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InfinityGaming www.gaming-awards.com | ISSUE96

WIG Diversity Special Edition

GAMING + ARTICLES + BUSINESS+ GLOBAL + ONLINE + NEWS+ AWARDS + etc


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34 AFFILIATE FEST Lee-Ann Johnstone

33 OPENING FOR BUSINESS AGAIN

27 US GET GREEN LIGHT

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 Lana welcomes you to the latest edition of Infinity Gaming Magazine.

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

11 BBIN FREE MUSIC 14 WIG9 WINNERS

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All the photos

16 WIG9 IN PHOTOS

WIG9 WINNERS REVEALED

BBIN FREE MUSIC

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27 US GETS GREEN LIGHT 33 OPENING Ocean Resort Prepares

34 AFFILIATE FEST Lee-Ann Johnstone

39 CASINO ATTACKED 40 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

Inspirational Women & Teams at WIG Diversity

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

Lana Thompson - Editor

Welcome to the latest edition of the Infinity Gaming Magazine

Company Reg. No. 687 1018 (Registered in England) V.A.T reg. no 972 6372 91

Welcome to the latest edition of the In-

We always believed in the WIG Diversi-

finity Gaming Magazine and Summer is

ty Awards and we have seen it grow into

now upon us, the 9th Women in Gam-

a major event and next year will see it

ing Diversity Awards, took place on the

grow even more and it is down to the

11th May at the stunning Savoy Hotel

ladies and their superb companies that

and what a truly inspirational evening

support them, thank you all so much.

Business Partnerships Svetlana@gaming-awards.com

Before I go and let you read the latest

Marketing & Advertising claire@cleverduckmedia.com

it was. The WIG Diversity Awards saw some

edition of the magazine I want to thank

amazing ladies awarded and recog-

all our wonderful sponsors of the Wom-

nised for their achievements over the

en in Gaming Diversity Awards, Play’n

last twelve months, but their accept-

GO. Red Tiger Gaming, IGT, Caesars En-

ance speeches were the highlight of the

tertainment, Alea, Videoslots, Micro-

evening for me. Not just thanking the

gaming, Sportradar, The Stars Group and

judges for recognising them but their

Playtech, you are all amazing for your

colleagues, teams and leaders for help-

support of this innovative event.

ing them achieve their goals. Enjoy all the latest news and views from Well done to you all and to those final-

our wonderful writers.

ists that did not make it this year, you could be there next year never give up the fight. “To Infinity and Beyond!” Inside the special edition of the magazine are all the recipients along with all

Regards,

the photos of the evening.

Lana The Editor

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Sponsorship Opportunities Colin@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.

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www.affiliateinsider.com|www.bestoddsmarketing.com


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<u> Empowering women in the workplace. </u>

Nominated at the 9th Women in Gaming Diversity Awards. |

www.sportradar.com INFINITY GAMING


Contact us if you have an idea for a special event and let us make it happen for you.


Microgaming Named Company of the Year at the 9th Women in Gaming Diversity Awards

The software giant took home the coveted Company of the Year Award at the 9th Women in Gaming Diversity Awards, which took place at the stunning Savoy Hotel in London on 11 May 2018. In addition, Microgamingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jeriel Bacani was crowned Hidden Talent of the Year for the supplier category, and thanked the strong role models at the company in her speech.

Microgaming: Jeriel Bacani, Hidden Talent of the Year Award

Pictured: Kimberley Broad, Head of Compliance at Microgaming

winner.

and Inspiration of the Year Nominee with Kirsty Hanks, Head of Finance at Microgaming and Employee of the Year Nominee.

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BBIN Charity Music Event - TGBcharity

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BIN is actively participating in a variety of international events. Due to the inseparable connection between music and games, in 2018, BBIN partnered up with the world’s leading electronic music magazine, DJ Mag, to host a charity event known as The Gaming Beat Charity (TGBcharity). Fedde Le Grand, one of the world’s top 100 DJs, was invited at the event. Three new tracks will be available for free download from May to July this year during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. From May 1, 2018, a track will be available for free download on the first day of each month on the official TGBcharity website. At the end of July, if the number of downloads reaches 1 million, BBIN will donate US$90,000 to the Top 100 DJs foundation in the hopes of arousing public attention to charitable events through the influence of well-known media and leading DJs. BBIN is the leading iGaming soft-

ware supplier in Asia. It dedicated to technology and product development and providing integrated platform services to more than 500 gaming platform operators in Asia. BBIN’s product “BB Sports” offers a new tournament odds interface. It has a simple system for classifying its functions, and supports live streaming. This year, the site of “2018 FIFA World Cup” is specially set up to allow players to watch the games at any time. BBIN will continue to diversify its development of entertainment services to achieve its ultimate purpose of satisfying customers’ needs, in order to establish itself in the international market. DJ Mag was established in 1991. When electronic music first emerged in the United Kingdom, DJ Mag printed and distributed local magazines. Today, the brand has expanded to 17 countries, spanning offline and online digital content and reaching more than 24 million fans monthly worldwide. It has become

an international multimedia brand. Fedde Le Grand, one of the world’s premier DJs, has long been regarded as one of the most iconic and influential figures in electro house music. Having won numerous awards, Fedde Le Grand has been hailed as one of the top DJs in the last decade. Fedde Le Grand has also worked with well-known pop artists from Coldplay, Madonna, Will.i.am, Robbie Williams, Everything But the Girl, Fatboy Slim, and Michael Jackson, to Shakira, Rihanna, and Mariah Carey. The 2018 TGBcharity has officially kicked off on May 1. BBIN invites you to join us in downloading as well as supporting this charitable cause. For free music download: www. bbinevent.com/TGBcharity; or search for TGBcharity online

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The line-up of winners from the 9th Annual Women in Gaming Diversity Awards

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WOMEN IN GAMING DIVERSITY AWARDS WINNERS 2 01

04

07

02

05

08

03

06

09

01

02

B2B Excellence Award

04

Young Leader Of The Year

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Inspiration Of The Year

Angela Houslay

Mariachiara Lagravinese

Dr. Laila Mintas

IGT

Mr Green

Sportradar

Excellence In Customer Service

05

Sarah Mannion

(Operator)

Rank

Hidden Talen Of The Year

08

Industry Pride Of The Year Lucy Owen

Mariachiara Lagravinese

Playtech

Mr Green

03

Innovator Of The Year

06

Lorraine Sammut

(Supplier)

Videoslots

Hidden Talent Of The Year Jeriel Bacani Microgaming

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Industry Achiever May Maceiras The Stars Group


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2018 - THE AMAZING WOMEN & TEAMS OF THE YEAR 10

13

11

14

12

15

16

14 16 10

Leader Of The Year iGaming

13

(Operator)

Leader Of The Year Land Based

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Erin Chamberlin

Irina Cornides

Best Place To Work Les Ambassadeurs Club

Caesars

Jackpotjoy

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Leader Of The Year iGaming

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(Supplier)

Star Of The Future

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Kam Sanghera

Lena Yasir

Company Of The Year Microgaming

Playtech

Playâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;n GO

12

Employee Of The Year

15

Team Of The Year

18

Outstanding Contribution

RDebbie Wyatt

Liv Biesemans Legal Team

Marieanne Carmody Weir

Aspers

Kindred

Aspers

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THE CHAMPAGNE RECEPTION NETWORKING EVENT PRIOR TO THE AWARDS CEREMONY

Awards are all ready

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FINALISTS, THEIR COMPANIES AND COLLEAGUES RELAX BEFORE THE AWARDS START

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AN OPPORTUNITY TO NETWORK AND MEET OLD FRIENDS BEFORE THE COMPETITION FOR AWARDS BEGIN

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We are the Champions! THE WIG BAND IS READY

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IN THE MAIN HALL FOR DINNER BEFORE ALL THE FUN STARTS

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GAMING NEWS

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Supreme Court Allows Sports Betting But Long Road Ahead

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upporters of sports betting in the US are celebrating following the decision by the Supreme Court overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) as unconstitutional. The decision on Monday 14th May paves the way for states in the US to legalise sports betting, of the major sports organisations, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball have all previously opposed the change to legalise sports betting but over recent times have shown they are open to it. Although this is a landmark ruling with New Jersey celebrating the

most as they will certainly be the first to pass legislation allowing for sports betting as they were the ones leading the charge for a positive ruling by the Supreme Court. However many industry observers said that although this opens the door to sports betting in the US nationwide there is a long way to go. It is almost certain to be challenged the ruling and then political sides in each state will have to do battle to allow sports betting very much the same as online gambling that although passed and legalised in 2013 only now there are three states currently running legalised online gambling in Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada with Pennsylvania ex-

pected to join them this year. So for sports betting fans the Supreme Court ruling is a big win but the road to seeing it actually be present in many states is a long way off. But for a business that is estimated at $150 billion a year companies like William Hill, Ladbrokes Coral and Paddy Power Betfair that has a presence in the US already will be looking forward to the future there. Some analysts predict that should sports betting expand rapidly as much as 100,000 jobs could be created.

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UK Government Slash FOBT Stake To £2

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he UK Government has announced that Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) will have the maximum stake reduced from the current level of £100 to £2, which was the biggest fear for bookmakers. Sports Minister Tracey Crouch who made the announcement said that a high number of people seeking treatment for addiction say FOBTs are “their main form of gambling”. It is estimated that the UK Treasury will lose £1.1 billion over three years with the reduction and many bookmakers affected say that thousands of jobs will be lost along with many retail outlets closing.

consultation, £2 has been found to be the stake limit that would most substantially impact on harm by reducing the ability to suffer high session losses, while also targeting the greatest proportion of problem gamblers, and mitigating risk for the most vulnerable players for whom even moderate losses might be harmful. Ms Crouch added: “Even cutting to £10 would leave problem gamblers, and those most vulnerable, exposed to losses that would cause them and their families significant harm.” The announcement from the government did not say when the reduction will come into force, William Hill had been asking for a one year time limit on the change.

However The Minister for Sport went on to say about the reduction: “Following analysis of the evidence received at

Macau April Revenues Soar By 27% Macau casino operators saw a rise of 27.6% in revenues compared to the same period in April 2017 beating analysts expectations. In total casinos in Macau generated revenues of $3.18 billion said the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau who regulates and reports on gaming in the world’s largest gambling hub. For the first four months of 2018 revenues have risen by 22.2% compared to the same period in 2017. Analysts now believe that the second quarter of the year will be very much the same rise in revenues at 22% and the full year expectations are now at 17% rise from the previous year.

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William Hill Enjoy Revenue Rise In Q1 But Retail Still In Decline

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K bookmaker William Hill announced their first quarter results for the first 17 weeks of the year ending 24th April with a healthy 3% rise in group revenues. The best performing part of the companies business remains to be the online gaming with a 12% rise in revenues offsetting the continued decline in retail within the UK. William Hill enjoyed good growth with online particularly sportsbook operations in the UK and US with an 8% rise in revenues. The betting firms sports betting business in Las Vegas saw a huge rise of 45% in revenues but currently only adds a small amount to the companies bottom line. However retail outlets in the UK continue to hold back William Hill with a 4% decline in revenues and analysts predictions of a FOBT slash in stakes to possible £2 per bet there is no sign that decline will be halted.

the results: “William Hill has had a positive start to 2018, making further progress against our strategic priorities to grow UK market share, drive international revenues and deliver key transformation projects. “Continued momentum in Online and strong growth in the US have driven a good performance during the period. In the UK, an unprecedented run of bookmaker-friendly sporting results led to unusual wagering and gaming trends, which we expect to normalise over time. The sale of our Australia business has further strengthened our balance sheet. “While we await the outcome of the UK Triennial Review and the Supreme Court’s decision on US sports betting legislation, we remain focused on continuing to deliver a great customer experience, particularly ahead of this summer’s World Cup.”

William Hill Group Chief Executive Philip Bowcock said on

Nevada Revenues Top $1 Billion For Third Straight Month Nevada casinos topped the $1 billion revenues mark for the third straight month in March at $1.03 billion and that has not happened since 2008. Data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board shows that March revenues climbed by 3.4% compared to the same month in 2017, the figures were helped by favourable results on the baccarat tables for operators. The state saw profits rise by 13.5% to $381 million for the month compared to last year, however without the baccarat table results profits would have been down by $25.4 million or 2.7% showing the strength and importance of the game in the state. The state saw tax revenues from the month stand at $75.8 million.

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Russia Investigates YouTube Over Online Casino Promos

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he anti-monopoly watchdog in Russia is reportedly investigating online video hosting site YouTube for allegedly hosting videos that promote illegal online gambling sites. The videos are said to be Russian-language videos. Earlier last week, RBC, a Russian media outlet, reported that the FAS or Federal Antimonopoly Service took in a complaint from the Internet Video Association (IVA), which represents the holders of intellectual property rights. The IVA, in its complaint, claimed that YouTube has repeatedly and grossly violated the country’s advertising rules. The IVA had brought a similar issue involving a Curacao-licensed online casino last year. The casino’s promo video ranked in the top-20 of the most viewed online video advertising sources. The video, which

featured rapper AK-47, was featured on several other websites as well. Some of these websites were known for hosting pirated digital content belonging to IVA’s clients. The IVA’s main issue is that YouTube hosts several videos involving the above-mentioned casino, as well as other illegal online casinos. Now, the association wants the FAS to take YouTube and Google to task for violating advertising and gambling laws. FAS Responds The FAS began its prosecution against Google in March with regard to its failure in removing advertisements that promoted online gambling sites belonging to the Vulkan brand. Though Roskomnadzor, a Russian watchdog, removed over 5000 domains related to Vulkan, there has been no impact on the

site’s accessibility. Russia Boosts Anti-Online Gambling Efforts Russia will be tightening its restrictions on internationally licensed gambling sites with a new law. The law, called Federal Law 358-FZ, will make it mandatory for financial institutions to block payments made to such sites. In other words, the sites may still remain accessible, but gamblers will not be able to make payments. The new law will also establish a blacklist that will keep a record of companies and individuals who manage these payments. Financial institutions will be required to update this list in accordance with the regulations. Failure may result in termination of operational privileges within Russia.

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AffiliateFest 2018 Helping Affiliates Growth Hack their businesses

By Lee-Ann Johnstone

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ffiliateFEST, is an annual iGaming digital accelerator. The conference was originally founded by Lee-Ann Johnstone in 2015 and is now part of the Affiliate Insider Bootcamp series. The conference helps iGaming affiliates growth hack their business and get the mentoring support they need to make the right connections with operators and suppliers who support affiliate marketing. The conference is truly unique within the iGaming calendar as content is specifically curated to help affiliates tackle problems they face within their business and also the regulatory and competitive landscape in the iGaming sector. This one day intensive Bootcamp offers a number of deep dive content streams delivered by experienced digital and gambling experts. For affiliates, it’s an opportunity to take time out of their business and learn from the best digital minds, have meaningful network sessions with suppliers and operators who are vested in affiliate growth and development. This year’s event will take place on the 19th September at the Hilton Olympia alongside the Betting on

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Sports Festival week. This means delegates and sponsors of AffiliateFEST will also benefit from gaining access to the wider range of events being run by SBC Events alongside. Why this was AffiliateFEST Created? AffiliateFest was created to provide affiliates with an in-depth content around digital and regulation updates to help them understand the ever changing marketplace and give them the support they need to increase their revenue growth. Affiliates have been crying out for more information to succeed in the industry, particularly at a time when it’s evolving at such a rapid pace and there are so many more niche marketing avenues to explore. These days, there is so much to take into consideration when launching and maintaining an affiliate business that if you don’t have the right digital skills or knowledge to keep your business at the cutting edge, it can make working in this space quite lonely, and a little daunting. The Affiliate Insider Bootcamps offer a depth of content that is specifically curated by a team of affiliate marketing experts to help educate affiliates on essential things in terms of compliance, regulatory changes, best

practices with regards to generating traffic driving activities, SEO and other important areas that contribute to their business growth. AffiliateFEST provides an in depth view for affiliates to understand where the industry is going and what they need to look out for to keep their business growing alongside. Business mentoring doesn’t quite exist in the iGaming space, and Affiliate Insider is developing a series of mentoring , bootcamp and business retreat programmes to help affiliates get the support they need to grow their business , alongside the content they provide about industry trends and news on their online portal. What Makes Affiliate Insider Bootcamps so different AffiliateFest is more intimate in terms of what you might find at other iGaming events. Numbers are limited and only operators who support the event as a sponsor get to attend and network with the affiliate entrepreneurs who attend this event each year. This allows for great networking opportunities during refreshment breaks, and the chance to build some long-lasting relationships. Affiliate marketing can be an isolating process when you are


35 starting out. Until an affiliate reaches a managed account level within any one operator programme they pretty much operate alone. Some affiliates don’t get to speak to an affiliate manager for year’s, because they are spreading their revenue risk and sending smaller amounts of traffic to multiple programmes. It’s these affiliates who have yet to move into a relationship managed portfolio that AffiliateFEST is seeking to support. The team spend a huge amount of time researching some of the challenges affiliates face, to build content that is relevant for the audience at each event. The agenda ensures affiliates can understand and interpret implementations of new rulings or guidelines and get a clear blue print of how to implement changes to make a difference to their bottom line revenues. Why Affiliates Should Attend AffiliateFest provides affiliates with a full day of in-depth learning. Attending this event will help you to growth hack your business a. improve your acquisition skills by learning about the latest digital marketing trends and increase your revenue. Speakers are hand-picked and content is directly curated to ensure that the agenda offers a depth of content that is easy to implement and understand. The event website lists a few testimonials from previous affiliate companies that make it a conference not to be missed. Take for instance, football365.com, who attended the March Affiliate Insider Sports Bootcamp, were incredibly positive about what they had learned at the conference in their video testimonial, and stated postevent that there was a lot of valuable content that they could take back to their company to implement. They also have and would further

recommend it as a must attend conference for any other affiliates. What are the Operator Benefits? One of the main benefits of AffiliateFest for operators is the networking opportunity they get to meet new affiliates they may not be managing directly in their programme, but who can drive incremental revenue and value to their business. It’s an opportunity to market to 1:Many to the plethora of affiliates who exist outside of their own programme ecosystem. They can also help expand their own programme reach and branding to affiliates that may not yet have considered them as a viable partner. There is lots of opportunity to catch up with affiliates during networking and refreshment sessions, or even at the after-parties. Why sponsor this event? The conference provides limited Sponsorship opportunities to iGaming operators to get additional exposure for their brand and the opportunity to attend and meet a captive audience of affiliates who are ready to learn and take their business to the next level. This makes it a fantastic opportunity for media agencies, technology providers and operators

to reach out to them and create some great business partnerships. There is also a lot of media coverage delivered around the event itself that reaches key people in the industry that perhaps couldn’t be reached on other verticals. You will often find that we interview our sponsors pre and post our event and push this content out across all our collaborative marketing channels. The key thing to know about AffiliateFest is that it provides affiliates with a fully comprehensive day of learning, mentoring and networking that is focussed on supporting their business growth. It’s definitely an event that is focussed on delivering depth of content that isn’t obtainable anywhere else and is geared at affiliates who are serious about taking their business to the next level. Register for your FREE affiliate seat (tickets are limited) www.affiliatefest.co.uk For Sponsorship opportunities (Operators, Suppliers, Agencies) - packages are still available sales@affiliateinsider.com

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GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE Even odds. No one wants special treatment. But until equal treatment is universal, congratulations are in order. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re proud to be part of a company that celebrates diversity in the workplace. We do it every day, but instead of calling it a celebration, we call it business as usual. Congratulations, women in gaming.


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Victoria Introduces “Point of Consumption” Tax for Online Gambling Operators

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he state of Victoria will be levying an 8% point-ofconsumption tax on online gambling operators. However, the fee, when compared to other states have considered or implemented, is significantly lower. Tim Pallas, the treasure for Victoria, made the announcement that the new tax would be implemented in January 2019 and is predicted to generate around AUS$30 million as revenue to the state. The new reform will base taxes according to the location of the punter and not the location of the company. In a statement to the media, Pallas criticized online wagering and betting services for taking money out of Victoria. He added that it was time for these companies to start paying back. Many of the bookmakers are licensed in the North, where taxes are even lower.

A Bookmaker Problem According to last year’s NT budget, 24 of the bookmakers licensed in Victoria, managed to pay just about $5.4 million. The Victorian state budget, which came out two weeks ago, indicated a progressive decrease in racing revenue. The projected figure for 2018-19 is $70 million. However, it has been predicted that this will reduce on a year-on-year basis. For 2019-20, the projected figure is $67 million, while for 2020-21 and 202122, it is $63 million and $59 million, respectively. The reduction in revenue has been attributed to the shift in gambler preferences. Gamblers have largely been moving towards fixed-odds gambling sites and away from parimutuel wagering. Pallas made it clear that the new law was mainly aimed at ensuring that bookmakers contribute to the state of Victoria. He mentioned that the

gambling companies were practically evading tax. Opposition The law, naturally, had faced some opposition. Opponents were worried that the new tax might end up fixing rates that are too low. In July 2017, South Australia had already imposed a 15% tax. Western Australia will be implementing a 15% tax rate as well, in 2019. Queensland has promised to bring in a similar tax rate as well. But, much to the opposition’s horror, that is exactly what happened. The state settled on an 8% tax -rate, dismaying the operators, who wanted an even lower tax rate, as well as the critics. The state had faced tremendous pressure from both sides before setting the rate. Now, with both sides showing disappointment, there will likely be a review of the tax rate in 2020.

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Insurgents Attack Myanmar Casino

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casino in Myanmar, located close to the bordering Yunnan province in China, was attacked last weekend by rebels belonging to an ethnic group, which is believed to be against the country’s central government. Apart from the casino, the rebels also went after posts manned by security forces, according to international reports. 19 people are believed to have been killed in the attack. 4 of them are reportedly members of the security forces. The attack occurred on Saturday morning in a small town called Muse, which is located in the northern Shan state. A total of 100 insurgents were said to have been involved in the operation, based on a Reuters report that quoted a spokesperson for the Myanmar government. According to the report, the attack was eventually repelled by a government-backed militia and

armed police. TNLA Claims Responsibility The TNLA or Ta’ang National Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack. The TNLA is a rebel group made up of the Ta’ang or Palaung ethnic group. The group fights for ethnic minorities and their right to an autonomous existence. Colonel Tar Aik Kyaw, the spokesman for TNLA, told the media that the soldiers and the militiamen were the main targets. Apparently, they were targeted for operating casinos. Kyaw claims that the casinos are protected by the militias. He went on to call the casinos a “gateway” for drug distribution. He spoke of how the casinos had a negative influence on civilians, which, in turn, led to many other social issues. The attack, Kyaw stated, was a response to this. The casino’s name has not yet been disclosed. As a result, the impact on the casino’s operations cannot

be determined. There are also no reports on whether there has been any structural damage. Myanmar does not permit casino gambling. However, several unauthorized casinos are known to operate in the border areas Reports suggest that some of them are operated by militias as well as other organized groups. The country is currently looking to revise the gambling laws here, which may see gambling operations becoming legal. Government Calls it a “Terrorist Attack”. A government spokesman called the attack a terrorist attack and stated that the death toll could not be ignored. Images of dead civilians have been doing the rounds on Facebook. However, they have not been verified yet.

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Churchill Downs Strikes Online Gaming Deal

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hurchill Downs Inc. announced this week that it would be entering the arena of sports betting across 3 states, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The decision comes in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling against the federal sports betting ban. The court made the landmark decision as part of a case brought forward by a New Jersey racetrack. Churchill Downs will be entering into an agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City to launch its sports betting and real money online gambling offerings. The offerings will go live at the start of 2019, according to company reports. Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs, issued a statement in which he spoke of the company’s ambition to offer sports betting and integrated iGaming products in New Jersey. He added that the company possessed a unique expertise, which would be lev-

eraged in operating what will be the country’s largest legal online horse racing wagering operation. Partnership with SBTech The Louisville firm also entered into a deal with SBTech for the provision of an iGaming platform that will support mobile apps, back-office systems, and a consumer website. The iGaming products will be offered separately from Churchill Downs’ online racebetting operation, TwinSpires.com. However, the agreements are dependent on the approval of gaming licenses and sports wagering legislation. Even so, Churchill Downs will be able to enter the New Jersey and Pennsylvania markets, where sports betting and iGaming are already permitted. Churchill Downs recently announced that it also purchased the Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie in Pennsylvania. The company also operates casinos in Mississippi.

Impact on Kentucky The Supreme Court ruling made it possible for all states to debate the issue of legalizing sports betting. The impact of this on Kentucky is yet to be seen. The region is known for the famous Kentucky Derby and 7 NCAA Division I institutions. Other than that, it is home to a professional soccer team, 4 minor league baseball teams, and 6 horse racing tracks. According to Governor Matt Bevin, it was too early to determine the effect of the ruling, but a decision would be made through state legislature. Bevin spoke of how sports betting has always been practiced in Kentucky, referring to horse racing. After the ruling was made earlier this week, Churchill Downs’ stock prices shot up, going from $278/share to $294/share.

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GAMING NEWS

43

Canberra Casino Gets Deadline Extension

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quis Entertainment, the company involved in redeveloping the Canberra Casino, has been granted an extension to send in its final proposal. Initially, the company had been granted only a month to move ahead with its multimilliondollar bid. The ACT (Australian Capital Territory) government sent in a written communication to Aquis in April, mentioning that they had time till May 14th to move the unsolicited bid. The bid had been submitted originally in 2015 suggesting a redevelopment of the Canberra Casino for $330 million. In exchange, Aquis requested authorization for the operation of poker machines. ACT Agrees Earlier this week, it was confirmed by a spokesperson for the ACT government that Aquis had been granted an extension to submit the financial information needed to make the bid move forward. According to the spokesperson, the extension was

granted after the ACT government had been asked by Aquis to clarify certain matters concerning the proposal. The spokesperson added that an extension was found to be valid under the circumstances and that dialogue would continue with Acquis regarding the matter. Though an extension has been granted, an exact deadline has not been set. However, the government plans to work with the company to establish fresh time frames for information. The extension comes right after ACT also extended the poker machine transfer scheme by another year. With the deadline being postponed, the government, according to ACT Gaming Minister Gordon Ramasay, is interested in knowing the exact number of machines the casino plans on operating.

power-sharing deal between the Greens and Labor. The Poker Machine Conundrum Aquis had approached ACT initially in 2015 to pitch its plans for redevelopment. In its pitch, the company proposed installing and operating 500 poker machines. Several debates later, the redevelopment plan was given the green signal, however, with a condition â&#x20AC;&#x201C; only 200 poker machines would be permitted. The poker machines would also have to be limited to AUS$2 per spin and gambler would be required to announce how much they would be gambling before playing. This was bad news for Acquis, which was depending mainly on the poker machines for revenue generation. The company has stated that the government should be realistic about such demands considering the current uncertainty surrounding the issue of reducing pokie numbers.

A consultant is currently looking at bringing the number of pokies down to 4000, which falls in line with the

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GAMING NEWS

45

Narrow Gambling Expansion Proposed in Brazil

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ne of Brazilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top legislators has requested fellow deputies to narrow the scope of the gaming expansion bill. The legislator is suggesting that the bill should be narrowed down to only include online gambling and land-based casino operations. At the end of last week, Rodrigo Maia, President of the Chamber of Deputies, told his legislators to focus exclusively on particular gaming options in order to boost the chances of the legislation making it through the legislative session in July. He also mentioned that a narrower bill would be easier to debate. A continued effort Brazil has been looking at gambling expansion for quite a few years. It is currently home to the largest gaming market in all of South America. However, anti-gambling groups and stakeholder issues have been a barrier

to any form of progress with regard to the expansion plan. However, Maia is now urging legislators to give up any further debate on slots outside casinos, lotteries, and bingo halls. The legislator wants the focus to be on online gambling and integrated resort casinos. He spoke with tourism officials at his home district of Rio De Janeiro about presenting a project that would look at regulating online gambling and casinos. He justified the inclusion of online gambling by citing that internationally licensed gambling sites were having a negative impact on revenue by already catering to local gamblers. Maia also cited studies to show the amount of revenue that could be generated at the state and federal levels via gambling expansion. The studies were also used to demonstrate the

number of jobs that would be created as a result of the expansion. However, such studies have had a very minimal impact on Brazilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s legislators in the past. A history of anti-gambling Brazil has always had a troubled past with regard to gambling. In fact, last week, the country celebrated the 72nd Anniversary of a historic event in which the country closed 71 casinos. The closure resulted in the unemployment of over 50,000 people. Brazilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s general elections are to be held on October 7th, this year. Maia is one of the people aiming to become president. If Maia were to win, it could mean that the country will see gambling expansion. However, that may not necessarily be the case, considering the current leader Michel Turner also expressed the same views on gambling expansion, but failed to keep up with his promises.

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GAMING NEWS

47

Mohegan Gaming Buys Stake in Project Inspire for $1.6 Billion

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ohegan Gaming & Entertainment, a gaming company with its headquarters in Uncasville, Connecticut has recently signed an agreement that will buy-out the stakes of fellow developers on a project that is under process in Incheon, South Korea. The project deals with the development of a casino at Incheon. In 2015, a South Korean company, whose name is unknown, purchased a stake of 24.5 percent in the project, known as “Project Inspire”. This year, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment became the sole owners of the casino project that is estimated to cost $1.6 billion after they bought the stakes owned by the South Korean company. The fee for the buyout is undisclosed as is the name of the company that sold its shares. What is Project Inspire? Project Inspire comprises a casino resort that will include several hotel towers, and the casino itself will include more than 250 gaming tables

and over 1,500 slot machines. The total area of the casino is estimated to be around 20,000 square foot. In addition to gambling machines, the casino will have an indoor-outdoor amusement park and an arena with about 15,000 seats. The casino project is expected to be completed in 2021 and will be Mohegan’s first project outside the U.S. The Mohegan tribe owns the Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and a number of other casinos in Washington, Louisiana, and New Jersey. The CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, Mario Kontomerkos has called the deal a very important step in the management of the ambitions for the company to set up their branches internationally. He also went on to say that the company’s position in Korea is perceived as being extremely advantageous since Project Inspire, once open, will be the only integrated entertain-

ment resort in the whole of North Asia. This position is truly valuable considering the geographical proximity to cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo. Kontomerkos has stated that these cities carry some of the most mobile and affluent populations in the world. The agreement between Mohegan and the South Korean company has been termed amicable and was closed on March 31 and news about the agreement was announced during an earnings call that was held in the previous week. During the earnings call for this quarter, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment reported a revenue of $332 million for the first quarter in 2018. The figure is 1.4 percent lower than the earnings reported in the first quarter of 2017.

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GAMING NEWS

49

Virginia Closer to Legalizing Gambling

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n an unprecedented turn of events, doors in favor of gambling are opening up in Virginia, a state that has traditionally stood against the practice.

of it actually happening are very high. This is due to the fact that the tribe has the right to construct the casino after winning federal support in 2016.

A firm based in Chicago has announced that it would be buying and reopening the long-dormant Colonial Downs horse racing track, which is the only facility in Virginia to host thoroughbred events. The announcement was made at the end of April, this year. The deal is estimated to be worth around $20 million and was able to go through successfully due to the earlier legalization of a particular kind of horseracing game.

The Tides of Change Virginia has always been part of the only 10 states to prohibit any form of gambling. However, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s neighbors North Carolina, West Virginia, and Maryland have always held the exact opposite view. Conservative legislature even prevented the setting up of a riverboat gambling facility in the early 90s. In the 2000s, the state put a ban on internet gambling cafes.

Last week, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe also made an announcement that it was planning to purchase a piece of land very close to the highway near Colonial Downs. The site will likely host a $700 million resort and casino. Though the project may not be initialized soon, the chances

As for the casino bill, it had been left hanging in the Senate committee for almost half a decade. Criticism Abounds However, support for gambling has been growing steadily. The support is said to have been fueled by events such as the setting up of the MGM

Grand Casino in neighboring Maryland. Around 40% of the casinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business is believed to come from Virginia. Maryland managed to generate over $40 million towards its state education trust fund this year, thanks to its 6 casinos. Gov. Ralph Northam has stated that Virginia may have to do something similar. However, there is plenty of opposition to the idea. For instance, there is House Speaker M. Kirkland Cox, who stands firmly against gambling. He voted against the horse racing bill and is even more opposed to the plans of a casino. He issued a statement recently, mentioning that a casino would not be in the best interest of the state. However, there seems to be a difference of opinion within the Republican party. In fact, the Colonial Downs legislation was brought forward by a Republican from Fauquier County.

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GAMING NEWS

51

Launch Date Announced for Ocean Resort Casino

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he Ocean Resort, a 1399room facility, owned and operated by Ocean Walk, will officially open its doors on the 28th of June, this year. Bruce Deifik, the Chairman of the AC Ocean Walk group, announced that he and his team were excited to make the announcement. He also thanked all the people involved in making the project come to fruition. He added that he was proud to be a member of the extended Ocean Resort Casino family. This is the group’s first venture in Atlantic City. Deifik called the moment an important one and added that he was hoping to see the Atlantic City community become an integral part of the venture’s success. Refreshed The 3-billion-dollar Ocean Resort Casino stretches across 6.4 million square feet of land and has been refreshed significantly. This includes modifications to specific areas and

targeted updates, which will allow for the creation of additional space to host the expanded offerings. There will be non-structural changes being implemented as well. This includes updates in the policy, updates in procedures, and the inclusion of ease of access features that improve the customer experience. The customer experience improvements are being made in reference to issues brought up by the property’s previous clientele. The project began sometime in January this year and since then, it has resulted in the creation of 300 construction jobs and 90 relevant positions in almost 100 companies. By the time the facility opens its doors in June, it will have created an estimated 3,200 jobs. Features The Ocean Resort will be home to a 138,000 square foot casino. Around 160,000 square feet of space will be allocated towards an indoor meet-

ing and convention arena. Another 90,000 square feet of space will be allocated towards six swimming pools and outdoor special-event space. One of the pools will be a saltwater pool. There will also be a sun deck with cabanas facing the ocean. As for dining options, Ocean Resort will offer 16 of them. This will include a Wahlburgers and Ocean Buffet. The Wahlburgers is a popular chain founded by the actor Mark Wahlberg’s family. There will also be a bar centered around the theme of “Entourage” – a TV series produced by HBO. Customers will also be provided with an exclusive breakfast joint called “Cereal Town”. Other than that, the facility will contain the Topgolf Swing Suite, a renovated Ovation Hall with seating for over 5000 people, 70,000 square feet of retail space, a sportsbook, and a Hyatt Hotel Exhale Spa spread across 32,000 square feet.

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May 2018 Infinity Gaming Magazine  

The Global Magazine for the Online & Land Based Gaming Sector.

May 2018 Infinity Gaming Magazine  

The Global Magazine for the Online & Land Based Gaming Sector.