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

–ěnline 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.