Xenophon’s View on Pokies Changes from Total Ban to Reduce By a Third

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 20 February 2018 3:15 pm


When it comes to pokies, and their place in Australian society, politician Nick Xenophon just can’t seem to make up his mind.

It wasn’t that long ago that the famously anti-gambling politician supported a full ban on the local version of a slot machine. Then he backed away from that stance and said he’d given up on the ban entirely. This week, however, he’s shifted his view once again and says he supports a package of anti-gambling legislation that includes reducing the number of pokies by a third.

The shifting sands under Xenophon’s feet are moving so fast that even other politicians are calling out his hypocrisy. In a statement to the Guardian, Liberal Party leader Steven Marshal ripped into Xenophon saying:

This is the most astonishing backflip, I think, in electoral history in South Australia. He was a ‘no-pokies MP’ now he is an ‘8,000-pokies MP’ … a guy that has sold out on his single-principle policy position.

Other anti-gambling measures proposed by Xenophon in his latest outing include reducing the maximum wager on a pokie to just $ 1, as well as an effort to subsidize small businesses that lose pokies through a “buyback scheme.” Unfortunately, Xenophon did not provide details about how the buyback would work or how much it might cost taxpayers. Xenophon also admitted that he really didn’t know those amounts anyways.

A spokesman for the Australian Hotels Association said that the effort to cut the number of pokies by a third would be devastating to the pub and hotel industry and would result in many smaller pubs having to shutter their doors entirely.

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UKGC Slams GVC Holdings for Misleading Bonus Offers

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 18 February 2018 3:14 pm


The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is making good on its promise to crack down on what it calls, “misleading” bonus offers by gambling operators under its jurisdiction. Earlier this week, the commission hit GVC Holdings with a £350,000 ($ 491,000 USD) fine for a series of bonus offers that ran during the summer and fall of 2016.

According the original complaint to the Commission, a player felt mislead because a £17 pound bonus offered by GVC subsidiary ElectraWorks via Bwino.com required £102 pounds worth of play. The details of the offer were buried in a jumble of legalese in the terms and conditions and that’s exactly the kind of thing the UKGC has been cracking down on hard in recent months.

While the original complaint resulted in a mere scolding, the company went on to offer a series of similar offers in subsequent months and that’s what prompted the fine.

In a statement posted on the UKGC site, Richard Watson, Commission Programme Director clearly stated that the fine levied against GVC was merely a shot over the bow of the entire UK gambling industry:

This fine should serve a warning to all gambling businesses that we will not hesitate to take action against those who mislead consumers with bonus offers or fail to ensure they are correctly licensed.

The UKGC has made no bones about its efforts to clean up what it sees as a gaming industry that’s played fast and loose with rules and regulations for years. In recent years the Commission has handed out scoldings and token fines to repeat offenders but it’s clear that they’re getting ready to dole out more serious penalties to future violators.

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Confident New Jersey Regulators Already Taking Sports Betting License Applications

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 16 February 2018 3:14 pm

When it comes to the battle for regulated sports betting in America, the state of New Jersey has acted with a sense of bravado that would make Tony Soprano proud. The mere fact that state officials, including the reviled Chris Christie, have gone to bat for it time and time again is pretty astonishing. But in recent weeks David Rebuck, director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, has taken that confidence up a notch by inviting sports betting operators to apply for New Jersey gaming licenses.

Of course every gaming commissioner in the world is open to new business prospects, but Rebuck’s invitation comes several months ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision on whether to make sports betting legal at all. That decision is expected to come some time in June, more than four months from now. Is Rebuck being overconfident, or just prudent? Don’t go looking for answers in a carefully worded, and extremely dry, statement he made to ESPN.com on the matter in which he said:

Under existing law, any business or individual anticipating entering into a commercial transaction with a casino must be licensed or approved by the Division. Many companies have inquired as to the State’s licensing requirements in the event they are able to engage in sports wagering operations with our casino industry. The Division has encouraged these companies to commence the application process.

Rebuck, and others in the NJ gaming and government world, are betting that legalized sports betting will provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the struggling casinos of Atlantic City. While that may be the case, it also seems likely that whatever advantage regulated sports betting, a fairly low-margin segment of the gaming industry, will bring to AC may be limited. As of this writing, a dozen other states are making similar plans to offer sports betting at their casinos.

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Zynga Turns a Profit for the First Time in Seven Years

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 14 February 2018 3:17 pm


Zynga, the once-dominant social gaming operator, did something in 2017 it hadn’t done in almost seven years…it turned a profit.

A profitable year is a small step forward for the company that practically invented social gaming in the early social media era, but has struggled to stay relevant in the age of mobile devices. That’s what makes this week’s report from company officials that profit for the whole year was $ 26.6 million on revenue of $ 861.4 million. That’s an uptick of $ 135 million over the previous year.

For Q4 2017, Zynga saw pulled in $ 233 million worth of revenue to make it its third consecutive profitable quarter. That’s a 22 percent improvement over that same period in 2016. In Q4 2016, Zynga actually lost around $ 35 million.

So how does a company like Zynga break a seven year itch of living in the red? For starters, it seems as though the company that made its bread and butter on Facebook games like Farmville has finally shifted its focus completely over to mobile gaming. Revenue from mobile apps was up 29 percent in 2017 and accounted for 86 percent of the company’s total profit.

Zynga Poker, the company’s flagship game, was also a big factor in bringing Zynga back into the black. Its mobile revenue was up 44 percent over the previous year and accounted for 22 percent of the company’s total gaming profits.

Since the dawn of the social media era, Zynga has seen its fortunes rise and fall as it struggled to find its place in a marketplace that seemed to be undergoing tectonic shifts. If current trends hold, it looks as though Zynga may have finally found its place in the world.

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Rich Muny Replaces John Pappas as Poker Players Alliance Chief

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 12 February 2018 3:15 pm

John Pappas is stepping down from his position as the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) as the group shifts its focus away from the battle for regulated online poker and more towards regulated sports betting. Pappas is being replaced by former PPA vice president of player relations, Rich Muny.

Muny, himself a former professional poker player, has been with the organization since its inception.

Pappas’ departure marks the end of an era at the PPA as the group has largely achieved what it set out to do when it formed back in 2007. Since that time, several states have introduced regulated online poker; multiple other states are considering regulated online poker; and the pokers players impacted by Black Friday have largely been repaid.

That successful streak has left the organization in something of an awkward space. After all, what’s left for an industry-funded lobbying group that’s seemingly achieved all, or most, of what it set out to originally do? And, more importantly, how can you get that industry to keep funding your efforts once you’ve successfully achieved them?

For the PPA, the answer to these questions, and its best shot at remaining a viable entity, is to re-focus its efforts on the fight for regulated sports betting in America.

In a recent posting on its website, the PPA began querying its members about their thoughts on the sports betting debate and what they are looking for from the group.

In short, Muny is going to have his hands full as he faces the challenges of keeping the PPA relevant after having successfully achieved its goals.

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Sweden Ready to Call Loot Boxes Gambling

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 10 February 2018 3:14 pm


Young Swedish video game players may lose the thrill of purchasing loot boxes if their government prevails in its efforts to brand the video game feature as a form of gambling.

Earlier this week the Swedish Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi, made clear his intentions to reign in the growing practice of paying for loot boxes with in-game purchases, without knowing what’s actually in the box. He says that reclassifying it as a form of gambling is the only way that the government can get a handle on loot box mania.

In an interview with a Swedish radio station, as reported on by gambling news site CalvinAyre.com, Shekarabi described his efforts saying:

We are working to regain control of the gambling market as soon as possible, and to make sure that Swedish consumer protection laws apply to all actors which conduct gambling activities.

Shekarabi went on to suggest that changes to the laws surrounding loot boxes in Sweden could come as early as 2019.

The Minister pointed out that loot boxes create an, “an abusive and addictive cycle,” wherein players keep purchasing them in the hopes of getting something worthwhile for their efforts. When they pay for a loot box drop and don’t get what they want, they wind simply buying more loot boxes. It’s a feeling that should be very familiar to anyone whose ever gotten sucked into vortex of a common slot machine.

Loot boxes drops, and the in-game purchases that buy them, are under increased scrutiny across the globe and efforts to ban them or classify them as gambling are underway in Germany, Belgium and a number of US States.

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Nick Xenophon Gives Up on Aussie Pokie Ban Efforts

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 8 February 2018 3:14 pm


The Australian government’s war on pokies has, seemingly, ended and it looks as though the pokies actually won.

Earlier this week the SA Best Party announced that it is giving up its efforts to enact a total ban on the controversial slot machines that would have included pubs and hotels. SA Best is the party of Aussie anti-gambling zealot Nick Xenophon, which makes the defeat all the more significant.

Though Xenophon is the face of Australia’s anti-gambling movement, the cessation of hostilities statement from the SA Best party came from their newest candidate, candidate for Schubert, Paul Brown at a gathering of mental health professionals.

In his statement, Brown acknowledged the futility of the pokie ban and admitted it was, “not a realistic ambition.”

According to the Australian news site InDaily, Brown went on to say:

You can’t remove pokies from every hotel and pub but you can have some control. I acknowledge the problems that pokies cause and it does lead to mental health issues…. it’s part of the fabric that causes all these issues.

The SA Best’s reversal on the pokie ban is a huge win for the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) who had been taunted by Xenophon over what the ban would do to their businesses. As recently as December, the SA Best leader said:

SA Best will announce a poker machine policy very soon [and] I expect the AHA will be even more worried.

Xenophon’s political opponents were quick to seize on his admission of defeat calling it a, “huge admission.”

While the SA Best and Xenophon have given up on fighting pokies, it’s unlikely that they’ll be supporting the gaming industry in any meaningful manner as a result of their admission.

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Sportsbooks See Record Super Bowl, But Still Take Beating

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 6 February 2018 3:16 pm


Nevada sportsbooks saw a record amount of money come pouring through their cash drawers on Super Bowl Sunday. Unfortunately, not very much of that cash stayed there as punters cashed in on the underdog and an array of proposition bets.

According to a report on Super Bowl Betting in the Las Vegas Review Journal, Vegas sportsbooks saw approximately $ 156.8 million in action on the day. By the end of a wild and crazy game, they were left with only 0.7 percent of that for a take of around $ 1.17 spread out over 198 legal sports books.

That win percentage is the smallest the sportsbooks have seen since 2011 when they took in just 0.8 percent of the action for a profit of just $ 724,000.

The big difference between the volume of wagers in 2011 and 2018 is the meteoric rise of proposition betting on Super Bowl Sunday. Bettors have embraced the myriad of side bets in a major way and the casinos are the ones paying price, as noted by CG Technology sports book vice president Matt Holt who said:

Props is the reason for the record handle. Those things have just grown by leaps and bounds. We did over $ 3 million in props ourselves and that’s without taking any big bets.

The big bets, however, were out there and there were at least five $ 1 million wagers on the game reported. All but one of those wagers were on the winning, underdog Philadelphia Eagles. One high roller had $ 7.4 million spread across a variety of wagers, mainly moneyline, and made out like a bandit.

Though the sportsbooks came out in the black, it’s a safe to bet on the fact that they’ll be taking a close look at proposition wagering before next year’s big game.

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UK Gambling Operators Sever Begin Severing Ties with Casino Affiliates

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 4 February 2018 3:15 pm


Some big time UK gambling operators are taking threats by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to crack down on casino affiliate marketing quite seriously and have begun cutting ties with their UK facing affiliate marketing programs. The move was announced in an email sent to affiliate partners of Paddy Power Betfair and 888 earlier this month, according to a report on CalvinAyre.com.

888 Holdings’ Ufilliate program partners received an email from the company stating that as of January 29, they must stop targeting UK residents and IP addresses. The email further states that company will no longer pay out on new UK players. This does not mean that UK affiliates are out of the picture entirely, only that they can no longer target their fellow countrymen. The move does not impact revenue from UK players converted before January 29.

Over at Paddy Power Betfair, a similar email went out to UK partners sent out a similar, but more severe notice, that severed ties with UK affiliate partners entirely. According to the email, the company is hoping to, “reduce our number of active affiliate accounts.”

Both companies are reacting to a recent crackdown, and promised crackdowns in the future, by the UKGC on everything from misleading bonus offers to ads that target underage players and operators who fail to bar self-excluded players. Last year, 888 Holdings paid out a multi-million dollar fine for exactly that and the industry is clearly expecting more of the same in the months ahead.

It’s pretty clear that the purge of casino affiliates is part of larger effort to reign in control of brand messaging and marketing to stay ahead of major problems with gaming regulators.

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UK Regulators Clamping Down on Dodgy Bonus Offers

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 2 February 2018 3:16 pm

Gaming and business regulators in the UK are clamping down on the online gambling industry’s longtime relationship with dodgy bonus offers that require exponential play and trap player funds in an inescapable purgatory. The move is described in a press release from the UK Government about online gambling as, “…a major overhaul of how the gambling industry operates online, three leading operators.”

Two government agencies, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Competitive Markets Authority (CMA), say they’re responding to an uptick in consumer complaints about the utter impossibility of actually earning the bonuses that operators tout in their promotions. In particular, the regulators are asking operators to implement the following changes:

  • Players won’t be required to play multiple times before they can withdraw their own money
  • Gambling firms must ensure that any restrictions on gameplay are made clear to players, and cannot rely on vague terms to confiscate players’ money
  • Gambling firms must not oblige players to take part in publicity.

Several large operators including William Hill, Ladbrokes and PT Entertainment have all expressed their willingness to embrace the new bonus offer standards. 

The moves are being implemented by the CMA, but have the full support of the UKGC. In a statement to the press, UKGC Executive Director, Sarah Gardner voiced her support for the CMA saying:

We back the action taken by the CMA today. Gambling firms must treat their customers fairly and not attach unreasonable terms and conditions to their promotions and offers.

Most of the new changes to the promotional code must be implemented by operators by the end of the month.

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