poker licenses at the cost of $10m per license. Under the bill, poker would be classified as a game of skill, which differs from the provision within the state constitution that prevents internet gaming. The state will also be able to enter interstate compacts in order to increase player pools and liquidity.

The bill would amend the Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law to permit certain interactive poker games, specifically Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em. It would change the definition of poker to constitute a game where the outcome is determined by skill rather than luck, and would regulated without this being considered gaming expansion.

May 08, 2017

Poker Player to eat $1k worth of McDonalds food in 36 hours

A professional poker player has taken up a rather unusual challenge of attempting to eat $1,000 worth of McDonald’s food in 36-hours with wagers topping $200k.

I once took on the Fatty Arbuckle Challenge and failed. My ex-wife came back from the toilet and found pieces of steak in the vase holding the fake flowers, both condiments, and squeezed in between pages of the menu.

Poker Player to eat $1k worth of McDonalds food in 36 hours. My father-in-law at the time also took the challenge. You had to eat a CAFO full of chicken wings, a 28 oz steak with all the trimmings, and a two-pint ice cream sundae.

The trick, it seems, was in the Sundae. My father-in-law used his lighter to melt it and then drank the lot.

But not even my former father-in-law would be able to eat $1,000 worth of McDonald’s in 36-hours, but professional poker player Mike Noori is ready to give it a shot.

The Word Poker Tour (WPT) Executive Tour Director, Matt Savage, is the man behind the idea and here are the stipulations:

– Only $200 can be spent on salads.
– $300 has to be spent on hot food items ($50 of which must be burgers)
– Drinks don’t count
– Cannot remove any items from his orders
– Can add additional foodstuffs to requested items (extra bacon, etc.)
– Must eat everything that comes with the order (except the Happy Meal toy)
– He must eat the food in its original state, no blender
– Puking is ok as long as he doesn’t force the puke or puke repeatedly
– No inflated prices (I.e. Eating in McDonald’s in an airport)

According to the word on social media, there is over $200k in bets already booked, with Noori admitting on Twitter that he only has a small piece of his action.

Noori has already indicated that he will begin the bet by eating $500 worth of apple slices, but even if he goes down that particular orchard, this still ranks as one of the more difficult prop bets to be accepted on the open market (take not Bill Perkins).

One man who knows what he is talking about when it comes to food is Jimmy Fricke, and he believes the bet is impossible.

What Happens if You Consume Over 66k Calories in 36 Hours?

You won’t be surprised to hear that our great God Google didn’t have an answer to that question. And when I asked Alexa she said Sorry I don’t know that one. But I do know what would happen if you ate 6,000 calories per day for seven days straight so you can get some picture.

According to Men’s Health magazine, six healthy guys did eat 6,000 calories for seven days straight while staying in a hospital bed under the name of medical research. The men gained on average 8 pounds per person. They developed insulin resistance, liver complications and extreme oxidative stress.

And who can forget Morgan Spurlock’s SuperSize Me documentary? Spurlock only ate McDonald’s food for 30 days straight in a bid to prove that although the fast food chain won a libel case against a couple of obese girls who laid the blame for the extra poundage on old Ronald, the fast food franchise was still responsible for causing physical harm.

Spurlock ate 5,000 calories per day, gained 11 kilogrammes in weight (a 13% body mass increase), saw his cholesterol shoot up to 230 mg/dL, and lost his libido. It took Spurlock 14-months to shed the extra weight after being placed on a strict vegan lifestyle.

The average healthy males consume on average 2,500 calories per day.

If Noori loses the bet and is still alive, he will have to foot the $1,000 food bill. If he wins, then he has to contribute $500 towards his feast.

My father-in-law?

He won a t-shirt.

May 06, 2017

Chinese fixing syndicate and a real new threat to football as UEFA send report to Athlone Town

Fears are growing that Chinese criminals have taken match-fixing to new levels by buying stakes in European clubs and then organizing corruption of these teams’ fixtures.

A stake in Athlone Town, a club under investigation over an allegedly fixed match in the League of Ireland last weekend, is believed to have been sold to a party ultimately funded by a Beijing-based fixing syndicate.

The same group, control by an individual whose name is known to this newspaper, is understood to have taken interests in lower-league clubs in Portugal, Latvia and Romania where fixing has also been suspected.

Athlone are under investigation by the Irish police, the Irish FA and European football’s governing body UEFA over their 3-1 defeat to Longford Town last weekend.

A confidential UEFA report sent to Athlone on Friday says: ‘There is clear and overwhelming betting evidence that the course or result of this match was unduly influenced with a view to gaining corrupt betting profits.’

Sources say gamblers with inside knowledge profited by around £500,000 from bets placed in the unregulated Asian markets on at least two goals being scored in the first half (Longford were winning 2-0 at half-time), and on four of more goals being scored in the game. Longford went 3-1 ahead in the 87th minute.

Sources say the stake in the Irish club bought by the Chinese firm was lower in value (around £425,000) than estimated betting profits from that one game alone. Athlone have received recent investment but officials have declined to say how much or where from. It is not known if the cash was paid directly from China or via intermediary organisations.

Athlone did not respond to calls or emails seeking comment from the MoS but a club statement said they were ‘absolutely shocked’ by fixing allegations.


Chinese firms have bought interests around 20 clubs across Europe in recent years, almost all of them with no hint of controversy, let alone scandal. But governing bodies will now be on red alert over deals, not least for relatively large sums in the lower leagues. ‘If an investment offer for a “lesser” team seems too good to be true, it probably is,’ says one investigator.

Two other Athlone matches this season caused alarm among market watchers, although it is not known if UEFA are aware of this. One was against UC Dublin on 8 April, which Athlone lost 4-1. Sources from both the ‘integrity’ side of the football industry and in the betting underworld say huge sums were won in that match by bets place on at least five goals being scored in the fixture. UC Dublin’s fourth goal - the fifth in the game - was scored in the 89th minute.

The Irish police will begin an official investigation on Monday.

Athlone have seen a spate of comings and goings among the playing and coaching staff since the mystery investment in the club.

Among the recent arrivals was Latvian goalkeeper Igor Labuts, who has played for at least two other teams where money is believed to have been injected by the Beijing firm - and have been investigated for fixing. He has admitted to being approached in the past by fixers and thwarted their advances, and says he has been shocked by fixing allegations against his clubs.

‘I know that I am clean but it’s unpleasant and my reputation has been damaged,’ he said.

A UEFA spokesman said: ‘UEFA is completely committed to eradicating match-fixing, a disease that attacks football’s very core.’

Sources say UEFA have investigated around 200 matches per season over the last three years in leagues across the 55 nations in their region over suspicious betting patterns and fixing concerns.

Over the past seven years, UEFA has been involved in the successful prosecution of 14 match-fixing cases across the Continent where the guilty parties were banned for between a year and life.

While the ratio of allegations to prosecutions is hugely disproportionate, it is notoriously difficult to prove fixing beyond any doubt. Typically a successful case will involve tracing a money trail on bets and then linking that unequivocally to corrupt players or officials.

April 27, 2017

Joey Barton banned for 18 months by FA and says it effectively ends his career

The tumultuous career of Joey Barton looks finally to have come to an end after the controversial footballer was banned from the game for 18 months on betting charges.

Barton, who is registered as a player with Burnley in the Premier League, accepted Football Association charges that accused him of having placed 1,260 bets on football matches between 2006 and 2013. This figure included at least five matches in which he was a player. Professional footballers are banned from making any bets on their own sport.

Despite having admitted to the offences Barton, 34, plans to appeal against the length of his suspension and claims that there was nothing “untoward or suspicious” about his behaviour.

In a lengthy statement posted on his website Barton said: “The decision effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football. To be clear from the outset here this is not match fixing and at no point in any of this is my integrity in question.

Analysis Joey Barton: a man whose football talent rarely took centre stage
Banned for 18 months for gambling, the 34-year-old’s playing career looks all but over – yet he was never a stranger to controversy and discord
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“Having consulted with my friends and lawyers, I have decided I will be appealing against the length of the ban. I hope that I shall be afforded a fair hearing by an independent appeal panel. If I am, we are confident that the sanction will be reduced to a fair one that both reflects the offences as well as the mitigating factors and the fact that there was nothing untoward or suspicious about the bets I made.”

Barton returned to the Premier League only in January after five years’ absence. His career has taken in spells at six clubs including Manchester City and Glasgow Rangers and he also earned a solitary cap for England during the reign of Steve McClaren. But the Merseyside-born midfielder will be remembered as much for his misdemeanours as for his performances. In December 2004 he was fined six weeks’ wages for stubbing a lit cigar in the eye of a young team-mate during Manchester City’s Christmas party. In May 2007 he was suspended by the same club after a training-ground altercation which later led to assault charges for which he received a four-month suspended jail sentence. Later that year he was arrested in Liverpool city centre after a late-night incident and was charged with common assault and affray, and in May 2008 was jailed for six months. In May 2012 Barton was banned for 12 matches for violent conduct when playing for Queens Park Rangers.

“Throughout my career I am someone who has made mistakes and owned up to those mistakes and tried to learn from them,” Barton said in his statement. “I intend to do that here. I accept that this is one more mess I got into because of my own behaviour. This episode has brought home to me that, just as I had to face up to the need to get help to deal with alcohol abuse, and with anger, so now I need to get help for my issues with gambling, and I will do so.

“As for the scale of my football betting, since 2004, on a Betfair account held in my own name, registered at my home address and verified by my own passport, with full transparency, I have placed over 15,000 bets across a whole range of sports. Just over 1,200 were placed on football and subject to the charges against me. The average bet was just over £150, many were for only a few pounds.

“Raised at the hearing was that between 2004 and 2011 I placed a handful of bets on my own team to lose matches. I accept of course that this is against the rules, for the obvious reason that a player with an additional financial stake in the game might seek to change the course of it for his own personal gain. However I’d like to offer some context.

“First, in every game I have played, I have given everything. I’m confident that anyone who has ever seen me play, or played with or against me, will confirm that to be the case. I am more aware than anyone that I have character issues that I struggle with, and my addictive personality is one of them, but I am a devoted and dedicated professional who has always given my all on the pitch.”

Barton’s ban comes at a time when football has never been more closely intertwined with the gambling industry. Eleven of the 20 current Premier League sides wear the logos of betting companies on their shirts, while the Football League itself is sponsored by a gambling company. The growth in online or ‘remote’ gambling has meant that not just every match but most of the elements within them can now be gambled upon. Recent estimates at the amount of gambling losses accrued in the UK put the total at around £300 per person per year.

Marc Etches, who is the chief executive of GambleAware, the industry-funded body dedicated to the reduction of gambling harm, said of Barton’s statement: “Admitting you have a gambling problem is an essential first step towards fixing it. We welcome Joey’s statement and hope his openness will be seen as an example others feel they can follow. You don’t need to be a professional footballer to find help for what is a recognised mental health condition.”

Thirty ‘most pertinent bets’

At the end of his lengthy statement, Barton listed the 30 “most pertinent bets as determined by the FA”, laid while he was playing for Manchester City, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers:

Manchester City v Fulham (28 April 2006) Laid George Samaras not to score first goal £5 (Bet won – £10)*

Manchester City v Fulham (28 April 2006) Backed Joey Barton to score first goal £3 (Bet lost)*

Manchester City v Fulham (28 April 2006) Backed Manchester City to win £600 (Bet lost)*

Newcastle v Tottenham (24 September 2008) Newcastle to win £25 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v Sunderland (1 February 2009) Newcastle to win £5 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v Sunderland (1 February 2009) Newcastle to win 2-1 £2 (Bet lost)

Hull v Newcastle (14 March 2009) Newcastle to win £5 (Bet lost)

Hull v Newcastle (14 March 2009) Newcastle to win (as part of a bet involving other matches) £5 (Bet lost)

Forest v Newcastle (17 October 2009) Newcastle to win £22 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v Derby (28 December 2009) Newcastle to win (as part of a bet involving other matches) £50 (Bet lost)

Stevenage v Newcastle (8 January 2011) Newcastle to win £497.50 (Bet lost)*

Stevenage v Newcastle (8 January 2011) Newcastle to lead at HT and FT £250 (Bet lost)*

QPR v Rochdale (23 August 2011) QPR to win £25 (Bet lost)

QPR v Leeds United (1 March 2014) QPR to win as part of multiple bet £25 (Bet lost)

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QPR v Leeds United (1 March 2014) QPR to win £250 (Bet lost) West Ham v Manchester City (15 April 2006) West Ham to win (Bet won – returns £53.60)

Newcastle v PSV (6 August 2008) Draw at HT and PSV lead at FT £30 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v PSV (6 August 2008) PSV to lead at HT and FT £5.65 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v PSV (6 August 2008) PSV to lead at HT and FT £24.35 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v PSV (6 August 2008) PSV to win £40 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v PSV (6 August 2008) PSV to win 1-0 £10 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v PSV (6 August 2008) PSV to win 2-0 £10 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v PSV (6 August 2008) PSV to win 3-0 £10 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v PSV (6 August 2008) PSV to win £81.67 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v PSV (6 August 2008) PSV to win £158.33 (Bet lost)

Manchester United v Newcastle (17 August 2008) Man Utd to win £300 (Bet lost)

Chelsea v Newcastle (22 November 2008) Chelsea to win £48 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v Chelsea (28 November 2010) Chelsea to win £500 (Bet lost)

Newcastle v Chelsea (28 November 2010) Chelsea to win (as part of multiple bet which includes singles and doubles) £350 (Bet lost on Newcastle but other part of bet paid as a win – returns £435)

Newcastle Reserves v Arsenal Reserves (9 March 2011) Arsenal to win £100 (Bet lost)

* Denotes matches in which Barton played.

April 25, 2017

Malta plans national betting exchange for operators to hedge

Malta’s gambling regulators are planning big changes to maintain the country’s role as a desirable hub for online gambling operators, including a national sports betting exchange to allow operators to hedge their bets.

Last Thursday, Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) chairman Joseph Cuschieri delivered a speech to attendees at a conference organized by Malta’s financial affairs parliamentary committee at which he revealed the MGA’s plans to leverage Malta’s remote gaming advantage.

Cuschieri started by underscoring the importance of Malta’s gaming industry to the overall economy. Gaming contributed €56.3m in direct taxes to the government’s 2016 budget, while gaming-related activity brought the total contribution to around €120m. Around 3k Maltese nationals currently earn their livelihood via the local gaming industry.

But Cuschieri warned that the MGA needed to be proactive “to avert the threats and reap opportunities at a global level.” The MGA has therefore developed a strategy to “future proof” the industry based around three main tenets.

The first of these tenets is a more focused approach to developing B2B activities, which tend to be less vulnerable to financial crime, regulatory and other external risks. The second tenet is enhanced efficiency of regulatory processes, including removing unneeded bureaucracy, while the third tenet involves ensuring the necessary flexibility to adapt to technological development and market demands.

On that last point, Cuschieri said the MGA was studying new game types such as eSports skins gambling, as well as virtual reality products. The MGA is also setting up “a national betting exchange so that we can create a structure where bets can be hedged.”

This exchange would reportedly not be restricted to MGA-licensed operators, but a variety of other matters such as commission rates remain very large question marks and there’s no timeline for implementation of this plan.

Cuschieri also said that the MGA is conducting “in-depth studies of the role which crypto-currencies can play within the Maltese regulatory regime.” The MGA hopes to unveil its plan to introduce “virtual currencies in a gaming context” later this year.

As recently as last August, Cuschieri was saying the MGA had received “very few requests” from online licensees regarding Bitcoin use but the MGA was nonetheless looking to develop a “national approach” to the use of crypto-currencies.

On that note, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced last week that his cabinet had approved the first draft of a national strategy to promote the blockchain technology that underpins Bitcoin. Muscat said the strategy was “not just about Bitcoin,” as he wanted to see blockchain technology employed in Malta’s lands and national health registries.

Muscat said he recognized that other European regulators may be wary of the new technology “but the fact is that it’s coming. We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation … We must be the ones that others copy.”

April 24, 2017

Bookmaker Bet365 admits mistake in wrangle over £54,000 account

The leading internet bookmaker Bet365, which has been refusing to allow one of its customers to withdraw a £54,000 balance for the last 12 months, admitted on Friday that it had acted in error when it warned the punter involved that it could levy a 5% “administration fee” on the account every 28 days until “the balance reaches zero”, under the firm’s policy on so-called “dormant” accounts.

The customer involved in the case was also informed by email that she could avoid a charge of about £2,700 on or around 14 May by logging into the account and withdrawing the balance – a course of action which Bet365 still refuses to allow.

The dispute between Bet365 and the customer dates back to April last year, when her account and the £54,000 balance were frozen by the bookmaker after a series of successful bets on horse racing. The customer was also informed that in future she would be restricted to a maximum bet of £1.

She then requested a transfer of her balance back to her debit card, without success. Several months later, following a series of requests for the transfer of the £54,000 balance, she lodged a complaint with the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS), which has been considering the case since November and is expected to deliver a ruling within a month.

Exactly a year after the account was frozen, it triggered Bet365’s procedures for dormant accounts, and the customer received an automatically generated email with the subject line “Your Account Balance”. This informed her that in accordance with the company’s terms and conditions, an “ongoing administration fee” of 5% would now be levied on the balance every 28 days. The email added: “To avoid this fee simply log back into your account and withdraw your full balance.”

When contacted for comment, Bet365 said in a statement issued by its legal department that the company “strongly refutes the customer’s allegations and considers them unfounded”, adding that it will abide by the decision of IBAS in the case when it issues its ruling.

Bet365 also sent an email to the customer involved on Friday, in which a member of the company’s customer services team confirmed that its email regarding possible charges on the account had been “submitted in error”. The email added that “while we are still awaiting for you to sign and return the letter which we have submitted to you, your account will not be subject to any form of administration fee”.

The “letter” referred to in the email is understood to be a request for the customer to agree to new terms and conditions on the account, which the customer is refusing to sign while her £54,000, including winnings from bets placed and accepted under earlier terms, remains frozen.

IBAS’s long-delayed ruling on the case will be awaited with considerable interest, not just by the parties directly concerned but also by the gambling industry as a whole. It is unusual for IBAS to agree to adjudicate in a case where there is no substantial dispute about the placing of the bets involved or the results of the races concerned. Should IBAS find in favour of the punter, it would be seen as a landmark decision by campaigners for increased protection for customers from potentially unfair terms and conditions imposed by gambling operators.

Bet365’s “error” in activating its dormant account procedures also highlights a practice that is commonplace across the industry. Individual companies are allowed to impose such rules as they see fit when accounts become dormant, and the administration fees charged on dormant accounts, and the amount of time that an account must be unused before it is declared dormant, vary widely from one bookmaker to another.

“The fee on this balance would have been about £2,700 for the first month,” Paul Fairhead, who campaigns on issues related to fairness for punters via the Twitter account @BoycottBetFred, said on Friday. “Bet365 have acknowledged an error in this case but it would be almost impossible to justify taking that kind of figure from someone’s account and there surely has to be a maximum fee.

“This is an error as the account is subject to an IBAS investigation, but in the case of someone who is deceased, for example, contact details for that customer may not extend to next of kin and the executors of wills and so on. Presumably a gambling firm then has licence to retain that money after a number of months.”

April 20, 2017

Australia mulls “siren to siren” sports betting TV ad ban

Australian betting operators are potentially facing a “siren to siren” ban on advertising during televised live sporting matches, according to local media reports.

On Wednesday, The Australian reported that Communications Minister Mitch Fifield would present a proposal to cabinet on Tuesday that would prohibit television networks from airing betting ads at any time during a live sports contest. Cabinet is expected to approve the proposal.

A similar prohibition was part of a group of gambling initiatives proposed by Independent Sen. Nick Xenophon but these were rejected by a Senate committee last month on the grounds that the federal government had things under control.

Australian free-to-air broadcasters will reportedly be offered reductions in license fees to help offset the expected loss of advertising revenue, but it’s unknown whether subscription TV services will be offered similar incentives to win their support.

Australia’s sporting codes may prove a harder sell. ABC reported that key execs from the Australian Football League and the National Rugby League met with Fifield last week to argue that further advertising restrictions would drastically reduce the value of their media rights deals with betting operators. Cricket Australia is reportedly also lobbying against further curbs.

Malcolm Speed, exec director of the Coalition of Major Professional Participation Sports, told The Australian that media rights were “the sports’ greatest asset.” Speed noted that broadcasters had previously agreed to ban the promotion of live odds during sports broadcasts and further restrictions “will inevitably result in lowering investment in community and participation programs, and grassroots development.”

An unidentified source at a major sports body pointed out that Fifield’s proposed ban “also has the potential to rob sports of product fees,” i.e. the commissions paid by Australian betting operators for taking wagers on individual sports. This source said Fifield’s plan “will result in no reduction in gambling, but a reduction in taxation to state and federal governments.”

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), a trade body representing many of the country’s betting operators, has supported a reduction in betting advertising on television, apparently believing that it’s better to support moderate curbs in the hope of avoiding more punitive measures. It’s unclear whether the RWA will support Fifield’s blanket live sports ban.

April 10, 2017

Now hiring: Paddy Power seeks Trump expert

Calling all gambling and American politics enthusiasts, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power may have the right job just for you. CNN reported that Paddy Power is looking for a head of Trump betting to handle the rise of wagers related to the U.S. President.

Now hiring: Paddy Power seeks Trump expertPaddy Power listed the job in its online Careers section in March but recently began placing ads in the classified sections of two popular British newspapers to drum up interest. According to the advertisement, successful applicant will work in Dublin, the capital city of Ireland.

“We want to make American politics great again. Because, let’s face it, there’s no chance Trump will,” the supposed Paddy Power advertisement read. “With more than 100 special bets online, the successful candidate will monitor and manage existing Trump markets while devising new specials to launch.”

The chosen applicant will “also need to build a wall around the hub to ensure foreign bets don’t get in.” The job is full time — three months for now, with a possible extension.

Lee Price, a spokesman for Paddy Power, pointed out that the interest in Trump-related bets is about 50 times what it was when Barack Obama moved into the White House.

But with players showing much interest on Trump, Lee said that they want the applicant to come up with creative bets.
Paddy Power launched several Trump specials, including betting on the fate of Obamacare under the President Trump, or whether Trump will paint the White House gold. There’s also a Trump special asking players to bet on whether American state will try to secede.

“The job is to be an expert in all things Trump,” Price said. “In the spirit of Donald Trump‘s presidency, we’re saying no experience required.”

When asked if there are any takers for the role, Price pointed out that they received hundreds of applications but not really serious about taking the job. Hopefully, Prince said that they’ll be able to start the job interview by the end of this week.

“If demand continues, so will the role,” Price said. “We’re sure Trump will keep us busy.”