Tuesday, 30 August 2011

ACT Gambling and Racing Commission are as bad as the shysters they 'regulate'

Scathing, and perfectly accurate, article about the Sports Alive debacle from a former colleague Matt Fisk. The licensing authority's lame reaction to this has been nothing short of pathetic. The rest of Australia has built up rigid standards in the protection of punters, the monitoring of licensed persons and companies etc and the ACT has let Sports Alive go down the drain with, it is believed, over $1m of punters' funds. This isn't the first firm in the ACT to go down, but it is definitely the biggest. A proper regulatory body would have seen the writing on the wall and found the evidence they needed to suspend the betting licence. Rumours of a class action have been mooted. The ACT GRC really should be held accountable for this debacle - their stamp of approval was on the licence and they ballsed it up big time....

Punter Protection (or lack thereof) in the ACT


As a member of the Australian fixed odds betting fraternity I have always been one to take pride in the way responsible wagering has added colour to our sports and racing industries. I believe the highly regulated nature of the industry has made it is socially acceptable to have a flutter on the Melbourne Cup or back your favourite player to score the first try in the NRL Grand Final. There is nothing wrong with either however the events of the past week have left me absolutely flabbergasted with how punters are treated by the ACT Government.

If you are unaware, a corporate bookmaker by the name of Sports Alive went into voluntary liquidation last Thursday. Sports Alive, licensed in the ACT, was well down the pecking order when it came to Australian bookmakers but just like TAB SportsBet, SportingBet, CentreBet or even SportsBet.com.au it was a 24-hour online bookie who accepted bets on sports and racing. However, they were a big enough organisation to leave thousands of customers out of pocket to the tune of $1m+.

I am aware that companies of all types fail on a consistent basis so I will not shine the torch on the collapse of Sports Alive. Sure, its experienced bookmakers were shrewd enough to win $4m and $5m from customers in the past two financial years. Sure, it received a windfall of $5m from TOTE Tas for a 25% share in the business. Sure, it had a lucrative deal with BetFair.

However, without knowing most of the facts I will refrain from saying anything more than the fact Sports Alive was reportedly let down by shady practices from senior management and owners. It was a good company making decent returns in a competitive and growing industry but I will allow the staff and investors they left out of pocket to tug the coat tails of the administrators. I will focus on the clear-cut issues of punter protection.

Sports Alive was licensed with the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission (GRC). Neither Sports Alive nor the GRC has contacted punters as to the whereabouts of their funds. Sports Alive have shut down their website and phonelines while the GRC are not replying to emails or phone calls. While I can understand that the Sports Alive owners are on their proverbial way to Brazil with suitcases of cash, I am disappointed with the actions of a supposedly reputable Government agency.


Read the rest...

I have harped and harped about the need for proper punter protection to build an industry, and have lampooned any regulatory body without it. I am deeply ashamed that the modern business attitude of 'ah, fuck it' has spread to Australian bookmaking regulators. Other states should come down on them like a ton of bricks - this will hurt all of them.


tide turning back against Australian bookie advertising

As mentioned on this blog earlier in the year, Australian sports fans have been overwhelmed this year by betting advertising. That's fine if you love a punt, but if you have to avoid it for various reasons, there really was nowhere to turn. Live odds updates on scoreboards, official websites carrying live prices, and most annoying of all, the repeated paid plugs with live odds read out by the commentators. There has to be a happy medium - enough to interest potential punters but also allow those with no interest to tune out.

MCG Trust tackles sports gambling head-on

A significant blow against the pervasive advertising of sports betting at main venues has been struck.

As Fairfax reported yesterday, the Melbourne Cricket Ground Trust will not renew an agreement with Betfair, which displays updated odds on scoreboards during AFL games. The MCG Trust, which controls a stadium where crowds of up to 100,000 gather, imposed the ban on live odds updates after complaints from members.

It is uncertain whether the MCG decision will have a knock-on effect at Sydney's main venues. A spokesman for the SCG Trust said the content of scoreboard advertising was controlled by its tenants. The Sydney Swans no longer show live odds because they do not have a contract with a betting agency. Cricket Australia does not allow scoreboard odds updates - understandable given the game's well known problems with match-fixing.



Sports betting has a place in Australian society, but the industry has to be careful it doesn't get into the despised, plague-like state of poker machines. Deregulation let them into nearly every pub in the country and the number of problem gamblers in the country rose exponentially. Morons like Senator Nick Xenophon cannot be allowed to dictate government policy with a mandate from the public who are fed up with proceedings.

Moderation is all we ask for.

Monday, 29 August 2011

football authorities finally taking their heads out of the sand

Good article from CNN about match-fixing and how stubborn football authorities are finally starting to realise just how big and how widespread the problem is.

Football's match-fixing problem


(CNN) -- It was the highest profile, and most embarrassing, sanction imaginable.

The decision by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to withdraw champions Fenerbahce from this season's Champions League on Wednesday, due to allegations of endemic match fixing and bribery, shocked the football world far outside arguably Europe's most passionate footballing nation.

For Turkish football fans, it's the equivalent of Manchester United being stripped of the English Premier League title; or of the New York Yankees losing the World Series over corruption charges. Last year's runners up, Trabzonspor, will take Fenerbahce's place, but the shock waves remain...



US Open Round 1

Had written this for a client but it wasn't used for some reason...


In Round 1 matches, the Aussie focus will be on Bernard Tomic against qualifier Michael Yani, and wildcard Marinko Matosevic opposing Juan Ignacio Chela again, in a repeat of their Wimbledon R1 clash. Tomic actually trails 1-2 on the h2h, losing both on clay, while his success came in Wimbledon qualifying on the grass. Yani is no slouch, he grinds his way through the challenger circuit with occasional ventures to the higher grade. If Tomic brings his big stage attitude onto court he'll be fine, but I foresee a longer than necessary match. Lay Tomic 3-0 at around 2.6.

The latest young American hope, Ryan Harrison, opens proceedings in Louis Armstrong Stadium against Marin Cilic. This will be an out-and-out slugfest. Harrison is the highest-ranked teenager on the tour, and typical of emerging Americans, relies heavily on his serve. Semi-final appearances in Atlanta and LA early in the North American swing boosted his ranking, and he meets a former quarter-finalist whose game is noted mostly for its inconsistency this year. Like any teenager, there has to be doubts over his ability to go five sets, but at around 3.0, a back-to-lay trade is advised.

The top seeds should all have comfortable 3-0 victories (watch that simplistic prediction go pear-shaped!) but the one seed in action on Tuesday I fancy is Mikhail Youzhny. The two-time semi-finalist here faces the enigmatic Latvian, Ernests Gulbis. Gulbis has a huge amount of hype around him, and has for a few years. But when you line up his Grand Slam form, it is simply atrocious - seven straight R1 losses! Youzhny has come out on the wrong side of this result twice, but on the big stage, he is a class above. Can't believe the price - back confidently at 1.8 and above.

Outsiders with a chance:

Stakhovsky 4.7 v Gasquet. The Frenchman has a poor record here and could face a struggle against a player well suited to the faster courts.

Johnson 9.0 vs Bogomolov Jr. I've not heard of this US wildcard before, but I do know one thing - Bogomolov just isn't that good! He should never be 1.11 against anyone.

Darcis 2.4 v Tursunov - the Belgian won this clash just last week in Winston-Salem and is on a strong run of form, mostly in challenger events. Meanwhile Tursunov has lost four of his past five and only broke his run of nine straight R1 Grand Slam losses with a win over Gulbis (seven straight) at Wimbledon!


Switching to the women, Sam Stosur flies the flag for Australia, hoping to at least repeat last year's quarter-final effort, which was a vast improvement on her previously poor record here. She starts her campaign against Sofia Arvidsson who is generally happy to receive the R1 loser's cheque at each Slam. A straight sets victory should be a safe bet.

Adopted Aussie Anastasia Rodionova is favoured against former compatriot Alla Kudryavtseva, but trails 0-3 on the h2h. Rodionova has the better recent form but a trio of three-set losses to today's opponent suggests it is more than just ability which decides these results. Rodionova is a renowned hothead and if a rival can get into her head, that spells trouble. Kudryavtseva worth a bet at around 2.5.

Outsider with a chance:

Barrois 4.0 vs Goerges. The 19th seed is on a horror run since Wimbledon with just two wins in eight. Barrois is capable on her day.

US Open preview - women

Women's draw


Are we back to Serena domination of the WTA Tour or she is the best one left in a bad bunch? Clijsters is injured again, Wozniacki is proving a dud at number one and every other player on the women's tour seems to have issues. It seems there has never been a more urgent need for some fresh young faces to step forward and really upset the applecart.
With Hurricane Irene surging up the east coast of the US, it's hard to know at this stage just how disrupted the tournament will be, but it's a long, long odds-on that critics will be calling for a roof to be built over the show courts yet again….

Working down the draw this time.

1 - Wozniacki. In the papers more for her lovelife now than her tennis. Is that first Grand Slam win ever going to emerge? Losing first-up to McHale in Cincinnati isn't the way to suggest it will be this time, although she did reverse that result in New Haven, a tournament she always plays well in. Has form here but backing her to win the final is worse than backing Murray in the men. Shouldn't have too many worries through the first week, Petkovic/Li in the quarters will turn up the heat.

29. Gajdosova - has lost six matches in a row. Serious danger of losing R1 to Benesova. 1000

21. Hantuchova - usually a safe bet through the first week, then it all goes downhill. 1000

15. Kuznetsova - has lost three out of five since Wimbledon, gone off the boil. Leads R1 opponent Errani 3-0. 500

10. Petkovic - flying this year. If you drop the grass events out of her results, she has reached at least the QFs of her last five tournaments. Complained of a minor knee injury in Cincinnati but assured fans she will be fine in time. Has beaten Wozniacki, Jankovic, Sharapova and Kvitova on hardcore this year. 40

18. Vinci - the non-conventional player on the WTA Tour, using a lot of slice, attacking the net and confusing many of the robotic players on the circuit these days. Can't see her making an impact here, but she did beat Ivanovic, Wickmayer and Wozniacki in Toronto. 200

31. Kanepi - has been hampered by an achilles injury for months. Won't last long. 1000

6. Li - had two wins in a row this week in New Haven for the first time since Paris. Match vs Petkovic in R4 could be a cracker. Can beat them all when she clicks. Might be slightly off-form but at least you know she can do it at the business end. 20

4. Azarenka - edging her way closer to the top but needs to start racking up the big titles. Has a habit of getting injured at the wrong times, needs to break that spell to claim a Slam. Worst draw possible - meets Serena in R3. Also has Ivanovic and Jankovic in her half. 16

28. Serena W - clearcut favourite and hard to argue with that. 16-2 for the year, but did pull out of Cincinnati with a toe injury. At the time she claimed to be resting it for New York. Won 2008, missed 2010, so her last match was that controversial semi against Clijsters where she copped a point penalty on match point for threatening to kill a line judge. Has won five of the last nine Slams she has turned up to....



You can read the remainder of the preview here


US Open preview - men

It's Slam time again which means I've been busy with betting previews. I've been writing these for all the Slams since 2000 with some tasty winners along the way...

Men's draw

Changing of the guard with Djokovic holding the no.1 seed mantle for the first time at a Slam. If his shoulder ailment has gone, then the title is his to lose. But if he isn't full strength, it's wide open. Expect severe disruption to the schedule for the first couple of days until the after-effects of Hurricane Irene peter out completely.

1. Djokovic - his form this year makes him the most dominant man I have seen across all surfaces. 57-2 is incredible, particularly with the most recent defeat being a precautionary retirement due to an ailing shoulder (Cincinnati final). Early rounds should be a breeze, gets harder in week two - Gasquet, followed by Berdych or Monfils. 2.3
32. Dodig - first time seed facing former world #3 in R1. Tough initiation. Beat Nadal in Montreal so can pull a shock result out from time to time. 1000
22. Dolgopolov - yet to make an impact at the Slams, has the talent to mix it with the best. Nishikori R2, Gasquet R3 will be intriguing clashes for him - can with both of those, but no chance of getting past Djokovic soon after. 400
13. Gasquet - never past the fourth round here, the talent is there but the application always suffers. Opens up against big-server Stakhovsky, followed by Karlovic or Gonzalez. Has to be on the ball just to meet another seed in R3. 250
9. Berdych - after beating Federer in Cincinnati, he retired in the semi-final with a shoulder injury. Not an ailment you want to suffer just before a Grand Slam on a quick surface. Has bombed in R1 twice in last three years, yet to get past R4. 80
20. Tipsarevic - awful Slam record, just two Wimbledon R4s to show from 30 events. That said, he has changed focus this season with two titles won. 1000
31. Granollers - 16 Slam main draws, never past R2! Ranking obviously based on winning a lot of matches in weak tournaments. 1000
7. Monfils - Rasheed seems to have improved him. Finalist Washington, beaten by Djokovic in the quarters at Montreal and Cincinnati, but his wins over top 10 players are few and far between. Tricky opener against Dimitrov, could face Djokovic again in the QF. 150
3. Federer - still capable of brilliance, but tellingly, now more capable of average days when those he once dominated can beat him. Inflicted the only full match defeat of Djokovic this year at Roland Garros, but then threw away a two-set lead against Tsonga at Wimbledon. Beaten by Tsonga again in Montreal and then by an ailing Berdych in Cincinnati. Tsonga/Fish in the quarters will be a real test for him. I still maintain my view that he will not win another major tournament (and nor will his mate Tiger for that matter). 12


Read the rest at PuntingAce


Friday, 26 August 2011

SportsAlive? Not any more!

Sad news today of an Australian sports bookmaker going bust. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) website shows that liquidators have been appointed for SportsAlive.

Should SportsAlive have adhered to their licensing conditions, specifically the one below, then all should be fine for punters. However, it sounds like a few guys have been slow paid for a while (this year's not the first time they've had cash flow problems) so it may be that one of them got fed up with it and called in the lawyers. Staff apparently hadn't been paid for a fortnight either.


4. Segregated Bank Accounts
4.1 A sports bookmaker must, for the purposes of the sports bookmaking
business, maintain a segregated sports betting bank account for the
purpose of betting monies received.


For full details of the ACT legislation, where SportsAlive were licensed, click here.

This is a critical test of the strength of Australian bookmaking regulations. Hopefully it won't be long before all punters are paid out in full.


Betfair customers in Australia used SportsAlive for their fixed-odds multiples on Aus sports. No liability is on Betfair as their client funds were always separate, but whether their reputation by association takes a hit is another matter.

Sports Alive previously traded as Sports Acumen and Global SportsBet before various ownership and name changes.


Update - 3pm:

Apparently the business was worth $20m and had made profits of $4-5m over the past two years. That doesn't correlate to the fact they were slow-paying punters late last year as well...

Pair hit as Sports Alive dies

MICK Malthouse's manager, Peter Sidwell, will be one of the biggest losers from the collapse of corporate betting shop Sports Alive.

Sidwell is one of a number of private investors, also including well-known Warrnambool bookmaker Gary Walsh, anxiously awaiting a report from a liquidator appointed to Sports Alive late on Thursday.

The Herald Sun learned Mr Walsh stands to lose more than $500,000 and Mr Sidwell at least as much. Mr Sidwell did not return calls from the Herald Sun and Mr Walsh did not comment.

Tasmania's TAB - Tote Tasmania - has lost a $5 million investment for a 25 per cent share in Sports Alive.

Punters also stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Although the company's licence with the Australian Capital Territory Government required a security bond of $250,000, that amount is expected to fall well short of what is owed to account holders.



Considering the number of UK bookies sniffing around Australian operators over the last few years, the situation must have been desperate if none were prepared to purchase this firm. It was rumoured that 888Sport looked at a joint venture a few years ago but it didn't go ahead due to 888's gaming ventures and conflict with Australian law.

Centrebet takeover approved by Australian Federal Court

The Sportingbet bid for Centrebet looks to be signed and sealed now with Australian courts giving approval that it doesn't breach any anti-competition laws. So Ladbrokes choose not to bid on Australia's first online bookie, letting Sportingbet buy them out, so they can then take them over....

Interesting concept - surely someone's paying too much along the line?

Centrebet takeover approved by Australian court

Sportingbet’s takeover of Centrebet has edged closer after receiving the approval of the Federal Court of Australia. The news follows last week’s announcement that the takeover had received the backing of Centrebet shareholders. In a statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning, London-listed Sportingbet confirmed that the schemes pertaining to the takeover will “become effective” upon the lodging of relevant court orders to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission tomorrow. The suspension of Centrebet shares will follow, with the Australian company set to be officially delisted from the Australian Securities Exchange on 31 August, at which point it will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sportingbet.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

possibly the most pathetic excuse for steroid use

The North Korean women's football team has been kicked out of the next World Cup (2015) and all the qualifying events after five players tested positive for steroids at the recent women's World Cup in Germany.

The team doctor, Jong Ae Nam, who claimed that she had used a "Chinese remedy" based on musk deer glands to aid players who had been struck by lightning, was handed a six-year ban from the game as the five players all tested positive for steroids.

It really is la-la land over there....

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Spot-fixing slips into society very easily

A disturbing, but unsurprising, report from Pakistan about the infiltration of spot-fixing into the fabric of cricket at all levels. For all the posturing and anti-gambling hysteria from idiot politicians such as Senator Nick Xenophon in Australia, one thing is crystal clear - the more you drive gambling underground, the more crooked it becomes. Simple comparison - how often do you see betting scandals in the UK and Australia as against any part of Asia? Which one of those societies tries to force betting underground? Eastern Europe can also be considered closer to Asia than the UK/Australia because the only form of legalised betting is often via state monopolies with extortionate take-out/tax rates.

Competition, licensing, regulation and education is THE ONLY WAY to handle it. Make all companies operate on normal business principles - look after the customer or they will attempt to screw you over. Keep a tight rein over companies so they always have their finances in order. Condition them to look out for activity such as money laundering and ensure they promote responsible gambling. Society should teach kids the maths of gambling so they don't get hooked. Teach kids the ethics of always doing their best, but do not under any circumstances ban it outright and make it harder to police....

Spot-fixing: Youngsters following their idols’ footsteps

There was a time, not long ago, when youngsters idolised and tried to emulate Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, or more recently Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi, as they honed their cricketing skills playing on the streets.

It seems, however, that things have changed drastically, for the worse, because teenage cricket lovers are now following in the footsteps of tainted fast-bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, the disgraced duo currently serving a ban from all types of cricket for their involvement in the spot-fixing saga.

Fixing matches, or at least placing bets on them as a series of festival tournaments take place across the country, is not new but the act being carried out on the streets has become a favourite pastime for many. While betting – placing money on their predicted winner – is common, cash for underperformance has now hit the streets.



Geoff Lawson once said when he was coach of Pakistan briefly that when rookie kids joined the national training squads from remote areas, they often had to be taught basic things that we in the West take for granted, like brushing their teeth. It's not difficult to extend that into a reasonable assumption that matters like integrity and always giving your best on the sporting field were part of their upbringing. Corruption in most countries is simply part of life. Western society works differently, that is plain to see. Ridding cricket of match- and spot-fixing is a much deeper issue than simply bringing in laws and harsh penalties against it. The good ol' sledgehammer to crack a nut approach will not work.

With thanks to @pier0 for the link.


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Federer and Nadal looking lacklustre

Poor performances overnight from Nadal and Federer in the Cincinnati Masters. Nadal was beaten in straight sets by Mardy Fish, the most improved player on the tour in the past 18 months since he shed a bit of muscle and improved his court movement, and soon after Federer was comfortably beaten by Tomas Berdych.

With the US Open coming up in just over a week's time, neither player is in great form - do they have it in them to bounce back for the big event, or is this the beginning of the end? I've said before I can't see Federer winning another Grand Slam singles titles, while Nadal started his senior career so early, his body will burn out quicker. Nadal did have massive blisters on his left hand, which can heal at least.

Novak Djokovic just continues on his merry way at the moment, the value might be to find someone each-way on the other side of the draw. I will definitely be opposing the 'top 4 seeds all to make the semis' option - only one of them is any sort of form at the moment....


Friday, 19 August 2011

Czech team nabbed for match-fixing

Amid all the headlines for Greek and Turkish football, I hadn't seen this one before...

Czech team Olomouc sanctioned for match-fixing

The Czech football association said Thursday it had sanctioned Czech top-flight side Sigma Olomouc with a loss of nine points and a €164,000 for a 2009 match-fixing scandal.

The association's disciplinary committee fined Olomouc for an attempt to bribe Bohemians Prague players with 300,000 koruna ahead of their league game in May 2009 to secure a place in the Europa League.

Sigma's keeper Petr Drobisz, accused of having delivered the money, was handed an 18-month ban and a fine worth 200,000 koruna.



Soft penalty in my opinion - where's the punishment for those in charge of the club who were behind it? Shooting the messenger (or courier in this case) is pathetic.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Has the rogue German state turned chicken?

One German state looked like being the thorn in the foot of the German government and their farcical plans for a online gambling regulatory model. 15 of the 16 states voted for the most uncompetitive licensing system in Europe, but Schleswig-Holstein looked to be the one standing up for German punters, and/or the protocols of the European Union.

But alas, at the last minute, they've not gone through with the decision. Is it to work on a compromise with other German states? Is it because they are scared of intra-German political sanctions? Have they just gone soft? Who knows....


Schleswig-Holstein delays egaming vote at 11th hour


Schleswig-Holstein will decide by September "at the earliest" on whether or not to pass its egaming law, ahead of further negotiations with the other 15 German federal states or Länder over the new State Gambling Treaty.




Wednesday, 17 August 2011

latest editorial work

Another site taking my rants, raves, expertise and tips - the sports blog for The Tote in Tasmania.

Total Domination

The WTA has been criticised over the years for being dominated by one or two players, and rightly so. Now it’s the men’s turn and it’s very difficult to fathom.

Victory in Montreal left Novak Djokovic with a 53-1 win-loss run for the year and he became the first player to win five Masters Series events in a calendar year, remarkably with three still to play. Ponder that for a moment – one loss in over 50 matches in an era containing two rivals regularly mentioned in GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) discussions. Federer and Nadal haven’t been injured, there hasn’t been a disease epidemic weakening his opponents, players haven’t been on strike – this is a guy fed up with life at number three and laying it all on the line......


Read more at The Tote SportsHub


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Coral to finally have a proper crack at the online market

For years Coral have been a lame duck for online betting - average website, mediocre offers, very little promotion etc. Now it sounds like they've finally worked out the High Street is dying and they'd better catch up to their rivals! Judging by the gaming industry job boards, they are have a decent warchest to hire a lot of new people. Although, if Ladbrokes were never that great online, you have to query why they'd hire their former head of online to lead the way...

Monday, 8 August 2011

football sponsorship England v Germany

Bayer Leverkusen announce a shirt sponsorship deal with solar developer Sunpower, one of several deals with renewable energy firms in German football. Bayern Munich have a deal with Yingli, Hoffenheim have one with Wirsol and I've probably missed one or two more...

Meanwhile in England, we have clubs wearing sponsorship logos from 188Bet, 10Bet, 12Bet, 888, 32Red, Bodog, Fun88, Genting Casino, SBOBet, Sportingbet plus other deals with firms like Betfair, Blue Square and others I'm sure I've missed.

German legislation re gambling aside, it says a lot about the state of the respective economies and their outlook for the future doesn't it?


Thursday, 4 August 2011

evolution of gambling in Australia

Interesting article here from the Sydney Morning Herald, illustrating the different betting characteristics on racing by state, and on particular sports. This highlights why betting sites need to know their punters and customise their product accordingly. The live betting figures are interesting - I'd have to see figures on how many games are shown live in each code to make a fair comparison. Australian terrestrial TV networks love showing matches on 30min delay so they can squeeze in as many ads as they can. From next year in the AFL at least, all games will be shown live, even in the home city. And about bloody time too!

Brash gamblers still think inside the box


..
Nicholas Tzaferis, general manager of Tabcorp's corporate affairs, says, "In terms of race betting, NSW punters have a clear preference for win betting, which accounts for more than half of all money wagered on NSW racing. In Victoria, win betting accounts for 42 per cent of turnover."

Multiple betting, popular with small punters taking a range of combinations, is common in Victoria, with Tzaferis saying, "The quaddie [picking winners in four consecutive races] is king in Victoria. Forty-four per cent of our Victorian account customers placed a quaddie bet last year, compared with 26 per cent in NSW."

The listed corporate bookmaker Centrebet says recent trends in the most popular football codes in both states also support this. NSW punters are opting for live gambling on NRL, the "in the run" type gambling when the game is in progress, while the big increase in AFL wagering is on pre-game bets, the fixed-price action before kick-off.



Food for thought for any of these UK firms wanting to set up in Australia....


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Greece - money please, screw the EU rules

Hardly surprising that the Greek government are desperate to earn more tax revenue via gaming licensing, but with shambolic regulations, it's hard to imagine many firms wanting to get involved!

Greece pushes for fast-track regulation

Greek politicians could agree to regulate the country’s online gambling market as soon as Thursday, despite its existing proposals continuing to contravene EU laws.

..
..
..

It is now thought the government is considering charging operators around €10m for a five-year licence.

An RGA spokesman told eGaming Review the body and its members within the licensed private gambling industry had broadly welcomed the opening of the market but that it was concerned with “the apparent disregard” of the EC’s notification process and standstill period by the Greek authorities. “The disregard for those protocols and the acceleration of this legislation comes at a time when Greece is receiving significant financial support from the EU,” he said.

..
..

The Remote Gambling Association has been lobbying Greek ministers and decision makers and the organisation’s main issues surround:

Taxation
A 30% Gross Profits Tax (GPT) on operators, higher than any of the other current regulated markets in France, Italy and the proposed new markets in Spain (20-25%) and Denmark (20%). Despite the RGA lobbying successfully to achieve a change in taxation to GPT it still views the rate as prohibitive.

A 10% “players’ tax” on winnings seen by the body as a further disincentive to gamble with a Greek licensed operator.

Ban on bets
A blackout period of up to six months proposing a ban on all operators offering gambling services to Greek consumers before obtaining a licence. OPAP would be exempt. It suggests this is impractical and will have an adverse impact.

Forced use of Greek financial institutions
Compelling licensed operators to only use Greek financial institutions appears to be a restriction which breaches EU law, notably the free movement of capital.

Different age limits for on and offline gambling
Participation in online gambling is limited to a minimum of 21 years of age, however, the offline gambling activities of OPAP are restricted to a minimum age of 18 years.

Requirement to have a permanent establishment in Greece
The requirement that operators must have a registered office or permanent place of establishment in Greece runs directly counter to the freedom to provide services.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

News summary

Lots going on, but very short of time lately, here's a quick look at what has been going on...

Sportingbet are keen to be acquired by Ladbrokes, but the 'Magic Sign' are nervous about SB's activity in Turkey, one of the strongest regions of their business. If Sportingbet are serious about the sale going through, looks like they will have to sell that part of the company.

The Betfair share price keeps on tumbling, not even the internal buyback scheme can stop the price sliding, sliding away...

The Gold Coast Turf Club is targetting night racing as a way to move themselves up the ladder of Australian racing. Sounds like a positive move, the weather's great up there but when they run their feature Magic Millions Day in January when it is approaching 40C, that's ridiculous. The racecourse does need a serious upgrade to its facilities if they want to become a bigger club, getting into the Friday night rotation of meetings would probably serve them better than being the sixth-ranked meeting on a Saturday, ignored by the majority of punters.

Veteran American tennis player Robbie Kendrick has been banned for 12 months after traces of MHA were found in his system when tested at the French Open. Kendrick claims to have checked online about the ingredients of the tablets he was given by a friend, but didn't spot obvious errors on the company website, and wasn't able to provide the investigation panel with a list of websites he visited because 'he was in the habit of clearing his browser history regularly'. Hmm, a man travelling the world on his own, spending a lot of time in hotel rooms.... why would he need to do that? Lol. On the face of it, it's a fair penalty, but it is unjust when you compare it to confessed HGH trafficker Wayne Odesnik who only received an eight-month ban and is back playing in this week's Washington event.

Questions have to be raised about the value of gaming licences in certain jurisdictions with the Full Tilt Poker/Alderney scandal. How valuable is a licence in one of these territories when they have no local consumers to protect, and thus are more inclined to care about the tax money arriving instead...

Bet24 have informed their clients about a security breach. That's all very nice, you know it can happen, but I'm sure they're working hard to stop it ever happening again, we can forgive them for that. It's not until you dig closer that you learn these events happened between 2007 and 2009! So it wasn't until the story was in the public domain by going to court that customers learned of it. Disgraceful. No surprise that these clowns are licensed in Malta, a jurisdiction with an ever-withering quality of gaming licence.