Category Archives: Business

Scientific Games continues hiring spree with new Chief Commercial Officer


Scientific Games continues hiring spree with new Chief Commercial OfficerScientific Games (SG) is barreling forward with its plans to take over the world. Recent announcements brought news of two new members to the team—Doug Albregts as the Executive VP and Group CEO for its Gaming Division, Tim Butcher in the executive VP and chief product officer role across all of the company’s divisions and Nikos Konstakis as the VP of the company’s new sportsbook. SG has added yet another veteran to the fray, picking up Steve Schrier to be the chief commercial officer of the firm’s digital division.

Schrier has been involved in a variety of senior sales roles for the past two decades, covering different aspects of technology, gaming and products. He is joining SG following a successful stint as the VP of sales for Playtech Plc. His appointment will begin in July of this year, and he will report to SG’s CEO, Jason Walbridge, in SG Digital’s office in London.

In a statement, the company said, “In his role, Mr Schrier will establish world-class customer partnerships and be responsible for all account management and business development across SG Digital.” SG Digital CEO Matt Davey said, “Steve’s appointment marks the elevation of our customer engagement strategy… to cement SG Digital… as a global digital gaming powerhouse.”

In no small part a result of the recent reversal of the U.S. Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), Schrier pointed out that the digital gaming industry “continues to go through a rapid period of transformation and SG Digital is advancing on all fronts under Scientific Games’ leadership.” He added that he and his team will be concentrating their efforts on creating “world-class” partnerships while providing unparalleled customer engagement.

SG created its SG Digital arm in February to enhance its digital presence. The new unit incorporates the company’s existing portfolio with those of NYX Gaming Group, a sports betting company it acquired in January.

SG Corporation is a publicly traded company on NASDAQ under the symbol SGMS. It is the world leader of gaming entertainment and is ranked first in technology-based gaming systems. It also offers a variety of digital real-money gaming and sports betting platforms, as well as casino table and lottery games. It has net income of more than $1.3 billion and revenue of over $2.8 billion.

Comments



Source link

New Jersey online gambling market has second-best month


new-jersey-online-gambling-borgata-live-dealer-casinoNew Jersey’s regulated online gambling market had its second highest revenue month in April, despite online poker’s perpetual inability to grow.

Figures released Monday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) show the state’s licensed online gambling operators generated combined revenue of $23m in April, a 10.6% improvement over the same month last year but below the record $25.6m set in March 2018.

In what has become a familiar refrain, the online casino vertical did all the heavy lifting, with revenue rising 12.7% year-on-year to $21.25m, while the online poker vertical continued its one-way ticket to Palookaville by falling 10.5% to $1.76m.

The Golden Nugget’s family of online casino sites – GoldenNuggetCasino.com, BetfairCasino.com and PlaySugarHouse.com – saw its revenue slip slightly from March’s record $8.65m but the $8.13m earned in April was still sufficient to claim top honors for the month.

The Borgata family of sites ranked second with just under $4.6m, of which $514k came from online poker. The Borgata’s online casino sites soft-launched their new live dealer casino games towards the end of the month, joining the Nugget, which became the first New Jersey operator to launch a live casino offering way back in August 2016.

Resorts Digital Gaming, whose operations include PokerStarsNJ.com and MoheganSunCasino.com, placed third with just over $3.6m, of which nearly $800k came via poker.

Caesars Interactive Entertainment New Jersey ranked fourth with $3.5m, to which poker contributed a mere $449k. The Tropicana’s casino-only site brought up the revenue rear with $3.17m in April.

The April numbers will likely get lost in the day’s far more eventful development, namely, New Jersey’s sports betting victory at the US Supreme Court. It seems a no-brainer to imagine that the state’s licensed online operators will be chomping at the bit to add sports wagering to their list of gambling products but they’ll have to wait for the DGE and state legislators to give them the all-clear.

Comments



Source link

Dutch court: sports bet monopoly good, lottery monopoly bad


dutch-court-sports-betting-monopolyThe Netherlands’ highest administrative court says the government has to rethink its lottery monopoly, but monopolies on sports betting and lottery scratch cards can continue to exist.

In 1964, the Netherlands granted Lotto BV (now Nederlandse Loterij) monopolies over lotteries, scratch cards and sports betting, based on the Gaming Act approved that year. When these licenses expired on December 31, 2014, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) regulatory body automatically renewed them without granting other companies the opportunity to bid for the right to offer these services.

A number of international gambling firms, including Betclic, Betfair and Unibet, along with the European Gaming & Betting Association, challenged the renewal and won lower court victories, only to have the KSA appeal the verdicts.

On Wednesday, the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State upheld the sports betting and scratch card monopolies but ordered the KSA to rethink its decision to renew Lotto BV’s numerical lottery monopoly.

The Council of State declared that, while the sports and scratch monopolies undoubtedly ran contrary to European Union trade rules governing the free movement of services, they were nonetheless justified due to EU loopholes for monopolies that claim to be protecting consumers, combating illegality and minimizing gambling addiction.

However, the Council of State said it saw no difference in the likelihood of someone becoming addicted to Lotto BV’s lottery products versus the traditional draws offered by the country’s six licensed charity lottery operators. The KSA will now have to open a tender for lottery rights or come up with some other reason to justify Lotto BV’s most favored nation status.

It’s worth noting that Lotto BV’s ongoing sports betting monopoly applies only to land-based betting. Online sports betting licenses are expected to be open to multiple companies once the Dutch senate okays the Remote Gaming Bill, which was approved by the legislature’s lower chamber nearly two years ago but has been languishing in legislative purgatory ever since.

Comments



Source link

Poll: Americans want states, not feds, to control sports betting


sports-betting-poll-state-control-legal-wageringAmericans want individual states to control legal sports betting, not the federal government, according to a new poll.

On Thursday, the latest Seton Hall Sports Poll revealed that 62% of respondents believe state governments should be overseeing legal sports betting activity if the Supreme Court overturns the longtime federal betting ban, compared to just 27% who want federal oversight.

The poll, which was conducted this week with 736 randomly selected adults, found that 55% of respondents favor legalized betting versus just 35% who are opposed. The numbers match a Washington Post-University of Massachusetts Lowell poll last September that found 55% support and 33% opposition.

Far more men (63%) than women (47%) in the new Seton Hall poll looked favorably upon legal wagering, and support was also highly dependent on age, with 68% support among those aged 18-29 years compared to just 37% of those aged 60 or over. Those who failed to finish high school were also far more likely to support (71%) legal wagering than those with post-graduate degrees (39%).

The NCAA has been fighting New Jersey’s efforts to authorize legal wagering and, should the Supreme Court overturn the federal prohibition, the NCAA will likely continue to fight for a carveout that bans wagering on college athletics. But 49% of the Seton Hall respondents believe college sports should be fair game for wagering versus just 36% who want college games off the board.

When it comes to the faux controversy over the alleged impact that legal wagering will have on the integrity of sports contests, a plurality (48%) of respondents felt integrity will be negatively impacted compared to 42% of those who said the opposite.

That negative view was echoed in a 2017 Seton Hall poll regarding the NFL’s Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas, which found 46% of respondents believed the relocation would “increase the likelihood of players, referees or team officials gambling on the outcome of games.”

Incredibly, one-third of those who favor legal wagering believe it will negatively impact the sports. Poll director Rick Gentile described this contradiction as “outrageous … It comes close to saying ‘We don’t care about the legitimacy of the games, what matters is being able to bet on them.’” God bless you, ‘Murica… You rarely disappoint.

Comments



Source link

Spanish online gambling and betting market poised to hit $1.22B by 2023


Online gambling and betting businesses in Spain are on track to becoming a billion-dollar industry, according to forecasts.

An AFP report quoted consultancy firm Ficom Leisure, which said that Spain is now “on the radar of the international market” as it predicts the market’s annual online gambling and betting revenue to hit €1 billion (US$1.22 billion) to €1.5 billion ($1.84 billion) in the next three to five years.

Spanish online gambling and betting market poised to hit $1.22B by 2023Ficom anchored its analysis on Spain’s 2017 online figures, with sports and casino gross gaming revenues jumping to €560 million ($687 million). Ficom senior partner Christian Tirabassi told the news outlet that, unlike other European markets, Spain still has plenty of room for growth.

Sports betting and gaming company Optima Chief Executive Jacob Lopez Curciel agreed with Tirabassi, saying that Spain remains unsaturated compared to other countries.

The only concern that Curciel had in Spain was the country’s penchant for new regulations. He pointed out that too much regulation will make the market more expensive for betting operators.

However, Spain’s Congress of Deputies, the lower house of its parliament, has just proposed cutting taxes on online fixed-odds sports betting, exchange betting and fixed-odds horseracing revenue from the current rate of 25% to 20%. The proposal, which is intended to make the market more attractive to operators who have yet to acquire a Spanish license, has a ways to go before it becomes law, but would offer a significant boost to operators’ bottom lines.

Optima’s Curciel suggested that Spain-based operators should include horse racing in their offerings, saying, “At the moment for Spanish players the sports they bet on are football, basketball and tennis but I think horse racing is growing, quite fast actually, and it is a product that has to be there.”

“There could be some consolidation such as multimedia products and between retail and online,” Curciel told AFP. “The operators and suppliers of technology for racing are producing streaming and will work very well for Spanish players.”

For Mikel Lopez de Torre, chairman of Spanish online gambling trade body Jdigital, the Spanish online gaming and betting market is ripe for consolidation as it matures in the coming years.

“It is hard to see how we can make room for 12 more brands without seeing any consolidation beginning with those at the bottom of the pyramid and that has to start in the next five years,” de Torre said.

Comments



Source link

PokerStars, GVC, Paddy Power Betfair join US casino lobby


american-gaming-association-pokerstars-stars-groupAmerica’s top casino lobby group has welcomed six new members, including a company the group once called “a business built on deceit, chicanery and the systematic flouting of US law.”

On Thursday, the American Gaming Association (AGA) announced that it had added six new companies as Board-level members, including BMM Testlabs, Oklahoma-based tribal casino operator Choctaw Casinos and Resorts, Nevada’s Golden Entertainment, UK-listed operators GVC Holdings and Paddy Power Betfair, as well as The Stars Group, parent company of PokerStars.

AGA president/CEO Geoff Freeman said the newly “diverse membership reflects the interest of the casino gaming industry.” Freeman said the addition of these six “industry leaders” would allow the AGA to better serve as “an effective advocate for the industry as a whole.”

The AGA announcement is proof that, if you wait long enough, the world eventually turns on its head. In 2013, the AGA actively campaigned against PokerStars being issued a New Jersey online gambling license, marking the first time the lobby group had ever felt the need to intervene in a licensing process.

Stars, then under its original ownership, had sought to participate in New Jersey’s regulated online market after reaching a $731m settlement with the US Department of Justice to resolve its civil liabilities stemming from the 2011 ‘Black Friday’ online poker indictments.

That settlement stated that the DOJ saw no legal reason why Stars should be excluded from future participation in US regulated markets. But the AGA insisted at the time that the settlement hadn’t “altered in any way” the rank odor of criminality wafting off the Stars brand.

To be fair, the AGA was then under the command of Frank Fahrenkopf, who handed the reins of power to Freeman just one month after making those pejorative comments toward Stars. But it does vividly illustrate how much the US gambling landscape has changed since those days.

PokerStars did eventually get licensed in New Jersey (as did GVC Holdings’ PartyPoker brand) and the AGA has since reversed itself on a number of other positions, including its recent support for overturning the federal ban on single-game sports betting outside Nevada.

The AGA’s welcoming of online gambling operators into the fold will almost certainly revive concerns that Las Vegas Sands will withdraw its membership from the AGA. Sands boss Sheldon Adelson, who hates online gambling the way Donald Trump’s hair hates gusts of wind, previously threatened to withdraw his financial suppport unless the AGA reversed its position advocating for online legalization, which prompted the AGA to knuckle under.

Comments



Source link

Betfair Australasia begs Aussie states for tax relief


betfair-australasia-tax-relief-pleaBetfair Australasia is warning Australian state governments that their plans to impose online betting point of consumption taxes (POCT) are going to blow up in their faces.

On Friday, the Brisbane Times disclosed the existence of a report prepared by the Betfair Australasia betting exchange urging the state governments in South Australia and Western Australia to rethink their decision to impose a 15% tax on all online wagers placed by their states’ residents.

South Australia began collecting its POCT last July, while Western Australia’s new tax is set to take effect on January 1, 2019. Australia’s federal government is also mulling imposing a national POCT in order to harmonize the country’s online taxation system.

Betfair Australasia, which is owned by casino operator Crown Resorts and licensed in the Northern Territory, warned the states that the tax hikes would force it to hike its own commission fees, which will cause “leakage” of its customers to internationally licensed online gambling sites that aren’t subject to the states’ tax grab.

Betfair CEO Tim Moore-Barton claimed to have endured numerous instances of high-volume bettors who shifted their action off his site in response to previous fee increases and in search of better value for their wagering dollar.

Moore-Barton further claimed that this leakage will not only reduce his company’s revenue – which will in turn reduce both the states’ tax take and contributions to racing bodies – but will also create an integrity “black hole” through the inability of state gaming regulators to monitor real-time betting data for suspicious patterns.

As ever, the Philippine-licensed CITIbet betting exchange was singled out in the report as the most likely beneficiary of customers forced off Betfair by fee hikes. CITIbet is often cited as the bête noire of Australian betting operators and racing stakeholders.

Other NT-licensed Australian online wagering sites will also struggle under the weight of the new taxes, possibly leading to a wave of down under consolidation. William Hill recently put its Australian operations under review, citing the POCT as well as new restrictions on both online in-play and credit betting.

Betfair Australasia’s future is marked by other uncertainties, including how long its owner Crown intends to keep it in the fold. In December, Crown announced it was selling its 62% stake in the CrownBet online betting site, part of Crown’s ongoing effort to reduce the scope of its operations to just its domestic resorts.

The CrownBet sale reduced Crown’s digital division to just Betfair and a Texas-based social gaming operation, neither of which seems to qualify as a land-based casino.

Comments



Source link

Saudi Arabia to host first card-playing contest for cash prizes


saudi-arabia-card-contest-cash-prizesSaudi Arabians are simultaneously celebrating and bemoaning their government’s decision to hold the deeply conservative country’s first national card-playing tournament for cash prizes.

Last Thursday, the official Twitter feed of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA) announced that the country would hold its first card-playing national competition for cash prizes from April 4-8 at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in the nation’s capital Riyadh.

The contest, which will be overseen by the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports, will be centered around Baloot, a wildly popular local trick card game with similarities to the French game Belote. Baloot is also available on multiple Android and iOS mobile apps, some of which are among the top game apps in Saudi Arabia.

The top four finishers of the contest will share a total prize purse of SR1m (US$270k), half of which will go to the overall winner. Many observers expressed surprise at the amount of the prizes, given the lack of precedent for the contest.

Predictably, news of the tournament has delighted the nation’s Baloot fans while enraging social conservatives, some of whom view even the game of chess as a waste of time that promotes forbidden gambling activity.

Those conservatives should brace themselves for even greater outrage, as one veteran Baloot player told Arab News that he expects women to take part in the contest. Assuming that’s allowed, it would mark another bold step forward for Saudi women, who will finally be allowed to drive cars starting this June.

The end to the female driving ban is part of crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2030 program, which aims to reshape the national economy to create a more modern and secular country. Just this weekend, the government announced that women would be allowed to start their own businesses without the permission of a male guardian.

It remains to be seen whether the prince is pushing too hard on the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Many of the Twitter comments criticizing the Baloot contest half-joked that it wouldn’t be long before Riyadh started to resemble another desert city – Las Vegas – through the addition of casino gambling.

Comments



Source link

Delaware’s iGaming suffers double-digit decline in 2017


delaware-igaming-declineDelaware’s regulated online gambling market suffered a double-digit decline in 2017, reversing 2016’s double-digit gains.

Official figures filed by the Delaware Lottery show the state’s three gaming operators licensed to take online casino and poker action – Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway – earned combined online gambling revenue of just under $2.4m in 2017, down 18% from 2016’s total.

The state’s annual revenue is essentially a rounding error for many gambling markets, but such is the glacial state of US online gambling legalization that there are still only three active intrastate markets, so it is worth mentioning, if only to provide counterweight to New Jersey’s 2017 haul of $245m.

Video lottery games (slots to the rest of us) provided the bulk of the year’s iGaming revenue, but its $1.57m revenue was 10% below 2016’s $1.75m slots total. It was a similarly sad story for table games, which earned just under $559k last year, down 28% from $777k in 2016.

Leave it to poker to grab the most garish headline. Annual poker revenue hit a whopping $231k in 2017, down 38% from 2016’s $376k, possibly because one of the state’s 15 active players lost his phone or something. Bottom line, those plans to pool liquidity between New Jersey’s much larger (but similarly struggling) online poker sites and those of Delaware and Nevada can’t come soon enough.

Delaware launched its intrastate online gambling market in 2013, and while its population of less than 1m meant it was never going to produce mind-boggling revenue numbers, it at least appeared to be heading in the right direction. For instance, the 2016 annual haul was 62% higher than 2015’s result and represented a new record for the state.

The Delaware Lottery isn’t scheduled to release its final sports lottery numbers – which essentially dovetail with National Football League activity – until next month. However, the comparable figures available for the first three months of each season indicate that the state is well on its way toward exceeding last year’s total. Always leave on a high note, as they say.

Comments



Source link

Kenyan betting operators lose court challenge of new 35% tax


kenya-betting-tax-challenge-dismissedKenya’s betting operators will have to face their new 35% tax obligations after a court dismissed a challenge of the government’s tax hike.

Kenya’s government approved a new uniform 35% tax on all gambling products this summer, despite protests from operators that the new rate made their businesses unviable. The new rate, which kicks in on January 1, 2018, marks a significant rise over the existing rates, which for betting operators had been a mere 7.5%.

In October, the Pambazuka National Lottery filed a lawsuit alleging that the tax hike was unconstitutional., given that parliament approved the hike as an item in the national budget, rather than subjecting standalone legislation to greater public scrutiny.

The suit also accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of exceeding his authority in signing the legislation, and argued that the tax imposed an unreasonable and excessive burden on the industry.

On Thursday, Kenya’s High Court rejected the challenge, saying it was within the National Assembly’s authority to approve the budget without the Senate’s involvement. The Court similarly ruled that Kenyatta had acted according to the law and that the challengers had failed to prove that the new tax lacks a public purpose.

The government justified its tax hike as a means to deter youth from getting involved in gambling. Kenyan-licensed operators countered that the new tax will ultimately be passed onto bettors, who will then transfer their betting activity to internationally licensed betting operators, thereby decreasing the government’s share of betting revenue and eliminating the government’s ability to oversee betting activity.

Justice John Mativo described taxation as “a way of apportioning the cost of government among those who in some measure are privileged to enjoy its benefits hence must bear its burdens … its imposition does not necessarily infringe on the citizens’ rights unless it is demonstrated to be outrightly arbitrary and unconstitutional.”

The Court also chided the appellants for failing to disclose that the law was the subject of a separate challenge. SportPesa filed the first lawsuit against the law in October, one week before the PNL suit.

While the suits were later consolidated into a single proceeding, Mativo claimed the “multiplicity of actions on the same matter between the same parties” was “regarded as an abuse,” since the parties “had a duty to bring such information to the court so as to help it avoid rendering conflicting decisions on the same subject.”

SportPesa is Kenya’s leading betting operator and a major financial supporter of local sports teams and associations. The company previously warned that it would be compelled to significantly reduce its sponsorship budget if the new tax was imposed. SportPesa also threatened to scrap its entire Kenyan operations if the tax went through, although it later walked back these threats. The company has yet to publicly comment on the ruling.

Comments



Source link