Antigua and Barbuda apologize to Rastafarian community

first_imgAntigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne says the prohibition of cannabis less than 100 years ago, was prompted not by altruistic motives or concern for the health or well-being of users, but to serve “the racist, political and economic interests’ of the then global powers.In a message marking International Day of Cannabis, commonly referred to as “420’, Browne, whose government has recently announced plans to allow for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, said in the Caribbean, the Rastafari Community has championed the many uses of cannabis, and have asserted that the herb is utilized as a sacrament in their rituals, in their celebrations and worship.“The prohibition and demonization have led to Rastafari being brutalized and castigated by police and other government authorities, because of the utilization of the plant Cannabis Sativa,” he said in a recorded message to the Cannabis Movement of St. Lucia which is marking “420” celebration here on Friday.Browne said that it is in this context, and now that his administration is moving to amend legislation regarding cannabis that “I have issued a ‘genuine’ apology to the Rastafarian Community and have asserted that Rastafari sacramental or spiritual use be acknowledged.”He said he is also urging that the Rastafari Community “be given a stake in production and benefits to be derived from the medicinal and other uses going forward.“Let us regard this as reparations for Rastafari, for the wrongs inflicted on this significant minority group in our Countries, through the so called ‘war on drugs’ which evidently was prompted by pernicious prohibition,’ Browne said in his statement.The Cannabis Movement of St. Lucia said it was pleased with the statement given by Browne, saying he is “the first sitting Caribbean Head of Government who has acknowledged the wrongs against Rastafari in the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda and has issued an official apology to the Rastafarian community.”It described his government’s decision to liberalize the cannabis laws as “courageous” adding that it hoped that a comprehensive Cannabis Act that will regulate the use of cannabis in Antigua and Barbuda will be enacted by the end of this year.last_img read more

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LGBTQ laws being challenged in Caribbean courts

first_imgUNAIDS – On the night of February 6 in Georgetown, Guyana, seven transgender women were rounded up by the police and detained for the weekend. The following Monday, in the Georgetown Magistrates Court, they learned that they had been charged with cross-dressing. They pleaded guilty, were convicted and were each ordered to pay a fine. But not before being admonished by the Magistrate that they were “confused about their sexuality.”With support from the Faculty of Law University of the West Indies Rights Advocacy Project, U-RAP, the group challenged the nineteenth century Guyanese law that bars men from dressing like women, and women from dressing like men “for an improper purpose”. On 13 November 2018, Guyana’s final court of appeal, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), ruled unanimously that the law violates the Constitution of Guyana and is therefore void.“No one should have his or her dignity trampled on, or human rights denied, merely on account of a difference,” CCJ President, Adrian Saunders, said.For U-RAP Co-Coordinator and law lecturer Tracy Robinson, this was a step towards addressing the unequal power and unequal life chances of many Caribbean people. “Laws do not apply evenly to everyone: those with the least resources and those marginalized are at greatest risk. Trans women are not the only ones who face lives which are cut short by state action and state inaction. There are many other instances in which we leave out and exclude those who are integral and part of our societies,” Ms Robinson said.HIV is one manifestation of the way vulnerable communities are left behind. In the region, HIV prevalence among key populations is much higher than among adults generally. For example, among transgender women in Guyana—one of the few Caribbean countries with data on this population—the HIV prevalence is 8.4%, compared with 1.7% among all adults. Relevant Caribbean data indicate that HIV prevalence among gay men and other men who have sex with men ranges between 1.3% and 32.8%. The combination of discriminatory laws, stigma and discrimination and the relative lack of friendly services for members of key populations drives people underground, blocking them from HIV prevention and treatment services.But in some countries, partners are acting to challenge the constitutionality of discriminatory laws held over from the colonial era. Through a case also supported by U-RAP, Caleb Orozco challenged the law in Belize that made “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” which includes anal sex, a crime punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. On 10 August 2016, Belize became just the second independent Commonwealth Caribbean country to decriminalize sex between men, and the first to do so through its courts.And in Trinidad and Tobago the High Court ruled in favour of Jason Jones on 12 April 2018, finding that sexual activity between consenting adults should not be criminalized. This ruling was cited in the landmark Indian Supreme Court decision in 2018 decriminalizing gay sex.UNAIDS is contributing to community engagement and communication around these issues, including supporting public forums in Belize and Trinidad and Tobago and the sensitization of journalists reporting on the transgender community in Guyana.For the litigants, these victories are one step forward in a long journey towards equity.“It forces communication between families and their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender relatives. It encourages people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to come out the closet. It forces institutions to think about their administrative practices and the discrimination they justified based on that law. It forces homophobic people to acknowledge that the constitution covers everyone,” Mr Orozco said.Litigant and co-founder of Guyana Trans United, Gulliver Quincy McEwan, said “It was very important for us to be heard and get justice.”last_img read more

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VIDEO: Watch Higuain Give Barcelona Fans Middle Finger After Camp Nou Substitution

first_imgJuventus striker, Gonzalo Higuain was visibly not happy with the reception he got from Barcelona fans as TV footage caught him flashing his middle finger at the Blaugrana supporters.Higuain has never scored at the Camp Nou despite facing Barcelona 12 times at the stadium, 10 times with Real Madrid and twice with Juventus.video Higuain menunjukkan jari tengah-nya selepas dibawa keluar. pic.twitter.com/7p0jGgbPFg— FCBM (@FCBMalaysia) September 13, 2017The 29-year-old Argentine made the offensive gesture as he approached the bench after he was replaced with Fabrizio Caligara in the 87th minute of the 3-0 loss.Higuain has only managed to find the net three times against Barcelona in 21 appearances, all at the Santiago Bernabeu. Relatedlast_img

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ATP Finals (Boris Becker Group): Jack Sock Joins Federer In The Last Four

first_imgAmerican tennis star Jack Sock has joined legend Roger Federer as semifinalists from the Boris Becker Group at the ongoing ATP Finals in London after his thrilling three-set win over German third seed Alexander Zverev.Eighth seed Sock saw off Zverev 6-4 1-6 6-4 to finish in second place behind Federer thereby setting up a semi-final meeting with Grigor Dimitrov.Speaking after his win, Jack Sock commended the fighting spirit he showed against Zverev. He said: “That was a rollercoaster match.”“He played well in the second, I didn’t have the hottest start in the third, but I kept in there and kept fighting.” Sock added.Group winner Federer had earlier beaten Marin Cilic 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-1 to head into the semi-finals with a 100% record. He had already won the group with victories over Zverev and Sock.“Knowing I was qualified on Tuesday evening – it’s kind of weird to be already through to the semis, but of course it gives me a great idea how I want to prepare for Saturday.” the 19- time Grand Slam winner said after the match.“One more last weekend, one more push before the vacation and then preparation for the next season.” he concluded.The semi-final line-up for Saturday will be completed by the winner of the Pete Sampras Group match between David Goffin and Dominic Thiem on Friday. In the other group match, the impressive Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria will face Pablo Busta as he aims to maintain his 100% record. RelatedATP Finals Review (Boris Becker Group): Federer Into Semis After Win Over ZverevNovember 15, 2017In “Sports”ATP Finals Wrap (Pete Sampras Group): Dimitrov Into Semis With Victory Over Goffin As Busta Is BustedNovember 16, 2017In “Sports”ATP Finals: 7 Is The Lucky Number For 7th Seed Goffin Against FedererNovember 19, 2017In “Sports”last_img read more

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Ian Freeman – Kambi – “Outsourcing model is aligning with market forces”

first_img Submit Kambi takes control of Churchill Downs BetAmerica sportsbook August 28, 2020 Ian FreemanThe continued expansion of regulated markets coupled with increased tax burdens has shifted the sports betting industry to favour third-party solutions, according to Kambi Group Chief Commercial Officer Ian Freeman.Speaking exclusively to SBC, Freeman highlighted the growth enjoyed by its long-term customer 888sport, with which Kambi extended its partnership deal on Wednesday, as proof the ‘outsourcing model has never been so relevant’.“The multi-year 888 extension is another acknowledgement that a flexible and scalable proposition is the only solution that can deliver a scalable and agile enablement capability to Tier 1 operators in regulated markets,” Freeman said.“Since our relationship began, 888sport has seen a five-fold increase in the size of its sports business in some of the most highly competitive regulated markets in Europe.This illustrates the fact that the outsourced model is now aligning with market forces.”“Our proposition is commercially and operationally compelling and we are absolutely delighted to continue to work with such a dedicated and professional team at 888sport,” he added.Furthermore, when speaking to analysts during the firm’s Q2 results presentation on Wednesday, Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén remarked that the supplier’s customer pipeline had “never been stronger” due to an increased demand for a high-quality outsourced sportsbook.“As more markets regulate, this is good news for us,” Nylén added.The UK Gambling Commission recently reported growth in B2B online sportsbook revenues with the 12 months to September 2016 coming in at £615m, an increase on the £514 million recorded during the previous period. Share Related Articles Kambi takes full control of LeoVegas sportsbook portfolio August 26, 2020 StumbleUpon Kambi and DraftKings agree on final closure terms July 24, 2020 Sharelast_img read more

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Turn points into prizes with Betfair and Rewards4Racing

Related Articles Betfair has become the latest sportsbook to link up with the Rewards4Racing programme, which looks to add to the experience of a racing fans day out.Becoming its fourth exclusive betting partner, building on long standing agreements with bet365, Betfred and Coral, the firms 1.2 million members will now have the chances to collect points on Betfair sportsbook betting activity.Offering free membership, users collect points quickly and easily through Rewards4Racing’s betting partners and extensive shopping networks.Points can be turned into a number prizes, including a ticket for the races or an upgrade to hospitality, with it also detailed that “you are able to spend your Rewards4Racing points on pretty much anything that is available for sale at any of our partner racecourses.”  Tom Cowgill, Rewards4Racing Co-Founder and Director, commented: “It’s fantastic news to have Betfair Sportsbook join us as our fourth bookmaker partner. “Betfair has an ever-increasing portfolio of high-profile sponsorships within British racing and I’m certain that their participation on the programme will prove to be a great addition for our members.”Last year members of the Rewards4Racing programme staked more than £1b, with its three existing partners, collecting points on each bet.Members went on to purchase more than 170,000 tickets to the races when redeeming their points, generating more than £6 million worth of advanced ticket sales for the programme’s racecourse partners. Stephen Mault, Betfair’s Brand Director, said: “We are delighted that Betfair has joined the Rewards4Racing programme. “It will enable us to reward Betfair customers with regular and tangible benefits through the Rewards4Racing platform and the partnership will help us increase the reach of the flagship Betfair sponsorships in the racing calendar.“It will also offer racing fans greater opportunities to attend race meetings more frequently, underlining our long-term commitment to British Racing.”Points collected from betting activity can be used for great savings on race day tickets, upgrades and experiences at over 900 race meetings each year including The Cheltenham Festival, The Randox Health Grand National, The Investec Derby, The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, The St Leger Festival and The All Weather Championships. Share Betfred counters Oppenheimer bid in race to rescue Phumelela August 26, 2020 Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 Submit ‘Deal maker’ Rafi Ashkenazi ends Flutter tenure  August 27, 2020 Share StumbleUpon read more

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Suren Khachatryan: Digitain – The Eastern Promise of World Cup 2018

first_img Related Articles Suren Khachatryan, Chief Executive of Digitain, details to SBC readers and #bofcon2018 delegates why Russia 2018 will be a challenge for all industry operators. A key stakeholder in CIS betting, for Khachatryan World Cup 2018 further holds a personal connection for Digitain operations…———————–The Betting on Football Conference (#bofcon2018) and World Cup 2018 complement each other and like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Indeed, with so many hot topics rearing their heads at Stamford Bridge this week, you might’ve expected a gunfight of competing ideas to break out.Nevertheless, far from resembling the Wild West, #bofcon2018 was a timely conference at which to meet coherently, debate the merits and let good ideas win at a crucial time for the industry as a whole.Whatever your issue: PASPA stateside, regulation closer to home, player engagement, acquisition and bonusing alternatives, World Cup impact, social media marketing, post-event retention strategy… these questions needed answers. And sometimes definitive ones. So it was great to trade thoughts on broad plans and specific innovations with other industry leaders, in order that we might converge on the wisest path forward, with #bofcon2018 being the perfect lens through which to distil details of every colour.While the overall growth of the igaming industry remains incredibly encouraging, particularly in emerging markets, the international advance of sportsbook continues unchecked in most developing countries, although it has admittedly slowed a little in mature territories such as the UK. That said, innovation remains the watchword, both in the markets you offer and the tools with which you allow your clients to engage.For Digitain, as a local provider with an expanding portfolio of CIS-facing partnerships, the staging of Russia’s first World Cup obviously draws our distinct focus this June. That said, regardless of territory, the World Cup is self-evidently a core attraction for all operators, and getting heard above the white noise of a crowded marketplace is crucial to both client acquisition, reactivation and retention.Staying positively demarcated from the competition is naturally pivotal. However, that’s a progressively problematic feat to pull off amongst a sea of standardised prices and offers. Therefore, as I mentioned earlier, varied bet and offer functionality, allied to an agile platform, will allow operators to tailor their products to specific territories. Especially in a World Cup, whose truly global reach intrinsically caters for different betting tastes, not to mention national allegiances.Accordingly, we have focussed our efforts for the coming year on rolling out a genuine omni-channel solution (which can sell the World Cup via a wide range of complimentary casino products, or a new multiple-bet reselection tool like Digitain’s Edit My Bet) coupled to the most flexible mobile platform. After all, smartphone-adoption rates are ramping in most domains, so only a complete package will set operators apart.Our recent partnership with Pokerdom, the largest online poker operation in the CIS, was an eloquent case in point for a happy collision of timing and geography. As one of the globe’s Top 10 poker rooms (with a registered user-base of over one million clients) they had been looking to secure a top-notch sportsbook supplier for some time, with an eye to migrating their clients over to a new sports-betting vertical before the curtain was drawn back on football’s showpiece event in their own backyard. The deal allowed us to stake another flag in the CIS sands, where proximate venue and time zone mean their players are primed to follow all the action at peak times throughout the tournament, benefiting from Digitain’s myriad of pre-match and in-play options on every World Cup game, available through both our online and offline channels.That said, I feel operators should always be wary of trying to force their way into congested territories, while also weighing up the risk-reward of near-regulating, emerging markets. At Digitain, we’ve also looked to expand in Africa’s football-mad continent (with promising integrations in Kenya and Nigeria) but baulked at more crowded markets like Italy. Africa’s mobile community remains more simple than smart when it comes to interfaces, though, so you have to find the right solution and manage your expectations accordingly. Indeed, EPOS terminals are perhaps the best way for operators to target untapped African players, especially in more rural areas.More generally, when it comes to the World Cup, operators who can sustain a competitive product suite and a differentiated local offering will be well-placed to capitalise. There’s nothing wrong with planning internationally, as long as your journey to market adopts a local product and voice. The market provision itself, of course, needs to be deep in every game, above all in-play. But a higher-margin, quick-strike strategy currently seems to be the best route to maximizing the player betting cycle.Rest assured, this industry will always change and naturally evolve as we respond to opportunities and challenges. In a World Cup year (always a major revenue-driver) some of these issues are understandably more pressing, given the backdrop. However, the importance of suppliers and partners coming together to exchange their expert knowledge (be it niche or overarching) remains undimmed. So summits like#bofcon2018 continue to grant us the best way out of the woods._____________________Suren Khachatryan  – Group CEO – Digitain Why reliability of service is an integral part of TVBET’s strategy August 6, 2020 Share Share Andrey Astapov, ETERNA LAW: Ukraine faces critical choices as gambling finish line nears August 21, 2020 StumbleUpon Ilya Machavariani, Dentons – CIS regional dynamics will come to play prior to gambling take-off July 31, 2020 Submitlast_img read more

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BETDAQ renews for a third season with The Addicks

first_img Shane McLaughlin – BETDAQOnline betting exchange BETDAQ has extended its shirt sponsorship of Charlton Athletic FC ahead of the 2018-19 season with the betting brand remaining the club’s principal partner.The sponsorship renewal takes the partnership into a third season, with BETDAQ’s branding continuing to appear on the front of Charlton’s shirts and around The Valley Stadium (Capacity 25,000).The Addicks have high hopes for the upcoming League One season, as the London club reached the 2017/18 playoffs, competing for promotion to the Championship.Shane McLaughlin, Managing Director at BETDAQ, said: “BETDAQ has built an excellent relationship with Charlton Athletic and we are proud to be continuing our journey with the club and its supporters. We are looking forward to the season ahead.”BETDAQ’s agreement with Charlton cements its status as a prominent sponsor in football and racing, coming just days after the GVC Group-owned betting exchange agreed a deal to be fellow League One club Sunderland AFC’s principal partner.The pair will meet at the Stadium of Light on the opening day of the season, on Saturday 4th August, in a match that will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.Charlton Athletic Commercial Manager Ravi Patel said: “We’re delighted to partner once again with BETDAQ. They have some exciting plans to further engage with the Charlton fanbase and we’re looking forward to working with them again this year.” Racing Post B2B appoints Alan Casey as Trading Partnerships lead October 10, 2019 Share Share Submit StumbleUpon Related Articles The Premier League is back: How will the betting market react? June 16, 2020 BETDAQ adopts 0% commission across majority of sports December 17, 2019last_img read more

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Self-exclusion and credit check failures cost Rank Plc £500,000

first_img John O’Reilly – Erratic orders have placed UK casinos on life support August 4, 2020 Richard Watson – UKGCIssuing a market update, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has fined London-listed gambling operator Rank Group Plc £500,000 for failing to meet standards on customer gambling protections.A UKGC investigation has revealed that Rank failed to interact with a customer who displayed ‘problematic behaviour’ whilst wagering at Rank Interactive property GrosvenorCasinos.comThe customer is reported to have lost £1 million during a 24-hour period.The investigation further details that Rank Interactive had contacted the problem gambler during a period of self-exclusion and in addition had failed to adhere to UK gambling policy relating to the credit financed wagering.The mandatory self-exclusion tool is used by consumers who feel they are having trouble controlling their gambling and request that the operator refuse their service for an agreed period.Commenting on the update, Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Executive director, said: “We expect all operators to protect any consumer who maybe experiencing problems with their gambling, and operators shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that VIP customers don’t experience difficulties.“No matter how wealthy customers are, operators still need to monitor them effectively to ensure they aren’t showing signs of problem gambling. It is certainly not appropriate to visit customers during a period when they are self-excluded.“This penalty package would have been a lot higher were it not for the positive action Rank took in terms of self-reporting their failures and being open and transparent during our investigation.” Share Rank Group extends support for Carers Trust July 28, 2020 StumbleUpon Submit Related Articles Government denies casinos a July reopening July 10, 2020 Sharelast_img read more

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Winning Post – UK racing puts safety first

first_img Submit Most elements of the eSports industry are in complete contrast to the Olympic Charter (notably ‘peace through sport’ and ‘healthy body image’ (see our analysis in the WP of 21/04/17). Without material changes to games titles, elite competitions, a globalized set of rules and integrity measures, and athlete development programmes, or indeed the entire Olympic Charter, it will struggle to be considered a ‘sport’ within the context if the Olympic Games. This is unlikely to bother pro eSports players however, as the commercialized nature of competitions ensures enormous prizemoney – a likely greater incentive than a medal and brief national glory.UK/International: sports rights – dividing the cakeEleven Sports is reportedly reviewing its UK rights portfolio since it has failed to secure redistribution rights for Serie A and La Liga football, while a UFC deal (due to start next month) has also collapsed because of similar redistribution problems – management has blamed (at least in part) “rampant piracy” (alongside the lack of carriage agreements) in the UK-Ireland market. A third point we would add is the extent to which a basic subscription model gets stretched outside the top tier of (usually domestic) sports content beyond (usually only a handful of) dedicated fans. Related Articles However, there are inevitably a few important caveats. First, November is seasonally the busiest sporting month for US sports – over-indexing the average by 1.6x; December – March are relatively more muted (March Madness notwithstanding), followed by a Spring – Summer lull. Second, market shares have some way to normalise, but Resorts (DraftKings, Stars) has gapped down another 11pts, demonstrating that first mover advantage is nice to have but not the be all and end all (even this early). Finally, excluding the New York servicing racetracks, casino landbased revenue has proved extremely patchy, with most generating less than US$1m revenue per month and two having loss-making months so far: the majority of landbased sportsbetting across the US is likely to be much more of a customer service than a material profit centre – certainly for the foreseeable future, in our view.Australia: horseracing – no more secrets, agents..Racing New South Wales has made the decision to extend the scope of its rules on prohibition of betting and the passing on information to include jockey’s agents from the 1st March 2019. A jockey’s agent has the responsibility of booking rides for their clients, and most rely on their network of owners and trainers and knowledge of yards in order to do this so the majority are party to a great deal of inside information – and could potentially have an unfair advantage over normal betting customers. Regulus Partners, the strategic consultancy focused on international gambling and related industries, takes a look at some key developments for the gambling industry in its ‘Winning Post’ column.New Zealand: NZRB – the trouble with monopolies? It is positive for the potential growth and regulation of the gaming and eSports industries that government is taking an active interest in its future. Over recent years the focus on eSports has been the commercial opportunities causing inflated growth, leading to a lag in regulatory development both in competitive gaming and also leisure. The recent scrutiny over loot boxes and the use of in-game items for gambling has brought this to a head and encouraged a closer look by regulators and law makers (indeed at the latest and last EU-sponsored meeting of European regulators, this was raised as the #1 regulatory concern).International: eSports – no Olympic dream just yetThe recent Olympic Summit, held to discuss matters relating to the administration of the Olympic Games, new policies and the future and development of the games, also looked at the potential for eSports inclusion within the Olympic Movement. It was decided that a combination of the commercial nature of the gaming industry and the incompatibility of some games with the Olympic values would exclude its inclusion at this stage. The summit also advised other sports events organisers within the Olympic Movement to respect this decision. Another reason why monopolies tend to look ‘weak’ is that their starting point is landbased, where monopoly is easy to enforce. Channel shift therefore causes a structural loss of market share, with retail losses almost certainly outweighing online growth in rapidly maturing markets. However, focussing on these headline numbers tends to miss a key point – monopolies are still capable of being very strong online in operational terms: monopolies have #1 market share in online gambling (ex lottery) in: Australia, Nez Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland – that is an impressive roster of highly competitive and mature (from a consumer perspective) markets. This is a welcome move by the BHA (including borrowing some basic best practice from other equine sports) and is timely considering the recent scrutiny on the use of the whip in racing and further welfare issues. With any sport there is the risk of injury, but the public reaction to animal injury is generally worse than that of athletes (logically enough given choice and consent) – particularly from the younger generation. If incidents can be minimalized, with more information and education provided to both fans and participants, potential bad press can be reduced and mitigated leading to a more accessible and popular ‘product’ for generations to come. Share TAB NZ announces new executive team to lead new racing era August 27, 2020 StumbleUpon UK: eSports and games – a dose of realityDCMS has launched a consultation into ‘Immersive and Addictive Technology’ with submissions required by the 14thJanuary 2019 (link here):(https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/digital-culture-media-and-sport-committee/news/immersive-technologies-inquiry-launch-17-19/). The inquiry will look at the current success of the games and eSports sector within the UK, as well as the more negative aspects associated with the industry – addiction, regulatory issues and the relationship between ‘gaming’ and gambling. Monopolies should not be dismissed therefore as a policy option or assumed to be a weak competitor. The former potentially reduces government returns and potentially increases social responsibility risks. The latter leads to a set of potentially very costly false assumptions about market dynamics (eg, that Australia is/was ‘ripe for the picking’, or that Swedish ‘reregulation’ will lead to strong .com growth, or that governments are bound to ditch monopolies over time and turn to offshore operators as ‘the answer’). Monopolies don’t always work; but when they do, they can be just as dynamic as many commercial operators and provide far greater benefits to wider stakeholders.   UK: In Parliament – all together nowWith momentous affairs of state unfolding in Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster, this was a refreshingly quiet week for the politics of gambling.The year’s final set of DCMS oral questions (on Thursday) prompted a brief discussion of whether the Government’s announcement on the timing of stake reduction was linked to GVC’s £700m contingent payment to former shareholders in Ladbrokes Coral.Bob Blackman, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Harrow East asked Sports Minister, Mims Davies whether: “the shareholders of Ladbrokes, including UK pension companies and employees, should get that £700 million, or should the offshore gambling company GVC pocket it and use it for irresponsible gambling adverts?”Elsewhere, there were further manoeuvres from the Labour Party with three MPs asking a very simple (and simply identical) question on what steps the Government is taking to reduce gambling-related harm. This question was submitted to the DCMS by Labour MPs in England, Scotland and Wales – Paul Blomfield (Lab, Sheffield Central), Danielle Rowley (Lab, Midlothian) and Jessica Morden (Lab, Newport East).The guns of gambling policy debate will hopefully fall silent over Christmas – but Labour may well be preparing for an all-out assault in the New Year.UK: Integrity – Posh and BetsThose concerned about the cosy relationship between gambling and football loaded up with ammunition as the FA revealed that it had charged Barry Fry, the colourful director of football at Peterborough Football Club with misconduct linked to betting.Meanwhile, Celtic and Scotland forward, Leigh Griffiths is reported to have taken a break from the game in order to deal with a number of personal issues, including gambling problems.The fact that Griffiths, who wears a dafabet sponsored shirt when he plays for Celtic and last season picked up winners medals for the Ladbrokes Premiership and the William Hill Scottish Cup has problems with gambling is unlikely to aid the cause of an industry that had hoped that the voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban might draw a line under present policy concerns.UK: regulation – Barclays offers account blocking; now there’s a thoughtThis week’s announcement that Barclays Bank would make gambling blocks available for account holders was a welcome signal that the financial services sector was stepping up to its responsibilities for tackling gambling-related harm. Most importantly though, the BHA’s improvements demonstrate the extent to which changes are still largely basic common sense: this represents an opportunity to get ahead of the problem to us, if the industry proves sufficiently responsive to much-needed modernization. In this context the issue is probably worth putting starkly: the present generation of ‘great and good’ can choose to protect its comfortable status quo at the expense of current wider participants and future generations, or they can accept the need for change in ways few may find comfortable or even instinctively necessary.center_img Cricket-fighting in China dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) but was banned during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. Two men have been arrested in relation to the bust, although reports of involvement by a small wooden boy with a long nose appear unfounded…. US: sports betting – NJ November stats still more heat than light?New Jersey sportsbetting statistics revealed another encouraging month, this time on more normalised settled gross margins (6.0%). Overall settled revenue was US$19.8m, with a 68% online mix and now relatively low futures betting distortion (0.4% handle, still 6.6% revenue). On this basis NK sportsbetting has matured incredibly quickly: already reaching 40% of online revenue, roughly where many European markets are. Share New Zealand Racing Board’s results to July 2018 demonstrate continued progress online, with 20% growth in customers to 230,000 (nearly 5% of NZ’s population), including 78,000 first time bettors – driving mobile revenue growth of 30% (mobile customers +45%), and digital now being the primary channel by turnover (52% mix). Overall, NZRB generated NZ$360m (US$245m) of revenue (+4% LfL), with 74% coming from racing (fixed odds growth, tote decline – VIP Australia comingling driven), 16% from sports and 11% from gaming (machines only, 3-4% share). This allowed NZ$74m to be paid in duties and GST (20.6%), NZ$2.3m to problem gambling (0.6%), NZ$10m to sports other than racing and NZ$151m to racing – a total return of 66% revenue. Moreover, this progress was delivered against continued delays to the new online platform (OpenBet-PPB). It is unsurprising therefore that the CEO was moved to state “There is a persistent myth that NZRB is not performing but this simply is not true”.Monopolies tend to get a bad press. First, they have been losing favour in mainstream economic circles since Colbert (excluding Marxism, which we might just have to recognise as mainstream in the UK next year on our current political trajectory). Second, monopolies tend to create enemies among all those which are not holders – ie, most commercial businesses (an interesting question is whether they would say no if offered one…). Some monopolies also perform miserably in competitive circumstances – racing monopolies offering sports betting is a good case in point almost everywhere, but the UK Tote, Germany’s Oddset, Netherlands Tote (among others) have managed to lose whatever traction they had domestically in racing also. However, HKJC, PMU, ATG, Rikstoto, Tabcorp and NZRB demonstrate pretty clearly that some racing monopolies can hold their own against pretty fierce online competition (licensed or not) in their core product. The key differences here are quality of operations management and the depth of the monopoly, in our view (in that order). The obvious big benefit of monopolies is their ability to channel much higher rates of revenue into duties and equivalents than commercial enterprises. If monopolies can command strong market share (and we believe that NZRB has comfortably over 50% betting share in NZ), then this model works well. The problem is that most hard gamblers want choice (especially in sportsbetting) – even when the monopoly offers an effective product. This means that among those top 10% of customers which have over 10 accounts and represent c. 70%+ of revenue, a monopoly will be lucky to get 30% share – ie, a combined share ‘ceiling’ of only c. 50% (potentially higher in racing if pools are liquid and competitive fixed odds is provided). In other words, if a monopoly gets less than 50% market share (which is likely) and is paying less than 50% of revenue in tax equivalents (increasingly likely in more competitive digital environments), a commercial GGR tax of 25% would be economically more efficient. However, monopolies can also provide broader benefits such as a much clearer and accountable focus on issues such as domestic job creation and social responsibility. From an economic standpoint therefore, monopolies in gambling are neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, but efficient where products broadly lend themselves to monopoly and operational execution is strong; inefficient in structurally competitive environments and where operational execution is weak. From a policy standpoint, monopoly can be an effective channelling tool for ‘the many’ and some jurisdictions actively prefer this to engineering an entire commercial regime to effectively capture ‘the few’ (again, this is a policy choice, in our view, rather than necessarily ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – if taken actively and with full knowledge of the consequences). Soft2Bet continues new market drive with Irokobet launch August 26, 2020 UK: horseracing – safety firstThe BHA has published its review in to safety at the Cheltenham Festival following a higher than normal number of incidents. The review and recommendations include the trial use of safer hurdles, vet’s inspections for all runners, fewer starters in selected higher risk races, and course walks and coaching for amateur and less experienced jockeys. There will also be further consultation on fallers and post mortems are to be performed on equine fatalities in order to identify risks. Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 The rules on those betting with ‘inside information’ or who could potentially affect the outcome is much stricter in the southern hemisphere and when combined with more conservative betting rules ensures a better public perception of the integrity of sports. While in the UK the BHA is implementing rules to ensure more transparency to betting customers (most recently the necessity to declare breathing operations), there is no prohibitive measure for trainers and those associated from betting (although they are not supposed to pass on inside information in a relatively uncodified way); jockeys are not allowed to bet. There is also a perceived right by some trainers and owners, that they should be allowed the advantage of inside information as a sort of compensation (hence in part the furore over declaring wind ops). This is clearly a dangerous path to tread from a regulatory, key stakeholder and public perception perspective, and perhaps demonstrates how far elements of racing have still to come to ensure consumer and stakeholder buy-in in the 21stCentury…China: regulation – just not cricketThe New York Post reports this week that authorities in China raided an underground ‘casino’ that had been organising cricket fighting. It seems that around $140,000 were bet on the bugs during the course of a week’s wagering. We should expect other banks to follow Barclays in what ought in theory to be a useful harm prevention measure (precisely because it puts the individual in control rather than disempowering him/her as some other measures do). It may also alleviate pressure on the Government and Commission to recommend a ban of credit cards for online gambling.UK: horseracing betting levy – what could primary legislation change?As expected, a second parliamentary committee criticised the creation of the Racing Authority via an Order, suggesting that primary legislation would be more appropriate, while the putative chairman of the Authority – former Sports Minister (and current Chairman of the BOA and Camelot) Sir Hugh Robertson indicated support for a continued Levy Board during his speech to racing stakeholders at the annual Gimcrack dinner in York. While much of the scrutiny has been procedural rather than substance, the ‘fiasco’ created does open up the possibility of considering the substance, in our view. We will blog on some of the detail in the new year, but for us the critical point is to ensure that the value transfer from betting to racing is designed to reflect the needs of betting within racing – otherwise productivity will continue to fall, betting will be incentivised to promote other products and the logic of the levy will in time be undermined. Allowing ‘racing’ (albeit with many stakeholders typically under-represented) to spend the money in any way ‘racing’ sees fit might work for the good of all stakeholderds (especially with a strong RA chairman – which Sir Hugh undoubtedly is) – but by taking out the independent element (albeit itself certainly in need of reform and a reframing of purpose), the current proposals make it less likely to, in our view. Interestingly, this is an issue a bruised and battered GB bookmaking industry, increasingly less sure footed both politically and in relation to racing, seems not to wish to tackle – this represents a dangerous and potentially very expensive abrogation of influence, in our view. For too long, gambling licensees alone have been expected to deal with excessive or harmful gambling behaviour while opportunities for the broader supply chain to play its part were ignored. It has taken the initiative of challenger banks (Starling and Monzo), together with the efforts of campaigners (notably Tony Franklin) and attention from the Gambling Commission to change this. This news reinforces two important trends, in our view. First, the explosion of OTT solutions and the rapid retrenchment of traditional media distributors is creating a highly uncertain market for ‘middle men’ to effectively price rights: owners of content and owners of eyeballs increasingly hold the power, but in a commercial environment often not yet settled or proven (for either side). Second, the “rampant piracy” in question is at least in part driven by betting, which has historically embraced streaming somewhat patchily (outside a few standout operators). As streaming becomes increasingly critical to overall media value, this rather louche approach to IP is likely to be increasingly resisted by powerful stakeholders with deep pockets, an appetite for litigation and much to lose. There is an extent to which this potential source of friction is being headed off in the US with sports partnerships (MGM-GVC leading the way, all major betting data distributors involved, even NFL considering options), but ironically increased exposure in the US could very well lead to increased scrutiny globally – the era of having ones cake and eating it looks increasingly under pressure…Global: M&A – summary– 888 bought out the remaining half of All American Poker Network (AAPN) for US$28mlast_img read more

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