Online Casino News From Around the Globe

Bitcoin Developers Upgrade Software Code To Prevent Another Mt. Gox Fiasco

The turmoil surrounding virtual currencies like Bitcoin has got the entire online gambling world interested as many real money casinos are popping up in a Bitcoin version. This clever little legal loophole is for the moment enabling many online gamblers to enjoy legal real money gaming in the form of Bitcoin. Despite countries like Russia, Singapore and Japan restricting the use of Bitcoin the gamblers among us still would like to believe that innovation will overcome government efforts to interfere in what could possibly lead to a revolution not only in the online gambling world but the entire financial system we have become accustomed to. Unfortunately bad publicity like that of the one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges Mt. Gox has done the virtual currency no favors. The good news is that Bitcoin is still in its infancy stage and it is better that problems arise at an early stage where they can be fixed. The collapse of Mt. Gox has certainly got those invested in Bitcoin eager to implement new controls that would ensure Bitcoin does follow the crash of the era. It has now emerged that the software developers who are responsible for contributing to Bitcoin’s open source software are implementing a newer and improved version (0.9.0) of the “Bitcoin Core” infrastructure which should prevent another debacle like that of Mt. Gox. There are five changes in the new software that are aimed at preventing what is believed to have caused the fiasco of the missing Bitcoins in Mt. Gox. The root of the problem that caused Mt. Gox to collapse was due to what is called “transaction malleability attack”.  In a nutshell these malformed transactions look like the real thing except for the fact that the illegitimate records do not sync with the Bitcoin blockchain. This in essence results in a disparity between the exchange’s records and the actual location of the funds. Now for some bizarre developments from the now infamous Mt. Gox themselves.  It seems that officials at Mt. Gox have decided to mark April fool’s day 10 days early. They announced this morning that they have “found” 200,000 Bitcoins in a wallet which they thought was empty. This means that until the next revelation from them they have “lost” $116m less than the nearly $500m originally thought. Without boring our readers too much Bitcoin is one of the few commodities where you don’t want it lying around anywhere where there is a network or internet. Here old school prevails and according to Mt. Gox they moved online wallets on March 7 to offline wallets in the middle off the month for security…

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UK Bookmakers Hit Hard By Tax Rise On FOBTs

Despite the fact that UK bookmakers were prepared for a crackdown on the infamous fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), today’s tax rise by Finance Minister George Osborne sent their share prices plummeting. In his annual budget  Osborne announced an increased tax rate from 20 percent to 25 percent on what is dubbed as the crack cocaine of gambling. To put things in perspective there are about 33,000 FOBTs throughout the UK. The biggest bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes see a significant portion of their profits from these high speed machines.  About 40 percent of Ladbrokes earnings are from FOBTs while about 26 percent of William’ Hill’s. Ladbrokes are feeling the pressure from all sides as they have not managed to find as many alternative revenue resources as William Hill have particularly in the online gaming market. For them the latest duty rise is a serious blow. While both William Hill and Ladbrokes attempted to work with the government in an effort to soften the blow, today’s decree sent William Hill’s share price plummeting by nearly 7 percent and Ladbrokes fell by a whopping 12 percent. Investec analyst James Hollins summed up the gloomy day,” The news is a surprise and a clear negative for both stocks. “Forecasts will have to change and this is a massive blow, particularly to Ladbrokes, placing significant pressure on group returns, the turnaround of mobile and the dividend that the group had stated was secure for 2014.” UK bookmakers will have no time to lick their wounds as the much talked about point of consumption tax is set to come into play at the end of the year. All UK bookmakers are doing everything to increase their market share as the battle for every gambling pound rages…

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Idle Gaming Releases Slots Of Fun Social Slots App

It’s always fun to follow new social casino developers as this sector is one of the most dynamic in the online gaming and gambling worlds. While the heavyweights remain Caesars, IGT and Zynga there are plenty of up and coming gaming developers that are there to ensure that we as players get spoilt for choice with new and innovative games. The San-Francisco based Idle Gaming is one of these companies which is well worth a look at. They are well known for their social poker app Fresh Deck Poker. They have just announced their latest addition called Slots of Fun which is available now for download on both Android and iOS for free. Idle Gaming like many other gaming companies have changed their focus to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones as these are without a doubt the way to succeed in online gaming. Their flagship Fresh Deck of Poker has already over 5 million registered uses since its release in 2013 and has become the highest user-related social poker game in both the Android and Apple App Stores. Based on this success Idle Gaming have being building a suite of free-to-play casino games. Their CEO Stuart Lewis-Smith commented on their latest release Slots of Fun,” The team has worked hard to create an authentic slots action experience and to bring the very best in art and design to the world of social casino gaming with Slots of Fun. Our players have definitely responded, generating retention rates and average session lengths well above our expectations, and giving us overwhelmingly positive feedback.” Among the many features of Slots of Fun are 10 Unique slot machines which are designed with themes based on Jewel of the Nile or Roaring Reels to mention a few. One of the main characteristics of Idle Gaming’s Slots of Fun is the artwork which is loaded with custom reel symbols and avatars. All our readers are well aware of the tremendous importance of social casino games to their real money gambling parent companies. Idle Gaming’s Stuart Lewis-Smith was Head of Product Marketing for PartyGaming. We are seeing more and more investment in social casino games as they are able to magically transform into real money games in markets like the U.S. that are in the process of legalizing online…

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Caesars Gets Much Needed Boost After Obtaining South Korean Casino Licence

The largest U.S. casino company Caesars Entertainment released their 2013 results last week. As we reported the numbers were not encouraging to say the least. Besides their Interactive division all sectors were down. The most worrying factor for Caesars is their massive debt which they plan through restructuring to bring down. Shares in Caesars jumped on Tuesday after it was announced that they have obtained a preliminary license to build a casino in South Korea. Asia is seen as potentially the most lucrative gambling market. Macau is currently the largest gambling market with revenues reaching over $45 billion annually and growing at a steady pace. Gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson recently was quoted as saying he would “do whatever it takes” to get a foothold into Japan. This latest news from Caesars could not come at a better time as they are under pressure to turn things around. Being the second largest casino company in the world after Las Vegas Sands comes with expectations from investors. In terms of the agreement Caesars formed a joint venture with the Hong–Kong based builder Lippo Group and OUE in Korea. CEO of Caesars Gary Loveman commented on the deal and said,” Foreign visitation to South Korea has grown significantly and we look forward to creating a world-class destination to further support Korea’s economic growth and tourism goals.” The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang are expected to attract large numbers of visitors of which Caesars hopes to cash in on. Caesars shares got a boost of 3.5% on Tuesday on news of the proposed…

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UK Bookmakers To Invest Heavily In TV Ads Before Proposed Crackdown Begins

Gambling companies are in for difficult times as major changes are coming. As previously reported the two main headaches for the UK’s gambling powerhouses are the proposed offshore taxes or point of consumption tax and the imminent crackdown on FOBTs. Marketing and advertising have always been a major component in the strategy of gambling companies. It is estimated that anywhere between 20-30 percent of online revenues are invested back into marketing and advertising campaigns. A report in the Financial Times points out the increased spenditure that the big five gambling companies are planning in an effort to minimize the effects of the proposed changes. The Soccer World Cup is coming up in the summer and millions of pounds are being spent in an effort not only to attract punters for the tournament but to engage them as much as possible before the changes start kicking in at the end of the year. On Wednesday Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce a 15% new tax on gross profits. Bookmakers like William Hill and Ladbrokes are already warning that the proposed changed will cost them tens of millions of pounds which need to be generated in other markets. We reported that the biggest bookmaker William Hill has shown their competitors the way in succeeding to expand to other global markets and with cost cutting measures. TV advertising stands to gain the most as the gambling companies go all out to increase their market share before the new regulations come into play. To get an idea of just how much money will be ploughed into TV advertising one only has to look at the overall marketing budget for 2013 which was £690. Of that about £150m was spent on TV advertising. With online gambling growth this figure is conservative and is expected to reach up to £200m.  Another headache for Gambling companies is the possible crackdown on the amount of gambling related ads allowed as complaints from the public have led to Culture Secretary Maria Miller ordering a review. It remains to be seen if the smaller bookmakers succeed in competing with the powerhouses like William Hill and Ladbrokes who have a better chance to weather the coming…

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