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World Pool: UK and Irish racing hits £475 million

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Turnover on World Pool bet types on British Champions Day totalled HK$202.7 million (£21.4 million), bringing the figure for all races commingled during the 19 World Pool days in the UK and Ireland to HK$4.7 billion (£475 million).

King George Day at Ascot saw the biggest jump in turnover, rising from HK$253m to a new record of HK$287m, an increase of over 13%, while 2,000 Guineas Day as well as days one and three of Royal Ascot also posted year-on-year increases.

The overall total is only marginally down on 2022’s figure of HK$4.9bn, but still significantly up on 2021 (HK3.9 billion).

Prize money won across the 131 World Pool races in the UK and Ireland this year has hit a record high of £32 million, while the World Pool Moment of the Day initiative has seen £68,000 given out – £4,000 for each of the 17 World Pool Moment of the Day winners.

Ebbe Verhestraeten, groom of Big Rock, was awarded Moment of the Day on Saturday and he will have a chance of winning a VIP trip for four to Hong Kong next year if he is to win World Pool Moment of the Year.

Outside of the UK and Ireland, World Pool meetings in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Australia have all posted record turnover numbers, while World Pool will be active for two further meetings in Australia: Cox Plate Day and Victoria Derby Day.

Earlier on Saturday, the Caulfield Cup broke the record for the highest turnover on a World Pool race in Australia with HK$54.24 million (AUD$10.98 million) bet into the pool, eclipsing the HKD$51.54 million (AUD$10.43 million) bet on the previous weekend’s Everest. Only two World Pool races this year – the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes and the Dubai World Cup – have had bigger pools.

In the UK and Ireland, World Pool is accessed via the Tote, at racecourses, online and via the Tote App. All customers betting directly with the Tote benefit from Tote Guarantee which ensures all Win bets will always exceed or match the industry Starting Price.

Tote value for UK and Irish customers betting into World Pool on British Champions Day:

·        Tote Win beat the Industry Starting Price in 5 out of the 6 races and matched on the remaining occasions

·        Tote Win overround was 112% versus an industry Starting Price of 120%

·        Tote Exacta beat Forecast in 6 out of the 6 races

·        Tote Trifecta beat Tricast in 5 out of the 6 races

Tote value for customers betting on the 19 British and Irish World Pool days 2023:

·       Tote Win beat the Industry Starting Price in 66% of races and matched on the remaining occasions

·        A £1 bet with the Tote on every winner on British and Irish World Pool days in 2023 paid £263 more than the industry Starting Price

·        Tote Win overround was 109% versus an industry Starting Price of 122%

·        Tote Exacta beat Forecast in 78% of races

·        Tote Trifecta beat Tricast in 84% of races races where the Tricast operated

Michael Fitzsimons, Executive Director, Wagering Products of the HKJC, said: “We are really pleased with how World Pool has been received in the UK and Ireland again this year and the turnover figures look strong against a challenging economic backdrop.

“There are many more opportunities for growth in the UK and Ireland and we look forward to being able to roll out World Pool at even more of the season’s flagship race days. Having the Lockinge, the Irish Derby and the Sun Chariot as World Pool events for the first time this year worked really well, and we look forward to adding more days in the future.

“We’d like to thank all of our partners, including the UK Tote, Racecourse Media Group and Ascot Racecourse – who have all been with us since World Pool was first created in 2019 – for all their hard work in making it another highly successful season.”

Alex Frost, Chief Executive of the UK Tote, said: “We are delighted that British and Irish racing has enjoyed such a successful World Pool season in 2023. It is incredibly positive to see revenues from World Pool supporting racecourses’ investment in prize money which was at a new record of £32 million for World Pool races this year. This highlights the increasingly important role pool betting is playing the in the future sustainability of the sport.

“Following our new five-year agreement with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, making the UK Tote the exclusive partner for World Pool in the UK and Ireland, we look forward to collaborating on exciting developments, including new bet types and further improvements to the customer experience for the 2024 season.”

Martin Stevenson, Chief Executive Officer of Racecourse Media Group (RMG), which represents the media interests of The Jockey Club, Newbury, Goodwood, York, The Curragh and Leopardstown racecourses, said: “World Pool has been a hugely important initiative for British and Irish racing to grow revenues and prize money, and it’s been great to see such strong performance again in 2023.

“We’ve added three new race days to the calendar this year with the Lockinge, Irish Derby and Sun Chariot, and hopefully we’ll be able to add some more in 2024.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, UK Tote and all of our racecourses on World Pool this season and we are already looking forward to 2014.

Industry News

Tailored slots to your needs

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Tailored slots to your needs
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RubyPlay’s Art Director, Douglas Hand, discusses the importance of bespoke content to help operators stand out in the crowd and offer unique experiences

Imagine walking into a store, searching for the perfect suit for an upcoming event. You can go the conventional route and pick something off-the-rack in a colour that you like. It’s readily available, functional, affordable and gets the job done. But when you turn up to the event, hundreds of others are wearing a similar suit while your rival stands there silently confident, in a custom-tailored Tom Ford suit that screams “I own this room and everyone in it”.

There’s something about a custom-tailored suit, crafted to your unique measurements and style preferences, that sets you apart in a crowd. There’s a confidence that comes from knowing how to present yourself well.

In the gaming industry this is no different. Typically, we see thousands of new slot games released worldwide each month – that results in a heavily saturated market!

Opting for generic slot games is akin to choosing an off-the-rack suit. It might get the job done, but it often results in a bland experience that blends into the vast sea of similar products. These generic games lack the personal touch; the individuality that makes them memorable. They are chasing the gap, while others are widening it.

As Don Draper said in the hit TV show Mad Men, “Success is related to standing out, not fitting in. One wants to be the needle in the haystack, not the haystack”. In the dynamic world of slot games, being the needle means going beyond the off-the-rack options, embracing creativity, and tailoring each game to leave a lasting impression.

As an experienced Art Director in a fiercely competitive industry, I understand the importance of standing out and making a statement about who you are.

At RubyPlay, we approach slot game development with the same mindset as a tailor crafting a bespoke suit. Rather than settling for a one-size-fits-all approach, our creative team invests time in learning about our clients and their unique brand. This personalised approach allows us to create games that not only meet industry standards but also resonate with the individuality of each client.

We have built robust processes honed through decades of industry experience. This not only accelerates production but also gives our creative team the freedom to explore and experiment with different styles and techniques. This balance is essential in achieving results that not only showcase our skills but also highlight the best aspects of our client’s brand.

Just as a custom, tailored suit speaks volumes about an individual, well-made slot games crafted with attention to detail and personalised touches can make a lasting impact in the gaming industry. At RubyPlay, we believe in the power of tailored experiences that go beyond the generic, and we invite operators for a custom fitting at their earliest convenience.

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Industry News

Solverde.pt Partners with MGA Games and Endorphina

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Solverde.pt, the Portuguese bookmaker and online casino, has announced partnerships with two new game creation studios: MGA Games, a Spanish company acknowledged for the creation and distribution of casino games, and Endorphina, recognised for the recent incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in slot machines.

The new partnerships mark a milestone: Solverde.pt is the first online casino in Portugal with 2500 games on a single platform.

Solverde.pt’s partnership with MGA Games, considered the Best Technology Provider at the Asocación JDigital Awards and Gaming, marks the Spanish company’s expansion into the Portuguese market. Among the games released, MGA Games has dedicated itself to integrating Portuguese entertainment personalities in its creations, like the Portuguese football player Paulo Futre, among others.

At the same time, the first batch of 25 Endorphina games is launched that will be available on the Portuguese platform, exclusively, for a month. The Game Developer established in more than 25 countries, with ten years of experience, it was the first casino game producer to create a Slot Machine entirely using AI algorithms. Among the games available, “Glory of Egypt”, “Book of Vlad”, “Dynamite Miner” and “Fisher King” stand out.

These two new partnerships, and consequent game launches, reaffirm Solverde.pt as the online casino with the largest offer of games in Portugal.

“The 2500 games on a single platform are a fundamental step for the company, which reinforces its leadership position in the sector. The collaboration with studios such as MGA Games and Endorphina allows us to lead in Portugal with an offer of innovation and excellence. Notably, MGA Games has a portfolio of 100 titles, created with HTML5 technology, that stand out for their graphical quality, and Edorphina made history by being the first company to develop a game entirely powered by AI, demonstrating its dedication to pushing the boundaries of creativity and technology,” Sérgio Pascoal, Director of R&D at Solverde.pt, said.

“The studio is confident that our slots will impress Solverde.pt players, as well as make them feel the true thrill of the game. We share a passion for entertainment and reflect that by delivering top-notch, high-value content to operators,” Javier Lanfranchi, Sales Director at MGA Games, said.

“By offering the state-of-the-art games of Endorphina, exclusively for Solverde.pt, we aim to provide a unique and exciting gaming experience that reflects both companies’ unwavering pursuit of innovation,” Jonathan Martini, Senior Sales Manager at Endorphina, said.

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Compliance Updates

Ensuring Integrity: The Role of Assurance in the Gambling Industry

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Ensuring Integrity: The Role of Assurance in the Gambling Industry
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By Salvador Garcia-Noblejas, Senior Regulatory Assurance Services at ComplianceOne Group

The gambling industry has its origins in the ancient period, and different types of games are found in almost every culture and civilization.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed an immense transformation, clearly boosted by technological developments. Among these changes, online gambling has grown rapidly, and with this new non-face-to-face reality, regulation and regulators have also embraced new ways to protect players, businesses, and the overall economy. Regulators have the responsibility to set the framework of common rules that define what is right and wrong, the means to protect all parties, and the tools that must be used when anyone does not behave as expected.

Assurance in a world of global risks

It would be inaccurate to assume that regulatory assurance’s only goal is to ensure that operators operate in a fair and transparent manner and meet their legal obligations. On the contrary, assurance also includes helping businesses understand the risks involved in the industry where they operate, analysing their strengths and weaknesses, and setting measures to mitigate those risks.

Assurance’s starting point consists of an interview phase where tailor-made questionnaires serve better understanding the reality to each operator and its actual circumstances. Once the assurance assessment is complete, a detailed action plan assists the operator in fixing any identified gaps, improving policies and procedures, and obtaining the maximum financial gain from refining their processes, products, and operations.

As part of the fast transformation of the gambling industry, with competitive new products, platforms, advertisements, and market expansion, we must not forget that bad actors and illegal practices also develop. This is the moment to ask ourselves if we are ready to face whatever can harm our operations. The most efficient way to know is carrying out a thorough audit of policies, procedures, and processes. This approach will certainly save operators from potential harm to their clients, products, brands, and finances.

Audit readiness

Regulators focus on legislation, supervision, and enforcement. All stakeholders must comply with gambling regulations if they want to offer products and services or provide a safe environment to their clients. An important part of the gambling legal system is the fact that the industry is continuously overseen to ensure that all actors adhere to the established rules. At this point, operators need to ask themselves how ready they are to show sufficient evidence that their operations adhere to the law.

Smart operators will choose to comply with as many rules and regulations as their business is capable of, and they will ensure that records are properly kept. Company leadership is essential in ensuring compliance as it contributes to collaboration between departments and having policies and procedures that make the business run within the parameters of the legislation.

Lessons learned

In recent years, some highly publicized enforcement actions, including fines and penalties, license suspension, and revocation, have alerted the whole gambling industry. From such cases, there have been increasing efforts in reviewing processes, improving systems, and growing compliance departments.

Experience in the gambling industry has taught us that it is crucial to have a detailed understanding of the regulations that govern the relationship between operators and players. Where knowledge has been insufficient, inaccurate, or out of date, some business decisions have led to unwanted consequences, sometimes catastrophic ones.

Knowledge, a solid compliance culture, strong procedures, and willingness are the formula to be ready for a regulatory audit.

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