Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Koellerer given life ban for match-fixing

Daniel Koellerer, widely regarded as the biggest @£%& in professional tennis, has received his just desserts today with a life ban from professional tennis and a fine of $100k.

The Tennis Integrity Unit works under a shroud of secrecy so there are no official details of which matches were bent (although you could probably from a substantial list from Koellerer's schedule).

From the press release:


Mr Koellerer was found guilty of three charges under Article D of the 2010 Uniform
Tennis Anti-Corruption Program, namely:
• Contriving or attempting to contrive the outcome of an Event;
• Soliciting or facilitating a Player not to use his or her best efforts in an Event; and;
• Soliciting, offering or providing money, benefit or Consideration to any other
covered person with the intention of negatively influencing a Player’s best efforts
in any Event



So the Tennis Integrity Unit has found a spine, that's great news for the game. Although, let's be honest, Dani K would never make it as a spy. Catching and prosecuting some of the other crooks in the game might just be a tad harder...

industry news round-up

Betfair's share price is up 35p this morning, including a recovery from a 20p drop after a climb of 40p in the first two hours of trading, after it fell to a new low of 752p last week. Here's one for you - how would you price up "First to leave their post - David Yu or Sepp Blatter?"

The Czech lottery company Sazka has been declared bankrupt by the Prague Municipal Court. Surely there is something seriously wrong here - perhaps they should have spoken to FIFA about to keep a corrupt organisation in operation??

Centrebet shareholders are expected to support the Sportingbet buyout bid afte the Kafataris family and the board put their weight behind it.

Spain’s new gaming law has been officially published in the country’s State Gazette and will be enforced subject to European Commission approval.

In case you've missed it, the US Department of Justice is going after more than just the biggest US-facing poker rooms, with some sportsbooks in its sights as well..

The Tote sale in the UK is dragging on and it looks like racing will get a fairly average deal whichever way they go. The BHA have declared their hand towards a bid which allegedly supports racing, but will give it far less cash, but promises plenty of equity. Hmm, don't these guys watch those BBC reports on shonky real estate deals in Mediterranean beachfront estate?

Sunday, 29 May 2011

if only this was a big betting event in the UK...

I didn't watch the Indy 500 live nor see the market so far all I know there could have been £50k+ matched on the market, but since it's on a par with the Daytona 500, chances are it only traded £5k.

Rookie J.R Hildebrand is a long way clear, comes into the last turn just needing to get around it safely to win the race, the biggest open wheel race in America, in front of 250,000+ fans. Watch for yourself....

An absolute 1.01 gubbed!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Australian sports bodies told to rein in the betting coverage

As mentioned here several weeks ago, the amount of betting editorial and odds plugging during live broadcasts of Australian sport is over the top. Public sentiment was turning against it and it was inevitable that something would have to be done.

Now the Australian Federal Govt has gotten involved, essentially telling broadcasters and sports bodies to sort it out within the next 12 months, or we will do it for you..


Live broadcasts of betting odds to be phased out by June, Stephen Conroy says


"INSIDIOUS" live broadcasts of betting odds will be phased out to prevent gambling becoming embedded in football, cricket and other sports, the state and the federal government agreed today.

But the Federal Government's bid to introduce mandatory wager limits on poker machines was rejected by the states and a constitutional battle is now likely.

A meeting of state and federal ministers in Canberra agreed that the promotion of live odds during the broadcast of sport events had to be curtailed.

"Governments are concerned that promotion, including commentary by sporting role models, is becoming insidious in live sports coverage," the Select Council on Gambling Reform stated in their communique following the talks.

"We are concerned that this can significantly influence vulnerable and young people and normalise gambling behaviour."

There was particular concern over the use of sporting heroes to tout gambling opportunities during a contest.

Broadcasters will be given until June next year to make voluntary changes, with the Government warning it it will legislate if they don't.



However, at the same meeting, ministers went soft on taking an axe to pokie machines and the havoc they wreak on society.

It's a good approach from the govt however I'm not confident the industry will be go far enough if they self-regulate. There's nothing wrong with the occasional plug of the odds around a match - but time and again when it really only interests a small part of society is a step too far.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

the excuses are out already

Workforce makes his seasonal debut tonight in the Group III Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown, over 1m 2f, or 2000m for those of us who aren't stuck in the 50s.

This is a horse who last year claimed the self-proclaimed 'biggest race in the world', the Derby, and the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe. In theory he should be the world's best horse, yet his trainer is moaning about having to carry 7lb more than a bunch of G3/Listed horses tonight....


Workforce will really need comeback - Stoute


WORKFORCE will "really need" his comeback run at Sandown on Thursday night, trainer Sir Michael Stoute has warned.

Stoute admitted to concerns over last year's Derby and Arc winner, who will be having his first run since October...



FFS, a horse with his G1 wins under his belt should be able to carry at least a stone (6.5kg for those not stuck in the dark ages) more than his rivals and still win. And as for the distance being short of his best, class should get a champion home on anything close to preferred distance - 1m2f to 1m4f is nothing, especially when fresh. If you're only capable of winning at one distance, then you can't be defined as a champion - just like a horse who can only run on a very narrow band of surface rating. A few folks have queried the strength of last year's form - it certainly wasn't as strong as Sea The Stars' year, how it compares with others is an argument for the number crunchers.

I hope he wins well tonight simply because I want to be able to get a price on So You Think to smash him when they meet... if his connections have the balls to do it. A lacklustre performance tonight could lead to him ducking the star from the southern hemisphere in his campaign, or even going straight to stud.

They breed 'em soft over here....

the moneybuyers get burned again hurrah, hurrah....


OK, so Kim Clijsters was in control of the match and a set and 5-2 up, but she did come into this match under a major injury cloud and is scratchy on clay.

Huge effort from Arantxa Rus, finally starting to realise some of that potential she showed as a top junior several years ago.

Trying to 'buy money' by backing at 1.01 can only end in tears.....

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Grand Slams and 1.01s

Biggest 1.01 of the French Open so far goes to Nicolas Almagro, who should have put away Lukas Kubot in straight sets, but alas, he did not....


And yesterday, we had another one, OK for pennies at 1.01, but plenty fairly close to it, with Christina McHale holding two match points vs Sara Errani, on serve at 5-1 in the final set. Oops...


Rafa Nadal had a bit of scare today - 1.01 for over £1m, then out to 1.43 when 2-1 down, then pulling up his socks and winning comfortably in the final set.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Paddy Power to flee Ireland's new tax?

Gee, never would have seen this coming - the Irish government wants to introduce a 2% tax on all wagers with firms licensed in Ireland. Very few of their competitors will have to pay it, so why should they for their online and telephone operations? So off to Gibraltar they will probably go....

Paddy Power considers moving operations abroad


Paddy Power will consider moving its internet and phone betting operations abroad if the government goes ahead with plans for a 2 per cent tax on all bets, according to the company’s chief executive.

Patrick Kennedy said that a new tax regime would unfairly disadvantage Paddy Power, which employs around 800 people in its internet and phone operations in Tallaght in Dublin. Most of its online competitors did not have a significant presence in Ireland and took a ‘‘catch-me-if-you-can approach’’ to regulation, so they would be difficult to tax, he said.

‘‘If we face a substantial tax, my board would - and should - turn around and say: at what stage does it no longer make sense to be in Ireland?" Kennedy said. ‘‘We have to think about how we structure ourselves globally. My strong desire is that we structure as much as possible in Ireland, but I’d like to do that without someone coming after me at every turn."

The firm could benefit from lower staff costs and a better tax environment if it moved to a location such as Gibraltar, which is popular with other betting firms, said Kennedy.



Really dumb move from the Irish government, penalising the local firms who provide employment, local taxes etc while their UK/European counterparts avoid paying it. Shouldn't they be encouraging local firms to employ more people and pay more taxes that way?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Betfair UK is falling down

Not a glowing article about them in the Guardian today, just backing up the anecdotal stories heard elsewhere. The problem for them is that many of those staff listed as leaving are the 'good eggs', frustrated as hell by the impenetrable cliques and bone-headed decision making going on elsewhere. The firm has lost nearly half its paper value since it floated - surely it's time for blood at the top?


Going looks hard for Betfair as managers quit and shares fall


Wave of middle-management departures rocks betting exchange already reeling from shares selloff

Betfair, the embattled betting exchange, has been rocked by a fresh crisis following a wave of middle-management departures. The defections come as the company digests the results of a private poll of staff revealing that employees believe their company lacks direction.

This year's departures include: Mathias Entenmann, chief product and services officer; Charlie Palmer, head of mobile; and Robin Osmond, chief executive of financial betting exchange LMAX. Lee Cowles, director of UK sports and gaming, is understood to have told staff he will also be leaving.

These have been joined by director of European and public affairs Tim Phillips, head of strategic programmes Emily Foges, director of site products and services Rob Glynne, head of sports exchange products Alex Deacon, IS director Tony Rigby, and Don Fotsch, vice-president of global user experience.

News of the departures comes as the group's shares, which listed at £13 last autumn, have come under pressure. They have slumped from around £10 in early April. The latest sell-off, which saw the price hit a low of 778p, is thought to have been triggered by predictions that next month's results announcement will be lacklustre, heaping more pressure on chief executive, David Yu. Analysts at Investec, who have a 445p share price target, predict pre-tax profits of £21.9m for the 12 months to April the same as in 2010.

A source close to the company said: "Betfair has lost a lot of good people. There is no leadership. It is a given that there will be no growth [in the annual results] as for a long time the company has been running hard to stand still. If good decisions were made and proper structures put in place the company would be able to accelerate quickly."



French Open previews

And they're off at Roland Garros. Here are my previews from PuntingAce


Scott Ferguson's French Open Previews



Good luck!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Xenophon, you are a dead set idiot

There's been more than enough proof over the years that this South Australian senator is just a headline seeker when it comes to his views against gambling. I admired his stance against pokies (slots/fruit machines in other parts of the world) which are in plague proportions in most of Australia, but his credibility, if he had any left, is seriously undermined when he gets involved in an argument like this.

MP calls for ban on rate-rise betting


Betting on the Reserve Bank's interest rates decision should be banned because it ''invites trouble'' and opens the door to corruption, Independent Nick Xenophon says.

The Age yesterday reported that a stand-off between the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and online betting agency Centrebet, over betting on interest rate rises, had ended.

''Millions of Australians are affected by interest rate movements. It is not a game for families; for many families it can be the difference between paying the bills or not,'' Senator Xenophon told The Age.



Never mind the fact that you might get a bet on for a couple of grand on this market, whereas the impact of rate rise on the banks and the economy at large would be in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Never mind the fact that financial institutions offer facilities to hedge against interest rate changes, effectively the same as betting on it with a bookie.
Never mind the fact that Betfair have been betting on this market in Australia for several years now without the press interest...

It was in the papers yesterday so Mr Headline Seeker has to get in for his two cents' worth. Well Mr X, there's a reason why Australia doesn't have 2c pieces anymore, because they are totally worthless!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Bet 365 heads Down Under

The King of In-Play betting, Bet365, has announced it will apply for an Australian betting licence, in the Northern Territory, where most of the Aussie firms operate. While it is a highly credible licence - the restrictions placed on firms (security bonds, anti-money laundering regulations, government consultation required on rule changes etc) are significantly tighter than the regulatory regime they are used to, not to mention the bans on in-play betting online, casino and poker products.

Bet365 applies for Australian licence

Bet365 is “in the process” of applying for an Australian licence, its founder and joint chief executive has told eGaming Review, and could see operations begin as soon as the end of this year if successful.

Denise Coates, joint chief executive of bet365 said: “I can confirm that we are in the process of applying for a licence in the Northern Territory of Australia.

“Once we have submitted the application and the regulatory authorities have had the chance to consider it, we will hopefully be in a position to comment further,” she added.

If the Australian regulator approves Bet365 it is thought the company could begin trading as early as November. It would also be its first sports betting licence outside the UK.



A big step for them - I'd have thought they would go for the acquisition route rather than an independent licence, so they have some local expertise on board. Perhaps they looked at that option and decided they all wanted ridiculous prices for their firms or, in the case of one firm with a bunch of clones under the same operation but allegedly independent when it comes to disputes, were as dodgy as a snake oil salesman....

And will their nickname now be revised to Bet $3.65?

Monday, 16 May 2011

Betsson take over Betsafe

This news is a few days old now but with Blogger down for a couple of days last week, I couldn't post it...

Betsson acquires Betsafe in €60m deal

Betsson has acquired fellow Nordic operator Betsafe in a deal valuing the company at up to €60m (£52.2m).

“This deal will fuel our growth,” said Betsson chief executive Pontus Lindwall (pictured). “We strengthen our position in the Nordic region as well as our organisation when merging two profitable companies, each of which has proven its ability to gain market share in a highly competitive market environment.”

Betsson will pay an initial €32.5m in cash and shares for the privately owned operator, with a further €27.5m payable conditional on “the development of the acquisition and the integration thereof during 2011,” said the Stockholm-listed company in a statement this morning. The full additional purchase price becoming payable would equate to a multiple of approximately 5-6 times Betsafe's EBIT for 2011.


Interesting move from Betsson, perhaps they will look at buying the Ongame poker network should bwin.party sell it off now that they have a better poker platform in-house.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

No Secrets



The above video won't mean much to anyone unless you're Australian and of my era, but it's a brilliant song and the title, No Secrets, links well to this story.

American trainers wouldn't dream of running a horse without Lasix or other permitted medications. Certain trainers named Dutrow will keep moving states until they find one which will allow them to stick whatever they like into a horse. Bad image for the industry, bad for punters that all the problems of horses are being masked, bad for the next guy who comes along and wants to buy the horse only to find out it is held together with sticky tape.

In the UK, every punter-friendly suggestion - sectional times, open reporting of treatment of horses etc seems to be rebuffed with the 'too expensive to implement' answer. And as a consequence, punter confidence in the product suffers. Here's what going on in Australia as an example:

Racehorse trainers must report surgery


TRAINERS will have to report any surgery or injuries suffered by their horses before they can start from next season.

That was one of several resolutions reached by Australian stewards at their National Policy Conference held in Melbourne this week.

RVL chief steward Terry Bailey said they did not want a repeat of what happened with So You Think before his return to racing in the Memsie Stakes last Spring.

"There was a rumour So You Think had had a throat operation and in the finish we made it our business to find out. But we don't want a repeat of that occurrence,'' Bailey said.

"Trainers need to be more conscious of the punter. Now they will be required to report any sort of surgery, whether it be upper respiratory or even any sign of lameness or gait dysfunction

"Any horse, any time, if something's happened we believe the customer has the right to know.''



Note that last line - the customer has a right to know. Everything in racing is ultimately funded by the punter. Invest in better facilities, better access to data, better freedom of information and in return you get happier punters betting in the confidence that everything is above board. The reporting of surgery should be particularly relevant to UK racing - horses tend to have shorter campaigns, race less often, start over their prime distance rather than have a few prep races as we often do in Australia. Thus punters are coming in blind as to whether a colt has had the snip over the winter, or a wind operation, or anything else whilst spelling.

If the BHA can't find a cost-effective way to handle the information, then give it to the racing press. Let the Racing Post take it up - they'll soon find out whether punters like it or not. As an online business, they will be able to measure how much traffic that part of the site gets etc. Don't just write off the potential benefits of more information for punters just because it might cost money. Punters have a right to know, and there are always alternative ways to do things.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

One rogue German state defies the national plan

Last month, German politicians voted to regulate online gambling with a farcical, uncompetitive regime which would only send punters abroad in search of half-decent odds. At least 15 of the 16 states voted for it, one - Schleswig-Holstein - rocked the boat by going their own way....

Breaking News: EC approves Schleswig-Holstein law

The European Commission has ruled Schleswig-Holstein’s draft gambling law as compliant with EU law, giving Germany’s northernmost state the green light to pass a bill this summer and the licensing process to begin as early as this autumn, eGaming Review has learned.

.
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bwin.party's Shepherd added: "We are encouraged by the outcome of the EU notification process for Schleswig-Holstein’s proposed law for online gaming. With just two minor points to be addressed, we view the EU’s findings as a clear signal to the other 15 Federal States that Schleswig-Holstein is moving in the right direction.”

Betfair said that in contrast to the draft State Treaty of the 15 other German Lander the Schleswig-Holstein bill has a “more pragmatic approach” to regulate the industry, which includes best-practice examples from other European regions. The German state would install a 20% gross profits tax, allow all products, an unlimited amount of licences and implement strict consumer player protection.

In an official statement the ruling conservative-liberal coalition in Schleswig-Holstein said that following its approval the EC could scupper the federal draft State Treaty submitted by the 15 other Lander last month.


So one state refuses to shaft punters (and companies) blindly with exorbitant taxes, and the rest of the country's politicians will be pissed off that they've spoiled the party. Interesting times ahead in Germany, there's a long way to go before this gets settled, and the likes of bwin.party and Betfair will see their share prices ebb and flow accordingly.

Sportingbet chasing Centrebet

News this morning that another company is set to launch a bid for Centrebet, the first Australian bookmaker to bet online back in 1997. It has been mentioned here before that the Kafataris family are keen to cash in, but previous interests from European firms have hit a brick wall - perhaps because of issues with Australian government bans on online poker and casinos. Sportingbet have already conquered those restrictions by having a highly successful Australian operation (after they purchased the previously Vanuatu-based No.1 Betting shop) run independently from the main UK base. Sportingbet CEO Andy McIver has long dismissed poker as a 'fad' so it was hardly a sacrifice on that front. Centrebet run casino and poker operations for anyone based outside of Australia.

Sportingbet in talks to buy Australian peer Centrebet

May 11 (Reuters) - British online gaming firm Sportingbet is in advanced talks to buy Australia's Centrebet International Ltd for about A$175 million ($189.6 million) in cash to further expand its presence in the country.

The offer price at A$2 per share represents a 25 percent premium to Centrebet's Tuesday close.

Sportingbet said it expected the acquisition to add to its earnings in the first full year post integration.

"An acquisition would accelerate Sportingbet's strategy of increasing its exposure to regulated markets and of geographic diversification," Chief Executive Andrew McIver said in a statement.

In February, Sportingbet reported an increase in second-quarter earnings as strong growth in Australia and emerging markets offset weakness in Europe.

Centrebet, which offers up to 6,000 international sports and horse racing markets per week, reported a first-half net profit of A$1.8 million, down 70.6 per cent from last year.

Sportingbet shares were up 3.3 percent at 47.5 pence at 0705 GMT on the London Stock Exchange, while those of Centrebet closed up 12.6 percent at A$1.79 on Wednesday on the Australian Stock Exchange.


The market continues to consolidate while smaller operations are just getting left behind....

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

and here comes Black Caviar!

We've been blessed in recent weeks with some absolute superstars of racing:

Black Caviar destroying sprint fields in Australia

Frankel running rivals off their feat in the 2000 Guineas

So You Think starting his European campaign by demolishing some average Irish horses

And there was the Kentucky Derby which was a spectacle, but in terms of it being a great race, I doubt it. It's likely to be one of the weakest Derby fields in years, but we shall see how the form pans out over the coming months.

This weekend, Brisbane gets to witness the Black Caviar show in the Group 1 BTC Cup (WFA) over 1200m. If you're in the UK, set the Sky+ for about 6am. More details on times available when acceptances come out tomorrow. The gallant Hay List will take her on again, and she'll whoosh past just like she did at Randwick.

It's all been so exciting I've had to invest in a racehorse again, part of the exciting Twitterhorse syndicate with a 2yo colt called Trending. A few weeks before he makes his debut, it promises to be a great journey with his bloodlines taking off right at the moment, thanks to boom first year sire Dark Angel.

Friday, 6 May 2011

folks are dumb where I come from

Every country breeds people who aren't the most educationally gifted. We need these people in society to do various jobs that others aren't keen on, whether that's a trade or collecting our bins or picking up glasses in nightclubs. But in Australia, we like to vote them into government.

NSW backs crackdown on negative betting

THE minister responsible for gambling in NSW, George Souris, has thrown his support behind a crackdown on ''negative exotic betting'' over the internet, which the state government believes is threatening the integrity of professional sport.

Responding to comments by the new Minister for Sport, Graham Annesley, in his inaugural speech in the NSW Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Souris said he was determined to pursue a solution at a meeting of state and federal ministers later this month.

Mr Souris said the government wanted to ''promote, with the Commonwealth, a need for a national agreement with all the states so … compliance can be achieved across the board''

The federal Sports Minister, Mark Arbib, and state and territory sports ministers agreed in February, before the change of government in NSW, to develop a national framework to detect and deter match-fixing incidents.

The independent senator Nick Xenophon is drafting a bill that would ban ''exotic'' sports betting.

At the same time, the NSW Law Reform Commission is receiving submissions on its review of ''Cheating at Gambling''.

However, Mr Souris stressed that the state government wanted to specifically target ''negative'' exotic betting.

''The bet that I'm talking about is a negative bet [which] says that [a player] will not kick more than three goals today. That means he will possibly deliberately miss the fourth goal. That's the potential risk.''


Read more via the link.

Seriously, how bloody thick do you have to be to not understand the concept that every bet to win also is a bet (for every other option) to lose?

If you bet on Frankel to win the 2000 Guineas, you wanted every horse in the race to lose.
If you bet on the Queen to wear a yellow hat to the wedding, you wanted every colour in her wardrobe to not be chosen.
If you bet on Middlefart (yes, that's a real team) to win their Denmark 2nd Division West match against Skovbakken tomorrow, you are betting on Skovbakken to lose.

It makes zero difference whether these bets are placed with Betfair, a tote pool or Dodgy Bob in the corner of your local pub. If you are buying something, somebody else has to be selling - it's exactly the same principle.

If you are the Minister for Gambling, you should be able to understand such blatantly simple concepts!

the profile of a football match-fixer

Good piece from today's Daily Telegraph, detailing the grubby career of a Singaporean who wasn't interested in fair football matches....

Wilson Raj Perumal: the convicted match-fixer who ran international empire yards from Wembley

To those who met him in Wembley, Rajamohan Chelliah seemed like any other respectable foreign businessman with a healthy interest in football.

Described as “humble”, “polite” and “smartly dressed”, the 45 year-old did nothing to alert the suspicion of his landlord, his neighbours or many of his friends during his seven-month stay in London.

But the quiet Singaporean was in fact Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer on the run from the police, who was busily masterminding an international empire from his one-bedroom flat in the shadow of Wembley Stadium.




One thing is fairly clear from the article, but conveniently not mentioned - the easiest matches to manipulate are the small-fry ones where players aren't earning much and are prepared to listen to anyone waving a bit of cash. Trying such a scheme on the elite levels of football will cost huge sums of money and the media profile of those games would ensure that questions were raised immediately.

It's following my mantra for punting - the lower the profile of the sport/league/event you follow, the more chance you have of beating other punters & bookmakers. However I choose to do it by doing the hard yards of research instead....