The Cleveland Guardians’ social media team deleted a post where it talked about José Ramírez being chased by armed bettors in his youth. As it turns out, the Dominican athlete did indeed experience something similar in his youth but the remark and its phrasing were rather inappropriate on top of being exaggerated.
The now-deleted post stated that Ramírez used to play in a gambling league when he was thirteen. The young player, now known for his calm and unfazed demeanor, was forced to work hard to earn some money for his family.
Unfortunately, the post claimed, certain situations would infuriate bettors, which would, in turn, chase Ramírez home with machetes and guns.
In certain circumstances, bettors would gamble on a player to have a positive outcome. If they didn’t come through, they would be chased home by gamblers with machetes and guns.
Deleted Cleveland Guardians tweet
The Team Eventually Deleted the Post
The Cleveland Guardians’ post was both exaggerated and inappropriate. It stems from an interview between the Dominican player and the Bally Sports journalist Andre Knott where Ramírez spoke about his youth.
The player said that Dominican bettors would often put pressure on the players. He noted that many people in the audience would scream threats to hurt players if they do not perform well. For example, when Ramírez was only thirteen, one bettor on the stands took out a machete.
While he didn’t “chase the players home,” the fan allegedly tried to intimidate the athletes.
The story shared by the Cleveland Guardians seems to have been very exaggerated in order to attract more attention from fans. It seems like the social media team eventually realized how crass this exaggeration was because it ended up deleting the post.
The Pressure Built Ramírez’ Character
Luckily, Ramírez is now one of MLB’s top guns and doesn’t have to worry about the alleged bettors with guns and machetes. The athlete plays third base for the Cleveland Guardians and has been selected to the All-Star game four times.
Many love Ramírez for being much calmer than other players. The Dominican always seems prepared to make plays that go down in history. Ramírez attributes his calm nature to the pressure he had to deal with when playing in the Dominican Republic. While the player never said that he was “chased home by armed bettors,” he still felt serious pressure from bettors, which helped him build his character.
The national trade group representing the US casino industry, the American Gaming Association (AGA), released a new report that sought to determine the diversity within the gaming sector. Data regarding the new in-depth examination of the US gaming industry reaffirmed that it is more diverse than the larger hospitality sector and the US workforce. This latest data reaffirmed the efforts of gaming companies in the country toward a more diverse workforce.
According to AGA’s president and CEO, Bill Miller, the new study underlines the success of the gambling sector in diversifying its workforce. The president and CEO acknowledged that gaming companies need to dedicate further efforts in that field, but at the same time, acknowledged the progress achieved in the last decade. Finally, Miller said: “The AGA will use this research to engage our membership on how we can collectively advance DEI in gaming in the months and years to come.”
“As today’s report shows, our industry has made impactful strides toward becoming more diverse, but there is more work to do.“
Bill Miller, CEO and president of the American Gaming Association
The Gaming Industry Hires More Minority Employees
The new study uncovered that the gaming industry has more employees from minorities when compared to other sectors. For example, AGA said that minorities within the total US workforce are at 42% and 52% within the broader hospitality sector. In contrast, that percentage increases to 62% within the gaming sector, reaffirming that there are more minority employees.
Some 19% of the gaming employees are Black, while 23% are Hispanic. Those results are higher when compared to the hospitality industry and the national workforce. Moreover, Asian employees have a significant presence within the gaming sector with 14%, which is double the national workforce, says the new report.
Additionally, the new report revealed that over the last decade, the workforce racial diversity within the gaming sector has seen an increase. For example, back in 2011, some 20% of the operator employees were minorities, while the share of workers who are Black was only 12%.
“Importantly, across job levels, gaming’s leadership pipeline is significantly more diverse than national averages at the first/mid-level manager and professional levels: 45 percent of first/mid-level managers are minorities while 43 percent of professionals are minorities, both 10 to 12 points above national and hospitality benchmarks,” explained AGA’s recent report.
Last but not least, the new study confirmed that manufacturers within the gaming vertical have a more diverse workforce when compared to other electronic manufacturers. Some 45% of the employees of gaming manufacturers are from minorities, compared to 38% of employees within other electronic manufacturers.
The Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF), Brazil’s soccer confederation, wants additional funding in the form of sports betting taxes. Amid discussions for revolutionizing the gaming system, the body asked to receive a 4% share of licensed operators’ revenues. The CBF said that the proceeds, if granted, would be distributed among its leagues.
The confederation’s proposal basically seeks to benefit more from the growing sports betting market. Since 2018, the CBF has been receiving 1.63% of operators’ revenues, as outlined in the law.
However, the organization hopes that it will be able to reach an agreement with the Ministry of Finance to secure extra funding.
Several notable soccer clubs have even expressed their desire to participate in the decision-making regarding the tax changes. These include Botafogo, Corinthians, Flamengo, Fluminense, Palmeiras, Santos, São Paulo and Vasco da Gama. They slammed the CBF for not providing them with a platform to voice their own opinions.
The clubs have various financial concerns amid the ongoing restrictions of sponsorship agreements with offshore sportsbooks. Many teams, especially Series A and B ones, are concerned that this will be a major blow to their financial well-being.
CBF Seeks Discussion with the President
The CBF, meanwhile, remains firm that a part of bookmakers’ proceeds from betting should be used to fund Brazilian soccer. The confederation even demanded meetings between its leadership and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and finance minister Fernando Haddad.
The latter is expected to soon present a new tax framework for sports betting in the country. He believes that Brazil is currently experiencing severe losses because of its lack of a proper taxation regime. Haddad hopes to fix the outward flow of money as he believes that the LATAM country can generate as much as $3 billion from betting taxes.
Brazil failed to fix its taxation system last year, so Haddad hopes to make a breakthrough in 2023.
New Bodies Will Protect Sports and Betting in Brazil
In other news, two weeks ago, several major gambling operators joined forces to form the Brazilian Institute of Responsible Gaming. The newly-formed body will seek to contribute to the ongoing discussion and development of the gambling market in the LATAM region.
The institute will collaborate with all sectors of society, helping Latin America establish a strong, reliable and safe gambling ecosystem.
Earlier in March, a new non-profit organization called the Brazilian Association for the Defense of Sport Integrity, vowed to protect the integrity of professional sports.
The UK government will introduce stake limits of between £2 ($2.49) and £15 ($18.68) for online slot games according to leaked information about the upcoming White Paper.
Protection with Minimal Disruption
Players under the age of 25 will not be able to stake more than £2 ($2.49) while playing online slots and operators will be subjected to a new legal tax to fund treatment for problem gamblers, claimed the report in The Sun based on leaked cabinet documents.
Laying out the proposals to her colleagues, recently appointed Secretary of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Lucy Frazer outlined that the changes aim “to protect people who are at risk of addiction, catastrophic loss and harm, with minimal disruption to the majority.”
There are 300,000 problem gamblers and 1.8 million gamblers at risk of experiencing gambling harm in the UK and the measure is aimed at protecting them but the stake limits are likely to ire gambling industry stakeholders who will be concerned that their profits will decrease.
Frazer also told the ministers that there would be a new tax on operator profits to help fund problem gambling treatment and new operator obligations such as doing credit checks on players deemed at risk of spiraling into debt and monitoring for signs that gambling losses are becoming unaffordable for a player.
“I am confident that the societal benefits in harm reduction outweigh the projected costs to industry, and that much of the drop in online revenue will be the foregone income from people gambling unaffordably,” she reportedly told the cabinet.
New Controls for Free Bet Bonus Offers
As part of the efforts to make online gambling safer and combat gambling addiction, games will have their riskier features limited and operators will face new controls on their free bet bonus offers to ensure people are not being “targeted in harmful ways.”
Data of people representing “high risk” will be shared among the industry to facilitate operators to stop them from accumulating huge losses and a new legal body will be created to mediate complaints against operators. Frazer also vowed to address “remaining gaps” allowing people under 18 to gamble via cash fruit machines and scratch cards.
Other important changes will be the removal of all gambling firm logos from the front of players’ shirts across English Premier League (EPL) clubs, higher taxes for horserace betting to ensure proper funding for the sport and access to sports betting for land-based casinos, as well as the ability to open credit lines for high-rollers, and new powers for the Gambling Commission to crack down on the black market.
Frazer said the White Paper would be published after the Easter break and the plan involves most of the changes to be implemented without the need to create a new law.
The Swedish Gaming Authority (Spelinspektionen) is likely to receive new funds to help its mission to enhance the supervision of the gaming market in the country and oust unlicensed operators.
Combat Organized Crime
The Swedish government proposed legislators increase the budget allocated to Spelinspektionen in 2023 by SEK2.4 million ($230,360) to boost the watchdog’s capabilities to counter organized crime and create a safer gambling marketplace in the country.
The proposal was made as part of the upcoming spring budget amendment and is based on an agreement between the government and the Sweden Democrats, justified by the regulator’s need to handle a large influx of permit applications concurrent with other important supervisory tasks in 2023.
Commenting on the proposal, Angelika Bengtsson, sports policy spokesperson for the Democrats, outlined the regulator’s need for active supervision of the gaming market to be able to combat criminal activity and protect those who are most exposed.
Tackling the unlicensed market represents a significant part of this task, she added, explaining that it would help counter organized crime and strengthen consumer protection as “unlicensed gambling evades tax revenue, leads to problem gambling and contributes to match-fixing.”
As the gaming industry in the country continues to grow and generate significant turnover, so does the risk for criminal activities such as money laundering and match-fixing related to the sector to occur, which, in many cases is also part of organized international crime with local branches. That risk is estimated to be the highest among operators that do not hold a license.
Block Payments, Covert Supervision
Therefore, the government submitted a proposal for measures that would give Spelinspektionen powers to more effectively block payments for unlicensed operators as part of its enforcement actions and allow the regulator the opportunity to perform covert supervision.
Financial Markets Minister Niklas Wykman stressed the great damage that can be done by unlicensed gaming operators and the need for the national regulator to remove them from operating in the market, highlighting that the increased resources would facilitate the regulator’s ability to use its new supervisory tools and tackle the black market.
A recent study into the habits of gamblers in the country showed that only 8% of them participated in gambling activities via an unlicensed website, of which only 6% admitted to having gambled with offshore operators intentionally, while the remaining 2% said they had done this without knowing.
Further encouraging for Spelinspektionen, 77% of the participants in the study declared their intention to refrain from gambling with unlicensed operators.
Sports data and technology company Sportradar announced today it has moved to renew the company’s partnership with Big Ten Network through the 2024-25 college athletics season.
The Collaboration Is Set to Continue
The contract extension means that Nasdaq-listed Sportradar will continue to power Big Ten Network’s OTT platform B1G+ for three more years, as well as manage the backend and frontend (including web, mobile and connected TV apps), UX/UI design and third-party integration of the network dedicated to covering one of the biggest collegiate conferences in the US, Big Ten Conference.
Sportradar and Big Ten Network initially teamed up in 2021 when the conference selected the provider of sports entertainment products and services for the relaunch of its direct-to-consumer subscription service for non-televised events, B1G+.
The revitalized OTT service includes approximately 1,500 live streams of Big Ten Olympic sports and video-on-demand of basketball and football games that were previously aired on linear channels and allows consumers to directly subscribe to televised events supported by the Big Ten Network.
Sportradar delivered live streams of Big Ten Olympic sports, video-on-demand of basketball and football games and school-specific channels creating an end-to-end OTT solution with historical content and shoulder programming that provides fans with extensive customization and personalization options and the ability to focus on content from their favorite team.
Big Ten Network and Sportradar will continue their collaboration moving forward, enhancing the user experience through additional front-end experiences that will also feature integration and visualization of sports data to create an immersive experience for the viewers.
The Big Ten Network
Created as a joint venture between one of the premier collegiate conferences in the US, the Big Ten Conference, and Fox Networks, the Big Ten Network is the first network dedicated to covering a collegiate conference that is distributed internationally.
Serving as the ultimate destination for Big Ten Fans and alumni nationwide, the network presents more than 1,700 events across its platforms, allowing its fans to see and support their favorite teams from any place in the country around the clock.
Events include football and men’s and women’s basketball games, Big Ten Olympic sports and championships, studio shows and classic games, while activities and accomplishments of some of the nation’s finest universities are highlighted in the network’s original programming.
A digital extension of the Big Ten Network, the Fox Sports App delivers live games and on-demand programming to Big Ten Network customers online and via mobile.
Operating at the intersection of sports, media and betting, Sportradar provides sports federations, news media, consumer platforms and sports betting operators with a range of solutions to support growth for their partners.
Sportradar’s OTT partners benefit from the continuous innovation of the platform’s end-to-end solutions aimed at deepening fan engagement via customization and personalization.
Intralot’s recent success in the Canadian market is partially due to CEO Nikolakopoulos and CCO Richard Bateson’s ongoing efforts to bolster international growth. BCLC’s players will benefit from a network of retail terminals, enhanced sports betting solutions, and industry-leading lottery products.
The Partnership Seems Like a Match Made in Heaven
The three-year deal will allow British Columbia bettors to access BCLC’s services across 3,400 retail terminals and 700 self-service machines. Intralot’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solution should be a substantial boon to the Canadian operator, allowing players to utilize a feature-rich sportsbook experience by generating a QR code at any retail or self-service terminal.
If BCLC remains favorable to Intralot’s solutions, it can opt for three one-year extensions. The newly penned deal will also bolster the Canadian operator’s sports betting platform, implementing new management features. Intralot Inc. chairman Nikos Nikolakopoulos was optimistic regarding the partnership, stating it would significantly benefit BCLC and its customers.
We are looking forward to responsibly (driving) the Lottery’s growth to further benefit the British Columbia community.
Nikos Nikolakopoulos, Intralot CEO
The BCLC is one of Canada’s largest lottery corporations, tracing its lineage back to 1985. The corporation offers a wide selection of gaming options, including lottery, casino, and sports betting, and has a strong reputation for secure and high-quality gaming experiences. Partnering with such a leading regional operator will significantly bolster Intralot’s market position, allowing further expansion opportunities.
Management Overhauls Proved Instrumental
Intralot’s deal with BCLC would not be possible without the supplier’s experienced and motivated leadership team. The company recently made several high-profile appointments, bringing in gaming industry veteran Richard Bateson as COO and placing him directly in charge of driving the company’s North American expansion efforts. His onboarding appears to be paying off as the developer maintains its substantial momentum.
Nikolakopoulos, appointed to Intralot CEO in February, has also proven instrumental in driving the company’s ongoing growth. Under his leadership, the developer redoubled its focus on developing new products and services, bolstering its appeal to potential investors. His guidance will hopefully allow the developer to recover from its dismal Q3 2022 financial results and return to profitability.
The deal with BCLC is a step in the right direction, demonstrating Intralot’s focus on innovation, growth, and excellence in the gaming industry. Its overhauled leadership team and cutting-edge sports betting solutions place it in the perfect position to capitalize on the growing demand for online gaming products and expand its operations into new jurisdictions.
Gambling companies and lobbyists have increased the amount they spend on MPs tenfold in five years, according to Guardian analysis that shows how the industry has become one of the best connected sectors in Westminster.
Data from publicly available parliamentary records show that dozens of Labour and Conservative MPs have received thousands of pounds’ worth of corporate hospitality in the past few years, paid for by some of the country’s biggest betting companies.
The analysis, which follows reports that the Conservative MP Scott Benton offered to lobby ministers on behalf of the industry for money, shows that the sector now spends tens of thousands of pounds a year, mainly on sports tickets for MPs. The figure is likely to be even higher than reported, as anything worth less than £300 does not have to be declared.
The figures have sparked concern among some in parliament that the gambling industry now has too much political power, especially as the government prepares to publish its gambling white paper.
Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East and a campaigner for more regulation of gambling, said the industry’s deep pockets and fondness for treating MPs were very obvious in and around parliament.
“If you go to the bar, you will probably see somebody from that industry, and they’re buying people drinks,” she said. “They attract people with offers to go to things that ordinary people would never get access to, like the Brits, or to watch Manchester United in the hospitality section.
“There are certain times you can have a conversation with someone from an industry, and then you go off and make an independent decision, and that’s how it works. But what happens with this industry is, why do people have to keep on being convinced so many times? Some people take the hospitality time and time again.
“They do this because they’re terrified of regulation. They have grown beyond even their own expectations, but it’s an industry where 10% of the customers make 60% of the profits. They want to protect what they have.”
Earlier this week, the Times revealed that its reporters had captured undercover footage of Benton, the MP for Blackpool South, promising to “call in favours” from colleagues and offer “easy access” to ministers in return for £4,000 from a fake gambling company.
Benton, who has been suspended from the parliamentary Conservative party and has referred himself to the parliamentary standards commissioner, is one of dozens of MPs who have accepted large amounts of corporate hospitality from the industry in recent years.
On Thursday the Times released a second video showing Benton advising the undercover reporters to list tickets as being worth just less than £300 so as to avoid having to be declared. He told them: “Without saying too much, you’d be amazed at the number of times I’ve been to races and the ticket comes to £295.”
The Guardian’s analysis shows that in 2019 the biggest gambling companies and lobbyists spent just less than £8,000 on paying for tickets to events for six MPs and their friends and families. One of the biggest recipients was the Conservative MP Laurence Robertson, who accepted thousands of pounds’ worth of tickets and hospitality from William Hill and Coral, including a day out at Doncaster races for him, his wife and a member of staff.
By 2021, however, it had risen to 25 MPs, and the industry spent £114,000.
Almost all of that went on paying for tickets and corporate hospitality at sporting and musical events for MPs. That year Benton accepted nearly £6,000 worth of tickets to racing, tennis and football events. He was one of a dozen Tory and Labour MPs who were given tickets and corporate hospitality worth nearly £3,500 each to the Euro 2020 semi-final between England and Denmark.
In 2022, the industry gave 36 MPs a total of about £87,000 worth of tickets and corporate entertainment to events, including racing, football and rugby. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) spent nearly £7,000 taking four MPs – including Benton and Robertson – to the Brit awards, and another £4,000 taking five MPs to an Ed Sheeran concert.
So far in 2023, the industry has spent just over £13,000 on entertaining and paying MPs – all of which has come from the BGC.
The BGC, a large and well-connected industry organisation led by the former Labour MP Michael Dugher, has increasingly become the source of the spending in the past few years, with individual companies offering less and less.
The organisation has been a powerful voice feeding into the government’s wide-ranging gambling review, which according to a report in the Sun is likely to recommend a maximum limit to how much gamblers can spend during each go on an online slot machine.
Throughout the review process, the council has pushed for a narrower definition of “gambling harm”, telling MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee: “The current debate has resulted in a large amount of misinformation around the prevalence of gambling-related harm, including by extending its definition.”
The BGC’s main voice in parliament is Laurence Robertson, who is paid £2,000 a month to act as its parliamentary adviser on sport and safer gambling. In an article on the BGC’s website, Robertson argues: “Too often it is the negative and inaccurate messages [about the betting sector] which are those heard most loudly.”
A spokesperson for the BGC said it represented an industry supporting 110,000 jobs, and as such “we routinely engage with parliamentarians – and of course we often do this in conjunction with sports like racing and football, where the betting industry has a close and historic relationship.”
It was vital for the organisation to engage with MPs amid the government review into gambling regulation, the spokesperson said, adding: “There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing whatsoever by the BGC or our members. All hospitality is declared in strict accordance with the rules.”
NSoft’s reputation as a leading software provider brings seemingly unending new opportunities, as evidenced by the developer’s recent foray into the Balkans. Its deal with a high-profile regional operator like Maxbet will solidify its regional presence and hopefully bolster both parties’ market positions. The two companies already share mutual partners, making future integration significantly smoother.
Both Parties Will Emerge Stronger after the Deal
As per the newly inked agreement, Maxbet will benefit from a complete overhaul of its sports betting solutions, leveraging the developer’s Seven platform. The operator hopes that updating its retail and terminal offerings will renew customer interest, resulting in lasting engagement. NSoft’s wide range of novel and exciting betting options has proven a hit across many jurisdictions, boding well for the budding partnership.
NSoft should also substantially benefit from the new deal, bolstering its impressive presence in the SEE and CE regions. Company regional sales manager Marko Lasic was excited by the opportunity to cement the developer’s presence in Eastern Europe and demonstrate the lasting value offered by the company’s extensive portfolio of games and sports betting solutions.
Maxbet’s customers will have the chance to enjoy a world-class sports betting experience.
Marko Lasic, NSoft regional sales manager
Lasic emphasized the ease of integration as a leading factor in NSoft’s lasting popularity with operators. The company enjoys substantial momentum across the Old Continent, recently partnering with esports wagering solutions supplier Oddin.gg, spearheading the developer’s entry into a new and promising market segment. The two companies’ mutual vision of innovation, expansion, and product quality made their team up a natural fit, opening substantial avenues for growth.
NSoft and Maxbet Share a Lot in Common
Adopting an industry-leading suite of gaming solutions may be just what Maxbet needs to strengthen its presence throughout its jurisdictions. The operator holds a 7.5% market share in Romania, maintaining a presence across the region with footholds in Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia. Amusingly, the operator also recently partnered with Oddin.gg, allowing the leading esports provider undisputed access to the underutilized Balkan market.
The partnerships between NSoft, Maxbet, and Oddin.gg demonstrate the growing importance of cooperation and mutual integration across the esports and gaming industries. As the market continues to evolve and new technologies emerge, companies like NSoft are well-positioned to capitalize on these trends and offer their customers innovative and high-quality gaming solutions.
Genting Casinos UK, the British subsidiary of the international casino and integrated resort developer Genting Group, has unveiled a new charity initiative. As announced on its LinkedIn page, Genting’s UK arm will provide funding to CHIPS, a charity raising funds for children with disabilities.
The casino company said that its donation will help CHIPS improve the well-being of an additional 20 children. CHIPS, which was founded on behalf of the UK Gaming industry back in 2001, seeks to change the lives of children with disabilities by providing them with specialized powered wheelchairs.
The CHIPS charity committee is formed by senior members of the British gambling industry. The organization works for free, deducing no expenses and using every penny available to “provide the quality of life that is the right of every child.”
In these last two decades, the UK gambling industry has helped CHIPS raise over £2,000,000 ($2,490,000 in USD, current conversion rates). Thanks to this, CHIPS has been able to provide more than 500 wheelchairs to kids with disabilities.
President Willcock Praised CHIPS’ Work
Genting UK’s initiative was addressed by the company’s president and chief operating officer, Paul Willcock. He said that CHIPS is a charity that is very special to him and that he believes it is great to see the UK gaming industry join forces to help those in need.
It’s been incredible to watch the UK gaming industry come together over the years to raise these vital funds that enable us to support so many young people. The powered wheelchairs really are a life-changing piece of equipment and provide disabled children with independence and mobility.
Paul Willcock, president & COO, Genting UK
Willcock added that he feels honored that his team is able to make a new donation to the charity and support its “amazing work.” The president praised CHIPS for doing everything it can to change the lives of more and more deserving children.
Genting UK Recently Closed One of Its Properties
Genting Casinos UK now boasts dozens of casinos in the United Kingdom and is one of the biggest operators in the country. The company employs thousands of employees across its venues and has two brands in provincial areas, namely Genting Casino and Genting Club.
Genting UK has been focused on growing and providing its clients with more and more exciting casino experiences. Despite that, the operator was recently forced to close its Genting Casino Nottingham property because of “commercial considerations.”
Many of the locals said that The Cornerhouse leisure complex where the casino was located will feel emptier without it.