Our Feeds
Breaking News

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ionut Rusu

Bulgarian Oddity: Private Company Operates as the National Lottery, But No One Seems to Care

Casino News Daily
Bulgarian Oddity: Private Company Operates as the National Lottery, But No One Seems to Care

Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in the European Union, but recent figures show that its gambling industry has been thriving, particularly over the past several years. And while that industry has been hopping from strength to strength, it is also understood that it has been contributing relatively small amounts of money in annual tax contributions and even smaller amounts of money for socially responsible causes.

According to multiple recent reports from local media outlets, citing official data, Bulgaria’s regulated gambling market was worth BGN3 billion (€1.5 billion) in terms of revenue generated in 2017. Scratchcards, known to be extremely popular among residents of the tiny Balkan nation, accounted for the greater portion of the revenue bulk last year.

In fact, saying that these products are extremely popular in Bulgaria is a mild representation of the nearly maniacal obsession with which hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians, mostly elderly people, are buying scratchcards, lured by the promise for a quick and easy win and a better life.

Several companies owned by Bulgarian businessman Vasil Bozhkov are known to be leaders of the local scratchcards sector. Mr. Bozhkov is one of Bulgaria’s richest people. His business interests spread across various industries and his alleged ties to the criminal underworld have long been part of media coverage focused on his curious persona.

The National Lottery and New Games are actually two of the leaders in the nation’s scratchcards sector and they are both owned by entities that are related to Mr. Bozhkov. Special attention needs to be paid to the choice of name of what has turned into the most popular seller of scratchcards in Bulgaria – the National Lottery.

In the most general case, National Lottery usually refers to a state-run entity that provides different lottery products and services and uses a portion of the money generated by the sales of those for good causes. In the case of Bulgaria’s National Lottery, we are speaking about a privately-run entity. And despite our team’s efforts, we could not find any information about how much of what it generates it has contributed to good causes.

Should a private company run an operation under the National Lottery brand? We believe that the answer to this question is quite clear and it is a bit too disturbing that this company has been allowed to conduct its activities for years, even though it has nothing to do with the state.

The National Lottery in Bulgaria vs. the National Lottery in UK/Ireland

Gambling services in the UK, including ones provided under the National Lottery brand, are regulated by the country’s Gambling Act 2005 and a companion piece from 2014. Bulgaria’s market was, too, regulated several years ago. And while Ireland’s gambling regulations are in a state of an extreme mess at the moment, there still is clarity over how the country’s National Lottery should function.

UK’s National Lottery was established in 1994 as a state-franchized entity operated by the Camelot Group. According to information from the lottery operator’s official website, it has contributed over £38 billion for good causes since it was founded more than two decades ago.

In Ireland, the National Lottery operates as a state-run entity that has been functioning since 1987. It has raised and donated more than €5 billion to good causes since established over three decades ago.

In Bulgaria, the National Lottery, as already mentioned, is a privately-run company, owned by a businessman who many would say has a rather questionable reputation, and it is quite unclear what contributions it has made to good causes, even though its official website states that it contributes funds to various education-related causes.

In other words, the National Lottery brand usually carries a connotation of an entity run by the state that offers lottery/gambling services but also considers it an important task to benefit communities by raising and distributing funds for good causes, unless you are in Bulgaria where the National Lottery does not really belong to the nation.

More Facts and Figures about Bulgaria’s Scratchcards/Gambling Industry

An economically struggling nation with a blossoming gambling industry is not something unheard of. However, when a considerable portion of an extremely poor nation resorts to buying scratchcards to the point of maniacal absurdity in hopes for a quick win, that means that there is something fundamentally wrong in the way that nation’s gambling industry functions, or rather in the way it is allowed to function by those who have control and responsibilities over those matters.

As mentioned above, Bulgaria’s gambling industry was worth around BGN3 billion last year. However, it is understood that licensed gambling operators, including those providing various lottery products, contributed just BGN177 million in tax revenue to the nation’s coffers. In comparison, Bulgaria’s tobacco industry was worth around BGN3.5 billion in 2017 and contributed BGN3 billion in excise duties and VAT.

As for Mr. Bozhkov’s lottery businesses – New Games and National Lottery – these were reported to have generated turnover of €88.5 million and €15.3 million, respectively, in 2017. The businessman’s overall gambling businesses reported turnover of nearly €300 million and profits of €76 million. Local media outlets also report that National Lottery was actually Bulgaria’s largest advertiser in 2017 with ad spending of over €23 million.

Ads promoting the operator’s scratchcard products can be spotted practically everywhere in the country and across different media outlets. In addition, scratchcards can be purchased across post offices, supermarkets, special points-of-sale, and a number of other facilities.

Meanwhile, according to the most recent information released, Bulgaria’s gambling industry contributed just around BGN2.2 million in 2016 and just around BGN2.4 million during the first three quarters of 2017 to responsible gambling causes. Licensed gambling companies are required to make such contributions under a provision in the nation’s gambling law.

Proposed Restrictions

Bulgaria clearly has a gambling problem as well as a problem with the protection of its gamblers. The country’s Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov and his party, the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria, has recently introduced a bill calling for certain restrictions within the country’s gambling industry. Most of the provisions in the legislative piece are concerned namely with the operations of the National Lottery and its likes.

If the bill succeeds in Bulgaria’s National Assembly, it would roll out curbs to the promotion and sale of scratchcards and related lottery products. For instance, lottery operators would not be able to show winners on television, a popular marketing approach to which the success of these products could be greatly attributed. In addition, scratchcards would only be sold at special points of sale. As mentioned above, products of this type are currently available practically everywhere.

While Minister Simeonov’s recently proposed curbs seem as if they might be a step in the right direction, Bulgaria still needs to do much more. The country does not have a dedicated organization that works with problem gamblers. And as it can be seen, nobody really finds it odd that a private company has named itself the National Lottery, while it does not really work for the nation, unlike state-run National Lotteries around the world.

The post Bulgarian Oddity: Private Company Operates as the National Lottery, But No One Seems to Care appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Ionut Rusu

2018 WSOP: Event #40: $2,500 Mixed Big Bet won by Scott Bohlman for $122,138

BankrollMob News - Poker / Casino / Betting
2018 WSOP: Event #40: $2,500 Mixed Big Bet won by Scott Bohlman for $122,138
Event 40 $2,500 Mixed Big Bet of the 2018 WSOP has been bagged by Scott Bohlman, who now has cashed for the 51st time at the series, also savors his very first gold bracelet and a nice sum of $122,138 after outlasting a field of 205 players. The unique format of Mixed Big Bet is a combination of 7 big bet games: no-limit hold'em, no-limit 2-7 single draw lowball, pot-limit Omaha, pot-limit Omaha 8-or-better, big O, no-limit 5-card draw high, and pot-limit triple draw 2-7 lowball. Bohlman said [...]

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ionut Rusu

Clarion named 'most influential company of the last 25 years’

RSS
Clarion named 'most influential company of the last 25 years’

Clarion Events, organiser of world leading gaming brands including ICE London, ICE VOX, iGB Live!, London Affiliate Conference, Juegos Miami and GiGse has been named as the event industry’s most influential company of the last 25 years.

Ionut Rusu

Farhintaj Bonyadi Wins 2018 WSOP $1,000 Super Seniors for First Gold Bracelet

Casino News Daily
Farhintaj Bonyadi Wins 2018 WSOP $1,000 Super Seniors for First Gold Bracelet

Farhintaj Bonyadi, mother of three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Farzad Bonyadi, outlasted a behemoth field of 2,191 to win the 2018 WSOP $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em for a gold piece of her own. The player also scooped a hefty payout of $311,451 for her efforts.

It is also interesting to note that Bonyadi actually became the first female winner of this year’s edition of the popular poker series.

The player survived through a massive field and a prolonged heads-up against Robert Beach to win her first title from the WSOP. Shortly after her victory, she said that she felt really great to have a bracelet of her own. Her son, Farzad, was on the rail to support and guide his mother. The mother and son duo told WSOP staff shortly after her victory that it was actually Farzad who taught his mother how to play poker. However, the three-time gold bracelet winner admitted that although he tried to help throughout the tournament, Bonyadi pretty much sealed the victory herself.

The tournament was expected to take place over three days but was extended into a fourth one during which Bonyadi and her heads-up opponent battled it out for the better part of three hours.

Day 3 kicked off with 43 players, but that field was eventually reduced to Bonyadi and Beach. The two players played the final level scheduled for the day and agreed to return for an additional fourth day of play.

Final Day Action

It is important to note that Bonyadi was going really strong throughout Day 3. Yet, she entered the two-handed duel at a considerable chip disadvantage, but apparently, that did not discourage her from pursuing the title. She remained calm and composed, just as her son had taught her.

Day 4 saw Bonyadi drop to 1.85 million at some point to Beach’s 9.105 million. However, her patience paid well as the player managed to double, even the stacks, and take the lead. She never looked back from that point on. After an epic marathon of chips going back and forth for 175 hands, Bonyadi eventually eliminated her final opponent.

The final hand in play saw Bonyadi raise to 425,000 pre-flop and Beach call. The [6d][4d][7c] landed on the flop. Bonyadi checked and Beach bet 600,000. Bonyadi check-raised to 1.2 million, which her opponent called. The [3s] arrived on the turn to see Bonyadi bet 600,000 and Beach call. The [5h] rolled out on the river. Bonyadi moved all in with [8s][8d] and Beach called with [9s][7s]. The latter hit the rail for $192,397, as WSOP’s brand new champion raised her hands in the air in celebration.

As mentioned above, the Super Seniors tournament attracted 2,191 entries who created a prize pool of $1,971,900. The top 329 places paid with cashes starting from $1,500.

The post Farhintaj Bonyadi Wins 2018 WSOP $1,000 Super Seniors for First Gold Bracelet appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Ionut Rusu

WSOP 2018: Negreanu, Hellmuth, Ivey among contenders for $1 Million Buy-in WSOP Tournament �The Big One for One Drop'

BankrollMob News - Poker / Casino / Betting
WSOP 2018: Negreanu, Hellmuth, Ivey among contenders for $1 Million Buy-in WSOP Tournament �The Big One for One Drop'
On July 15, 2018, "the WSOP and One Drop announce the return of The BIG ONE for One Drop, a $1 million buy-in tournament capped at a maximum of 48 players and the most significant charity initiative in poker history. For the fourth time, this tournament will harness the ability of poker to bring together people from all over the globe to raise awareness and funds for the cause of water. This innovative event is back at the Rio in Las Vegas during the WSOP 2018. Once again, the WSOP will be waiv[...]
Ionut Rusu

Swedish Gambling Authority to Publish License Application Forms for Interested Operators on July 10

Casino News Daily
Swedish Gambling Authority to Publish License Application Forms for Interested Operators on July 10

The Swedish Gambling Authority, Lotteriinspektionen, announced Wednesday that application forms for interested gambling companies will be available on its website from July 10. The regulator has previously confirmed that the application process for online gambling licenses would start from August 1, 2018.

Yesterday’s announcement marked another preparatory stage ahead of the planned reorganization of Sweden’s gambling market.

Earlier this month, the Swedish legislature approved the country’s proposed new gambling law, Re-Regulation of the Gambling Market (En omreglerad spelmarknad), that aims to replace the country’s existing gambling regulations and liberalize the local market in a manner that would allow for international companies to be able to operate in a regulated environment.

Lotteriinspektionen said in a Wednesday press release that a number of foreign operators have already expressed interest in entering the local market and that they anticipate the beginning of the licensing process. The country’s new gambling law is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2019. It is currently being reviewed by the European Commission and is under a three-month standstill period.

The reorganization of Sweden’s landscape is expected to create one of Europe’s largest regulated online gambling markets. Online gaming and betting companies have been targeting Swedish players quite aggressively over the past several years, taking advantage of the potential of the local gambling space and there will certainly be great interest among those to be able to operate under the new regime.

According to the latest financial report from Lotteriinspektionen, Sweden’s gambling market was worth SEK22.6 billion last year and its gray iGaming market accounted for nearly a quarter of the whole with estimated revenue of SEK5.5 billion.

Possible delays of the Application Forms’ Publication

The Gambling Authority said that while it expects to be able to publish the application forms on July 10, there could be certain delays. The regulator explained that the government is yet to decide on certain aspects of the planned re-regulation of the market and that these decisions are scheduled to be made on July 5.

However, if lawmakers fail to move forward with these, the regulatory body warned that it could publish the forms at a later date and once all legal details are sorted out. Lotteriinspektionen further pointed out that it would publish its final guidelines in relation to the application process on or after July 24. The guidelines will contain important information for operators, the final regulations as approved by the government, and general advice. Application forms would be able to be submitted to the regulator from August 1.

Sweden is gearing up for the re-regulation of its market as more and more gambling companies are picking the Stockholm Stock Exchange to float on. Bloomberg recently reported that the Swedish capital’s stock exchange has become home to the largest number of gambling operators and providers with 19 such companies, beating the London Stock Exchange.

The post Swedish Gambling Authority to Publish License Application Forms for Interested Operators on July 10 appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ionut Rusu

European Casino Association’s annual industry forum comes to Monaco

RSS
European Casino Association’s annual industry forum comes to Monaco

The annual gathering of high-level representatives from the land-based casino industry will take place at the Casino de Monte-Carlo and Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo in Monaco on 28 & 29 June 2018.

Recent Posts