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Football Manager 2023 to feature UEFA license

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Sports Interactive have announced that they have acquired the rights to all of UEFA’s competitions which will be implemented in the upcoming release of Football Manager 2023. Football Manager will feature official licensing of all of UEFA’s competitions including the Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League and the Super Cup.

This is huge news for fans of the game series as fans that are desperate for realism will no longer have to add data packs manually themselves. Fans can finally play an official European campaign with their preferred club, which will include accurate competition logos and titles.

Impact of Changes

The addition to this year’s game is sure to pull the game closer to real life in terms of realism and perhaps there will be an option to begin the opening season of a save game with the real UCL groups. In terms of the real-life UCL, in Paddy Power’s sports betting outright odds, the favourites are currently Manchester City at 9/4, followed by Paris Saint Germain at 5/1.

Fans of the game will be able to see if they can carry one of the real-life favourites all of the ways in-game to win their maiden UCL success, or perhaps would prefer to take an underdog such as Napoli, offered at odds of 33/1, all of the way to football’s biggest prize.

The deal to acquire the UEFA rights is indicative of Football Manager’s growth and success in recent years, with the number of players increasing by millions, year on year. The game has been for a long time the most realistic football video game experience on offer, and this addition makes that even more clear.

Football Manager contains a huge database of football players and coaches which is extensively researched; a number of researchers, analysts and scouts are dedicated to different leagues or in some cases individual clubs to accurately reflect their ability in-game.

The attributes players have in-game accurately represent the quality of a player to a very impressive level. Many clubs across the world regularly use the database to scout players and uncover hidden stars before other clubs become aware of them.

The game does not just exist for entertainment purposes and is about as good a scouting tool as they come, its ability to be extremely accurate relative to real life can be proven by a number of cases over the years.

World-class stars such as Marco Verratti of PSG and former City star Sergio Aguero were first uncovered via the game; they were loaded as young stars with heaps of potential.

This potential proved completely correct by their real-life progression to being some of the best players in their position in the world and they were incredibly vital to their teams’ successes.

The game puts casual fans, or qualified scouts and analysts more in touch with the game of football than any other and the UCL licensing makes the management sim even more representative of the real-life game and will provide an experience no football game has before.

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LeoVegas Group granted three licenses to offer gaming software in Sweden

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LeoVegas Group has been granted three five-year licenses by the Swedish Gambling Authority—known as “B2B licenses”— to develop and offer gaming software in Sweden. These licenses, effective from 1 July 2023, have been granted to the Group’s game studio Blue Guru Games and two platforms. Licenses are a prerequisite for providing software to licensed operators and an important step to prevent unlicensed gaming companies, consequently strengthening channelisation in the Swedish gaming market.

Since its inception, LeoVegas Group has experienced rapid growth, evolving from an operator into an integral player within the igaming industry’s value chain via game and platform development. Effective from July 1, 2023, under the Swedish Gambling Act, companies involved in the manufacture, provision, installation, or modification of game software utilised in online gaming are required to possess a license.

LeoVegas Group has now been granted three five-year licenses—referred to as “B2B licenses”—by the Swedish Gambling Authority. These licenses have been conferred upon the Group’s game studio Blue Guru Games, as well as the Group’s two platforms (PAM).

Gustaf Hagman, CEO of LeoVegas Group, said “We welcome the introduction of B2B licenses, a decisive step towards mitigating the impact of key gaming software being simultaneously provided to licensed operators and unlicensed operators targeting Swedish players. With the new regulations in force, it is now critical that authorities focus on those suppliers deliberately undermining the Swedish licensing system by facilitating unlicensed gaming“.

The 2019 initiation of Swedish gaming licenses marked a significant reform to regulate and supervise gaming companies operating in Sweden. This reform fortified regulations pertaining to marketing and consumer protection, while also ensuring substantial gambling tax revenues. The success of the B2B licensing system heavily depends on the Swedish Gambling Authority’s capacity to restrict key gaming software intended for licensed Swedish companies from simultaneously being used by unlicensed operators seeking to attract Swedish players.

On 1 May, LeoVegas Group announced its intentions to acquire game developer Push Gaming, which is also licensed by the Swedish Gambling Authority and holds two B2B licenses. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2023.

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Casino Guru Awards presents The Most Ethical Approach to Marketing category

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Casino Guru Awards’ 2nd edition is coming back on the core promise to provide one of the most equitable and fairest formats for industry stakeholders to distinguish their companies across numerous categories focused on responsibility and customer care. Since the first event, Casino Guru Awards has been actively thinking how to best capture the myriad efforts put into making the industry a better, safer, and more transparent place for consumers and businesses.

This has led the team to introduce The Most Ethical Approach to Marketing, nominations for which are now open. Companies applying in this category will have the opportunity to demonstrate that they apply robust standards to their advertising practices in making their gambling messages heard.

This category aims to recognize iGaming companies that showcase a strong commitment to responsible marketing practices. Our judges will be evaluating the style and content of marketing efforts and materials, such as newsletters, social media campaigns, and others, with a clear focus on ethical marketing practices and responsible messaging. Apart from Casino Guru’s own judges, all applicants will be evaluated by an external panel of industry experts with vast experience in marketing, including:

  • Shane Stafford, Interim Head of Channel Marketing at Three Ireland
  • Martin Calvert, Marketing Director at ICS-digital
  • Dmitry Belianin, Chief Commercial Officer at Parimatch
  • James Bennett, Group Communications at EveryMatrix

The jury will weigh in on the strategies and tactics used by all nominees to promote their products and services. Applicants will be expected to clearly and unambiguously demonstrate how their marketing materials promote their brands while also accurately representing the risks associated with gambling and offering truthful and transparent information that is not ambiguous.

Casino Guru Awards Project Lead Daniela Kianicová, who is also one of the judges for the category, said: “The introduction of The Most Ethical Approach to Marketing category is a continuation of our ongoing commitment to making sure that we create a format that is ground-breaking and addresses the most urgent aspects of our industry, and shine light on the true torchbearers that have unflinching attitude towards doing the right thing.

We are looking forward to seeing robust examples of marketing ethics that put the consumer front and center and provide accurate, truthful, factual, and unambiguous information. An experienced panel of marketers will be weighing in to help shortlist, evaluate, and ultimately pick a winner in this important category.” 

Nominations for Casino Guru Awards opened on May 152023, and will be going through October 312023. Shortlisted companies will be revealed on December 12023, when the voting for Voice of the People category will begin as well. The official event will take place in February 2024.

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SANDSOFT GAMES ANNOUNCES SECOND ‘PRESS START’ INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

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Sandsoft Games – the mobile-first game developer, publisher and investor powered by AAA talent, is thrilled to announce the launch of the second season of its pioneering internship program, Press Start. Available to local residents with an interest in getting into the games industry, the full-time internships aim to foster and nurture exceptional talent for the gaming industry in Saudi Arabia.

Following the success of the first Press Start initiative which began in December 2022, aspiring games industry professionals are once again invited to embark on the journey of creating a playable mobile game within a span of six months. Aligned with Vision 2030, the Press Start initiative has been engineered to nurture diverse local talent and provide a boost to the regional games industry. The Press Start cohort will receive support from Sandsoft’s leading industry experts in various areas, allowing them to specialize in one of three disciplines: design, art, or coding.

Successful applicants will work from Sandsoft’s flagship Riyadh Studio, with access to cutting-edge equipment and resources. Press Start is overseen by a team of esteemed games industry veterans who have contributed to renowned gaming franchises like Candy Crush Saga, FIFA, World of Tanks, Need For Speed and more, including Sandsoft’s Head of Studio in Riyadh, Yahsir Qureshi.

Yahsir Qureshi commented:

“Riyadh is a city full of exceptional, diverse talent and love of gaming. It’s our job to identify this talent and help nurture future leaders who will shape the legacy of the KSA and global games industries. The tremendous success of our original Press Start program has been immensely rewarding for both the participants and Sandsoft Games as a whole, with a number of interns expected to join us as full time team members. Initiatives such as Press Start play a significant role in boosting employment prospects in the region and we can’t wait to welcome a new cohort to our Riyadh studio.”

Basem Alasmar, Game Designer at Sandsoft Games and member of the inaugural Press Start program, continued:

“When I first saw the program on LinkedIn, I was immediately drawn to the idea and the challenge it presented. Working in a gaming company has always been a dream of mine, so I was naturally intrigued. What captivated me even more were the experienced individuals at Sandsoft Games and the impressive game titles they had worked on. Their expertise and track record truly impressed me. This program continues to inspire me to strive for greatness, pushing me to create amazing things, learn extensively, and enhance my skills in my chosen field.”

Press Start is open to Saudi Individuals of any age and educational background who have a demonstrable interest in game development and are available to work in Riyadh. Applications are open until July 7, 2023, at 23:59 AST.

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