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InfinityGaming www.gaming-awards.com | ISSUE103

THE DIGITAL WOMAN GAMING + ARTICLES + BUSINESS+ GLOBAL + ONLINE + NEWS+ AWARDS + etc


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22 NONE OF US ARE WELL Teresa Tunstall

25 PGA ALLOWS BETTING SPONSORS

28 DIVERSITY, EQUALITY & “C” WORD Christina Thakor-Rankin

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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4 EDITOR NOTES Editor welcomes you to the latest edition of Infinity Gaming Magazine.

6 OUR WRITERS Meet our feature writers, the superb writers on our rosta.

08 IGA12 FINALISTS 14 GAVIN ISAACS INTERVIEW

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22 CHATBOTS! Lynn Pearce De Freitas

IT’S PLAYTIME

26 DIVERSITY

Lynn Pearce De Freitas

Teresa Tunstall

COMPETITIVE MARKET STRATEGY

36 EQUAL? Christina Thakor-Rankin

Lee-Ann Johnstone

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46 TIME OUT Lee-Ann Johnstone

58 HISTORY OF GAMBLING + NEWS & MORE NEWS from the gaming industry

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A note from the editor 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

Let Us Diversify “

PUBLISHING Infinity Gaming Magazine is operated by © Clever Duck Media Ltd ®

Lana Thompson - Editor

Welcome to the latest edition of the Infinity Gaming Magazine Welcome to the latest edition of the In-

But it is not just about the awards in

finity Gaming Magazine and can you be-

the magazine, as always we have some

lieve how time is flying already we are

superb articles by a wonderful line-up

in the middle of March. Now that means

of our contributing writers from Teresa

it is time to nominate your special peo-

Tunstall, Lynn Pearce De Freitas, Lee-

ple for the Women in Gaming Diversity

Ann Johnstone and Christina Thakor-

Awards.

Rankin.

Already showing this event will be the

Next time I write to you we will be an-

most popular ever with more compa-

nouncing all the finalists so good luck to

nies taking part, it is really special to see

you all and do not forget you still have

how the industry is embracing Diversity

time to nominate till the 18th March.

and we started this ten years ago before anybody else thought of it and indeed

Have a super month and Enjoy the mag-

became trendy to do so.

azine and will catch you all next month.

Clever Duck Media are proud of the effort and work we have done to inspire and get Women and our diverse culture

“To Infinity and Beyond!”

recognised, sometimes it is not about being popular but doing the right things.

Regards,

This years event in May will feature also

Lana

some great speakers in motivation and diversity and really looking forward to the 16th May at The Savoy.

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The Editor

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 claire@cleverduckmedia.com Editorial Content & PR media@cleverduckmedia.com


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Infinity Gaming Magazine Contributing Writers A magazine is only as good as the content inside and with some of the leading specialists within the gaming industry. With specialised articles covering customer service, the gaming law, new prducts, technology and current affairs with the sector the Infinity Gaming Magazine is delighted to showcase our superb line-up of contributing writers.

Christina Thakor-Rankin Christina is Principal Consultant at 1710 Gaming Ltd, a specialist betting and gaming consultancy, delivering a range of services including licensing and compliance (incl. regulation, money laundering and social responsibility), business start-up, training and strategic reengineering, project management, research, business analysis and development, to start-ups and established multi-national operators and providers, gambling regu-

lators, law enforcement and government agencies, media, and specialist interest groups and associations within the sector, in both established and emerging markets across the world.

www.1710gaming.com

Teresa Tunstall – Independent Gaming Consultant After many years of working in casinos in the UK and on USA ships as a croupier and inspector, Teresa turned from ‘poacher to gamekeeper,’ spending 16 years with GamCare, who offer help and support to those who develop problems with their gambling.

Teresa now works independently consulting on all issues relating to Social Responsibility and Problem Gambling.

Working closely with the betting and gaming industry, She developed strong links delivering Social Responsibility and Problem Gambling training around the world, from Antigua to Moscow, and Auditing in the UK.

To contact Teresa regarding consulting please email: Teresatunstall1@gmail.com

Lee-Ann Johnstone - CEO Best Odds Marketing With almost two decades of digital marketing and affiliate experience gained within retail, payments and blue chip iGaming brands, Lee-Ann has a wealth of expertise as an award winning digital marketing expert and business mentor. She is the creator of AffiliateFEST, founder of Best Odds Marketing a digital consultancy specialising in affiliate marketing and recently launched Affiliate Insider offering training, events and business development for the affiliate channel.

www.affiliateinsider.com|www.bestoddsmarketing.com

Lynn has creatively strategized and implemented B2C and B2B acquisition, conversion and retention marketing campaigns.

She joined Forwardslash, (an igaming marketing company) as Marketing GM: Creative Studio. She then went on to work for a sportsbetting company to launch a poker room and casino for a while, before being headhuntered to join a startup casino company in Prague, where she worked as the Marketing Operations Manager. Longing for the sea and sunshine, she relocated to Malta to consult for a B2B igaming software development company.

Lynn Pearce de Freitas

Lynn started off her igaming career consulting to LCI, a prestigious land-based casino in the UK, where she was responsible for the online marketing and projectmanagement of conferences, events, presentations, video production, and other activities.

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GAMING NEWS

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West Virginia Senate Votes in Favor of Lottery

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riday was an important day for gamblers residing in West Virginia as the Senate allowed Lottery Interactive Wagering Act to pass. As a result, poker and online casino gaming are several steps closer to becoming legal in the state. In 2018, West Virginia legalized online sports betting, the first time the state ventured into the world of online gambling. BetLucky app allowed Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos to offer these services. Excellent news for West Virginia After getting approval from the West Virginia Senate, Republican Governor Jim Justice is the one who has to veto or sign the bill. He has 15 days to decide on whether to veto or sign the legal draft, which will allow online casinos to operate in the state. It is unlikely that the Governor will vote against the bill, as it would be favorable to him. He owns Greenbrier, a luxury hotel resort which has

a casino. If the bill passes, it will allow his business to obtain a new license for online gaming. Known as House Bill 2934, Delegate Jason Barrett was the one who introduced it on February 12th. According to the bill, land-based casinos in the state will receive five-year licenses which will cost them $250,000. Also, they will have to pay 15% as tax from their gross gaming revenue. If everything goes according to plan, casinos can offer services such as online tables, slots, and poker games. Since that time, West Virginia’s legislatures passed the legal draft, with 26 and seven votes in favor and against it respectively. The upper chamber made minor tweaks to the bill, before returning it to the house for approval. If the Governor gives the green signal, West Virginia will join the ranks of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, to offer regulated online

gaming. Not everything is going well in West Virginia BetLucky Sportsbook, a mobile sports betting app available to the residents of West Virginia stopped its services recently. According to the owner of Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras, this is the result of a contractual dispute. Miomni Gaming, the sports betting platform provider, disagreed with the third-party technology supplier. As a result, BetLucky Sportsbook decided to cease their online and land-based sports betting. At present, BetLucky is the only operator to offer these services to the West Virginia market. The decision can come at a cost, as March Madness is about to start, a popular sporting event in the country. Currently, Delaware North is looking at establishing a time frame to restore its services in the state.

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GAMING NEWS

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Why Cross-border iGaming Should Not Be Considered An Offence

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alifornia resident Vinh Dao had successfully placed bets at the Borgata and Caesar’s Atlantic City casinos from out of state premises, i.e. punishable by law in New Jersey. As a result, NJ’s Division of Gaming Enforcement has confiscated his funds amounting up to $90,000. NJ’s geolocation software should have detected his location and prevented him from being able to place the bets, but he happened to get around this somehow. Although, of course, he couldn’t keep it up for very long, given the follow-up of events. Dao’s activities were only spotted late in 2014 after the software had figured out its initial teething issues. However, that isn’t the problem at hand. What is curious is that if Dao had been placing the same bets

on horse-racing, he wouldn’t have been on the wrong side of the law. Interstate horse racing wagers is a well-accepted practice in America and have been for long. But if he happened to place the same bets on a poker game, he would still have to face the consequences of violating NJ law, at least in California. He would have been acting within the folds of the law had he belonged to Nevada or even Delaware. The Hypocrisy of Prevailing Gambling Laws The question to ask here is – why this is so? If gambling laws have been put in place to safeguard gamblers from the excesses of gambling operators – online horse racing bets and poker should not get a free pass. They too should fall under scrutiny as does poker betting. There exists no credible authority to decree one kind of gambling to be more problematic

and habit-forming than others. There is an insane number of variables involved differentiating one gambler from another, and so the findings cannot be generalized. When you bet on DFS sports, you are not considered to be gambling as per laws that prevail in New Jersey. Take, for example, the “lootbox” feature found in several multiplayer video games. It is nothing but covert gambling. At least it is perceived so in Belgium and the Netherlands. The UK begs to differ. The Washington State is clear that it is in fact a gambling device. Hawaii is still undecided how it feels about it. Most gambling authorities have yet to take up the issue, both in this country and overseas. It is a topic that needs to be discussed if we are to arrive upon fair gambling laws.

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Charlotte has over 20 years experience of driving Inclusion and Diversity change in companies round the world. She was recognised by The Economist and The Daily Telegraph as one of the Top 10 D&I Professional Consultancies in the world. Her clients include many global companies and gained much of her global experience leading I&D in a number of companies in both Retail and Investment Banking as well as holding a number of Non-Executive and Deputy Chair roles in companies as well as within the NHS. In 2014 she authored an independent review for the then UK Government Secretary of State Sir Vince Cable on Women on Boards and Executive Search Firms and is the co-author of the Financial Times published book ‘Inclusive Leadership – the definitive guide to developing and executing an impactful Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, locally and globally’, whi was shortlisted for Management Book of the which Year by The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) in 2018. She was recognised in the New Years Honours 2017 list with Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to Women and Equalities.

CONFIRMED SPEAKER

CHARLOTTE SWEENEY OBE


GAMING NEWS

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More than 70 Gambling Licenses Approved by Sweden

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fter just a few months of implementing new laws to expand the gambling industry in the country, Sweden has given the green light to 73 gambling companies to receive their license to operate within the country. Initially, the Swedish government monopolized the gambling market. However, it was estimated that foreign gambling companies would account for more than a quarter of the gambling market of the country in 2018. Then, the Swedish government passed a new law which allows gambling companies to get their license legally. Ever since then, Sweden’s Gambling Authority has approved 73 licenses, meaning that they have been accepting at a rate of one permit per day. It appears that this rate will not be slowing down any time soon as more and more companies are applying for their license.

According to the new gambling laws, the Swedish government is given more control and authority over foreign companies who, until the laws were introduced, had been making money from Swedish punters in a legal gray area. After the laws have been introduced, the government now rakes in 18 percent tax from profits made by all gambling companies on Swedish punters. Regulations to prevent addiction also implemented In addition to the new law allowing the government to take in revenue, the country also implemented several rules and regulations that that will aid in the prevention of gambling addiction as well as to casinos taking advantage of Swedish problem gamblers. According to the rules implemented, casinos can only offer bonuses to punters at the moment they sign up, after which they are prohibited from providing any more bonuses.

Moreover, the Swedish Gambling Authority also has the power to request gambling companies to block payments from certain individuals. All these are aimed at preventing gambling addiction in the country. Svenka Spel, the state-owned gambling company, will continue running, as usual, engaging in healthy and fair competition with the other companies with new licenses. In an interview, the CEO of Svenka Spel, Patrick Hofbauer said that he finds it difficult to believe that there will be more than 70 companies (at the time of the interview, the number of licensed companies was lower) in the future as they are in an industry which is “driven by volumes�. He added that he believes the state-owned gambling company will do just fine despite the rise in competition because they are well-established in the country.

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EXCITING ROLE FOR FRENCH SPEAKING CASINO MANAGER EXCELLENT SALARY AND BENEFITS


GAMING NEWS

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Michigan Online Gambling Bill Reintroduced

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he legalization of online gambling in Michigan has always faced bumps in this trajectory. It was last year when Representative Brandt Iden introduced legislation to Michigan’s governor, only to see it vetoed along with several other bills by the Senate. January led to February and then to March, and Michiganians are wondering when the bill would return. The wait for them is finally over as the sponsors of the Senate Bill (S 186) Sen. Curtis Hertel and of the House Bill H4311 Rep. Brandt Iden reintroduced the bills to the desk of authorities last week. What took Iden so long to introduce the bill? If you recall, Rep. Iden’s bill passed both chambers on the last day of the 2018 legislative session. It’s was only in the final minute that prospects of the bill died after Governor Rick Snyder rejected it.

The bill certainly took a few months to come back to life, but the delay proved beneficial to Iden. The delay period allowed him to drum up greater support and bring freshman lawmakers on board. Also, the administrative setup of Michigan provided him enough time. Michigan lawmakers are in session throughout the year, unlike many other state legislatures where lawmakers meet in the final days of the year. With the erstwhile governor no longer in office, the decision to pass the bill or not will lie in the hands of the new governor Gretchen Whitmer. What happens next? The first hearing after the reintroduction of the bill will be held on Tuesday morning in the House Regulatory Reform Committee. Representative Iden was the chairperson

at last year’s committee meeting. Representative Michael Webber, who cosponsored and voted for the 2018 iGaming bill, is appointed as the new chairperson of the committee. Although it took quite a while for Rep. Iden to create the current pool of supporting lawmakers, things look positive for him. He expects the committee to further an unchanged bill to Ways and Means, which he presently chairs. The bill will receive necessary amendments here before being introduced to the House. Rep. Iden is also of the belief that the bill will get more bipartisan support than it did last year. Last year, the bill made it through the House in June but failed to pass through the Senate until the 11th hour of the last day of the legislative session in December. He expects a vote on this bill by April so that it reaches the governor’s desk by June.

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It’s Playtime baby! By Lynn Pearce de Freitas

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laybooks are everywhere – and they are certainly not kid’s play. What is this obsession with Playbooks lately, seems to be the new trend in business? There is not a day that I do not receive an email pushing various Playbooks, from software development, product, marketing – there seems to be a Playbook for all aspects of business – even concepts have a playbook dedicated to them. Where did it all begin and what is causing the current rise in popularity of these playbooks? According to Wikipedia: “A Playbook is a document defining one or more business process workflows aimed at ensuring a consistent response to situations commonly encountered during the operation of the business.” I decided to do some further digging on Wikipedia to find out where it all began. It seems the monks of Fleury Abbey compiled the first documented playbook around 1200 AD, which were a collection of Latin biblical dramas, a composite volume of sermons, texts, liturgical drams

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and hymns. When I think of playbooks, I think of sports, as these are critical to any team sports. A playbook in the sports world is an action designed to achieve a specific purpose under specific conditions, including all elements of a team’s strategies and play. In fact, NFL playbooks are known for being hugely detailed, outlining everything from defensive alignment to draw play - even Tom Brady, as good as he is, has a playbook which he memorizes! Why the sudden surge in playbooks? I think it is because we are living in tough times, the world in which business operates is constantly changing, all you have to do is follow the news and it is all about the political world shifting from the center of the political spectrum to the extreme left or right – particularly in the western world. The political leaders are failing to find clarity or middle ground, they are indecisive and appear weak, with the result that businesses begin to falter, they cannot base good business decisions around constant political insecurities, which then directly or indirectly affects profitability. Time is

wasted, productivity stalls, resulting in companies failing to achieve their targets and objectives. All this confusion inhibits our natural flow, or energy. When we are anxious, we cannot think in a calm and organized way, we feel fear and are distracted by everything around us instead of focusing on the business at hand. In this environment even good ideas are stifled and will produce mediocre results. This is where I believe the new surge in Playbooks come. Everyone is feeling the need to build on a business model that operates as a team, all pulling together to achieve greatness, having a playbook that deals with the new realities of business and having a balance between high periods of productivity and time off to relax and recharge, all elements of a good playbook. Each person within the team has responsibility for their own endeavors and activities within a team environment, with all pulling in the same direction. Business needs a new, innovative playbook and several companies across the business spectrum have taken the lead in that.


IT’S PLAYTIME

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My top 10 favourites so far:

skills to a more professional level.

1. HubSpot have a great sales playbook. The playbook outlines the sales process, buyer persons, qualification criteria, negotiation questions, proposal guidelines - giving sales teams all the content and strategies they need to close a deal.

5. ThinkWithGoogle have a YouTube creator playbook for brands, helping brands stand out in today’s evolving digital era.

2. LinkedIn have a marketing Play-

Book Trilogy, containing LinkedIn Company Pages, a Content Marketing Toolkit and a separate Tactical Plan. 3. Forbes has a Small Business Play-

book, giving advice on financial, sales and marketing issues with a weekly game plan. 4. GetSmarter are giving project man-

agers a playbook to up their game and take their project management

6. The Atlassian Team Playbook was developed to transform the way we work. It was developed by teams, for teams – and applies to any team working environment. 7. The Medium Corporation have an informative Marketing Strategy Playbook on video. 8. The Playbook Group (good name) have a Game Changer Playbook, helping businesses develop a shared vision, transforming culture and driving the plan.

9. ThoughtBot have a great Product Design Sprint Playbook, detailing how they make successful web and mobile products. 10. Oracle – Eloqua have a fantastic Social Media Playbook, detailing all you need to know about social media marketing. These are just a few of the playbooks that landed in my email box within the past few weeks, there are many more that are worth checking out. The bottom line is that playbooks are here to stay, creating a strategic process thread, with repeatable tactics based on data and pertinent information. This is also a great tool to pass on to new team members for easier onboarding.

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CLEVER DUCK MEDIA PRESENTS

WIG DIVERSITY AWARDS 16 MAY 2019

NOMINATIONS OPEN TILL

18th MARCH Women in Gaming will be presenting the Diversity Awards to reflect the positive changes in our industry. These awards honour excellence in promoting diversity and inclusion within the gaming industry.

www.gaming-awards.com/wig/


GAMING NEWS

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Japan Proposes Installation of Facial Recognition Systems

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n an attempt to tackle gamble addiction in the country, the Japanese government has proposed a plan to install facial recognition systems at gambling establishments across the country including boat and horse-racing venues as well as pachinko parlors. By doing so, the government hopes to have an efficient system by which it can refuse entry of verified problem making gamblers as well as underage punters to such establishments. As per Japanese law, those below 20 years of age are considered minor. The images of verified problem gamblers can be stored in databases if requested by either the punters themselves or their families. In addition to installing facial recognition systems, the Japanese government also has plans for removing ATMs from pachinko parlors. Pachinko parlors are the Japanese version of slot machines, and they

are extremely popular throughout the country. Now that the government has announced the idea, the public now has until 27 March to share their feedback and opinion on the matter.

three major casino resorts to open in the country. This made way for huge names in the gaming industry such as MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corps to set up shop in the South-East Asian country.

If the Japanese agree with the proposed idea, the government will finalize a policy regarding the matter by the end of April 2019. Such policies will shape the future of public gambling industries in the country. If the policy is passed, the government will be looking to start construction by 2021.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe introduced the legalization of casino gambling to promote tourism in the country and boost economic growth. International casino operators mentioned that they would invest as much as $10 billion to construct each location.

Apart from this, Japan has also announced that by 2020, twenty major cities in the country will start setting up treatment and support centers aimed at helping problem gamblers. Gambling in Japan In 2018, casino gambling was legalized in Japan, after which the government gave the green light to

However, due to fears of addiction and crime, gambling in the country is heavily regulated. The plan to install facial recognition systems is just one of the many steps that the Japanese government has taken to ensure that the gambling industry stays on a tight leash.

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GAMING NEWS

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Macau Government Plans to Diversify Tourism Offerings

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takeholders in the Macau tourism industry have all been pushing for diversification of its portfolio. Secretary for Economy and Finance, Macau, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, has intimated local reporters that the government plans to do the same.

recent studies conducted on the subject. According to January’s census report, out of the 7.53 million repeat visitors who returned to Macau in 2018, only 9.1% came for the gambling. The rest returned for the good food and shopping that they enjoyed in the city.

Leong spoke to GGR Asia on behalf of the government and expressed his opinion that non-gambling attractions inject fresh lifeblood into the city’s tourism prospects when the attractions have been diversified. If the city were to increase and capitalize on these attractions, it would be able to better sustain the city’s gambling scene.

Why diversify? Even the International Monetary Fund had much the same advice for Macau – diversify! The city is slated to receive upcoming concession refreshments which the IMF believes Macau should use to offer more different sorts of tourist draws. Macau happens to be extremely reliant on VIP Chinese gamblers for its economy. It will fail to consolidate its financial future if it cannot diversify its tourist offerings anytime soon.

He said that mass-market consumers, unlike VIP consumers, tend to spend on a variety of outlets and not just the casinos. Leong’s statement is supported by international opinion as well as

Apparently, some success has already been had to this effect. Leong states that formerly only 30% of Macau’s gross gaming revenue

came from the mass market, but in January-February 2019, about 50% of GGR was derived similarly. The overall GGR actually grew in February instead of this harming any numbers. If nothing, it just makes a world of sense to diversify what Macau has to offer to tourists wandering into the city. The influx of visitors has been on the rise with the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. The casinos should not have to shoulder the entirety of the burden of hosting these visitors. There should be an avenue for every member of the family to spend their time doing what they’d like. If the father wanted to head off to the casino, the mother and children should not have to tag along with him if they didn’t wish to. If Macau made available more tourist offerings, the mother and children too would have activities to indulge in that they’d prefer over a visit to the casino.

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None of us are well until all of us are well… By Teresa Tunstall

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friend sent me a text recently asking where I was? “I’m in Lord Sainsbury’s shop giving him money,”… at least he thought it was funny, and the jest bought back great memories of when I was training in Antiqua. Our cab driver warned he wouldn’t be available that evening as he had an airport pick-up and a drop off at Lord Sainsbury’s island which sadly was by invitation only. However, we did get an invitation to look round the only rehab or residential rehabilitation on the island which was funded by Eric Clapton; most paying clients flew over from the USA but locals were treated free. The Seychelles was similar in as much that the Government provided treatment for addicts, but however there was only one addiction agency on the island and problem gambling wasn’t in their remit. So could this work world-wide? Is this the future of artificial intel-

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ligence or AI as it’s known become an ‘Invitation to Tender’ to introduce computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy? Can AI take the place of human input in certain situations? I think it could meet a need; on many occasions I’ve stayed on to the phone whilst the caller reached for tissues or a glass of water….can we replace a gentle caring voice? If you’re a gambler particularly favouring Online gambling you may just try to keep your playing to yourself, hide your gambling from others. After all what’s it got to do with anyone except you. Currently the Gambling Commission is exploring and requesting evidence towards the possibility of introducing a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling. ‘For or against: Pros and cons’? Unquestionably there should be no doubt that there are no ‘For’s’ or ‘Pros’ when it comes to credit cards debts

with their sky high interest rates, leaving gamblers spiraling into easy access loans and borrowing. Now here’s the link…. under 18’s gambling Online seems to have been going on for a decade along with underage National Lottery tickets. My then 15 year old son proudly showed me his Lottery ticket which thankfully didn’t succeed and deterred him from ever gambling again! Illustrating the scenarios where fathers who claim their under 18 year olds misused password details allowing them to gamble to the little corner shop who knew my son to be underage yet still continued to sell him Lottery tickets! The trouble is when kids hit their 18th birthday inevitably the next group of underage come along. Nevertheless, proper age control is and will always be a major issue for the gaming industry, be they landbased or Online.


Teresa Tunstall Article

Women and gambling:just because you don’t hear about it doesn’t mean it never happens. There is definitely shameattached to a woman who gambles and most of us wonder why they are gambling when they should be looking after their children.The truth is we don’t expect or want our women to be gamblers! So when I received a call from a helpless woman I listened intently while she told me of her misfortune of having bought a software blocker for her laptop to enable her to stop gambling. Unfortunately, according to her it didn’t work so I spoke with the software blocking company who offered her direct help and supportenabling me to step back. Sadly within a couple of days she contacted me again saying the software blocker didn’t work. Of course I was at a loss to understand what had happened, but finally she came clean explaining that she had installed the blocker but in a moment of madness bought a new laptop which didn’t have a blocker! We had long and frequent conversationsand eventually I was to discover herproblem was that she missed her

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son who lived hundreds of miles away leaving her lonely with few friends. She was fortunate that we managed to find a treatment centre not too far from her home and she occasionally dropped me an email with an update. As I see it she was finding her own way through life. “Bet Regret”, the new advertisement from Gamble Aware encourages gamblers to be aware of each bet they wage.However it begs the question whether these notices actually have any impact on a gambler who just enjoys playing. It is obviously well meaning but I wonder if it makes a gambler really hesitate or think twice before they gamble. My own favourite Responsible Gaming advertappeared on the television in my Flamingo Casino Hotel roomwhere the Chief Executiveinformed us that he wanted us to gamble responsibly and enjoy playing within our means…that was a long time ago just to illustrate that nothing changes. At the end of the day the bottom line is that responsibility of whether or not

to gamble has to be an individual and personal choice. A few years agoI was training a Social Responsibility mixed class group from Online operators amongst which were a couple of attendees who had previously worked for 10 years before being made redundant, and now worked for a new start-up company. As I expected the attendees were experienced and knowledgeable soI ventured to ask,“You’ve previously worked in 3 different, major Online companies but have you ever come across or recognised the names of some players?” They immediately agreed and their smiles indicated that many gamblers would target new Online operators and even new staff.However, most of those gambling were nearly always looking for ‘extras’ from the Online Company. So change does happen it just takes what seems to be a long time coming let’s hope thatgood things will come to those who wait.

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CLEVER DUCK MEDIA PRESENTS

WIG DIVERSITY AWARDS 16 MAY 2019

TAKING PLACE AT THE

SAVOY HOTEL London WC2R 0EU

Women in Gaming will be presenting the Diversity Awards to reflect the positive changes in our industry. These awards honour excellence in promoting diversity and inclusion within the gaming industry.

www.gaming-awards.com/wig/


GAMING NEWS

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PGA Tour Allows Gambling Sponsorship

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n what is considered a major change as well as a huge win for the gaming industry, the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) Tour has announced that its new endorsement policy for its members allows sponsorships from gambling companies. The new policy also allows members to accept sponsorships from companies offering marijuana products. Initially, members were not allowed to accept sponsorships from such companies. The new changes to the endorsement policy were unveiled in a mandatory meeting for members, which was conducted at the Honda Classic on Tuesday. According to the old policy, members could only accept sponsorships from casinos if the sponsorship focused on the “non-gambling aspects of the resort.” Moreover, such deals were not allowed to include the word “casino.” However, according to the new policy, players are allowed to accept

sponsorships from “casinos and other legal gambling companies.” But, there is an important exception that members must take note of. They are not allowed to enter into deals in the U.S with a company that has sports betting as its primary purpose. This means that members are not allowed to accept a sponsorship deal from Bet365 within the U.S. But, similar companies outside the U.S are permitted. The Tour cited that well-known daily fantasy companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings are in fact, allowed to sponsor PGA members. Even though both are considered as gambling companies, the primary purpose of neither company is sports betting, which makes them fitting companies to offer sponsorship deals to PGA members. PGA Tour taking great strides to accommodate changes in the gambling landscape The change in the PGA Tour policy

comes less than a year after the U.S Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prohibited sports betting in all states except Nevada. This has resulted in the increased and rapid expansion of gambling and sports betting in the U.S, which many major gambling operators and sports bodies are taking advantage of in order to dominate the fast-growing market. It was just last fall that the PGA Tour signed an agreement with IMG Arena so that the company can sell the live data feed of the Tour to bookmakers based outside the United States. In addition, an integrity program was also introduced as a preparation for legalized gambling. It is important to note that all sponsorship deals must be approved by the Tour first before a player can accept them.

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GAMING NEWS

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1,000 jobs at risk in Wales over FOBT cap

T

he cap being imposed on the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in April over their maximum stake from £100 to £2 could cost 1,000s of jobs claims the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), also the organisation claim that the cap would lead to up to half of all betting shops in Wales closing. Chairman of the Welsh Assembly’s health committee, Dai Lloyd, has claimed that the FOBTs destroy and have destroyed lives. In the near future, councils might be given more power over bookies. This is because clusters of bookies tend to appear in poorer areas. The Welsh Government has held a consultation. The government has discussed proposed changes to planning rules. These changes would result in former banks as well as building societies requiring planning

permission to become bookmakers. Currently, these organizations do not require planning permission as they are classified in the same category, financial and professional services. The Gambling Commission has stated that 25,000 people have been self-reported as having a problem with gambling in Wales in 2016. They have estimated that a further 100,000 people are at risk. The Gambling Commission has also released data stating that there are over 390 betting shops in Wales which employ close to 2,100 people. The impact this cap would have on the livelihood of so many people cannot be ignored. An ABB spokesman has said that they hope that the Welsh Government will work with them so that the impact of jobs surrounding this change in legislation will be mitigated.

2017 saw betting shops make an incredible £3.2 billion from over-thecounter bets as well as FOBTs. The FOBT machines accounted for 38% of the revenue in 2008-09. In 2017, the FOBT machines accounted for 57% of the total revenue. The public has expressed concern over the implications this would have on so many employees. Many people working these jobs depend on the salary’s they receive to make ends meet. The changes to the FOBTs will not take place until October 2019. This move signals a loss of close to £900 million for bookmakers. In addition to this, many organizations wouldn’t be able to maintain profitability and would be forced to shut down following this change.

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Diversity, Equality and the ‘C‘ By Christina Thakor-Rankin

T

he betting and gambling sector has long been known for its ability to identify and tap into popular cultural and social trends and transform them into commercial opportunities, whether it be the early adoption of technology such as mobile and data science and social media leading to social gaming, or spotting the opportunity in e-sports or international expansion - if it’s a trend of any significance it will be identified, explored and ultimately exploited as a commercial opportunity. Arguably it is this ability to identify the next big thingcouples with a carpe diem attitude towards product adaptation and market position that has allowed this industry to not only stay relevant over the years, but flourish and grow in a way few others have. Until now that is. What for so long has been the industry’s greatest asset, could now become its greatest Achille’s heel. The one trend that the sector has struggled to tap into with over the last few years is ‘the Millennials’- a generational group which has a higher sense of social responsibility and less interest in traditional gam-

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bling products than the ones before it. The reason why the sector missed the trend is really very simple. And the reason for this is relatively simple. Whilst the millennials are one of the most socially, culturally and ethnically diverse generations ever, betting and gambling continues to be driven by, and therefore for, a demographic that remains largely male. By failing to ensure that the workplace demographic continues to keep pace with the world around it the industry has developed a number of ‘blind sport’s when it comes to the changing attitudes and expectations of consumers and customers. The immediate downside of this has been a failure to adapt its product suite in line with new trends and missing red flags relating to social responsibility and consumer protection. And the bad news is that unless the industry wakes up and realises that external success is increasingly dependent upon a workforce that mirrors its customers it’s troubles are only just beginning. The Millennials (born 1980 onwards) were one thing. Generation Z (born 2000 onwards) starting to enter the workplace now are something else altogether.

This is a generation for whom diversity, equality and inclusion is an expectation, not an aspiration. They have grown up with non-traditional role models, a strong sense of social responsibility and awareness, in a world where labels are for things not people, where gender is irrelevant, and where traditional ambitions of climbing the career ladder have been replaced by a healthy work-life balance, side hustles, being a good corporate citizen or being recognised as an expert rather than an executive. A generation which is not afraid to say no to a job offer if the company values and ethics do not reflect their own and are happy to take a 35-50% pay-cut to work for a company that does. A generation that is led by influencers and advocates and that applies the same decision-making processto employee choices as it does to consumer choices. Most importantly, it is a generation that is not afraid to publicly turn its backonanything it considers harmful, or call out inappropriate behaviour where it finds it, irrespective of the sector or the weight of the brand concerned, as attested to by the growing anti- meat and alcohol


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trend, and the public shaming of Pepsi, H & M, and celebrities for culturally insensitive or inappropriate behaviour. For betting and gambling, an industry which is often seen as not only lacking diversity but also stuck in the dark ages (- how many other industries still think beauty pageants at events are OK?) - this is a real problem. If the sector is unable to attract the talent of the future in all its forms, it will not be able to tap into new trends or develop its products in a way that

meet the expectations of the next generation of customers. For example, where is the future appeal of a Cinderella or Alice in Wonderland game to a generation that has grown up with Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls; ortraditional gender based product positioning for a gender fluid generation and a world where women’s sport, football in particular is growing faster than it’s male equivalent;RNGs in a world where coding is part of the school curriculumand skill the driving force behind a good gaming experience; and how long before a game with images of ‘Red Indians’ or a

turbaned prince or twerking game gets called out as inappropriate? No doubt there will be some who claim these games are produced because they continue to be popular, that women and minority groups are well represented in an industry which spams every corner of the globe, or that gambling has always been closely associated with sex. But if this is the case why is gambling not as popular with those under 30 as it is with those above, why is sports betting the only product to still see any real innovation, why are industry

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Christina Thakor-Rankin Article events still dominated by men, not just attendance but also panels and speaking slots? The reality is that this industry is not diverse, nor equal nor inclusive - not yet. The fact that the industry is finally starting to talk about this however suggests that it could be. There is still some way to go though, not least that where diversity is featured at events, with very few exceptions it is all too often on the agenda as an after-thought, with a focus on gender, or because everyone is talking about it and without any real understanding of what it means rather like the discussions about ‘the Millennials’ a few years ago. And this is where the industry needs to learn from its mistakes of the past. All those panel discussions with industry experts talking about ‘the millennials’ amounted to very little for two main reasons: a lack of real understanding of the subject matter; a failure to realise that understanding and engaging a generation requires intercultural competence and a commitment to walking the walk. Talk is not enough. If the industry is to win the battle for the next generation it needs to fully embrace the concepts of diversity, equality and inclusion in a way that is visible and demonstrable. Success is also dependent upon a number of key prerequisites including:

Understanding that diversity is not a word. Simply calling something diverse does not make it so. Diversity is a state of mind which aims to create an environment which supports, promotes and sees the value that difference brings - the ability to think differently and see things from different perspectives. Common sense dictates that a workplace where the majority of

employees fall into a certain demographic will only see things from that specific perspective. Realising that innovation only happens when people think differently and buck the trend of tradition. College drop-outs and refugees have been responsible for some of the world’s biggest game-changers from Microsoft and Facebook to Apple and Amazon. Within this industry the CEO of the world’s most successful betting company bucks the trend of what a traditional leader should look like. Acknowledging that diversity does not equate to equality or inclusion. It is entirely possible for an organisation to call itself diverse because

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it has a large number or female, ethnic or disabled employees, but if the opportunities available to them are limited and all of the decisionmaking roles remain the preserve of a specific social group, then that is not equality, nor is it inclusive. Accepting that quotas, tokenism and those that ‘have made it’ can be a barrier to diversity and inclusion. They can lead to alienationand isolation or ‘competitive threat’ and be counter intuitive to a more open and inclusive culture. Recognising that perception and reputation is everything going forward. And this is perhaps the most important point. For this industry to attract both the global employees and the customers of the future it needs to align itself with their values and expectations. Industry or company profile will be key to determining an employee or consumer’s choices in the future, and in a ‘me too’ industry and the bad actions of one or a minority will impact on the reputation of the whole sector, as was the case at ICE last year.A handful of companies doing the right thing will not be enough to change the public face of the industry, but everyone coming together to ensure that the sector is presented in a way which is acceptable, engaging and appealing to the next generation just might. The Millennials and Generation Z is one of the biggest threats to the future of this industry, and rather than tackling the challenges individually or piecemeal it needs to do what it

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GAMING NEWS

33

FanDuel Gets Sports Betting License in Pennsylvania

T

he journey of Pennsylvania from a non-gambling state to a sprawling gambling and sports betting market is quite a remarkable one. Despite the numerous regulatory hurdles, the state has emerged as a major sports betting destination today, attracting some of the most prominent players from the fraternity. December 2018 saw Pennsylvania handling about $16 million in bets, despite a tax rate of 36 percent—becoming the highest of any American state. But the most remarkable step taken by the state is the issuance of a sports betting license to FanDuel, an emerging online sports betting operator. FanDuel’s entry into Pennsylvania The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held its meeting in Harrisburg as scheduled and gave Betfair Interactive US LLC, the parent company of FanDuel, a conditional sports wagering operator license. This gives the gaming operator a green light to

begin business in the keystone state. FanDuel entered into a partnership with Boyd Gaming’s Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Both brick-and-mortar and online sports betting books are covered under the purview of the partnership. Located about 20 miles from downtown Philadelphia, the area is already home to four retail sportsbooks.

July. The delay in plans can be attributed to the most-recent Wire Act passed by the federal government to further regulate the realm. In New Jersey, FanDuel runs an online and retail sportsbook with the Meadowlands Racetrack, which generated about $7 million in revenue. At the same time, the operator also provides daily fantasy sports betting product in the state.

It was only in December 2018 that Valley Forge got approval from sports betting, but the wait for its partner FanDuel was certainly longer. Valley Forge shelled out a whopping $10 million for the permit in mid-November, becoming the sixth casino in Pennsylvania to offer sports wagering.

Besides FanDuel, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board also gave a green signal to Greenwood Gaming, NetEnt Americas and GAN Plc. To start their respective sportsbooks in the state. The regulators also gave Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores the conditional approval for conducting truck stop video gambling.

When will Pennsylvania see the reality of mobile sports betting? FanDuel sportsbook at Valley Forge is poised to open sometime in April this year, but the online product is hitting the market only in June or

However, it’s still unknown when truck stop gambling will start in Pennsylvania. We can only hope that gambling expansion laws in the state create a win-win for both gaming operators and Pennsylvanians.

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GAMING NEWS

35

Microgaming donates £30,000 to four charities

M

icrogaming, through its CSR initiative PlayItForward, has donated £30,000 between four charities as part of its 2018 Gift of Giving campaign. Gift of Giving provides key customers and contacts of Microgaming with the opportunity to vote for one of several charities in their region. In lieu of Christmas gifts, £30,000 is split equally between four global regions: Isle of Man, UK and Europe, Africa, and Rest of the World. Running in December 2018, the sixth annual Gift of Giving took total donations through the campaign to £180,000. In the 2018 campaign, the charities that received the highest number of votes in each region were Heroes on the Water (Isle of Man), Teenage Cancer Trust (UK and Europe), Save the Rhino International (Africa), and Médecins Sans Frontières (Rest of the World). Kate Moughtin, Senior CSR Manager at Microgaming, comments: “Over the festive season we asked our

customers and contacts who they would like us to provide a charitable donation to, and I am happy to announce that they voted for Heroes on the Water Isle of Man, Teenage Cancer Trust, Save the Rhino International, and Médecins Sans Frontières, with each charity receiving £7,500. Gift of Giving has been running for six successful years and it is fantastic that Microgaming has now donated a total of £180,000 to a number of worthy causes. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote.” Heroes on the Water Isle of Man was launched in 2014 as a fundraising partner for Heroes on the Water UK, which offers military veterans the unique therapy combination of the physical challenge of kayaking combined with fishing and the relaxing effects of water to provide rehabilitation and integration for its members. Chairman at Heroes on the Water Isle of Man, comments: “A big thank you to Microgaming for including Heroes on the Water in the Gift of Giving campaign for 2018 and to the amazing people involved – we feel

very honoured to have won the Isle of Man vote. The financial donation will help transform our new training base and ensures our continued operation on the Isle of Man, an absolutely vital service for the island.” Around seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. Teenage Cancer Trust works with these young cancer patients to ensure they don’t have to face the disease alone. The charity helps young people and their families deal with the many ways cancer can affect an individual’s body, mind and life. Miriam Goodall, Regional Fundraising Manager for Teenage Cancer Trust, comments: “Wow, what fantastic news to start the year. Needless to say we’re absolutely delighted. Teenage Cancer Trust wants to be able to support every young person with cancer and allow them to continue living their life to the full. With support from companies like Microgaming, we have changed the lives of many thousands of young cancer patients – now we need to reach the rest of them.”

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Planning a competitive marketing strategy By Lee-Ann Johnstone

D

igital marketing is becoming complex.There are few who are really succeeding in harnessing the power of digital and those that are, take the lead on understanding the importance of planning a cohesive strategy to succeed. The reason for this is because emphasis on planning first, executing later is sometimes misplaced. It’s easy to get a campaign live and test and trial data in real time for your messages and graphics - because of this you can get lost in what’s really working for you and what doesn’t. The iGaming industry is a competitive one. To keep ahead of your competition you need to be constantly connected to your target audiences and monitoring your environment and the competitive landscape you operate in. Often we find that a lot

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of a client’s energy and resourcing is placed on the recruitment process - to get new customers or affiliates into the program. Little is spent on retention and conversion activity to get the best out of them once they are in the door. Understanding exactly where you can compete is key for your brands success. Here are 5 quick tips that can help you consider yourself and your marketing plan objectively so you can plan for success. 1) Know your competition (Look around) If you don’t know your competition – it’s impossible to know who you are up against and how you could likely compete. You need to get to know your competitors, inside out. Look at their product offering, understand their pricing models and see what promotions are drawing customers

into their platform. By doing this you can easily find your own niche within the noise to capitalise on creating a clear acquisition and brand message. You have to spend time (resources) discovering everything you possibly can about their brand, their acquisition or affiliate programs and who they might already be working with. This is where you start to plan your marketing strategy effectively to compete. 2) Keep Researching for new entrants (Look behind) As iGaming is such a fast-paced industry – there are always fresh faces with brand new ideas. You need to do CONTINUE to do the appropriate research to find out exactly how many new entrants you are up against as time goes on, in order to prepare adequately. Take a look at what they have to offer and see how it compares to your proposed


Lee-Ann Johnstone Article

offering. Then make any necessary adjustments needed to balance up. You can find this information online in iGaming publications, by looking at their awards, attending networking events and even on social media channels to see what people are saying. 3) Count your Competitors (Look In front) How many competitors do you need to take into your planning consideration? If there are many that have a similar or definitive offering that is relative to yours your opportunity to differentiate becomes less. This impacts directly on your value adds and pricing models. Understanding who’s operating in the same space as you is key for planning how you can compete. Pricing impacts the channels you may choose to focus on. For example if you have limited product

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USP you can pay more to affiliates to direct traffic to your site vs trying to compete with media campaigns that require product differentiations. Price and budget and competition will change the way your focus your marketing efforts and this needs to be noted in your plans. You can always prepare and plan ahead more effectively when you know how many people are in the race in front of you.

innovative thinking to come up with ideas or processes that can help you compete in this regard. The trick is to accept the challenges rather than ignore them and think of new ways to overcome them. By looking at your self objectively you can often find a niche that nobody else can offer. Your business and your brand is unique and therefore it will offer value add to an audience that identifies with it.

4) Know your own weaknesses (Look inward) Whether we like it or not every business has its limitations - be it resource, product, liscencing restrictions or other. It can be a challenge to promote your brand over some standalone sites who don’t have the same restrictions you do. You need to have a plan in place as to how you can get around all of this. It may require

If you are launching a new affiliate program or brand, try and use these four steps to plan your marketing strategy. That way you can have an objective view of where your business is situated in the current competitive landscape and build a truly successful marketing plan that is focussed on profits.

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39

Gambling Companies in UK to Form Powerful Lobby Group

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n response to the strict regulations that have been introduced by politicians in recent months, as well as the anticipation of tougher regulations, gambling companies in the UK have planned on coming together to create a new trade body in order to lobby lawmakers in the country. According to the job adverts which were posted by Ellwood Atfield, a well-known recruitment firm, it appears that there will be a merger between the Association of British Bookmakers and the Remote Gambling Association, which represents online gambling companies. The ad calls for applications for a chairman and a chief executive for the new trade body. At this time, this group is called as Newco. According to the ad, Newco will be the largest and the most important organization which will

represent the country’s gambling industry and work in its interests. The ad further added that candidates for these roles should have had successful experiences in influencing lobbying and political processes not only in Westminster, but Whitehall and Brussels too. Applicants are also expected to have “an established network” in the political and media arenas both at the national and global levels, apart from having experience dealing with the media on topics which are politically sensitive. Rumors of the merger were confirmed by a senior industry source who said that it was time for gambling companies to “get lined up a bit better” considering all the regulations and tax cuts introduced in the industry. The plan to set up a trade body comes just a few months after the gambling industry was under harsh criticism for a number of scandals related to their behavior

and their influence on public policy. Move to merge faces criticism from campaigners Matt Zarb-Cousin, an anti-fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) campaigner, said that if gambling companies are planning to create a new trade body, it implies that they have realized they have made wrong turns. He added how the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) handled the problem with FOBTs and the organization’s failure to acknowledge the issue shows just how discredited it is with not just the policymakers but the government as a whole. In recent months, some of the biggest companies in the gambling industry were under harsh criticism and found themselves in a series of scandals for failing to do anything they could to prevent money laundering and problem gambling.

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888 Continues Acquisition Process With Bet Bright For £15 Million

Online gaming firm 888 has acquired Dublin based Bet Bright in a deal worth £15 million, Bet Bright offers the technology and product sports betting platform and 888 see the purchase to enhance their global sports betting appeal. Chief Executive Itai Pazner said, This acquisition of a high-quality and scalable sportsbook is an exciting milestone for 888. “It gives the group the missing piece in our proprietary product and technology portfolio and will enable 888 to own proprietary, end-to-end solutions across the four major online gaming verticals.” The online gaming firm have been busy with acquisitions over recent months with the purchase of a group of bingo products valued at £18 million from JackPotJoy. With more recent than that the acquisition of the remaining shares to acquire the full control of All American Poker Network for £22.3 million.is way behind in construction or will suspend the issued casino license for the resort.

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William Hill Lose Over £700 Million In Latest Results William Hill announced a huge loss for

but with a clear strategy and diverse,

2018 from a profit of £147 million in

experienced leadership teams in place

2017 down to a loss of £722 million for

we are ready to capitalise on the oppor-

2018, however the gambling giant did see

tunities available to us.”

a rise in revenues for last year from £1.59 billion to £1.62 billion in 2018.

William Hill have been focusing on the US market to ensure their revenues and

But an exceptional charge of £883 million

profits remain positive, however now

placed on the company for the reduction

we the recent Department of Justice

of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs)

stance towards online gambling being

hit William Hill hard. The government

illegal again the market there seems

crackdown on limits for FOBTs comes into

very uncertain.

effect next month from originally £100 to £2.

Over the next 3 months William Hill will be expecting to close somewhere

Philip Bowcock, chief executive of William

around 900 UK based betting shops fol-

Hill said, “We know the next few years will

lowing the reduction in FOBT stakes.

require careful navigating and investment,

Stars Group Post Annual Results Showing Less Reliance On Poker The Stars Group has just announced

Rafi Ashkenazi, , said on the results and

cited to take advantage of the oppor-

their Q4 and full year earnings that

acquisitions by the company: “We com-

tunities ahead of us by leveraging our

show the online gambling giant in the

pleted the acquisitions of Sky Betting &

leading positions in attractive markets,

final quarter of the year saw a rise of

Gaming in the U.K. and BetEasy in Aus-

strong brands, technology and operat-

81.2% in revenues to $652.8 million

tralia, extended our licensed footprint

ing expertise.

with profits for the quarter rising 63%

to 21 jurisdictions around the world and

to $239.4 million.

began laying the foundations to grow

“We are pleased with our performance

our presence in the U.S.

in the first two months of the year, un-

For the full year results The Stars Group

derpinning our confidence in our fi-

posted an impressive rise of 54.6% to

“Our international business saw strong

nancial guidance for 2019, and we are

just pass the $2 billion mark, with earn-

organic growth in the year despite re-

currently on track to deliver the full $70

ings hitting $781 million. However the

strictions in certain markets and lapping

million in cost synergies from the acqui-

company saw a loss on profits to a net

the initial roll-out of our Stars Rewards

sition of Sky Betting & Gaming within

loss of $108 million compared to a prof-

program. Our United Kingdom and Aus-

the current year alone, with potential

it of $260 million in the year before.

tralia segments both performed in-line

opportunities for incremental synergies

with our expectations during the fourth

under review.”

The loss for Stars Group was down to

quarter, and we believe they are cur-

costs of the acquisition of Sky Bet which

rently well-positioned to continue gain-

is showing an impressive return on the

ing market share in 2019.

companies investment already. “As we look at 2019 and beyond, we are

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Ready for a new hand? Recruiting now for The Stars Group The Stars Group is a global leader in the online & mobile gaming and interactive entertainment industries. We entertain millions of customers across our online real-money and play-money poker, gaming and betting products. We rely on our employees in offices across the globe to provide an exceptional experience to all our clients. In return, we offer industry leading benefits and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Is it time you dealt yourself a new hand? starsgroup.com/careers skybetcareers.com workatbeteasy.com.au /WorkAtTheStarsGroup

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28/11/2018 15:25


GAMING NEWS

43

The 17th Online Gambling Licensee Enters the Colombia Gambling Market

I

t was in July 2017 when Colombia issued its first online gambling license to a subsidiary of Medellin-based electronic gaming machine operator Aquila Global Group. The enterprise sought to enter the Colombia online gambling market through a brand called Wplay.co. Fast-forward a year and Colombia saw its online gambling market soar to new heights in 2018, with new players hopping on the bandwagon of gambling licensing. The most recent step that the sovereign South American country took was to issue a license to its 17th licensee, Games and Betting S.A.S., the Bogota-based gaming operator that intends to offer casino and sports betting products through a domain called Betjuego.co. The state of Colombian gambling Colombia became the first country in South America to legalize online gambling in October 2016 by passing the Colombia eGaming Act. So far, seventeen online gambling permits have been issued by the

country since July 2017, ten of which have already received their official licenses in 2018. Juan B. Pérez Hidalgo, the president of Coljuegos, expressed his satisfaction and celebrated the growth of the Colombian gambling market achieved over the first nineteen months of its existence. The 2018 official figures reveals that the gambling regulator made about US$12.26 million (COP37.9b) from fees and taxes in 2018, which is more than seven times the amount of COP5.3b that it made in 2017’s second half. The amount is 6.6 percent of the total collection that Coljuegos earned from gambling rights in 2018. At the end of 2018, there were about 1.9 million accounts registered with online gambling operators in Colombia. Coljuegos believes that the number of accounts has hit 2 million in the end of January this year. Also, the country’s online gambling revenue reached COP1.8t ($593m). Coljuegos mandates that online li-

censees return at least 83 percent of revenues to their customers. As per this requirement, Coljuegos saw 89 percent of gambling turnover return in 2018. Coljuegos collaborated with the Ministry of Information Technologies, the Police Cybernetic Center and local internet service providers, to block about 2,624 domains of internationally licensed online operators catering to Colombian customers without a local license. The Colombian gambling market, however, isn’t free of challenges. A few years back, only a handful of people owned a credit card. This is one of the reasons why most players couldn’t enjoy online gambling in the country. At the same time, banks also weren’t amicable towards gaming companies, subjecting them to stringent policy frameworks. No matter what, Betjuego.co becoming the 17th licensee certainly paints a hopeful picture of the burgeoning Colombian gaming scenario.

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45

Casino Bill to Give Way to Twelve Destination Resorts in Texas

W

hile casino gambling is slowly becoming a phenomenon in the United States, some states have always shied away from the activity. But Texas has different plans. The state seeks to become a prominent player in the country’s emerging gambling scenario. A new casino bill is underway that would probably make this dream a reality for Texas.

casinos. But Texas residents can now enjoy casino offerings right in their state once Gutierrez’s bill gets passed.

where casinos are proposed would require a voter referendum to approve the twelve venues.

Twelve destination resort gaming venues could come to Texas when this bill is passed. Presently, Texas has one Native American casino, the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle, which offers slot machines.

Roland Gutierrez isn’t the only one from Texas who seeks to end the ban on commercial casinos. The Lone Star state has also seen Representative Joe Deshotel proposing a legislation last year that would give a green signal to casino gambling activities along the coastline.

House Bill 3043 Authored by State Representative Roland Gutierrez, the Texas casino bill (House Bill 3043) is eliciting senators and lawmakers in the state to change their opinion about commercial casino gaming. The bill is an urge not only for casinos but also make Texas a more involved state in the billiondollar gaming industry.

Specifics of the proposal The House Bill 3042 does not lay down a complete workout of the cost of each license. Instead, the legislation bestows the Texas Lottery Commission with the responsibility to oversee the liberalized gaming industry. The commission would establish necessary and reasonable fees to compensate for the costs incurred in running the casinos.

Roland Gutierrez believes that Texas is losing whopping sums of money as neighboring states pursue their gambling activities in a full-blown manner. Players from Texas can visit New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana to participate in tribal and commercial

Roland Gutierrez opined that Texas needs a taxation system that does away with raising the property taxes of folks. The bill might be passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Governor Greg Abbott. Even if this happens, each community

Deshotel has been advocating online gambling in Texas for several years now. Given the strong opposition for the activity prevailing in the state, both Deshotel and Gutierrez face a tough time in garnering support for casinos and sports betting. Although nothing much can be said about the bill’s enforcement right now, we can still expect that it would give a boost to Texas’s economy, especially when gambling and sports betting are gaining so much heat in the country.

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GAMING NEWS

47

Minnesota Senate to Discuss Sports Betting Bill

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ith the state Senate scheduled to discuss a sports betting bill on March 7, it appears that Minnesota is serious about legalizing and regulating sports betting. If Bill 1894 is passed, then regulated sports betting will be allowed for punters to enjoy in casinos as well as on mobile phones. On February 28, Bill 1894 was introduced by five senators. The bill is a well-detailed, thorough document that includes clear rules and regulations, zoning laws, taxation rules, and more. It is thirteen pages long. The bill sets up mostly tribe-run casinos or racetracks that offer sports betting, and customers will be able to continue their gambling remotely by using their mobile phones and an internet connection. The bill mandates that only those who are above 18 of age will be allowed to avail the sports

betting services. Moreover, punters are allowed to place their bets only on professional and/or collegiate sports. Placing bets on virtual sports is strictly not allowed. If the bill is passed, then operators will have to pay a net revenue of 6.75 percent. However, the cost of a license is not specified in the bill. It is also stated that should the sports betting bill be passed, it would take effect from September 1, 2020. Moreover, it won’t take very long for the bill to be passed if the Senate gives it the green light. This is because the House has already warmed itself up for the bill. Two representatives – Pat Garofalo and Nick Zerwas – have already gone ahead and put forward their very own sports betting bill. Garofalo said that till now, Minnesotans have had to go through an “unregulated process” if they wanted

to place bets on sports events. If the bill is passed, then the gambling industry can come “out of the shadows”, so that consumers in the state can enjoy sports betting with the “proper protections” in place, which would allow for a fair, transparent and overall better gaming experience. Where do Minnesota’s neighbors stand on sports betting? Minnesota’s neighboring state, Iowa, has already had a sports betting bill passed by the state’s Senate subcommittee. However, since the mid-west is huge, they probably have to worry less about issues regarding crossborder traffic compared to the east, where it is a common occurrence. Another neighboring state, South Dakota, on the other hand, still doesn’t look hopeful as its sports betting bill suffered a major defeat.

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Sands China Certain To Gain Japan Gaming License

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ccording to sources close to the Japanese selection process for casino operators gaining a coveted integrated resort license in Japan, Sheldon Adelson and his Sands China company are a shoe-in for one of those licenses. There will be only three licenses offered for tender when the process begins, which is expected some time in 2020, however sources close to the whole process believe in essence there is only two licenses available as Sheldon Adelson and his casino company will be granted one. Even operators involved in the bidding process have almost conceded

the same thing in believing that Sands will be a certain to be granted a license.

standing business background of the company in the country for more than a century now.

Much of this belief stems back to US President Donald Trumps meeting with Japanese Prime Minister which took place a few days after Abe had a meeting with Sands’ Adelson and a handful of other casino executives in Japan.

Adelson has always been Trump’s, as well as the Republic Party’s, most prominent donors. As such, Adelson and his wife had spent around $82.5 million on the GOP candidates during the 2016 cycle. In addition to this, Trump has also moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in Israel just a couple of days after Adelson had donated around $30 million to the House of Republicans. Referring to his pro-Israel ideology, Adelson had earlier named himself as a ‘one issue person.’

Once the new law was passed, Adelson had told the investors in Las Vegas Sands that the company currently stood in a ‘leading position’ to get at least one of the three prospective casino licenses in Japan. He further reiterated that this could be possible because of the long-

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Profile for Clever Duck Media

March 2019 Infinity Gaming Magazine  

The Magazine for the global gaming industry, both online and land based.

March 2019 Infinity Gaming Magazine  

The Magazine for the global gaming industry, both online and land based.