FanDuel Shuts Down UK-Facing Operation

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 31 July 2017 3:14 pm

FanDuel is shutting down its UK-facing operation as it prepares to fight for its life in the chaotic US daily fantasy sports market. The move is a good indication of how desperate the situation is at the company, now that its dreams of merging with rival DraftKings have been put on ice by US regulators.

The surprise announcement was made this weekend when FanDuel’s UK players received notice that their accounts were being terminated. FanDuel is offering a full refund to all impacted players.

In an interview with Legal Sports Report, a company spokesperson laid out the reasons for the FanDuel’s UK pullout saying:

We will not be operating our UK product this upcoming EPL season to focus on our product in the US. As we approach the NFL season, we are allocating all of our resources towards ramping up a US product that consumers love and building out complementary fantasy sports products. There are over 53 million people playing fantasy sports in the United States and we are investing all of our resources on that market.

FanDuel is right to be focusing its efforts on the US because it is facing a life or death struggle in that market. Besides battling every state governing body in an effort to not be tagged as a gambling operator, the company must also return to its battle for dominance with its rival, DraftKings. Now that the two companies have ended their bid to merge forces, it’s back to fighting for every customer in the United States…and that won’t be cheap.

Unfortunately for FanDuel, and DraftKings, neither company is particularly flush with the kind of cash it’s going to take to fight that fight anyways. That should make life very interesting for executives at both companies.

FanDuel is, however, leaving the door open for a possible re-entry into the UK market sometime in the future.

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UK Gambling Commission Warns Operators About Fantasy Sports

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 27 July 2017 3:16 pm

The UK Gambling Commission has a word of warning for fantasy football operators: don’t do anything that even resembles traditional sports betting if you want to keep your license.

It’s a warning that illustrates the challenges fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports operators face as they market a product that, increasingly, has trouble presenting itself as something other than gambling.

In its warning, the Gambling Commission points out that many standard fantasy football games ride right up the to the edge of what is known as “pool betting.” Pool betting is a betting product where the payout is determined by the amount of money wagered by the total amount of money the group members contribute and requires a separate pool license.

The Commission went on to include some very specific warnings to fantasy football operators about how they should be marketing their products. In particular, the Commission warned that operators should avoid anything that even resembles a suggestion that their games are gambling saying:

One area that organisers are being told to be particularly aware of is advertising and social media.

Advertising, when it comes to gambling, includes doing anything that encourages someone to gamble, or provides information about gambling facilities so that it will increase use. This includes Twitter or Facebook posts, whether public, or private or within groups.

In the UK, fantasy football games are exempt from pool licenses so long as the organizer is not making a profit from the deal. That exception allow private parties to conduct fantasy football games in workplaces and other social settings without fear of legal repercussions.

The Gambling Commission’s warning was designed to coincide with the start of football season, the biggest time of year for fantasy sports play.

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California Jumps on Legal Sports Betting Bandwagon

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 21 July 2017 3:15 pm

California is the latest state to step up and prepare for the eventuality of legal sports betting in the United States with a proposal to amend its constitution to allow bookies to roam free across the Golden State. But before you start dreaming of placing parlays by the beach, you’ll have to wait for the Supreme Court to settle the matter.

Late Thursday afternoon, California Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced a measure that would allow California operators to offer sports betting, but only if the Supreme Court overturns the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). That, of course, will likely only happen if the state of New Jersey wins its epic case in front of the Supreme Court later this year.

California now joins Connecticut and Mississippi in the group of states that are actively preparing a future that involves legal sports betting.

In a press release, reported on by Legal Sports Report, Gray said what pretty much everyone in the United States already knows about sports betting saying:

Whether we like it or not, Californians are already betting on sports through illegal and often unscrupulous websites in foreign countries. It is time to bring this multibillion dollar industry out of the shadows. We need to crack down on illegal and unregulated online gaming and replace it with a safe and responsible option which includes safeguards against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, and fraud.

Of course California’s track record for introducing new gambling products is something less than spectacular. State officials have been working on legalized online poker for more than half a decade and have absolutely nothing to show for their work. Stay tuned.

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Slovakian Government Blacklists 10 Gambling Operators

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 19 July 2017 3:16 pm

Slovakian government officials have published a blacklist containing the names of ten gambling operators whose sites they are ready to block from the country’s punters. It’s the most recent move in an effort by the government to crack down on unlicensed foreign operators serving local online gamblers.

The names on the list include – 888 Holdings, Bet365, Bet-at-Home, Bwin, William Hill, 1xbet, Eatsleepbet.com, LVbet.com ,and Kajot-casino.com, according to a report on CalvinAyre.com. Originally, the list included 17 gambling operators, but two of those withdrew from the Slovakian market. An additional five companies were given a 10-day extension to wrap up their Slovakian facing operations.

To say that the Slovakian online gambling market is in a state of flux is something of an understatement. Operators have been dreading the day that the blacklist, and inevitable internet blocking, begin for quite some time.

Just last year the country announced its plans to enforce a whopping 27 percent tax on gross gaming revenues. That pronouncement on its own caused a mass exodus of operators from the market and more are expected to follow.

As is so often the case in European countries, this crackdown does not include any meddling with gambling operations that are run by a government held monopoly, such as the state-run lottery.

The crackdown does, however, extend to land-based casinos. Earlier this year the country banned casinos (but not lottery shops and bookmakers) from its cities and has extended a grace period to casinos until their current licenses expire.

As of this writing none of the blacklisted domains have been formally blocked, but it’s believed that the order to formally block them will come in the near future.

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DraftKings and FanDuel Call Off Proposed Merger

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 15 July 2017 3:15 pm

The proposed merger between daily fantasy sports giants, FanDuel and DraftKings has been called off. Company officials called off the deal late Thursday but questions about the fate of both companies will be lingering for the foreseeable future.

Joining the two biggest names in the daily fantasy sports world seemed like a plausible, even a good, idea back in November when it was first announced, but that dream was almost immediately challenged by the federal government. Lawyers for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued to block the merger on grounds that it would impede fair trade. After all, a DraftKings/FanDuel behemoth would have gobbled up as much as 90 percent of the US daily fantasy sports market.

Of course for the two companies, the merger offered the advantage of shared legal costs as both companies are continuously fighting to operate in almost every US State. But the challenges of fighting those fights and the FTC was apparently too much for the once ubiquitous daily fantasy sports firms.

In an announcement to the media, as reported on by ESPN.com, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said:

We believe it is in the best interests of our customers, employees, and investors to terminate our agreement to merge with FanDuel and move forward as a separate company.

FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles sounded optimistic in his own statement saying:

There is still enormous, untapped market opportunity for FanDuel, and we will continue to execute our strategy to grow our business and further expand the fantasy sports industry.

Unfortunately, both men must know that truth of what they’re now facing. Both FanDuel and DraftKings are facing tremendously expensive legal battles across the US and since neither company is currently profitable, they may have trouble raising new funds from investors. In short, the US daily fantasy sports market may open up considerably in the next few months and years.

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UK Gambling Commission Throws Down £150k Fine on Lottoland

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 13 July 2017 3:15 pm

The UK Gambling Commission has issued a £150,000 ($ 194,000 USD) to Lottoland for a radio advertisement the Commission says is misleading to consumers.

The fine is the latest in a series of punishments doled out to gambling operators that are, more often than not, based on a single consumer complaint.

In this case, the fine in question centers around a radio advertisement that the complainant said mislead consumers into thinking that Lottoland was a lottery, rather than an operator offering wagering on lotteries. In the world of regulated UK gambling, the term “lottery” has a very specific meaning, as the Commission mentioned in a release on its website reading:

Lotteries are different from other gambling products as a portion of the proceeds must go to good causes. The Gambling Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority therefore consider it important that consumers are made aware of the type of gambling they are participating in.

Commissioners were also peeved that Lottoland was a bit ambiguous about the services it offers and the fact that it really isn’t a lottery.

In his comments on the case, Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Programme Director for Enforcement and Intelligence spoke on the importance of not miseading consumers saying:

In this case the operator used ambiguous terminology in their marketing and advertising, which was misleading. That is not acceptable and the £150,000 penalty package reflects the seriousness of Lottoland’s failures.

To show that the UK is really, deadly, serious about making certain that lotteries serve charities, Lottoland is required to pay its fine in the form a donation to a good cause.

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Hard Rock Atlantic City Plans to Offer Daily Fantasy Sports

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 1 July 2017 3:14 pm

The operators of the Hard Rock International are hoping to offer daily fantasy sports contests to their customers when they open on the site of the former Trump Taj Mahal in 2018.

Their move is part of a growing trend of land-based casinos offering daily fantasy sports contests, but could add an interesting wrinkle to the Garden State’s onging battle to legalize sports betting.

Word of the Hard Rock’s ambitious move into the daily fantasy sports market came via documents filed with the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement. The filings were first discovered and reported on by reported on by reporters at Legal Sports Report.

The big move toward daily fantasy sports was trumpeted via a fairly innocuous phrase buried among legal filings which reads:

We would like the ability to host Fantasy Sports. …
We believe that this will enhance the customer experience and allow the New Jersey Casinos to remain competitive with other jurisdictions that already offer this type of gaming. This proposal has negative impact on gross gaming revenue and should increase (gross gaming) revenue and appeal to Millennials.

Daily fantasy sports, it turns out, are something of a legal grey area for New Jersey casino operators. The contests are technically legal and are even offered by at least one casino. At the same time, New Jersey lawmakers are working to finalize a bill that would formally legalize the practice for the state’s casinos.

How daily fantasy sports contests offered by casinos will be impacted by the state’s ongoing effort to elgalize sports betting is unclear. That said, casinos that offer daily fantasy sports today are setting themselves up for success by developing a customer base that’s interested in visiting their properties for something more than the traditional offerings of an Atlantic City casino.

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