Posts Tagged ‘professional sports betting software’

Nevada, Delaware Player Pool Union “Imminent”

According to a piece by Steve Tetreault in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, virtual borders will soon finally be crossed in the U.S. online poker market, as the states of Nevada and Delaware are getting set to allow the co-mingling of their player pools. The news came straight from the mouth of Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, who said the merging of the two states’ player bases is “imminent.”

As you likely know since you are on this website, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) put a hurting on the U.S. online poker market by making it unlawful for financial institutions to process transactions to or from online gambling sites. It did leave open a window, though, permitting individual states to legalize online gambling within their own state borders. States may also team up via interstate gaming compacts to combine their player pools, just like what happens in multi-state lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions.

Once the U.S. Department of Justice clarified that the Wire Act only made online sports betting illegal in December 2011, a few states got the ball rolling on legalizing and regulating intrastate online gambling. To date, three states have completed the process: Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. The problem for each of them, and Nevada and Delaware in particular, is that when it comes to online poker, internet poker rooms need as large of a potential player pool as possible. Because poker is a game in which players compete against other players rather than the house, sites need players to fill tables and create games. Casino games such as craps or blackjack benefit from more players, of course, but these games are not dependent on having multiple players seated. One player can start a game of blackjack. One player cannot start a game of poker.

So, if a poker room is having trouble drawing customers, regardless of the reason, there are going to be very few active games and very little revenue. It doesn’t stop there, though. If a prospective customer opens up the poker room software and sees that the site is quiet and the game selection is unattractive, he will leave (and possibly tell others about it), resulting in the site getting even less traffic than it already gets. Lots of player traffic can create a snowball effect: a room with tables that are hopping looks attractive to prospective customers, who then signup and play, which in turn increases the traffic of the site, which makes it look even more attractive, etc.

Back to Delaware and Nevada, player traffic is a major issue. Both states are small in terms of population – Nevada ranks just 35th in the U.S. and Delaware is 45th – and since they can only, as of right now, pull customers from within their own borders, they can only get so much traffic to their states’ poker sites. According to, Delaware’s online poker cash game traffic is almost non-existent, while the one site of any significance in Nevada ranks 38th in the world with fewer than 200 cash game players per day. Their problems likely go beyond just state populations, but even so, they are still limited by their residencies.

Governors Sandoval and Markell Signing the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement in 2014

Governors Sandoval and Markell Signing the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement in 2014

As such, Governor Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed the “Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement,” a year ago, which allows players from one state to play on sites based in the other. The two states were supposed to merge player pools last summer, but according to the Review-Journal article, “technical glitches” caused delays. Governor Sandoval now says that the merge should go live in four to six weeks.

This in and of itself is a good thing as now sites from each state will have larger markets from which to pull customers, but it still might not help all that much because the states are so small. Plus, there’s a good chance Delaware players might just jump to in Nevada, hurting Delaware’s three sites even more.

Fortunately, it looks like the merger won’t stop there. The two states’ sites are also expected to team up at some point. Gaming firm 888, which launched the All American Poker Network (AAPN) in New Jersey (it had just one site, 888poker, for a long time, but has finally combined some tables with New Jersey’s has said that it plans to get the network going in Nevada. The existing, which runs 888’s software already, will be the first room on the network. The Treasure Island casino will launch an 888-based room on the network, as will 888 itself. The three Delaware rooms also use 888’s software and will supposedly be a part of the AAPN, creating a six-room, two-state network. This was announced a long time ago and no time table for the AAPN launch has been laid out. It may happen when the two states merge their customer bases, it may happen later.

New Jersey, which has had more success with its online gambling industry than the other two states mainly because of its size, will not be joining Delaware and Nevada. There have been some talks about another gaming compact, but discussions have not advanced to anything of real note. Thus, New Jersey’s AAPN will stay limited to New Jersey for the time being.

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Entrepreneur’s newest start-up a potent mix of tech and taverns

MILWAUKEE — Aleks Ivanovic earned millions of dollars from software that makes it easier for billion-dollar companies to sell things as complicated as, say, multinational telecom services.

Now the former Rockwell Automation engineer and already proven entrepreneur is betting there’s more to be made in the bar business.

Clearly not a cutting-edge industry. But Ivanovic believes his start-up, SpotHopper, can apply technology to connect specific customers with specific taverns to the advantage of both.

The company already has a smartphone app that gives bar-goers suggestions on what to drink and where to drink it, based on their preferences.

Now the four-employee firm, based in downtown Milwaukee, is moving beyond its free app and into money-generating territory.

The first step in that direction is subscription-based bar-management software that SpotHopper has sold to a few taverns. But the greatest potential lies in not-yet-deployed software that promises to bring drinkers in the door.

“You will be able to, so to speak, purchase customers from us,” Ivanovic said.

That prospect — expected to be ready in a few months — is what SpotHopper has been building toward from the beginning.

“That’s the most important revenue stream,” Ivanovic said.

Not yet, it isn’t. But Ivanovic has shown before that he can build an idea into a viable business.

Ivanovic, 45, left what was then Yugoslavia after high school, migrated to Milwaukee, where an uncle lived, and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study electrical engineering. He landed a job at Rockwell right out of school.

While there, he started tinkering with ways to simplify the process of generating pricing and quotations for complex products and services. The eventual result was his own company, Webcom., which went on to enlist such clients as Rockwell, Fugi Electric Group, GE Industrial Systems and NEC Corp.

In 2011, Callidus Software Inc. bought Webcom for $10.8 million in cash, plus stock that Ivanovic said brought the total deal to about $13 million.

So while Ivanovic has sunk somewhere between $500,000 and $750,000 into SpotHopper so far, he hasn’t sought financial angels.

“We’ve had people pitching to us that they would like to invest, but we really don’t need the money,” he said.

Google Play and iTunes are littered with apps related to bars and drinking. SpotHopper’s is distinguished by multilayered menus that can be used to get recommendations on taverns (the app currently covers Milwaukee and New York City), beer, wine and cocktails.

Take taverns. Users start by choosing from among nine basic types, like craft beer bar, sports bar or patio drinking.

That choice opens another menu that lets bar-seekers use sliders to select whether they want a spot that’s quiet or lively, upscale or a dive, and so on.

Beyond those basics, users can declare preferences on such criteria as the type of crowd a place draws (hipster, fratty, mostly guys, mostly girls), the style of the interior (retro or modern, clean and cold, or warm and cozy), and where the place falls on the sober-to-sloppy spectrum.

All told, users can specify their inclinations on 25 characteristics for each of the nine bar types. Beer profiles are about as particular — 29 options for each of six basic categories.

There’s overlap in the tavern characteristics, and several of the beer characteristics likely will be lost on most drinkers as they try to puzzle out how much in the way of pine or grass notes they prefer in their imperial Pilsner.

But the app works smoothly and delivers detailed, descriptive recommendations. Launched last April, it has attracted about 8,000 users, with roughly half in Milwaukee and half in New York, and is adding about 30 a day, Ivanovic said.

The bar-management software, meanwhile, automates updates to menus, websites and Facebook pages — helpful for spots that change their array of craft beer offerings weekly or even daily.


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Electronic Arts’ Stock Surges Due To Impressive FIFA & Madden NFL …

The strategy of the American gaming giant, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), paid off well, as the company reported remarkable results in its third quarter earnings report released in late January. Over the last four years, the company has decided to release a lesser number of more impressive games, thus concentrating more on its core franchises and developing new content for the avid gamers. In the third quarter, the company reported non-GAAP net revenue of $1.43 billion, which was 12% above the guidance, but down 9% year-over-year (y-o-y). The year-over-year decline is primarily due to strong performance in Q3 2013, driven by the launch of Battlefield 4, which sold more than 3.6 million units on PlayStation devices and nearly 3.54 million units on Xbox devices in the holiday period of 2013. [1] On a trailing twelve month basis, EA’s non-GAAP net revenue reached $4.337 billion, and digital receipts accounted for more than half of the revenues ($2.178 billion) for the first time ever, and up 17% y-o-y. The company’s core sports titles: FIFA 15, Madden NFL 15, and Hockey Ultimate Team services recorded a massive 82% y-o-y growth, making it the #1 publisher on all the major platforms in the world in 2014. [2]

EA’ s stock has jumped from $43 to $57 during the last three months, driven by a strong holiday period.

Our $54 price estimate for Electronic Arts’ stock is 5% below the current market price.

See our complete analysis of Electronic Arts stock here

FIFA Steals The Show In Holiday Quarter

Over the last decade, EA’s dependence on its sports titles, especially FIFA, has increased manifold. The gaming industry has been witnessing a change in trend as the gamers now opt for downloadable digital content games rather than physical software sales. According to the research group NPD, the net software sales for December 2014 reached $1.25 billion, down 2% year-over-year. [3] However, the strong console demands among the users drove the hardware sales, resulting in an 18% y-o-y increase in physical hardware sales, which were strong enough to offset the 13% y-o-y decline in the software sales. The figures clearly indicate the strategy of top game developing companies, where they focus more on core franchises and so releasing a lesser number of titles.

In this scenario, EA was betting on its top franchise, FIFA, to over-perform and contribute significantly to the company’s revenue stream. Furthermore, 2014 was a special year, as the excitement among  soccer fans grew due to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil last year. Just before the World Cup, the company gifted its FIFA fans with the new special edition: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, which sold close to 3 million units in the first four weeks on both the major consoles. The game provided an extra boost to the enthusiasm among the fans for the regular annual edition: FIFA 15. Soccer enthusiasts prefer to play either FIFA or Konami Digital Entertainment’s Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). However, the latter is still not that popular, but is the closest competitor to the FIFA soccer franchise. EA released the latest FIFA 15 worldwide in the last week of September 2014. The game sold nearly 5 million units in the first week of the release. According to VGChartz, FIFA 15 sold over 13.38 million units through January 31, with Sony’s PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 leading the FIFA sales with 5.25 million and 3.9 million units, respectively. On the other hand, FIFA 15 sales on Xbox 360 and Xbox One were nearly 2.5 million units and 1.63 million units respectively. [4]

However, last year, FIFA 2014 also contributed to the revenues, as the game sold 4.3 million units on all the platforms (Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, PC) and handhelds. In 2013, the company managed to sell close to 14.69 million units of FIFA titles worldwide. According to the trend, FIFA sales grow significantly during the World Cup year, and hence the same was witnessed last year with a total of 18.68 million FIFA unit sales, an increase of 27% y-o-y. With such strong demand for the title, the company remains positive of its performance in the coming years.

Trefis estimates the FIFA unit sales to increase mildly in 2015, but in 2016, it might get a huge boost again due to the UEFA Euro 2016 Championship.

Madden NFL: A Significant Contributor

America’s favorite sports title, Madden NFL, was the #2 selling title in North America in 2014. Madden’s game-play hours increased 30% y-o-y last year. According to VGChartz, the game sold 6.42 million units in 2014, up 58% from 4.05 million units in 2013, with North America accounting for 87% of the total sales. [5] Both FIFA and Madden NFL still accounts for more than 87% of the total sports titles sold in 2014, and might continue to be the money minting franchises for the company. With the absence of NCAA Football series, the gamers who prefer American football are opting for Madden NFL.

Trefis estimates the Madden NFL unit sales to reach 10 million units per year at the end of our forecast period.

Comeback Of Popular Franchises To Drive Growth

Electronic Arts released 8 new titles in 2014, excluding FIFA and Madden NFL series, out of which four made it to the top 100 titles in 2014. As a result, the company’s “hit rate,” the number of titles in the top 100 selling games relative to their annual titles released, dropped down to 50% in 2014 from 68% in 2013. Among these top four games, Battlefield 4 and Titanfall were the company’s only entries in the shooter genre. Titanfall was off to a great start after its release, but the interest of gamers declined in the title after the release of Activision’s Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Titanfall managed to sell only 3.7 million units in 2014, even though it was released 6 months before Destiny. This indicates that Electronic Arts still needs to come up with stronger shooter games to match the strength and dominance of Activision Blizzard in this genre.The point to remember is that EA was without a new Battlefield and Need For Speed title in 2014. In 2015, EA will come up with Battlefield Hardline and Need For Speed.

Trefis estimates the total number of titles, except FIFA and Madden NFL, released by EA to be 11 in 2015. Also, some of the games are popular worldwide, and might make it to the top 100, taking the hit rate back to 65%. Moreover, as the company focuses on improving the present titles rather than coming up with several new titles, the capital expenditure growth might slow down.

Trefis has revised its EA price estimate from $39 to $54, after taking all these factors into account.

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  1. Battlefield 4 game database, VGChartz [↩]
  2. Electronic Arts Q3 2015 earnings call transcript [↩]
  3. NPD December 2014 report [↩]
  4. FIFA 15 unit sales globally, VGChartz [↩]
  5. Madden NFL 15 global sales, VGChartz [↩]

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Income Access to launch affiliate programmes for Nexx & Betboro




Online marketing specialist Income Access has signed deals to launch affiliate programmes for two new partners, the EveryMatrix-powered operator Nexx Edge and Curaçao licensee Betboro.

Nexx Edge offers a sports betting product powered by EveryMatrix’s Oddsmatrix solution, and also features Evolution Gaming live dealer casino software and casino games from Net Entertainment and Play’n GO.

Nicky Senyard, founder and CEO of Income Access, which won Marketing Service Provider of the Year at the recent Gaming Intelligence Awards 2015, said: “Nexx Edgealready has an impressive history and we’re very happy to be part of that moving forward. Their commitment to offering high-quality games and customer support makes them a natural fit with Income Access.”

Nexx Edge’s business development and marketing manager Dennis Greffard commented: “Nexx Edge is very pleased to announce its entry into the iGaming market. With the partnership between Income Access and Nexx Edge we believe our Nexx Affiliate Programme can be very beneficial to all involved.”

Nexx Edge becomes one of the latest operators to launch an affiliate programme with Income Access alongside Betboro, a site launched in 2013 by Curaçao-licensed business Webmedia Development NV.

“Betboro is a growing brand and we’re thrilled to have them join our roster of clients,” continued Senyard. “We look forward to working with them more closely and playing a role in their continued success.”

Currently the site offers a sportsbook and live betting using software from service provider Swissbet, and is to expand its offering with casino games from Microgaming.

“We’re very happy to have signed with Income Access and are looking forward to launching our exciting new affiliate offering,” Webmedia’s chief technology officer Danijel Savic commented. “We have big plans that will provide our marketing partners with an opportunity to earn revenue while promoting a great product.”

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Analytics, not statistics, driving NHL evolution

In the fall of 1917, the Montreal Wanderers and Toronto Arenas played the first NHL game; with the sport in its infancy, forward passes weren’t yet legal.

Every June, executives and columnists wax poetic about the traditions that make hockey what it is; the handshake line, the passion and pain threshold of the players, the Stanley Cup.

What has truly made hockey into the exhilarating sport and thriving industry it is today, though, has been its ability to adapt, fusing playmaking concepts from European soccer with the rugged athleticism of rugby and the structure and tactical teachings of lacrosse.

The evolution continued this summer with the addition of analytical specialists in the hockey operations departments of several teams, highlighted by Kyle Dubas being named assistant general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Such developments suggest hockey may be in the process of learning its most important lesson, one baseball has only recently come to terms with itself:

“If we weren’t already doing it this way, is this the way we would start?”

That’s the question Paul DePodesta asked Billy Beane, the architect of the Oakland A’s roster, when they met. Was Beane’s process guided by principles of accuracy and efficiency or by convention and tradition?

For Beane, who would soon face the loss of three big-time free agents, the question made an impression. Less than three years after he and DePodesta joined forces, the 2002 A’s won 20 games in a row, an American League record. Despite having the lowest payroll in baseball, Oakland tied for the best record in the majors.

Beane and DePodesta revolutionized baseball with those accomplishments. Now, more than a decade later, hockey is facing a similar tipping point.


Adult league thriving in San Jose

By Corey Masisak | Staff Writer
San Jose has become one of the strongest hockey towns in the NHL, and the massive adult league has played an integral part. READ MORE ›

There has been an attempt to distance the sport from the “Moneyball philosophy,” which was laid out in the book, “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” by Michael Lewis.

Hockey insiders suggest statistics only lend themselves to slower games which stop and start following every play.

But “Moneyball” wasn’t about advanced statistics, or even really about money; it was about thinking differently, asking questions, and never being satisfied with doing things the way they have always been done.

“In such a tight market for talent, you needed to look beyond the conventional means of thinking,” hockey executive Mike Gillis told Bruce Dowbiggin in “Ice Storm: The Rise and fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever.”

Gillis was general manager of the Cancuks when they reached the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

“In hockey, people have not wanted to go beyond their experience to find new solutions,” he said. “Some hockey people dismissed ‘Moneyball’ because Oakland never won using it. But the A’s were a small-market [team], and when they taught the big guys how it works, their advantage was gone. The Red Sox did adopt those principles and won two World Series.”

The principles of “Moneyball” apply to hockey as much as any other sport, and in order to claim an understanding of the game, executives must be willing to look at it from every angle. That is where analytics come into play. The willingness to discard preconceived notions which don’t stand up to strict scrutiny are already playing a role in separating the most successful teams from the rest.

The first step in embracing analytics is to understand them. Only with that base can the misconceptions and biases that skew hockey decision-making at the highest level be appreciated.

Last season during a “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast, when the Edmonton Oilers lost to Vancouver 6-2, analyst Glenn Healy commented on the Oilers’ performance in a manner which echoes how many sports fans feel about the analytics movement.

“When you look at the stats, every stat was in Edmonton’s favor,” said Healy, who played goaltender in the NHL for more than a decade. “Faceoffs, they were better in faceoffs. They were better in hits. They had more blocked shots. But they weren’t even in the game.”

There seems to be an idea among those who oppose the use of analytics that Healy’s words present a flaw in the practice, that those who believe in analytics think adding up the numbers in a box score should produce the game’s winner like a seventh-grade math quiz.

In this instance, Healy was arguing against a caricature. There is a crucial difference between statistics and analytics.

A statistic is simply a piece of data. The San Jose Sharks defeating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1, that’s a statistic. Tyler Seguin scoring his 20th goal to put the Dallas Stars up 4-3, that’s a statistic. Anything can be a statistic, and that is why, as they say, statistics can be manipulated to fit any narrative.

Analytics are distinct, the study of statistics to find meaning. Analysts look for reproducible patterns in large samples which illuminate important lessons about the game.

“If [a metric] is consistent over time, then it’s a reliable gauge of skill,” said A.C. Thomas, co-founder of the popular advanced-stats website War-On-Ice.

Any analyst would say a player’s performance on Thursdays in March or a team’s home/road power-play splits are largely meaningless. The misuse of statistics, therefore, is poor analytics, just as taking a player’s quote out of context is poor journalism.

“For an analyst to suggest a metric has value, we need to be able to explain how or why it relates to outcomes we desire, most generally goals for or against,” analytics writer Stephen Burtch said. “Once we can identify how it relates to winning, we need to be able to show that it describes something meaningful, that it relates relatively strongly to goals/wins.”

Hits are a prominent example of a dividing-line statistic. Purists cite it as a difference-maker; analysts dispute its importance. To evaluate their claims, analysts test every number under a high degree of scrutiny. What is a hit? How is it tracked? Have more hits historically led to more wins? Are there problems with the statistic?

As it turns out, hits are an unreliable metric. The team that has the puck the most has the fewest opportunities to record hits. Ultimately, there is very little correlation between hitting and winning. A hit is an example of a play that can make an impact but also of a statistic that analysts have shown to be misleading.

Analysts and non-analysts are on the same side in the struggle to counteract the abuse of statistics. There are a lot of numbers out there, but if a statistic isn’t a true indicator of performance or in large samples tends to predict future success, it can lead to misinformation. Without thinking analytically, it is nearly impossible to determine which numbers are important and which are noise.

Trusting analytics is difficult without a fundamental understanding of the metaphysics involved in sport.

Most conventional analysis treats hockey as a solely deterministic entity: The conditions which lead to every occurrence in a game, deterministic theory dictates, couldn’t have resulted in any other outcome. In other words, a game’s result is the product of physical manifestations that are independent of past or future games.

Under a strictly deterministic lens, winning is the only metric that matters because every game is a clean slate and, under fresh conditions, anybody can defeat anybody and anything is possible. As commentators often state at the beginning of an important power play, “Throw the percentages out the window here.”

Deterministic logic does hold up in a hockey game. Hockey is deterministic; every game is a fresh opportunity for success in an ever-changing environment. But the sport is not exclusively deterministic, and that is the key behind much of the disagreement between analysts and purists, between those who have played the game at a high level and those whose expertise rests in quantitative fields.

Consider a game of Texas Hold ‘em, a form of poker where players combine privately held and publicly shared cards to form the best possible hand, placing bets along the way. On the surface, Hold ‘em seems like a very different game from hockey because it’s all about odds. A player estimates his chance of winning a particular hand based on the information available and bets accordingly.

The game is probabilistic in nature; in the long term, those probabilities bear out. Even if a player sees his full house defeated by a straight flush in one instance, he should bet on a full house winning the next time around. It would seem as though hockey and poker are metaphysically opposed — one deterministic, the other probabilistic — but there is a problem with that view.

Poker is an example of a game that is deterministic and probabilistic. The result of each hand comes from the physical process of shuffling, but because none of the players know the result of that process beforehand, the game is one of probabilities. Hockey is very much the same way.

When Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin decides to wind up for his patented one-timer from the left circle on the power play or to pass to the slot, he has to take into account a number of factors. The timing of his windup, the direction of his swing, the weight of the pass, and the texture of the ice decide in absolute terms where a shot would end up.

If the puck doesn’t go in, critics would argue it was because he did something wrong. If he opts to pass and the play doesn’t connect, they would ask why didn’t he take the shot? But whether the effort went bar-down and in or struck the wrong side of the post would largely be a result of variance, or as it’s called in metaphysics, chaos.

Because Ovechkin doesn’t know how variance will impact his shot (how the deck will be shuffled) he has to trust in probabilities; he has to go with the play he thinks gives the Capitals the best chance to score.

During the course of thousands of repetitions, those probabilities will remain constant. It is why the best scorers during long periods tend to stay constant, but why in individual games or seasons there may be inexplicable hot and cold streaks.

Players will make the right decision a certain percent of the time based on their hockey IQ, and their physical makeup will allow them to deke, pass, check, clear, deflect and score a certain fraction of the time. But the determination of when they are able to do those things successfully is largely out of their control.

So, yes, each power play is a fresh chance to do the little things right and score a critical goal, but through enough of those chances, the true talent of the group will be revealed, whatever it may be. So, no, someone can’t throw the percentages entirely out the window.

Fans generally think of luck in its most blatant form: a strange bounce, a bad call, a broken stick. Variance, though, affects the result of a game in more critical ways, and that is why winning is not the only metric that matters. A good process, across a large number of games, will lead to the most wins. Though winning a game in the present is nice, having sustainable success — whether that means making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, winning four playoff series in a row, or ascending to dynasty status — is what every team and player is seeking. Those successes are dictated by an accumulation of probabilities; the teams most likely to win the most games will eventually win the most games.

The aspect of variance that is most difficult to understand is that outcomes are not evenly distributed.

For instance, Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan was left off the U.S. Olympic team last year, and a story from ESPN’s Scott Burnside revealed that Ryan was disparaged in the process, with Calgary Flames executive Brian Burke metaphorically painting him as someone who “can’t spell intense.”

In the five weeks following the decision leading up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Ryan had seven points in 17 games, causing commenters to opine that Burke was right and Ryan missed an opportunity to prove the executive wrong.

It certainly wasn’t the first time a player was criticized for a scoring drought, but it echoed a failure by many, from fans to executives, to understand variance and how it manifests itself in hockey and more broadly.

When Apple’s iPod came out with the option to shuffle songs, customers complained the software must be broken because they kept getting two songs by the same artist back to back, or several in a row of the same genre. They didn’t think the built-in randomness was “random” enough.

In reality, randomness “creates counterintuitively dense clusters,” and the mind is programmed to read patterns even when none exist, as Alex Bellos wrote for the Daily Mail. According to Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, we “understand sentences by trying to make them true.” If there is the potential for a causal connection, we naturally cling to that explanation.

In an experiment done at a university in Barcelona, students were asked to predict a sequence of five coin tosses. In the aftermath, one student was identified as having predicted the most tosses correctly, and one the least.

Audience members were told they would either be betting on the student who had been the least successful for a second round of flipping, or they could pay to switch to the student who had done the best. Anonymously, 82 percent of the audience paid to switch. In a simple game that was so clearly decided by chance, the audience was fooled by randomness.

In the end, Barcelona students lost money betting on randomness disguised as reproducible success. Steve Jobs had to change the iPod shuffle feature to manufacture false randomness in a way that would appease his customers. Bobby Ryan had to address the media to make excuses for a sudden inability to score that was more likely the result of variance than of criticism or skill level.

Hockey is a fast, fluid game of small margins. Even across samples as large as a season or two, the bounces can go one team’s way more than another’s. One player may see his shots tip in off of a stick or the post, or may benefit from fortunate screens, and another player may not. Variance is difficult to catch with the naked eye, because a shot off the crossbar and in looks like something a player could repeat every time if focused.

Analytics have a ways to go in differentiating variance from talent, but an inability to recognize clustered randomness in extreme cases has led to some of the biggest management mistakes in hockey history. Being wary of chaotic concepts can give a team numerous wins a season. Falling prey to them can waste millions of dollars.

From the time Bill James published his first “Baseball Abstract” in 1977, purists have accused analysts of not watching the games, suggesting that they treat the spreadsheet as a manuscript and the pleasure derived from sports is drawn only from calculations. This, by and large, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Massive amounts of the most cutting-edge analysis in hockey have been recorded by watching game film repeatedly and tracking metrics in an attempt to make sense of what goes on at ice level. But there are also reasons only watching the games isn’t sufficient, and why conventional scouting alone is flawed.

The first problem is that nobody can watch every game. Even with an implausibly packed schedule, a scout could see 300 or so games a year, split between teams and leagues.

A general manager or coach will watch mostly his team’s games, seeing snippets of other players as a result. Analytics allow the ability to attain a level of insight into a team or player that can’t be gleaned from sporadic viewings. The numbers can see every game and provide a better idea of how a certain team or player is doing than by going off past viewings, hearsay, the odd shift, or, worst of all, reputation.

The more statistics that are available, and the better those statistics are at measuring value, the better the insight. That’s why some advanced statistics are better than goals, assists, plus-minus, etc. They get you closer to an all-encompassing understanding of a game in a sport that tends to be dictated by selective viewing. Advanced statistics provide a more precise understanding of the broader game.

Beane was asked a question about trusting the eye test and he responded, “The idea that I trust my eyes more than the stats, I don’t buy that because I’ve seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I just know that rabbit’s not in there.”

Sports are obviously different from magic tricks, because players aren’t intending to fool the viewer at every turn, but there is so much happening during any play that a similar effect is present.

“The eye test isn’t sufficient for analyzing a fast-moving game like hockey,” Burtch said. “There’s just far too much going on at far too fast a pace for any one individual to easily track and store the information they’re seeing via memory.”

Hockey’s pace makes numerical analysis and eyeball scouting more difficult when compared to baseball, but it doesn’t make either method less valid. It just means each needs to be handled with more scrutiny.

Watching the game can give us information but it can’t get us all the way there. Our preconceived notions, our biases, and our inability to capture everything that happens make the eye test imperfect as a means of evaluating performance. There needs to be an objective layer. That is what analytics provide.

The top three Corsi, or SAT, players during the 2013-14 season were all Los Angeles Kings, who won the Stanley Cup championship. (Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI)

Around the time Beane’s Oakland team was becoming a contender, hockey’s wave of analytics was beginning to take shape in the comments section of blogs like Irreverent Oiler Fans. Impassioned fans who understood the analytic principles searched for areas of the game that most strongly correlated to winning, attempting to syphon the variance or chaos that clouded decision-making and analysis at the highest levels.

They found that shot-attempt differentials, with a sample size that accumulated far quicker than a plus/minus of goals or regular shots, were able to do that. This led to the creation of Corsi, a metric that has infiltrated the mainstream media and front offices, and on is called Shot Attempts after the site’s statistical pages were recently overhauled and expanded through a partnership with the software corporation SAP.

They discovered that uncharacteristically high or low shooting and save percentages, even during a full season, aren’t sustainable for players or teams. Therefore, adding them together and comparing the number to past team performance or league averages can work as a decent proxy for variance. This became known as PDO, which is called SPSV% on

Several of those pioneers, including Tim Barnes (Capitals), Tyler Dellow (Oilers) and Sunny Mehta (New Jersey Devils), now work for NHL teams. They find ways to account for the parts of the game that puck-possession metrics like Shot Attempts miss, and to reconcile the newfound importance of controlled-zone entries and deployment optimization with challenges including imperfect data recording, changing environments, and noise.

For some teams, that has meant sweeping systematic changes. The Minnesota Wild have gone from a neutral-zone-trapping, dump-and-chase behemoth to promoting controlled entries and faster play, leading to vastly improved even-strength numbers recently undone by disappointing goaltending and special teams.

For others it has meant an evolving lineup structure. The Maple Leafs waived physical players Colton Orr and Frazier McLaren and signed undervalued targets Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli this summer. (Santorelli was traded to the Nashville Predators last week.)

Ultimately, judging analytics on the short-term results of recent converts is an affront to the analytic process itself. Analytics aren’t any more of a magic bullet than a new general manager or a first-round pick in the NHL Draft.

“Because numbers are involved, there is the perception that statistical predictions have to achieve perfect accuracy,” said Rob Vollman, a columnist for ESPN Insider and author of “Hockey Abstract.” “But the results [only] need to be compared with traditional analysis.”

In other words, analysts aren’t trying to take the unpredictability out of sport but are attempting to improve on evaluative practices.

Adopting an analytical mindset in a salary-cap world can’t overcome the challenges created by fielding a bad team, but by extracting a fraction more out of every player and situation through optimal deployment, and then working to improve by acquiring undervalued assets and avoiding costly mistakes, are the ways a team can pave the way for a successful future.

“[Analytics] are about effective decision-making with a high reward,” said Thomas, the War-On-Ice founder. “If hiring someone for $100,000 right now can get you a free-agent-value savings of a million dollars and more flexibility under the cap, they’ve paid for themselves right there.”

Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill told Travis Yost of this summer, “We are all trying to get 3-5 percent better. It’s a cap world and we are limited. We are always looking for the next thing.”

A team can win without analytics, and many will lose employing them, but the additional information and a scrutinized process provide a greater chance at success. As the metrics improve and attitudes shift, this will become more apparent.

Analytics have led hockey executives, journalists and fans to pose the same question DePodesta asked Beane prior to joining him in Oakland, and they have precipitated a massive shift in the way teams do business.

Rather than exclusively trusting the eye test, condemning players for misfortune in small samples, or labeling players as lazy or enigmatic based on reputation or hearsay, analytics has provided the opportunity to scrutinize decision-making and avoid those characterizations. Dismissing analytics means settling for an obsolete method of evaluation and using an inefficient business practice.

“Hockey analytics are simply the objective analysis of hockey,” Vollman said. “Teams are bringing in outsiders to challenge [conventional wisdom], and there’s an opportunity to gain an edge.”

NHL has partnered with SportVision to work on advanced player tracking with microchips placed in pucks and jerseys, and that could lead to an entire new world of data to be analyzed.

The so-called “Summer of Analytics” doesn’t represent the beginning of analytical adoption in hockey; analytics have been in use for some time. It proves, in no uncertain terms, that Beane’s progressive thinking is flowing into hockey.

The inclusion of enhanced statistics on and a partnership with SAP that will continue to expand and is expected to produce further innovations could help. The NHL also has partnered with SportVision to work on advanced player tracking with microchips placed in pucks and jerseys, and that could lead to an entire new world of data to be analyzed.

If a 28-year old former sports-management major, a university statistics professor, and a practicing lawyer — none having played professional hockey — can successfully replace longtime executives, then the door is open for other innovative thinkers to follow them into positions of influence.

Executives, journalists and fans will continue to revere the tradition behind the Stanley Cup, but the future will bring new challenges to teams hoping to win it, and that’s good. The spirit of evolution that has crafted the hockey we enjoy remains alive, well and back on track.

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New Sportsbook Mobile App Developed in Costa Rica

Source: Pixabay Commons

Source: Pixabay Commons

Although the online gaming and sports wagering industry in Costa Rica is under siege by United States law enforcement and by proposals that seek to allow and regulate Internet gambling in that country, the industry is not slowing down in terms of technological advancement. This much is evident by the following press release from


San Jose, Costa Rica — (ReleaseWire) — 02/20/2015 —, a leading provider of price per head software inclusive of multiple features, has recently announced that they have launched their Android and iOS app which can be now downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes Store.


PPH USA has gained immense popularity for its Price per Head service which improves the profitability of the bookies but also offers numerous additional features to various different betting platforms.


Known for its exceptional 24/7 customer support, the company provides its software for Casino, Live Casino, Racebook, Sportsbook and many other betting options with up to date lines which can be customized by the bookies to improve odds.


The Android and iOS Apps will further help the agents to add new players on the go, saving both time and improving their own service to their customer base. informed that they will also ensure that the Apps have all the features that their software offers and will make frequent updates to make it fully-functional as well without any glitches or bugs.


The company further added that the they suggest their customers to download the Apps, as it will give them alternate agent log-in option in case they are unable to access the software.


PPH USA is slowly following the footsteps of worldwide leading betting software providers offering bookies capability to provide exceptional service like the popular established gambling websites such as William Hill,, bet365, Titan, BetOnline, TopBet, Bovada and many others.


Interested bookies can now visit to view further details of their software and services.


About is the online platform of PPH USA which is one of the leading providers of Price per Head Software for bookies. The company,, offers comprehensive software packages which not only improves the profitability of a bookie but also provides a fully-functional ease to use solution to all betting requirements. The company recently announced the launch of their Android and iOS apps which will enable agents to add players instantly from anywhere.

For more information Price Per Head Services, or to schedule a meeting or interview with founders of, please call at +1-844-588-5646 or email to

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From gambling to healing: CryptoLogic inventor Mark Rivkin’s remarkable career …

TORONTO • Mark Rivkin is lying on his back on a white sheet, laid over a dark wooden floor, his palms turned towards heaven, his shoes off. Behind him, a drum leans against a wall, a small candle burns, and man in a blazer and khakis sits cross-legged, tracing the rim of four large crystal bowls with a pair of percussion mallets. The man coaxes out a rich sound that’s tuned to a calming frequency, meant to reduce anxiety and aid personal therapy.

Peter J. Thompson/National Post

Mr. Rivkin, the founder and chief executive of Helix Healthcare Group is demonstrating sound therapy, part his facility’s holistic mind-body approach to addiction treatment. This is 20 years after beginning, and 11 years after leaving, one of Canada’s most momentous Internet companies. CryptoLogic Inc. would effectively spawn the entire multi-billion-dollar-and-rising global online gambling universe, which saw mammoth deals in the last year, with Canada’s Amaya Gaming Group Inc. buying PokerStars, and Canada’s Intertain Group Ltd. buying a major U.K. bingo site.

Mr. Rivkin opened the centre in Toronto’s chic Yorkville neighbourhood in June. It offers treatments ranging from yoga to acupuncture in addition to therapy for addiction and mental illness.

He was inspired to open the facility by his own experience at the Passages Malibu rehabilitation centre, known for attracting celebrity clients such as Mel Gibson and David Hasselhoff. He checked in six years ago to recover from addiction to “multiple substances.” He declines to get into specifics.

“When I came back to Toronto after my first visit to Passages, I did very well, but I had no support here,” he said. “There was nobody offering aftercare in the same way they do in the United States.”

One of his counsellors at Passages was Jesse Hanson. Mr. Rivkin lured him away from the California sun to become clinical director of Helix in frigid Toronto. Mr. Hanson looks the part of a recent transplant from Malibu: chin-length hair, a silver necklace with a whale-tail pendant, and a didgeridoo propped up against the wall of his office.

Mr. Rivkin, meanwhile, a 43-year-old from North York, Ont., still wears a jacket and crisp white shirt to work, even if his shoes sometimes come off. He keeps his salt-and-pepper beard to a corporate-friendly clip. He remains an entrepreneur — although his focus may have shifted dramatically from the high-money stakes of virtual casinos to providing therapy for upscale clients with addictions, ranging from drugs and alcohol to sex and, yes, gambling. For a man who can arguably claim to be the father of what last year was a $19.5-billion worldwide online gaming industry, according to data from H2 Gambling Capital (the figure, equalling 10% of all physical and virtual gaming combined, represents revenue minus prizes), the move is a dramatic metamorphosis.

These popular online gambling brands all have a CryptoLogic connection:

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The CryptoLogic players: Where are they now?

Twenty years ago, brothers Mark and Andrew Rivkin founded Cryptologic Inc. from their parents’ basement in Toronto, a company that pioneered the global online gambling industry worth an estimated US$19.5 billion worldwide last year. Today, some of the industry’s major players are based in Canada, while  many who got their start at CryptoLogic went on to further success. Here’s a look at some of CryptoLogic’s distinguished alumnae.

Jim Ryan

When Jim Ryan saw CryptoLogic was looking for a chief financial officer in the early 2000s, he made sure his resume got to the top of the pile.

“I literally stalked the CEO to get the job,” he said. “I’m sure he thought I was, perhaps, a little too interested. But ultimately he drank the Kool-Aid and hired me.”

Mr. Ryan served as CryptoLogic’s CFO from 2001 to 2004. In 2008, he took over the chief executive job at online gambling giant PartyGaming PLC after Mitch Garber, another Canadian heavyweight in the Internet casino world, stepped down to become head of Caesars Acquisition Co.

Today, Mr. Ryan is chief executive of Pala Interactive LLC, one of the first online casinos to offer licensed poker in New Jersey after the state loosened its Internet gambling restrictions in 2013.

Jon Moss

As business development manager at CryptoLogic and its subsidiary WagerLogic from 2000 to 2006, Jon Moss played a major role in landing some of the company’s most important clients. He’s now international development manager at U.K.-based Bet365 Group Ltd., one of the world’s most profitable online gambling companies.

Andre Edelbrock

As head of e-payments at CryptoLogic from 2000 to 2005, Andre Edelbrock was responsible for dealing with the headache of declined and fraudulent transactions. The experience inspired him to found Ethoca, a company that helps communicate important information between merchants and credit card companies when a purchase gets flagged as fraudulent.

Today, Ethoca has close to 100 staff in seven countries and thousands of clients, Mr. Edelbrock says. He said his experience at CryptoLogic helped him learn to work in an industry that was developing and changing rapidly.

“It felt like every week or every month, the ground shook. That became the norm for me. I got used to that.”

David Baazov

As chief executive of Montreal’s Amaya Gaming Group Inc., David Baazov is currently in charge of CryptoLogic’s software assets. Amaya acquired CryptoLogic in 2012 for US$35.8 million, a fraction of the company’s peak market capitalization of US$466 million in April of 2005. Two years later, Mr. Baazov went on to mastermind a heavily leveraged US$4.9 billion takeover of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker owner Rational Group, making Amaya the biggest online gambling company in the world.

John FitzGerald

When John FitzGerald heard Amaya had purchased CryptoLogic, he went to the company with a proposition. He knew Amaya was interested in CryptoLogic’s software, not its online casino brands, so he proposed spinning them off as a separate company.

He’s now chief executive of that company, called Intertain Group Ltd. He’s marketing to women with his new company, recently adding the Jackpotjoy brand of online bingo to Intertain’s roster.

Mr. FitzGerald started his career as a professional soccer player, playing for the Toronto Blizzard and for Team Canada in the Olympics. An injury led him to pursue a career in law instead and he worked as CryptoLogic’s general counsel from 2002 to 2005.

Working as a lawyer in the early days of online gambling industry was very stressful, Mr. FitzGerald said. “I would get a fax in every morning – a trademark infringement, or a jurisdiction in the world that was claiming what we were doing was illegal,” he said. “When you’re a pioneer in the industry, nobody knows how to deal with it.”

Claire Brownell, Financial Post

“It’s the first time in his life he’s putting his money into something that’s really positive,” Mr. Hanson said. “Not to say Crypto didn’t have benefits. But there’s a difference between transferring money, and changing people’s lives.”

Mr. Rivkin and his older brother Andrew Rivkin founded CryptoLogic in their parents’ basement in February 1995. It was a time desktop computers came in towers as tall as skateboards, newspaper articles referred to the Internet as the “information superhighway” and the concept of sending your precious credit card information into outer cyberspace still struck most people as somewhere between inane and insane.

The Rivkins, not long out of university, were already showing a keen foresight for the digital era, and had developed a secure online system to allow transactions that could easily be adapted to tap into one of mankind’s oldest and most lucrative vices: Gambling. In order to demonstrate their technology to investors, they would pack their full-scale desktop Intel Pentium 90 into the car and lug it to meetings, hooking and unhooking its cables everywhere they took it.

The no-brainer allure of online gambling was hardly a no-brainer at the time. A lot of investors couldn’t see the profit. “They would say, ‘you know what, it’s interesting what you guys are doing, but nobody is going to trust putting their credit card in over the Internet to spend money, and they’re not going to trust that the software you guys have developed is fair,’” Mr. Rivkin said.

They pulled together $1.5 million in start-up capital. A year later, the software they developed was powering their first customer — Antigua-based InterCasino, which most people in industry credit as being the world’s very first online casino to accept actual money.

It was the Internet gambling industry’s big bang moment, with CryptoLogic an exploding speck that would cast off countless casino, sports-betting and bingo sites, entrepreneurs and gaming-related software companies.

The Rivkin brothers “were really the founders of this entire industry,” says John FitzGerald, CryptoLogic’s former general counsel, now CEO of Intertain Group.

To get a sense of how CryptoLogic’s Canadian tendrils connect the global gaming industry, consider that Intertain itself is a spinoff of Montreal’s Amaya Gaming Group, which currently owns CryptoLogic’s software. Amaya became the world’s largest online gaming company after it purchased PokerStars last year, for $5 billion, from the Scheinberg family, which immigrated to Toronto from Israel. Amaya spun off its casino operations into Intertain, which last month closed a deal to buy the U.K.’s Jackpotjoy online bingo operation for $813 million.

Globally, there is arguably no country as well established in online gaming as Canada is, and much of that owes to CryptoLogic.

“If you think about it, Canada’s really the foundation for this business,” Mr. FitzGerald said.

Jim Ryan, who was chief financial officer at CryptoLogic in the early 2000s and is now chief executive of Pala Interactive LLC, said people often ask him why there are so many Canadians in the industry.

“That’s the heritage of CryptoLogic,” he said. “It’s produced some amazing gaming talent.”

As the Rivkins were building CryptoLogic, they realized that they were missing something: they had no idea what a casino was like; they had never set foot in one. They had a small staff of programmers, but none had been in a casino, either. They all took a field trip to Casino Niagara, in Niagara Falls, Ont.

“None of us really knew what we were doing,” Mr. Rivkin said. “We wanted them to see what the tables looked like, what the chips looked like, how they felt,” Mr. Rivkin said. “The colours in the casino, the lights, the sound. To give them an idea of the atmosphere.”

Andre Edelbrock, co-founder and chief executive of the e-commerce anti-fraud firm Ethoca, who joined CryptoLogic as head of payments in 2002, said CryptoLogic’s high-quality graphics and user experience were what set its software apart from early competitors.

“The tables were great, the experience with the dealer, the cards, the sounds. They had invested a lot up front in that,” he said. “They really set the bar high.”

The company would go on to license its software to power such early big industry names as Littlewoods and William Hill, two of the U.K.’s biggest and oldest casino brands. In 1996 CryptoLogic went public on the Canadian Dealing Network, an over-the-counter exchange, and in 1998, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, before hitting the NASDAQ in 2000 and the London Stock Exchange in 2003.

When the Rivkins stepped down as executives in December of 2000, CryptoLogic’s market capitalization had reached US$130 million. Over the four years between the day it went public and the day they resigned, CryptoLogic’s share price had more than quintupled, from US$1.62 in October of 1996 to US$8.63.

After a few years as directors, the brothers left entirely in 2003 and sold their stakes soon after. Mr. Rivkin said they wanted to quit while they were ahead — a well-timed move, since the U.S. passed a law making most online gambling illegal in 2006, striking a blow to the industry that CryptoLogic and many other early companies never fully recovered from.

Mr. Rivkin wouldn’t reveal how much money he made by cashing out his shares, but he said he and his brother owned about half of the business. Data from regulatory filings compiled by INK Research Corp. shows his brother ceased to be an insider in April of 2004, when CryptoLogic was valued at US$215 million.

But today, Mr. Rivkin reveals a certain ambivalence about the company that made him so rich.

“It was a lot of hard work. It was a grind,” Mr. Rivkin said. “There were good times, ups and downs. It was a bit of a roller-coaster ride.”

His said his struggles with substance abuse only began after he had sold his stake, replacing his tendency to bury himself in work, as a way to escape from his personal problems.

“When Crypto ended and I had the funds and the means to semi-retire at a young age, it all caught up to me,” he said. “I’m 30 years old. I have success, I have everything I ever dreamed of when I was a kid — now what do I do?”

Now, he provides sound therapy, among other things, to people with addictions that include gambling, among other things. He’s critical of countries, like Canada, where online gambling is technically illegal, because he thinks they’re putting people at risk, while pretending they can somehow stop what has become an Internet juggernaut.

Because online gambling is electronic, it creates a perfect record of players’ activities — that makes it so much easier to monitor and regulate problem behaviour than at bricks-and-mortar casinos. “It’s interesting how backwards things are,” he said.

And although he’s put that business behind him, and seems a lot less enthusiastic than many others might about making millions in Internet entertainment, Mr. Rivkin at least allows that he has no regrets.

“We had a wonderful experience, we did what we set out to accomplish, which was to build CryptoLogic into a leader in the industry,” he said. “I wouldn’t go back and change anything.”

Peter J. Thompson/National Pos

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Ladbrokes agrees self-service betting terminal deal with BGT




Ladbrokes will become the UK’s largest operator of self-service betting terminals (SSBTs) after agreeing a  multi-year deal which will see Austrian gaming software developer Best Gaming Technology (BGT) supply the company with more than 2,000 terminals.

The bookmaker will introduce new SSBTs in every Ladbrokes shop in the UK, as well as across its retail estate in Ireland and Belgium, having already launched 1,730 terminals over the past twelve months.

The roll-out of BGT’s terminals will mean that by the start of the 2015/16 football season, the operator will have doubled the number of SSBTs in the UK and Ireland, as well as in Belgium.

Ladbrokes has signed a multi-year, multi-territory agreement with BGT, with the supplier’s sports betting software to be provided in tablets as well as traditional terminals.

The cabinets themselves will be a refurbished Vision Cabinet, secured as part of last year’s Clarity gaming machine deal with Scientific Games, with the SSBTs to be serviced by Scientific Games.

Ladbrokes and BGT have committed to continuously developing and evolving the software, providing the operator with exclusive updates while providing a framework for the deployment of the technology in other markets.

Ladbrokes’ outgoing chief executive, Richard Glynn, said that SSBTs had proved popular with customers with more than 80 per cent of money wagered via the machines spent on football.

“They have played a major part in our improved football performance with customers enjoying the wide variety of football selections and markets offered,” he explained. “In signing this deal with BGT we are partnering with a trusted supplier and securing a cost effective, efficient and innovative product with the potential for further product development such as tablets and expansion in other territories.”

BGT chief executive Armin Sageder said he was delighted to be working even more closely with Ladbrokes, which he described as a key strategic partner.

“We have been delighted by the adoption of our retail products across [in all territories] their businesses,” Sageder said. “It is a win win deal with both companies growing through deploying additional terminals and launching more innovative products in the lifetime of the contract.”

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Helping charities to raise money through sports betting

Sarah McCabe

Published 19/02/2015 | 02:30

Dublin footballer Alan Brogan shows off the RunLastMan website.

Dublin footballer Alan Brogan shows off the RunLastMan website.
Dan Holden and Graham Carr of

Graham Carrick (30), from Blackrock in Dublin, is the co-founder of The online fundraising platform for sports clubs and charities across Ireland and the UK has just secured €120,000 in funding, a deal that values the two-year-old company at €1.1m.


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World topper keen on sports, computer science

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