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eSports and MMA could be contenders to football’s crown, states Parimatch

Zoltan Tundik

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In this photo Sergey Portnov, Parimatch CEO
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The sports industry continues to grow year on year with the popularity of televised events benefitting not just the sports themselves but the betting industry too. As the diversity of sports on offer in the CIS region combines with increased international betting opportunities the market is at an exciting crossroads, something which Sergey Portnov, Parimatch CEO believes heralds “untapped potential” within CIS and beyond. Ahead of this year’s ICE London, at which the company will be attending to discuss opportunities in the CIS region and its North American objectives, Portnov discusses the growth of eSports and MMA, the importance of good broadcasting and why collaboration between betting and sports is the key to a bright future for both industries.

Looking ahead to 2019 in which territories do you see the big growth potential for your business and why?

We are focusing on consolidating and building on our market position in the CIS region. With the untapped potential within CIS, there remains a strong opportunity to further grow our revenues and brand within the region. Our aim is to reach 20percent market share in the region.
From an international perspective, we are investing in further developing our software to be able to scale internationally. At the same time, we will be growing our global reputation through a brand relaunch and targeted innovative marketing initiatives, and with partnerships such as our sponsorship of the UFC, to help attract potential partners in new markets. The U.S, of course, now provides also significant growth opportunity for the whole of the industry.  We have ambitions of establishing operations there, which would be a significant achievement and milestone for our brand.

What sports are challenging football as the most popular with bettors?

There are several challengers to football, which can vary depending on the market and the season. At different times of the year, tennis, basketball, volleyball and hockey are the closest sports in the CIS region to football, in terms of number of bets placed. These sports are already established and get a lot exposure across the media in the region, they also importantly provide opportunities to bet 24-7 because of the large amount of competitions held internationally.

However, we believe the likely future challengers to football will be MMA and eSports.  The popularity of these two sports is growing exponentially across the world and we believe they represent opportunities for our industry. If we can reach and appeal to these new customers, we will be able to translate the sports’ popularity and into betting volume.  In July 2018 Parimatch became the official betting and wagering partner for the UFC in EMEA, while we are also investing targeted alternative marketing campaigns for the eSports community. We are ahead of the trend and well positioned to capitalise on these sports exciting betting potential.

What constitutes a good sport for the betting industry – is it the profile of a competition eg. the English Premier League is broadcast to 643m homes in 212 territories – or is it the structure of the game and the ability to offer a variety of different bets eg. cricket?
There are a lot of aspects that make a sport a good for the betting industry, but ultimately it comes down to the popularity and exposure of the sport. The support of teams and players creates the betting interest, but this must be completed by the chance for the fans to follow and watch the sport.

In tennis for example, 75percent of bets placed with Parimatch are live bets (next point, game, set etc.).  Without the right broadcasting of the sport, we could lose this revenue. Whereas with basketball, which also has a large following, because NBA games are broadcasted at night in the CIS region we can’t fully capitalise on its live betting potential.

Can the betting industry help build the profile of a sport – if so can you give some examples?

The betting industry has a great impact on sports. It is statistically proven that sports bettors watch more sports than non-bettors do. Therefore, it stands to reason that if more fans bet on a sport, it will increase its popularity and following. From an entertainment perspective, it simply complements the sport by creating an emotional connection. It develops a vested interest, which leads to fans following a sport or spectacle more closely.

Furthermore, a great deal of revenue from the betting industry is invested back into sports through broadcasters, as well as leagues and teams. In Britain, betting companies place between 20 and 30 percent of annual revenue (estimated to be £14+ billion for the industry) on advertising – hugely promoting and financially supporting the sports.  At Parimatch we sponsor eight teams, and seven sporting federations.  These are mutually beneficial for our brand and the sports and we look forward to growing the profile of both industries as we continue to expand as a company.

Parimatch will be heading to ICE London in February to develop its market position in the CIS region and promote its growing portfolio of daily sporting events, leagues and championships, as well as games and entertainments. For more information on the features and services offered by Parimatch, visit: parimatch.com/en/live.html

Source: GB Media (Daria Isakova)

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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eSports

Betting firms have responsibility to tackle esports corruption

Zoltan Tundik

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In this photo: Luckbox CEO Lars Lien
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Gambling companies have a responsibility to stamp out corruption in esports, according to one betting industry official.

The reputation of esports has been harmed by scandals including match-fixing, cheating and underage gambling.

Recent examples include CSGO player forsaken being banned after using a hack in an ESL Premiership event and Clash Royale payer Jimit Bhatt being suspended for 12 months for cheating.

Lars Lien, founder and CEO of esports betting operator Luckbox.com, says the legitimate operators in the gambling industry have a duty to help clean up the reputation of esports.

Luckbox is a member of the Esports Integrity Coalition, which works to maintain standards in esports.

Lien said: “Gambling will happen and it’s a matter of making sure that responsible operators work together to stamp out match-fixing and to help prevent it. We have an integral role in eliminating that from our world.

“This is why we’re part of ESIC, where we and other responsible operators share suspicious alerts. So if we see betting patterns that are not consistent with a normal match, we report to ESIC and they will investigate the event in question. They work with tournament organisers, teams, they educate players, they work to stamp it out.”

 

Players need to understand the risks

Luckbox holds an Isle Of Man gambling licence, which offers esports fans the highest levels of security and protection to bet on Dota 2, CSGO and League Of Legends.

Lien said it was also important for esports fans to be aware of the risks when choosing where to bet.

He said: “Recently, there’s a Reddit post that a gaming company stole $500 from them. There might be legitimate reasons for seizing the funds of a customer, because match-fixing is a problem in every sport, including esports.

“That gambling company might have very good reasons for seizing funds but the difference is if that company had a good licence, the customer would be able to go to the Gaming Commission, file a formal complaint and the Gaming Commission would help the customer get the money back if that seizure was unwarranted. There’s legal recourse.

“Operators in jurisdictions such as Curacao, Cyprus, many others. There’s no recourse. I could borrow a Curacao licence if I wanted to.

“Esports has seen the skin-betting scandals where operators have let 12-year-olds play using their parents’ credit cards. Children don’t have the same understanding of gambling risks. Even with adults, you will have problematic behaviour.

“Betting should enhance your experience, it should not be the experience. If someone loses their house, that’s a bad thing, of course.

“This is also part of the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. We have deposit limits, we have responsible gaming limits, we will make sure our players are over 18 and we will be looking for problematic behaviour, so we can help people not spend more on gambling than they can afford.”

 

Learning from the best

Lien said he was motivated to obtain the Isle of Man licence after working at PokerStars, which is also based on the island. In 2011, the US government banned online poker and PokerStars was able to return funds to players while rival Full Tilt collapsed.

Lien said: “You can either be one of the good guys, that has a proper licence, where all of the player funds are segregated from the funds of the company.

“We have what’s called a ‘client account’, which is similar to what a lawyer would have to keep the funds of their clients, that’s completely legally and physically separated from the funds of the business.

“I worked for PokerStars and the Department of Justice, in the US, decided they wanted to shut down the poker scene. They filed complaints against PokerStars and one of the competitors, Full Tilt. What happened?

“PokerStars, because they had taken licensing seriously from day one – they actively and intentionally got the strictest gambling licence in the world (the Isle of Man) – and as a consequence of that they were forced into having good corporate governance, good structures, good compliance. They were forced into doing things right and Full Tilt did not.

“So when the Department of Justice pulled the rug from under the industry, FullTilt collapsed. Customers couldn’t get their money, everything was black, no one understood how they would get their money back. They didn’t have the money, PokerStars did and paid everyone back in a matter of weeks.”

 Make sure to view the video where, Lars Lien, CEO of Luckbox, discusses the role of betting in the esports industry, and how proper regulation can solve the issues that it raises.

 

About Luckbox

Luckbox was founded by former PokerStars colleagues Lars Lien and Mike Stevens. Luckbox was built by a team combining vast experience in the igaming industry and a passion for esports to offer players unique and highly social platform for CSGO gambling, Dota 2 and League of Legends betting. Real Time Games Holding Limited – the company behind the Luckbox brand – holds a full licence under the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA), issued by the Gaming Supervision Commission. Luckbox is a proud member of ESIC and is committed to supporting responsible gambling.

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Altenar enters Sweden’s regulated market with LuckyCasino

Zoltan Tundik

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Leading sportsbook platform provider Altenar has launched its first client in the regulated Swedish market, with LuckyCasino.com going live with its software in late May.

The addition of Altenar’s sportsbook marks LuckyCasino’s first foray into sports betting and adds to its existing casino product portfolio of slots, table games and live casino.

“We are really pleased with the work that Altenar has done, which will strengthen our customer offer and improve our competitiveness,” said Martin Sidenvall, Director at Glitnor Group, which took over LuckyCasino in July last year.

Part of LuckyCasino’s customer offering is that it uses the Trustly simplified registration process, something which is proving very popular in Sweden as it allows players to begin betting without needing to create an account.

As part of its preparation for the launch, Altenar’s first with an operator using Trustly, it designed a new feature to mitigate the risk of fraud that can occur in sports betting due to the potential for misuse of inside information.

Limits are set, which can vary from operator to operator and segment to segment, and when payouts go over that limit Altenar will manually approve settlements.

Dinos Stranomitis, Chief Operating Officer at Altenar, said: “Over the past 12 months this unique deposit and withdrawal method that allows people to bet on sports or play casino has revolutionised player habits in Sweden. We are excited to launch our first regulated Swedish client with such an innovative selling point.

“We think this will become increasingly popular and so we have adapted our process so that good customers can enjoy the services of Trustly, but those who might attempt any type of fraud will be monitored and blocked.”

Altenar is also preparing to launch imminently with other newly licensed operators in the Swedish market, with upcoming partnerships also expected to integrate Trustly.

The Swedish launch marks Altenar’s second regulated market entry this year, having also secured its first Romanian client earlier this year with Red Sevens.

About Altenar

Altenar is a leading provider of sportsbook software and services to gaming operators. Its clients include Wplay.co, the dominant sportsbook operator in the regulated Colombian market, Betrebels in Greece, Winbet in Bulgaria and Betbiga in Nigeria.

It offers an extensive range of markets and sports thanks to its premium data package with Betradar, from which it holds gold certified status. It has also recently integrated the Betgenius live events portfolio.

For further queries, please contact marketing@altenar.com

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Industry News

Gill Whitehead Joins Camelot UK Lotteries as Non-Executive Director

Niji Narayan

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Gill Whitehead Joins Camelot UK Lotteries as Non-Executive Director
Photo Source: shutterstock.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Camelot UK Lotteries Limited has appointed Gill Whitehead as its Non-Executive Director. Gill replaces David Kelly, who has become Chair of Camelot’s sister company, Camelot Lottery Solutions.

Gill has over 20 years’ experience in a number of leading companies including Google, Channel 4 and BBC. She joined Google in 2016 and is currently the Senior Director, Client Solutions & Analytics at Google. Prior to Google, Gill was an Executive Committee Member, and held roles as Director of Audience Technologies & Insight and Director of Strategy & Corporate Development at Channel 4 Television Corporation. Prior to that, she held a number of senior executive roles at the BBC.

Gill also held a number of Board appointments, including as a Non-Executive Director at the Financial Ombudsman Service and Board Director of both Youview Television and Freeview Television.

“I would like to welcome Gill – whose extensive experience in digital transformation, data and analytics, and consumer insight within high-calibre UK businesses will ensure that innovation continues to be at the forefront of our strategy. She is an ideal fit to continue to boost the standard and skillset of our Board, and I very much look forward to working with her,” Camelot Chairman, Sir Hugh Robertson said.

“At the same time, I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank David for his expertise and guidance since I joined last summer, and also for his over four years of tenure on the Board. David’s in-depth knowledge of internet and technology businesses has been crucial in helping ensure our National Lottery digital products have gone from strength to strength. We wish him all the very best of luck in his new role as Chair of Camelot Lottery Solutions,” Hugh Robertson added.

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