September 19, 2014

Scotland vote demonstrates the prediction power of betting markets

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The Scottish referendum result marks the fifth time in a row that the Betfair Exchange has correctly predicted a significant political outcome as the NO vote confirmed what the Exchange had been pointing to for several months. Betfair had consistently called the NO vote as around an 80% chance to win, with the YES campaign around a 20%, despite opinion polls suggesting the race was neck and neck in the run up to the vote.

Betfair’s Exchange has a formidable record of calling political results correctly, indeed betting markets are usually more accurate than polls, but earlier in the week the Betfair Sportsbook paid out early on NO to show its confidence that the referendum would be no exception.

The final week saw the NO vote continue to come in to odds as short as 1.28 (2/9), and by yesterday morning it was down to 1.2 (1/5). The YES vote had conversely drifted out as far as 6.0 (5/1) in early morning trading, the equivalent of a 17% chance to win.

This remained the case into the final evening; even as political pundits continued to call a very close result, the Exchange’s main market was pointing to a clear win for the NO campaign. This was backed up by the YouGov poll at around 10:30 which sent YES odds out to around 15.0 (14/1) and the first declaration in Clackmanshire which sent it to 50.0, with NO at the minimum odds of 1.01, the equivalent of a near-certainty.

A Betfair Spokesperson said: “Referendums are rare but we were hopeful that the Exchange would prove as accurate as it has been at several recent elections. In the end, the money spoke tellingly again, the significant support was all behind NO in the run up to the event and that, rather than opinion polls, is usually a certain indicator.”

The referendum has altered the political landscape of the 307 year old union and questions will surely now be asked about the impact it will have on senior party leaders and future election prospects. The UK General Election Market on the Exchange has already gained momentum amidst the drama of Scotland’s decision with Labour and another No Overall Majority outcome leading the way.

September 17, 2014

Bwin France migrates to PartyPoker network

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Bwin.fr’s poker network merges with the partypoker France network signifying the potential end of the Ongame network in the regulated French market.

Bwin France Migrates to Partypoker NetworkIt’s on.

After months of talk, Bwin.party is finally shifting the bwin.FR brand to the partypoker France network after months of expectation.

Pokerfuse scribe, Nick Jones, reportedly picked up the news on the companies official Facebook page, and believes that the move will see the two players pools merge onto the partypoker software.

“That’s great news,” said Parisian poker player and businessman Jeremy Nock, “The partypoker software is better and smoother than the previous Bwin software.”

Bwin have remained on the Ongame network since selling it to Amaya Gaming back in 2012 and their departure now leaves tumbleweed rolling down the halls of the cyber space that cost the Canadian outfit over €15 million just two years ago.

Partypoker France is currently the third largest network in the regulated French market, with Winamax and PokerStars leading the way. The merger is a positive step in bwin.party’s attempt to gain traction on the leading two, in a market that has been increasingly difficult to squeeze a profit out of.

“Online sites in France have been reducing their guaranteed online tournaments because of a reduced numbers of players. It seems the regulated markets kill the action due to increased taxation. The dream of winning a huge score is diminishing. The max you can win in France, during an online tourney, is around €25K,” said Nock.

The move comes after bwin.party digital entertainment delivered a crushing H1 report that showed revenues down 7.5%, earnings down 23% and an operating loss of €100.4 million.

The news from that report was the European focus would be on the bwin brand with partypoker and the World Poker Tour dominating their thoughts in the US market.

This weekend saw the servers crash during partypoker’s inaugural Garden State Super Series (GSSS) online poker series, in New Jersey, resulting in the companies Director of Poker, Jeffrey Haas, publishing an apology to the players stating they “had been humbled by this experience and appreciate the inconvenience and lack of confidence experienced by our players, and are so sorry.”

Safecharge granted European E-Money License

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Online payment provider SafeCharge specialists advanced payment technologies, today announces that its wholly owned operating subsidiary, SafeCharge Limited, has been authorised as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI).

The authorisation will allow SafeCharge Limited to issue electronic money in accordance with the European Union E-money directive and as authorised by the Central Bank of Cyprus.

This will enable SafeCharge to continue expanding its services portfolio to its existing client base; increase services in the “Business to Consumer” (B2C) space; and progress plans for card issuance and associated services.

David Avgi, Chief Executive of SafeCharge commented:

“Obtaining the EMI license fulfils one of our central objectives, as outlined in our strategy. The EMI license places SafeCharge in a key position to capitalise on the expansion of e-wallets, mobile wallets and prepaid card issuance globally.”

Betclic signs sponsorship deal with Fiorentina

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Italian Serie A outfit ACF Fiorentina has come to an agreement with sports betting and gaming company Betclic to become one of the team’s main sponsors. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed but the partnership does give Betclic its own space in Fiorentina’s kits on top of stadium branding at the team’s home, Stadio Artemio Franchi. The deal also includes joint social and digital media initiatives between the two sides.

“We are proud to be a partner of a team rich in history and success like Fiorentina”, Betclic Director General Francesco Postiglione said in a statement. “We are equally certain that, thanks to the support of all the team and its fans, we will be able to establish a new model of sponsorship, which insists on the involvement of more and more fan interaction.”

Betclic is the latest company to hit up a sponsorship deal with Fiorentina, joining kit supplier Joma, Sky Italia and its main partner Save the Children.

September 01, 2014

Bwin.party announce more cost cutting after profits slump

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Announcing their half yearly results bwin.party said that the company are set for more cost cutting following the decline in business ever since the creation of the joint company three years ago.

In what was a possible indication of the online giant breaking up parts of the business as shareholder Jason Ader puts pressure on bwin to consolidate the business. Bwin said said it would be prepared to play a part in industry consolidation.

Chief Executive Norbert Teufelberger said that performance had been disappointing. He conceded that some of the company’s problems were home grown, but added that it has also been hit by a tougher regulatory environment in a number of markets.
Teufelberger said the company would cut costs by a further 15 million euros in 2015, on top of 30 million euros that it will save this year.

“We are simplifying our structure to accelerate the execution of our plans to drive revenue growth, increase our focus on customers in nationally regulated and/or taxed markets, and further reduce infrastructure costs,” Teufelberger said.

The company said that H1 results showed a drop in profits to 46.4 million euros for the six months, the same period last year showed a profit of 60.7 million euros, with profits slumping with online poker and changes in removing the company after regulatory changes in some territories.

August 27, 2014

OPAP revenue up on sports betting and scratch cards, profit down on old tax bill

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Greek monopoly betting operator OPAP saw earnings rise 50% in the second quarter thanks to aggressive cost-cutting measures and its new online sportsbook and scratch-card operations. Revenue in the three months ending June 30 rose 8% to €947.3m, while earnings rose to €68.6m, nearly €7m above analysts’ forecasts.

The first half of the 2014 FIFA World Cup played a significant role in boosting revenue for OPAP’s Stihima sports betting game. OPAP’s new GTECH-powered online sportsbook launched just two weeks before the football tournament kicked off and the online access is credited with helping drive a 31.5% year-on-year sales increase to €363m. Existing numerical games revenue fell 5.1% to €549m thanks to a decline in Kino revenue while the new Hellenic Lotteries vertical contributed €20m in just two months of operation, three-quarters of which came via scratch tickets.

Despite the good showing, OPAP’s net profit fell 44.5% to €15.7m. Profit would have risen 56% to €44.2m but the company announced on Tuesday that it had been hit with a €21.6m retroactive tax bill. The charges date back to fiscal 2010, following a recalculation of the former state asset’s tax assessment. OPAP paid €8m in incremental taxes that year, while the state now says the company’s actual obligation was €29.6m. OPAP says it has “strong arguments” for lodging an appeal to have at least 50% of the outstanding tax obligation refunded.

In keeping with its new life as a privately held firm with a sharp eye on the bottom line, OPAP embarked on a dramatic reducing program this summer. In July, the firm’s new owners launched a voluntary redundancy program at its retail subsidiary OPAP Services that targeted over 600 staffers – three-quarters of the division’s total payroll. The cuts came on top of 140 positions OPAP eliminated earlier this year, the effects of which boosted administrative expenses 16.2% to €8.6m during the quarter.

August 25, 2014

Tatts Group rebrands to increase awareness and secure trust

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Gaming, wagering and lottery company Tatts Group has announced a new brand positioning and corporate identity including a new logo, website and marketing collateral.

The new brand identity aims to disrupt the brand’s narrative to increase awareness and communicate it as a “trusted provider of entertainment products and services”.

Hans Hulsbosch, executive creative director of Hulsbosch, the design firm behind the work, said the new identity would set a strong framework for the business’ evolution into the future.

“The simple, clean, contemporary logo style is composed of two components: the top graphic known as ‘the star’ and the distinctive lettering ‘Tatts Group’. In addition the colour palette brings scale and boldness to the brand identity.

“I’m delighted that this transforming creative review represents the spirit of their values and is a unique recognisable symbol of their brand.”

Hulsbosch has previously developed the branding for Rebel Sports, Virgin Australia, Woolworths and Masters, among others.

Tatts Group chief executive officer Robbie Cooke said: “Tatts is a leading Australian gambling group with a 130 year proud heritage. We are making changes across all facets of our business and our new corporate brand identity is symbolic in positioning the group for the future.”

The company will next release new national wagering and lottery brand identities.

August 22, 2014

PayPal to process US igaming transactions

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EBay owned payment processing operator PayPal is considering allowing customer transactions in US state licensed igaming territories.

The news that PayPal the world largest payment processor could allow payment transactions for US igaming customers was brought to light by Poker news website – Onlinepokerreport.com.

“Sources tell OPR that PayPal will start processing regulated US online #gambling payments in coming months,” OPR tweeted. “Handful of operators to start.”
The news of PayPal allowing US transactions will come as good news to state licensed igaming operators, who have been frustrated at the lack of third party payment providers willing to take transactions

At present, Skrill (formaly known as “Moneybookers”) is the top payment processor in the state of New Jersey. Neteller is the web wallet of choise for Nevada and Delaware.

Italian Serie B Could Lose Eurobet аs Title Sponsor

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The Italian Serie B is in danger of losing title sponsor Eurobet after reports surfaced that the online betting operator was unlikely to renew its deal with the second division in the Italian football league system.

Italian Serie B could lose Eurobet as title sponsor; German side Kaiserslautern inks deal with paysafecardA report from Tuttomercatoweb said that changes made within Eurobet’s management have shifted the interest in sponsoring a league many now feel doesn’t have the same financial strength it once had. The league is already rife with teams struggling to make ends meet. Just last month, AC Siena announced its bankruptcy a year removed from being relegated into Serie B, ending a proud 110-year history for the once-famous club.

If Eurobet leaves Serie B, the league stands to lose around €2 million of sponsorship money. That’s money that Serie B can’t lose given its current economic state. Other sponsors like Dacia and NGM are also tinkering on canceling their own sponsorship deals with Serie B.

Eurobet’s potential exit makes it the second online betting operator to drop ties with the league. Before it came into the picture as the title sponsor last season, Serie B was sponsored by Bwin.

Ladbrokes boss receives £1 million bonus

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Richard Glynn the boss of Ladbrokes has been handed share in the company worth £1 million even thou in the companies recent report showed a fall of 50% in profits. He was given 759,958 shares at current value of £1,028,223 but those shares cannot be cashed in for three years.

The reward package surprised many observers after the countries second largest bookmaker announced recently that their half yearly profits were down from £55.1million to £27.7million compared to 2013.

Glynn took over the company as chief operating office in April 2010, but much speculation was given to the success of the World Cup for Ladbrokes on whether he would stay in his role. Ladbrokes has struggled in recent years to keep pace with William Hill in both retail, online and mobile offerings.

But when announcing Ladbrokes’ latest set of disappointing results, Glynn insisted the company had enjoyed a ‘good World Cup’ and was now ‘well positioned for growth’.