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Outlook on the gambling industry in 2021 per region by selected Way Seers

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European Gaming and Gaming Americas Way Seers share their opinion about the new year.

There is no doubt that 2020 has changed the industry in many ways and we can expect 2021 to have lots of surprises.

We have asked our Way Seers from European Gaming and Gaming Americas to share their opinion about what they are expecting from the year 2021 in Europe, in North and Latin America.

Here is what the European Gaming Way Seers are saying:

With Germany and the Netherlands both planning to launch their new licensing regimes in 2021 we will see some long-anticipated markets opening. This will mean new opportunities and challenges for the industry and, in general, I believe 2021 will be a year in which the industry will be tested: AML compliance and social responsibility being on the top of the agenda. The pandemic, which we are still in, will increase the need for the industry to continue to step up their game and I expect a lot more focus and discussion around responsible product design and advertising. Affiliates and possibly also streamers will likely bear the brunt of this.” – JESSICA MAIER, Chief Risk Officer, Head of Legal and Compliance at Push Gaming

We want to be positive going into a new year, wishing health, wealth, and prosperity. 2021 must be a better one for the gambling industry. On several key issues, I believe the industry manifested how quickly and adequately we can come together and respond, in times of dire crisis. We need to do much more of that in 2021 and beyond. Rigid market restrictions are being rolled out in existing markets, at the same time, 2021 will see market openings in Europe and beyond as well as ongoing innovation by the online industry. The crisis, which has hit State revenues, should yield more discussions on the benefits of proper regulation – in a sustainable way. 2021 should see research and evidence-based policy better guiding legislators and regulators, with industry more proactively wanting to provide credible evidence to inform policy, as well as match innovation and safer gambling.” – CHARMAINE HOGAN, Head of Regulatory Affairs at Playtech

I expect 2021 to be about the product, both in terms of increased regulatory attention and the required creativity when it comes to innovation. It will be the product that will set companies apart from their competition, especially in mature regulated markets where we will likely see the 2020 re-regulation trend continuing. Increased attention to addressing player advancement, the use of AI and automation will likely play key roles in this. When it comes to how regulation will evolve, my hope is that we will see more focus on data-driven and evidence-based regulation rather than restriction being applied across the board. The UKGC’s call for evidence on remote customer interaction and affordability will be one to watch, and of course, the US will catch everybody’s attention in 2021.” – SISSEL WEITZHANDLER, Chief Compliance Officer at Play’n GO

2021 will certainly be a challenging year as Europe is dealing with the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. In the gambling sector, the main objective will be to continue to look for innovative, secure solutions for the growing online sector and to withdraw the restrictions that were introduced as a result of the COVID-19 situation.” – RAFFAELA ZILLNER, LL.M, Secretary-General at Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG)

2020 was a year of becoming aware. Suddenly there were situations that we would never have thought possible. There were threats, existential threats that we were not prepared for. The incredible impact of restrictions on the land-based gambling industry revealed the strengths of online gambling in times of crisis – both for providers and to meet demand. Policymakers cannot ignore that.” – DR. JOERG HOFMANN, Partner at MELCHERS LAW

For me as being a passionate representative of the online gambling industry, it is fascinating to observe how well these services function in a society under the kind of pressure we now face. The transition from land-based to online has received a boost, and I believe that the entertainment from our industry together with contributions from other platforms such as streaming media services truly make people’s lives better under these tough conditions.” – GUSTAF HOFFSTEDT, Secretary-General at the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling

To dive into quality knowledge and meet up with the top names of the industry in the EU/EEA/CIS and Balkans, make sure to signup and attend our virtual meetups in 2021.

The first virtual Quarterly Meetup of the European gaming industry will take place on February 11 and you can find more information/register on the following page: https://europeangaming.eu/meetups/

Here is what the Gaming Americas Way Seers are saying:

In terms of jurisdictions, I would say that the advances on online gaming and sports betting regulations in several provinces of Argentina will have an important protagonist in 2021, as well as the market development of recently regulated jurisdictions that are strategically important such as Puerto Rico and Panama. In Brazil, the advances to the fixed odds sports betting regulation and concession or authorization process will continue to be closely followed by the industry as well as the role that the States will also have on the operation of Lotteries and possibly participating in the sports betting market.

Also, how player behavior and preference post-Covid will shape the land-based operations, potentially propelling a faster way to the convergence of the online and land-based world, not only from the game content and player experience perspective but also in terms of possible partnerships. The Role that payment methods will play in all this will be key.

I believe operators will take much more informed decisions and give a higher priority not only to cost but also to the added value from their technological partners, especially with the significant rise of illegal gaming during the pandemic. It is crucial to bring the players back to the legal gaming offer with a better player experience and with the benefit of the protection to the vulnerable and all the related responsible gaming tools that are only available in the regulated operations.

I take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe New Year!” – KAREN MARCELA SIERRA-HUGHES, Director, Latin America, and Caribbean Government Relations and Business Development at Gaming Laboratories International (GLI®)

From a Canadian perspective, one item to look out for is Bill C-13, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Single Event Sports Betting). The First Reading took place in the House of Commons in November 2020. The House of Commons is in recess until February due to the holidays, but a Second Reading vote on Bill C-13 could be arranged as early as mid-February. Another exciting item in Ontario’s competitive iGaming regime, which will include private operators. The regime will be further developed over the coming months.

On the US side, we expect additional states to legalize sports betting and Mazooma is looking forward to expanding in those states.” – CHANTAL CIPRIANO, Senior Director, Legal & Compliance at Mazooma

2021 will be a blockbuster year for all things sports betting. I am especially excited to see the innovative products brought to market by startups and early-stage companies that are just starting to break into the mass market.” – LLOYD DANZIG, Founder & CEO at Sharp Alpha Advisors

2020 has been the most challenging and at times craziest year of our lives and we have all had to face and overcome unexpected situations. But there is now a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and the future of the gambling industry is looking much brighter for 2021. Of course, we must still work together and look after one another if we are to ensure this great industry not only survives but thrives over the next 12 months. At Focus Gaming News we will continue to play our part, bringing you the latest news, interviews, and analysis.” – FERNANDO SAFFORES, Founder & Director at Focus Gaming News

“2020 – the year of the ‘lockdown’ — has shown a demand for interactive products. In the US, I expect 2021 will lead to increased offerings such as e-lottery and increased acceptance of e-sports as a betting market. We should also expect to see the industry leverage the commercial success (and accompanying increase in state tax revenue) of online sports betting to justify an expansion of online casino in additional US states.” – JEREMY KLEIMAN, Gaming Attorney and Member at Saiber LLC

“One of the most important things to look for is the continued rollout of sports betting across additional states in the US. Are states like Ohio and Georgia going to actually get across the finish line? Will New York finally legalize mobile betting?

I’m also looking at whether sports betting operators are able to continue to grow their base and reach the tens of millions of casual sports fans who don’t presently bet on sports.” – EVAN DAVIS, Managing Director, Sports Betting and Gaming for SeventySix Capital Sports Advisory

All through the year, you can tune in on quality discussions and meet up with the top names from the North and Latin American gaming industry. Make sure to signup and attend our virtual meetups which will take place on a quarterly basis in 2021 and make the most of them.

The first virtual Quarterly Meetup of the North and Latin American gaming industry will take place on January 28 and you can find more information/register on the following page: https://gamingamericas.com/meetups/

For further sponsorship/speaking and marketing inquiries, make sure to reach out to Andrada Marginean (B2B Sales Executive at Hipther Agency).

For media-related inquiries, please contact Alexandru Marginean (Marketing Specialist at Hipther Agency).

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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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