UK gambling firm Betfred has become the official betting partner of The Crabbie's Grand National Festival, due to be held in April 2014 at Aintree.
Betfred will sponsor three races in the three-year deal - The Betfred Bowl Steeple Chase on Grand Opening Day, The Betfred Mobile Mildmay Novices' Steeple Chase on Ladies Day and The Betfred TV Handicap Steeple Chase on Grand National Day
Fred Done, chairman of Betfred, said: Im very proud to be associated with The Crabbies Grand National. We are looking forward to working with Aintree on a magnificent three days racing which, of course, culminates in the worlds most famous race, The Crabbies Grand National.
John Baker of Aintree and north west regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses, added: "... we have a fantastic relationship with Betfred and are thrilled they have agreed to join us for one of the most famous sporting events in the world. We look forward to welcoming them and their guests to Aintree in April.
Casual games developer Big Fish has released its latest social slot titled "Fate's Fortune".
The slot is themed on the mysteriousness of old New Orleans and features scatters, free spins, free tickets and free gold or chips.
Fate's Fortune allows for cross-platform play across iOS and Android devices, PC and Facebook.
Malta, as a prominent licensing and regulatory jurisdiction for online gambling operators, is to introduce a Responsible Gambling Foundation, the Times of Malta reports.
Announcing the advent of the Foundation, Malta's Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Edward Zammit Lewis said that although problem gambling percentages were low, the issue is always one serious enough to warrant a national policy.
He said that the Foundation would be independent, but with close links to regulator Lotteries and Gaming Authority which, in company with the European Union and online and land gambling operators licensed in Malta, would fund the body.
Adrian Parkinson's anti FOBT action group Campaign for Fair Gambling launched a new wave of negative publicity on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals last week, apparently unimpressed with industry moves to tighten restrictions on use following extensive media and political comment - much of it flowing from an earlier CFG release of statistics.
The action group released a new set of geographically specific FOBT stats on Tuesday, with momentum building in regional media across Britain as the campaign analysed individual regions and how much money was staked through FOBTsand how much was lost.
Media coverage by the weekend was extensive as publications covered numbers particular to their regions.
The campaign makes extensive use of the negative descriptive "crack cocaine of gambling" and plays to a theme that betting companies are targeting deprived areas where unemployment is high and incomes are low.
The campaign claims that individual UK gamblers lose an average GBP 760 every year on FOBTs, with some areas reporting an average twice that.
MP's seeing a political opportunity to comment within their constituencies have been quick to criticise High Street betting shops offering FOBTs in the wake of the new CFG numbers. In one example, Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart said:
These machines are addictive and dangerous. The average loss per player is equivalent to one months take home pay for the average worker in our town. This is unaffordable. It can be devastating for families who, because of gambling, are unable to afford basic necessities.
CFG's voluble spokesman Parkinson has also been widely quoted on the figures; he claims that CFG mapping gives individual councils the ability to see the impact of FOBTs across their particular areas of responsibility, helping them to "...see through the smoke screen the bookmakers are trying to create with their new code of conduct.
Parkinson has also been giving newspapers bite-sized comments applicable to their individual regions, for example:
Bookmakers claim betting shops in less deprived areas are eight times more profitable than those in deprived areas but we dont see them opening shops there. Instead, they are clustering on the high streets of deprived areas.
Why are there only 21 betting shops in Aberdeenshire while North Lanarkshire has 87?
Its up to councillors and politicians to get to grips with this problem before Scotlands high streets descend into a toxic economy of betting shops and payday loan operators.
A seemingly exasperated Association of British Bookmakers responded to the latest CFG drive by characterising the action group's figures as 'misleading and inaccurate.
ABB chief Dirk Vennix, said: The industry is sick and tired of the campaign group sniping at it from the sidelines. Instead of attacking a responsible and regulated industry which is trying to work collaboratively with the government to minimise problem gambling, they should join the process to help build the best possible harm minimisation framework.
Ironically, Parkinson allegedly used to promote FOBTs for betting company Tote.
Teddy Sagi, the Israeli businessman and billionaire who founded Playtech, and recently sold off a chunk of his stock in that company (see previous InfoPowa reports) has a new product lined up for a $100 million I.P.O. in London, according to a report in the Financial Times over the weekend.
The entrepreneurs latest project is a digital wallet branded SafeCharge, in which Sagi owns the controlling 90 percent stock.
The product has obvious synergy with online gambling, but has applications in other e-commerce sectors as well. The company claims it has the ability to process gambling bets at high speed of 300 transactions per second, and with virtually zero downtime.
SafeCharge will list on the AIM today (Monday) creating a free float of about 30 percent and diluting Sagis stake to around 63 percent, the FT reports, noting that after floating SafeCharge's market capitalisation would be in the region of GBP 210 million - GBP 230 million.
Announcements from the company reveal that SafeCharge processed $5 billion in transactions last year and its revenues were $43.1 million, up 31.4 percent on 2012, with EBITDA of $11.2 million. SafeCharge is forecasting 2014 revenues of $61.2 million and adjusted EBITDA of $18.1 million.
The FT notes that the company has obtained principal status with MasterCard and has applied for similar status with Visa, enabling it to act as an acquirer for clients as well as being their payment provider.
Forty-year-old Sagi has seen his investment in Playtech soar as the online gambling group developed into an industry leader and FTSE 250 firm that is now worth around GBP 2.4 billion.
Last week, he cashed in a 15.4 percent stake to pocket GBP 326 million, retaining a 33.6 percent stake in the gambling group.
Founded by present CEO David Avgi (39) in 2006, SafeCharge predicts that revenues from sports betting will grow to up to 45 percent of overall sales, while the proportion of revenues from the UK would increase to up to 52 percent of all markets.
We are also planning to be very focused in the Asian market, with some acquisitions, he said.
The chairman of the company is another Playtech veteran - former chairman Roger Withers.