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English professional football players banned from betting

The English Football Association (FA) national governing body has announced that all professional footballers in the country will be banned from betting on any match or competition in the world from next season.

An earlier proposal by the FA to implement the new rules was ratified by the governing body’s shareholders at its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday.

The new rules, which will come into force on August 1, will apply to professional players in the top eight tiers of English football – the English Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, Conference and top Northern, Southern and Isthmian leagues.

Under the changes, players will also be prohibited from betting on any other football-related matter, such as the transfer of players, employment of managers or team selection.

Players will also be unable to pass on inside information to a third-party who uses it for betting purposes.

Current FA rules state that no participant can bet on a match or competition in which they are involved or can influence that season, or any other football-related matter concerning the league in which they play.

Ross leaves Affinity Gaming

US land-based and online sportsbook Affinity Gaming has announced that David Ross is to step down from his role as chief executive officer as part of what the company described as a ‘CEO Transition Plan’.

Ross, who will vacate the position on July 31, has also stepped down as a member of Affinity Gaming’s board of directors, effective February 7.

In response to Ross’s departure, the board has formed a search committee to appoint a successor when the chief executive role is vacated at the end of July.

Richard Parisi, chairman of the board and Thomas Benninger, director and chairman of the board’s compensation committee, will lead the search committee.

Upon the announcement, Ross said he was “proud” of what the company had achieved during his tenure.

“Over the last three years, we successfully emerged from bankruptcy and have repositioned the company for growth through several important strategic transactions,” he said.

“During my time at Affinity, we restructured our balance sheet, sold off non-core properties and have diversified our asset base from a largely Nevada-based casino and slot route operator into a well-capitalised and solidly positioned regional casino operator.”

Parisi also expressed his gratitude for Ross agreeing to remain at the firm until the end of July in order to help the Affinity find a replacement.

“His continued presence will enable us to find the right individual to lead the Company in its next phase of growth by building on the strong foundation David has helped to create,” Parisi said.

GameAccount and Foxwoods Resort Casino agree an online casino deal

resort casinoOnline gaming systems and software provider GameAccount Network has agreed a deal with US operator Foxwoods Resort Casino to launch what it claims is the first 'Simulated Gaming' online casino experience in the country.

Legal nationwide in the US, the online casino offers players the opportunity to access Foxwoods' gaming services via their own electronic device.

The Simulated Gaming online casino will feature over 50 games from the GameAccount Network library, including a number of slot and table game titles that will in turn be supported by promotional offers from Foxwoods.

The online casino will be available to players around the world through various mobile platforms including Android devices, iPhones, iPads and mobile-formatted browser-based play.

“Launching the first simulated online casino in the US with our partner GameAccount Network is another way for our guests to enjoy all that Foxwoods gaming has to offer,” Foxwoods Resort Casino's president and chief executive officer, Scott Butera, said.

“We think this cutting edge technology will enhance the overall guest experience and allow them to bring the excitement of Foxwoods with them wherever they go.”

Dermot Smurfit, chief executive officer of GameAccount Network, added: “Converging online with land-based gaming is central among our key missions and Simulated Gaming demonstrates our ability to monetise free-to-play gaming and will drive increased visitation to the operator's property.”

FDJ strengthen online branding with Facebook partnership

fdjFrançaise des Jeux has agreed a promotional campaign with Facebook France that will see FDJ increase its digital presence through campaigns linked to major dates such as Valentine’s Day this week or major sporting events like the football Wold Cup in June.

The aim of the partnership is for FDJ to strengthen its online branding and sales as it aims to hit the €1bn mark in online sales by 2018 from €410m in 2013. A spokesperson for FDJ said it would look to recruit new customers rather than increase spending from existing ones. 

The Facebook partnership will only feature FDJ’s core lottery products and new product launches and follows in the footsteps of FDJ’s launch of its Euromillion-related product ‘My Million’ at the start of February.

The group said the campaign “had reached 13,4 million French people in less than 24 hours” and it “wanted to strengthen its collaboration with the leading social network in France. These promising results have shown Facebook’s potential to reach existing and potential customers thanks to its exceptional coverage and highly accurate targeting”.

The campaign will focus on major jackpots and events, encourage interaction with customers and celebrate winners. FDJ will look to leverage Facebook’s 26 million monthly active users and 11 million daily mobile users in France.

Patrick Buffard, deputy chief executive of FDJ, said the agreement showed FDJ wanted to evolve alongside its users’ habits. “We want to communicate with the French public wherever they happen to be and are logged on. We know Fracebook has the ability and tools to reach the biggest number of people possible in an efficient manner,” said Buffard.

New vice-president of games for IGT

double down casinoGaming products designer and manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) has announced the appointment of Jim Veevaert as the new vice-president of games at its DoubleDown Casino.

Veevaert has spent 20 years in the gaming industry, having held a number of executive positions at the likes of Zynga, Jerry Bruckheimer Games, Microsoft and Vivendi/Sierra Entertainment.

In his new role, Veevaert will oversee the long-term game strategy for DoubleDown Casino on social networking website Facebook and mobile devices, as well as championing product initiatives.

“IGT's DoubleDown Casino is the authentic social casino experience, and I'm excited to be joining the team here in Seattle,” Veevaert said.

“DoubleDown Casino is transforming gaming entertainment, and I'm passionate to bring great games to players across the web and on mobile devices around the world.”

John Vandemore, IGT’s executive vice-president of emerging businesses, chief financial officer and treasurer, added: “Jim is truly at the top of his game, and he brings great talents that complement the strong existing senior leadership team at DoubleDown.

“We look forward to propelling DoubleDown's ascent, fueled by Jim's leadership and ingenious vision, as we deliver best-in-class gaming content and player experiences.”

Zynga launches Zynga Plus Poker on Facebook

Social gaming company Zynga has launched its Zynga Plus Poker product on social networking website Facebook, according to the Pokernews.com website.

The product, which is currently only available to Facebook users in the UK, utilises the network and software of Partypoker, the internet poker brand of online gaming company bwin.party.

Zynga announced plans to launch the application on Facebook when it unveiled web and download versions of its ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino brands for UK players back in April 2013, as reported by iGaming Business.

Zynga, which struck its original deal with Facebook to launch real-money games in 2012, had initially targeted a launch date of late 2013 for the application on the social network.

Yggdrasil and Vera&John signed a deal

Online games developer Yggdrasil Gaming has agreed a deal to supply online gaming operator Vera&John with its entire product portfolio and a full suite of localised games targeted at emerging Asian markets.

Yggdrasil will supply Vera&John with its full suite of 23 game products as well as a number of new offerings.

In addition, a collection of localised games have also been customised for various Asian language and currency options.

Fredrik Elmqvist, Yggdrasil’s chief executive said he was “delighted” to be partnering and supporting Vera&John in its expansion into Asia.

“Not only will they be able to access our entire content library and localised games, they will also be able to take advantage of the new games we are designing now and preparing to launch in the future,” he said.

“We are delivering one game a month at the moment and that will only speed up as we progress.”

Nicolas Lund, Vera&John’s casino director added: “This new provider addition will enrich our current casino portfolio and, by extending the breadth of our product offering to include a full lottery game section and unique content like video keno, we will also reach a new player segment.

“We have great expectations for the product in both our core European and Asian markets, where the launch is greatly anticipated.”

Vera&John will launch its web and mobile Yggdrasil product via Verajohn.com, Verajuan.com and Vera888.com on January 28.

Cantor Gaming pays fine to Nevada Gaming Control Board

Gaming solutions firm Cantor Gaming, which recently rebranded as CG Technology, has agreed to pay more than $5.5 million in a settlement with the Nevada Gaming Control Board regarding allegations filed in a civil complaint.

According to the Wall Street Journal newspaper, the fine is in relation to the illegal activity of former employee, Michael Colbert, who admitted to taking illegal bets on behalf of Cantor.

The complaint said the company or its chief executive, Lee Amaitis, knew or should have known that Colbert was taking illegal bets and that the failure to supervise an employee to prevent criminal activity violates Nevada’s gambling regulations.

In the settlement, Cantor did not admit that it knew or should have known about the illegal activities but said in the documents that the board could have proved its case before the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

However, the settlement documents stated that Cantor did admit guilt for a series of record-keeping infractions.

The settlement deal is now subject to approval from the gambling commission. A.G. Burnett, Nevada Gaming Control Board’s chairman, verified the settlement documents yesterday (Tuesday).

“This is the culmination of a long investigation, and the result is a harsh penalty,” Burnett said.

The state does not allege that Amaitis engaged in illegal activities himself, with the chief executive stating through a spokesperson that he denies doing anything improper.

Cantor also denied any wrongdoing beyond the actions of Colbert and said no other executives were involved. In 2012, Colbert pleaded guilty to knowingly accepting illegal bets on behalf of Cantor.

“We are glad to be able to reach resolution on this matter and look forward to this being behind us,” a Cantor Gaming spokesperson said.

The announcement comes shortly after Cantor Gaming confirmed it has rebranded as CG Technology in order to reflect its focus on mobile casino gaming technology and race and sportsbook products and services, as reported by iGaming Business.

New management team at Genesis Gaming

Gaming content provider Genesis Gaming has confirmed the appointment of a new management team following the resignation of founder and chief executive officer Steven Meistrich.

The company’s board said that Geoffrey Hansen had been appointed managing director of worldwide operations, while co-founder Scott Sims has been named vice-president of worldwide game design studios.

In addition, Joe Cheung has been confirmed as director of finance and James Watson has been announced as director of European sales.

Genesis said that its strategic direction remains “unchanged” and it is still committed to both land-based and online slot game development, innovation in mobile and social casino gaming, as well as expansion in the European and North American casino markets.

Hansen said that he was looking forwarding to “working closely” with Genesis partners and customers in order to achieve these goals.

“I have been active in business development and technology development for the company in the last 18 months and am proud of the new initiatives that have been positioning the company for new markets and growth,” he said.

Sims added:  “The change in management has brought new energy and productivity to our game development studios, and we look forward to showing our customers new concepts and games in the New Year.”

Betfred Bingo launches competition for free bonus

Betfred Bingo, the online bingo brand of UK bookmaker Betfred, has launched a new competition to give one customer the chance to win free bingo for a year.

Players that deposit and stake £10 at any point in January will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a £10 Bingo Bonus every single day until January 31, 2015.

The overall prize amounts to more than £3,000 in free bingo bonuses.

In addition, for each time that a player deposits and stakes £10 during January, they will be given an extra ticket for the prize draw.

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