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PwC Predicts Tough Times for South African Gambling Industry

Nov 23, 2014
South Africa gambling

Economy is slowing down, gambling is slowing down as well

Competition is getting tougher as the South African gambling industry is diversifying and illegal gambling is growing.

From a financial point of view, South Africa’s casinos are doing very well. As the most popular form of gambling in the country, these businesses are raking in as much as R17 billion every year. But while the land-based casino industry is still the most profitable, competition is getting heated as other forms of gambling are growing at a rapid rate.

This week, accounting firm PwC released a detailed report on how the gambling industry could evolve in the following few years. The document takes a closer look at casinos in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya and speculates on the trends the industry could follow between this year and 2018.

PwC’s predictions are not too optimistic. As the country’s economy is slowing down, its gambling market will face the same slowdown, the accounting firm said.

BusinessDay: Bingo and sports betting make inroads into casinos

In its report, PwC studied the growth prospects for casinos, as well as limited payout machines, bingo, sports betting and lottery games in South Africa. The country has 37 land-based casinos, which made a total of R16.5 billion profits last year. The industry has grown on a year-to-year basis, but only by a modest 0.6%.

Last year turnover increased 4%, a drop from the 7.6% growth in the previous year and the smallest profit made since 2009.

“We expect continued slow growth in SA over the next two years,” the accounting company said. “We then look for a pick-up in growth in each country as economic conditions improve. Some casino operators in certain locations believe that the slowdown in 2013 was due in part to growing competition from electronic bingo terminals, limited payout machines and sports betting shops, which are becoming more prevalent,” said the report.

Meanwhile, bingo operations have generated 67.5% increased revenue last year, while limited payout machines grew 17.8% and sports betting by 9.1%. According to online gambling news, bingo is the smallest category, with revenue of just R732 million, but the industry is constantly growing. Sports betting went up 18.5% and horse racing grew 4.6%, and PwC expects sports wagering to overtake horse racing in the next five years.

Charl Faurie, a spokesperson for SA’s Casino Association, said the association does not see alternative forms of legal gambling as a threat. However, illegal gambling operations are having a negative impact on the industry.

“The rapid increase of illegal online gambling is of particular concern to us as we estimate billions of rands are lost in tax revenue per year which has an obvious negative economic effect on the country. Casa is taking specific actions to address this threat beginning with a mass-media awareness campaign which will launch in the next few months,” Faurie said.

GamingZion: Online Gambling Sites in South Africa Could Be Banned

For years, politicians have been discussing changing the country’s gambling laws, as the industry expected them to regulate the online casino market. But recent news said authorities were considering doing the exact opposite: banning internet gambling in South Africa.

In addition to this, the media said lawmakers are also talking about setting limits on the number of electronic bingo machines and forbidding dog races. While these measures are just in the form of a proposal at the moment, if the draft becomes law all hope of having legal online casinos in the country will be lost.

Of course, not all officials agree with the proposal. Geordin Hill-Lewis, Member of Parliament (DA) and Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry believes it will cost the state more to enforce the law, than to legalize internet gambling. But others note that the number of problem gamblers has increased in recent years, and so has the level of indebtedness.

In addition to forbidding online gambling, South Africa authorities want to introduce licenses for the horse racing industry, in hopes that this measure will make gambling less accessible.

CityPress: Davies tackles gambling board’s mismanagement

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies suspended members of the National Gambling Board (NGB) on allegations of maladministration, wasteful spending and corrupt activities. The agency’s activities will be investigated by authorities, to find out if the accusations are true.

The board is normally responsible for overseeing the gambling industry and regulating South Africa’s multi-billion-rand market. Davies noted that the suspension was a precautionary measure, after an alleged contravention of the Public Finance Management Act through “failing to prevent irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and making overdraft on the entity’s bank account without the approval of the minister of finance”.

The board is accused of breaking the National Gambling Act by “allowing members whose term of office had expired to continue participating in the board’s activities and representing the NGB”, and there was a mention of “apparent corrupt activities” regarding the National Central Electronic Monitoring System, as well as “unlawful appointments of staff”.

Members of the board were also accused of intimidation, bullying and getting rid of evidence, which is why Davies decided to suspend them until the investigation is over.

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Online Casino Pro Cryptologic Signs With BetClic SportsBook

Dec 11, 2011
Wonder Woman CryptoLogic

Online casino pro Cryptologic has agreed to license at least five of their casino games to BetClic.

The agreement will be beneficial to both parties, and Cryptologic will earn revenues based on wagers placed on the games. Following the announcement, the online casino pro shares jumped considerably.

Online Casino Pro Cryptologic Innovative Betting Games

CryptoLogic Limited, an international developer of online casino games and software, just signed a multi-year agreement to license five or more of its best casino games to BetClic, a major European internet sportsbook.

This agreement covers a few of online casino pro CryptoLogic’s best online slot games, which will soon be featured on BetClic’s Games website. The games will be integrated with the help of Gaming Technology Solutions plc, CryptoLogic’s technology platform provider.

President and CEO of CryptoLogic Brian Hadfield said, “The popularity and demand for our industry-leading games remains strong as evidenced by this latest agreement with BetClic, a fast growing European operator. As each new licensee launches our games, we add a new and recurring revenue stream to our business while providing enhanced value and user experience for our partners’ customers.”

Nicolas Beraud, CEO of BetClic, announced, “We are excited about the prospect of adding quality branded content to our current portfolio. CryptoLogic games are instantly recognisable and are developed to the highest industry standards. This partnership further enhances our commitment to offering the best gaming experience to our diverse customer base.”

Online casino pro Cryptologic on sports betting

Cryptologic, a Dublin-based company specializing in online gaming software, is about to sign a deal with Betclic, global online sportsbook operator, and will soon be launching a series of new games in partnership with DC Comics and Paramount Digital Entertainment.

They expected to announce this week that the Malta-based online sports betting company Betclic will soon offer Cryptologic games on the casino portion of their website.

Betclic is primarily focused on sports betting, especially football. The group has businesses in 15 countries and caters to around 1.5 million customers. Betclic is working to develop its casino and poker casino offerings, which have become a standard part of online gambling sites.

Cryptologic has partnerships with DC Comics and Paramount Digital Entertainment (a parent company of Paramount Pictures), and develops games using characters owned by these groups, including Superman and Braveheart.

TechMARK movers: CryptoLogic signs BetClic deal

Shares in online gambling software and games developer CryptoLogic soared after an announcement that they have signed a licensing deal with BetClic, a major European online sportsbook. Betclic will license at least five games from CryptoLogic. This deal will provide recurring revenues for online casino pro CryptoLogic because income is to be based on all wagers placed on the games.

CryptoLogic reported a significant decline in revenues from $50.2m to $29.9m in the nine months prior to September 2009. The loss more than doubled, jumping from $6.48m to $13.5m. The decline was blamed on licensees acting too slowly in launching new games.

CryptoLogic shares are traded on the TSX, Main Market, and Nasdaq. The current online casino pro is half what it was in the middle of September.

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UK Electrician Wins $2.4 Million From $2 Bet From Sportsbook

Mar 18, 2011
brit lucky winner

An elderly semi-retired heating engineer won 1.5 m million pounds ($2.4 million dollars) from a 2 pound bet when he chose six horses in six consecutive races that all won.

Mr. Steve Whiteley, 60, went to the racing track with his two buddies and a bottle of whiskey. They took the bus as none had more than 5 quid in their pockets. They got inside for free using a promotional coupon.

The bet he wanted to place would have cost 30 pounds so he instead chose 6 horses in 6 races and put two quid on the Tote Jackpon which has grown substantially. For the past year nobody was able to predict all 6 winners in 6 races so the jackpot kept rolling over week after week.

Mr. Whiteley, who was tanning a beer during the interview, states that he only goes to the track with his friends once or twice a year, and that playing poker is his true passion. Sometimes he uses an Online sports betting service, when he hasn’t got enough money to get to the track.
Out of the 363,000 tickets sold that day during the first race, only 9,076 tickets had the first horse picked correctly.
By the fourth race, Mr. Whitley was the only person still in play. “And then at the last he said, ‘There is only one left and it’s this one’. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t look – I am shaking like a leaf.”
When asked what he plans to do now, he eloquently replied – “Gonna tan some bevies and party!”

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Alberto Contador wins Tour de France as expected; is Andy Schleck the favorite for 2011?

Jul 26, 2010
Alberto Contador

It is fashionable to speak of “dynasties,” i.e. multiple repeat title-winners, in many sports these days, but perhaps no championship is so susceptible to dominance by a single force as the Tour de France. The latest mighty ruler over the sport is this year’s winner Alberto Contador of Spain, who overcame Andy Schleck to take his third Tour in four years – and his third in three tries.

Though Contador managed to sport the yellow jersey from Stage 15, it was hardly easy going for the back-to-back champion. In Stage 3, Contador went down among the peloton in crash that would remove Frank Schleck from the competition altogether and set back the Spanaird’s chances for some time.

But Contador had been there before and he slowly chipped away at Andy Schleck’s lead, which the youth rider had regained in Stage 9. Stage 15 was key in the 2010 Tour de France and in fact Contador invited controversy when he forewent certain unwritten rules of sportsmanship to blow past Schleck as the chain on Schleck’s bike fell out. Though Contador apologized after the race, some former cyclists including Miguel Indurain came to his defense.

Schleck would fight back and take Stage 17, but since Contador finished mere seconds behind in the stage, it made little difference. At the end of Stage 19, Contador had built up a lead of 39 seconds and held that difference through Stage 20 for his second consecutive Tour de France win.

Contador now joins recent superstars such as Greg LeMond (Tour de France winner in 1986, ’89 and ’90), Indurain (’91 through ’95) and Lance Armstrong (’99 through 2005). The next dynasty may be Schleck’s, as the 25-year-old Luxembourger has now won three straight youth rider titles on the Tour de France.

In terms of odds, the bookmakers were again prescient, as the 4/7 odds on Contador held against Paddy Power’s proposition bet offering a 5/4 line on “the field.” In 19th place, John Gadret ended up the top Frenchman, a surprise to bookmakers who had him at 15/2 odds to be the tops from France in the race.

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British punter won $1 million betting on World Cup

Jul 21, 2010
2010 World Cup

Mike McNally, a 29-year-old business graduate and football fan from Bradford, England, turned a £10 bet into £650,000 ($1 million) betting on World Cup at a popular online sportsbook in the UK. McNally correctly predicted the results of an incredible 36 out of the 64 matches of the 2010 World Cup, beating hundreds of other football fans from around the world who also entered the contest.

The win wasn’t secured until the final match. McNally and another participant were tied 35-35 until the Holland and Spain match. McNally picked Spain to win, while his rival had put his money on Holland. McNally must have been on the edge of his seat during the entire match, only relaxing after Andres Iniesta’s extra time goal for Spain put him in the lead.

“I was speechless when I learned I’d won,” McNally revealed. “I just wish England could have performed as well as I did.”

Punters who missed wagering on this year’s World Cup may feel left out after learning about McNally’s success, thinking about all the 2010 World Cup bets they could have made. This big football tournament series won’t be back until 2014, but in the meantime, there are thousands of bets offered every day at sportsbooks across the internet. Just check out the latest online sports betting odds, then put your money down to win.

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The 2010 World Cup bets you could have made

Jul 14, 2010
2010 World Cup

While the final result and the final match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup wasn’t highly unexpected, the relative lack of clear-cut favorite throughout the tournament made for some big payouts for punters who bet correctly.

To start the tournament, Spain was a favorite at every sportsbook: The only variable were the odds, which ran at 4/1, 9/2 or 5/1. That’s at least $500 on a $100 bet just for picking the no.1 ranked team in the world going into the tournament. Even with eight teams remaining, Spain was still getting 11/4 odds at PaddyPower – a potential $375 more on a $100 wager.

Ladbrokes Sportsbook had finalists Spain and Holland at 2/1 and 13/2 to make the final match when the World Cup began. A $50 bet on each there earned clever bettors a total of $525.

As for individual matches, the biggest money was predictably made betting against the powerhouses. Those foolhardy enough to have wagered on Switzerland to beat Spain in their first game got odds of 11/1 at Brobury Sports for a huge $1,200 on $100 invested. And despite the terrible morale on Team France going into their third game, a South Africa win was still getting 11/5 odds at PaddyPower, for another $320 on $100 when the host nation defeated the champions of 1998.

Probably the biggest loss in the tournament was suffered by a bookmaker. Paddy Power had installed a money-back special for the World Cup, in which certain wagers would be returned on a 0-0 draw. England-Algeria in group play ended at 0-0 with millions bet by British punters and a sizable fraction returned on what normally would have been profit for the bookmaker.

But on our wagers, we just turned $500 into $2,920. See? Betting on the World Cup is easy. Good luck in 2014!

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Betfair punters win $600,000 betting on obscure tennis tournament; investigation ongoing

Jul 12, 2010
Tennis Betting

Would you believe that, with the 2010 World Cup, Wimbledon and Major League Baseball all in full swing, one of the most popular wagers on the Internet was on a grass-court tennis tournament in Rhode Island?

Neither does the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), an independent investigative body, which has ordered an investigation into a match between Richard Bloomfield of Britain and Belgium’s Chistophe Rochus in which $1.5 million was wagered on Bloomfield at Betfair online sportsbook. Betfair reported the irregular activity to the TIU and is expected to hand over information on the specific bets made on Bloomfield.

Bloomfield began the Newport Hall of Fame grass-court tournament ranked no. 552 in the world, while Rochus was at no. 160. Bloomfield was getting odds of 1:1 to win the best-of-three set match the day before, but just hours before first serve, those odds had shrunk to 1:4. After taking the first set and live odds betting continuing to roll in, Bloomfield had odds of 1:8 on him.

Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin later explained to Associated Press reporters that “If people are willing to risk £4 pounds to win £1, that is indicative of a substantial gamble.”

No official word has been released on how much the “lucky” punters who backed Bloomfield won from Betfair, but estimates say it’s $600,000 minimum.

Bloomfield won the contest in two sets and is not suspected of any wrongdoing, despite a 2006 investigation in a similar situation – he won that match, too. “I don’t know what to say,” said Bloomfield. “I know England’s a big betting nation. It seems like every time I win a decent match, [controversy] comes up.”

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Looking back at 2010 World Cup outright winner odds

Jul 06, 2010
2010 World Cup odds

One serious longshot and one dark horse remain among the 2010 World Cup final four, and if one of these two wins a few lucky punters will get some nice returns indeed. Even if the more highly regarded Holland or Spain hoists the Cup for the first time, though, the results will still be nice indeed for some.

Anyone with foresight enough to have bet on Germany at the start of the tournament is feeling pretty good right now. Now the hottest team left, BetUS was typical and offered a line of 14/1 on the Germans to win this thing – and eight goals in the past two games say they’ve got a shot. A $20 bet at BetUS Sportsbook in June could be worth a cool $280 on Monday.

Uruguay is the other surprise remaining in World Cup betting. Not only would a Uruguay victory in the championship represent the biggest upset ever, a mere $20 bet placed at Ladbrokes in early June will be worth a crazy $2,500.

As said before, either Holland or Spain will pay well in what was a fairly open tournament from the go with no true consensus favorite: Just last week, Netherlands was still getting 15/2 odds at BroburySports. Those doing their World Cup football betting at Bodog would have gotten 5/1 on Spain through most of the tournament.

Whoever wins the 2010 World Cup, two things are certain: This has been a great one, and some clever punters are going to be very happy with their sports betting expertise.

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How do you read NFL odds?

Jun 14, 2010
NFL Football Odds

The question “How do you read NFL football odds?” can be answered in two different ways. One response would answer to the nuts and bolts of the question, explaining those actual slates of numbers. The other would be to attempt to explain, as we do in the United States, the deeper meaning in those numbers the online bookmakers provide.

Considering a few relevant examples will help us consider both questions.

All lines except for those on pointspread (or handicap) bets may be presented in any of three ways: fractional, decimal and American. Fractional is the classic 3/1 format; decimal format shows you the payout based on 1 unit out to two decimal points, so 3.00 for the previous example; American style shows the payout on 100 units, so the current example would be +300 in this format.

The very basic proposition bet in all of NFL betting is of course wagering on the Super Bowl winner. Currently last year’s finalists, the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, are the favorites to win Super Bowl XLV at 8/1 (8.00, +800) and 9/1 (9.00, +900), respectively, by PaddyPower bookmakers.

How do you read these particular odds? These numbers mean simply, “It’s too far in advance of the season, which begins in September, to make a realistic call so we’re going with the default choices.” You can also wager on each division winner and the conference winners at most sports betting websites, but such bets in June are strictly for loyalists.

The most popular NFL bets week to week are the pointspread and over/under lines. These are represented by a plus or minus followed with a number of points. The favorite always receives a negative number, the underdog is positive. This bet works the same way as a handicap in golf, so taking the underdog means adds points to the result of the game; in a close game, the underdog often “wins” at the bookmaker.

Over/under lines represent what the oddsmaker believes will be the total number of points scored by both teams in the game. Pick the over if you think the final score will add up to more than the bookmaker’s line, under for less.

At BetUS, odds are actually already posted for week one in the NFL. In the Oakland Raiders-Tennessee Titans game, the Oakland Raiders are the underdog with a +7 pointspread and there’s an over/under of 41 points.

How do you read these NFL football odds? Well, Oakland at +7 means the bookies figure the Raiders to be just as awful as they have been for seven seasons now, while the 41 over/under indicates that this game will be about as exciting as most fans would expect. You can bet on it.

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Plenty of oddball World Cup proposition bets offered online

Jun 08, 2010
Bet Girl

The 2010 World Cup looks to be the single most wagered upon event in sports history, with over £1 billion in bets expected at online gambling sites and bricks-and-mortar bookmakers’ shops alone.

While the great majority of this will be placed by punters on the eventual tournament outcome and on individual matches, oddsmakers naturally offer a number of bizarre propositions on which riskier (or crazier) types may gamble.

If you’re one of those bored with the more traditional 2010 FIFA World Cup odds, check out some of these fresh alternatives.

• Total number of red cards given during the World Cup: over/under 19.5. Nobody really likes to see red cards on the football pitch: They do everything from slow down the game to ignobly end careers. Of course, one way to enjoy the referee’s moment of glory in this World Cup would be to bet on the outcome. How can you spot the fan who made this bet? He’s the only one cheering for the zebra!

• England is eliminated from the tournament on a penalty shootout: 4/1. Perhaps the most bet-upon side in the whole 2010 World Cup is England, which has even UK-based bookmakers worried that the country might get to relive the glories of 1966. On the other hand, there’s this prop bet, which will surely appeal to many cynical Brits.

• Any goalie scores in the tournament: 11/2. It’s never happened in World Cup history, but someday surely will.

• Diego Forlan of Uruguay scores the final goal of the 2010 World Cup: 500/1. This proposition is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Not only would Uruguay presumably need to at least make the World Cup final, striker Forlan needs to put in the game-winner. Either that or the punter is cheering for a lot of nil-nil shootout wins for the country that hasn’t won the tourney since 1950.

• Pick all 64 games correctly: €1,000,000. Titan Bet is offering this chance at riches, immortality and a genius label. And if someone picks “only” 49 games correct, that’s worth €250,000, too.

• North Korea to win: 2000/1 (or more). This line is Paddy Power’s and actually represents odds a bit shorter on North Korea than on many Internet gambling sites offering World Cup betting. All right, so this isn’t a bizarre proposition bet, but it would take a certain kind of punter to put any amount down on this all-time darkest of all dark horses.

Whether you’re betting soberly or crazily, enjoy the 2010 FIFA World Cup! And Gambling Results reminds all its readers to please bet responsibly.

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Paddy Power oil spill extinction odds draw criticism

Jun 01, 2010
Oil Bet

As the BP oil disaster unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico, Irish internet sportsbook Paddy Power is offering odds on which species the oil will drive to extinction first. Some have called the offerings irresponsible, saying that the attempt to profit from the disaster is in bad taste. Paddy Power responded by saying that they offer the odds in hopes of bringing attention to the issue.

The Wall Street Journal: Paddy Power Seeks To Cash In On Marine Life Extinction

Paddy Power may have crossed the line. In a recent press release entitled “Ridley Turtle Tipped For Oily Exit” Ireland’s biggest online sportsbook announced odds on which marine species will be the first to become extinct due to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Paddy Power insists that they are only trying to bring attention to the responsibilities of oil companies.

“The oil spill seems to be going from bad to worse with no end in sight,” says a spokesman for Paddy Power said, who denied that the extinction odds were in bad taste. “Hopefully our odds will bring home the imminent danger to such a varied mix of species dependent on the ocean.”

Unfortunately these words clash with the the tone of Paddy Power’s press release, which inserts humor in all the wrong places. For example, the statement quips about the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle, saying the fact that the species migrates through the Gulf of Mexico this time of year is “spectacularly bad luck”.

This is obviously a publicity stunt, and Paddy Power’s bottom line is to make money. Unfortunately, the fact remains that BP’s pipeline has yet to be fixed, and everyone involved is side-stepping the issue, refusing to accept responsibility.

New York Times: Website Offers Betting on Spill-Related Extinctions of Gulf Species

The online sports betting site Paddy Power is offering odds today on which marine species would be first to go extinct due to BP’s ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Kemp’s ridley turtle, already an endangered species, is favored to go first. A $5 bet on the turtle would win $9 if it becomes extinct because of the spill. Other species like the gulf sturgeon, smalltooth sawfish and elkhorn coral have less probable odds, paying out at rates of 20-to-1.

Paddy Power hopes the offer will bring attention to the fact that the spill is an environmental catastrophe that will likely lead to the extinction of one or more species in the Gulf.

“We kind of have a very simple philosophy at Paddy Power — within reason if there is a very newsworthy event that are people are talking about, people should be allowed to back up their opinion with some cash,” said spokesman Ken Robertson.

The Chronicle Herald: Ruptured oil well threatens bluefin tuna

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening the Atlantic bluefin tuna, raising concerns about the future of the species in Atlantic Canada. The fish breed in the Gulf, but then follow the Gulf Stream north, along the Nova Scotia coast.

“There is an important rod-and-reel fishery and a significant tourism industry associated with the great fish during the fall season in the Maritimes,” said Reg Hartlen at H&H Fisheries in Eastern Passage.

Many people associated with Canada’s fishing industry first heard about the threat to the bluefin when Paddy Power online sportsbook gave odds on which species would become extinct first because of the disaster. The bluefin is listed as second most likely to face extinction, right after the Kemp’s ridley turtle.

“Anybody who knows anything at all about the importance of the gulf region to our fishery is watching this situation very closely,” said Stephen Kiley, a former Shad Bay charter boat captain.

“One of the worst environmental night­mares of our time is unfolding right now in the gulf. We’ll be living with it for years.”

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Australian punters prop up profitable quarter for Sportingbet

May 27, 2010
Dollar Planet

Though still affected by the slumping worldwide economy, Sportingbet representatives were recently quite happy to announce the sportsbook’s profitable third-quarter results for the fiscal year. Key markets of Spain and Greece were unimpressive for Sportingbet, but a large influx from Australia proved to be the financial difference. The next year may be a bit difficult for the bookmaker, though, as new gambling laws in France are forcing the company’s withdrawal from that market.

Interactive Investor: Australia drives Sportingbet Q3

For the third quarter of its fiscal year, Sportingbet reported net gaming revenue to be up 29.8 percent to £55.7 million. Total bets in the period ending in April increased 22 percent to £521 million (approximately $750 million) wagered.

“Given the widely reported economic difficulties in Spain and Greece, which are two of our biggest markets,” said Sportingbet CEO Andrew McIver, “it is pleasing to report an 18 percent increase in profits.” Sportingbet business in Greece increased 8 percent, while Spain was stagnant for the bookmaker.

Sportingbet shares, which earlier in the week had hit a nine-month low at 57.5p, had rebounded by 3.7 percent to 62.5p on the morning of the announcement of results, valuing the company at £307 million.

McIver cited the advantages of geographical diversification business, and added that the company’s fourth quarter would be focused on the World Cup, repeating his comments of May that “much of how the remainder of this quarter performs will depend on the outcome of (the World Cup).”

In addressing next year’s results, Sportingbet stated that it would no longer be accepting bets from French players in light of the new licensing regulations for offshore online casino owners there. Sportingbet will apply for licensing in France, but due to the time involved plus some permanent loss of revenue, fiscal year 2011 is expected to be down for Sportingbet.

Financial Times: Australian profits drive Sportingbet

Since the Australian market showed in 19 percent raise in gross amount wagered in the third quarter of the fiscal year, Sportingbet was able to report a 13 percent jump in pre-tax profits.

Australian wagering at Sportingbet increased from £153.2 million to £182.1 million. Reasons given for the profitable quarter in Australia included “horse racing results that favored the bookmaker” and liberalization of advertising regulations in the country.

Sportingbet also reported weak intake from Spain and Greece, two markets that make up about 33 percent of Sportingbet revenue. For comparison, the bookmaker draws about 5 percent of its business from the U.K.

Sportingbet representatives also reported that they anticipate a further increase in revenues in the fourth quarter because of World Cup betting. Betting on soccer makes up 61 percent of sportsbook activity at Sportingbet.

Stock Markets Review: Sportingbet report Strong Q3 for sports and casino

Sportingbet’s fiscal results for quarter three were reported as strong, with net gaming revenue increasing 30 percent year-on-year (or 27 percent with exchange rate fluctuation taken into account). In addition to the excellent results in Australia, sports and casino growth in Europe was also called “strong.”

For Sportingbet, European sportsbook activity increased 21 percent YoY to £29.1 million. Casino gaming was up 17 percent to £11.6 million, with particular good results for the Sportingbet flash casino. Poker gaming at Sportingbet was down 10 percent YoY to £4.5 million.

With regard to the French market, Sportingbet indicated that it expected to receive sports, horseracing and poker licenses in early 2011 and that the company had already entered into marketing partnerships to advertise in “Le Monde” and “L’Express” newspapers.

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UEFA’s probe into match-fixing scandal reaches Hungary and Switzerland

May 25, 2010
Mad Michel

The bitter fruit of soccer governing body UEFA’s labor is blooming in a Europe-wide probe across 12 countries to determine to what extent matches are being fixed for gambling purposes. It appears impossible to say whether UEFA’s efforts will or even can succeed before the 2010 World Cup kicks off in South Africa on June 11.

Sydney Morning Herald: Nine Swiss footballers suspended

Switzerland’s national soccer association has suspended nine players, including five for an indefinite period, for match-fixing as part of the Europe-wide UEFA probe.

The national league board said in a statement that “The Swiss Football Association is, according to current information, the first and only federation which has treated in the consequent manner the suspects of match-fixing made public in autumn 2009.”

None of the nine players suspended were in the top division of Switzerland football. The four players given sentences were banned from Swiss soccer for between 12 and 36 months.

The suspensions were the result of 50 raids in November in Austria, Britain, Germany and Switzerland in the probe’s first big move. In these 50 actions, over €1 million was seized. UEFA official stated that “Without doubt this is the biggest scam there has ever been in European football.”

Sports Illustrated: UEFA quizzes players at Hungarian champion Debrecen over suspected match-fixing

UEFA officials recently questioned eight players of Hungarian league champion Debrecen, which lost all six of its Champions League matches to Fiorentina, Liverpool and Lyon in the 2009-10 season, for which the club earned €9.2 million.

Though UEFA offered no comment as to the extent or subject matter of the discussion, Debrecen official Csaba Bartha did not make much of it, writing on the official club website that “the degree of seriousness of the matter is reflected by the fact that they didn’t even [transcribe] the statements.”

Debrecen is the second Hungarian club to come into question in this particular investigation, after UEFA looked into a suspicious Honvéd loss in November. More than 200 games are being considered for the possibility of match fixing in the UEFA investigation.

USA Today: World Cup arrives amid global match-fixing probes

Referees in Bosnia and Ukraine have been banned for life as part of a UEFA probe in a season when fixing matches has “spread more widely through football than ever.” UEFA President Michel Platini described the situation as seriously enough to put the sport itself in “mortal danger.”

Another threat to the integrity of soccer has arisen aside from the existing match-fixing problems has appeared as well. English Football Association chairman David Triesman stated that Russian criminal elements would be attempting to bribe referees to favor Spain in exchange for Spain’s support of the Russian bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

To prevent scandal from tainting the 2010 World Cup, FIFA officials created the company Early Warning, which would monitor any suspicious activity online concerning match outcomes. The World Cup is expected to generate about $3.4 billion for FIFA.

China is also taking on corruption in soccer at home, arresting among others Chinese Football Federation head Nan York and former World Cup referee Lu Jun.

The UEFA probe first began last year, when a “nest of corruption” was revealed to have involved matches in four World Cup nations (Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Switzerland) and six others (Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary and Turkey).

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Lance Armstrong Accused of Doping by Former Teammate Floyd Landis

May 21, 2010
Bike Pump

In a series of emails sent out to top cycling officials, American rider Floyd Landis admitted to systematically using blood doping and drugs to enhance his performance throughout his career. The emails also accused other cyclists of doing the same – including Lance Armstrong. Armstrong denied all accusations during an impromptu press conference he held earlier this week.

The Wall Street Journal: Cyclist Armstrong Denies Doping

Cyclist Lance Armstrong has denied allegations of participating in performance-enhancing measures. The allegations came from former teammate Floyd Landis, who recently admitted to using drugs and other practices.

Landis, whose 2006 Tour De France victory was nullified after he tested positive in a doping test, recently admitted through a series of emails to cycling officials that he systematically used blood transfusions and performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. The emails also claim that other riders participated in the practices, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

After Landis’s accusations, Armstrong held a press conference at the Tour of California during which he denied all allegations. “If you said, ‘Give me one word to sum this all up:’ credibility,” said Armstrong. “Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago.”

“I’d remind everybody that this is a man that’s been under oath several times and had a very different version,” said Armstrong, alluding to Landis’ constant denials of doping accusations in the past. “This is somebody that took, some would say, close to $1 million from innocent people for his defense under a different premise. Now when it’s all run out the story changes.”

Armstrong has faced doping accusations several times during his career, but has never been sanctioned.

Boston Globe: Wheels spin on doping

Lance Armstrong faced accusations yesterday that he used performance-enhancing drugs. They came from American cyclist Floyd Landis, who lost his 2006 Tour de France victory when he tested positive for synthetic testosterone.

“It’s our word against his word,” said Armstrong. “I like our word. We like our credibility.”

Landis recently admitted to top cycling officials that he had used performance-enhancing measures in the past, including steroid patches, blood doping, and HGH. He also accused several other high-profile American cyclists of doping, including Armstrong.

In an impromptu press conference, Armstrong said, “We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to run from.”

“It’s very sad,’’ said Armstrong. “At one point or another, all of us implicated have cared about Floyd. That’s one thing we all shared in common.

“We all gave ladders to Floyd at some point in his life when he dug himself a hole. People aren’t throwing him ladders anymore.’’

Sport.co.uk: Armstrong dismisses Landis claims

Lance Armstrong says he has nothing to hide in the face of recent allegations of performance-enhancing drug use made by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis.

Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Earlier this week he admitted to systematic drug use thorough his career.

More shocking than this admission of guilt was a series of allegations that implicated Armstrong and his team boss Johan Bruyneel were also involved in performance-enhancing activities.

Landis says that Armstrong and Bruyneel struck a deal with authorities to cover a positive drug test during the 2002 Tour of Switzerland.

The UCI, cycling’s governing body, is on Armstrong’s side. As it turns out, he did not even compete in that event.

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Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia cops fight illegal World Cup betting

May 20, 2010
Kicks Betting

With just a couple of weeks remaining until World Cup 2010 kicks off in South Africa, law enforcement agencies all over the world are getting ready for a potentially unprecedented amount of illegal gambling. Recently, police chiefs and other lawmen have been announcing their plans for cracking down on such activities in their home countries.

People’s Daily: HK police to intensify crackdown on illegal football betting, drink driving during World Cup

Tsang Tak-sing, Hong Kong’s secretary for the Home Affairs Bureau, stated this week that Hong Kong police would be intensifying law enforcement against both illegal betting and drink driving while the World Cup is being played. The Organized Crime and Triad Bureau is coordinating the efforts of the various regional agencies involved in the operation.

Hong Kong police have reportedly also been watching Internet gambling activity and are employing “cyber patrols” in an effort to fight illegal football betting online. Law enforcement actions may even take place outside of Hong Kong, should sufficient evidence be gathered linking such non-domestic websites to appealing to Hong Kong citizens.

Tsang also reported that Hong Kong police had arrested seven people in four different raids, with illegal gambling activities involved worth over HK$550,000 (approximately $70,500) in the first three months of this year.

Jakarta Post: Police on lookout for gambling ahead of Cup

Jakarta police authorities have announced their intensification of Internet surveillance in order to stop alleged online gambling, going so far as to monitor Facebook and other social networking sites.

Explained Jakarta police spokesman Sr. Commander Boy Rafli Amar, “We will find out whether virtual poker games played on social networking sites … involve gambling.”

In early May, two websites – IBCbet.com and Casino.SBObet.com – were shut down and their owner arrested on charges of illegally providing casino games and sports betting within Indonesia. The sites were thought to be making some $55,500 per day before the police action.

Bernama: Police To Combat Illegal Betting During World Cup

In Malaysia, local law enforcement agency CID has formed a distinct unit to deal specifically with illegal betting on the World Cup outcome and individual game results. Having just recently legalized gambling in the country, Malaysian police will now be concentrating on the unlicensed operators.

CID Chief Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin stated that even though the Malaysian government had issued gaming licenses to allow legal wagering during the 2010 World Cup, illegal betting syndicates will certainly take the opportunity to rake in profits illegally. “Anyone found betting or accepting such bets will be charged,” said Bakri, “and that also includes online betting.”

Bakri also stated that his taskforce would be looking for various forms of betting, as syndicates would devise many forms of betting in order to attract gamblers. He added that CID officers have already accumulated a list of suspects and probable operating locations in Malaysia.

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Paddy Power gets Jiggy with the Irish Pole Dancing Championships

May 20, 2010
poledancing

This Saturday, May 22, the Irish Pole Dancing championships will see the most flexible women from the north and south of the Emerald Isle battle for supremacy in a very unique (and very artistic) national competition. The event is heralded as a “celebration of fitness,” bringing together professional dancers from Ireland’s best pole schools to compete against one another and to show the world what they’ve got.

The dancers in this event are athletes. According to the event’s Facebook page, these ladies are working to get rid of the “sleazy stripper stigma” that is often attached to pole dancing, instead emphasizing the fitness side of things. This year’s Championships even offer a charitable twist: all money raised from during the competition will go to Crumlin Children Hospital in Dublin.

Paddy Power, Ireland’s top online sportsbook, is offering wagers on all three levels of competition: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced. All wagers are outright win only, and odds are offered on all the dancers competing in each league. Only singles are offered outright, but according to the sportsbook’s website, other bets are available on request.

Paddy Power Sports is professional-quality internet betting that has been around for almost 20 years. Their event coverage is outstanding, offering bets on everything from football and cricket to darts and snooker. They are even running a special promotion on Volcano Betting, where players can wager on what dates Heathrow will be closed because of volcanic ash!

Visit Paddy Power today to put money down on your favorite girl for this year’s Irish Pole Dancing Championships. May the best pole dancer win!

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Ladbrokes pushes its online operations as land-based revenue falls

May 17, 2010
Ladbrokes Online Sportsbook

Due in part to the recent economic downturn, but also to bad weather across the UK this winter, Ladbrokes has seen first quarter profits at its high street betting shops down several percent. Online, however, things are looking promising, especially after the group cut costs by moving its online operations to Gibraltar.

Telegraph: Ladbrokes revenue dips as cautious punters stake less cash

Ladbrokes last week revealed that revenue has slipped 6% year on year, with a 10% drop in the amount of money staked by customers.

The sportsbook said that over-the-counter revenue at its land-based betting shops saw a huge drop in January due to bad weather, falling a full 17%. In the months following, trends slowly improved with April revenue down only 7%.

Sports betting is often considered to be a recession-proof businesses, but many struggled during the recent economic downturn. The latest updates from other high street bookmakers like Paddy Power and William Hill have fortunately been more promising.

Ladbrokes’ new chief executive Richard Glynn said the current economic climate is still “challenging” and UK consumers are not as confident in their spending as they were a few years ago.

Despite this recent drop in revenues, Ladbrokes saw operating profits rice 3pc in the first quarter of 2010, thanks in large part to the group’s move to the tax haven of Gibraltar last year.

Ladbrokes finance director Brian Wallace said he has plans to save the company around £8m a year.

Guardian: Ladbrokes shares slip as punters stay away

UK bookmakers have been struggling more than expected during the recent economic slump recession, but the latest reports from William Hill and Paddy Power are showing signs of picking up. Ladbrokes, however, said last week that numbers are dropping in their books, with the amount of bets placed in its high street shops continuing to decline.

First quarter net revenue at Ladbrokes has fallen 6%, with UK retail revenue down 11%. Over the counter revenue dropped by 10%. Its online sports betting business is also seeing a slump, mostly due to unexpectedly poor performance from their poker and casino offerings.

Newly appointed Ladbrokes chief executive Richard Glyn said, “The economic environment remains challenging and the strength of UK consumer confidence post the election is difficult to gauge. However group profitability year to date has been broadly in line with expectations.”

Irish Times: Operating profit rises at Ladbrokes

UK bookmaker Ladbrokes reported a 3% rise in four-month operating profits, thanks to its recent strategy of moving its online sports betting headquarters to the gambling tax haven of Gibraltar.

The move introduced several expense reductions which have helped to offset a recent drop in revenue at Ladbrokes’ UK betting shops, which is down 6% over the last four months.

The company also revealed that their net debt had fallen by £179 million, thanks to a £515 million settlement it recently received from a tax dispute.

Ladbrokes’ latest strategy is to bring more attention to its online sportsbook, to make up for the drop in sales at its land-based betting shops. After moving their online betting unit to Gibraltar last year, the company expects to save about £8 million annually.

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Apple to allow online gambling apps?

May 13, 2010
iCheer

In a surprise move, Betfair has just added a sports betting app to Apple’s iPhone store, breaking down Apple’s anti-gambling policy. The new app uses geolocation and age verification to ensure only players who are allowed to bet on sports are able to do so. Apple has yet to offer an official statement, so it is possible that the app just slipped under the radar.

Geek.com: Did Apple just greenlight online gambling on the App Store?

You can’t have sex or nudity at the Apple App Store, but now you can bet on sports using your iPhone. Either this app submission slipped under the Apple censors’ radar, or they have relaxed their policies in order to make more types of software available.

Whichever the case may be, Betfair has just become the first gambling group to have its betting software (called Betfair Client) available at the store. According to EGR Mag, this development ushers in a new era for iPhone users:

Betfair’s mobile chief claims that Apple imposed “no terms and conditions” to regulate gambling applications. Despite this, the app only works in the UK and Ireland.

Apple has been very restrictive lately about what apps it allows, especially when they show skin or offer adult themes. They even removed apps provided by underwear sellers because they included images of scantily-clothed men and women in their shopping apps.

eGamingReview: Betfair gambling app marks Apple turnaround

Betfair recently became the first major online betting company to offer a gambling application through Apple’s iPhone App Store, marking a new stance on gambling apps from Apple.

The downloadable app, which Betfair’s exchange product, marks a change in Apple’s policies regarding gambling apps, which have not been allowed in the past.

Charles Palmer, head of Betfair mobile said: “There were no terms and conditions about gambling. We approached Apple with the proposal and our app, showing it does the normal KYC and age verification.”

The app is only available to customers in the UK and Ireland, and uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS to make sure bets are only placed from these areas.

“We have also added the ability to locate where the customer is. It can tell if you are in the UK or Ireland, and if you’re not, it won’t function. We put that in there as an extra precaution – they didn’t request that,” he said.

Computer Weekly: BetFair puts iPhone gaming app into Apple App Store

BetFair, one of the world’s biggest online sports betting operators, just launched an iPhone app that allows punters to bet on sports while on the move.

The launch is part of an attempt by BetFair to “mobilise” its business. The company already supports browser-based apps on Symbian, Blackberry, and Android, and they are working on spreading out even more.

The new app gives the company fine control over authentication and verification of bettors, making it almost impossible for under-age people to place bets. It also uses the iPhone’s GPS locator to only allow bets to be placed from authorized jurisdictions.

According to BetFair, mobile customers are up 40% from last year, with revenues from mobile customers up a full 50%.

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Blind Football – Playing Soccer Blindfolded with Paddy Power

May 13, 2010
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Sports Gambling Bid Rejected by High Court in Delaware

May 04, 2010
Football Stamp

Legislation is being pushed all over the United States in favor of all kinds of gambling in order to raise state revenues. Delaware is one state currently in hot pursuit of the industry, but a recent bid for sports gambling was just rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bloomberg Business Week: Delaware Sports Gambling Bid Rejected by High Court

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to give Delaware broader authority to sponsor sports gambling, and left intact a ruling that allows multi-game bets on National Football League contests while barring other wagers.

The justices rejected an appeal by Delaware Governor Jack Markell, whose state is 1 of just 4 that can offer sports gambling under a 1992 federal law. The rebuff means Delaware can only offer 1 aspect of its sports-wagering plan — parlay betting on 3 or more NFL games. Markell wanted to offer single-game betting as well as wagering on other sports.

Nevada is the only state that allows widespread sports gambling.

The Assosciated Press: High court turns down Delaware over sports betting

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Delaware appeal which sought to expand its sports betting lottery beyond professional football on Monday. Justices denied Delaware’s petition for judicial review without comment, and left limits on sports betting in Delaware to multi-game, or parlay, bets on NFL games.

The court declared that the state’s new sports betting lottery must be similar to the betting scheme used in a failed 1976 NFL lottery which allowed Delaware to be 1 of only 4 states to receive exemptions from the federal ban.

Despite losing the appeal, Delaware still maintains a competitive gambling advantage over neighboring states by being the only state east of the Rocky Mountains in which wagering on the NFL is legal.

Reuters: Supreme court rejects Delaware sports betting appeal

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Delaware appeal that argued the state should be allowed to offer a new sports betting lottery to generate revenue to help ease its record budget deficit. The justices let stand a 1992 federal ruling by a U.S. appeals court that prohibits Delaware from offering betting on individual games in all major sports, without comment.

The North American professional leagues for baseball, basketball, football and hockey and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) all argued that Delaware’s sports lottery plan violated the 1992 law.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, prohibits betting on sports. Exceptions were granted to Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon because they previously ran sports betting operations.

Delaware had expected at least an estimated $17 million in revenues from the sports betting plan in the 2010 fiscal year to help close the state’s budget deficit.

Attorneys for the professional sports leagues and the NCAA told the Supreme Court the appeal should be rejected. They said the estimated $17 million in sports gambling revenue represented a trivial percentage of the state’s $3.1 billion budget.

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