Tag Archive : Sports

Legal Online Sports Betting Now Live in Colorado

Colorado became on Friday the latest state in the US to be offering legal sports betting after the Supreme Court invalidated a long-standing federal ban on the practice nearly two years ago.

Wagering via retail and digital channels was authorized in the Centennial State last November when voters approved the legalization of the practice in a statewide referendum.

State regulators were tasked with licensing interested sports betting operators and readying the market for May 1 opening, a challenging task they said Friday they were relieved to have achieved.

Unlike other states, Colorado is getting into the US athletic gambling fold amid a very specific situation and at a time when the coronavirus has paused nearly all sports (and pretty much all contours of life as we know it).

With all of the state’s casinos being closed amid the global pandemic and residents being urged to stay home and practice social distancing, Colorado offers them the opportunity to place bets digitally.

Four online sportsbooks were launched in the state on Friday, the first day of legal sports betting, and more are expected to follow suit later this month.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission has issued nearly 20 licenses for the provision of online sports betting services, so the state is clearly poised to host a busy marketplace once the local betting sector matures and things get back to normal, or at least back to some relative normalcy.

Four Online Sportsbooks Now Active in Colorado

Colorado now has four operational online sportsbooks and more are expected to arrive soon. BetMGM and BetRivers were the first brands to go live with betting products in the newly opened market.

BetMGM is owned by ROAR Digital, the joint venture between Las Vegas casino giant MGM Resorts International and British gambling group GVC Holdings.

ROAR Digital announced Friday that it has signed an exclusive primary skin agreement with Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino in Cripple Creek. Sports betting operators must sign such skin agreements with local land-based casinos in order to be able to operate on the territory of Colorado.

Of their launch in the Centennial State, ROAR Digital CEO Adam Greenblatt said that they “look forward to offering Colorado sports fans the excitement and ease of betting with BetMGM and working alongside Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino to provide top class betting experiences in the state of Colorado.”

BetRivers, owned by Rush Street Interactive, the online gambling division of regional casino operator Rush Street Gaming, was too among the first entries in the new market. The betting brand has partnered Triple Crown Casino in Cripple Creek to offer wagering in Colorado.

Commenting on their debut in the state, Rush Street Interactive President Richard Schwartz said that they have achieved success in other regulated markets because they focus on offering “a high quality product with exciting sports betting options, knowledgeable customer service, and an overall friendly approach that treats every player with honesty and care.”

Arch-rivals DraftKings, which became a publicly traded company just a couple of days ago, and FanDuel also announced their launch in Colorado on Friday.

The Centennial State became DraftKings’ seventh market in which it offers sports betting services. The company’s Co-founder and President, Matt Kalish, said that they are “thrilled to introduce Colorado’s passionate sports fans to DraftKings Sportsbook” and that customers across the state “will always have a number of year-round, skin-in-the-game opportunities to engage with the premier sports betting experience DraftKings prides itself on.”

DraftKings has been able to enter Colorado through a partnership with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which operates the Golden Gates, Golden Gulch, and Mardi Gras casinos in Black Hawk.

FanDuel, which too has teamed up with Twin River, was the fourth online sportsbooks to greet Colorado sports fans for the first time on Friday.

The gambling group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Raffensperger, said in a statement that “Colorado is home to a passionate group of sports fans and we are incredibly excited to show them why FanDuel is the number one sportsbook in the country.”

Aside from its real-money gambling offering, FanDuel is also offering the ANYTHINGBOOK free-to-play game that tests sports fans’ knowledge in sports and pop culture.

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Virtual sports to remain “core offering” long term

Virtual sports will be a “core offering” for operators when live sport returns, according to the COO of Inspired Entertainment.

The president and COO of the virtual sports supplier, Brooks Pierce, has used the success of the Virtual Grand National earlier this month as an example of how virtual sports can plug the gap of live sports.

The Virtual Grand National, which replaced the actual race after it was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, was aired on ITV on 4 April, raising £2.6m ($3.2m) for NHS Charities Together, while reaching a peak viewership of 4.8 million.

With Inspired Entertainment providing the animation for the race, Pierce is adamant the vertical is here to stay.

Speaking to Gambling Insider, Pierce said: “In addition to the extensive viewership, information about Inspired’s Virtual Grand National was trending second worldwide on Twitter for a period of time. This is a great example of how virtual sports can plug the gap and bring people together.

“Virtual sports can fill the void of live sports with ultra-realistic content and with attractive betting options that sports wagering fans are used to and can easily adopt.

“It will also be a core offering when live sports are back, as players like the quick action offered by virtual sports with a contest going off every few minutes.

“Our virtual sports business has seen significant growth in the last month and so have our online and mobile slot games.”

Inspired is hoping its V-Play Basketball virtual game can help fill the void after March Madness was cancelled last month, while it is the only current provider of virtual American Football, which it said has seen a “tremendous response” since last year’s launch.

You can read the full Virtual Sports feature in our May/June edition of Gambling Insider when it is published.

Sportradar delivers sports content and coverage above 2019 levels

Sportradar, the global provider of sports content and intelligence, today released figures showing that they had sustained their delivery of sports content and coverage despite the lack of live sports globally due to COVID-19, even managing to increase the overall coverage levels compared to the same period last year .

So far in the month of April, there has been an 11% increase in its available sports content compared to April 2019, with coverage of approximately 24,000 matches in total worldwide. In a typical month, Sportradar provides live coverage for approximately 20,000 matches. Sportradar’s Live Odds coverage is up 30%, while Live Data is up 20% compared to this time last year.

This significant achievement reflects Sportradar’s rapid response to the current absence of live sports and increased appetite for alternative content from customers. The company has pivoted its business to focus on developing a range of innovative and non-traditional sports products, in addition to continuing to partner with leagues around the world.

Sportradar’s Chief Executive Officer, Carsten Koerl said: “Innovation is the cornerstone of our company. During this time, we have been able to quickly adapt to change and constantly evaluate and re-evaluate the products and services we are offering. We’re pleased to have been able to utilise our technological expertise, comprehensive sports data and sports partnerships across the world quickly to continue to help our customers deliver entertainment and engagement with additional live content and coverage.

New products and content include:

Simulated Reality

The first completely AI driven product simulating the event data from major professional sports matches which the company delivered from concept to live in 10 days. Simulated Reality taps into Sportradar’s AI and machine learning capabilities to create and deliver a sports betting experience which is as close to real life as possible.

On the first day of its launch, Sportradar saw approximately 250 clients sign up to the soccer service. Cricket has since been released with other sports, including tennis, to follow soon.

Virtual Sports

Sportradar recently added to its Gaming Solutions portfolio with the release of the Euro Cup 2020. Euro Cup 2020 has been built using motion capture technology, allowing fans to experience the sights and sounds of this virtual football tournament creating a fan and betting experience as close to real-life as possible.

Innovative live sports tournaments

Through its partnerships with leagues and federations across the world, Sportradar has supported the creation and curation of a number of live tournaments. This includes darts, tennis and table tennis events, such as the International Tennis Series Presented by SportsEdTv, Brazil Autumn Cup Table Tennis and PDC Darts at Home. Sportradar is also providing coverage for live sports events that are still currently going ahead and will resume its comprehensive coverage of live sports globally as they return.

Electronic Leagues

Through its network of partnerships, Sportradar has added three high profile properties to its electronic leagues offering. The events include the Brazilian Confederation of esports (CBES) Pro Player Cup, Uruguayan Federation of Virtual Football (FEFV) Pro Club League, and the Russian Premier League (RPL) Cyberleague Pro Series.

Numbers Betting

Outside of sports, Sportradar also provides the most comprehensive pre-match lottery betting solution on the market. The product offers coverage around the clock, with more than 10,400 draws per week from over 165 real State Lotteries worldwide.

Fantasy Sports Ruled Game of Skill by Illinois Supreme Court

A centuries-old statute providing an avenue for a losing bettor to recover their losses does not apply to daily fantasy sports, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled last week.

The ruling was issued in relation to a case brought by an Illinois resident who lost $109 in a fantasy NBA competition hosted by FanDuel back in April 2016.

Colin Dew-Becker and Andrew Wu, both Illinois residents, each paid $109 – a $100 bet and a $9 fee to FanDuel – to compete in an NBA contest. Wu’s team won and he collected the wagered money.

Three days later after the contest took place, Dew-Becker filed a lawsuit seeking to recover his bet under the Loss Recovery Act passed by Illinois lawmakers all the way back in 1819, or just a year after Illinois was declared a state.

The Loss Recovery Act states that a losing bettor of an illegal wager can recover the funds they have lost. Dew-Becker argued that daily fantasy sports are an illegal gambling activity and that he should thus be returned his wager.

The Illinois Supreme Court took up the case to determine whether daily fantasy sports constituted illegal online gambling. The court issued its ruling on April 16, 2020.

DFS Contests Are Dominated by Skill

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that fantasy sports are a game whose outcome is dominated by skill and not by chance, and therefore FanDuel and other websites hosting such contests do not qualify as illegal gambling venues, nor do bets placed on fantasy sports contests qualify as online gambling.

Chief Justice Anne Burke wrote the majority opinion, which said that “because the outcomes of head-to-head DFS contests are predominantly skill-based, we conclude that (Dew-Becker) was not engaged in ‘gambling’ with (Wu) as required.”

The opinion went on

“We determine here only that the DFS contest at issue in this case does not fall under the current legal definition of gambling.”

Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier was the only justice of all six to dissent. He wrote in his dissent that “throughout the history of anti-gambling laws, courts have recognized the effort and ingenuity man has exerted to circumvent the law by disguising activities as legal or contests of skill although the intended appeal is to chance.”

Justice Karmeier also noted that head-to-head DFS contests “duped the majority into believing it is a game of skill when truly it is a game of chance” as “once a lineup (of athletes) is set and the athletic games commence, the DFS participant cannot influence the athlete’s performance or how points are accumulated.”

While the Supreme Court upheld the legality of betting on DFS contests hosted by operators such as FanDuel, the majority justices said that Illinois lawmakers are able to amend current regulations to manage DFS contests.

Source: Illinois Supreme Court rules fantasy sports a game of skill, not chance

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What could Premier League June restart mean for sports betting?

The English Premier League has tentatively proposed 8 June as the earliest potential return date for top-flight football in the UK.

The plan would depend on Government advice, with games to be played behind closed doors and all those involved tested for coronavirus – which would rely on testing equipment being much more readily available by June.

Players would need three weeks to regain match fitness and the aim would be a June restart, with the aim of completing 92 league matches in around five weeks.

Given the hectic schedule, this could equate to one game every three days and would surely require an increase in the number of players allowed in Premier League squads.

This schedule is further complicated by UEFA’s desire to complete its Champions League and Europa League competitions, as well as the Football Association’s desire to see out the FA Cup.

Despite the complications, however, should this ambitious scenario go ahead, sports betting companies would receive a long-awaited boost to their operations and revenue streams. So what do the plans mean for sportsbooks?

A return to action

While five weeks’ worth of one football division doesn’t sound too promising on the face of it, and will unlikely be anywhere near enough to recoup the overall loss of major sport this summer, Premier League football is often the bedrock of sports betting activity.

If full rounds of fixtures take place every three days (or thereabouts), sportsbooks could be looking at doubling the revenue of their normal pre-coronavirus week (where weekends have the majority of matches with less games scattered across the week). This is not to mention the fact other leagues could then also follow suit.

Instead of relying on minor sports like table tennis for revenue, as many are currently doing, sports betting companies would be seeing the conclusion of one of the most revenue-generating leagues in global sport. Naturally, though, this revenue would likely be limited to online sportsbooks and not yet retail locations, depending on the state of the UK’s lockdown.

The absence of sports betting has left gamblers missing the ability to place a wager on the teams and leagues they follow, so sportsbook activity could show unprecedented levels during this five-week period as players celebrate the return of a cherished pastime.

Of course, many sportsbooks have turned to esports and virtual sports to fill the void left by sports betting. Those with online casino and poker arms have also been able to fill the void to some degree.

But for sports betting companies whose lion’s share of revenue comes from traditional sports, a return to action will be vital. Bookmakers will also still be able to offer outright markets as an added bonus, if Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup football continues.

Problem gambling and reduced disposable income

This, however, is an area that could pose sports betting operators some dilemmas. With responsible gambling measures and compliance rightly becoming an ever-increasing consideration, a greater spotlight is falling on gaming companies as more people become homebound due to isolation and social distancing.

While Premier League betting will be a casual experience for a majority of players who have simply missed backing their team or predicting the outcome of weekly matches, the risk of problem gambling will increase significantly if there is a major game right around the corner for five weeks straight.

VIP managers will also be under considerable scrutiny and will have to reduce the temptation to treat high-income players as cash cows in a bid to reduce the overall impact of COVID-19 on a sportsbook’s balance sheet.

The truth, especially by June, is many gamblers will possess a reduced disposable income due to the global situation. Sports betting operators will have to balance the potential for record revenue within a short space of time and the reality that, in some cases, they may be generating revenue from people who can ill afford to gamble in the current climate.

Will the Premier League conclusion become a reality?

Of course, the biggest immediate consideration is whether the Premier League’s plans are actually too ambitious at this stage.

Being at the mercy of a deadly virus causes great uncertainty for all involved and, should another major wave of new cases surface in the UK before June, the Premier League season could be in jeopardy of not finishing at all – a possibility all stakeholders have been aware of to date but one they have been hopeful does not come to pass.

All sports betting companies can do for now is put plans in place for staffing, technology and marketing in advance of a June resumption, while acknowledging the possibility it may not actually take place.

If it does go ahead, with greater regulatory and media scrutiny likely to fall upon operators, they would be well-placed to introduce greater responsible gambling policies specifically for this exceptional, unprecedented period.

Meanwhile, any companies simply waiting for sports to return are best-advised to seek out alternative revenue streams, like the aforementioned esports, virtual sports, online casino and poker, if they haven’t done so already.

But while the Premier League’s plans do not yet offer any concrete certainty, they offer the hope sports betting organisations needs right now.

Microgaming Takes Inspired Slots, Virtual Sports Live on Platform

Ever-busy online casino content supplier Microgaming has secured yet another important deal that would enhance the offering available across its aggregation platform.

In a press release that hit the wire Thursday afternoon, Microgaming announced that it has teamed up with games technology company Inspired Entertainment, Inc.

RELATED: Microgaming Unveils Feature-Rich, Action-Packed April Slots Lineup

The partnership will see the phased launch of Inspired products on Microgaming’s platform. The agreement between the two companies will thus see Microgaming further diversify the slots, virtual sports, and table games offering available on its platform to its global client base, while also significantly bolstering the reach of Inspired’s content.

The first phase of integration of Inspired products will see the addition of 20 of the provider’s most popular online slots on the Microgaming content aggregation platform. Top performers such as Anubis Wild Megaways, Prison Escape, and Stacked Fire 7s will be among the first to go live with Microgaming and to become available to its network of partners.

Inspired will also be able to integrate its suite of virtual slots and table games at a later stage, it also became clear.

Microgaming’s content aggregation platform currently includes more than 1,000 casino games, including content from its growing portfolio of exclusive studio partners and top performing titles from third-party partners.

The platform supplies casino products to more than 20 regulated markets around the world. Operators can get access to all the offering available through a single integration.

It should also be noted that Microgaming’s platform includes the industry’s largest progressive jackpot network as well as a full suite of administration and marketing tools.

Increasing Reach and Brand Visibility

Of their deal with Microgaming, Claire Osborne, Vice President of Inspired’s Interactive division, said that they are “excited and proud” to team up with the major Isle of Man-based provider and get their range of games live on its content aggregation platform.

Ms. Osborne went on to say that their collaboration with Microgaming will enable them to increase their reach and brand visibility.

Microgaming Director of Global Operations James Buchanan commented that their deal with Inspired will see them further expand their content offering and that their new partner is a market leader in the virtual sports sector and has a “very strong regulatory market reach.”

Mr. Buchanan added that the addition of Inspired content, particularly the company’s virtual sports suite, is part of their strategy to provide their customers with a rich diversity of high-quality games that “deliver ultimate gaming experiences to players” and to thus always keep enhancing their portfolio of partner games.

Microgaming’s partnership with Inspired is the latest of a series of important announcements made by the company in recent weeks. Last week, it announced that its flagship progressive jackpot slot – Mega Moolah – has awarded another eight-figure jackpot. An anonymous Canadian player won more than €10.7 million playing the game at Jackpot City.

Source: Microgaming enhances offering with Inspired content

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GiG Adds 1X2 Network Virtual Sports to B2B Sportsbook Solution

Online casino and sports betting solutions provider Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) today announced that it has partnered with virtual sports expert 1X2 Network to offer virtual sports to its operator partners at a time when all major sports around the globe are halted.

As part of its recently penned partnership with 1X2 Network, GiG has been able to add the provider’s virtual sports content to its sportsbook solution and thus provide online gambling operators with the opportunity to expand their offering with products from 1X2 Network.

1X2 Network provides virtual sports offering through its Leap Gaming strategic partner. The content offered to clients includes high-quality on-demand virtual sports products as well as in-play virtual betting.

GiG said that its operator partners can now offer their bettors the opportunity to engage on-demand and connect with their favorite sports, thanks to the newly added 1X2 Network virtual sports content.

According to GiG, sports enthusiasts can engage with 1X2 Network’s products in the same way they would with live sports.

The newly added virtual sports portfolio includes instant horse racing, greyhound racing, trotting, Velodrome, speedway, and football as well as scheduled tennis and horse racing.

The partnership with 1X2 Network and the addition of virtual sports comes as the latest upgrade to GiG’s sportsbook solution as the company looks to cement its position as a leading B2B industry provider.

Placing Operators at the Forefront of Sports Betting

Of their partnership with 1X2 Network, GiG Chief Information Officer Chris Armes said that teaming up with the content provider allows them to offer “a quality virtual sports portfolio with realistic 3D games for some of the most popular on-demand sports betting games.”

Mr. Armes went on to say that this allows operators to increase their offering and thus place themselves at the forefront of sports betting.

News about GiG enhancing the offering available through its sportsbook solution emerge just days after the company announced that it has secured regulatory approval to offload its B2C business to online gambling group Betsson.

GiG first announced the sale of its online casino and betting brands, those being Rizk, Guts, Kaboo, and Thrills, this past February.

The company said that the move would allow it to focus entirely on the provision of B2B services for the online gambling industry and would help it “reduce complexity and improve efficiency.”

1X2 Network has had eventful few weeks itself. The company recently announced that its casino content has gone live with online gambling operator BGO.

And earlier in April, 1X2 Network penned a content supply deal with BetWarrior. Under the deal, the gambling operator and its audience in Latin America would gain access to 1X2 Network’s entire portfolio of casino games as well as to Leap Gaming’s entire suite of virtual sports products.

Source: GiG strengthens sportsbook offering to operators by launching virtual betting with 1X2 Network

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Court Halts Germany’s Sports Betting Licensing Process

Germany’s online gambling reorganization process has hit another setback after an Austrian bookmaker has mounted a legal challenge, arguing that the ongoing sports betting licensing process was marred by lack of transparency.

On January 1, 2020, Germany enforced an experimental sports betting regulatory regime under the country’s Third State Treaty on Gambling. The new regime is set to remain in effect until June 30, 2021, when a permanent framework is expected to take force.

The newly implemented rules paved the way for interested online sports betting operators to apply for licenses and operate in a regulated environment.

However, the Administrative Court of Darmstadt upheld earlier this week a complaint filed by Austrian betting operator Vierklee that the wagering licensing process was discriminatory and not transparent enough. The court ruled that the process should be suspended until further notice.

Vierklee’s legal representative told German media outlet Bild that the company and other sports betting operators were not informed about the start of the concession process in July 2019.

Under the Third State Treaty on Gambling, the Darmstadt Regional Council and the Hesse Ministry of the Interior were tasked with accepting and reviewing sports betting license applications and awarding licenses to the approved applicants.

However, the recent court ruling has thrown Germany’s eight-year effort at regulating online sports betting into disarray.

German Sports Betting Association Says Court Ruling a Big Blow to Its Members

The President of the German Sports Betting Association (Deutsche Sportwettenverband, DSWV), Mathias Dahms, said that the recent ruling was a big blow to its members and that “even though we were promised concessions by the legislator back in 2012, an early approval, which should have been made possible by the State Treaty on Gambling, which has been in effect since the beginning of the year, is now once again in the stars.”

Vierklee is not a member of the German Sports Betting Association.

According to Mr. Dahms, the current situation could have been avoided and Germany-facing sports betting companies have once again been denied access to “a regulated market and thus legal certainty.”

Mr. Dahms also said that he feels sorry for “the employees in the Hessian Ministry of the Interior and the Darmstadt Regional Council, who have been very committed in the past few months to finally make the approval process a success.”

The DSWV is considering whether to appeal Vierklee’s lawsuit.

Aside from sports betting, the heads of Germany’s 16 states last month agreed to legalize online casino-style gaming and online poker as part of the nation’s gambling market reorganization. However, licenses for online casino and poker activities will only become available from July 1, 2021 when the permanent framework is set to take force.

Source: German sports betting licensing process halted by court ruling until further notice

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ExeFeed releases Simulated Reality Football to help operators overcome sports betting shortfall

Virtual sports is the best vertical to replace sports betting and will be important for operators to overcome the current coronavirus pandemic, according to ExeFeed’s Marco Josipovic.

Sports betting solutions provider ExeFeed announced the launch of its virtual product Simulated Reality Football, to replace the void of live sports, with all major events postponed during the coronavirus outbreak.

The virtual football product will reflect team form and normal match play, with all remaining fixtures scheduled to be played as per their original date and kick-off time. ExeFeed will offer pre-match odds, live BetBuilder and cashout features to complement the virtual football offering.

Speaking exclusively to Gambling Insider, ExeFeed Senior Partner and Product Manager Josipovic believes virtual football will offer what other gaming verticals can’t with the absence of live sport, and expects high demand for what the provider is calling the first product of its kind.

He said: “It is impossible for virtual to replace real matches, but we think this kind of real match simulation can create the content that is between sports betting and virtual sports to create a new sports betting space.

“For operators, content is now most important and this will certainly help to overcome this crisis.

“We quickly realised the entire industry will be in crisis and that online casinos, poker, etc, were not enough for operators who have sport betting at the core of their business.

“It is certain virtual sports will be popular right now, and this opens the door to our company. We received positive feedback from clients we work with and everyone was eagerly anticipating live virtual events, we expect to attract a lot of new clients.”

Delaware February sports betting revenue rises to $160K

Delaware earned $160,000 in February sports betting revenue, a year-on-year improvement of 621%.

However, revenue dropped considerably from January when the state took in $1.5m, driven by Super Bowl wagering.

The Delaware Lottery runs sports betting in the Diamond State.

Delaware Park led the way with $97,000 in revenue, far outpacing second-place Harrington Raceway, which took in $35,000.

Meanwhile, Dover Downs earned $28,000, with Delaware on pace for a strong spring until the coronavirus pandemic shut down the nation’s casinos.