Posts Tagged ‘professional sports betting software’

OpenBet secures British Columbia Lottery deal

Article source: http://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/openbet-secures-british-columbia-lottery-deal

OpenBet secures British Columbia Lottery deal

Article source: http://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/openbet-secures-british-columbia-lottery-deal

Ex-Rugby Star: Smart Contracts Could Prevent Legal Disputes in Sport

National Rugby League (NRL)
An NRL rugby league match between the Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors

Self-executing ‘smart contracts’ could be beneficial to the professional sports world, eliminating disputes between players and either their clubs or third-party sponsors.

That’s the view of Todd Byrne, a former professional rugby star with an interest in blockchain technology, as well as developers working to build a smart contract ecosystem that will they believe will remove time and cost pressures from the present justice system.

Smart contracts have to date been a theoretical concept, though rudimentary applications have begun to appear recently in the forms of ‘prediction market’ betting and futures contracts.

Byrne was a player for seven years in the National Rugby League (NRL), the premier professional rugby league in Australia and New Zealand. During that time, he played 104 games with the Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors, before moving to the UK to play for two years and 24 games with Super League team Hull FC.

The situation in Australia

The NRL is one of Australasia’s most popular and profitable sporting codes. Though TV broadcast rights were recently sold for over a billion dollars, teams themselves are limited in what they can pay players by a strictly enforced league salary cap.

This has led to some players seeking more lucrative deals elsewhere, sometimes even switching to rival codes of football.

Some players have been permitted to seek sponsorship deals outside their teams, called ‘third-party agreements’ or TPAs, for extra income. These are made with NRL approval, from sponsors affiliated or not affiliated with the players’ teams.

Contracts commonly involve conditions like endorsements or appearances at a specified number of corporate and in-store events.

Non-team-affiliated TPAs, however, have had a tendency to go sour, with payment disputes arising from sponsors getting into financial difficulty, or accusations that players have not fulfilled their contractual obligations.

As a result of several high-profile disputes, many player agents now refuse to deal with TPAs altogether. Since teams have no obligation to get involved, players are often left to enforce the contracts by themselves – incurring unwanted time and cost struggles.

Byrne’s example

After spending a long time studying blockchain and smart contract technology, Byrne now believes he has a solution to this problem.

He envisages a contract signed by four parties: Player A, Sponsor B, NRL Administrator C and ‘Block Oracle’ D.

In the smart contracts world, an ‘oracle’ is a piece of software that scrapes the Internet for information, or is maintained by a trusted authority, to determine whether the terms of the contract have been met.

Byrne gives the example of Player A agreeing to a $50,000 per year deal with Sponsor B, who in turn asks for one in-store appearance per month from December to September.

Signed by all four parties, the contract is then uploaded to the bitcoin blockchain and is therefore verified and transparent.

The satisfying conditions created by the two parties could be a combination of: time-stamped/GPS-marked photos hashtagged and uploaded to Twitter, the sponsor’s Facebook page and/or even to the blockchain itself (as ‘proof of time spent’).

The Block Oracle then verifies this data to an agreed-upon level of certainty, allowing the funds to be released to the player via the private keys of two of the three human participants.

The Block Oracle could be automated to release payment itself once it determined conditions were met, Byrne added.

The contract becomes set-and-forget

This obviates the need for the NRL administrator to act as a dispute mediator, a role they have been loath to play anyway. There would be no embarrassing scandals played out in public and media view, and neither the player nor sponsor would have the ability to dispute the outcome.

“The contract becomes set-and-forget,” he said.

Auto-releasing funds to a bitcoin address would also cut payment processing time, fees, and labor costs.

There is further potential for blockchain-based smart contracts in other areas of sport as well, Byrne continued. One example would be incentive-based bonus payments, where a player is paid extra for on-field performance.

Automated oracles could scrape data on participation and scoring from a number of sources including local news services, the league’s own news page and sports statistics sites.

Finding the ‘pain point’

Stefan Thomas works on Codius, the smart contracts platform under development at Ripple Labs.

Speaking to CoinDesk, he said the first thing to look at when asking about the potential application of the technology is ,”What is the problem with the way it works now, and is there a concrete pain point?”

Disputes between professional sportspeople and third-party sponsors would definitely sound like something smart contracts could be useful for.

The aim is to streamline small claims cases where the facts are pretty straightforward, without needing to involve courts.

Smart contracts are not aiming to replace the legal system wholesale, he said, since that system is built to deal with a large amount of subjectivity.

Thomas said:

“But there are a lot of cases where right now you’d have to go to court, and there’d be a lot of dispute – whereas if you had rules that the parties to the contract could trivially enforce, then it could take away some percentage of court cases.”

Self-enforcing agreements could even exist alongside courts by determining who should pay legal fees for the action, taking away at least some of the stress for parties involved.

Emergence of an industry

Bitcoin developer Peter Todd tweeted in December that once the idea for smart contracts catches on, a new industry may emerge: oracles.

The business opportunity here, continued Thomas, is for experts in a particular field to become a reliable information source, turning the intelligence they gather into machine-readable data ready for smart contract platforms to use.

Existing examples are sports tickers, companies that monitor broadcasts for appearances of corporate logos, companies like Bloomberg and Reuters that provide financial information services.

Thomas explained:

“You really need an industry insider to kick it off. A lot of smart contracts projects are struggling with that, because we’re these generalists, crypto-geeks who can think of certain use-cases from our experiences, but there’s a lot of fields we just don’t know about.”

In the case of sports, smart contracts could offer not only added support for those actively competing, but additional business opportunities as oracles for retired participants.

Technology already in place

Reality Keys, a Tokyo-based startup that builds interfaces between various information oracles and contract platforms, said the technology to perform functions like conditional bitcoin payments exists right now, and is ready to be implemented.

Founder Edmund Edgar said all that is required is an API that the system can pull from. His company, which launched over a year ago, is already accessing soccer scores via football-api.com, and is interested in adding more.

Parties could even pay a company like Reality Keys to arbitrate decisions where the data is not 100% clear.

Edgar said:

“The way the Reality Keys model works, we can work with fairly sketchy data – as long as there’s some way we can get the information. Then if somebody pays us for arbitration, it doesn’t matter too much if we’re pulling from a biased or inaccurate API originally.”

The client software could be similar to products Reality Keys has already built for tracking personal exercise goals with RunKeeper and similar apps, he said.

Benefits to many

Smart contracts have the ability to offer protection to people who currently lack the time, financial resources or knowledge to access the traditional legal system for petty issues.

Given that this group can include everyone from an average consumer to professional sportspeople and other celebrities, the world may see a proliferation of both blockchain-based contracts and expert-administered oracle businesses in the near future.

NRL image via Shutterstock

CodiusOraclesRipple LabsSmart ContractsSport

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Article source: http://www.coindesk.com/ex-rugby-star-smart-contracts-prevent-legal-disputes-sport/

Fantasy sports entrepreneur builds bridges between Scotland and America

A mathematician by training, Mr Eccles talks with boyish enthusiasm about the way in which Fanduel’s games appear to have captured the imagination of sports fans.

“You find players after they become Fanduel players increase their consumption of sports by 40 per cent.”

American football fans, for example, become more likely to watch games to the end because they have chosen one of the quarterbacks in the game for their fantasy team.

“Lots of players say they are more excited about their fantasy team than their home team,” says Mr Eccles. “I created that team, they are playing for me.”

The feelgood effect is being felt in the Fanduel boardroom too.

“I’m more excited about the company today than I have been at any point,” enthuses Mr Eccles, who comes from Northern Ireland.

Fanduel, which takes a commission on game fees, had $37m revenues in the latest quarter, compared with $7.4m in the same period a year ago.

Mr Eccles, 40, believes Fanduel could become a multi-billion dollar business. A flotation may be on the cards in coming years.

The sales effort is run out of New York, where Fanduel has its headquarters and employs around 60 people.

But the Edinburgh-registered company’s success has been good news for Scotland.

There are around 60 staff working in high-skilled jobs in Fanduel’s software development centre in Edinburgh and the company plans to open one in Glasgow in coming months.

It expects to double employee numbers in Scotland this year.

And yet Mr Eccles may never have got involved in fantasy sports had things not gone better for him earlier in life.

With a background in consultancy and online gaming, Mr Eccles visited Texas amid signs things were not going to plan with the first business he developed, Hubdub.

Founded with four other young graduates, Hubdub was a news prediction website that showed enough promise to attract backing from names like Scots technology entrepreneur Kevin Dorren.

Advertisers, however, didn’t show the same degree of excitement.

“Hubdub was growing, it was a fun product but it was very hard to see where it was going to get the scale to deliver venture capital type returns,” muses Mr Eccles. “We realised the assumptions we had about advertising were wildly off.”

The team went to Texas to attend the important South by South West technology conference early in 2009 in the hope of coming up with fresh plans.

They decided to brainstorm suggestions for what kind of business to develop next by writing ideas on post it notes that they attached to the wall of the aforementioned shed.

While the approach may sound offbeat to some, others might feel it reflects the resilience and resourcefulness that true entrepreneurs have to show.

Fantasy sports emerged as the pick of the bunch of ideas.

“We thought fantasy sport was interesting,” recalls Mr Eccles. “It was very widely played, there were 26 million players at the time, there are 41 million now. People who played were passionate gamers.”

The fact fantasy game firms can offer cash prizes and are not considered to be engaged in gambling in most US states increased the genre’s appeal.

“We knew sports was one of the biggest categories and fantasy sports you can play for money. We knew we had to move from an advertising model.”

Mr Eccles had long been keen on the online gaming world after working on ventures with the likes of Dermot Desmond, the Irish entrepreneur.

“The great thing about a market place business is if you really get scale it’s very hard for someone to compete”.

After deciding to give fantasy gaming a shot the team moved fast. They started developing their first game in April 2009 and launched a product three months later.

This was a baseball game in which lone players competed against an opponent selected by the site.

Mr Eccles reckons the team laid the foundations for the venture’s success by developing games that only lasted a day, rather than keeping players waiting for a season to see if they had won.

While Fanduel could only spend $5 a day on marketing initially this proved to be enough to confirm there was real demand for fantasy sports products even in simple form.

After signing deals with media partners that did not deliver the expected volumes of business, Fanduel focused on doing its own marketing. The venture has always believed that money spent on acquiring new players will likely be repaid. Mr Eccles says the current payback period for money spent recruiting a new player is 11 months.

Revenues broke the $1m barrier in 2011.

Within six years of its launch, Fanduel has become a serious player in the US sporting business.

The company has signed marketing partnerships with big names like the LA Lakers basketball club.

It has raised $88m backing from investors such as NBA (the US National Basketball Association), broadcasting giant NBC and the Comcast and Pentech private equity ventures.

The company believes it can increase its market share from around 80 per cent currently. Fanduel has considered acquiring rivals but was concerned this would involve buying businesses that got most of their revenue from customers who were already on its books.

Fanduel expects to move into the UK eventually. While fantasy gaming is classed as pool betting in the UK, Mr Eccles believes the firm should be able to get the necessary gaming licence.

He expects the company to remain a hybrid, with operations in Scotland and the US.

Fanduel recently moved into new offices in Edinburgh close to where the fast-growing Skyscanner flight search business is based.

Mr Eccles has put down roots in Edinburgh since moving to the city from London in 2006 in search of a better quality of life.

He moved to work as a business development specialist at the Johnston Press newspaper business under Tim Bowdler only to be left with a nagging feeling that he really had to start his own business.

“”I probably was a frustrated entrepreneur for years. I was trying to figure out what my idea was going to be. But I felt it was getting away from me. I had two children, a big mortgage and I felt if I did not do it now I would never do it.”

Now a father of three, Mr Eccles spends half his time in New York but says Edinburgh is an unbeatable location to live in.

Fanduel can access a big pool of highly skilled workers in Scotland.

Edinburgh may not be in the same league as Silicon Valley but the support infrastructure for growth companies has improved markedly in recent years.

Mr Eccles says Skyscanner has provided a very important example of what can be done.

“Whenever the board have said to us do you really think you can build a world class engineering team in Edinburgh, I’ve been able to say, well look at Skyscanner. I think without then it would have been much harder to do and one day we may have had to put the whole thing into New York.”

He concludes: “It’s definitely good; it’s a good supportive environment and it’s better than five years ago. I’d say today it’s a good place to start a company.”

Article source: http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/people/fantasy-sports-entrepreneur-builds-bridges-between-scotland-and-america.116778686

Fantasy sports entrepreneur builds bridges between Scotland and America

A mathematician by training, Mr Eccles talks with boyish enthusiasm about the way in which Fanduel’s games appear to have captured the imagination of sports fans.

“You find players after they become Fanduel players increase their consumption of sports by 40 per cent.”

American football fans, for example, become more likely to watch games to the end because they have chosen one of the quarterbacks in the game for their fantasy team.

“Lots of players say they are more excited about their fantasy team than their home team,” says Mr Eccles. “I created that team, they are playing for me.”

The feelgood effect is being felt in the Fanduel boardroom too.

“I’m more excited about the company today than I have been at any point,” enthuses Mr Eccles, who comes from Northern Ireland.

Fanduel, which takes a commission on game fees, had $37m revenues in the latest quarter, compared with $7.4m in the same period a year ago.

Mr Eccles, 40, believes Fanduel could become a multi-billion dollar business. A flotation may be on the cards in coming years.

The sales effort is run out of New York, where Fanduel has its headquarters and employs around 60 people.

But the Edinburgh-registered company’s success has been good news for Scotland.

There are around 60 staff working in high-skilled jobs in Fanduel’s software development centre in Edinburgh and the company plans to open one in Glasgow in coming months.

It expects to double employee numbers in Scotland this year.

And yet Mr Eccles may never have got involved in fantasy sports had things not gone better for him earlier in life.

With a background in consultancy and online gaming, Mr Eccles visited Texas amid signs things were not going to plan with the first business he developed, Hubdub.

Founded with four other young graduates, Hubdub was a news prediction website that showed enough promise to attract backing from names like Scots technology entrepreneur Kevin Dorren.

Advertisers, however, didn’t show the same degree of excitement.

“Hubdub was growing, it was a fun product but it was very hard to see where it was going to get the scale to deliver venture capital type returns,” muses Mr Eccles. “We realised the assumptions we had about advertising were wildly off.”

The team went to Texas to attend the important South by South West technology conference early in 2009 in the hope of coming up with fresh plans.

They decided to brainstorm suggestions for what kind of business to develop next by writing ideas on post it notes that they attached to the wall of the aforementioned shed.

While the approach may sound offbeat to some, others might feel it reflects the resilience and resourcefulness that true entrepreneurs have to show.

Fantasy sports emerged as the pick of the bunch of ideas.

“We thought fantasy sport was interesting,” recalls Mr Eccles. “It was very widely played, there were 26 million players at the time, there are 41 million now. People who played were passionate gamers.”

The fact fantasy game firms can offer cash prizes and are not considered to be engaged in gambling in most US states increased the genre’s appeal.

“We knew sports was one of the biggest categories and fantasy sports you can play for money. We knew we had to move from an advertising model.”

Mr Eccles had long been keen on the online gaming world after working on ventures with the likes of Dermot Desmond, the Irish entrepreneur.

“The great thing about a market place business is if you really get scale it’s very hard for someone to compete”.

After deciding to give fantasy gaming a shot the team moved fast. They started developing their first game in April 2009 and launched a product three months later.

This was a baseball game in which lone players competed against an opponent selected by the site.

Mr Eccles reckons the team laid the foundations for the venture’s success by developing games that only lasted a day, rather than keeping players waiting for a season to see if they had won.

While Fanduel could only spend $5 a day on marketing initially this proved to be enough to confirm there was real demand for fantasy sports products even in simple form.

After signing deals with media partners that did not deliver the expected volumes of business, Fanduel focused on doing its own marketing. The venture has always believed that money spent on acquiring new players will likely be repaid. Mr Eccles says the current payback period for money spent recruiting a new player is 11 months.

Revenues broke the $1m barrier in 2011.

Within six years of its launch, Fanduel has become a serious player in the US sporting business.

The company has signed marketing partnerships with big names like the LA Lakers basketball club.

It has raised $88m backing from investors such as NBA (the US National Basketball Association), broadcasting giant NBC and the Comcast and Pentech private equity ventures.

The company believes it can increase its market share from around 80 per cent currently. Fanduel has considered acquiring rivals but was concerned this would involve buying businesses that got most of their revenue from customers who were already on its books.

Fanduel expects to move into the UK eventually. While fantasy gaming is classed as pool betting in the UK, Mr Eccles believes the firm should be able to get the necessary gaming licence.

He expects the company to remain a hybrid, with operations in Scotland and the US.

Fanduel recently moved into new offices in Edinburgh close to where the fast-growing Skyscanner flight search business is based.

Mr Eccles has put down roots in Edinburgh since moving to the city from London in 2006 in search of a better quality of life.

He moved to work as a business development specialist at the Johnston Press newspaper business under Tim Bowdler only to be left with a nagging feeling that he really had to start his own business.

“”I probably was a frustrated entrepreneur for years. I was trying to figure out what my idea was going to be. But I felt it was getting away from me. I had two children, a big mortgage and I felt if I did not do it now I would never do it.”

Now a father of three, Mr Eccles spends half his time in New York but says Edinburgh is an unbeatable location to live in.

Fanduel can access a big pool of highly skilled workers in Scotland.

Edinburgh may not be in the same league as Silicon Valley but the support infrastructure for growth companies has improved markedly in recent years.

Mr Eccles says Skyscanner has provided a very important example of what can be done.

“Whenever the board have said to us do you really think you can build a world class engineering team in Edinburgh, I’ve been able to say, well look at Skyscanner. I think without then it would have been much harder to do and one day we may have had to put the whole thing into New York.”

He concludes: “It’s definitely good; it’s a good supportive environment and it’s better than five years ago. I’d say today it’s a good place to start a company.”

Article source: http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/people/fantasy-sports-entrepreneur-builds-bridges-between-scotland-and-america.116778686

Fantasy sports entrepreneur builds bridges between Scotland and America

A mathematician by training, Mr Eccles talks with boyish enthusiasm about the way in which Fanduel’s games appear to have captured the imagination of sports fans.

“You find players after they become Fanduel players increase their consumption of sports by 40 per cent.”

American football fans, for example, become more likely to watch games to the end because they have chosen one of the quarterbacks in the game for their fantasy team.

“Lots of players say they are more excited about their fantasy team than their home team,” says Mr Eccles. “I created that team, they are playing for me.”

The feelgood effect is being felt in the Fanduel boardroom too.

“I’m more excited about the company today than I have been at any point,” enthuses Mr Eccles, who comes from Northern Ireland.

Fanduel, which takes a commission on game fees, had $37m revenues in the latest quarter, compared with $7.4m in the same period a year ago.

Mr Eccles, 40, believes Fanduel could become a multi-billion dollar business. A flotation may be on the cards in coming years.

The sales effort is run out of New York, where Fanduel has its headquarters and employs around 60 people.

But the Edinburgh-registered company’s success has been good news for Scotland.

There are around 60 staff working in high-skilled jobs in Fanduel’s software development centre in Edinburgh and the company plans to open one in Glasgow in coming months.

It expects to double employee numbers in Scotland this year.

And yet Mr Eccles may never have got involved in fantasy sports had things not gone better for him earlier in life.

With a background in consultancy and online gaming, Mr Eccles visited Texas amid signs things were not going to plan with the first business he developed, Hubdub.

Founded with four other young graduates, Hubdub was a news prediction website that showed enough promise to attract backing from names like Scots technology entrepreneur Kevin Dorren.

Advertisers, however, didn’t show the same degree of excitement.

“Hubdub was growing, it was a fun product but it was very hard to see where it was going to get the scale to deliver venture capital type returns,” muses Mr Eccles. “We realised the assumptions we had about advertising were wildly off.”

The team went to Texas to attend the important South by South West technology conference early in 2009 in the hope of coming up with fresh plans.

They decided to brainstorm suggestions for what kind of business to develop next by writing ideas on post it notes that they attached to the wall of the aforementioned shed.

While the approach may sound offbeat to some, others might feel it reflects the resilience and resourcefulness that true entrepreneurs have to show.

Fantasy sports emerged as the pick of the bunch of ideas.

“We thought fantasy sport was interesting,” recalls Mr Eccles. “It was very widely played, there were 26 million players at the time, there are 41 million now. People who played were passionate gamers.”

The fact fantasy game firms can offer cash prizes and are not considered to be engaged in gambling in most US states increased the genre’s appeal.

“We knew sports was one of the biggest categories and fantasy sports you can play for money. We knew we had to move from an advertising model.”

Mr Eccles had long been keen on the online gaming world after working on ventures with the likes of Dermot Desmond, the Irish entrepreneur.

“The great thing about a market place business is if you really get scale it’s very hard for someone to compete”.

After deciding to give fantasy gaming a shot the team moved fast. They started developing their first game in April 2009 and launched a product three months later.

This was a baseball game in which lone players competed against an opponent selected by the site.

Mr Eccles reckons the team laid the foundations for the venture’s success by developing games that only lasted a day, rather than keeping players waiting for a season to see if they had won.

While Fanduel could only spend $5 a day on marketing initially this proved to be enough to confirm there was real demand for fantasy sports products even in simple form.

After signing deals with media partners that did not deliver the expected volumes of business, Fanduel focused on doing its own marketing. The venture has always believed that money spent on acquiring new players will likely be repaid. Mr Eccles says the current payback period for money spent recruiting a new player is 11 months.

Revenues broke the $1m barrier in 2011.

Within six years of its launch, Fanduel has become a serious player in the US sporting business.

The company has signed marketing partnerships with big names like the LA Lakers basketball club.

It has raised $88m backing from investors such as NBA (the US National Basketball Association), broadcasting giant NBC and the Comcast and Pentech private equity ventures.

The company believes it can increase its market share from around 80 per cent currently. Fanduel has considered acquiring rivals but was concerned this would involve buying businesses that got most of their revenue from customers who were already on its books.

Fanduel expects to move into the UK eventually. While fantasy gaming is classed as pool betting in the UK, Mr Eccles believes the firm should be able to get the necessary gaming licence.

He expects the company to remain a hybrid, with operations in Scotland and the US.

Fanduel recently moved into new offices in Edinburgh close to where the fast-growing Skyscanner flight search business is based.

Mr Eccles has put down roots in Edinburgh since moving to the city from London in 2006 in search of a better quality of life.

He moved to work as a business development specialist at the Johnston Press newspaper business under Tim Bowdler only to be left with a nagging feeling that he really had to start his own business.

“”I probably was a frustrated entrepreneur for years. I was trying to figure out what my idea was going to be. But I felt it was getting away from me. I had two children, a big mortgage and I felt if I did not do it now I would never do it.”

Now a father of three, Mr Eccles spends half his time in New York but says Edinburgh is an unbeatable location to live in.

Fanduel can access a big pool of highly skilled workers in Scotland.

Edinburgh may not be in the same league as Silicon Valley but the support infrastructure for growth companies has improved markedly in recent years.

Mr Eccles says Skyscanner has provided a very important example of what can be done.

“Whenever the board have said to us do you really think you can build a world class engineering team in Edinburgh, I’ve been able to say, well look at Skyscanner. I think without then it would have been much harder to do and one day we may have had to put the whole thing into New York.”

He concludes: “It’s definitely good; it’s a good supportive environment and it’s better than five years ago. I’d say today it’s a good place to start a company.”

Article source: http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/people/fantasy-sports-entrepreneur-builds-bridges-between-scotland-and-america.116778686

Fantasy sports entrepreneur builds bridges between Scotland and America

A mathematician by training, Mr Eccles talks with boyish enthusiasm about the way in which Fanduel’s games appear to have captured the imagination of sports fans.

“You find players after they become Fanduel players increase their consumption of sports by 40 per cent.”

American football fans, for example, become more likely to watch games to the end because they have chosen one of the quarterbacks in the game for their fantasy team.

“Lots of players say they are more excited about their fantasy team than their home team,” says Mr Eccles. “I created that team, they are playing for me.”

The feelgood effect is being felt in the Fanduel boardroom too.

“I’m more excited about the company today than I have been at any point,” enthuses Mr Eccles, who comes from Northern Ireland.

Fanduel, which takes a commission on game fees, had $37m revenues in the latest quarter, compared with $7.4m in the same period a year ago.

Mr Eccles, 40, believes Fanduel could become a multi-billion dollar business. A flotation may be on the cards in coming years.

The sales effort is run out of New York, where Fanduel has its headquarters and employs around 60 people.

But the Edinburgh-registered company’s success has been good news for Scotland.

There are around 60 staff working in high-skilled jobs in Fanduel’s software development centre in Edinburgh and the company plans to open one in Glasgow in coming months.

It expects to double employee numbers in Scotland this year.

And yet Mr Eccles may never have got involved in fantasy sports had things not gone better for him earlier in life.

With a background in consultancy and online gaming, Mr Eccles visited Texas amid signs things were not going to plan with the first business he developed, Hubdub.

Founded with four other young graduates, Hubdub was a news prediction website that showed enough promise to attract backing from names like Scots technology entrepreneur Kevin Dorren.

Advertisers, however, didn’t show the same degree of excitement.

“Hubdub was growing, it was a fun product but it was very hard to see where it was going to get the scale to deliver venture capital type returns,” muses Mr Eccles. “We realised the assumptions we had about advertising were wildly off.”

The team went to Texas to attend the important South by South West technology conference early in 2009 in the hope of coming up with fresh plans.

They decided to brainstorm suggestions for what kind of business to develop next by writing ideas on post it notes that they attached to the wall of the aforementioned shed.

While the approach may sound offbeat to some, others might feel it reflects the resilience and resourcefulness that true entrepreneurs have to show.

Fantasy sports emerged as the pick of the bunch of ideas.

“We thought fantasy sport was interesting,” recalls Mr Eccles. “It was very widely played, there were 26 million players at the time, there are 41 million now. People who played were passionate gamers.”

The fact fantasy game firms can offer cash prizes and are not considered to be engaged in gambling in most US states increased the genre’s appeal.

“We knew sports was one of the biggest categories and fantasy sports you can play for money. We knew we had to move from an advertising model.”

Mr Eccles had long been keen on the online gaming world after working on ventures with the likes of Dermot Desmond, the Irish entrepreneur.

“The great thing about a market place business is if you really get scale it’s very hard for someone to compete”.

After deciding to give fantasy gaming a shot the team moved fast. They started developing their first game in April 2009 and launched a product three months later.

This was a baseball game in which lone players competed against an opponent selected by the site.

Mr Eccles reckons the team laid the foundations for the venture’s success by developing games that only lasted a day, rather than keeping players waiting for a season to see if they had won.

While Fanduel could only spend $5 a day on marketing initially this proved to be enough to confirm there was real demand for fantasy sports products even in simple form.

After signing deals with media partners that did not deliver the expected volumes of business, Fanduel focused on doing its own marketing. The venture has always believed that money spent on acquiring new players will likely be repaid. Mr Eccles says the current payback period for money spent recruiting a new player is 11 months.

Revenues broke the $1m barrier in 2011.

Within six years of its launch, Fanduel has become a serious player in the US sporting business.

The company has signed marketing partnerships with big names like the LA Lakers basketball club.

It has raised $88m backing from investors such as NBA (the US National Basketball Association), broadcasting giant NBC and the Comcast and Pentech private equity ventures.

The company believes it can increase its market share from around 80 per cent currently. Fanduel has considered acquiring rivals but was concerned this would involve buying businesses that got most of their revenue from customers who were already on its books.

Fanduel expects to move into the UK eventually. While fantasy gaming is classed as pool betting in the UK, Mr Eccles believes the firm should be able to get the necessary gaming licence.

He expects the company to remain a hybrid, with operations in Scotland and the US.

Fanduel recently moved into new offices in Edinburgh close to where the fast-growing Skyscanner flight search business is based.

Mr Eccles has put down roots in Edinburgh since moving to the city from London in 2006 in search of a better quality of life.

He moved to work as a business development specialist at the Johnston Press newspaper business under Tim Bowdler only to be left with a nagging feeling that he really had to start his own business.

“”I probably was a frustrated entrepreneur for years. I was trying to figure out what my idea was going to be. But I felt it was getting away from me. I had two children, a big mortgage and I felt if I did not do it now I would never do it.”

Now a father of three, Mr Eccles spends half his time in New York but says Edinburgh is an unbeatable location to live in.

Fanduel can access a big pool of highly skilled workers in Scotland.

Edinburgh may not be in the same league as Silicon Valley but the support infrastructure for growth companies has improved markedly in recent years.

Mr Eccles says Skyscanner has provided a very important example of what can be done.

“Whenever the board have said to us do you really think you can build a world class engineering team in Edinburgh, I’ve been able to say, well look at Skyscanner. I think without then it would have been much harder to do and one day we may have had to put the whole thing into New York.”

He concludes: “It’s definitely good; it’s a good supportive environment and it’s better than five years ago. I’d say today it’s a good place to start a company.”

Article source: http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/people/fantasy-sports-entrepreneur-builds-bridges-between-scotland-and-america.116778686

iSoftBet adds Betradar’s virtual sports to betting platform

23

Jan

15

Alderney-licensed casino software supplier iSoftBet has entered into an agreement with Betradar to offer the sports betting software provider’s fixed-odds virtual sports product to its clients.

The agreement further enhances the range of sports betting products available through iSoftBet’s platform, which already features SBTech’s pre-match and in-play sports betting solutions, following a deal in July 2013.

iSoftBet sales manager Luci Apostolou said that virtual sports betting had become a lucrative business.

“[We’re] glad to have found a partner that can support today’s market needs,” she said. “We work in various regulated jurisdictions with some of the industry’s most well-known brands, so we need to be sure that our operators can benefit from the best products and services which meet the highest standard they expect.”

“We’re confident that our operators will appreciate Betradar’s virtual sportsbetting solution as much as we do, and we’re looking forward to sharing this product with our customers,” Apostolou added.

Betradar’s commercial director for gaming Neale Deeley said he was very pleased that iSoftBet had chosen to expand its gaming portfolio with the virtual sports products.

“Our virtual sports are the virtual betting product of choice for over 50 bookmakers worldwide, focusing on providing the most realistic virtual products in the industry to increase bookmakers’ revenue,” he explained. “We are convinced that iSoftbet’s customer will enjoy the extended 24/7 offering.”

In August last year Betradar expanded its virtual sports portfolio with the launch of Virtual Tennis, joining its existing football, horse racing and dog racing games.

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Article source: http://www.gamingintelligence.com/marketing/30012-isoftbet-signs-agreement-to-offer-betradar-s-virtual-sports

iSoftBet adds Betradar’s virtual sports to betting platform

23

Jan

15

Alderney-licensed casino software supplier iSoftBet has entered into an agreement with Betradar to offer the sports betting software provider’s fixed-odds virtual sports product to its clients.

The agreement further enhances the range of sports betting products available through iSoftBet’s platform, which already features SBTech’s pre-match and in-play sports betting solutions, following a deal in July 2013.

iSoftBet sales manager Luci Apostolou said that virtual sports betting had become a lucrative business.

“[We’re] glad to have found a partner that can support today’s market needs,” she said. “We work in various regulated jurisdictions with some of the industry’s most well-known brands, so we need to be sure that our operators can benefit from the best products and services which meet the highest standard they expect.”

“We’re confident that our operators will appreciate Betradar’s virtual sportsbetting solution as much as we do, and we’re looking forward to sharing this product with our customers,” Apostolou added.

Betradar’s commercial director for gaming Neale Deeley said he was very pleased that iSoftBet had chosen to expand its gaming portfolio with the virtual sports products.

“Our virtual sports are the virtual betting product of choice for over 50 bookmakers worldwide, focusing on providing the most realistic virtual products in the industry to increase bookmakers’ revenue,” he explained. “We are convinced that iSoftbet’s customer will enjoy the extended 24/7 offering.”

In August last year Betradar expanded its virtual sports portfolio with the launch of Virtual Tennis, joining its existing football, horse racing and dog racing games.

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Article source: http://www.gamingintelligence.com/marketing/30012-isoftbet-signs-agreement-to-offer-betradar-s-virtual-sports

2014: A Year in [W-2 and 1099] Review








GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — With the holiday season behind us, paired with our nation’s love of lists, Greatland Corporation has released its annual selection of some of the year’s most news-making events, as they pertain to the company’s favorite government (1099 and W-2) forms:

  • After hosting the Tonight Show for more than 20 years, Jay Leno retired and passed the mic to Jimmy Fallon. Since starting in February 2014, Fallon has attracted around 4 million viewers each night, including a much higher share of the 18-49 demographic than Leno. Given his success and continued contract, NBC will need to make sure a W-2 is sent to Fallon for his work in this year along with Leno as he wrapped up his final season.
  • The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, also known as the “Bradley Act,” has banned betting on sports in all but four states, Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana, whose legislatures were able to meet a 1991 deadline to approve sports wagering and thus were granted an exemption. This year, NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, publicly went on record to support the removal of the ban on sports betting. If the U.S. were to legalize the current $400 billion industry of sports gambling, it’s safe to say that we would see a huge increase in W-2Gs.
  • On February 7, 2014, General Motors (GM) recalled about 800,000 of its small cars due to faulty ignition switches, which could shut off the engine during driving and ultimately prevent the airbags from inflating. As of June 30, GM had issued 45 recalls, involving nearly 28 million cars worldwide and more than 24.6 million in the United States. This tax reporting season, attorneys who represented consumers who received a settlement from GM for the ignition switch recall can expect to receive a 1099-MISC.
  • Developed by Dong Nguyen in less than three days, the mobile game “Flappy Bird” was one of the top downloads in 2014 and at its peak was earning $50,000 a day in ad income. Despite the eventual removal of the game from Apple’s App Store, Nguyen will have his work cut out for him when it comes to tax reporting and correctly documenting his income.
  • The 2014 FIFA World Cup took place at several venues across Brazil with Germany ultimately winning the tournament for its fourth title by defeating Argentina. Although only making it to the semifinals, U.S. players who made the final World Cup squad earned at least $76,000 for taking part in the world’s largest soccer tournament. Therefore, each team member can expect to receive a W-2 form from U.S. Soccer in addition to the form they’ll collect for their current salary.
  • After experiencing global success of the song “Happy” in 2014, singer and producer Pharrell Williams sold his oversized Vivienne Westwood hat that he wore to the Grammys for $44,100 on eBay to fast-food chain Arby’s, which resembled the hat used in Arby’s logo. The money was donated to From One Hand to Another, a charity that helps children learn through technology and the arts. This nonprofit will also have to file a Form 990, but will need to keep in mind the time requirements for this type of filing. Form 990 is due on the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of the organization’s taxable year. This means that if an organization follows the calendar year (January 1December 31), its Form 990 would be due on May 15th of each year.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Greatland Corporation is one of the nation’s leading providers of W-2 and 1099 forms and related e-filing products for business. Greatland has an extensive W-2 1099 fact center located on its website with answers to many of the top filing questions.  

The company offers Yearli, the most complete federal, state and recipient W-2 and 1099 reporting platform on the market for small to mid-size businesses and professional accountants. With Yearli, organizations can choose the product that most closely meets their W-2 1099 filing and support needs. The Yearli W-2 and 1099 reporting platform has three options (Core, Performance, and Desktop) designed to fit any budget or business need.

About Greatland
Greatland (www.greatland.com) is the W-2 and 1099 specialist, focused on providing guidance, products, and solutions for small to mid-size businesses and accountants.  Through Greatland’s subsidiaries – Greatland, Nelco, and Broker Forms – the company offers an extensive array of specialized products for businesses: W-2 forms, 1099 forms, W-2 and 1099 software, online filing, business checks, presentation materials, income tax preparation supplies, and mortgage forms.  Greatland also offers Yearli, a comprehensive W-2 and 1099 reporting software and online filing platform. Greatland is an employee-owned company with locations in Grand Rapids, Mich. and Green Bay, Wis.  Greatland has an extensive W-2 1099 fact center located on its website with answers to many of the top filing questions.  Follow us on Facebook or Twitter: @GreatlandCorp

SOURCE Greatland

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Article source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2014-a-year-in-w-2-and-1099-review-300023320.html