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Irish people lose more money per head on gambling than anyone else in Europe

George Miller



Irish people lose more money per head on gambling than anyone else in Europe
Reading Time: 8 minutes

John Meagher ( explores how easy access to online betting is increasing the risk that some of us will stop having fun, and develop a harmful addiction

When Barry Grant decided he would specialise in counselling for gambling addiction, he knew there was something he had to do. To fully get a sense of what future clients would be going through, he opened online betting accounts with some of the biggest gambling companies on earth.

The Wicklow-native, now based in Waterford, had never gambled before – and had long avoided the slot machines in the amusement arcades on the promenade of Bray. But now, he was signing up with Paddy Power and the the other household- name bookies and was placing bets.

He quickly became alarmed about how it started to take over his day. “I was surprised to get such a buzz from it,” he says. “There was this feeling of excitement that you might win some money. And then more money. After a few days, my mind was racing – and it was all so easy to gamble on my phone. The gambling companies had made it so appealing to bet – and I didn’t have to darken the door of a bookie.”

Grant soon closed all his online accounts and never made a bet again, but he had quickly come to understand just how easily it is for someone to become addicted to gambling.

Now, in the course of his work as one of the country’s few gambling-specific counsellors, he meets men and women of all ages and all backgrounds who have had their lives wrecked by gambling. “Many of them have only gambled online, especially the younger ones. Some have never been inside a bookies and would admit to not knowing what to do if a betting slip was put in front of them. They’ve grown up with online gambling being available around the clock – and, as I found out myself, it’s all too easy to gamble whenever you want, no matter where you are.

“The likes of Paddy Power has made it incredibly easy to bet on your phone – you’ve almost got to admire how user-friendly their app is.”

The fallout of gambling has been thrown into sharp relief this week thanks to the publication of a new book, Tony 10, which details one man’s descent into a gambling-induced hell. Its subtitle – The Astonishing Story of a Postman who Gambled €10,000,000… and Lost it All – offers a snapshot of how one man on the street found himself in way over his head.

Wexford man Tony O’Reilly started off with a simple €1 bet but became so hooked on gambling that he ended up stealing €1.75m from his employer, An Post, in order to fund his habit and – he thought – reduce his debts. He wound up in prison and he lost many of the most precious aspects of his life, including his marriage. The book’s title refers to the online betting username O’Reilly had used.

Davy Glennon can understand the dark nights of the soul that O’Reilly experienced more than most. The Galway hurler, who won an All-Ireland medal last year, says he lived 10 chaotic years trying to cope with his addiction to gambling and says he is only now trying to get back to “some sort of normality”.

“I am a chronic, compulsive gambler and I will be until the day I die,” he says, speaking to Review this week after an evening training session with his county teammates. “Not only did I have 10 chaotic years where I didn’t know if I was coming or going, but I caused people close to me an awful lot of pain and I regret that so much.”

Glennon is one of a number of high-profile GAA players who have spoken openly about their addiction to gambling and he hopes that by detailing his own difficulties, he can encourage other young people to stay clear of the temptation to place that first bet.

“I was 16 when I started,” he says. “It was a simple bet in the local bookies. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but I started to enjoy betting on stuff. Before you know what’s happening, you’re betting all the time. I mean, it didn’t take long before it reached the point that I’d be waiting in the car park of my local town for the bookie to open while my family thought I was studying.”

The advent of smartphone technology and 4G connectivity has helped make gambling companies super wealthy but has come at an enormous cost to people like Glennon. “It was better 10 years ago in that the bookmaker would be closed at night and you could at least go away and think about what you were doing,” he says.

“But in recent years, the temptation to gamble is there all of the time. You could wake up at 4 in the morning and you could have gambled away a few hundred euro in seconds. And it becomes like monopoly money – you stop thinking it’s real, maybe because you don’t see physical cash being handed over like you would in a bookies.”

Glennon says he sought help soon after one particular gamble didn’t work out. He had placed a €2,000 stake that three particular horses would finish one, two and three during a race at Cheltenham in 2015 and stood to make €58,000. It was all going perfectly until the final hurdle when one of the horses fell.

It was at the Cuan Mhuire addiction centre in Galway that he started on his journey to recovery. One of the counsellors there, Alan Martin, says he is seeing increasing numbers of young people present with severe gambling problems.

“Online gambling has made a bad situation much worse,” he says. “It’s helped to normalise gambling and it may well have attracted people who would never have gambled in the traditional ways. One of the people that was here recently was a 23 or 24-year-old woman, and the reason she started was because of the gambling pop-ups that she used to get on her phone after going into certain websites.

“Unfortunately, the only thing the gambling firms are concerned with is making money – and they’re making an awful lot of money very easily. What they don’t see are the broken lives that are left behind and I’m not just talking about the person with the addiction. Families can be destroyed by gambling. Homes can be lost. Marriages can break up. Children can be badly affected. It’s horrific and the thing about online gambling is that often there are no warning signs for loved ones, and the revelation comes out of the blue for them.”

Barry Grant believes the gambling behemoths aren’t doing nearly enough to keep the pledge they make about responsible gambling. “When they talk about responsibility and so on, they’re empty words,” he says. “They’re in the business of making money, plain and simple, and they’ve become very good at creating products that appeal to all sorts of people.”

The Paddy Power home page is a case in point, according to Grant. It boasts an enticing offer to new customers: Bet €10 and get €30 in free bets. “That’s the equivalent of someone passing a pub and seeing a sign in the window saying ‘Buy a pint and get three pints for free’. And they talk about responsibility. And it’s not just Paddy Power – they’re all at it.”

Paddy Power celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and by any measure, it’s a phenomenally successful business. A merger with Betfair in 2016 made it one of Europe’s biggest gambling operations. The newly merged firm received a market valuation of €10.2bn on its first day of trade.

Review contacted Paddy Power in relation to this article and was asked to present a series of questions. It declined to answer them directly. Instead, a short statement was furnished through the Dublin PR firm Drury Porter Novelli, and a request to examine the ‘responsible gaming’ section of its website.

“Paddy Power Betfair is strongly committed to responsible gambling,” it reads. “We promote and provide market-leading tools to help customers control their play. We engage proactively with customers showing signs of potential harm. We fund research and treatment for problem gambling. As a long-standing policy, we do not discuss specific customer accounts, either past or present. There have been significant developments in our approach to responsible gambling since 2011. This is, and will continue to be, a key business priority as we systematically seek to enhance our approach to responsible gambling.”

Review was told that the company would be providing no further comment, including requests for elaboration on how it engages with “customers showing signs of potential harm”. It also declined to say which “research and treatment for problem gambling” it funds or what amount it donates.

Huge personal cost

John [not his real name] has been receiving counselling in the past 12 months and believes gambling firms should be compelled to devote a large chunk of their profits to combating addiction. “At least 10pc should be devoted to it, including the funding of addiction centres and a high-profile advertising campaign to show how destructive gambling can be. If they were able to do it for the tobacco industry, they should be able to do it for gambling, too.”

He says he has only ever gambled online. “I started off betting on the results of Premier League soccer matches. Then I started betting on the most ridiculous things, like which player would be the first to score or who would score with a header. I started betting on politics and TV reality shows – and the whole thing just ate into my life. And there’s a huge cost – not just financial. I lost my girlfriend over it – and I don’t blame her because I made my life a misery.”

John is in his mid-30s and continues to live with his parents in a bid to pay off his debts. “It’s not where I wanted to be at this stage of my life but it feels like paradise to where I was at two years ago. I never, ever want to go back there and it makes me angry about how the bookies aren’t held to account.”

Too often, he says, their publicity stunts are seen as playful, no-one-gets-hurt antics, lapped up on social media, but he believes that it only serves to normalise gambling. “I was disgusted with the Mayweather-McGregor fight,” he says. “Paddy Power had Mayweather wearing boxers with their logo on it. It’s all seen as a bit of fun, but what it means is lots and lots of publicity for them.”

Estimates vary about how many problem gamblers are in Ireland at present, but it’s conservatively thought to be 40,000. Barry Grant says the Government hasn’t done nearly enough to tackle the problem.

“The Irish Gambling Control Bill has been gathering dust since 2013,” he says. “I’m mystified about how it hasn’t been enacted yet, especially as the existing legislation is so badly out of date.” The most significant document on the statute books – the arcane-sounding Totaliser Act – dates from 1929.

Alan Martin says restrictions on advertising and promotion are badly needed. “I can’t see a negative in it. At the moment, it’s all too easy for these companies to reach vulnerable people. And it’s everywhere, no matter where you look.”

In the UK, steps are being taken to restrict certain forms of gambling advertising. TV ads from Bet 365 encouraging ‘in play’ gambling are likely to be banned from April. In a campaign that armchair football fans will be all too familiar with, actor Ray Winstone pops up at half time offering odds on markets such as the next scorer or the final score.

These urgent calls to action – such as to ‘Bet Now!’ – are being condemned by the regulator, Committees of Advertising Practice, over fears that consumers may feel pressurised into participating when they otherwise would not.

Bet 365 – whose logo is emblazoned on the shirt of hometown club Stoke City – will have been dismayed by the ruling. The company has become one of the the world’s betting giants, and in 2016 MD Denise Coates paid herself £217m, making her the highest paid boss in Britain.

Despite the scale of the problem, both Barry Grant and Alan Martin believe addicts can always be helped. “It starts with getting help,” Grant says. “One of the first thing to do is to install blocking software on all devices, such as Gamban, and then to get a close friend or family member to take control of finances.”

‘Stop and think’

“We have 600 people a day at Cuan Mhuire’s five centres around the country,” Martin says, “and while they may have other addiction issues, such as alcohol, many of them have gambling problems and they can and are being helped. It’s important that that message is out there – no matter how bad a situation someone may be in, it is possible to turn things around. It isn’t easy but it can be done.”

Davy Glennon, meanwhile, is hoping to stay on the straight and narrow and his immediate focus is on something he loves: hurling. Galway play Dublin in the Allianz league tomorrow and he hopes to be part of it.

“I would say to anyone who’s thinking of making their very first bet to stop and think, and to ask themselves if they really know what they’re doing. It might feel like fun, but if you find yourself going back to it time and again, it will quickly turn into a nightmare. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”





Newzoo Joins Forces With EVOS Esports To Expand Its Market View With Southeast Asia Data

George Miller



Newzoo Joins Forces With EVOS Esports To Expand Its Market View With Southeast Asia Data
Reading Time: < 1 minute


Newzoo, the world’s leading provider of games and esports analytics, announced today its partnership with EVOS Esports, Southeast Asia’s leading esports organization housing over 15 professional teams across five different countries.

By adding EVOS Esports to its partnerships program, Newzoo will get improved insights from the Southeast Asian market, a region expected to further boost the growth of the esports business. Furthermore, EVOS Esports’ mobile focus within the market represents an additional layer of insights that Newzoo will use to further solidify its esports estimates, which are featured in its landmark Global Esports Market Report and the Newzoo Platform.

In exchange, Newzoo will advise EVOS Esports with market insights, helping the organization to benchmark, spot opportunities, and provide strategic insights for its further expansion.

“Southeast Asia is currently the most exciting region for the overall future growth of esports and gaming, both from a business and consumer engagement perspective. EVOS Esports is right at the center of this.”, said Peter Warman, Newzoo’s Co-Founder and CEO. “Partnering with an ambitious and forward-thinking esports organization like EVOS Esports supports us in keeping up with this huge esports region to further strengthen our view on the global and local esports ecosystems.”

“We are excited to be the first esports organisation in Southeast Asia to form this partnership with Newzoo. With Newzoo’s market intelligence and expertise, it will assist us in making actionable data-driven decisions as we scale our business verticals across the region. With access to the tools and insights provided by Newzoo, we look forward to achieving continued success, especially when discussing with commercial partners.”, said Ivan Yeo, EVOS Esports’ Co-Founder and CEO.

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MakerDAO Partners with FirstBlood Technologies Competitive Gaming Platform “Earn DAI for excelling at the most popular Esports games available today”

George Miller



MakerDAO Partners with FirstBlood Technologies Competitive Gaming Platform “Earn DAI for excelling at the most popular Esports games available today”
Reading Time: 2 minutes


Today, ​FirstBlood Technologies​, the ​online competitive ​gaming ​platform and maker of Gaming Blockchain Dawn Protocol that lets ​esports​players challenge the field and win real rewards for excelling at their favorite games,​is integrating with ​MakerDAO​ to bring decentralized stablecoin integration to the ​FirstBlood Platform​. MakerDAO, the protocol behind the popular ​DeFi stablecoin Dai​, will enhance accessibility for enthusiasts and professional gamers alike by offering rewards in DAI to competitive gamers playing on FirstBlood. This signals an immense victory for gamers, and allows for permissionless cross-border payments to be made in what is arguably the most popular DeFi crypto-token available today. While the FirstBlood Platform supports it’s own native token $Dawn the addition of an algorithmic stablecoin sweetens the prize pot for gamers all around the world.

Joe Zhou, the Co-Founder and CEO of FirstBlood, says “we aim to leverage the massive DAI community and facilitate blockchain adoption into the world of competitive gaming. With players competing from every continent, payments in cryptocurrencies will simplify barriers to entry for users, and provide a stable and secure environment for players to earn rewards for rising to the challenge.” Of the partnership, Rune Christensen, CEO of the Maker Foundation and co-founder of MakerDAO, had this to say, “the borderless, decentralized nature of Dai makes it the perfect stablecoin to use as in-game rewards for FirstBlood players. The stability, transparency and ease of use of Dai will let players spend more time focused on competing and less time sorting out how to manage their rewards.”

To celebrate the partnership, MakerDAO is offering 10,000 DAI in prizes to sign up and compete on FirstBlood. All prizes will be paid in Dai. The details are as follows:

  • Beginning the 3rd week of November 2020, FirstBlood players will have an opportunity to compete against each other in the newest game-integrated on the FirstBlood Platform, Call of Duty: Warzone.
  • On the third Monday for the months of November, and December of 2020 and January 2021, FirstBlood will host the Maker Monthly tournament, which will have a $1,500 prize pool, payable in Dai.
  • Starting November, 4th, 2020, FirstBlood will host the Daily Dai with a prize pool of $100 each day for 40 days.
  • Events are available for players on PC, Playstation, and Xbox.
  • To sign up and get started, simply visit the FirstBlood platform and create an account at​.
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Latest News

Week 44/2020 slot games releases

George Miller



Week 44/2020 slot games releases
Reading Time: 8 minutes


Here are this weeks latest slots releases!

Inspired Entertainment, Inc; is pleased to announce the launch of its latest online and mobile slot game, King of Charms™. Taking players on an enchanted journey of good luck, King of Charms is an entertaining 10-line, 5-reel slot game with bags of charm and fortune. The game’s protagonist is the much loved and highly recognisable Irish leprechaun, whose diminutive stature and mischievous nature will charm and entertain players for huge potential cash wins. King of Charms’ seamless slot interface and innovative game mechanics will offer players the option to play Inspired’s interactive Hot Spins bonus feature.

Inspired launches King of Charms, its latest online & mobile slot game


Yggdrasil, the leading worldwide publisher of online gambling content, has released its latest YG Masters game, Elemental Princess in partnership with Dreamtech Gaming. The 25 payline slot sees each princess have their own power, which can be triggered on any spin. Earth Princess spins see all Wilds on the reels become Earth Princess Wilds, while any high-paying symbols which are adjacent to these Wilds are also transformed. The Water Princess can add up to 10 Wilds to the reels in random positions, while the Fire Princess adds a win multiplier of up to 10x. The Air Princess can turn all Wilds into Air Princess Wilds while also adding a Floating Mega Wild, which can be up to 3×3 in size.

YG Masters partner DreamTech Gaming releasing Elemental Princess using GATI


EGT Interactive has announced details of its new slot Retro Cabaret. The slot, which is available on desktop and mobile, features a charismatic showman and his troupe of talented dancers. EGT’s exclusive cabaret offers many rewarding features to all spectators. Players can enjoy the show through each dazzling spin of the reel. Retro Cabaret is a five-reel, 30-payline video slot featuring a variety of features, blazing graphics and appealing sounds. If a windmill scatter symbol lands on the reels players gain entry to a private show with super stacked symbols. The generous Showman symbol acts as the player’s wild.

EGT Interactive Announces Details of its New Slot Retro Cabaret


Wolf Sierra is a 4×5 medium volatility slot that is likely to become one of Tom Horn’s most popular games. It has all it takes to attract players – gameplay that is simple yet engaging, story and characters that have stood the test of time and are loved by players around the world, and graphics and sound that complement an experience that is exciting and diverse. The slot is packed with thrilling features for players to enjoy and get a chance to collect higher rewards. In the base game players can maximise their wins with the Wild Clusters feature. In total they can gain six wolf symbols that roam across the reels in packs whilst guaranteeing higher payouts.

Tom Horn sends players on a journey of adventure and big wins in Wolf Sierra


Colliding stars create a universe of prizes in High 5 Games newest release. Players can use the brand new Prize Line feature to orbit space until they find their cosmic win! Joining its extensive range of game themes, the latest release to the company’s library is an outer-worldly journey, loaded with a universe of features. The new galactic-themed slot game takes players on a cosmic experience to activate different ways to win with the Prize Line. Above the 5×5 reels is a belt of special feature symbols known as the Prize Line. At the start of each bet, the Prize Line symbols will orbit left, cycling the prizes around. When a Cosmic Heart symbol lands on the reels, the Prize Line symbol above the Cosmic Heart will activate, creating a greater chance of a reward. The Prize Line features chances to receive multipliers, free credits, a Pick Bonus, a Free Games Bonus, and wilds.


High 5 Games releases a galactic new space-themed slot, Cosmic Heart



Innovative game development studio Evoplay Entertainment has revamped a time-honoured fan favourite in its latest engaging release, Book of Keno. Putting a thrilling twist on a nostalgic classic named Keno, players with a taste for adventure are encouraged to select one of the ten numbers displayed on the mysterious Book of Keno, with rewards granted for every correct match. Deploying Ancient-Egyptian-themed symbols, an immersive soundtrack and the supplier’s new Spinential Game Engine, the title provides winning gamblers with the keys to unlock a treasure trove fit for a pharaoh. 

Evoplay Entertainment unlocks the tomb of the pharaohs in Book of Keno



Habanero has released its latest thrilling slot game, Taberna De Los Muertos. The 5×3 title, which is also available in the supplier’s higher volatility ‘Ultra Mode’, invites fun-loving players to the Taberna De Los Muertos to sample regional specialties and unmask otherworldly prizes in celebration of the popular national holiday Día De Los Muertos. Habanero’s innovative new Line Boost feature allows gamblers to unlock up to 101 lines, with two additional Wild symbols awarded when Scatter and Wild symbols appear adjacently on the reels. Fortunate bettors who land three, four or five Scatter symbols win 10, 25 or 40 respective Free Games, which can be randomly doubled an unlimited number of times in a festive jamboree.

Habanero celebrates the Day of the Dead with Taberna De Los Muertos


Spearhead Studios is thrilled to introduce its third flagship game of the year, Book of Spies: Mission X, specially designed using Nolimit City’s innovative mechanics xWays® and xNudge®. Popular character Lara Jones is back once again to take the players along for a thrilling and top-secret mission. Spearhead Studio’s brave and beautiful heroine, Lara Jones, leads a team of fearless special agents on a mission to break into the ultra-secret digital vault of an evil spymaster to steal his’ Book of Spies’. As regular players of ‘Book Of’ games expect, during the free spins a special symbol is chosen which can expand on the reels to be evaluated as a line scatter.

Spearhead Studios unveils flagship Book of Spies: Mission X


NetGame Entertainment, one of the fastest-growing software and gaming companies, has expanded its portfolio through its latest release Jackpot Sevens. In Jackpot Sevens, you can count on premium online slots with classic sensibilities. Players can start with the already unusual Free Spins Bonus Feature – Diamond Free Spins. It triggers by 3+ Scatters and you get 10 Free Spins for starters. Scatters are fixed here and remain in their positions till the end of the game. So it is an excellent chance to hit more Scatters at the time of your Bonus Spins and calculate the payout for a number of fixed Scatters at the end of the Feature.

NetGame Releases Jackpot Sevens


Relax Gaming, the igaming aggregator and supplier of unique content, is offering players sweet vengeance and thrilling gameplay in its latest release Ramses’ Revenge. The 6×4 highly volatile slot takes players to Ramses’ tomb in ancient Egypt where mummies come to life and huge prize potential awaits. Packed with Free Spins, a feature in which Wild Mummy Symbols creep up on Explorer Symbols to award additional spins and multipliers, the game is designed to offer an intense gameplay experience from the first spin. The randomly triggered Mystery Sandstorm keeps players’ anticipation levels at a maximum throughout their session as the wrath of Ramses can strike at any time, taking them to a high-action bonus round that sends the winning potential soaring.

Relax Gaming awakens the dead this Halloween with Ramses’ Revenge


Lightning Box is hitching a ride across the African wilderness in its new game Kalahari Safari. The latest title from the Sydney-based studio, which will be exclusive to Betsson for two weeks, sees players make their way through the sandy savannah to pick up the big wins on offer. The reels are made up of a mix of African-themed symbols as well animals from the area, such as lions and zebras, while elephants act as Wilds. Available via SG Digital following the exclusivity, Kalahari Safari features a thrilling Free Games round. It is triggered when three, four or five Bonus symbols stampede over the reels rewarding players with 8, 15 or 20 Free Games.

Get ready for an African adventure with Lightning Box’s Kalahari Safari


The reels are alive with the sound of music in the latest release from Play’n GO, the 5-reel slot Disco Diamonds. Disco Diamonds bring back the 80s glam of the disco age. With a funky soundtrack and a bright, bold design that looks like it could have stepped straight out of the era itself, with 3D symbols throughout the game adding to the effect. It’s a simple fun title for everyone to enjoy, from those new to gaming to seasoned players, reaching a broad audience with the bonus wheel, re-spins and multiplier features that headline the game.

Play’n GO Bring the Music with Disco Diamonds Slot


Pragmatic Play, has released its thrilling new tumbling hit, Gems Bonanza. The 8×8 grid fills with symbols which, when connected in groups of five or more, pay out as a win before new symbols tumble from above. Random colour markings can land on any section of the reels, each with a feature attached. Pink marks will turn a symbol into a Wild, while a brown mark awards squares, which turns random blocks of 2×2 into the same symbol, awarding instant wins. Red Marks turn a section of the map into a colossal symbol of up to 5×5 in size, while green marks will trigger lucky Wilds, adding up to 15 Wild symbols across the board.

Pragmatic Play Unveils Dazzling New Hit: Gems Bonanza


Playson has added another jewel in the crown to its dazzling games portfolio with the launch of Diamond Wins: Hold and Win. Precious gems take centre stage in the 3×5 release which features 10 paylines, along with the ever popular Hold and Win mechanics and an exciting trio of in-game jackpots. When six or more Diamond Bonus symbols appear on the reels, the Bonus Game is triggered offering the Grand Jackpot of x1000 the original bet if the entire grid is filled with sparkling Bonus symbols. The glistening new title marks the latest addition to Playson’s acclaimed Timeless Fruit Slots portfolio, joining widely recognised classics such as Sevens and Fruits: 6 reelsSuper Burning Wins: Respin and Imperial Fruits: 100 lines.

Playson with Diamond Wins: Hold and Win


Red Rake Gaming, the innovative online casino game provider, has just announced its latest release, Million 777, a 6×10 video slot with 1 million ways to win. This time, Red Rake Gaming has taken all the features from its previous video slot, Million 7, and added an exciting minigame where players can win up to 300 times their bet and increase their winnings with the Minor, Major and Grand wins. Another new feature of this latest game is the multipliers, which enable players to multiply their wins by up to 10.

1 million ways to win with even more excitement on Million 777, the latest release from Red Rake Gaming


Booongo has released the hotly-anticipated sequel to its popular slot, Sun of Egypt, featuring more jackpots and several new features to experience. Sun of Egypt 2 sees players quest across the scorching sands in search of big wins in an action-packed Egyptian adventure. Retaining the popular characteristics of the original smash hit including Hold and Win mechanics, Sun of Egypt 2 now features four in-game jackpots for players to claim. The incredible Grand Jackpot of 5,000x the original stake is paid out when the entire reel set is covered with Sun symbols. The Bonus Game now also contains Mystery Sun symbols, which reveal themselves at the end of the respins mode to be either mini, minor or major symbols, paying out 20x, 50x or 150x a player’s stake to significantly increase winnings.

Booongo turns up the heat with Sun of Egypt 2


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