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Now & Near Future Concerns for the Betting Industry

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Now & Near Future Concerns for the Betting Industry
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The betting industry has certainly had its fair share of challenges so far in 2020. However, even with some pro sports leagues tentatively returning to the field after the coronavirus lockdown, the struggles are far from over.

Not only is there the potential for a second COVID-19 outbreak to shut everything down again, but UK bookmakers, especially the bigger bookies in the business, may be forced to deal with new regulation issues with the proposal of a mandatory levy.

Continual COVID-19 revenue challenges

To start, COVID-19 concerns are far from over. Like many businesses around the world, sportsbooks have yet to shake out of the profit-sucking clutches of the virus. Although football in England has resumed and other major professional sports leagues around the world are starting to test the waters to salvage the remainder of their seasons, bookies simply can no longer afford to put all their eggs in one basket and bet on football being their cash cow.

For instance, Ladbrokes football betting service is considered one of the staples of the industry, but even Ladbrokes has not yet fully returned to normal. Like so many other bookies, it placed more focus on the promotion of its virtual sports, eSports and casino offerings when traditional sports went on hiatus, and it is likely to continue to do so, even with the return of its big markets.

The reality remains, until the pandemic crisis is over, at any time traditional pro sports could be put on hold again or cancelled if another outbreak occurs. As such, while bookmakers are finding their new normal, they are unlikely to forget the other betting markets that helped them to draw in punters in the spring.

COVID-19 gambling behaviour challenges

The effects of the coronavirus on the iGaming industry has also brought other challenges, including its major impact on customers and their betting behaviours. Although the overall participation in gambling has decreased during the pandemic, data released by the UK Gambling Commission has revealed that some players have been spending more time and money gambling on certain products.

This data that has been collected reflects the first full month of lockdown in April. The data covers an estimated 80% of the entire online gambling market. It was taken from submissions of the biggest online operators and the YouGov COVID-19 tracker, which covers weekly representative samples of circa 2,000 UK adults.

In light of this data, the Gambling Commission has strengthened its guidance to operators, requiring them to be more vigilant with affordability checks, preventing reverse withdrawals and limits on bonus offers.

Regulation challenges – possible mandatory levy

Aside from the pandemic, regulation is also a concern for betting brands. The challenge that continues to plague the UK online gambling industry is the call for the government to impose tighter regulations to reduce gambling-related harm.

A recent report from the House of Lords says that smartphones and the exploitation of “soft-touch regulation” by gambling operators is contributing to a “perfect storm” of 24/7 addictive gambling behaviour.

Committee chairman Lord Grade said that the gambling industry’s regulations are lax and need to be replaced by a regime that prioritises the welfare of gamblers ahead of the industry making profits.

However, the CEO of GVC Holdings, Kenny Alexander, argues that GVC, which owns Ladbrokes Coral, has improved player protection policies by reducing the amount of money that GVC spends on advertising and increasing the amount of money spent on funding for problem gambling research.

According to Alexander, it is important for brands to make it clear that they have improved their player protection policies, because imposing heavier regulations won’t only damage the industry but “will ultimately drive customers into the hands of the unregulated black market.”

Still, many feel that the UK gambling industry is not doing enough to prevent gambling-related harm. In fact, a group of over 40 academics and addiction experts want a 1% mandatory levy imposed on the gambling industry, with the proceeds from this tax to be distributed through established independent bodies like the National Institute for Health Research and the UK Research and Innovation.

This mandatory levy, which was proposed last year (2019), would require the industry to increase the amount of funding they allocate to improve prevention, education and treatment services, instead of paying the current voluntary levy that is equal to 0.1% of their revenues.

According to The Guardian, last year, betting firms Bet365, William Hill, GVC, SkyBet and Flutter pledged to redirect £100 million of funds for tackling problem gambling. That said, these funds have not yet materialised. Moreover, last month (June 2020), the industry decided to change the direction of this funding at short notice. Instead of the money going to Action against Gambling Harms(AGH) where suitable recipients would be identified and issued grants, which was the original intention, all the funds will now be given to the GambleAware charity.

The trouble that experts have with betting firms being in charge of where the money goes is that it allows them to have too much influence on how the money is spent (e.g. giving it all to one organization of their choosing). This is why they feel the levy is needed.

From COVID-19 to the threat of an imposed levy, with all the various challenges the betting industry is facing, it does not seem as though it will be smooth sailing for bookies any time soon.

Gaming

Best Games to Come In 2022

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There is a common quip in the gaming and game development world that new games’ release dates are more of suggestions than a sure thing. This is because no game ever makes its initial release date. But gamers have come to terms with delays and understand that it’s part of the game development process. However, this does not keep us from getting excited about the new titles slated to be released later this year.

This piece will look at the best games you should expect before the year ends. So if you’re ready to possibly get your hopes up for no reason, keep reading to learn more.

1. God of War

God of war is a quirky game set in a world inspired by the Norse mythology and was initially released in 2005. The game has gone through a few iterations over the years, which has only improved its gameplay. The current title does an excellent job at developing its characters and establishing their backstories, pulling you into the game and engaging you even more.

In addition, the musical score does an even better job at accentuating important moments in the game. That’s why we are so excited about the new revamp slated for later on this year. We are sure the stories and music will only get better, and we don’t even need to mention the gameplay. Sony always kills it.

2. Call of Duty

When duty calls, you have to answer. This is one that never disappoints. Its action sequences are as engaging as ever, and the graphics are every graphics designer’s envy. Betway also found that playing COD helps you burn as much calories as a long walk, with a 90 minute gaming session elevating your heart rate to 90+ beats per minute and helping you burn up to 180 calories.

So you can now enjoy your gaming sessions and don’t have to worry about missing the gym. And with a new release this year, we have more than one thing to be excited about.

3. Last of Us

Another title that is excellent to play is Last of Us. It’s set in a decaying post-apocalyptic world and stars two characters—a child accompanied by an adult. However, the story is not about the dilapidated world but about these two characters and their struggle to survive this world.

This is one we hope the development gods here us and release as expected. We cross our fingers and hope it makes its release date this year.

4. A Plague’s Tale

Set in a corps-ridden world, plague-infested rats and inquisition soldiers who have it out for the two orphaned sibling protagonists. The game’s setting does an excellent job of making the main characters empathetic as you witness their struggle from a third-person perspective.

However, the gameplay is not that engaging, and the obstacles are neither challenging nor compelling. We are glad the makers are revamping this one and getting a second chance at taking another crack later this year.

5. FIFA 23

FIFA is a classic game that never disappoints. It has been a favorite for many, and FIFA 23 is expected to be the most popular iteration of the francise yet.

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2022 World Series of Poker® Hall of Fame Finalists Announced

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Following a two-week nomination period, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has announced the highly anticipated list of ten Poker Hall of Fame nominees. Inducting one new member annually, the ten nominees will be considered by 32 living members who will allocate a ballot of ten total points to determine the 2022 Hall-of-Famer. The finalists are as follows:

 

  • Josh Arieh
  • Layne Flack
  • Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier
  • Kathy Liebert
  • Mike Matusow
  • Lon McEachern & Norman Chad
  • Michael Mizrachi
  • Brian Rast
  • Matt Savage
  • Isai Scheinberg

 

There are three new finalists in the 2022 class including four-time WSOP bracelet winner, Josh Arieh, and Las Vegas residents Kathy Liebert and Brian Rast.

 

The induction ceremony will be held on Sunday, July 10 in tandem with the final table of the Main Event at Bally’s & Paris Las Vegas. All living Poker Hall of Fame members are invited to freeroll into the $1,979 No-Limit Hold’em tournament, with the buy-in priced in honor of the Hall of Fame’s founding year. This event will be open to all players. Each participating Hall of Famer will have a bounty corresponding to the year they were inducted into poker’s most exclusive club. The 2022 inductee will be announced during the event.

 

For more information on the Poker Hall of Fame, visit http://www.wsop.com/pokerhalloffame/.

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QTech Games bolsters its offering with CQ9 Gaming integration

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Emerging-markets leader extends its premier portfolio with more top slots from an emerging Asian force in multiplayer video content

QTech Games, the number-one games distributor across all emerging markets, has announced its latest premium partnership with Asian video content and slots supplier, CQ9 Gaming.

Under the terms of the new agreement, CQ9 Gaming’s GLI-certified portfolio – comprising top-quality slots, arcade, and table casino games – has been integrated for QTech Games clients and their players, providing another cutting edge to a powerhouse platform recognised for bringing the finest online games to market across developing territories.

Popular CQ9 titles include Good Fortune, 1945, Kronos, Zeus, Lucky Fishing, and many others which harness the appeal of multiplayer fish games, arcade games, not to mention multiplayer online board and card games. This ever-evolving production line will help QTech Games strengthen its comprehensive spread of gaming verticals, central to QTech ONE™, its definitive one-stop shop for global operators.

The deal organically broadens CQ9 Gaming’s global footprint, accessing a fresh scope of growth markets for accelerated expansion. As the fastest-growing distributor over the past few years, QTech’s platform is localised for each region with native mobile apps, robust reporting and marketing tools, and 24/7 local-language support.

Ulf Norder, CCO at QTech Games, said: “We’re excited to be teaming up with CQ9 Gaming whose stunning graphics and gameplay chart near the pinnacle of the marketplace. The QTech Games platform is equipped with the best games from the world’s leading suppliers – and CQ9 now joins this branching tree.

“CQ9 Gaming may only be a young company, but they’ve already managed to build a strong fan-base in Asia and are moving on to conquer previously untapped markets in Europe and LatAm. Their titles run off an agile HTML5 gaming engine, meaning that you can access them either via desktop or mobile devices, even if the casino doesn’t currently offer a dedicated mobile app.

“Wherever you set your scene in this ever-changing landscape, our platform champions a mobile-first mantra, packed with all the best localised games that cater to varied cultural tastes. By way of instructive example, if you don’t offer the fish game in China, there’s no chance of becoming successful. And it’s a similar story with the Andar Bahar in India. CQ9 understand the demand for regional specificity throughout Asia and beyond, making them a logical and long-term ally with which to team up.”

A CQ9 spokesperson added: “This deal significantly broadens CQ9 Gaming’s international influence, opening up ‘margin’ markets from Eastern Europe and Latin America for diversified growth.

“CQ9 is one of the leading video slot suppliers in the Asian market with more than 100 titles under our belt. We’re steadily working on extending that reach and establishing ourselves in Europe and CIS-facing territories, and QTech’s broad spread of emerging-markets access means we can achieve this with dexterity while also consolidating our existing Asia-facing audience.

“Our goal has always been to design intuitive and interactive live-dealer experiences that are customised for every generation of mobile end-user. Since QTech Games is a defining distributor across Asia and other unexploited regions, we can’t wait to see how our games connect with different and diverse player profiles.

“At a time of refined localization techniques, QTech Games is really delivering on their brand promise of customising high-class content for varied cultures. This is what keeps them at the forefront of relevance for all kinds of players in the bubbling melting-pot of emerging markets.”

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