03 Mar
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Playtech games live in regulated Czech Republic online market

Playtech casino games can now be accessed in the Czech Republic after content and software supplier’s deal with Fortuna, the country’s first licensed online gambling operator.

Last week, Fortuna secured the first-ever licence to operate online technical games from the Czech Ministry of Finance. Fortuna is now up and running with a bunch of Playtech’s online and mobile slot and table game content.

After joining forces in August 2016, the two firms have launched products in Romania and intend to expand their reach to countries like Poland and Slovakia in the future.

“We are delighted to be the first supplier to go live in the Czech Republic with our pioneering omni-channel platform technology and best-performing casino content and to further expand Fortuna’s offering in this newly regulated market,”said Shimon Akad, Playtech’s chief operating officer.

“We pride ourselves on being leaders in regulated markets and today’s announcement highlights just how we always aim to lead the way.”

At the moment, brands wanting to enter the online gambling market of Czech Republic need to secure a licence or face prosecution from the national regulator and police.

Companies will also have to adhere to rigid licensing processes, which includes a new tax rate of 23% on gross gaming revenue for sports betting and lotteries, and 35% for RNG casino games, on top of a standard 19% corporate tax rate.

David Vanek, general manager, Fortuna CZ, added: “We are proud to be the first company in the Czech Republic to have met the demanding conditions defined by the new legislation and to be granted a licence as a result.

"Broadening our product range to complement our sports betting offering is a major priority. We are therefore very pleased that our customers will be the first to play online roulette and casino games in full compliance with Czech legislation.

“Granting this licence means that Fortuna has become the first multi-product (sports and games) gaming company in the Czech market. Our new online casino and aggressive games expansion is crucial to growing the business and means the Fortuna product offering will be comparable to some of Europe’s largest operators.

"Thanks to our close co-operation with Playtech, the industry’s leading online gaming technology company, we have a comprehensive range of best-performing products and the best gaming experience to offer our players.”

05 Feb
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Playtech joins forces with OPAP, opens huge live casino studio

Online gaming giant Playtech has struck a deal with Greek betting and lottery operator OPAP to launch a state of the art live casino studio in Riga, Latvia.

Playtech and OPAP have inked a three-year deal, which covers supply of self-service betting terminals, relevant software and services, as well as the subsequent introduction of an over-the-counter sports-betting solution.

“There are multiple opportunities to further develop our relationship as OPAP looks to enhance its digital retail offering and we believe today's agreement marks the start of a long and successful relationship,”Playtech BGT Sports chief executive Armin Sageder said.

OPAP chief executive Damian Cope added:

“The introduction of SSBTs is aligned with our strategic priority to build a world-class portfolio of products and services for OPAP. Our cooperation with Playtech will contribute to the considerable improvement of our retail sports-betting offering and the enhancement of our customers' experience.”

Playtech has stated that Riga live casino studio has been created a huge surge in client demand.

Playtech chief executive Mor Weizer said: “This has been a huge undertaking but, more importantly, is a huge step forwards in live casino and one no other company except Playtech is capable of making.

“Our licensees’ offerings have firmly been futureproofed with the completion of our new studio, leading-edge software and hardware and state-of-the art control centre. And crucially, it is their players who will benefit the most from the best live casino offering on the market.

“This now gives us the platform to deliver the next generation of live casino to our customers, and will also give us the flexibility and ability to deliver many new and innovative products.”

Playtech at the moment is moving form strength to strength and this deal will certainly add to its already increasing footprint.

02 Feb
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New Jersey inches closer to daily fantasy sports regulation

In a significant new development in the world of gaming, US state of New Jersey has moved a step close to regulating its daily fantasy sports (DFS) business after state Assembly committee cleared a bill to this effect.

The new piece of legislation aims to charge DFS companies a fee of 10.5% on gross revenue in order for them to operate in the US.

At this moment, though, it is unclear as to how much the state would collect from operators under this structure. However, Chris Grimm, a consultant for DFS firms DraftKings and FanDuel, stated that the figure could be in the range of $1 million (€933,532) each year.

New Jersey Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, a co-sponsor of the bill, felt that the potential revenue would be much higher and in the range of $5.8 million a year.

Caputo believes the bill will help increase consumer protection, as regulators in the state will ensure that all DFS contests are run properly and in a free and fair manner.

26 Jan
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Google banned 17m gambling ‘bad ads’ in 2016

Tech giant Google has revealed that it banned over 17 million gambling-related ads in the last year. The company termed such ads as ‘bad ads’.

Interestingly, gambling comprised only 1% of all bad ads last year. This was revealed by the search giant in its ‘Bad Ads Report’. A total of 1.7 billion ads that breached Google’s advertising policies.

Scott Spencer, director of product management, sustainable ads, at Google, stated that gambling-related ads were taken down as they lacked “proper authorization from regulators in the countries they operate”.

However, the gambling industry fared a lot better with close to 68 million adverts for unapproved pharmaceuticals in 2016.

Google also banned a total of 80 million adverts for misleading and appalling users, as well as 112 million trick-to-click ads comprising malware.

16 Jan
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PokerStars expands slot offering with ‘Millionaires Island’ launch

PokerStars has increased its online slot offerings with the launch of the ‘Millionaires Island’.

This online slot is exclusive to PokerStars Casino players and it offers a minimum jackpot payout of $1 million (€947,100), with the launch jackpot already up to more than $1.1 million.

Players can win the main jackpot by wagering as low as 50 cents, while users can claim various PokerStars rewards by taking part in the game.

The online slot can be played on Pokerstarscasino.co.uk, PokerStarscasino.com and in all European markets where PokerStars Casino is accessible

Sam Hobcraft, director of casino at PokerStars, said:

“Millionaires Island is the first exclusive slot game to be developed by PokerStars Casino, adding to the already industry-leading product on offer.

“This is the first in a series of in-house developed games as we strive to make PokerStars the favourite iGaming destination for more players than ever before. It's already proving itself to be hugely popular with our players.”

14 Jan
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888poker becomes biggest operator to withdraw from Australia

In a major development in the world iGaming, 888poker has withdrawn its services from the regulated market of Australia. This makes it the biggest name to exit the market in the country.

The official date for the company to cut off its services to Australian residents is January 16 and the customers have been asked to deregister from tournaments that start from and after this date.

The operator’s cashier will enable the players to withdraw their funds from the site.

This decision of 888poker comes soon after the Australian government proposed Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. This bill needs online gambling operators to pick up local licenses or face fines.

Operators that allow punters to wagers in Australia without a valid local license will have broken the law of the land.  This will lead to a fine of up to A$1.35 million (€950,200/US$1 million) per day for individuals, while companies could penalized for as much as A$6.75 million.

Several operators have slammed the move of the Australian government. Vera&John too has announced its decision to withdraw its products from the country.

Amaya, the parent company of major online poker operator PokerStars, too has come down heavily on the proposed changes.

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