ONLINE SPORTS BETTING TO BE REVIEWED IN NEW ZEALAND
The New Zealand government has expressed concerns about the activities of offshore online sports betting operators and has tasked a new working group with a review of the situation, perhaps as a prelude to a crackdown.
The New Zealand Herald reports that Racing Minister Nathan Guy, concerned that online sports betting may be depriving the local racing industry of critical income by competing with the TAB monopoly, thus denying the government potential tax revenues, has named former National MP Chris Tremain as the chairman of the working group.
Tremain was Minister of Internal Affairs until he left Parliament last year.
The membership of the working group appears to be weighted toward racing, with no sports betting nominees. Other members include Racing Board chief executive John Allen, Sport New Zealand chair Sir Paul Collins, Thoroughbred New Zealand representative Greg McCarthy and two Internal Affairs officials.
Minister Guy said this week that the TAB monopoly on racing and sports betting required the Racing Board to distribute profits back into the racing industry.
This was being undercut by increased use of online betting with overseas agencies, especially in Australia.
"This means offshore organisations make money on New Zealand racing and sports without paying their fair share of tax, or making contributions back to the racing industry or sporting organisations that make the betting possible in the first place," he said.
The minister noted that online sports betting was a growing trend internationally, and that other countries had introduced regulatory regimes.
The racing industry has raised concerns at the impact of online sports betting, claiming that it undermines both investment and employment prospects in the industry.
The review will determine to what extent New Zealand punters use online sports betting, and will examine claims that offshore operators are not subject to the same stringent responsible gambling rules as those complied with by the TAB, leading to an increased risk of under-age or problem gambling.
The working group is required to submit its recommendations to government by September this year.
MICROGAMING REPORTS ITS BIGGEST YET MOBILE WIN (Update)
Microgaming has confirmed the April 9 Mega Moolah progressive jackpot hit reported late last week by InfoPowa, advising that Royal Programa Descuentos Deportivos Vegas player MarkA will receive a full payment in one tranche of Euro 5,375,695.08.
The lucky player was spinning on his mobile phone when he hit the jackpot that has turned him into an instant multi-millionaire.
A spokesman for Royal Vegas has revealed that MarkA had only been a member of the online casino for a week hwn he struck gold.
"I dont think you could ask for a better start to playing at Royal Vegas," the spokesman said Monday. "One of our senior VIP executive hosts had the pleasure of phoning Mark to confirm the win and to congratulate him; to say he was elated is an understatement. Everyone here at Royal Vegas would like to congratulate Mark on this mammoth and historic win.
MANITOBAS NOVELTY BETTING PIQUES INTEREST
BC Lotteries Corps online Play Now website is getting a fair amount of U.S. media attention with its recently introduced novelty betting offer in Manitoba and British Columbia.
"It's meant to capitalize and bring that entertainment factor to more casual people that wouldn't normally wager on something like a regular sports bet," Chris Fairclough, senior communications officer with B.C. Lotteries Corp. told the Winnipeg Free Press.
Fairclough spoke about B.C. Lotteries Corps regulated offer as opposed to punters placing bets on unlicensed operators websites saying: These are sites that aren't legal in Canada but people play on them anyway. Instead of going the prohibition route and trying to shut all those places down, we're offering a product that is safe and secure and gives back to the people and repatriates the money. So if you are placing this type of wager, you're doing so in a safe, secure environment.
"Would you rather your money go back to paying for education and health care or would you rather it go to pay for someone's yacht in the Caribbean? We'll leave that to the players to decide."
SPORTRADAR TO CARRY GERMAN HANDBALL DATA
Online sports betting content firm Sportradar has acquired the exclusive eight year rights to collect and distribute official German Handball League data to its betting industry and media clients following a partnership agreement signed last week.
The Sportradar agreement covers both the first and second divisions of the HBL, along with the DHB Cup, the Super Cup and the annual All-Star Game competitions.
As part of the agreement, Sportradar will furnish HBL with its Live Sports Centre product, a content visualisation tool with extensive live statistics which can be customised and implemented on all team websites.
The data company has also undertaken to develop an HBL mobile application for data visualisation across smartphones and tablets.
In a press statement this week, Sportradar m.d. for sports data and licensing, Johannes Ranke, said:
Handball is one of the most popular sports in Germany and I am very excited about the collaboration between Sportradar and the HBL for the coming years. It will be a great opportunity to develop cutting-edge data products and services and help to increase the awareness of the HBL and handball around Europe and the world.
BELGIAN ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATOR ABOUT TO CHANGE HANDS
Dutch media are reporting the imminent sale of Mieke Michiels' Belgian-licensed Napoleon Gaming land and online gambling group to Waterland, a Dutch private equity company, for an unknown consideration.
Napoleon brands include the land Casino Knokke, through which the company obtained an internet gambling licence in the hard-nosed Belgian online gambling market.
Michiels' online interests embrace casino and sportsbetting operations, and the company sponsors AA Ghent, a Belgian football club, along with the Sunweb professional cycling team.
The transaction is timely, with the Dutch government gearing up for liberalised online gambling regulation later this year (see previous InfoPowa reports).
Through the deal Waterland, which additionally holds gambling assets in Germany and the Netherlands, also gains the rights to operate 23 gambling venues across Belgium.
CAESARS PLANS U.S. ONLINE GAMBLING MARKETING PUSH
With the northern hemisphere seasons turning to cooler weather in autumn and winter, there is likely to be more interest in online gambling, and the interactive division of major US gambling group Caesars Entertainment intends to exploit that by launching a new advertising campaign, reports the marketing publication Adweek.
Caesars has confirmed that it will push a TV ad campaign through September alerting New Jersey residents that online gambling is now legal in the state...and they can play more than 120 games on the internet casino's website.
"We wanted to make the public more aware of what we're offering from an online perspective and highlight to the market the different kinds of games we have," Caesars Interactive Entertainment vp of digital marketing Adrian Bailey explained.
He said typically, online gaming ads die down in the summer, but as the weather declines, activity in the online gambling environment tends to rise, making it the right time to plug round-the-clock online gaming.
Adweek reports that a study by Aruvian's R'search shows that despite economic woes and legal restrictions US web gambling grew 2.5 percent in 2012.
CIE will be pushing both desktop and mobile gambling in its campaign to cater for the growing popularity of the mobile vertical. The Entertainment Software Association reports that 43 percent of the audience has used smartphones to gamble while 30 percent has used a wireless device of some kind.
"We want to tell people we're Caesars and were online," Bailey said.
ANOTHER U.S. DEAL FOR SPORTECH RACING AND DIGITAL
The Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois has become the latest US company to sign up for Sportech Racing and Digital's range of online and land-based betting products.
Sportech Racing and Digital is the American subsidiary of the UK-listed gambling group Sportech plc.
The new deal will see SRD providing Hawthorne with totalisator and related services over a ten-year period, along with a full suite of digital and land-based betting products that include the G4 internet wagering solution, Digital Link mobile suite, and the new Sportech Kiosk a self-service account set-up, funding and cashing product.
Hawthorne Race Course has a positive ten-year history with SRD and remains impressed by the innovative technologies the company continues to make available, said president and general manager Tim Carey.
We look to expand distribution of our account wagering services with the new Sportech Kiosk, and to deliver a better wagering experience for our players with the Digital Link mobile suite and the next generation self-service terminals, he said Wednesday.