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BEN DALE: Social gaming has the ability to attract customers from far and wide
BOOKMAKER6: Ahead of Brazil 2014, Arland has upgraded its popular gaming platform
MUST DO BETTER: The major listed retail bookmakers have had a 2013 to forget
BETTING NEWS 22
ESSENTIAL GUIDE 32
£5.20 (€8.30) • ISSUE:113 • FEBRUARY 2014 • www.betting-business.co.uk
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There was an early frenzy over FOBTs in the House of Commons, but David Cameron appears to be waiting for evidence rather than rush into any changes.
Political threat to FOBTs ‘not heinous’ POLITICS
he online gaming revolution got off to a slow start according to the earliest figures from New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. From the moment that the online casinos opened their servers to US citizens on 21 November until the end of the year, $8.4m (£5.1m) was gambled with the new licensed sites. Although extrapolated across the year this would be well below the inflated target of $1bn in revenue that governor Chris Christie said he wanted from the industry, it is also way too low to meet the forecasts of $200m-$300m predicted by analysts. Tony Rodio, president of the Tropicana Casino and Resort, injected some common sense into the debate: “Everybody needs to take into consideration that this industry is in its infancy. There will be mobile applications, and a lot of the slot content isn’t operational yet. I’m encouraged by how many user accounts that people have signed up for and that there’s interest in it. You’ll see this grow quickly.” Taking an early and commanding lead was the Borgata, which has teamed up with Bwin.party to dominate 44 per cent of market share, no doubt boosted by using the already familiar Partypoker branding for one of its sites. Second was 888’s US partner Caesars Interactive with 28 per cent of the market and the Ultimate Gamingpowered Trump Taj Mahal with just over 10 per cent. Tropicana and partner Gamesys attracted 9 per cent of the market with the Betfair-assisted Trump Plaza (5 per cent) and the Bally IGP Golden Nugget site (2 per cent) making up the numbers, although the latter was a few weeks later to the market than its contemporaries.
T IS DAVID CAMERON NOW GUNNING FOR FOBTS?
K prime minister David Cameron has been forced on the back foot over the future of FOBTs (or B2 gaming machines to give them their regulatory name), although industry analysts are of different minds as to what extent the popular if controversial products are under threat. While some have predicted a major slash in maximum stakes to £20 from £100, which they claim would render 40 per cent of the Ladbrokes retail estate essentially pointless (see page 3), the latest think is that ‘a retail Doomsday scenario is unlikely’. A research note from James Hollins of Investec reassessed the threat of further gaming machine curbs and their effect
New Jersey eases into online gaming
on Ladbrokes and decided to move their advice from Sell to Hold. He commented: “Our conclusion, while caveated that we could be surprised on the downside (ie machine maximum stakes drop from £100 all the way down to <£10 or worse), was that the legislative threat was not heinous.” Yet Cameron’s comments during a grilling from David Milliband at PMQs sent both William Hill’s and Ladbrokes’ shares down by around 6 per cent. In truth, though, the prime minister didn’t not say anything that was a surprise to the betting industry. The fact that he actually agreed with Milliband at the start of the discussion actually took the sting out of the attack. Cameron said: “I absolutely
share concerns about this issue and I think it is welcome that we are having this debate in the House of Commons today. I think there are problems in the betting and gaming industry and we need to look at them.” The review in question is the research commissioned by the Responsible Gambling Trust into high prize gaming machines, which has already been rubbished by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling before it has even come out. In fact, the Campaign has had a storming start to 2014, gaining the support of a somewhat cynical Labour Party which no doubt believes it can drive a wedge between the coalition partners using this issue. While the betting industry is losing the media battle over the
FOBT debate, politically its decision to impose new ground breaking player protection measures from next month should stand it in good stead. It can justifiably say it is pioneering new methods of social responsibility. There has even been some movement on criticisms over so called clustering of betting shops, with William Hill CEO Ralph Topping recently telling the Racing Post that a ‘cumulative impact’ restriction could be given to local councils, a suggestion backed by Betfred owner Fred Done. Although given the fact that the two companies already own the biggest estates in the country, it is perhaps not surprising that the suggestion has met with some cynicism.
PARTYPOKER DEAL News 2
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LADBROKES IS ‘ON TRACK TO DELIVER AGAINST ITS KEY STRATEGIC PRIORITIES’
Analysts down on Ladbrokes despite it being ‘on track’ FINANCIALS
roubled bookmaker Ladbrokes has revealed that it expects group operating profit for the year ended 31 December 2013 to be around the middle of the current range of analysts’ forecasts of £129.8m to £151m. However, it appears that the firm’s pre-closing trading update has not had the effect that Ladbrokes’ board was hoping for with several analysts advising investors to sell their shares and the share price subsequently taking another hit. The bookmaker had good news in the fact that the upgrading of its gaming machines estate will be completed in time for the World Cup in June 2014 and that the new Ladbrokes mobile offer, on the Mobenga platform, was successfully launched in December 2013. It added: “The company also confirms that it remains on track to deliver against its key strategic priorities during H1, which will in particular drive digital performance through the second half of the year and beyond. “In line with previous guidance, Ladbrokes intends to hold the total dividend per share at its current level (8.90p per share in 2012) in 2013 and additionally, at least maintain it at this level in 2014.” This cut little ice with James Hollins at Investec, who wrote in a research note: “Ladbrokes’ statement highlights implied FY13 EBIT
exactly as per our current estimate (c£141m). This ‘in-line’ performance reflects a YoY group profit decline of c40 per cent. Despite the woeful share performance over 2013, we retain our SELL, reflecting our view that a complete digital platform change will not be finalised until Q4 2014, driving continued and material divisional underperformance despite the historic strength of its brand in the UK.” He added: “Ladbrokes notes that its H1 digital changes will drive stronger performance in H2. We remain highly sceptical on the timing of the digital platform change and we estimate that a complete offering of an integrated cross-product platform (frontend, back-end, marketing product suite across sports and gaming) will not be fully up and running prior to Q4 2014E, sadly well after the 2014 World Cup and its associated marketing and customer acquisition opportunities.” However, it was JPMorgan Cazenove’s advice that cut 4.9 per cent from Ladbrokes shares a week later with a prediction that the government would cut the maximum stake of gaming machines from £100 to £20, rendering ‘a fifth of shops lossmaking and a further fifth barely profitable’. Given Ladbrokes’ dependence on its retail estate because of its relatively poor online performance, such a move would devastate the bookmaker’s profit projections for 2015.
BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
ACTION IMAGES / JASON CAIRNDUFF LIVEPIC
EVEN MANCHESTER UNITED PLAYING AT HOME DIDN’T DISRUPT AN ACCUMULATOR ON ALL THE TOP TEAMS WINNING
Bookmakers face of football favou
It doesn’t happen too often, but when all the favourites win their bookmakers are left to lick their wounds. FOOTBALL
ne weekend last month proved to be an expensive one for British bookmakers as Match Day 21 of the Premier League produced no surprises at all. While there has been much made of the listed companies complaining about adverse sporting results during their presentations, this was an event which will have stung most firms. It has been suggested that UK bookmakers made a combined loss of more than £30m on the weekend, William Hill alone revealed that it lost £13m, with many equating it to the day Frankie Dettori won all seven races at Ascot. The extended weekend saw victories for Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham, Southampton and Manchester United with the only surpris-
ing results coming from West Ham’s visit to Cardiff City and Sunderland’s thumping of Fulham. There were no draws. William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping commented: “When all eight odds-on favourites in the English Premier League win in one round, you know it’s going to be a bad day in the office.” Elsewhere, Coral reported that one punter had won more than £40,000 on a £2 wager and that it paid out 50 winning bets between £2,000 and £50,000. Ladbrokes commented: “We estimate one million accumulators were landed on the top teams across the industry. It was a case of seven being the lucky number with the Premier League’s top seven teams all winning.” Topping was able to put a brave face on the £13m loss during his firm’s trading update last month. “Yes, it’s a
big loss, but there’s a big positive behind it,” he said. “Sportsbook is huge. Stakes were up 38 per cent in Q4 and are up another 48 per cent in the first two weeks of the year. I’m probably the only guy who was around 18 years ago. Like Dettori day, these are the kind of results that change customer behaviour. In 1996, we saw a big increase in accumulator betting on racing after Frankie won all seven at Ascot. This time, it’s about a lot of small winners - 50,000 customers in online who won at least £50. And Retail saw the same thing. That’s great because it’s the sort of win that gives customers confidence. That confidence lasts for years. Now they know accumulators can - and do - pay off.” Despite the positive spin, Topping still found himself justifying the size of the loss, using particularly colourful
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Cat C up to £100 While the UK government wrings its hands over B2 machines in betting shops, the category C machines that are found in adult gaming centres and pubs have seen their jackpots jump by over 40 per cent last month. As part of the regulations that were passed in November, when anti-FOBT campaigners tried to force the government to reduce B2 stakes to £2, the top prize for a category C machine has increased from £70 to £100, although the stake remains £1. Category B1 machines found in casinos also had their stakes and prizes increased from £2/£4,000 to £5/£20,000.
Bwin.party pulls out landmark deal with US sports teams While many facets of US sports are reluctant to get involved with the gambling industry, it seems some individual teams are not so shy. US
n a surprising deal, Bwin.party has managed to align its US facing partypoker brand with two big American sports teams. Partypoker is now named the Official Online Gaming partner of the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center. This multi-year deal in the online gaming category is the first of its kind for US-based sports organisations and apparently ‘signals a continued commitment by both franchises to create and foster partnerships with the world’s best brands’. As part of the partnership, co-branded assets will be built for fans of two of America’s historic sports franchises, and one of the nation’s most visited arenas. Through a new and exclusive promotion called the ‘Dream Seat Series’, fans located in New Jersey who play on nj.partypoker.com will be able to compete for a number of prizes, including regular, courtside and VIP suite seats to all Devils and Sixers home games, road trips with the teams and coveted tickets to concerts all year round. Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center, commented: “We are proud to welcome partypoker to our family as we embark on an exciting journey with an innovative, global leader in the digital marketplace. As an organisation, we will continue to align with brands that aspire to grow with us, in true partnership.” Bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger added: “We are excited to be working with the Devils and 76ers and to be able to offer their fans great digital content and unique game-day experiences. They are two of the most iconic names in American hockey and basketball with huge and loyal fan bases throughout New Jersey and the surrounding metropolitan areas. There is an affinity between playing in online poker tournaments and sports winning is about having intense focus, stamina and a great competitive spirit.” Included in the partnership is the integration of partypoker into the Devils and 76ers websites and social media channels, and mobile applications; tickets and hospitality; in-arena signage, including dasherboards, onice and on-court; and rights to broadcast television and radio advertisements during Devils and Sixers games. The Partypoker partnership was ACTION IMAGES / JASON CAIRNDUFF LIVEPIC
ace £30m cost vourites
s win their matches at the weekend,
similes: “You’re not talking about a business from five or six years ago where a loss on a weekend like that would have been about three or four million pounds in online. You’re talking about a scale business; 38 per cent growth in the last quarter, 48 per cent in the first two weeks of 2014. You’re talking about a mammoth sports betting business. We’ve lapped up market share like a greedy person sticking the bread in the dripping after the roast beef comes out of the oven. We have grown our business at the expense of others and because of a number of factors. That makes any loss you’re going to get that much bigger than it was five years ago. “Now when Dettori day happened, our losses of business, I think, was about £7m, but that was on a huge
volume racing business. Advance that forward 18 years and, when you look at our business mix in online, a £13m loss on an exceptionally bad day is what you would expect.” Group finance director Neil Cooper also warned that the business would not necessarily experience a huge bounce back from the gods of fortune. He explained: “Our view is that returns trend to the normalised expectation. Now the implication of that is whilst we’re hopeful that the increased consumer interest, awareness and so on will lead to better things, I think assuming that we’re going to have a run of abnormal good results looking forward would be equally as imprudent as assuming we’re going to have a run of terrible results looking forward.”
ANALYSIS A weekend of Premier League fixtures going without one of the bookmaker’s great safety nets - the draw - is unusual enough, but given the volatility of some of the results in the league this season it is particularly unfortunate that the top eight sides were all on song and not playing one another. The fact is the 20 previous Match Days will have all contained a coupon busting result meaning that the same bookmakers will have been making money. Given the complexities of hedging such improbable bets, it is just one of those that used to be chalked up as a good day for punting.
PARTYPOKER PERFORMED AN ‘ARENA TAKEOVER’ TO MARK THE NEW PARTNERSHIP
immediately visible with simultaneous ‘arena takeovers’ in the Prudential Center, when the Devils hosted the Florida Panthers, and the Wells Fargo Center, as the Sixers played the New York Knicks. In addition fans were given the opportunity to sign-up and sample partypoker at stations throughout the arenas and receive exclusive offers. The deal is particularly eye opening given the extreme reluctance by America’s sporting bodies to even discuss the possibility of sports betting, so for teams from the ice hockey and basketball leagues to be so ready to align themselves with the new online gaming regime is a positive indication that there might be movement in the future. O’Neil danced around the subject in the press conference announcing the deal with partypoker, pointing out that the NBA would have to make some law changes. “The leagues would have a tough time with it. That’s a moment in time. I’m fascinated and curious how this plays out over time, because we all know what’s coming. We just don’t know when how what or why. I wouldn’t want to speculate.” Meanwhile, Teufelberger was on hand to try and reassure the American audience that his firm was a responsible one. “We have learned over the many years, with Real Madrid and Manchester and Bayern, and especially here in this country where it’s such a controversial topic, that we’re not just selling toothpaste. We’re selling a product that can be viewed as very problematic. It has to be engaging, it has to be entertaining, but it shouldn’t be addictive.” BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
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News NICK BOLES
Analysis of data held by the UK’s Planning Inspectorate has found that between 2009 and 2013 there have been 67 planning appeal decisions on betting shops, with around half of the decisions going against bookmakers. Planning minister Nick Boles commented that this demonstrated that councils have powers to stop new LBOs: “Each planning application (and any appeal) should be considered on its individual merits, in light of the relevant material considerations and prevailing planning policy.”
Illegal bookmaking scandal sees Cantor hit with record fine
CANTOR GAMING CEO LEE AMAITIS HAS MANAGED TO AGREE A SETTLEMENT WITH THE NEVADA GAMING BOARD
consequences.” The 18-count complaint said the sports betting company or CEO Lee Amaitis knew, or at least should have known, Colbert was accepting illegal wagers and was acting as an agent to recruit sports betting punters. Four charges relating to an illegal betting ring exposes some revealing figures and alleged that Cantor took bets from agents (or ‘messenger bettors’ to use its terminology) for high roller Gadoon Kyrollos. According to the complaint, Paul Sexton placed 4,464 wagers for Kyrollos with Cantor between July 2011 an October 2012 for a total of $22m (£13.4m), while Robert Drexler placed approximately 1,612 wagers valued at $7.9m (£4.8m) and Thomas Ludford made 900 wagers for $4.4m (£2.7m). Sexton has already pleaded guilty to fourth-degree money laundering and has forfeited $600,000 (£365,000). These were placed at Cantor’s M Resort, where Colbert was based, and the regulator contended that Cantor should have known the men were acting as ‘messenger bettors’ for Kyrollos.
As part of the settlement, Cantor has admitted guilt to the other 14 allegations regarding violations of state gaming regulations involving record-keeping eight of 19 account wagering applications requested by the board were missing. The settlement added: “Respondents [Cantor] and the Board acknowledge that this settlement is made to avoid litigation and economize resources.” Cantor did not directly admit guilt to all the charges but acknowledged that regulators could have proved them all. The company said it has changed its internal practices in response to the sports betting scandal. With the cloud of a federal investigation over illegal wagering stemming from Colbert’s activities still hanging over Cantor’s head, the agreement has been painstakingly written by lawyers to make sure the company cannot be implicated further by paying the fine. The previous record fine was in 2003 when MGM Mirage was hit with a $5m punishment for failing to file some 15,000 transactions with the US tax office.
ANALYSIS While a record $5.5m fine might hit the headlines, Cantor Gaming will be happy to pay it if the agreement with the Nevada Gaming Board can draw a line under the disagreeable period and allow its billion dollar investment to continue to operate. The firm has experienced tremendous growth since beginning operations in Las Vegas in 2009. Its business has doubled over the last two years, and the company estimates it now has over 30 per cent of the Nevada sports wagering market and processes over 50 per cent of Nevada technology-based wagers. With the introduction of online gaming possibly heralding the start of discussions over online betting, now is not the time for a Vegas bookmaker to get on the wrong side of the regulator.
Potential suitors lining up for Health Lottery LOTTERY
ichard Desmond, the controversial media owner behind Channel 5 and Express Group Newspapers, has been heavily linked with a £100m sale of his Health Lottery gambling operation which he started two years ago. Desmond innovatively skipped around the UK monopoly given to the National Lottery by forming a network of 51 local society lotteries spreading the country providing real competition to the Lottery operator Camelot. According to Sky News, Desmond has received a series of approaches for the lottery business from Playtech, to Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan, to an ‘unnamed major UK retailer’. Desmond believes that the operation has extra value as it will also demonstrate an ability to run a national lottery business in the UK when the next National Lottery licence comes up for renewal in nine years’ time. Before now only Camelot has been able to demonstrate a track record for doing so, being the incumbent operator, and as such has been
BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
VINCENT TAN HAS BEEN LINKED AS A POTENTIAL BUYER OF THE HEALTH LOTTERY
he Betfred Group has completed a £200m refinance deal after what can only be described as a successful integration with the Tote business it bought in 2011. In the 30 months since it paid £265m for the state owned bookmaker, Betfred has now repaid its acquisition facilities, including an early repayment of the £115m deferred consideration from the government. The group said that while the performance of the gambling business, which made nearly £70m last year, was a main driver of the refinancing, it was also aided by a banking sector becoming more relaxed about lending. The new debt structure sees M&G Investments join existing Betfred partners Barclays, Santander UK and Yorkshire Bank. Betfred chairman Fred Done told the Manchester Evening News: “I am delighted to have secured this arrangement with Barclays, Santander UK, Yorkshire Bank and particularly pleased to have M&G Investments as a new partner.” Chief financial officer Barry Nightingale added: “The commitment and pricing offered by the syndicate highlights a refreshingly strong appetite for corporate loans from the region’s banks buoyed by new lenders to the market.” Betfred was advised by Dean Street Advisers and Deloitte with legal advice from Addleshaw Goddard and Blue Sky Law. The syndicate banks were advised by DLA Piper. At the end of 2013 Betfred revealed a 22 per cent increase in group gross profits to £362m on turnover of £8bn (up 19 per cent). In the first full set of results since buying the Tote, underlying pre-tax profits grew 30 per cent from £53m to £69m, while the group also reduced its debt by £43m to £213m. The online business Betfred.com also continued to show strong growth with EBITDA up 42 per cent to £6.6m.
One of Las Vegas’ biggest sportsbook operators Cantor Gaming has been given a humbling $5.5m fine by the Nevada Gaming Board. antor Gaming is to pay a record US$5.5m (£3.3m) fine to the Nevada Gaming Board after an investigation into illegal bets being taken by the company’s former director of risk management and vice president Michael Colbert. Colbert has already pleaded guilty in a New York Federal court last August to a charge of conspiracy in connection with his participation in a nationwide illegal bookmaking ring. 24 other people in Las Vegas and New York were also charged in the ring. This investigation has led to Colbert’s former employers Cantor Gaming, which coincidentally has just rebranded to CG Technology, facing an 18-count complaint from the Nevada Gaming Board. After much discussion, Cantor has accepted to pay the fine but without accepting liability on certain key points. Gaming Control Board chairman A.G. Burnett commented: “Public trust can only be maintained by strict regulation of gaming. Violations of the type alleged in the complaint must have significant disciplinary
Betfred secures £200m refinancing deal
able to renew its licence each time. The report said that Desmond has invested approximately £65m in the Health Lottery since acquiring it, and has raised £43m for health-related causes, partly thanks to ticket sales buoyed by heavy promotional activity in his other media outlets. The competition has also been given a boost by Camelot’s decision to double the price of a National Lottery ticket to £2, while the Health Lottery stuck to the £1 stake. It has also recently linked up with Gala Coral in a partnership which enables tickets for a £1m jackpot to be sold in the bookmaker’s LBO estate and at the turn of the year launched its own online bingo site powered by Bede Gaming. Health Bingo offers US-style 75-ball bingo and classic 90-ball European bingo games, as well as a range of online slot machines and side games. It joins a network already populated by Bingo Stars and Bingo Godz and is expected to be joined soon by Bet Victor Bingo.
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Zynga launches Facebook real money poker room 2014 will see Zynga Inc launch a Facebookintegrated real-money poker app, but its share price continues to fall despite release of new products.
Betfred looks at Windows for lottery customers MOBILE
ambling firm Betfred has launched a free lottery app for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, the first time a gambling app has been available in the Windows and Windows Phone stores. Players can bet on up to 12 international lotteries as they are drawn live daily, and can either use their saved favourites or choose the ‘lucky dip’ to randomly generate numbers. There is also the facility to view results and share the app across social network channels. The app has been carefully crafted specifically for Microsoft consumers by Manchester-based digital design and build agency Degree 53. Betfred.com worked in partnership with the digital design firm to develop an
ZYNGA FOUNDER MARK PINCUS
ocial Gaming operator Zynga Inc has announced the launch of its realmoney poker room Zynga Poker Plus on Facebook, although it has only been made available to UK poker players. The plans had been signposted a year ago when Zynga first launched its web and download versions of its Poker and Casino Plus brands back in April 2013. While the real money operations were strictly for UK players only, it was thought that they would form a testing bed for potential real-money operations elsewhere. Zynga entered the real-money gaming market through its partnership with gaming operator Bwin.party which sees Zynga Poker Plus share its player liquidity with the Party Poker network, which (according to PokerScout.com) currently has the sixth biggest poker player pool. Zynga’s poker Facebook app mirrors player promotions, poker tournaments and player rewards which are available to customers on the Party Poker Network. Currently, the app will share poker player pool liquidity with partypoker, bwin, WPT Poker and Gamebookers. The launch of the integrated
poker room app on Facebook will come as needed relief to Zynga management and its shareholders after a traumatic 2013 in which the social gaming operator saw its CEO and founder Mark Pincus step down
ZYNGA’S BIGGEST SUCCESS IN REAL MONEY GAMING HAS BEEN THE FARMVILLE SLOT
after declining performance and value of the company. Pincus was replaced by Microsoft’s ex head of digital entertainment Don Mattrick. Furthermore, Zynga undertook a new corporate strategy which saw the company cut more than 550 jobs from its San Francisco and Dublin offices in its plan to reduce operational costs. Zynga reported an operational loss of US$40m in 2013. The operator has currently ruled out plans to enter the US online gambling market, stating
that it plans to focus its real money gambling efforts on the mature UK market. Mattrick commented that Zynga’s product focus will still be geared primarily towards free-to-play social games. After emerging as the early leader in social gaming through its social games portfolio which was integrated through Facebook, Zynga’s free-to-play product is now facing stiff competition from rival games operators and studios such as King, with its Candy Crush Saga, Rovio with Angry Birds and even Disney Games. To compound matters, Zynga also recently announced that it was shutting down popular game YoVille in order to focus its efforts on new games, a decision that was met with criticism from many customers. The company’s market value saw a yearly high of $4.50 prior to the Christmas holiday season, however, many expect a decrease in share price due to reported lack of vision and product prospects for 2014. Zynga has remained tightlipped about its future product portfolio, as Don Mattrick looks to finalise his long term strategy for the troubled social games operator.
ANALYSIS Social gaming industry analysts and commentators have stated that Zynga’s woes stem from the company’s late integration of its games portfolio on to mobile and tablet devices. The slow progress on product release on mobile verticals had witnessed rival social games studios gain ground on Zynga. Commentators also point to further issues such as the operator’s reliance on Facebook as its driving portal for acquisition of new customers. Zynga continues to pay a large percentage of player revenues to Facebook. New releases of social games have not had the popularity of previous games such as Farmville. Whether translating a real money game onto Facebook will provide the company with a much needed boost remains to be seen.
app that is easy to use on the go, with a comprehensive results section, in just two months. The lottery app marks the beginning in Fred Done’s plans to launch further mobile betting apps. Back in December, the owner of the British bookmaker announced his plans to focus on mobile betting, having invested £100,000 into the web design and app business. Betfred.com managing director Chris Sheffield said: “It is a monumental time for Betfred.com and a real coup to team up with one of the world’s most recognised technology brands. We expect to see a big growth in Windows 8 use as more consumers upgrade their PCs and mobile devices and wanted our customers to be able to access and play our popular lotto games on a choice of platforms.” Andy Daniels, managing director of Degree 53, added: “Nowadays customers expect their online experiences to be tailored to their devices. We worked in conjunction with Betfred.com to create a compelling lotto app that hopefully exceeds expectations.”
BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
0113 388 4300 www.callcredit.co.uk/gaming directsales@callcreditgroup
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MET Police at ICE 2014
The Metropolitan Police will be attending ICE 2014 to share insight, knowledge and awareness on organised crime networks who may target igaming operators. Detective Constable Mat Wake of the Met’s Gaming Unit, who will be leading activities at ICE, believes the opportunity to meet with regulators, operators, suppliers and customers from across the globe represents a valuable contribution in the battle against fraud.
Battle lines drawn in US gambling’s billionaire playing field
SHELDON ADLESON’S LAS VEGAS SANDS HAS LAND-BASED CASINO INTERESTS
holder Kirk Kerkorian. Private Equity magnets Leon Black and Marc Rowan have reportedly invested $450m plus in Caesars Entertainments online gaming channels. With such super star support, online gambling should be fully integrated, legislated and promoted in the USA. Nevertheless, it has come up against a mighty road block in the form of Sheldon Adelson, who this January appeared to be campaigning against US online gambling militantly. Adelson told news source Forbes that he was ‘willing to spend whatever it takes’ and set up the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling in 2012. He loaded the campaigning group with a star cast of political movers, such as ex-New York governor George Pataki, former Arkansas senator Blanche Lincoln and former Denver mayor Wellington Webb. The actions convey that Adelson is prepared to battle all comers in the very American game of political lobbying, a practice the billionaire is accustomed to as a contributor/donor to the Republican Party. In 2012 US news sources reported that he had contributed a mammoth $100m to oust President Obama at the last election.
The reaction to Adelson’s positioning has not been complimentary. Mocked and derided by gambling publications, industry commentators and senior figures in igaming, his political and business stance labelled selfabsorbed, hypocritical, out of touch and driven by his own financial gains and interests. Mitch Garber, CEO of Caesars Acquisition Co, commented on Adelson: “What I have heard Adelson say is, ‘I am very rich, and I don’t like internet gaming,’ and those things are true. Sheldon’s eyes are closed to the fact that all goods and services are ultimately going to be purchased on the internet.” Adelson and the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling have stated that online gambling will harm families, increase problem gambling, the group also claims that the US treasury will not gain significant tax revenues from online gambling. Adelson’s campaign group has further highlighted the shadowy past of some igaming operators, stating that these businesses at no point ever intended to pay taxes or create American jobs, as Adelson firmly stated: “We do not want it in our kitchen”.
ANALYSIS Business and financial analysts indicate that the Adelson quest is likely to fail, and that online gambling will see the light of day with regulation passed on a state by state basis, US states will likely see a multi-billion dollar industry evolve. Nevertheless, Sheldon Adelson could be a formidable and frustrating opponent in the legislation of online gambling - he is now the 11th richest American and worth $37 bn. Whether Adelson is successful in his goal to prevent US online gambling remains to be seen, however, his financial weight combined with his pedigree in political manoeuvring make him a juggernaut to the igaming industry. In the high stakes head to head game for online gambling in the US, Adelson has a big stack and many tricks up his sleeve.
ASA says Prime position not optimum MARKETING
etro Play, the online casino run by the free morning newspaper, has been pulled up by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for running an ad that may be of interest to children. Metro Play had used a press ad promoting its Transformers: Battle for Cybertron slot game using one of the main characters Optimus Prime. But the ASA received two complaints that the use of a character from a popular toy brand was irresponsible for a gambling product and likely to appeal to under 18-year-olds In its defence Metro Play said that it looked to include all new releases in its marketing campaigns, especially big name brands. It adedd that there might be
concern about using a popular toy brand to promote online gambling, but pointed out that the character was highly relevant to the online slot and that the small print on the ad stated that the offer was only available to over 18-year-olds. Regardless of this, the operator has taken the decision not to publish any Transformers, Battle for Cybertron advertising in the future and said it would ensure that future marketing communications avoided using characters that might appeal to under18s. In its judgement, the ASA said: “The ASA acknowledged that the small print on the ad stated that the offer was only available to over-
BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
ocial gambling newcomer TradeFight has launched its 2015 World Championship. Qualification rounds are now underway and will be held throughout 2014 for players to win their place at the live TradeFight World Championship Final, the winner of which will not only hold the title of ‘1st TradeFight World Champion’, but will also win 10,000 euro. Due to be held in London in February 2015, the TradeFight World Championship Final will take the format of a straight knockout competition where each head-tohead contest will be drawn at random and streamed live on YouTube as the drama unfolds. The 12 contenders will experience the VIP treatment as they are invited to London and treated to a three-night stay in a luxury hotel with flights covered courtesy of TradeFight. Following its official launch on 1st December 2013, TradeFight is the first organisation to bring gambling and financial trading together in an innovative way by allowing players to challenge each other and bet on live financial feeds which power the TradeFight games. By removing the random number generator used by the majority of the online gaming industry today, TradeFight provides 100 per cent security and removes all risk of manipulation in its games by using live financial market data. To become a finalist players will have 12 chances to qualify, with the TradeFighter who tops the Championship leaderboard each month gaining entry to the live final. The rankings are based on a weekly win/lose ratio and will provide the player with a 70 per cent payout every time they win. To be eligible, players are required to play 20 fights in the one month qualification period, each with a 10 euro minimum bet. The second qualification round is due to commence on 1 February. TradeFight COO Afshin Ertanin said: “We are very excited to launch this first of a kind battle and believe that streaming the event live to our users will be very engaging. We really want our players to get involved more than they ever have before, and look forward to greeting them at the live finals in London and congratulating the winner.”
Multi-billionaire and man on a mission Sheldon Adelson is willing to spend whatever it takes to stop online gambling in the USA. hile US online gambling regulation and legislation awaits a slow state-by-state integration, the battle lines have been drawn in the corridors of power as Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands and anti-online gambling campaigner, prepares to take on billionaire investors seeking to bring online gaming to the whole country. In November 2013 hedge fund and finance heavyweights George Soros, John Paulson and Leon Cooperman took the majority shareholdings in Caesars Acquisition Co, the digital gaming arm of Caesars Entertainment, which will allow distribution of Caesars-branded online games and digital assets. The stake of their investment has not been disclosed, nevertheless the action taken by the group states a significant bet on the unprecedented future of the $60bn valued casino and gaming business in the USA. The four investors join a roster of billionaires aiming to break into the potentially lucrative US online gaming market - including brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, who control the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), MGM Resorts majority share-
World champion heats up for social firm
18s. We also noted that Metro Play were willing to stop advertising for Transformers, Battle for Cybertron, and ensure that future marketing communications did not use characters that might appeal to under-18s. However, the Code stated that marketing communications for gambling products should not be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. “We noted the ad appeared in an untargeted medium, a regional press newspaper, which was available to both under-18s and adults. We considered that the depiction of the toy brand character was likely
METRO PLAY WAS PROMOTING ITS TRANSFORMERS: BATTLE FOR CYBERTRON
to have particular appeal to children and young people. Because of that, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.” The judgement is consistent with the ASA’s recent
stance on cartoon characters being used to promote slots that they feature in and has recently banned other gambling ads featuring Spider-Man and other Transformers characters.
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Bingo for investment
Bingo.com has closed an additional private placement of 500,000 common shares at $0.40 per share to raise net proceeds of $200,000. The shares have been placed with a non-US private company. CEO Jason Williams commented: “The funds raised in this private placement will be used to finance the on-going development and marketing of Trophy Bingo.”
Probability latest operator to look west
CHARLES COHEN: ‘A BUSINESS BUILT UPON SOLID FOUNDATIONS’
Probability PLC witnessed a decrease in net gaming revenues, as it targets future growth through partnerships and entry to new markets. MOBILE
obile gaming operator and supplier Probability PLC has suffered a 13 per cent year-on-year drop in net gaming revenue for the 13 weeks through to 31 December, according to the listed firm’s recent trading announcement. The operator posted net gaming revenue of £2m for the third quarter of 2013, down from £2.3m in the corresponding period the previous year. Despite the decrease in yearly net revenue performance, the mobile gaming operator announced that it had delivered a growth of 5.1 per cent quarter-onquarter growth in gaming revenues. The report further communicated that Probability had maintained stable gaming win margins at 4.8 per cent combined with higher wagering volume from its player base that had
seen an increase of 6 per cent compared to the previous quarter. The company have focused on unique player mobile promotions and retention to improve product user engagement and player acquisition. During the period the mobile gaming operator launched player promotions - Daily Bonus Bonanza. Furthermore, the mobile gaming operator announced that Q3 2013 had seen the renewal of partnerships with operators - Paddy Power and William Hill. Previous trading reports had stated that the company would look to reduce new customer acquisition. Probability undertook new focuses on customer acquisition with the view to cut down costs and refine its marketing through better targeting and optimising of channels. These focuses
paid off with the company reporting a 37 per cent reduction on its player acquisition costs. During the trading period Probability saw strong quarter growth in its Italian operations, reporting a rise of 36 per cent. The business was boosted by new product launches with partners including GTech (Lottomatica). Commenting on the performance update Probability CEO Charles Cohen said: “This was the second quarter of growth in a row, as we continue to focus upon delivering a business built upon solid foundations of cost efficient marketing and higher per-player revenues. All the underlying metrics, such as conversion rates, deposits per active player, and wagering levels point to this being a sustainable trend that we can build upon.” Cohen added that the
company targeted further growth through new strategic partnerships which will be undertaken in the coming months. Probability will also be adding new products to its portfolio with the upcoming launch of its mobile sports betting product for new markets. He also stated that the company is further investigating a potential major partnership for the regulated US market with the company looking to extend its brand and product coverage beyond the UK mobile gaming market. The potential partner had not been disclosed.
ANALYSIS A recent survey by the company found that 26.9 per cent of participants play and bet on mobile more than three times a week, the inference being that when players do come, a lot of them are high value. Probability chief commercial officer Michael Byrne commented: “With that level of ubiquity amongst consumers, it’s no surprise that real money gaming is attracting increased attention as a low risk opportunity for non-gaming businesses to increase revenues, engage and entertain customers. Doing this on mobile through Smartphones and Tablets is now the preferred entry point for the majority of players in the UK.”
Strong end to the year for NetPlay TV BODOG’S NEW ‘PARLAY’ OPTION ON THE BACCARAT TABLES
Bodog in the Zone on Blackjack TABLE GAMES
odog Asia has released Zone Baccarat, a high speed version of Asia’s most popular casino game, and now Bodog.eu is releasing a new version of Blackjack courtesy of Customized Games Limited (CGL). Designed by Blackjack Switch inventor Geoff Hall, Zappit Blackjack is entirely new and exclusive to the Bodog Casino. The game follows the main rules of Blackjack but, if your initial two cards total hard 15, 16 or 17, then you can ‘Zap’ that hand
and have it replaced with two new cards. Again in order to allow for this great feature the only change is that if the dealer hits 22 remaining bets are returned as a ‘push’. The Bodog Live Dealer Casino has also introduced a unique ‘parlay’ option to the Baccarat tables to bring a progressive element to the traditional game. Casino games like Baccarat and Blackjack are, in essence, a series of single bets which, therefore, ignores those legions of people who like an accumulator-style play.
10 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
Bodog’s Parlay Baccarat brings the excitement of the ‘low stake, high yield’ to the tables. Parlay Baccarat is a single bet that links together 2-8 consecutive game rounds within the current card shoe where players are allowed to predict from ‘Player’, ‘Banker’ or ‘Tie’ for each round. Winnings from previous round will be carried over to succeeding rounds until the Parlay bet wins or loses. If all selections in the Parlay bet win, the player will be paid with the combined payout of the selections.
V gaming specialist NetPlayTV has revealed a strong end to 2013 in its Q4 update to market. The firm saw a 33 per cent increase in total net revenue to £7.9m and 22 per cent increase on Q3 2013. There was a 12 per cent jump in new depositing players to 15,648 and a 1 per cent increase on Q3 2013. The growth was even more pronounced for active depositing players which soared upwards compared to 2012 by 27 per cent to 32,163, representing an 11 per cent increase on the previous quarter. During the period the company acquired the Vernons brand from Sportech plc for £3m cash. The firm said that the integration of the brand into the existing NetPlay infrastructure is almost complete and brings with it additional products in sportsbook and bingo which will be marketed through established channels
from the start of 2014. Mobile and tablet performed very well in the quarter with net revenue increasing by 121 per cent year on year and accounting for 30 per cent of total net revenue. The company added: “As part of the stated strategy, marketing continues to be a key driver for growth in the business. The company is pleased to announce that following the prior season’s success, its brand SuperCasino is once again the headline sponsor for Celebrity Big Brother currently being aired on Channel 5, and in addition Vernons Bingo is the headline sponsor for Loose Women on STV throughout the whole of 2014. “The directors are pleased with this continued strong performance and are confident that the Company will meet full year market expectations with full year EBITDA at the top end of expectations.”
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Pass it on
A survey conducted by mobile gambling services provider Probability has revealed 87 per cent of players would recommend mobile gambling games to family, friends and colleagues. Chief commercial officer Michael Byrne commented: “Real money gambling on mobile is now a mainstream and social activity in the UK where 70 per cent of adults are already known to participate in gaming and betting activities regularly.”
onas Odman, the former Bodog Poker Network president, believes that other US states will legalise online gaming this year, but there will be one in particular which will outshine all the others. Odman, who has set up his own poker software firm called Brown Marlin, predicts that the Sunshine State will finally regulate online poker, providing a massive opportunity for some firms. “There is a very good chance that the regulations will pass this year,” he said. “I don’t think they will manage to launch the poker product to users this year, but hopefully the laws will be in place
CAMELOT IN NEW YORK
California expected to legalise online poker in 2014 Former Bodog Poker Network president Jonas Odman has returned to the poker sector and has his sights very much set on a legal poker market in California.
JONAS ODMAN: ‘AMERICA IS THE HOME OF POKER’
for it to start for real in 2015.” Despite the opposition to online gaming from several factions, most notably the land-based casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Odman believes that the traditional casino has nothing to fear from online gaming and that it actually fuels interest in the bricks and mortar product. “Many states are looking at regulating online gaming because they are in need for more tax revenue. That’s the driver from their point of view. But for the operators it’s an opportunity to grow the market for them, both online and offline. In Las Vegas all the card rooms have been closing down. There are far fewer compared to what it was a few years ago and that’s because there is less poker being played online and there is less poker on TV. The interest has dipped. It’s not as if online took anything away from poker - it actually fed the interest.” Brown Marlin already has representation in California and Odman believes that it is the key state for the transformation of online poker in the US: “In terms of population and the size of the economy, California is the biggest state in the US and it’s one of the biggest economies in the world. It came quite close to regulating last year and it looks promising for this year. “The governor there has no problems signing a bill into law. The key is getting the agreement of all the stakeholders, such as the native tribes, the card rooms, the racetracks. The stakeholders will lobby against it because they think it’s a threat to their current revenue stream and the compromise will be that they will get the exclusive rights to apply for licences. That seems to be how it
12 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
works in the US.” Odman is particularly keen on the Californian market because it is big enough to sustain poker alone, unlike some other states where the game is already legal. “They are already talking about sharing liquidity across state borders. I know Nevada wants that. Nevada is clearly too small in my opinion. They say that visitors can play, but if you are in Vegas then surely you would want to experience the casino, not stay in your room playing online poker. “I have a hard time seeing sharing liquidity in the big states like California. I don’t see what’s in it for them. But it is possible that a few smaller states will have a shared liquidity pool - I think it would be good.” Odman is planning on bringing the philosophy he pioneered with Bodog to the US with Brown Marlin: “Our product is based on the recreational poker model and the anonymous tables. California is going to be a very competitive market and the cost per acquisition will be quite high. What the recreational model does is basically increase the lifetime value of a player on average.” Along with that different approach, Brown Marlin is also offering a more handsoff partnership than most US firms have signed up for in other states: “What I’m offering is online poker software. I’m not doing it like the European operations. “If you look at Partypoker or the big European brands then they will run the operation, but that’s not what we’re doing. In that way we are a little different. My customer would have to set up marketing and CRM teams of their own. But of course I will have a very close relationship with
them and be on hand for assistance.” The only potential fly in the ointment is the prospect of being black-flagged by the authorities because of his association with Bodog. “Whether we need a licence will depend on the regulatory framework,” he said. “I assume that we will need some kind of software provider licence, but I won’t apply for one without a letter of intent from a customer. “I hope I will not be considered a bad actor with my background at Bodog. I used to work for Ongame before that. But looking at how the companies like Bwin.party are back I am quite optimistic. It’s not as if I was the CEO or owner of Bodog.” The Brown Marlin software is built by a Korean software company that Odman has been working with for a few years and is the same base software that Bodog Asia is using for its poker offer and Odman has the resell rights for the US market. He is clearly enthused at the prospect: “I’ve worked with online poker for 10 years. It was very exciting in Europe during the poker boom and it’s been exciting in Asia too, but poker is on the decline in Europe and has been for a few years now. “During the boom everyone suddenly started to play. You go into a bookstore and you’d find a poker section - I mean who would have thought that in the 90s? But we don’t really have that poker tradition and the customers have moved on. Of course, the game in Europe will still exist on a high level, but not as high as before. However, America is the home of poker and you don’t need a poker boom for it to be a big deal.”
ANALYSIS Jonas Odman is clearly comfortable putting almost all his chips into California with his new project, but Brown Marlin is still keeping an eye on other opportunities in the US as each state starts to explore the possibility of allowing citizens to gamble over the internet. He commented: “In the US, mainline poker was huge before UIGEA but I’m sure the regulated online poker market has the potential to be even bigger. There are still people believing in a federal bill. I don’t think it will, but it could happen. And then we truly would see a poker market with endless possibilities.”
The Financial Times has reported that UK National Lottery operator Camelot has been drafted in by the New York State Gaming Commission to draw up a five-year plan to revive the state’s New York Lottery competition. Camelot is to carry out market research on potential new lottery games to help address the Commission’s concerns about losing gambling revenue market share to casinos and other gambling products. Camelot already has experience with lottery operations in the US market as it has consulted for California and Massachusetts in the past and worked with Canada’s interprovincial lottery operation. POKER AWARD NIGHT
The 2013 British Poker Awards is set to take place on the 3 March at the Hippodrome Casino in London. Votes for the PokerStars.comsponsored awards have been tallied, so all that remains is for the results to be revealed and the awards presented at a glamorous party at London’s famous West End casino. There are a number of multiple nominees this year, including World Series of Poker Player of the Year runner-up Matt Ashton. Matt has been nominated in three categories, including Performance of the Year. Other categories include Best Online Cash Player, Best International Player, and the Lifetime Achievement Award. COLARADO GOES GTECH
GTech Corporation, a subsidiary of global lottery and gaming company GTech, has signed a lottery gaming system and services contract with the Colorado Lottery to provide a full range of lottery products and ongoing services. The contract, which follows a competitive procurement, will begin in November and run through to 2021. There are also a maximum of two, two-year extensions that may be exercised in whole or in part at the discretion of the Colorado Lottery. GTech has estimated that it will receive approximately $70m in revenues over the base term.
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Betting Third player charged in match fixing investigation While Conference South players are being arrested for match fixing, Scottish football is issuing bans for players who even bet on the sport. INTEGRITY
third footballer has been charged in the National Crime Agency’s ongoing investigation into matchfixing. Moses Swaibu, 24, a former Conference South footballer from the Croydon area was charged with conspiracy to defraud. Swaibu is the fifth person to be charged in connection with the investigation into an alleged international illegal betting syndicate, which is being carried out by the NCA with assistance from the Gambling Commission and Football Association. Two of Swaibu’s team mates from Whitehawk FC, Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, were charged with conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law in early December. The Crown Prosecution Service’s Organised Crime Division said at the time that it had found sufficient evidence and was satisfied it was in the public interest to authorise charges. The two non-footballers charged in this case are Chann Sankaran and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan. And the football authorities across the border in Scotland are not finding life any easier. The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has banned Ayr United striker Michael Moffat for six matches for breaching football betting rules. The 29-year-old striker had been found guilty of placing seven bets on six matches involving his own team and of also placing an additional 150 bets on other games. The SFA was keen to point out that there had been no suspicion of match fixing though. Its disciplinary tribunal said: “Please note that there is no evidence to suggest any breach of Disciplinary Rule 34, which states: ‘No club, official, Team Official, other member of Team Staff, player, match official or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall knowingly behave in a manner, during or in connection with a match in which the party has participated or has any influence, either direct or indirect, which could give rise to an event in which they or any third party benefits financially through betting’.” The rule breaches regarding bets on the League One club took place between 3 August 2012 and 10 August 2013, with the others taking place between 19 February 2012 and 1 Sep-
Sporting Data defends ‘courtsiding’ practice DATA
MICHAEL MOFFAT (BOTTOM): BANNED FOR SIX GAMES FOR BETTING ON FOOTBALL
tember 2013. Despite being ‘totally committed’ to eradicating gambling from football, Ayr United has decided to appeal the punishment. In a statement on its website, the Scottish League One team said: “After taking the opportunity to ‘sleep on it’, the club has decided to appeal the decision and sanctions handed down to Michael Moffat at yesterday’s tribunal. The club does not take gambling lightly and are committed to working with the SFA to help eradicate gambling from the game. However, we feel that the decision yesterday was grossly unfair based on the circumstances and that there are inconsistencies in the decision making process that led to the panel’s decision. “We will be appealing under rule 14.8.4 that states “the sanction(s) imposed by the tribunal was excessive or inappropriate”. We feel that we have a legitimate case here and look forward to the chance to reverse the decision and have it replaced by a much more appropriate sanction.” Ayr’s case stems from the punishment handed down to Glasgow Rangers midfielder Ian Black at the start of the season, who was fined £7,500 and banned for 10 matches - of which seven were suspended. Black had after admitting to gambling on 160 matches over a seven-year period, including betting against his own team on three occasions.
ACTION IMAGES / GRAHAM STUART LIVEPIC
ANALYSIS Ayr United’s response to Michael Moffat’s punishment for breaking betting rules seems at odds with its pledge to ‘help eradicate gambling from the game’. While the club can be understandably annoyed at the discrepancies in bans that the SFA has dished out for betting offences, and is fully justified in lodging an appeal, Moffat doesn’t appear to have received any internal sanction. Indeed, the club has also encouraged fans to come out in support of the player, despite him admitting to breaking the rules on gambling. It appears that it might not just be the SFA that’s struggling with consistency when it comes to dealing with the issue of betting in the sport.
porting Data, a niche UK organisation that uses up to the second sporting data to bet, has come out fighting after one of its employees was arrested using new anti-corruption laws at the Australian Open in Melbourne Daniel Dobson was arrested and charged on the grounds that he ‘did engage in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt the betting outcome of an event’, although all he was doing was transmitting scores back to Sporting Data’s Surrey HQ. Using a hidden transmitter in his shorts, Dobson was sending back information to the UK quicker than the TV streams, providing Sporting Data with a marginal edge in the betting markets. The company has understandably been irritated at the event and the ensuing media coverage linking the firm to corruption. In a statement it said: “We use mathematical models to assess the probability of a match outcome. Bets will be placed when the odds generated by the model are significantly out of line with the market. A lot of syndicates use a similar methodology. Clearly, we need the most up to date information to generate accurate match probabilities. We cannot rely on TV pictures as they are out of date. “We have no interest in corrupting the outcome of a match. We want both players in any given match to perform as well as they possibly can. Our models fail to work if the result is any way compromised and we would take all steps to avoid betting on any match we suspect to be corrupted.” Dobson could face up to 10 years in jail for ‘courtsiding’, but Sporting Data pointed out that he was only doing what other organisations do via licence: “Our employee on court was doing exactly what umpires do. They send information from the court back to other organisations that use it to profit from betting. In this case, the organisations are bookmakers and it is done through the tennis authorities’ agreement with Enetpulse. However, the principle is identical.”
14 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
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Coral Racing has appointed Cogent Elliott to handle its 2014 World Cup below-the-line requirements, following a pitch process. Cogent Elliott CEO Mike Phillipson said: “We are really excited about working with the Coral team - right from the start, we felt we were on the same page.”
Mobile-friendly sites need to be rule-friendly too John Samuels of IBAS talks about how the mobile revolution is bringing its own problems on the displaying of rules. MOBILE
The popularity of mobile betting on casino games, sports and racing events continues apace. Not surprising when one sees the constant call to customers, via railway carriage, TV, newspaper and football stadia hoarding advertising, extolling all to ‘Download the App now’. Reports suggest that there will be an increase of some 100 million persons who will use their remote devices to place a bet by the year 2018, driven mainly by an uptake in the American market. This ever expanding popularity is witnessed by the fact that 2012 saw a 57 per cent increase over 2011 in mobile bet disputes brought to IBAS. In 2013 they continued at record levels. When assessing a dispute at IBAS, we try to record all relevant aspects of the
dispute. Not many years ago, the distinction between retail and online would have sufficed. Today a ‘remote betting’ dispute may cover all manner of mediums – computer, text, interactive TV, smartphone and tablet and in particular the use of dedicated betting apps on the latter two. However, no matter how sophisticated the mobile internet device is, the betting and gaming experience of the customer will only be as good as the site or app that the customer logs onto. This site quality can be measured in many ways and not just only by download speed, ease of navigation, betting content and quickness of bet placement. Obviously, for people on the move, with wi-fi etc. signals and power sources being what they are, there remain issues of connectivity, sometimes resulting in
screens freezing etc. These issues often leave customers unsure as to whether the bet that they were attempting to place has indeed been accepted by the operator. But I would suggest that a main part of the reason for the upsurge in mobile bet disputes, brought to IBAS, is the subject of how clear and available, from the customer’s perspective, the trading rules and terms and conditions are for the bets
selected and placed. Clearly this clarity of rules can be a problem given the potential smallness of the screen of the device used. It is pleasantly surprising to see how some remote operators overcome this problem of rules awareness by providing clear links to their terms and conditions page(s) and/or bold text reminders that customers should go to the terms and conditions page before considering placing the bet.
UNIBET HAS REVAMPED ITS HORSERACING PRODUCT
Unibet revamps UK horse offering
In some cases, a review of the app’s post-launch publicity confirms that these operators have not just simply shoe-horned their existing web sites into a mobile phone friendly site, but have specifically designed a web page app for the mobile phone market. It is a pity that not all remote operators with mobile-friendly sites have considered content that contains links to bet conditions and rules etc. on their
William Hill ready for POC FINANCIAL
ookmaker William Hill is in strong shape ahead of the introduction of the Point of Consumption regulation later this year. Q4 saw strong underlying net revenue growth from sports betting with above average gross win margins in Retail over-the-counter (OTC) and strong wagering growth from Online Sportsbook. Online gaming net revenue growth rates improved through the period benefitting from improvements to mobile gaming and the Retail estate saw the ongoing roll-out of the Eclipse gaming machine. William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping commented: “Q4 proved a strong end to the year as we enjoyed continued momentum in Sportsbook with 38 per cent more wagered in Q4 on a 13 week basis than last year. This demonstrates our competitive strength in Online ahead of the expected introduction of the Point of Consumption tax in December 2014.
B ACTION IMAGES / JULIAN HERBERT LIVEPIC
nibet, which launched its UK operation only last May, officially unveiled an improved integrated racing product earlier this month to coincide with the Cheltenham trials day on Saturday 25 January. Despite marketing its racing product to existing customers since its launch in May 2013, Unibet had decided against an external marketing campaign, until now. Ed Nicholson, Head of UK Product and Marketing for Unibet, explained: “When implementing our £3m UK Armchair Expert
multi-media marketing campaign last summer, we felt it important that new customers could place bets on UK and Irish horse racing. “That general brand awareness and consideration campaign is ongoing, but we have now added a substantial integrated horse racing marketing strategy for 2014 - one that started at the end of January with several racing and betting site takeovers, and that is set to continue with some big partnership announcements in the next few weeks.” Unibet, which has its odds
16 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
Home or bet placement pages. The IBAS Panel have not always been convinced by operators who have argued that a customer could have read and understood the basis of settlement for a market which was open to interpretation, by visiting their full website. For example, a mobile app might display a cricket match menu including one market as ‘England – Top Batsman’; on selection, a drop down menu may reveal a list of players and their prices. We know that no shop operator or full website would publish the market without including the line ‘first innings only’ or similar. But we have seen many similar cases where such apps, marketed to new or infrequent gamblers, sacrifice detail for design and cause confusion and disappointment as a result. Maybe time for those operators who do not seem to encourage their customers to seek clarification on how the wager will be settled, to reconsider and review this important point? One possibly for the webmasters to have a review of their own company’s service methinks.”
provided by its B2B service Kambi, can now boast a racing product that offers bet and watch opportunities through a live streaming agreement with Racing UK, as well as advanced multiple and permutation betting capabilities, early prices on all UK races from 9am, an industry leading daily special markets section, and a wide array of ante post options. Unibet’s mobile offering also allows users to view live streaming from Racing UK racecourses and is an area that Nicholson is determined to market. “We have
a relatively advanced racing mobile offering and we will aim to stand out from the crowd within that channel in the next few months through several commercial partnerships and internal technological developments.” Nicholson informed Betting Business that there were also ‘a number of significant customer facing improvements and enhancements due to be released in early February’ and that ‘racing is seen as an important driver of new accounts, actives and turnover for Unibet UK in 2014’.
“We made good progress on key initiatives in the quarter: improving our mobile gaming offer, rolling out the Eclipse gaming machine to over a third of our estate and continuing to enhance Australia’s digital capabilities. It is also pleasing to see a turnaround in the profitability of our US business in our first full year of ownership.” On a full year basis, group net revenue increased 16 per cent, however the bookmaker warned that Group and Retail net revenue performance numbers have been flattered by the transition from VAT and Amusement Machine Licence Duty to Machine Games Duty on 1 February 2013. Adjusting for MGD, it was up 10 per cent. Within this, retail net revenue was up 8 per cent or flat adjusting for MGD and Online net revenue was up 10 per cent. Operating profit is expected to be around £334m.
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Queen abdication market closed
Bookmaker Coral suspended all bets on whether the Queen would abdicate this year after taking an unusual £200 bet in the Windsor area. A Coral spokesperson said: “The Queen has started to relinquish a number of duties to Prince Charles, leading to major speculation about the monarch’s future. We rarely see betting over £20, so the £200 gamble was a red flag for us.”
MICHAEL NOONAN: BILL ‘PROVIDES FOR A FAIR AND EQUAL TREATMENT OF ALL BOOKMAKERS’
Ireland passing its own point of consumption laws
When the Bill was debated in the Dáil there was a general consensus in support, although Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath claimed that delays had caused the Irish exchequer to miss out on substantial tax revenues: “It has taken an inordinate length of time to achieve this. In the intervening three years, upwards of 4bn euro in bets placed remotely have escaped the 1 per cent betting duty, resulting in a loss to the Exchequer of some 40m euro. At a time when the public finances are so stretched, we must question the reason for this extensive delay.” Finance minister Michael Noonan said that the reason part of the delay to the Bill was the need for it to be scrutinised by the European Commission. Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said that exchanges should pay VAT and pointed out that the Revenue Commissioners ruled that charities selling cards to raise funds were charged VAT because they deemed the sale a transaction and peer to peer betting was clearly
transactional. Noonan said the Bill ‘provides for a fair and equal treatment of all bookmakers - both traditional and remote - and betting exchanges offering services in Ireland’. Irish Bookmakers Association chair Sharon Byrne told Betting Business interactive she welcomed the Bill’s progress and responded to politicians who demanded an increase in duty from the current rate of 1 per cent with scorn: “A lot of our politicians who are calling for an increase in the turnover tax don’t appear to understand the high turnover low margin nature of bookmaking. A higher rate would be a disaster for a sector that currently employs over 6,000.” Byrne was also critical of what she thought was the favourable treatment of exchanges: “It seems anomalous that exchanges should be taxed on their commission, which is effect a gross profits tax, while retail and online is taxed on turnover. All operators want is a level playing field between domestic and overseas and online and retail operators.”
ANALYSIS The government estimates that the tax will raise between 12-17m euro, which will go some way to plugging the 50m euro gap between the current levels raised by the retail turnover tax and the subsidy to the horse and greyhound industry through the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund. Paddy Power has said that the new tax will cost the company around 6m euro a year. The Bill will pave the way for the Gambling Control Bill, which will establish the The Office for Gambling Control Ireland (OGCI) to license and regulate casinos, online gaming and bingo.
Ladbrokes to end Kammy campaign MARKETING
adbrokes has appointed BBH London as its advertising partner with the aim of developing a new advertising strategy. The appointment follows a pitch process instigated by Ladbrokes as it looks to develop the brand in light of the advances made by the business in developing its retail and digital offer. The appointment covers advertising collateral across all platforms. The announcement follows an end to its agreement with previous agency, Sapient Nitro, and will mean that the popular current advertising campaign featuring Tiziano
Crudeli and Chris Kamara will conclude in the coming months ahead of a new campaign in the spring. Ladbrokes director of brand & research Andy May said: “BBH has a world class reputation and we feel their appointment will add real drive to our marketing campaign. The last year has seen our retail estate enhance its customer offer with more choice of sports for customers to view and bet on, more wi-fi access, targeted ‘price lock in’ promotions, empowered local management delivering local initiatives and the introduction of self service betting machines termi-
18 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
he Nevada State Gaming Control Board has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The International Olympic Committee to ‘work towards maintaining the integrity of sports by preventing the manipulation of sports competitions with the intention of achieving unfair winnings’. Both the Nevada regulator and the IOC have agreed to co-operate at all levels in order to preserve and protect the integrity of sports. To the extent allowed by law, both sides have agreed to the exchange of information in the area of sports betting and integrity of sports competitions, as well as by a constructive and creative collaboration in terms of an amicable cooperation, thereby helping to achieve the goal of preserving and protecting the integrity of sports and sports competition. Board Member Shawn Reid said: “The Gaming Control Board is honoured to be a partner with the International Olympic Committee in the fight against irregular and illegal betting in sports. Nevada is regarded throughout the world as the gold standard in gaming regulation and part of that reputation is tied to the Board’s tireless efforts to thwart illegal and irregular betting in general and we are glad to put forth that same level of effort in eradicating illegal and irregular betting in sports specifically.” IOC communications director Mark Adams added: “This information will be used by the IOC’s newly established Integrity Betting, Intelligence System (IBIS), which will be in operation for the first time in Sochi. IBIS collates alerts and information on manipulation through betting on sport, and will also be placed at the disposal of International Federations during their major championships.” Adams described the understanding between the Board and the IOC as, “...part of our concerted strategy to support clean sport and protect major competitions from any form of manipulation, particularly those linked to betting. We are very pleased with these agreements, which build on our successful collaboration during London 2012.”
Online bookmakers wanting to take Irish business will soon need an Irish licence and face a 1 per cent turnover tax to boot. reland is on course to implement a tax on online operators from the end of March, while the Republic’s betting shops will be allowed to open on winter evenings from September, following the passage of the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2012 through the Dáil. The Bill will now go to committee before being debated in the Sinead. It will then go back to the Dáil and, once it has been passed there, will be signed by President. This is all expected to happen by the end of March. However, the Gambling Control Bill, which will license casinos for the first time, is not expected to be enabled until at least 2015. The Bill requires all Irish licenced bookmakers who take more than 10 per cent or 250,000 euro, whichever is lower, of their bets online to apply for an online licence, as will all overseas operators who wish to take online bets from Irish customers. Exchanges will have to apply for a “remote betting intermediary’s licence”.
IOC betting agreement with Nevada regulator
nals. In digital we have a new sportsbook offer and a new Ladbrokes mobile offer and across both we will see further enhancements in the year ahead.” He added: “With all the innovation in the business and the excitement and opportunity we see for the business going forward we felt a new approach was needed in our advertising. Tiziano and Kammy have served the brand very well and built on the high recognition our brand already has. Kammy has a unique connection with our target audience and will continue to be associated with the Ladbrokes brand going forward.”
CHRIS KAMARA’S LADBROKES ADVERTS ARE BEING PHASED OUT
BB113-p14-22-Betting_09/10 29/01/2014 14:47 Page 4
BetVictor Welsh deal
Gibraltar based sports betting operator BetVictor has announced the renewal of its title sponsorship of the 2014 Welsh Snooker Open. Magnus Grinneback, BetVictor Asia’s managing director, said that the company regards the event as an ‘excellent opportunity to extend the reach of the BetVictor brand to our core markets’.
Big drop in number of independent LBOs The Gambling Commission’s figures appear to show a betting shop sector now making more money from machines than OTC, with a dwindling number of smaller operators.
OTC BETTING HAS BEEN SURPASSED BY MACHINE GAMING
ookmaker Coral has signed a two and a half year deal with Chelsea Football Club to be its European online betting partner until the end of the 2015/2016 Premier League season. Coral Interactive managing director John O’Reilly commented: “We are delighted to form this exciting partnership with Chelsea FC. They are one of the leading football clubs in the world and a very successful business too, and we are looking forward to providing an exciting and professional betting service to all their fans and customers through our new and improved website and mobile betting platforms. Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said: “We are very pleased to align ourselves with such a leading betting company as Coral. We spent considerable time planning and deciding on the right partner in this market sector and in Coral we have found, like ourselves, an established name that continues to grow both domestically and internationally.” Coral will be delivering exclusive offers to Chelsea fans each week. Chelsea supporters will be able to access the Coral service online or by downloading the Coral App via mobile phone or tablet. Coral re-launched its websiteand mobile platform just over a year ago and has seen a rapid growth in customer volumes, with active customers up 132 per cent year on year and stakes up 158 per cent year on year as reported in the latest Coral results published in December.
he number of independent betting shops in the UK has fallen drastically since 2012 according to market data released by the Gambling Commission. Between 31 March 2012 and 30 September 2013, the number of betting shops not aligned to the ‘big four’ operators dropped from 1,607 to 1,222 - a near 25 per cent decline in numbers. When considering that Paddy Power’s growing estate is included in these numbers, the true extent of the closure of small chains of shops could be even greater. The figures underline the struggle that small bookmakers are facing in a poor economic climate where the running costs for betting shops, mainly in the shape of Gambling Commission licence fees and increased media rights for horseracing, are crippling the business model of the independent. The data also makes a mockery of the claim that there has been an explosion of betting shops on the UK’s high street as the number has actually gone down from 9,128 on 31 March 2012 to 9,031 on 30 September 2013. The British gambling industry, as regulated by the Commission, generated a gross gambling yield
Chelsea makes new signing with Coral
(GGY) of £6.3bn between April 2012 and March 2013, a rise of 7 per cent, with approximately half of this claimed by betting shops. GGY for B2 machines in betting shops was over £1.5bn, an increase of 7 per cent on the figure for the previous reporting period, despite a small decrease in the number of B2 machines. The total GGY generated by gaming machines across all gambling sectors showed growth in each of the reporting periods. B2 category machines generated 67 per cent of the total machines GGY in the period April 2012March 2013 compared to 56 per cent in the period April 2008March 2009. Across the five-year period, over the counter GGY declined by 11 per cent from £1.66bn to £1.48bn, as gaming machine GGY increased by 45 per cent during this period to £1.55bn, the average betting shop (if there is such a thing) now generates more money from gaming machines than traditional betting. As of 30 September 2013, there were 380 licences held by operators for betting shops, a decrease of 27 licences from 31 March 2013, and there were 596 licences for on-course betting, a decrease of 14 licences from 31 March 2013.
Interestingly, the turnover figures for off-course betting have remained fairly static since April 2008, with the exception of horseracing which has seen turnover decline by over £800m. Dogs turnover decreased by over £250m across the same period, although the majority of this decline occurred in 2009. Football saw steady increases across the five years with fluctuations in turnover coinciding with major football tournaments. GGY figures followed a similar pattern with horses and dogs profits declining overall, although horses have reported growth recently. GGY from football increased overall with the size of profits determined largely by whether or not there was a major tournament that year. Year-on-year declines in pool betting turnover figures were reported for dogs and football across the five-year period. Horseracing turnover has fluctuated having increased in April 2010-March 2011 and April 2011-March 2012 before showing a decline in April 2012March 2013. GGY figures followed a very similar pattern to turnover, although football proved to be a far more profitable activity than dogs.
ANALYSIS While the Gambling Commission cites the retail betting market as its biggest sector, it could soon change if the government’s point of consumption licensing comes in. The Gambling Commission estimates that less than 15 per cent of UK consumer GGY is generated under Commission-issued remote gambling licences. But market estimates for the remote gaming market in the UK from H2GC suggest that the sector is worth £2.06bn. the introduction of another weighty sector paying licence fees to the Gambling Commission may relieve the burden on the betting industry’s smaller operators, but for many it seems that it will be too late.
Webis gets thoroughbred licence for California betting US
ebis Holdings, the parent company of Isle of Man-licensed Betinternet.com, has revealed that its US subsidiary Watchand Wager.com has received written contractual approval from the Thoroughbred Owners of California to allow California residents to wager on thoroughbred racing taking place across the USA, and also all international jurisdictions for which
it has the rights. The ground-breaking deal comes on top of WatchandWager’s successful approval by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), as a licensed Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW) company throughout 2014. The agreement opens up a new pool of potential customers for WatchandWager.com, which can now accept Californian wagers on thoroughbred content
20 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
through its website. The deal involves a statutory $50,000 one off payment to the California Purse Fund - a contribution to prize money - and also ensures that a percentage of all bets placed by Californian residents directly benefits Californian Racing, in direct compliance with Californian statute. The agreement may also be subject to certain separate track group and media agreements, but Watchand-
Wager said it is confident these will be in place over the coming months. In order to support this initiative, WatchandWager has committed a substantial sum to marketing Californian Racing - both thoroughbred, quarter horse and its own standard-bred product at Cal Expo. The main marketing activity is expected to commence early in Q2 2014, and should lead to a significant increase in California
player registrations and handle within its core US market. Ed Comins, president of WatchandWager.com, said: “Being approved by the TOC really is a big deal for WatchandWager. The California Racing market has been dominated by only three main ADW providers, and we are grateful to the TOC and CHRB in recognising our investment, and wielding its influence to
allow us into the market. “For WatchandWager to be approved and operating as a first mover in the Golden State, will not only positively impact our business as a licensed Advanced Deposit Wagering operator, but also put WatchandWager in a very attractive strategic position as the debate regarding online Poker is widely expected to hot up in California early this year.”
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Lord Howard resigns from Arena
Former Conservative Party leader Lord Michael Howard has resigned as Arena Racing Company chairman. Lord Howard had served as chairman since 2008, continuing his position after the business had been merged with Arena Leisure to form Arena Racing Company in 2012. Tony Kelly CEO of Arena Racing said that while he was sad to see Howard resign, he noted that the decision was not related to the business or policies of the company.
Social sports betting not cracked… yet Ladbrokes international development director Ben Dale, who is speaking at the ICE Conference: Monetising Social Gaming on Wednesday 5 February, discusses the opportunities available to betting companies. INTERVIEW
here have been some quite loud calls from some sections of the betting industry for social gaming to be regulated. Do you think it should be? For the time being I do not agree that social gaming should be regulated in the same way as real money gaming operations currently are. My view is that first and foremost social gaming operators should be acting responsibly and have their own code of conduct that they adhere to. Effectively a policy of self policing which is what the ISGA via its set of best practice principles is striving to achieve. Unlike a real money gaming player, the vast majority of social gaming players (circa 95 per cent) only ever play for ‘fun’. The most likely paying social gaming player currently (with the exception of Zynga Poker customers) is evidently a 45 year old female residing in Midwest America typically playing slots and bingo games on Facebook with friends. Her behaviour will be very different to a real money gaming counterpart. Yes, of course, they are both driven by the desire to win but the similarities end there. Whereas a real money slots player dreams of hitting the jackpot and getting rich (cash out availability), in contrast the social casino player can only ever win virtual chips which are often handed out in abundance as part of the overall gaming experience (no cash out availability). More chips fuels game continuity (extending the session time for as long as possible is a key driver), an ability to unlock new and exciting levels along the way (remember your Donkey Kong or Pacman days!), explore new games on offer as you progress (social casino operators are capable of launching new games on a weekly basis to keep you engaged) and so on. Social casino operators are certainly not targeting under-age players, it is simply not in their interests to do so and it is unlikely that any genuine ‘problem gambler’ would seek refuge in games where they are unable to win any real cash whatsoever.
10 years old. This is where social gaming represents both an exciting opportunity and a potential hazard for us. Where will the sector be in say five years time? It is actually very difficult to look more than 1218 months ahead from now. Will the initial rapid growth witnessed by some social casino operators be maintained and if not how do they ensure they are set up for long term success? Social casinos are already seeing margins squeezed significantly across all channels. Consumers become ever more demanding. Inevitably, further consolidation lies ahead. We have also been really focused on strengthening our social media capabilities, for example ensuring we invest in our Facebook and Twitter presence allowing us to compete with other online betting operators who have already built a significant presence there. And as a result engagement levels with the Ladbrokes brand have risen dramatically over the last 12-18 months which is enormously encouraging.
Paddy Power has been the most active mover recently in social sports betting with its real money Facebook App - where is everyone else? Social sports betting always invites a lively debate. Whilst we have seen massive growth in social casino gaming (poker, slots, bingo, table games) over the last few years, social sports betting has yet to really take off. It’s a conundrum for 22 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
us, a mountain many are climbing and I’m not aware of anybody approaching the summit of success yet. Among the big real money betting operators, Paddy Power and Bwin have taken the lead and been the most adventurous to date. It’s something that Ladbrokes is looking at closely. It’s a tough one though. How do you really excite the customer with a sportsbook in Facebook? Do audiences (mainly male in this case) want to place a bet just for ‘fun’ on tonight’s football match? How do you maintain and then increase dwell times? We continue to spend time exploring this, tracking others who have launched sports apps, but it appears for now that this particular aspect of social gaming is unproven. I do think that any successful social sports betting app needs to be very simple indeed, easy to understand and easy to play. A typical real money sports betting app is too complex to have mass market appeal in the social space. If it’s not immediately obvious what you have to do, and if you cannot do
it in two or three clicks, it will have limited success. I would not bet against somebody finding a winning formula at some point though, and when that happens, we know the rest will follow because the opportunity here is huge. Our consumption of sport worldwide is insatiable. Watch this space... So is Ladbrokes now ready to enter the social gaming arena? Ladbrokes has been exploring the various entry points in to social gaming for a while and continues to monitor the space very closely. It’s a fascinating and fast moving area, a breath of fresh air. Whilst however we know that the fundamental principles of real money gaming have not changed (regardless of the multitude of channels increasingly available) for many, many years (for example Ladbrokes is over 125 years old) and there is no reason to believe these fundamentals that sustain our business and others like it will change any time soon, social gaming by contrast is very new, the industry’s stalwarts are far less than
So is the buzz around social casino justified? Social casino gaming is a huge market and is set to continue to grow, especially as smartphone penetration rates accelerate around the world. The player pool is vast, it dwarfs the size of the real money gaming market thereby representing a very significant opportunity at a time when growth for the real money operators is an ever increasing challenge. For example, here in the UK the POCT due to be introduced later on this year will severely dent operators’ profitability. The newly regulated markets across Europe and beyond involve significant investment and there are no shortcuts to achieving success. Social gaming represents an opportunity to generate very healthy revenues in a cost effective fashion. A 50 man team is able to deliver a monthly profit of over $1m; levels of agility here are unprecedented. And one of the great advantages of social gaming is the ability to attract customers from far and wide. So long as there is an internet connection, people will play. This is why I see social gaming as a route to market in its own right, a discrete revenue stream, and a valuable respite from the world of regulated online gaming markets. It is the innovative and versatile hub of the gaming world, without frontiers, and whilst it clearly has its challenges ahead as any nascent industry does, it is hopefully set to continue and grow for a long time to come.
BETTINGBRIEFS GLOUCESTER RUGBY PARTNERS WITH TBS
Gloucester Rugby has agreed to partner with The Betting Service (TBS). The English rugby club will use TBS’ ‘MyClubBetting’ service to launch a bespoke club gaming website. The betting service will be fully integrated with the club’s existing website. Gloucester Rugby commercial manager Mike Turner said: “We’ve spoken to a number of potential betting partners, and are pleased to announce the relationship with The Betting Service through the MyClubBetting.com brand. We believe it’s a great solution for supporters who like to bet online and the beauty of it is that the club receives a percentage of the profits.” MOBILE FRIENDLY SPORTING INDEX
Spread betting operator Sporting Index has announced the launch of its mobile friendly website - sportingindex.com. The new version offers a faster user experience with slicker navigation tools thanks to the creation of drop down menus which delivers more useable screen space. The improvements behind the back-end technology will help form the basis of the firm’s mobile development going forward. Gregory Karaolis, web and mobile product manager, said: “Mobile continues to grow exponentially and consumers demand a platform with the content and depth of a traditional desktop website combined with the intuitive and elegant user experience offered by smart phones.” WILLIAM HILL APPOINTS NEW CREATIVE AGENCY
William Hill has appointed Creature London as the new creative agency for its UK advertising. The bookmaker account is reported to be worth £15m with William Hill among the biggest adspenders in the UK gaming market. The firm had announced a creative review of its brand and campaign messaging in November 2013.
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BB113-p24-28-politics_09/10 27/01/2014 18:34 Page 1
Politics Point of consumption would cause ‘significant changes’ in Gibraltar Peter Howitt, chief executive of the recently formed Gibraltar Betting & Gaming Association (GBGA), discusses how the organisation is working to resolve the massive issues caused by the UK’s proposed point of consumption laws. TAX
hief Minister Picardo noted the positive dialogue with HM Treasury on the issue of Point of Consumption in his new year address - is this something the GBGA has experienced? There are continuing discussions with HMT and HMG. I would not say that the industry is positive at this stage. However, we remain hopeful that once the UK better understands the online sector they will be able to consider further how to ensure that any changes they make results in a suitable tax regime, structure and rate that does not drive UK consumers to the unregulated sector and undermine respected and licensed operators.
financial services sector where operators in one territory can provide services in other territories without requiring costly and time-consuming duplication of licences and regulatory oversight. It would encourage closer regulatory co-operation since in effect under a passporting regime we recommend that only operators based in the UK or in another closely collaborative jurisdiction are able to provide licensed services remotely to the UK. As explained: “The proposed GBGA model allows rigorously regulated jurisdictions such as Gibraltar to continue to offer services into the UK, whilst ensuring that the UK does not ‘brass-plate’ operators in jurisdictions where the UK lacks mutual regulatory Last year you proposed the UK relationships and core agreement should adopt a Passporting on a wide range of framework Regime - how would that work? legal issues (e.g. tax assistance, The passporting proposal is mod- data protection, anti-money launelled to some extent on the EU dering, consumer protection).”
How frustrating is it for the GBGA that the UK government is keeping up the pretence that the change is for consumer protection issues and not tax? It is frustrating that we have not yet been able to find a collaborative solution that better protects UK consumers and the well regulated sector. We understand the need for the UK to suggest that the POC measures are being driven by consumer protection concerns given that tax revenue raising alone is not a sufficient reason under EU law. That said, we remain willing to act as partners with the UK to ensure its lawful objectives are met without damaging the elements of the current system that work extremely well for UK consumers. Gibraltar has fantastic experience in online gambling and is willing to share it. We think that litigation can still be avoided if the various stakeholders seri-
ously apply their minds to introducing a more careful regime that takes better account of the realities of the online sector and online gambling. What is the GBGA’s next move? We will keep talking with relevant people in the UK government and various departments including the Gambling Commission. We have not given up yet on a mediated solution but we must also be prepared for potential litigation. How important a role can the European Commission play in this? Very little it appears. The Commission is currently loathe to mediate cross-border issues relating to online gambling and in this case the UK is in the best position to introduce a workable regime that sensibly and effectively regulates cross-border gambling. With William Hill announcing that
they are keeping a Gibraltar base, are you confident there won’t be a large scale migration to the UK because of the point of consumption licensing? No. If the proposals proceed as envisaged then we will see significant changes here. Some operators will likely scale down their operations here even if there is not a large exodus. This is likely to hit the Gibraltar economy quite hard at a time when the dispute with Spain is already causing some pain. A lack of passporting also reads badly politically given the reliance by Gibraltar on the UK for EU membership. It is an understatement to say that it would be ironic if the UK helped to seriously undermine Gibraltar’s economy and status at this delicate time. Whilst Gibraltar is resilient, online gambling is a pillar of the economy and it is difficult to know what the total impact will be.
orseracing Ireland (HRI) chief executive Brian Kavanagh has warned the sport not to be complacent after 2013 figures suggested an increase in betting, attendances and bloodstock sales. He commented: “There are many positives in the 2013 figures but we remain acutely aware of the underlying threats to the future of the industry. With overall funding cuts of almost 30 per cent since 2008, we are constrained in our ability to capitalise on the potential for growth in domestic and international markets. Competing racing nations are better resourced and challenging our position. Bloodstock is highly mobile and if we are to attract foreign owners to breed, train and race in Ireland, we must have a racing infrastructure that will stand up to international comparison. “Thankfully, the new betting legislation, set to progress early in 2014, represents the first step to a sustainable funding system, which will ensure that racing continues to produce an
Positive figures for Irish racing
ACTION IMAGES / BOB MARTIN FILM
economic return to the country and that we can rebuild employment levels in an industry in which Ireland has great national advantages.’’ Ireland’s Tote operation saw revenues up although on-course bookmakers actually took a hit, with a fall
24 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
2013 WAS A GOOD YEAR FOR IRISH HORSERACING
of 6.9 per cent to 70.8m euro (£58.3m) adding to a cumulative drop in turnover of 134.5m euro (£110.8m) since 2007. Overall, the Tote’s oncourse performance improved, with turnover up by 2.2 per cent, augmented by growth in its off-course performance which saw an
overall increase in Tote betting of 6.5 per cent to 55.6m euro (£45.8m). Kavanagh said: “Tote betting showed a return to growth following re-structuring and it is particularly encouraging to see oncourse Tote gains in a very challenging market. The
bookmakers’ on-course decline continued and is a real concern for the future of the sector. It must be hoped that new betting legislation will create a more level playing field in the betting market.’’ Attendance growth of 4 per cent was recorded for
total attendances and average attendance per meeting. On a five-year trend, racing is up marginally over 2009 although 18 per cent behind the peak 2007 figure. Brian Kavanagh commented: “The return to growth in racecourse attendances is very encouraging and is a tribute to the racecourses who have worked hard to retain their customers in difficult times. Throughout the recession they have innovated to hold on to the loyalty of racegoers and HRI will continue to support them in those efforts.’’ Commercial sponsorship at racing was up 1.6 per cent from to 3.7m euro and prizemoney showed a modest increase for the second year in succession. HRI has identified improvement in this area as a priority for 2014, in order to stay competitive internationally, retain horses in training and attract new owners. Prize-money in Irish racing will increase by a further 5.6 per cent in 2014 to 48.5m euro (£40.0m), including an increase in the minimum race value from 7,000 to 7,500 euro.
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BB113-p24-28-politics_09/10 27/01/2014 18:35 Page 2
Neilan leaving Bord na gCon
The Irish Greyhound Board - Bord na gCon - is on the hunt for a new chief executive after it revealed that Adrian Neilan was not going to renew his contract. The Board thank Neilan for his work and commented: “In his term of office, Bord na gCon generated a surplus of 23.6m euro and commenced the sale of the Irish Greyhound racing product internationally which has enormous potential for the organisation.”
Clampdown on poker clubs
‘No green light for fixed odds betting terminals’
inister for gambling Helen Grant found her back against the wall last month when Labour used their opposition day debate to discuss fixed odds betting terminals. Shadow culture secretary Clive Efford listed a range of various charges against the machines and called on the government to: “put local people before the interests of the betting shop operators and give local authorities the powers they need to respond to concerns from their local communities and stop the proliferation of FOBT machines and betting shops.” Grant was quick to point out that there had been a near wilful ignorance of the work that is already being carried out, primarily by the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT). She commented: “The motion raises a wide range of issues, but fails completely to focus on the evidence and activity that is well under way. In order to make appropriate decisions about fixed odds betting terminals, we need better to understand how they are used and the real impact on players. That is why the UK is conducting the largest ever programmes of research into gaming machine usage. The Opposition acknowledge notwithstanding what the shadow minister said in his opening speech - that there is insufficient evidence to support a reduction in stakes and prizes. That is why we have focused our attention on improving the evidence base, so that we
can determine whether a reduction in speed of play or a reduction in maximum stake will make the machines safer.” Grant told the House that she had already met with the five biggest bookmakers in December and that there was another meeting planned for late January, and that player protection was one of the topics raised. She added: “It is crucial that interventions to make machines safer are based on an understanding of what measures are likely to be effective, rather than being simple, irrational kneejerk reactions.” When quizzed about the notion that bookmakers for some reason spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on new betting shops simply to target deprived areas Grant told MPs straight that this was nonsense. “The location of betting premises and shops is to do with footfall, not deprivation,” she said. “It is simply a matter of supply and demand. The government are in no doubt that there is scope for the industry to improve its ability to identify people who might be at risk and to intervene early to minimise harm. That is why we have demanded that the industry introduce better player protection measures.” Grant also understandably touched on the ABB’s code of conduct for gaming machines which is currently being put in place by its members. She said: “The precautionary player protection measures include the implementation by March 2014 of
uspected illegal poker clubs across the country are being targeted by local authorities, with support from the Gambling Commission, and a number have already been closed down in the last few months. The Big Slick (also known as Shuffles) in Portsmouth is the most recent club to close after the city council withdrew the club premises certificate and cancelled the club gaming permit. The council determined that illegal poker was taking place and the club was operating as a commercial enterprise rather than being run solely for the benefit of its members. Under the Gambling Act 2005, commercial high-stakes poker is restricted to licensed casinos. Whilst poker can be played in members’ clubs, there are various restrictions depending on whether there is a club gaming permit in place, as well as conditions on participation fees and stake and prize limits. Gaming of the type usually provided in club premises must not be the primary or sole activity and is subject to certain conditions and a code of practice. The Commission’s director of regulatory operations, Nick Tofiluk, said: “We are committed to working closely in support of local authorities in dealing with such matters. We now have considerable experience in this field and will continue to promote good practice while dealing effectively with illegal poker clubs. “The message is simple poker can’t be the primary role or sole activity of the club. If you offer poker in a club which falls outside the rules for exempt gaming, or offer commercial poker when you do not have an appropriate licence or permit, you are breaking the law.”
Minister for sport Helen Grant has said that FOBTs will have ‘no green light’ but was resolute against some of the ridiculous claims being made against the industry.
HELEN GRANT: ‘THE LOCATION OF BETTING PREMISES AND SHOPS IS TO DO WITH FOOTFALL, NOT DEPRIVATION’
suspensions in play when voluntary limits are reached, automatic alerts when customers have been playing for 30 minutes or when a certain amount of money has been spent, enhanced responsible gambling messaging, and a considerably improved and expanded system of voluntary self-exclusion, which will make it much easier for players to exclude themselves from multiple gambling premises. “I do not accept the accusation that those measures are unsatisfactory because the code is not mandatory. I have made it clear that if the industry does not make sufficient progress in implementing those measures or if it cannot demonstrate to me that they have been effective, the government may act on a precautionary basis anyway. Additionally, the implementation of those measures does not preclude further action at any point, should it become necessary.”
ANALYSIS Helen Grant must be wondering what has hit her after being installed as minister for gambling and being dropped into a FOBT flame war. While no doubt told what to do on the matter by the Treasury, Grant has played an impressively straight bat, despite all the rhetoric against the machines and has consistently backed the need for proper evidence before making any changes. However, beyond that she has shown that bookmakers will have to be on their toes. She commented: “There is no green light for fixed odds betting terminals. Their future is absolutely unresolved, pending the research that we have started.”
Increased prize money from Levy Scheme FUNDING
n increase in Levy yield from bookmakers has enabled the Horserace Betting Levy Board’s allocation to prize money to reach £56m in 2014, up by over £6m on 2013, contributing to an anticipated new record prize money level of over £120m this year. Overall, the Board’s total budgeted expenditure in 2014 is £82.0m, up by 7 per cent on the £76.3m budgeted in 2013, itself an increase on actual spend of £64.8m in
26 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
FIRST PAST THE POST WILL GET GREATER PRIZE MONEY VIA THE LEVY BOARD
2012 and £59.3m in 2011. The Board’s ability to commit to this additional expenditure reflects an improved underlying financial position and further significant savings in administrative and operational costs. The Levy yields for 2013/14 and 2014/15 are estimated to be £75.6m and £80.2m respectively, compared to £74.4m in 2012/13. Levy Board chairman Paul Lee commented: “The Board last year adopted as a priority objective an increase in prize money and
it is extremely pleasing to be able to budget for an extra 12 per cent in our prize money contribution in 2014. This is a further reflection of our continuing financial stability after a difficult period in the early part of the decade. The increased expenditure is also a consequence of the recent agreement of the 53rd Levy Scheme and the four-year arrangement between the four largest retail bookmakers and Racing.” Lee added: “We are also able to provide an additional
£200,000 to our veterinary science and education research programme, now in its 50th year, and an increase of the same amount in the grant towards the racing and breeding’s recruitment, training and education initiatives. “The latter have undergone examination and reevaluation by BHA after a request to do so by the Levy Board. The culmination of that review has been accompanied by a 20 per cent increase in the Board’s financial contribution.”
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GBGB deal with Jockey Club
Politics BARRY FAULKNER
The Greyhound Board of Great Britain has agreed a sporting partnership which offers all GBGB licence holders free and discounted admission to more than 50 horseracing fixtures at Jockey Club racecourses during 2014. GBGB chief executive Barry Faulkner said: “I often bump into greyhound folk when I’m at the races and I’d like to thank the Jockey Club for bringing the two codes even closer.”
BHA upgrades its doping policy
‘Many MPs want to debate the facts properly’
Association of British Bookmakers chief executive Dirk Vennix explains how he has approached the media battering received by the industry this year.
here have been some challenges for the ABB this month - has the way 2014 started taken you aback a little? There is always a challenge for an industry that employs 55,000 people, contributes £3.2bn to the UK economy and pays £1bn a year in taxes. There are always ideas for new regulations but that is probably the same for any industry. The key point though is that we are talking about the livelihoods of 55,000 people in betting shops and the hundreds of people who work in the manufacturing of gaming machines and, like anything else, decisions need to be made on the basis of facts and evidence.
know what happens when decisions are made on the basis of myth or in order to chase newspaper headlines - you end up with the Dangerous Dog Act. The Prime Minister and the DMCS Ministers have been clear throughout that decisions on this issue must be made on the basis of evidence and research, and we agree with that.
How are you countering the vast amount of misinformation on the subject? Is it possible? It is hardly a surprise antibetting shop campaigners peddle misinformation to further their campaign, but it is surprising when you see what are supposed to be serious newspapers who say they check their facts Does the fact that the main repeating myths or even party leaders are now involv- inventing new ones. As an ing themselves with B2 example, one newspaper machines make your job claimed that people can harder or a little easier as play on a gaming machine you are dealing directly with using a credit card - they decision makers? cannot and indeed it is It gives the issue more illegal. But this was printed profile of course, but we as if true, and despite us
contacting the journalist to correct them our email has gone unanswered and the fictional claim is still there. Do you think that Labour are opportunistically using the issue to try and crack the coalition or does it have genuine concerns? There is certainly some opportunism around this issue. For example, one MP signed a report calling for restrictions on gaming machines to be eased in 2012, and then was suddenly against them a year later, and then they voted in favour of leaving gaming machine stakes and prizes as they are! That speaks volumes about how much they really care about this issue, no wonder the public have so little time for politicians. However, I think the debate in the Commons showed that there are many MPs, on all sides, who do want to debate the facts properly and have taken the time to research the issue. The good thing is that when anti-betting campaigners
push misinformation, MPs want to hear from the industry, so we get more of a hearing than otherwise would be the case. What has been the response to the gaming machine code of conduct among politicians? Do they understand what it is about? Certainly the MPs who are knowledgeable about the industry, or who want to learn more are interested in the Code and we have been able to brief many of them about it. Many MPs have visited a local betting shop and so understand the issues facing a retail business in the current climate and they recognise that we are taking steps to help those who get into difficulty their gambling.
Why has there been so little recognition of the Health Survey findings during this debate? I imagine it is because if claiming gaming machines are the sole cause of problem gambling rising and then seeing your case blown out of the water by the Health Survey showing it is falling means it is better to pretend such a report doesn’t exist than have to admit you have got it wrong. Has the press wanted to listen to the industry? Broadly, yes. Obviously some newspapers have an anti-gambling prejudice and are not interested, but broadly, those who want to report the facts and be fair do listen.
Auction machine sellers cautioned MACHINES
he Gambling Commission has again warned gaming machine suppliers to ensure they are licensed. The reminder comes after police cautions were issued to two men supplying gaming machines via online auction websites. A father and son from South Shields have accepted a caution from Northumbria Police for selling gaming machines without a licence following a joint investigation by the Commission, South Tyneside Council and Northumbria Police. The pair had failed to respond to an earlier Commission warning and admitted their wrongdoing after arrest. In recent years the Commission has been working closely with online auction websites to prevent the unlicensed supply of gaming machines online. As a
ONLINE AUCTION COMPANIES HAVE BEEN HELPING THE GAMBLING COMMISSION
result, online trading websites have amended their terms and conditions, provided clearer warnings for those advertising machines and agreed to quickly remove any questionable advertisements identified
28 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
by the Commission. In a number of cases unlicensed supply has quickly ceased following direct Commission intervention. Mike Williams, the Commission’s head of regional enforcement and compli-
he British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is to increase its spending on its Anti-doping and Medication Control Policy after a review instigated by the two high profile doping cases last year that brought the sport into disrepute. The extra money will see testing-in-training samples double, post-race testing samples to increase by 20 per cent, and an increased investment in research including the continuation of hair sample analysis techniques in order to explore the feasibility of regulatory hair sampling. BHA chief executive Paul Bittar said: “The two high profile investigations this year have brought BHA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Policy into the spotlight, and highlighted the need for an appropriately robust strategy towards doping control. “The objective is that via enhancements to our testing programme and strategy, as well as the significant penalties handed to those who have breached the Rules this year, we increase the deterrent against the use of prohibited substances.” A review of the existing Policy was instigated in May 2013 and considered all aspects, including the overall strategy towards doping control, budget allocated, number and balance of each method of testing, screening techniques, the contract with HFL and the direction of research and development. Bittar added: “The policy’s objective is to deter and prevent horses from competing under the influence of prohibited substances and so ensure a level playing field for all of the sport’s participants. We are confident that there is no underlying endemic problem on this front within horseracing and we hope our enhanced programme will serve to retain the confidence of both participants and those who bet on the sport. “It has been a challenging year but we hope that the enhancements made to our testing policies, the tightening of certain Rules and the advancements led by BHA in establishing an international minimum standard on anabolic steroid use, has, as a result, made the sport a better environment both in Britain and worldwide.”
“We want to thank South Tyneside Council’s Licensing Team and Northumbria Police for their support in conducting and concluding this case efficiently and effectively. Working in partnership with other law enforcement agencies is central to the Commission’s approach to keeping gambling fair and safe.” A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “The Council works closely with other agencies to ensure cases such as these are taken very seriously and successfully pursued to the highest order; making certain that justice is upheld in the ance, said: “People who Borough. We hope this persist in supplying gaming sends a message that the machines without a licence Council won’t tolerate the will face action from trading of illegal gaming the Gambling Commission machines in South Tyneand its local law enforce- side, and anybody caught ment partners like dealing in such acts will be Northumbria Police. sought for prosecution.”
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
Betting Business Interactive Edition
B 2 B
40 Launching virtual racing in Italy the Inspired Gaming way
44 Demonstrating the full product range on show at ICE from BetConstruct
48 IGT hopes to sink the opposition with the release of its latest slot Battleships
50 CallCredit teams up with the Post Office to strengthen its fraud tools
World Cup 2014 This summer’s international football tournament has the potential to double the customer base of bookmakers. Little wonder that all the major brands are jostling for position already. Essential Guide 30
Essential guide to ... Brazil 2014 TRENDS
Doubling the number of customers? When anticipating demand for this summer’s World Cup, it is useful to take a look at the last tournament in South Africa in 2010 and see if some of the data can help preparations. he importance of the World Cup should not be sniffed at - one well known online gaming brand was close to ditching its sportsbook until the World Cup in 2010 gave it the kiss of life and allowed it to continue to justify its existence. For the 2010 World Cup PwC held a consumer survey of over 2,000 UK consumers which revealed that 7 per cent of the population who didn’t normally bet were likely to do so during the World Cup. The report commented: “Although this may not sound like much, this compares to only 8 per cent of the population who say they bet regularly, and of these, 3 per cent are people who don’t expect to bet on the World Cup - so the 7 per cent figure could double the number of customers for the bookmakers during the World Cup. “Perhaps even more importantly, the oneoff influx of new customers represents an opportunity for bookmakers to attract a new type of punter, who could develop into a regular punter in the future. The majority of regular punters are male and slightly skewed towards an older demographic. However, a higher proportion of new customers betting on the World Cup will be female and younger than regular betting customers.” The 2010 World Cup saw social media take off. According to FastCompany, there was an average 3,283 Tweets per second following Japan’s 3-1 victory over Denmark compared to the 2010 daily average of 750 tweets per second. In rounded up the most popular teams Tweeted, England didn’t even make it into the top 10, with finalists Netherlands topping the popularity chart, no doubt boosted by their agricultural performance in the final, with Portugal second (Cristiano Ronaldo was the most Tweeted player). Unexpected teams in the top 10 were Mexico (5th), Uruguay (7th) and Paraguay (9th).
Obviously FIFA are still somewhat running scared of having an official betting partner to the World Cup (although Qatar would probably get one if it asked), but there are other ways to market yourself around the World Cup though. Crash marketers Paddy Power memorably appropriated the Vuvuzela for the South Africa Championships, but it remains to be seen if anyone with bother with the caxirola - the ‘official musical instrument of the 2014 FIFA World Cup’. Unfortunately, better still - fortunately, we won’t be seeing a reappearance of Nikolas Bentdner’s branded underpants during the tournament as Denmark failed to qualify, but who’s to say another footballer wouldn’t be averse to wearing some lucky garments of clothing that happened to branded by a bookmaker? Allot MobileTrends found that web browsing increased dramatically during the 2010 World Cup matches with 35 per cent growth. The increase in browsing occurred continuously in all matches, irrespective of whether the overall bandwidth rose or fell during that specific match. Allot put this increase down to traffic from mobile applications and the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter during the World Cup. Video streaming experienced a relatively modest increase of 11 per cent, indicating that video content was not typically consumed in real time over mobile broadband networks. Allot concluded that the World Cup didn’t replace the TV during the World Cup but instead created a new category and a niche where they function alongside the big screen, enhancing the viewer experience by ‘offering additional information in real time, and providing the ability to watch replays at leisure and share them with friends’ - way back in 2010 it seems there was no ‘second screen’ terminology, so it goes to show exactly how much can change between World Cup tournaments. THE CAXIROLA – THE ‘OFFICIAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT OF THE 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP’
BB113-p30-38-b2bEssential_Layout 1 30/01/2014 11:23 Page 2
WC2014 Live Match Centre
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Going with the flow will see punters come back s this the World Cup where betting shops feed into online more than ever before? The first game of the evening will mean that there would be some good night content in the betting shop but the second game completes after the betting shop traditionally closes. Is cross selling between retail and remote betting going to reach its natural optimum point with this World Cup? Will the tide sweep majestically out of the betting shop and onto mobiles like everyone has been warning will happen since the creation of online gaming? But the thing about tides is - they come back. And perhaps this World Cup will show that there is much more synergy between the two sectors after all. The obvious way to offer effective in-running betting in a retail environment is to provide everyone with their own terminal. While this was attempted some time ago in the old Blue Square betting shop on Edgware Road, the truth was the interface was clunky and the experience was not very social. The difference these days is that the
ACTION IMAGES / ED SYKES LIVEPIC
IMAGINE THE SCENE OF EVERYONE IN A BOOKMAKERS BETTING ON WHETHER OR NOT A PENALTY WOULD BE SCORED
tablet is ubiquitous and, even better for bookmakers, drastically dropping in price month after month. The tablet has already been called the perfect gaming machine it’s an even better betting interface if used as a second screen. A quick glance down at the odds while watching a match, with a press of a finger there’s an interest on who is going to win the next corner. Now that the cost of tablets is getting ever lower, the opportunity for betting shops to become the first major retailer to use the technology as standard is there for the taking (and perhaps help to dispel the age old perception of the grotty old betting shop that hasn’t been true for ten years now). And, of course, if a customer is using your webstyle interface when laughing and joking with his friends in the betting shop environment, then it is far easier for them to transfer their custom onto your own online service when the betting shop closes. All you have to do is purchase a bulk load of tablets from your cross-selling budget and let the experience speak for itself.
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
Essential Guide to ... Brazil 2014 BETRADAR
Get Centre stage for the tournament
Arland launches the new Bookmaker6 gaming platform
With lots of data and statistics to be had around football, Betradar has packaged them all up for bookmakers. etradar has developed a Brazilian sibling to its highly popular Live Sports Centre solution. The new arrival allows betting websites to immerse themselves into the competition by offering customers squad news and individual stats on players, referees and managers which are complimented with additional tournament overviews, venue information and historical facts and records, providing a comprehensive insight. The fully branded and customisable Live Match Centre for the 2014 World Championships in Brazil enables bookmakers to display tournament specific odds to the end user within the solution as well as integrate Social Media, news feeds and targeted advertising. Furthermore, it enables punters to follow all the on-pitch action via icons with overlays indicating the positional data of all the key match events. Best of all, it enables your clients to follow the course of matches with our brand new Ball Spotting Feature. The fully responsive HTML5 and CSS3 design of Betradar’s new WC2014 Live Match Centre allows firms to cover multiple devices with the same implementation. High flexibility through many configuration options. Thanks to its flexible design, Betradar’s new WC2014 Live Match Centre can be easily customised for all kinds of websites. This flexible product set-up with multiple integration options allows book-
makers an easy and fast integration of Betradar’s event powered live scores solution, giving clients exactly what they need. The new WC2014 Live Match Centre has three integration options. The all-in-one option is a turnkey solution to provide the latest event news in a fresh design for all multiple media platforms, including mobile devices. The product offers an innovative user interface which really focuses on what is important for the user; functionality and ease of use. The standalone solution allows bookmakers to pick and choose between the available components to suit their needs. This enables them to create their very own WC2014 Live Match Centre solution which will provide more value to your audience. Web widgets, such as the Live Match View, can also be used as single modules on a website. Bookmakers can choose from different sizes and display options and easily integrate the widgets of choice to suit needs. The firm said: “Betradar’s WC2014 Live Match Centre provides in-depth and graphically enhanced live content. It will enrich any sports offer with the latest breaking news, fixtures and results using slick visualisations. This specially packaged tool offers flexible design choices and multiple integration options, keeping sports bettors up to speed with all the exciting tournament action.”
Keeping an eye out for corruption FIFA has its own integrity body called EWS which will be working overtime during this year’s tournament, with the help of partner bookmakers. ne of the bodies that the betting industry will no doubt be hearing more of in the run up to the World Cup Tournament is FIFA’s Early Warning System (EWS). The organisation says that its task is to protect the integrity of sport and to minimise the negative impact of sports betting on the tournaments monitored. This involves EWS focusing on two key activities: monitoring and information. As a central aim, EWS is looking to protect football matches in all FIFA tournaments and competitions (FIFA World Cups including the men’s qualifying matches, FIFA Club World Cup, FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, etc.) by monitoring and analysing the complex, international sports betting market and through comprehensive reporting to FIFA. EWS also carries out match monitoring on behalf of third parties both within
and outside of football. The service within football is part of an integrated overall package that FIFA offers to any interested member associations, and which, along with the EWS monitoring programme, provides support through FIFA as part of its overall activity. The organisation’s head of international affairs Jacek Wojdyla explained: “We cooperate with licensed betting operators on- and offline all over the world (with main focus on European and Asian operators). We also work with other integrity bodies, ESSA is a good example. We have also relationships to other sports governing bodies and related integrity functions, such as with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).” Wojdyla said that if a bookmaker wanted to join with EWS then there was a range of data that EWS would want: “We are interested in information about irregular betting activities which might be an
indicator for match fixing. The information on a suspicious football event can contain the event being bet on, betting type, irregular odds movements (odds data), weight of betting, probable result, main region bets are coming from etc. “In case EWS detects unusual betting patterns or receives information from its cooperation partners, it checks the sportive background of the match and cross checks the odds movements on the international betting market. In case the in-depth analysis shows strong indicators for match manipulation, EWS reports the case to FIFA Security for further investigations. “At this stage, FIFA may interact with confederations, members associations, football clubs as well as with law enforcement authorities on the case. Based on evidence found, FIFA disciplinary can then sanction the involved players, referees and/or match officials.”
Ahead of this summer’s footballing carnival in Brazil, Arland has upgraded its popular gaming platform. eing at the forefront of providing software solutions to the sports betting industry with its renowned bookmaker platform, Arland plans to usher in a new era of technical excellence with its latest product. The Bookmaker6 gaming platform has been designed to bring online entertainment to a new level, combining sports and in-play betting with additional content, like casino games, virtual events, live dealers, social media and many more. Being a major player in the sports betting industry for 17 years and realising numerous international projects, Arland has used all of its expert knowledge to create an accessible user experience. The Bookmaker6 gaming platform provides a wealth of new features to give betting customers what they want in the most intuitive and versatile way possible. The firm said: “As the first of a new line of Bookmaker6 products, our online gaming platform will once more confirm Arland’s reputation as one of the prime innovators in the sports betting industry. We’re proud to set a new benchmark in online entertainment and will continue to push the envelope in the future.” The Bookmaker6 gaming platform will be available in two ‘flavours’: As a fully customisable, managed and licensed whitelabel solution or as a stand-alone platform for licensed operators. As an additional service, Arland also offers license bundles, which include consulting for getting sports betting and casino licenses in various jurisdictions. It added: “By sharing our extensive experience, we broaden our range of services to provide our partners with everything they need to establish, consolidate or expand their betting business.”
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BB113-p30-38-b2bEssential_Layout 1 29/01/2014 15:26 Page 4
BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
Essential Guide to ... Brazil 2014 ODDSLIFE
Brazil a first-rate second screen opportunity Oddslife founder & CEO Rasmus Sojmark discusses how bookmakers can claim more second screen real estate using social betting during the World Cup. he world is getting ready for the biggest sports event of all time. Billions of pounds will be staked on the competition with bookmakers once again braced for one of their most important months in four years. Recent research clearly indicates the big opportunities that lie within the second-screen viewing segment. In July 2012 the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau teamed up with broadcaster ESPN for a study zeroing in on second screen usage during the Euro 2012 football tournament. The study found 54 per cent of fans used another device while watching matches on TV, and that of those, 68 per cent were using the second device for ‘UEFA Euro 2012-related activity’. Of these people, 39 per cent visited social networking sites related to the match, 17 per cent visited re-
lated websites, 16 per cent placed bets, and 11 per cent used related football apps. 16 per cent of fans read tweets, while 10 per cent tweeted themselves. Basically, 84 per cent of second-screen users aren’t placing bets. Further research shows that laptops are still the preferred second screen viewing device followed by mobile and then tablets. This makes up for an interesting combination of laptop at home while watching the World Cup and mobile when with friends or in the pub, which is why a seamless integrated user experience across devices becomes a measure of success if you want to tap into as many second screeners as possible. Bookmakers have been used to optimising one or two selected channels to acquire ‘casual players’. However, advertising on TV and other media is expensive
Fully-managed betting solutions
A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF VIEWERS WILL BE ACCESSING THE INTERNET WHILE WATCHING THE WORLD CUP
and often sold out months in advance, as bookmakers find themselves competing for coverage with other high-spend sectors such as automotive, food, travel and retail. In addition, PR or branding stunts like so often seen by Paddy Power and other bookmakers during big events will be harder to execute, as FIFA has stringent policing and punishments to protect those expensive multimillion advertising sponsorships. To have a successful World Cup bookmakers ought to review alternative options that can connect with their social and mobile strategies and enhance their chance of acquiring a larger share of the second screen viewing audience. In order to help bookmakers get the most out of the World Cup, Oddslife has positioned itself as a supplier of social sports betting technology to the gambling and media industries. We’re already providing year-round social betting technolo-
gy to some big players in the international sports media with white label tournament-based platforms, such as MARCA.com, Bold.dk, Sport-FM.gr and Sportal.bg. Now we have used this social betting technology expertise to develop engaging solutions around this summer’s World Cup which bookmakers and media firms will be able to use to connect with new and existing customers. The great thing is that the software is not cannibalising on existing bookmaker revenues, rather it’s targeting the 84 per cent second-screen users not currently placing real money bets, but looking to engage in free qualitative content and rewarding entertainment. Next step will be to establish trust and brand recognition around the potential customer, and then convert him/her to a real money player. Can a business afford to overlook a market that size?
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porting Solutions has significantly extended the football coverage it offers its partners, giving the B2B software and data services division of the Sporting Index Group an unrivalled depth and breadth of markets. The award-winning supplier is now providing preevent and in-play pricing on over 4,000 football matches each month during 2014, as well as offering an extended range of player markets. Ronnie Whelan, business development director of Sporting Solutions, said:
“This dramatic increase in coverage gives Sporting Solutions a market-leading football product and we are looking forward to demonstrating it to both current and prospective partners at ICE next month. “It’s a huge year for bookmakers, with the World Cup certain to be the biggest betting event the world has ever seen, and now is the perfect time for sportsbooks to boost their football service.” Sporting Solutions is firmly established as the preeminent provider of trading services to the global sports
betting industry, covering the full betting lifecycle including event creation, prematch and in-play pricing, and resulting. All Sporting Solutions’ data services are available through a single point of integration to its groundbreaking cloud-based Connect Platform, which also delivers trading software tools on demand. A burgeoning list of partner operators includes Betfred, Sky Bet and William Hill. Sporting Index was Sporting Solutions’ first customer.
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
The number-one focus GTech’s head of betting Ludovico Calvi explains how his firm has approached this summer’s tournament. ow does a technology supplier prepare for the World Cup? As a technology supplier, our business direction is driven by the needs of our customers. We look ahead to all large sporting events such as the World Cup 12-18 months in advance, engaging with the operators early to give us time to design, develop and deliver a carefully considered, unique proposition. By the time most players begin to seriously think about the tournament, a large proportion of our work is done. Because we operate in a wide range of roles at GTech - from pure technology supplier, through to various levels of support and partnership - as the event approaches, the focus shifts from technology supply to operations, technology and marketing support.
Do you have any new features planned spe-
cially for the event? Every World Cup grows from a betting turnover perspective, so it is essential to ensure that a compelling, user-friendly offering is in place. At Brazil 2014, we will see the importance of a comprehensive, customised and dynamic in-play product. In order to manage the increasing number of in-play markets that players are coming to expect, we are working hard on our derivatives engine to automate the management of as much as possible - allowing traders to concentrate on what is actually happening in the match and the betting, rather than on mechanical data entry. What are the major challenges you will face? As a services and solutions provider to various operators, GTech’s main challenges will be to answer specific local needs and tight deadlines. The World Cup is the num-
ber-one focus for every operator during 2014, and GTech’s efforts will be dedicated to our operations and partners in Italy, Chile, Belgium, UK, Spain and Mexico - all of whom are represented in the finals, and all who have specific targets and demands for customised features in general, and for in-play specifically. Will this be the first major tournament for mobile betting? Mobile has been around for a few years
now, and many of our clients had mobile offerings during the World Cup in 2010. However, mobile has moved on a significantly since then. Initial mobile offerings showed huge growth around South Africa 2010 - but starting from a very low base. Now, operators are going in with a mature, popular product, and most will have sufficient flexibility and confidence to allow for World Cup special micro m-sites or applets. Brazil 2014 will be when mobile betting comes of age.
Super Soccer and Abelson Info’s Goalscorer Prices and Settlement system (GPS) offers a useful tool for all kinds of bookmakers. The bespoke nature of the product allows everyone to beneﬁt from this complete goalscorer solution, with packages tailored to meet your requirements. Delivering real, not scraped, prices for market creation the settlement system speeds up the resulting process, easing stafﬁng levels for clients. A Complete Goalscorer Market Solution Delivering Real not Scraped Odds Efﬁcient & Cost Effective Solution Pre-Match Goalscorers with Prices Resulting System using a live feed Real-Time Results Delivered for Quicker Settlement Designed for Integration with any Back-end Betting System Large labour savings while extending coverage levels All delivered via a single JSON data feed
Super Soccer: +44 (0) 121 666 4500 firstname.lastname@example.org Abelson Info: +44 (0) 208 996 9595 email@example.com
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BB113-p30-38-b2bEssential_Layout 1 29/01/2014 15:22 Page 6
BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
Essential Guide to ... Brazil 2014 FSB TECHNOLOGY
IOM POST OFFICE
Outsourcing can keep costs down
The power of direct mail
David McDowell, CEO of FSB Technology explains how a fully managed services sportsbook solution could save millions.
Lisa Duckworth, commercial director of the Isle of Man Post Office, explains that traditional routes to market are still important in this digital age.
There is no denying that sports betting is one of the most important products for any online gaming operator. More than 40 per cent of interactive gaming revenue comes from sport, it is widely acknowledged to be the most cost effective product to acquire new players, while they also have a better retention value. It is also, however, one of the most expensive and demanding products to operate. In-play betting has required operators to invest heavily in technology in order to manage live data feeds and real-time pricing models. Equally, more traders are needed to monitor new systems. Only the largest operators are able to make these investments, which leaves the rest of the industry struggling to keep up. Outsourcing a sports betting operation is the only viable solution for the majority of operators, and certainly for anyone wishing to enter the market. It can cost £3 to £4 million per year to run. That
includes the software platform, data feeds, traders, hosting facilities and systems administration but doesn’t even touch marketing and customer support. If you are handling anything less than £100m in betting stakes annually you are spending 40 to 50 per cent of your gross gaming revenues on your technology infrastructure up front. In these cases operators would be better off reducing their costs and moving to a revenue share model. At some point all industries need to modernise and become more efficient. In casino we have already seen this shift. Operators that used to run their own installed games software are now predominantly using products delivered from remote game servers that are hosted and continually upgraded by their chosen software supplier(s). Outsourcing casino allows operators to focus their efforts on customer acquisition, segmentation and retention instead of managing hosting facilities and technology teams. But, until recently, we have not seen
the same modernisation in sports betting. A fully-managed sports betting service needs to be carefully implemented, use modern technology combined with dedicated traders to deliver operational efficiency without sacrificing margin, and provide flexible marketing tools that can be used to differentiate the customer experience. The biggest rewards will come when operators are able to focus their efforts on brand and customer management strategies, rather than on managing hosting facilities, technology teams and traders. Fully managed sports betting services are already helping casino and poker operators, as well as major media companies, to offer a sports betting service without needing to invest millions up front. Sticking with a legacy platform is not a sensible strategy if you want to remain competitive and with only five months left until the tournament you would do well to research the alternatives before it is too late.”
SUPER SOCCER ODDSFEED
Major interest in goalscorer prices & settlement system
Super Soccer Oddsfeed & Abelson Info has found the perfect product in GPS. t has been a ground-breaking twelve months for Super Soccer Oddsfeed & Abelson Info’s combined Goalscorer Prices & Settlement System (GPS). The product, which provides a complete first/last/anytime goalscorer solution for a plethora of leagues across Europe, has been adopted by several new clients, who have been extolling the virtues of the expansive and labour saving system. Gala Coral is the latest client to inte-
grate GPS and already recognises the benefits it brings with its head of product & data management, Jason Saywell, commenting that the system is ‘an amazing product that will save us hours of manual work per week and provide us with extra coverage’. Saywell was sold on the idea after hearing how it could benefit the busy Coral trading floor from Abelson MD, Ed Abelson, at ICE last year. Super Soccer Oddsfeed, with its years of experience compiling goalscorer prices, provides the odds. The trusted and highly regarded Abelson Info provide real-time resulting with pre-match partial settlement available for many leagues. This allows clients to recycle voids and winnings back to their customers with minimal delay while also reducing the hours normally spent settling these markets and their derivatives. All the data is available via a JSON feed and is designed for easy integration into any back-end system. GPS can provide custom settlement data for each client, according to their individual rule-sets.
Super Soccer Oddsfeed’s Jeevan Jeyaratnam explained how the expanding European market is fuelling growth prospects: “We have noticed an increase in curiosity from European based firms. It seems that the younger European facing companies are now seeing interest in derivative markets - such as goalscorers - where traditionally this wasn’t the case. Companies are now realising a solution like ours can really boost turnover in what is a high margin area.” Simon Temple of Abelson Info suggested: “The scope, depth, accuracy and efficiency of the GPS system lends itself acutely well to the companies looking to streamline costs while increasing market share.” He added that this product isn’t just for the larger firms: “While coverage is fairly extensive we are able to offer bespoke packages to suit a range of budgets.” With the World Cup around the corner, Super Soccer Oddsfeed & Abelson are ready to move now and will be situated in or around the Racing Post café on the Tuesday of ICE.
As a business, the Isle of Man Post Office has many years’ of experience in traditional offline marketing. Direct mail has often been proclaimed by critics as a marketing medium which is in decline, yet it continues to be widely used and as an industry is worth some £14bn in the UK. With notable ROIs and statistics that show that 48 per cent of people who receive a direct mail piece in the UK act on it, it is hardly an industry in decline. Since entering the egaming industry some two years ago, the Isle of Man Post Office continues to build on its reputation in delivering traditional physical marketing campaigns with the latest mobile technologies. Our partnership with digital innovation experts Dev Clever enables the provision of innovative mobile solutions demonstrated through our unique mobile acquisition platform aimed at eGaming operators and affiliates. Our mobile product combines physical direct mail linked to a QR (Quick response) code or sms text with bespoke mobile content to attract players using mobile scratch cards and games. Once the player reaches the registration page via sms text or QR code from the printed direct mail material there is a data capture element which can either be entered or alternatively should they have a Facebook account, their name, email address and date of birth can be automatically populated saving time and hassle. As soon as the player has won the incentive from the game or scratch card they are then forwarded onto the operator without any integration required.
The Isle Of Man Post Office/Dev Clever initiative also has many advantages to others within the eGaming business cluster for the purposes of customer engagement, acquisition and retention. For example, in the context of sports betting which has been driving the boom in mobile betting and tipped to be a market worth over $50bn by 2015 presents many opportunities for the uptake of our service. If we look at this year’s World Cup in Brazil and while the time difference between the UK and Brazil may just be a few hours behind, it is fair to say that the battle for customers shall be on the mobile device during the evening games. Therefore delivering time critical reminder information in the form of the latest odds on a football match, and other betting offers, maybe an interesting application of using traditional direct mail campaigns with the introduction of our mobile scratch cards and games in the quest to use mobile and smartphones as a channel to attract more players for reactivation, activation and retention.. This platform enables egaming marketers the opportunity to communicate at a time when conversion and profitability shall be the key metrics for the year ahead.”
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
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“ ” US racing on BGT terminals BGT, the software provider behind the Self Service Betting Terminals on UK high streets has teamed up with XB Net, the rights holder of US horse and greyhound racing content. BGT CCO William Weir commented: “Delivering the XB Net service to our partners across Europe provides their customers with an opportunity to bet late into the night and compliments the late night football schedule with a race going off every 10 minutes.” yx
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Italian business already a virtual success
Steve Rogers, SVP virtual sports and mobile at Inspired Gaming, talks about how the company introduced its virtual product in Italy. hat challenges have you faced introducing the product into Italy? Given the heritage of sports betting in Italy, we knew that this product is well suited to Italians and that the adoption curve would be relatively short. Initial data has shown that players are understanding the concept and the advantages of Virtual Sports Betting immediately, with customers reporting ‘exceptional’ results already. Inspired supplies its Virtual Sports to over 30,000 venues in 33 countries and we’ve been the market leader for a decade, so we have a lot of experience in successfully launching Virtual Sports into new markets. When you are introducing Virtual Sports into an established sports betting market, such as Italy, then much of the infrastructure needed already exists and the players are familiar with the concept. In places such as China - where our Virtual Motor Racing and Virtual Football are available in lottery stores in certain provinces - there has been a degree of education as it’s a new lottery game concept and they are not as familiar with sports betting mechanisms.
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How does an operator configure the schedule to its own business? Using our Inspired Virtuals Management Console - ‘Virtuals Dashboard’ - operators can schedule events and control margins – giving them full control over the management of their Inspired Virtual Sports programme. An operator can choose to have a greater degree of control by making individual selections of event types, field sizes, track conditions etc. or can set the system to ‘random’ and the programme will be determined by the Inspired system based on some operator configurable predefined rules. So what else can you do with this dashboard? “Key Virtuals Dashboard functionality includes: • Choose the event from Inspired’s portfolio of 11 sports and 4 numbers games (note
that Virtual Numbers Games are not allowed in Italy) • Choose the event variant (flat, jump or sprint horse events, for example) • Choose the weather condition (sunny, dull, night) • Choose the field size • Select the bet markets • Set your profit margins • Select your event duration (as often as every 2 minutes) • Create your daily schedule templates • Set to manual play or auto play mode • Replicate the same schedule for online and mobile, or keep them different The schedule of events and the associated profit margins can be changed on a regular basis in response to betting patterns and profitability. Inspired provides training on all aspects of using the Virtuals Dashboard to enable an operator to be as self-sufficient as they wish in their management of the event schedule.
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
David Pluck chooses A Bet A etting software developer A Bet A Technology has signed a deal with independent bookmakers David Pluck Limited. The specialist provider, which services betting operators throughout the UK and Ireland, will replace Openbet as the operator’s exclusive supplier of EPOS. David Pluck, which began trading in Widnes, Cheshire in 1980, is now one of the largest independent bookmaking chains in the north west of England and will expand its retail estate to 40 shops this year. The Birkenhead-based firm ran an eightweek trial of A Bet A’s retail EPOS system as it sought a replacement for OpenBet’s S-POS. A Bet A’s comprehensive solution provides David Pluck with full shop EPOS and real-time HQ management of event content and liability management, integrated with the 2db screen display system.
The roll-out will continue throughout 2014 as existing S-POS contracts terminate. A Bet A sales director Debbie Hardman said: “We’re thrilled to have partnered with such a well-established and well-respected operator like David Pluck after a competitive tender process. Our customer’s benefit from market-leading technology and platforms and we look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship with Frank and his team.” Frank Seymour, managing director at David Pluck, added: “Having been in the market for a new supplier, we were particularly impressed with A Bet A’s innovative and responsive operations. As an expanding company it made perfect commercial sense to work with this forwarding-thinking brand and we’re excited about how their technology and expertise will help grow our business.”
DATA More results on SIS website IS Betting customers can now access comprehensive 49’s and SIS+ virtual results information via the SIS website. The site already carries a complete horse racing and greyhound racing results and fixtures service to support customers’ inshop services. Helen Scott, head of customer services at SIS Betting, said: “This is the latest phase in a rollout of information services over the last 12-18 months. It means that during the course of a busy day in a betting shop or a trading room, customers can easily and quickly check out information. It gives them an instant way of checking schedules or fixtures and means our customers can offer further help to their own clients.”
EVENT Networking sponsor etConstruct has become the latest high-profile business to sponsor ‘London Baby’, the networking party on Tuesday 4 February at the Folly Bar near Monument. Suren Khachatryan, chief executive of BetConstruct, said: “The organisers have spent several months planning London Baby to ensure it is the best possible event for people to socialise and network and we’re delighted to be part of it as official sponsors. We are looking forward to ICE. We have so much to offer operators wherever they are in the world and look forward to seeing everyone at London Baby once the first day comes to a close.”
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
Senejeux secures speedy LONASE with content
commented: “Darts is enjoying increasing popularity and since last year, it’s an essential component of our betting solutions portfolio. As the PDC Official Data Partner, we are proud to welcome Phil Taylor at our stand and we are happy to feature this event for our clients.” bb113-b2bretail-PhilTaylor.jpg
he Sénégal National Lottery (LONASE) has continued its modernisation campaign by offering customers new betting opportunities with the introduction of fixed-odds 3D HDTV Virtual Horse Racing in all pari-mutuel urban betting outlets across the country. LONASE regulates, operates and manages all forms of games of chance in the country, and is considered the leading lottery organisation among French-speaking West African National Lotteries. The government body recently signed a five-year exclusivity agreement with Dakar-based Senejeuxto supply and operate virtual games including horse racing, greyhound racing and football. The agreement covers all channels including retail, online and mobile forms of virtual games. In November, LONASE and Senejeux jointly formed integrated teams of marketing and
technical specialists to execute a deployment plan for Virtual Horse Racing in all 35 existing shops throughout the country, with installations being completed in 6-weeks. Shops were fitted with brand new 43” Plasma TV screens, and touch screen electronic point of sale terminals equipped with printers and bar code scanners behind the counter. “During installations across the entire LONASE estate, the reactions from the shop customers have been amazing and very positive with customers wanting to place bets immediately even though we were a couple of weeks away from starting live operations,” said Balla Gadiaga, director of operations for Senejuex. “We feel that Virtual Horse Racing is the perfect complimentary game to go along with the existing live horse PMU activities operated by LONASE, and now that we are live it is evident that addi-
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tional revenues are being increased especially during hours when live horse racing from France is not available.” The introduction of the virtual games technology brings a new and innovative way for LONASE to increase its revenue, while at the same time keeping customers entertained with fun, fast games and immediate results. The high-frequency, random number generated Virtual Horse Racing system offers races every 5-minutes and is capable of generating betting revenue on a continuous 24/7 basis. The game is marketed with the byline ‘RAK TAK’ which means ‘very fast’ in the local Wolof dialect. In close collaboration with LONASE over the course of their 5-year deal, SENEJEUX plans to open 250 Gaming Centres across the country creating opportunities for over 1,250 jobs.
CONTENT HD racing in Ireland orse Racing Ireland (HRI) and the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) have announced the introduction of a new High Definition (HD) broadcast service for all Irish Racecourses which will pro-
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Tidy tea solution istrotea has introduced the innovative TeaPod - a single use, high-tech tea diffuser with a unique filtration system that produces a richly flavoured and fragrant cup of tea. Unlike a tea bag, the TeaPod requires no squeezing or wringing to extract the flavour - so no more burnt fingers. Its innovative design also eliminates the need for a teaspoon as it can be used to stir the tea. Plus, it does not drip tea when you remove it from the cup. The TeaPod is made in Germany from triple laminate food grade foil that remains stable up to 121 degrees and is available in 12 different blends.
Vaping altenative to cigarettes s e-cigarettes increase in popularity, the number of smokers swapping their habits to ‘vaping’ is on the rise. As an alternative to cigarettes, the e-cig is not covered by the smoking ban, allowing customers to use their e-cigs while remaining in the betting shop. MultiCIG has launched its Trial Kit with an RRP £17.99 which contains a rechargeable battery, three e-cig golden tobacco cartridges (equivalent to around 90 traditional cigarettes) and a USB charger. MultiCIG has been designed to be the highest quality e-cigarette in the UK, without being the most expensive on the market.
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vide significantly enhanced pictures both for racecourse stewards and for the viewing public on and off-course.Following European tender, HRI and AIR awarded a fiveyear contract for the production of the horseracing pictures to Irish Racing Integrity Services Ltd (IRIS), a joint venture between O’Doherty’s Audio Video Production Ltd and TVM. Under this contract, HD pictures were broadcast for the first time at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day and they will now be rolled out to all 26 racecourses.
Power visit to ICE
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etradar is offering visitors to ICE a highlight in the shape of 16-time darts World Champion Phil “The Power” Taylor, who will visit their stand on 4 February, and play a match against the winner of Betradar’s clients’ darts challenge from 3:30 to 4:30pm. After the darts challenge, Betradar will provide the chance to get autographs. Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl
B Photographs courtesy of Coral Racing & Chisholm Bookmakers
International focus etting display developer 2DB believes it has the track record for all comers at this week’s ICE thanks to its experience in international markets. While 2DB has a core of UK customers, such as Betfred and the Bookmakers Technology Consortium, the firm has several international customers. Its Genus display systems are used by the likes of the Israel Sports Betting Board, Codere, Bwin and Sportech in several regions of Spain, Holland, Israel, Mexico and parts of Central and South America. Stan James also uses 2DB’s systems in various countries, such as South Africa, Venezuela, Russia and Northern Cyprus, in addition to its UK operation.
BB113-p40-43-b2bRetail_Layout 1 29/01/2014 11:32 Page 4
BettingBusinessInteractive â€˘ FEBRUARY 2014
Betting system for Veros
Bet A Technology has agreed to provide a multi-channel bet management system for virtual betting specialists Veros Digital. The start up has a series of products in its portfolio, including a penalty shoot-out game and a football product called Grid Goal, as well as boxing, keno, roulette, and a new bingo game Word Out. Veros chief executive Jonathan Mills said: â€œWe looked far and wide to see who we would be best to partner with and decided A Bet A had both the technology and knowhow we sought. Their bet management is not only efficient and robust it, also works effectively across all the channels we are looking to make our products available in.â€?
Top BIDS RG Systemsâ€™ primary product at ICE 2014 is BIDS5; a multicast / multi-screen system operated from a central location. Earlier versions of this system are operated by Paddy Power and Coral. BIDS5 went live with the New Zealand Racing Board two years ago. The combined number of screens managed by the BIDS system across these estates is in excess of 40,000 every day. MRG Systemsâ€™ Ian Hunter said: â€œAdopting BIDS5 provides customers with new capabilities to design and implement their own templates. This provides staff with greater flexibility to generate marketing cam-
paigns and react to emerging events more rapidly than ever before. And that results in a measurable uplift in revenues.â€?
EVENTS Free styling footballers promotion GT will have reigning World Freestyle Football Champion Andrew Henderson from Cornwall on its stand at ICE to promote the launch of the firmâ€™s Tablet solutions, which are anticipated to be on trial across the UK before the World Cup. Henderson has won the UK Championship four years in a row and together with Danny McGhee, a founding member of Global Freestyle, they will be performing a 15 minute show on the hour, every hour from 11 until 5 on Tuesday and Wednesday and from 11 until 2 on Thursday.
William Hill takes more Turf William Hill, the UKâ€™s largest bookmaker, has agreed an exclusive deal for Turf TV to provide US racing coverage to its 2,400 betting shops. The soon to be delivered service will include top class US racing from the historic courses of Gulfstream Park (Miami), Pimlico (Baltimore) and Laurel Park (Maryland) on a regular basis. Adrian Ford, managing director of Turf TV parent company AMRAC, announced: â€œWilliam Hill will shortly be introducing our new service and Turf TV will become William Hillâ€™s exclusive supplier of US rac-
ing from February 2014. This means that William Hill betting shop customers will be able to enjoy high-quality, competitive US racing packaged specifically for a UK market throughout the evening, every night of the week.â€? William Hill director of retail, UK and International, James Henderson, said: â€œTurf TV worked hard to win our business and we are happy to take more content from them. The presentation of American racing on Turf TV is high quality and our customers will find plenty of great racing to enjoy, particularly through the winter.â€?
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
“” We believe we have a very strong partner and are excited about the prospects of developing a gaming business in the untapped Indian market.
David Galan CEO, Picklive
Fantasy sports and social gaming firm Picklive has entered into an investment deal and joint venture with Indianbased lottery distributor and operator, the Sugal & Damani Group to launch daily fantasy cricket games for real money prizes in the lucrative Indian market.
‘We can’t do well unless our partners do well’ Suren Khachatryan is CEO of sports betting and gaming provider BetConstruct, which supplies more than 40 global gaming brands across Europe, Asia and Africa. Here he explains the firm’s plans for ICE.
hat will you be showcasing at ICE 2014? Because we’ll be showing a large range of products, we have taken great care to design the most efficient and easy to navigate stand for this year’s show. Each product, including sportsbook, live casino, skill games, casino, poker, data and statistics, and betting shop, will be on display in a dedicated area with a developer and a sales manager on hand to answer any technical or commercial queries. In one area, for example, we will have a mini Live Casino studio complete with a dealer ready for demo action so, when delegates come to the stand, they can experience the Live Casino for real. BetConstruct’s Live Casino is a complete out-of-the-box solution. However, we offer operators true flexibility with every aspect open to customisation to their wants and needs. If a casino brand, for instance, wants to have their own live studio, we can provide them with all the software, tools and train their personnel to operate it. All our products offer an incredible value for money - there are no minimum monthly fees or hidden costs. We can’t do well unless our partners do well.
What kind of announcements can we expect at the show? We plan to announce a number of new products and partner sign-ups but I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait and see. It’s all under wraps for now. All I can say is that the last few years have been phenomenal and you can expect even bigger and better things from us in 2014. Tell us more about the sportsbook and how clients can
benefit from it? We are particularly proud of our cutting-edge sportsbook platform, which currently covers more than 14,000 live matches and more than 50 sports per month and is capable to deliver well beyond that. It is available on any mobile and tablet device and comes complete with a state-of-theart backend, affiliate and agent systems, content, marketing and risk management tools, all supported by a team of more than 500 developers, traders and other specialists. Our partners are able to choose from various user interfaces and we’re also very flexible when it comes to adapting to their existing website design. Along with the many choices we provide, our partners also have access to all the tools they require to build and run a successful betting operation. To ensure uninterrupted service, the partner managers are available 24/7 via live chat or phone, providing partners with direct access to the team leads, the trading floor and developers. If any of the partners has little or no sportsbook knowledge, our experts can handle everything on their behalf. What makes you stand out from other suppliers? We are a one-stop-shop for all gaming and sports betting solutions and we offer the best quality at extremely affordable prices. We are flexible, we listen to our partners and are always available to address their requirements. Because our technology and solutions are very responsive and adaptable, and our team includes some of the industry’s leading software developers, traders, and support specialists, we move quicker than anyone else.
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
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ISO mark for Sportradar portradar has announced that its customer support fulfils the ambitious international requirements of ISO norm 9001. This has been certified by TÜV Thuringia. The audit proved that the Quality Management System (QMS) of Sportradar’s Customer Support and all its processes match the ISO norm 9001. Located in one of Sportradar’s main production offices in Gera (Thuringia, Germany), the customer support is the first point of contact for all Sportradar clients. “This certification underlines the great efforts we put into quality management,” said Mark Mittasch, Sportradar’s managing director operations. “It also demonstrates our client focus and our willingness to constantly invest and improve processes which ensure good services.”
Ganabet turns to SBTech urnkey sports betting solutions developer SBTech has signed an exclusive deal with Mexican land-based bookmaker Operadora General de Entretenimiento SA de CV which operates Ganabet.mx. Licensed and regulated in Mexico, Ganabet.mx will replace its entire legacy sport system with SBTech’s powerful turnkey platform. The new partnership will see SBTech provide Ganabet.mx full solution including its sports and live betting product, premium casino and live games, advanced mobile platform and localised payment methods for the Mexican market. SBTech CEO Itai Zak said: “This deal marks an important step for SBTech into the Mexican market. We are delighted to have Ganabet.mx, which is one of the leading bookmakers in Mexico, as our exclusive partner for the regulated online Mexican market and we are confident that our proven track record in providing advanced sports betting and turnkey gaming solutions in various regulated jurisdictions will help Ganabet offer a unique advanced sports betting prod-
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uct to their players and expand their business quickly and smoothly.” The new deal will see SBTech providing Ganabet with HTML5-based mobile betting platform which is fully compatible with all mobile devices, including leading smartphones, tablets, iPhones/iPads and Android devices, and gives users quick and easy access to over 10,000 monthly live events and premium mobile casino content as well as the ability to deposit and track transactions with localised payment methods for the Mexican market. Cris Matus, operations manager at Ganabet, commented: “As a veteran bookmaker we know exactly what it takes to run a successful sportsbook betting operation at the regulated Mexican market and SBTech’s solution is one of the best in the industry today. SBTech has shown they are fully experienced and knowledgeable in their ability to help existing bookmakers take their offering to the next level, and their expertise will allow us to grow our business in the regulated Mexican markets as well as in other South American markets.”
Perform Group begins search for CFO DAVID SURTEES
ports betting data services and media content provider Perform Group has announced the departure of its chief financial officer David Surtees, who stepped down from his senior management role on 3 January 2014. Perform has alerted executive search specialists to seek a replacement for Surtees, who leaves after six years’ service, having been a key founding member of the organisation. Perform chairman Paul Walker said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank David Surtees for his significant contribution over the last six years. We wish him well for the future.”
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PA takes on Conference data he Press Association (PA) has been named the official and exclusive supplier of data for the Football Conference. The agreement will run until the end of the 2015/16 season; and will see PA collect and deliver high level data from every Skrill Conference Premier game, including information on matches in the Skrill North and South divisions. Margaret HicksClarke, PA’s head of operations, said: “Our partnership will further enhance the profile of the Football Conference within the media sector of grass roots football, while also delivering a high level data service to the market place through standalone statistics, plus PA’s industry leading graphics and datatorials.”
AFFILIATE Freebets.com launches app ffiliate Freebets.com has released its first app, available to download from the Apple iTunes store, as the site ups its drive and presence in the mobile sector. Currently, the app lists free bet offers from an initial 12 bookmakers and 12 online casinos as well as no-deposit offers. Freebets.com owner David Archer said: “We’re extremely excited about the launch of our new app which will ensure punters have great value at their finger-tips. As any company in the gaming space knows, mobile is set for a huge year. It’s been a long process getting the final product ready for market but the whole team is delighted with the end version.”
betting experience by providing on-themove punters with a hassle-free means to get best value on every bet. The App allows users to compare best prices from seven bookmakers, and place bets with them all without having to leave the App. The bookies included are Bet365, Betfair, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Sky Bet, and William Hill, with plans to add others in the future. Oddschecker’s head of marketing Andy Lulham said: “At Oddschecker we strive for speed, simplicity and value, and this App ticks every box. I genuinely cannot think of a reason why punters would choose any other way of getting their bets on.”
MARKETING Cantor Gaming rebrands to CG Technology evada sports betting operator and technology supplier Cantor Gaming has re-branded to CG Technology. The rebrand is reported to be part of the company’s strategy for a potential future public offering. The re-brand was strategically undertaken with the company’s future plans and interests at hand. CG Technology had
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
served as a subsidiary technology brand of Cantor Gaming, offering gaming services to Cantor Gaming and clients via new technology verticals. CG Technologies has operated betting and gaming services since June 2009, the re-brand will deliver a convergence of all Cantor Gaming products under the CG Technology brand.
of 15 investors, including Blandford, contributed varying amounts with adviser Committed Capital hired to manage the process. Other high profile FSB shareholders include Betfair co-founder Andrew Black, Ladbrokes chief executive Richard Glynn and David O’Reilly, chairman of GameAccount Network. :
eal-time sportsbook platform provider FSB Technology (UK) Ltd has announced the successful completion a £2.6m funding round. The investment was led by Mark Blandford, the founder of Sportingbet and one of the gaming industry’s most respected investors. This is the third funding round for the company since launching in 2008. The new capital will allowit to further invest in its cuttingedge sports-betting platform, as well as operate the platform as a managed service. A total ANDREW BLACK, ONE OF THE INVESTORS IN FSB
Digitote exhibiting in UK again
£2.6m investment in FSB
New sport from Inspired nspired will be presenting its 10th Virtual Sport for land-based, online and mobile betting and lottery, and showing its Virtual Sports Bet Management System (BMS) called BetBOX. The high-frequency Virtual Sports and Numbers Games are proven to add 10-15 per cent to sportsbook revenues and the BetBOX system allows any betting, gaming or lottery operator to add a schedule of 24/7 Inspired Virtual Sports and Numbers games to their product range. Inspired’s Virtual Sports are already live in over 30,000 venues around the world, including 5,000 recent installations in Italy with five major Concessionaires including SNAI, Sisal, Lottomatica, Cogetech and Eurobet.
fter being a regular presence at the previous Betting Show exhibition in Birmingham, Digitote is exhibiting at ICE for the first time in 2014. The Digitote Group is a consortium of independent IT companies that offer tailor-made software solutions and product innovations. Digitote founder and CEO Guenter Boyks commented: “After visiting ICE last year it was very clear that this is the place to exhibit for Digtote. The sportsbook is a key part of gambling entertainment and with more and more Live Betting and mobile devices on offer, we welcome the integration of betting to this one big show. With over 25 years of providing a service to the betting industry and with customers across Europe, the company has noticed some significant changes. In today’s market place content is key along with mobile devices and regulation compliance as the end user wants entertainment, not just odds.
Digitote provides a bookmaker with a system that caters for all these needs. At the very core of the product is the Xturf Server System that includes the shop software, internet, mobile, self service machines and special hospitality capture and recognition systems. It also provides a customer wallet for cross-platform betting and is open for the easy integration of 3rd Party products. Digitote has teamed up with Sportradar to provide content and will soon be getting the Betradar GOLD Partner certification, that allows customers to get easy access to all the products on offer. A vast wealth of information on statistics, live scores, live match information as well as the odds for pre match and live betting is available to the end user. Digitote has also successfully integrated with Net Entertainment, Boss Media, Microgaming, Perform Group, PA Sports, SIS and others. In addition, Digitote works with its hosting partner Manx Telecom to offer turnkey solutions to the bookmaker.
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
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EveryMatrix has added live dealer games from Ezugi to its CasinoEngine solution, joining other products from NetEnt, Microgaming, Evolution, Betgames and XPRO Gaming. In addition to traditional live dealer games such as BlackJack, Roulette and Baccarat, Ezugi has also developed an innovative live lottery product.
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Pulling out all the stops
Neill Whyte, head of product channels at Microgaming, explains how the firm has pulled out all the stops to ensure it’s a memorable ICE. firstname.lastname@example.org www.microgaming.com
Microgaming’s stand, our largest to date, will be full of mobiles, tablets, land-based machines and even a giant iTab to showcase our breadth of content and to highlight our cross-platform capability. This year we’re taking it one step further and we’ll be demoing our content in some new-fangled and never-seen-before ways. We’re providing you with the opportunity to step into the future. ICE provides the perfect occasion for us to showcase our latest offering and recent enhancements to our products. Our Casino, Poker, Bingo, Live Dealer and Quickfire, powered by Microgaming, offerings will all be showcased. Furthermore, large screens on the stand will display and exclusively preview our up-and-coming branded content games due for launch in the summer, the much anticipated Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park online slots. Next door to the stand is the legendary Mi-
crogaming Bar which is the perfect place to grab a drink or have a meeting. However, we haven’t just built a bar; we’ve created an experience, and it’s undoubtedly the place to be during the show! The bar features a walk-through gallery filled with famous props; you thought last year’s Bat-Pod was good? Well you ain’t seen nothing yet! We’re talking Batman’s signature costume worn in the making of The Dark Knight Rises film, the endoskeleton from the Terminator 2 movie and an original Playboy bunny suite. Also immersed within the gallery are handmade props from our proprietary titles such as Thor’s infamous hammer from Thunderstruck II and the door knocker from Immortal Romance. A museum style-setting and fitting back-ground music will make the Bar experience an unforgettable one. Last but certainly not least, to coincide with the launch of Avalon II: The Quest For The Grail, the ExCeL will be home to a custom-built prop where visitors can attempt to
pull the sword from the stone. Those exhibitors that are victorious over the three day event will win a prize worthy of a king. 12 weeks to make, the Avalon II prop celebrates the masterpiece that we have created in the online slot. Sequel to one of Microgaming’s most successful proprietary titles, the Avalon brand has a huge, loyal fan base and anticipation for its release has been building for some months now. Avalon II takes the brand to a whole new level and we’re incredibly excited about it going live on the second day of ICE 2014. Following on from our aggressive mobile strategy in 2013, we are continuing our rapid rollout of HTML5 games this year. However, it’s not just about quantity, the quality is also paramount, and we aim to deliver the highest calibre of content to mobile players. Centre Court and Isis are both prime examples of this and we have no doubt that they will be as popular on the HTML5 platform as they have been in casino.”
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IGT presents its interactive portfolio
Yggdrasil meets Vera&John ull-service games provider Yggdrasil Gaming has signed a licensing agreement with Vera&John to supply the online casino with its entire product portfolio as well as a full suite of localised games targeted at emerging Asian markets. Yggdrasil Gaming will provide Vera&John with its full suite of 23 games as well as its expanding roadmap of new offerings. Fredrik Elmqvist, chief executive of Yggdrasil Gaming, said: “We are delighted to be bringing Vera&John on board as licensing partners. Like us, they are a rapidly growing, agile business and together we make a great team.”
Twin Spin on hand layers can now enjoy Net Entertainment’s old-style Vegas online slot, Twin Spin, on-the-go after the title has been added to the Touch portfolio. The game brings together classic Las Vegas excitement with new-age videoslot technology. There are 243 ways to win and no bet lines as music transports players back to a time of more traditional slot machines with an innovative dimension. “The popularity of mobile and tablet gaming continues to grow and we’re really pleased to announce that Twin Spin is being added to our burgeoning Touch portfolio,” commented Simon Hammon, chief product officer of Net Entertainment.
lobal gaming entertainment giant IGT plans to take ICE Totally Gaming by storm with an portfolio of captivating crossplatform content and advanced systems solutions. Alongside all its land-based catalogue, IGT has a large interactive portfolio on show. This includes its IGT rgs (remote game server) which provides premium content from the casino floor to online and mobile. A one-time, simple integration enables instant access to over 100 of the world’s top-performing slot and table games. Alongside IGT developed slots, such as the new Wild West themed Western Belles and the Greek mythology-styled Golden Goddess, there are several new licensed titles on show. Battleship is IGT’s latest online and mobile release and provides an
epic voyage through the high seas based on Hasbro’s timeless strategy game. It builds on a fantastic library of cross-platform content that includes recent licensed hits based on other popular Hasbro brands, Monopoly Dream Life and Transformers Battle for Cybertron. Social gaming is also coming to ICE with IGT’s DoubleDown Casino. More than 6m people worldwide play on DoubleDown Casino every month. Available on Facebook and for mobile devices, DoubleDown Casino offers authentic Vegas style games, including top-performing landbased games, like Cleopatra, Wolf Run and Monopoly Plus. IGT’s DoubleDown Casino Partner Program helps land-based casinos tap in to the powerful world of social gaming.
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Magical return from NYX YX Gaming Group has developed a follow up to one of its most popular games. Merlin’s Magic Respins has been designed to follow in the footsteps of the successful Merlin’s Millions and features the same wizard inside his observatory tower, this time with a new magic ‘Respin’
Busuttil joins Bit8 adine Busuttil has joined gaming software specialist Bit 8 as the firm’s new head of sales. Busuttil has many years of experience working in the igaming industry, most notably joining Net Entertainment Malta Limited in August 2007 as first sales nanager to work from the Malta Office. Busuttil joined Bit8 last month and her role and responsibilities are to build the company salesforce, and push and promote the Bit8 platform throughout European markets. Having spent years at Net Entertainment pushing its high standard games, she is now ‘extremely eager to continue promoting another excellent product, namely further introducing the Bit8 product platform’ to as many gaming companies as possible. Busuttil said she shares the Bit8 vision and truly believes that the product has all it takes to be the no 1 platform provider in the industry. Having strong faith in the company’s industry knowledge and IT expertise, she is confident this platform will help all operators maximise their player lifetime value.
feature. Any full stack of ‘Wilds’ appearing will be held and the rest of the reels respun for a free chance at scoring extra prizes. NYX said that the true power of this feature can be experienced when additional stacks of Wilds appear during respins, as each new full stack of Wilds awards additional respins with all
stacked Wilds held for the duration of the feature. The powerful multi-level Super Bet feature (exclusive to NextGen Gaming) that made Merlin’s Millions so engaging is also back. Players can adjust their wager to increase the amount of free respins they will win, allowing players to customise gameplay. At the maximum
SuperBet level, players will win 5 free respins with every full Wild stack appearing. NYX commented: “Merlin’s Magic Respins gives players more of what they love. Win more free games, more often, with Wild Stacks appearing on all 5 reels during free games. The magical mayhem is more fast and furious than ever before!”
Concept goes undercover
the-art live sports betting, casino and bingo services for over a decade. iSoftBet sales manager Luci Apostolou said the company’s newest partnership represents an incredible opportunity for iSoftBet.
oncept Gaming is to launch a set of eight newly developed HTML5 games for use across all major mobile and desktop operating systems and some brand new ‘Undercover’ games for this year’s World Cup 2014. The new games complement the substantial portfolio of Mini Games and Full Sized games from Concept Gaming, which are delivered via a simple API integration of the Concept Gaming Pulse Platform. Concept’s Jim Preedy said: “This year at ICE we are keeping some of our 2014 Football World Cup content ‘undercover’, demonstrating only to people that really show a clear interest in working with us.”
C Olympian deal for Play’n GO
CRM New Achievements from Quickfire
Scommettendo gets iSoftBet talian sports betting giant Scommettendo.it has inked an agreement with iSoftBet to bring regulated content from the online game software provider to its online casino platform. All of iSoftBet’s regulated casino games will soon be making their way to the Scommettendo platform, ranging from iSoftBet’s premier original and branded slot machines all the way through to deluxe video poker games and roulette tables. Scommettendo has proven to be a key player in the Italian market, and has been providing players with state-of-
lympian Group has integrated a full suite of slots and table games powered by Swedish games developer Play’n GO into its already comprehensive turnkey gaming solution. The new games, which include the brand new Energooz, join hundreds of Microgaming Quickfire casino games already on the company’s platform. There is also a poker room on the Instadeal speed poker network and a TAIN-powered sportsbook that takes bets on over 4000 live in-game betting events every month. “We built our exclusive system in a way that we can easily integrate igaming products from various suppliers,” explained Olympian Group CEO Peter Karroll.
uickfire, powered by Microgaming, is unveiling an innovative player Achievements feature. The system is live with BETAT Casino using a selection of Quickfire’s achievement-structured slot games. Quickfire’s new Achievements feature allows players to collect badges and trophies for set accomplishments. Players can also attain monetary rewards and bonuses for achieving gameplay events. Ranking and leadership tools can also be utilised by operators to bring an element of competition to game activity. Igor Samardziski, head of BETAT Casino, explained: “We have some fantastic promotional prizes up for grabs to reward those who achieve great things; Quickfire Achievements is a real game changer and we’re thrilled to be the first to launch it!”
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
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More conference sponsorship Digital payment company Skrill has agreed to become the official payments sponsor of the 2014 ICE Conferences programme which runs alongside ICE Totally Gaming. The sponsorship covers eight conference streams and provides Skrill with high level targeted exposure.
For the fifth time since 2007, MECN has updated and expanded its benchmark study of the global lottery industry. The study covers information on lottery-specific industry benchmarks.
Post Offices helps fraud detection product NCOA have the potential to be a kink in the fraud detection procedures, but CallCredit is looking to straighten that out.
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allcredit Software’s Analytics & Fraud Division has launched its latest product development resulting from a strategic relationship with Royal Mail. The company has developed a real time anti-fraud solution using Royal Mail’s National Change of Address (NCOA) Alert service. NCOA Alert will be available to Callcredit’s customers and will initially form an integral part of its CallValidate product, the Identity Verification and Fraud Prevention Solution, enabling customers to include daily updates of Royal Mail’s postal redirection information within their fraud prevention strategy. CallValidate boasts a high level of identity verification, payment verification and fraud prevention checks in a single, configurable decision engine. It now contains nine individual core modules, each containing an extensive menu of highly configurable services. CallValidate provides complete flexibility to deliver any combination of checks and can be utilised multiple times during customer enrolment or management to deliver optimal fraud prevention strategies. The service provides users with a solution that is simple to implement, delivering decision capability often associated with more complex decision engine technology without the high cost or complexity of implementation. NCOA Alert is the latest service to be added to the Fraud Module which offers
twenty five separate anti-fraud services delivering approximately a hundred configurable fraud warnings. This latest development follows an enviable list of new identity and fraud products developed by Callcredit that can all be accessed through CallValidate’s single configurable interface for web, overnight batch or integrated API. Recent developments include CallValidate3D, a highly flexible Knowledge Based Authentication solution; Bank Account Plus - the only payment validation solution able to return 100 per cent confident match to non-consented bank accounts; Income Verification - ability to spot overstated income declarations; Ownership Fraud Alert (OFA) used to identify fraudulent use of bank accounts and cards by revealing the true owner’s identity and address. John Cannon, head of ID & fraud product strategy for Callcredit, commented: “I’m delighted we have been able to work with Royal Mail to add their market leading NCOA Alert service to our ID & Fraud product suite. The additional of NCOA Alert will provide additional important anti-fraud capability that is a vital link between the on-line electronic verification process and the off-line documentary identity verification process.” Andrea Martin, managing director of data services at Royal Mail, said: “NCOA Alert works hand-in-hand with existing fraud screening systems to provide an extra layer of defence to help businesses
to protect consumers from identity theft and fraud without compromising their privacy. We are delighted that Callcredit is using NCOA Alert to tackle fraud as effectively as possible.” Cannon added: “We have a highly motivated ID & Fraud team at Callcredit with a clear strategic vision, we have a number of further exciting developments planned for release over the coming months which will ensure that Callcredit remain the market leader for identity and antifraud solutions.”
BB113-p52-54-b2bBackOffice_Layout 1 29/01/2014 10:39 Page 2 Edward Menmuir
BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014 Editor: Andrew McCarron Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0) 1457 867 683 Managing editor: Ken Scott Email: email@example.com Tel: +44 (0) 1273 699 900
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CHARITY Charity walk preparation for ICE ark Smith, managing director of gaming machine components manufacturer Gamesman, got into training for February’s ICE with a 10 mile walk from Selhurst Park to Stamford Bridge. The trek helped to raise over £20,000 for The Royal Marsden Hospital in memory of a former school mate Dominic King who died from Leukaemia in 1987 at the age of 15. Smith was one of 26 intrepid walkers, a troupe which included his 9-year old son Daniel and Gamesman sales manager Martin Rigby, who said: “The grand total from all of the walkers is now in excess of £20,000, which is a magnificent achievement.”
M Bulgarian approval for eCOGRA he independent online gambling testing and monitoring company eCOGRA has been accredited by the Bulgarian State Gambling Commission (SGC) as an acceptable testing laboratory for aspiring online casino, sports betting and poker operators looking to enter the Bulgarian market. Tex Rees, a director of the UK-based company, said: “Our application followed interest expressed by some of the industry’s leading software suppliers and operators who are clients of eCOGRA and are now expressing interest in obtaining a Bulgarian licence. This followed the change by the Bulgarian government to a tax based on gross gaming revenue, and strict but more practical technical and other operating requirements.”
MARK AND DANIEL SMITH AT STAMFORD BRIDGE
Opinions expressed in this publication should not be regarded as the official view of GB Media Corporation Ltd, except where stated. Views, opinions and recommendations contained in this publication are put forward for consideration only. No action should be taken in reliance upon any such views, opinions or recommendations. Neither GB Media Corporation Ltd nor contributors accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person howsoever caused or arising as a result of or in consequence of action taken or refrained from in realiance on the contents of this publication.
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Providing a centralised overview eavus Gaming (ICE stand S13-110) is a provider of turnkey gaming solutions, providing premium casino and sports betting solutions for real money and virtual environments and social environments based on virtual economy. Designed to suit the needs of all gaming operators, Seavus Gaming Platform enables a centralised overview and complete management of day-to-day gaming operations. The built-in rule engine gives operators the flexibility to adjust the platform on the fly according to their business rules and keep up with the everychanging gaming industry. The platform’s cutting edge architecture makes it fully flexible and scalable enabling easy integration of various gaming products, including: casino, sportbook, poker, bingo, etc. The Seavus Gaming Platform will help gaming operators to: • Create own platform by selecting the modules they want to use • Define own risk and anti-fraud rules with the advanced risk management engine • Know players with the built-in “360-degree customer view” across all products • Monitor and manage costs in real time • Increase retention by monitoring the churn per player segments and products • Keep up to date with personalized dashboards through real-time analytics and business intelligence • Boost players’ engagement with event driven bonuses across different products and providers • Reach the players they want whenever they want by targeting their campaigns • Define own player segments with the dynamic rule engine • Use already integrated 3th party services or bring their own In addition, Seavus Gaming reinvents casino, board and dice games and provides the players with the best of classic and modern games in a new and exciting way. Yatzy is one of the most popular games with unique features like multi-tabling and cross-platform gameplay, and holds BestAppEver award in Dice game category for 2012.
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Comment Commission on hand at ICE Totally Gaming 2014 The Gambling Commission’s communications expert Julia Mackisack encourages gambling businesses to visit the Commission’s stand at ICE Totally Gaming 2014. s we do every year, the Gambling Commission has taken a stand at ICE Totally Gaming from 4-6 February 2014. This is the largest trade event we attend each year and it provides a superb opportunity to talk to a large cross section of gambling operators and other regulators from around the world. We expect this year’s show to be the busiest yet for the Commission, particularly due to the interest being shown in the proposals to license remote gambling at the point of consumption rather than the point of delivery. The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill is currently going through Parliament and is widely expected to come into effect during 2014. The new law would mean that, for the first time, operators based overseas targeting British consumers will require a licence from the Commission. We know that many overseas-based betting operators visit this show so we will have dedicated members of the Commission’s licensing team available on our stand (N1-131) to provide advice and answer questions about the forthcoming licensing changes. We’ll also be putting our view across and answering questions at a range of conferences and meetings across all three days of the show. At the World Regulatory Briefing conference Philip Graf, the Commission’s Chairman, will be reiterating his call for the industry to use innovation as a force for good by better harnessing technology to protect consumers and build public confidence. And at other public panels we’ll be explaining how we are tackling match fixing, our considerations on developments in social gaming and our take on progress with the 4th EU anti-money laundering directive.
While we expect all our licence holders to already understand the three licensing objectives and put them at the heart of everything they do, we know the show provides an ideal opportunity for people in the industry to talk to the Commission experts. Copies of the Commission’s recent publications, including a pocket guide to gambling industry statistics, can be collected from the stand and any questions that cannot be answered immediately will be responded to after the show. Keeping up to date with innovation, meeting industry representatives, listening to concerns and answering questions about our approach to regulation - these are all an important part of our role. And this show helps us to achieve those aims costeffectively - we can make contact with a wide range of people in one go, keep pace with new products, prepare for new trends and spot what’s up and coming, looking at potential technological developments before they hit the market. There are plenty of opportunities for betting operators attending ICE to talk to Commission representatives, so do visit our stand (N1-131) or catch up with us at one of the conferences or meetings we’re involved in.
56 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
Evidence losing b over anecdote et’s face it. The research the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) is carrying out on high end gaming machines is going to be next to useless from a political perspective. The study could uncover the perfect, practical mechanism for reducing the incidence of problem gambling right down to zero while simultaneously providing a payout percentage of 115 per cent and somehow still being profitable for the industry giving a boost to the lives of everyone in the country. But it won’t matter. If the Health Survey, the findings of which are meant to inform regulatory policy in much the same way that the Gambling Prevalence Study did, can be so effectively and ruthlessly swept under the carpet and barely even mentioned in dis-
andrew mccarron viewpoint
patches through the weight of misinformed anti-gambling lobbying then what hope is there for a study that has been paid for and partly commissioned by the gambling industry? The Health Survey found that in the ten years since the introduction of the ‘crack cocaine’ of lobbying, problem gambling has actually gone down. How is that squared by politicians? It isn’t. It’s been ignored. The dialogue surrounding the machines has already changed anyway. No doubt at least acknowledging the existence of the Health Survey’s findings, shadow minister for sport Clive Efford structured his opposition day debate on the B2 gaming machines to encapsulate every issue but the one on problem gambling. The core focus was on local councils and their
seeming paralysis from being able to tackle the ‘scourge’ of betting shop clustering on otherwise empty high streets. There was debate about the council’s ability to use Article 4 of the planning laws to restrict betting shops, but this was deemed unwieldy (ie. most councils didn’t know about it) and ineffective (ie. councils didn’t get their way 100 per cent of the time). Despite the fact that councils win half of the appeals on betting shops that make it to the Planning Inspectorate, there is a perception that bookmakers get their way all of the time, and no amount of facts is going to get in the way of that. It’s not just in politics where this is happening at the moment either - just witness Channel 4’s shameless editing job on an interview with ABB chair-
“It is tempting, yes, there’s no doubt about it. If you’ve got a drowning opponent then it’s tempting to stick a hosepipe down their throat.” William Hill’s Ralph Topping discusses the potential for pushing for more market share this year
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battle man Neil Goulden. The problem is that the bookmaking industry has come against a well monied, well organised and utterly ruthless antigaming machine lobbying body, and it is coming off worse every single time. The campaign has managed to scuttle the debate for evidence on the matter by flooding it with its own ‘research’, which has made it hard for any layman to make sense. Or as former gambling minister Gerry Sutcliffe said during the debate: “My problem is with the antics of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling. It is right and proper for the campaign to set out its view, but it is not right for it to try to vilify those who oppose its views. It sets out to rubbish any analysis that is not its own and, in particu-
lar, to try to rubbish the work of the Responsible Gambling Trust, which was set up to look at issues of problem gambling. “If it is a real campaign for fairer gambling, why is its only focus on FOBTs? There are many other areas of problem gambling, as the gambling prevalence survey has shown. For instance, there are issues due to the price of national lottery tickets being increased from £1 to £2 and because people are able to buy them at 16, although they cannot go into betting shops until they are 18. There are many other issues to consider, including online gambling, which has already been talked about. I believe that the debate did not need to be emotive and that we could have got to the core of the issues.”
BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014 57
BB113-p58-62-Comment_09/10 28/01/2014 20:34 Page 3
“The ban on sports betting does exactly what Prohibition did. It makes criminals rich.”
James Surowiecki, journalist on the New Yorker magazine.
Performance enhancing tablets Mark McGuinness, i-gaming futurologist at Mainstream Marketing & Communications, sees big potential for the bingo sector this year. 014 is definitely the year or start of an era of post regulation whereby operators need to accept stiffer tax regimes in order to continue to do business. Yet we have witnessed renewed optimism given the challenges in the previous few years’ of the slowing economies and depressed consumer gambling spend. It’s certainly not all doom and gloom, as Asia powers ahead in terms of economic growth compared to European markets. Not only do operators and their digital marketing agencies have to
screens (smartphones, tablets or laptops). Ninety per cent of all our media interactions today are screen-based. In fact caveat emptor, your smartphone knows more about you than your wife or girlfriend. Some would argue is touched and fondled more than your partner. We use it for shopping, entertainment, talking to friends on social networks, it’s the one that knows all our dark secrets and keeps all our pictures. It is the backbone of our daily media and communication interactions and it holds your future movements
‘CONVERGENCE OF ONLINE BINGO WITH THAT OF LAND BASED BINGO’ IS A TRUE SOCIAL GAMING SUCCESS
keep abreast of emerging markets, regulatory changes in mature markets but the ever changing landscape of technology platforms and the sometimes very contrary consumer trends towards desirable tech gadgetry which drive gambling participation and gambling consumption. We are, of course, referring to our unabated obsession with screens of all sizes, colours and brands. We are certainly a generation of multi-screeners as we have access to an unparalleled number of TV channels, catch-up TV and the ability to view content on second
given the triangulation data of your GPS connection. So what does 2014 hold? For me for it’s the continued growth and convergence of online bingo with that of land based bingo which should be regarded as the true success story of the social gaming scene. It’s popular, more socially acceptable, and regarded by most as being on the softer side of the gambling spectrum. With bingo advertising so prevalent on mainstream television, combined with mobile commerce it will continue to drive market accessibility and growth.
58 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
The hugely popular tablet which is taking more market share of device usage and engagement away from TV’s and laptops as screens of consumer choice - will become the must have companion for bingo players especially if a major brand brings out its own branded tablet similar to the likes of retailer Tesco’s Hudl. With tablets tumbling in price it could be a possibility similar to all the branded poker sets that entered the shoppers’ realm previously. Just in the way media broadcasters supply digital boxes for platform connectivity and indeed it wasn’t that long ago that certain spread betting companies gave away smartphones, that bingo operators could provide tablets with preloaded software to further entrench the player to the brand - watch this space. This convergence is already happening as we see more bespoke and dedicated gaming content being deployed on tablets, linked to TV programming content or advertising content in the form of ad breaks to the game play. Companies such as Airdice have been using their Bingo Booster product that allows operators to increase player participation by connecting landbased bingo halls with online bingo in real time with tablets in the popular bingo market of Finland. Indeed in the UK, Rank’s chairman and chief executive officer, Ian Burke, obviously agrees with the tablet and convergence concept as the business has recently introduced playing bingo on tablets. He is quoted as saying, ‘a tablet device requires less concentration and allows players to eat, drink and chat while playing’. This statement of course also holds true for online bingo players. At home in the living room, with the day-time soaps sponsored by major bingo brands seeping into the subconscious mind shall only increase the neuron connection with the bingo operator. In fact, its ‘neuromarketing’ which is a new field of marketing that studies consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli at its finest.
The growing advantages of outsourcing
AN EXTERNAL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE COULD BE JUST A CHEAP FLIGHT AWAY
With software development such a complex and expensive part of business, there are many different ways to outsource the expertise and keep costs down. oday’s fast paced internet world is heavily influencing the online gambling and sports betting industry. It is characterised by increasing demand for heavy investments in an ever-changing technological advancements, specifically software development. Furthermore, the advent of mobile technologies and the understanding of the shift to mobile devices by industry’s end-users, dictates an ever-increasing investment in mobile software development, in addition to web software development which continues to grow, in order to maintain and possibly increase market position. In this rapidly evolving online and mobile world, some major challenges hinder the success and growth of vendors, especially small-to-medium sized companies. These include the ability to recruit and maintain top talent - in most western countries such as USA, UK, Scandinavia, and Israel, good software developers are a scarce resource with demand constantly outpacing supply. The ability of vendors, especially small-to-medium ones, to get the right talent is diminishing in recent years as the supply/demand ratio worsens and bigger firms are sucking all the talent. Another challenge is keeping costs under control. Nowadays, in many cases, innovation and creativity falls victim to lack of development resources - to a point of missing time-to-market, or
simply being unable to execute those great innovations. There is also the issue of maintaining quality and productivity of software development teams especially in a market that is moving so fast, with a need for constant improvement and a minimal tolerance for errors and failures. Well, one obvious answer is going off-shore to India or China for resources. Indeed, in the early days of outsourcing for technology jobs, there were many attempts to do it in India and later on in China. The results were mixed: while some tech centres focusing on customer support succeeded and still exist, while very large corporations built successful outsourcing centres with thousands of people - attempts by smallto-medium size companies to outsource core software development have largely failed. Consequently, in recent years we see successful implementation of Nearshoring in Eastern Europe, mostly in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. The main reasons include a well-established mathematical and technological education in those countries, as well as an inherent cultural alignment of the younger tech-savvy generation to the hi-tech industry in Western Europe and the USA. It is also the case that sophisticated service providers (mostly owned by Western companies) offer Eastern-European
software developers in a cost-effective, low-risk, and highly productive model. Nowadays it is possible to outsource your very own ‘In house R&D team’ (i.e. your own development centre) to a nearshore location, having virtually the same qualities as recruiting locally. Yet you are getting some major benefits such as approximately half the cost of local hiring, a much faster and easier hiring process (typically half the time or less) and the off-loading all overhead (office space, IT, HR, operations, etc.) to a service provider who specialises in it and enjoys the benefits of large scale operation - so you can focus on your core business and leave the rest for others. And for European vendors - it is also beneficial to have these resources on the same/close time zone and with a very short (and low cost) flights. In a way you are enjoying a true ‘Software Development Cloud’ just around the corner. Thus in addition to the actual software residing in a cloud, you can get some of your resources managed in a ‘cloud’ to enjoy similar benefits from increased scale, reduced costs, and the operational specialty of the ‘SW Development cloud’ service provider. • Eran Cohen is the Israel country manager for Ciklum, which serves many online gambling vendors with their own development centres in Ukraine and Belarus.
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“By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show.”
Writer Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)
The challenges of geo-location validation on mobile devices
Order, order! Soundbites from the UK’s recent parliamentary debate on gaming machines
Mkodo’s Mark Gibson, a specialist in mobile communications and its convergence and relationship with other ‘new media’, lays out the problems of identifying a customer’s location. S States, Delaware and New Jersey went live with regulated egaming on 31 October 2013 and 26 November 2013 respectively. These states followed on from Nevada which was the first state to go live (with online poker). These online gaming launches bring to the forefront discussion about the key issue of ‘geo-location’: the ability to locate where players are physically placed when they’re interacting with egaming services. It is often proscribed in law that players must be physically located within the relevant jurisdiction when they interact with the services. Get geo-location right on mobile and you give your egaming product a key market advantage. It will pass through the approvals processes more smoothly in the more stringently regulated jurisdictions, facilitating both speed-to-market and the acquisition of a broader client base. Accurate geo-location tools can also significantly
support marketing and product development disciplines through the supply of sophisticated customer behaviour intelligence. Getting mobile and location right also avoids the risks, both reputational and commercial, that would be incurred if local or jurisdictional requirements are transgressed. Where jurisdictions proscribe, in law, that players must be ‘in jurisdiction’ in order to legally interact with the service, there is significant potential ‘harm’ if gaming services are consumed by users outside of that jurisdiction; noncompliance can affect operators’ current gaming licences and can go as far as criminal conviction for company executives. Getting geo-location right on mobile devices (as with any other distribution channel) is, therefore, critical for both operators and payment partners. Geo-location through IPchecking and validation for the desktop channel is well-established. For mobile devices, however, this (IP) method alone
is insufficient due to the nature of IP-routing within mobile networks. A mobile network can, and does, route its web traffic through just a few (or even a single) data centre and IP-location. So, all users could appear to be in the same area regardless of their actual location. There are multiple options of location ascertainment on the mobile channel - from using a location provided by the mobile device itself (e.g. GPS), to the cellular mast location, to wifi network ID. The key challenge is configuring these options in an appropriate manner to enable the most accurate results for each mobile device. This is particularly important given mobile devices apply various location look-up processes, some in a non-standard manner. After the location has been determined, there is a further challenge facing the gaming operators, their accreditation partners and the relevant regulatory bodies: the validation process. Geo-location checking (on a
very high-level view) goes through two steps: Step 1: determine the location Step 2: check that location is in a valid area. Step 2 can be achieved by sending information off to a third party that performs an IP-location check. This, however, may return just a Yes/No response as to whether the IP-location is an allowed location. Some accreditation bodies/regulators require more transparent, more auditable information such as latitude/longitude coordinates. In conclusion, if you are offering online gaming, then a significant number of your players will access your services from a mobile device whether or not you have promoted a ‘mobile’ specific service. It is important to your marketing efforts, your organisation as a whole, and potentially to the executives of your organisation personally, that the mobile channel is given specific consideration when it comes to the geo-location process.
Councils starting to impose tough new conditions
60 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
£102m was bet and £3m lost - that scourge just vacuums money out of our community. I actually do not agree with the motion; I think we should get rid of these iniquitous organisations.” Going off Sheerman’s figures, each gaming machine in his constituency takes £73.58 a day, making approximately £6 an hour. Before tax. ndrew Bridgen (North West A Leicestershire) (Con): “I admire the shadow Minister’s guile in bringing the debate before the House, but do not the facts speak for themselves? In 2000, there were no FOBTs in the UK, but by the time his party left office, there were 30,000 of them. Would not the most dangerous gamble facing the British public be if they were ever to consider voting Labour at the next general election?” r Thérèse Coffey (Suffolk Coastal) D (Con): “[Clive Efford] talks about local government, but does he recognise that there are powers available through the use of article 4 directions, which both Barking and Southwark council have chosen to use? I appreciate that they might be a bit cumbersome, but powers are available now that councils can use.” erry Sutcliffe (Bradford South) G (Lab): “I did call for FOBTs to be looked at again in 2009, but I also
Anna Mathias, barrister for Joelson Wilson LLP’s licensing & gambling team, explains that it is not just the Gambling Commission forcing bookmakers to up their age controls. owards the end of last year the Gambling Commission told independent high street gambling businesses to up their game where their underage gambling controls are concerned, after its recent test purchase roll-out highlighted ‘major weaknesses’ and called the results of the tests ‘unacceptable’, with betting shops among those classes of premises that are, in its view, not doing enough to keep young people out. In a shot across the bows, the Commission has stated its intent to carry on with its test purchasing programme, with the next batch of results due to become available in summer 2014. It has warned that, if operators fail to act on the learning provided by the 2013 results, this will increase the likelihood of formal regulatory action being taken against individual operators. Matthew Hill, the Commission’s Director, Regulatory Risk and Analysis, said: “…operators will be putting their licences and livelihoods at risk if they fail to improve.” The Commission has already
arry Sheerman (Huddersfield) BHuddersfield (Lab/Co-op): “My constituency of has 28 bookies. In 2012,
A NEW WILLIAM HILL SHOP HAS HAD STRINGENT CONDITIONS PLACED ON IT BY THE LOCAL COUNCIL
warned that it will consider introducing new mandatory licence conditions for certain sectors of the industry if the results continue to demonstrate severe weaknesses. Against this backdrop, the London Borough of Newham recently placed tough new conditions on the licence of a William Hill premises in its area, after hearing that a 15 year old test purchaser had been allowed to play on one of its machines. At a review hearing on 1 November focusing on underage gambling and crime and disorder, the operator was told that it must have a minimum of 2 members of staff on duty at all times and must install and maintain a comprehensive CCTV system, including 4 external cameras, with a monitor demonstrating to customers that they are being recorded. In addition it was made a condition of the licence that a challenge 21 policy would be implemented and that William Hill must carry out test purchasing at least once every 6 months, and share the results with the council and police.
The lessons, then, are clear: the authorities take the issue of underage gambling seriously, expect operators to have robust and effective controls in place, and are prepared to take action where this is not the case. It is therefore worthwhile giving some thought to your staffing levels, and to where staff are situated on the premises. Are your machines sited in view of staff, or are they tucked away? Taken in the round, are your arrangements conducive to an early challenge? The Commission noted cases of a lack of attentiveness and an absence of staff at some sites - do you score highly in these areas, or could your staff training do with refreshing? Finally, consider your record keeping. Staff training should be documented and a log of challenges and refusals kept. These will stand you in good stead, should you ever be called upon by the Commission, or indeed anyone else, to demonstrate that you have carried out the necessary due diligence and have adequate underage controls in place.
called for the industry to provide £5 million for the Responsible Gambling Trust, which looks at problem gambling. I hope that my hon. Friend admires the work being done by the trust, a charity that has five independent directors and five from the industry.” ark Spencer (Sherwood) (Con): M “I was taught at an early age that the only thing anyone needs to know about the bookies is that there are four windows to pay in and one window that pays out. Surely education is one of the solutions to this problem. Will the Minister assure the House that she will do all she can to make sure that the gaming industry does what it can to educate its customers?” tewart Jackson (Peterborough) Sparty’s (Con): “I think that the Labour motion is cynical and opportunistic, given recent history. Does the Minister not think that the Government’s case would be much more compelling if they were prepared to observe the precautionary principle of looking at the £100-a-spin game before the demonstrable empirical evidence is published in the autumn, particularly in respect of the impact on vulnerable people?”
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BB113-p62-66-Business_09/10 28/01/2014 19:40 Page 1
Business Codere debt sees it invoking insolvency law
Business picking up as confidence returns IG boss Tim Howkins has attributed his firm’s performance to the fact that the world is slowly emerging from recession and that people are feeling a bit happier.
TIM HOWKINS: ‘WE AIM TO SIGNIFICANTLY BROADEN OUR REACH’
pread betting operator IG Group has said that business has started to pick up after a subdued 2012 but it still plans to diversify its product range. In the six month period to 30 November 2013, net trading revenue was up 8 per cent at £182.7m while profit before tax was up 17 per cent to £95.1m, driven by higher revenue and prior year one-off operating costs. Chief executive Tim Howkins commented: “The performance in the first half was satisfactory, with revenue, profit and cash generation all well ahead of what was a particularly subdued prior half year. Importantly, we continue to make good progress in executing on our strategy aimed at attracting and retaining active traders, broadening our offering and product set and developing the business globally. I believe the investment over the next few years in a number of exciting and key long-term initiatives will help us to deliver good levels of growth into the future.” Howkins said market conditions in the six months period were much like the same period in 2012, but the dif-
ference this time around was that clients were much more active. He told Reuters: “That reflects the fact that consumer sentiment is picking up. The world is slowly emerging from recession, people are feeling a bit wealthier, a bit happier and therefore, more likely to trade. (Confidence) is coming back slowly and steadily. It’s certainly in a better place than it was 18 months ago.” In the UK, revenue for the period was ahead of the prior year by 7 per cent, and that significantly higher average revenue per client, up 18 per cent, was partially offset by the lower number of active clients. The firm attributed that to its continued strategy of focusing on attracting more active, and therefore potentially more valuable, clients. Revenue in Australia was down by 4 per cent in the period, with a small drop in both the number of active clients and in average revenue per client; with results further impacted by the weakness in the Australian dollar. Europe grew strongly in the period, with a 5 per cent rise in the number of active clients supplemented by a 20 per cent increase in
average revenue per client. Revenue in the Rest of World was up by 1 per cent, with strong performance in the first quarter offset by weakness in Japan, particularly in the second quarter, as forex volumes fell heavily across the industry. Howkins added: “We aim to significantly broaden our reach and position ourselves over time as the default way to trade the financial markets for active retail traders. Our current products are ideal for the active shortterm trader with the risk appetite for high levels of leverage, but this is only a subset of the active trader market. Within the UK, a large number of active traders use more traditional cash equities for trading. “We are on track to launch a cash equity service in the UK in the second half of calendar year 2014. We have built the necessary new infrastructure, including custody arrangements, settlement and client accounting and have just started to test this in our highend direct market access platform, L2. Meanwhile, we are carrying out the development necessary to incorporate this new product within our existing web and mobile trading platforms.”
ANALYSIS IG Group has recently carried out a number of measures to encourage higher value customers, or at least reduce the number of lower value ones. Raising the minimum client deposit by debit or credit card to £100 and changing its introductory trading programme to increase the minimum initial transaction sizes has seen the overall number of clients drop. But this has been concentrated at the very low value end of IG’s client base, while the number of higher value clients has remained steady or increased. IG has nurtured these most valuable clients by providing an increasingly customised personal service from a dedicated client manager.
Ad slump hits Perform’s levels ADVERTISING
ports streaming firm Perform Group has warned that its revenue for 2013 will be below the Board’s prior expectations and its profit will be significantly below. Grimly, it also already anticipates the same for 2014. Joint chief executive officer Oliver Slipper said: “We are disappointed with the performance of the business in Q4 against our expectations and as a consequence this has an impact on our outlook for 2014. Whilst the issues we have experienced in H2 2013 are unsatisfactory, as a management team we are fully committed to continuing to grow Perform.” Full year revenues are expected to be around 6 per cent below the Board’s previous expectations, with annual year on year growth now expected to be in excess of 35 per cent. Q4
is the most important quarter for the business, but as it progressed advertising and sponsorship performance has deteriorated, with growth below expectations across several markets, in particular Germany and the USA. This poor performance has primarily affected display advertising revenues where the forward visibility of such revenues is typically less than one month. This has caused the Board to review the outlook for 2014 and full year revenues are now expected to grow in excess of 20 per cent, but slower than originally expected, with annual revenues again around 6 per cent lower than the Board’s previous expectations. The majority of this revenue shortfall will directly impact adjusted EBITDA. One of the bright spots of this year seems to be
62 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
OLIVER SLIPPER: ‘DISAPPOINTED WITH THE PERFORMANCE’
Perform’s bookmaker customers as it anticipates the Watch&Bet renewal process to deliver like for like revenue growth for that business of 10 per cent for the full year 2014. This will contribute to overall content distribution revenues, which are now expected to grow year on year by 20 per cent.
The Board’s previous revenue estimates have been significantly downgraded for display advertising, with year on year growth now anticipated to be around 40 per cent and the cost of sales and overheads are expected to be 7 per cent higher. This increase is split across rights, staff and production
costs in part due to slower than anticipated integration of acquisitions. The firm added: “A major cost review exercise is being instigated across all areas of the business to drive acquisition synergies and cost savings, in particular in the management, technology and operations functions.”
arge Spanish gaming firm Codere has been forced to use the insolvency regulations in order to refinance its debt pile. The multinational has submitted Papers invoking article 5 of the Spanish Insolvency Law before the Mercantile Court of Madrid, giving the company a period of up to four months in which to continue negotiations to refinance the debt. Codere, which has been listed on the Spanish Stock Market since 2007, said: “The submission of this communication does not either affect the ordinary activity of the company, which continues its operations as usual, nor its management bodies, which maintain their faculties of representation, administration and management.” The firm said that as it generated 287.3m euro (£236.4m) of EBITDA in 2012, it can comply with the obligations derived from the business. But it added: “During 2012 and 2013 there were some extraordinary events that resulted in liquidity constraints for the company. Among these events it is important to highlight the payment of 107m euro (£88.0m) for the anticipated renewal of the gaming licenses in the province of Buenos Aires, the implementation of the smoking ban in Argentina, the closure of eight halls in Mexico and the increase of gaming taxes in several countries in which Codere operates.” Codere claimed that it was these liquidity constraints that obliged it to the insolvency law and warned that if an agreement is not reached then it will fail to pay down the maturing 127.1m euro (£104.6m) Senior Credit Facility. The firm added: “In anticipation of this situation and in order to defend the interests of shareholders, employees and the rest of creditors, the Board of Directors has agreed to submit this communication that allows the company to carry on with the process to restructure the debt. Codere considers that, during the period stated by law, parties will reach an agreement to restructure the debt.”
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BB113-p62-66-Business_09/10 28/01/2014 19:42 Page 2
Jump for France Pari
French-licensed operator and betting platform provider France Pari has seen revenues up 30 per cent to 12.5m euro during the year, compared with 9.6m euro in 2012. The firm has attributed this improvement to growth and improved margins in sports betting: these rose to 19.2 per cent in 2013 compared with 17.9 per cent in 2012 and were enabled by more efficient trading and the strengthening of internal trading teams. CEO Hervé Schlosser commented: “France Pari is outstripping the 15-20 per cent growth of the online betting market in France.”
IS THE WRITING ON THE WALL FOR BETTING SHOPS?
Listed bookmakers keen to put 2013 behind them BOOKMAKING
Betting Business takes a look at the performance of Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power in 2013 and finds much to frown upon.
f the three stock market quoted betting companies are judged on their share price performance alone, 2013 would be classed as an annus horribilis. As they have 52 per cent of UK retail shops between them, that verdict could apply to the whole sector. Ladbrokes shares started 2013 at around 210p and ended it at 150p, Paddy Power starting at 61.5p, finishing at 62p, and William Hill at 365.5 and 336.9. Ladbrokes shares achieved a high of 243.1 in March, falling to a low of 168.2 in October, and Power’s high was 70.5 in April and with a low of 55 in October, and Hills shares reached 458.5 in August and fell to a low of 359.6. The performance of the Power share is better than that of Hills and Ladbrokes because it only has 264 shops, compared to 2,296 for Ladbrokes and
64 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
2,437 for Hills and it is concern over the shops, in particular the future of FOBTs, that has been gradually driving down share prices through the year. Morgan Stanley estimated that a 10 per cent fall in machine revenues would equate to a 24 per cent reduction in earnings per share for Ladbrokes, 11 per cent for William Hill and 3 per cent to Paddy Power. It is not just the threat of tighter FOBT regulation that is of concern for retail either. Firms report that retail rents are increasing. Add to that that sports betting is continuing to migrate to online and mobile and it could be argued that the UK betting shop has a bleak future. The firms themselves do not appear to share that view, however, as all have said that they plan to open more shops in the coming year. The differing share price of the three quoted books is
also a reflection of their online operations, where Paddy Power appears to be punching above its weight and Ladbrokes appears to be lagging, which the firm has attempted to partly address through the acquisition of Betdaq in 2012 and the partnership with Playtech, announced in March 2013. Ladbrokes chief executive Richard Glynn said in September: “Our digital earnings have been disappointing reflecting a lack of competitiveness in sportsbook, lower margins than planned and a greater disruptive impact than expected from the transition necessary to grow Digital for the long term.” H2 Gambling Capital estimates that Paddy Power and Ladbrokes both have around 6 per cent of the UK online gambling market, compared to 12 per cent for William Hill. Ladbrokes revealed that in the first half of 2013, online operations
accounted for 12 per cent of operating profits, while William Hill announced that it accounted for 44 per cent of operating profit. Paddy Power said that for the whole of 2012, online accounted for 72 per cent of operating profits. It would be easy to infer from these stats that Paddy Power would be the most vulnerable to the introduction of a 15 per cent point of consumption tax. However, that overlooks the geographical spread of each company’s online businesses. Morgan Stanley points out that the tax would make many of the three companies’ competitors unviable so they could well benefit from increased market share. The analyst estimates that an increase in market share of 1 per cent will equate to a 9 per cent increase in earnings per share for Ladbrokes, 4 per cent for William Hill and 7 per cent for Paddy Power.
ANALYSIS 2014 will be a very important year for UK operators as they manoeuvre ahead of the introduction of the POC tax at the end of the year and tighter FOBT regulation and higher duties that may follow the 2015 election, or possibly even sooner. While the future is obviously unknown, doing nothing is not an option. Expect to see all three seek to extend their overseas operations, either organically or through acquisitions, and further consolidation domestically. A good Cheltenham and a profitable World Cup should boost profits in the short term but long term prospects will be determined by strategic decision making over the coming year.
Dedicated to servicing the needs of the international betting and iGaming industry, Betting Business interactive is your partner of choice if youâ€™re searching for the very best journalism, the widest distribution and inventive advertising opportunities. For more information, simply contact John Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or come and see us on our stands Entrance S4 at ICE 2014.
BB113-p62-66-Business_09/10 28/01/2014 19:44 Page 3
Business KENNETH ALEXANDER: ‘UNDERLYING TRENDS IN THE BUSINESS HAVE BEEN PRETTY STRONG’
pread betting operator S(LCG) London Capital Group has appointed Jim Tatchell as institutional sales director. A veteran of 20 years in financial markets, Tatchell JIM spent many years as a fixed TATCHELL income dealer for companies including UBS, Credit Suisse Securities, Commerzbank and Winterflood Securities before moving into the leveraged trading industry with City Index and Saxo Bank. Tatchell commented: “By building a dedicated partnerships team we are aiming to further expand our white label and affiliate business. With a number of significant product developments in the pipeline and an experienced group in place, I am looking forward to this challenge with confidence.” has appointed Malin Sparf Rydberg to a new role Bwithetsson as director of communications. She will lead the work both external and internal communications for
GVC keen for more acquisitions after Sportingbet success Now boasting a market cap £240m, GVC Holdings has shown it has the clout to finalise deals and the expertise to carry them through. M&A
ajor online bookmaker GVC Holdings PLC has declared 2013 as a transformational year for the company with the completion of the Sportingbet acquisition on the 19 March 2013, its successful integration, a reduction in the inherited cost base of around 50 per cent, and a growth in its inherited revenues. GVC has now completed all of its data migrations onto the one platform of Sportingbet, including that of its Latin American brand Betboo. In addition to this, GVC has moved its principal gaming licence from Alderney to Malta where GVC has been established for many years and where its sports trading management is located. Chief executive officer Kenneth Alexander said: “The Board is pleased to be able to present excellent figures for 2013 and to continue to reward our shareholders with an increased dividend. “The Sportingbet acquisition and our successful restructuring of that business has been transformational for GVC. The Board’s confidence in
66 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
the future growth of the Group is demonstrated by our ongoing progressive dividend policy, and we look forward to providing a full update at the time of the Preliminary Results in April.” Revenues in the fourth quarter averaged 531,000 euro per day, 3 per cent ahead of the third quarter. The group expects to report clean EBITDA above the top-end of analysts’ current forecasts. Alexander added: “The underlying trends in the business have been pretty strong and the gaming NGR of 25.9m euro over the last quarter is obviously a record for the group and well up from the previous quarters so we are pleased with where we are at the moment.” Alexander said that given the ‘resounding success’ of the integration, there is further scope for GVC as an acquisitive power in the market: “We’ve taken a lot of the costs out and we’ve grown the revenues of the Sportingbet operations, so we are pretty pleased with it. It couldn’t really have gone much better and as we stand business is in good shape and GVC is a signifi-
cantly different beast from where we were 12 months ago and that is reflected in the revenues that we are now generating and the profitability of the group. “We need to concentrate on continued organic growth and doing the day to day operations as well, particularly this year with the World Cup which is a big opportunity for us. And in the meantime keep an eye out for other deals that we may well be able to do in the next 12-18 months. The number one focus is on the day to day business though. We have proven that we can execute deals at corporate level and get them over the line and now we’ve proven in the last nine months that once we’ve done them we can deliver shareholder value thereafter. So I can’t see why we can’t do more deals.” GVC’s third and increased dividend represents ‘management’s confidence in the group’s current trading and future prospects’ and brings the total of interim dividends paid in the 2013 financial year to 32.5 cents, with a final dividend expected in the year end accounts.
Betsson AB. Rydberg joins from the role as director of communications for Friends Arena, where she also was a member of the management team. CEO Magnus Silfverberg commented: “With this recruitment, we will be able to be clearer and more distinct in our communication. We are very pleased to be able to recruit Malin and get a person with broad experience, excellent skills and a personality that is a perfect match at Betsson.” hane Doherty has become lead operations at PaddySDoherty Power.com according to the Casinos Online website. will be responsible for the growth of profitability of the bookmaker’s e-online casino and sportsbook channels, reporting to managing director Peter O’Donovan. rena Racing Company A (ARC) has promoted Mark Spincer to the newly created
position of assistant operations director which he will do alongside his managing director role at Doncaster. The principal responsibilities will include developing and managing major non-racing events and the food and beverage operation within ARC racecourses. Since the creation of ARC all catering operations have been taken in house and represent a significant part of the business in their own right. Spincer said: “I am delighted to be taking on the additional role and responsibility. I am very fortunate to have such a strong team at Doncaster which have all played a huge part in moving the business forward in the last two years.” igel Blythe-Tinker has stepped down as a non-execuN tive director of GVC Holdings PLC. CEO Kenneth Alexander said: “On behalf of the Board l would like to thank Nigel for the contribution he has made during the nine years that he has served as a non-executive director. He joined the Board at the time of the original IPO in December 2004 and has provided the company with wise counsel throughout this period and has helped guide GVC to the size it is now.” Business interactive editor Andrew McCarron has B5,000etting joined Sports Betting Community (SBC), the network of betting professionals, in the new role of managing director. McCarron is tasked with building on the progress made by SBC through its popular social networking events and building on its news and consultancy services. McCarron will retain his association with Betting Business working in a consultancy capacity. He commented: “I’ve always had a passion for the betting sector since working in a betting shop in my youth, so joining SBC feels like a natural progression. Hopefully, we can take SBC to the next level and become a vital tool for the betting and gaming industry.”
Whether your market is low stake high volume gaming, remote, land-based casinos, bingo, betting or amusements there’s only one publishing house that’s really connected. The publishing division of GB Media is responsible for the award winning titles International Casino Review, Betting Business interactive and Coinslot, as well as the ofﬁcial ICE catalogue. For a unique window on the world of gaming, simply contact us on +44 (0) 1204 396 397, at email@example.com or ccome and see us on our stands Entrance S4 at ICE 2014.
BB113-p68-69-Agenda_09/10 28/01/2014 20:43 Page 1
With one of the biggest ever international sporting tournaments due this summer, it’s easy to overlook the fact that there’s also one in Russia this month.
he action continues at full speed into February with the Winter Olympics taking place from Sochi, Russia from the 7th. Unibet has always had an exceptionally strong Winter sports offering - and at time of writing we already had 279 Winter Olympic markets - 108 in Ice Hockey alone! With BBC coverage and a plethora of betting opportunities we are well placed to welcome winter sports enthusiasts to our site. But by far our biggest driver of turnover in the next month will be on football and racing. Although that sounds obvious - it’s actually a significant statement for Unibet. We now view our racing offering as strong enough to promote externally. We have offered a
ACTION IMAGES / BRANDON MALONE
Ante Post: What the bookies say
good service to our customers since near to the time of our UK launch (May 2013) but with both technical and consumer facing improvements we have, and will, promote our racing product far more aggressively than before. That’s both horse and greyhound racing. That means the run up to Cheltenham will be an exciting time for us this season with ante post odds, promotional offers and marketing partnerships abound. The RBS Six Nations kicks off on Saturday 1 February and our armchair expert Gavin Hasting will hit the TV screens in a number of TV adverts. Wales go into the tournament as clear favourites to retain their crown and face what looks, on paper at least, an easy opener against Italy. Switching codes to
Rugby League the Super to come up with an attracLeague also kicks off with tive offer. The big sporting event the first action on 7 Feb. of the month is the Winter ED NICHOLSON Olympics and it is no surHead of UK product prise that there is a big Unibet interest in the Curling where both the men and The Champions League women are represented makes a welcome return by Scottish teams. Both and although Celtic failed have a chance of winning to make the knock out a gold medal so there is stages it shouldn’t have great PR opportunities an impact on turnover or whilst it should also be interest - especially when good from a turnover you have ties like Man point of view. Whether City v Barcelona. Domes- the rest of the Olympics tically, we have the semi- will be as popular finals of the League Cup. remains to be seen but we Celtic have been knocked will be offering markets out of that competition on a number of the sports as well but this time it so hopefully it will be a actually means there is success. even more interest as it gives another team a PAUL PETRIE chance to win a trophy. Director These are the games that McBookie.com give us a good chance to stand out from the crowd, February is certainly the so the marketing team calm before the storm for will be working overtime us at Star HQ. Chel-
tenham dominates the first quarter in terms of ante-post action. However, February does throw up some fantastic sport and great punting opportunities. The Betfair Hurdle will be a nervy afternoon with plenty of money coming for Rolling Star at 16/1. Nicky Henderson’s charge is now 10/1 third favourite. The Champions League returns with Man City hitting form and at 14/1 they certainly would be the one the trading team fear most. Finally, the Six Nations is always something I look forward to and with mounting injury problems we are keen to lay Wales and accordingly are top industry price at 9/4. LUKE TARR Head of Public Relations Star Sports
Football conference to look beyond World Cup ith the World Cup on the horizon, it would be easy to forget the staple diet of domestic football that has been feeding the growth in sports betting over the past ten years. The new Betting on Football Conference from SBC Events aims to help bookmakers plan for life beyond the World Cup and work on methods to retain the new customers they get from the Brazilian tournament as the 2014/15 season kicks off. Among the topics that are being covered are: • Football Association - shirt sponsorship, regional partner or former players: What’s the
best way to promote your footchances of success? customers and not just people ball product to the masses? • Match analysis - using data for you see every other summer.” Free kick - has the sign up trading and customer retenSBC Events is also launching bonus had its day? What other tion the Betting on Football Awards to approaches can bookmakers • SBC Events is part of the Sports coincide with the conference, use? Betting Community, which has with the organiser promising Penalty Spot - how to protect just appointed Andrew McCar- something unique to the rather your business from the threat ron as managing director. He staid world of award ceremonies. of sporting corruption. commented: “Football has McCarron declared: “The Social Scene - can social been a key driver for the betting Germans have always been betting and social media be industry since the turn of the excellent at football, so we plan used to recruit new players century and there is constant to pay homage to them as we more efficiently? innovation as bookmakers try recognise excellence in football Early bath - how can operators and tap into the popularity of betting.” make the most of the current the sport. Betting on Football trend for Cash In products? is there to help distil some of Betting on Football Last Minute Winners - what can the most effective ways of 8 May bookmakers do before the attracting football fans and Stamford Bridge World Cup to improve their making them long term betting London
68 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
LISTINGS MONTHLY BRIEFING
FEBRUARY 3 7th International Gaming Awards (IGA), Savoy Hotel 3 The 6th International Casino Conference, ExCeL 4-6 ICE 2014, ExCeL London 4 World Regulatory Briefing, ExCeL 4 CRM, Loyalty & Retention Conference, ExCeL 4 Mobile Gaming, ExCeL 4 SBC’s London Baby, The Folly, nr London Bridge 5 Cybercrime, Security & Regulatory Compliance in Gaming, ExCeL 5 Monetising Social Gaming, ExCeL 5 Game Design & Development, ExCeL 5 Next Generation Lotteries, ExCeL 5 Fire & Ice by Lyceum Media, Troxy 7-10 The London Affiliate Conference (LAC) 2014, Earls Court Exhibition Centre 7 IGB Affiliate Awards Night, Lancaster London MARCH 4-6 iGaming Asia Congress 2014, Macao 4-5 Irish Gaming Show, Dublin 19-21 iGaming North America 2014, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas 31 – 1 April Social Media Marketing Conference, The Brewery APRIL 1 BiG Sports Dinner, The Dorchester 8-9 Igaming Forum, Grand Hotel, Stockholm 24-25 The Next Web Conference Europe, Amsterdam MAY 8 Betting on Football Conference, Stamford Bridge 8 Betting on Football Awards, Fulham 14-16 Japan Gaming Congress, Tokyo 15 mGaming Summit 2014, Dexter House, London 20-22 G2E Asia, The Venetian, Macao JUNE 4-5 Russian Gaming Week, Sokolniki, Moscow 22-25 Sports Betting Seminar, Blue Tree Premium Fortaleza, Brazil 23-25, Canadian Gaming Summit, Vancouver Convention Centre 24-27 Igaming SuperShow, Amsterdam RAI JULY 14-16 GiGse 2014, Hyatt Regency, San Francisco 14-16 Social Casino Summit at GiGse 2014, Hyatt Regency, San Francisco SEPTEMBER 9 - 12 10th European Conference on Gambling Studies and Policy Issues, Hilton Kalastajatorppa, Helsinki THE LONDON AFFILIATE CONFERENCE IS AT EARLS COURT THIS MONTH
BB113-p68-69-Agenda_09/10 28/01/2014 20:44 Page 2
Stade to present affiliate awards The iGB Affiliate Awards, taking place on the 7 February 2014 at the Lancaster Hotel in London, has confirmed comedian Tom Stade as the evening’s entertainment. Stade was nominated for Best Headliner at the Chortle Awards, and has appeared numerous times at the Edinburgh festival with his hit show What Year Was That? And Tom Stade Totally Rocks.
Exploring fantasy possibilities in the US While online betting has been effectively banned in America, citizens have been sating their sports betting appetites via fantasy models. But is it sustainable? ince its inception, UIGEA has had clear carve-outs that enabled two forms of gaming to continue over the internet; Horse Racing and Fantasy Sports. While horse racing continues to struggle to find a new audience online, fantasy sports has taken the US by storm. It is now a multi-billion dollar industry with over 33 million players in the US. In 2013 alone, leading online fantasy sports companies raised over $100m
in investment dollars and are creating new twists to fantasy sports that greatly reduce the difficulty and quicken the pace of the games. This year, iGaming North America will bring a unique look into this runaway gaming phenomenon through two panels: ‘Fantasy Is Reality’, taking place at 2.30pm on day two and ‘Legal or Temporary Fantasy’, taking place at 9.45am on day three. The first offers an introduction to Fantasy Sports
through the experience of leading companies and players. What is Fantasy Sports? How is it evolving? What makes it so attractive? What is driving it’s growth? Is it sports wagering in disguise? The second will provide a glimpse into the legal pitfalls that may be lying in wait for Fantasy Sports. Will it continue its run as a legal online and offline game of skill as carved out by UIGEA or have the new easier and quicker games crossed the line?
Both panels feature top industry professionals and players but there won’t be long Powerpoint slideshows and pre-scripted statements. Instead, the sessions will be done in a talkshow interview format as the audience is invited to join in, with tough questions for the panelists. Held over three days the conference brings delegates together with the industry’s veterans and visionaries. This year iGNA brings you: • An additional half day conference program.
• Expanded exhibition hall • One day of social gaming content • Networking opportunities before and after the event iGaming North America will be hosting its fourth event in Planet Hollywood on 19-21 March. It was the first and is the largest dedicated event for the emerging iGaming market with a focus on crafting the best quality and most innovative content for our client base and other attendees.
iGaming North America 19-21 March 2014 Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Las Vegas
BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014 69
BB113-p70-71-Analysis_09/10 29/01/2014 11:05 Page 1
Pinnacle at for English
Andreas Phillipsen is the marketing director bettingexpert, which has amassed a huge be ettingexpert is pleased to provide Betting Business interactive readers with insight into the trends that we see on a regular basis from interactions with our users. The two featured charts here relate only to data extracted from the English language version of our site, but if we were to include our entire global network, consisting of a further eight different language versions, the sample size would be twice as large. The main bettingexpert product invites regular sports followers to sign up for free, share their sports knowledge and compete in a monthly tipster competi-
ACTION IMAGES / JULIAN HERBERT LIVEPIC
TOP TEN GLOBAL POOLS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
GBR - Colossus Bets - The £10,000,000 Colossus - E11,951,700 SWE - V75 - Bergsaker - E11,483,377 SWE/RUS - Stryktipset/Soccer13 - E4,216,550 ESP - La Quinella - E3,795,298 GBR - Classic Pools - E3,616,200 GBR - Colossus Bets - Premier League Pick6 - E2,410,800 RUS - Fonbet Tote - E2,246,371 SWE - V86 - Solvalla - E2,185,925 GBR - Bodugi Big Game - E1,205,400 SWE - V64 - Eskilstuna - E986,675
Chart supplied by: Colossus BetsCalculated by biggest pools/guarantees over a week’s period during the month. One entry per bet type. Data for 1/1 - 27/1
TOP TEN UK HORSERACE POOLS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Chart supplied by: Totepool. Data for December
Wall Street, Daily UK 100, Daily Germany 30, Daily Spot, EUR/USD Spot, GBP/USD Spot, AUD/USD Gold, Daily Feb UK 100, Mar Spot, USD/JPY Spot, EUR/JPY
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Chart supplied by: Spreadex. Calculated on volume of bets. Data for December
TOP TEN SPORTS SPREAD MARKETS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
(1) Bet365 (2) William Hill (3) Paddy Power (6) Winner (4) Betfred (5) Betfair (7) Stan James (9) Betway (8) Ladbrokes (10) BetVictor
Chart supplied by: Freebets.com. Data for December
International Cricket - South Africa v India 1st Test International Cricket - Australia v England 3rd Test International Cricket - Australia v England 4th Test International Cricket - Australia v England 2nd Test International Cricket - South Africa v India 2nd Test International Cricket - New Zealand v West Indies 1st Test Domestic Football - Arsenal v Chelsea Domestic Football - Man City v Liverpool International Cricket - New Zealand v West Indies 2nd Test Domestic Football - Tottenham v Liverpool
Chart supplied by: Spreadex. Calculated on volume of bets. Data for December
TOP TEN MONEYBACK OFFERS
TOP TEN BOOKMAKERS FOR MONEYBACK OFFERS
TOP TEN FINANCIAL SPREAD MARKETS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Cheltenham - Stan James International Hurdle Kempton Park - King George VI Chase Kempton Park - Desert Orchid Chase Chepstow - Welsh Grand National Ascot - Novices Hurdle Cheltenham - Relkeel Hurdle Cheltenham - Triumph Hurdle Trial Cheltenham - Gold Cup (Grade 3) Ascot - Handicap Hurdle Ascot - Betfred Novices’ Chase
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Paddy Power - Football: Money Back if Giroud scores anytime v Man City Bet365 - Greyhounds: Sky dogs 2/1 Paddy Power - Football: Money back if Arsenal v Chelsea draw Paddy Power - Football: Money back if Chelsea v Liverpool draw Coral - Football: If Suarez scores anytime v Tottenham Boylesports - cricket: Money Back if team capt top 1st inns run scorer Paddy Power - Football: Money Back if Rooney scores 1st or last v Tottenham Paddy Power - Basketball: If Point Scored In Last 10 Seconds Live BT Sport Game Paddy Power - Football: Money Back if Wilshere scores anytime Paddy Power - Football: Money Back if Suarez scores last v Tottenham
Chart supplied by: Freebets.com . Data for December
THE £10,000,000 COLOSSUS
ALL OTHER BETS ARE LOWER LEAGUE 70 BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014
tion with cash prizes. When our users are posting tips, they have to stipulate which bookmaker the tip belongs to, with the default setting as the one that is currently offering the best price. This provides us with a rich seam of data from our tipsters which in turn allows us to anticipate trends and provide a better service. It also provides a great understanding into the process of placing a bet, especially for the increasingly price-conscious punter. For example, in our English language section, Pinnacle Bookmakers is by far and away the most popular choice, with 17.4 per cent of tipsters citing the firm as the place with
BB113-p70-71-Analysis_09/10 29/01/2014 11:06 Page 2
TOP TEN BETTING EXCHANGE MARKETS
SPONSORED BY COLOSSUSBETS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
e at the top ish tipsters
Chart supplied by: Betfair. Data for December
g director at Better Collective, the company behind the online social network d a huge betting information database including the two new charts here. the most favourable odds and Bet365 a distant second with 11.1 per cent. Yet if we look across all nine of our language sections we find that Bet365 has turned the tables and is actually the most popular international bookmaker with a 13.6 per cent tip share compared to Pinnacle’s 12.8 per cent. Further study of this data set reveals yet more insights. By isolating the English top 10 it is surprising to note that there is a poor showing from the traditional UK brands with only Ladbrokes and William Hill making any significant impact. The presence of Costa Rican bookmaker 5Dimes and Malta-based Bet3000
TOP TEN RETAIL BETTING (UK) EVENTS 1 Pinnacle 2 Bet365 3 BetVictor 4 188Bet 5 Bwin 6 Ladbrokes 7 William Hill 8 5Dimes 9 Bet 3000 10Unibet Chart supplied by: Betting Expert. Based on data from 15,374 tips in English language sectionData from December
demonstrate that there are opportunities amongst the large corporate bookmakers for less established brands to gain recognition within our online betting community.
The most popular bet types data demonstrates the sophistication of our user base when it comes to finding betting value, with many perceiving Asian Handicaps as the best tips
Domestic Football - Arsenal v Chelsea Domestic Football - Man City v Liverpool Domestic Football - Chelsea v Liverpool Horseracing - Kempton Racing - Boxing Day Domestic Football - Arsenal v Everton International Cricket - Ashes 3rd Test - Australia v England Domestic Football - Tottenham v Liverpool Horseracing - Chepstow Racing - 28th December Domestic Football - Tottenham v Manchester Utd Horseracing - Ascot Racing - 21st December
Chart supplied by: BetVictor. Data for December
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
followed by the over/under goals market. What is interesting is just how quickly the community has embraced the both teams to score bet - it has around the same figures as the more well-established correct score bet with our English language users. What we’ve shown here is just a tiny fraction of the data we have collected through our successful online betting community. The manner of our tipster competition directly relates to the real betting behaviour of punters as their goal is the same: to identify value and make profit. Therefore it also works as a valuable means of predicting how punters operate in the real world.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
(2) 888Casino - 0.90 (1) Jenningsbet Casino - 0.94 (5) Bet365 - 1.70 (8) BetVictor - 1.93 (3) 32Red - 1.98 (9) PartyGaming - 2.31 (6) William Hill - 2.40 (4) Totesport- 2.44 (7) Betfred Casino - 2.47 (-) Unibet - 2.49
Chart supplied by: Gomez. Data for December
TOP TEN ONLINE SPORTSBOOK PERFORMANCE
RESPONSE TIME (SECS)
RESPONSE TIME (SECS)
Chart supplied by: Gomez. Data for December
Bet on our easy-to-play weekly pick 7 football game.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
(1) Bet365 - 0.64 (4) Jenningsbet - 1.22 (2) Boylesports - 1.22 (6) Betfair Sports - 1.61 (5) Totesport - 1.63 (7) Ladbrokes - 1.70 (3) BetVictor - 1.73 (8) Betclic - 2.22 (10) Sky Bet - 2.58 (-) Betfred - 2.65
Chart supplied by: Gomez. Data for November
Cash-In profits in full
(1) Betfair (2) Bet 365 (3) Bet Victor (4) Paddy Power (5) William Hill (6) Coral (7) Ladbrokes (8) Stan James (9) Sky Bet (10) Betfred
Chart supplied by: Oddschecker. Calculated on market share of betslip clicks from Oddschecker.com. Data for December
TOP TEN MOST SELECTED BET TYPES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Asian Handicap Over/Under 1X2 12 Correct Score Both Teams to Score HT:FT Draw No bet Double Change European Handicap
Chart supplied by: Betting ExpertBased on December data from 15,374 tips in English language section
TOP TEN LARGEST EUROPEAN CASINO/GAMING COMPANIES BY MARKET CAP
RESPONSE TIME (SECS)
TOP TEN ONLINE POKER PERFORMANCE (2) Jenningsbet Poker - 0.55 (1) 888 - 0.84 (3) Bet365 - 1.10 (4) PokerStars - 1.43 (6) Partypoker - 1.46 (8) Unibet - 1.74 (7) Stan James Poker - 1.79 (5) Bet Victor Poker - 1.79 (-) BetFred Poker - 1.93 (9) Poker Room - 2.01
TOP TEN FOOTBALL BETTING WEBSITES
TOP TEN ONLINE CASINO PERFORMANCE
TOP TEN ONLINE BETTING MARKETS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
International Cricket - South Africa v India (1st Test) International Cricket - Pakistan v Sri Lanka (1st ODI) International Cricket - Australia v England (3rd Test) International Cricket - Pakistan v Sri Lanka (2nd ODI) International Cricket - Australia v England (2nd Test) International Cricket - South Africa v India (1st ODI) International Cricket - Pakistan v Sri Lanka (2nd T20) International Cricket - South Africa v India (2nd ODI) International Cricket - Pakistan v Sri Lanka (5th ODI) International Cricket - Pakistan v Sri Lanka (4th ODI)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
GTECH S.p.A. £3,297.2m William Hill plc £3,229.5m Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics S.A. £2,821.0m Paddy Power plc £2,504.5m Ladbrokes PLC £1,590.6m Betfair Group PLC £1,053.9m bwin.party digital entertainment plc £964.2m Unibet Group plc £832.3m Betsson AB £832.2m Societe des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Etrangers a Monaco £626.4m
Chart supplied by: S&P Capital IQ. Data calculated on 15 January
TOP TEN RETAIL BETTING (UK) EVENTS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Horseracing - King George VI Chase, Kempton Horseracing - Welsh National Handicap Chase, Chepstow International Cricket - Australia v England, 2nd Ashes Test Darts - PDC World Championships, Alexandra Palace Domestic Football - Arsenal v Chelsea Horseracing - Ladbroke Hurdle, Ascot, Sat 21st Dec (Racing) European Football - Bayern Munich v Manchester City International Cricket - Australia v England, 4th Ashes Test Horseracing - Stewart Family Gold Cup, Cheltenham Domestic Football - Chelsea v Liverpool
Chart supplied by: Betfred. Data for December
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BettingBusinessInteractive • FEBRUARY 2014 71
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