Posts Tagged ‘online gambling industry’

More Affiliate Awards to Recognize the Best in Casino Gaming Review Sites

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Click Banner to Vote for Your Favorite Online Gaming Affiliate and Review Site

iGaming Business Affiliate Magazine is one of the best online gaming trade publications in circulation today. Nevermind the fact that it is primarily geared toward affiliates – whom if you didn’t know – bring in the lion’s share of traffic to internet betting destinations vying for top billing on the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, the chockful of “industry” articles professionally published in each bi-monthly issue, is sure to engage anyone with their fingers in the gaming business.

As for me personally, I prefer to read the write-ups discusssing promising, new forms of online wagering, as well as regulatory updates on the many betting jurisdictions the world over. What is true in the UK, may not be true in Malta, and vice versa. As a publishing outlet for the industry, Online Casino Suite certainly has a responsibility to stay abreast of such changes and updates and notify players and the betting community at large when such changes will affect them.

So, if I can be so brash as to toot our own horn, I suppose you could say this is one of the factors that makes for a great affiliate site like your’s truly. And that, my friends, is exactly what the iGaming Business Affiliate Awards aims to pay respects to. Even if OCS doesn’t win next year’s awards, the fact that the affiliate sector is being recognized by a highly respected trade publications is a pat on the back for affiliates who aim to bring more accountability and transparency to the online gambling industry.

Another great online gaming trade publication in business today is eGaming Review (eGR) Magazine. Largely focused on the European sector (let’s face it – that’s where most the legal action is these days, albeit there’s great news fodder for the up-and-downs of regulation in the States), eGR dishes out timely news articles and in-depth special reports pertaining to many areas of the industry. Likewise mindful of the role that affiliates play, one of eGR’s special reports for 2010 is the Affiliate Report. I’ll give you one guess what it’s about.

As for awards, until now, the eGR Operator Awards primarily recognize operators and developers – basically the B2B side of internet betting.  aims to pay some respect to. Not to be confused with iGaming Business’ Affiliate Awards, which judging by the name, obviously centers around the affiliate industry, the eGR Operator Awards now includes four new affiliate categories for the first time in six years. These categories include “Gaming Review Site of the Year”, “Innovative Gaming Site of the Year”, “Best Gaming Comparison Site of the Year”, and “Best Gaming Community Site of the Year”.

eGR Magazine’s Publishing Director, Seb Timpson, said it best: “We are not looking just to reward the biggest affiliates. Entrepreneurialism and a professional approach are attributes that the judges will also be looking for. We hope these awards will be a benchmark for affiliates, and a badge of achievement that affiliates will be proud to shout about to their users and partners.”

The awards ceremony, which is expected to draw a sell-out crowd of 800, will be held over dinner (as is the tradition), at the Artillery Garden at the HAC in London on Wednesday, November 24, 2010. In similary vein to the entertainment industry’s Golden Globe awards, the eGR Operator Awards is a black suit, white tie affair befitting the best of what the online gambling industry has to offer.

Check out this years eGaming Review Business 2 Business Awards Ceremony:

Ireland to Double the Tax Rate on Internet Betting Operators?

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Seemingly following in the footsteps of Great Britain, lawmakers in Ireland are apparently considering reaping more revenue from online gambling activity. And just like the UK, Ireland could be setting itself up for a loss in business if said “reaping” is too much for online betting operators.

As reported by the Irish Examiner, Ireland’s Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan is considering doubling the current tax rate on remote gaming revenue with a 2% tax on all wagers made through Ireland-based and regulated betting sites. Of course, the operative word here is “speculation”. But considering the history of online gambling regulation, if Ireland does indeed impose a 2% winnings tax, it certainly wouldn’t be a big shocker.

When you have the likes of Paddy Power and the Irish Bookmakers’ Association (IBA) voicing concern about such a tax, the reality is that there is indeed some truth behind the speculative claims that Minister Lenihan is, himself, seriously considering the tax spike. IBA’s chairwoman, Sharon Byrne, commented, “We believe that 400 of the 1,200 would shut up overnight. It would kill jobs in the industry”, while a Paddy Power spokesperson said that passing the tax would be “insane”.

Not surprisingly, all of the betting sites and online bookmakers operating out of Ireland, highly oppose the tax. The one exception could possibly be land-based horse racing and dog tracks, which the Irish government has apparently shorted some 30 million Euro’s in government funding.

The idea behind imposing such a spike is that it could generate 60 billion Euro’s in tax revenue per year. Therefore, it would seem the online betting industry would be the most conducive place to turn to for generating some badly needed funds. The gamble, however, is that by increasing the tax rate, many operators will either leave Ireland to do business elsewhere, or simply shut their doors for good. It has been estimated that some 33% of operators will have no choice but the latter.

888’s Second Quarter Earnings Report: Online Casino and Bingo up; Poker Down

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Man Alive! What’s to be done about the online poker slump? You mean you didn’t hear? Okay, well maybe the players aren’t in a slump, per say. However, the leading U.S. facing online poker rooms (at least the one’s who used to do business in the States) are beginning to see just how bad the online poker industry depends on Uncle Sam.

Granted, I’m not referring to the poker rooms still doing business with American citizens. For them, it’s business as usual. In other words, lots of money to be had. Poker Stars and Doyle’s Room, for instance, are experiencing gains in poker activity, while rooms like 888 Pokrt are being hit with all-time record losses.

Just how bad is the damage? Well, according to 888’s Chief Executive, Gigi Levy (don’t you love that name?), who announced company earnings last month, pre-tax profit is down 43%, which equates to a difference of $6.3 million from last year’s profit of $14.9 million. Let me put it another way – 888 earned more revenue from online bingo than poker.

Uh ya, so apparently 888 is going to be undertaking some cost cutting programs in order to prevent further losses ($6 million overhead reduction), although Levy didn’t say exactly how that will be obtained. Granted, much of 888’s loss in online poker revenue can be attributed to a slumping global economy and the World Cup, which is what William Hill’s CEO blamed for his company’s losses as well! 888 has been closed to the U.S. for some time now, which goes to show that market shifts do indeed take place as a result of factors other than government infringement.

However, one can only surmise just how much this loss would have been offset if 888 was still tapping into the lucrative U.S. online poker industry. Just how lucrative you ask? Well, let’s save that for another blog post. The latest issue of iGaming Bussiness magazine has some very interesting things to say about online poker in the State of California alone – and I definitely have some things I want to share regarding this in another post. In other words, stay tuned.

As far as talks about 888 going into a merger this year, Levy reiterated his earlier comments in the year that consolidation looked “highly likely”, and after being pressed for hints, did not rule out the option of merging with Ladbrokes. Following the merger between giant’s, Bwin and Party Gaming, 888 certainly needs to do something in order to stay in the games. Thus far, things are looking better – online poker revenue for August jumped 15%, in line with normal levels. As for online casino revenue, it was up for the second quarter.

Visionary iGaming is Bringing Web 2.0 and More to Online Casinos

Saturday, September 4th, 2010
Visionary iGaming is Bringing Web 2.0 to Online Casinos and More

Visionary iGaming is Bringing Web 2.0 to Online Casinos and More

Last month, OCS got all gushy over live dealer online casinos. In fact, we went all-in with our bankroll, betting that live dealer gaming will actually become more popular than traditional RNG online casinos. While we’re not exactly sure when that will take place (largely depending on regulation and technology penetration), you can certainly except to see more live dealer casinos in the next five years or so.

Doing our extensive research on live dealer gaming (as we always do, don’t you know), we recently came across Visionary iGaming (visionaryigaming.com). This Costa Rica based proprietary 2.0 casino solutions developer has been making some great advancements in the live gaming sector, which we here at OCS believe warrants some attention. In other words, be on the lookout for Visionary iGaming. Here’s why:

Being a proprietary developer, not only is Visionary’s package of casino games available for live play with real dealers, many of these games cannot be found anywhere else on the Web. For example, Visionary’s Blackjack Early Payout (BJEP) is one which any smart gambler and strategist would be wise to play.

Taking a spin on the “Insurance” rule, Blackjack Early Payout gives players the opportunity to take an early payout on their Blackjack hand, based on the probability on their hand beating the dealer’s. Furthermore, the game itself automatically follows Basic Blackjack Strategy, thereby giving players the opportunity to keep the Casinos Edge down low. In this case, we are talking about a 0.5% edge on any given hand, which amounts to a payout of 99.5%.

Another impressive aspect about Visionary iGaming is that they are focused on Web 2.0 solutions. For anyone out there unfamiliar with Web 2.0, it is the term primarily used to refer to web-based communities where mainstreamed information sharing is the “law of the land”. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twiter, and blog sites like Thoughts and Blogger are perfect examples of Web 2.0.

Visionary iGaming is essentially bringing Web 2.0 to life with live dealer online casino gaming. Truly bringing the casino inside your home, Visionary uses a hosted Rich Internet Application to seamlessly stream video and audio with only a sub 2 second delay. You don’t even have to use a mouse or keyboard to place your wagers! And when the game is in session, you can chat with other players sitting in at the table. Heck, you can even tip the dealer if you like (which you should, by the way)!

Current happenings at Visionary iGaming include development of a live poker platform and expansions on the marketing front. Taking a look at Visionary’s news page, just last month, the company announced that former DublinBet and AbsolutePoker exec, Gian Perroni, has been appointed to Senior Vice President of Marketing. Perroni will be in charge of building global marketing strategies, building Visionary iGaming’s image and brand, while also developing marketing solutions for partner’s, including affiliate programs, rewards and media buying. Prior to this, an article by Visionary iGaming founder and CEO, Martin Reiner, was featured in leading industry magazine, iGaming Business (May/June, 2009).

Vocal Opponent of U.S. Online Gambling Regulation Does About Face

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
I HAD to put this picture in... just couldn't help myself.

I HAD to put this picture in... just couldn't help myself.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid is hard to pin. I mean, let’s face it, he’s a politician is he not? The Nevada Democrat who holds the reigns in the U.S. Senate has made a “surprising” turnaround, recently citing he stands behind the regulation of online gambling. Now, it would be another thing if Reid, who obviously knows something about the casino gambling industry, was indifferent or even undecided in his views about online gambling. However, Reid has been nothing but the opposite, in fact, actively taking an outspoken stand against the legalization of online gambling in the States.

So what, my dear friends, has caused Reid to change his mind? I’ll give you one guess. It smells like paper and rhymes with funny. You see, while Reid has a little man on his left shoulder, letting him know how important Las Vegas is to Nevada, there’s a louder, larger man on his other shoulder telling him that Nevada needs tax revenue – and the constituents of Nevada far outweigh the sway of the casino operators. Right? Errr, it could very well be the other way around given other circumstances and a different time, i.e., when the mob ruled Vegas, which is exactly why Reid deserves at least some credit. I mean, he is supporting the regulation of online gambling, is he not?

Granted, one of the largest players in Las Vegas, Harrahs Entertainment, has come out of the closet to proclaim support of online gambling regulation, also formerly taking an open stance against online casinos. So, even with some vocal disappointment being expressed by some of Las Vegas’ casino operators (mainly the smaller guys), the big dogs like Harrah’s and most likely MGM are waiting patiently for the time to pounce and launch online versions of their bread and butter offering.

Also, Congressman Barney Frank’s bill to overturn the UIGEA recently passed the House of Representatives and is serving a dual purpose of helping educate lawmakers on why it’s more important to regulate than ban and how online gambling can be effectively regulated, in particular, preventing underage and problem gambling addictions. In other words, Reid could very well be coming around simply because it’s the right thing to do. Hopefully, more U.S. Senators will do the same.

iGaming Business Events Team Announces New Online Betting Conference in November

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
Marketing specialists mark your calendar's for November 2010

Marketing specialists be on the lookout for the Sport and iGaming Conference

The iGaming Business (iGB) Events Team has announced yet another internet betting conference – this time focusing on marketing and sponsorship in the sports betting and online gambling sectors, as well as some yet-to-be divulged details specifically pertaining to the internet betting industry itself. Called the Sport and iGaming Conference (could you ask for a more succinct and simple title?), the conference is set to take place on November 10, 2010 in London.

In fact, the international law firm, Pinsent Masons, is sponsoring and hosting the event at their London headquarters on Aylesbury Street. Me personally, I have never been to the location before, so I couldn’t say what the venue is like, but I’m sure it will be fantastic (as they always are). Just another one of the many details iGB Events will be revealing very shortly on the newly launched SportandiGaming.com website, the conference is shaping up to be geared toward marketers.

Now, I don’t mean marketing in the sense of affiliate marketing. I’m talking about the marketing of actually sponsoring an internet betting company, or as iGB would be quite happy to arrange, the sponsorship of an internet betting conference the likes of the Sport and iGaming Conference.

That said, Pinsent Masons will be on hand to discuss internet betting sponsorship and marketing from a legal perspective. Also included in the evolving program lineup is a discussion on the ethical risks of sponsoring a company in the iGaming industry, success stories, as well as the changing ways in which people wager. Like any good betting conference, the Sport and iGaming Conference will have over four hours of networking sessions scheduled throughout the day.

Also taking place in November just prior to the Sport and iGaming Conference is a lottery conference (WLA 2010) and iGB Espana, which represents one of the fastest growing internet betting markets in Europe. Rounding out the end of the month is the iGB Scandinavian Affiliate Super Summitt, which will focus on tapping the lucrative Scandinavian online gambling sector with affiliate marketing.

If you are interested to learn more about iGaming sponsorship, not to mention becoming a sponsor of the Sport and iGaming Conference and maybe even becoming a speaker and thus getting over the #1 fear of the majority of human beings 🙂 please contact Kiera [@] iGamingBusiness.com

In Light of a Bill to Regulate Online Gambling, Another Internet Bookie Goes Down

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

In light of the positive developments regarding the Internet Gaming Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (HR 2267, otherwise known simply as IGREA), which after successfully passing through the U.S. House of Representatives is to go under the knife in the Senate (I have an in-dept article about this in the works), it’s cases like the one below that reiterate why online gambling needs to be regulated in the United States.

Meet James L. Dicapo – a fifty-seven year old “businessman” from the Heart of America’s West, err, Kansas. Dicapo, whom I’m assuming is Italian, recently pleaded guilty to operating an online gambling business. Bringing in more than $3.6 million spanning approximately three years (2006-2009), this was no skimpy business either. Basically, it was your standard bookmaker getup offering phone lines for, well, betting one’s lines on a range of sports events.

These days, phone-in bookies like this are also often inclined to go the way of the Web, if you will. Sports betting online is big business, and the internet is simply helping it become bigger. But rather broadcast their services for all to see, this operation consisted of handing out toll-free digits and a website to sign up. Dicapo and three other men (also charged in the investigation) would simply handle the money, and from what I can understand, actually do the rounds and deal with customers face to face.

Dicapo has attested that the customers for whom he specifically dealt with wagered approximately $1.2 million between 2006-2009. All of this money would then be routed to an offshore business in Costa Rica (where many a sports betting business is set up, I might add). The actual wagers would go through here, and all winning bets would be paid out accordingly.

On that note, while everything Dicapo was doing was deemed illegal, this does not necessarily mean there was shady business taking place internally. In other words, Dicapo and his operation was, for all intensive purposes, a legitimate sports betting service with a base of satisfied customers. I suppose you could say satisfied “clients”, if DiCapo was dealing with a small handful of whales. That hasn’t yet been determined yet, but I’m sure it will be brought to light if that’s indeed what happened.

In relation to what’s going on with the aforementioned IGREA, you might wonder if cases like this will continue happening in the U.S. Well, to make a long story short, the answer is yes. One small provision in the IGREA is that sports betting will not be included with online poker, bingo and online casino games in having the possibility to be regulated on a State level. Online sports betting simply is illegal and will remain illegal even if the IGREA is passed into law.

But that won’t stop operations like Dicapo’s from sprouting up, many of which may not even be caught. The fact of the matter – and this is one reason why sports betting was left out of the bill – is that most sports fans love to wager. And for the millions of these folks who do not have the luxury of making trips to Vegas every time they want to make a wager, the telephone and online bookies serve as a very convenient option for placing the bets on one’s behalf

Party Gaming Merger With Bwin Could be on the Near Horizon

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

PartyGamingBwinAs reported by Reuters, Party Gaming is on a mission to consolidate the online gambling industry. Or perhaps I should say take over the online gambling industry. Of course, consolidation is the more politically correct way to put it. Side not tangent: Don’t you love how the term “politically correct” is such a misnomer, being political, yet always incorrect. Is that what they call an oximoron?

Anyways, I think I’ve lost track of my mind, and also of how many betting companies Party Gaming has already taken over. I’m sure it’s impressive, none the less. I mean, the fact that the world’s largest online gambling group is now in talks with the likes of Austria-based Bwin (a formidable European facing online betting giant in their own right), says a lot.

And while said consolidation, err…takeover has been slower than expected – at least according to Party Gaming’s expectations – the Gibraltar based conglomerate says it is very confident in its future crusades, the greatest of which is a merger with Bwin.

In fact, online gambling industry analysts concur that a merger with Bwin will likely act as a catalyst for a “wave of takeover activity.” It’s a tough claim to dispute, considering the very nature of the fragmented internet betting industry. In many ways, it will serve the industry in a greater light, providing more uniform regulatory guidelines, which needless to say, Gibraltar has done an excellent job promulgating. It will also provide greater operator transparency at large.

Oh and one more thing – it will definitely provide a boost for Party Gaming’s stock value on the London Stock Exchange. Although Party Gaming has seen a 2% decline in revenue for the second quarter this year, market analysts expect full year earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) at about $150 million. In other words, not bad if you ask me.

Here at Online Casino Suite, we can’t be too upset over what amounts to the beginnings of a monopoly. The fact of the matter is that 1) it really will never become a monopoly in the truest sense of the word – the industry is way too diverse for that to take place, and 2) Party Casino is a great online casino to play at. All things said and done, they are one of the top non-US facing online casinos out there.