William Hill’s Failings Reveal an Underlying Regulatory Weakness

William Hill’s Failings Reveal an Underlying Regulatory Weakness

As the effects of the £19.2 million fine continue reverberating across the gaming industry, Williams offers a new perspective on the situation, concluding with a warning to all operators considering investing in the UK. While 888 has agreed to pay up without much hassle and implemented substantial remedial measures, the data implies that William Hill’s disregard for player safety temporarily bolstered customer spending, setting a dangerous precedent.

888’s Commitment to the Purchase Was a Calculated Risk

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)’s record-breaking £19.2 million fine was the biggest in the regulator’s history, significantly souring 888’s recent purchase of the offending operator. At one point in the investigation, William Hill even ostensibly risked losing its license to operate in the island nation, potentially making 888’s investment even riskier.

William Hill recognized its failings and worked with the commission to make improvements, but 888’s willingness to proceed with the purchase despite the ongoing investigation raises some questions. Keystone Law regulatory lawyer Richard Williams shared his take on a situation in an interview with gaming news outlet Gambling Insider, breaking down the finer implications.

When 888 acquired the non-US assets of William Hill…, it would have known about the Gambling Commission’s ongoing investigation.

Richard Williams, regulatory lawyer at Keystone Law

Williams argued that 888 was completely aware of the potential fine when closing the £1.95 billion purchase. However, with William Hill’s license potentially on the line, the prospective buyer must have had an unhealthy risk appetite. 888 likely believed that timely reforms and a change in management would be sufficient to appease the UKGC, giving the operator a relatively clean slate when taking over.

The Case Revealed Deep-Seated Issues

According to Williams, 888’s cooperation was the deciding factor behind the UK regulator’s decision to settle for a fine. He noted that the situation had improved significantly since the takeover as the new management finally took the necessary steps to resolve the systemic issues plaguing the UK operator. However, Williams argued that such measures were not without financial consequences.

Implementing rigorous anti-money laundering and social responsibility procedures is likely to slow down customer spending and ultimately reduce revenue for the combined business.

Richard Williams, regulatory lawyer at Keystone Law

Such statements are dangerous in the context of the wider industry, implying that skirting player safety and AML measures can bolster profits. According to Williams, the entire debacle should alarm everyone looking to invest in UK-facing operators. However, it is also indicative of deep-rooted problems and regulatory impotence.

The £19.2 million fine is just a slap on the wrist for 888, which can earn that back in less than four days. Despite its posturing, the UKGC will likely face a fierce legal battle if it does decide to take the license of a high-profile operator like William Hill. If the regulator continues to shirk its duties, systematic violations will likely continue to be the norm.

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Aliaksandr Hirs Takes Down Merit Poker Carmen Series $5,300 High Roller ($204,700)

Aliaksandr Hirs Takes Down Merit Poker Carmen Series $5,300 High Roller ($204,700)

Aliaksandr Hirs

Event #13: $5,300 High Roller of the Merit Poker Carmen Series has drawn to a close after three days of play. Belarusian Aliaksandr Hirs emerged as the last player standing from an initial field of 187 to capture the lion’s share of the $860,200 prize pool after defeating Fahredin Mustafov in a one-sided heads-up affair.

This marks Hirs’ first live tournament victory, with the $204,700 first-place prize adding a significant chunk to his career earnings of $396,757. However, it’s not his largest ever cash, which took place in August 2022 at EPT Barcelona when he finished third in the $2,200 ESPT High Roller for $284,668.

2023 Merit Poker Carmen Series Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize Money
1 Aliaksandr Hirs Belarus $204,700
2 Fahredin Mustafov Bulgaria $143,800
3 Ryan Mandara United Kingdom $92,700
4 Simeon Spasov Bulgaria $68,900
5 Eduard Barsegian Russia $51,900
6 Anton Ionel Romania $41,750
7 Carlos Aoun Lebanon $34,800
8 Egor Romaniuk Belarus $28,050
9 Lev Kydatov Russia $21,250

Winner’s Reaction

Although Hirs is relatively new to the live poker scene, he has been racking up a steady slate of impressive results online, a fact he reflected on after his victory.

“It’s a similar game [online] but also a different atmosphere”.

That different ambience is something Hirs points to as a reason why he is now playing more live events.

“It’s interesting to play with different players because you can see them. Online, you can only see the icon. Now you can see the players and their emotions. It’s really good”.

Bubble Play

A total of 28 players returned for the final day, meaning none had yet made it into the money, as the top 23 would secure the min-cash.

With several short stacks in the field, bubble play did not last long. Ultimately, Alexandru Papazian, Romania’s all-time money leader, was the individual unfortunate enough to burst the bubble after he got in his last few chips in with a dominated hand against Carlos Aoun and failed to improve. Everyone left was guaranteed $8,100, but with such big money up top, nobody would be happy heading home just yet.

Final Table Action

The tournament average stack rarely strayed above the 35 big blind mark and was often significantly below that point. As a result, the final table was set not too long into the day after Sakis Adrianopoulos jammed his ace-four right into Anton Ionel’s ace-jack.

With that, the remaining nine took their seats to grind out what would be a relatively long final table. Lev Kydatov was the short stack entering the final table, and it came as no surprise that he was first out the door when his big slick failed to hold against the ace-jack held by Simeon Spasov.

Next to head to the exit was the congenial Egor Romaniuk. He flopped top-top to only to see a rampant Hirs turn over ladies for the overpair. Not long after, Aoun hit the showers in seventh place, as he was felled in a blind on blind encounter with Ionel.

It took some time for the next player to go, but eventually, Ionel, whose stack had been dwindling away for some time, lost a flip against Mustafov to send him to the rail in sixth place. Just a few hands later, Eduard Barsegian fell to the wayside, after being unable to overcome Hirs’ tens.

Spasov displayed great skill throughout the day and was near or at the top of the leaderboard for a good portion of the final table. But after taking a few bad beats, he got his remaining chips in with jack-nine against the eight-seven of Hirs, who paired up to scoop the pot.

Start of day chip leader Ryan Mandara coasted for much of the day but succumbed to a seemingly unstoppable Hirs after check-jamming his flush draw on the flop and failing to hit.

That elimination set up a heads-up showdown between Hirs and Mustafov. Hirs entered with a sizable chip advantage, one that he never relinquished. Though Mustafov put up a good fight, it was Hirs’ day. After flopping top pair, Hirs bet-called a shove from Mustafov, who had an open-ended straight draw. The draw failed to come in, and that was all she wrote.

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Make sure not to miss a hand by checking out our live reporting page when the events kick off.

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Follow all the action from the Merit Poker Carmen Series on PokerNews

Merit Poker Carmen Series Schedule

Weds, Mar 22 11:00 AM $220+$20+$9 NL Qualifier to Warm Up Day 1A win your seat at 100K chips $6,600 (3 Seats)
Weds, Mar 22 12:00 PM $2.000+$200 NL Warm Up Day 1A $700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Weds, Mar 22 5:30 PM $500+$50 NL Turbo Bounty $200 K.O. $20,000
Weds, Mar 22 9:30 PM $300+$30 NL Satellite to Warm Up Day 1B $22,000 (10 Seats)
Thur, Mar 23 11:00 AM $220+$20+$9 NL Qualifier to Warm Up Day 1B win your seat at 100K chips $6,600 (3 Seats)
Thur, Mar 23 12:00 PM $2.000+$200 NL Warm Up Day 1B $700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Thur, Mar 23 5:30 PM $220+$20+$9 NL Qualifier to WUp Day 1C win your seat at 100K chips $8,800 (4 Seats)
Thur, Mar 23 9:00 PM $600+$60 NL Hyper Turbo Deep Stack $20,000
Thur, Mar 23 9:30 PM $2.000+$200 NL Warm Up Day 1C $700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Fri, Mar 24 10:00 AM $2.000+$200 NL Warm Up Day 1D Turbo $700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Fri, Mar 24 12:30 PM $2.000+$200 NL Warm Up Day 2 $700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Fri, Mar 24 10:00 PM $500+$50 NL Satellite To ME Day 1A $99,000 (30 Seats)
Sat, Mar 25 12:00 PM Closed NL Warm Up Day 3 $700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Sat, Mar 25 1:00 PM $1.000+$100 NL Mystery Bounty ($600 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1A $10,000
Sat, Mar 25 7:00 PM $1.000+$100 NL Seniors Event (50+) y.o. $30,000
Sat, Mar 25 9:00 PM $700+$70 NL Satellite To High Roller Day 1 $26500 (5 Seats)
Sun, Mar 26 12:00 PM $1.000+$100 NL Mystery Bounty ($600 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1B $100
Sun, Mar 26 1:00 PM Closed NL Warm Up Final Day $700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Sun, Mar 26 5:00 PM $530+$55+$20 NL Qualifier to HR Day 1 win your seat at 100K chips $15,900 (3 Seats)
Sun, Mar 26 8:00 PM $5.000+$300 NL High Roller Event 8-Handed Day 1 $250,000 ( INCL 5 TCK )
Sun, Mar 26 9:00 PM $500+$50 NL Satellite to ME Day 1A $49,500 (15 Seats)
Mon, Mar 27 12:00 PM Closed NL Mystery Bounty ($600 Mystery Bounty ) Final Day $100
Mon, Mar 27 12:30 PM $1.500+$150 NL Bounty $750 K.O. $75
Mon, Mar 27 4:00 PM $530+$55+$20 NL Qualifier to HR Day 2 win your seat at 100K chips $15,900 (3 Seats)
Mon, Mar 27 8:00 PM $5.000+$300 NL High Roller Event 8-Handed Day 2 $250,000 ( INCL 5 TCK )
Mon, Mar 27 9:00 PM $500+$50 NL Satellite to ME Day 1A $49,500 (15 Seats)
Tue, Mar 28 11:00 AM $330+$30+$13 NL Qualifier to Main Event Day 1A win your seat at 100K chips $9,900 (3 Seats)
Tue, Mar 28 12:00 PM $3.000+$300 NL Main Event Day 1A $1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Tue, Mar 28 2:00 PM Closed NL High Roller Event 8-Handed Final Day $250,000 ( INCL 5 TCK )
Tue, Mar 28 5:30 PM $500+$50 NL Hyper Turbo Deep Stack $20,000
Tue, Mar 28 10:00 PM $500+$50 NL Satellite To ME Day 1B $49,500 (15 Seats)
Weds, Mar 29 11:00 AM $330+$30+$13 NL Qualifier to Main Event Day 1B win your seat at 100K chips $9,900 (3 Seats)
Weds, Mar 29 12:00 PM $3.000+$300 NL Main Event Day 1B $1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Weds, Mar 29 7:00 PM $330+$30+$13 NL Qualifier to Main Event Day 1C win your seat at 100K chips $16,500 (5 Seats)
Weds, Mar 29 10:00 PM $1.000+$100 NL Mix-Max 9-Handed Day 1 $100,000
Thur, Mar 30 11:00 AM $330+$30+$13 NL Qualifier to Main Event Day 1C win your seat at 100K chips $9,900 (3 Seats)
Thur, Mar 30 12:00 PM $3.000+$300 NL Main Event Day 1C $1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Thur, Mar 30 3:00 PM $1.000+$100 PL Omaha Bounty 8-Max $500 K.O. $40,000
Thur, Mar 30 6:00 PM $600+$60 NL Win The Button $300 K.O. $20,000
Thur, Mar 30 7:00 PM $3.000+$300 NL Main Event Day 1D Turbo $1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Thur, Mar 30 10:00 PM $1.000+$100 NL Mix-Max 7-Handed Day 2 $100,000
Fri, Mar 31 12:00 PM $3.000+$300 NL Main Event Day 2 $1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Fri, Mar 31 9:00 PM $1.000+$100 💣 Double Board PLO Bomb Pot 8-Handed $50,000
Fri, Mar 31 10:00 PM Closed NL Mix-Max 6-Handed Final day $100,000
Sat, Apr 1 12:00 PM Closed NL Main Event Day 3 $1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Sat, Apr 1 12:30 PM $2.000+$200 NL Mystery Bounty ($1.000 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1A $150,000 ( INCL, 5 TCK )
Sat, Apr 1 4:00 PM $600+$60 NL Bounty $300 K.O. $25,000
Sat, Apr 1 7:00 PM $2.000+$200 NL Mystery Bounty ($1.000 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1B $150,000 ( INCL, 5 TCK )
Sat, Apr 1 9:30 PM $600+$60 NL Turbo Deep Stack $25,000
Sun, Apr 2 11:00 AM $2.000+$200 NL Mystery Bounty ($1.000 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1C Turbo $150,000 ( INCL, 5 TCK )
Sun, Apr 2 1:00 PM Closed NL Main Event Final Day $1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Sun, Apr 2 1:00 PM $600+$60 NL Deep Stack Bounty 6-Max $300 K.O. $20,000
Sun, Apr 2 5:00 PM $3.000+$300 NL Merit Classic  
Sun, Apr 2 7:00 PM Closed NL Mystery Bounty ($1.000 Mystery Bounty ) Final Day $150,000 ( INCL, 5 TCK )
Sun, Apr 2 7:30 PM $500+$50 NL Turbo Deep Stack Bounty 6-Max $200 K.O. $15,000
Name Surname
Cottrell van Wingerden

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Booming Games Adds New Product Owner and Marketing Manager

Booming Games Adds New Product Owner and Marketing Manager

Booming Games, a rapidly-expanding developer of slots, has unveiled two new additions to its team. The iGaming experts Kaska Pysz and Dorota Gruszka will be joining the company as product owner and marketing manager respectively, the supplier announced.

Booming Games explained that both of its new members boast years of experience in the iGaming sector and will be valuable additions to its team.

Pysz Boasts 15 Years in Gaming

Pysz, for example, is a product and gamification specialist with an impressive track record in gambling. She has more than 15 years of experience in the sector, having worked with both land-based and iGaming companies. Her time at brick-and-mortar casinos helped her learn first-hand about player behavior.

Pysz graduated from the University of Cracow with a Degree in Marketing and Management. She has already leveraged this experience during her time working on gamification tools that enhance customer experience.

The new product owner said that she is very excited to join Booming Games’ amazing team and that she is looking forward to bolstering its pipeline. Pysz added that she is also thrilled to be working with Gruszka whom she considers a friend and a talented marketer.

Gruszka Is Passionate about Marketing

Speaking of Gruszka, Booming Games’ new marketing manager joined the iGaming sector 7 years ago. For the past few years, she has worked in various departments for various operators and providers and has acquired significant experience.

A few years ago, Gruszka discovered her passion for marketing and dedicated her efforts to mastering her marketing skills. She will put these skills into good use, overseeing Booming Games’ marketing department, as well as developing and deploying new campaigns for the studio.

Gruszka praised Booming Games as an innovator that is truly dedicated to diversity. The company’s team has people from more than 40 nationalities, which has proven instrumental in creating varied and engaging slots.

Gruszka said that she is very happy to join the organization and added that she is “super excited” to be teaming up with Pysz once again.

The Leadership Welcomed the New Hires

Moritz Blume, Booming Games’ director of product, welcomed the new hires on board. He said that the company doubled in size over 2022 and is constantly looking for experienced professionals.

I am convinced that Kaska and Dorota will add significant value to our company, and I am delighted to start working with them both.

Moritz Blume, director of product, Booming Games

The company’s chief commercial officer, Frederik Nielsen, also welcomed Pysz and Gruszka to the company. He noted that the company’s hiring spree has helped it bring many talented individuals on board. Nielsen said that he is looking forward to working with all of them.

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Richard Nagamoto Wins 17th Anniversary PokerStars Sunday Million for $1MM

Richard Nagamoto Wins 17th Anniversary PokerStars Sunday Million for $1MM

Brazilian grinder Ricardo “RFN1986” Nagamoto is on cloud nine today after becoming the PokerStars Sunday Million 17th Anniversary champion. Triumphing in such a prestigious tournament would be reason enough to celebrate, but the fact Nagamoto is now a millionaire, thanks to the $1,000,000 top prize, gives him even more reasons to bask in the glory of victory.

PokerStars slapped a $7.5 million guarantee on the prize pool, and it was easily reached, with the 39,500 entrants creating a $7,900,000 prize pool. The top 5,927 finishers received a slice of the seven-figure pie, a min-cash in this $215 buy-in event weighing in at $373, increasing to at least $70,374 for an appearance at the final table.

A whole host of top-tier players found themselves deep into the special edition Sunday Million but fell short of reaching the nine-handed final table. Chris “ImDaNuts” Oliver, Jans “Graftekkel” Arends, Renan “Internett93o” Bruschi, Sweden’s “mamamamama70,” Andrey “ThePateychuk” Pateychuk, and Stevan “random_chu” Chew being among those that saw healthy return on their investment.

Nick Walsh of Team PokerStars fame was eliminated in 16th place, a result good for $26,112. Walsh got his chips into the middle holding ace-king and lost a crucial coinflip against the pocket nines of the eventual champion, Nagamoto.

Once Hungary’s “DefBeat976” crashed out in tenth place, the final table was set, with each of all but two of those finalists guaranteed to take home at least a six-figure prize.

Sunday Million 17th Anniversary Edition Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 Ricardo “RFN1986” Nagamoto Brazil $1,000,000
2 roflcopter88 Denmark $723,474
3 PAX176 Poland $519,001
4 songoks Lithuania $372,317
5 Vlad “dariepoker” Darie Romania $267,090
6 atredezini Brazil $191,603
7 Paulo “paulinhoo00” Brombin Brazil $137,450
8 Suferring102 Brazil $98,603
9 Manuel “young_diam18” Blaschke Austria $70,734

Final table action commences around the 1hr 38 min mark

Austria’s Manuel “young_diam18” Blaschke was the first finalist heading for the exits. Blaschke came unstuck an hour into the final table’s action when the blinds were 1,750,000/3,500,000/450,000a. Vlad “dariepoker” Darie min-raised under the gun before calling the 58,227,684 three-bet shove from Blaschke on the button. Darie turned over pocket queens, Blaschke king-ten, and an ace-high board resulted in the first elimination of the final table.

Eighth place and the last five-figure score went to Brazil’s “Suferring102.” Blinds had increased to 2,000,000/4,000,000/500,000a when Suferring102 open-shoved for 25,372,418 from middle position with ace-five of clubs. Darie, from the next seat along, flat-called with pocket tens, but then relinquished his hand after “songoks” squeezed all-in from the small blind for 68,010,413 with what turned out to be ace-queen. Darie would have flopped a set had he stayed in the hand, but would have ultimately lost to the full house of songoks that won the pot after pairing their queen on the flop and seeing aces land on the turn and river. Game over for Suferring102.

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Paulo “paulinhoo00” Brombin became seventh-place finisher after a clash with Nagamoto did not go to plan. Nagamoto min-raised to 8,000,000 with ace-ten before calling the 27,288,448 shove from Brombin, which he made with pocket kings. An ace on the flop proved enough to bust the dangerous Brombin from the 17th Anniversary edition of the PokerStars Sunday Million.

The final six became five when “atredezini” bowed out. A short-stacked atredezini doubled up after finding pocket aces, but those aces came back to haunt them later on. atredezini min-raised to 12,000,000 under the gun with pocket aces, and “PAX176” called in the big blind with pocket threes. The flop fell seven-four-five with two spades, PAX176 check before calling the 49,546,626 shove from atredezini. A six of spades improved PAX176 to a straight, but atredezini held the ace of spades for a flush redraw. However, the river bricked and atredezini was gone.

Vlad Darie
Vlad Darie

Darie’s participation in the tournament ended at the hands of Denmark’s “roflcopter88.” A short while before his exit hand, Darie lost a huge pot with ace-queen to the nine-eight suited of songoks when the latter flopped a straight. Darie exited when roflcopter88 min-raised to 12,000,000 with a pair of tens in the hole, and Darie decided to essentially three-bet shove for 63,745,798 with the inferior pocket nines. The Dane called Darie’s shove, and won the hand courtesy of a king-high board. That hand gave roflcopter88 what looked to be a unassailable lead, as they had a stack of more than 575,000,000 chips with their nearest rival sitting behind an 88,000,000 stack.

The rich became richer in a battle of the blinds immediately after Darie’s demise. Lithuania’s songoks, who won their seat for only $22, open-shoved for 42,627,599 with king-five, and roflcopter88 called with queen-seven. A queen on the river ended songok’s dreams of turning a satellite win into a seven-figure prize. They did, however, take home $372,317.

Team PokerStars’ Nick Walsh Shares His 5 Tips for Tournament Package Winners

Heads-up was set when PAX176 ran out of steam. Nagamoto limped in from the small blind with pocket aces, and instantly called when PAX176 moved all-in for 48,403,322 with the dominated ace-jack. The five community cards failed to come to PAX176’s rescue, and Nagamoto went into the one-on-one battle with roflcopter88 trailing 151,820,034 chips to 638,179,966. Nagamoto came out the better from the early confrontations and continued chipping away at the leader until they claimed the chip lead for himself. Nagamoto turned a set of deuces when roflcopter88 had flopped top pair on a ten-high flop to put himself in the driving seat.

The 17th Anniversary edition of the PokerStars Sunday Million concluded during the 4,000,000/8,000,000/1,000,000a level. roflcopter88 min-raised with ace-nine, Nagamoto three-bet to 56,000,000, and called when roflcopter88 committed their 204,819,864 stack. Nagamoto called with pocket queens, and those ladies held, crowned Nagamoto as the champion, an accolade that came with $1,000,000!

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Altenar Expands to Bulgaria via BetMarket Content Launch

Altenar Expands to Bulgaria via BetMarket Content Launch

The iGaming software and sportsbook solutions provider, Altenar, announced a new deal, expanding further its European footprint. The company confirmed on Wednesday that via a deal with BetMarket, it expanded further its presence to the regulated gambling market in Bulgaria. The new deal marks an important achievement for Altenar as it continues to expand further into the region and reaches new audiences.

BetMarket is an operator with a rich history in Bulgaria. It was more than two decades ago, in 1997, when the company first launched its services. Although it initially offered slot games and bingo, it has since grown into the sports betting vertical as well. Now, BetMarket offers plenty of wagering options and a variety of betting markets for its players.

Currently, the operator is already live with leading products from Altenar such as virtual sports as well as player props markets. Thanks to the recent deal, the duo is expected to take their business relationship to even greater heights. At the same time, the iGaming collaboration creates new growth opportunities for Altenar, as well as BetMarket.

Partnering with a truly established sportsbook and casino offering such as Altenar’s is a massive step forward for us.

Hristo Markov, product manager at BetMarket

Hristo Markov, BetMarket’s product manager, acknowledged that the partnership with Altenar helps strengthen the company’s casino and sportsbook offering. Moreover, he pointed out that the collaboration represents a major achievement for BetMarket. Finally, Markov predicted that the deal will help boost BetMarket’s presence and deliver thrilling and engaging content for the company’s customers.

The Company Continues to Grow

Currently, Altenar has a presence in 13 different jurisdictions. The company holds certification from the MGA and the UKGC and is continuously growing the reach of its sportsbook products with new partners.

Last year, the company was recognized within the gambling sector after securing multiple awards. Altenar won prizes from the Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Awards, as well as SBC Latin America, EGR Italy and the MiGEAs.

We are delighted to have expanded our presence in Bulgaria as it is an exciting and vast market for us.

Aggelos Stravelas, account manager at Altenar

Aggelos Stravelas, an account manager at Altenar, explained that the company is excited to boost its presence in the market in Bulgaria via the new deal. He acknowledged that the Balkan region holds significant potential. Finally, Stravelas pointed out that the deal with BetMarket will enable the company to continue growing along with the operator.

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Pace-O-Matic to Fight against “Unconstitutional Ban” of Skill Games in Kentucky

Pace-O-Matic to Fight against “Unconstitutional Ban” of Skill Games in Kentucky

The battle between pro-skill games and anti-skill games groups in Kentucky continues. Pace-O-Matic, a Georgia-based developer of such products, teamed up with other industry bodies to file a lawsuit over House Bill 594, which would see vertical banned.

Skill games are a type of electronic terminals that offer real-money gaming. Despite their inherent similarities to slots, these machines have a skill element to them (thus the name), requiring players to react quickly and make the right decisions.

While many argue that skill games should not be put in the same category as slots, others believe that the concept is too similar and that skill games should be regulated like all other gambling terminals.

Currently, skill machines are somewhat of a gray area. Still, some want to ban them, as attested by House Bill 594. Introduced earlier this month, the measure would see skill games banned. Opponents of the vertical say that the proliferation of these machines, paired with their unregulated nature, is sure to lead to crime.

Unfortunately for the skill game industry, House Bill 594 was written into law. It will come into power 90 days from the conclusion of the General Assembly session, at which point venues offering skill games will face fines of up to $25,000 per device.

Despite the efforts to ban the machines, the skill game industry will not go down without a fight.

Pace-O-Matic Takes Matters to Court

Pace-O-Matic and several local venues that offer skill games joined forces in a lawsuit against the measure, which they believe is “unconstitutional.” Filed in Franklin Circuit Court yesterday, the lawsuit will see the provider and proponents of the vertical defend the legality of skill games in court.

Michael Barley, chief public affairs officer at Pace-O-Matic said that the industry is prepared to fight back against the unconstitutional ban. He argued that many local businesses rely on such games for income. Barley slammed the opponents of skill gaming, saying that they serve the horse racing industry’s interests and seek to monopolize entertainment in Kentucky.

Plaintiffs will try to block the measures outlined in House Bill 594, at least while the case is being heard.

Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron will serve as the defendant in this lawsuit and will try to ensure that the ban on skill games is not impeded. Skill games have been a controversial topic in several states for similar reasons as the ones listed above. However, banning the vertical has proven to be surprisingly hard.

Virginia, for example, introduced a law that bans skill-based machines. That law, however, was quickly squandered by an injunction issued by a local judge. Opponents of the machines could not get them banned in Pennsylvania either.

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The Labour Party Wants to Ban Gambling Ads in Ireland

The Labour Party Wants to Ban Gambling Ads in Ireland

Ireland’s government is planning to restrict gambling advertising but the Labour Party wants to take things a step further and completely ban ads. Supporters of this measure argue that it will protect high-risk gamblers from problem gambling.

Senator Mark Wall spoke on behalf of the Labour Party, detailing the reasoning behind the proposed ban. He said that banning gambling ads is the right thing to do as it will not only protect vulnerable people but will also reduce the gambling content young people are exposed to.

The government’s new gambling control bill proposes the introduction of a ban on all gambling advertising between 5:30 am and 9 pm. However, Wall argued that people’s addiction does not go away after 9 pm.

Unfortunately for those experiencing gambling addiction, this does not go away after 9 pm. From the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep at night, the gambling companies know they have us in their grip.

Mark Wall

Wall noted that it is difficult to pick up a smartphone or watch a YouTube video without being bombarded with ads. As a result, he believes that the government should “go the full way” and ban operators from advertising their products. He described the measure as “taking control back from the gambling companies.”

Ads Encourage Harm, Wall Says

According to Wall, the gambling industry has forced people to associate major sporting events with wagering. As a result, gambling harm rates continue to be a major problem which is further fueled by the constant stream of gambling ads.

These ads are pushing people to gamble and there are no controls in place to protect those who are vulnerable to addiction.

Mark Wall

Wall praised Belgium for opting to implement a full ban on gambling ads in July. He hopes that the Irish government will be just as brave and will do the right thing and rid people of gambling ads.

Wall noted that banning ads will help people struggling with addiction and will also help the younger generations to learn to enjoy sports, entertainment and politics without needing to gamble. The senator noted that a concerningly-high number of young people gamble. Research shows that 9.3% of the people aged 17-20 have taken part in online gambling and that 7.2% are regular gamblers.

The senator said that he is certain that the ads are pushing this behavior. He said that the levels of addiction demand serious action.

“We had this argument around the tobacco. Time is ticking. Let’s follow the Belgian lead and ban gambling ads in Ireland,” Wall concluded.

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New York Sports Betting Tax Is Likely Not Going Anywhere

Consortium Revealed Renderings of Coney Island Casino Resort

The Empire State has made it clear that it intends to continue taxing the sports betting vertical with the original 51% tax rate, which was welcomed with grumping approval when companies found out that they would be allowed on the country’s most populous state, and flog their sports betting products there, but is now the source of constant worries about sportsbooks’ long-term fortunes on the market.

Big Tax Is Here to Stay in New York

Many thought that the 51% tax, threatening as it was at the time, would eventually be reduced to a more amenable levy that would allow big players to score more on the market. This, though, is not likely to happen.

Speaking to PlayUSA, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, one of the longest-standing proponents of regulated gambling in New York, told the publication that the tax rate is very unlikely to change. Pretlow himself has attempted to seek reason with fellow lawmakers and regulators and convince them that a lower rate would make more sense.

But his changing the tune means that the rate may indeed be not moving an inch. Pretlow spent the last decade fighting for regulated gambling in New York. He has been a friend of the poker, casino and sports betting industries and has seen the reason for pushing bills through.

Pretlow proved tireless, bringing and revisiting bills every year to pull these industries from the grips of the offshore industry and make sure that they contribute to the state instead. Of course, the 51% tax rate is not exactly sitting well with the sports businesses that operate in these conditions.

The state is naturally doing well, having collected close to $900 million from tax revenue. However, the sportsbooks that operate in the Empire State seem to be not doing so well. A report by the New York Post has said that sports betting operators have already lost $200 million in the state.

Handle to Contract, Lawmakers Won’t Budge Until Then

Many have reduced their bonuses and promotions and are trying to figure out a sustainable way to operate. One of the ideas that sportsbooks have is to offer slightly less favorable odds, which means that sports fans, especially those who have been around for a while, could seek their good fortunes elsewhere – this means either traveling to another state or worse, turning to offshore markets.

FanDuel’s Christian Genetski expects sports betting handle to begin dropping by 20% annually should the rate remain unchanged, having mostly to do with sportsbooks being unable to galvanize fans as they have nothing worthy to offer with mounting tax challenges, the executive told PlayUSA.

Big taxes are not the problem, the sportsbooks argue – it’s rather unsustainable tax rates that are the issue. Lawmaker intransigence can be remedied, but it might take time for officials to see that the industry is bringing in less money – for as long as it is going strong, legislators are unlikely to show immediate concern.

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NFL Owners Vote to Allow Physical Sportsbooks on Game Days for 2023 Season

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The Athletic reported that in a major shift in stance towards sports betting, NFL owners have voted to allow physical sportsbooks to operate on game days starting from the 2023 season, according to league sources. The vote occurred on Monday at the NFL owners’ meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The NFL Goes All-In on Sports Betting with Seven Approved Outlets

Currently, only four teams operate sportsbooks at their stadiums, with the Washington Commanders being the only team with a sportsbook inside their stadium. The Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, and Jets all have sites located outside their stadiums. The NFL had already announced its first sportsbook partnerships in April 2021, and now has seven outlets approved to operate sportsbooks.

While the move will certainly generate additional revenue for the teams, many bettors already use apps on their phones to place bets. The shift is therefore seen as more symbolic than a significant revenue booster. However, it marks a significant turning point in the relationship between the NFL and sports betting, particularly given the league’s previously conservative attitude towards gambling.

Despite the fact that Texas, Florida, and California have not yet legalized sports betting, the NFL’s continued embrace of the industry suggests it is only a matter of time before they do. The vote to allow physical sportsbooks at stadiums on game days is the latest sign of the NFL’s growing acceptance of legalized sports gambling.

The move comes as legal sports betting has expanded rapidly across the US, with 33 states now allowing legalized sports betting. The NFL’s new stance on sports betting has evolved to such an extent that the league now stages events in Las Vegas, including next year’s Super Bowl. 

NFL Teams to Pool Sportsbook Revenue After Hitting $20 Million Mark

Revenue from the sportsbooks will not be shared with other teams until a certain threshold is exceeded, believed to be around $20 million, after which it will be pooled with the other 31 clubs. Teams have traditionally shared local gate revenue, but not other non-national revenues, such as club sponsorships. 

Sportsbook revenues, on the other hand, are viewed within the NFL as a category that should be shared. However, as sportsbook revenue is not the same as gate receipts, a certain amount of revenue will be allowed to be kept by local teams before hitting a cap, with the remainder shared with the rest of the league. Revenue from sportsbook sponsorships, which many teams currently have, will not be shared.

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Rhode Island Seeks to Introduce Betting on College Sports

Rhode Island Seeks to Introduce Betting on College Sports

The bill, pitched by Senate President Dominick Ruggiero, is looking to expand the scope of betting in the state and allow Rhode Island residents and visitors to bet on teams that are based on the state.

Betting on College Teams in RI Gains Momentum

This applies to collegiate teams that may soon be a viable betting option. Across the United States, there are different rules for college betting. Some states allow all forms of it, while others, such as Rhode Island, explicitly prohibit betting on college sports teams that are based in the state.

Rule differentiations also exist across jurisdictions – when these teams play in another state, a bet may be acceptable, but when playing at home – not really. The new legislative proposal seeks to do away with restrictions, however.

The Senate bill pitched by Ruggiero does come with a few conditions of its own, however. Notably, sports fans would be able to bet on Rhode Island collegiate teams when a competition involves at least four teams.

Should the bill clear the floor and be subsequently approved by all remaining legislators, it should allow sports fans to bet on pre-season invitationals and conference tournaments. Most importantly of all, though, the bill could make it possible for sports fans to bet on Rhode Island college teams competing in March Madness.

Of course, there is opposition. The main idea behind banning betting on in-state college teams is that some bettors are very likely to have more information about the team than the general public. However, Ruggiero believes that the nature of sports betting and the industry has shifted a lot.

Athletes are not going to sacrifice their status in the sports ecosystem and risk being involved in betting, Ruggiero believes. Furthermore, there are better safeguards today that train athletes how not to participate in match-fixing.

Not Just Sports Betting – iGaming Too

Ruggiero is not quite willing to draw the line at sports betting on college events, though, as the legislator is also looking into the possible legislation of online casinos, usually referred to as iGaming in industry parlor. Speaking to the media in February, Ruggiero said that the segment had become a big driver of revenue.

“I’m also looking at iGaming. I think that will be a substantial revenue generator down the line where people can stay at home and do everything similar to what they do on sports betting,” the senator said.

Yet, making a slight amendment to the existing sports betting infrastructure is child’s play compared to the Herculean efforts that would be needed to compel legislators to throw their support behind online casinos in the state.

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