Monthly Archives: October 2018

MGM new official gaming partner of NFL’s New York Jets

Casino operator MGM Resorts has signed an “official gaming partnership” with the National Football League’s New York Jets.

On Wednesday, MGM announced that it had entered into a “first of its kind” multi-year deal with the Jets. MGM called the pact “the most comprehensive and integrated gaming partnership” to date between a gaming operator and the NFL since the league relaxed its anti-gambling stance this summer.

The deal involves the usual signage and branding opportunities, but also allows Jets fans access to “mobile play-along predictive game I Called It,” which will be available in the Official New York Jets App but will be labeled as “presented by” MGM’s in-house interactive gambling brand PlayMGM (which, as of August, includes a sports betting component in New Jersey).

The I Called It game is free-play and includes both pre-game and in-play options, but players can (for the moment, at least) only win non-cash prizes. However, MGM notes that the deal allows the company to promote “PlayMGM’s online gaming platforms and mobile apps to millions of fans,” thereby allowing New Jersey-based Jets fans to inadvertently stumble into a real-money betting opportunity.

William Hill in £241m bid for online gambling operator MRG

UK-listed gambling operator William Hill has made a SEK2.82b (US$306.7m) offer to acquire online gambling operator MRG (formerly Mr Green).

On Wednesday, Hills announced that it had submitted an offer to buy the Stockholm-listed MRG at a price of SEK69 ($7.50) per share, representing a 48.5% premium on MRG’s share price at the close of Tuesday’s trading on the Nasdaq Stockholm.

At the same time, MRG’s board of directors issued a statement saying it had unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept the deal. Seven MRG shareholders, who hold a combined 40% stake in the company, have indicated their willingness to make the deal.

An official offer document will be published at the beginning of December, with the acceptance period expected to commence on December 10 and end by January 11, 2019. The deal is subject to the usual regulatory approvals in the companies’ respective markets.

Cherry AB profits up in Q3

Swedish gaming operator Cherry AB reported a profit of SEK188 million ($20.5 million) for the third quarter of 2018, a significant improvement from the SEK42 million ($4.6 million) posted in the third quarter of 2017.

In its press release, the company also reported third-quarter revenue of SEK899 million ($98.1 million), a 58% increase compared to July to September 2017. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased 130%, to SEK258 million ($28.2 million).

“The positive trend in sales and gaming volumes continued throughout the third quarter… Cherry’s strategy of maintaining proximity to all parts of the gaming market and end customers is crucial to our continued growth,” Cherry Acting CEO Gunnar Lind said.

In July, subsidiary Cherry Online Polska was granted a sports betting license for the Polish market, with the brand PZBuk being launched in October. Also in October, Cherry agreed to acquire the remaining 5% of shares in subsidiary Game Lounge Ltd.

Michael Jordan invests in Axiomatic; Fortnite holds $1.2b investment round

The status of the Esports industry has once again increased as the NBA legend, Michael Jordan, invests in Axiomatic, and Epic Games pulls in $1.2 billion in funding.

If you want to increase your status, and biologically, all of humanity is designed to do so, then it pays to have people of a high-status advocate for your cause.

The world is like a game of snakes and ladders.

Team up with the people standing at the top of the tallest pieces of wood, and avoid the ones who have ended up sniffing a snake’s crotch.

Melco begins tender offer of Philippine shares

MCO (Philippines) Investments Limited, the majority shareholder of Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corporation, has begun the tender offer for shares of the City of Dreams Manila operator.

The offer remains at PHP7.25 ($0.13), the same price as when Melco Philippines first announced the plan to buy from minority shareholders. In its filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), the company said the tender offer period will be until November 29. Shareholders who want to dispose of their stock are required to submit their applications to tender offer agent, Maybank ATR Kim Eng Securities, Inc.

“The tendered shares shall be deemed accepted by [MCO] on 5 December 2018 at 3:00 p.m.,” the disclosure read, adding that the settlement shall be on December 13.

Melco Philippines had initially announced the tender offer to commence on October 3, but delayed this while addressing objections from traders that the selling price was low compared to when they were first sold in 2013, at a price of PHP14 ($0.26). Shares currently trade for PHP7.09 ($0.13).

Poker Central pull the Super High Roller Bowl back to Dec to end HR Series

Poker Central has changed the date of the Super High Roller Bowl, promising five free seats to the High Roller of the Year Leaderboard winners.

The High Rollers had better put a pen through those expensive Christmas gifts after Poker Central announced plans to pull the Super High Roller Bowl V (SHRB) from May 2019 to December 2018.

It seems the decision has been made to get their village in order. With the SHRB closing out the year, it ties Poker Central’s High Roller offerings into a nice, neat calendar package.

So, what else has changed?

SG Digital’s Matt Davey: There’s untapped, latent demand for sports betting in US

In this interview with’s Becky Liggero, SG Digital CEO Matt Davey talks about the changes in the U.S. markets, and how his company is in a position to take advantage of these.

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Voters prepare to decide the fate of gambling in Arkansas, Maryland

Residents of Arkansas don’t want casino gambling—or do they. The residents appear to have difficulty making up their minds. 49% of the state has indicated that they want more casinos, which should be enough to expand the industry, but opponents are still fighting as the midterm elections quickly approach.

This past Monday, faith leaders, politicians and the Family Council Action Committee (FCAC) got together in order to campaign against Issue 4, a ballot measure that voters will find November 6. The measure looks to expand gambling operations in the state.

According to FCAC President Jerry Cox, “It’s our hope that the word will get out and people will vote against Issue 4. This is certainly still winnable for our side that this issue can be defeated, because I think what people need to do, they need to read the measure and understand what it does and we didn’t even get into the fact that it lowers the tax rate for Oaklawn and Southland to a rate lower than what they’re paying right now.”

If approved, Issue 4 would pave the way for new casinos in Jefferson and Pope Counties. It would also allow for more options in the cities of Southland and Oaklawn. Proponents argue that Issue 4 can generate millions in tax revenue and create thousands of jobs across the state.

Gene Simmons takes the center stage at celebrity poker tournament

In 1981, rock group KISS sang, “A world without heroes Is like a world without sun. You can’t look up to anyone without heroes” in their hit song “A World Without Heroes.” He may not have known it at the time, but KISS frontman and guitarist Gene Simmons would ultimately be considered a hero. He is now going to be honored as such at the Fourth Annual Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation’s (LAPMF) Heroes for Heroes Celebrity Poker Tournament and Casino Party next month.

According to a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) press release, the event will take place on November 10 at the Avalon Hollywood in California. The event will feature celebrities from film, TV, music and sports industries with Simmons at center stage. The event is designed to raise funds for the families of LAPD officers who have either died or been injured in the line of duty.

Simmons was singled out for his contributions following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Last month, on the anniversary of the tragedy, the rocker was an ambassador at the Cantor Fitzgerald & BGC Partners’ annual Charity Days event, which was organized to commemorate 658 individuals of the Eurobroker firm, who lost their lives in the attack. He appeared along with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. President Bill Clinton and led activity that helped to generate “billions of dollars” for charity, including the LAPMF.

Explained Simmons at the event, “I have great respect for our law enforcement, armed forces and first responders. They do jobs the rest of us would never do and when they’re in need, it’s the least I can do.”

Commerce Casino to introduce Jacked Stack tournament at the LAPO

The Los Angeles Poker Open (LAPO) is right around the corner. The tournament series, which was organized by Matt Savage and Justin Hammer, will be held at the Commerce Casino in California from November 2-18 and is already set to feature a number of high-profile events. Adding to the excitement will be a new option – Jacked Stack.

Jacked Stack is a completely different poker animal, unlike anything seen before. The tournament will be held November 6-10 and offers a $240 buy-in with a starting stack of 50,000 chips. The addition of a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool will make it particularly appealing.

Blinds start at 100/200 with a big blind ante of 200. For the first ten minutes of the tournament, levels will increase every 20 minutes, followed by 30-minute increases.

Multiple flights can be entered, but only the largest stack will be carried over to Day 2. If a player progresses to Day 2 in more than one instance, each stack that is removed from the action will be awarded a min-cash.

India welcomes its first mobile lottery app

One of the largest lottery distributors in India has introduced a new mobile app to give customers more flexibility in purchasing their tickets. Sugal & Damani has developed the mobile platform “Luckykhel,” which will be rolled out over the next several days. With the mobile support, the company becomes the first in the country to introduce a mobile lottery ticket purchasing application.

Sugal & Damani controls approximately 75% of the online lottery market. It operates more than 20,000 point-of-sale terminals across India and expects the new mobile app to give it the possibility to control an even larger market segment.

According to Sugal & Damani CEO Kamlesh Vijay, who spoke with the Economic Times about the new platform, “No trade can ignore the digital medium. There’ll be 468 million smartphone users by 2021…We’d be able to reach out to more customers via mobile phones. Our costs would go down and we’ll be able to sell lotteries round the clock.”

The app will be made available for Android devices, with additional support expected to be included at some point in the near future. Luckykhel will be able to provide support for lottos, lucky-4s, powerball, magic lottos and more, provided the purchase is over the age of 18.

Lawrence Ho introduces first bonds using Macau currency

Melco Resorts Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho has issued the first bonds ever available using the local currency of Macau, the pataca. Specifically, Black Spade Capital Limited, a company founded by Ho that manages his wealth, introduced the bonds, which are valued at $247.5 million (MOP$2 billion) and will mature in two years. They offer a coupon rate of 3.1%

The local Macau economy doesn’t have many investment options, which makes the bonds highly attractive. Black Spade President and CEO Dennis Tam said that the coupon rates will be especially appealing against regular deposit rates. He added, “If you have MOP, what you do is deposit it in the bank … but we provide another solution to give investors higher yield.”

The bonds will help to promote the integration of Macau into the Greater Bay Area and improve the pataca’s liquidity. Speaking at a press conference at the company’s Morpheus hotel at City of Dreams, Tam asserted that the proceeds will help the company cover expenses related to non-gaming investments in the Greater Bay Area, including those in Macau, China’s Guangdong province and Hong Kong. The bonds will be coordinated and managed exclusively by Macau’s Tai Fung Bank.

Tam further explained, “We saw the niche there for MOP-denominated products. In here [Macau], most of this kind of products are deposits…which usually offer a rate of 1.4 percent [per annum], maximum. For more high-end clients, the rate is about 2 percent. But the rate of this MOP-denominated bond is 3.1 percent, which I think is very attractive as a new product to high-end, professional investors or even retail investors.”

partypoker wins EGR award; Filatov takes two; Bicknell appears in $100k

A triumvirate of news stories from the land of partypoker including another award, two titles for Anatoly Filatov, and a Kristen Bicknell breaking her $100k duck. 

I took my little girl to watch the Welsh National Opera (WNO) Halloween Special. I thought she would last ten minutes, but she sat on my knee, enthralled, for an hour. Only when they wheeled a strange old tenor onto the stage in a coffin did she ask to go home and watch Mickey Mouse.

There was a fancy dress competition, and it reminded me of my boy when he was a nipper. We were on holiday in Fishguard Harbour, and the local pub had a contest. My boy, who dressed up as Darth Vadar, kept banging on about winning the thing. I knew there was more chance of him winning a partypoker MILLIONS Main Event, but kept schtum.

I went to the bar to order some drinks when some fat guy holding a mic beckoned the kids on stage to announce the winner. I looked at my boy, and I saw him clasp his hands together in prayer, staring at the ceiling, legs impatiently twitching.

UK Tote race pool betting brand to persevere after last-minute deal

UK racing’s pool betting fans – all six of them – are breathing easier after a last-minute deal saved the iconic Tote wagering service from the ash heap of history.

On Tuesday, a deal was announced between the consortium of 54 UK racecourses known as Britbet, and Alizeti Capital, the Alex Frost-led group that acquired a 25% stake in the Tote from its owner, UK bookies Betfred, in May.

The deal will see the Tote betting pool remain a fixture at UK racecourses for the next seven years, while the racecourses will receive a guaranteed £50m sum over that period. The Tote will also continue to serve as the global pool betting provider for international commingling purposes.

The deal requires Alizeti to eventually acquire the remaining 75% of the Tote from Betfred boss Fred Done, who has appeared eager to rid himself of these meddlesome track owners ever since he acquired the Tote in 2011. Done’s Tote monopoly expired in July and the Britbet scheme was intended to allow track operators to regain control over the pool betting business.