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THE MYSTERY SHOPPER Who and what they do

THE GAMING AFFILIATE

Jack of all trades & master of none!?!

WOMEN IN GAMING AWARDS

All the nominees announced

THE RETURN OF THE BRAND

There will be an influx of new poker brands

FOCUS

Minefield for the unwary - US Gambling


EDITOR’S LETTER Lana Thompson - Chief Editor

by

InfinityGaming CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Martin R. Baird Rohin Malhotra Ellen Learmonth

EDITORS NOTES Have you noticed there is a lot of noise out there? Love it or not and often it’ is both, Women in Gaming Awards has a lot to answer for

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It is a fourth year of the WiG Awards and I am sure we all agree that event is highly inspirational, educational and full of fun. Join nice for the evening of celebration at Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London on 16 May.

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There is another good reason to visit Jumeirah London on 16 of May, it is the Big ideas in Gaming Conference sponsored by TCSJohn Huxley. Listening could lead to insight, learning, and finding out what is the next big thing industry talking about. If you could be there or want to book tickets, you will hear on the day from amazing speakers and panellists, so do not delay. We would like to thank you all our contributors Ellen Learmonth , Rohin Malhotra, and Martin Baird and our special

guests this month from Snell & Wilmer, Harsh P. Parikh & Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier for their opinion and practical, well-thought out advice. Lana

CONTACT US Clever Duck Media Suite 105 Park Plaza Point South Hayes Way Cannock WS12 2DB UK Tel: +44(0)1543 57 86 89 claire@cleverduckmedia.com PRODUCTION Clever Duck Media Suite 105 Park Plaza Point South Hayes Way Cannock WS12 2DB UK PUBLISHING Infinity Gaming Magazine is operated by © Clever Duck Media Ltd ® Company Reg. No. 687 1018 (Registered in England) ADVERTISING: Sponsorship Opportunities Colin@gaming-awards.com Business Partnerships Svetlana@gaming-awards.com JOIN US


contents InfinityGaming

EDITOR’S LETTER

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EDITOR LETTER

Welcome to the April edition

IT’S A MINEFIELD

Special feature from Snell & Wimer on the US gambling sector

8 MUST HAVE GADGETS THE GAMING 14 AFFILIATE 17 THE BIG CONFERENCE What we all need for 2013

Ellen Learmonth tells us a good affiliate

Where you must be on 16th May

FEATURES

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WOMEN IN GAMING AWARDS NOMINEES

We are now on iPad

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The women in gaming awards is back and here are the nominees

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THE MYSTERY SHOPPER Martin Baird explains all

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THE INDEPENDANT POKER BRAND

Rohin Malhotra our feature writer tells all

RANK HAS GAME 35 PLAN

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NEW YORK ILLEGAL 36 GAMBLING Russian gangster named

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CYPRUS TO OPEN CASINOS

SEE ALL THE NOMINEES FOR THE WOMEN IN GAMING AWARDS

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Rank Group releases new report

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GAMING NEWS

Betfair target of takeover Reports in the city of London

say that CVC Capital Partners, whom own the Formula 1 brand, are preparing to hold discussions on a takeover of betting exchange giant Betfair. On Monday the private equity firm confirmed that it had held preliminary talks with Antony Ball, Richard Koch, and other leading partners over a takeover of Betfair, which might include an offer for the betting exchange company. Mr Koch, an author, investor and co-founder of LEK Consulting, holds a 6.9pc stake in Betfair. Mr Ball is a non-executive director at Luxembourg-listed investment group Brait and is the co-founder of its private equity business. Betfair floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2010 and has had a turbulent life as a listed company, blighted by a string of senior departures and regulatory battles in europe.

CVC said to reporters that there is no certainty that an offer will be made or the terms on which any offer will be made. Under market rules, CVC, Mr Koch and Mr Ball have until 5pc on May 13 to either make a firm offer or walk away, the online betting exchange company is valued at £829 million.

Ladbrokes forecast lower 2013 results

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Ladbrokes announced to investors that it expected

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their annual profits to be much lower than originally forecast, with their online and horse racing businesses performing badly in the first quarter of the year. The betting giant who are now the second largest bookmaker in the UK made the unscheduled announcement to the London markets today (15th April). Ladbrokes have seen their market share fall in recent years from fierce rival and number one leading bookmaker William Hill, whom have forged well ahead of Ladbrokes in the online sector along with also losing ground to other smaller online betting operators. “The trading environment and economic conditions

since the start of the year have remained challenging, which when combined with a number of specific one-off factors in the latter part of the period, have driven a softer first quarter than expected,” UK and Chief Executive Richard Glynn said in a statement. The company had expected first quarter profits to be lower than last year because of increased costs and the imposition of a new 20% machine games duty in its high street shops. However, revenue from machines and online gaming were very disappointing for the company. Ladbrokes said operating profit fell to £37.4 million in the first three months ending March, down £13 million year for year.


GAMING NEWS

Vietnam casino resort receives green light

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he American Gaming Association (AGA) has named their successor to replace outgoing President & CEO Frank Fahrenkopf.

It was this January that Fahrenkopf, 73, said he was stepping down as the first and only president/CEO of the association created in 1994.

Geoff Freeman, executive vice president and chief operating officer at the U.S. Travel Association, will take over at the Washington, D.C.-based AGA on July 1, the association said in a news release. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Freeman also worked at APCO Worldwide, a global public affairs firm, as vice president for issues management and at Freddie Mac as director of government affairs and strategic outreach.

Fahrenkopf was a Reno lawyer before working in Republican politics at the state level and becoming chairman of the Republican National Committee, a title he held for six of President Ronald Reagan’s eight years in the White House. Fahrenkopf has said he will remain with the AGA in a consulting role through 2013 to help efforts to get federal legislation approved governing Internet gambling.

sian Coast Development (ACDL) have announced this week that they have received formal approval by the Government of Vietnam of all of ACDL’s requested amendments to its Investment Certificate, in regard to the Ho Tram Strip development. “This is a landmark day for the Ho Tram Strip,” said ACDL Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Nathan. “We would like to extend our gratitude to the Government of Vietnam, the Ministries that have been involved in our amendment process, and to the leadership of the Province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau who have been extremely supportive throughout.”

The Ho Tram Strip will eventually include two integrated resorts with gaming facilities and an additional three five-star resorts and a Greg Norman designed championship golf course in a 2.2 kilometer beachfront 164 hectare site, located approximately two hours from Ho Chi Minh City. Construction of the first part of the resort is complete, it includes 541 five star rooms and suites, restaurants, gaming facilities, convention and meeting space, retail, bars, an ultra-lounge, a spa, three swimming pools, beach facilities, and other leisure amenities.

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American Gaming Association name new President

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US iGaming SPECIAL

US LEGAL PERSPECTIVE

Minefield for the Unwary: By: Harsh P. Parikh & Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier

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aming operations in the United States have traditionally been supply-side driven. Sheldon Andelson, CEO and Chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., recently analogized the industry to the movie Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come. Indeed, nothing is a better example of this than growth of brick-and-mortar tribal gaming: from being almost non-existent two decades ago to now generating more than $27 billion a year.

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The Department of Justice’s reversal of its long-held stance regarding the Federal Wire Act may have created a major opportunity for gaming expansion in the United States: this time, into cyberspace.

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In the last two years, individual states have begun legalizing online gaming and investments are flowing into the igaming sector. Everyone from already-established Las Vegas-based industry giants to household igaming European

operators to Silicon Valley start-ups are all aiming on capitalizing on America’s untapped online gaming market. Investors in online gaming endeavors in the United States, however, should proceed with caution. For one, at this point, a federal internet gaming regulatory framework seems almost implausible. After the widely-rumored Harry Reid gambling bill failed to even be introduced during Congress’s lame duck session in 2012, there aren’t many positive signs of a future Congressional bill. The legalization of internet gambling is moving forward on a stateby-state basis. To date, three states — Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey — have passed legislation to allow their residents to gamble on the internet. Each state, however, has its own regulatory body, and its own governing standards and regulations. These divergent approaches create a myriad of

complex challenges that need to be carefully maneuvered. For instance, online gaming in Delaware will be run only by the Delaware State Lottery. Delaware is currently selecting its vendor for internet gaming system and services. On the other hand, New Jersey and Nevada will allow online gambling websites to be operated by any properly licensed entity. Any potential licensee in Nevada must deal with the “bad actor” provision, which disqualifies any person or entity which operated online gambling (including poker) prior to December 31, 2006, the date when Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. There is no such “bad actor” clause for licensees seeking to operate online gaming in New Jersey. These complicated and often conflicting state-based legislative schemes require any vendor or operator to carefully plan ahead before entering the market. Fur-


Cautiously Optimistic Outlook on Online Gaming Expansion in the United States

Even if igaming on an interstate basis could be workable, these three states have a combined population of less than 13 million – about 4% of the total population of the United States. The focus of most stakeholders remains on the potential expansion of online gaming to other states. Yet, gaming expansion into other states continues to face obstacles. In Illinois, politics may lead to Governor Pat Quinn’s veto to the proposed bill (SB 1739). California is a potential cash cow for online gaming (SB 51 and SB 678). However, any online gaming expansion will need the support of the Golden State’s 110 tribes and their 67 brick-and-mortar casinos, and efforts to pass a pokeronly bill have failed in the state for the last three years. Massachusetts appears to be the only other state that is seriously considering online gaming (SB 197). Even if the stars align and the United States can establish and manage a national online gaming infrastructure (either through interstate compacts among the states

Sheldon Andelson, CEO and Chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., recently analogized the industry to the movie Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come.

www.swlaw.com Harsh Parikh is an associate in Snell & Wilmer’s Orange County, CA office. His practice is concentrated in commercial litigation, gaming law and intellectual property litigation. He represents individuals, businesses, institutional and public entity clients in all facets of litigation in state and federal courts. He counsels major manufacturers and operators of gaming equipment on various state and federal regulations. Harsh also consults and advises financial stakeholders and publicly traded corporations on pending state and federal legislation related to gaming

or a national regulatory scheme), the internet gaming market will be demand based rather than supply based. The market likely will be saturated with a large volume of potential operators all competing for the same business. The American Gaming Association’s opposition to PokerStars’ entering the New Jersey market is only a microcosm of the types of competition expected in the future.

and sports betting. hparikh@swlaw.com Heidi Staudenmaier is a partner in Snell & Wilmer Phoenix, AZ office, is nationally recognized in the areas of Indian Law, Gaming Law and Business Litigation.

Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. Founded in 1938, Snell & Wilmer is a full-service business law firm with

Nonetheless, igaming expansion will be lucrative for operators and vendors who can successfully navigate the maze of political and regulatory roadblocks. Just as IGRA was a boon for tribal gaming, igaming expansion may also indeed become a major market in the United States.

more than 400 attorneys practicing in nine locations throughout the western United States and in Mexico, including Orange County and Los Angeles, California; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Los Cabos, Mexico. The firm represents clients ranging from large, publicly traded corporations to small businesses, individuals and entrepreneurs.

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ther, each of these states currently only allows intrastate wagers – that is, a player in Delaware cannot place a bet on a website run by a licensed New Jersey operator. These states may look for ways to work together to create an interstate pool of players, which is essential for games like poker.

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GADGETS

The top 10 hot gadgets of 2013

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adgets used to be the domain of guys only, but more and more girls like their gadgets now, the most popular is the phone, however tech Magazine T3 have just released the hottest gadgets that gadget man or girl must have for 2013. Interestingly Apple are not in the top list, the first time the compa-

10. Nvidia Project Shield

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This portable gaming device claims to redefine gaming on the go. The Android gadget, with top-of-the-range audio and visual quality, lets you play high-quality games away from your home. You can also connect the device to your PC using wifi, so you can play your favourite games without having to get off the couch.

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It’s still in development, but should be shipping to the USA and Canada in the second half on 2013. Nvidia say they want to ship to other countries, including the UK, as soon as they can after launch.

9. Cambridge Audio Minx Air This sound system can play your music from whatever device you want - smartphone, tablet or computer.

nies products have missed out since 2009, in the last few years Apple have indeed topped the gadget list three times. The nearest Apple get to the top 10 is the iPad Mini which sits in 15th place on the wanted gadget list.

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let’s look at what is a “must need” gadget for 2013

Using Cambridge Audio’s expertise in hi-fi design and wireless streaming quality, you can listen to your favourite song in high quality while still being able to use your phone or tablet. The device can also play the radio, and is compatible for both Apple and Android products. Costing £330, you can buy one online or in store at Richer Sounds.

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8. Pebble Billed as “the first watch for the 21st century,” the Pebble watch has different faces that you can download and customise. Pebble connects to iPhone and Android smartphones using Bluetooth, alerting you with a silent vibration to incoming calls, emails and messages. With apps you can turn the watch into a stopwatch, GPS, mp3 player and computer, to use while you’re on the go.

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What are the must have items

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7. Fujifilm X100S

6. Paper Tab Combining the flexibility of paper with the endurance of digital, PaperTab is set to change the way we work on documents. PaperTab only allows the user to open one thing at a time, but have several papers. This means users can do things like share PDFs just by tapping two tablets together, fast-forward during a video by bending the display, and opening emails by touching two displays together. Unfortunately, the device is still in construction and there has been no word on a release date - or a price.

5. Sony 4K OLED TV This will be the world’s first Ultra High Definition television that uses Organic LEDs, with a native

3,840 x 2,160 OLED panel. The 56-inch set gives outstanding detail and high-quality image, and experts are saying it will change the way we watch television for good. Again, no release date or price has been mentioned - but technology fans are desperate to get their hands on the newest piece of TV tech.

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This retro-styled camera brings together the best of traditional photography and its digital counterpart. With a 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS sensor and on-chip phase detection, the X100S now has a better autofocus speed than previous models. This is supported by a new processor, the ‘EXR Processor II’, which includes a new ‘Lens Modulation Optimiser’ function. With an improved user interface and viewfinder, this is a serious camera for serious photographers. It can be bought online for £1,099.

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THE BIG IDEAS IN GAMING CONFERENCE One Day Conference | Jumeirah Carlton Tower London | May 2013 CONNECT face to face with industry peers SHARE best practices and network with the powerful industry community DISCOVER where are they placing their bets

• Where are they placing their bets for success next year? • Beyond 2013, what trends or technology should be on our radar? • How are they handling today’s gaming industry challenges • Future of Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Create referral programs and build raving fans. • How to grow an online quality talent pipeline • Question Time What people say about our Conferences:

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“It was great to meet and network with so many influential and inspiring ladies. I would definitely say that it was one of the best conferences that I’ve ever been to.” Daniela Attard – Betfair -------------------------------------------------------------------------------“Meticulously organized in a beautiful elegant setting and with a very influential panel of speakers, I met a number of women that I rarely see or have never met at gaming events including some very influential and inspirational women within well respected companies.” Arusha Iqbal – EasyOdds ------------------------------------------------------------------------------“I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the speakers and the wealth of knowledge and experience that was shared. It was a good idea to mix online and offline gaming as the two domains are increasingly connected.” Michelle Cummins – Casinos Austria International

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A CONFERENCE FOR THE ONLINE, SOCIAL & LAND BASED GAMBLING INDUSTRIES


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GADGETS

The top 10 hot gadgets of 2013 4. Google Glass This highly anticipated piece of technology will allow wearers to have a hands-free technological experience. While you wear the lightweight glasses, you can use your voice to command them to take pictures, record video, send messages, find directions and translate your speech. The glasses connect to the Internet and use Google’s services to create a hands-free smartphone, right in front of your eyes. Google are testing the product on a lucky few who applied to be “Glass Explorers”, but they will be released to a wider audience soon.

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3. Sony PlayStation 4

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Sony have only given tantalising details of the PS4, but by all accounts it will provide a new boost for gaming. The controller has replaced some buttons with touchscreen technology, and the console now has a share function which lets you record, edit and upload gaming footage and share it online with friends. Industry analysts say that they don’t expect to see one until the E3 gaming expo this June, and will probably be released in December.

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2. Samsung Galaxy S4 Samsung unveiled their new Android phone earlier this month in New York, and are expecting it to outsell Apple’s products. Among new feature is the Galaxy S4’s remote technology which allows users to control functions without touching the screen. “Smart

pause” means people can pause a video by looking away from the screen, while “smart scroll” lets users scroll through emails without touching the screen, the S4 detecting the movements of the eyes and wrist. Users can also change music tracks or accept a call with a simple wave of a hand. The Galaxy S will be rolled out globally at the end of April, and will be available on several different contracts.

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The MUST have gadget of 2013 3D printing is already causing waves, with the technology being used in dozens of industries across the world including clothing, engineering and medicine. Using technology which maps out an object, the printers then layer thin slices of plastic - or other materials - on top of each other to create a 3D object. It is hoped that 3D printers can provide cheap and quick production, possibly providing solutions to problems such as forensic investigations. Some companies, such as RepRap, are trying to produce 3D printers available for home use, as most are only used in industrial or commercial settings.

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The possibilities are endless with 3D printers

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1. 3D printers

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The Gaming Affiliate

Jack of all Trades or Master of None!?! By Ellen Learmonth

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hould the title to this piece actually be a statement or question? That more or less sums up the typical theory behind most peoples impressions of an affiliate, so what is it that makes this trade a serious contender in the marketing world and what is it about affiliates that make them as important as they are? There is no denying the importance of affiliate marketing and the way in which it has dominated the iGaming Industry. The affiliate is loved by the operator, hated by the finance department and admired by the affiliate manager and all for the same reason, success. The common conceptions (or misconception) is that the affiliate spends a few hours a day – if that – managing their site before relaxing and reaping the benefits of advertising for the gambling industry. Many affiliate managers have been tempted by the greener grass and have thought about switching sides. Some have and the at that point realised that there is more to affiliate marketing than just having a list. Success in the affiliate world is earned and doesn’t come easy. Why is that you wonder?

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In my view there are 3 types of affiliates:

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The passionate – this is the affiliate that is passionate about one of the products, be it Poker, Sports betting, Casino or Bingo. Usually internet savvy and turning their passion into profit by creating an internet presence on the niche subject with focus on communication and community. Focussing on what he/she knows best is the key. A real super star!

The marketer – is the affiliate that has had his/her ear to the ground when gambling hit the online world and took that skill and turned it into profit by creating an internet presence that is stable and where growth is achieved by a learned marketing strategy. Utilizing his/ her strength leads to success. The chancer – your typical “how hard can it be” person that has been in contact or heard of the profitable enterprise and thinks that they can emulate the success of some of the well-known gambling affiliates. “How wrong can they be?”

“There is no denying the importance of affiliate marketing and the way in which it has dominated the iGaming industry A head first dive without taking into consideration or thought for the multi-facet business mind-set that a successful affiliate has is more or less the approach that the “Chancer” takes. Forgetting the affiliate side to the job for the moment, basic tasks/areas such as the initial setup, finance, taxation, programing, and design, content writing, negotiating deals, customer relationship management, marketing (PPC, Media, Social, etc.) and SEO need to be mastered. The first time affiliate marketer should have a least one area of expertise and the budget to substitute the others. The lone affiliate really has to be a Jack of all Trades and mostly fits this role quite well, but there is always one trade that is stronger than others. At the start of the


The Gaming Affiliate advice and learning. In some cases you might see a “super affiliate” presenting or participating in the discussions. To conclude I would like to voice my admiration for all affiliates still going strong and all those that are putting in more hours than most of their corporate counterparts. You are truly a Jack of all Trades and evolved to be Master of all Disciplines.

The marketer on the other hand would stick to basics of marketing and focus for instance on placing PPC ads at a reasonable rate without legal restrictions and without operators doing so themselves or being restricted by operators on bidding on brand terms. Times have changed, the competition is fierce and the affiliate really needs to rise to the new challenges. If the affiliate manager takes a look through their database of affiliates, they will notice that a lot of the once money earning sites have expired or changed ownership. Large amounts of gambling affiliate domains are now run by operators to

support their own SEO strategy, so entering this industry as a new affiliate could not be harder. However, one thing that is outstanding is the excellent support network gambling affiliates can rely on. There are authority sites and fo rums such as GPWA, Affiliate Guard Dog, and CAP to name just a few where any question or call for help will get a quick response by peers/ professionals and fellow affiliates. Browsing through some posts and article on these sites will offer a host of solutions, tips and experiences. Also the much loved affiliate conferences offer not only the opportunity to meet the affiliate managers in person but are filled with seminars in specialist areas to educate the modern affiliate.

Ellen Learmonth has been active in digital media for over 14 years covering all disciplines of online marketing with strong expertise in acquisition and affiliate marketing. She is passionate about innovation and new technology with a strong drive for creativity. Her 2006 World Cup Campaign earned two prestigious creative design awards at the New York Festival (Bronze) and The International Davey Award (Gold). Now living in London, Ellen is lending her expertise to some of the major gaming operators.

The conference seminars program has matured over the years and has grown from being sales pitches by http://www.goldeneuroaffiliates.com/ service providers to fully fledged seminars and/or lectures offering

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boom our passionate affiliate had all the trade necessary – they wanted to talk about the product and while doing that built a strong following of like-minded people who communicated on his/her site and made money.

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GAMING NEWS

2 bodies found at Revel development Two bodies have been found dead at the Revel Casino resort just adding to the developments woes as they languish currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Police say the bodies of a man and a woman have been found in a hotel room at an Atlantic City casino resort. A 56-yearold man and a 21-year-old woman were discovered by a housekeeper on Sunday 7th April at 2pm, autopsies were conducted Sunday night. The cause of their deaths will be released when the investigation is finished. Police are asking for anyone with information about the deaths to contact police. Revel, the city’s newest casino, opened a year ago. It has since filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

goes

Kansas will not be entering the race for online state by state race, as senators voted overwelmingly against their residents being allowed to wager over the internet.

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Zynga the social gaming company has launched its real-money online poker business in the U.K on Wednesday 3rd April. The online real- money poker game is called Zynga Plus Poker, the site is a skin from the PartyGaming network which Zynga has a partnership deal with. It was known back in late in 2012 that the company was launching a real-money version of Zynga Poker.

It seems Kansas will not be entering

the state by state race to legalize online gambling anytime soon as Senators rejected a bill to allow residents to place bets online. Senators rejected the bill by 26-11 on Tuesday 2nd April to allow for a new state owned casino to be built in the state and at the same time voting against online gambling in the state.

The vote on Tuesday which would revise a 2007 law authorizing state-owned casinos and slot machines at dog and horse tracks to extend was called down and included the provision for online gambling also. The bill would require any prospective developer to invest at least $225 million in a southeast Kansas casino, and backers of such a project say the investment is too high. The bill proposed was to drop it to $50 million.

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Zynga money

Kansas says NO to online gambling

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GAMING NEWS

CEO Andy Hornby pressure grows on pension return

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fter the Parliamentary Commission report last Friday on Banking Standards was released, pointing a major part of the blame on previous CEOs of HBOS including Andy Hornby who is now CEO of Gala Coral, there have been some whispers that Mr Hornby could hand back part of his pension from the once banking giant. One previous boss of HBOS Sir James said he was deeply sorry for what happened at HBOS and the ensuing consequences for former colleagues, shareholders, taxpayers and society in general. In return he has himself offered to give up 30% of his pension from the company which in total is £580,000 per year. Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrat peer, said Sir James had done “the right thing. Clearly it’s not sustainable for Andy Hornby not to follow.” Mr Hornby, who succeeded Sir James at the helm of HBOS in 2006, currently receives an annual pension of £240,000 since he left HBOS in 2009. Terry Smith, chief executive of inter-dealer broker Tullet Prebon, said he had “sympathy” for Mr Hornby.

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“He only became chief executive in 2006 at HBOS and by then I rather suspect that the die was cast and it was too late for him to make any significant change,” he told the Today Programme.

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“It was too late by then. This particular juggernaut was heading towards the iceberg and whoever was appointed couldn’t possibly have changed it.” The finger of blame may not be so strong on Mr Hornby following these comments however the pressure now to release part of his pension will grow following Sir James’s actions.

Zynga goes live real-money in UK

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ynga the social gaming company has launched its real-money online poker business in the U.K on Wednesday 3rd April. The online real- money poker game is called Zynga Plus Poker, the site is a skin from the PartyGaming network which Zynga has a partnership deal with. The online social gaming giant was known back in late in 2012 that the company was launching a realmoney version of their Zynga Poker in the UK with the announcement of their joint venture with bwin. party. The deal with Zynga and PartyGaming means they share the same player pool, so allowing Zynga Plus Poker players on the same platform as PartyPoker, bwin and WPT Poker.


Women in Gaming Awards 2013 Meet the Judges 10 Leading ladies from the World of Gaming will Judge entries in all categories. Nominations are now open, nominations are FREE to enter. The WIG is here to inspire, motivate and recognize the huge importance of women in the Gaming sector.

Amelia Sequeira - Life coach, Talent Acquisition Specialist

Emmie Faust - Managing Director at Jack Media London

Janet Viipola - Executive Coordinator – Interactive Gaming Council

Anna Sainsbury - Founder & CEO GeoComply USA Inc

Megan Easey - Business Consultant Megan Easey & Associates

Bonnie Bannigan - Director of International Human Resources Bally Technologies

Sharon Robinson - Head of Human Resources at The Ritz Club, London

Ellen Learmonth - Senior Affiliate Consultant at GoldenEuro

Tracy Cohen - Marketing Manager TCSJOHNHUXLEY / Director of Europe AGEM

14 Categories: Affiliate Manager of the Year - Entrepreneur of the Year - Excellence in Customer Service Award - Hidden Talent of the Year - Industry Achiever of the Year - Innovator of the Year - Inspiration of the Year - Leader of the Year (iGaming) - Leader of the Year(land based) - Star of the Future - Marketing Excellence Award - Team of the Year (iGaming) - Team of the Year (Land Based) - Industry Pride of the Year

FREE TO ENTER - CHECK THE WEBSITE FOR FULL DETAILS

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Adele Lawton - Commercial Director Playtech

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Affiliate Manager of the Year

Entrepeneurof the Year

Emmie Faust- Jack London Media Alison Brincat- Betsson Erika Schwartz Poole – Erika Schwartz Poole Consulting Carly Sawers – PokerStars Melissa Blau- iGaming Capital Claire Mason- Gala Network Europe Nicky Senyard – Income Access Claire Tribert – Affiliate Manager at Sportingbet Sarah McIver – Sarah McIver Claudette Olsson – ComeOn! Sue Schneider – eGaming Brokerage Dione Scott-Rogers- PKR Elina Basheva- 10Bet Excellence in Customer Service Award Laura Bent- bwin.party Caitlin Hanks- GTECH Lina Eriksson – PokerStars Carolyn Lambourne - Mecca Magalie Heyvaert – Sportingbet Chrissy Shaves - Mecca Customer Experience Team - Paddy Power Amie Chalk- Sportingbet Aurora Merino Salas – GLI Europe BV Malena Vallcaneras – Dosniha Gaming Maria Leyva-Begue - WMS Mary Mantia – TMI US Sabrina Robertson- Ladbrokes Shahnaz Aziz – PokerStars Therese Carlzon- Mr Green

Team of the Year (iGaming)

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Anna Conley – William Hill Online Carol Dray -Sportingbet eCommerce Caroline Westholm Kronqvist – Bwinparty PLC Charlotte Barnett & The Client Services Team – Game Ebba Ljungerud – Unibet Helene Stafferöd- Betsson Jane Palles – Paddy Power Joannah Barnard & Finance Team – Etruvian Group Kirsty Thompson and UKIPT Team – PokerStars Lynn Hunter – Rational Group Michela Bianchi- BetclicEverest Nicola Barnett – Probability PLC Sharon Duncalf- GTECH

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Anna Conley – William Hill Anna Mäkelä – Unibet Carol Dray – Sportingbet eCommerce Christie Eickelman – Gaming Labs International Denise Roche – Paddy Power Gillian Murphy – Galaxy Entertainment Judith Hawke- Betfair Leanne MacKenzie – Techlink Entertainment Sharneet Birk- Gala Coral Group Simone Gernon – Paddy Power Stella Dalton – GamCare Stina Reutercrona – Mr Green Sue Waldock - Rank Group Sylvie Mc Dermott – Paddy Power

Inspiration of the Year Aurora Merino Salas – GLI Europe B.V. / Balvi Macleod - Mecca TST – a GLI company Claudia Aviles – PokerStars Hannah Ferguson – Ladbrokes Joanne Bartley – PokerStars Pallavi Deshmukh – bwin.party marketing Silvia Mazzanti- Betfair Stella Dulton – GamCare

Leader of the Year(land based)

Cate Rodden - Grosvenor Casinos Cath Burns – TCSJohnHuxley Dubravka Burda – Spielo International Gillian Murphy – Galaxy Entertainment esys Jenny Williams – UK Gambling Commission Katie Lever – Shuffle Master Marina Campbell – SG Gaming Sara Banks - WMS Sylvia Dietz- Atronic Sherri Summers – Ameristar Casinos

Innovator of the Year Anne Blight – Grosvenor Casinos Camilla Clifford- Betfair Clare Anderson – Aspers Group Denise Dunne – Paddy Power Kamilla Liljedahl- Mr Green Marieanne Carmody Weir – Aspers Group Nicky Senyard – Income Access

Leader of the Year (iGaming) Amanda Burrows – William Hill Anna Conley – William Hill Online Aurora Merino Salas – Gaming Labs Int Carol Dray – Sportingbet eCommerce Charlotte Barnett- Gamesys Claire Osborne - Mecca Ebba Ljungerud – Unibet Elisabeth Lennhede- NetEnt Fiona Palmer – BSkyB Hodan Fourie – PokerStars Jessica Martell –Betsson Joannah Barnard – Etruvian Group Lisa Harris- Betfair Pree Patel – GB Group Sherri Cuono – PlayScreen

Star of the Future

Aurora Merino Salas – Gaming Labs Int Becky Reeves - Mecca Claire Thacker – PokerStars Denise Chen – Melco Crown Entertainment Ellenor Wiig - Mr Green Kellie Symington – Coral Interactive Kimberly Arnold – The Innovation Group Kirsty Thompson – PokerStars Lisa Waddicor – Aspers Group Lucy Capon – Ladbrokes Nickie Shute – Bingosupermarket Rebecca Atkins – William Hill Samantha Aquino - WMS Sonia Carabante – Cirsa Digital Therese Carlzon – Mr Green

May 16th 2013 at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel Knightsbridge Reserver your table for the most fabulous event of the year http://www.gaming-awards.com/wig/wig-tickets/

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Industry Achiever of the Year

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TIPS THIS MONTH JOHN DOLE

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Chief Editor

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Hidden Talent of the Year (Online or Land Based)

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Becky Howells - Rank Group Camilla Carlsson – Unibet Courtney Yamron – PokerStars Emma Loveday – Ladbrokes Jennifer Bowman – IGT Julia Boguslawski – SHFL Entertainment Inc. Kimberly Arnold – The Innovation Group Leanne Palmer – Vice President, Financial Compliance Melco Crown Entertainment Laura Dunn – GalaCoral Louise-Ann Penrose – PokerStars Lyn Salmon - Rank Group Marta Norton – PokerStars Robin Becker – The Nation Traffic / Europartners Sandy Battista – Optimal Payments Sarah Powell - Rank Group Sarah Gingell Littlejohn – Betfair Shona ODonnell - iGaming Business Stephanie Cheung – Melco Crown Entertainment Limited Teresa Yockey – Ameristar Casino Hotel Tracy Kenny – Aspers Group Victoria (Vicki) Huber - WMS Interactive

Amy Culora – Rank Mauris venenatis imperdiet Andrea Mostardi –WMS ante, condimentum suscipit mauris Caroline Westholm Kronqvist – Bwin.Party malesuada nec. Suspendisse vel felis Dayle Fenton32Red at nunc convallis rutrum in nec libero. FrancescaMauris RanioloBetsson tristique, tur Grace McMillan - Bwin.Party Ivonne Montealegre Pokerlisting a erat–risus at sem. Sed convalKalina Cichy- Gamesys lis pellentesque eros in lacinia. Lisa CallowCrasEndemol ultrices neque ac nisl posuere vulLouise Stevens Probability putate.–Cras dapibus purus in orci cursus Nora Felinsit–am Mr Green Sylvia Dietz – Spielo International Tracy Cohen – TCSJOHNHUXLEY ipsum dolor sit amet, consecWendy Andersontetur - BMM International adipiscing elit. Mauris

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Team of the Year (Land Based) Beth Bellaro & Comms Team – Ameristar Casinos Cath Burns –TCSJohnHuxley Fiona Regan and the HR Team – Grosvenor Casinos ipsum amet, conKatiedolor Leversit– Shuffle Master Team ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris sectetur Mauris Leslyadipiscing Clifford -elit. Rank Group venenatis imperdiet ante, condimenvenenatis imperdiet ante, condimenMarina Campbell- SG Gaming tum suscipit mauris malesuada tum suscipit mauris nec. Diamond Mary Annmalesuada Mantia – Desert Casino and Resorts nec. Suspendisse vel felis at nunc convallis Suspendisse vel felis at nunc convallis Nicky Senyard – Income Access rutrum in nec libero. MaurisGamCare tristique, rutrum in nec libero. Mauris tristique, Teresa Tunsell-

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May 16th 2013 at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel Knightsbridge

Reserver your table for the most fabulous event of the year http://www.gaming-awards.com/wig/wig-tickets/


GAMING NEWS

the Original and 888 record Undisputed Champ

888 have announced their full 2012 results with a 13% increase in revenues for year on year. Also the company is offering shareholders a special one-off special dividend to celebrate what the company called an exceptional year. The online gambling company reported an increase in revenue to $376 million for the year, in comparison to $331 million in 2011. Business to customers has increased to $330 million which is

a 16% rise. CEO Brian Mattingley commented: “2012 was an exceptional year for 888. The ongoing focus on our core strengths and the customer proposition, coupled with the very positive effects of our targeted marketing campaigns, has led to tremendous growth in player numbers and record results.”

Cyprus to have casinos in two years Sands admits “Likely violations” In a startling admission, Las Vegas Sands (LVS) has admitted “likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions” of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices nos within two years Mr Lakkotrypis t long last Cyprus could eventuAct (FCPA), which prohibits U.S. said “yes, this is what we hope.” ally see land based casinos in the companies from bribing foreign Former President Christofias would south of the island within two years, not even consider the development officials. according to new Minister Giorgos LVS who is the parent company of of casinos saying several times in No gimmicks. Just unrivalled support, 1000’s customers Lakkotrypis. Sands China mentioned the and news a his term that, “”there will be noof satisfied The new Minister said in parliament in its annual report, filed on the 1st choice of flexible commercial packages tailor made to your requirements. casinos in Cyprus as long as I am that he already had asked the CyMarch, noting that its audit comPresident.” prus Tourism Organisation to review Cypriots already spend millions on mittee made the findings after • Sorts chips faster than any other chipper • Fully accessable chip columns plus instant and update the previous 2007 study receiving a subpoena from the U.S. gambling every year in the North of switching of value/reject columns • Our quietest chipper made to date on gambling. Following the new Securities and Exchange CommisCyprus which is controlled by the • Gives perfect stacks of 20 chips time after time • Automatic variable speed findings the Government will then Turkish Government. Estimations on sion, which “may have emanated” • Designed for low cost maintenance decide on how to proceed with casifrom the lawsuit filed by former • Quick and easy ‘one chip’ programming revenues should casinos be allowed nos, whether they be part of a large Sands China CEO Steve Jacobs, who in the Greek part of the island has resort or single standalone entities. alleges he was wrongfully fired. been stated at between thirty five The Minister was asked if this could and fifty million Euros per year. all happen and the island see casiTo contact us, or for more information visit

www.tcsjohnhuxley.com

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ARTICLE

Casino Mystery Shopping Is A Valuable Service If Certain Mistakes Are Avoided Our feature writer Martin Baird this month takes a look at the world of mystery shoppers, specifically of course for the gaming industry. Who are they and what are they shopping for?

By Martin R. Baird

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ystery shoppers provide casinos with a snapshot of what real guests experience at the property. But there can be pitfalls if the shopping is not properly organized and utilized. Mystery shopping is a valuable service. Casino marketing departments often use mystery shoppers to gain insight into how guests feel about the property’s customer service. Casino human resources teams use mystery shoppers as part of incentive programs. Casinos also use mystery shopper data for personnel reviews, promotions and even bonuses. And there is a side benefit. If employees know that the property is shopped regularly, it creates a halo effect on service. Employees smile more because there’s always the possibility they’re being shopped.

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Casinos use shoppers for all kinds of reasons, but there are seven shopping mistakes that could do real harm.

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All Shoppers Are Not Created Equal. There is plenty of online advertising in which mystery shopping companies offer to hire shoppers. Companies even place billboard ads near casinos where customers can see them. In other words, some shopping firms will select almost anyone to do the shop. The casino could end up with shoppers who don’t know the difference between a full house and a straight. Would you want someone who has answered an online or billboard ad deciding

how well your casino delivers its guest service? Be careful which company you hire. How Are the Shoppers Trained? Some mystery shopping services contract with a person in the morning and have them shopping a casino by the end of the day. Shoppers need to be educated about what they are looking for and how they are to rate experiences. Good mystery shopping companies invest time and money to train and develop the shoppers. Ask about training before you select a company. What Are Shoppers Shopping For? Casinos should have specific service standards that they want reviewed. There are now TV shows about mystery shoppers and I guarantee that the shoppers are looking for specific service problems. They know exactly what to look for before they walk through the door. Many casino mystery shopping programs fail because they lack these very specific standards. Casinos don’t want shoppers just sharing opinions. For example, when a casino has a so-called standard for “big friendly smiles,” the shopping results are subjective. That makes service almost impossible to measure and very difficult to improve. The real value comes when shoppers report results based on how well a casino employee delivered on specific standards.


ARTICLE

(Continued)

service and not train employees on how they are expected to perform. That’s setting them up to fail. Casinos should want their employees to do well when shoppers are on the premises. Positive shopping results show that the training creates good service and all that good news makes employees proud of their work. One more thing – customer service training should be FUN. After all, casinos are part of the entertainment business. It shocks me when casinos offer dull training and then tell employees to go out and make it fun. Using Data the Wrong Way. Shopping data is best used in conjunction with a system for observation and improvement. The mistake some casinos make is that they use the shopping results as an excuse to punish employees. That creates anxiety, not improvement. Management should use the data as an indicator and then observe for themselves to see if there’s a troubling pattern that needs correction with training or better supervision. Pride Gets In the Way. There are times when casino executives let their pride get in the way of improvement. When managers insert their egos into the mix, they try to invalidate the data to make themselves feel better. Mystery shopping results are not right or wrong. Shops are not conducted to make people or a department look good or bad. They simply involve observation.

Price Matters. It’s not difficult to find complaints on the Internet from mystery shoppers who did the work but were not paid. Any casino should question the validity of the data generated by a shopper who doesn’t get paid for the work performed. Just how good a job will these shoppers do evaluating customer service? Why would a casino even use unpaid shoppers?

Martin R. Baird is chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc., a Boise, Idaho-based consulting firm to the global gaming industry that is dedicated to helping casinos improve their guest service so they can compete and generate future growth and profitability. Robinson & Associates is the world

Employees Are Set Up to Fail. It makes no sense to roll out a mystery-shopping campaign to evaluate customer

leader in casino guest experience measurement, management and improvement. For more information, visit the company’s Web sites at www.casinocustomerservice.com and www.advocatedevelopmentsystem.com or contact the company at 208-991-2037. Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.

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Some mystery shopping companies pay shoppers little or nothing because the firm provides gambling money and pays for meals. The information that shoppers collect is valuable, so they should be paid for the work they do. When a casino tries to cut costs on mystery shopping, it is only hurting itself. Understanding the service that guests actually receive is highly valuable for long-term success.

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GAMING NEWS

PokerStars to move into B2B services

Paddy Power

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poster removed

S state Delaware now has 14 applicants offering its services to run the states soon to be online lottery service to its residents. The state last year passed legislation allowing for types of online gambling and including lottery. However some of the state’s applicants could be surprising to many observers, least among them PokerStars. The deadline for applicants recently closed and the state has announced the full list of applicants which indeed includes PokerStars. The inclusion of the online poker giant is interesting as the company is solely an operator and this would be the first venture into B2B services for the parent company of PokerStars, The Rational Group. Other high profile companies included in applying are, 888 Holdings, Scientific Games, Amaya Gaming along with partner Bally Technologies, IGT, SHFL Entertainment, Stan James and Continent8 Technologies.

a licensing application before and rumours have it that the US land based casino operator Caesars is behind the opposition of PokerStars entering the New Jersey market. Whether this argument with the AGA will impact on PokerStars application in Delaware is not clear, however the move by PokerStars into the B2B market is most interesting of all and will have observers looking to see where the company will pitch up next irrelevant of the success or not in Delaware.

Betfair buy Blue Square

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PokerStars is by far the most interesting as the company whom has applied to purchase the Atlantic City based Atlantic Casino Club as part of the company’s strategy to re-enter the US online poker industry via the passing of law in New Jersey allowing for online gambling in the state.

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But PokerStars are now involved in a spat with the American Gaming Association (AGA) whom say that PokerStars are not fit and proper to run a casino in New Jersey. The AGA have never before opposed

Betfair have confirmed that they have purchased online sports site Blue Square from the Rank Group for £5 million, the purchase includes all assets and the customer database.

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rish Bookmaker Paddy Power have lost their latest advertising gimmick over the Fernando Torres poster next to the Chelsea Football clubs Stanford Bridge stadium after local councilors ruled the poster hoarding was not legally allowed to be there. Hammersmith and Fulham Council removed the billboard, which was placed directly opposite Stamford Bridge poking fun at the Spain striker’s failure to score goals after his £50 million move to Chelsea. The poster advert showed an onion bag with the caption: ‘Fernando – We’ve got an onion bag you can actually find. It’s in the burger van mate. Get your hair net on.’ Local councillor Greg Smith, deputy leader of the council, said: ‘Poking fun at beleaguered Premier League footballers is not necessarily a problem as long as the adverting hoardings are legal.’ Where next for Paddy Power in their cheeky advertising campaigns, we will all have to wait and see.


GAMING NEWS

FBI raid New York gambling dens

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s FBI agents have over the last few days been raiding illegal gambling dens and poker games in New York and the metro area. According to reports the illegal gambling is operated by Russian organised gangs in the city and also in outlying areas of the state and city. News channel NBC 4 were told by authorities that the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Squad revealed high-stakes poker

dens and large volume of off-shore sports wagering operations were being operated as part of the illegal gambling activity. According to reports the poker games were often attended by high-profile New Yorkers ranging from tv personalities, film stars, businessmen and sports stars. There have already been dozens of people charged in connection with illegal gambling.

FTP Founder sentenced to pay $40 million arranged prior to sentencing by the DOJ and Bitar’s lawyers because of his heart condition. According to reports Bitar wears a defibrillator under his clothes, DOJ Prosecutors agreed not to oppose a sentence that included no prison time as part of the prior arrangement. Bitar did serve seven days in jail in the summer of 2012 while negotiating his bail. Brent Beckley, an owner of Absolute Poker, was sentenced to 14 months in prison last year after he admitted deceiving banks over the processing of gambling proceeds. A settlement between that company and the government is pending, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. PokerStars, agreed to pay $731 million in a 2012 settlement with U.S prosecutors, which included $547 million to re-pay Full Tilt’s U.S. customers. PokerStars also took control Full Tilt under the agreement. Currently US players are awaiting those payments still.

Bath Casino Developers who are behind the first ever casino to be built in the town say that work could start on the development as early as 2014 and be completed by the end of 2015. The development worth over £14 million at Saw Close will include a casino, hotel and restaurants

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he last of the founders of Full Tilt Poker pleaded guilty to violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. Bitar also admitted to lying to customers about the safety of their money with the once giant of online poker. Bitar, 41, who is suffering from “severe heart failure,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown said at a federal court hearing in Manhattan. In an expedited court process, Bitar was sentenced to time served and ordered to forfeit $40 million. His sentencing was via video conferencing from a California courtroom because of his failing health. “I regret my actions, I know they were wrong and illegal,” he said. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said Bitar’s “precarious health situation” drove her sentencing decision. “Good luck to you sir, and good luck to your family,” Preska said to Bitar at the end of the hearing. Originally Bitar faced a maximum of 35 years in prison, but a deal was

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The Return of the Independent Poker Brand By Rohin Malhotra

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hen I speak with clients and attend events that talk of increasing new entrants to online gambling, the underlying consensus is that any poker brand that has not entered into online gambling yet will in due course or should. The primary motivation for many is the regulation of the US market but careful analysis of the path ahead shows that we are about to see an influx in the coming years of a new wave of independent poker brands.

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Prior to the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), most televised Poker tournaments except a select few like the European Poker Tour (EPT) and Party Poker Million were not owned by online gaming companies. Instead, the plethora of these brands were primarily funded by TV networks and online gaming companies that advertised around the airings.

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Today, without exception, all of the Poker TV franchises are owned or controlled by online gaming companies. WSOP is owned by Caesars and sponsored by Caesar’s partner 888, WPT is owned by bwin.party and largely sponsored by PartyPoker or its B2B partners and Pokerstars continue to promote its various Tours and events. The others, whilst “officially” independent, are actually bank-rolled and thus “owned” each Season by an operator. The primary day-to-day marketing vehicle for driving player acquisitions in the regulated US online gambling market will likely involve multiple facets of the Online world but operators seeking to build bigger brands will embrace TV. This will bring with it a re-birth of independent Poker brands, those with no gambling business of their own.

Some online gaming companies are preparing for this. WSOP shows will continue airing on ESPN until 2017, WPT remains with Fox Sports and some other networks and Pokerstars has a history of placing different branded TV content for whatever TV network it targets. In an era when there were only few big operators, this model worked quite well. The rationale is simple. US TV networks, used to paying for TV shows, buy or take for free Poker TV shows like WSOP and WPT and the owners use these to generate free advertising for their online and land-based businesses which helps them to drive player acquisitions and revenue. And for players flocking to televised tournaments, there is plenty of branding at events to help promote their websites. As markets evolved and TV networks saw operators build lucrative businesses, those operators were expected to pay TV networks big money to air their content or enter into other commercial arrangements. As they sought to off-set increased costs, we increasingly saw these “independent” tournaments becoming co-sponsored by competitive operators and non-gaming sponsors to help recoup costs or even make a profit. However, over time, the competitors increasingly questioned why they should be co-sponsoring and hence bankrolling competitors and started abandoning sponsoring and promoting these tournaments as much as they could. As the US regulates, this model will unravel further. There will be an influx of many new US operators, mostly regional, that may sponsor marketing vehicles that are owned by competitors but most prefer to invest in a marketing vehicle that is not geared towards promoting a competitor.


The problem is the standard issue of competing with the dominant companies. Companies like Caesars/ WSOP with 888, PartyPoker/WPT with MGM/Boyd and Pokerstars whose brands operate globally will seek to create televised content that will not necessarily need to generate a return-on-investment like other US operators. For example, faced with a $1m cost for branded TV content, they will be able to generate a net profit from lower revenues as they will possess the economies of scale to be able to distribute that same content to 20-30 countries where they operate with as little as $1m incremental costs to place that content as well as more players to

promote the events to. The notional value attributed to the US operation from this globally distributed $2m investment is likely to be less than local competitors will be able to compete with. Thus, if your bigger competitor needs only recoup $400k revenue in the US, how can you compete with having to recoup $1m from comparable initiatives within a single State because you are a local player? Some non-competing operators in different States will likely join forces to a new “Tour” at their own properties to compete with the more established Tours/events. We may also see partnerships between US and non-US poker operators or networks that will acquire content at a reduced cost from the US for rebranding internationally by one or a range of operators. Moreover, knowing the scale of their businesses, TV networks are likely to seek considerable investments and premiums from larger international brands in the knowledge that such programming is unlikely to be as attractive to advertise around for competitive brands. This will inevitably lead to new independent Poker TV brands that

cannot be branded by any Sponsor so a plethora of advertisers will pay more to advertise around this “unsullied” content without any being able to “own” it. And so the return of the independent Poker brand that new operators need is upon us and the US will indeed serve its catalyst. There will be dominant brands owned by big operators and certainly some of these new independent brands will in due course get acquired by various operators. But it is likely that cost of marketing online poker will be a lot higher than ever before. Marketing budgeters beware...the cost of media in the US for online gambling is about to rocket! Rohin Malhotra – Managing Director Boofel Enterprises Rohin has worked across a number of Gaming, Media and Licensing arenas across all continents for over 15 years. He was previously Director of Chiligaming, CEO of LA-based World Poker Tour, Founder/CEO of Bookie Mania, Head of Programming & International Marketing for PartyGaming, Executive Advisor for Fox Sports Enterprises USA and General Manager with Fox Kids Europe. Currently consulting gaming businesses in Europe and Asia.

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Recognising that targeting viewers of poker content may generate greater returns versus non-poker content, this will lead to a demand for independent Poker TV franchises that do not have their own gambling business. This is what happened prior to the creation of the post-UIGEA unregulated duopoly when there were only a handful of established online gambling operators and we will see a return to this era with a greater force as a result of greater demand.

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GAMING NEWS

Rank have a “Game Plan”

South Koreans gamble $66 billion illegally

In its ‘Game Plan’ report, published today, the Group’s chief executive, Ian Burke writes: “We believe that the over-arching role of gambling legislation should be to maximise the benefits to society and the economy while minimising costs” The 16 page document puts forward to companies ideas on moving the gambling industry in the UK into a more sustainable environment, which includes:

reduce bingo tax rates from 20%to 15% Remove geographical restrictions on casino venue locations, with competition being the deciding factor at the same time allowing operators to meet consumer demand. The transfer of licenses between locations to encourage expansion, investment & the creation of jobs, which the company says from their own perspective that could raise an additional £87 million a year in taxes

Ronaldo joins PokerStars

Stop using pejorative terms associated with gaming ie “casino banking”. These create inaccurate perceptions of gambling & make it difficult to move forward on reform & improvement initiatives. The scope for economic growth in online gambling should share priority with the apparent preoccupation with harm minimisation in the consideration of gambling issues. Allowing local authorities to deal with & issue gambling licenses Simplify complex regulations &

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ccording to government reports this week in South Korea illegal gambling in the country has surpassed $66 billion for the first time ever, which the government say desperately needs regulation to avoid money laundering by criminal gangs. The report by the National Gambling Control Commission under the Prime Minister’s Office, say that the illegal gambling market was estimated at 75.15 trillion won ($66.45 billion) in 2012, up from 53.70 trillion won tallied in a similar report in 2008. The latest figures given are so huge that is accounted for about 20% of the country’s annual budget.

Former Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and World footballer of the year striker Ronaldo joins tennis star Rafa Nadal and Boris Becker as a PokerStars ambassador.

One of the main reasons for the large increase is online gambling and sports betting now accessible to residents in the country, which is estimated at a total of 17.10 trillion won. .

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resh from the Rank Group officially being given clearance for the purchase of Gala Casinos from the Competitions Commission the PLC company have released an initiative designed to engage with the UK Parliament in improving regulations and taxes for the industry.

each year

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Responsible Gambling Trust’s 2014 Sahara Desert Trek

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Do you have a thirst for adventure?

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Trek the Maider El Kbir plateau • Climb Jebel Lamrakeb Scale sand dunes • Hike over 100kms in five days Help minimise problem gambling and gambling-related harm in Britain Take part from as little as £195 per person* Maximum group size: 30 participants For further information - including details of how to register to take part and sponsorship opportunities available - please phone 020-7287-1994 or email karen@responsiblegamblingtrust.org.uk. Registered Charity No 1093910

*subject to minimum sponsorship requirements


US GAMING NEWS

Iliinois gambling expansion erupts into argument

Senator Link (left) and Gaming Board Chairman Jaffe

It has been long in the waiting between gambling expansion supporter Senator Terry Link and Gaming Board Chairman Aaron Jaffe who over the years have accused and counter accused each other over a multitude of subjects. “We’ve waited a long time for this meeting to take place,” Link told Jaffe, a former judge and state legislator. “I’ve heard myself being criticized on TV, radio, everywhere else by you, judge.” However Jaffe did not back down, at times pointing a finger directly at Link and arguing back: “I would say that you have attacked me more times than I have attacked you. You have been absolutely atrocious in that regard.” “If I’m atrocious with you … judge,” Link responded, raising his voice, “it’s because you have whipped the living daylights out of me on TV, stage and screen — and I haven’t been on stage and screen.” The senator has been recently criticized by the chairman over his gambling expansion plans for the state, with a lack of ethical safeguards to protect the state and customers. The plans include a casino in Chicago and

expanding slot machines at racetracks and airports. Jaffe said the best way to protect customers from corruption and social issues is to give all regulatory control to the Gaming Board. He also said he would take up the invitation to help lawmakers fashion legislation but said the bill should be only about 25 to maximum 30 pages rather than a 540plus page amendment now awaiting consideration. “It’s impossible to read,” said Jaffe, who acknowledged he had not read every word himself. Still, Jaffe maintained that the current bill Link is sponsoring represented a “Christmas tree” with “something for everyone.” After the hearing, Jaffe took issue with a provision in the bill he said would remove the current members of the Gaming Board. “Why would they want to remove everybody on the Gaming Board?” asked Jaffe, saying the board has gone from one of the nation’s worst to its best. The expansion plan will have to be considered by the state Governor Pat Quinn, whom has rejected two such expansion bills previously. Part of the expansion calls for online gambling in the state something the governor is against passing, saying recently that that online gambling in the state should not be passed “willy-nilly.”

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llinois on Wednesday (10th April) saw the hearing on a new gambling expansion plan proposal for the state erupt into full blown argument.

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US GAMING NEWS

PokerStars completes & Caesars apply

The process will now have a 90 day period where the DGE will investigate the company to decide whether they are fit and proper to hold a license in New Jersey as a land based casino operator. Interestingly at the same time, competitor Caesars Interactive Entertainment, which operates the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and online gambling sites overseas, is applying for a casino license in New Jersey, showing its intention to enter the state’s online gambling market. “It’s the first of I’m sure many hurdles to cross,” said Seth Palansky, spokesman for Caesars Interactive. In evaluating Rational’s petition, the DGE is required to file a report with the Casino Control Commission by July 9. The commission then has 30 days to hold a hearing and rule on whether Rational should receive interim casino authorization. The process is believed to come to a conclusion to giving Rational Group a license by August. The commission also must decide whether the American Gaming Association should be allowed to participate

in the hearing. The gaming association opposes Rational’s petition, citing various concerns, including a case the U.S. Justice Department brought against subsidiary PokerStars alleging money laundering, bank fraud and illegal gambling. A settlement was eventually reached in the case. While the Casino Control Commission had been scheduled to rule on the gaming association’s request, members have since decided to hold on that decision. “The Commission believes it would be appropriate to schedule and address the AGA’s petition to participate in Rational Group’s ICA hearing once the Commission can determine when that hearing may be held,” Chairman Matthew Levinson said in a statement. In the case of Caesars Interactive, its majority owner, Caesars Entertainment, already operates four Atlantic City properties — Harrah’s Resort, Showboat Casino Hotel, Bally’s Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City. The casino license petition, which was submitted earlier this month, would allow Caesars Interactive to operate Internet gambling on behalf of the four casinos. Atlantic City casinos would be able to begin offering Internet gambling before the end of this year. However, the regulations governing that operation have not been published. The DGE said Tuesday it did not have an update on when the regulations would be ready.

InfinityGaming • ISSUE APRIL2013

P

okerStars parent company, the Rational Group have formally completed the process of its application to the Gaming Enforcement division (DGE) for the purchase of the Atlantic City Casino in the gambling city of Atlantic City, New Jersey, which now brings the company a step closer to the complete acquisition of the gambling resort.

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GAMING NEWS

US name ring leader of New York gambling ring

T

he raids by the FBI on illegal gambling dens in New York have now announced more details of those searches and a person they are charging with running the operations in illegal poker clubs for the rich and famous in New York. Infamous Russian gangster, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, has been charged in what U.S prosecutors say was an organised ring of illegal gambling and also violence to those who did not pay their gambling debts. The charges against Tokhtakhounov who was already under indictment in a separate U.S. case accusing him of bribing Olympic figure skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, along with 33 other people “demonstrate the scope and reach of Russian organized crime,” said George Venizelos, head of the New York FBI office. “Those named in the indictment are alleged to have handled several millions in illegal bets placed by millionaires and billionaires, laundered millions, and in some cases are themselves multimillionaires,” he said. “Crime pays only until you are arrested and prosecuted.” New York police chief Raymond Kelly said proceeds from the high-stakes illegal poker games and online spots betting were then smuggled out of the US. In a two-month period beginning in late 2011, the gambling operations had paid Tokhtakhounov $20 million in illegal proceeds, according to an 83-page indictment unsealed in New York.

InfinityGaming • ISSUE APRIL 2013

Along with the illegal poker games, the ring operated “an international gambling business that catered to Russian oligarchs residing in the former Soviet Union and throughout the world,” the indictment said.

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Prosecutors alleged proceeds were laundered through shell companies in Cyprus and in the United States by a criminal enterprise with strong ties to Russia and Ukraine. Tokhtakhounov, known in the criminal world by the nickname known as “Taivanchik” for his Asian features, used his reputation as a mobster to “resolve disputes

with clients of highstakes illegal gambling operation with implicit and sometimes explicit threats of violence and economic harm,” according the court documents. Tokhtakhounov’s whereabouts were not immediately clear. He lives outside of the U.S. and has been spotted at celebrity events in Moscow, including an invitationonly 2011 gala hosted by the Federation charity. Among the other 100 guests at the event were movie stars Woody Allen, Steven Seagal, Kevin Costner, Francis Ford Coppola, Sophia Loren and Andy Garcia and the tenors Jose Carreras and Andrea Bocelli. Tokhtakhounov was indicted by federal authorities in New York in 2002 on charges that he plotted to rig the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics pairs figure skating and ice dancing competitions. He was arrested that year in Italy, whose highest appeals court ruled in 2003 against extraditing him to the U.S. He was released by the Italian court. Assistant U.S. Attorney Harris Fischman told a U.S. magistrate judge in Manhattan on Tuesday that another suspect, Vadim Trincher, 52, directed much of the international racketeering enterprise from his $5 million apartment at Trump Tower. “From his apartment he oversaw what must have been the world’s largest sports book,” Fischman said in a successful argument to have Trincher held for trial without bail. “He catered to millionaires and billionaires.” About 30 defendants in the case are in custody.


GAMING NEWS

Betfair acquires

Cyprus to open

Blue Square for

casinos

£5 million

C under fire from

B

etfair have confirmed that they have purchased online sports site Blue Square from the Rank Group for £5 million, the purchase includes all assets and the customer database. The deal means that effectively Blue Square is now non operational and all customers will be directed to the Betfair platform to sing up and receive a welcome bonus to join Betfair. The deal with Rank to purchase the Blue Square business has been known for some time but today it was confirmed by the betting exchange giant. The brand that has struggled against fierce competition over recent years is a move by Rank to now focus on their land based gaming and online casino brand. Betfair said in a statement: “the acquisition is consistent with Betfair’s strategy of focusing on regulated markets and growing its sportsbook and gaming operations alongside the exchange.”

campaigners

C

ampaigning groups for tougher controls of Fixed odds Betting terminals (FOBTs) which is being led by Jim Orford, professor at the University of Birmingham and founder of Gambling Watch UK, have called for Neil Goulden to resign from his post as Chairman of the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT). The group say that because Mr Goulden who is also Chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers, could have a biased effect that could compromise the objectivity of the current research by the RGT into FOBTs. Orford accused Goulden of a ‘bias’ towards the industry, which ‘calls into question the objectivity’ of the RGT and ‘undermines the credibility’ of their research into gambling machines. Mr Goulden has dismissed the criticisms, saying they were ‘vindictive’ and ‘misguided’ and that the anti-gambling groups were using ‘disreputable tactics’. He added: ‘Betting machines have long been blamed for causing problem gambling, but that view has never been backed up.”

The iGaming Post reported in March that the Cypriot government were going forward with plans to develop casinos on the south of the island within two years (see previous). However with the current financial collapse of the banks the president has outlined measures to push forward with legalizing casinos to help bring in much needed revenues, create jobs and investment. President Anastasiades will cause anger amongst the influential Orthodox church by declaring that he will allow casinos to operate in Cyprus. Currently casinos have only been present on the north part of the island which is the Turkish side of the island. The casino proposal is part of a recovery plan that also includes tax exemptions on business profits reinvested in Cyprus and encouraging homeowners to reduce rents. Anastasiades, who came to power after elections in February was understood to be in favour of casinos on the south of the island, but now with the financial problems casinos could very well be operating before the end of 2013.

InfinityGaming • ISSUE APRIL2013

RGT Chairman

ypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has decided to allow for casinos to be opened on the south of the island, which were previously banned.

37


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April Infinity Gaming Magazine  

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