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Job cut at IGT

Gaming products designer and manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) has announced it is to cut 7% of its global workforce as part of a cost-saving measure.

The company said that it is taking action to “re-align” its cost structure to save $30 million in the current financial year and an estimated $50 million on an annual run-rate basis.

IGT said it is also lowering its fiscal year 2014 guidance for adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations from between $1.28 and $1.38 to $1.00 and $1.10.

Patti Hart, chief executive officer of IGT, said: “As we reach the halfway point in our fiscal year, you can see this is a challenging time for the industry and IGT.

“We knew that our success in 2013 would be difficult to replicate. However, we did not expect such a sharp decline in North American gross gaming revenues, or further degradation in the international currency, compliance, and importation environment.”

In addition to the job cuts, IGT is also taking a number of other steps to ensure the company achieves “long-term growth”.

This extended strategy includes a continued commitment to improve its gaming operations performance through a new licensing deal with Sony, as reported by iGaming Business, and the launch of Powerbucks, a new inter-state progressive jackpot in North America that is due to go live before the end of the fiscal year.

In addition, the firm also aims to preserve its annual research and development investment after reaching an agreement with Action Gaming to solidify its share in video poker, re-engineering its game development process to leverage its social gaming strength, and an increased commitment to the Asia market.

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Cantor Gaming becomes CG Technology

Gaming solutions firm Cantor Gaming has confirmed that it has rebranded as CG Technology (CGT) in order to reflect its focus on mobile casino gaming technology and race and sportsbook products and services.

The company said that the new identity would also represent its commitment to developing and delivering ‘best-in-class’ technology products and services to the gaming industry.

In addition, the firm said it intends to follow up on recent growth and continue to expand by seeking a public offering in the future.

CGT claims business has doubled over the last two years, estimating that it has over 30% of the Nevada sports wagering market and processes more than 50% of the US state’s technology-based wagers.

Meanwhile, CGT has also reached a tentative agreement with with the Nevada Gaming Control Board for a monetary amount to be paid in full settlement of the regulatory complaint the board filed today (Tuesday).

In a statement, CGT said that the matters of the complaint stem from the illegal activity of former employee Michael Colbert, who pled guilty to charges following his arrest in 2012.

The firm said that it conducted its own analysis of Colbert’s actions and of its own systems, operations and procedures, and has since implemented “additional industry-leading compliance processes”.

CGT expects to finalise the matter with the board soon.

Probability reveals UK players’ gaming trend in its survey

Mobile gambling company Probability has announced the results of a survey that suggest 87% of players would recommend playing mobile entertainment gambling games to friends, family and colleagues.

The survey also suggested that 26.9% of participants play and bet on their mobile device more than three times a week.

“Real money gambling on mobile is now a mainstream and social activity in the UK where 70% of adults are already known to participate in gaming and betting activities regularly,” Probability’s chief commercial officer, Michael Byrne, said.

“With that level of ubiquity amongst consumers, it’s no surprise that real-money gaming is attracting increased attention as a low risk opportunity for non-gaming businesses to increase revenues, engage and entertain customers.

“Doing this on mobile through smartphones and tablets is now the preferred entry point for the majority of players in the UK.”

Probability also announced that it is to host a webinar to address the issues of the mobile entertainment gambling market.

Entitled ‘The Future of Mobile Gaming and Gambling’, the event will take place on February 19 and will also feature a question and answers session with a number of key industry names.

Charles Cohen, Probability’s co-founder and chief executive officer, will be joined by Paul Leyland, former corporate development director at William Hill, and MadAboutSlots’ managing director, Andy Edwards.

A Bet A Technology becomes David Pluck’s exclusive supplier

Betting systems provider A Bet A Technology has agreed a deal to become the exclusive supplier of UK independent bookmaker David Pluck.

Under the deal, A Bet A will provide David Pluck with its comprehensive solution that includes full shop EPOS and real-time HQ management of event content and liability management, integrated with the 2db screen display system.

The move comes after David Pluck ran an eight-week trial of A Bet A’s retail EPOS system after opting to replace OpenBet’s SPos.

The roll-out will continue throughout 2014 as existing SPos contracts terminate.

Frank Seymour, David Pluck’s managing director, said the move would support the firm as it expands its retail estate to a total of 40 shops this year.

“Having been in the market for a new supplier, we were particularly impressed with A Bet A’s innovative and responsive operations,” he said.

“As an expanding company it made perfect commercial sense to work with this forwarding-thinking brand and we’re excited about how their technology and expertise will help grow our business.

New head of finance for PaddyPower.com

Shane Doherty, the head of finance for online at Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, has been promoted to lead operations at PaddyPower.com.

According to the Casinos Online website, Doherty will be responsible for the growth of profitability of the company's e-gaming and sportsbook channels. He will report to managing director Peter O'Donovan.

The role has been vacant since May 2013, when Christopher Coyne moved over to head up competitive intelligence at Paddy Power.

Doherty’s appointment comes eight months after he joined Paddy Power from Irish telecommunications company Eircom.

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PMU abandons offline activity to focus on online operations

PMUPMU’s move away from offline pari mutuel and focus on online betting, poker and international business enabled it to make up for a 3% drop in the French group’s historic vertical as tough economic conditions continue to impact its traditional customer base across France in 2013.

The group, which describes itself as France’s number one site overall for betting and gaming, recorded a 22,4% rise in online betting stakes to €199m thanks to strong interest in the country’s Ligue 1 football championship and a 10% rise in online poker stakes to €570m during 2013.

Gross gaming revenues for online betting were up 20,7% to €38.5m and rose 19,5% for online poker to €21.6m, enabling “PMU to strengthen its position as number 3” in the French online poker market behind PokerStars and Winamax. Stakes for online pari mutuel were down 3% to €943.2m.

International bets placed on PMU races through its syndication deals outside France rose 93,6% to €638.3m and helped offset the 5,3% drop to €7.9bn in stakes across its retail outlets. Overall, horse racing stakes dropped 1,8% to €9.6bn with gross gaming revenues rising 0.2% to €2,48bn in 2013.
 
Philippe Germond, president of PMU, said that despite the tough economic climate “PMU had managed to increase its gross gaming revenues” and wasn’t being defeatist about the drop in horse racing activity. “PMU’s response has been to invest heavily in digital innovation and the retail network through its PMU 2020 project. The strategic choice to increase the international development of horse racing pari mutuel and growing online betting and poker in France have contributed to the overall good performance” of the group.

The French horse racing industry depends on PMU’s contributions for its 70,000 associated jobs and sub-sectors. In 2012, the group handed it €865m to go towards those posts and the maintenance of racecourses, prize money and organisation of events.

Lord Howard leaves Arena Racing Company

Lord Howard has resigned from his position as chairman of the UK racecourse operator Arena Racing Company (ARC).

Former leader of the UK’s Conservative party, Lord Howard was first appointed to the position in 2008 and retained the role when Northern Racing merged with Arena Leisure in 2012, as reported by iGaming Business.

Tony Kelly, ARC’s managing director, said Lord Howard’s decision to resign was ‘not related’ to the company’s business or polices.

“We are sad to lose Lord Howard as our chairman but I understand that his decision is not related to the business or policies of ARC,” Kelly said.

“The Board of ARC wish Lord Howard well in his future endeavours and thank him for his invaluable input into the Company over the past six years.”

House of Lords examines tax bill in UK

The new UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill has taken another step forward after it was confirmed that it is to undergo further examination in the House of Lords.

Yesterday, the House of Lords began a committee stage of the bill, a process in which it will be examined in detail. Despite the lengthy line-by-line examinations process, the government said that the bill is still on track for implementation before the end of the year.

If approved, the legislation would require all online gaming companies in the UK market, regardless of where they are based, to hold a UK Gambling Commission licence. The current system only requires UK-based companies to hold a licence, while those located outside of the UK are regulated by the jurisdiction in the country that they are based.

The new reforms would demand that all online gambling firms operating in the UK pay a point of consumption tax, an amount that currently stands at 15% of gross gaming revenue.

The new proposals would also require companies based outside of the UK to inform the UK Gambling Commission of any suspicious betting behaviour that involves UK customers.

The bill first came to light when it was granted a first reading in the House of Commons on May 9, 2013. The new bill was granted a second reading on November 5 and as later the subject of two debates in the House of Commons on November 12 and 19.

After third reading in the Commons November 26, it was passed on to the House of Lords a day later for a first reading, as reported by iGaming Business.

The House of Lords then took a second reading on December 17 before deciding to push the bill forward to the committee stage.

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Nine new members for GSA

International trade group the Gaming Standards Association (GSA) has announced the addition of nine new members from around the world.

Appolonia of France, Austrian firm DRGT Systems and Inspired Gaming Group from the UK have all joined as Silver Members.

Australian company Maxgaming, Ortiz Machine Company from Spain and Finland’s RAY have also joined the GSA as Silver Members.

In addition, China Lottery Online, US company Gamblit Gaming and Taiwan’s Jumbo Technology have also signed up as GSA Bronze Members.

Peter DeRaedt, GSA’s president, said the trade group was ‘excited’ to welcome the new members from across the globe.

“They speak to core of what GSA is all about – an association of companies who are diverse in mission and in location, who have come together for a common purpose: to collaborate on the creation of open standards that make the gaming industry better,” he added.

Launch of nine virtual sports titles at NYX Interactive

virtual sportsNYX Interactive has launched nine virtual sports titles within the NYX Open Gaming System (OGS) portfolio as part of its agreement with 1X2gaming. The games include virtual Virtual World Cup, Virtual Champions and Virtual Legends and will be available to the range of international operators working off the OGS platform.

The deal means 1X2 Gaming can make its data-driven virtual sports games available to a broad range of operators and, according to chief marketing officer Kevin Reid “to demonstrate that there is a clear niche in the market for” the products.

“With the World Cup fast approaching, partnering with such a forward thinking company as NYX, enables us to meet our corporate objective, of as many players as possible enjoying their favourite sport 24 hours a day, on our tournament specific games via mobile, tablet and online,” Reid added.

David Flynn, head of business development for NYX Gaming, commented, “The provision of Virtual Sports via NYX OGS is further evidence of our growing portfolio of content and the flexibility of the OGS system. The diversity of Virtual Sports games available from 1X2gaming is exceptional. The flexibility of the tournament specific games like Virtual World Cup, coupled with the high rates of turnover of games, makes for a very compelling offer.”

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