April 30, 2014

Ministerial statement: Betting shops and gambling

Minister for gambling Helen Grant MP has made this statement to Parliament:

“The 2005 Gambling Act was introduced by the then Government with the aim of liberalising the gambling market in Great Britain. Nearly seven years on from the Act’s implementation, the gambling industry has developed in innovative ways, with new products now marketed and made available on a greater scale than ever before.

In many local communities concerns have been expressed about the clustering of betting shops on high streets. These shops contain highly sophisticated gaming machines that now make up a greater proportion of revenue than over the counter betting. In addition, we have seen significant growth in the scale of gambling advertising. The pervasive nature of such advertising means that both children and adults are exposed to a considerably greater amount of gambling advertising than ever before.

The Government wants to give local communities a proper voice so their views are taken into account when plans for a new betting shop are submitted. My Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, is therefore proposing a re-emphasis within the current planning classes. A smaller planning use class containing betting shops will mean that in future where it is proposed to convert a bank, building society or estate agents into a betting shop it would require a planning application. In addition, the Government will remove the ability for other premises such as restaurants and pubs to change use without being obliged to seek planning permission. The Department for Communities and Local Government will consult on the detail of proposals as part of a wider consultation on change of use in summer 2014.

Furthermore, given the growth in marketing and promotion of virtual and electronic gambling, which present fewer opportunities for face to face interaction, I believe new measures are necessary to ensure that vulnerable players are protected. I want players who use gaming machines to be in control of the choices they make. This is particularly important for users of category B2 gaming machines.
I have therefore decided that Government should adopt a precautionary approach and take targeted and proportionate action to protect players further when using high stake gaming machines on the high street.

I intend to require customers accessing stakes over £50 to use account-based play or load cash over the counter. Requiring better interaction between customer and operator for those engaged in high stake play improves opportunities for more effective provision of information and interventions. This measure will put an end to unsupervised cash staking above £50, which can rapidly result in significant losses. This is a sensible and balanced approach which allows players continued use of these machines on the high street, while ensuring greater opportunities for supervision and player protection.

In addition, the Gambling Commission is undertaking a review of its licence conditions and codes of practice with a view to strengthening their measures to protect players. In particular, the Gambling Commission intends to consult on requiring gaming machines in betting shops to present players with a choice to set limits on the maximum amount of time or money they want to spend before commencing play. The Gambling Commission is also looking at how additional measures to protect players of gaming machines, such as pauses in play and messaging, should be toughened and made mandatory.

The Government will now prepare the necessary impact assessments and regulatory measures to implement its proposed changes. I expect these changes to be implemented from October 2014.

April 25, 2014

South African online gambling bill published

A bill to legalize online gambling in South Africa was published in the Government Gazette on Wednesday, but even its author has suggested its chances of passing into law are “far from certain.” Democratic Alliance party shadow minister for trade and industry Geordin Hill-Lewis (pictured) first announced plans to introduce his draft bill back in January. The publication of his Remote Gambling Bill 2014 kicks off a 30-day public comment period, after which the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry will debate the bill’s merits before making a decision whether to pass it on to Parliament for a vote.

Hill-Lewis estimated the process will take at least nine months and acknowledged that his private member’s bill has an uphill climb ahead. But Hill-Lewis felt compelled to act given the lethargy the ruling African National Congress party has shown on moving this matter forward. Sports betting is currently the only legal form of online gambling in South Africa, but Hill-Lewis’ bill would allow operators to offer a wider variety of gambling options.

The bill would also allow the country’s 10 Provincial Licensing Authorities to issue as many online gambling licenses as they saw fit. Should an applicant fail to meet a licensing body’s “fit and proper persons” requirements, said applicant would be subject to a three-year time-out before being allowed to reapply. Should an issued license be revoked for whatever reason, the operator would face a one-year time-out. Operating without a license would carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, rising to 20 years for repeat offenders and financial penalties amounting to 10% of betting turnover.

Meanwhile, licensed online sports betting operator BetFlash has launched a new in-play wager offering for South African punters. The site, which launched last year, utilizes data supplied by Betradar to fuel its in-play product. Betradar covers up to 12k matches across 14 sports on a monthly basis. BetFlash GM Samantha McMurtrie didn’t spare the hype, saying she believed her offering to be “superior to any other in-play product currently in the South African market.”

Land-based bookmakers are expressing opposition to racetrack operator Phumelela Gaming & Leisure boosting fees to screen live racing in betting shops. Phumelela recently told bookies they’d need to pay 3% of their monthly revenue in exchange for the right to air races on televisions in betting shops. Though this percentage was later changed to a flat fee, some 37 bookmakers – most of them in Gauteng province – filed a legal challenge of the cash grab.

Phumelela, which owns five of the country’s nine racetracks, also owns 61% of the Tellytrack channel that broadcasts racing from both domestic and international tracks. While the channel is available to consumers as part of a cable package, bookies have to pay extra to air the races in their shops. Prean Nadu, GM of the Top Bet bookmaking chain, told MoneyWeb that the new fee was “a worrying case” that will “affect our business and the horse racing industry in general. With that system, we lose at the end of the day.’ Phumelela CEO Rian du Plessis countered that the channel was a “very valuable product” and that the increase in fees was “long overdue.”

Minnesota looks to kill state Lottery’s “online crack” scratch-off tickets

Minnesota’s pioneering use of online lottery scratch-off tickets could be headed for the ash-heap of history after a state House committee voted to ban the product. The Minnesota State Lottery made history in February by becoming the first US state lottery to offer online scratch-off tickets. While other state lotteries had offered online ticket sales – Illinois even offers a mobile app to purchase tickets – Minnesota pushed the envelope in February by offering an online version of their Spicy 7’s scratch-off tickets, which critics believe mimic slot machine gambling.

The Spicy 7’s have produced $170k in sales since their Feb. 6 online debut. Outraged politicians accused the Lottery of overstepping its mandate yet director Ed Van Petten insisted that the online scratchers were more of a promotional tool and pointed to increased sales at the state’s 3,100 lottery retailers as proof that the plan was working. Van Petten was also keenly aware that the average lottery player was skewing older and that changes were needed to keep the Lottery relevant in a digital age.

Unconvinced, legislators in both the House and Senate introduced legislation to take Spicy 7’s offline. The House Tax Committee held a hearing on Tuesday which featured a representative of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition taking a page out of Las Vegas Sands VP Andy Abboud’s book by holding up his smartphone and suggesting voters didn’t want to see it transformed into a lottery terminal. The not at all hysterical Rep. Greg Davids took this argument to its illogical conclusion, saying; “This is not the online lottery, this is online crack.”

Van Petten told the committee that he remains convinced the Lottery was within its legal mandate to launch the product while reminding everyone that killing the product could cost the state $2.5m if a key lottery vendor launched a breach-of-contract suit. An unsympathetic Rep. Ann Lenczewski, who chairs the Committee and sponsored the House legislation to kill off the Spicy 7’s, suggested that any financial damages wouldn’t be the state’s liability. “The lottery can eat that.”

On Thursday, the House Commerce Committee voted in favor of the legislation banning the online scratchers. The bill, which also seeks to shut down online sales of national lottery tickets as well as the Lottery’s ‘pay at the pump’ gas station pilot program, now heads to the House rules committee. Assuming it passes muster there, the next stop is a vote on the House floor.

Similar legislation is pending in the Senate and Majority Leader Tom Bakk has expressed confidence that it will pass. Gov. Mark Dayton has expressed concerns that legislators may be micromanaging the Lottery’s operations but has yet to express a firm opinion one way or the other on the issue.

On a cheerier note, last week marked the 25th anniversary of the Lottery’s birth. To celebrate, the Lottery unveiled a new logo, the first revamp the logo has undergone since its 1989 debut. The new logo features a variation of the loon on the old logo, but given the attitudes of state legislators, perhaps a whole bunch of certifiable loonies would have been more appropriate.

Bitcoin sportsbook Coinbet goes dark

Bitcoin-only online sportsbook Coinbet.cc has closed its doors mere months after the site first launched. Over the Easter holiday weekend, visitors to the site were greeted with a notice indicating that the site was “now closed.” The notice instructed players with outstanding balances to contact an email address to resolve their situation.

Players responding to the notice have been contacted by a “liquidation firm” claiming to have been retained by Coinbet “to ensure proper liquidation of all assets … All outstanding debts and accounts will be paid out in accordance with the arrangement made by Coinbet and the sale of all related assets.” Despite these vague assurances, few Coinbet players appear convinced they’ll be made whole anytime soon. Estimates of the total sum owed to Coinbet players range as high as $5m.

April 22, 2014

Why more governments should offer their citizens a one-in-a-million chance to win

People love lotteries. Almost half of Americans play at least once a year; Spain’s annual national lottery has been going strong for more than a century; and in China the national welfare lottery has collected $167 billion since it began in 1987. This love is unrequited: The odds of winning are abysmal, which can turn them into a tax on the poor.

But that’s why some economists love lotteries, too. They demonstrate a great way to trick people into doing things they ought to be doing anyhow.

Take Slovakia: Like some of its fiscally-troubled European brethren, the government finances itself through a value-added tax, which it’s having some trouble collecting, since businesses are not reporting their sales for VAT-collection. How do you change that? The government there recently started a new lottery that citizens could enter with a receipt from any purchase of more than €1. That turned the country’s lottery-loving citizenry into a corps of internal revenue inspectors, demanding receipts from merchants and, according to the finance minister, increasing VAT collections.

Their eagerness comes from a quirk of human psychology which, when documented, helped win Daniel Kahneman and Vernon Smith the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics. Their research found that rational decisions about costs and benefits were distorted by how people framed them in their minds: People tend to embrace risk when there is a potentially large gain, and avoid it when there is potential for even a small loss. That’s why someone who will pay $5 for an infinitesimal chance to win a huge jackpot might not put away $5 they could spend today in a bank to save for the future.

That’s been a long-time message of Peter Tufano, an economist and dean of Oxford’s Said Business School. His non-profit, D2D Fund, promotes a number of programs to build financial assets for the poor that take advantage of this facet of human behavior. One of the most effective is known as the save to win fund. Consumers are encouraged to enter a “lottery” which is actually a savings account. The money they spend to enter is saved, and they become eligible for a cash prizes drawn from the combined interest earnings.

This is behavioral economics at work: While people won’t save money for the guaranteed-but-small return of interest on a certificate of deposit, they will pay for a tiny chance of a large return. Tufano’s pilot programs in the United States have led to $72.2 million in savings (pdf) for more than 40,000 account holders between 2009 and 2012. The lottery is a bonus, Tufano says—what’s important is that they are saving rather than spending or gambling their principal in the first place, making them more resilient to financial shocks.

Fans of these methods have been encouraging policymakers to use them more often. Four years ago, Harvard Business Review floated a proposal that would enter US taxpayers in a lottery as a way to encourage accurate and timely filing. But despite president Obama’s much bally-hooed “nudge”-friendly policy team, that plan hasn’t been implemented.

There are those that might object to lotteries as a nudge toward wise choices. Several religious faiths are skeptical, seeing gambling as sinful. Some governments, from China to many US states, are already using lotteries to fund social welfare or arts programs, and might not like to see competition from savings-building programs. And maybe it all feels a bit manipulative.

But if sweepstakes like these can be more widely useful, maybe we need a lottery that gives an entry ticket to every lawmaker who votes for smart social policies like these. After all, everything is about incentives.

Louis van Gaal favourite to replace Moyes

David Moyes' appointment at Manchester United raised plenty of questions about the former Everton boss and his ability to live up to the expectations that accompany such a prestigious job.

In truth, Moyes hasn't really looked as if he belonged in the Old Trafford dugout and Gthe Premier League defeat to Everton is to be the final straw for the 50-year-old Scot.

Leading the market to replace him is Louis van Gaal at 3/1 (4.00), the man who has been heavily linked with a summer move to Tottenham in recent weeks. But punters clearly believe that the man who will lead the Netherlands in Brazil this summer will be a highly-sought after appointment.

The 62-year-old's contract with the Dutch FA will expire after the World Cup, and he has been open about his desire to manage in the Premier League, so it's of little surprise to see him as the market favourite.

There are a number of candidates with strong links to the club in the other front running positions to replace Moyes, with former assistant manager Carlos Queiroz being backed into 9/2 (5.50) with Paddy Power, having been as big as 66/1 (67.0) just a few days ago.

Ryan Giggs has also been backed in recent weeks and now resides at 4/1 (5.0), although given the number of high profile, experienced candidates that could be available it seems unlikely that the Old Trafford hierarchy would risk appointing someone without any managerial experience on a long-term basis.

It could be more likely that Giggs would take over in an interim capacity for the final few games of the season, but the bookmakers could require the United midfielder to be appointed on a longer term basis in order to settle the market so punters should use caution with this selection.

That same logic could apply to the fact that Paddy Power make Sir Alex Ferguson a 6/1 (7.0) chance to be the next Manchester United manager.

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola is made a 16/1 (17.0) chance, although even at that price such a switch seems increasingly unlikely given how well the Bavarian club are doing under the former Barcelona man and how much work appears to be required at Old Trafford.

Jurgen Klopp is a 7/1 (8.0) bet according to the Irish bookmakers and although perhaps more plausible than Guardiola, the fact remains that United could struggle to lure a manager of his ilk who is currently employed at a stable, successful club, especially after defeat to Everton meant that United could no longer qualify for the Champions League.

April 21, 2014

Czech Republic drafting online gambling bill

The Czech Republic has the highest number of bars with gambling licenses per capita worldwide. But with just under 60,000 gambling machines in operation within its borders, the Czech government is looking to tighten control over the gaming industry.

Recently, Czech Deputy Finance Minister Ondrej Zavodsky revealed in an interview with Bloomberg that his office is currently in the process of drafting a new gambling bill that would allowing online gaming for all operators in the Czech Republic. Sounds like a good plan, right?

But there’s a catch. The proposed bill would allow online gambling, but would increase taxes for casino operators who ultimately decide to offer online gambling services.

As it stands now, the Czech government collects roughly $400 million in taxes from the gaming industry a year. But Deputy Finance Minister Ondrej Zavodsky also pointed out that costs related to the gaming industry are at least four times higher than the tax revenue, hence the proposal to increase tax rates for the gambling operators

“We need to create an environment that will allow us to tackle hardcore gaming like slots or table games,” Zavodsky told Bloomberg.

Separate tax rates will apply for different types of gaming to augment the Government’s current take of around 8 billion koruna (approx. $400 million) in gaming industry tax revenues per annum.

Should the bill pass, a 2016 timeline for its implementation is expected, giving casino operators enough time to weigh the pros and cons of offering online gambling in the country. Casinos and slot operators would receive the short end of the stick as they stand to face higher tax rates, while lottery companies would get the benefit of being taxed less, or at least lower than the 20 percent operators currently pay.

April 16, 2014

So Far, US Online Gambling Revenues Have Been Pathetic

State budget makers and gaming interests have drastically, laughably overestimated the amount of money that would be generated with the advent of legalized online gambling, especially in New Jersey.

In March 2013, New Jersey officials forecast that online gambling would yield somewhere in the neighborhood of $180 million in tax revenues for the state during the first fiscal year Internet gaming was legal. But the estimates have been falling ever since—to $160 million when Christ Christie signed the state budget last summer, and down to just $34 million earlier this year, after a few months of legalized online gambling had passed. More recently, the state treasurer said that no more estimates on online gambling revenues would be made public, which seems wise considering how previous predictions have fared.

From the end of November, when legalized online gambling in New Jersey, through February 2014, a mere $4.2 million in tax revenues has been collected by the state, leading one legislative budget officer to now project an estimate of $12 million in revenues for the year, the Associated Press reported. The revised estimate for next year’s revenues was listed at $48 million. At that pace, it would take four or five years for the state to take in revenues equal to the amount it was supposed to collect in tax revenues during the first year of legal online gambling.

It’s not just state officials who seem mystified by the lackluster returns. Caesars Entertainment recently informed the New Jersey Star-Ledger that its online gaming operation was experiencing decent success in a few parts of the state—Jersey City, Toms River, Cherry Hill—but that it couldn’t explain why interest was strong in some areas and almost nonexistent in others.

New Jersey isn’t the only state that seems to have drastically overestimated online gambling’s potential as a budgetary savior. When Delaware’s gambling sites launched, there were often only a couple dozen players online at any moment, and almost immediately it became apparent that revenues wouldn’t come anywhere near to the first-year estimates. Toward the end of March, Morgan Stanley issued a note regarding longer term prospects for online gambling in the U.S. “We are lowering our estimates to better reflect the insights we have gained following the first few months of operations in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware,” the note stated, lowering the anticipated gross online gambling spending for 2017 from $5 billion to $3.5 billion, and for 2020 from $9.3 billion to $8 billion.

Toward the end of 2011, mind you, Morgan Stanley was estimating an online gambling market of $14 billion annually, though that was based on broader legalization.

Casino companies give plenty of reasons why online gambling hasn’t taken off in New Jersey and other states, including the continued existence of unregulated (illegal) gambling site competitors, the fact that some banks aren’t allowing their credit cards to be used for placing bets online, and basic lack of awareness among consumers. Surely, some if not all of the factors holding online gambling back can be addressed in time.

That’s assuming legalized online gambling will be around for a while. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., who obviously has no problem with people gambling in person because he runs casinos, has been waging a war against online gambling for months, at one point penning an op-ed calling Internet gaming “a societal train wreck waiting to happen.” With the backing of Adelson, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently sponsored a bill that would effectively outlaw online gambling throughout the country.

A group supported by Adelson, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, has released a series of online ads warning about the risks posed to children and their families in a world where gambling is available on screens 24/7, and it’s not always possible to tell who is using an online account. As the National Journal pointed out, one of the ads shows how a kid with a smartphone can be playing Angry Birds one minute, then be addicted to blackjack the next:

“I was playing Angry Birds and then, you know, I just found it,” the teen narrates, as images of online blackjack and poker tables flash on screen. “It’s a lot cooler knowing that I’m playing a real game, not just, like, Candy Crush or Fruit Ninja.”

Atari partners with Pariplay to launch real-money gambling

Atari’s recently-announced partnership with social casino company FlowPlay to create a multi-platform gambling product called Atari Casino isn’t the only news coming out of the old video game company. Even bigger news has dropped with a new announcement that Atari has sealed the deal on another partnership, this time with online gambling operator Pariplay, to launch Atari’s video game brands across real money gambling formats, including iLottery, social, online and mobile platforms.

Remember those old Atari games like Asteroids, Pong, Centipede, and Missile Command? Well, prepare yourself for the return of these games, albeit in a different format from what you’ve come to know. As part of the Atari-Pariplay partnership, these games are expected to be offered in a multitude of real money gambling formats on Atari’s soon-to-launch real money gambling web site. And you thought Atari Casino was big news? This one has the potential to be even bigger.

The launch of Atari’s real money gambling web site is expected to happen later this year and in addition to seeing these games in the new site, all of them will also be made available in the Pariplay network, allowing operators with existing deals with the company to run these games through their sites.

If this Atari-Pariplay deal isn’t a match made in iGaming heaven, it is at the very least an intriguing one for both parties concerned. Unlike modern video games like the PlayStation 4 and the XBox One, Atari still has a legion of adult fans who grew up playing its games. And we’re not talking about the young and hipster crowd; these are people who are at least in their 30′s, an important segment to have on your side when you’re starting out in the business of real money gambling.

Pariplay’s expertise in the world of real money gambling category also makes it an ideal partner for Atari, allowing the latter to branch out of the video game industry where it initially made its name.

“Atari was a pioneer in the interactive entertainment space, having built tremendous brand equity through their rich suite of beloved brands,” Pariplay CEO Gili Lisani said in a press release. “We are proud to steward their entry into the evolving iGaming category where players can engage with their properties in exciting new ways.”

This new partnership with Pariplay, coupled with Atari’s equally new Flowship deal, are the first two of what’s shaping up to be a lot of steps to successfully transition into the world of social and real money online gambling.

Austrian match fixing players charged

Former footballers Dominique Taboga, Sanel Kuljic and ‘several other people’ have been charged in connection with the Austrian match-fixing scandal which came to light last year, state prosecutors said on Monday. Reuters reported that prosecutors in Graz said that they would not give any further details for the time being while investigations continued.

Taboga was initially hailed as a whistle-blower when he claimed he was being blackmailed to manipulate results, although it later transpired that he was more involved in events than he initially suggested. He left Austrian team Groedig by mutual consent on 14 November after the club said he had admitted trying to persuade four team mates to manipulate matches and in February he was given a life ban by the Austrian Football Federation.

Kuljic, who retired in 2012, played for Austria 20 times between 2005 and 2007 and was joint topscorer in the Austrian Bundesliga in 2005/06 for SV Ried with 15 goals.

Last November criminal investigators suggested that up to 17 first and second division matches could have been manipulated in the last seven years, nine of these were in the top flight Bundesliga and three involved Groedig. Nine of the 17 matches involved former Bundesliga club Kapfenberger, which was relegated at the end of the 2011-12 season.

Football integrity is one of the many issues that will be debated at next month’s Betting on Football Conference, held at Stamford Bridge on 8 May.

BetButler under siege from angry punters

BetButler under siege from an array of angry punters as a hoard of complaints surface on sports betting forums and twitter over withdrawal issues and a lack of communication.

Bodugi customers receive BetButler lifeline.

BetButler Under Siege From Angry PuntersThat was the headline that your truly selected just days ago after the news broke that BetButler had entered into an arrangement to take over the player balances from the troubled social betting site owned by Bodugi Technology.

I think I had better go back and change that word lifeline, and amend the sentence where I told worried Bodugi customers to worry no more, as it had become apparent that all is not well within the corridors of BetButler towers.

BetButler’s mantra is, “we’re on your side,” but that’s not exactly the feeling that their punters are getting, after sports betting forums and twitter have lit up in recent days, over allegations of slow withdrawals and a communications strategy that makes Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson sound like a motor mouth.

‘David,’ an administrator at the Gambling Times website, got so fed up with the constant complaints, and lack of feedback, that he even marched up to the BetButler main offices in London to demand answers in person.

He was met with stony silence.

BetButler is still paying out, albeit at a pace that doesn’t seem to fit into the customer’s ideal, but their behavior has created mass confusion, especially when you factor in their decision to take over the balances of the Bodugi punters.

I mean why would do you do that if you were on the brink of going flat broke?

Muddying the waters even more, Betclearer (BetButlers owners) are currently shown on the Companies House website as being in the state of dissolution. The company accounts for Betclearer were supposed to be posted on 31/12/2013 but they never materialized.

One forum poster explained how they had spent ’20 minutes talking to a very nice lady at the Gambling Commission, who is also owed money by Butler.’ That same poster went on to say that the ‘very nice lady’ said that, ‘part of the reason that they have fallen behind with payments, is the new regulations that have been imposed on Bet Butler by TGC. When pressed on this point, she went on to explain the TGC had ordered Butler to tighten up on verification of customers, particularly in respect of AGE VERIFICATION.’

BetButler couldn’t ignore their customers forever and eventually a reply was received from one irate customer who once again shared it with his fellow posters.

In the e-mailed response a Bet Butler representative acknowledged that there had been delays with withdrawals, stating, ‘as a brokerage, the funds you have deposited to place bets have been used to place bets and at present we are waiting for monies to be returned to us from other bookmakers. We don’t envisage this delay to be much longer and as soon as funds are returned to Bet Butler, your funds can be returned.’

Bet Butler also laid some of the blame on a huge increase in customers, which has resulted in more activity than ever before, therefore placing huge demands on their customer service teams, hence the lack of communication.

Not the warmest of welcomes for Bodugi players, who have also been told that before they can withdraw their funds through Bet Butler they have to wager their whole balance at bets of even money or above.

More of a line than a lifeline now I come to think of it?

If anyone is worried about the goings on at BetButler then the process is pretty straightforward.

Contact the Gambling Commission who will do absolutely nothing for you and then go home and pray to whichever God you believe in that you will one day receive your money.

Best of luck.

April 14, 2014

Unibet strengthens horseracing ties

Sportsbook Unibet is putting further investment behind racing by becoming ARC’s official starting stall sponsor for 2014. The new sponsorship will see Unibet branded starting stalls at ARC’s portfolio of racecourses across the length and breadth of the country. In addition, over 90 stall handlers will also wear Unibet branded clothing throughout the year. This sponsorship will run alongside Unibet’s freshly announced official betting and gaming partnership with Royal Windsor Racecourse.

This significant sponsorship will see Unibet’s eye catching logo’s prominently displayed on front and rear of the starting stalls at Royal Windsor, Wolverhampton, Lingfield, Ffos Las, Bath, Yarmouth, Newcastle, Brighton, Chepstow and Southwell throughout the flat season.

Unibet announced last week that it was embarking on a programme of horse racing associations and marketing initiatives in the coming months, and less than a week into the flat season the Wimbledon based company has announced sponsorships at Chepstow, Royal Windsor and this new starting stall initiative.

Ed Nicholson, Head of Unibet’s UK Marketing Operations, said: “This sponsorship is an extremely simple but effective way of informing those who like to bet on horse racing that Unibet now offers a fully comprehensive horse racing offering.

“Unibet’s sole racing product aim in 2014 is to ensure that those who like to bet on horse racing are aware that Unibet have launched a new racing odds line and have a comprehensive product that matches and exceeds our competitors offering. We would like this group to consider opening an account with us, and then to enjoy placing their horse racing bets with us on a regular basis.”

ARC’s Jo Mapletoft, Group Sponsorship Manager said: “ARC is delighted to be working with Unibet to develop its racing proposition. The exposure and reach that Unibet will gain through the brand being seen on Sky Sports At The Races and from the thousands of visitors at the ARC courses will be sure to gain positive results.”

Denmark orders ISP to block five illegal gambling sites

For a country that was one of the first to embrace online gambling in its shores, Denmark seems to be doing a decent of job cracking down on what it considered as “illegal” online gambling sites.

Quite happily, the Danish Gambling Authority recently instructed Internet service provider Three to block five suspected sites, which have been named to include 7red.com, 7red.dk, quasargaming.com, wintrillions.com and trillonario.com.

Turns out, these five sites aren’t licensed by the Danish government and worse for them, they were already warned by the authority to stop operating in the country lest they feel the wrath of getting blocked out of a market that doesn’t have any shortage of online gambling options for its residents.

This isn’t the first time the DGA has taken this step to request a block on illegal gambling sites, or at least what it deemed as such. Back in 2012, the DGA imposed blocks on 12 gambling firms lacking official Danish online gambling licenses, most notably Betclic Everest subsidiary Bet-At-Home and several Playtech-powered sites, including Titan Poker.

So clearly, the DGA already knows the go-around on the measures needed to prevent illegal online gambling sites from operating in the country. Not surprisingly, Internet service provider Three was once again the recipient of the city court of Frederiksberg’s latest injunction same as it was back in 2012. With this new injuction, Three is now forced to once again take the necessary steps to ensure that none of the five blocked sites can finagle their way into the country again.

Three really has no choice but to comply again, anyway. It’s got two weeks to do so, although it’ll probably take the company a lot sooner than that to act on the DGA’s orders.

Betclic Everest withdraw operations from Russia

Senior management at igaming operator Betclic Everest have announced that the operator will withdraw all of its igaming operations from targeting the Russian igaming market.

The decision by the operator, comes days after Betclic announced that it would no longer allow wagering and accept customer subscriptions from Belgium.

Betclic Everest announced its decision following the Russian gaming authorities’ decision to extend its internet ISP blacklist. It is thought that the Russian Government will look to toughen its stance on unlicensed igaming operators, as Russia looks to set a future igaming policy.

Russian ISP blocks have affected a number of igaming operators including Unibet, Pokerstars and Bwin. The blocks have been undertaken by Russian internet watchdog – Roskomnadzor.

Betclic Everest, actions to withdraw from the region have been followed by sports betting exchange Betfair that they would no longer accept customers from the Russian Federation.

Betclic Everest are set to make more statements regarding their decision to withdraw operations from the region.

32Red to sponsor Rangers

32Red Plc has signed another new shirt sponsorship deal, this time penning a three year agreement to sponsor Rangers Football Club, commencing in the 2014/15 season. The agreement provides 32Red with shirt sponsorship, extensive visibility in the stadium and across the Club’s digital and media platforms and access to Scotland’s largest football fanbase.

Ed Ware, CEO of 32Red commented: “We are delighted to be working with Rangers Football Club and look forward to being part of the continued rise and return of the Club. 32Red has a history of successful football club sponsorship deals and we look forward to the next three seasons and our new and proud association with a club with such heritage and potential.”

Rangers Chief Executive Graham Wallace commented: “We are delighted to announce today a three-year shirt sponsorship deal with 32Red, the UK’s premier online casino company. We look forward to working closely with them over the next three seasons in a partnership that we believe will be hugely beneficial to both parties.”

Regulatory Changes for Forex Brokers

Forex brokers have been experiencing regulatory changes for almost the past 10 years. The first and most dramatic of the of these changes were in the US in 2008. The oversight agency for Forex in the US is the NFA (National Futures Association). At that time the NFA had made a decision to dramatically increase net capital requirements for Forex brokers. It was only a couple years prior when Forex brokers could operate with a capital position of $300,000. By the end of 2008 the net capital requirement for a Forex broker or RFED (Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer) was $20 million. The NFA had also instituted restrictions on order types including hedging. Result from this was movement of these brokers to various jurisdictions.

Many of the larger Forex brokers set up shop in the UK or Australia. These were two of the more established regulatory locations. Other brokers set up in places like Cyprus, Mauritius, or New Zealand. As more and more brokers were setting up in these locations the local regulators also felt the need to increase capital requirements and institute other regulations.

Most recently New Zealand was announced that it will start instituting these types of requirements. They have established that they will require a broker to have a capital position of NZ$1 million. They have also announced that they will require management and other members to assume responsibility for the company. It will be interesting to see the response from the numerous brokers that have established New Zealand as their home. For the brokers that will remain in New Zealand the net capital position will offer a sense of security for their clients. For other brokers that can’t fit the bill they may have to look at other offshore locations. As a Forex industry keeps growing expect to see you more and new regulations from these other jurisdictions.

April 10, 2014

FA wants total ban on football betting for players

The Football Association has proposed that from next season any player in league football and the top four tiers of the non-league system will be banned from betting, either directly or indirectly, on any football match or competition anywhere in the world.

The changes to FA Rules from the start of the 2014-15 season would also see a worldwide prohibition on betting on any other football-related matter, for example, the transfer of players, employment of managers or team selection. The passing of inside information to somebody that uses the information for betting remains prohibited.

Having received a unanimous recommendation by The FA Council on Wednesday and The Football Regulatory Authority in March, the Betting Rule changes would need to be agreed by FA shareholders at their AGM on 21 May before coming into force.

The proposal follows consultation with the Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association, League Managers’ Association and Football Conference.

Currently, FA Rules state that no participant can bet on a match or competition in which they are involved that season, or which they can influence, or any other football-related matter concerning the league that they play in. They are also prohibited from using or passing inside information for betting. The proposed rule changes would see these prohibitions retained for Participants below Step 4 of the National League System.

Darren Bailey, The FA’s Director of Football Governance and Regulation, said: “The FA constantly evaluates its rules and regulations to ensure that they meet the needs of the modern game. The proposed betting rule adjustment to encompass all aspects of world football provides a simple and straightforward message to all participants on where the line is drawn.

“It is important to stress that the rules form only one part of the overall framework for the regulation of betting and maintaining the integrity of the English game. In addition to the monitoring of betting markets throughout the world, education remains a key part of our work.

“Building on previous education programmes, we will continue to communicate to all levels of the game not only the Rules on betting, but also the restrictions in place on the use of inside information and the reporting obligations on Participants. In doing so, we will further stress the collective responsibility that all those involved in football have in upholding the integrity of football in England and beyond.”

Established by The FA Council, The Football Regulatory Authority performs the regulatory, disciplinary and rule-making functions in relation to football played in England in accordance with the Laws of the Game. The FA Council is made up of representatives from across the game, including the Premier League, Football League, County FAs, affiliated leagues and associations, clubs, referees, supporters, inclusion bodies and independent members.

The extended ban has been pushed after numerous breaches of the current betting rules clearly in the hope that simplifying the rules with a blanket ban will get the message across to the sport’s participants. The latest to breach the rules was Tranmere Rovers manager Ronnie Moore, who has subsequently been sacked for his actions.

April 07, 2014

William Hill announces technical migration of Australian brands into one platform

William Hill has announced the complete migration of its three acquired Australian brands - Centrebet, Tom Waterhouse and Sportingbet Australia. The integration will see all brands managed under a single platform, promoting unified technologies and products to its Australian customer base.

William Hill will maintain all three brands active, which counters previous industry speculation that the operator would be looking to condolidate its Australian brands into one.

2013 saw William Hill acquire all three brands in order to enter the Australian online sport betting market. The acquisition saw William Hill become the third biggest online gambling operator behind Paddy Power and Tabcorp. The combined acquisition contributed £86.7 million in net revenue and £12 million in profit for 2013 performance.

William Hill will re-launch Sportingbet.com.au with a new mobile friendly responsive site. The operator further announced that the re-launch would be supported by an ongoing Australian tv advertising campaign which would be promoted by former Australian international cricketer Shane Warne (former brand ambassador for 888 Poker).

Betclic withdraw from Belgium, amid PPO investigation

Betclic senior management have chosen to withdraw the company’s operations from the Belgian igaming market as the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) charged the operator with alleged unlicensed igaming operations targeting Belgian igaming players.

Prior to the decision taken by senior management, the operator had suffered a confiscation of €60,000 by the Belgian Gaming Authorities, for servicing unlicensed igaming services to Belgium customers. Betclic were placed under the black list of igaming operators, who had been warned by regional authorities and restricted Belgian IP access to their igaming portals.

The PPO are set to investigate the operator, for illegal igaming operations, BetClic deny any knowledge of wrongdoing on their part. A company statement read “Betclic Everest Group expresses its total surprise concerning the information referring to criminal sanctions and fund blocking that the Group is said to face in Belgium,”

The PPO claim that the operator had been warned of servicing Belgian customers with unlicensed igaming services, furthermore they claim that the operator breached regional igaming laws by allowing payment process on Belgian credit cards. The PPO have further stated that it has proof from Belgian based financial institutions that the operator had processed these online payments.

If prosecuted members of the Betclic board could be held responsible by Belgian igaming authorities and could face prison sentences of six months to five years.

Ladbrokes leaked document Controversy

Following the leaked Ladbrokes document that shows the countries second largest bookmaker made £1 billion in a month from the highly controversial Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), David Cameron the UK’s Prime Minister will announce stronger penalties for any bookmaker that fails to enforce maximum playing times and loses for gamblers on the machines.

The leaked internal memo from Ladbrokes shows that the new rules coming in would not affect bookmakers as 92% of customers playing FOBTs do not play longer than 30 minutes consecutively.

Even the alarm on players losing over £250 stopping them playing and alerting a member of staff would not work as The Ladbrokes analysis shows that the average loss per “60-minute or over” session of roulette is a little more than £93, well below the cap proposed.

The Ladbrokes memo which showed in April 2013 that gamblers had played their FOBTs 4.8 million times, staking £1bn, over a four-week period.

Over the last four years, annual player losses from the fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) have risen from £1.3billion to around £1.5billion.

And last year the gambling industry regulator warned that the machines expose ‘even normal leisure gamblers to potentially harmful rates of loss whether or not they would be classified as problem gamblers’.

The latest news on Ladbrokes is another blow for the struggling bookmaker whose Chief Executive is already under fire and has until this summer’s world cup to turn around the companies fortunes and try to catch up with William Hill in both its online and retail businesses.

English Football Facing Its Biggest Match Fixing Scandal

English football facing its biggest match fixing scandal as local police arrest a further seven footballers on suspicions of match fixing in the English football league.

Seven more footballers have been arrested in what is fast turning out to be the most controversial match fixing scandal in English footballing history.

Six players from Preston North End, and a solitary player from Barnsley, now take the official number of players arrested in connection with spot-fixing to 13, following the arrest of six players in the back end of 2013.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) told members of the UK tabloid press that the players were being interviewing by local police in connection with the case that made all of the headlines thanks to undercover reporters.

The Preston players are believed to be Captain John Welsh, Keith Keane, Bailey Wright, David Buchanan, Ben Davies and Graham Cummins, with Barnsley defender Stephen Dawson also taken in for questioning. Davies and Cummins are on loan at York City and Rochdale respectively meaning the scale of the cheating could be even further than just the fields involving Preston and Barnsley.

The tabloids also report that the previous six players have also been rearrested for further questioning into alleged bribery and money laundering matters.

The madness started when undercover reporters video taped the former Portsmouth star Sam Sodje admitting to getting deliberately sent off in return for a £70,000 bribe.

Sodje’s brothers Steve and Akpo who play for Tranmere, Blackburn striker DJ Campbell, Oldham winger Cristian Montano and Tranmere defender Ian Goodison have all been rearrested after the NCA stated ‘new evidence’ had surfaced in the proceedings.

Preston released a statement in reaction to the arrests.

“In response to media inquiries received, Preston North End Football Club can confirm that today, April 3 2014, the club has been contacted by the National Crime Agency in relation to a wide-ranging investigation into ‘spot fixing’ in football.

“There are no suggestions that any offences that might have occurred involved match-fixing.

“None of our employees have been charged with any offence at this time and until or unless this position changes we will be taking no further action nor making any further comment.

“All of our contracted employees are available for selection by the manager.”

The case continues.

April 03, 2014

Can increasing odds save UK bookmakers?

March was a pretty important month for many online and offline UK gambling companies. The budget provided benefits to bingo operators while bookmakers are preparing to take a hit on their B2 Gaming Machines.

Can increasing odds save UK bookmakers?In the online sector the progress made in introducing the Point of Consumption Tax meant that the landscape is set to drastically change. Regardless of the vertical, having to pay a 15% tax on UK revenue will hit every operator hard.

Global Betting and Gaming Consultant’s chief executive Warwick Bartlett wrote an interesting piece on the implications of this new tax for operators and he estimated that had the tax have been implemented recently that both Ladbrokes and Coral would have failed to make a profit.

Unfortunately for Ladbrokes and Coral this look back may prove to be a good indication of their future. Given that just under 45% of Ladbrokes’ digital revenue came from sportsbook in 2013 and a similar amount at Gala Coral, it’s going to be important for companies to make their digital sports betting operations profitable.

Unlike casino, poker and bingo where percentages can be tweaked it seems like a tough task to figure out where extra profits are going to come from for bookmakers. The obvious answer would be to change the odds, but given the potential pitfalls of that strategy, is it even worth considering?

Speaking last week about the effect that the point of consumption tax will have for UK-facing operators, Deloitte’s betting and gaming lead Simon Oaten explained that won’t be easy as it will be online bookmakers who have the toughest task to survive.

He said: “It’s going to be difficult for operators in the sports betting environment to adjust price too much because there are operators that already pay this level of tax and are offering similar prices online.”

In a sector where value is a primary factor in the acquisition of many potential customers, being able to offer improved odds would be a simple move to increase profit. Unfortunately that clearly isn’t going to be a viable option.

GBGC’s Bartlett voiced a similar opinion, but applied it to all sectors, by saying: “I have completely discounted the idea of building bigger margin into the offer to the customers. The Internet is ultra competitive, it will not happen. Well, not in the interim period anyway.”

It could be argued that given the uniformity of payout percentages across casinos due to the use of a small number of software providers that this isn’t necessarily going to be the case in this sector. However bookmakers are free to set their own odds.

In order for a similar situation to work in sports betting all operators would need to agree to increase their prices and that’s far from feasible.

As alluded to above it’s an obvious conclusion to say that increasing the odds simply isn’t a viable option. However, speaking last week Deloitte’s Simon Oaten raised an interesting point regarding two of the most rapidly growing areas of sports betting at the moment.

He said: “It’s not all doom and gloom for sports betting companies. In mobile and bet in-play activity there is less price sensitivity so there will be opportunities there for margin to be increased to account for point of consumption tax.”

Focusing on in-play, the speed at which bets are placed means that this statement should ring true. Once customers have an account they have the ability to place several bets within a small time period and the ninety-minute nature of football – the most popular sport for in-play betting – encourages this.

Gambling Data estimated that in-play betting was the main driver between the 50% growth in online sports betting between 2009 and 2011 and while that growth rate may have slowed since, in-play continues to be a huge part of the vertical.

When it comes to mobile, bets aren’t necessarily placed in such rapid succession but the size of this market has the potential to be simply staggering. At the end of last year Juniper Research predicted that more than 164 million will be gambling on their mobile phones in 2018.

While the majority of this growth was expected to come from the US market you can bet that the UK market won’t exactly be shrinking. Given the smaller screen size users are less inclined to ‘shop around’ meaning that the operators who are able to acquire customers are likely to see a higher level of loyalty than may have previously been experienced.

On the face of it, implementing higher odds seems like a sure-fire way to lose customers to your competitors. However the lower importance of odds on in-play and mobile betting coupled with the growing importance of these two areas within the industry mean that it may not be quite as outrageous as first thought.

Spain to allow gambling TV advertising

The Spanish gambling regulatory body is set to establish new provisions and laws that will allow the promotion and coverage of igaming verticals to be broadcast on Spanish national television.

Although online gambling is permitted, through granted national license the Spanish Government and Advertising Standards do not permit the broadcasting of television adverts promoting igaming verticals.

The new incentives to allow further promotion of licensed will be drafted by the Spanish advertising watchdog – Autocontrol. It is widely thought that TV advertisements promoting gambling will be placed during the hours of 22:00 – 06:00, in order to protect minors viewing the content. Autocontrol have taken on board advertising policies implemented by the UK advertising standards, such as the introduction of a watershed in order to limit promotion of gambling to the general public.

Igaming operators, who have decided to enter the Spanish regulated market, have welcomed the decision to allow them access to further marketing channels. The Spanish igaming market has proved to be a tough undertaking for several operators who have been burdened by heavy tax levy and restrictions of higher grossing gaming games such as casino slots.

Autocontrol have yet to give a further breakdown on how the advertising regulations and policy will be implemented, and which igaming verticals will be allowed to be advertised to the general public through televised mediums.

Digibet asks the EC to clarify German igaming laws

German sports betting market focused operator Digibet has asked the European Court of Justice to bring clarity to the German sports betting licensing procedure. The operator has brought fourth a case concerning German licensing procedure, stating it to be cumbersome and lacking in transparency, which has in turn affected its business practices.

Digibet are concern by the slow progress, of issuing licenses for the region and the inability of the government to set corporate guidelines and best practice for the governance of the sector.

German ministers have indicated that the first batch of licenses will be set for Q4 2014, it is unknown which operators will be granted permission to market igaming services in the region. Ministers have also not given specific details with regards to implementations of new laws which may affect the sector.

Digibet hope that the European Court of Justice may add pressure to the German policy makers on the issuing of igaming policy. The Q4 target has been thought of as being optimistic given the circumstances.

German focused operators are hoping for transparency in 2014, given the sporting significance of 2014, operators in the region will be hoping for less stringent policies that have affected igaming markets in other legislated European Jurisdictions

Russia explores Crimean gaming zone options

Russian officials are examining proposals to create a gambling zone in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed from Ukraine, according to sources quoted in Bloomsberg. Officials reportedly discussed the option with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, while Russia’s ministries of economy, finance and regional development have been given an April 15 deadline to present a plan for the gambling project with spending and revenue estimates. With the running a fiscal deficit of around $1.5bn this year, Russia is said to be exploring ways in which to make Crimea less reliant on the state budget.

OPAP announces profit plunge

Greek gambling firm OPAP announced a collapse in net profits of 72.1 percent, to €141.1m in 2013, which it attributed to the introduction of a new 30 percent gross gaming revenue tax in the country. Full-year revenue fell 6.6 percent from €4bn in 2012 to €3.7bn in the last 12 months, while gross gaming revenue dropped 6.3 percent to €1.2bn.

Rounding out a disastrous year, EBITDA fell 67.1 percent, from €673.8m to €221.7m in 2013.

OPAP's fourth fourth-quarter performance was equally as bleak, with net profit reaching just €29.4m, 77.6 percent lower than the €133.8m achieved in the corresponding period last year.

Kamil Ziegler, chairman and chief executive officer of OPAP, said that despite the disappointing overall performance, the firm’s results in Q4 were “encouraging” and is keen to push for further improvements in 2014.

“Within an overall difficult year for the Greek economy, OPAP’s financial results of the fourth quarter mark an encouraging trend,” Ziegler said.

“The addition of extra features in a variety of products in our portfolio, along with the stabilisation of consumer spending, led to an increase of revenues year-on-year, which is a positive indication for 2014.

“It is important to note that 2013 was the first year that a 30% gross gaming revenue tax was applied, which in terms of OPAP’s numbers translates into a yield of € 345 million for the Greek state.

“We remain focused on the improvement of OPAP’s operational efficiency as well as on the modernisation of our product portfolio, towards the benefit of all our stakeholders: customers, agents, shareholders and the Greek state and society as a whole.”

April 02, 2014

The End Is Near for Online Gambling in Costa Rica

In the last few years, the online gambling industry of Costa Rica has experienced one major upheaval after another. On one hand, there’s the overzealous law enforcement and prosecutorial actions taken by the United States; on the other hand, powerful lobby groups are slandering Internet gaming and wagering operations in Costa Rica for the purpose of encouraging lawmakers to allow gambling in various jurisdictions. At the current rate of events, online gambling may disappear in Costa Rica by the end of this decade.

Writing for the respected online magazine Slate, technology columnist and investor Jon Nathanson recently predicted that online gambling:

[...] will be broadly legal in the United States by the end of this decade. It will start with online poker, which is currently legal only in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. But it will expand from there, both in categories of games and in geographic acceptance. This is already happening, to a certain extent: The wheel’s started spinning, and the ball is in play. When it drops, the video gaming business will win big. The makers of today’s mobile games will build tomorrow’s mobile casinos.

Mr. Nathanson’s wager is one that The Costa Rica Star can certainly get behind. This was explained in October 2013 by the bold move taken by the American Gaming Association (AGA) in adopting the film Runner Runner, which was based on a story about online poker in Costa Rica even though it was not filmed here, as a cautionary tale about the fictionally shady Internet gambling industry in this country.

The Runner Runner article was followed by another look into various other reasons why online casinos and sportsbooks are moving their operations out of Costa Rica:

More than two years have passed since Black Friday, and the online gambling industry in Costa Rica has shrunk considerably. In the sportsbook world, the proliferation of Pay-Per-Head (PPH) business models has consolidated sports wagering down to just a few call centers. Bookies with U.S. clients can make use of these PPH services and run their underground business from a smartphone.

Notice how sportsbooks can streamline their operations through PPH services that can be accessed by smartphones. Mr, Nathanson argues that the mobile platform will be the ace in the hole for the AGA to push their gambling legalization proposals through across the U.S.:

Worldwide, revenues from online casinos exceed $32 billion, and Juniper Research estimates that revenues from gambling on mobile devices alone will top $100 billion by 2017. As more states soften gambling laws, and more follow the example set by Nevada and Delaware, expect the $12 billion mobile gaming industry to pay close attention. Zynga, King, and other giants in the mobile gaming business won’t be content to sit on the sidelines. I suspect they’ll strike partnerships with state-based gambling companies to provide the software for the next generation of virtual casinos.

Since the great majority of online gambling and sportsbooks operations in Costa Rica cater to U.S. players, the gradual legalization in that North American nation will spell the end for the industry in this country -and it could all go down in the next few years.

April 01, 2014

PKR and Sofia Lovgren part ways

The young Swedish starlet Sofia Lovgren has parted ways with her sponsors PKR prompting speculation that she may have been headhunted to become the latest addition to the teams at either PokerStars or Full Tilt.

Lovgren leaves after four-years and in her farewell message to the community pledged to reveal her ‘next big adventure’ in the next few weeks. PKR Danski, released the news onto the PKR forum, and he also made it known that there were bigger things to come from Lovgren after he wrote, “She has been offered an opportunity which any of us would find hard to decline.”

Danski went on to pour lavish praise on the young Swede, known to the PKR community as Wellbet, when he said, “Of the more than 20 Team Pros we have been associated with, Sofia has had the greatest impact on our own players, and outside PKR’s walls. Her poker ability and more importantly her loyalty, professionalism, determination and work ethic are the reasons she has done so well, and why new doors have opened for her.”

“PKR has been like my second family and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with so many genuine and nice people and to represent this unique poker site and community.” Said Lovgren in her statement.

So Lovgren leaves some pretty tall high heels to fill and that burden now falls onto the slender shoulders of Eleanor ‘Elz442’ Gudger who joined the team just days before Lovgren announced her separation from the company.

Gudger doesn’t have too many big live score to her name, with the exception of a sixth place finish at the 2013 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Ladies Event, but she is the most successful female MTT player of all-time on PKR, amassing $225,000 in cashes – enough to give her a place in the PKR Hall of Fame.

She becomes the third female poker player to earn a PKR contract after the aforementioned Lovgren and the PKR.fr hotshot Patty ‘BabyTes’ Beaumier.

Ads That Show How Gambling Can Reduce You From Royalty To Nothing

Brazillian ad agency Revolution has created some gorgeous ads for their client, Quatro Estações.

Instituto Quatro Estações is institute for the treatment of psychiatric disorders in Brazil.

In these beautifully art directed ads, it shows the damages that gambling can do to you, reducing you from being a King, or Queen, to being haggard and out of energy.