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Trading Blows: Cloudbet’s expert take on the rebounding NBA season

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Trading Blows: Cloudbet's expert take on the rebounding NBA season
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As the NBA goes back to work – and hopes for no more Bubble trouble – the trading team at Cloudbet, the leading crypto sportsbook and casino, breaks down the latest market movers, telling you who’s hot and who’s not in the Disney World Laboratory.

1. League leaders reassert their claims over the championship: While they both dropped a game apiece during the scrimmages, the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers showed enough to firm up their respective chances to take the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy home.

a. The long layoff has benefited teams with older or injured star players: For the Lakers, the hiatus allowed Lebron James to give his 35-year-old body a solid rest. The last time he did so, for the All-Star break in February, James then went on a tear to lead his team on a 7-2 run. He certainly bounced back in style during Thursday’s thrilling nightcap win.
b. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo – a clear favourite this season to win his second-straight Most Valuable Player award – was able to rest a sprained knee sustained in a March game against the Lakers.

c. Both teams come to the restart refreshed and recharged. The Lakers are favourites to win the 2019-2020 title, with their line moving to 3.31 (~ 9/4; or +231;), from 3.34 (+234) prior to the scrimmage. Strong showings from their second and third-string players, especially in the third scrimmage game with James and Anthony Davis on the bench.
d. The Bucks are just behind, at 3.45 (~ 5/2; or +245), from 3.53 (+253). Antetokounmpo clearly shone during the practice matches, with more-than-ample support from fellow starters Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez.

2. Los Angeles Clippers lose ground in title race: While still third-favourite to win the championship, the Clips have been big drifters in the market since the scrimmages began.

a. Among the top units, this team has been most impacted by the Covid bubble restrictions, with two key players (Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley) in quarantine after temporary family-related absences.

b. Williams, the Clips’ leader in assists, was pilloried in social media for a much-publicised and ill-advised visit to an Atlanta strip club while on leave.

c. Another player, Montrezl Harrel, has yet to return from family leave.

d. This means a much diminished squad takes on the Lakers in their restart opener on July 30, and they’re unlikely to be back at full strength until at least the second week of the rebooted competition – that’s tough, given that there are only eight seeding match-ups to play.

e. With these travails in mind, bets on the Clips to win it all are currently paying 4.15 (~ 3/1; or +315). Their probability of a championship now stands at 24.1%, roughly a percentage point lower than before the practice scrimmages began.

3. Houston Rockets cement their status among the top four title favourites: Even though they ended the pre-Covid season with the league’s 10th-best win-loss record, the Rockets have worked their way in as fourth-favourites to win the title.

One train of thought has it that they more than others will benefit from the long break: four of their key players, including stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook are 30 or older, and the shorter season will shelter them from the extended wear-and-tear of a normal season.

a. Harden worked out like a fiend during the layoff, coming to Disneyworld with a noticeably slimmer physique. Already the league’s top scorer this season, he unsurprisingly led his team’s point production over the three scrimmage matches.

b. Westbrook was a question mark after testing positive for Covid in mid-July, but emerged from the NBA’s quarantine protocol in time to play solid minutes in all of his team’s three scrimmages.

c. Houston’s odds of a championship this season firmed over the past week to 15.1 (~ 14/1; or +1415) from 15.6 (+1460).

d. One setback emerged this week, with starter Eric Gordon injuring his ankle during H-Town’s victory over Boston. No clear movement in prices yet, as the market awaits test results to determine his immediate playing future.

4. Toronto Raptors gain ground in title race: The defending champions’ performance this season prior to the league’s suspension (72% win rate) shows that they’re still a force to be reckoned with even after losing star player Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers.

The Raps won two out of their three scrimmages, which also saw the return of center Marc Gasol, who spent the hiatus rehabbing his dodgy hamstrings and dropping a significant amount of weight.

a. Clipper odds for a repeat championship have narrowed from 18 to 16.9 (~ 17/1; or +1591).

b. They’ve now displaced the Boston Celtics at fifth in the outright lists to take the title.

5. New Orleans firms up its chances for a playoff spot in the West: The Pelicans won its three practice match-ups, including a 21-point drubbing of the Bucks on July 27, all without its star rookie Zion Williamson, who had been in quarantine following a family-related absence from the bubble.

The big news this week was Williamson resuming practice, an appearance warmly welcomed by teammates: He’s the Pellies’ second-highest scorer and has missed 44 games this season due to knee and ankle injuries.

a. His return plus a solid scrimmage showing has improved the prospects for their performance in the West (see below).

b. Also increases the interest over the tussle for the final play-off spot in that conference. The Memphis Grizzlies are current favourites to take that spot, paying 1.64 (~ 4/6; or -156), with New Orleans next at 3.81 (~ 11/4; or +281).

6. Western Conference outcomes have been reframed, thanks to the above reasons: The Clippers’ personnel issues means they’ve lost the slim edge they previously had over the Lakers as favourites to take the West.

a. Team Lebron is now tops with odds of 2.58 (~ 6/4; or +158) over the Clips at 2.66 (~ 13/8; or +166).

b. The biggest improvement in fortunes belongs to the Rockets, with a line of 7.28 (~ 6/1; or +628) currently giving them a 13.7% chance of winning the conference, or 2.1 percentage points higher than before scrimmages began.

c. The other big move was New Orleans: While they’re still unfancied as conference champs, their line moved from 54.6 into 31.1 (~ 30/1; or +3013).

NBA quarantine protocol:
New NBA protocol implies that players could be tested as often as daily during this resumption. If a player has a confirmed positive test, he must undergo treatment and rest for at least 14 days without exercising. In order to return, the player must pass cardiac exams and also test negative for the coronavirus twice in a 24-hour period.

On July 21, the NBA reported zero cases of the coronavirus following the testing of 346 players, and the league has gone three weeks without a positive result.

Prices are as compiled by Cloudbet and are current as of 8 am GMT on July 30

Bitcoin

Navigating Bitcoin’s Impact: SOFTSWISS’ iGaming Industry Overview

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In March 2024, Bitcoin soared to a historical high, nearing 70,000 euro per coin. How does this impact the iGaming market? Being a tech company with over 15 years of experience and an innovator in crypto iGaming software development, SOFTSWISS shares anticipations in its quarterly crypto analysis.

Over 220 brands powered by the company engaged in crypto transactions during the first quarter of 2024, which is 12% higher than the previous quarter. SOFTSWISS experts analyse the data gathered from crypto-friendly brands by employing extrapolation, comparative, and correlative analysis.

 

iGaming Market Overview: Unveiling Anticipated Growth

The size of the global online gambling and sports betting industry is expected to rise significantly and exceed 170 billion euro by 2032, according to Statista. Based on SOFTSWISS data, the iGaming market has demonstrated a stable pattern of growth year after year.

In absolute terms in euro, the Total Bet Sum grew by 5.8% in the first quarter of the year compared to the last quarter of 2023. Analysing the year-on-year increase, comparing Q1’24 with Q1’23, the growth is more impressive, showcasing a 47.2% boost.

Simultaneously, the Total Bet Count, both fiat and crypto, displayed a slightly larger gain in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the previous quarter, surpassing 6.1%. The indicator’s year-on-year boost is much more notable, revealing a 57.2% increase.

The popularity of iGaming in recent years has been fuelled by its global reach and accessibility due to constant technological advancements. On one hand, the quality of internet connectivity continues to rise, while on the other, new payment methods are emerging, simplifying payment procedures.

The in-depth quarterly analysis, ongoing since the beginning of 2022, reveals that fiat bets are undergoing more substantial growth compared to crypto bets. In Q1’24, the Fiat Bet Sum increased by 6.9% compared to Q4’23, while the rise of Crypto Bet Sum was at 2.4%.

 

The more active growth of fiat bets led to a slight decrease in the share of crypto. In the first quarter of 2024, the crypto share in the Total Bets Sum settled at 24.4%, decreasing by 0.8 percentage points (p.p) compared to the last quarter of 2023.

 

What is the State of Crypto in iGaming?

Analysing crypto bets, it is crucial to highlight that almost 93% of them are facilitated through the in-game currency conversion tool, which is gaining traction. This mechanism allows operators to engage players with cryptocurrency assets in games initially tailored for fiat only. Operators that adopt such options are gaining more competitive advantages in the market.

While the Q1’2024 Crypto Bet Sum shows a moderate 2.4% growth compared to the previous quarter, the year-on-year analysis demonstrates a 20.8% increase. The Crypto Bet Count remained unchanged in Q1’24 compared to the previous quarter’s indicator. Simultaneously, the metric increased by 21.3% year-on-year. The figures speak volumes, showcasing a consistent interest among players in crypto gaming.

“The lack of a substantial increase in the number of crypto bets during Q1’24 can be partly attributed to the significant rise of the Bitcoin exchange rate during this period, leading players to be more cautious with their crypto bets.  This trend mirrors the situation in the first quarter of the previous year when the Bitcoin exchange rate surged following a decline at the end of 2022,” comments Vitali Matsukevich, Chief Operating Officer at SOFTSWISS.

 

What Distinguishes the Average Crypto Bet?

The average crypto bet increased to 1.71 euro in the first quarter of the year from 1.66 euro in the last quarter of 2023. This growth correlates with a significant strengthening of the Bitcoin rate during the first quarter of 2024.

The average fiat bet remained steady at around 0.81 euro in Q1’24 and Q4’23. The average total bet stayed constant since the second half of the previous year and is equal to 0.93 euro.

 

Notably, the average crypto bet is double that of fiat. This indicates that digital currencies are preferred by higher-income players.


Why Did Bitcoin’s Share Drop?

The Top Five most operated digital coins in iGaming have remained stable during the last two years with minor changes in ranking order. The top still includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Tether.

 

In Q1 2024, Bitcoin experienced a significant decline of 9.4 p.p. compared to Q4 2023. This could be attributed to the bolstering Bitcoin exchange rate and players exercising a more cautious approach towards it.

In contrast, the shares of other digital coins have increased. Ethereum and Litecoin showed growth of 4.0 p.p. and 3.8 p.p., respectively, during the same period. Simultaneously, Dogecoin rose to fourth place in the ranking, leaving Tether behind.

Vitali Matsukevich, Chief Operating Officer at SOFTSWISS, summarises: “The benefits of employing digital currencies, such as fast transactions and anonymity, still attract many players. Embracing cryptocurrencies in iGaming can boost operator profits despite their volatile nature.

As the Bitcoin rate is expected to strengthen after the Bitcoin Halving, the average crypto bet and projected gains may see a notable impact. During such promising times, it is crucial to have reliable and experienced partners to navigate the path to success.”

 

About SOFTSWISS

SOFTSWISS is an international tech company supplying software solutions for managing iGaming projects. The expert team, which counts over 2,000 employees, is based in Malta, Poland, and Georgia. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licences and provides one-stop-shop iGaming software solutions. The company has a vast product portfolio, including the Online Casino Platform, the Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, the Affilka affiliate platform, the Sportsbook Platform, and the Jackpot Aggregator. In 2013, SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a Bitcoin-optimised online casino solution.

 

 

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Cryptocurrency

CryptoSlots Celebrates 6th Birthday with VIP Bonuses and New Games

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In honour of its 6th Birthday, this month, CryptoSlots, a trailblazer in crypto gaming, is marking the occasion with the introduction of new games, generous bonuses for all players, and complimentary tokens for the thrilling $1 million Jackpot Trigger game, adding extra excitement to the celebration.

CryptoSlots has achieved several milestones over the past year. This includes the launch of over 20 new games such as Chinatown High Limit, Bank Bust, Pawsome, Twin Wins, and Forest Fairy Fortune, expanding their unique gaming portfolio for players worldwide.

While the last $1 million Jackpot Trigger prize was claimed in 2022, the crypto casino recently celebrated a significant win as player WHAMZY09 scooped $200,000, securing two $100,000 prizes in a single game on April 18. This highlights the continued excitement and potential for substantial winnings on CryptoSlots.

Additionally, CryptoSlots has seen impressive payouts in its Crypto Lotto, with the highest recorded payout reaching $17,428, demonstrating the rewarding nature of its lottery offerings.

Furthermore, the crypto-only casino has made strides in the metaverse by launching a Virtual Showroom with Monthly Rewards in Decentraland, a virtual social world built on blockchain technology. This move allows CryptoSlots to engage with players in innovative ways, offering unique experiences and rewards within the Decentraland universe.

CryptoSlots manager, Michael Hilary commented: “We are thrilled about the future and the boundless opportunities that cryptocurrencies offer. As the landscape of digital currencies continues to evolve, we envision a future where cryptocurrencies revolutionize not just the gaming industry, but every aspect of finance and commerce. With innovation at our core, CryptoSlots is poised to lead the charge into this exciting future.”

“With its presence in Decentraland, CryptoSlots aims to enhance player engagement and offer a novel gaming experience that aligns with the evolving landscape of online entertainment,” continued Hilary.

This month CryptoSlots releases Shadow of the Tomb, an electrifying 6×4 Tomb Raider-inspired slot. Players are plunged into a world filled with ancient relics and treasures where they can win up to 5000x their bet and unearth haunting riches!

Later this month, get ready to embark on an adventure through the untamed wilderness of Alaska with the relaunch of the Wild Alaska slot, boasting enhanced graphics.

At CryptoSlots, transactions for deposits and withdrawals are solely conducted through cryptocurrency. Boasting dozens of provably fair slots, the platform continuously introduces new games. Players accrue tokens for the $1 million Jackpot Trigger slot and receive complimentary tickets for the monthly $10,000+ Crypto Lotto each time they engage in gameplay.

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Cryptocurrency

TG.Casino Signs Partnership with AC Milan

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AC Milan and TG.Casino announced a new partnership, which sees the crypto casino platform become the Official Regional iGaming Partner of the Rossoneri in Europe.

This new collaboration between two frontrunners in their own fields offers a great opportunity to create something new and innovative. This partnership demonstrates the platform’s intent to take on and beat the iGaming competition to become the ultimate destination for all ambitious players. The deal catapults TG.Casino into the top ranks of GameFi by bringing the brand into the living rooms and onto the mobiles of tens of millions of consumers all over Europe.

Through this new partnership, $TGC token holders will have the chance to win lots of experiences offered by the Rossoneri club. From visits to the Milanello training centre to winning official AC Milan jerseys and VIP access at the San Siro stadium, football fans will have the chance to enjoy unique and exclusive experiences.

The new partnership provides AC Milan with a new fan engagement tool, creating bespoke experiences, which aim to give them more access, and bring them even closer to their beloved Club.

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