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Archive for August 2nd, 2018

Mikita Badziakouski Wins Back-to-Back Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Main Event Title

Mikita Badziakouski topped the elite field of the Triton Poker Jeju Super High Roller Series Main Event for a back-to-back win and his largest live tournament cash of more than $5.2 million.

His latest poker triumph arrives just three months after the poker pro from Belarus outlasted the just as elite field of the Triton Poker Montenegro Super High Roller Series Main Event for nearly $2.5 million.

The latest edition of the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series took place at Landing Casino on the South Korean island of Jeju. The exciting festival was held from July 23 through August 1 and its end was celebrated with the HK$2-million buy-in Main Event, which took place July 30-August 1.

As mentioned above, as many as 55 seasoned high rollers entered the closing tournament to take a shoot at the hefty first-place prize. Aside from the winner who won the fourth largest monetary prize ever awarded in a poker tournament outside the WSOP, the top six finishers collected a share of the prize pool, min-cashes starting from HK$6.49 million (approximately $826,858).

The third and last day of the tournament saw the six remaining finalists return to the poker table to play down to a champion. Badziakouski was leading the elite pack with 3.065 million bagged from the previous night. Spain’s Sergio Aido was trailing closely behind him with 3 million.

It can be said that Badziakouski dominated action at the final table. He was responsible for nearly every single elimination throughout Day 3.

Day 3 Highlights

Badziakouski faced very few hurdles throughout the final table of the prestigious high roller tournament. But Chan Wai Leong from Malaysia presented his biggest challenge on his way to victory. Chan won a key pot against the eventual winner during Day 3, which resulted in him doubling up, while Badziakouski dropped to a short stack.

However, the player managed to take revenge and regain his composure. Badziakouski dispatched Jason Koon, Sam Greenwood, and Triton Poker founder Richard Yong in that order in 5th, 4th, and 3rd places to enter heads-up with a 5-1 advantage over Chan. As for those eliminated, they collected HK$8.47 million, HK$11.55 million, and HK$16.72 million, respectively.

Aido, who entered the day second in chips, was actually the first to exit. He busted in sixth place after crashing into Sam Greenwood. The Spaniard took home HK$6.49 million for his efforts.

Heads-up was a relatively short affair. Badziakouski did not give his final opponent much chance to improve and eventually eliminated him in second place. Chan collected HK$25.52 million for his deep run into the tournament.

Following his latest triumph, Badziakouski now boasts live tournament earnings of more than $16 million. As mentioned above, the player won the Main Event at the previous Triton Poker edition in Montenegro for nearly $2.5 million. Only several weeks later, Badziakouski finished 4th in the Aria Super High Roller Bowl for another seven-figure payout of $1.6 million.

The post Mikita Badziakouski Wins Back-to-Back Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Main Event Title appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Albanian President Vetoes Bill Cutting Gambling Taxes

Albanian President Ilir Meta vetoed earlier this week a bill calling for the introduction of significantly lower gambling taxes, local news outlet Tirana Times reports.

The legislative piece was approved by the ruling Socialist Party early last month. In general, the bill proposes a major reform in the way gambling operators serving local customers are taxed. Under the piece of legislation, operators would no longer be taxed at 15% on their annual turnover, but would instead have to pay a 15% tax on gross earnings. The bill defines gross earnings as the amount remaining after winnings are paid out to gamblers.

It now seems as an unlikely outcome, but if the bill succeeds in taking effect in its current form, it would also reduce the Austrian Lottery’s tax rate from a 10% tax on turnover to a 15% one on gross earnings. The Austrian Lottery was issued a license back in 2013 to operate Albania’s National Lottery. The Austrian company was selected as a wining bidder among competitors from the Czech Republic, Italy, and Cyprus.

Commenting on his decision to veto the piece of legislation, President Meta has said that it would affect the country’s budget and would harm Albanian economy. The top legislator has further pointed out that the bill was not based on “sustainable socio-economic arguments” and that it could not guarantee the “healthy development of the Albanian society.”

According to President Meta, a number of articles contained in the bill were running counter to the country’s strategy to limit the proliferation of gambling among residents, particularly vulnerable people, and that instead of producing any positive effect reduced taxes would result in a growth in the gambling industry that would, in turn, pose risks that could “impoverish Albanian households.”

Thriving Gambling Business amid Economic Struggles

Albanian gamblers have access to a number of gambling services and services, ranging from online casino gaming and sports betting to brick-and-mortar betting shops. At the same time, Albania is among Europe’s poorest countries. The Tirana Times reports that while the country’s gambling law, adopted several years ago, prohibits individuals under 21 from entering gambling premises, teenagers could often be seen at such facilities.

In 2013, lawmakers introduced measures aiming to curb illegal and socially irresponsible gambling services, but according to official data, the sector has been thriving over the past several years.

It is believed that Albanian gambling customers spent a record amount of ALL16.6 billion (€132 million), up 10% year-on-year. According to separate data from the Supreme State Audit, state authorities failed to collect the amount of ALL50 billion (€395 million) in the period between 2014 and 2016 as a result from repeated failures of the Gambling Supervisory Authority to collect fines from errant operators.

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CrownBet and William Hill Australia Set to Combine into BetEasy

Australian sports betting operator CrownBet is set to rebrand as BetEasy following the recent acquisition of William Hill Australia’s assets, the company’s CEO Matt Tripp said yesterday in an interview with local news outlet Fairfax Media. The rebranded business will relaunch in mid-August.

William Hill announced early this year that it was reviewing its underperforming Australian business and that its sale was among the possibilities under consideration. Following a fierce bidding process, CrownBet was announced as the buyer of the struggling betting operation in February. At about the same time, it was announced that Canadian gambling giant The Stars Group would acquire an 80% equity in CrownBet from Australian casino operator Crown Resorts.

Reports emerged this spring following the above acquisition deals that CrownBet was planning to rebrand as part of its combination with William Hill Australia. It also became known that Mr. Tripp and his team had chosen the Sportingbet name, the name of a locally popular betting operator once run by his father, Alan.

Sportingbet was one of three brands acquired by William Hill when it entered the Australian gambling market a few years ago, with the other two being Tom Waterhouse and Centrebet. The British bookmaker later on combined the three businesses into William Hill Australia.

CrownBet’s original rebrand plan fell through after Paddy Power Betfair’s Australian business, Sportsbet, challenged the move in Federal Court, arguing that the Sportingbet brand sounded too similar to its own, which might confuse customers the two separate operations are actually one and the same or are somehow related. The court issued an order temporarily blocking the planned rebrand.

BetEasy Rebrand

Mr. Tripp announced Tuesday that they have selected a new name for the combined business. According to the executive, BetEasy would resonate with their customers, both the CrownBet and the William Hill Australia ones.

Mr. Tripp pointed out that he was a little bit personally disappointed because he “had [his] heart on Sportingbet,” but he did not take personal offense at Sportsbet’s legal action.

The combination of CrownBet and William Hill’s Australian operations will create the nation’s third largest sports betting operator, with Tabcorp and Sportsbet being the largest two. It is also important to note that BetEasy is being born at a time when licensed Australian operators are facing tighter advertising restrictions, new taxes, and heavy competition.

Mr. Tripp told Fairfax Media that while they supported the introduction of measures aimed at protecting gambling customers more effectively, they could not just “sugarcoat” the reality of operators being faced with greater challenges than ever before.

A number of Australian states and territories have already introduced or are set to introduce point of consumption taxes, thus charging operators between 8% and 15% on their local revenues. Local lawmakers have cited the same reasons for implementing the new taxation regimes, arguing that governments should be able to benefit from the nation’s growing sports betting industry.

The post CrownBet and William Hill Australia Set to Combine into BetEasy appeared first on Casino News Daily.

LeoVegas Tries to Educate Italian Politicians about Gambling Ads Benefits

LeoVegas is trying to educate Italian politicians about licensed operators’ work toward socially responsible provision of gambling services and overturn a pending ban on all forms of gambling advertising in the country, the company itself said in its Q2 report which it released earlier today.

A blanket ban on gambling adverts in Italy is among the provisions in the so-called Dignity Decree, which was introduced in June by Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio and is currently discussed in the Chamber of Deputies. The legislative piece was approved by the Council of Ministers in July.

The ban is slated to take effect from June 2019. Under it, all forms of gambling advertising across all available channels will be prohibited. Even though the ban is yet to take effect, certain major advertising mediums, including Google AdWords and Facebook, have already prohibited Italy-focused gambling advertising content on their platforms.

LeoVegas said in its quarterly report that the current situation in Italy is still quite unclear and that they expect it might change further by June 2019 when the ban is to take effect.

The company went on to say that it firmly believes a blanket ban would only benefit unlicensed companies. LeoVegas has been among the most active participants in the ongoing gambling ads debate.

Earlier this week, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and the Italian Online Gaming Association (LOGiCO) sent a joint letter to Italian politicians to present them with their arguments why a full ban on gambling adverts would affect customers and Italy’s regulated market in quite a negative manner.

The two associations pointed out that while they support the introduction of measures that would curb socially irresponsible promotion and provision of gambling services, they believe a full ban would have a “counterproductive effect.” According to EGBA and LOGiCO, gambling ads are one of the most important advantages licensed actors have over unlicensed ones. In addition, such adds are required to provide information that refers problem gamblers to the competent organizations.

The joint letter further read that a full ban on gambling adverts would make it easier for black market operators to target customers and enhance their presence in Italy.

Healthy Market

Despite the looming implementation of the gambling advertising ban, Italy’s regulated market seems to be quite healthy. There have been several manifestations of this statement in recent weeks.

According to recently released information by the Italian gambling regulator, Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli (ADM), Italian bettors wagered the record amount of €466 million during the Russia World Cup, which represents an increase of nearly 50% from the 2014 edition of the major football tournament. Here it is also important to note that the reported figure beat expectations, as the industry expected lower betting volumes due to the fact that Italy’s national team did not participate in the World Cup this year.

Another important thing to be taken into account is the fact that the Italian gambling market has shown a stable growth over the past decade, yet again according to official data by the ADM. In 2006, when the agency released its first financial report, the country’s gambling market was worth around €5.208 billion after tax. In 2016, the market was valued at €9.014 billion in terms of revenue generated by regulated operations.

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