Posts Tagged ‘professional sports betting software’

Zeus Services new partnership with Bet Logic to provide its Keno Game …

Bet Logic signed an agreement to provide Zeus Services Keno game software to the well-known Nigerian sports betting company, Parkn Bet.
Bet Logic was founded in 2012 in Cyprus and is one of the most rapid growing software provider companies in Europe for online casino, sports software and land based betting shops.
Today, enters into a partnership with Zeus Services, a software developer specializing in producing online gambling games that can be provided through multifunctional gambling platforms.
Under this agreement, Zeus Services’ Keno game software will be available to all betting shops of Parkn Bet, a Sports betting company fully owned by Champions Bookmakers Nigeria Limited, with over 150 shops across 13 states in the country of Nigeria.

Anthony Zlatanos, ZEUS Services CEO, said:
In the framework of our penetration in markets of Africa, where our company has already spotted great success with its game portfolio, we moved on establishing a cooperation with Bet Logic by launching “Parkn Bet Keno” in the market of Nigeria. Acknowledging the capabilities of our products, we consider the success certain and we prepare for the development and establishment of new, modern and unique applications in the gambling markets of Africa.

John Kesarios, BET Logic CEO, commented:
We are very pleased with the achievement of this agreement as well as the cooperation with a software provider company like Zeus Services, which always develops and offers high quality games in the gambling market.
I believe, the Keno product through Parkn Bet shops which are located all over the country will have a positive impact in the Nigerian market, as it already has a large number of supporters.

 

About Zeus Services:
Zeus Services Ltd. provides high standard services and a wide range of games concentrated in the virtual online entertainment sector in the worldwide market.  Zeus Services offers a game portfolio that includes a variety of video slot, lottery, jackpot bonus games, unique solutions towards online casinos, land based establishments and betting shop corners. The games of Zeus Services are steadily updated and are adjustable to every consumer detail needs and desires.
Website: www.zeusplay.com
Email: marketing@zeusplay.com

Article source: http://www.igamingbusiness.com/press/zeus-services-new-partnership-bet-logic-provide-its-keno-game-software-parkn-bet

Playtech expands online trading with Ava Trade buy

Reuters, 01/07 16:22 CET

(Reuters) – Playtech Plc PTEC.L, founded by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, said it had agreed to buy currency trading platform Ava Trade for $105 million to expand its online trading platform.

Millions in losses from the sudden removal of a long-held ceiling on the Swiss franc in January have spurred on a merger and acquisition boom that many major players in the market in online currency trading had long predicted.

Playtech, which provides software used in sports betting and online casino games, is aiming to carve a niche in currency trading using its technology, as the gambling industry comes under pressure from higher taxes and tougher regulation.

The company said on Wednesday the acquisition was undertaken through its subsidiary, TradeFX, which it acquired in April.

TradeFX is a trading platform and payment services provider, while Ava Trade is a contract-for-difference (CFD) broker.

CFDs allow a buyer to trade on movements in a market price without actually owning the underlying asset.

Playtech also said it had agreed for a 200 million euro ($221 million) unsecured revolving credit facility with Barclays Bank Plc [BARCR.UL] and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc RBS.L to fund its recently announced acquisitions.

Earlier this year, Isle of Man-based Playtech also bought Plus500 for 460 million pounds.

Canaccord Genuity is the financial adviser to Playtech for the Ava Trade deal.

Playtech’s shares were up 1.4 percent at 829.5 pence at 1400 GMT on the London Stock Exchange.

($1 = 0.9030 euros)

(Reporting by Roshni Menon and Aastha Agnihotri in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

euronews provides breaking news articles from Reuters as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes.

Copyright 2015 Reuters.

Article source: http://www.euronews.com/business-newswires/3029577-playtech-expands-online-trading-with-ava-trade-buy/

Ladbrokes PLC Receives Equal Weight Rating from Barclays (LAD)

Barclays reaffirmed their equal weight rating on shares of Ladbrokes PLC (LON:LAD) in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, Analyst Ratings Net reports. The firm currently has a GBX 122 ($1.91) price target on the casino operator’s stock.

Barclays has also taken action a number of other stocks recently. The firm lowered its price target on shares of Shaw Communications Inc from $25.00 to $24.00. Also, Barclays initiated coverage on shares of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.. They issued an equal weight rating on that stock and set a $90.00 price target. Finally, Barclays reiterated its overweight rating on shares of Macquarie Infrastructure Company LLC. They have a $101.00 price target on that stock.

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on LAD. Analysts at BNP Paribas reiterated an outperform rating and set a GBX 125 ($1.96) price target on shares of Ladbrokes PLC in a research note on Monday. Analysts at HSBC reiterated a hold rating and set a GBX 125 ($1.96) price target on shares of Ladbrokes PLC in a research note on Friday. Analysts at Canaccord Genuity reiterated a hold rating and set a GBX 115 ($1.80) price target on shares of Ladbrokes PLC in a research note on Friday. Analysts at Numis Securities Ltd upgraded shares of Ladbrokes PLC to a hold rating and set a GBX 140 ($2.20) price target on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, June 24th. Finally, analysts at Shore Capital reiterated a hold rating on shares of Ladbrokes PLC in a research note on Tuesday, June 23rd. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ladbrokes PLC has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of GBX 117.56 ($1.84).

Ladbrokes PLC (LON:LAD) opened at 129.8000 on Tuesday. Ladbrokes PLC has a 1-year low of GBX GBX 101.02 and a 1-year high of GBX GBX 147.00. The stock has a 50-day moving average of GBX 122.28 and a 200-day moving average of GBX 113.69. The company’s market cap is £1.19 billion.

Ladbrokes plc is a United Kingdom-based betting and gaming company. The Company operates in four segments: UK Retail, European Retail, Digital, and Telephone and High Rollers. Its UK Retail segment is engaged in betting activities in the shop estate in Great Britain. The European Retail segment consists of activities connected with the Ireland (LON:LAD), Belgium and Spain shop. Its Digital segment is engaged in betting and gaming activities from online and mobile operations. The Company acquired Betdaq, a provider of Peer-to-peer style sports betting. The Company’s Core Telephone Betting segment is engaged in activities relating to bets taken on the telephone, excluding High Rollers. The Company’s High Rollers segment is engaged in activities relating to bets taken on the telephone from High Rollers.

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Article source: http://sleekmoney.com/ladbrokes-plc-receives-equal-weight-rating-from-barclays-lad/319551/

Ladbrokes PLC Receives Equal Weight Rating from Barclays (LAD)

Barclays reaffirmed their equal weight rating on shares of Ladbrokes PLC (LON:LAD) in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, Analyst Ratings Net reports. The firm currently has a GBX 122 ($1.91) price target on the casino operator’s stock.

Barclays has also taken action a number of other stocks recently. The firm lowered its price target on shares of Shaw Communications Inc from $25.00 to $24.00. Also, Barclays initiated coverage on shares of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.. They issued an equal weight rating on that stock and set a $90.00 price target. Finally, Barclays reiterated its overweight rating on shares of Macquarie Infrastructure Company LLC. They have a $101.00 price target on that stock.

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on LAD. Analysts at BNP Paribas reiterated an outperform rating and set a GBX 125 ($1.96) price target on shares of Ladbrokes PLC in a research note on Monday. Analysts at HSBC reiterated a hold rating and set a GBX 125 ($1.96) price target on shares of Ladbrokes PLC in a research note on Friday. Analysts at Canaccord Genuity reiterated a hold rating and set a GBX 115 ($1.80) price target on shares of Ladbrokes PLC in a research note on Friday. Analysts at Numis Securities Ltd upgraded shares of Ladbrokes PLC to a hold rating and set a GBX 140 ($2.20) price target on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, June 24th. Finally, analysts at Shore Capital reiterated a hold rating on shares of Ladbrokes PLC in a research note on Tuesday, June 23rd. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ladbrokes PLC has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of GBX 117.56 ($1.84).

Ladbrokes PLC (LON:LAD) opened at 129.8000 on Tuesday. Ladbrokes PLC has a 1-year low of GBX GBX 101.02 and a 1-year high of GBX GBX 147.00. The stock has a 50-day moving average of GBX 122.28 and a 200-day moving average of GBX 113.69. The company’s market cap is £1.19 billion.

Ladbrokes plc is a United Kingdom-based betting and gaming company. The Company operates in four segments: UK Retail, European Retail, Digital, and Telephone and High Rollers. Its UK Retail segment is engaged in betting activities in the shop estate in Great Britain. The European Retail segment consists of activities connected with the Ireland (LON:LAD), Belgium and Spain shop. Its Digital segment is engaged in betting and gaming activities from online and mobile operations. The Company acquired Betdaq, a provider of Peer-to-peer style sports betting. The Company’s Core Telephone Betting segment is engaged in activities relating to bets taken on the telephone, excluding High Rollers. The Company’s High Rollers segment is engaged in activities relating to bets taken on the telephone from High Rollers.

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Article source: http://sleekmoney.com/ladbrokes-plc-receives-equal-weight-rating-from-barclays-lad/319551/

Ryan Seacrest’s iPad keyboard is surprisingly good, but expensive

Ryan Seacrest's iPad keyboard is surprisingly good, but expensive

It’s hard to expect much from Typo, a company that was co-founded by Ryan Seacrest and whose legal tango with BlackBerry has forced it to stop selling phone keyboards. But with its new iPad keyboard, Typo has at least proven it’s worth keeping an eye on. For $189, you get a Bluetooth keyboard that actually feels like a decent laptop keyboard, as well as a cover to protect your iPad. There’s no shortage of iPad keyboards on the market, but Typo’s offering might be compelling to anyone who wants a premium laptop-like experience with their iPad. The only problem? It’s far too expensive for what you get.

Typo iPad keyboard

Typo’s keyboard is made up of two main components: a case that fits around your iPad Air or iPad Air 2 (there’s also one for the iPad Mini), and a keyboard unit. A magnetic latch hooks the two pieces together, and the kickstand on the iPad case stabilizes everything. They keyboard portion sports a comfortable soft plastic wrist rest and a matte bottom finish, while the iPad cover is made of tougher plastic, offering a decent amount of protection. Once everything’s put together, the Typo cover ends up making your iPad look like an ultra-thin laptop — at the expense of a bit more thickness and weight.

Typo Keyboard Cover

I didn’t have any trouble pairing the Typo keyboard with my iPad Air over Bluetooth, and, most importantly, reconnecting to the Typo after turning it off took just a few seconds. That’s been a source of frustration for me with other Bluetooth keyboards. The keyboard itself is reminiscent of Microsoft’s Surface Type Cover (which is a bit curious after Typo’s legal brawl with BlackBerry). The keys have a surprising amount of depth to them when pressed down, especially since the Typo is so thin. For the most part, it felt similar to typing on a mid-range chiclet laptop keyboard. Typo is rechargeable via USB, and it lasted me several days with intermittent usage.

When it came to typing, I saw around 80 to 90 percent of my typical touch-typing speed. That’s pretty similar to what I’ve seen from most other tablet keyboards, though it wasn’t nearly as comfortable as Microsoft’s larger Surface Pro 3 keyboard. Typo also takes some getting used to: It’s not truly full-sized, and plenty of lesser-used keys (like the colon/semi-colon key) have been shifted around to make up for the lack of space. The main thing that slowed me down with the Typo was figuring out where many of those keys were moved to.

Like many laptop keyboards today, Typo also includes several device-specific buttons along its top row, which also houses the traditional function keys. The very first of these keys on Typo replicates the iPad’s home button, and there are also keys for launching spotlight search, contacts, calendar and media controls. I also grew to enjoy having Siri instantly accessible on the F5 key, which was ever so slightly faster than holding down the home button.

I was able to type this entire article on the Typo keyboard in multiple orientations — on a desk, on a park bench and while sitting on my couch — without much fuss. Given its kickstand, Typo is best used on solid surfaces, but I was also surprised by how functional it was on my lap (as long as you keep your legs straight). Typo’s biggest issue is that the magnetic connection between the keyboard and case is incredibly weak. Simply holding up the iPad on its own is enough to disconnect the keyboard. My iPad screen also fell hard on my legs several times when I tried to readjust Typo (the metal kickstand was especially painful).

As useful as it is for typing, the Typo cover ends up being pretty cumbersome if you just want to read or play games on your iPad. It adds a noticeable amount of weight to the svelte iPad Air and Air 2, and the protruding kickstand hinge made the tablet harder to hold. I ended up just yanking the Typo cover off when I wanted to browse Twitter, read digital comics and do other typical iPad-y things. The company was clearly more focused on delivering a decent typing experience than anything else.

For the most part, Typo is going up against Logitech’s iPad keyboards, which offer similarly great typing and Bluetooth connectivity for almost half the price (Logitech’s latest Ultrathin keyboard is currently retailing for $100 or less). And if you don’t need a wireless keyboard, you can save a bit more and get Logitech’s wired keyboard for $60. While Typo’s offering feels a tad more premium than the competition, it’s definitely not enough of a difference to justify that high price.

The biggest issue for Typo? It’s betting pretty much everything on its iPad keyboards. And while that’s a potentially lucrative market, especially since iOS 9 will make iPads more PC-like, Typo’s keyboards are simply too expensive to compete with widely available competitors like Logitech. There are many people who might want an iPad keyboard, but I’d imagine there are fewer who would pay around half the price of their iPad for the privilege of physical keys.

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Apple iPad Air 2

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    Share your impressions of the Apple iPad keynote?


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    What's the best (cheap) tablet for seniors?


    What’s the best (cheap) tablet for seniors?

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/28/typo-ipad-keyboard/

Déjà vu for Ladbrokes investors as bookie gambles on mega-merger

The group would also incorporate Coral’s Italian business of 871 licences, and analysts reckon the combined company would be worth around £3bn including debt. Gala Coral’s bingo operation of 132 halls is not part of the tie-up and would be sold separately.

Discussions between the two companies actually began before Mullen was promoted. Peter Erskine, Ladbrokes’ outgoing chairman, told his new chief executive following his appointment that he had already been in contact with Rob Templeman, the chairman of Gala Coral, about a possible deal. Mullen then set to work on the merger, while at the same time also undertaking a strategic review of Ladbrokes to see if a separate plan could be concocted to turn around the business.

The findings of that review were due to be presented to the City on Tuesday, although Ladbrokes is now undecided as to whether that presentation will go ahead following the leak of the Coral talks. The details of the plan are not yet known, although slashing the dividend is likely.

The deal with Coral still has many hurdles to overcome

However, many analysts consider the merger with Coral as Ladbrokes’ best bet if it is to compete effectively with its rivals. It will boost Ladbrokes’ online marketing spending, which is crucial to a successful digital operation. Gambling companies typically attract online customers through sports betting and then attempt to cross-sell them into higher margin casino games.

“The rationale for putting the two together is scale,” says Greg Johnson, analyst at Shore Capital. “Its revenues will be big, its profitability will be big and hence its marketing budget and effectiveness would be a lot closer to where William Hill are.”

Some of the problems that Mullen is now attempting to solve by merging with Coral pre-date Glynn’s appointment.

By the time Glynn took the helm, William Hill had already stolen a march on Ladbrokes by establishing a joint venture with gambling software business Playtech in October 2008. The tie-up brought much needed digital marketing expertise to William Hill and the benefits were soon felt. In a trading update issued just days after Glynn became Ladbrokes’ chief executive, William Hill said that first-quarter operating profits at the online business had surged 51pc and net revenues were up 25pc.

Under Glynn, Ladbrokes failed to catch up and its shares dropped 36pc. At the same time as attempting to develop a better digital offering in-house, the Ladbrokes boss dallied over acquisitions. Just months after pulling out of talks with 888, Glynn then entered negotiations with Sportingbet, only for those discussions to end without a takeover. “They were looking for the right deal and they couldn’t find it,” says Karl Burns of Panmure Gordon.

Eventually, in March 2013 Glynn decided to follow William Hill and enlist the help of Playtech, but the delay proved costly. “The land-grab for market share had already happened so they’re playing catch-up with a lot of operators that are well embedded with customers,” says Burns. As a result, the bookie suffered four profits warnings in just over a year in 2012-13. Despite a successful World Cup, pre-tax profits were still down 44pc to £37.7m in 2014. The merger with Coral should help Ladbrokes overcome many of its problems, particularly in digital. In 2012, Coral re-launched its online business and the revamped offering has proved a success. In the two years to September 2014, the number of active customers at the business leapt by 106pc.

“The one thing that Coral has done very well is multi-channel,” says Burns. “They have a seamless wallet between retail and online and Ladbrokes could probably do better.”

But while the merger is attractive, there are a number of hurdles the two companies must overcome. For one, they are yet to agree terms and the talks could collapse. The deal is also expected to cause similar concerns that led to the failure of Ladbrokes’ first attempt to buy Coral in 1998. Then, the £380m acquisition of Coral’s 833 betting shops from Bass fell apart after Peter Mandelson, who at the time was trade and industry secretary, warned that it would damage competition.

This time around, adding the 1,845 betting shops Coral now owns to the 2,194 run by Ladbrokes would mean the combined company would own 45pc of the retail market in the UK.

The regulator is only likely to give its blessing on the condition that the new company sells shops. The Competition and Markets Authority might demand so many disposals that the tie-up loses its appeal. Some analysts have suggested that the merged business might have to sell as many as 1,300 sites.

There is also the possibility that another suitor swoops for Ladbrokes or Coral. After all, the merger talks come at a time when MA activity in the gambling sector is hotting up.

In February, William Hill made a £720m bid for online operator 888, only for talks to collapse over price. Bwin.Party, another digital betting business, put itself up for sale last year and is currently weighing the merits of two approaches.

Deal activity is being driven by tougher regulations and higher taxes, which put the industry under unprecedented pressure. In December, a 15pc “point of consumption” tax was introduced on online gambling profits generated in the UK. Three months later, an increase to the levy on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from 20pc to 25pc came into effect. And to add to bookies’ woes, there has been a government crackdown on stakes that punters can wager on FOBTs.

Bookies were relieved when Labour, which had threatened even tougher measures on FOBTs, lost the general election, but the Conservative victory does not necessarily offer much respite. In March, George Osborne, the Chancellor, said he would press ahead with the introduction of a horse-racing right, which would replace the levy and ensure that offshore online operations contribute some of their profits to the sport.

Amid a tide of taxation and regulation, it would be a brave punter who bets against further deals in Britain’s struggling gambling industry.

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Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/leisure/11703159/Deja-vu-for-Ladbrokes-investors-as-bookie-gambles-on-mega-merger.html

Swiss firm monitors Women’s World Cup for betting irregularities

A betting intelligence company is monitoring the Women’s World Cup for signs of match-fixing on behalf of an unnamed client.

Swiss-based Sportradar, a supplier of sports and betting-related data services, uses computer software and data provided by more than 450 bookmakers around the world to track irregular betting patterns that could indicate match-fixing.

Sportradar monitors more than 30,000 soccer matches per year across Europe.

A company spokesman confirmed that the company is monitoring the Women’s World Cup, but wouldn’t identify Sportradar’s client.

While Sportradar is monitoring the tournament, there has been no suggestion that any match-fixing has taken place. A company spokesman said that if it detects irregular betting patterns that suggest match-fixing has taken place, it is up to its customer to make that information public.

Match-fixing is a grave threat to soccer’s credibility. During a conference in September, authorities said as many as 80 countries over the past three years have investigated reports of match-fixing.

Authorities pointed out that only five European countries consider sporting fraud a criminal offense.

“On an objective risk assessment, women’s soccer is definitely not immune to approaches from fixers,” a source told TSN. “Some women’s soccer and sports do attract reasonable betting turnover and of course female players or participants can suffer from low or irregular wages.

“Fixers are not sexist: if there are vulnerabilities in or around the playing field, and there is money changing hands across betting platforms, they will at least consider the opportunity.”

Gamblers are expected to wager a total of about $3.4 billion on the Women’s World Cup, a source told TSN. For context, there was about $97 billion bet during last year’s Men’s World Cup in Brazil.

Monitoring of match-fixing does not happen at every major sporting event. The NHL, for instance, does not hire a company to monitor betting patterns, so it’s unclear whether anyone monitors the Stanley Cup for potential match-fixing. The International Ice Hockey Federation, on the other hand, hires Sportradar to monitor tournaments, including the world junior championship. Sportradar, whose other clients include the Major League Soccer and the Union of European Football Associations, or UEFA, was hired in February to monitor the Asian Cup.

Sportradar reported it found no indications of match-fixing.

A month earlier, the company alerted German football officials about possible match fixing after it detected irregular betting patterns during a friendly game between VfB Stuttgart and an Albanian team called KF Laci. Stuttgard won the match 5-0.

The 2015 Women’s World Cup marks the first time Las Vegas bookmakers posted odds for every match during the tournament, ESPN reported.

During the last women’s world cup, in 2011, betting lines were posted midway through the tournament.

Article source: http://www.tsn.ca/swiss-firm-monitors-women-s-world-cup-for-betting-irregularities-1.318724

OpenBet wins Sports Betting Supplier of the Year for sixth consecutive year

OpenBet wins Sports Betting Supplier of the Year for sixth consecutive year

17 June 2015

(PRESS RELEASE) — OpenBet, the world’s leading software provider to the sports betting and gaming industry, retained its position as Sports Betting Supplier of the Year for a sixth consecutive year at the eGaming Review B2B awards last night.

Judges recognised the quality of OpenBet’s offering as it came out on top in the In-Play Betting Software and the all-important Sports Betting Supplier of the Year categories at the ceremony at the world-famous Tower of London.

“We have enjoyed an incredible year so far, with better-than-ever platform performance, thriving partnerships and some hugely significant deals in the pipeline. Winning these awards is fantastic recognition of our achievements and the effort that everyone has put in across the business,” said OpenBet CEO Jeremy Thompson-Hill.

The omni-channel provider recently signed a new three-year agreement with William Hill and supplies other major operators including Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Betfair, SkyBet, PMU and BCLC.

This year OpenBet handled a record-breaking 19.3m bets and 54m account transactions in 24 hours on the day of the Grand National, and 25m total sports bets and 146m account transactions during the four days of the Cheltenham Festival. Key achievements that all went towards the company being awarded, the title of Sports Betting Supplier of The Year.

The eGaming Review B2B Awards rewards and celebrates the very best service providers and B2B suppliers in the online gaming industry, highlighting achievements across all the major egaming disciplines, including betting and gaming software, networks, mobile, payments, recruitment, IT and infrastructure.

Gaming News

Article source: http://www.casinocitytimes.com/news/article/openbet-wins-sports-betting-supplier-of-the-year-for-sixth-consecutive-year-213308

DFS And Lessons From Poker: How Bright Is The Future? And For Whom?

poker DFS

 

The daily fantasy sports industry is on a roll.

FanDuel – the established industry leader, claiming 80% market share for Q4 2014 thanks to its dominance in football – saw revenues jump over 300% to $57.3 million in 2014, up from just $14.3 million in 2013.

Meanwhile, DraftKings – the clear No. 2 player at present (and perhaps No. 1) – has closed the gap (or rather, has taken the lead) on FanDuel at least for the early part of this summer, thanks to both its edge in baseball as well as its golf, NASCAR, and MMA offerings, which FanDuel currently lacks.

Investment in the industry is also hot. FanDuel has raised $87.5 million in (publicly known) funding to date, in addition to securing a multi-year partnership with the NBA last November in a deal that gave the NBA a stake in the company.

DraftKings has raised $76.4 million in (publicly known) funding. On Wednesday, we learned that a $250 million investment deal with Disney was called off, although an exclusive advertising deal between DraftKings and ESPN was cemented. DraftKings has partnerships with both Major League Baseball and the NHL.

Not just DraftKings and FanDuel

A number of other DFS startups have received funding, while a variety of other players are definitively planning to enter the market, including Yahoo and Amaya, the owner of PokerStars. Even Beckett Media – the ubiquitous sports card price guide company whose baseball card price guide once (about two decades ago) had monthly circulation of about a million copies – acquired a fantasy sports platform last year, and announced to existing customers via e-mail last week that it is looking to launch Beckett Fantasy Sports shortly.

Depending on whom you ask, DFS has seemingly unlimited upside. Adam Krejcik of Eilers Research has projected that the DFS industry will clock in somewhere in a range of $500 million and $2.5 billion in revenues by 2020, up from likely under $100 million in 2014. Jason Ader of SpringOwl Asset Management is far more bullish, suggesting that DFS may be “as big as Macau over time.”

That’s quite a lofty statement, considering that the Macau gaming market is still projected to be in the $30 billion to $35 billion range in 2015 (down from $43.9 billion in 2014 and $45.1 billion in 2013) as the market strives for mostly political stability; moreover, I suspect the Macau gaming market is more likely than not to grow again in the not-so-distant future, thus providing the DFS industry a moving target.

Thus, at first glance, DFS has the appearance of a huge money grab. But is it really? And for whom?

Could DFS suffer the fate of online poker?

A few years ago, we had a very similar discussion to the one we are about to have, only about the online poker industry (see Sorry Mr. Online Poker. Nobody Cares About You). At the time, the U.S. was on the cusp of legalized, regulated online poker with similarly lofty expectations, and a similarly endless supply of companies looking to get in on the action. I argued that the online poker opportunity in America was not nearly as attractive as it might have appeared; that it would likely benefit only a few operators; and that poker itself was (is) a self-defeating game facing an increasing skill gap problem.

As we know, the early returns on legal online poker in the U.S. have not panned out thus far, while expectations going forward have been cut dramatically.

The short version of this discussion is that DFS has all of the hallmarks of the online poker business, chiefly:

  • Effectively zero barriers to entry, with high marketing expenditures which will ultimately grind out smaller industry competitors, and
  • An underlying game with a projectable skill gap problem which will likely grind out first the fish, and then ultimately the high-volume players when they can no longer beat the rake.

Except the underlying game structure of DFS is far worse than poker.

Now I have little doubt that DFS is on the upswing, and perhaps still in the very early stages of one. But as a consequence of the skill gap problem, I suspect the DFS industry is likely to run into a buzzsaw, and far faster and harder than online poker did.

We’ll talk more about that last idea in a minute. But first, let’s talk a bit about the structure of the DFS market.

Market structure: This is good for whom?

As I see it, there are three key sources of potentially sustainable competitive advantages for DFS companies:

  1. Network effects (liquidity)/scale
  2. Key partnerships (FanDuel/NBA, DraftKings/ESPN, etc.)
  3. Brand

The most important one of these is the first one, which is network effects, where DFS players will continually gravitate to the largest sites, eventually leaving smaller DFS operators in the dust. We’ve seen this in the online auction business, where buyers breed sellers, breeding more buyers, breeding more sellers, to the point where eBay is essentially the only company left to dominate this space.

We’ve also seen this in the online poker space, if you view this market share chart from bwin.party’s 2012 first half investor presentation.

In online poker, players breed players, and liquidity breeds liquidity. The largest sites (PokerStars) can offer the biggest prize pools and the greatest variety of game options, resulting in real product differentiation, which also helps drive brand value. And ultimately, one company (PokerStars) ran away with the dotcom poker market, while the remaining players have been (and are being) ground out.

Now the above chart is slightly misleading, as the number two player – Full Tilt, the red line in the chart – was run by crooks and shut down following Black Friday in April 2011; its assets were ultimately acquired by PokerStars in a deal made with the U.S. Department of Justice. As such, there is very conceivably room for two meaningful players in this type of game, particularly if they are going to divvy up partnerships with the major professional sports leagues as FanDuel and DraftKings are doing.

But the other problem hurting the smaller online poker operators in the (unregulated) dotcom space was the complete lack of barriers to entry. When the online poker market was on the upswing, there was tremendous incentive for any number of players to come in and blow the market up with unsustainable marketing spend in a bid for market share. And this marketing spend was not just in ad expenditures, but also in player incentives in the form of deposit bonuses, rakeback, and player reward programs. This type of activity was devastating to industry profitability – and particularly to the smaller operators – as poker players went site-to-site chasing deposit bonuses.

This is where we are with the completely unregulated DFS industry with effectively zero barriers to entry. Right now, as long as the DFS industry looks to be on the upswing, any number of DFS operators can and will enter the market, driving up marketing spend in the form of both ad expenditure and player incentives. Such marketing spend will dampen overall industry profitability, and ultimately grind the smaller players into the ground.

Consequently, if DFS is going to be a money grab for somebody, it is probably going to be one or two players who can build sustainable network effects – most likely FanDuel and/or DraftKings at this stage, though it’s not inconceivable that other players (such as Yahoo!, PokerStars or some other player) could make a dent.

That said, the industry as a whole faces an even bigger problem fundamental to the DFS game itself as currently constructed.

The Achilles heel: Attrition rates and the skill gap problem

Here’s the truth about poker:

  • It is not reasonable to expect that bad players (fish) will continue to enjoy losing large sums of money into perpetuity.
  • The money is not so much earned by good players making expert plays as it is given away by bad players making mistakes.
  • In order for a professional player to continue playing in significant volume – this includes players who multi-table cash games and play tournaments in volume, thus producing both rake-generating events and liquidity for the poker room operator – the player must have an edge over the opposition that is greater than the size of the rake.
  • Over time, the skill level of the regular players rises, as do the number of players with professional-level skills.
  • As fish get wiped out and exit the game, games become tougher; the threshold for a professional player rises, and the marginal pros also exit the game as they can no longer beat the rake.
  • As the games get tougher, more fish get wiped out, thus further raising the threshold for a professional player.
  • As players get wiped out, rake (revenue) drops and liquidity suffers.

This is not really conjecture. Though the article I wrote back in October 2012 initiated the discussion of the skill gap problem (see the follow up pieces by Chris Grove and Steve Ruddock), the reality is that PartyGaming observed new player attrition rates rising from the very start of the poker boom in 2003 (as I wrote here) all the way through the end of its existence (PartyGaming merged with Bwin in 2011 to become bwin.party), thus highlighting the increasing skill gap between new players and the existing player pool.

For DFS, the same, but different

DFS, unfortunately, has all of the problems of poker but without any of its intricacies.

DFS is almost a purely data-driven game. There’s no check-raising, or continuation betting, floating, or 3-bet pre-flop frequencies as there are in poker; even with tracking software in poker, you still have to figure out how to play the game. Not so in DFS, where lineup optimizers are widely available, and a player can take a single optimal lineup and plug it into a zillion different contests on any given site on any given day.

The thing is, DFS simultaneously requires too much skill and not enough. DFS requires too much skill in that if you are a casual player not playing optimal lineups where everybody else is putting in volume entries with optimal lineups, you are going to get wiped out in short order. But at the same time, DFS requires not enough skill; once the fish playing sub-optimal lineups quit the game, the only people left will be people playing optimal lineups in volume.

And when there are not enough fish making mistakes and contests are dominated by people playing optimal lineups in volume, the edge in playing an optimal lineup in volume will eventually be less than the rake, which at FanDuel has generally aggregated in the 8%-10% range (spreadsheet courtesy of Chris Grove) at least through the end of 2014. And when that happens, eventually either the rake rate will have to be reduced – pinching revenue projections – or the volume players will quit playing, leading to both reduced entries and thus revenue, and also reduced liquidity.

So how bright is the outlook for DFS?

I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, I see a lot of potential upside in DFS, particularly from the standpoint that DFS offers an (apparently) non-illegal set of sports betting products in many markets in the U.S. where traditional sports betting remains illegal. On the other hand, I find myself skeptical about how big that upside really is.

And in any case, I am almost certain that the existing player pool is being wildly overvalued.

As I noted earlier, PartyGaming observed attrition rates rising from the very start of the poker boom in 2003, and all the way through the end of its existence as a stand-alone company in 2011. However, the rise in attrition rates was masked by the explosive growth of new players throughout the mid-2000s, which is likely why it took until 2012 for the serious discussion of the skill gap problem to take place.

This is likely where we are with DFS, where explosive growth has and may continue to mask skill gap concerns in the near term. The key difference is that DFS is barely off the ground, and questions already abound out of the gate (see Ed Miller here, Adam Krejcik here, and this discussion here).

The simple fact is that we live in a time in which more people are more knowledgeable about gambling than ever before; we have more computing power than ever before; and games are solved faster than ever before. Moreover, we have a game that I suspect is largely solved such that edges will continue to get slimmer and slimmer, particularly as contests are being dominated by players making volume entries with effectively optimal lineups.

At some point – barring some drastic change in the product – I find it likely that DFS is going to run into a buzzsaw, where attrition rates are too high and the influx of new players will not be enough to mask the skill gap. When this happens, something is going to have to give – when the fish quit and/or the number of volume players with optimal lineups is too high and the edges become too small, either the rake must be cut, or the volume players who no longer have an edge will also abandon the game, with projected revenue from both the existing and future player base declining in either case.

And in contrast to poker, I don’t see this taking a decade to occur.

Photo by Ryan Hyde used under license CC BY-SA 2.0.

Article source: http://www.legalsportsreport.com/1918/dfs-future-and-lessons-from-poker/

Mazars Malta to provide external audit for sports betting giant


MAZARS Malta, a member firm of international auditing firm MAZARS, has been selected to provide external audit services to Kambi Group plc, a global provider of premium turnkey sports betting services to B2C operators. Kambi’s clients include Unibet, 888, Paf, 32Red and Napoleon Games.

Commenting on the appointment, MAZARS Malta Managing Partner Paul Giglio stated that the relationship with the Kambi Group goes back to when MAZARS Malta was involved in the listing of the Group on NASDAQ OMX First North Stockholm, where the the Maltese auditing company was entrusted with the relevant due diligence process. Giglio explained that “as a member firm of international audit and consulting group MAZARS, we were in a position to bring to bear MAZARS’ international reach in order to ensure an optimal outcome for this exercise”. Subsequently, Kambi’s audit committee selected MAZARS Malta as the Group’s external auditors.

Kambi Group plc is a B2B supplier of fully managed sports betting services on an in-house developed software platform, providing premium turnkey sports betting solutions to B2C operators. Kambi’s solution encompasses a broad offering from front-end through to odds compiling and risk management. Kambi employs approximately 380 staff across offices in Malta, London, Stockholm, and Manila. The company’s current coverage includes more than 100,000 live betting events and 200,000 pre-match events per year, covering 65 different sports from all over the world. 

Article source: http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2015-06-23/company-news/Mazars-Malta-to-provide-external-audit-for-sports-betting-giant-6736137797