Mar 03

A quick look at the current financial ups and down of the world’s biggest online gambling companies.

Ups and Down for the Biggest Online Gambling Companies in the World

No company rides the wave of success forever. Even the biggest and brightest names of an industry suffer hardships now and again. Every wave has its crest and fall. It’s the companies that recover from each crash that attain ultimate success. The online gambling industry is a perfect example.

According to the latest revenue reports from all over the globe, major brands like Flutter Entertainment, Playtech and Gamesys are all experiencing the ups and downs of the pivotal waves of finance. Some are looking up; some are stumbling; others are recovering from errors of the past.

Ups & Downs of Biggest Online Gambling Companies

This week saw a trio of major iGaming operators and software vendors riding those waves. Ireland’s Flutter Ent announced a boost in cash flow, while Isle of Man-based Playtech reported a marginal loss. At the same time, London-based Gamesys is appreciating a bit of breathing room as that company crawls its way back out of debt.

2019 Revenue “Flutters” Skyward 14%

The head honchos at Flutter Entertainment have a lot to be grateful for as last year’s final revenue tallies come in. Following a strain of good fortune (including a pending merger with Pokerstars owner, The Stars Group), the Irish company, owner of Paddy Power, Betfair, Sportsbet.com.au, Adjarabet, FanDuel and others, proudly announced a 14.3% boost in revenue year over year.

The most notable increases came in sports betting and casino gaming, both online and on land. Sports betting operations were up 13.1% to £1.67 billion. Land-based gaming revenues rose 18.5% to £473 million. Online gaming jumped 6.1% to £1.01 billion. All told, the company pulled in £2.4 billion in 2019.

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson called the results a “testament to the quality of our products, brand and team.”

Playtech Records Net Loss Near €20 Million

The board room was less cheerful at Playtech headquarters this week, where the financial officers reported a total loss of €19.6 million on the year. It wasn’t all bad news, though. Overall, revenue was actually up an impressive 23% to €1.51 billion, thanks largely to a 56%, €900 million boost in B2C revenue.

Playtech Chairman Alan Jackson gave an optimistic statement that notes the strategically added expenses associated with “entering newly regulated markets, signing new customers, expanding existing relationships and continuing to innovate with new product launches.” Such elements combine to reflect the expected cost of “laying the foundations for our future growth,” said Jackson.

Gamesys Pays Down 7% of Debt

Last year, JPJ Group (JackpotJoy) purchased the flagging software brand, Gamesys Ltd, with hopes of revitalizing the once successful product. So far, so good. This week, the company reported a principle payment of £40 million on its loans, reducing its previous debt of £484.7 million by 7% ahead of their annual financial report, due March 17. The payment is expected to save Gamesys £2.7 million in interest payments this year alone.

Gamesys CFO Keith Laslop comments: “As we’ve stated previously, a key strategic goal for the Board is to have our long-term leverage ratio in-line with our peers… today’s paydown is an important first step in attaining that goal.”

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

Feb 18

The UKGC has issued the temporary license suspension of Matchbook, a long-time online sports exchange and casino operator that vows to achieve compliance and a swift return.

UKGC Suspends License of Matchbook Online Sports Exchange & Casino

It’s no secret that the UK Gambling Commission has no patience for remote operators who fail to uphold its guidelines. It is universally recognized as the strictest online gambling authority on the planet. That’s bad news for operators with any misconceived notions of getting away with a lax regime; at the same time, great news for members of any UKGC-licensed operation, knowing they are well protected against everything from social harms to criminal activity.

The Commission has proved its intolerance for licensee failures time and time again. UKGC officials are constantly doling out fines to operators who’ve been found guilty of non-compliance. The severity of those fines continue to rise, not just with time, but with loss of patience for repetitive transgressions. However – and I’ve pointed this out on several previous occasions – it’s extremely rare, practically unheard of, in fact, for the Commission to actually suspend an operator’s license.

That point of interest makes this latest news all the more brow-raising. As of this morning, Tuesday, February 18, 2020, the UKGC has officially suspended the license of Triplebet Limited, d.b.a. Matchbook.com.

Online Sports Exchange & Casino License Suspended

Matchbook Sports Betting License Temporarily Suspended

A brief press release issued this morning by the UK Gambling Commission confirms that Matchbook has, indeed, lost its license; at least, temporarily. The suspension of Triplebet LTD’s license prohibits the Matchbook from facilitating any remote gambling activities, effective immediately.

According to the UKGC’s official announcement:

The Gambling Commission has undertaken a Licence review under s116 of the Gambling Act 2005 (“the Act”) into Triplebet Limited t/a Matchbook (operating licence no 039504-R-319407-011).

Pursuant to section 118(2) of the Act, the Commission has determined to suspend the above operating licence insofar as it pertains to the operator’s ability to offer remote facilities for pool betting, betting intermediary and to operate a remote casino.”

The Matchbook website is still up and running, as the operator has been instructed to continue settling any open wagers placed prior to the license suspension, and honoring withdrawal requests of customer accounts.

What the UKGC notably failed to mention was any innuendo into the reasoning behind their sudden course of action. There is no hint of why Matchbook is under investigation. The Commission simply directs any customer questions concerning the issue to Matchbook’s support team (email support@matchbook.com or call 0203 642 6867).

Matchbook Vows Swift Resolution and Return

Just as the UKGC was publishing its news of the license suspension and investigatory review of the operator, Matchbook was scurrying to get an email off to its customers warning them of the site’s impending fate, and reassuring them that the operator will be back up and running as swiftly as possible.

The email that went out this morning to all UK customer’s reads:

Today the United Kingdom Gambling Commission has taken the decision to temporarily suspend the operating licence of Triplebet Limited (t/a Matchbook).

As a result, from 23.59 on 17 February 2020 we will be briefly closed for all betting and casino activity in the United Kingdom. During this time we will continue to settle all open positions and you will have access to your account to withdraw your funds.

Matchbook has been in regular contact with the Gambling Commission and has agreed a path forward where it will deliver on a number of conditions. We will be back soon and we are committed to providing a betting exchange which adheres to very high standards.”

When all is said and done, I’m hopeful the UKGC will publish its findings, along with any sanctions against the company, and the reasons behind them. Until then, it’s worth noting that Matchbook has been in good standing with its customers and licensing authorities for many years. The online sports exchange and casino has been in operation since 2004, and by all accounts, has every intention of being back in business as quickly as UKGC investigators will allow.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 04

Understanding the commitment behind the most trusted online casino licenses and why it should matter to you.

The Most Trusted Online Casino Licenses and Why it Matters

The online gambling industry has been around far longer than any jurisdiction has been regulating it. In the early days, operators took one of two paths. They would either open an entirely upright business and rely solely on a stellar reputation to bring in customers, or they would open a website, see if it went well, and disappear with the cash if it didn’t.

There were, of course, a few that launched with every intention of taking the money and running, but for the most part, iGaming operators were trying to get off the ground successfully. And why not? There was – and still is – big money in iGaming. Unfortunately, without any proper regulation, they had no authority to answer to; therefore no good reason to ‘do the right thing’ if and when a business fell apart.

The good news is that regulation did come. Several jurisdictions began passing regulations around the turn of the century. They saw a severe need, and responded with legislation to either prohibit iGaming, or regulate the industry and protect players – and make barrels of cash in the process.

It is for this reason that we see so many small countries regulating online casinos; places like Alderney, Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Curacao, and Gibraltar, just to name a few. These are mostly island nations with limited financial resources, so when they realized they could turn a necessary regulatory service into a cash crop, they jumped on it. Some did so with the people in mind. Others did it just for the money, and it shows.

Trusted Online Casino Licenses

A responsible authority puts the online casino clients ahead of all else. The operators they supply licenses to are given a strict regiment of laws to abide by. These laws protect the players, the operators, and the jurisdiction – a trinity of defense for all involved. If an operator does not comply with these laws, the penalty hammer drops swiftly. They could suffer anything from a massive fine, to license suspension or, in the most serious cases, revocation of said license.

Online casinos that hold such a license can be trusted. These are the operators that entered the market with good intentions, and were so determined to succeed in those intentions that they worked hard (and paid extra) to acquire a respectable license.

Best of all, any operator that is licensed by a reputable authority is required to segregate player funds. This means that every deposit is put in a separate bank account from the operator’s business funds. Therefore, if the business falls apart, all players will get their money back.

Licensing jurisdictions that fall into this category include (but are not limited to):

  • Alderney
  • Gibraltar
  • Isle of Man
  • Malta
  • The United Kingdom

If you’re moderately educated in geography, you’ll realize these are all located in Europe. There’s a reason for that. The European Union holds its member states to supremely high standards of governance. In fact, any European nation that regulates iGaming is one that can be trusted. The UK is actually the strictest of them all, setting a high bar for all others to follow.

Unsafe Online Gambling Licenses

On the opposite end of that spectrum, there are licensing jurisdictions that don’t care what their licensees do. They can accept any players, whether they reside in a country that prohibits iGaming or not. They can supply uncertified and ultimately unfair software. They can accept deposits, then refuse to pay withdrawals on whatever false grounds they make up. Many of them are only bound to abide by two laws – pay your fees to maintain the license, and do not accept players from the country in which you are licensed.

Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. An irresponsible licensing authority will not allow its operators to accept players from within their own border. This should present a wildly-waving red flag for any player. If their own citizens cannot access the website, there has to be a reason; in this case, because the site’s themselves cannot be trusted, as they aren’t bound to uphold any decent business practice laws.

Some of the jurisdictions on this list are worse than others. Costa Rica is perhaps the worst, requiring nothing but a license payment and refusal to accept Costa Rican players (as detailed above). Curacao and Kahnawake aren’t as bad, but their governments do not prevent licensees to operate in illegal markets. That might be okay with the players who live in those illegal markets, knowing the operator could be shut down at any moment, but if you live in a legal jurisdiction like Canada, depositing at such a website is just asking for trouble.

Irresponsible licensing authorities that fall into this category include (but are not limited to):

  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • Curacao
  • Kahnawake
  • Panama

An operator that is licensed in one of the above jurisdictions may be a perfectly trusted online casino, but the fact is, they don’t have to be. The law does not require them to do the right thing. Now that you know the difference between licensing jurisdictions, you can do the right thing too, avoiding any necessary risk.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , ,

Jan 09

Realistic impact of Canadian online betting with international sites.

The Realistic Impact of Canadian Online Betting with International Websites

It was more than two decades ago now that the online gambling industry skidded across the proverbial tarmac to its launch. Times were far different in the 1990s. Computers, and the internet in particular, were still striving for mainstream household status. Security technology was nowhere near as advanced as it is today. Legal restrictions were virtually non-existent. At that time, everyone who trusted internet gambling enough to partake in its immaturity did so with operators all over the world.

Today, with global online and mobile gambling businesses generating billions of dollars each year, most governments are encouraging – if not legally mandating – residents to do their iGaming with a locally regulated operator. Odds are, if you live in a jurisdiction where internet gaming is legal, your government is taking steps to keep your wagering dollars within their jurisdictional borders.

Canada is one such nation. Every province that delivers a home-grown iGaming service (all but Alberta and Saskatchewan) encourages local play. The difference between Canada and some other jurisdictions, including numerous European and US states, is that Canadians can gamble at any website they wish. In Canada, iGaming is legal for players whether the online casino is locally regulated, or internationally operated. Freedom of choice is fantastic, but as is true of most things in life, every choice you make has an impact.

Canadian Online Betting with Offshore Sites

Our government tells us we should never gamble with offshore websites. So what is it that makes these websites so bad? According to provincial governments, there are three primary problems. We’ll take a look at these claims and dissect the reality of each situation.

#1 No Benefit to Provincial Coffers (True)

First and foremost, offshore sites aren’t providing our provinces with any revenue. The government has stated many times that millions of dollars are flowing offshore due to Canadians gambling with international websites. There’s no arguing with them on this one. They are 100% right.

If you lost $100 at BC’s PlayNow online casino, that money goes to the BC Lottery Corp, which reinvests it back into BC communities. If you lose $100 at Maltese-licensed Royal Vegas Casino, that money never sees the Canadian light of day again.

#2 Lack of Regulation / Player Protection (False)

Canadian provinces say international gambling websites are not regulated, and that they do not protect players from the potential harms of gambling. To address that first point, international gambling sites are, indeed, regulated. They just aren’t regulated here in Canada. The most reputable ones are regulated in European jurisdictions (UK, Malta, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, etc.), where player protections are actually more strict than Canadian law.

For instance, in the UK, licensees are required to monitor all gambling activity and intervene when at-risk behavior is detected, encouraging players to take a break and think about the potential consequences of their spending. Voluntary self-exclusion and deposit limits can be set by players. Regular software audits and fairness certification is mandatory. This is hardly different from the GameSense program promoted by most Canadian provinces.

#3 Offshore Gambling Sites are Illegal (False)

On several occasions, our provincial government’s have gone so far as to say international gambling websites are illegal. Anyone with a basic understanding of the English language, and the patience to read the relevant text in the Criminal Code, knows that’s not true.

Online casinos games, poker games, bingo games, etc. – these are not illegal. We can play them at Canada’s land-based casinos, as well as some of the nation’s provincial online casinos, so long as we are physically located in the province that offers them. We can also play them at international gambling websites, despite those claims.

Province’s like to call them illegal because it is illegal for them to offer some of those games. Take single-event sports betting for example. The Criminal Code says single-event sports betting cannot be authorized or presented to Canadians. It is illegal to do so. However, the law does not states Canadians can place single-event sports bets. The penalty of law lies with the receiver of the bettor, not the placer of the bet.

Offshore betting sites are not bound by Canadian law. If single-event sports betting is permitted in the country that regulates the website, it can be offered to Canadian players without consequence. Therefore, it is perfectly legal for Canadians to bet on sports, so long as the bets are placed with an international sportsbook.

What’s Better – Domestic or International iGaming?

That is a question that can only be answered by the person doing the gambling. If your home province offers an iGaming website that meets all of your needs and wagering desires, by all means, utilize its services. At the least, your losses will go back into the community. If you want more from your iGaming experience, so long as you only gamble at reputable, strictly regulated websites, you will be perfectly protected, and are not doing anything illegal.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 20

Why casino safety and security are paramount to online gambling entertainment, and how to ensure you’re getting it.

Player Protections Come First at Online Casinos

In the earliest days of online casino gambling, it was promotions that drove players to operators above all else. Just think how crazy / scary that was. In those days, internet security was lax, and regulation non-existent. Signing up an account and depositing with any gambling operator that advertised a generous bonus package was a quick way to get your identity stolen. Yet, that’s what so many people did.

The industry isn’t nearly so harsh these days. More people are educated about internet safety. They know not to input financial information on any website that doesn’t have “https://” at the front of its URL. They know a license from a reputable jurisdiction is more important than a bonus wrapped in pretty dollar-sign bows. Most of all, they know the consequences for failure to adhere to basic safety measures can be extreme.

Unfortunately, every day brings new players to gamble over the internet. Those who grew up with computer technology understand it better than anyone, but there are still generations out there that have no clue what keeps internet users safe, or what makes a website secure. If you think the internet has matured so much that all online casinos are upright businsses, you’ve got another thing coming.

Casino Safety and Security Paramount to Online Gambling Entertainment

Casino Safety and Security Must Come First

Twenty years ago, there are more rogue online casinos than there were reputable ones. Today, the number of rogue operations is far lower, but they still exist, and they are still preying upon the novice users of the internet, just like they always have.

Think of it this way… Years ago, an email from some young African Prince looking to hand his fortune to the first person who would help him move it to a secure bank duped a lot of people. Today, most of us know this scam. We use the “African Prince” reference in everyday conversations, and everyone knows what it means. But has that stopped scammers from sending these same illegitimate emails to any @ddress they can find? No it has not. Why hasn’t it? Because there are still vulnerable people out there who respond, having no idea how dangerous it is to do so.

Illegitimate online casinos exist for the same reason. If just one in ten thousand people who see the website join and make a deposit, it becomes a successful scam. So if you’re looking to do any gambling over the internet, you better know what to look for, and what to avoid, because it’s not just about stealing that deposit. It’s about taking your name, your bank information, and any other scrap of identifying info they can get on you and selling it to the highest bidder on the black web. And you don’t even want to know what can happen from there…

Player Protections Paramount to iGaming Entertainment

UK Gambling Commission Remote Gaming License

In recent years, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has gained a reputation as the world’s strictest iGaming regulatory body. Any operator licensed in the UK is required to follow a stringent set of player protection rules. Non-compliance is not an option, resulting in anything from a massive fine to revocation of license, or both.

Other jurisdictions, especially European ones, are slowly molding their regulations to conform to those of the UK. The end result is an abundance of online gambling sites that can be trusted, simply because they are licensed in the UK or most other European jurisdictions that employ similar player protections.

The problem now is that rogue operations know how valuable a UK license is, and believe me, it’s not hard to steal a UKGC seal and plaster it on a website. Casino safety and security is dependent on due diligence. A player who takes that extra minute or two to verify a license, rather than trusting the presence of a graphic logo, is one that will avoid the dangerous pitfalls and enjoy the iGaming industry for the genuine entertainment it was always meant to offer.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

Nov 19

Judging a Safe Online Casino by its Cover: Why licensing jurisdiction is everything.

Judging a Safe Online Casino by its Cover: Licensing Jurisdiction is Everything

When you were growing up, did your parents or mentors every teach you don’t judge a book by its cover? I’m sure you understand the meaning of this age-old idiom. And in many ways, it is excellent advice. You should never judge or negatively label anything or anyone without giving it a chance; finding out for yourself if it’s worthy of appreciation. That’s all well and good for most things in life, but not online gambling.

Joining a disreputable casino site can be a devastating experience. It can result in anything from identity theft to financial ruin; both of which have long-lasting consequences. If you’re lucky, the rogue operator takes your first deposit and disappeared into the great blue yonder. If not, you could end up investing time and again into games that are fraudulently designed to rip you off – much more so than the legitimate, low-edge casino games we choose to play.

Any educated gambler knows very well that every single casino game is built to favor the house. Only knowing we have a chance to win makes it fun. It provides an entertaining experience that’s worthy of our spare cash. Take away that reasonable chance, and what you’re left with is disappointment, despair, and downright illegal activity.

Judging a Safe Online Casino by its Cover

In years past, evaluating the legitimacy of an online casino was a tedious task. There were multiple features you had to look for, sifting through a website’s many pages and terms of service, reading the fine print… Who wants to do that?

While this method was extremely effective for those who took the time to do it right, most people didn’t. Instead, they went to one of thousands of the world wide web’s online gambling review websites and trusted the information they found there. But iGaming affiliates are comparable to the online casino industry. Some sites are safe, and some are not.

Some affiliate reviews sites are great. They’re honest, diligent in their reviews, and updated regularly with helpful information. Others are biased, lacking any integrity, saying anything and everything they can to get players to click their links. And why wouldn’t some do this? Let’s not forget, just like the casinos, affiliates are looking to make money. So if you can’t trust every casino, you can’t trust every review, either.

The good news is, thanks to the increasing rate of iGaming regulation in some parts of the world, no one has to go through all that trouble anymore. In fact, the whole process can be narrowed down to the evaluation of one single item.

Jurisdiction of License and Regulation

Kim Kardashian Playing Poker with Mirrored Sunglasses

If you want to know if an online casino is safe, go to its website, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and look for the licensing info. The jurisdiction in which an operator is licensed and regulated is more telling than Kim Kardashian playing poker in mirrored sunglasses… yeah, she really did that.

There are good jurisdictions and bad ones. Any province of Canada (B.C., Ontario or Quebec) is good. Each hosts its own self-regulated iGaming website, but you must live in that province to access its home-grown gambling operation. Any US state that regulates iGaming is also good, but the same stipulation exists. Outside of these, you’re looking for any country in Europe.

If you come across a country name you don’t know, look it up on Google or Wikipedia to find out where it is. There are several small island nations off the coast of Europe that North Americans may not be familiar with, and several of them make good business out of licensing iGaming operations. So if you’re not sure, look it up! It only takes a couple of seconds.

Safe Licensing Jurisdictions

The UK is top of the line. UKGC sets the standard for bet practices, player protection, anti-fraud and anti-money laundering, the works. Malta and Isle of Man are right up there, too. Gibraltar, Alderney, Estonia, Cypress, Latvia – pretty much anywhere in Europe. France, Italy and Spain are also top-notch, but they are ring-fenced like Canada, so you can only access those sites if your physically located within their respective borders.

The same goes for any direct regulation by a US state. Acceptance of American players means nothing. If a US-facing operator isn’t regulated in the US, it can’t possibly be licensed and regulated by a responsible authority. Which brings us to…

Lax Regulatory Jurisdictions

Anything that doesn’t qualify under the description above is not a jurisdiction that you can put 100% trust in. Costa Rica, Curacao, Panama – places like these love to dole out licenses and collect fees for them, but they take no responsibility for the legitimacy of the companies they license. They offer little, if anything, in the way of a legal framework.

Costa Rica, for example, has only one rule – do not accept players from within Costa Rica. Anything else goes. Operators can appear one day, disappear the next, taking all player account balances with them. So long as they don’t violate that one rule, Costa Rica’s government won’t do a thing about it. There are absolutely no player protections in place; no one to turn to if the worst happens.

Similar licenses are sold in Panama. Curacao isn’t as bad, but it’s not much better, either. The fact that Curacao licensees can accept American players is very telling. Look at it this way. If it’s illegal for people in New York to gambling online, and a Curacao licensed site is accepting New Yorkers, it’s pretty clear the regulations aren’t all that tight.

Double Check the Credentials

Once you’ve scrolled to the bottom of the online casino’s homepage and determined where it is licensed, you can go one step further to make sure the license is genuine. The safest online casinos will provide a logo for the licensing jurisdiction, and link it back to their licensing info on the regulatory body’s website. Clicking this logo should prove the license is valid and active.

If there is no clickable link or logo, you can take a moment to look up the regulatory authority’s website. For instance, if it’s in Malta, search for “Malta Gaming Regulator”, or “Malta Gaming License”, etc. These searches will lead you directly to the Malta Gaming Authority, found at www.mga.org.mt.

Then, from the regulator’s website, you should be able to search for the casino name or the owner/operator company, generally listed in the copyright info (bottom of homepage).

Of course, if you’re not finding the information you’re looking for – no license info, no name of owner/operator, no valid license number – if any of this is difficult to find, you know it’s time to move on. Don’t waste your time on a website that isn’t making this search easy for you. Remember, it should be a quick, one step process. If the website seems like it has something to hide, it probably does. It’s not a safe online casino.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Sep 18

The palpable link between Canada casinos online and on land.

Does any Palpable Link Exist Between Canada Casinos Online and On Land?

In Canada, there are essentially three types of casinos for adult-aged residents to enjoy. First and most obvious are the land-based casinos that dot the map from Vancouver, BC to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Next up are provincially run and regulated online casinos, like Ontario’s PlayOLG, and Quebec’s Espacejeux. Last are internationally regulated online casinos – operations that have no connection to Canada aside from accepting players from this region of the world.

There are clear and perceptible differences between the online and on-land versions. At terrestrial gaming establishments, players must travel to get there, and play physical gaming machines or table games when they do. Internet-based casinos can be played anytime, from anywhere, via desktop or mobile.

While most casino enthusiasts understand these obvious differences, there are other, less perceptible links between them that are harder to distinguish. The most common question I hear is this…

Is there any relationship between Canada casinos online and on land?

There’s a common misconception that live and online gambling operations are two sides of the same coin. This type of direct-link relationship does exist between certain operations in some parts of the world, where an online casino website is an internet-based reflection of the land-based operator that runs it. But not in Canada.

In certain US states like New Jersey, an online casino cannot exist without the direct backing of a land-based operator. Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget casino resort, for instance, is the proud parent of New Jersey’s online casino of the same name (GoldenNugget.com). At the same time, New Jersey residents are not permitted to gamble online at any site that is not licensed and regulated – and directly linked to a land-based casino – within the state.

This is not necessarily the case in Canada, though. Each province has the right to authorize land-based and/or online casino gambling, and thus far, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have chosen to compliment their land-based gambling establishments with an internet gambling market. However, it’s not the land-based casinos that operate them. It is the local gaming regulator within each province that’s responsible for it.

In this way, provincially run iGaming sites are linked to land-based casinos, but only by the thin thread of equality in regulatory oversight.

There is no link whatsoever to overseas online casinos.

As for offshore gambling websites, they have no connection to any land-based casino or jurisdiction within Canada. They are not regulated by any Canadian authority, but at the same time, are not expressly legal or illegal. It’s kind of a ‘play at your own risk‘ type of situation. Many Canadians do take that risk – particularly those who are educated in the ways of offshore iGaming.

Our government loves to condemn the lack of regulation at international gaming sites, but that’s not exactly true. They are not regulated in Canada, but most of them are regulated elsewhere – some in far more respected iGaming jurisdictions than Canada has to offer.

The UK, for example, is the world’s strictest regulator of online gambling. Player protection is of utmost importance, and compliance with the law is mandatory. The UK Gambling Commission accepts no excuses for violating the law, dropping an expensive hammer on any operator that fails to comply. Suffice it to say, if an online casino holds a current UK license and accepts Canadians, it’s already undergone extensive audits and fairness certification.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 11

Winning the lottery is all fun and games, until the bank runs dry.

Winning the Lottery is All Fun and Games, Till the Bank Runs Dry

How many of you out there have ever dreamt of winning an enormous, multi-million dollar lottery prize? I’d be willing to bet most of you have. Anyone who has bought a lottery ticket has surely considered what they would spend all that money on if they ever struck it rich.

The list often starts out the same. We would buy a new house, or pay off an existing mortgage. We would buy a new vehicle. Maybe even two of them – one for practical purposes, and one for joy riding. Most of us would designate a portion of the money to help out others, either paying off the debts of family, granting cash to loved ones, and/or donating some to a worthy charitable cause.

These are the things most of us say we will do if ever that fateful day comes. Sometimes, we throw in college funds for the kids or grand-kids. We may even promise to invest a large portion, ensuring our wealth continues to grow for generations to come. But just as our dreams of becoming a lottery winner are usually only fantasies, for many people who actually win the prize, those honorable intentions go up in smoke.

When Winning the Lottery Isn’t All Fun and Games


Once a player wins the lottery, we don’t usually hear anything more about them. They go on to live their lives, for better or worse. The only cases we hear about far down the line tend to be those with extreme endings, and unfortunately, those extreme endings are rarely good.

There are at least two dozen tales of “riches to rags”, in which lottery winners suffered a terrible fate. These are some of their stories…

Fast and furious financial burn…

By far the most common reason for ruin is burning through all of the cash in a fast and furious reign of exotic purchases. Luxury homes, sports cars, personal jets and yachts, elaborate vacations – the most expensive things life has to offer can drain millions in just a few months time.

Evelyn Adams was once considered one of the luckiest women in the world, winning a pair of lottery jackpots in 1985 and 1986, worth a combined $5.4 million. She spent it nearly as fast, spending, gambling and giving it away. She now lives in a trailer.

Gerald Muswagon blew through the $10 million he won in 2011, spending it on himself and a fast-growing list of ‘friends’ who showed up nightly at his new party house. A few years later he was broke, working on a farm to support his girlfriend and six children. In 2018, he hung himself in his parents basement.

Sharon Tirabassi won Canada’s $10.5 million Lotto Super 7 jackpot in 2004, and managed to sift through the entire sum in just two years. She paid no attention to dollar signs, by anything and everything her heart desired. Countless homes, cars, vacations and handouts later, her seemingly bottomless barrel of wealth dried up. In 2013, she was back to riding the bus to work to suport her children.

The young and the reckless…

Mickey Carroll and Callie Rogers are two of the youngest lottery winners of all time. Mickey was 19 when the young Brit collected his £9.7 million winnings in 2002. He tore through the cash so fast, he earned the nickname ‘Lotto Lout‘. Most of it was spent partying with drugs and prostitutes. The rest was lost on exorbitant material purchases.

Callie suffered a similar fate in 2003 when she won £1.8 million. She was only 16 at the time. Excessive partying, plastic surgery and lavish purchases left her penniless. In August 2019, she was calling for the UK to raise the age limit for lottery ticket sales, and despite now making just £12k/yr as a caregiver, says “I am the the happiest I have ever been.”

Generous to a fault…

Every lottery winner in history has been bombarded by friends and family, all hoping for (if not demanding) a hand out. It’s one reason so many winners find their families torn apart. You’re either too stingy, and everyone hates you, or you’re too generous, and the money disappears.

Jack Whittaker, Janite Lee and Billie Bob Harrell Jr. all fell into the latter category.

Whittaker won a $314 million Powerball jackpot in 2002. He was a generous man all his life, and once he had the ability to help so many people, he couldn’t stop himself. Jack was passing out huge stacks of cash to family members, friends, strangers, the local church, and leaving king-sized tips for everyone from diner waitresses to strippers.

Lee’s story was similar, following an $18 million haul in 1993. She gave to charities, social causes, education and political campaigns. She was originally receiving annuities, but changed her agreement to a lump0sum for the remainder. By 2011, she was $2.5 million in debt and filing for bankruptcy.

Billie Bob Harrell Jr won the Lotto Texas for $31 million and immediately began donating fantastic sums of money to his church and individual members of the congregation. Combined with purchase of new homes and cars for he and his wife, and all of their family members, the money was gone, and his marriage over, within just two years. Harrell Jr. was so distraught, he committed suicide.

Lottery money – the root of all poison…

Suicidal tendencies are the only reason some lottery winners turn up dead. Ibi Roncaioli and Urooj Khan were both poisoned after their would-be-fortunate windfall.

Ibi won a $5 million jackpot in Canada in 1991. She and her husband were already doing well; he being a gynecologist. But after the win, Ibi became a reckless problem gambler and alcoholic. In 2003, she dies. In 2008, her husband, Dr. Joseph Roncaioli, was convicted of her murder. The horrid tale that finally emerged was that Mr. Roncaioli poisoned his wife after discovering her expensive double life.

Urooj Khan’s fate was similar in as much as he died of a lethal dose of poison in 2012. However, his fate between winning the lottery and dying was entirely different. In fact, the Chicago businessman dies just weeks after he won – before he received a single dollar of his $1 million winnings. At first, his death was reported to be natural causes, but his family insisted on an investigation into the 46 year old man’s sudden demise. An autopsy found the true cause to be cyanide poisoning. His murder case remains unsolved.

Drug addiction leads to destitution…

Having a sudden and seemingly endless supply of money can certainly lead to irresponsible behavior. Sometimes that behavior can harm more than the lottery winner’s finances. Drug abuse is unfortunately and exceptionally common. When it stems from, and/or leads to, addiction, it can be all the more devastating.

In 1989, when the crack cocaine epidemic was as its worst, Willie Hurt won the Michigan Super Lotto for $3.1 million. He was already suffering from an addiction to the drug, and having access to so much money only fueled the problem. Within two years, his life was in shambles. He was penniless, undergoing divorce proceedings, and fending off a murder charge after allegedly killing a woman during one of many drug and alcohol binges.

In 2001, Kentucky resident David Lee Edwards won the Powerball for $27 million. He and his wife were so excited, they literally blew through $1 million a month for the first year. It was irresponsibly innocent at first – exotic cars, a mansion, a personal plane. Five years later, these materialistic things no longer satiated their appetite. Both fell into a deep drug addiction from which they never recovered. In 2013, at just 58 years of age, David died alone in the care of hospice.

Death and deception…

Sometimes, it takes a monumental shift in one’s circumstances to reveal who they really are. The truth isn’t always pretty. That’s what happened when these people won the lottery.

In 1996, Thomas Rossi was a happily married man – or so he thought. One day, out of nowhere, his wife, Denise Rossi, demanded an immediate divorce. Shocked and utterly confused by her marital discontent, he soon found out that 11 days earlier, Denise had won an $11 million lottery. She was hoping to divorce Rossi quickly enough to keep all the cash for herself.

The Pennsylvania Lottery paid out $16.2 million to William ‘Bud’ Post in 1988. He also suffered from the unfortunate irresponsibility of greed, buying anything and everything he desired all at once. Another chunk was lost to his long-time girlfriend, who successfully sued him for her fair share after he dumped her in favor of the cash. His own brother hired a hitman to kill him hoping to inherit a portion of the money. Post lost it all. He was $1 million in debt within a year, and according to the most recent reports, is now a product of the welfare system.

Then there’s Jeffrey Dampier, winner of a $20 million Illinois Lottery jackpot in 1996. He wasn’t a terrible investor at all. In fact, following he and his wife’s amicable divorce and 50/50 split of the winnings, he remarried, moved to Florida and opened a very successful popcorn business. Jeffrey was very generous with his new wife’s family, ensuring they never went without. He was especially helpful towards her younger sister Victoria, who he subsequently began having an affair with. Eventually, Victoria grew tired of Jeffrey – but not his money. In 2005, Victoria’s new boyfriend came up with a plan, and she was all too willing to help. She called Jeffrey, faking car trouble to lure him to a secluded road. There, she and her beau demanded he turn over his wealth. When he refused, they murdered him.

Good luck turned bad…

Lisa Arcand of Massachusetts thought she had it all figured out after she won a cool $1 million playing the state lottery in 2004. She did everything you would expect, buying a new house, going on a couple of well-deserved (if not a bit exorbitant) vacations, and most importantly, investing in her future. Lisa followed her dreams by opening a restaurant in her hometown. Unfortunately, the business bombed. Within four years, all of the money was gone and she was forced to close up shop.

Roger and Lara Griffiths had it even worse. They were a happily married couple with a daughter, living a typical life in Great Britain, when they suddenly won a £2.19 million jackpot prize. It changed their lives forever, but not for the better. Roger spent copious amounts of money chasing an adolescent pipe dream of becoming a rock star. Needless to say, that didn’t pan out. Lara became an instant high-class shop-aholic, buying a lavish home, exotic cars, designer clothes, jewelry, and anything else her heart desired. The two sent their daughter to an expensive private school. Like Lisa Arcand, they also thought it wise to invest in a business, pouring hundreds of thousands into a posh salon. Ironically enough – after their carefree lifestyles led to bitter divorce – the former Mrs. ended up working at the very salon she once owned.

If you didn’t think their bad luck could get worse, think again. Alex Toth of Florida could have lived comfortably for the rest of his life after winning a $13 million lottery. He did what most of us would consider the smart thing, taking 20 years worth of annual payments instead of a smaller lump sum. However, that worked out to an ominous $666k per year. Whether that figure had anything to do with her unfortunate future is hard to say, but the story is far from a happy one. Alex soon left his wife, agreeing to split the money with her. He then began squandering away his portion as fast as it came in. So fast, he didn’t bother to pay the taxes on it. After being charged with tax evasion by the IRS, the penniless Mr. Toth checked himself into a mental institution. He died in 2008 at the age of 60.

Do You Really Want to Win the Lottery?

There are many more stories like these – stories of drug overdoses, contract killers, families ripped apart by greed and irresponsibility. It makes you wonder if its worth winning the lottery at all, if you’re better off where you are now?

Personally, I’d still want to win, and odds are everyone who reads this will say the same. What I would recommend, however, is that you put a bit more planning into your future, should your ticket ever come up a multi-million dollar winner. Maybe not quite so much planning as Bon Truong of Edmonton, Alberta, who just claimed his prize after purposely sitting on a $60 million winning ticket for 10 months – but far more than the people detailed in the above context.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , ,

Jul 31

Inspired Entertainment to add more slots, tables and virtual sports games to Quebec online casino.

Online Casino Quebec getting Inspired! (Literally)

There’s nothing like a little creative “inspiration” to provide a boost in customer appreciation. That’s surely what the marketing engineers over at Loto-Quebec were thinking when they negotiated a new contract with digital gambling software group, Inspired Entertainment.

Just hours ago, the provincial gaming regulator announced they’ve inked a deal with Inspired Ent. to install that brand’s complete portfolio of slots and table games to the Espacejeux online casino. Quebec players will have a lot more variety to choose from once the integration is complete.

Inspired to Install Games for Quebec Online Casino

It’s been nearly a decade since Loto-Quebec launched its very own internet casino website, Espacejeux. It’s a ring-fenced gambling website, available only to adults physically located within the province. At the onset, International Game Technology (IGT) was the only software brand approved to install games for the iGaming operation, but the portfolio has grown since, with Inspired Entertainment being the latest to get the thumbs up.

Inspired Ent. is a UK-based digital lab founded in 2002. The company grew slowly at first, but now has more than 600 employees spanning the globe and a portfolio of games licensed and operational in over 35 jurisdictions. Their latest and greatest achievement, which was a highlight of February’s ICE 2019 in London, is a platform they call Plug N Play, and it was surely one of the biggest selling points for Loto-Quebec when inking a contract to integrate Inspired’s games.

Inspired Virtual Sports Games

Plug N Play is a collection of virtual sports on-demand games; or V-Play for short. These include games like V-Play greyhound racing, world cup soccer, golf, cricket, tennis, darts, horse racing, and much more.

Inspired to Install Virtual Sports Games for Quebec Online Casino

Equipped with dynamic 3D graphics, the animation is simply stunning, but as the on-demand description entails, you won’t have to wait for kick-off, tee-time, or the starting gun to enjoy the action.

Interactive Slots and Table Games

The company’s portfolio of interactive slot machines and table games has been growing for years, offering members of Quebec’s iGaming website to a range of popular titles. Roulette and blackjack, slots and video poker, all of the usual favorites and then some.

Inspired Entertainment has even combined its V-Play virtual sports into all new slot machine titles, like the 1st Down Slot, which mimics American Football. Players get to choose their favorite team from a line-up of 8 fictional football teams, after which the slot machine becomes themed around that team and its colors.

Finding Equal Inspiration in their New Partnership

Inspired CEO Brooks Pierce says the integration on Loto-Quebec was a huge success. “They have been at the forefront of Canadian gaming and we are delighted to partner with them to offer Loto-Québec players something unique and different than what they already have access to.”

Julie Benoît, General Manager of E-Commerce for Loto-Quebec, is equally excited about the new infusion of slots, tables and virtual sports games. She sees it as an incentive to draw in new players, and keep existing ones coming back for fresh entertainment options.

“The addition of Inspired’s popular casino titles and a library of fresh on demand and scheduled virtual sports games boosts our portfolio and allows us to reach a wider audience,” said Benoît. “We’re excited to see continued growth as a result of this partnership.”

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , ,

May 06

The neutral nuance of NetEnt’s Live Perfect Blackjack game.

What’s in a name? Sometimes, it’s just a catchy title, often using just 5-6 letters to entice easy brand recognition. Other times, it’s the clever use of a hyperbole or pun that attracts so much attention. In the case of NetEnt‘s latest live casino table game, it’s the use of absolute apt cognomination that takes the cake.

The Apt Cognomination of NetEnt's Live Perfect Blackjack Game

I’m talking, of course, about the release of Perfect Blackjack Live earlier this year. One might say it takes a lot of confidence for a company to call its own creation “perfect”. Those in the know, however, are more likely to admit this egocentric title couldn’t possibly be any more “perfect”.

NetEnt’s Live Perfect Blackjack Game

What makes this game so perfect? It’s not that its rules are any better than other blackjack games. They’re quite standard, in fact. It’s not because the video/audio equipment is of the utmost supreme quality on the market, although the streaming technology is commendable. No, it’s none of these things. It’s a simple matter of providing everyone with a perfect blackjack strategy, without any mental strain on the player’s part.

Think of it like a game of baccarat, wherein the players themselves aren’t necessarily making decisions. They place a bet then sit back, waiting for the dealer to make all card placement decisions base don house rules. But in this blackjack game, the house rules dictate the use of perfect strategy. Whichever move has the highest probability of producing a player win is the action the dealer will take, whether it be a hit, stand, double, split, etc.

The game’s strategic perfection and house rules combine for a house edge of just 0.5%, translating to a favorable RTP of 99.5% for players.

Because strategies can align in regards to doubling and splitting, players are asked before taking a seat if they’d like to auto-split or double down in certain situations. Otherwise, the game really takes care of itself, giving players the chance to incorporate perfect decision making just like the pros, without requiring any mental enlightenment or advanced skills of memorization.

To make things even more interesting, because all decisions are automated by perfect tactics, the 3-seater table design is capable of accommodating an unlimited number of players. Embracing the latest live casino technology, NetEnt also designed the game to seamlessly cater to multiple currencies.

Perfect Blackjack Live Debuts at ICE 2019

Where better to introduce such a perfect product than the world’s biggest iGaming stage? NetEnt unveiled this modern marvel in February at the 2019 ICE Totally Gaming expo in London, garnering the attention of all in attendance with a genuinely unique, first-in-class live dealer game.

“Perfect Blackjack truly is an industry-first for live casino and we are certain that this game will appeal to all levels of players,” extols NetEnt Live Director Andres Rengifo. “Whether you’re a seasoned player wanting to sit back whilst being dealt flawlessly, or if you’re a beginner who wants an intro to blackjack and its strategy.”

NetEnt didn’t go this project alone. The company worked in tandem with fellow UK native Rank Group, a former motion picture production company that evolved into a live and online casino group in the mid 2000s. Rank Group is now the parent of Mecca Bingo and the largest UK casino group, Grosvenor Casinos.

As such, Rank earned the right to launch Perfect Blackjack exclusively at GrosvernorCasinos.com following its initial debut; something Rank Group’s Head of Live Casino, Richard Walker has lauded with great pride.

“We are delighted to launch this innovative new game,” says Walker; particularly excited by the opportunity to label it an “educational game” geared towards “new and seasoned players alike.” He’s especially impressed by the game’s ability to evaporate the common barrier of nervous tension that often prevents newer players from trying a live casino game for the first time.

For the time being, Grosvenor’s online casino remains the exclusive provider of Perfect Blackjack Live. No word yet on when the game will revert to a world-wide launch at all NetEnt-licensed casinos.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,