In 2022, the gambling operator 888 struck a deal with Caesars Entertainment to acquire all of William Hill’s non-US assets. However, this deal might prove to be disastrous for the former company. Not only were 888’s revenues undermined by the acquisition, but the company now how to face the result of William Hill’s regulation breaches.
This news comes as the United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission prepares to slap the British betting brand with a fine that may surpass $18 million, reports claim. Some of the most pessimistic estimates put the maximum fine at almost $24 million.
The fine comes amid a probe into William Hill’s business. The company allegedly violated the anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility protocols required by the UKGC. This wouldn’t be the first time William Hill has breached the rules either, as the company has been previously handed fines for various failings.
William Hill’s failings almost cost it its license in 2022, forcing 888 and Caesars to introduce quick amendments to their deal. A few months later, the British operator faced another $100,000 fine following a regulatory complaint.
888 Faces Many Troubles
The UKGC is not famous for its leniency when it comes to handing out fines. For example, in 2022, the regulator presented Entain with a fine exceeding $20 million. This is by far the biggest fine any UKGC licensee has received. However, 888 should be wary as its William Hill subsidiary might just surpass that record.
According to sources, 888 is already preparing to cover the fine. The parent company itself also isn’t exactly guiltless. It was recently found guilty of breaching various AML and know-your-customer rules in Gibraltar. Despite that, 888 managed to retain its license, as it was highly cooperative with the investigation and committed to transparency.
888 acquired William Hill last year after its shareholders voted in favor of the $2.37 billion deal. Although the holding expected to be set back by the acquisition, it was likely not prepared for the fallout it now has to deal with.
888’s business has been steadily declining for the past few months. Adding up to its woes, the operator was recently found guilty of illegally offering its betting products in Austria. Now, local customers are seeking their money back from the operator. The ongoing situation might cause 888 and Flutter, which has also been found guilty of the same thing, to lose millions of dollars.
Many of the best high-stakes poker players in the world are in southeast Asia right now for the 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam, a series consisting of more than a dozen events with buy-ins ranging from $15,000 to $100,000.
The series got underway on March 1 and has awarded a few seven-figure prizes. Vietnam native Dao Phu took down Event #6: $50,000 NLH 8-Handed for $1.7 million while Turkey’s Orpen Kisacikoglu went on to win Event #7: $75,000 NLH 8-Handed for $1.8 million.
The two are the largest winners of the series so far, but other notable high rollers to home trophies include Argentina’s Nacho Barbero (Event #2: $15,000 NLH 7-Handed – $600,000), Jans Arends of The Netherlands (Event #5: $30,000 NLH 7-Handed – $921,178) and Triton newcomer Andrew Leathem (Event #8: $25,000 Turbo NLH – $670,000)
Currently underway is the $100,000 buy-in Main Event, which kicked off on March 8 and will play for three days as players start off with 250 big blinds. Check out the live stream on the Triton Poker YouTube channel to follow along.
Early Series Highlights
Barbero’s victory came early on in the series when he defeated Arends heads-up after getting through a field of 172 runners that included third-place finisher Brian Kim ($271,000) and fourth-place finisher Lee Wai Kiat ($222,000).
In January, Barbero finished fourth in the 2023 PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship for a career-best $1.5 million. But it wasn’t the result he was hoping for as he entered the final day of play as the chip leader before a colossal misclick that gave up the chip lead to Aliaksandr Shylko, who went on to win the tournament for $3.1 million.
There were no misclicks this time as Barbero locked up the $600,000 victory.
Event #2: $15,000 NLH 7-Handed Final Table Results
PRIZE (IN USD)
Jose Ignacio Barbero
After finishing runner-up to Barbero for a career-best $406,000, Arends, an accomplished high-stakes online player and poker coach, quickly secured a new best when he took down the $30,000 7-handed event for $921,178 after a three-handed ICM chop with Lee and Jonathan Jaffe, who respectively earned $851,932 and ($766,890).
The EVENT #5 30k NLH – 8 WINNER: 1st : ## Jans Arends 921,178
— Triton Poker (@tritonpoker)
The event had a prize pool of $5.1 million and a field of 171 runners that included Americans Kim (4th – $441,000) and Seth Davies (5th – $353,700). Kayhan Mokri, a recent guest on the PokerNews Podcast, finished in ninth place for $119,000 and also finished in 21st in the $20,000 Mystery Bounty event for $19,700 as he finds success at his first Triton stop.
Listen to Kayhan Mokri on the PokerNews Podcast!
Event #5: $30,000 NLH 7-Handed Final Table Results
PRIZE (IN USD)
The biggest winner of Triton Vietnam so far is Kisacikoglu, who got through a field of 85 runners to win $1.8 million, nearly matching his biggest career cash that was earned from a runner-up finish in the 2022 €100,000 Triton Madrid Main Event for $2.1 million.
Recently named 2023 Players Choice for Toughest Opponent Stephen Chidwick finished second for $1.2 million just a few weeks after winning two European Poker Tour (EPT) Paris €25,000 events.
Steve O’Dwyer finished in third for $816,000 while familiar Triton faces Jason Koon (6th – $389,000) and Punnat Punsri (7th – $306,000) also made the final table.
Event #7: $75,000 NLH 8-Handed Final Table Results
PRIZE (IN USD)
There’s still plenty of action to come at Triton Vietnam, including the currently underway $100,000 Main Event. Short Deck events make up the majority of the remaining schedule and the series will wrap up with Event #15: $20,000 Short Deck Ante-Only on March 13.
2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam Remaining Schedule
Event #9: $100,000 NLH Main Event
Event #10: $50,000 NLH Turbo
Event #11: $25,000 Short Deck Ante-Only
Event #12: $50,000 Short Deck Ante-Only
Event #13: $100,000 Short Deck Main Event Ante-Only
Event #15: $20,000 Short Deck Ante-Only
A full list of winners so far at the 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam is available in the table below.
2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam Winners So Far
Global gambling giant Entain posted its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2022. The company highlighted its successes, noting that 2022 was a very strong year for the company.
Entain reported that gaming revenue for the period increased by 12% year-on-year to around $5.17 billion (converted to USD). Online net gaming revenue experienced a slight decline of 1%, although the company is pretty optimistic about the state of the vertical. Retail NGR, meanwhile, skyrocketed by 66% thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions being lifted.
The gambling juggernaut also reported a group underlying EBITDA of $1,1 billion, representing a 13% year-on-year increase. Reflecting the net revenue trends, online underlying EBITDA declined by 8% while retail underlying EBITDA improved by a whopping 319%.
Group profit after tax plummeted by 88% to $39.25 million.
The company also announced a second interim dividend of $59.5 million (around $0.10 per share). This brings the total dividend for 2022 to $0.20 per share.
Other Notable Highlights
Entain also provided insights into BetMGM’s performance. The gambling brand’s revenue of $1.44 billion exceeded expectations and the company is now set to become EBITDA positive in H2 2023.
Entain added that 2022 saw it continue its growth strategy and diversification efforts. In addition, the company continues to be a leader in responsibility and sustainability, claiming to be the only global operator with 100% revenue from regulated or regulating markets.
In 2022, the company rolled out its ARC player protection program across 22 markets and was awarded GamCare’s Advanced Safer Gambling Standard and SBC’s Global Socially Responsible Operator of the Year.
CEO Nygaard-Andersen Praised the Progress
Jette Nygaard-Andersen, the company’s chief operating officer, commented on Entain’s 2022 performance, praising the excellent results. She noted that her team’s ongoing efforts continue to cement Entain as a global leader in betting, gaming and interactive entertainment. Nygaard-Andersen is also very happy that all of the company’s revenues come from regulated or regulating markets, which attests to the success of Entain’s sustainable growth strategy.
The CEO concluded that the company’s diversified business now has a presence in 40 territories, demonstrating the company’s competitive advantage. Entain remains committed to delivering safe gaming experiences to customers all over the world.
These factors, combined with the strong underlying momentum across our business, mean that we continue to look to the future with confidence.
Jette Nygaard-Andersen, COO, Entain
Entain remains bullish on expanding its business in a safe and responsible manner. A few weeks ago, the company received a license in Nevada, with some of its executives becoming members of BetMGM’s governing board.
Belgium is cracking down on gambling ads as the country seeks to prevent the normalization and trivialization of gaming and betting. The decision, signed by King Philippe himself, comes amid what Belgian people call a “tsunami of advertising.”
Under the Royal Decree signed by the Belgian king, gambling ads will be dramatically restricted starting July 1, 2023. The measure aims to mitigate problem gambling in the country and reduce the number of people in debt because of gambling.
While the rules will hit the market with an immediate effect on July 1, there will be a transition period that will allow the gambling industry to adapt, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne said.
Van Quickenborne, who minted the “tsunami of advertising” phrase, said that Belgian citizens are constantly bombarded with gambling ads. He also noted that the government is very concerned about the negative impact these adverts have on locals, arguing that ads provoke irresponsible gambling. Van Quickenborne added that the constant advertising makes it very hard for problem gamblers to overcome their addiction.
Belgium Will Continue Tightening the Rules
Belgium began its crusade against gambling in early 2022 when it limited gambling in newspaper shops. It followed that decision with a limit on the maximum amount players could spend when playing online. As part of that latter decision, the government banned gambling ads from TV and radio channels.
Under the new regime, gambling ads will also be banned on websites and social media platforms. Real-life posters will not be a viable alternative either since they are included in the ban.
This will not be the end of Belgium’s war on gambling ads as it also plans to prohibit all gambling advertising from sports stadiums. Starting January 1, 2025, all imagery of gambling companies will be removed from Belgian sports fields.
In addition, from January 1, 2028, restrictions on sponsorship deals between sports clubs and operators will also be introduced. The Belgian government made sure to announce this upcoming measure in advance, respecting current contracts.
Some are not very happy about the changes as gambling companies tend to be some of the biggest sponsors of pro sporting events. Some even believe that the ban on ads may cause the “end of soccer,” at least as people currently know it.
Lastly, it should be mentioned that people who actively seek gambling content may still be targeted by gambling ads.
A proposed measure in California may, if approved, allow smaller cardrooms to grow moderately and without overexpansion while barring new cardrooms from opening in the state.
The bill was originally proposed by James Ramos, the first Native American to be a part of California’s state legislature. Nicknamed AB341, the gambling measure would allow current cardrooms to expand their businesses while keeping their competitors in check.
Under the bill, which would basically continue the 25-year cardroom moratorium introduced in 1997, no new cardrooms will be able to open in the state. However, some of the smaller cardrooms in the Golden State will be allowed to expand.
Under the new rules, cardrooms that currently have 20 or fewer tables will be allowed to expand their number of gaming tables by up to two within the first year. Then, they will be allowed to add up to two additional tables every four years for a maximum total of 10 additional tables.
The previous moratorium, which also prevented the existing ones from expanding, expired in August 2022. The local legislature failed to renew it via a new bill, marking the end of the 25-year-long regime.
However, AB341 seeks to re-impose the moratorium and once again limit the expansion of local cardrooms. The envisioned moratorium would be set to expand on January 1, 2043.
Local Tribes Are in Favor of the Measure
Yesterday, the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee agreed to advance AB341. It currently has the backing of five Californian tribes, including the Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians.
The tribes released a joint statement, supporting Ramos and his measure. According to them, the bill proposes a moderate approach to the matter that, if passed, will prevent the local cardroom market from getting oversaturated, while allowing smaller cardroom to improve their profitability and remain competitive.
The tribes added that they are excited to join forces with everyone involved in the bill to strike the perfect balance California needs.
We look forward to working with the Legislature, the cardroom industry and the Tribal community on finding a balance that is consistent with California voters’ support of Tribal gaming.
A statement released by the tribes
Speaking about Californian cardrooms, last year, a controversial measure under the nickname Proposition 26 threatened the local cardroom sector. The measure would have provided Tribal entities with the power to put their competitors out of business.
Fortunately for the cardrooms in the state, the proposition was ultimately rejected, securing the livelihoods of its workers.
Fast-growing AI and gaming data science powerhouse, Future Anthem, announced it expanded its team of experts. The company confirmed Wednesday that it has selected Jessica Wu for the role of head of marketing. The senior-level appointment comes at a time when Future Anthem plans further growth and complements its ambitious goals for expansion.
Joining the company, Wu will be in charge of the marketing efforts at Future Anthem. Moreover, she will oversee internal and external processes. Ultimately, Wu is looking to help the company continue to grow and solidify itself as a sports betting and iGaming industry leader within the growing North American market.
“We are home to the brightest minds in the business, and I am thrilled to be welcoming Jessica to the Future Anthem team.“
Leigh Nissim, CEO at Future Anthem
Leigh Nissim, Future Anthem’s founder and CEO, shared his excitement on the topic explaining that the company gathers the best talent within the vertical. Moreover, he said that the company is delighted to see Wu become a part of its team.
According to Nissim, Wu has extensive industry experience and she is a proven expert with a track record in the industry. Finally, the CEO acknowledged that Wu brings fresh ideas that can ultimately boost the growth of Future Anthem.
Wu, Delighted to Join Future Anthem
Before joining Future Anthem, Wu was a part of Betway, a leading global online gaming and sports betting company. During her tenure with Betway, she held the role of head of marketing in Canada. Wu’s efforts supercharged the company’s marketing strategies in the region just in time for the debut of Betway’s online casino and sportsbook product for the regulated market in Ontario.
“I am passionate about crafting stories that resonate and building brands that people love.“
Jessica Wu, head of marketing at Future Anthem
Sharing her excitement, Wu said that she enjoys collaborating with brands and helping them grow. Additionally, she pointed out that she is delighted to become a part of Future Anthem and help propel the popularity and reach of their innovative products. Finally, Wu acknowledged that the company is growing rapidly and she is excited to be a part of this journey.
888poker takes game integrity seriously, so much so that the online poker giant invests heavily in technology and staff employed to detect fraudulent activity, including collusion and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) such as Real Time Assistance (RTA) software. The vast investment and hard work certainly paid off in 2022, with 888poker refunding close to $290,000 to more than 6,800 of its customers deemed to have been cheated at the tables last year.
RTA tools range from simple charts to complex solving software that shows users the most game-theory optimal (GTO) play to make in any given scenario. Such tools have been around for several years but are becoming increasingly complex and accurate. In September 2020, Fedor Kruse, a then-popular streamer and professional poker player, was outed by his former roommates for using RTA while grinding cash games. Kruse went from playing $0.50/$1 cash games to taking shots in $200/$400 games in the space of 12 months. That is how powerful RTA can be.
UK Players Benefit The Most From the 888poker Refunds
888poker is stepping up to the plate and taking on RTA users head-on. Last year, 888poker refunded $287,292 to 6,801 players. The money recovered and redistributed represented a 32% year-on-year increase, showing that whatever 888poker is doing in the war against AI is working.
Players from the United Kingdom were the most affected. Some 18% of those 6,801 refunds went to players hailing from the United Kingdom; they received a combined $50,379. Germany came in second with refunds worth $38,997, with Canada third with $38,614 given back to its players.
What Is Real-Time Assistance (RTA)? Is it Legal?
Player Vigilance Aids 888poker Detection Methods
While 888poker uses advanced techniques to detect and confirm the use of AI and RTA in its games, the online poker site’s customers play an important role, too. 888poker acts on every report made to its customer support team, so if you play at 888poker and see something untoward, report it and they will act on it.
“Our continued progress in tackling bots is crucial in ensuring that 888poker continues to provide an enjoyable, safe, and level playing field for all our players,” Matan Krakow, Head of Poker Offering at 888poker said, “This has been driven not only by our increased investment in our detection capabilities but also through the continued support and cooperation of our players, who have an important role to play in helping provide us with vital information about players they think are using AI and RTA.”
“We will continue to do all in our power to ensure we keep poker fun and fair as part of our Made to Play strategy, and listening to our players will be a key factor to progress on this front.”
Starlizard’s expert integrity arm of sports betting consultancy Starlizard Integrity Services (SIS) will use the newly released system to flag suspicious matches to interested sports bodies and enforcement agencies. Komodo will also be used to offer these organizations detailed evaluations of the activity on the sports betting market as well as the performance indicators on the field.
Komodo to Cover Soccer, Cricket and Other Sports
The new integrity solution will make its debut by offering coverage for soccer and cricket. Later on, new popular sports will follow suit. Komodo users will receive operational alerts every time a game will be given an integrity red flag. What’s more, they will benefit from the enhanced interactivity of the platform that can find and display certain patterns and trends within their own jurisdictions and sports.
As previously explained, the reports generated by Komodo will be available for use during investigations regarding match-fixing. They will also be available for use as legal evidence during legal proceedings, in the context of SIS evidence having already earned recognition from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Freshest Contribution to the Fights Against Corruption in Sport
SIS’ head, Affy Sheikh, explained that the future success of anti-match fixing efforts will depend on the use of “more and better information” that can be accessed for free by integrity officers and investigators. Sheikh spoke about Komodo as an “innovative tool” that is meant to do just that, further explaining the new system has been generated with the help of important investments.
Starlizard’s chief executive, Steve Edery, further spoke about the London-based sports betting consultancy company’s ongoing commitment to show support for international sports governing bodies and enforcement agencies in their fight against match-fixing.
This fight started in 2010, which is the year when Starlizard started to offer its integrity services to the sports industry, and it continued with the launch of their Starlizard Integrity Services arm seven years later with the intention to tackle integrity and work sports integrity stakeholders.
Komodo is, therefore, the latest contribution to the worldwide fight against corruption in sports.
Vivian Saliba is a professional poker player, streamer and 888poker ambassador and know’s a thing or two about building an online poker bankroll.
Saliba understands that there will be some people out there that would like to hop onto the virtual felt but are a bit hesitant to risk lots of money. So, the tournament and Pot-Limit Omaha specialist has relayed some top tips to help fledgeling poker players build their first online bankroll without doing too much damage to their pockets.
Playing freerolls is the easiest way to build an online bankroll without risking any of your money. You can practice, learn, put in volume and win without spending a single penny on freeroll tournaments.
There are several freerolls in the 888poker lobby every single day. And during the site’s marquee festivals, you can even win tickets to major events, which could allow you to boost your bankroll even more.
888poker players can also get access to special freerolls by visiting the 888poker Stream Team member’s Twitch channels, so be sure to keep an eye out on those broadcasts to get the passwords to these events.
And what’s even better for PokerNews readers is that we’ve partnered with 888poker to offer some great added value freerolls in March. The freerolls are password protected, and the passwords can be found in our exclusive PokerNews Discord Channel.
888poker Ambassador Kara Scott Breaks Down Tips For Your First Live Poker Tournament
Participate in Contests
888poker regularly shares contests and promotions across their social media channels, where tickets, buy-ins and more are up for grabs.
Want a chance to win tournament tickets? #
— 888poker (@888poker)
If you win one of the tickets up for grabs, you’ll likely have the chance to play in a higher buy-in tournament than you usually would, and even just getting the min-cash in one of those events could propel you on your poker journey.
If you explore the 888poker lobby, you’ll often find incentives and challenges that will help you add to your bankroll.
By participating in leaderboard contests and challenges, you could win tickets, buy-ins and other prizes. Again, this is another avenue to play bigger events with more eye-popping prize pools.
Another way to find extra value is to use special deposit codes, which can help stretch your bankroll further with extra bonuses. For example, if you download 888poker via PokerNews and create your free account. 888poker will give you a free $88 worth of cash game and tournament tickets – this is a free £20 for residents of the United Kingdom – just for reaching this stage.
Your first deposit is matched 100% up to $400 as a releasable bonus. You have 90 days to release as much bonus as you can. Contact 888poker support for more details.
Building a bankroll to be proud of doesn’t happen overnight, so take your time.
Play smaller buy-ins until you’re ready to move up in stakes. It’s also one of the optimal ways to find out if you have the skills for higher-stakes poker games.
Exclusive PokerNews 888poker Freeroll Passwords for March
Risk management is a key factor in building your bankroll. The more funds in your poker purse compared to the buy-ins you are playing will reduce the chances of your balance being $0.
Of course, you could take some shots, and if that doesn’t pay off, you could start again at the bottom. However, the idea is to evolve and increase your bankroll constantly.
It’s much better to play 100 $1 tournaments than one $100 tournament, volume is key, and it lets you get the most out of your bankroll. And remember, you should play safe and within your limits.
The newly formed non-profit organization pledged to ensure the future integrity of Brazilian sports by uniting all industry members under a single goal. ABRADIE plans to assess the current situation, identify potential issues, propose recommendations and present the government with an action plan. The organization hopes to encourage meaningful reforms, ensuring a safe and secure betting environment.
Brazil Is Yet to Implement Proper Regulations
The Brazilian government has recently been under substantial pressure to update the country’s sports betting regulation following a series of match-fixing scandals. The lack of proper regulatory oversight means offshore operators reign unchecked, and consumer protections suffer. Brazilian leagues also face significantly higher risks of match-fixing and fraud, putting additional pressure to introduce a solution.
To the rescue now comes ABRADIE, a non-profit organization formed in collaboration with operators Entain, Genius Sports, Rei Do Pitaco, and law firms Bichara e Motta and Maia Yoshiyasu Advogados. Their substantial experience and industry presence will help the new body pave the way toward improved integrity in sports and associated betting.
Improved Sports Integrity Is Vital to a Healthy Market
ABRADIE already has a plan of action, starting with consultations with authorities, operators, and other industry members to assess the current integrity measures. The organization will also focus substantially on education for players and match officials, but its primary goal remains the early detection of suspicious betting behaviors. Genius Sports CCO Chris Dougan stressed the importance of collaboration and expressed optimism regarding ABRADIE’s future impact.
We look forward to working with regulators, members of law enforcement, operators, sports leagues, and other key stakeholders to prevent fraud and protect the integrity of sports.
Chris Dougan, Genius Sports CCO
The sports integrity body’s other founding members were equally as eager, reiterating their commitment to creating a well-regulated and governed Brazilian market. Rei do Pitaco chief legal officer Rafael Marchetti Marcondes noted that a sustainable sports betting market depended heavily on functioning responsible gaming practices. He added that adequate regulations would benefit all parties involved.
Cases that could jeopardize the reputation of the sport… must be monitored and punished, as all stakeholders in the betting market lose out to fraudulent and criminal attitudes.
Rafael Marchetti Marcondes, Rei do Pitaco chief legal officer
ABRADIE enters the scene during a critical time for the Brazilian sports betting market. Despite the complicated political situation, the country continues to make tentative progress toward sports betting legalization. The introduction of a new integrity body should hopefully provide the necessary impetus for the government to introduce proper gambling legislation and reap the benefits of a healthy and regulated market.