The Queen joins the Khelraja bandwagon: Bollywood star Esha Gupta becomes the iGaming platform’s Brand Ambassador
In a bid to further popularise online gaming amongst Southeast Asia’s growing digital user base, Khelraja, Asia’s renowned real-money gaming brand that offers sports betting, live casino and esports among other categories, has signed actor Esha Gupta as its brand ambassador. Under the long-term association, the Bollywood and Telugu star will promote Khelraja’s Sportsbook and Casino segment across digital and offline marketing channels.
Khelraja’s latest association comes close on the heels of its partnership with Manchester United and France legend Patrice Evra and is a momentous development for the growth of the Khelraja brand as well as Southeast Asia’s larger iGaming ecosystem. As one of Bollywood’s hottest and boldest divas with films such as Rustom and Jannat 2 under her belt, Esha Gupta will help the brand strengthen its position as a classy, reliable, and fun-filled online gaming platform. Her work in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi cinema will also further accelerate the adoption of online gaming amongst regional audiences and raise Khelraja’s profile as a premium iGaming brand across key demographics.
Speaking on the association, Japneet Singh Sethi, Country Manager – Khelraja, said, “Khelraja is already extremely popular amongst Southeast Asia’s growing community of online gamers, thanks to the range of its offerings. As one of the coolest iGaming platforms, it has a natural synergy with Esha Gupta, whose bold and vivacious persona has enthralled and entertained millions of people across the continent. Bringing her on board as the brand ambassador for our Sportsbook and Casino segments was an obvious choice. With her as the face of the brand, we are confident of accelerating our current growth trajectory and achieving greater operational scale than ever.”
Esha Gupta added, “As one of the top iGaming platforms in Southeast Asia, Khelraja offers a bouquet of options for digital-first people like me, who play online games while also getting a chance to earn real money rewards. I am delighted to be representing Khelraja as its brand ambassador and am looking forward to representing the brand’s offerings across channels.”
SANDSOFT GAMES ANNOUNCES SECOND ‘PRESS START’ INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
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.
THE PLAYER HUNT SEASON 3
~India’s First Ever Poker Reality Show~
~ Embraces contestants from across the country ~
The Player Hunt Season 3, India’s first ever poker reality show is all set to begin its journey with its list of contestants from across the country along with the co-host Ranvijay Singha who recently shared, “With immense pleasure, I am pleased to let you all know that Player Hunt is all set with enthusiastic, courageous and experienced poker player hailing from different parts of the country. I can’t wait for this journey to begin and leave the audiences as well as the contestants with lots of memories as well as learnings from the show.”
Hailing from Mumbai, Pankti Chheda is a sports enthusiast as well as a former national level athlete, focused on playing poker and representing India in WSOP in 2025. She is not just an athlete but an avid traveller as well.
With a dream of setting a record for the longest live stream of poker, Krishan Pal Singh Dhangar is a common man from Agra, who values education, family and hobbies that challenge his mind. He shares, “Poker is something that is extremelt close to my heart and has changed my life for good. Being a part of Player Hunt season 3, I hope to get an opportunity to be able to promote this sport PAN India.”
Born and brought up at Pali Hill Bombay, Sahib Singh Lamba, an MBA and an Engineer, is the youngest Hon. General Secretary at Khar Gymkhana in Mumbai. He shares, “I have been playing poker for over 15 years and it has become a part of my life. I am aware and unpredictable and can read situations and people. Courage, wisdom & compassion will make me win the Player Hunt Season 3!” Sahib also starred in a recent Netflix series titled, “In Real Love”.
Implusive and spontaneous, Raaquib Merchant, is the owner of his own hockey league and is vocal abort promoting the national sport of India. He’s also a foodie who also loves to talk about making money and starting businesses. Poker has helped him hang out with friends and enjoy life.
A professional poker player, Pooja Doshi owns a fashion boutique and shares her journey of playing poker stating, “The beginnings of my poker journey were quite interesting. My partner wanted to pursue poker as a career to support us. Within a couple of days even I realized the potentiality of the sport and started to learn the game as well. The journey has seen me gradually grow as a player.” She is also a follower of the teachings of Osho.
A full time poker professional, Aditya Sarin, is a psychology student who also has been practicing card magic and cardistry since childhood. He suffers from a rare medical condition which restricted him from attending school in his childhood which led him to he develop a love for cards and poker at the age of 8. His love for poker has only gotten stronger ever since. In his own words he shares, “I am always up to learn something new. With proper guidance from the experts. I will surely win this season.”
Sanket Deshmukh is a college dropout who plays snooker professionally. He started his poker journey at the age of 20. He further shares, “ I was a poker dealer, that’s why I know all the rules and regulations thoroughly. I have raw sense of humour.”
Anubhav Krishna Srivastava, an artist, who is well known for his performance in the popular TV show Pavitra Rishta is also an interesting Poker player. He shares, “Poker has taught him patience & perseverance.” He finds The Player Hunt very interesting and is here as he wanted to try something new and interesting. He also says “Watch out for some mind blowing action and be ready to face me”.
With a list of varied & professional contestants, the Player Hunt Season 3 makes us all look forward to the exciting journey of all contestants loaded with action, drama and entertainment.
PAGCOR WARNS PUBLIC AGAINST US-BASED ILLEGAL GAMING WEBSITE
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) reiterates its call to the public – both local and foreign nationals – to be extra vigilant when engaging in online gaming activities as illegal online gaming sites continue to proliferate.
The renewed call from the country’s gaming regulator came on the heels of news reports that a certain website — www.starspangled200.org – which was printed on close to 800,000 registered vehicle plates in Maryland, USA to promote the state’s history, was used by fraudsters as a link to an illegal gambling website allegedly operating in the Philippines.
According to PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco, the URL www.starspangled200.org printed on these Maryland plates which redirects to https://www.globeinternational.info/ has been used as an illegal gambling platform that not only violates players’ rights but also places the Philippines in a bad light.
“PAGCOR has nothing to do with the said websites, as well as the gaming activities happening therein. As the country’s gaming regulator, PAGCOR does not condone illegal online gambling. Engaging or betting on illegal gambling activities is not only a criminal act; it also takes away from the government billions of pesos in revenues which can be used to fund priority programs that will benefit a greater number of Filipinos. Hence, we have been continuously working with various government and law enforcement agencies to ensure that our gaming policies are in place and the online gaming platforms that we regulate are safe and credible,” he said.
“We have referred this matter to our Security and Monitoring Cluster for investigation. The website was also referred to the appropriate government agency for immediate action.” Tengco added.
Tengco strongly calls for gaming aficionados to only take part in its licensed online-based gaming platforms for a truly enjoyable and safe gaming experience.
The list of registered and legitimate websites can be found through this link: https://www.pagcor.ph/regulatory/index.php.
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