December 16, 2013

PayPal Admits To Sharing Customer Info With Company Tied To UB Poker Scandal

According to PayPal's Privacy Policy, the popular payment company contracts Iovation to "retrieve risk information regarding the IP and device from which you are accessing PayPal [and] research and testing as to appropriateness of new products and services."

Iovation, for those of you unaware, has a CEO who founded Ultimate Poker, the now shuttered online poker site scarred by an internal cheating scandal that ultimately wound up being profiled on a segment of the CBS news magazine "60 Minutes".

Whether the folks behind PayPal were aware of Iovation’s skeletons, few seem to really know. PayPal bigwigs might not follow industry poker news but they certainly keep tabs on their own community forum, which now features a posted message regarding the controversy. was among the first websites to note the cozy relationship between PayPal and Iovation.

And it is not the first time Iovation has developed business partnership arrangements with otherwise reputable companies.

Last March, the Station Casinos backed online poker site Ultimate Poker (not to be confused with UltimateBet) severed ties with Iovation once these past revelations came to light.

“We understand that there were concerns among some of our customers, we hope this makes our players feel more comfortable,” a short statement from Ultimate Poker read at the time.

Iovation is subcontracted through CAMS, itself a subsidiary of Verifi.

From US Poker:

Travis Makar, a former business associate of Russ Hamilton, released tapes that implicate Hamilton and Greg Pierson, among others, in a cover-up of the UltimateBet insider cheating scandal. Pierson is the CEO and co-founder of Iovation.

A documentary on the UltimateBet insider cheating titled UltimateBeat connects Iovation co-founders directly to the scandal. Scott Bell, director and creator of UltimateBeat, published a detailed outline of the tapes leaked by Makar here. These tapes were used in the UltimateBeat film.

Men Prefer Gambling Over Sex Recent Study Reveals

A “neuroeconomics” study has revealed that both taking risks with money and sexual arousal affect same parts of the brain. Men who were sexually aroused or shown sexy pictures gambled / played more daringly than those shown scary pictures of animals like snakes, scorpion etc or even neutral pictures.

The research proved that both sex and money trigger the same part of brain that plays the main role in the experience of pleasure. Not only for gambling, the same results could be seen in actions where money was at stake like stock market trading etc.

The case study was done over people of various age groups and both the gender. Pretty Interesting results were seen in the case study. Firstly the results were same irrespective of the gender. Both men and women gambled more daringly after seeing some sexy pictures.

Another interesting observation was that the urge of having sex increases with the winning of the gambles especially in women. Many people agreed that they had the best sex of their life while making out in casinos only.

And the degree of influence of sexy pictures on people of various age groups was also studied. It was brought to attention that youth is affected the most by it and the influence decreases as the age group of people increased. People were divided in groups of 10 like: 30 years – 40 years, 40 years – 50 years, 50 years – 60 years and so on. People in the first age group were the ones who were influenced in the experiment the most and those of the last age group were the one who were affected the least by the experiment. The first batch played more daringly however the last batch played almost the same way they always did.

Another case study conducted in Netherlands brought another interesting point to attention. The study proved that men who gamble on regular basis prefer gambling over women. In simple terms it can be summed up as brain of people who gamble regularly is hardwired to prefer easy money over easy women. The study involved 18 pathological gamblers and 20 healthy individuals into an MRI and their brain activity was monitored while performing one of the two tasks.

The participants were asked to press a button as fast as they could and in reward they could either win cash or view pictures of hot women. It was observed that the gamblers responded 4% faster when money was the reward compared to when the pictures of hot women was the reward.

The two case studies clearly highlight the relationship between sex and gambling. Also we understand the difference in the way in which the brain of a professional gambler and a person gambling not so often react differently when allowed to choose between easy money and easy women.

December 13, 2013

Skrill exits Canadian gaming market

Ewallet service provider Skrill will be leaving the Canadian online gaming market.

The news came suddenly to both gaming firms and players on Skrill’s departure from the Canadian market. Skrill sent out notifications to gaming firms and players stating they have 4 weeks to cash out their balances, and will cease their services as of January 2nd 2014.

Canadian players have experienced a similar story in the past, when Neteller exited the market back in 2007. Currently, Canadian players have some options left for placing wages online with the likes of MasterCard, Visa, InstaDebit, Ukash, PaySafeCard, EntroPay and electronic checks.

Skrill is the (un)official ewallet for online gambling in New Jersey, and plans on expanding their presence in North America as more states decide to follow suit and legalize online gaming. The sudden, short announced decision does leave many wondering. There are rumors of provincial lottery sites posing a stand against offshore firms who do not pay Canadian taxes, and they are taking action against them.

There is no word from Skrill as of yet on why they have decided to leave the Canadian market.

December 12, 2013

Romania to change gambling tax laws

The Romanian state is planning to double the tax casino operators currently pay along with adding an extra 200 Euros to each slot machine used in the country per year.

The current law tries to figure out how much each gambler loses and then taxes the operator on the loses, but slot machines operators agree it is impossible for companies and the tax administration to highlight how much a gambler actually wins or loses, and tax it, so they welcome the change, even if it represents a tax increase.

The new tax regime will cover a whole host of gambling including slot machines, video lottery, online gambling, casino and poker clubs. Last year the government revenue from gambling tax was EUR 7.5 million.

With over 65,000 slot machines in the country estimates have that they earn over 1 billion Euros for operators each year. With casino operators the new tax will be on net earning set at 2% tax, which will be the same for online gambling operators.

Also for online gambling operators more changes will come as the state wants to block access to online sports bets and gambling sites which are not owned by the state or not licensed to do business in Romania.

A black list of sites unauthorized in Romania will be compiled, and will be monitored by the National Office for Gambling.

American Indian tribes ready for online gambling

The American Indian tribes have not so far taken part in any online gambling in the three states that have legalised online gambling in Nevada, Delaware or New Jersey but by the end of 2013 that could be changing.

The American Indian tribe in rural California, the Alturas Indian Rancheria Tribe will be ready they believe to launch online gambling to customer outside of the US, either before or just into the new year. They are not alone with the same strategy being taken up by the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma, looking to entice overseas online gamblers to their website that will be launched soon in 2014.

In total American Indian tribes operate 460 gaming venues in 28 states in the US and many tribal leaders feel with global revenues in online gambling at $30 billion a year, they are missing out on a piece of the action.

How much the US market is worth a present is unsure, Fitch Ratings believes New Jersey which is the largest of the states to allow online gambling says the market is worth $300 million to $700 million a year in the coming seven years.

But the Indian tribes are not all together with online gambling with many believing it will harm their current land based casino operations, with the other side saying it will help with their large scale un-employment problem.

One thing is for sure the Indian tribes want to get into online gambling, how and in what form is still not certain but come the end of the year, they will be live with their own offerings.

December 10, 2013

North Korean leaderpurges his uncle after gambling allegations

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has proved that nobody is beyond the reach of his cane, as his once powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek has been purged from his position for crimes that include faction-building, drug use, womanizing and gambling.

The normally discreet North Korean media have reacted to the news by splurging the world’s media of photographic images of Song-thaek as he is forcible removed from his chair, by officials, during a meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea.

It’s not the first time that Kim Jong-un has made changes to the higher echelons of power after the military chief Ri Yong Ho was also removed from office due to ‘ill health’ last year.

“It is the most prominent disgrace of an official in North Korea’s entire history,” Andrei Lankov, an expert on the North at Kookmin University, told the Guardian, “Purges in the past have seldom touched members of the family; the only precedent I remember was in the mid-70s when the brother of Kim Il-sung was removed. As far as I understand there was no official accusation brought against him; he was simply sent to the countryside.

“Secondly, when they have purged people in the past it was mentioned in passing.

“It tells us something about the new leadership’s style: the young man seems really tough and brutal in dealing with people he wants to destroy.”

A report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Jang had ‘seriously obstructed the nation’s economic affairs and the improvement of the standard of people’s living.

“By abusing his power, he was engrossed in irregularities and corruption, had improper relations with several women and was wined and dined at back parlors of deluxe restaurants.

“Ideologically sick and extremely idle and easy-going, he used drugs and squandered foreign currency at casinos while he was receiving medical treatment in a foreign country under the care of the party.”

Somehow you get the feeling that match fixing wouldn’t be a problem in the North Korean DPR League and it is in the UK equivalent.

Let’s Hope Dennis Rodman Doesn’t Understand What Faction Building is

Perhaps, Dennis Rodman has heavily influenced Jang Song-Thaek?

The former NBA star has a CV littered with a history of addictions that would seemingly result in a North Korean incarceration, with the exception of faction building, but that hasn’t stopped the North Korean leader from taking a shine to the guy.

“You have a friend for life,” the leader told Rodman after his first visit to the normally secretive country.

The former wild man will be returning to North Korea on Dec 18th to continue his work with the North Korean national basketball team who will play an exhibition match against former NBA players in January.

The Irish funsters PaddyPower are sponsoring Rodman’s Korean trip, which is not surprising given the fact that the lads in green have worked with the North Korean leader in the past (as shown in the video below)

FA chief: Spot-fixing 'isn't a big issue'

The Football Association's general secretary Alex Horne has insisted match-fixing is not widespread in the game but has warned against complacency.

Horne was among representatives from five sports - football, cricket, tennis and the two rugby codes - who attended a summit with ministers in Whitehall on Tuesday morning for talks on tackling fixing.

It followed the arrest of six people, including Blackburn striker DJ Campbell, following an investigation into spot-fixing in football by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Horne, who was at the meeting with culture, media and sport secretary Maria Miller, said the "general consensus" was that fixing was not a widespread problem. Representatives from the Premier League, Football League and British Horseracing Authority (BHA) were also present.

He insisted however that the FA took the issue seriously and will study measures against fixing already in place in cricket and horse racing.

Horne said after the meeting: "I think the general consensus around the room was this isn't a big issue. The intelligence that we have says this isn't a wide-scale issue at the moment but, again, we don't want to be complacent.

"It's clear that, as Britain, we are very proud of our sporting product, of the sport that we play in this country and we all want to do all we can to protect the integrity of that sport.

"We are never complacent on this issue and there's a lot we can learn from other sports. Some of the education programmes that cricket have put in place are very far advanced, and the integrity unit that the BHA have in place is very far advanced so there's lots of learnings that are open to all sports."

The FA has its own integrity unit and education programmes, but fixing has been an issue for a longer time for horse racing and cricket.

Horne added: "We don't want to see this in our sport and so, therefore, we are doing everything we can, we are looking at all measures we can across sport but also with the agencies.

"We really welcome the recent impetus from the NCA. I think that is going to be a really important body for all of us in reminding people that these are criminal activities and the criminal nature of activities shouldn't be underestimated and all power to the NCA."

December 09, 2013

Bet365 to add 600 new jobs

Midlands based betting firm Bet365 has announced it is to create up to 600 new jobs in a new expansion plan that will see the company move into its new headquarters in Forge Lane Stoke on Trent.

Bet365 has over 2,200 employees currently and with the move has promised to increase that by another 600 by the end of the decade, reaching almost 3,000 staff.

Its joint chief executive Denise Coates CBE said: “I am from the area and apart from my time at university, have always lived here.

“Key to bet365’s success, is our fantastic and loyal group of employees who have worked with me over the years I have worked in Stoke.

“At the moment we contribute over £80 million annually into the economy in terms of staff wages, so it’s a significant amount being invested in the area in terms of those wages. Other businesses will also benefit”.

Bet365 is planning to build a new 13,000 square meter office in Forge Lane, which is almost double the size of the existing HQ.

Former Premier League player admits to fixing matches

Match fixing in English football took another incredible turn after the National Crime Agency arrested six people connected to another spot fixing investigation involving players in the Championship.

The sordid details were unearthed by the Sun with incredible information on former Premier League player Sam Sodji, who was caught on film bragging about his power to fix matches at a drop of a hat…or in this case, a show of a yellow or red card.

The information was gathered by an undercover reporter after compiling four month’s worth of information on the betting syndicate. Of those findings, the most incredible one was Sodje’s admission that he can arrange for players to earn yellow or red cards in exchange for pay-outs amounting to £30,000. The price goes up for a red card, or in some cases, balloons to the six digits if the fix happens in the Premier League where fines are typically higher than in the lower tier leagues.

The NCA isn’t commenting on details surrounding the arrest, opting only to say that six individuals have been arrested and are being questioned regarding the scope of their involvement in the syndicate.

Sodje’s claims, in particular, are especially damning after he was recorded bragging about his apparent match-fixing powers, even calling it “child’s play” because of the amount of money being waved in player’s faces.

“This guy came to meet me at my house and it was sorted,” Sodje was quoted as saying. “That’s how easy it is – it’s nothing.”

One particular incident occurred last February while Sodje was playing for Portsmouth. In a game against Oldham, the 34-year old Nigerian walked up to Oldham’s Jose Baxter and punched him in the gonads twice, earning a red card – and a pay-out for his actions. Even more perplexing was the reason for the attack, something Sodje attributed to referees not booking him during the match.

Nothing gets you sent off faster than knuckling up on a man’s privates, it appears.

December 03, 2013

Match fixing scandal: Two men charged

Two men have been charged in connection with the latest match fixing scandal to hit the world of football, Michael Chopra talking about his gambling problems, and Kenny Sansom thanks the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) for helping him recover from gambling and alcohol problems.

The UEFA President Michel Platini believes that match fixing represents the greatest threat to the future of the world’s most popular sport, and we have three sports betting news stories from the UK that worryingly trend towards the magical Frenchman’s foresight.

Two men have been charged in connection with the English Football match fixing scandal that we brought you late last week.

Chann Sankaran, a 33-year old Singaporean national, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, a 43-year old with dual UK and Singaporean nationality, have both been charged with conspiring to defraud bookmakers by influencing the course of football matches.

At the time of writing there is still no news regarding the teams, or the players, involved but it’s believed to be non-league matches.

Five other men were released on bail and amongst them was Delroy Facey, 33, player turned agent who once graced the Premier League with Bolton.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) issued a statement that said Sankaran and Ganeshan had conspired together and with others ‘to defraud bookmakers by influencing the course of football matches and placing bets thereon. The Crown Prosecution’s Organized Crime Division found sufficient evidence and was satisfied it was in the public interest to authorize charges of conspiracy to defraud. The maximum sentence for this offence is 10-years’ imprisonment.”

Declan Hill, author of The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime and The Insider’s Guide to Match Fixing in Football,” told The Times ‘this tide of globalized sports corruption has reached all around the world. British football administrators have been sleepwalking themselves into a crisis. They’ve been warned about this for years.”

The Football Association (FA) has reacted to the news by stating that neither they nor the various leagues have been found guilty of complacency. The NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB must be smiling from ear to ear as they continue to gather evidence like this in their sports betting war against the New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as he promises to move heaven and earth to create a platform to allow online sports betting in the Garden State.

Non-league football is perfect for the snakes in the grass because it is nowhere near as high profile as Premiership or other English League matches. The players are on normal working-middle class wages and people expect them to make more mistakes and errors on the pitch.

One set of eyes that is firmly set on non-league football matches is that of the bookmaker, with a standard non league game expected to create over 50 different betting markets for the would be punter.

In a recent interview with Brian Touhy, author of the controversial sports fixing book Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI, he told me that no player was safe from the clutches of the match fixers, as drug and gambling issues can create huge amounts of debt for even the richest players in the American leagues.

A case in point over the great blue yonder is the Blackpool Striker Michael Chopra, 29, who has revealed that he quit Cardiff City, and signed for Sunderland, so he could use the signing on fee to pay off his gambling debts during a trial at Newcastle Crown Court last week.

Chopra told the court how he would gamble up to £30,000 in cash with other players on the team bus en route to matches when just a teenager playing for Newcastle United.

“Players would gamble on the bus and I got involved. We would take thousands of pounds on to the bus, anything up to £30,000.

“It might change hands playing cards on the bus, we would go to the bank before and take out the money. It was part of team bonding. We were playing for real cash, if you were playing for £30,000 you would have it with you at the time.” Said Chopra.

Chopra also revealed how he was threatened by Scottish loan sharks during his time with Ipswich, the club and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) – headed by the gambling afflicted Gordon Taylor – organized a £250,000 loan to help him pay off debts created through gambling.

“I had loan sharks turning up at the training ground when I was at Ipswich. They came up to me and asked me for my autograph and said I better get myself into the club and get that money now.

“They said they knew what car I was driving and they would follow me until I paid them. They said they knew what school my little boy went to and where my parents lived and where I lived in Ipswich. I felt sick that I had put my family in that situation from my gambling.”

It’s believed Chopra lost £2m through gambling and was giving evidence at the trial of four men on drugs charges. Earlier this year Chopra admitted banning himself from as many gambling sites as he could in order to ‘fight this illness.”

It’s thought that Sheldon Adelson is keen to sign him up as star striker for the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) football team.

Another former top-notch footballer has been in the news as a result of gambling problems.

The former Arsenal and England full back Kenny Sansom has publically thanked the FA after revealing how they have helped him find his feet again, after being found sleeping on park benches just four month ago.

Sansom lost everything as he fought against crippling alcohol and gambling addictions, but has been sober for the past two months thanks in part to the FA and also Sporting Chance. A clinic established by Tony Adams MBE in a bid to help sportsmen and women recover from alcoholism.

Unibet targets casual players with move to standalone poker network

Swedish online gaming operator Unibet has announced plans to move to a standalone online poker product early next year, which has been developed exclusively for its Unibet and Maria brands by Estonian based supplier Relax Gaming.

The company said that it decided on the move as the “next step in developing their customer experience.”

The software is being developed exclusively for the Unibet and Maria brands by supplier Relax Gaming. In connection with this, Unibet is also investing €1.25m for a share in the company.

Unibet said that it has been closely involved in key functionality and design to cater for its new poker strategy.

“The environment in the online poker industry has changed over the years and we have come to the insight that being part of a poker network is not sustainable for Unibet in the long term,” said Unibet’s head of gaming Daniel Eskola. “This project has given us the possibility to start from a blank piece of paper and define everything we believe is important for a fun poker experience.

“In a way, our goal is to bring the fun back to poker by creating software with a clear focus on the casual player.”

Unibet and Maria will be the sole operators offering the new product after previously being part of a network of multiple operators through the Microgaming Poker Network.

”Our relationship with Microgaming remains strong, and we are continuing to offer Quickfire games in our casino,” added Eskola.

In its most recent results for the third quarter of 2013, online poker was the only product to post a year-on-year decline with gross winnings revenue falling 26 per cent to £2.5m. The product accounted for just 4 per cent of the company’s total revenue during the quarter.

Unibet said that the new software will include a user friendly table selection, rich 3D backgrounds, the ability to change avatar and screen name, as well as gameplay features such as achievements and missions.

Unibet Poker will be available for PC and Mac download, browser, and tablet versions for both iOS and Android.

December 02, 2013

Estonia match-fixing: 11 charged on suspicion of fixing 17 games

Eleven footballers have been charged in Estonia on suspicion of fixing 17 matches, including three in the Europa League, prosecutors said Monday.

Prosecutors said the men were part of a match-fixing conspiracy covering teams in Estonia, Lithuania and Ukraine, who allegedly agreed to fix results and signed players based on their willingness to fix games.

“The teams looked for individuals who were ready to play in such a way that that events took place in a predetermined way, or that the desired results was achieved,” Estonia’s Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a website statement.

The 11 players allegedly earned a total of over 108,000 euros ($146,000) from match-fixing between June 2011 and November 2012.

There was no word on which particular matches were fixed, and the players were identified only by their first names and ages. As well as the three Europa League games, prosecutors said 12 Estonian league games were fixed, as were one game in the Estonian Cup and Lithuanian league.