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Online gambling

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SPECIAL FOCUS

BITCOIN THE RISKS & PROFITS


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contents InfinityGaming

EDITOR’S LETTER

Interview with Chris Thom..................................06-07 Chairman Secure Trading - Bitcoin hero or villain?

Caesars granted South Korea License.............08-09 At long last US Gaming giant enters Asia

Interview with Keith Furlong..............................10-13 Exclusive interview with the new CEO of the IGC

The Domino Effect..................................................14-17

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BITCOIN DANGERS

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COLORADO LATEST

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Professor I. Nelson Rose March Article

Colorado Gaming Association...........................18-19 Latest regarding online gambling in the state

Corruption Scandal.................................................20-21 Senator Harry Reid could be investigated

Florida kicks online gambling & Casinos.......22-23 State leaves out both in latest blow for operators

Are we the biggest risk to mobile.....................24-25 March article from Christina Thakor-Rankin

Game up for Sherrif Gaming...............................26-27 Company announced as bankrupt in latest blow

Illinois ponders online gambling......................30-31 The latest US state to consider online gambling

Happy Birthday internet.......................................32-33 25 years of the world wide web

Superbowl & how gaming can learn...............34-35 InfinityGaming • ISSUE MARCH 2014

Martin Baird latest article

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Desperately Seeking Affiliates...........................40-41 Ellen Learmonth talks Affiliate business

Latest Money News................................................46-47 Results are in who and how much

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DESPERATELY SEEKING AFFILIATES


EDITOR’S LETTER Lana Thompson - Chief Editor

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EDITORS NOTES

InfinityGaming

Welcome to the Mrch edition of the Infinity Gaming Magazine.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Christina Thakor-Rankin Martin R. Baird Professor I. Nelson Rose Ellen Learmonth J.J. Woods

First of all the Women in Gaming Awards are now open for nominations , so please do not delay and nominate your corporate female stars for an award. I am sure all of you will agree we had splendid evening last year and raised funds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity. Thank you.

Huge thank you to Martin R Baird and our distinguished experts Ellen Learmonth and Christina ThakorRankin , who are also Women in Gaming Awards Judges. Looking forward seeing you all at the Women in Gaming event soon. Enjoy

Lana x

We are planning fantastic event once again for all of you, so please join us for the evening of fun in London.

CONTACT US Clever Duck Media Suite 105 Park Plaza Point South Hayes Way Cannock WS12 2DB UK Tel: +44(0)1543 578 689 claire@cleverduckmedia.com PRODUCTION Clever Duck Media Suite 105 Park Plaza Point South Hayes Way Cannock WS12 2DB UK

In this issue we have some excellent and interesting opinions from our experts . Check out the interview with Chris Thom and his opinion on Bitcoin. Once again, excellent article from Professor I Nelson Rose, about Nevada and internet gambling. Interview with CEO Interactive Gaming Council Keith Furlong.

PUBLISHING Infinity Gaming Magazine is operated by © Clever Duck Media Ltd ® Company Reg. No. 687 1018 (Registered in England)

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Opinion Disclaimer: 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.

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Business Partnerships Svetlana@gaming-awards.com

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Interview with Chris Thom Chairman Secure Trading

Find out more about Secure Trading by visiting their website here: http://www.securetrading.com

Q

: Chris thank you for your time today and to start can we ask you what is Secure Trading?

CT: Secure Trading is a global independent payment service provider. We process billions of pounds worth of transactions each year across multiple currencies and territories. Our cutting-edge technology supports online businesses in their growth plans.

InfinityGaming • ISSUE MARCH 2014

Q: How long has Secure Trading been in business and is the company a global provider?

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CT: Secure Trading is part of the UC Group of global ecommerce companies and it was founded in 1997. The UK arm holds acquiring licenses in 26 countries across Europe. Secure Trading Inc., with which I am involved, was formed in the US in 2009 and is focused on internet gambling. Q: Can you tell us what industries you provide your services to? CT: We process payments for around 5,000 online businesses, from large corporations to agile start ups that

span most electronic commerce merchant categories. However, we have particular expertise in the gambling, education, retail, leisure and entertainment, and highrisk sectors. Q: How involved is the company in the online gaming sector? CT: I would like to think that we know the online gaming sector inside out and we’re very aware of the challenges that all stakeholders in the online gaming sector face. We provide services for several of the biggest merchants in Europe. It was this foundation that led us to lobby for internet gambling legislation in the US and, whilst that has not yet occurred at a federal level, we now have three states actively regulating this sector and several more states contemplating similar legislation. Secure Trading Inc has developed a specific systems platform that extends our payment services to embrace player registration and log-in, and taxation computation and collection services. To achieve this, we deploy online “know your customer” and “knowledge based authentication” verification tools and sophisticated geo-location tools.


Exclusive interview with Chris Thom

CT: Bitcoin is a digital currency, which uses cryptography to monitor and control the creation of and transfer of the virtual money. Bitcoin-to-Bitcoin transactions are made through anonymous encrypted code and are transferred from peer to peer without any bank or government involvement. It is accepted by a range of merchants but, as it is embryonic, there is currently an absence of regulation. This could be regarded as a plus or a minus but it does add to the risk of the transaction and it does mean it is also used to facilitate illegal activity.

bankruptcy is undoubtedly a big blow for Bitcoin, and it remains to be seen if it can come back from it. Its reported illegal use in the “hidden” net could also deter merchants from accepting and using Bitcoin, as they consider the security implications for both themselves and their customers. Against this backcloth, the lack of regulation could have negative consequences as it creates

Q: Many supporters say that Bitcoin is an answer to removing payment processors and reducing costs, what is your reply to that? uncertainty. CT: The answer is yes, Bitcoin can and does act independently of traditional banks and payment processors. As such it does cut out the middle men and should therefore cut costs. Like all new payment systems for this to become a reality, there has to be an effective liquidity between consumers, who buy the currency, and merchants, who accept it. Achieving a balanced critical mass is never an easy path. Q: Following recent developments in the Bitcoin world of a major trader going under has Bitcoin got a future? CT: Bitcoin is modern money and is still a very new concept in context with other currencies. The Mt Gox

Q: Is there actually a place for an online virtual currency? CT: Conceptually, it works. To my mind the key to success is to provide certainty both for the transaction itself and for the value of the currency unit, which needs to be stable and appropriate for the envisaged transaction environment. As the currency achieves critical mass and becomes established, its anonymity may be questioned and it will be the target of fraud attacks. Security procedures will need to be embedded, as will appropriate reporting capabilities to satisfy the authorities that its transactions are legal and that it is not a vehicle for money laundering. Currently it’s

not a sustainable method of payment but it would be an interesting world if it were to become the next “global” currency! Q: Is it not that payment providers fear the rise of Bitcoin? CT: Good payment providers know everything there is to know about card and alternative payment methods so, if a virtual currency was able to establish itself as “the next big thing”, those processors should be able to adapt to the changing market and see it as an opportunity. Reverting back to the US internet gambling market, there is definitely a problem obtaining authorisation for credit card and debit card transactions. This is primarily because Visa will not designate a specific merchant category code for legal internet gambling. If Visa doesn’t follow MasterCard’s approach, we will see alternative payment types adopted, even if they are less convenient or carry greater risk. Q: In fairness to Bitcoin, everything that is new, whether it be Facebook, a new piece of technology or indeed Bitcoin always will have skeptics? CT: This is true. But new innovations need to be able to reassure people and give people confidence in the fact that they a) serve a purpose, b) are safe to use and c) are not a fad and are something that will last for a long period of time. As it stands, Bitcoin doesn’t fulfill these requirements.

BUSINESSMAG • ISSUE MARCH 2014

Q: What are your thoughts towards Bitcoin and can you explain to our readers who are not familiar, what is Bitcoin?

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INTERNATIONAL GAMING NEWS

Caesars granted South Korea casino license Yggdrasil Gaming signs biggest operator to date

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aesars Entertainment has secured a gaming license to open a casino resort in South Korea along with Lippo a Hong Kong listed property developer. It is the first time an overseas casino company has been granted a license and the resort will be located close Incheon airport just outside of Seoul. The total cost of building the resort will be $2.3 billion and phase one of the project will include two hotels, with the complete project taking nine years to complete, creating an expected 8,000 jobs during that time and once operational. The new casino will only be open to foreign based players, not local Koreans, there are 17 casinos in Korea and

only one of them is allowed to have local based players. “It’s going to change the landscape of Korean casinos because it’ll be the first integrated resort-style foreigners-only casino,” D.S. Kim, a Hong Kong-based analyst at BNP Paribas Securities said. “The existing casinos in Korea are like gambling dens which do not offer any non-gaming amenities such as spa, restaurants or entertainment shows. They simply cannot cater for large groups of visitors.” Caesars said that they expect to be open before the 2018 Winter Olympics which is based in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to take advantage of the huge influx of overseas visitors.

Unibet is the largest operator Yggdrasil Gaming has partnered with to date and is also one of the fastest growing businesses in the European regulated gaming market having posted record earnings in 2013. In its most recent results its fourth quarter profits in 2013 were 23% higher than in the comparable period in 2012, while it also has more than half a million active customers. Unibet was most recently voted the Online Sportsbook Operator of the Year at the International Gaming Awards held in London in February and co-sponsored by Yggdrasil Gaming. Yggdrasil Gaming, that specialises in slots and lottery games as well as pooled progressive jackpots, will provide Unibet with its ground-breaking games products as well as its rapidly expanding roadmap of new offerings.

BUSINESSMAG • ISSUE MARCH 2014

Unibet, one of Europe’s biggest and fastest growing online gaming brands, agrees to integrate Yggdrasil games portfolio. Yggdrasil Gaming, has agreed terms with Unibet to provide the leading sports betting and gaming operator with its entire games portfolio.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Interview with Keith Furlong CEO Interactive Gaming Council

Q

InfinityGaming • ISSUE MARCH 2014

: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today, Keith you have only just recently joined the IGC, can you tell our readers your background prior to IGC?

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KF: I previously served as the IGC Deputy Director for 12 years and was recently given the opportunity to lead the association. I have been involved with casino regulation and online gaming for over fifteen years having previously served as the Public Information Officer and Legislative Liaison for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, in the Attorney General’s Office. I am thrilled to be given an opportunity to work alongside a Board of Directors with their extensive business experience. Q: Could you also explain your role now for the Interactive Gaming Council? KF: It’s a hands-on role. Since 1996, the IGC has played a key role in helping to smooth the way for government regulation in the U.S. and throughout the world. I get to work with Janet Viippola and our Board of Directors

on next steps to help achieve association goals with regard to licensing and regulating online gaming. Q: What does the Interactive Gaming Council do and what are the benefits of joining? KF: The Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) is a non-profit trade association that serves as a collective voice for the interactive gaming industry. The IGC champions initiatives that address the multivarious challenges and opportunities facing the Internet gambling industry, in order to ensure an environment of fair and responsible gambling. One of the IGC’s core motivations was to position our association in favor of government regulation. A primary concern of the IGC is protection of the consumer, with particular emphasis on the prohibition of underage participants and the provision of assistance for compulsive gamblers, two highly emotive issues over which the industry is often criticized. The philosophy of IGC’s advocacy for government regulation was that a clear distinction needed to be made between attempts to regulate the Internet and attempts to regulate gambling. It’s our view that if gambling is


Exclusive interview with Keith Furlong

Q: What are the challenges for you and the IGC for 2014? KF: The IGC has a long history of meeting unique challenges faced by its membership as the online gaming industry evolved. In the past the association has risen to meet these challenges while providing important member benefits, including credibility. The challenge ahead is to pick a direction that fits within our storied history and also moves the IGC forward. While the IGC needs to stay current on U.S. based efforts to expand online gaming, we need to focus our messaging on the open and regulated online gaming model throughout the world. Q: The IGC was been founded in 1996 and has seen some amazing times in Canada, the US and globally, do you and the IGC believe the roller coaster that is online gambling has now calmed down? KF: In the past our efforts were especially well known in the U.S., but over the years the IGC promoted the concept of fair and open online gaming in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, particularly the UK. In the UK, for example, the IGC provided written testimony to the Gambling Review Body during the consultation phase of the review process that resulted in legislation being passed in 2005. In the early days of our organization, U.S. efforts were important for multiple reasons, including the

leadership position and reach of the U.S. government, the high percentage of revenues attributable to U.S. players and the fact that most international credit card transactions, at some time or another, have some nexus with the U.S. While the IGC has a long history leading the fight against prohibition efforts in the U.S., Black Friday events --October 13, 2011--

Also, the first Interstate agreement for sharing online gaming liquidity between state borders was recently approved between Delaware and Nevada. The deal allows online poker players from Delaware and Nevada to play side by side at virtual gaming tables. The agreement was drafted to allow for inclusion of additional states as online gaming is authorized throughout the country. While the agreement between Delaware and Nevada is initially for online poker only, it contains language to allow for other casino style games moving forward. Q: In the US there seems so much divided opinion towards online gambling than any other country in the world why is that you think?

changed the entire landscape of our association. The IGC is always evolving to stay relevant in the rapidly changing landscape of online gaming. Q: Looking across the border into the US and what is currently happening there in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, do you see an expanding US market for online gambling? KF: In the U.S. three states have approved online gaming to date: Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada. The IGC is monitoring other individual states, such as California, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan and Illinois to add its voice as an advocate for open online gaming regulation and taxation.

KF: Online gaming is a complicated issue in the U.S. where opponents and advocates often put Puritan influences against individual freedoms. The IGC will focus our messaging on the open and regulated online gaming model. We also have to keep abreast of the developing divide among the American Gaming Association members and efforts by Sheldon Adelson to fund a campaign to make online gambling illegal. Q: In your personal opinion do you think Sheldon Adelson and his anti-online gambling lobby will win the day or just delay the inevitable?

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lawful, the means of distribution should not affect the lawfulness.

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Exclusive interview with Keith Furlong ing sites as they play an important regulatory role in setting standards and offering a safe and secure environment for players who wish to try online gaming. The reality is that this industry will continue to expand to meet consumer demands. From an IGC perspective, the industry, as well as Canadian provincial governments, would benefit from implementing a regulatory system here in Canada. To date, no Canadian province has moved to regulate and tax this lucrative sector.

Q: So many states in the US are having budgetary problems and are considering online gambling to plug these black holes, is it really a wise idea to think of online gambling as a financial savior for struggling state economies? KF: I wouldn’t suggest that online gambling regulation and taxation would be the savior for struggling state economies. What is worth considering is the fact that Americans gamble online and a system of taxation would allow states to generate revenues and create jobs that otherwise go offshore.

Q: Can you tell us the situation in Canada and online gambling? KF: A study issued by Ipsos in 2010 revealed that the idea of online gambling was gaining acceptance in North America, with more people expressing an interest to see it legalized with proper regulation. More than half of Canadians (55%) are willing to permit online gambling as long as government regulations are in place. The irrefutable truth is that Canadians are playing online. H2 Gambling Capital estimates the size of the Canadian market to be in excess of $870 million for 2013 (including sports betting, casino, poker, and bingo). Online gambling is mainstream, popular, and getting bigger every year. In Canada, we expect to welcome another provincial lottery corporation (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) online sometime in 2014. BCLC and Loto-Quebec launched their sites several years ago (both in 2010), and Manitoba joined BCLC’s Playnow.com in 2013. There is an absolute need to have governments involved with iGam-

Q: Many people within the industry say that Canada was the founder of online gambling with so many of the world’s leading entrepreneurs coming from the country, why is that you think, what makes Canada such a hub for online gambling? KF: The Canadian market is a lucrative one but I don’t know if I would single the country out as being the “founder” of online gaming. Many countries throughout the world are active in both land-based and online Gaming and Canada is no different. I think that Canada is a hub because online gambling is already a popular form of entertainment for Canadians. Consumers have embraced online gaming as a form of legitimate entertainment, and when choosing which operator to play with, they look for value in terms of product/choice/price. Currently there is a competitive and open hybrid system in place, with a mix of lottery corporation and offshore products, which provides something for everyone.

BUSINESSMAG • ISSUE MARCH 2014

KF: In my opinion, it is inevitable that businesses that exist in the real world will continue to develop online business strategies. In the casino industry, if gambling is permitted within a jurisdiction, then the nature of the delivery medium should not affect the nature of what is being regulated or the legal status of the product. I would add that the same or greater technological controls need to be available to prevent underage gambling and increased education, awareness and assistance with problem gambling.

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FEATURE ARTICLE

Nevada Tips First Domino “Domino Effect: A cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events.”

© 2013, I. Nelson Rose. Prof. Rose is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on gambling law, and is a consultant and expert witness for governments and industry. His latest books, INTERNET GAMING LAW (1st and 2nd editions), BLACKJACK AND THE LAW and GAMING LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS, and the recently published GAMING LAW IN A NUTSHELL, are available through his website, www.GAMBLINGANDTHELAW.com.

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he state of Nevada has legalized, again, Internet gambling. Only this time, people are paying attention.

The first few times the Nevada State Legislature passed laws permitting online gaming, nothing much happened. It has been 16 years since Governor Bob Miller signed SB 318 into law, making Nevada technically the first state to expressly prohibit -- and permit -- Internet betting.

InfinityGaming • ISSUE MARCH 2014

That law is still on the books. An Internet operator, anywhere in the world, who accepts a wager from a person who is physically present in Nevada commits a misdemeanor and “may be prosecuted within this state.” Anyone who makes a bet from Nevada via the Internet is committing a misdemeanor, regardless of where the person accepting the wager may be.

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There are a few exceptions. This being Nevada, the Legislature at first exempted only the state’s own licensed casino operators. This was the first time that any government in America expressly allowed its licensees to operate real money games on the Internet. Over the years, the Legislature passed a few more Internet gambling statutes. It even told the state’s gaming regulators to gear up for licensing intra-state poker, for the time when federal law made it clear that Internet gambling was legal. It’s unclear why Nevada lawmakers limited the first

licenses to online poker. Perhaps they were afraid that if people could play blackjack and slot machines from their homes and hotel rooms, they might not spend much time at the resort-casinos. The politically powerful, biggest operators on the Las Vegas Strip now make a majority of their sales at their restaurants, showrooms and stores. Brick and mortar poker rooms bring in comparatively little revenue. So the Caesars and MGMs don’t mind if visitors play online poker from their hotel rooms at night with other players AFTER they bet against the house at banking games like craps in the casino. Courts in other states had held that the Wire Act, the major federal anti-gambling law used against online operators, applied only to sports events. So, all Nevada Internet gambling laws have been carefully written to exclude sports betting. Nevada regulators did hold some hearings. But no regulations, let alone licenses, were issued, because the federal Department of Justice (“DOJ”) declared that it was not bound by those court decisions. The DOJ sent the Nevada Gaming Control Board a letter stating that it would arrest any Nevada operator that took bets from other states, even if the bets were limited to poker or casino games. Then, two days before Christmas 2011, the Obama Administration announced that it was giving a gift to the states.


Nevada tips first domino

The announcement freed the states to authorize every other form of Internet gambling. State legislatures across the country started considering legalizing intra-state poker and other games. State lotteries, like Illinois, which were already selling subscriptions to their residents online, looked into expanding into selling individual tickets and operating other, more interesting games. Although the immediate response from lawmakers and operators was to see what they could do intrastate, the possibilities of crossborder betting were not ignored. Legal analysts, like me, noted that the only barrier to a state accepting bets from other states and even nations was a provision of the U.S.

Constitution restricting states in making compacts, which could be gotten around. The Nevada Legislature rushed through AB 114, which was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval on February 21 of this year. It authorized the governor to enter into agreements with other governments for cross-border betting. On April 30, 2013, Ultimate Poker became the first operator in history to take real money bets on Internet poker games under a license issued by a state (Nevada). Yes, deposits are difficult, having to be in person; by electronic or paper check; or by wire, if the amount is more than $500. Most important, players have to be physically present in Nevada. But once Nevada’s intra-state poker starts attracting large numbers of players, other states will follow. And then Gov. Sandoval will sign those agreements, allowing states to create large pools of players for

online poker games. Lawmakers in the American Virgin Islands have already authorized Internet casinos. Its regulators also received a letter from the DOJ threatening to charge its licensees under the Wire Act. That threat is now gone. But local operators fear competition from the giant landbased and online gaming companies. So, the U.S. Virgin Islands will not be issuing Internet licenses any time soon. But casino and racino operators in Delaware and New Jersey have no such qualms. The statutes are in place, and regulators are racing to be the first to have full-scale Internet casinos open. Once they do, legislators in other states will follow. The Republicans taking over control of the House in January 2011 eliminated any chance that Congress would help states balance their books. Unlike the federal government, states cannot

BUSINESSMAG • ISSUE MARCH 2014

The DOJ officially reversed its position on the Wire Act. Henceforth, that statute would only be used against interstate sports and race books.

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www.gambleaware.co.uk, Players must be 18+

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we are poker


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Nevada tips first domino

rint money or run deficits forever. And gambling is seen as a painless tax.

to Internet poker in California, like the opposition to legalizing marijuana, is funded by companies who don’t want the competition. The marijuana initiative was defeated, in large part, by T.V. ads paid for by the liquor industry.

know who will get the Internet gaming licenses.

Today, the disputes are about who will get the billions of dollars that are at stake.

California may act faster. The state is still desperate for any source of extra cash. Voters narrowly defeated legalizing marijuana for tax revenue. If we’re considering selling pot just for the money, who cares about Internet poker?

The Golden State’s gaming tribes and poker clubs have no problem with legalizing Internet poker – if they are the only ones who get to run the games. That is not going to happen. Legislation will pass once the political compromise is reached that satisfies the politically powerful tribes and clubs, while bringing in big bucks from outside operators.

Of course many people, especially from the religious right, want to tell people what they can do in their own homes. But, the opposition

In states where the local operators are the big money, like the two gaming tribes in Connecticut who are also the state’s largest employers, we

Iowa has studied the issue for years. A bill to allow Internet casinos actually passed one of the houses of the Iowa Legislature. The sessions last only 100 days, so legalization will not come until 2014 at the earliest.

And legalization is going to come quickly. The fights over whether or not to have legal gambling were won years ago.

Next Month:

Internet Problems

BUSINESSMAG • ISSUE MARCH 2014

(Continued)

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Infinity Gaming Magazine speaks to Lois Rice Executive Director Colorado Gaming Association Q Lois thank you for your time today and for our international readers can you explain your role with the Colorado Gaming Association (CGA) and what exactly the association promotes and supports? LR The Colorado Gaming Association (CGA) is the statewide trade association representing the commercial casino industry. Our casinos are located in three old Colorado gold mining towns: Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. Our gaming measure, which was passed by Colorado voters in 1990, was modeled after the same type of gaming that Deadwood, South Dakota hosted at that time. We were trying to save these three towns from becoming ghost towns, so casino gambling was a viable option. The CGA’s mission is to “to support our members in building a profitable and responsible gaming industry in Black Hawk, Central City, Cripple Creek, Colorado, and provide a unified voice for the gaming industry before policymakers at all levels of government, the media, and the public, so that they recognize gaming as a major economic force and an integral part of Colorado’s tourism industry.” Q How long has the CGA been in existence? LR The CGA was incorporated on February 14, 1994, and I was hired as the association’s first full-time executive director in January, 1997, and this year marked my 17th year with the CGA, so I have been privileged to participate in the growth of an industry that provides enormous economic development benefits to the State of Colorado. When I was hired by the CGA, the largest casino in the state had 700 gaming devices on site, i.e. slots and table games. Now, our largest casino has over 1,500 devices. Q Can you give us some facts about gambling within Colorado, how many casinos are there and what companies operate in the state?

LR Currently there are 39 casinos in Colorado, and many of them are locally owned by families who were property owners in the three historic towns when gambling was approved. However, over the last several years, national gaming companies such as Pinnacle, Monarch, Saratoga, Affinity and Jacobs Entertainment have purchased or built casinos in Colorado. We generate $100 million annually in gaming taxes to the state, and those funds, by state constitution, are dedicated to support the state’s historic preservation efforts and community colleges. In addition, $15 million has been allocated from the portion of gaming taxes that reverts to the state general fund for Colorado’s tourism promotion program. Revenues are also allocated to the Colorado Film Commission, the bioscience fund, and other important state programs. Our industry employs over 9,000 Coloradans, and studies continue to show that our casinos pay higher than average wages in Colorado, and provide more benefits than traditional employers. We are proud that we are a large economic driver in Colorado for jobs, economic development, tourism, and higher education. Q Of course a lot of excitement has been happening recently with now three states in the US legalizing online gambling and just recently Nevada and Delaware signing an interstate compact, what is the CGA stance regarding online gambling? LR During the last legislative session, House Speaker Mark Ferrandino was interested in pursuing a bill to approve online poker in Colorado, and the CGA was working with him and his legislative director to craft legislation. However, due to time constraints, the bill could not be introduced before the session adjourned in May, 2013.


Colorado Gaming Association

Interview

with

Lois Rice

The Infinity Gaming Magazine speaks to Lois Rice, Executive Director of the Colorado Gaming Association, regarding land based operations & online gaming in the state

Q How likely is it that Colorado will introduce a gambling expansion bill this year to include online gambling? LR Not likely since the issuance of the Attorney General’s opinion. There have been four (4) gaming initiatives filed by Twin River, a gaming company which owns Arapahoe Park, a horse track, in Aurora, Colorado, which is just east of the metropolitan Denver area. The threat that voters will approve casinos in Colorado’s major cities is a larger threat to our industry than any potential online measure. Q Is there much opposition from current land based casino operators towards online gambling in the state? LR Our Board of Directors recently approved a motion to take a neutral stance on online gaming. Colorado is unique that we have the lowest bet limit in the states, $100 max bets on poker, blackjack, craps and roulette. It would be very difficult for Colorado to enter into agreements with other states because of our bet limitation.

Q Finally before we let you go Lois how do you see the US landscape in gambling over the next 5 years? LR I would hope that states take a more cautious approach in the future to granting gaming licenses in markets that are already saturated. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission recently commissioned a study to determine whether a new casino license would grow the existing gaming market, or merely cannibalize players from existing facilities. I would like to see more states take a proactive approach in determining the economic consequences of granting new gaming licenses, so that doing so will not jeopardize the viability and profitability of existing casinos, who have made significant investment in those states. There used to be a philosophy of “build it and they will come” but I question whether that is still the case since casino gaming has expanded significantly over the last twenty years. BUSINESSMAG • ISSUE MARCH 2014

Since that time, the Colorado Division of Gaming, the state agency that regulates our industry, asked the Colorado Attorney General for an opinion on whether online gaming would be considered an expansion of our current gaming, requiring a statewide vote. Our state Constitution requires that any expansion of casino gambling must be approved by a statewide vote, as well as a local vote by the communities that host casinos.

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US GAMING NEWS

Senator Harry Reid could be investigated in corruption scandal executives, where Reid is said to have promised online poker legislation for the state would be introduced. However only two months after Reid was re-elected he withdrew the bill, claiming a lack of support at that time. It could be very innocent says Gill and Rawlings but it needs investigating.

According to Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings along with Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, they are claiming the evidence in the investigation relates to suspect financial transactions including campaign contributions where Sen. Harry Reid’s name comes up in the investigation. Both attorneys say that the Department of Justice should investigate the allegations of misconduct of federal officials and campaign contributions. Gill said, “there could possibly be an innocent explanation for the evidence that has cropped up, but there could also be a more sinister explanation.” He continued by saying that’s what needs to be figured out. Both Rawlings and Gill have been involved in the investigation for more than two years. With Harry Reid, Rawlings and Gill say they are disappointed that the Department of Justice refused to take on the investigation in 2013 – even though local officials consider the allegations to be very serious. There are allegations that need to be reviewed concerning Harry Reid and a fundraising event in 2010 at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas hosted by leading online poker

New Jersey recorded online revenues of $10.3

million for February which is up 8.9% from last month’s figures even with the month having 3 days less than January. However the land based casino sector in the state reported a fall of 6.2% in takings compared to 2013 to $199.1 million, said New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, in all total revenues including online gambling in the state fell by 1.5%. he figures are well below Governor Christie’s expectations for online gambling in the state and now the governor has withdrawn from making any more predictions for online gambling for the year. Online gambling in the state for February brought in $1.4 million in taxes, which is similar to the previous months of December and January totaling some $3.5 million in taxes. But the New Jersey administration originally had expected tax revenues for online gambling to bring in $160 million up to June 2014, that figure has been lowered to $34 million last month and observers say that even $34 million is very optimistic.

BUSINESSMAG • ISSUE MARCH 2014

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enate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada, a well-known supporter of online poker and one who helped push for online poker to be legalized within the state should be investigated for corruption involving campaign fund donations.

NJ revenues narrow for February with help from online

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US GAMING NEWS

Florida leaves online poker and casino resorts out in cold cluding the Hard Rock casino in Tampa. The tribe agreed a deal with the former governor of Florida that allowed slot machines and card games to be run by the tribe.

The House bill does not give any authorisation to new casino resorts but leaves it to a possible referendum for voters to decide. The reason for this is that included in the bill is a constitutional change to give voters the right to decide on any new gambling expansion which would of course include online gambling. A yes vote by residents in Florida of 60% would be required for any change in gambling laws, which in essence means law makers pass the buck to voters for any expansion of gambling in the state. Rep. Robert Schenck, R-Spring Hill, and sponsor of the bill called the House plan a “responsible proposal.” He added that would it also “clean up significant and glaring loopholes in current law.” Schenck said that any gambling bill considered during the session must be accompanied by the constitutional amendment. It seems that the new proposal will not change the current agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that operates several casinos in the state and also brings in $200 million a year in revenues for the state. The current state agreement with the tribe expires in 2015 and state governor Rick Scott seems unlikely to start negotiations on a new deal until much later in the year. The tribe operates several casinos around the state, in-

Another senior gaming executive has decided to

leave Las Vegas Sands following the recent departure of Robert DeSalvio from his role as President of Casino Bethlehem followed now by Chris Cahill, the Executive Vice-President of global operations for the company. Las Vegas Sands said Chris Cahill will leave his post at the end of March, much earlier than expected for a senior executive, however the company did not disclose the reason for the resignation of one its leading executives. Mr Cahill only signed a 5 year contract with the gambling firm in April of 2012 and was responsible for Las Vegas Sands global properties, global marketing and recruitment. Gary Cahill was not available for any comment on his departure from the company.

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n the new spring session of the Florida legislature no mention in a gambling proposal bill was given to online poker or to the two casino resorts that were hoped for by operators in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Another senior exec leaves Las Vegas Sands

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FEATURE ARTICLE

Are we the biggest risk to mobile security? By Christina Thakor-Rankin Our feature writer Christina Thakor-Rankin looks at mobile security for her March article and are we too blame for not locking our phones

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ccording to The International Telecommunication Union there are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. That is equivalent to 96 percent of the world population. According to Portio Research, this number is set to hit 7.0 billion by the end of the year.

security back into the public conscious. As a result we have now started to discuss mobile security – but just how valuable a discussion is this – after all, in today’s world of multiple

By focusing on ‘mobile security’ do we run the risk of focusing on something that actually no longer exists, and what we should be applying is exactly the same approach to security as we do to our computers and laptops.

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With a World Cup just around the corner and analysts predicting that over 50% of all sports bets are now struck via mobile devices, it is hardly surprising that mobile remains a talking point.

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Recently however the latest push in technology, from mobile and contactless payments to multiple integrated devices and the various scare stories ranging from how a mobile phone can read the data on a credit card by simply being in range, to hackers using mobile devices to intercept other devices, and government agencies ’listening in’ have pushed

were essentially mobile phones. In today’s world the mobile phone actually no longer exists – what we essentially carry around with us today is mini PCs which also support traditional telephony.

devices designed to go anywhere and work anywhere with us, what exactly does ‘mobile’ mean? Even as recently as 5 years ago, mobile phones were exactly that. With the exception of cameras and some seriously high end devices which allowed emails, mobile phones

Oddly enough though, whilst we probably wouldn’t dream of leaving our computers or laptops unlocked – how many of us do not have a pin code or lock on our phone because it hampers usage? Arguably because the device we now call a phone, started out as a phone, we still think of it as a phone – after all, we still use them to make phone calls, and with the exception of 0900 scams and enticing us to respond to unsolicited texts there has


So we become complacent. Throw in the fact that it is no longer a case of having a device for a specific task. We live in a world of multiple devices, all designed to talk to each other and be interchangeable dependent upon our moods, whims and circumstances where one touch or swipe takes you from small screen to big screen. How inconvenient that we should have to waste time unlocking or entering passwords – if we really thought about it we might, but to us it is still a phone and so relatively low risk. After all who is really that interested

in which apps we have or who we’re calling, texting, or even sexting? And all of that is undoubtedly true, but consider also; how many of us, on this unlocked phone have passwords for mobile banking, photographs of sensitive travel documents in case we lose the originals, or some form of contactless payment method? How many of us check, or even know how to check whether visiting a favourite coffee shop could also mean inviting someone to quickly and quietly scan our devices? Whether a trip on public transport also invites an encounter with a villain carrying a contactless payment device (which invariably looks like a phone), quietly and methodically charging a small amount (small enough for it not to be questioned or even noticed) every second or third customer? The reality is that our phones are now no different to our laptops, but our continued mind-set of thinking of them as phones, means that the

biggest risk to mobile security always has been, is, and will continue to be us – the user.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Christina Thakor-Rankin is Principal Consultant at 1710Gaming working with start-ups, investors, operators regulators, and industry groups internationally, covering all aspects of the gaming and gambling cycle - from initial research, licence and operational go-live, to new markets and opportunities, to customer engagement and experience. She has over 20 years industry experience and has previously held roles at William Hill, Blue Square, Tote (Sport) and Virgin Games managing multiple business disciplines, functions and teams.

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been very little by way of scandal to urge us into a more urgent approach to security. Even the one going tabloid phone hacking scandal has had little impact – one because most of us are not famous enough to be troubled by this, and the suggestion that whilst it is possible, it does require a degree of knowledge and sophistication beyond the ken of the average nosey neighbour, curious colleague or suspicious spouse.

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EUROPEAN GAMING NEWS

Sheriff Gaming lose license and announced bankrupt the company by Dutch authorities in relation to money laundering, illegal gambling, drugs and other criminal activities.

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he Bubble Group the owning company of Sheriff Gaming has had its B2B gaming license revoked by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), the Category 2 Associate Certificate will be revoked with immediate effect leaving Sheriff Gaming with no official ability now to offer any games to its clients. This follows the suspension of Bubble Groups license back in September when raids were held on

Sheriff Gaming’s CEO Stijn Flapper and one of its owners Michel Gregoire were arrested in November on charges and are still in police custody after recently denied bail.

bankrupt by a court in Oost-Brabant. Bubble Group has always said it is innocent of the charges and looks forward to proving their innocence in court, however with the revocation of their license and bankruptcy hearing along with the CEO still in jail it seems the end is here for the Eindhoven-based software firm. Prosecutors say the case involves hundreds of millions of euros in illegal activities and that they expect more arrests regarding Bubble Group in the near future.

The company was a high flyer only a few years ago but now seems destined for total collapse after it was also announced that the Bubble Group itself has now been declared

Blackpool casino sold to new investor

Newly installed General Manager Doy Haase says the future is looking very bright for the casino in Bloomfield Road which suffered a devastating fire a few years ago.

The new General Manager said: “The casino was struggling before we took it over and we have secured all 70 jobs and are investing in the fabric of the building. “We are going to refurbish the bar area and rearrange the gaming area, with a planned investment of between £60,000 and £70,000. “A lot of people now see visiting a casino as mainstream entertainment and our aim is to provide relaxed surroundings. “It is not about coming here and

losing your shirt, it is about seeing it as part of your evening’s entertainment. We are marketing the venue to also attract people from out of town, because the next nearest casinos after Blackpool are in Liverpool and Bolton.” The new owner of the casino is not a casino focused business and has building investments in Liverpool, however the company is putting faith in Mr Haase with his 30 years of experience of the industry and local area.

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he Paris Casino in Blackpool has been sold to State Casino for an un-disclosed amount. The Liverpool based firm that purchased the casino has promised to protect all 70 jobs there and also confirmed they are to spend over £70,000 on refurbishment on the venue.

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US GAMING NEWS

Optimal appoints advisor for US online gaming

guidance

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ptimal Payments has appointed Thomas Auriemma as an advisor to provide strategic and regulatory advice on current and future U.S. state regulation in regards to payment services for the online gaming industry. Auriemma has over 28 years of experience in casino regulatory roles and is one of the few individuals who has been employed by both casino regulatory agencies in New Jersey. He served from 2002 until 2007 as director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), one of the world’s leading casino regulatory agencies, and was deputy director of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission’s Legal Division. He is currently a member of the Compliance Committee of

Penn National Gaming, where he previously served as vice president/ chief compliance officer, and as president of a number of its subsidiaries. Auriemma has also served as the secretary, vice chair and chair of the International Association of Gaming Regulators and is a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors and the International Masters of Gaming Law. “We are delighted to have Thomas join Optimal Payments,” said Joel Leonoff, president and CEO, Optimal Payments. “With an increasing number of states currently exploring legalizing and regulating online gaming, we look forward to his guidance as we expand our reach across the U.S. His expertise and experience in the gaming industry will

further strengthen our position as a leader among payment providers for the online gaming industry.” “I am honoured to work with a company that is a leading innovator among payments solutions providers, and committed to the protection of consumers and merchants,” said Thomas Auriemma, advisor, Optimal Payments. “Optimal Payments has extensive expertise to offer state gaming regulators as they navigate the issues online gaming presents. The Company is primed to provide solutions that simultaneously protect consumers and safeguard the integrity of payments channels, without hampering the growth of this dynamic industry though over-regulation.”

Big Fish Games to accept Bitcoin

The controversial online currency that has seen the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox collapse recently sending the value spiraling downwards and is under scrutiny from the FBI for potential misuse from organised crime for money laundering, however many online businesses still believe that Bitcoin will one day become a mainstream currency exchange. Big Fish, which has turned over $266m in 2013, said it was “setting the pace” with a payment technology that it

believed would become mainstream eventually. “This is not a test,” said Paul Thelen, chief executive and founder of Big Fish. “We are excited to offer this new payment method to the nearly 105 million annual game players that visit our game app store, with the reassurance that Big Fish is working with Coinbase, one of the most secure and reputable companies in the bitcoin industry.” Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase, added: “Our partnership with Big Fish is our first with a game company merchant, and not only signifies the growing adoption of bitcoin across major industries, but also the future of small purchases on the internet.”

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ig Fish Games has announced it will start accepting Bitcoins from players who want to purchase their games and add-ons. The US based gaming company says it will allow players to set up a digital wallet being provided by Californian technology firm Coinbase to use Bitcoins for purchases of their games.

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US GAMING NEWS

Illinois ponders online gambling

He also added that legalising online poker would ensure tighter regulations for players in the state that are already playing illegally along with helping the struggling state meet its budgetary requirements. “Prohibition will only play into the hands of the criminal element,” Pappas said. Senate President John Cullerton has been pushing for legalising online

gambling for two years and said he hoped that some sort of gambling expansion bill could be brought in before the end of the spring session. Although Cullerton who had asked for governor Pat Quinn in 2012 to include online gambling as part of the end of session bargaining failed and believes getting it through this time will be difficult again as casino owners in the state are against any form of online gambling believing it will harm their businesses. “There’s a lot of complications about how it affects the existing gaming industry. That seems to be where the hang up might be right

now,” he told reporters. But with a $1.5 billion black hole in the state’s budget it might be a tempting option for lawmakers with Cullerton saying, “the other states that are just getting started are bringing in some money so that might play a role in it when we try to pass a budget.” Illinois has nearly 13 million residents in the state, placing it as the fifth largest state in the US and would be by far the largest state to enter online gambling ahead of New Jersey with some 8 million, nearly 3 million in Nevada and less than a million in Delaware.

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ohn Pappas the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance said to an Illinois Senate committee that the state could see $200 million extra in tax dollars should they legalise online poker.

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ONLINE NEWS

Internet celebrates its 25th birthday

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his month is the birthday of the world wide web or how we come to know it as www, the web is 25 years old today and without the invention you would not be able to read this article or indeed anything related to online. In 1989 a British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitted his paper to a Swiss physics lab and one of BernersLee’s most important achievements was the development of the uniform resource locator (URL). Viewing a web page normally begins by typing a URL into a web browser. The web browser then initiates a series of communication messages behind the scenes, in order to fetch and display the page. Sir Tim wrote the first World Wide Web server, “httpd”, and the first client “World Wide Web”, a ‘what you see is what you get’ hypertext browser/editor.

It launched publicly just two-and-ahalf years later, on 6 August 1991. The reason for Sir Tim’s invention was for a demand for file sharing between scientists and universities around the world.

In 1993 there were some 500 web sites active, but twenty years later there are nearly 700 million websites online. The most recent UK government survey says that in the UK 36 million adults, that represents 73% of the adult populations log in to the

internet every day, with 21 million households or 83% of all households having the ability to access the internet. The internet has spurred so many innovations and businesses over the last twenty years, the growth of online gambling is just one example with other such as Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook now worth over $17 billion. There is Pierre Omidyar in 1995 founded Ebay and has a net wealth of 48.5 billion and Jeff Bezos who founded Amazon in 1994 and has some $29 billion in net worth. The internet is an amazing invention connecting people from around the world by email or by video, what the next twenty years will be and the inventors and entrepreneurs that will emerge is for the future, what is for sure and the here and now is that the most significant invention of the 20th century is celebrating its 25th Birthday, Happy Birthday internet.

Bwin.Party hopes for growth in World Cup year

“Having streamlined the shape and size of our business we now have the foundations to return our business to sustainable growth,” Chief Executive Norbert Teufelberger said. Many online gambling firms believe the World Cup in Brazil will boost their business this year, none more so

than Ladbrokes who’s CEO is banking on it to save his job. “With all of the major European teams competing and given our footprint across Europe, we are well positioned to drive betting volumes over the summer months,” Teufelberger said. The UK listed online firm said that profits for 2013 were at 108 million Euros compared to 165 million Euros for the previous a drop of 57 million Euros.

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win. Party say they hope to return to growth with the help of the 2014 World Cup after moving away from risky markets and problems in Greece hurt their profits.

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ARTICLE

Super Bowl Is Over but There’s Much Casinos Can Learn from It Our feature writer Martin Baird for his March article looks back at the Super Bowl and what casinos can learn from the sporting event.

By Martin R. Baird

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ast month’s Super Bowl in the U.S. may be a fading memory and, granted, not everyone in the world gets excited about it. But while I was watching the game, I kept thinking about casinos. To me, the action on the field was teeming with valuable lessons for gaming properties. I’ll boil it down to four key takeaways and indulge in a little football talk along the way.

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The first lesson happened in less than 15 seconds. When you make mistakes, your competition will make you pay for it. Perhaps dearly, as the Denver Broncos learned. No matter how great a casino’s customer service training is, all it takes is one mental mistake and the property can find itself trying to crawl out of a hole. For example, a bad snap and the Broncos were down 2 to 0 – and that was as close as the game ever got.

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Think about this for a second. Those players practiced for months getting ready for the game. The Broncos center and quarterback successfully snapped the ball hundreds of times this season. The Broncos were the number one offense in the National Football League and they didn’t get there by making foolish mistakes. But casinos make foolish mistakes like that all the time. I know you provide great customer service, but all it

takes is an employee who is a little off and the guest is headed to a competitor. The second lesson involved the Super Bowl’s huge television audience. It’s estimated nearly 110 million people watched the game. How do you think the Broncos center feels after he made a mistake like that with millions watching? Casinos may not realize it, but the world is watching them, too. Most of the time, when a casino employee makes a mistake, only a couple of people see it. And in the old days, a guest would tell five to seven people about the bad experience. But today, guests use social media and casino review sites to blast the casino and tell the world about the poor gaming experience they had. Casinos get regularly “Yelp’ed” by guests. The guest can have a bad experience and, within moments, they plaster their frustration on Yelp. The really bad news about this is these so-called reviews are posted for the world to see for YEARS. Sure, the Broncos center feels bad and he knows millions of people watched his mistake, but it’s all over by next season. Unless he plays in the Super Bowl again, it will probably never be mentioned again. But potential casino guests will see these negative customer reviews for as long as the review site thinks they’re relevant and that can be years. So when a pro-


ARTICLE

(Continued) spective guest types in your city’s name and the word “casino,” the reviews could just show up. Casinos need to take control of these reviews and the impact they have on their reputation. I hate to say it, but guests and prospective customers trust online reviews more than your advertisements. And research shows that 80 percent of people change a buying decision because of negative reviews.

Here’s lesson three – the more mistakes you share with the world, the harder it is to win. The Broncos suffered interceptions and fumbles and allowed kicks to be returned for touchdowns. Hey, we all make mistakes, but when your mistakes are big and the competition sees them, they will take advantage of the situation. Some casinos now have social media specialists who comment on reviews guests post and follow up. The problem is once the ball has been intercepted and returned for a touchdown, it doesn’t do the team much good to explain what should have been done and how much you care. Don’t get me wrong, I think having people answering comments and replying quickly is important. The problem is these social media experts are doing it after the fact. Casinos need to know about a guest’s issue before they post it online. That creates time for service recovery. And it’s terrible for the world to read about the problem for the next few years. I wanted the Broncos to win, but they made too many mistakes and when you’re up against a competitive team like the Seattle Seahawks, you can’t expect to survive under those circumstances. Many casinos have formidable competition and they can’t get by with making service mistakes, no matter how good the casino thinks it’s service may be.

Lesson four involved real-time customer feedback. Casinos need a real-time platform to collect guest feedback so they can correct issues and share POSITIVE reviews with sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. It’s bad enough knowing that potential guests will see your casino’s terrible reviews. It’s even worse to know that Google now uses reviews as one of the ways it decides how to rank websites. Recent news reports announced that Yahoo and Yelp reached an agreement under which Yelp reviews will factor into Yahoo search results. Your casino needs to be proactive when it comes to collecting realtime guest feedback and generating good reviews. The technology exists to make it easy for customers to share their thoughts and concerns with casinos. Your mistakes don’t have to be aired internationally first. Please learn from this year’s Super Bowl mistakes. Don’t let competitors pound your casino like the Seahawks did the Broncos.

Martin R. Baird Bio Martin R. Baird is chief executive officer of Robinson & Associ-

Or Read on AppandStore their guest service so they can compete generate future ates, Inc., a Boise, Idaho-based consulting firm to the global

gaming industry that is dedicated to helping casinos improve growth and profitability. Robinson & Associates is the world leader in casino guest experience measurement, management and improvement. For more information, visit the company’s Web sites at http://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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It’s important to know that 46 percent of people use review sites as a place to vent their frustrations. Thus, many of these posts are not actually reviews. But Google may see value in them and use these rants as a way to decide your casino’s search rankings. This is known as getting “scroogled.”

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LATEST GAMING NEWS

Massachusetts will enter online gambling but not yet

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assachusetts head of the gambling commission says that the state should wait until after awarding casino licenses to operators later in 2014.

Teddy Sagi the founder of Playtech has said that he is planning to float on the stock market his other major investment that of SafeCharge. The billionaire who has a 90% stake in the payment processor company which was founded in 2006 by David Avgi and still retains a 10% share in SafeCharge hopes to raise in the region of $100 million in share offerings, with Mr. Sagi retaining 63% of the companies shares. The Aim listing will be launched Tuesday 11th March and the total amount of value for SafeCharge is estimates at £210 million to £230 million. Safecharge which handles online gambling transactions along with consumer retail prides itself on handling 300 transactions per second with no downtime on the service. Last year SafeCharge handled over $5 billion in transactions with revenues of $43.1 million which was up 31.4% from the year before.

Stephen Crosby, chairman of the commission, said lawmakers have been urged not to do “anything serious” about online gambling until after the licenses are awarded, noting casino companies will be investing hundreds of millions

of dollars in Massachusetts, “and it’s only appropriate that they be at the table when we figure out what do with Internet gaming.” The state only last month issued a license to Penn National Gaming which plans to build a slots parlor at the Plainridge racetrack. Mr Crosby says that new casinos will take some revenues off the state’s lottery but expects casino’s will increase overall tax

revenues. State Senate Majority Leader Stanley Rosenberg said that Internet gambling seems likely to become a reality in the future, but warned of the impact on the lottery and new casino licensed operators. Crosby concluded by saying any venture into online gambling should take place “hand in glove” with efforts to address gambling addiction.

Macau says no increase to concessions

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acau’s Secretary for Economy & Finance Francis Tam Pak has said that there will not be an increase to the six current casino operators in Macau, the news comes as a blow to struggling casino giant Caesars Entertainment as they had hoped to possibly seek an entry into Macau when the number of gaming concessions comes up for renewal in 2020 and 2022. During his recent trip to Beijing Mr Francis Tam Pak said there “should be no increase” in the number of gaming concession-

aires. . The government has not determined whether [the gaming concessions] should be renewed for five years. The government has no stance on this matter.” He continued by saying in reference to extending the current length of existing operators licenses. Gaming Observers say this is a blow to Caesars in particular as they failed to gain a license to the world’s largest gambling hub in the first round of licenses issued to overseas operators in 2002, Wynn Resorts was the first to gain approval.

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Teddy Sagi to float SafeCharge

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AFFILIATE ARTICLE

Desperately Seeking Affiliates

Got to keep adding affiliates! By Ellen Learmonth Ellen Learmonth for her March article looks at small affiliates and making them successful

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fter all that’s what counts to be a good affiliate manager, right? The main task of affiliate marketing is to keep adding to the number of affiliates in the system. The more the merrier and the bigger the number of customer sign-ups. However, as soon as the average affiliate manager finds the next website that’s more dedicated to their focus market, the sooner they start to forget the slow performing affiliate.

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This article is dedicated to the small affiliate and how we as affiliate managers tackle their issues. What we need to understand is that in order for us to be truly successful as affiliate managers we need to first make our smaller affiliates successful. What’s in it for us?? Future business and an affiliate that stays loyal (potentially anyway).

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Let’s look at the issue of our management through the eyes of an affiliate. Take an average affiliate that has a website that’s been running for a few years and trends well below average with virtually no capital investment in marketing or SEO. Everything is done in house with little or no real experience other than what has been gleaned from free websites and the odd affiliate conference. We all know affiliates like this and their main mistake is

in their false interpretation of being “seen”. What they don’t know is that we see their sites without actually looking into what the site is all about. More often than not an affiliate manager has a list gleaned from a keyword search of affiliates to contact and a standard “we’d like to work with you” mail goes out. In this initial contact the affiliate thinks that all is well in the world and that now things will change. “All I need to do is get a banner up and a few tweets and let the money roll in”. The chain of events that follow sum up the problem that the affiliates have: • Stage 1 Email from affiliate manager received and the affiliate uses the link provided to sign up to the affiliate program. Now he sees that there is a standard 30-40-50% rev-share deal set in place for the first couple of months, so the affiliate writes his piece and adds the links and banners to the site. For the next 3 weeks the stats are checked and the affiliate sees that there has been some activity so another piece is written and more tweets go out. Now he waits. • Stage 2 What the affiliate manager sees is “no signups”, so a second mail is sent saying “let us know if there is anything that you need to get you started”.


Affiliate Business - Desperately seeking affiliates

• Stage 3 After a month or so the affiliate gets a third mail, an incentive mail stating “bring in an extra 5 clients this month and get £10 on top”. Great, now the affiliate knows that there is more money on the table and so the process begins again. Next piece written and more tweets. • Stage 4 No communication from the affiliate manager who has already moved on to the next name on the list. The fact is that affiliate managers see the affiliate’s site differently to the way the affiliate sees their own site. Obscurity is easy to achieve and a very difficult master to shake, and this is what we need to tell them. We need to be the guide that pushes the inexperienced affiliate out of social obscurity and into a position from which they can build and expand. To do that we need to change the way in which we offer advice. There are alternative solutions to those that your average affiliate manager reads off a card, and the ones that start with advice on bigger better banners or more

home page exposure should be kept where they belong, in the head of the affiliate manager. Relying on a prepcard or base line statistics (i.e. number of potential affiliates called equals job done) just isn’t enough if we want to branch out from relying on the same set of successful affiliates that cash in on our inadequacies to coach newer affiliates. If the affiliate manager is not a multitalented marketing guru then he could just ask a colleague working in the SEO Team, or a colleague in the Web Usability Team, and get a member form the Social Marketing Team to a) get some training to understand the fundamentals of their area of expertise themselves and b) let them take a look at the affiliates website and come up with a couple of suggestions to direct the affiliate to the road of success. This would be a real constructive collaboration and most likely earn the affiliate manager a loyal affiliate. In doing so we also guarantee continuation of affiliate marketing and help the industry find and/or create the next affiliate stars. Competition among affiliates is what keeps the CPA deals and Rev-share options open to negotiation. Why not foster the growth of new talent by seeking the potential next affiliate star?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 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.

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ow they wait too

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ASIA GAMING NEWS

Japan says you must partner with local business to win license

But Luo Baoming Hainan’s head of Haina’s communist party on the island and local Mayor Wang Yong told parliament that casinos will never be allowed to operate there. “We cannot at all allow Hainan to operate casinos,” Luo said according to the official Xinhua news agency. With Macau only one hour’s flight from Hainan many casino operators had hoped that maybe not now but in the future casino resorts would be allowed but that seems a distant prospect now. However the news has not stopped investment in the island as InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, and casino operators MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment have all decided to build hotels in the future of growing tourism.

Hainan will not be next Macau say officials

Chinese officials have said that the holiday island

of Hainan is definitely off limits for casino resorts. However many major hotel and resort operators are still looking to invest into the potential explosion of tourism there. But Luo Baoming Hainan’s head of Haina’s communist party on the island and local Mayor Wang Yong told parliament that casinos will never be allowed to operate there. “We cannot at all allow Hainan to operate casinos,” Luo said according to the official Xinhua news agency. With Macau only one hour’s flight from Hainan many casino operators had hoped that maybe not now but in the future casino resorts would be allowed but that seems a distant prospect now. However the news has not stopped investment in the island as InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, and casino operators MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment have all decided to build hotels in the future of growing tourism.

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hinese officials have said that the holiday island of Hainan is definitely off limits for casino resorts. However many major hotel and resort operators are still looking to invest into the potential explosion of tourism there.

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GAMING NEWS

Jamaica to see casino open by 2017

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amaica will see the first casino in operation by 2017 as the company who won the license will be breaking ground on the development this summer. Celebration Jamaica Development Limited, one of the companies to be granted a provisional license for a casino in Jamaica is hoping to start construction on the casino resort with 2,000 hotel rooms, however final approval is still pending but is expected early summer. Robert Trotta, the founder of the company said the project will be completed in three years once final approval is granted. “We have a full brand new convention centre, right here in the middle of Rose Hall, we are ten minutes

from the airport, there is no better place in the Caribbean to put a casino development today than Montego Bay, Jamaica, trust me.” He said the casino hotel, with 2,000 rooms, will be constructed in Rose Hall in St James.

Once the resort is completed it is expected to create up to 4,000 full time jobs, with 16,000 in total being created in the construction and development stages.

Grosvenor Casinos to bid for Southampton license

However observers believe that there will be other operators joining the bidding process before the 1st April deadline. Southampton has one of the eight large casino licenses in the country with the other two currently in operation by Aspers in Stratford London and Milton Keynes, but UK casino operators now believe that Southampton will be a lucrative location to operate the third. The new development for the Royal Pier which will cost £450 million should it gain approval later this year will

feature the large casino at its heart with a luxury hotel, new marina, shops, new homes, restaurants and bars included in the plans. Developers say it will create over 7,000 new jobs in the construction phase and permanent roles once completed. A large casino license will allow the operator the option of having 150 slot machines and 30 gaming tables.

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rosvenor Casinos has entered the bidding to win the large casino license in Southampton, previously Aspers was the only operator to formally announce they were to apply for the casino license on the new development which is being built on the Royal Pier.

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MONEY NEWS

Paddy Power announce increase revenues but slower profits

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addy Power said that 2013 results were lower than expected because of unfavourable results in both horse racing and football, a theme many bookmakers are quoting regarding current profit announcements. The Irish bookmaker says that because of intense competition it believes that consolidation in the sector will happen in 2014 while announcing that its profit growth for the year were lower than hoped at 11 million euros. Dublin based Paddy Power says that full year profit would be 137.4 million euros, that is 1% higher than last

year, their slowest growth year so far since the company launched. However revenues were up for the company to 745 million euros, which represents a rise of 17%, nearly 63% of all Paddy Power’s business is derived from online.

Betfair full year profits to be higher than expected In the final three months of the year ending on the 31st January the company saw a rise in earnings

WH see revenues rise but profits fall

William Hill the UK’s No.1

With the company also now with a traditional sportsbook offering to customers allowing to compete for mainstream gamblers with William Hill and Paddy Power. Chief of Betfair, Breon Corcoran said the integration of the exchange and sportsbook betting would allow it to offer improved odds on some bets, an initiative it is marketing under the “Price Rush” name.

the previously guided range of between £82 million and £87 million,” Betfair said. The company full year ends at the end of April.

to £20.2 million that represents an increase of 28% for the period compared to the same time last year. “We now expect EBITDA for the full year to be towards the upper end of

bookmaker has seen a rise of 16% in net revenues to £1.49 billion but profits were down 7% to £278 million according to the companies annual figures just released. The company said that online gambling and their Australian business now accounts for almost half of their operating profits of £330 million. Their Sportsbook business has seen a phenomenal 400% rise in business since it launched in 2009.

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etfair says it expects its full year profits to be on the high end of analyst’s figures following costing of its entry into New Jersey and Italy to be much lower than expected along with the fact the company have now secured prime time TV advertising space for the World Cup and Champions Leagues fixtures.

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EU GAMING NEWS

EU passes new anti-money laundering law

The European Parliament’s Economic Affairs and Justice and Home Affairs Committees which passed the law will demand that gambling company owners and trusts register in public registries in EU countries, essentially losing their right to anonymity. This is no problem for public limited companies however private companies will now have to ensure they are registered and disclose all owners of that company. Every State within the EU will now have the power to decide which gambling services fall under the new law. As such, services that are deemed “low risk” could be exempt

altogether. From now on all the registers of owners will be made accessible for public viewing either in person or can be done online making online gambling companies totally transparent in ownership and financial

dealings. Any online gambling company that pays out more than 2,000 euros will need to have passed a calls ‘customer due diligence test.”

The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee spokesperson, Judith Sargentini said: “The outcome of this vote is a big step forward in the fight against tax evasion and a clear call for more transparency.” “With this vote Parliament has shown, from left to right, that it is in favour of public beneficial ownership registers, and thus sends a strong signal to the Council for forthcoming negotiations on the file,” she added. The President of the European Lotteries, Friedrich Stickler said, “We today welcome the further important step taken by the European Parliament to ensure an appropriate application of the controls on the specific activity that is gambling, thereby allowing Member States to apply the Directive to its full potential.”

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he European Union has passed a new law that could wipe out suspect online gambling firms from money laundering activities.

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GAMING NEWS

Blackpool given green light for casino proposal

There is no opportunity for Blackpool to gain a super casino license which in 2005 was hoped but one of the medium style casinos which only two of sixteen licenses available have been used so far as part of the revised gambling act of 2005. Currently only Stratford in London and Milton Keynes both operated by Aspers use the medium style casino licenses and a third will be used when Genting complete the Birmingham NEC/airport casino development. So Blackpool are hoping to find investors to renew their planned owned development of the central station site to apply for a medium style casino after Mr Cameron saying: “The proposal for the super casino was too much and was dealt with at the time. What is still on the table are the

medium-sized casinos, where licences would still be available. “If Blackpool Council wants to look at a medium sized casino project then that would certainly be considered. “If Blackpool Council wanted to do something in that space, then we would look upon it favourably but I don’t think there’s an option to put the supercasino back on the table.” Mr Cameron finished by saying. At the time of the ill-fated super casino proposal Blackpool lost out to Manchester but was then torpedoed by Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown after fierce criticism by national media. The seaside town is also hoping to maybe create more than one medium style casino operation with investors support hence creating a cluster of casinos in the town. This is all again dependant on investment into the town which has been struggling with falling visitor numbers over the last decade.

Amercian & Europeans arrested in illegal Kuwait casino Kuwait police have busted a casino run by an American national and four Europeans according to reports in the countries press. The casino located on the Kuwait City’s Salimiya neighbourhood was a residence of a private doctor who told gamblers that they were safe from arrest because his brother was a Lt Colonel in the army. Reports say the American and foreign nationals were experienced casino people and had run casinos outside of Kuwait but came there to make more money than in their previous roles. The raid is the first of its

kind in the country say officials but believe that many others exist, the foreign nationals remain in custody until the courts decide on the severity of the crime. It is understood all the foreign nationals have been visited by their respective embassy officials. Also in custody are the doctor and his brother whom was named as the protector of the gambling den. Police say the illegal casino was taking some $700,000 a day in bets from high rollers.

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lackpool could be back in the hunt to secure licensing for casinos in the seaside town after UK Prime Minister David Cameron said his government would look favourably on any new applications for the town.

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INFORMATION

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March2014 infinity gaming magazine