Gamlinked march 2024

Gamlinked March 2024

By Thadeus Geodfrey

Gamlinked is your exclusive and authoritative top online casino news roundup covering the latest developments in the online gambling world. As a seasoned gambler, industry professional, or new player, we at Minimum Deposit Casinos (MDC) make it our duty to keep you informed.

It’s not just the news roundup – we provide a meticulous and comprehensive overview of the best online casino industry news, trends, and updates from around the globe. From regulatory changes to technological advancements, new game releases, and market insights, we leave no stone unturned to ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the industry.

Here’s what’s been happening in the industry: First, a recent survey says DraftKings and Bet365 lead the pack. Find out why the UK Gambling Commission is the best place to work in 2024. Also, we’ll inform you how AI will likely improve player safety online and why US White Hat Gaming fans have a reason to smile. For these and more from all over the world, tag along.

We Discovered Who The Fairest Sportsbooks In The US And UK Are

Bet365 and DraftKings have been recognized as the fairest in the industry. This acknowledgement comes from the inaugural FairPlay Fair Betting Survey conducted between January 5 and February 6 in the US and the UK.

In the US market, where 78% of bettors consider fair treatment a crucial factor when choosing a betting operator, DraftKings and FanDuel were comfortably clear of competition. These two leading brands, each controlling a market share of approximately 32% and 35% respectively, have earned the trust of the majority of top online casino players.

DraftKings took the crown with 37% support as the fairest in the industry, with FanDuel at 33%. Both DraftKings and FanDuel scored well on two key considerations of a commitment to Fair Play in the US market – ‘Best odds’ and ‘Easy withdrawals’.

Similarly, in the UK where there was a relatively higher number of respondents, Bet365 stood out. It commanded the lead with 40% support, with its closest opponents, SkyBet and Paddy Power scoring merely 16% and 12% respectively. The top three factors for a ‘Fair Experience’ that separated Bet365 and competition are ‘Best odds’, ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’, and ‘Easy to use site/app’.

In the same report, only 16% of US respondents experienced unfair treatment. The survey quoted the country’s market maturity and higher customer service standards as the possible reasons.

However, a whooping 54% of UK respondents claim to have been treated unfairly by operators at one point. And 50% of those who experienced unfairness would stop using a bookmaker because of it, obviously a call for UK operators to up their game.

Stuart Simms, CEO of FPSM, expressed optimism over the findings, highlighting the potential for the UK market to enhance its customer service practices despite its maturity.

The survey aimed to understand the importance of fairness in selecting an online sportsbook operator. It gathered insights from approximately 500 respondents of legal betting age in both the UK and in the US. Fairness and fair treatment is important in shaping the perceptions and behaviours of bettors in both markets, the survey underscored.

So, are fairness and trustworthiness significant considerations for you when choosing a sports betting operator, and what other factors do you prioritize??

The UKGC was voted as one of the best places to work in the UK

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) continues to earn a reputation but not only for responsible gambling. The UKGC have again been voted as one of the best places to work in the UK, as revealed by “Great Place to Work®.

According to the Great Place report, what particularly stood out was UKGC’s inclusive work environment and accommodative approach to new work practices. Also, the gambling regulator’s efforts in promoting “Dignity at work” and teamwork contributed significantly to its dominance.

UKGC ranked 87th in the large company category. It stands out for its trust, fairness, respect, and camaraderie, which all point towards an employee-oriented culture.

While acknowledging the achievement, its CEO, Andrew Rhodes, was thankful for the recognition and emphasized the team’s dedication to maintaining and enhancing workplace standards.

The regulator first made it onto the list a year ago and seems not to relent. Rhodes maintains that his team will continue to focus on its mission, including recent initiatives such as a pilot scheme for affordability checks, a contentious topic within the gaming industry.

Great Place To Work® is a worldwide leader in evaluating and improving workplace culture. It was founded 30 years ago by Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz, who were business journalists and believed that creating great employee experiences benefits individuals, companies, and society.

In this survey, UKGC employees shared their thoughts on various aspects, such as whether their leaders are accessible and communicate honestly and clearly. Other factors that played a part in the ratings include their opinion on workplace respect, dignity, support, appreciation, and opportunities to contribute. The employees also shared their views on whether they believe their company is fair regarding pay, profits, promotions, recognition, favouritism and opportunities. They also had to tell whether they are proud of their work – feel their work is meaningful and make a difference.

This Trust Index™ survey provides valuable insights into the workplace culture and helps businesses improve their work environment. It predicts employee satisfaction, retention, agility, and overall business success.

Do you think UKGC’s recognition as one of Britain’s best workplaces is an endorsement of the country’s gambling industry?!

Sun International Remains A Massive Player In South Africa

Investing in a gambling firm is not a bad idea. Sun International made R12.1 billion (US$0.6 billion) in the financial year ended December 31, 2023, a 7% increase from the previous year. Here is the kicker: though the company has massive investments in the hotel industry, its casino wing contributed to 77% of its money, thanks to robust performance of its betting subsidiaries.

Before deductions, Sun City’s earnings rose 3% to US$0.18 billion, with the adjusted headline earnings growing by 4.6% to R1.1 billion (US$0.059 billion), and earnings per share increased by 5.9%. With its flagships SunBet and Sun City doing well, the company’s gambling income has increased by 3.3%.

Sun International’s profit before tax and other deductions partly improved. Even though diesel costs went up, it managed its money better. The funds from resorts and hotels increased by 17.4%, especially in Sun City. Maybe the decision to integrate renewable energy wasn’t a bad one.

The company continues to expand. It is buying Peermont Holdings Proprietary Limited, a leading hospitality and entertainment group which includes the flagship Emperors Palace Resort. Sun is to acquire all of the issued ordinary shares and any claims on loan accounts against Peermont Group to make even more money from land-based and online gambling.

Its shareholders will receive 203 cent dividends per share. And with most of its money coming from gambling when the South African gambling industry continues to grow, things could only improve. Most recent stats puts SA gambling revenue at R55 billion (US$2.94 billion)

As a gambler, maybe more revenue Sun International means lucrative online casino bonuses in South Africa.

Kungaslottet Entered The Swedish Casino Market With Its New Pay’ N Play Casino

Videoslots Group has launched Kungaslottet, a pure Pay N Play new online casino targeting the Swedish market. The casino has an enticing Swedish theme: the majestic King Eric and his favourite slots. Licensed by the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA), Kungaslottet.se promises to redefine the pay-to-play casino experience. A

No lengthy registration process, Swedes. Pay N Play Casinos, a low deposit casino, offers a solution for no-account casino sites. You skip the sign-up process and start playing right away with fast deposits, no KYC procedure, and instant withdrawals. Videoslots Group says it’s 100% safe, and mobile friendly as it has a responsive interface design that works on all devices.

Kungaslottet.se runs on Videoslots’ gaming platform, known for its extensive game collection and popular features, which makes it reliable and secure. Its game variety guarantees unparalleled player satisfaction, all seamlessly integrated with the convenience of pay-n-play.

And just to announce its arrival, all new players will receive a one-of-a-kind welcome bonus of 20,000kr (USD190) and 150 free spins with a minimal deposit of just 100kr (USD10)

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Videoslots did not hold back his excitement and unwavering confidence in the success of Kungaslottet.se.

“Kungaslottet.se will capture the hearts of Swedish players,” he stated in media reports. “With our exceptional product lineup, irresistible welcome offer, and pay-and-play convenience, we are poised to set new standards in the Swedish market.”

Estrelabet teams up with 3 Oaks Gaming in Brazil

3 Oaks Gaming has partnered with EstrelaBet, a leading bookmaker and casino in Brazil, to expand the games available to Brazilian gamblers.

This collaboration will see this online casino host a comprehensive portfolio of 3 Oak Gaming titles, guaranteeing players an extended immersive experience.

3 Oaks Gaming is an iGaming distributor that offers premium solutions with high-quality art, secure operations, and engaging promotions tailored to players’ preferences. Their games have engaging math balancing that integrate unique in-game bonus mechanics with distinct graphical style. Some standout titles from the distributor include Sun of Egypt 4, 3 Egypt Chests—Hold and Win, and Coin UP—Hot Fire 3×3.

On the other hand, EstrelaBet is one of Brazil’s top rated online casinos and Minimum bet sportsbooks. It is a renowned betting platform and sponsors significant sports clubs, including Vasco’s basketball and futsal teams, and América-FC.

Sebastian Damian, Managing Director of 3 Oaks Gaming, said that partnering with EstrelaBet was a significant milestone in their international growth efforts and aligned well with their strategic objectives.

It’s a brilliant move for 3 Oaks Gaming, considering that Statista projects the Brazilian online gambling industry to generate USD1.95bn in revenues this year, with the online casino market reaching a market volume of USD1.09bn.

Artificial Intelligence Looks To Enhance Player Safety Online

If you thought speed, efficiency and improved access are the main standout features of Artificial Intelligence (AI), then here is a surprise for you; now AI can help you with responsible gambling and controlling your betting habits, thanks to Mindway AI and Interwetten strategic partnership.

Mindway AI recently announced a strategic partnership with Interwetten, a trusted and prominent online gambling operator in Europe. The renowned leader in providing responsible gambling solutions, says this collaboration aims to enhance player protection and responsible gaming efforts significantly.

Interwetten, a sports betting, live betting, and casino games provider founded in 1990, is committed to ensuring its customers a safe and enjoyable gaming environment. By incorporating Mindway AI’s cutting-edge technology into its platform, the operator can quickly identify, intervene in, and support at-risk players.

The company, which together with in 1997 Intertops are the pioneers of online sports betting, will now use Mindway AI-driven solutions. Supplemented by human expertise and neuroscientific insights, AI’s GameScanner solution will help the provider monitor its customers. With advanced analytics and reporting, operators can quickly spot gambling behaviour with potential problem gambling traits.

Interwetten sees this partnership as a proactive step towards setting new industry standards for responsible gaming. It aims to elevate the standards for player protection in the online gaming industry. And the partnership is a collective effort to underline the significance of artificial intelligence and human intervention in responsible gaming.

So, AI isn’t here only for bad reasons! Finally, Behavioral Analysis, Personalized Interventions, Predictive Modeling, Player Profiling, Fraud Detection, and Machine Continuous Learning will allow many other platforms to refine their responsible gambling strategies over time and stay ahead of emerging challenges. For us, it’s a wait-and-see to see if it works.

White Hat Gaming Brings iGaming to All 7 Legal US States

White Hat Gaming has announced its plans enter the US sports betting market. 

At the SBC Summit North America conference, company executives emphasized their aggressive approach and expressed confidence in their PAM platform’s success in the US market. They also highlighted the significance of their travelling wallet solution, which streamlines the player experience across different states and gaming verticals.

In the same vein, the iGaming platform provider has partnered with Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to provide its PAM platform solution for the US markets. This platform and deal includes the provider’s proprietary cashier, multiple RGS integrations, managed services, and Traveling Wallet™. Choctaw Nation will be able to offer a world-class gaming experience across multiple states. The platform solution has been recognized as Platform Provider of the Year at the American Gambling Awards by Gambling.com.

White Hat Gaming plans to launch its White Hat Studios platform in every regulated iGaming state. Currently, iGaming is only legal in seven states across the US: New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Michigan, which has already emerged as the country’s leading online gaming market.

It has already launched in Rhode Island through a deal with Bally’s. Through partnerships with American gambling platforms like BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars, White Hat contents are already available in West Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The game provider’s entry in Rhode Island will help it continue its upward trajectory in the US market. That’s according to Andy Whitworth, White Hat Studios CEO. He believes they have had a good reception and hundreds of thousands of US players enjoy their games already.

According to Bally’s President, Craig Eaton, White Hat Studios is the most prominent provider in North America for their dynamic, exciting slots and most consistent top-performers in the market. When you say that, titles such as Jackpot Royale, The Goonies and Ted Cashlock,all come to mind.

Already White Hat Studios also has a partnership with Rush Street Interactive, launching BetRivers in Delaware, the sixth entry into a US iGaming state.

With a strong pipeline of announcements and aggressive sales strategies, White Hat Gaming anticipates significant growth and market presence in the coming year.

SuperSportBet Offers Even More in South Africa

SuperSportBet, a new minimum bet sportsbook and online casino in the South African market, is boosting its offerings by partnering with Kiron Interactive, a renowned virtual sports and numbers games provider.

Through this collaboration, SuperSportBet’s customers will gain access to a wide array of virtual sports titles. Kiron’s portfolio includes live sport events, virtual sports, football, horse racing, motor racing, and jump racing, and more. Its award-winning virtual sports fixtures have familiar betting markets, with both pre-play and in-play wagering options. What’s more, players can place multiple bets on a variety of these fixtures modeled after real sports contests.

This symbiotic relationship strengthens Kiron’s position in the South African market and underscores SuperSportBet’s commitment to delivering authentic and trusted sports betting experiences. Though Sportsbook launched on January 5, 2024, it’s leveraging its parent company brand, a household name in African sports broadcasting, to penetrate the market.

Steven Spartinos, Kiron Co-CEO, expresses excitement over the partnership, highlighting SuperSport’s reputation in African sports broadcasting as a testament to the realism of their games.

On his part, Marco Coetzee, Interim General Manager at SuperSportBet, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of authenticity in their betting product and the quality Kiron’s virtual sports offer.

The collaboration aligns with SuperSportBet’s goal of providing authoritative and trusted sports betting experiences across Africa, significantly enriching their sportsbook offerings and enhancing player enjoyment.

More options with Bet365 in Bulgaria

What a comeback for Bet365? Just a few months after reclaiming its license in Bulgaria, the most trusted UK minimum bet Sportsbook has signed a strategic partnership deal with EGT Digital. But what does that mean for Bulgarians? Let’s break it down.

The gaming platform will integrate EGT Digital’s game aggregator into its platform, making a range of exciting titles available to players in this growing market. Bet365’s portfolio already includes providers such as Amusnet, CT Interactive, Playson, Wazdan, 7mojos, and 7777 gaming in Bulgaria.

Earlier, as the government pushed for heavier regulation, the Commission on Gambling (SCG) put Bet365 on the online casinos blacklist soon after withdrawing its license. We are yet to discover the reason behind that decision, though, because neither Bet365 nor the SCG disclosed it. The matter ended in the Sofia Administrative Court ruled, which ruled in favour of the operator, with the regulator complying and issuing a new license.

A Bet365 spokesperson has lauded their partnership with EGT Digital, emphasizing its enrichment of their gaming product.

On his part, Tsvetomira Drumeva, head of sales at EGT Digital, echoed those sentiments, expressing excitement about contributing to Bet365’s success in Bulgaria.

The collaboration is in line with EGT Digital’s standing as a leading casino software developer and its commitment to providing high-quality gaming content.

It’s obvious, Bet365 has grown bigger than the UK market! It no longer wants the local crown, it wants the regional honours, and perhaps the world title. Re-entering the Bulgarian market, and this deal signifies its dedication to expanding its presence in regulated markets while ensuring responsible gambling practices.

CandyCrush Meets Slots With Pragmatic Play and Sugar Rush 1000

Pragmatic Play on March 18, 2024 unveiled Sugar Rush 1000, the latest addition to its renowned slot portfolio, following the success of Gates of Olympus 1000 and Starlight Princess 1000.

Sugar Rush 1000 offers an enhanced version of the classic candy-themed slot, featuring a 7×7 reel setup, tumbling feature, and cluster pays mechanism. What sets Sugar Rush 1000 apart is the potential of multiplier spots, reaching up to 1,024x, and a thrilling free spins bonus round triggered by scatters.

During free spins, sticky multipliers boost the chances of landing massive wins, with a staggering maximum payout of 25,000 times the bet. The reels are of candies and jelly bears of assorted flavours, which win you cash whenever five or more of the same sweet symbols align horizontally or vertically on the reels.

Tumble mechanics remove the symbols and refill them by a cascade of new sweets, and this continues as long as you land winning combinations on each spin. There is also the boosting multiplier feature, borrowed from its original.

Irina Cornides, COO at Pragmatic Play, expressed excitement about elevating the beloved Sugar Rush series, promising players an even sweeter gaming experience.

The original Sugar Rush game, released in June 2022, was an instant hit, still our favourite. It won multiple industry awards, among them Online Slot of the Year and Game of the Year in London at the Global Gaming Awards and EGR Operator Awards respectively.

The original Sugar Rush game, released in June 2022, was an instant hit, still our favourite. It won multiple industry awards, among them Online Slot of the Year and Game of the Year in London at the Global Gaming Awards and EGR Operator Awards respectively.But we best know Pragmatic Play for its prolific outputs, like Sweet Bonanza and Gates of Olympus, releasing up to eight new slot titles monthly alongside live casino and bingo games, all accessible through unified API.

For me though, my sugar is just enough with its Sweet Bonanza™ – it’s such a 6×5 top tumbling video slot. Every time I hit candies, it tumbles, and I get more sweetness. Can anything be really sweeter than that? Maybe you should try out Sugar Rush 1000 and tell us.

Gambling Mogul Making Waves in South African Politics

Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, a UK Conservative politician and writer, twice serving as the Prime Minister, once said that “There is no gambling like politics. Nothing in which the power of circumstance is more evident.” But who knows better about this quote than the Durban-born billionaire Martin Moshal.

A notably secretive figure, Martin Moshal a has emerged as one of the primary donors to South African political parties. His contributions are only second to The Oppenheimers, Africa’s third-richest family, according to the data declared by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

Together, Martin Moshal and Oppenheimer made contributions totalling R149 Million (USD7.88 million) to political parties between April 2021 and December 2023. That’s a third of the R437 Million (USD23.11 million) of the total political funding.

Despite his residence in Sydney, Australia, Moshal has shown interest in shaping the country’s political landscape. His substantial backing spans various parties, including the Democratic Alliance (DA), ActionSA, and Build One SA.

But is he gambling? We know much of his wealth stems from the gambling technology sector, and his recent revelation as a shareholder in the UK’s Betway gambling group further highlights his involvement in the industry.

The big question, though, is whether Moshal’s philanthropic endeavours, a belief in driving positive change, addressing governance challenges, and promoting reform in South Africa are all about his business interests.

Dutch Gambling Regulator Prepares to Ban Betting Sponsorships

Dutch gambling regulator asks operators for sponsorship details ahead of the ban (focusgn.com)

Online casinos operating in the Netherlands are required to provide details of commercial sponsorship deals ahead of a national ban. The country’s gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has requested that operators disclose these details by March 29, 2024.

The country began to phase out online gambling sponsorship in sports in July, 2023. Other forms of gambling ads had already been banned. No gambling ads are on TV, radio, or via billboards. Even online and digital advertising which still remains legal, are very restricted.

Sponsorship deals were left to run out to allow sports clubs to find alternative sources of sponsorship to replace the gambling industry. The Dutch soccer governing body, the KNVB, decried the move as it said this would cost the country’s soccer up to €70 million (USD$76.8 million) in revenue. Affected clubs include top-tier Eredivisie sides with significant commercial partners, like Ajax, which has a deal with Unibet.

Most European countries have banned gambling brands on shirts. Netherlands follow in the footsteps of England, which will note allow gambling brands shirt deals from the 2026/27 season. Spain and Italy have also forced clubs to drop gambling companies in recent years.

The KSA seeks information on the nature of these sponsorships, including contract duration, types of sponsorships (sports, media, events), and measures the sponsor has taken to prevent targeting vulnerable groups.

The KSA’s request underscores the government’s efforts to regulate gambling advertising and protect vulnerable groups despite ongoing sponsorship allowances until the specified deadlines. But will the ban serve its intended purpose?

Australia Blocks Eight Gambling Sites

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has intensified its efforts against illegal online gambling. It has issued blocking orders for eight additional websites deemed violating the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Among the sites listed for blocking are 50 Crowns, Lucky7even, Rockwin, Spicyjackpots, Bitdreams, Mr Pacho, Casino Infinity, and Zota Bet. But what did they do?

ACMA’s actions target various breaches of the Act, including offering banned interactive gambling services to Australian players and operating without a proper license.

In a statement, ACMA told consumers of these sites that even while the service of these sites may look legitimate, they don’t have important consumer protections.

“This means our laws can’t help if something goes wrong,” the authority said. “Australians can check if a wagering service is licensed to operate in Australia on our register.”

While explaining the blocking request, the statement said the Authority can invoke such a move if the operator provides prohibited interactive gambling services in Australia.

While ACMA lacks the authority to block sites directly, it can request Australian internet service providers (ISPs).

Since November 2019, ACMA has successfully blocked 945 illegal gambling and affiliate websites, with 221 illicit services withdrawing from the Australian market. This latest round of blocking orders follows ACMA’s previous actions in which it singled out 12 other websites for blocking, including Playzilla, Wazamba, Zet Casino, and Slots Palace.

ACMA had previously targeted four prominent online gambling brands in 2023 for breaching in-play betting rules. It had accused the operators, including Ladbrokes, Neds, Bet365, and Sportsbet, of using Fast/Quick codes to facilitate in-play betting on sports. Eventually, all the four complied with regulations, avoiding further penalties.

ACMA’s ongoing efforts underscore its commitment to enforcing gambling regulations and protecting Australian consumers from illegal and unlicensed online gambling activities.

The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) prohibits interactive gambling services. It only makes an exception for regulated interactive gambling services, such as lottery, gaming, wagering and betting with a license. So, online casinos, online slot machines, and services that allow in-play online sports betting remain banned.

And you thought the US has the most confusing gambling laws.

Going forward

From the fairest operators to intriguing collaborations, it’s evident that the gambling industry’s heartbeat thrives on fairness, trust, innovation, and responsible gaming practices. Yet amidst the glitz and glamour, challenges also loom, as seen in the regulatory shifts in countries like the Netherlands and Australia. The industry’s growth is always on a delicate balance, teetering between offering variety and ensuring consumer protection.

Here at Gamlinked, we remain steadfast in championing integrity, innovation, and accountability going forward.

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