First Illinois Sportsbooks Could Open ahead of March Madness

First Illinois Sportsbooks Could Open ahead of March Madness

Legal sports betting is coming to Illinois and odds are that this is going to happen right in time for the upcoming March Madness tournament.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh, said in a statement this week that the state’s top official “is pleased that Illinois sportsbooks will open for business by March Madness, generating revenue to rebuild universities, hospital, and other facilities across the state.”

Gov. Pritzker last summer rubber-stamped an 816-page bill authorizing massive expansion of the state gambling industry that, among other things, included the legalization of sports betting at retail locations and across digital venues.

The bill’s enforcement into law was a big triumph for the rookie governor who has the challenging task to find funds for his ambitious $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan in a state that has been perennially strapped for cash.

First Sports Betting Licenses Granted

The Illinois Gaming Board opened the sports betting license application window in December. The regulator issued the first three temporary operating permits early this month. Under the state’s newly enforced athletic gambling law, all of Illinois’ ten existing casinos are allowed to apply for sports betting licenses.

The three casinos that received temporary permits were Argosy Casino Alton, Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, and Rivers Casino Des Plaines. The properties will be able to conduct both retail and digital wagering activities.

As mentioned above, hopes are that Illinois residents will be able to place first legal bets by mid-March, when the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, or March Madness, is set to kick off. The major basketball event traditionally attracts a lot of attention and betting action.

According to industry insiders, Argosy Casino could be well on track to open Illinois’ first sportsbook, but it is yet to be seen whether this would be the case.

Commenting on the possible start of legal sports betting in the coming few weeks, Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman said this week that “by the time March Madness comes around and the NCAA tournament that’s a heavy time that people like to bet on sports […] I think the state still hopes to have an operation in place by that time to take advantage in the increased interest in betting on sports.”

DraftKings, FanDuel Have to Wait for 18 Months to Get Into the Betting Fold

The legalization of sports betting in Illinois came with a rather controversial provision that blocked companies like DraftKings and FanDuel from applying for online sports betting licenses until 18 months after the start of legal athletic gambling in the state.

There will be three online-only spots betting licenses available after that 18-month period and they will cost $20 million each.

DraftKings and FanDuel have, of course, not been very happy by that turn of events. The CEO of DraftKings, Jason Robins, even took to Twitter last year, saying that “while it is good to see sports betting bills passed, excluding DraftKings and FanDuel is like passing a ride sharing bill that excludes Uber and Lyft.”

The tweet went on that it was “very disappointing that Illinois customers will not have the best options available to them for 18 months.”

Elsewhere around the US, the two daily fantasy sports turned sports betting operators have been among the leaders in the provision of sports betting services.

Source: Sports betting could be operational in March

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Classifying Crypto Securities, Utility Tokens, and Currencies

The cryptocurrency market has given entrepreneurs a novel and potent method of raising funds: Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Representative of the modern trend of crowdfunding-based model, ICOs are often seen as a double-edged sword; powerful and profitable as fundraising mechanisms, yet riskier given the ease with which they can be executed. The period between 2017 and 2018 is proof of this fact, where the number of new token sales more than doubled from 966 to 2,284. 

Even though ICOs have now become the go-to fundraising mechanism for startups in the blockchain space, there are a plethora of terms that tend to confuse new investors. A Security Token Offering (STO), for example, is a very specific kind of ICO that involves a great deal of regulatory compliance for both, the startup and any potential investors. Nonetheless, ICOs have become a prominent development in the cryptocurrency space of late.

In the following sections of this article, let’s explore the various types of cryptocurrencies – security tokens, utility tokens, and currencies.

The Three Main Types of Cryptocurrencies

1. Security Tokens

In the world of traditional finance, ‘securities’ refers to any financial instrument that holds a value, such as stocks, bonds, and options. Broadly speaking, securities can be categorized as either equity or debt. Any asset that passes the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s “Howey Test” is considered to be a security. The Howey Test includes four criteria that must be fulfilled, namely that:

– There is an investment of money

– There is an expectation of profit

– The investment of money is in a common enterprise

– Any profit comes from the efforts of the promoter or third party

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) developed this test and indeed, it has been involved in cryptocurrency conversations as of late. If any one of these criteria isn’t met, then the asset may not be classified as a security.

The implication of a cryptocurrency being deemed a security is chiefly that securities come with additional regulation that may be difficult to handle for the security issuer. That said, there have been several token offerings that operated entirely within the realm of legality.

2. Utility Token

Utility tokens are fairly self-explanatory. These tokens are not intended to be used for payment or act as a security. Instead, they are commonly developed specifically to facilitate the services of a platform or service. A cloud computing blockchain network, for instance, could use a native utility token to pay for additional resources. Generally, in a utility token, there is little expectation of profit or loss.

This type of tokens can be compared to vouchers or points offered by businesses that permit the (sometimes discounted) use of a platform. Whether or not the price of these tokens go up is incidental – but you can see how this may make the classification of the token a difficult prospect for regulators.

3. Currencies

This was the original intention of the cryptocurrency revolution, as is evident by Bitcoin’s whitepaper that describes it to be “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. 

While Bitcoin is also referred to as a store of value, ala Digital Gold, it is largely considered to be a means of exchange, replacing fiat currencies thanks to its several innate advantages. It is regarded by a growing number of regulators worldwide as a currency, even if its price tends to fluctuate more than its fiat counterparts.

Definitions and Classifications Remain Hazy

While the space is rapidly obtaining regulatory clarity and legitimacy, it is still far from mass adoption. Consequently, the market is also far from having rules and a universal understanding that clearly delineates different types of tokens. This has become a major talking point among lawmakers and institutional investors of late.

Given the continuing development of the space and the creation of new investment vehicles and technological offerings, it is entirely possible that a token may be seen as a security token by one regulatory entity and a currency or utility token by another. The debate surrounding whether Ethereum and Ripple are securities highlight the difficulty in classifying cryptocurrencies.

Despite this challenge, an increasing number of regulators and investors across the world are warming up to the idea of cryptocurrencies, both as an asset class and as a revolutionary technology. Just as any other emergent field, it is reasonable to expect proper categorizations and accompanying regulation to be formed and enforced in time.

The Evolution of Slot Machines

You cannot talk about casino games without a mention of slot machines. They are the most popular in casino games whether offline or online. There are thousands of slot machine games so a player has a wide variety of choices to make.

Slot machines have a beautiful history – something we are going to visit in a jiffy. This aspect of casino games has evolved over the years to what we have now.

 

The earliest traces of slot machines would take us late into the 19th century when Sittman and Pitt (a company based in New York) built it in 1891. It was built to hold 50 cards with 5 drums and usually placed in bars.  

Whilst winning against the house was difficult, there were no financial rewards except for free cigars and drinks on the bar. To win, one had to have a lineup of pokers displayed on the reels.

From 1887 to 1895, the world witnessed an upgrade of slot machines thanks to C.A. Fey. His machine was said to be the first to allow auto-payouts. 

Instead of 5 drums of the older slot machine, Fey built his with 3 drums and discarded all other cards leaving just the spades, diamonds, hearts, liberty bell, and horseshoes.

To make higher winnings, one had to deal with a lineup of 3 liberty bells. As such, the machine became popular by the name Liberty Bell. The only problem was that Fey refused to apply for a patent – so several manufacturers stole his design.

In 1902, slot machines were banned but this didn’t impede manufacturers from making more of the machines. However, giving out cash prices became a problem. 

So manufacturers replaced the slot symbols with fruits and a winner would be given a sweet or chewing gum with matching flavor as the one won.

Till 1968, slot machines were quite mechanical – you pull a lever and the reels swing into motion. In 1964, an electro mechanical slot machine was built and was dubbed “Money Honey.”

Although Money Honey was electronically operated, it was started with the familiar lever and it could make payouts of around 500 coins.

Twelve years later, video slots were invented by Future Coin, a company based in Las Vegas. The machine had a display of a 19-inch Sony TV and gained the approval of the NSGC. As the machine became widely used, IGT attempted and successfully bought Future Coin.

In 1996, WMS Industries developed the Reel ‘Em video slot which allows for bonus games and players more likelihood of earning payouts. This game became popular in casinos and made up around 70% of both physical space and income of these game centers.

 

In the ’90s, the internet led way to the development of online casinos and hence, online slots. At first, these online slots had the same theme and symbols as the land-based game centers. 

However, programming and improving computer graphics have now turned things around and we can see several slot structures, symbols, and layouts. These are way different from what we know in the beginning but share the same techniques.

Casinos that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies started emerging and players embraced them because of so many benefits. They can now enjoy lower fees, better security, and better accessibility.   

Bonuses are no longer a strange concept in online slots and casinos generally. Several punters take advantage of them to improve their bankroll. 

These bonuses also help to play free games whether you’re playing in cryptocurrency casinos or regular ones. Other top trends in cryptocurrency casinos include high security and fast payouts.

Slot machines will continue to evolve. The best operators are trying their best to stay on top of the trends. This will enable them to offer their teeming customers excellent service from time to time. 

Resorts World Las Vegas Picks Konami’s SYNKROS Casino System

Resorts World Las Vegas, the luxury $4.3-billion integrated resort currently under development in the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, has selected technology provider Konami Gaming as its exclusive gaming system management partner.

Set to swing its doors open in the summer of 2021, Resorts World Las Vegas will feature a 110,000-square-foot casino among a number of other amenities.

The resort’s partnership with Konami enables it to utilize the provider’s SYNKROS gaming technology system that will help the property “streamline, manage, and optimize” its gaming operations by “converting meaningful data into actionable information.”

Resorts World Las Vegas will be the first casino property on the Strip to harness the full suite of tools available through SYNKROS and its enterprise software license.

The dynamic and comprehensive system will provide the casino resort with all the necessary marketing, communication, and tracking tools that are all designed in a manner that aims to enhance player engagement through individually tailored incentive offerings; assess and optimize the casino’s performance in real time through detailed reports and visual analytics, and manage accounting as well as slot and table game operations.

Through their partnership, Resorts World Las Vegas and Konami will also work to constantly improve player experience through a wide range of benefits, including cashless wagering, mobile account management, and loyalty and bonus rewards, among others.

Reinventing the Hospitality Experience in Las Vegas

Commenting on their decision to team up with Konami, Resorts World Las Vegas President Scott Sibella said that “reinventing the hospitality experience in Las Vegas means enhancing our service measures and boosting customer engagement through every touch point of the Resorts World Las Vegas experience, including gaming.”

Mr. Sibella also noted that the implementation of the SYNKROS system will enable them to contact with their casino patrons in real time and provide them with “the most cutting-edge, personalized gaming experience” on the Strip.

Tom Jingoli, Executive Vice President and CCO at Konami, said that “for years, Konami’s SYNKROS has worked to deliver guest experiences at the forefront of innovation, so the chance to create new heights of engagement and entertainment for future Resorts World patrons truly resonates with our shared, enduring vision.”

About Resorts World Las Vegas

Resorts World Las Vegas is on track for its planned summer 2021 opening. The property is being developed and will be managed by Malaysian gaming and hospitality group Genting and will be the latest addition to the company’s already rich portfolio of luxury properties in key casino hubs.

When it opens doors, Resorts World Las Vegas will feature a hotel with 3,500 rooms, suites, luxury villas and penthouses in the property’s two towers; a 110,000-square-foot casino with slot machines, table games, private gaming areas, a poker room, and high-limit gaming spaces; and more than 200,000 square feet of food and beverage offerings, including authentic street food experience and Michelin star dining.

The resort will also feature more than 70,000 square feet of retail space with 28 shops offering globally recognized brands; 350,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space; a 220,000-square-foot pool complex with seven unique pool experiences, including an infinity pool with some of the most amazing views of the Las Vegas Strip; a 14,000-square-foot entertainment zone with a race- and sportsbook and featured entertainment; and a 5,000-capacity theater that will be hosting A-list residencies and corporate events.

As mentioned above, the luxury resort will have two towers. Its West Tower will feature a 100,000-square-foot LED screen (one of the largest building displays in the US), while the East Tower will feature a 19,000-square-foot one. A 50-foot diameter video globe that will display more than 6,000 square feet of LED content will also be part of the captivating technology innovations that visitors will be able to see at the property.

Source: Resorts World Las Vegas Names Exclusive Gaming System Management Partner

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Scientific Games full-year revenue rises 1% after Q4 drop

Scientific Games has reported a 1% year-on-year rise in revenue, after suffering a fall for Q4.

Revenue for the 12 months through to 31 December increased to $3.4bn, while net loss improved by $234m down to $118m, and operating income increased 105% from the previous year to $546m.

Revenue for Q4 was down 3% to $863m, which the supplier says was down to fewer launches in Canada and lower machine unit sales, compared to 2018.

A disappointing Q4 was reinforced by the supplier posting a net loss of $37m, compared to a $207m income in 2018, which included a $40m loss on a debt financing transaction.

Scientific Games President and CEO Barry Cottle said: “This past year, we made great strides in developing the best games, attracting industry talent, and improving capital structure.

“I’m confident we have the right team in place to reach our goal to be the market leader across land-based gaming, lottery, sports and digital gaming driven by leading content and the platforms that enable play anywhere and anytime.”

The Q4 and full-year results come a week after Scientific Games announced an agreement to extend its partnership with William Hill until 2024, providing its sports betting technologies to the operator.

Colorado marijuana sales hit a record $1.75 billion in 2019

Last year was the most lucrative 12 months for cannabis sales in Colorado since the state’s voters legalized recreational marijuana.

Medical and recreational cannabis sales hit a record $1.75 billion in 2019, up 13% from 2018, according to data from the Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. Marijuana tax collections also hit an all-time high, at more than $302 million in 2019.

RELATED: “Where’s all that marijuana money?” Colorado’s pot dollars help schools, but maybe not as much as you think

Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Relax Gaming Unveils Ninja Casino Partnership

Provider of online casino content and an aggregation platform Relax Gaming has teamed up with Swedish gambling group Global Gaming to launch its entire portfolio of proprietary gaming titles as well as games by third-party suppliers with the operator’s flagship brand Ninja Casino.

Under the terms of the recently signed content supply deal, Relax Gaming will make available its in-house content, including hit titles Temple Tumble and Money Train, as well as its upcoming releases to Global Gaming and its biggest and most popular brand.

The deal also makes it possible for Ninja Casino to go live with games by third-party suppliers that work with Relax Gaming. Big Time Gaming, Push Gaming, Kalamba Games, and STHLMGAMING are few of those third-party suppliers that will be able to launch their content with the popular online casino brand under its parent company’s partnership with Relax Gaming.

Relax Gaming was established a decade ago and has built a reputation for providing simplified content delivery for the modern online gaming landscape.

Through a single integration, Relax Gaming provides its operator partners with access to more than 1,000 online casino games by a number of suppliers as well as to proprietary titles, including poker and bingo games and a rapidly expanding in-house slots portfolio.

The third-party content is delivered through Relax Gaming’s highly successful Silver Bullet program for commercially represented providers and Powered By program for commercially independent gaming studios.

Latest Major Operator to Join Cluster of Relax Gaming Partners

Global Gaming and its flagship casino operation became the latest high profile partner secured by Relax Gaming, which has expanded its footprint significantly over the past 12 months through partnerships with leading gambling operators, studios, and platform providers.

Commenting on their deal with Ninja Casino, Relax Gaming CCO Daniel Eskola said that it demonstrates that their “offer of technical excellence and business simplicity provides real value to major operators in the European market.”

Mr. Eskola went on that Ninja Casino’s “broad customer base will boost our distribution in both new and existing markets and help us to reach new players.”

Ninja Casino’s Head of Casino, Dirk Camilleri, said that their new partner “not only offers a quality range of content but also a simple aggregation model and user-friendly interface that provides quick and smooth integration.”

Mr. Camilleri also pointed out that their partnership enables them to further advance their offering with industry leading games.

Global Gaming recently received a bit of bad news in relation to its effort to bring the Ninja Casino brand back to the Swedish market after Sweden’s gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, revoked its license last summer.

The regulatory body last week rejected the requested transfer of Ninja Casino’s .se domain to Global Gaming’s marketing partner Viral Interactive. Spelinspektionen ruled that no Ninja Casino-related domain would be allowed to be launched in Sweden.

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High 5 Games, bet365 Forge Casino Content Supply Deal

Independent casino games provider High 5 Games today revealed a major partnership that would significantly expand its foothold across important markets and would provide a wider gambling audience with access to its content portfolio.

The New York-based studio has partnered with online gambling powerhouse bet365 to provide its huge global customer base with access to its entire games library.

Through this partnership, bet365 will further enhance its existing offering with popular slots such as Triple Double Da Vinci Diamond, Goldstruck, and Way Out Wilds, all produced by High 5 Games.

Games by the developer will be made available to the gambling operator’s customers across the globe, including European markets and the United States. High 5 Games’ deal with bet365 will thus enhance significantly its international presence.

Established in 1995, High 5 Games has grown to become one of the largest, if not the largest, independent providers of games for the land-based, digital, and social casino industries. Its content is available across six continents and in more than 150 countries.

High 5 Games’ library currently includes more than 450 games. Through its remote game server, High 5 VAULT, its selection of titles can be integrated with multiple online casinos for real money play.

To ensure that it is a truly global operation, High 5 Games has obtained licenses and certifications from a number of reputable regulators, including the UK Gambling Commission, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, the Malta Gaming Authority, and the Danish Gambling Authority.

Account Management from Malta

As part of its content supply deal with bet365, High 5 Games will additionally provide the gambling operator with dedicated account management support from the supplier’s Maltese team following the opening of its new office in Sliema.

High 5 Games noted that its recently inked partnership with bet365 demonstrates the growing appeal of the provider’s desktop and mobile gaming content as it has gone live with a number of tier-one companies.

Commenting on their latest important milestone, High 5 Games CEO Anthony Singer said that they have been working with the bet365 team for more than five years and that they are thrilled to have secured a new global agreement that would take the provider and the operator’s partnership to the next level.

Mr. Singer went on that integrating their games directly with bet365 would prove highly beneficial for the operator as it would be able to launch the titles more efficiently.

High 5 Games is expected to deliver its new content to the gambling operator in the coming months.

Last month, the New York-based studio entered a multi-year deal with Iforium. Under that agreement, High 5 Games would integrate its library onto its partner’s Gameflex content aggregator that already contains more than 9,000 titles from over 100 providers.

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Feds bust suspected Pittsburg/Atlanta pot trafficking ring; alleged money launderer arrested in Bay Area

OAKLAND — A man suspected of conspiring with others to ship marijuana from Pittsburg to Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested in the Bay Area last week on an arrest warrant for money laundering charges, court records show.

Alhaji Jewru Touray was arrested in connection with a federal conspiracy and money laundering case based in Georgia. The complaint against Touray says that a confidential federal informant confessed to helping Touray vacuum-seal bags of marijuana in a home on Springhill Drive in Pittsburg to prepare them for shipment to Atlanta.

During the course of the two-year investigation, authorities seized more than to $400,000 in cash, according to court records.

Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

My personal experience with Algowave AI Robots

Algowave AI Robotics is a trading prediction system that combines AI technology to provide up to the minute trading opportunities. After years of investing in the artificial intelligence behind human behavior, Algowave has developed an advanced robot that trades only when recognizing profitable monetary opportunities.

Algowave more specifically is an API that integrates with your Binance account to provide real-time trading opportunities 24/7.  Algowave uses real-time market predictions based on social physics. Focusing on a massive data set of human behavior, or rather a prediction oriented application. Algowave AI uses professional analysts along with the AI robots to provide trading opportunities in the cryptocurrency market.

Getting Started with Algowave.

Algowave utilizes Binance.com, a virtual currency exchange platform, to leverage their trading AI-Algo. This means in order to utilize the advanced AI-Robotics from Algowave for trading, you will need to create an account and deposit money into your Binance account, allowing you to purchase various crypto-currencies.

After depositing funds into your Binance account, you will need to select the settings tab on Biannce.com to find the ‘API Management’. This will allow you to integrate your account with the Algowave API. If you have not done so already, you will be prompted to dual authenticate your account. Afterword’s you will be able to integrate with the Algowave AI. Once you have created your API (I named my Algowave) you will want to save the two keys to somewhere safe on your computer, you will need these again in a minute.

Need help creating your API? Follow the steps Here!

After obtaining your API keys from Binance it is time to head over Algowave AI Robotics and create yourself an account. After the account creation process, you will now have access to several trading strategies that can be incorporated into your crypto trading.

The last step is to send those API keys you obtained from Bianance.com to the team over at Algowave AI to finalize the integration with the Algo trading strategies. After sending the API keys to the team at Algowave, you will receive a confirmation email with all the details. After finalizing the confirmation email, Algowave will begin to build the trading strategy specifically for your account and will begin trading.

My experience with Algowave!

Creating the Binance account and integrating with the API is a bit of work and getting started can feel like a burden, but after using the platform for a few weeks, the investment is starting to pay off.

When I first started with the Algowave trading platform I utilized only a small amount of money ~ 1k USD. I invested in one or two crypto-currencies and let the API run for a week. In that week I made only a small return on my account. Doing some research and speaking with the Algowave team I invested more money and bought a larger variety of cryptocurrencies. Letting the Algowave AI do its thing for another week, I was surprised by the amount I made. Even with the fees charged by Algowave. I was coming out ahead and actually making a little extra money. 

Algowave is continuing to grow and improve on their AI-Robotics. They have an app and a website that can be used to monitor and modify your strategies. As an individual who trades mostly equities, Algowave has allowed me to expose myself to the cryptocurrency market and allowed the account to trade itself. At this time the only thing I can see hindering your experience with Algowave AI-Robotics is the transaction cost of trading the currency on Binance.com and the settlement of your trade. These obstacles are out of Algowave control, but if they can provide a solution to this hindrance, they could see additional interest in their crypto-currency trading AI. Overall my experience has been pleasant.