Google Blocked in Russia as Part of Online Gambling Dispute

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 27 June 2017 3:14 pm

Russian telecom authorities briefly blocked access to Google.ru last week as part of an ongoing dispute with the search giant over links to online gambling sites. Though service was restored after just a few hours, the incident points out the increasingly hard line the country is taking in its battle against unauthorized online gambling.

The Google blockade was enacted and enforced by Roskomnadzor, the Russian internet regulator which also controls the flow of digital information going in and out of the country. Roskonadzor was peeved because Google continued to offer its users access to a disputed Russian bookmaker called Fonbet.

While Roskonadzor’s actions may seem severe to the laymen, the roots of this particular dispute go back more than a year. Back in June 2016, the Russian tax agency directed Roskonadzor to block Google but gave the company a year to remedy the situation with unregulated online gambling sites. By all accounts, Google seems to have simply ignored that directive and continued on about its business.

When the one year deadline passed, Roskonadzor pulled the plug on Google.ru and that, it turned out, got Google’s immediate attention. Once the lights went dark, Google engineers quickly removed the offending links and the whole situation was resolved within just three hours.

In all fairness to Google, keeping up with the massive amount of sites that are banned by the Russian government is a big job. That said, any internet company doing business in Russia, especially if their business covers online gambling, should be well aware of the country’s strict rules regarding unregulated internet gambling.

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Major Changes Approved at Amaya Gaming Shareholder Meeting

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 25 June 2017 3:15 pm

Image result for stars group incAmaya Gaming’s efforts to rebrand into the Stars Group, Inc. won the approval of the company’s shareholders at a recent general meeting. The name change is just one piece of a major effort by the online gambling giant to shed the impact of recent scandals and refocus its branding.

That shareholders were so quick to approve sweeping changes across the board speaks volumes about their interest in moving past the legal travails of the company’s former CEO David Baazov.

Baazov is facing a number of charges in a Quebec court related to potential insider trading at the company during his tenure there. He resigned from his position recently to focus on his defense and turned the keys over to Rafi Ashkenazi.

Almost immediately after taking office, Ashenkazi oversaw a number of changes at Amaya Gaming, including the introduction of the Stars Group. He’s also moving the company’s headquarters from Quebec, where Baazov will stand trial, to Toronto. (Though it’s rumored that the move was made to appease company CFO Brian Kyle was unwilling to move to Quebec.)

It’s expected that the Stars Group will be completely moved into its new headquarters by the end of August.

Officially, the changes are not the result of the Amaya Gaming brand being tainted by the Baazov scandal. In a statement to the Canadian Press, Ashenkazi said the changes reflected the company’s desire to refocus on its core products, particularly the PokerStars site.

As part of that refocusing effort, Ahenkazi also announced that PokerStars will be launching a major expansion into the Indian market.

In short, Stars Group is intent on making headlines for news that relevant to the business press and not the police blotter.

 

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EU Slaps Down Hungarian Online Gambling Taxes

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 23 June 2017 3:14 pm

The European Union’s top court has ruled that Hungary’s draconian online gambling licensing and tax scheme is in violation of the Union’s laws regarding competition.

In a ruling that came down late Thursday, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) determined that Hungary’s rules were not transparent and would prevent other EU members from operating in the Hungarian online gambling market.

The case, which was brought on by the Malta-based Unibet operator, was heard at the court’s headquarter in Luxembourg.

Lawyers for Unibet said that that Hungary’s online gambling rules and regulations were designed to keep foreign competitors out of the market. To bolster their case, they pointed to the fact that Hungarian casino operators were encouraged to enter the online gambling market and that the laws favored operators who were already licensed in Hungary.

the Hungarian online gambling licensing scheme required that company’s operating

To make matters worse, for foreign competitors anyways,  the Hungarian online gambling licensing scheme required that company’s operating in their market be trustworthy.

Ok, that’s great but how does one establish trustworthiness? In this case, trust is established by operating in the land-based Hungarian gambling market for ten or more years. That’s a hurdle that’s a bit challenging for even the largest online operators.

The court also slammed the Hungarian government for making their regulations deliberately vague and confusing in an effort to thwart foreign competition.

Across Europe, online gambling operators celebrated ruling in hopes that it will encourage more meaningful, and understandable, online gambling regulations across the Continent.

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FTC Puts Brakes on DraftKings, FanDuel Merger

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 21 June 2017 3:15 pm


The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed suit in an effort to block the proposed merger of daily fantasy sports giants DraftKings and FanDuel. This is very bad news for the beleaguered US-facing daily fantasy sports industry.

In filings associated with the lawsuit, FTC lawyers stated that their efforts are being made in order to maintain a competitive atmosphere in the US daily fantasy sports industry. That’s because most sources suggest that the DraftKings, FanDuel merger would create a mega-company that would control 90-95 percent of the US market.

Not surprisingly, FanDuel and DraftKings are planning to sick their army of attorneys on the FTC in an effort to shut the effort down completely. In a joint statement to their users, DraftKings’ CEO, Jason Roberts and FanDuel CEO, Nigel Eccles said:

We are disappointed by this decision and continue to believe that a merger is in the best interests of our players, our companies, our employees and the fantasy sports industry. We are considering all our options at this time.

Attorneys for DraftKings and FanDuel dispute the idea that their merger would create a near-monopoly in the DFS market. That’s because they believe that they compete with traditional fantasy football providers and do not see daily fantasy sports as a separate entity.

The FTC, however, is not buying any arguments put up by the CEOs. In his own statement to the media, Tad Lipsky, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition said that the merger must be halted in an effort to maintain a competitive marketplace.

Both sides are clearly digging in for a legal battle that is far from being resolved.

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Black Friday Drags On as Scott Tom Strikes a Deal

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 19 June 2017 3:16 pm

Absolute Poker co-founder, Scott Tom has struck a deal with US federal prosecutors for his role in the Black Friday scandal of 2011. It’s a pretty good hand for Tom, who has successfully negotiated felony fraud charges down to a single misdemeanor.

Tom was indicted on a number of felony charges nearly six years ago on charges of illegal gambling and financial fraud. Since then, he’s been living in Antigua, though he is a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Black Friday figure gave up life on the lam back in February when he returned to the United States to face the music.

Earlier this week, Tom reached a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to a single charge of count of being an accessory after the fact to the transmission of wagering information. This charge is line with case, which revolved around the online poker industry’s creative use of payment processing to skirt US gambling laws. And, back in 2011, there was an awful lot of money for the industry to process.

During the heyday of the online poker boom, Absolute Poker was based in Costa Rica and was pulling in cash hand over fist. By the time the Black Friday indictments came down, the company was the third largest online poker site in the world and had collected more $ 500 million from US players. That didn’t sit well the US Department of Justice, especially after investigators found that employees at the big online poker sites were using player deposits as their own personal slush funds.

All told, 12 people were charged with crimes in relation to the Black Friday indictments, including Tom’s stepbrother Brent Beckley who, according to Fortune.com, was sentenced to 12 to 14 months in prison for his role in the scheme. Tom himself will be facing up to two years in federal prison when he’s sentenced in September. Until then, Tom remains a free man on a $ 500,000 bond.

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Betfred Launches Forex Platform with Wanderers Sponsorship Deal.

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 18 June 2017 11:45 am

Betfred is launching a new Forex platform and has signed a jersey sponsorship deal with the Bolton Wanderers Football Club to promote the effort.

Under the terms of the deal, the Bolton Wanderers will be sporting the Betfred logo on the front portion of their jerseys for the next two Championship seasons. Wanderers supporters can also expect to see Betfred promotions throughout Macron Stadium, the team’s home field.

Commenting on the deal, Betfred chief Fred Done said he was pleased to be working with Bolton, a club his company has worked with in the past. “Betfred enjoyed a great relationship with Bolton whilst operating as the Club’s official betting partner a few years ago,” he said on the Bolton website, “and it’s great to be back at Macron Stadium but this time as title sponsors.”

Done also expressed his excitement at seeing Bolton return to the Champions’ League and said the team was heading for great things.

While Done, no doubt, is a Bolton supporter he’s also a business man interested in promoting his own wares. In this case, Betfred is using the jersey sponsorship to promote TradeFred, the company’s new Forex trading platform. That’s the reason Bolton is Betfred’s, “Official Trading Partner.”

While Betfred currently holds a Forex license issued from the the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission, it has yet to receive licenses from Europe and the UK. The company is not anticipating any major issues in securing those licenses.

Terms of the Bolton/Betfred sponsorship deal were not disclosed.

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DraftKings and FanDuel Merger Dreams in Serious Jeapordy

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

The proposed merger between daily fantasy sports giants FanDuel and DraftKings could be in jeopardy because of objections from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It’s just the latest headache for a US-facing daily fantasy sports business that’s already fighting for its life across the nation.

According to a report on Redcode.net, the Board of Commissioners at the FTC is seriously considering whether or not to sue to stop the merger dead in its tracks. Their issue with the marriage of FanDuel and DraftKings is that the deal would slightly more than 80 percent of the US DFS market to just one company.

That’s just too much for one company to control, even in the anything-goes-atmosphere of the current administration.

Of course DraftKings and FanDuel are well aware of the commissioners’ worries and have been taking steps to diversify their products since the proposed deal was first announced. This diversification has taken the form of season long DFS tournaments and other gimmicks.

Whether their efforts are enough to please the commissioners is a question that remains unanswered. And, speaking of commissioners, that might be a problem for DraftKings and FanDuel, too.

As it turns out that, in normal times, the FTC Board of Commissioners is comprised of five members. Currently only two members, one Democrat and one Republican, are seated. The other three commissioner slots are two of the hundreds of appointed positions the Trump administration is either unwilling, or unable, to fill.

The Board’s vacancies mean that if its’ Democrat and Republican members split their votes, the merger would go through. Unfortunately, for FanDuel and DraftKings, that does not seem to be the case.

As it stands, it seems very likely that FanDuel and DraftKings will be spending a lot more time in court, defending their right to merge into one, massive company.

 

 

 

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Major US Sports Unions Discuss Likelihood of Legal Sports Betting

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 13 June 2017 3:14 pm

Representatives of the United States’ four big players unions representing the NBA, NFL, NJL and MLB are quietly getting ready for the day when regulated sports betting comes to America.

According to a recent report on MMBQ.si.com (a division of Sports Illustrated magazine) representatives of these groups have been meeting in secret in New York City to discuss the ramifications of “inevitable” legalization on their lives.

The existence of the meetings was confirmed by NFLPA executive George Atallah who told MMBQ:

Yes, the sports unions have been discussing the issue, in particular around the integrity of our respective games. We’re collaborating on it. We might be open to changes that are coming because of (legalized sports gambling), but before we get to the revenue aspect of it, do we have the infrastructure in place to prevent any sort of shenanigans? That’s the issue.

Those “shenanigans” Atallah is referring to are the dark specters of game fixing by players in an effort to line the pockets of organized crime. This issue is the reason why, until very recently, the state of Nevada did not have any professional sports teams.

The fear of organized crime fixing games in an effort to boost profits at their legal sportsbooks is, however, an idea that’s somewhat dated and the players unions and team owners know it. One unidentified team owner told Sports Illustrated:

That was an issue decades ago. Now? Sports gambling is going to be legal. We might as well embrace it and become part of the solution, rather than fight it. It’s in everyone’s best interests for it to be above board.

With that demon vanquished, the unions are focusing on infrastructure issues and other means by which they can keep players out of trouble as the legal sports betting era in America draws near.

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Betfair Inks Deal with Professional Drone Racing League

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 11 June 2017 3:15 pm

Betfair, one of the UK’s largest betting exchanges, will be breaking new ground in the sports betting world when it offers wagers on professional drone racing later this month. The company recently signed a deal with the Drone Racing League (DRL) to provide wagering services for its Allianz World Championship.

The Allianz World Championship is a new event and is actually the first professional drone race to be held in UK. Drone racers, and fans of drone racing, will be gathering at London’s Alexandra Palace on June 13 to watch the event, which is being held in conjunction with London Tech Week.

Punters who are interested in wagering on the drone racing will be able to place their bets both on site at Alexandra Palace, as well as online. At this point it appears that wagers will only be accepted for the final race.

Betfair’s move to offer drone racing markets isn’t surprising given that bookmakers are always looking for new markets.

In a statement to the media, as reported on by Legal Sports Report, DRL CEO and founder Nicholas Horbaczewski touted the potential excitement offered by drone racing saying:

Drone racing is a sport made for betting. It combines the raw thrill of short track racing with the complexity and strategy of motor sports.

While this is the first time a UK operator has offered wagering on live drone racing, it’s not the first time any operator has taken a run at the drone racing market. That honor belongs to Pinnacle, which offered the first, official, drone racing wagers last year.

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Pennsylvania Inches Toward Online Gambling and VGTs

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 9 June 2017 3:15 pm

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are inching their way towards a consensus on regulated online gambling, but the contentious issue of land-based video gaming terminals (VGT) could derail the entire process.

As it stands today, the Pennsylvania legislature is working on two different bill that both legalize online gambling in the Keystone State. The biggest difference between the two measures is that the House Bill (HB 271) includes language that would legalize the placement of VGTs at any establishment that holds a state liquor license.

This “shots and slots” component is not going over well with the state’s powerful casino interests. They aren’t interested in competing with small bars and restaurants for Keystone State gambling bucks. In its current form, the House bill would allow for up to 40,000 VGTs to be set loose in the state.

In the Pennsylvania House’s vision of online gambling, operators would pay $ 8 million for a license, while technology vendors would pay $ 2 million for the privilege of operating in the state. The Senate envisions a $ 5 million licensing fee for each vertical an operator chooses to participate in.

The House Bill also tackles the thorny issue of daily fantasy sports and establishes both a licensing structure and tax schedule for the industry. Operators would pay 19 percent of their revenue to the state with a $ 50,000 licensing fee.

Pennsylvania lawmakers are set to finalize the state’s budget by June 31, so the fate of both bills should be known by then. It’s worth noting that last year’s attempt to legalize online gambling in the state was tanked when lawmakers couldn’t find common ground on the VGT issue.

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