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Online gambling is the runaway winner of this World Cup

Niji Ng

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Online gambling is the runaway winner of this World Cup
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Online gambling has profited most from the pulsating action in the football World Cup in Russia, especially from the fine showing of the young and unfancied England team.

The London Times has reported that the brits could end up betting for about 2.5 billion pounds ($3.31 billion) when the World Cup concludes. It represents a 50 per cent hike from the figure of the previous tournament held in Brazil. The trend points to a possible rise in the number of problem gamblers too. Curbing advertising, without cracking down on betting platforms, seems to be the best way to control problem gamblers without troubling the responsible bettors.

The spread of technology and decades of fairly permissive regulation, with betting shops a common sight on British streets since the 1960s, have laid the groundwork. The UK’s online gambling market is the biggest in Europe, with gross revenues of $5.7 billion, according to consultancy GBGC. Markets like France are catching up, but keep the sector on a much tighter leash.

Yet advertising and marketing really keep the wheels turning. The tens of millions of UK viewers tuning in for a World Cup match regularly come face-to-face with a celebrity cheerfully promoting online bets, somewhere in between the teams’ national anthems and the start of play. It’s hard to reconcile the glossy scenes of groups of friends laying down victorious bets between swigs of beer with reality.

The ads are the logical conclusion of a deregulation drive that began a decade ago, and which led to ads so in-your-face that some politicians and the Church of England have called for further restrictions. Sponsorship deals between clubs and betting brands have soared.

Rules and standards are belatedly being tightened, notably around the tone and seductive financial promotions of some ads. But the ubiquity of ads and aggressive messaging remain unchanged. Betting websites’ impressive double-digit operating margins alone should make clear who the real winners are.

Industry bodies have in the past argued that opposition to ads is emotional rather than evidence-based. Dr. Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University’s gaming research unit, found otherwise. According to his research, normalisation of sports betting could hurt vulnerable sections of society: Some 70 per cent of children have seen gambling ads on social media, according to the Gambling Commission; and problem gamblers mention advertising as a trigger.

A direct crackdown on online gambling is probably more paternalistic than UK society would support; it would also just fuel a black market. But consumers would benefit from a nudge in the right direction. Advertising and awareness campaigns about the risks of gambling could balance the scales a little better. A proposal from Bournemouth University’s Raian Ali suggests re-routing the data harvested by gambling platforms back to the consumer, so gamblers can see the full record of their activity and money spent (and lost).

These measures would make a great deal of sense. But future regulatory efforts should still target the marketing machine of an increasingly volume-driven and commoditised betting market. A reduction or ban in betting ads would no doubt help with gambling addiction. But, as with alcohol and cigarette advertising, where heavy restrictions now apply in the UK, firms are unlikely to hold back voluntarily. Betting on less exposure could pay out for society over the long run.

 

Source: bloomberg.com

Niji has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. Besides reporting industry headlines from all around the globe, Niji is also head of the content management team at Impressions Content Management, based in Kerala, India, which offers writing and editing services to clients around the world.

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Asia

Macau Legislative Assembly passed new gaming bill

George Miller

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Macau Legislative Assembly passed new gaming bill
Photo Credits: cozyta/shutterstock
Reading Time: 1 minute

Macau’s Legislative Assembly has approved a draft bill banning local casino workers from entering Macau casinos outside of working hours.

The bill, which will now head to committee for further deliberations and refining of policy details, is aimed at curbing problem gambling among casino employees. It was revealed by the Deputy Director of Macau’s Social Affairs Bureau, Hoi Wa Pou, earlier this year that around 30% of all individuals who ask for assistance in dealing with a gambling problem work in the casino industry.

Initially only barring gaming tables and machine workers, the proposed ban added workers who perform functions less directly connected to gaming such as in the cashier’s offices, public relations areas, restoration, cleaning and security in casinos.

According to the DICJ director, Paulo Martins Chan, the scope of the ban was increased after the gaming industry was consulted.

The only exception would be for the first three days of the Lunar New Year and in situations justified for entry to the casinos, such as training or associative activities.

The proposed regulations also establish a possible fine of between MOP1,000 (US$125) and MOP10,000 for workers caught infringing the law.

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Russia’s first master’s degree programme in cryptography launched

George Miller

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Russia’s first master’s degree programme in cryptography launched
Photo Credits: shutterstock.com
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Russia’s Novosibirsk State University will start the specialized master’s degree programme in the field of cryptography. The teaching will be carried out in English. Students will study all aspects of blockchain technology, as well as encryption techniques.

The Univesristy’s press-office already announced the enrollment of 15 students for a two-years “Master in Cryptography” master’s degree programme.

“The main goal [of this programme] is to attract bright students from all over the world and give them the profound theoretical and practical knowledge in all the aspects of contemporary cryptography for the purpose of their further involvement in research and development activity in this field,” – stated the announcement posted on the university’s official website.

The program begins in September this year.

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Africa

South Africa gambling operators react to new casino bill

George Miller

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South Africa gambling operators react to new casino bill
Reading Time: 2 minutes

South African legislators are about to relocate the country’s casinos to Trade Bay, much to the sadness of many local gambling operators.

The move was opposed by the local gambling operators, which would be an enactment of the Western Cape Nineteenth Gambling and Racing Amendment Bill, 2018, and this would lead to a serious downfal in revenue as jobs as well.

The bill was intended to amend the existing Western Cape Gambling and Racing Act, 1996 (Act 4 of 1996), giving the Western Cape government the authority to compel existing casinos in five district municipal regions of the province to transfer to other areas.

While the bill has yet to be tabled before the legislative committee, South Africa-based casino operators like Sun International and Tsogo Sun Holdings Ltd. have expressed mixed opinions over the possible impact of the proposed bill to their operations.

Tsogo Sun CEO Jacques Booysen said the company would support the proposed relocations of casinos in Western Cape, as long as it “is done in a manner that makes commercial sense” for them.

South Africa’s biggest hotel and casino operator had been under pressure lately to temper its mounting debt by putting the brakes on acquisitions and business expansion. Tsogo Sun also reduced its spending in the most previous fiscal year by 8%, dropping it down to $261.5 million.

Tsogo Sun planned to submit its comments on the proposed bill before July 31 after seeing the draft legislation, according to Booysen.

Sun International, which operates the GrandWest Casino, was up in arms over the proposed relocation of their competitors, saying it might lead to lower profits and more layoffs in the future. The company’s chief executive, Anthony Leeming, estimated that GrandWest could see a gross gambling revenue decline of 24 percent while “headcount” will drop by 15 to 20 percent.

“The majority of job losses will be from the casino, but a drop in footfall will result in additional and similar job losses in the supporting… operations at GrandWest, as many of these businesses are entirely dependent on footfall generated by the casino,” Leeming said, according to the news outlet.

 

Source: CalvinAyre.com

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