ASA Pulls Paddy Power Ad for Promoting Workplace Gambling

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 30 November 2017 3:15 pm

Paddy Power is under fire from the UK Advertising Standards Bureau (ASA) for running an advertisement that, supposedly, promotes workplace gambling. It’s just the latest in a long series of dust-ups between the UK-facing operator and the stiff upper lips who oversee how the gambling industry advertises itself.

The advertisement at issue is titled, “Pappa Loves Mambo” and features a security guard playing Paddy Power online slots while singing lyrics like, “…Watching ‘em gamble from a sneaky camera angle. Yeah, look at ‘em play on it; spinning away on it, they’re rubbing my face in it now. Still I can’t grumble. I’ll have a cheeky little dabble. Yeah I’ll have a spin on it, when I’m on break, the daily jacpot’s looking great now.” The song is sung to the tune of Perry Como’s classic song, “Poppa Loves Mambo.”

This was entirely too much for two, unnamed, UK residents who complained to the board that the advertisement seemed to suggest that gambling is an acceptable workplace activity.

Paddy Power officials, who are certainly used to dealing the good folks at the ASA, defended the ad by saying that workplace presented in advertisement was actually a casino. Under UK advertising guidelines, which do prohibit depictions of workplace gambling, there is an exception made when the activity takes place on the premises of a licensed gaming establishment.

Unfortunately, the ASA wasn’t buying that argument one bit and pointed out that even though the fictional guard was working in a fictional casino, he wasn’t actually on break. Because of that, the ad was deemed to be, “socially irresponsible,” and was pulled from the airwaves.

Getting spanked by the ASA is a regular part of life at Paddy Power, where cheeky ads are a standard occurrence and it doesn’t appear that the esteemed operator will be changing its advertising and PR strategy anytime soon.

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Virtual Sports Betting Products Now Available in New Jersey

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 28 November 2017 3:53 pm

New Jersey sports betting enthusiasts who can’t wait for the Supreme Court to make up its mind about regulated sports betting now have an alternative – virtual sports betting. Late last week, PlaySugarHouse.com launched a suite of virtual sports betting products that include horse and greyhound racing; soccer; and motorsports that are available to the New Jersey online gaming market.

Virtual sports betting offers simulated electronic sporting events with outcomes that are predetermined by algorithms. Bettors are presented with statistics and other information about the electronic teams and animals in the events that can be used to make their wagers. Despite this tip of the hat to sports information, virtual sports betting is much more like slot machines than traditional sports betting.

That said, virtual sports betting products are proving to be very popular in Europe, where they generate about a third of the revenue that traditional sports betting generates.

In a statement to the media on PR Newswire, Richard Schwartz, President of Rush Street Interactive (which operates PlaySugarHouse.com), described the value he thinks virtual sports betting will bring to the New Jersey gambling market saying:

We are excited to lead the way in bringing online Virtual Sportsbetting to the United States with our debut in New Jersey. Adding Inspired’s Virtual Sportsbetting events to our mix of online games is another example of how PlaySugarHouse.com offers its players a wide range of the most entertaining and innovative games in the industry!

Whether or not New Jersey sports bettors, who aren’t exactly known as big soccer fans and have been clamoring for real sports betting for years, will warm up to the products is a question that will be answered in the months ahead.

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FanDuel CEO and Co-Founder Moving on to Greener Pastures

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 26 November 2017 3:14 pm

FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles is leaving the company almost eight years after he helped to found it and put daily fantasy sports on the worldwide gaming radar. Eccles’ exit comes at a time when the controversial company is both mired in legal battles and, according their own reports, is nearing its first profitable quarter.

Word of Eccles’ departure was broken late Monday night by ESPN.com and came as something of a surprise to observers of the daily fantasy sports industry.

Details concerning the reasons for Eccles’ departure were not readily available and a statement by the company said only that he was looking to, “focus on his next venture.” What that venture involves is anybody’s guess, though some in the gaming media speculated that he would take his talents to the booming e-sports business.

Eccles’ position is currently being filled by Matt King, who served as the company’s Chief Financial Officer from 2014-2016. In his own statement, Eccles had kind words for King saying:

With his strategic vision, range of experiences, and broad skill set, I cannot imagine a better individual to steer FanDuel forward. With tremendous legislative strides in the past two years and the business moving into profitability in (Quarter 4), FanDuel is in a great position.

Profitable or not, anyone at the helm of FanDuel is looking at some pretty big challenges. In particular, the company is fighting for its life across the country as it attempts to convince lawmakers that daily fantasy sports should not be considered a form of gambling.

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Australian Regulators Taking a Closer Look at Loot Boxes as Gambling

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 24 November 2017 3:15 pm

Lawmakers and gaming regulators across the planet are grappling with a new controversy that definitely wasn’t on their radars a year ago – are video game loot boxes a form of gambling? That question is on the minds of regulators in the UK and USA and, as of this week, the controversy has landed on the shores of Australia.

Currently, the epicenter of the loot box debate is in Victoria, where the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) recently branded loot boxes as a form of gambling. Interestingly enough, the Victorian war on loot boxes began after Jarrod Wolfe, a strategic analyst in the Victorian regulators’ compliance division read Reddit post about the controversy surrounding loot boxes in the video game Star Wars Battlefront II, according to a report on CalvinAyre.com.

For those are not current with the video gaming world, Star Wars Battlefront II is the epicenter of the loot box debate after video game players realized that leveling up in the game wasn’t really possible without spending massive amounts of real cash on in-game transactions to purchase loot boxes. But even spending loads of cash on loot boxes still doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome, and that’s what concerns regulators like Wolfe.

In a statement the Australian press he described the practice as follows:

The focus of my concerns currently is on the more predatory aspects related to ‘pay to win’. Skins, skins betting and virtual currencies are certainly a peripheral consideration. However, the idea that (genuine) progression in a game could be reliant on the outcome of a random number generator is at odds with responsible gambling and the objectives of our acts. More importantly the normalization of gambling vernacular and mechanics targeted at vulnerable persons (minors), is not just morally reprehensible, but is also legally questionable.

Though Wolfe acknowledged that fighting loot boxes at the regulatory level could prove difficult, the writing is clearly on the wall. The debate over whether or not loot boxes constitute gambling is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

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UK Gaming Regulators Clamping Down on Online Gambling Operators

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 22 November 2017 3:15 pm

Gaming regulators in the UK have a message for the online gambling industry and it’s not one that most operators are going to want to hear. In two separate instances over the past week, regulators have made it clear that a new wave of regulation is coming and that common industry practices like deposit bonuses will be facing increased scrutiny.

At a conference in Birmingham earlier this week, UK Gambling Commission chief Bill Moyes gave the gathered representatives of the online gambling industry a clear warning about their future. He said, in no uncertain terms, that their free ride was over and that, “…public support for gambling is beginning to decline,” according to a report on CalvinAyre.com.

Moyes went on to warn the gathered mass that the industry has a choice to make, they can either shape up and make compliance a bigger part of their business, or face increased scrutiny from regulators. No one operator was singled out in Moyes’ remarks, but he made it clear that the £10 million in fines the agency doled out last year could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Other officials from the UKGC echoed Moyes’ words and made it very clear that they’re expecting online gambling operators to tighten up their regulatory game or get hit with an iron fist of regulatory action.

Also speaking at the event was George Lusty, project director at the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). In his address, Lusty made it very clear that his agency will continue taking a very hard look at how online gambling operators treat their customers. In particular, the CMA is looking at deposit bonuses that can’t be earned without large amounts of play; standard practices involving withdrawals; and the details buried in operators’ terms and conditions.

What Moyes and Lusty’s inquiries will yield is anyone’s guess but this much is clear, UK-facing online gambling operators can expect increased scrutiny from regulatory agencies in the months ahead.

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Lottoland Gets the Boot in Australia’s Northern Territory

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 20 November 2017 3:18 pm

Lottoland, the Gibraltar-based operator that offers wagering on Australian lotteries, is no longer allowed to operate in Australia’s Northern Territory. The stunning ban was announced earlier this week and could mean bad news for the operator’s innovative, and controversial, business model.

Word of the Northern Territory ban came down early this week as lawmakers made it clear that they were going to ban anyone holding a Northern Territory gaming license from offering wagering on Australian lotteries. (You don’t need a law degree to know who that rule was aimed at.)

The plight of Australian news vendors, the folks who also sell lottery tickets, has been front and center in the discussion of Lottoland’s disruptive business model and the decision in the Northern Territory was no exception. In a statement to the NT News (subscription required), Northern Territory Attorney General Natasha Fyles explained the reasoning behind the ban saying:

…concerns have been raised about how this synthetic betting practice has undercut hardworking small businesses, including many newsagencies. I have listened to the concerns and I’m taking action.

It’s worth noting that Lottoland’s Northern Territory ban only covers wagering on Australian lotteries, not international lotteries. The assumption has long been that lottery players would somehow rather wager on the Australian lottery than actually buy an Australian lottery ticket. Now that assumption will actually be put to the test.

In a statement to CalvinAyre.com, Lottoland Australia CEO Luke Brill accepted the reality of the situation saying:

Lottoland Australia is disappointed but we respect this decision. We offer value and choice through innovation to more than 650,000 Australians and, importantly, there are no restrictions on our international products, meaning our customers can continue to bet on the outcome of overseas lotteries.

The question hanging in the air now is whether or not other Aussie territories will follow the Northern Territory’s lead and ban Lottoland from accepting wagers on Australian lotteries?

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Video Gamers Look to ESRB to Regulate Loot Boxes Like Gambling

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 18 November 2017 3:18 pm

If your last memory of playing video games involves an arcade, some quarters and Pac Man, you might not realize that the line between video games and gambling has blurred considerably in the last five years. Thanks to the growing use of “loot boxes” (in-game prizes that can be won, found or purchased) many video game fans are calling for video games to be regulated more like games of chance, than games of skill.

This issue came to light earlier this week when a Slovenian video game fan named Lovro Pirjevec launched a crusade aimed at getting the the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to classify loot boxes as a form of gambling. His efforts, so far, have focused on a (non-binding) petition at Change.org.

To make his case, Pirjevec leans on the tried-and-true argument of skill vs. chance saying:

As per Google’s definition of a gamble: take risky action in the hope of a desired result. And Dictionary.com: to stake or risk money, or anything of value, on the outcome of something involving chance Lootboxes and crates in video games fit the description entirely, as every time you open them, you gamble and take chances to win rare in-game content.

Loot boxes have become an increasingly common component of modern video gaming with variations including loot boxes that can be purchased directly (without knowing what’s in them); loot boxes that can be earned through in-game gambling; and loot boxes that are dropped at the completion of a mission. Pirjevec says all of those are forms of gambling and should be regulated by the ESRB.

For their part, the ESRB have already ruled that loot boxes are not gambling, so Pirjevec’s mission may be simply a case of tilting at windmills.

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New Jersey Online Gambling Keeps Revenue Records Rolling

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 16 November 2017 3:15 pm

New Jersey’s regulated online gambling market is picking up steam and, judging by recent revenue reports, is in as good a space as it’s ever seen. According to recently released figures from the NJ Department of Gaming Revenue, October was the eight consecutive month in which Garden State online gambling operators have seen revenue shoot north of $ 20 million.

As is so often the case, New Jersey’s big month was a bit of good new/bad news. The revenue surge was confined exclusively to the casino gaming sector. All told, casino games accounted for approximately $ 18.5 million of the October revenue.

On the online poker side of the business gains were nowhere to be found and revenue actually declined by almost 20 percent. The Garden State’s combined online poker revenue for October totaled a measly $ 1.93 million. The lackluster condition of New Jersey’s online poker market is not entirely unexpected. The player pool is relatively small and, it seems, many of the casual players who were burned, or just burned out by, the upheaval of Black Friday so many years ago.

All told, revenue clocked in at an impressive $ 20.5 million for the month of October. That’s up from just $ 16.7 million generated during October of 2016.

In what is an emerging pattern of online casino dominance, the Golden Nugget was the big winner for the month, posting $ 6.14 million from its family of online gambling sites. The company set a personal best for online revenue in July with $ 6.2 million, so clearly they’re doing something right.

New Jersey’s solid month shows that, given time, it’s possible to nurture a regulated online gambling market in the United States, but these markets simply don’t develop overnight.

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New York Examines Options for Regulated Sports Betting

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 14 November 2017 3:14 pm

Lawmakers in New York are feverishly examining their options for providing regulated sports betting to NY residents. All this activity is taking place in the shadow of the December 4 Supreme Court hearing at which the State of New Jersey will argue its case for legalized sports betting.

New York is just one of as many as 18 states that would likely legalize sports betting in short order, should the Supreme Court actually side with New Jersey. What makes New York unique is that it shares a border with New Jersey and its residents have easy access to Atlantic City casinos. With legal sports betting on the menu, NY casinos could lose lots of business to AC if they’re not offering sports betting, too.

Under the new laws and regulations being discussed, New York’s racing tracks and racinos would be allowed to offer their customers sports betting products. Indian casinos, however, would not be allowed to offer sports betting.

Even if the Supreme Court does side with New Jersey on the legality of sports betting, New York punters will still be a long way away from legally placing wagers at their local race tracks. Under current New York law, changes like this have to be approved by the citizens before being implemented. The earliest that vote could take place, according to a report in the Times Union, is the fall of 2019.

Of course all of this legal maneuvering is based on the hope that the Supreme Court will rule in New Jersey’s favor, which is by no means a given.

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Scott Tom Serves Week Long Jail Sentence for Black Friday Role

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 10 November 2017 3:15 pm

More than six years after Black Friday, Absolute Poker co-founder Scott Tom is back in Antigua after serving a week long jail sentence for his role in the mother of all online poker scandals. Tom’s sentence was part of a plea deal that could have involved up to a year behind bars.

Tom returned to the United States to face illegal gambling charges back in February after years of living as a fugitive from the Department of Justice in the Caribbean. Since returning to face the music, his attorneys cut a deal for him that involved paying a $ 300,000 fine and time served.

US Magistrate Judge Barbara C. Moses, the judge who was actually charged with sentencing Tom, had very different ideas on the matter. She wasn’t particularly impressed with the notion that the time served by Tom involved simply being booked and released from Federal custody and order him to serve seven days.

Tom was, according to a report on CalvinAyre.com, quite surprised when the Judge Moses informed him that the booking process doesn’t really qualify as, “serving time,” in her view and ordered him to spend some actual time behind bars. Tom’s attorney attempted to argue that there was precedent for using a the booking process as time served, but was unable to point to details.

Judge Moses was also unimpressed when his attorney pointed out that Tom had purchased a non-refundable airline ticket to return home to Antigua where he lives, but maintains his US citizenship. Apparently she’s a proponent of the legal theory, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

Once he’s actually served his time, Scott will have no further obligations to the DOJ for his role in Absolute Poker’s collapse or the Black Friday scandal.

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