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Horse Racing Betting Industry Looking for a Bounce-Back Year

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Horse Racing Betting Industry Looking for a Bounce-Back Year
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While some horse racing was allowed to continue in parts of the USA and Australia as well as in Hong Kong, the sport did not restart after the COVID-19 lockdown in Britain and Ireland until June and this has had a huge impact.

Within the sport itself, attracting new owners is tough given the reduction in prize money while the breeding and sales industries are also reeling.

The chief financial impact of course has been on the betting industry, with virtual products more relevant than ever this year during the lockdown period as betting on major live sports became nigh impossible for a number of months.

Racing Hugely Affects UK Bookmakers’ Profits

While various territories differ in their setup there is a general impact on betting in Great Britain when horse racing is offline, which thankfully is all too rare an occurrence.

Horse racing remains the second most watched and second most gambled on sport in the country behind football, despite the continued relative lack of coverage on general sports apps and TV channels.

The online and especially high street betting firms are affected widely when there are major events cancelled, but never more so in the offices when horse racing takes a bath and this has now left bookmakers looking for what will need to be a major bounce-back year if they are to perform as promised.

Things Could Have Been Worse for Bookies

The period from the end of March to the beginning of June was a nightmare for British bookmakers.

The Grand National is the single biggest betting event in the country, while most money now comes from football bettors and with both of those cancelled profits were down hugely and just at a time when bet365’s leader Denise Coates was sending millions to charity based on how well the firm had performed in 2018-19.

However, things could have been even more devastating. The Cheltenham Festival, a four-day horse racing and betting bonanza in mid-March is easily the biggest betting week of the year with horse racing betting sites in the UK sending out hugely generous bonuses and offers to tempt people in.

The event went ahead this year, despite the fact that the country was very well aware of the presence of COVID-19 and its effects.

That decision alone was vilified in the national and international press, actually to the point of being prejudiced and discriminatory given that the number of people attending and specifically how close they are to each other was often grossly exaggerated.

As well as this, the 50,000 people at both Anfield and Ibrox for football games, the millions on the Tube and the hundreds of thousands allowed the same week to cram into London’s west end theatres appeared to get away scot-free in terms of press disparagement.

Regardless, Cheltenham, owners The Jockey Club, the British Horse Racing Authority and of course the bookmakers were labelled major contributors to the escalating circulation of the virus in March due to their desperation to go ahead with the Festival, or the pressure that was put on people to stage the event and keep the related profits rolling in.

How Bookmakers May Rebound

Despite the major firms having cash reserves and their directors being afforded multi-million-pound bonuses or salaries, the brutal fact here is that when profits have taken a dive for any reason there will be pressure from the top to get some of that money back.

Football punters may notice only a trifling difference, if any at all, but it’s feared that those betting regularly on horse racing will very much be able to detect the layers trimming subtly away add the odds and the overround on horse racing betting markets over the coming months.

While groups such as the Horseracing Bettors Forum are around to keep an eye on things and report what they find, there is no real tangible regulation and so betting firms are essentially free to offer 5/2 on a horse when 11/4 would have been more appropriate, or have their overall book at 110% when 105% may have been the norm.

It is hoped of course that they don’t do this, but it’s feared that something has to give and the major online betting companies will not simply swallow the loss handed it by coronavirus despite there being nothing any of us, especially the simple punter, could have done to stop it entirely.

There is hope for us all though. Credit cards are no longer allowed, which may reduce fees, and nor is advertising during live sport which must have cost a fortune! In the short to medium term then, bookmakers need to recover some cash but there remains hope it won’t be by fiddling the odds.

eSports

F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco heads to iconic trio of circuits for Event 2

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This year’s F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco started with a bang as we were treated to three thrilling races in Event 1, with Aston Martin’s Lucas Blakeley securing his first ever F1 Esports Series victory, before reigning champion Jarno Opmeer showed he won’t give up his crown without a fight with back-to-back wins which put him and Mercedes at the top of the Drivers’ Championship and Teams’ Championship standings respectively.

Event 2 sees the drivers take on three of the most iconic circuits in motorsport, as they get ready to do battle at Silverstone and Monza on Wednesday, before attention turns to Spa on Thursday. While the Pro Championship is only a quarter of the way through, picking up points here will be crucial as teams fight to get their hands on a share of the $750,000 prize pot.

The live shows will be streamed online via official Formula 1 channels on Faceboo, YouTube, Twitch and Huya, as well as broadcast on television by select international partners including the likes of Sky, ESPN and Fox Sports, whilst Qualifying show content will be streamed exclusively on Twitch and YouTube.

Please see the table below for the full breakdown of the platform splits so you don’t miss a moment of the action this week:

Day

Session

Time (BST)

Coverage

Wednesday 27 October

Qualifying Show 1
(featuring Quali. 1 highlights and Quali. 2 live)

15:30 – 16:45

Twitch & YouTube

Evening Show 1
(featuring Quali. 1 and Quali. 2 highlights, Race 1 re-run and Race 2 live)

19:30 – 21:00

TV & Online

Thursday 28 October

Qualifying Show 2
(featuring Qualifying 3 live)

15:30 – 16:45

Twitch & YouTube

Evening Show 2
(featuring Quali/Race 1 and Quali/Race 2 highlights, Quali. 3 highlights and Race 3 live)

19:30 – 21:00

TV & Online

Ahead of this week’s Event 2, we spoke with four drivers, all looking to build on impressive performances in Event 1, with all quotes below available for use in editorial.

Marcel Kiefer – Red Bull

“The level of competitiveness is definitely super high this year. One of the new guys that has come in Bari Boroumand is super quick and I would already rate him as one of the fastest on the grid. What he’s done in league racing and his raw pace is super fast. There are definitely a few additions to the grid that are super quick. The speed of everyone probably does mean that it is more competitive than last year.”

Lucas Blakeley – Aston Martin

“We have got a lot more things right this year from the beginning. I’ve put a lot of work in personally in the off season for months and months, not necessarily on the F1 game. I focussed on utilising every aspect that would help me to go quick and that doesn’t necessarily mean improving lines into corners. I’ve been optimising every area that I physically can and I’ve become a more complete driver.”

Sebastian Job – Alpha Tauri

“The one thing I’ve learnt is to surround yourself with people that are better than you and then you can learn from them. That’s what I’ve done coming to a new game, I’m surrounded by people that are better than me at this game and it gives me the perfect way to improve. The speed at which I’m improving is really promising and that’s because of my teammates.”

Josh Idowu – McLaren

“We’re looking very strong [heading into Event 2], in particular Bari [Boroumand] who had some crazy pace from the first Event especially in qualifying which I would say is the hardest part. Once he can get it together in the race, I would expect a lot of wins from him.”

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eSports

WePlay Collectibles: See You at OpenSea

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WePlay Collectibles: See You at OpenSea
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The WePlay Collectibles non-fungible tokens hit the OpenSea marketplace.

The first NFT collection from WePlay Collectibles on the OpenSea NFT marketplace, “Shooter: from A to Z,” will drop in November. 50% of the collection’s token sales and the additional NFT Trophy token will go as Runner-up Award to the team that will take second place in the WePlay Academy League Season 2.

OpenSea is the world’s first and one of the largest digital marketplaces where people buy and sell exclusive crypto assets. It is in this NFT marketplace that WePlay Collectibles will release the first tokens — A and B — from the alphabet NFT collection “Shooter: from A to Z” on November 1. Between November 1 and 13, WePlay Collectibles will auction two more tokens daily on the platform.

“Shooter: from A to Z” will include 26 unique tokens, one for each letter of the alphabet. The things that are near and dear to shooter fans have been minted to become one-of-a-kind NFT items — the collection consists of notable words and phrases associated with popular first-person shooter games. Fans may try to get them all or choose a special one they like the most. All released tokens of the collection can be found on the official WePlay Collectibles website.

Participation in the auction is a chance to snatch a unique digital item and support esports in general. WePlay Collectibles endorses budding esports teams, so half of the total token sales of the “Shooter: from A to Z” collection and additional NFT Trophy token will go towards cheering up the team that lost in the finals as the Runner-up Award within the WePlay Academy League Season 2.

The WePlay Academy League is a training ground for academies of the world’s leading CS:GO organizations. The league provides up-and-coming players a real tournament setting to help the participants grow and hopefully find themselves on the main roster of the team one day.

The Runner-up Award was created to reflect the main vision of the WePlay Academy League project. There’s no rise without a fall on the professional esports scene. The WePlay Academy League youngsters should get through this, and WePlay Collectibles will help to cushion the first fall.

Once a token is released, collectors will have 24 hours to place their bids, so stay tuned for upcoming news.

“When creating our collection, we focused on designing an entertaining collection based on memes from the heart of the esports community and helping novice fans get to know esports better. Besides, we’re certain that “Shooter: from A to Z” fits the WePlay Academy League philosophy.

The goal of the WePlay Academy League is to nurture and train up-and-coming CS:GO players, while the collection intends to teach or remind the audience about the unusual and amusing terminology of this discipline. Buyers purchase tokens and boost the development of the WePlay Academy League project and novice teams.

Plus, the very idea of ​​the Runner-up Award matches the WePlay Academy League approach. A never-give-up attitude is the main message that we are sending via this collection because it’s also a challenge for us,” says Alena Dalskaya-Latosiewicz, chief communications officer at WePlay Holding and project lead at WePlay Collectibles.

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eSports

Everything you need to know about VCT Game Changers EMEA #2

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Everything you need to know about VCT Game Changers EMEA #2
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58 teams of fierce competitors are set to battle it out in the next iteration of the groundbreaking VCT Game Changers EMEA tournament series next week – and we’ve got something very exciting to share with you all before then!

Review VCT Game Changers EMEA Series #1

With the first VCT Game Changers EMEA tournament concluded, our teams have proven they are #HERETOSLAY, – and now it’s time to show that VCT Game Changers EMEA is here to stay!

True to VCT Game Changers EMEAs goal of fostering an inclusive environment for competition and creating new opportunities for women to shine in the VALORANT esports ecosystem, an astonishing total of 49 Teams registered for the first VCT Game Changers EMEA tournament, which took place between September 27 – October 3 this year The top spot was taken by TENSTAR Nova  following a valiant fight against Rix.GG after a week long competition, with the final score standing 3:1 in favor of TENSTAR Nova

This translates to 272 players (including subs) from 36 countries in the EMEA region, with the largest number of players coming from Turkey, followed by Russia and France.

VCT Game Changers EMEA Series #1 boasted 21,933  peak viewers with over 189,000 hours watched across platforms and simultaneous co-streams presented by our 12 Watch Party Hosts. The hosts have also committed to host the upcoming tournaments as well, making Game Changers EMEA accessible in 7 languages

Vera Wienken, Brand Manager DACH at Riot Games said: “We couldn’t be more proud about our first achievements. It’s awesome seeing these women competing on such a high level and vocalizing their dedication and positive feedback publicly. We see more and more esports organizations signing talents, which is a huge success and will allow us as a region to thrive together towards a more diverse VALORANT esports ecosystem. This is only the beginning, we are here to slay.”

And following the roaring success of our first series, we’re happy to announce that Series #2 and beyond will be backed by an incredible new partner ready to join the fray!

HyperX partners with VCT Game Changers EMEA!

We’re delighted to reveal HyperX as our Main Partner for VCT Game Changers for the remainder of our first season! HyperX is integral to the VALORANT esports community and we’re excited to have them on board to help us push VCT Game Changers EMEA to the next level.

“At HyperX we celebrate and empower all gamers to be their best. The VALORANT Game Changers tournament is an incredible initiative that lifts all women to the forefront of competitive gaming, an area which needs to be improved to ensure inclusivity in gaming and esports. We’re proud to support the VALORANT Game Changers series in EMEA and look forward to witnessing the next generation of a more gender equal esport.”  Said Jessany Van’t Hoff, Head of Global Gaming Partnerships for HyperX.

What’s next? Looking ahead to VCT Game Changers EMEA Series #2

We’re immensely proud of VCT Game Changers Series #1 – so much so that we’re excited to do it all again!

VCT Game Changers EMEA Series #2 will kick off later next Monday as up to 64 all-women teams will battle it out for the lion’s share of the €20,000 prize pool. Series #2 will begin on October 25, with the final game closing out on October 31 in an action-packed week showcasing the best of the best female VALORANT talent EMEA has to offer.

And after watching Series #1, we know that some of these squads are ready to turn up all guns blazing! With that in mind, here are some of teams you should definitely keep an eye out for:

  • Rix.GG Lightning

    • The Rix.gg Lightning squad showed they are a force to be reckoned with in the last Series, securing second place after a strong showing against rival squad, TENSTAR Nova. Rix.GG has already established itself as an impressive org within the UK and are known for their fighting spirit during heavy competitions. On their return to Series #2, expect them to come back with a vengeance!

  • TENSTAR NOVA

    • TENSTAR Nova are our reigning champs after taking down Rix.GG in VCT Game Changers Series #1, and snagging the biggest slice of the prize pool on offer. The teams return to Series #2 will surely put the other teams on red-alert.

  • Oxygen Esports

    • Oxygen Esports were our third place winners of VCT Game Changers Series #1 and showed tremendous determination throughout the competition. With a roster of fantastic players and the hunger to fight for the crown, this Turkish side is definitely one to keep an eye on in Series #2.

  • The Originals

    • After securing fourth place in Series #1, The Originals will be aiming for numerous successful rematches this time around. We’re expecting big things from this new team, and we can know their squad are thinking the same thing.

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