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Trading Blows: Cloudbet’s expert take on the new NBA season

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Trading Blows: Cloudbet’s expert take on the new NBA season
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As the NBA prepares to go back to work, the trading team at Cloudbet, the leading crypto sportsbook and casino, assesses the latest market movers and shakers


The wait is almost over: The NBA is ready to go again, just two months after Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers trounced the Miami Heat in last season’s finals. The victory put an emphatic exclamation mark on the Covid-19 iteration of America’s premier basketball competition, which played out its final months in the league’s Disney World bubble in Florida.

Since then, there have been a flurry of draft and free-agency dealings, along with a few superstars returning to injury, which promise yet another humdinger of a season – all with the spectre of Covid looming in the background.

Cloudbet takes this opportunity to preview the action, with the first games tipping off on December 22. Buckle up, folks!

The West – A Lakers dynasty in the making

Champs get stronger

If last season made just one thing clear, it’s that the Lakers are back for good – and ominously, they’ve had probably the best off-season in the league, making all the right moves to improve in all positions over last year.

First of all, they re-signed Anthony Davis to a five-year, $190 million contract, a move that confirms that nothing less than a repeat this year is acceptable.

Trading Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder, while adding depth to the Center position through free agents Marc Gasol and reigning sixth man Montrezl Harrell has stacked the roster even further. Wesley Matthews taking Danny Green’s spot is the last piece of the puzzle.

They remain the team to beat in 2021 and are deservedly the No.1 title favourites. Cloudbet is offering odds of 2.88/+188 on the Lakers lifting the title and 1.85/-177 to take the Western Conference.

Clippers to contend

The Lakers’ cross-town rivals are looking to reboot their fortunes after their huge summer letdown, giving up a 3-1 series lead in the Western semifinals against the Denver Nuggets.

The Clips have a new head coach in Tyronn Lue and the team has locked in Paul George until 2025 with a contract extension. Meanwhile, the gap at center created by Harrell’s departure has been filled with Serge Ibaka – who has now been reunited with Kawhi Leonard: The two both shared a championship title with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.

The Clips will be looking for Ibaka’s defensive game to better contain players like Anthony Davis and the Nugget’s Nikola Jokic more effectively, especially in the post-season.

The Clips are currently at 8.18/+718 to take the title and you can get odds of 2.12/+112 that they end the regular season with a greater than 67% win percentage.

A nod to the Nuggets

While the hunt for the six remaining Western Conference playoff spots includes several teams in the mix-up, one looks to stand out from that group.

The Denver Nuggets seem to be a few steps (or years) away from going all the way, with a great young core by way of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Under the guidance of Head Coach Mike Malone, the Nuggets have built on strong foundations and will be a force to be reckoned for the foreseeable future. Denver is 20.9/+1996 to win it all this season.

The East – up for grabs

In the Eastern Conference, things look a bit more fluid.

The Milwaukee Bucks seem to have found a way of killing it during the regular season – and played some great basketball before the March shutdown – but still lack the knack of transforming these home-court advantages into deeper postseason quests for glory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo joined the elite company of only Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon by winning both MVP (his second in a row) and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season last year. The Greek Freak looks hungry as ever to make the leap into the finals.

The most notable move made by the front office saw Jrue Holiday join from the New Orleans Pelicans in the off-season, while the waiting game around Giannis is over – on Wednesday he signed the full five-year, $228 million supermax contract. He’s committed to Milwaukee now for a long time.

Milwaukee’s title odds are currently 6.36/+536.

It was the Miami Heat (23.0/+2201 for the title) that knocked Milwaukee out in the bubble. The Bucks had no answer for the Heat’s physical and tactical approach, led by alpha dogs Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Butler’s unquestionable fighter mentality and work ethic is paired by a unique two-way talent. Bam was dominant in the paint while young sharpshooters Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson set the tone for a balanced offence that sets the bar high for 2021.

This season’s Brooklyn Nets (7.55/+655 for the crown) are perhaps the most intriguing entity in the East. The return of Kevin Durant (10.5/+959 for regular season MVP) and Kyrie Irving (92.9/+9192 for the same) at full strength automatically flips the switch on the Nets to contender status, while Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert should again play integral roles having had their best professional seasons in 2020.

The arrival of Steve Nash as head coach was the story of the off-season. The hiring of the former Suns two-time MVP has been met with some skepticism though, mainly due to his lack of experience in the position. No doubt both fans and pundits will be watching closely.

The Covid elephant in the room

We can’t end any major competition preview without a generous nod of the head to the bogeyman du jour. The NBA’s solution to covid last season – the Disney World bubble – was an enormous undertaking and an undeniable success. Building on that experience, the league now has strict protocols and a slightly rejigged playing schedule in place this season.

Perhaps the biggest change for players, aside from the relative isolation, will be road-trip restrictions and playing matches back-to-back while visiting. It’ll be interesting to see how teams (and betting odds) respond to sudden line-up and venue adjustments if Covid rears its ugly head.

Bitcoin

Navigating Bitcoin’s Impact: SOFTSWISS’ iGaming Industry Overview

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In March 2024, Bitcoin soared to a historical high, nearing 70,000 euro per coin. How does this impact the iGaming market? Being a tech company with over 15 years of experience and an innovator in crypto iGaming software development, SOFTSWISS shares anticipations in its quarterly crypto analysis.

Over 220 brands powered by the company engaged in crypto transactions during the first quarter of 2024, which is 12% higher than the previous quarter. SOFTSWISS experts analyse the data gathered from crypto-friendly brands by employing extrapolation, comparative, and correlative analysis.

 

iGaming Market Overview: Unveiling Anticipated Growth

The size of the global online gambling and sports betting industry is expected to rise significantly and exceed 170 billion euro by 2032, according to Statista. Based on SOFTSWISS data, the iGaming market has demonstrated a stable pattern of growth year after year.

In absolute terms in euro, the Total Bet Sum grew by 5.8% in the first quarter of the year compared to the last quarter of 2023. Analysing the year-on-year increase, comparing Q1’24 with Q1’23, the growth is more impressive, showcasing a 47.2% boost.

Simultaneously, the Total Bet Count, both fiat and crypto, displayed a slightly larger gain in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the previous quarter, surpassing 6.1%. The indicator’s year-on-year boost is much more notable, revealing a 57.2% increase.

The popularity of iGaming in recent years has been fuelled by its global reach and accessibility due to constant technological advancements. On one hand, the quality of internet connectivity continues to rise, while on the other, new payment methods are emerging, simplifying payment procedures.

The in-depth quarterly analysis, ongoing since the beginning of 2022, reveals that fiat bets are undergoing more substantial growth compared to crypto bets. In Q1’24, the Fiat Bet Sum increased by 6.9% compared to Q4’23, while the rise of Crypto Bet Sum was at 2.4%.

 

The more active growth of fiat bets led to a slight decrease in the share of crypto. In the first quarter of 2024, the crypto share in the Total Bets Sum settled at 24.4%, decreasing by 0.8 percentage points (p.p) compared to the last quarter of 2023.

 

What is the State of Crypto in iGaming?

Analysing crypto bets, it is crucial to highlight that almost 93% of them are facilitated through the in-game currency conversion tool, which is gaining traction. This mechanism allows operators to engage players with cryptocurrency assets in games initially tailored for fiat only. Operators that adopt such options are gaining more competitive advantages in the market.

While the Q1’2024 Crypto Bet Sum shows a moderate 2.4% growth compared to the previous quarter, the year-on-year analysis demonstrates a 20.8% increase. The Crypto Bet Count remained unchanged in Q1’24 compared to the previous quarter’s indicator. Simultaneously, the metric increased by 21.3% year-on-year. The figures speak volumes, showcasing a consistent interest among players in crypto gaming.

“The lack of a substantial increase in the number of crypto bets during Q1’24 can be partly attributed to the significant rise of the Bitcoin exchange rate during this period, leading players to be more cautious with their crypto bets.  This trend mirrors the situation in the first quarter of the previous year when the Bitcoin exchange rate surged following a decline at the end of 2022,” comments Vitali Matsukevich, Chief Operating Officer at SOFTSWISS.

 

What Distinguishes the Average Crypto Bet?

The average crypto bet increased to 1.71 euro in the first quarter of the year from 1.66 euro in the last quarter of 2023. This growth correlates with a significant strengthening of the Bitcoin rate during the first quarter of 2024.

The average fiat bet remained steady at around 0.81 euro in Q1’24 and Q4’23. The average total bet stayed constant since the second half of the previous year and is equal to 0.93 euro.

 

Notably, the average crypto bet is double that of fiat. This indicates that digital currencies are preferred by higher-income players.


Why Did Bitcoin’s Share Drop?

The Top Five most operated digital coins in iGaming have remained stable during the last two years with minor changes in ranking order. The top still includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Tether.

 

In Q1 2024, Bitcoin experienced a significant decline of 9.4 p.p. compared to Q4 2023. This could be attributed to the bolstering Bitcoin exchange rate and players exercising a more cautious approach towards it.

In contrast, the shares of other digital coins have increased. Ethereum and Litecoin showed growth of 4.0 p.p. and 3.8 p.p., respectively, during the same period. Simultaneously, Dogecoin rose to fourth place in the ranking, leaving Tether behind.

Vitali Matsukevich, Chief Operating Officer at SOFTSWISS, summarises: “The benefits of employing digital currencies, such as fast transactions and anonymity, still attract many players. Embracing cryptocurrencies in iGaming can boost operator profits despite their volatile nature.

As the Bitcoin rate is expected to strengthen after the Bitcoin Halving, the average crypto bet and projected gains may see a notable impact. During such promising times, it is crucial to have reliable and experienced partners to navigate the path to success.”

 

About SOFTSWISS

SOFTSWISS is an international tech company supplying software solutions for managing iGaming projects. The expert team, which counts over 2,000 employees, is based in Malta, Poland, and Georgia. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licences and provides one-stop-shop iGaming software solutions. The company has a vast product portfolio, including the Online Casino Platform, the Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, the Affilka affiliate platform, the Sportsbook Platform, and the Jackpot Aggregator. In 2013, SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a Bitcoin-optimised online casino solution.

 

 

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Cryptocurrency

CryptoSlots Celebrates 6th Birthday with VIP Bonuses and New Games

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In honour of its 6th Birthday, this month, CryptoSlots, a trailblazer in crypto gaming, is marking the occasion with the introduction of new games, generous bonuses for all players, and complimentary tokens for the thrilling $1 million Jackpot Trigger game, adding extra excitement to the celebration.

CryptoSlots has achieved several milestones over the past year. This includes the launch of over 20 new games such as Chinatown High Limit, Bank Bust, Pawsome, Twin Wins, and Forest Fairy Fortune, expanding their unique gaming portfolio for players worldwide.

While the last $1 million Jackpot Trigger prize was claimed in 2022, the crypto casino recently celebrated a significant win as player WHAMZY09 scooped $200,000, securing two $100,000 prizes in a single game on April 18. This highlights the continued excitement and potential for substantial winnings on CryptoSlots.

Additionally, CryptoSlots has seen impressive payouts in its Crypto Lotto, with the highest recorded payout reaching $17,428, demonstrating the rewarding nature of its lottery offerings.

Furthermore, the crypto-only casino has made strides in the metaverse by launching a Virtual Showroom with Monthly Rewards in Decentraland, a virtual social world built on blockchain technology. This move allows CryptoSlots to engage with players in innovative ways, offering unique experiences and rewards within the Decentraland universe.

CryptoSlots manager, Michael Hilary commented: “We are thrilled about the future and the boundless opportunities that cryptocurrencies offer. As the landscape of digital currencies continues to evolve, we envision a future where cryptocurrencies revolutionize not just the gaming industry, but every aspect of finance and commerce. With innovation at our core, CryptoSlots is poised to lead the charge into this exciting future.”

“With its presence in Decentraland, CryptoSlots aims to enhance player engagement and offer a novel gaming experience that aligns with the evolving landscape of online entertainment,” continued Hilary.

This month CryptoSlots releases Shadow of the Tomb, an electrifying 6×4 Tomb Raider-inspired slot. Players are plunged into a world filled with ancient relics and treasures where they can win up to 5000x their bet and unearth haunting riches!

Later this month, get ready to embark on an adventure through the untamed wilderness of Alaska with the relaunch of the Wild Alaska slot, boasting enhanced graphics.

At CryptoSlots, transactions for deposits and withdrawals are solely conducted through cryptocurrency. Boasting dozens of provably fair slots, the platform continuously introduces new games. Players accrue tokens for the $1 million Jackpot Trigger slot and receive complimentary tickets for the monthly $10,000+ Crypto Lotto each time they engage in gameplay.

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Cryptocurrency

TG.Casino Signs Partnership with AC Milan

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AC Milan and TG.Casino announced a new partnership, which sees the crypto casino platform become the Official Regional iGaming Partner of the Rossoneri in Europe.

This new collaboration between two frontrunners in their own fields offers a great opportunity to create something new and innovative. This partnership demonstrates the platform’s intent to take on and beat the iGaming competition to become the ultimate destination for all ambitious players. The deal catapults TG.Casino into the top ranks of GameFi by bringing the brand into the living rooms and onto the mobiles of tens of millions of consumers all over Europe.

Through this new partnership, $TGC token holders will have the chance to win lots of experiences offered by the Rossoneri club. From visits to the Milanello training centre to winning official AC Milan jerseys and VIP access at the San Siro stadium, football fans will have the chance to enjoy unique and exclusive experiences.

The new partnership provides AC Milan with a new fan engagement tool, creating bespoke experiences, which aim to give them more access, and bring them even closer to their beloved Club.

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