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Lack of governance of football friendly (non-competitive) matches exploited by match-fixers

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Football friendly matches are wide open for match-fixing due to a lack of regulation according to new research, with more than 250 friendlies involving European clubs showing signs of suspicious activity during 2016-20. The results come from a three-year study funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme and led by the University of Nicosia Research Foundation.

A survey of 700 players in Cyprus, Greece and Malta conducted by the project also found that:

  • More than a quarter of players (26.5%) had played in a club friendly they suspected had been manipulated.
  • More than a quarter (26.3%) of approaches to fix a friendly match were made by club officials and 15% by other players.
  • Club officials were the instigators in 19% of approaches to manipulate friendlies and were the main beneficiaries in 26.3% of approaches.

The research study found that international and national football federations have been slow to establish where responsibility lies for friendlies, particularly when clubs from different countries are involved in non-competitive matches played in a third country. Some European football federations do not track where clubs go on pre-season and mid-winter tours.

This lack of sporting governance and regulation, combined with the availability of these games on betting markets around the world, notably with poorly or unregulated betting operators in jurisdictions such as Curaçao and the Philippines, who may themselves have links to criminality, leaves these games at greater risk of potential exploitation by match-fixers.

To address this, the report, Combating Match Fixing in Club Football Non-Competitive Friendlies, proposes:

  • That UEFA enforces regulation of friendlies on all 55 member associations
  • That match agents are barred from owning or controlling clubs, just as players agents are
  • The formation of a body to represent match agents in future negotiations with international bodies such as FIFA and UEFA on regulation
  • Establishing data standards that prevent the sale of live match data to poorly and unregulated betting operators

Unlike competitive matches, which are usually covered by agreements between data companies and competition organisers, friendlies are a free-for-all.

Data from these games is being collected and sold to poorly and unregulated betting operators, which do not report signs of suspicious activity, which is often a licensing requirement for well-regulated operators. This sporting event data collation and sale for betting does not currently fall within the scope of regulation, leaving a potential ‘blind spot’ in terms of market and consumer protection.

Lead investigator, Professor Nicos Kartakoullis, President of the Council, University of Nicosia, comments:

“The combination of a lack of regulation, oversight and information makes these matches easier to manipulate than competitive matches.

“This research shows that in terms of governance, friendly matches need to be considered just like competitive matches.

“With the data for 4,000 friendly matches being offered for betting purposes around the world each year, it is also vital that the betting companies receiving that data are operating from well-regulated jurisdictions and report suspicious betting to protect the integrity of those events.”

The research was led by the University of Nicosia Research Foundation and included the International Betting Integrity Association, EU Athletes, CIES and the football players unions of Cyprus, Greece and Malta as project partners.

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INTRALOT signs a new seven-year agreement with Magnum Corporation in Malaysia

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INTRALOT signs a new seven-year agreement with Magnum Corporation in Malaysia
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INTRALOT is pleased to announce the signing of a new agreement with Magnum Corporation Sdn Bhd, a leading gaming company in Malaysia. This agreement follows the successful outcome of an international call for tenders issued by Magnum Corporation in 2022. The term of the new agreement is for seven (7) years, with an option for two extensions of five (5) years each, thereby providing the opportunity for another seventeen (17) years of strategic and productive collaboration with Magnum Corporation.

INTRALOT will help enhance Magnum Corporation’s current retail offering through a seamless transition to its modern LotosX Omni ecosystem. Comprising of LotosX Central Gaming System, PlayerX Player Account Management System, RetailerX Retailer Management System, DMS Device Management System, PhotonX Gaming Terminals, Canvas Content Management System, and Orchestrator, LotosX Omni will enable Magnum Corporation to implement a comprehensive omnichannel strategy to seamlessly engage their customers across both traditional and digital channels, promising to enhance customer experience and improve productivity.

The CEO of Magnum Corporation Sdn Bhd, Dato’ Lawrence Lim Swee Lin, commented: “Magnum Corporation is proud to continue this partnership with INTRALOT, a steadfast ally in helping us grow our business, and to innovate the gaming experience for our customers. With our industry expertise and INTRALOT’s cutting-edge technology, we are crafting a future of innovation together, creating a more immersive gaming experience with enhanced levels of personalization and security, both in our retail and digital spaces.”

Mr. Marios Mitromaras, CEO of INTRALOT Australia, stated: “We are very pleased to keep working with Magnum Corporation. Our continued collaboration is a partnership built on trust, understanding and a shared commitment in elevating gaming excellence for their customers. INTRALOT has an established presence in the country since 2006, helping Magnum Corporation grow its business and create value for the local community. We look forward to deploying our cutting-edge technology and high-quality operating services as Magnum Corporation continues to push boundaries and take steps to modernize their player experience.”

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Navigating the Shifts in European Casino Bonus Compliance

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The concept of a casino bonus is straightforward: entice players with additional value to sweeten the pot of potential winnings. Yet, beneath this simple proposition lies a complex web of regulatory compliance, especially within the European gaming industry. With each nation curating its own legal tapestry, the rules dictating these bonuses are anything but static. Why should this matter to the average player or industry stakeholder? Because the way bonuses are marketed, claimed, and played is being redefined by these very regulations.

As we delve into the intricacies of this topic, we’ll uncover how a casino bonus is more than a mere perk—it’s a subject of legal scrutiny and a reflection of the industry’s commitment to fairness and consumer protection. This exploration will not only highlight the significance of these bonuses but will also pave the way for a broader discussion on the shifting sands of legislation. How are these changes sculpting the landscape of online gaming? What do they mean for the future of digital betting? Let’s examine the evolving narrative of casino bonuses and their compliance with European regulatory standards.

Overview of the European regulatory framework

The landscape of online gaming in Europe is not uniform; it’s a patchwork. Each member state has the autonomy to regulate its digital casinos, shaping a spectrum of legislative environments. This section will navigate through the European regulatory framework, pinpointing the cornerstone legislation and the authorities that enforce it.

Key legislation and regulatory bodies

In the realm of European gaming, several key pieces of legislation stand out. The UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority are among the most prominent regulatory bodies. Each has crafted a set of rules aimed at governing online casinos within their jurisdiction. Their mandates extend beyond simple oversight; they are the guardians of ethical gaming practices, ensuring that casinos operate with integrity.

The UK Gambling Commission, for example, imposes stringent requirements on licensees, demanding transparency and fairness. Casinos must not only demonstrate financial stability but also prove their commitment to preventing gambling-related harm. Similarly, the Malta Gaming Authority enforces measures that protect players and prevent crime, including money laundering and fraud.

Objectives of regulations

The objectives of these regulations are clear and multi-faceted. Consumer protection is at the forefront, ensuring that players are treated fairly and that their personal and financial information remains secure. Fair play is another pillar—casinos are required to offer games that provide a genuine chance of winning and use random number generators to maintain the unpredictability of outcomes.

Recent changes in casino bonus regulations

The regulatory terrain of casino bonuses has seen notable alterations in recent years. Sweden and the United Kingdom have emerged as examples of this shift, with both nations enacting legislative changes that directly impact bonus structures and advertising practices.

Sweden’s approach to bonus offers

Sweden has taken a firm stance on casino bonuses. The Swedish Gambling Authority introduced a law restricting operators from offering recurring bonuses to the same player. A single welcome bonus is permitted, but beyond that, the incentives cease. This move aims to reduce the risk of problem gambling, curtailing the lure of continuous bonuses that may encourage excessive play.

Operators found circumventing these rules face substantial penalties. The restrictions have led to a significant drop in bonus-related promotions among Swedish online casinos, altering the way they engage with players.

The UK’s advertising clampdown

The United Kingdom has also tightened its grip on casino bonus advertising. The UK Gambling Commission, alongside the Advertising Standards Authority, has set forth rigorous guidelines. These dictate the clarity and honesty required in bonus-related advertisements. Misleading offers, or those that could be construed as targeting vulnerable individuals, are strictly prohibited.

Casinos must now ensure that terms and conditions are not only accessible but also presented in a manner that is easy to understand. The penalties for non-compliance are severe, including fines and potential revocation of operating licenses. This has led to a more transparent bonus environment, though some argue it has also stifled creative marketing strategies.

Impact on operators and consumers

For operators, these changes necessitate a strategic pivot. They must innovate within the confines of the new rules to attract and retain players. The emphasis has shifted towards the quality of gaming experience and customer service, rather than reliance on bonuses as the primary draw.

Consumers, on the other hand, are met with a more straightforward, perhaps less enticing bonus landscape. However, the benefit is a clearer understanding of what they are signing up for, with reduced risk of falling into the trap of misleading promotions. The hope is that these regulations will foster a more responsible gambling culture, prioritizing player well-being over operator profit.

As we continue to observe the effects of these regulatory changes, it becomes evident that the industry is moving towards a model that values consumer protection and responsible gaming. Operators are adapting, and the bonus system, once a cornerstone of casino marketing, is being reshaped to fit a new, more conscientious era of online gambling.

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SlotsCalendar Unveils Exciting Transformation into a Social Casino

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SlotsCalendar, a distinguished name in the online casino content realm, announced a groundbreaking transformation – evolving into a Social Casino. After many months of intense work on development, research and adapting to the latest trends, a group of more than 50 specialists has reached its goal. They are now ready to revolutionise the betting industry once again in early 2024. This team has been working tirelessly to create and release multiple features that will pave the way for a new social betting environment. This environment is designed specifically for betting enthusiasts, with the aim of providing an engaging, exciting experience.

SlotsCalendar’s transition into a Social Casino introduces a dynamic platform where players can enjoy their favourite slot games for free. The focus is on fun and entertainment, allowing players to indulge in a wide array of slot games without any financial risks. This change caters to a growing trend of social gaming, where the thrill of playing is combined with the joy of social interaction.

What sets SlotsCalendar apart in its new avatar is the competitive edge it brings to gaming. Players now have the opportunity to challenge their friends, engage in friendly competition and climb the leaderboard. This feature not only enhances the gaming experience but also fosters a sense of community among players.

In an exciting twist, SlotsCalendar elevates the gaming experience by offering real prizes. Players who excel in competitions and climb the leaderboards will have the chance to win tangible rewards, courtesy of SlotsCalendar. These prizes add an extra layer of excitement to the gaming experience, making each victory even more rewarding.

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