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University of Minnesota to host Sportradar’s Innovation Challenge

George Miller

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University of Minnesota to host Sportradar’s Innovation Challenge
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Sportradar’s Innovation Challenge returns on February 23rd, when the University of Minnesota will become the latest venue to host the one-day ideation competition.

Taking place at the Carlson School of Management’s Gary S. Holmes Centre for Entrepreneurship, next month’s Challenge will be the first to take place in the United States.

The event, which has been held regularly across Europe in recent years, will give students from in and around Minneapolis the opportunity to design and create ideas and services using Sportradar’s market-leading data. As well as learning how to best create and develop ideas, students will also have the chance to network and compete for a chance to win part of the $3,000 prize money on offer. Ahead of the Innovation Challenge’s first venture Stateside, Sportradar caught up with Innovation Director Javier Altamirano and Malte Siegle, Head of Sportradar’s University and Research Programme, to discuss what is another step forward for the company’s innovation setup.

Sportradar: What’s the thinking behind taking the Innovation Challenge outside Europe for the first time?

MS: Because Sportradar already enjoys a strong market presence in the US, and is expanding further all the time, it seems only natural that we should have the Innovation Challenge in the States. We’re always looking to encourage and network with the next generation of talent, in all our territories, and having already seen our partnership with the University of Minnesota start strongly, it’s great to reach another essential milestone for the company.

JA: This is part of a greater strategy of external innovation in the US whereby Sportradar collaborates on a deep level with top-notch universities which happen to be aligned with Sportradar offices and have strong data programs. This proximity allows for follow-up projects and overall closer contact. We want these students to familiarise themselves with Sportradar data.

Sportradar: What do you expect to see from the students in Minneapolis?

JA: We’ve already seen some fantastic ideas from our past competitions in Europe and we’re confident that will continue next month here in Minnesota. Aside from innovative and interesting products, the main thing we want to see is enthusiasm and a positive approach because the Innovation Challenge is as much about networking and making connections as it is around creating products. Lots of digital-era innovations come from this side of the pond (Facebook, Stubhub, Snapchat, etc.) so we want to see if the students can carry on in that vein next month.

MS: We’ve also had former winners come and join Sportradar in a working capacity before now and that’s an example of what we want to achieve as a company – having that talent pipeline and a strong connection with entrepreneurial talent. Sportradar: The US is obviously a huge market for Sportradar, does this make next month’s Challenge even more exciting?

JA: The American sports tech market has obviously been one of the biggest in the world for some time now, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the students in Minneapolis come up with. There’s also the recent developments with the betting market in the US, so that’s another area that might be of interest to participants when it comes to formulating ideas.

MS: It doesn’t have to be around betting of course, we’ll have Sportradar experts from different parts of the business who can advise and offer insight to students. Ultimately, we want to see something new and different and that’s always what impresses the judges most.

Sportradar: Why should students look to take part in the event?

MS: If you’re a student who has a passion for sports data, enjoys thinking outside the box and wants to make some useful connections with people who know the industry inside out, the Innovation Challenge is for you. We give full access to our API and SDK for the day and provide guidance courtesy of our mentors, so it really is a great opportunity to see what you can come up with, using sports data.

Sportradar: …and not to mention the $3,000 prize pool?

JA: Obviously, a $3,000 prize pool is a good incentive, too, and that’s what usually grabs the attention, but we don’t think it should be the main focus for groups. One-on-one time with our mentors and the chance to put our API to good use, all while networking with new connections – you can’t really put a price on that. For all the details about February’s event, including information on how to enter, you can visit the Innovation Challenge website – challenge.sportradar.com.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Gambling in the USA

Slot Revenue Decreases in Connecticut Tribal Casinos

Niji Narayan

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Slots revenue Connecticut tribal casinos
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The slot revenue of two Connecticut tribal casinos has decreased by 12% in April 2019. Both Mohegan and Foxwoods have posted year-over-year decrease in slot machine revenue and April 2019 was the worst month for the Connecticut casinos.

Foxwoods Resort Casino totalled US$36.2 million in slots revenue after paying prizes, down from the US$41.2. On the other hand, Mohegan Sun reported US$45.2 million in slot revenue, down from US$51.4 million.

Revenues from Foxwoods and Mohegan have been affected by MGM Springfield, the casino located in neighbouring Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported that the faction totalled US$15.5 million in slots revenue last month and US$6.3 million in table-games revenue. However, slots revenue was also down in that facility 17% over the previous month.

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Canada

Sightline Joins Forces with Responsible Gaming Solution GameSecure

George Miller

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Sightline Joins Forces with Responsible Gaming Solution GameSecure
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The partnership aims to connect payment solutions and a centralized real-time self-exclusion database for increased player protection

 

Las Vegas-based Sightline Payments (“Sightline”) and Vancouver based Bencon Technologies Inc. (“Bencon”) have entered into a partnership to bridge the current technological gap between digital self-exclusion functions and payment services. The goal of the partnership is to ensure at-risk patrons are denied access to content or payment services in real-time.

The first quarter of 2019 has resulted in a number of violations of self-excluded patrons gaining access to content in the US market, meaning regulator fines have been issued to non-compliant operators, unfortunately, the damage to the patron is already done. GameSecure’s real-time database solution will ensure these patrons do not gain access to digital content once self-excluded and by partnering with  it creates another barrier to a patron’s payment activity.

“The Sightline team has been committed to responsible gaming for more than 20 years and we are very excited to announce this important partnership,” said Cameron Conn, Co-Founder of Bencon Technologies Inc.

“We strongly believe there is not a singular solution to completely address all aspects of player protection and responsible gaming, however, partnerships like these allow for better solutions that will give continued insights into at-risk behavior for improved responsible gaming programs.”

“Sightline is in a unique position because our Play+ ecosystem, in the US, connects to nearly 100% of all digital platforms and 90%+ of all casino management systems, allowing for a uniform capability for a network-wide self-exclusion program through our SPAN Network,” said Kirk Sanford, CEO and Founder of Sightline Payments.

A primary goal of the partnership will be to work with the responsible and problem gambling communities to ensure these new solutions will work to enhance future programs for player protection.

“The Responsible Gambling Council is pleased to hear about the partnership between GameSecure and Sightline.  We believe that safeguards are imperative to the success of any self-exclusion program,” stated Shelley White, CEO of Responsible Gambling Council in Canada.

Keith Whyte, the Executive Director of the US National Council on Problem Gaming adding: “Congratulations to Bencon and Sightline for this step to further integrate responsible gaming into payment methods for the industry.  Streamlining player protection is an important goal for the National Council on Problem Gambling, and we are pleased to support this innovative effort.”

“Self-exclusion programs have been in existence for years with the on-premise ATM providers, however, until now nothing has existed for the digital world which is where the industry is moving,” added Sanford.

Bencon is currently working with multiple jurisdictions in the United States (and internationally) to integrate GameSecure into their Responsible Gaming Programs.

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Fantasy Sports

Louisiana House Committee Passes Fantasy Sports Restriction Bill

Niji Narayan

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Louisiana House Committee Passes Fantasy Sports Restriction Bill
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Louisiana House Committee has passed the fantasy sports restriction bill. Voters of 47 parishes approved fantasy sports betting last fall. The bill leaves committee with an amendment that stipulates “you can only play if you’re at card checking over-21 only in establishments like video poker stops, bars, or casinos.”

“This is obviously not what people voted for, this is not how fantasy sports works, this is not how online entertainment works anywhere, for any medium,” Fairness for Fantasy Sports Louisiana spokesperson Ryan Berni said.

“Right now the proposed tax rate does not cover the cost for the state to collect it. The state actually loses money at the proposed tax rate that they are proposing on fantasy sports,” Video poker lobbyist Alton Ashy said.

“Obviously the intention is that it is places that have video poker. It really is an end around and a subversion of what people know and like about fantasy sports,” Berni added.

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