THE CHALLENGE ON SPORTS BETTING GAMING + ARTICLES + BUSINESS+ GLOBAL + ONLINE + NEWS+ AWARDS + etc InfinityGaming www.gaming-awards.com | ISSUE146 CURAÇAO GETTING TOUGH ON LICENSE HOLDERS
AUSTRALIA TIGHTENS GRIP
CURAÇAO GETTING TOUGH
The views and opinions expressed in all external articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Infinity Gaming Magazine Any content provided by our feature writers or authors are of their opinion, and are not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.
LITTLE RAY OF SUNSHINE 2 INFINITY GAMING
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THE BILLIONAIRES 3 INFINITY GAMING AR/VR IMAGINING CASINOS 20 4 EDITOR NOTES Editor welcomes you to the latest edition of Infinity Gaming Magazine. 7 ARREST AT AIRPORT Illegal sports betting related 13 BRAGG GAMING NEW CEO 14 THE BILLIONAIRES CLUB 26 TIM CULLIMORE ARTICLE 36 RIGHT MOVE FOR CLARION? + NEWS & MORE NEWS from the gaming industry
A note from the editor
The IGA 2024 will be a memorable one given the announcement by Clarion Gaming on moving the IGA Expo, it seems to have divided opinion for sure.
Now on to the magazine, we have some super articles by our resident writers the super Tim Cullimore and Lynn Pearce along with an insight into the latest in Curaçao and how the licensing authority is changing there.
Also we look at the challenges in sports betting, a special piece on the billionaires club and of course we look at the decision by Clarion Gaming on their decision on ICE to leave London.
Enjoy the magazine and will catch you in the next edition with more updates on the IGA and everything gaming.
Welcome to the latest edition of the Infinity Gaming Magazine and we are back from our summer recess all ready to go for what will be a busy period not just for Clever Duck Media but the whole industry.
Firstly we have now released the new categories and nominations are open for the 2024 International Gaming Awards (IGA) now in its amazing 17th year! To this we want to thank our early sponsors the wonderful Digitain, Betconstruct, Gamomat, Ultraplay, Pragmatic Play and Pilot Games.
Nominations are open till 18th October and as always free to enter, so go over to the website and see which categories you want to enter, we wish you all the very best of luck.
The Editor in-Chief
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The Latest Edition of the Infinity Gaming Magazine
A YEAR TO COME”
“To Infinity and Beyond!”
CONTACT US Clever Duck Media Centrix@Keys Keys Park Road Staffordshire WS12 2HA UK Tel: +44(0)1543 478 889 PRODUCTION Clever Duck Media Centrix@Keys Keys Park Road Staffordshire WS12 2HA UK PUBLISHING Infinity Gaming Magazine is operated by © Clever Duck Media Ltd ® Company Reg. No. 687 1018 (Registered in England) V.A.T reg. no 972 6372 91 Sponsorship Opportunities Colin@cleverduckmedia.com Business Partnerships Svetlana@gaming-awards.com Marketing & Advertising email@example.com Editorial Content & PR firstname.lastname@example.org
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Richard Sullivan Arrested at JFK Airport
Richard Sullivan has become one of the first individuals charged with violating the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Sullivan, a citizen of Antigua, was apprehended at JFK Airport in New York along with his co-defendants Todd Lyons, Robert Eremian, and Daniel Eremian. Together, they ran a sportsbook named Sports Offshore, based in Antigua, which made over $22 million from their illegal gambling activities.
Sullivan lawmakers say oversaw the day-to-day operations of Sports Offshore from his office in St. John’s, Antigua. With a team of 30 to 50 employees, Sullivan facilitated bets from US customers, directly breaking the UIGEA, which strictly forbids gambling businesses from accepting payments for online betting.
To avoid detection, Sullivan and his associates created fake companies to launder the money obtained through Sports Offshore. Using a complex
system of checks and wire transfers, they successfully laundered $10 million. These illicit profits were then sent to Antigua, making the investigation into their activities even more complicated.
The charges against Sullivan and his co-conspirators include over 75 counts of engaging in US banking transactions with US-based gamblers. Their network involved around 50 gambling agents located strategically across the US to attract customers and collect gambling debts. This elaborate operation allowed them to accumulate a significant fortune through illegal means.
Sullivan was arrested on August 20 at JFK Airport while returning to the US from Antigua. He now faces charges of racketeering, running an illegal gambling business, and transmitting wagering information. Sullivan is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.
Importantly, the charges against Sullivan also include money laundering and interstate travel to support racketeering. The indictment, issued in August 2010, brought RICO charges against Sullivan, highlighting the severity and complexity of his criminal activities.
The arrest of Sullivan and his coconspirators is a significant milestone in the ongoing fight against offshore gambling operations. It demonstrates the determination of law enforcement agencies to enforce US banking regulations and prevent the growth of illegal online gambling.
The UIGEA is one of the key legislative tools used in this case. It serves as an essential safeguard against gambling businesses accepting payments from players for online betting. By prosecuting Sullivan and his associates under this law, authorities have sent a strong message that illegal offshore gambling operations will face serious consequences.
tHE CHALLENGE ON SPORTS BETTING WITHIN THE PROFESSION
Cracking down on illegal sports betting by sporting people could save further professional players from being suspended and coaches sacked.
But to achieve this, better policing of illegal gambling is needed, together with the money and personnel to do it. That’s according to one major league spokesman.
Responding to a letter from US Democratic representative Dina Titus of Nevada, asking for more self-regulation, Jonathan Nabavi, vice president of public policy and government affairs at the NFL deflected her point. Instead, he said, more input had to come from both politicians and the police.
“Our efforts to uphold game integrity have been ongoing throughout the history of the league and our com -
mitment has not wavered since the Supreme Court’s decision [to expand legal sports betting],” he said. “The increased accessibility of sports betting has made our efforts even more important.
“We believe that additional attention and resources are needed from lawmakers and law-enforcement to address the illicit sports betting market, which still has the power of incumbency.”
Nabavi didn’t reveal how many current investigations into NFL players were ongoing. But he did highlight the league’s attempts to educate on the matter. More than 17,000 players, coaches and team assistants had been informed about the rules of gambling for those in the sector, he said.
Following a ruling by the Supreme
Court back in 2018, a total of 34 states have launched legal betting markets.
Titus, who co-chairs the Congressional Gaming Caucus, had written to the 12 major leagues in America, as well as the Department of Justice, asking them to investigate illegal sportsbook operators.
She insists the expansion of legal gambling across many states in the US makes it “more important than ever to maintain the integrity of games for players, bettors and bookmakers.”
She added: “When players get suspended and coaches get fired, that means the system is working. The goal, however, should be to stop these bets before they are placed.”
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A total of 10 NFL players have been suspended for illegal sports betting this year, bringing the total number since 1992 to 12. These have been for placing wagers on their own team while not playing or for betting on sports at NFL facilities.
And it’s not only the professional leagues. College sports too have been hit by illegal betting scandals. Only last week, for instance, four current and past student-athletes at Iowa State, including Cyclones’ quarterback Hunter Dekkers, were charged with alleged sports betting crimes. So too were three studentathletes at the University of Iowa.
There have been 175 college sports betting violations over the past five years. NCAA President Charlie Baker told Titus he agreed that illegal sports betting could “undermine
the integrity of competition.”
Following the NFL response, a dissatisfied Titus added: “That’s why I wrote all the leagues asking for information on their internal policies concerning betting, including education and enforcement. It’s very disappointing that the NFL has declined to answer our questions and instead pivoted to illegal sports betting generally in their response. It makes one wonder what they are trying to hide.”
Employees and players at the NFL are forbidden from betting on their own teams’ games. If they do want to gamble it can’t be on any NFL facilities, nor can they enter a sportsbook during the NFL season. Relationships with sports gamblers are also banned. Legal betting at casinos and horse or dog racing tracks
are allowed, in their own time.
Over the pond, here in the UK, sports officials are facing similar difficulties with professional players breaking gambling rules. Premier League player Ivan Toney is the latest big name to be suspended from playing football for betting on football games. The Brentford FC player has been banned from playing for eight months after he was found to have breached the rules on a grand total of 232 occasions. He also faces a £50,000 fine and, it’s believed, will attend a problem gambling rehabilitation programme.
The bets Toney placed took place over a period of almost four years –from 25th, February 2017 to 23rd, January 2021. At this time Toney played for Scunthorpe United,
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Wigan Athletic and Peterborough United, as well as Brentford.
Under FA rules all players, managers, coaches, club staff, directors, and agents are banned from betting on football matches. This is not just their own team’s match or others in the UK, but a football match anywhere around the globe. The betting can’t be indirectly via an agent or friend etc either.
Former Manchester City and Tottenham player Kieran Trippier was banned for 10 weeks and fined £70,000. His mistake was to reveal in a WhatsApp group that he was going to Atletico Madrid. A friend in the group used that information to win money in several bets. This was despite the player knowing nothing about the bets.
Former England international Daniel Sturridge was banned for four months and fined £150,000 after he passed on privileged information. This was about his transfer to Turkish football team
Trabzonspor. They then cancelled his contract over the matter.
In his autobiography, Southampton penalty striker Matt Le Tissier admitted to being part of a failed spread betting network. This involved himself, a team mate and two friends. The latter put £10,000 on his kicking the ball out for a throw-in within the first minute of a game against Wimbledon. But the panicked striker had second thoughts and waited until after the minute to kick the ball out. A later investigation into the allegations
found no further action should be taken.
When playing for Birmingham City FC, former Tottenham and England international Andros Townsend was banned from playing professional football for four months in 2013. That was the year he was found to have gambled on football matches. Revealing he had a gambling problem, the player admitted to losing as much as £46,000 in just one night. Having gone on to have counselling to help him beat his addiction he later remarked: “That not only saved my football career, it also probably saved me as a human being.”
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Bragg Gaming Announce Matevž Mazij As New CEO
Bragg Gaming Group has announced that Matevž Mazij, Chairman of the Board, as the companies new Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Mazij, Bragg’s largest shareholder and the founder of Oryx Gaming which was acquired by Bragg in 2018, takes over as CEO for Yaniv Sherman, who stepped down. The change was made following a thorough evaluation by the Board and to ensure the optimal alignment of the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire Bragg team, I would like to thank Yaniv for his leadership, commitment, and contributions to the Company,” said Holly Gagnon, Lead In -
dependent Director of the Board. “The Board remains focused on supporting the Company’s senior management team as they continue to execute on initiatives that drive profitable growth and the creation of new, sustainable shareholder value. We are confident that as the founder and visionary of Oryx Gaming, the combination of Matevž’ significant industry experience and deep knowledge of Bragg with the Company’s experienced senior leadership team favorably positions Bragg to continue successfully executing on our key strategic objectives and serve our valued customers and partners with excellence.”
“Following several years of serving on the Board, I am excited to return to an
operational role to lead the Company towards continued top-line and cash flow growth,” said Mr. Mazij. “Bragg possesses many opportunities to further grow our scale of operations across North America, Europe and evolving global regulated iGaming markets. I look forward to working with senior management and all of our team members to bring fresh perspectives that can amplify our ability to continue our successful execution of the growth strategies that we established following the acquisitions of Wild Streak Gaming and Spin Games in 2021 and 2022, respectively.”
MORE THAN EVER BEFORE
By Jill Stevenson
It’s something most of us dream of being – but very few of us get to savour the reality. Well, we say a few… there were actually 2,640 official billionaires around the globe this year.
And, in case you’re interested – that’s 75 more billionaires than there were last year, according to Forbes Rich List.
It’s not just owners of giant retailers, tech whiz kids, entrepreneurs and car manufacturing or fashion empire heads that are rolling in cash. Plenty of politicians, sports stars and pop singers have also made the grade.
These wealthy individuals can be found – if not accessed – in 77 coun -
tries worldwide (at least, that’s where their country of residence is listed). By far the majority of billionaires live in America – a total of 735, to be precise. The next biggest concentration of wealthy individuals is in China, with a head count of 495. India is next with 169 billionaires, followed by German with 126 and Russia with 105. There are 66 billionaires in Hong Kong and 64 in Italy. Canada has 63, while both the UK and Taiwan share 53 of the world’s wealthiest people.
The accolade of wealthiest billionaire in the world is shared jointly by American SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Bernard Arnault, the founder, chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. They alternate every few months as the wealthiest as their fortunes go up and down on the stock market.
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As for the other billionaire’s in the top 10, they’re all American except, that is, for Carlos Slim Helú of Mexico. The latter, who owns Grupo Carso, was formerly richest man in the world and famously sponsors Formula 1 driver and Grand Prix winner, Sergio Perez.
America may have the most billionaires in the world, but they didn’t add any this year. And, in fact, their total accrued wealth has fallen by 200 billion dollars this year to a mere USD 4.5 trillion. China meanwhile, saw a fall in the number of billionaires from 539 in 2022 to 495 this year.
Not surprisingly, 10 of America’s 15 billionaires who are in the world’s top 20, are from the tech industry. Of the top five US billionaires only one individual – Warren Buffet –isn’t in the tech industry. The list is:
• Elon Musk: USD 237.2 billion
• Jeff Bezos: USD 154.3 billion
• Larry Ellison: USD 147.9 billion
• Bill Gates: USD 119.3 billion
• Warren Buffet: USD 117.7 billion
Other billionaires across the pond include pop star Rihanna, rapper Jay-Zand basketball star LeBron James.
China’s economy today is worth USD 19 trillion – that’s equivalent to 18 per cent of the global economy. Where America’s top billionaires made their fortune in the tech industry, china’s wealthiest grew theirs in manufacturing. Admittedly some of this is for the tech industry, but they also incorporate cars, batteries, drinks and mining.
Having said that, two billionaires in the Chinese Top 5 - Zhang Yiming of TikTok and Ma Huateng of Tencent - did make their fortune in the tech industry.
Last year India overtook the UK to become the world’s fifth largest economy. Last year it added three more billionaires to its count. Most of the individual wealth in the continent is due to a wide-ranging number of businesses, not necessarily tech. In fact, the country’s wealthiest individual is Mukesh Ambani who, with a fortune of USD 94.5 billion, is the chair and MD of multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries. This incorporates, amongst other sectors, energy, natural gas, retail and telecommunications.
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One of the richest women in the world - Susanne Klatten of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW)hails from Germany. She has a 19.1 per cent share in the company, her brother Stefan Quandt’s is worth 23.6 per cent.
The country’s economy is the fourth wealthiest in the world and the top in Europe in terms of GDP. Top billionaire here is Dieter Schwarz, of discount supermarket giant Schwarz Group. Logistics magnate Klaus-Michael Kühne, the honorary chairman of Switzerlandheadquartered Kuehne + Nagel International AG is next. He’s also the biggest individual investor in German airline Lufthansa.
Despite Western sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine in 2022, the country still managed to produce more billionaires last year than in 2021. In fact, by 2023 they had an additional 22 individu-
als reach the billionaire mark. This is believed to be down to oil and other increased commodity prices, such as fertiliser and wheat. Fertiliser tycoon Andrey Melnichenko of EuroChem Group doubled his income from USD 11.1 billion to USD 25.2 billion, for instance. It put him to the top of the Russian billionaire list in 2023. Steel and Nickel industrialists were also big winners.
Russia, like India, also has a major income inequality problem - the top one per cent of richest households earned more than one fifth of the national income last year.
Italy saw an increase of 12 billionaires last year. Known for fashion and cars, two of its wealthiest individuals are Giorgio Armani and Piero Ferrari. Engineering and metallurgy are other strong sectors of the Italian economy. The wealthiest Italian is Giovanni Ferrero, head of chocolate maker the Ferrero Group.
In Canada the richest man is David Thomson, chair of media group Thomson Reuters. The hereditary peer is also the 22nd wealthiest in the world. His net worth is around 50 per cent more than the next four Canadian billionaires put together.
In the UK, billionaires have made their fortune in the finance industry, consumer goods, chemicals and, notably for ourselves, gambling. Bet365’s co-CEO Denise Coates is the richest woman in the UK with a fortune of USD 7.8 billion. Inventor James Dyson is in the top five with USD 9.8 billion. So too is chemical engineer and owner of INEOS Group, James Ratcliffe. He’s the wealthiest individual with USD 23 billion. Hedge fund manager Michael Platt is second with USD 16.0 billion.
17 INFINITY GAMING The Billioanires Club
Missouri Waits For Stalemate to End Over Sports Betting
Most of the laws agreed in Missouri over the legislative session will become law this coming week except that of sports betting. The state has been in a stalemate with the House passing bills allowing for the activity but then fails when it reaches the Senate.
One such bill sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx over the last two years has always passed the House and would allow for in-person and online sports betting, the first vote passed 118-35 and then even amendments passed 115-33, but both times was knocked back in the upper house of the Senate.
Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association said on
sports betting, “We’ll likely not see as much benefit as we do from our casino games, but there will be some benefits, hopefully with our properties, potentially building out sports betting opportunities and specific rooms, and which would attract more patrons to our casino properties.”
The reason for the impasse, Sen. Denny Hoskins who wants to have included in the bill video gambling terminals, which would be located in truck stops, veterans homes and bars.
The Senator wants them included to raise tax dollars for local veterans and veteran cemeteries, the Senator says that each year there is a shortfall of around $50 million and including
video gambling terminals will help with the shortage. Unless both sides agree the impasse will continue into 2024 and residents will have to travel some 3 to 4 hours each time to place their bets in another state.
Had the bill progressed it was estimated to generate $950 million to state coffers taxing 10% on net winnings. Even thou the bill failed it does not stop locals from trying to bet on sports, GeoComply recorded 8.7 million blocked attempts by gamblers in the state to place bets in other regions.
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From Cards to Avatars: How AR and VR are Reimagining the Casino
By Lynn Pearce
Lynn is an accomplished CMO with over 15+ years of experience in the igaming industry. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated expertise in strategic planning, creative direction, branding, procurement, resource allocation, and staff mentoring. With her deep understanding of the industry and consumer preferences, she has created content strategies that attract, engage, and retain customers. Lynn’s ability to negotiate, manage, and maintain successful partnerships has helped her create lasting relationships that drive revenue and create value for all parties. She has a keen focus on maximizing revenue potential while effectively managing expenses and consistently driving top-line growth for the companies she has worked for.
The m agic of AR and VR lies in their ability to amplify interactions and experiences. In the realm of gambling, these technologies bring casino games to life in ways previously deemed impossible. Imagine
elements. With a simple gesture, you signal a hit, and the virtual cards respond accordingly. This synthesis of real-world and digital dynamics intensifies the immersion, turning casino games into captivating experiences that are as
nos encourage players to collaborate, compete, and communicate in ways that transcend traditional boundaries. Poker tournaments become dynamic affairs as players across the globe sit around a virtual table, their avatars reading opponents’ expressions and adapting strategies. Slot machine areas turn into bustling hubs where players share experiences and celebrate wins together. The digital realm revitalizes the social fabric of gambling, nurturing a sense of connection that extends far beyond the individual player’s screen.
standing at a virtual blackjack table, surrounded by fellow avatars, as you engage with a real-life dealer through augmented reality glasses. Your cards are digitally projected onto the table, creating a blend of tactile and digital
engaging as they are thrilling.
B eyond the allure of the games themselves, AR and VR have transformed the very act of gambling into a communal and socially engaging activity. Virtual reality casi -
A s the convergence of AR and VR reshapes the gambling landscape, it also brings forth challenges and opportunities for both players and operators. Ensuring a seamless user experience is paramount, requiring innovative user interfaces, intuitive controls, from the casino floor to the online environment.
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Obviously, virtual casinos must address issues related to identity verification and fraud prevention to maintain the integrity of online gambling. However, these challenges are accompanied by promising opportunities. Virtual reality casinos can offer personalized experiences based on user preferences, track player behaviour to enhance responsible gambling practices, and even introduce unique features that are impossible in physical casinos.
But the impact of AR and VR extends far beyond the casino floor, reaching into the realm of online gaming. Traditional online games have long relied on captivating graphics and intricate storytelling to engage players. How-
ever, the introduction of AR and VR has unlocked new avenues for immersion and interactivity. Imagine stepping into a multiplayer online world through a virtual reality headset, where every movement of your head and hands translates into the actions of your in-game character. Exploring fantastical landscapes, battling mythical creatures, and collaborating with other players take on an entirely new dimension of reality. The ripple effect of these technologies is creating an inclusive environment where players of all backgrounds and skill levels can unite in their pursuit of interactive adventures.
The journey that began on the casino floor has expanded into a vast digital
realm, where AR and VR technologies are shaping not only the gambling industry but also the broader landscape of online gaming. From casino avatars that redefine social interactions to immersive multiplayer experiences that transcend screens, the impact of these technologies is undeniable. The evolution of online gaming is characterized by unparalleled immersion, diversity, and shared experiences. As AR and VR continue to push the boundaries of what is possible, the world of online gambling stands poised for a future where the line between reality and the virtual becomes increasingly blurred, inviting players to explore, connect, and immerse themselves in realms limited only by their imagination, whether they are on the casino
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Lynn Pearce Article
floor or at a game watching their favourite sports and betting on it.
In the ever-evolving world of entertainment and technology, the line between reality and digital realms is blurring at an unprecedented pace. Step onto the casino floor of the future, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a dynamic fusion of classic elegance and cutting-edge innovation. The clinking of chips, the shuffle of cards, and the spin of the roulette wheel are no longer confined to the physical realm; they now seamlessly coexist with avatars, virtual landscapes, and an aura of limitless possibilities. This is the remarkable transformation brought about by the convergence of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies within the realm of gambling. The journey from traditional casinos to virtual gaming spaces has un-
locked a new dimension of excitement, accessibility, and social interaction, redefining the very essence of the casino experience.
AR and VR technologies have not only reshaped the way gambling is accessed but have also enhanced fan engagement and social interaction within the industry. Virtual reality casinos provide a platform for players to interact with one another, replicating the communal atmosphere of physical casinos. Avatars and personalized spaces allow for a sense of personalization and identity expression, fostering a virtual gambling community. Additionally, these technologies have opened the door for innovative approaches to betting, such as placing bets on virtual sports events or participating in live-streamed poker tournaments in VR settings. This convergence of gambling and AR/
VR technologies has revitalized the industry, attracting a new generation of tech-savvy players and reigniting the interest of recreational gamblers.
The ascent of mixed realities, augmented reality, and virtual reality technologies has ushered in a new era for the gambling industry, not only online but in traditional landbased casinos. Their impact on player experiences, demographics, revenue models, and even the way we engage with gambling activities is enhanced, from providing immersive gameplay to fostering social interaction, these technologies continue to reshape and redefine the boundaries of what is possible, solidifying their status as transformative forces in the world of entertainment and beyond.
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and game-changing Multi-Level Progressives
that combine entertaining themes, proven mechanics and the massive jackpots players seek.
©2023 IGT. The trademarks and/or service marks used herein are either trademarks or registered trademarks of IGT, its affiliates or its licensors. Artwork, descriptions, game play, photographs, videos, and other product details depicted are subject to change.
For more information please visit IGT.com or contact your account manager.
Bragg Gaming Announce Matevž Mazij As New CEO
Bragg Gaming Group has announced that Matevž Mazij, Chairman of the Board, as the companies new Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Mazij, Bragg’s largest shareholder and the founder of Oryx Gaming which was acquired by Bragg in 2018, takes over as CEO for Yaniv Sherman, who stepped down. The change was made following a thorough evaluation by the Board and to ensure the optimal alignment of the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire Bragg team, I would like to thank Yaniv for his leadership, commitment, and contributions to the
Company,” said Holly Gagnon, Lead Independent Director of the Board. “The Board remains focused on supporting the Company’s senior management team as they continue to execute on initiatives that drive profitable growth and the creation of new, sustainable shareholder value. We are confident that as the founder and visionary of Oryx Gaming, the combination of Matevž’ significant industry experience and deep knowledge of Bragg with the Company’s experienced senior leadership team favorably positions Bragg to continue successfully executing on our key strategic objectives and serve our valued customers and partners with excellence.”
“Following several years of serving on the Board, I am excited to return to an operational role to lead the Company towards continued top-line and cash flow growth,” said Mr. Mazij. “Bragg possesses many opportunities to further grow our scale of operations across North America, Europe and evolving global regulated iGaming markets. I look forward to working with senior management and all of our team members to bring fresh perspectives that can amplify our ability to continue our successful execution of the growth strategies that we established following the acquisitions of Wild Streak Gaming and Spin Games in 2021 and 2022, respectively.”
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A little ray of sunshine in this cloudy summer
By Tim Cullimore
From dealer to CEO in the U.K., Europe and North America, Tim has pretty much seen it all in Casino gaming. For over 40 years, from running slot rooms which needed to frisk for guns to the Ritz in Mayfair, arguably the most luxurious casino in the world, Tim has never stopped challenging what we think we know about casinos. Tim is a well-respected Consultant to the gaming industry, encompassing project management and operational analysis, as well as representing and advising some key manufacturers within the industry. Tim is a renowned conference speaker and also proud to be visiting lecturer at the University of West London College of Hospitality and Tourism.
Is it human nature that we dream of what we don’t have? In the U.K. we are presently experiencing the antitheses of the summer of 2022. Last year we were swimming in the sea on a regular basis, days spent at the beach were commonplace. Day after blissful day spent barbecuing in the garden. The kids said their school holidays were like something out of a Hollywood movie, and the newspapers were full of articles telling us how to stay cool at night to get a restful sleep.
But Mother Nature always reminds us of the stark realities of not expecting the U.K. to become some sort of proxy sunshine state. We are back to the climate of my youth. Long days of cloud and rain, with brief sunny interludes.
The television once again becomes our friend, even if nowadays it is YouTube and TikTok that take precedence for the kids. The barbecue sits rusting in the garden and the beach is for refreshing walks into the wind.
Nevertheless, changes in the weather patterns of mainland Europe signal that the British weather is exactly what people want. My niece has returned from Eurorailing around central Europe and tells us of the stress of being in Rome when the temperature touches 40 degrees. A family friend who is Madrileños but now lives in the U.K. has returned to Madrid for a summer holiday and is counting the days to when she and her boys can return home to England as the heat is overwhelming.
I have a lot of sympathy for my friends and industry colleagues who have suffered with the excessive heat, and only hope that cool air-conditioned casino gaming floors have been attractive to more people than usual, and that business has been good.
So where is this ray of sunshine coming from that I mentioned in the title of this piece. Well, here it is: Could the much-derided legislation for the land-based casino industry in Britain become a beacon of common sense and enlightenment.
After next to no movement for months on end we now have announcements coming thick and fast about changes in U.K. gaming legislation, and amazingly
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they seem to make some sense. The latest missive from the UK Gambling Commission asks for further comments on the proposal they have made, following long and detailed discussion with various Stake Holders.
As some of you may be aware, and I’m sorry if I am repeating facts that I have covered in previous articles, in Great Britain we have two categories of casinos with each category falling under a different type of legislation. The casinos that existed before the more recent (relatively speaking) 2005 gaming act are under a more restrictive set of laws which date back to 1968. The more recent casinos have greater
flexibility to operate, as they fall under the 2005 gaming act. The biggest difference has always been the number of slot machines the casinos can offer. The older regime still allowsonly a maximum of 20, (yes isn’t that amazing in this day and age), whereas the newer comparable licenses can have up to 80 slots. Now I know my colleagues in most other jurisdictions will say “80 slots! That only covers the bar area on my gaming floor”,but in the U.K. where having fun in a casinohas been regarded as rather suspicious, 80 slots is a big step forward, and I applaud the officials for listening to customers and operators in attempting to level the playing field between the two segments of
Equally, Sports Book may be allowed within all casinos, which is virgin territory for most of the existing operators. Nevertheless these welcome changes to the industry only have value if the operators embrace them and unglue themselves from the restricted practises of the past.
It is immensely refreshing to see the Government recognising that with greater use of technology land-based casinos have been able to introduce a greater range of customer protections. Equally heartening is the view that they wish to open a dialogue “to address in-
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inconsistencies between the different types of casino licence, as well as levelling the playing field to an extent between land-based and online operators.”
This is quite ground-breaking as not only does the land-based industry get “cleaned up” but also a recognition that the on-line industry has seen quite a lot more freedom in presenting its products to the playing community.
I believe that the on-line sector in the U.K. is one of the best at selfregulating. I’ve spoken before about how the industry has taken some enormous steps in addressing harm and dependency, especially with vast media advertising which has the aim of guiding players towards a safer gambling space. By comparison I have yet to see an advertisement from the alcohol industry suggesting you don’t open that second bottle of wine. So, for the government to also recognise that land based casinos should share some of the same opportunities as on-line in delivering a modern and exciting product to the players is serious progress.
Whilst not wishing to undervalue the complexities of on-line player recognition I have long argued that a bricks and mortar casino is the ideal place to offer gambling, in a safe, secure and controlled environment, where human interaction means thatcorrectly trained personnel are ideally placed to intervene if a player is showing signs of distress due to their over dependence on playing.
Equally this will offer operators the chance to present an integrated player experience where both online and offline play can be proposed by the same operator, encouraging players to stay on regulated platforms and to allow them to participate in face-to-face interactions in the real world if that is what they require.
To many of you this may not seem overly revolutionary, but as the U.K. Gambling Commission, and by extension, the U.K. industry has always been held in high esteem around the world, these changes will allow it to catch up in some way to other jurisdictions.
Cyprus is my Island
One of the great David Bowie lines is “Cyprus is my island, when the going’s rough” and after visiting that wonderful place on numerous occasions I must agree. I am so excited that my friends at Melco’s City of Dreams Mediterranean have opened the doors to what is Europe’s first Integrated Casino Resort and I wish them all the success in the world. I very much hope I can get out there soon to see how all their hard work has come to fruition.
We will see if this starts a new trend across Europe for this style of gaming. After all, pretty much everywhere apart from Europe has experienced with great success this type of product. It has always been a mystery as to why we presume that Europeans would be resistant to a luxury resort with a wide array of leisure activities, with at its core casino gaming. Time will tell if this is the future, and kudos to Melco for taking on the challenge.
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Indian Government Clamps Down on Betting Ads
The Indian Government has taken a decisive steps to protect its citizens and financial security it says by cracking down on ads that promote betting and gambling during major sports events, especially cricket tournaments.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has warned broadcasters and advertisers to stop showing ads that endorse betting and gambling. Failure to comply could lead to severe consequences from the government.
The advisory is based on the alarming connections between these ads and money laundering networks. Illegal money is suspected to be used to finance these ads, posing a significant threat to the country’s financial integrity. These activities not only endanger the nation’s financial security but also have negative socio-economic effects, especially on vulnerable youth and children.
The increasing trend of promoting betting and gambling during major
sports events is concerning. With an important international event approaching, there are valid concerns about a surge in ads supporting these activities.
Despite the risks involved, certain media and social media platforms have been allowing direct and indirect ads for betting and gambling during these events. The Ministry has cautioned these platforms against promoting these harmful activities and emphasized the importance of responsible advertising.
Ads promoting gambling and betting entice people with the promise of quick wealth but also expose them to significant financial risks. The consequences can be devastating, leading to addiction and financial ruin, impacting not just individuals but also their families and society.
Furthermore, the prevalence of these ads during major sports events, which attract a wide audience, can negatively influence young minds. Normalizing gambling and betting
at a young age can have long-term negative effects.
The Ministry’s advisory serves as a reminder that responsible advertising is crucial for safeguarding the country’s financial well-being and overall welfare. By refraining from promoting betting and gambling platforms, media and social media platforms can help curb these activities and protect the public’s interests.
The Indian Government is determined to take action against those who ignore the advisory and continue endorsing these illicit activities. This may involve legal consequences and stricter regulations to prevent money laundering and safeguard the nation’s financial security.
As the international event approaches, media and social media platforms must prioritize the well-being of their audience over financial gains. By aligning their advertising practices with the government’s advisory, they can contribute to a safer and more responsible media environment.
Curaçao getting tough on gambling license holders
By Staff Reporter
Tougher measures are to be imposed on major gambling companies in Curaçao in September.
Stricter regulation, including a new licensing process, means the Caribbean island is about to lose its ‘gambling paradise’ status. The overturning of the current system, and imposition of certain mandates, is in line with new international standards aimed at curbing illegal gambling practices.
From September 1, all licence holders will receive official confirmation for their business interests from the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB), rather than one of the four current Master Licence holders. The latter have, to date, been able to issue licences to
“We demand transparency regarding the source of funds entering our country,” said Curacao’s Minister of Finance, Javier Silvania.
“We insist that operators comply with legislation that aligns with reputable jurisdictions and meets the minimum requirements of international laws and guidelines concerning money laundering.”
Referring to the island’s individuality when it came to gambling practices, he added; “Curacao
no longer wishes to be known as ‘the red-haired stepchild’ in the gambling industry.”
Fees for the new licenses will also be announced in September, but it’s believed companies will be charged an application fee of 5,000 USD. The yearly license itself is expected to cost around 15,000 USD.
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Those companies and individuals licensed under the old system will be given 18 months grace to switch to the GCB licensing board.
Under the island’s new National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) rules the licensing regime for foreign operators will change for good. At the moment the Caribbean Island – which comes under Dutch rule – is seen as being one of the more permissible gambling licensing regimes globally. But no longer, now more stringent regulations are planned. The Netherland government, rather than the island’sfour big betting companies, will deal with both company and consumer licensing. This is aimed at ensuring ‘security and transparency’ which they state is their top priority.
Since the early 1990s gambling com-
panies have been able to apply for a license on the island remotely (ie without having to be physically based there). Licensing usually only take several weeks to obtain and gives the operator jurisdiction to operate internationally. Being an independent Dutch territory, the island also comes under EU rules, giving operators access to more countries but without the big taxes they would have faced had they been physically based in France, Germany, Italy etc.
The four main license holders have been able to offer third party gambling companies permission to operate via a sub-license, under the main company’s branding.
Due to the complexity of the legislation surrounding LOK it won’t become law until a later date. This means that in the meantime, for the purposes of continu-
ity, the direct issuing of new licences is still under the terms of the old regime. Eventually, however, the licences will come under LOK guidance.
Other changes concerning the new licences is that no licence holder will be allowed to issue sub-licenses. All licensing must come via the GCB. In addition, license holders will be obliged to comply with new anti-money laundering and responsible gambling provisos. This includes strict gaming guidelines to prevent underage gambling and to take measures to help customers who are showing signs of a gambling addiction.
“Player protection, dynamic AML procedures, KYC, responsible gaming and robust technical and info security setups will all be expected as standard in the new Curaçao regime,” said Sixiènne Jansen, legal advisor to Curaçao’s
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Ministry of Finance.
Until the new legislation comes into law, Master Licence Holders will still be allowed to issue sublicenses to those whose applications are already in progress or have been paused for some reason. That’s if the applicant still wants to go ahead under what will become the old ruling. When the new license provider becomes law, all sub-licenses will automatically be transferred under their control.
“Contrary to much speculation, there has been no change whatsoever to the legislation or permissions since the minister publicly announced the drafting of the new legislation last November,” said Jansen.
Explaining that the Ministry was not in the process of “trying to reinvent the wheel”, Jansen said the licence application process wasn’t too dissimilar from the past.
By this she meant there would be three forms to complete. The first, the online gaming application, would require the applicant to outline their business, including marketing and distribution channels, as well as the profits they expected to make, and how much they wanted to expand in future, if at all.
In another form applicants are expected to list the names of individuals involved in the business. If any individual has a share of more than 10 per cent then he or she will be obliged to show how their wealth has been obtained and where the funds are coming from. That person will also be expected to be able to verify their identity.
And, finally, in the interests of corporate disclosures, the operators of the gambling outlets will have to provide details of the business. That’s because licences can only to be issued to companies registered and based in Curaçao.
Licence holders are also expected to supply the GCB with a report on how they have complied with the necessary policy and procedures within six months of obtaining their licence. This is under the government’s planned new audit and compliance legislation as part of the LOK ruling.
The changes mean it will be more expensive for operators to act within the Curaçao Gaming Control Board rules. That’s if they get a license in the first place. The reason for this is that companies previously under a sub-license didn’t need to apply for their own license (because they got it on the coat tails of the major license holder). That will no longer be the case under the new regime, which means having to pay extra fees for an individual license. It will also take longer for these new gambling products to be released.
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are clarion gaming making the right move?
Clarion Gaming announced what was the biggest open secret in the gambling industry when stating the new location for ICE 2025 when Barcelona was named the new venue for the online and land based gambling expo.
The International Casino Exhibition (ICE) has been based in London for three decades and in the early years was a very small part of the British Amusement Catering Trades Association (BACTA). BACTA was and still is a very large exhibition event held now at the Excel in London and saw the growth from a small area in its exhibition floor to taking a large section of the then Earls Court venue, it grew so big it actually pushed the once larger show for amusements upstairs to the less popular location and so BACTA decided to split from this growing monster that was the ICE Expo which was propelled by Clarion Gaming.
Over many years ICE grew at Earls Court to capacity and then with the
news of the Earls Court venue closing down moved to the much larger and newer Excel Centre.
In its early years ICE was a land based event for the gambling industry but with the explosion of faster internet speeds and the technology improvements in mobile phones saw the growth of the online gambling sector at ICE.
Indeed in its present state the online sector of the ICE show probably takes
up more exhibition space than its land based cousin, to this some are now questioning if history is repeating itself when BACTA felt it was pushed out at ICE the same as the land based industry now.
In these modern times many land based operators are now involved in the online gambling industry and still today land based gambling globally is some ten times larger in gambling spend that online, it would be unwise if they were ever split into different
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In all this the big question was, is London still the best place to hold a major exhibition like ICE, yes the English capital is iconic for so many reasons, it is a tourist destination for many global visitors and instantly recognisable with so many famous landmarks, making it perfect to invite your guests and clients.
However did Brexit make the UK unviable? Yes cost for EU members in tax is higher but was that the main reason? Some say the Excel was not large enough anymore for such a growing event, well maybe the event should have been split to accommodate such a large industry.
If Clarion Gaming wanted to remain in London for sure each and every one of the current list of companies would have gone along and stayed, it is after all one of the largest gambling expo’s in the world, how can you leave it and go where?
So why did Clarion decide to move, the company say it was a combina-
tion of cheaper location for visitors, easier in terms of visas, more floor space to grow (will that be cheaper for exhibitors?) and easier for many of its customers to get to in terms of geographical location.
All fair points but the question is can you remove an iconic location linked to the ICE show and be successful? Well time will tell, will visitors still want to go to Barcelona on a regular basis given that there is already a gaming expo and conference held there in September already.
The final piece of this is the UK itself, the industry there turns over nearly $8 billion a year in revenues, it is expected to top $11 billion by 2028, with online gambling accounting for 52.3% of the market. The UK gambling market is one of the largest in the world and has more fully licensed gambling operators than any other country.
With the decision Clarion Gaming has made has it forgotten that the UK was so popular a location because it is a huge market for gambling and one of the most established in the world.
Indeed the Betting and Gaming Council said to the iGaming Post on the ICE move: “The BGC and our members are disappointed to see the annual International Casino Exhibition (ICE), the world’s largest and most important gaming exhibition, move from London where it was formed in 1995 to Barcelona in 2025.
“For almost three decades ICE London has been a regular and important fixture of the betting and gaming calendar and underscored the UK sector’s standing as the industry’s global leader.
“The conference also enhanced London’s reputation as an international business hub and brought much needed investment to the capital, with over 600 exhibitors attracting more than 40,000 guests from 150 countries around the world. BGC members hope to see ICE return to its home in London at some time in the future.”
It is a big risk for Clarion Gaming to move ICE, will the UK gambling industry be without its own gambling expo now?
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Australia Tightens Grip on Illegal Offshore Betting Sites
Australia has taken strong action against illegal offshore gambling websites by implementing strict rules and regulations. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been actively monitoring the online gambling sector and cracking down on illegal operators. Recent breaches of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 have prompted ACMA to swiftly address these illegal activities. This article explores Australia’s efforts to combat illegal offshore gambling and the importance of a secure and regulated online gambling environment.
ACMA, responsible for regulating telecommunications, broadcasting, and radiocommunications in Australia, has conducted extensive investigations into these illegal gambling websites. Its efforts have uncovered numerous violations, prompting immediate action. In the past months, ACMA identified two websites, Play AUD and Crown Pokies, that were breaking the law, leading to swift intervention. Recognizing the risks associated with illegal gambling, ACMA has urged internet service providers (ISPs) to
block access to these platforms. In June, ACMA issued an appeal to ISPs, resulting in the ban of twelve illegal offshore websites. Furthermore, ACMA has asked ISPs to block four more illegal gambling websites, further demonstrating its commitment to enforcing regulations.
ACMA’s actions have yielded noteworthy outcomes, with over 210 illegal offshore gambling companies voluntarily withdrawing their services from the Australian market since 2017. The fear of ACMA’s strict enforcement has compelled these operators to reconsider their presence in Australia. Additionally, ACMA has prohibited over 820 illegal gambling affiliates and online gambling websites, showing its dedication to safeguarding the interests of Australian gamblers.
One of the main concerns regarding illegal gambling websites is the lack of user protection. Unlike licensed and regulated online gambling providers, users of offshore or illegal operators are not covered by Australian laws. ACMA has repeatedly warned
that these providers may withhold winnings, leaving users vulnerable to financial losses. To address this issue, ACMA has taken a proactive approach to educate the public about the risks associated with illegal gambling websites. It has emphasized the importance of using licensed and regulated providers, which can be easily identified through the comprehensive list provided on ACMA’s official website. ACMA has also highlighted the potential threats to personal data and funds that using illegal platforms can pose.
Although ACMA’s efforts have exerted significant pressure on illegal operators, the battle against offshore gambling websites continues. ACMA remains vigilant and adapts its strategies to combat the ever-changing landscape of online gambling. To ensure a secure and regulated online gambling environment, collaboration between ISPs, the government, and the public is crucial. By working together, Australia can effectively deter illegal operators and protect its citizens from the risks associated with unregulated gambling platforms.