Leon Balogun salutes Rangers fans

first_imgRelatedPosts Gerrard gets Aribo, Leon Balogun boost Aribo sets Rangers goal target Injury blow for Aribo, Leon Balogun Rangers defender Leon Balogun has heaped praise on the club’s fans following their 3-0 win over St Mirren on Sunday.He told the Rangers website: “MyGers is a great way for fans to feel closer than ever to the club. The scarf that comes with the adult MyGers Welcome Packs is really cool and is a nice way for supporters to show off the new crest.” Meanwhile, Rangers fans have joined the club’s membership scheme in their numbers with 25,000 supporters signed up for MyGers.The club decided to roll out the venture earlier this summer and fans have got right behind it to continue showing support to the Ibrox side.With season ticket sales of more than 40,000, the membership scheme has now reached its own impressive milestone.MyGers members are sorted into three categories depending on their previous spend with Rangers, including away games and European trips.The club then have specific benefits for MyGers members which includes a welcome pack that comes with a scarf and pin badge. —Tags: Leon BalogunMyGersRangers FClast_img read more

Rough Weather to Continue Through the Week

first_imgAs our area works its way through a stormy weekend, that trend is expected to continue for the next week.Storms will continue on and off into Sunday evening, with the possibility of hail and wind gusts of up to 50 mph.Meteorologists says that a west-southwest steering flow will keep bringing deep tropical moisture into the region through early in the week.Afternoon high temperatures will be around the low 90s, with feels-like temperatures of as high as the low 100s.Rain totals during the next six days are expected to between two and four inches, with a 50 to 70 percent chance of of rain each day.Although forecasters do not expect widespread flooding, they do say that we could see some localized ponding of water in low lying areas, as well as small hail and damaging wind gusts.last_img read more

State Legislator, Broward Resident Kristin Jacobs Dies of Cancer at 60

first_imgDemocratic Rep. Kristin Jacobs, a Broward County legislator who pushed environmental causes, died Saturday of colon cancer. She was 60.Jacobs spent most of the recently completed legislative session working from her hospital bed, and did return to Tallahassee last month for passage of a bill named in her honor that bans the importation of shark fins to the state.Before being elected to the state House in 2014, she served for 16 years on the Broward County Commission.“Never without a smile on her face, even as she battled cancer, we all know her to have been a tireless advocate for Florida’s environment, wildlife and families,” House Speaker Jose Oliva said on Saturday in a statement. “She served her constituents with honor, distinction and loyalty and will be remembered with great job by all who knew her.”Gov. DeSantis also tweeted about the news of Jacobs’ death, referring to her work on the environment..@FLCaseyDeSantis and I extend our sincerest condolences to the family of Representative @KristinJacobsFL. A fighter for the environment and water quality, we will remember Rep. Jacobs for her commitment to public service. She will be missed by many.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 11, 2020last_img read more

Cricket News Virat Kohli says ‘drawn’ series fair result of India’s potential in Australia

first_imgNew Delhi: Virat Kohli displayed his class in a tense chase at the Sydney Cricket Ground against Australia. Chasing 165, the Indian cricket team skipper blasted his 19th Twenty20 International fifty as India sealed a six-wicket win to level the three-match series 1-1. After a loss in Brisbane and a wash-out in Melbourne, the Sydney game witnessed India playing a magnificent game to extend their unbeaten run in bilateral Twenty20 International series to nine. Speaking after the end of the game, Kohli said the result was a ‘fair indication’ of India’s potential to do well in Australia.Read More | Shikhar Dhawan creates unique T20I world record in Sydney“Still fair bit of work to do but we’re going in the right direction which is nice. Feeling good for the Tests. Will get down to Brisbane and prepare for 5-6 days,” Kohli said.Read More | Virat Kohli powers India to series-levelling win in Sydney T20IThe Indian skipper hailed the contributions of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Both openers blazed away to 67 in 5.3 overs that laid the platform for India’s chase. Dhawan fell for a blazing 41 off 22 balls while Rohit fell for 23.Read More | Krunal Pandya creates record in Sydney T20I against Australia“When our openers get into the zone they’re difficult to stop. Things become pretty easy when those two guys (Rohit and Shikhar) do the job for us,” Kohli said.‘Hope to stop Kohli’Kohli’s fifty in Twenty20 Internationals continued the Indian skipper’s consistent performances against Australia. Wicketkeeper Alex Carey was hopeful that the hosts had the answers to the Indian skipper’s form ahead of the four-Test series beginning on December 6 in Adelaide.“We’ve seen him do that before and he did it again tonight. Hopefully in Tests, it will be a different story? We’ve got some good pacer bowlers and Nathan Lyon. It will be a really good summer of cricket,” Carey said.Australia added Mitchell Starc into the Twenty20 International side which was the left-arm pacer’s first T20I at home since 2014. Carey said he really looks forward to the Tests where Starc can form a lethal trio along with Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.“I thought he bowled really well tonight. Dhawan obviously got him away for a couple of fours and that happens in T20 cricket but I thought he came into the side and he was really excited to play this game. He hasn’t played too many T20 games. I thought he had a real impact. He’s played a lot of cricket now. He’s a real professional, looks after his body, come off a Shield game and into a T20 game now. I’m just as excited as you guys to watch him take on India along with Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins and obviously Lyon. He’ll be fine,” Carey said.The Australian wicketkeeper said the hosts were 15 runs short and the SCG wicket was a typical 180-like wicket. “We would have loved to put 15 more runs on the board tonight and I guess who knows in Melbourne as well. It was quite a difficult wicket in overcast conditions and could have gone either way,” Carey added. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

LMC Chairman Says NPFL All-Stars Can Spring Surprises

first_imgFred EdorehNotwithstanding the high pedigree of the LaLiga in world club football, Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC), Shehu Dikko, has sounded a warning to the Spanish teams lined up to engage the selected side of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) not to think it is going to be a stroll in the park against the All Stars from Nigeria.Dikko gave the warning while speaking to the Spanish press on Monday night immediately on arrival in the city of Valencia where the NPFL All Stars will take on Valencia CF in their opening game of the friendly tour.“The first assumption for football followers would be that it will be an easy run for the LaLiga clubs over the NPFL All Stars, given the high standard and pedigree of the Spanish league in comparison to growing Nigeria Professional Football League but they would be mistaken. This is football and I believe there can be surprises,” Dikko said.His optimism draws from the quality of players brought together into the NPFL All Stars many of who he opines are up to the challenge. “The NPFL All Stars has talented and experienced players. Many of them have played for Nigeria national teams at different levels, with different numbers of caps in the senior national team. Others have had experience in international and continental competitions. They are very confident players who will not be intimidated the rating of their opponents,” he explained.The NPFL All Stars departed Lagos on Monday morning and arrived Valencia by train from Madrid where they landed in the evening after a three hours stop in Casablanca, Morocco.Dikko however pointed out that the real value of the NPFL All-Stars LaLiga tour is not about the possible results of the matches but “the exposure it gives to the players, the opportunity to learn from a different environment with high quality players and high standard of organisation.”Captained by Enyimba FC of Aba top player, Chima Akas, the team parades some of the best legs in the NPFL. The list includes goalkeepers Ikechukwu Ezenwa of FC IfeanyiUbah, Nnewi, Theophilus Afelokhai of Enyimba FC of Aba and Emeka Nwabulu of Wikki Tourists, Bauchi.Others are Mathew Etim (Rangers), Austin Obaroakpo (Abia Warriors) and Jamiu Aliyu of Kano Pillars. Also in the squad are Enyimba’s Joseph Osadiaye, Rabiu Ali of Kano Pillars, Godwin Obaje of Wikki Tourists and Ezekiel Bassey of Enyimba.Obinna Nwobodo of Rangers, Emmanuel Ariwa (Akwa United), Ifeanyi Ifeanyi of MFM, Ismaila Gata of FC IfeanyiUbah, Samuel Nweke of Nasarawa United and Charles Henlong of Wikki Tourists also made the list.The rest of the squad are Dayo Ojo of Sunshine Stars, Chisom Egbuchulam of Rangers, Sikiru Olatunbosun of MFM, Chinedu Udoji of Enyimba and his teammate Dami Ojo.The team is being handled by Nigeria national team coach, Salisu Yusuf, assisted by Imama Amapakabo of Rangers International FC of Enugu and Nigerian ex-international, Ike Shorunmu as goalkeepers trainer.The All Stars will commence their test against Valencia CF today and go into the Carranza World Tournament on August 12, when they take on Malaga CF in Cadiz.Possible victory against Malaga will match them against either Atletico Madrid or Cadiz CF, hosts of the tournament for either the winner’s or third place contest scheduled for August 13.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Golden Bears head to Dedeaux Field

first_imgIt was only months ago that the Golden Bears’ baseball team was making national headlines for its unlikely College World Series run in the wake of the program’s brush with extinction.Now, California arrives at Dedeaux Field to take on USC, eager to turn around a rough start to 2012 that has left the Golden Bears at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings at the midway point of the season.The Trojans, however, should be prepared to face the team that made a run at Omaha, Neb., last season, not the one treading water in one of the nation’s toughest conferences. Cal is just 1-5 against the two Pac-12 teams it has faced thus far, but is coming off a road series win over No. 25 Texas and could be primed for the type of run that it went on in 2011.That’s mostly because of Cal’s lineup, which features six regulars hitting .300 or better and is led by infielder Tony Renda’s .351 mark.USC’s likely senior starters, Andrew Triggs and Ben Mount, along with freshman Stephen Tarpley, won’t keep players like Renda and junior Darrel Matthews completely off the base paths, but neutralizing the hitters in front of and behind them would bode well for the Trojans.Not to say USC’s offense won’t have just as big an impact on the series. Of all the players who have started at least 20 games for the Trojans, four are hitting .333 or better.That appears to match up well on paper with Cal’s starting staff, which, aside from senior Matt Flemer, has struggled.The Golden Bears’ other two probable pitchers for the weekend, Michael Theofanopoulos and Justin Jones, both have earned run averages above 4.30, with Jones’ sitting at 5.45.That last statistic is particularly concerning for the Golden Bears, who just last year saw Jones receive All Pac-10 Honorable Mention honors to go along with a 9-6 record and a tidy 2.93 ERA.With two starters possessing ERA in the lower threes, USC would appear to have an advantage on the mound heading into the weekend.It doesn’t hurt that Tarpley, likely to start Saturday’s series finale, still has yet to lose a game as a Trojan.The games were moved up to avoid playing the series finale on Easter Sunday. Thursday and Friday’s games begin at 6 p.m., with a 1 p.m. first pitch for Saturday’s series finale.last_img read more

Laffan speaks out on Loughmore exit

first_imgTipp FM will have live updates from today’s matchesMeanwhile following on from Loughmore’s controversial exit from the championship last weekend – manager Declan Laffan says if protocols weren’t followed it leaves a sour taste.Speaking on Tipp FM’s Straight Talk with Jackie Cahill last night he wished all the remaining teams the very best but added they were bitterly disappointed not to get their opportunity to try and claw back a possible victory Killenaule and Kilruane Mac Donaghs open up proceedings at 1.30 followed by the clash of Thurles Sarsfields and Borrisoleigh at 3.The second double header takes place at the Thurles venue tomorrow featuring Clonoulty Rossmore against Mullinahone and Kildangan and Drom & Inch.The draw will then been made for the last four encounter last_img read more

Winning Post – Why time is of the essence for UK Parliament

first_img Björn Nilsson: How Triggy is delivering digestible data through pre-set triggers August 28, 2020 Winning Post: Swedish regulator pushes back on ‘Storebror’ approach to deposit limits August 24, 2020 Share StumbleUpon Submit Related Articles PokerStars moves to refresh global appeal with ‘I’M IN’ August 18, 2020 Share Regulus Partners, the strategic consultancy focused on international gambling and related industries, takes a look at some key developments for the gambling industry in its ‘Winning Post’ column.UK: Regulation – Where’s the Harm?The publication this week of Britain’s first reporting framework for gambling-related harm offered a glimpse of future public policy debates – and set out a number of clear challenges for the industry.The report, which was commissioned by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, identifies nine recommendations for collecting data on the societal and public health costs of excessive gambling. The list comprises the loss of employment (and increased welfare payments); bankruptcy and debt relief; homelessness; increased debt; the commission of crimes; divorce and relationship breakdown; stress, anxiety and mental and physical health issues; and suicide and suicide ideation.The report’s lead author is the eminent Dr Heather Wardle – and the work of her team on this project is a long overdue addition to the evidence base for guiding gambling policy. Critically, it highlights how the debate on gambling is shifting from the abstract concept of problem gambling towards the more vivid (and relevant) realm of harm.The collection of reliable data on harms may undermine some of the more fantastic claims from the anti-gambling lobby; but it also presents a significant challenge to the industry. The incidence of harm lends itself to availability bias in a way that reports on the prevalence of problem gambling do not.Two years ago, eight-year-old Keira Broadhead of Wakefield was murdered (along with her father, Andrew) in an arson attack reportedly linked to the perpetrator’s gambling addiction. While such extreme harms are rare (and probably far more complex than press reports suggest), there is a force to them that allows no counter-balance. One simply cannot weigh jobs and taxes against such human costs.The recent launch of the pressure group, ‘Gambling with Lives’ (formed by bereaved families) has raised the profile of gambling-related suicide – and Parliament is taking notice. The Conservative peer, Lord Chadlington has repeatedly pressed the Government on this issue and shows no sign of relenting.The relative severity (in financial terms) of recent sanctions from the Gambling Commission reflects our regulator’s deepening interest in the consequences of licensing breaches. The £2.3m Gala Coral settlement in 2017 (which included £1.3m of revenue foregone and a £1m punitive element) related to just two of the licensee’s customers; but both are now serving time for crimes committed to fund their gambling.The Commission has made it clear (within its revised enforcement strategy) that it is prepared to move to licence revocation if “what happened seriously affected consumers, either deliberately or through incompetence”. Quite rightly, the outcomes matter rather than the simple facts of non-compliance.As we wrote last week in our blog (http://reguluspartners.com/index.php/2018/07/06/in-pursuit-of-balance-stuck-in-the-middle-with-who/), while the focus on harm is both important and overdue, “there is a risk that – unleavened by broader considerations – it may skew thinking in relation to what constitutes effective and proportionate regulation”.How the gambling industry responds to the changing nature of regulatory discourse will be key. Spin is not the answer; but it is not entirely clear what is. The first step has to be to engage with the subject and to understand it. Only by confronting and addressing the harms can licensees hope to be considered credible witnesses to this debate.UK: In Parliament – It’s About TimeIt is perhaps a reflection of the state of government in Britain that, the best part of two years after the DCMS launched its review of machine gambling, so many questions on FOBTs remain unanswered. This week, the Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith took the Government to task on the key question of when the maximum stake on machines in betting shops would be reduced to £2.The Government – the statutory instrument required to effect the change will be laid (as an affirmative resolution) in the autumn. Given that we have just one week to go before summer recess, this revelation smacks of the bleeding obvious and leaves us all better informed but none the wiser.The noble prelate did at least force some new information out of. In what was a fairly uncomfortable debate for the Government, Lord Ashton of Hyde was harangued from all sides. Lord Cormack and Lord Debden (Conservative), Lord Griffiths of Burry Port and Lord Rooker (Labour), Lord Foster of Bath and Lord Tyler (Liberal Democrat) and the Bishop of Chester all supported Smith’s calls for swift implementation of stake reduction and questioned the ethics of delay.Lord Ashton’s suggestion that timing would be in part be dictated by considerations of employment effects indicates that HM Treasury may (for now) have carried the day in its tug of war with the DCMS; but this is a sticky wicket for the Government to defend.The Bishop of St Albans also submitted a Parliamentary Question on the nature of ministerial and civil service meetings with stakeholders in relation to FOBT policy. He is not the first to probe this subject – and it is unlikely that he will gain much satisfaction – but it all adds to the pressure.The progress of EDM 1440, which calls for immediate stake reduction is another sign of the gathering pressure. A further five MPs signed the EDM this week, including the out of favour but high profile Chuka Umunna (Lab, Streatham). The EDM now has 46 signatures, making it the 114th best-supported EDM of this Parliament (out of 1,530).This was also the week when Matt Hancock (Cons, West Suffolk) called time on his stint as Culture Secretary. Hancock may only have spent six months in the post (as part of a two year tour of duty in the DCMS) but will be remembered for shepherding the FOBT review through to a conclusion of sorts. His successor, Jeremy Wright (Cons, Kenilworth & Southam) appears to have little interest in matters of gambling policy – something which undoubtedly commended him to the role.Hancock is unlikely to be free and clear of gambling with questions of policy likely to follow him to the Department of Health and Social Care.Elsewhere, the Conservative peer Lord Chadlington continued to press the Government on gambling advertising (suggesting that the DCMS consider the impending ban in Italy as a useful precedent); and on the relationship between “online gambling and levels of loneliness in the UK”. The latter question appears particularly canny given the gambling minister Tracey Crouch’s (Cons, Chatham & Aylesford) interest in the question of loneliness. After all, she is a Spurs fan.US: sportsbetting – New Jersey shores up demand?The stats for the first two weeks of NJs landbased sportsbetting market are very similar to Delaware’s: optically very encouraging in handle terms (US$16.4m), artificially high gross margins and including a dominant player (in this case Monmouth Park: 66% share, albeit at least in part due to being first). Pretty much all the same caveats flagged for Delaware apply therefore when seeking to extrapolate (in a word, don’t). Early landbased trading, for all its interpretative issues, does at least demonstrate one (unsurprising) thing – pent up demand for sportsbetting in the US is material and customers are prepared to show up to wager (at least during the ‘novelty’ phase). Number of unique users is probably the best early measure of sustainability and these are not visible. However, we reiterate our view that the key danger of early US noise is not the slowness of market evolution but the potential for false positives of early legislative activity (which leads nowhere fast) and early encouraging trading (which soon dissipates or at least does not grow into anything meaningful in strategic terms). The early days are usually those of greatest enthusiasm and the biggest willingness to spin everything into a positive – it is therefore the phase where the pursuit of “first mover advantage” can lead to significant corporate mistakes…UK: sports rights – racecourse rebellion…Ascot racecourse has once again refused to follow the crowd in terms of its commercial arrangements, with a new TV rights deal struck with Sky Sports Racing, due to commence in March 2019. This most recent ‘rebellion’ follows the course’s decision not to join the racecourse’s operated pool betting project, Britbet, instead opting to partner with Betfred to create its own offering. RMG will still be responsible for the course’s betting shop pictures and International distribution.This deal is a timely boost for Sky Sports Racing (due to launch early 2019), having suffered the loss of Irish racing from its roster (announced this spring). The channel, which is free to Sky subscribers, now has the potential to make further big wins from RUK when contracts come up for renewal with a more compelling offer to customers than the previous SD ATR content, which often lacked quality. Ascot’s separatism is undoubtedly good commercially for Ascot and the long-term future of GB racing needs to be built upon sound commercial decisions. However, further evidence of splitting a product designed at source to hang together is in danger of lessening the overall customer experience rather than enhancing it – and the vast majority of stakeholders have neither Ascot’s power nor luxury of choice.Global: cryptocurrencies – now you see it, now you don’t!In China a special investigation team of the country’s police force has seized over $1.5m worth of cryptocurrencies as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal gambling during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.Chinese state operated news agency Xinhua reported on July 11 that authorities attention had been drawn to the unnamed gambling platform in May following advertisements that claimed it would “accept international recognised cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether and litecoin” in order to draw in users. An investigation was launched soon after, according to the outlet.Investigators discovered that the site, based overseas, utilised a traditional online gambling model coupled with cryptocurrency payments.  It is believed that the site adopted regulatory loopholes in which it was able to secure profits by hiding proceeds using virtual currencies. Over the eight months the site remained active around 333,000 used the site, which reportedly generated an estimated transactional volume of $1.5bn. Six of the website organisers have been arrested thus far.In 2012, the European Central Bank defined virtual currency as “a type of unregulated, digital money, which is issued and usually controlled by its developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community”. To follow on from this in the US, the IRS decided in March 2014 to treat virtual currency as taxable property rather than currency. As the popularity of these virtual currencies continue to rise in our view as does the requirement for them to become regulated and recognised as currency. Global: M&A Watch – Stars Group and Sky Betting & Gaming; Sportradar; Gala.On Wednesday, Stars Group announced the formal completion of its acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming, which was agreed in April at a reported price of £3.36bn. Today, the CMA has published an Initial Enforcement Order which states that it is considering whether to make a reference of the arrangement under the Enterprise Act 2002 (relating to potential “substantial lessening of competition”). The Order obliges the relevant companies to take a number of steps to ensure the businesses remain distinct during the process.Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Silicon Valley-based growth equity firm TCV have together acquired a stake in Sportradar at an enterprise value of €2.1bn, from private equity firm.EQT and minority shareholders. The transaction is expected to formally close in Q4 2018.Caledonia Investments’ Q2 2018 quarterly report revealed a further £14m investment in Gala Bingo, to enable the company to launch an online presence and rebrand as Buzz Bingo.last_img read more

Ebbe Groes: How EveryMatrix has stepped up in support of clients

first_img Share Björn Nilsson: How Triggy is delivering digestible data through pre-set triggers August 28, 2020 Jason Ader – No Boogeyman… Activism will play a vital part in reshaping gambling August 20, 2020 Share Related Articles StumbleUpon MoneyMatrix boosts wire transfer options by integrating Klarna’s Sofort August 24, 2020 Submit In an interview for SBC Magazine, we asked EveryMatrix CEO Ebbe Groes to explain how his company is supporting clients through the coronavirus outbreak and why CasinoEngine was the right platform for a fresh influx of virtual sports titles. However, he goes on to suggest that another emerging gambling vertical, esports, is better equipped to fill the sports void.SBC: How is EveryMatrix navigating the coronavirus outbreak?EG: EveryMatrix is not suffering as much as sportsbook providers because we have other products such as virtuals and esports, and our casino is not affected – our large casino clients are not seeing less casino volumes, if anything a bit more.If we were more like competitors with a large majority of our volumes on sports then it would be worse for us. Our main product is still CasinoEngine, sports comes in second. The first thing for sports is to make sure that you have as good a coverage as you can as possible – so we are putting a lot of effort into this. You have to adapt. One of the biggest sports for us at the moment is table tennis. We can very quickly add new sports into our sportsbook. While table tennis, as an example, doesn’t replace football, tennis etc., it does have an effect – we had around eight times the volume for it against two weeks previously.SBC: Can you just explain to our readers why the virtual sports are integrated through the CasinoEngine, and not your OddsMatrix product?EG: This is simply because the CasinoEngine is built to make it very easy for us to integrate vendors. So as you know, we have more than 80 game vendors across slots, live games and also virtual sports. Last year, we added 30 or 40 new integrations across all types of vendors. CasinoEngine is the platform that best supports this.It allows us to then quite quickly add more vendors. When the coronavirus first started, I think we had five vendors already for virtual sports. So the first thing we do is start identifying and contacting other vendors. And we can quickly increase our offering around virtual sports.The approach we take is that the best thing for the bookmakers is to get as many providers and breadth of content as possible. This is similar to say live casino. You could say I’m content to have this from Evolution or Playtech, and tailor the setup to those products, or you can say I will integrate content from as many providers as I can. It’s the same with virtual sports. If everything is from Sportradar or Inspired you can build a lobby to fit those products or you can say, as we’re doing, the better approach is to get as many games as possible.For virtual sports, we are doing two things. Add more content as quickly as we can. And the other is to build a front end user experience that goes across vendors so I can navigate between them – for example, I can see virtual horse racing but across four different providers. And the same way for football, tennis, boxing etc. In this way I can showcase the offering from different providers and group them via sport, which is a bit different to most bookmakers adopting more of a single provider focus.SBC: It seems like every platform provider is rushing to talk up the selection of games they have to offset a lack of sports; why would the number of games housed by an online casino make any difference to traditional sports punters?EG: You are sort of right. If you already have 2,000 casino games then adding another 500 probably won’t make a big difference. This is different for virtual sports because the number of titles is much, much smaller. Providers might only have two or three titles, not 50 or 100. They might have football and horse racing, or horse racing and darts – that’s it. And that’s why the benefit of aggregation is much higher when it comes to virtual sports than for casino.SBC: As virtual sports providers strive to make their solutions as realistic as possible, in some cases incorporating real sports odds, might it be time to integrate the product into OddsMatrix in the same way you do for esports content?EG: Well you could do both. From the user point of view, it doesn’t matter so much which of our platforms we use to do it. The key thing is that virtual sports are not put into the casino tab, you will not see them hidden amongst all the slot games. We will make a special main tab so you see it alongside for example sports, casino and live casino. This makes it as easy as possible for the sports player to see the virtual sports offering without having to visit the casino section. The fact that virtual sports are integrated via the casino doesn’t mean that the games will be presented as a casino component – we are just using the CasinoEngine for the quickest integration. It allows us to build dedicated lobbies, as we have done for slots, live dealer, table games etc., and will do so for virtual sports.SBC: Is the virtual sports cross-sell opportunity bigger for sports or casino players?EG: With virtual sports I am looking at a random number generator (RNG), something that is put together in the same way as a roulette or a slot game. The other type of game, which we’ve touched upon already, that we think will actually work even better in the absence of real sports is esports. These are actual games being played. There are many titles, of course, but some where the experience is very close to the one you have already for sports betting. For example, you can look at two people playing on FIFA at a high level and place a bet on this. There’s no RNG involved – it is actual players where the best player wins. The other big title in this regard is the basketball game NBA 2K.SBC: Sports-based games have been seen as low level games in the world of esports; might this enforced ban on real sports bring about a change to the pecking order?EG: Yes, I think so. For someone who is not familiar with esports, the first thing you want to bet on is games you understand. So if you’re betting on NBA 2K or FIFA, for example, you can see the stream presented in a nice way, you know the rules, it is very straightforward and includes the same betting markets you are used to.Over/under, betting on the first half, number of cards, all of these things are exactly the same so the barrier to entry is very low for real sports bettors. This is where I think it will all start, and we have seen this already. We’ve been trying to promote the esports sections more for our clients and the take up has been really good. Particularly these sports titles are taking a lot of the volume, even though they are not the ones with the highest number of events. That is the likes of DOTA, LoL and so on – for those who like traditional computer games, not sports.Now as people get used to this, they might spend time in the esports section and get curious as to what else is available. We’re getting into speculation, of course, but for the first few weeks (post sports lockdown) it is clear that esports has benefited a lot – it has grown almost by a factor of 10 in less than a month. And that’s without us adding any new clients, simply through people switching from real sports to esports – in particular for FIFA and NBA 2K.SBC: On your OddsMatrix platform, punters would still see esports as separate to real sports; might there come a time when these are mixed in?EG: Both options are possible. The main reason to split them out right now is visibility – you want your sports players to notice that there is such a thing as esports. Another thing is that streaming is key. We have a live video stream for 90% of all matches that we cover, whether this is CS:GO, FIFA or whatever else. Almost all live events have a video stream, which is very different to real sports where the live stream is rare outside of the richest bookmakers.In esports, these video streams are readily available, they are free and add entertainment value. That’s why you want to have a different look and feel for your esports section.The way we will do it is basically have both options available. Our clients can mix esports into the regular menu, for example placing FIFA next to Football, or keep the two separate. At this stage, when it comes to capturing a new audience, we think it’s best to keep the two concepts apart.We already have great esports coverage but we don’t have a separate tab, so this is something we are building now. We are offering it to clients as a new tab, but one you can place next to your existing sports. It’s also good for us because if a bookmaker has poor esports coverage, they can frame the esports tab from OddsMatrix and put it there in the same way as if it was a virtual sports tab or a casino tab. Longer term you might want to do a deeper integration with the sportsbook API, but you have to note there are two distinct audiences.SBC: These are distinct audiences as things stand, but after this extended period of reduced sports coverage might there not be such a split?EG: Yes, this can happen. As with all these situations, there is a silver lining and there are opportunities to evolve. You can have a sports brand who, because of complacency, didn’t put any emphasis on promoting esports. And now they are forced to do it.In a good scenario, what they will discover is that they can reach out to a new audience and when the regular sports are back they will still have their old audience, but they will have also managed to sell a new experience and build a new audience.In the end, you might have big losses now but look back a year from now and see it as a blessing in disguise that you were forced to catch up from a product point of view and broaden your portfolio.SBC: Final question. How does the betting world look after this crisis is over?EG: It will have quite dramatic effects I think. And of course it depends how long this lasts, but we will no doubt see that some operators will struggle. We have ongoing consolidation in our industry with bigger brands taking in smaller ones. This will keep happening in the coming months. If you don’t have a healthy product margin you will be forced to shut down, which provides impetus for further consolidation in the market place.So the two main things are to focus better on other products. This includes regular casino – there are sportsbook operators out there not doing well enough in order to promote a world class casino offering. But mainly virtual sports and esports, two products which can bring about long-term positive effects for those who do it well. Those who react fastest will be in the best situation. And then, of course, the consolidation part too.last_img read more