Casino

China slowdown hits Macau gambling industry

The slowdown in the Chinese economy is having an impact in a number of areas, and one of the most notable is the effect on Macau, sometimes described as the gambling capital of the world.

There was an indication of the negative effects on the Macau gambling sector last week when Wynn Resorts announced their latest earning figures. Although Macau revenue was up more than £200 million on a year ago, the company was projecting earnings 20 percent lower than expected for the fourth quarter of 2018, and analysts have pointed to the fact that Wynn Resorts has not lost any of its market shares, suggesting that the market itself is taking a turn for the worse.

Wynn is more exposed than most US operators to the Macau market, through its two casinos on the Cotai Strip, but a downturn in the gambling industry in Macau would be bad news for all operators, and a flashback to the turbulence of 2014 and 2015, when new regulations from the Chinese government, combined with a slowing economy, saw casino revenues crash.

Credit cycles

And the economic data suggests that Wynn Resorts could have good reason to be cautious. It is known that gaming revenue lags behind mainland credit cycles by about 15 months and around a year ago, China’s government began to slow down the flow of credit.

The housing market, which is also often a good indicator, has been showing warning signs, with sales falling over 3 percent in September, and supply outstripping demand, to the extent that 22 percent of properties in China are unoccupied. New data on the credit situation in China will be released later in the week, which will give a clearer picture, but Macau’s casino operators are already bracing themselves for difficult economic headwinds over the coming months.

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at andiehughes73@gmail.com.

Finance

Betway boost Irish racing presence

Bookmaker and online casino operator Betway has extended its reach in the world of Irish racing by linking up with Punchestown Racecourse to sponsor one of its high profile races.

Betway will be the new sponsors of the Grade 2 Betway Craddockstown Novice Steeplechase, the feature race on the first day of the 2018 Punchestown Winter Festival, which runs on the weekend of Saturday November 17 and Sunday November 18.

The race is one of the most important two mile chases around. With a first prize of €44,500, it has produced a string of high class winners including Sizing John, Moscow Flyer and Limestone Lad.

In recent years, the race has been dominated by Waterford-based trainer Henry de Bromhead, who has won it four times in nine years, including his 2016 success with Identity Thief.

Second phase

Betway took their first steps into Irish racing sponsorship when they got involved with the Galway Festival earlier this year, and this latest move is an attempt to earn recognition at the top level of Irish jumps racing with one of its most important races. Speaking about the sponsorship, Alan Alger of Betway said that the deal represented the next stage of their relationship with the sport in Ireland:

The Galway Festival was excellent and we’re now very much looking forward to our second phase of sponsorship in Irish racing.”

Betway joins a number of other bookmakers involved in Irish racing. In 2017, it has been estimated that betting companies contributed around 16 percent of the total prize money, and Punchestown is regarded as the pinnacle of Irish jumps racing, where betting companies already sponsor the course’s main races, the Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle, Stayers Hurdle, and Gold Cup.

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at andiehughes73@gmail.com.

Finance

Sports gambling to provide windfall for sports leagues

As the USA continues to legalise sports betting across numerous states, professional sports leagues appear to also be changing their opinion on the matter.

Initially those leagues poured scorn on the idea of opening up their sports to gambling without what was described as an “integrity fee” but now they have found other ways to make betting on their products just as much of a money-spinner.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL) and the Champions League have already started making sponsorship deals that make them huge amounts of cash.  Meanwhile the National Hockey League (NHL) has already been in the vanguard when it comes to such deal-making.

The NHL has shown the way after signing up for several gambling-related companies.  Casinos, fantasy sports leagues and sportsbooks are all in league with the NHL as official partners meaning they are pumping money back into a league that provides them with revenue via betting.

The NHL are doing the right thing in seeing things very simply; if teams profit from sponsorship deals, then everyone will profit.  America has been losing billions of dollars in tax revenue and sponsorship having kept sports betting illegal as patrons in most states have not held back on their penchant for having a bet.

Those bets therefore have been placed “under the counter” or via websites based overseas and that means lost tax revenue and no opportunity for the leagues to cash-in legally.

The NHL’s revenue increase is expected to be up to $216 million which can lead to more profits for the league and higher salaries for those working and playing within it.

Sports betting is here to stay in the States and it seems its high time the NBA and the NFL jumped on the bandwagon before too much more is lost.

Gary Christie

Having been immersed in the worlds of sports betting and writing for the past 20 years, Gary Christie has vast experience on the subjects.  He has produced content for various leading websites, including both TVG and Mr Green Casino. Contact Gary at garychristie@wagered.com.

Finance

Betfair ordered to pay back $150,000

Well-known betting exchange operator Betfair has been ordered to refund $150,000 to one of its Australian customers by the Northern Territory Racing Commission, which is responsible for regulating the company in Australia.

The ruling related to a case dating from earlier this year, in which a Betfair customer – known only as Mr M – persuaded the betting exchange to reverse a withdrawal request that he had made to transfer $150,000 out of his Betfair account into his bank. The customer then gambled the money and lost it.

The Commission found that Betfair should have spotted what it described as ‘red flag behaviours’ indicating that the customer had a gambling problem. In response, Betfair had claimed that it could not have known about Mr M’s gambling addiction because there were no clear indicators in his gambling activity, although they did acknowledge that he had self-excluded from gambling with the company for a period of six months back in 2014.

Significant sums of money

The Commission were told that Mr M had already gambled away significant sums of money on the date in question, when he made his $150,000 withdrawal request, leaving $86,388 still in his Betfair account. But within 23 minutes of the withdrawal request, he had managed to gamble the remaining sum. Four hours later, he topped up his account with $35,000, and within 47 minutes had almost lost it all. He then asked Betfair to reverse the earlier withdrawal request.

Initially, he was told that Betfair do not generally cancel withdrawal requests, but Mr M made a further three telephone calls to the company and a Betfair manager eventually agreed to override and reverse the withdrawal, leaving him with $150,000 on his account, which he proceeded to lose. The Commission also learned that Mr M had attempted to reverse a $40,000 withdrawal in January 2018, but on that occasion, his request was refused by Betfair.

The Commission found that Betfair had failed to adhere to the terms of its license regarding protection of vulnerable customers, and deemed that the $150,000 worth of bets were unlawful, ordering the company to refund Mr M and additionally fining them $13,175.

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at andiehughes73@gmail.com.

Finance

GambleAware Fund Leeds Gambling Clinic

Gambling industry charity GambleAware has announced a partnership with the NHS to commission a new gambling addiction facility in Leeds.

The new clinic is due to open in April 2019, and will be run under a partnership between the GamCare network and the local NHS Foundation Trust, with the aim of boosting gambling-harm prevention as well as addiction research and treatment services in the north of England.

Announcing the partnership earlier this week, GambleAware confirmed that they will be helping to fund the clinic with £1 million annually. The Chief Executive of GambleAware, Marc Etches, said that the new facility would further the aim of the organisation to help prevent gambling problems and to ensure that those addicted to gambling can get timely and effectively help.

Etches also suggested that he is looking into the possibility of opening other similar sites across the UK, if the organisation’s resources make this possible.

Support team

In addition to funding the clinic, the GamCare network will create a Problem Gambling Support Team to work in the area identifying and supporting those at risk from problem gambling, as well as helping to develop training programmes that can help healthcare and other organisations in the north of England, including local authority staff and youth workers, to spot problem gambling.

The clinic in Leeds will be headed by Matt Gaskell, a senior NHS Psychologist. Commenting on the announcement, he pointed out that those with gambling problems often needed assistance in a range of areas, including mental health, and that the clinic would have a significant impact:

I have been campaigning for many years to set up a clinical service to help those affected by serious gambling disorder. I’m looking forward to getting this service up and running so we can start turning lives around.”

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at andiehughes73@gmail.com.

Finance

Betting boost for US sports

US sport could be about to enter an era of growth, thanks to increased sponsorship and higher value media rights resulting from the newly legal sports betting market, according to a new report.

The research was conducted by Pricewaterhousecoopers and concludes that increased revenue will be derived from a range of factors including directly through gambling, and indirectly through uniform rights, in-venue signage and naming rights.

According to the report, the total value of US sports betting will rise to $80.3 billion by 2022, while at the same time, the sponsorship value and media rights value of the main US leagues will also grow significantly. Media rights in particular is set to remain the biggest asset for US sports, with an annual growth forecast of 4.5 percent, which is larger than any other factor.

Fan engagement

The evidence gathered by Pricewaterhousecoopers indicated that the liberalisation of sports betting in the US as a result of the May 2018 Supreme Court decision, will result in growing levels of fan engagement of up to 13.4%, with the NFL in particular set to benefit. The report suggests that sports betting could benefit the NFL by as much as $2.326 billion.

In September, the NFL eased its long-standing policies on casino advertising and now permits sponsorship and advertising from casinos that provide sports betting. There are still restrictions in place, which prevent casinos that run sportsbooks from mentioning the sportsbook in their NFL advertising, and revenue sharing between sportsbooks and teams is not permitted.

But the new rules do establish the principle of accepting new sources of revenue from sports betting companies, and this is likely to be the beginning of a trend as US leagues develop their understanding of the revenue opportunities that are available.

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at andiehughes73@gmail.com.

Finance

Breeders Cup betting falls

The total betting take at this year’s Breeders Cup held on Friday and Saturday at Churchill Downs, Kentucky, fell by around 1.8 percent on last year’s figures, despite the fact that this year’s meeting saw an additional race on the card.

The total revenue for the 2018 edition of $133.0 million was a reversal of the trend that saw two consecutive years of revenue gains at the Breeders’ Cup, which had resulted in a record $135.5 million in revenue in 2017. This year’s meeting included a new race: the Juvenile Turf Sprint, and there was another change in the race order, with all five 2-year-old races held on Friday.

In addition, the Saturday races were run three hours earlier than they had been in the last two years, as Churchill Downs is in the Eastern time zone of the US, unlike the previous two host tracks at Del Mar and Santa Anita. According to the Breeders Cup organisers, the total take for betting on the 12-race card on Saturday was $105.2 million, which is down 7.5 percent on last year’s Saturday card.

The reason for the decline in betting revenue is not clear, and it goes against the recent trend for increasing horse racing betting activity in the US, caused partly by changes to tax-reporting rules at the end of 2017, that were favourable to regular horse racing bettors.

No obvious pattern

There was no obvious pattern in the betting money taken across the races over the two days, nor in the size of the races. A total of 176 horses took part this year, with an average field size of 12.6, which is little different to last year’s average of 12.2 horses per race. There was a notable drop in betting on the opening races, however, which may have reflected the earlier start time.

There was better news on the spectator front. The track was able to announce an attendance figure of 70,423 on Saturday , which was an 8.1 percent increase on the Saturday attendance the last time the Breeders Cup came to the Louisville track, back in 2011.

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at andiehughes73@gmail.com.

Finance

William Hill shares rise on news of Swedish deal

The share price of UK betting company William Hill has jumped by nearly ten per cent following news that it is to buy Swedish-based betting company Mr Green for £242 million.

The company has been attempting to move away from the highly regulated UK market and to expand into overseas markets, and is hoping that the purchase of Mr Green will enable it to reach new markets in Italy, Latvia and Denmark. The company hopes to finalise the deal in January 2019, although no announcement has yet been made about the fate of Mr Green’s employees. The news was welcomed by investors, and led to William Hill shares rising 9.95 per cent to 225.40p.  

According to William Hill, by joining forces with Mr Green, they will be able to create a strongly positioned business that would have a significant presence in online gaming and betting markets. Speaking about the purchase, the Chief Executive of William Hill, Philip Bowcock, said that it was part of their aim of becoming a more internationally diverse company:

This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill – immediately making us a more digital and more international business.”

The deal is not yet confirmed as it is subject to acceptance by the shareholders of Mr Green and the relevant competition regulators, but the current holders of around 40 percent of Mr Green stock are said to be in support of the purchase. The deal follows another recent William Hill expansion move in which they linked up with US casino company Eldorado as part of their plans to tap into the US market, and is part of a trend of UK and Irish betting groups expanding overseas in the wake of the UK government regulations concerning Remote Gambling Duty and Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at andiehughes73@gmail.com.

Finance

FA Chief Proposes Gambling Levy

A levy on the proceeds of football gambling could be on the cards as a way to boost investment in the grassroots of the game, according to the chief of the Football Association.

The FA Chief Executive, Martin Glenn, raised the idea in an interview with the Daily Telegraph and referred to the need to find additional funding after the collapse of the Wembley Stadium sale deal.

Glenn was unable to gain the support of the FA Council for the proposed sale of English football’s national stadium to the Fulham owner Shahid Khan, and the deal fell through when Khan withdrew his offer, which is believed to have been worth £600million.

But Glenn believes the FA should be entitled to receive a levy from gambling profits made through bets on the sport, though such a levy would require primary legislation.

Fair return

Speaking about the principle of a levy, Glenn referred to the situation in France, where there is effectively a tax on gambling, and said that football has a legitimate claim in this area:

All those betting companies use our intellectual property to have people lay bets, so why wouldn’t a small percentage of that be put into the thing that made that possible in the first place? We, as football, could approach the government and say, ‘Have you thought about something like that?’”

According to Glenn, the amount involved would not have to be what he described as ‘a big lump sum’ and he suggested that £80 million or £100 million would be an ideal amount to go to the Football Foundation, which supports grassroots football, through building facilities and other initiatives.

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at andiehughes73@gmail.com.

Finance

Mississippi betting revenue boosted by NFL

Legal betting on the NFL has helped boost Mississippi’s sports wagering revenues to $31.8m during the month of September, according to figures released by the state’s gaming commission.

The figure is a significant increase on that recorded during the first month of Mississippi’s legalised sports betting era, which began with the launch of a regulated market on August 1.

It seems that the NFL, which kicked off last month, was the main factor lying behind the rapid growth in sports betting revenue. More than half of the money taken in wagers by sportsbooks during the month was associated with NFL betting, a figure of $22.9 million. In addition, sports betting customers produced $5.5m of taxable revenue in Mississippi, a massive rise on the figure of  $644,000 recorded for taxable revenue during August.

The state’s win percentage calculation – found by dividing total revenue by taxable revenue, was an impressive 17.3% in September, representing a significant increase on August’s 10% and away ahead of the average for the long established Nevada market which is less than 7%.

Additional boost

Mississippi’s sports betting revenue received an additional boost in September with the launch of a number of new sportsbooks that were not ready in August. In fact, during the first month, only two sportsbooks were open throughout the period, with MGM the only company live on the first day. But 18 sportsbooks opened up in the second half of the month and the total is now 22.

Mississippi is one of a number of states to have moved ahead with legalised sports betting after the Supreme Court’s ruling in May, though it is still behind New Jersey in betting activity, which recorded revenue of $40.6 million in July and $95.6 in August.

Image From Shutterstock

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at andiehughes73@gmail.com.

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