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Betting latest: Everton favourites to land Allardyce favourite with reported £20m price-tag

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Everton have been installed as favourites to sign Sunderland defender Lamine Kone in the January transfer window, according to the latest bookmakers’ odds.

SkyBet have the Toffees priced at 3/1 to snap up Kone, 28, who was signed at the Stadium of Light by Sam Allardyce in January 2016 from French outfit Lorient.

West Ham (5/1) and West Brom (6/1) are also seen as being in the running for the centre-back, who according to the Mirror had a stunning £20million price-tag slapped on his head in the summer.

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Kone is clearly a favourite of Allardyce, who brought him to Sunderland last year.

The nine-times Ivory Coast international played a pivotal role in seeing the Wearsiders avoid relegation that season, scoring two goals in a 3-0 win against Everton in May 2016 to ensure the Black Cats stayed up – preserving Allardyce’s proud record of never suffering the drop.

It seems that the new Goodison Park manager may still be interested in signing Kone for a second time if the bookmakers’ odds are anything to go by, and with Everton’s defence leaking goals this season, it may be an area that needs improving in the next transfer window.

However Kone is struggling to find form and get game time for Sunderland in the Championship this campaign.

He has made just 13 appearances across all competitions since the Black Cats suffered relegation under the charge of David Moyes.

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NJ Sports Betting Ruling Could Boost Online Gambling Industry

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Analysts and experts from the gambling industry in the United States expect online gambling to flourish in the country once New Jersey wins its sports betting case in the Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on December 4 from New Jersey and the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association regarding their appeal to rule the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unconstitutional.

David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) is one of the many people who believe that a favorable ruling will impact the online gambling industry in the US. He said that if New Jersey wins the case, the those states that have a sports betting market will soon open their doors to the online gambling industry and welcome online poker operators.

David Schwartz, who is currently running the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Las Vegas-Nevada agreed with Rebuck’s. In a statement, Schwartz said,

It makes a lot of sense to offer sports betting over the internet. Once you have the systems for letting people bet on sports in place, it isn't a huge step to permit them to bet on casino games or poker as well



Schwartz also believes that merging sports betting and online gaming will attract a younger demographic: those in their 30s or even younger. Currently, only Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legalized online gaming. Pennsylvania recently signed its expanded gaming bill and will join these three states sometime next year. New Jersey has so far reported revenues in excess of $250 million from online gambling this year while Delaware earned over $2 million in online gambling profits.

Generating a new stream of revenue is expected to be the biggest motivator for states to marry sports betting and online gaming. According to data from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, up to $60 billion in sports bets are illegally made by Americans each year over offshore sites and bookmakers. Eilers & Krejcik estimates that 32 states will offer sports wagering just within five years of an official ruling, which can immediately create a legal market of more than $6 billion.

If all 50 states opened up to sports betting, up to $15.8 billion could be generated easily. Once the Supreme Courts starts proceedings in December, a ruling can be expected earliest in June 2018. The case will test whether the 1992 federal law that outlawed sports betting in all states except for Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware is unconstitutional. Those opposing the state of New Jersey in this case are the NCAA and professional sports leagues.

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Bookie claims he played alongside Virat Kohli in Delhi, reveals how to fix IPL games

Sobers Joban had also boasted about sending "signals" to players before overs during an Indian Premier League match.

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Perth: While the International Cricket Council said that there is no evidence of the third Ashes Test been corrupted after a British daily claimed that the bookmakers have offered money to fix some parts of the match, it has also come to a light the said bookie claimed that he played now India skipper Virat Kohli in Delhi.

The Sun published purported evidence of bookmakers offering to sell details of rigged periods of play for betting purposes in the Test which began on Thursday in Perth.


According to The Sun, Joban had stated that he played with Virat Kohli for one of the domestic cricket teams in Delhi. He had also boasted about sending "signals" to players before overs during an Indian Premier League match.The report also stated that Joban could also fix four to five Big Bash League games.

“They are well signalled in advance. In every IPL match the signals are purposely not shown on the live broadcasts,” The Sun report quoted Joban saying as he discussed players’ gestures to indicate a fix.

“I give you a red watch, you wear a red watch. In the IPL five t-shirts will be the full size, five will be half sleeves. A player bowls the over in full t-shirt, that is the signal,” Joban added

“A wide, running in and stopping without bowling, so many signals,” concluded Joban.

ICC anti-corruption unit general manager Alex Marshall launched an investigation after the fixing claims about the Perth Test.

"From my initial assessment of the material, there is no evidence, either from The Sun or via our own intelligence, to suggest the current test match has been corrupted," Marshall said in a statement. "At this stage of the investigation, there is no indication that any players in this test have been in contact with the alleged fixers.

"The allegations are wide-ranging and relate to various forms of cricket in several countries, including T20 tournaments. We will look closely at all the information as part of our investigation."

Marshall, meanwhile, said police have not been contacted over the claims.

"Nothing has been referred as yet because we are still assessing the information. If we deem that offenses have taken place in countries where match-fixing is illegal then, yes, we will work with the local police and report our concerns and share information to push for prosecution."

Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board offered to cooperate with the ICC investigation.

The Sun said it conducted a four-month investigation, with interviews conducted at hotels in New Delhi and Dubai with two men claiming to be involved in illegal gambling.

"Before match, I will tell you this over, this runs and then you have to put all the bets on that over," a man says in the Sun's undercover video footage.

During the video, information on fixes is estimated to be worth around $150,000.

There is also mention of fixing "four to five" Big Bash League matches.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he spoke with Marshall about the allegations, and wondered why the story was published on the day the third test began.

"There's no substance to these allegations or justification to suspect that this test match or indeed the Ashes series as a whole is subject to corrupt activities," Sutherland told a news conference at the WACA.

"My comments today are based on a briefing I've had from Alex Marshall and I don't think for one moment anyone should believe that we're complacent. The timing is a bit strange, obviously, but I guess I'll leave that to Alex to make judgments on what the reason behind this might be."

The ECB said it was "aware of these allegations and there is no suggestion that any of the England team is involved in any way."

Australia leads the five-match series 2-0 after victories in Brisbane and Adelaide and can regain the Ashes with a victory at the WACA, a venue where England's only test victory was in 1978.

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Gambling Commission to look into self-exclusion after BBC investigation

The result of the BBC investigation is concerning and we will be making our own enquiries into what happened in this case

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The Gambling Commission has pledged to follow up a BBC Radio 5 Live investigation, in which an undercover reporter was able to place a bet in 19 of the 21 bookmakers he visited in Grimsby, despite signing up to the government's multi-operator self-exclusion scheme.

BBC reporter Rob Cave signed up to the scheme for Grimsby and had his name and photograph circulated but went into 16 shops and played on FOBTs before finding one in which he was challenged and asked to leave.

Cave chose Grimsby due to its high number of betting shops, and his investigation has raised fresh questions over the efficacy of the self-exclusion scheme.

Sarah Gardner, the Gambling Commission's executive director, said: "The result of the BBC investigation is concerning and we'll be making our own inquiries into what happened in this case.

"We're determined to drive improvements in behaviour across the industry in terms of the effort they put into reducing gambling-related harm, and it really is getting to the stage where there is nowhere to hide for businesses who don't take this seriously."

She added: "What we would like to see is much more emphasis from gambling businesses on intervening at an early stage before there is a need to self-exclude."

A spokesman for the Association of British Bookmakers said in a statement: "This is a disappointing result. However, it was conducted in artificial circumstances, involving a small sample, over a short period of time and the individual concerned was not a problem gambler or previously known to shop staff.

"By its very nature those who self-exclude are normally known to the staff in the shops they exclude from.

"In reality an independent review of the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme revealed that 83 per cent of participants agreed it had been effective in reducing or stopping their gambling activity, and 71 per cent said they have not attempted to use their nominated betting shops since signing up."

The spokesman added: "We accept that the current self-exclusion scheme is not without flaws, however we're continually developing improved systems and seeking to reduce the reliance on staff to recognise those that have self-excluded."

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Liverpool reportedly favourites to sign quality attacker

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Liverpool are the favourites to sign Monaco star Thomas Lemar according to popular bookmakers Betfair.

The Bookmakers have priced Liverpool at 7/2 to secure the services of the youngster in January. Chelsea meanwhile are narrowly behind at 4/1. Arsenal who almost signed Lemar last summer as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez are priced at 6/1.

Lemar is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in European football and played a key role for Monaco last season as they went on to win the Ligue 1 as well as reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

However Monaco may be hesitant to part ways with their prized asset as they have struggled to replicate their form of last season after selling £310 million worth of talent during the summer transfer window.

They finished bottom of their Champions League group and subsequently missed out on Europa League football.

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Bookmakers make Tottenham as favourites to sign promising Newcastle United midfielder this month

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Tottenham have been installed joint-favourites with Everton to sign Newcastle United star Jonjo Shelvey in January, according to the latest reports. According to BetVictor, Spurs and Everton are tied in a two-legged race to acquire the signature of the England international. West Ham and Southampton are also thought to be in the running to sign the Newcastle United midfielder.

The Englishman moved to St. James’ Park from Swansea City in January 2016, for a fee believed to be in the region of £12million but has enjoyed mixed fortunes during his time on Tyneside. Shelvey, 25, has been a mainstay of Newcastle’s first-team this season so manager Rafa Benitez may not be willing to let the ex-Liverpool midfielder leave for cheap.

He has made 14 appearances in the Premier League and has made 10 starts but there have been worries about his discipline. Despite being a crucial member of the Toons’ starting XI since arriving from Swansea, Shelvey’s disciplinary issues have forced Benitez to make do without his services on a number of occasions this season.

On the opening day of the season, the midfielder was shown a straight red card for stamping Dele Alli, which resulted in a three-game ban. The six-time England international has also been sidelined recently due to suspension for picking up his second red card of the season against Everton. As a result, there is an outside chance of the player leaving St.James Park, with Benitez already frustrated.

However, it remains to be seen if a move to Spurs is realistic given the plethora of quality midfield options available to manager Mauricio Pochettino. Pochettino boasts the likes of Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele, Moussa Sissoko and Christian Eriksen as his midfield options, while academy graduate Harry Winks has also impressed for the North Londoners this season.

It would be tough for Victor Wanyama to directly force his way into the first-team after the Kenyan made his comeback to the team with a second-half substitute appearance in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Swansea after a five-month injury layoff.

Knowing that Spurs’ squad is filled with midfielders, Shelvey could either opt to stay put at Newcastle or decide to go on and play for another Premier League club, provided he gets offers. However, his exit midway through the campaign will be a huge blow to Newcastle though, and it is extremely unlikely that Benitez will actually consider letting his man go for any price of reason whatsoever.



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Internet rumours see bookmakers suspend Rangers relegation markets

Bookmakers have suspended betting markets on SPL football club Glasgow Rangers FC being relegated, as internet rumours circulate that the club faces financial difficulties once again.

Betting affiliate Oddschecker, last night alerted UK media that it had spotted ‘unusual betting patterns’ on Rangers being relegated from the SPL.

Rangers, Scottish football’s most successful club, currently sits third in the league, 23 points clear of bottom-placed Ross County (the SPL relegates one team per season).

In 2012, due to financial mismanagement Rangers entered liquidation. The football club was forced to create a new corporate identity and was further relegated to the fourth tier of Scottish league football.

In its market update, Oddschecker details that it has recorded ‘punters piling in on the massive price of 5000/1’.

The betting affiliate details that bookmakers will no longer take bets on Rangers’ SPL relegation. Scottish news sources are seeking to verify whether there is any accuracy in the rumours of Rangers financial troubles.

“To call it a strange would be an understatement, and Oddschecker sources have confirmed the unusual activity in the betting for Rangers to be relegated, similar to the circumstances the club faced first time around with their financial struggles.”

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Bookmakers report significant upsurge in Cheltenham betting

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The three bookmakers who this week introduced the non-runner no bet offer on all 28 races at Cheltenham reported the move to have had the desired positive impact on festival business.

Sky Bet and bet365 offered the concession on Monday and were joined by Paddy Power on Tuesday.

Pat Cooney, spokesman for bet365, said on Tuesday: “We’ve seen a real upsurge in Cheltenham betting today. The non-runner no bet concession has really galvanised it all. We’ve been non-stop.

“Footpad at 11-8 in the Racing Post Arkle has proved really popular, but the main theme has been the interest in the handicap chases such as the Ultima and Kim Muir – we’ve been inundated with requests.

“There have been plenty of life-changing multiples struck. I would imagine all bookmakers will be doing this by the end of the week.”

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The three bookmakers who this week introduced the non-runner no bet offer on all 28 races at Cheltenham reported the move to have had the desired positive impact on festival business.

Sky Bet and bet365 offered the concession on Monday and were joined by Paddy Power on Tuesday.

Pat Cooney, spokesman for bet365, said on Tuesday: “We’ve seen a real upsurge in Cheltenham betting today. The non-runner no bet concession has really galvanised it all. We’ve been non-stop.

“Footpad at 11-8 in the Racing Post Arkle has proved really popular, but the main theme has been the interest in the handicap chases such as the Ultima and Kim Muir – we’ve been inundated with requests.

“There have been plenty of life-changing multiples struck. I would imagine all bookmakers will be doing this by the end of the week.”

Sky Bet, who were the first to offer the concession on every Cheltenham race, also reported good business.

The firm’s Michael Shinners said: “The switch to NRNB across all Cheltenham races has certainly livened up the markets and, without the fear of losing their stake, punters are proving far more willing to part with their hard earned money on selections where their target is still up in the air.

“The David Pipe-trained Vaniteux has been comfortably the best backed selection in the handicaps and is now 14-1 from 33-1 for the Grand Annual, and 14-1 from 25-1 for the Brown Advisory.”

Paddy Power – like sister firm Betfair Sportsbook and bet365 – had last week gone non-runner no bet on the five biggest races at the festival, in the wake of punters' requests and a confusing season to date capped by a number of shock results over the festive period and several big names meeting with setbacks.

The firm's spokesman Paul Binfield, speaking about the extension of the offer to every festival race, said on Tuesday: “It’s proving popular but the impetus is only just beginning.

“We’ve extended the offer to all races to help out those punters with a nervous disposition after all the shocks of the season so far.”

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Mikel López de Torre takes Jdigital Presidency for changing Spanish market

Spanish industry trade body, La Asociación Española de Juego Digital (Jdigital) has confirmed the appointment of Sportium Digital Director Mikel López de Torre as its new President.

A key leadership stakeholder since 2016, López de Torre has formerly served as the trade body’s Vice President and will replace Jdigital founder Sacha Michaud as leader.

Founded in 2012, amidst the imminent launch of the newly regulated Spanish online gambling market, Jdigital seeks to represent the interests and concerns of Spanish licensed online betting operators and wider industry stakeholders.

Confirming the end of his tenure as JDigital President, Sacha Michaud stated that López de Torre was the ideal incumbent to lead the association, referencing the new leader’s ‘proven track record’ within the Spanish digital market.

A 12-year industry veteran, López de Torre has brought a number of Spanish betting ventures to market, having served as a Betfair digital executive (2006 – 2013) and leading Sportium’s online services and operations since 2015.

Taking over Jdigital leadership duties, López de Torre stated that he would continue the trade body’s groundwork founded Sacha Michaud, but highlighted concerns with regards to sector social responsibilities, likely industry consolidation and developing regulatory transparency for stakeholders.

“Over the next five years, the industry will see further consolidation, something that entails greater responsibility. As a mature industry, we must be aware of the impact we have on society. If we want to continue to build a healthy and transparent industry, we must work toward ensuring monitoring and accountability.” López de Torre detailed

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Football DataCo nets Ladbrokes Coral and Kindred deals

Ladbrokes Coral and Kindred Group join a growing list of licensed betting operators, which includes bet365, Betfred, GVC, Paddy Power Betfair, Skybet and William Hill.

Through these new long term agreements, operators will be utilising match day data for the entire Premier League, English Football League (EFL, encompassing the Championship, League One and League Two and Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL, with the Premiership, Championship, League One and League Two falling under its banner), matches across their digital channels.

In addition to this, Ladbrokes Coral will also use the match day data in its retail operations across the UK, Ireland, Spain and Italy.

Adrian Ford, General Manager of Football DataCo, said “British football is a cornerstone of betting businesses, with Football DataCo’s high quality data a key component in driving turnover.

“Our agreements with Ladbrokes Coral and Kindred Group recognise DataCo’s intellectual property and the requirement to have a data usage licence”

Football Dataco was formed in 2001 by the professional football leagues in England and Scotland, designed to protect, market and commercialise their official match related data.

Working with the Premier League, EFL, SPFL and a series a partners, DataCo oversees the collection, management and distribution of the League’s official event and performance data worldwide, in addition to also protecting the copyright of still action images from the Premier League and EFL.

Its deal with Ladbrokes Coral follows last week’s news that Ladbrokes has extended its sponsorship with the SPFL to 2020.

The original deal, signed in May 2015, was the most lucrative in the league’s history, worth in excess of £4m across its initial two year period.

Despite the UK firms merger with Coral, the body will continue to be known as the Ladbrokes SPFL.

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Stars Group appoints Andrew Lee as new BetStars leader

Toronto TSX-listed online gambling firm, The Stars Group Inc, has this morning confirmed the appointment of Andrew Lee as new Managing Director of its BetStars division.

Lee the former Managing Director of William Hill Online (2012-2016), will succeed current incumbent Zeno Osskó as BetStars MD, and is expected to takeover the sports betting division’s leadership duties on 29 January.

Confirming the appointment of Lee as Bet Stars MD, Rafi Ashkenazi, CEO of The Stars Group detailed; “Andy is an experienced operator with proven credentials of developing an industry-leading online and mobile sportsbook”.

“We expect his appointment will help us achieve our aim of developing our sports betting business into a strong secondary customer acquisition channel to our leading poker business, improve its market share in our top European markets, and prepare it for future geographic expansion”.

A seasoned online betting leadership executive, Lee will be responsible for the performance, and strategic direction of BetStars, a sports betting brand targeting growth in multiple regulated markets. The Stars Group further informs that Lee will be based in the Isle of Man at Stars Interactive Group headquarters.

Commenting on leading BetStars, Lee stated; “I’m looking forward to helping The Stars Group achieve its sportsbook goals by continuing to grow and develop its customers’ experience, reach, and market share within the exciting and growing global gaming market,”

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Bookies suspend betting on X Factor return for Cheryl amid reports

The former judge is a “done deal” to return to the show, one bookmakers has said.

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Bookmakers have suspended betting on Cheryl making a return to The X Factor following reports that she is “in talks” with show bosses.

The singer, who previously acted as a judge on the show from 2008 until 2010 and then in 2014 and 2015, is said to be in line to replace current judge Nicole Scherzinger for this year’s series.

Bookmaker Coral said they will no longer allow bets on Cheryl’s potential reappearance on the ITV show.

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Coral spokesman John Hill said: “As far as we are concerned this now looks a done deal which will delight the punters who have been knocking us over to back Cheryl to make a return to the show in 2018.”

Prior to the bookmaker pulling the plug, Cheryl, 34, was at 4-1 odds to reprise her role on the talent programme.

Ladbrokes are still taking bets, with odds currently set at 4-5 for her to replace Scherzinger.

According to a report in The Sun, X Factor boss Simon Cowell is due to meet with ITV at the end of February to discuss the line-up for the next series.

The newspaper quoted a source as saying: “Cheryl is the top choice and she is keen to come on board.

“But as yet, the conversations taking place have been unofficial, because we can’t begin official talks with anyone until the show’s schedule is agreed.

“The bosses need to confirm how long the series will run for and what time it will air each week.”

The 2017 series saw Cowell and Scherzinger on the judging panel alongside Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne.

Cheryl returned for a brief stint along with Cowell during the judges’ houses stage of the competition.

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Kindred Group steps up fight against corruption in UK sports

Stockholm-listed online gambling firm Kindred Group Plc has strengthened its sports integrity initiatives confirming that it has joined the Sports Betting Intelligence Forum (SBIF) and further signed a memorandum-of-understanding with the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

Updating the market, Kindred will work with the SBIF becoming a betting industry stakeholder in developing initiatives to ‘protect sports and prevent sports corruption’.

Established in 2012, the SBIF works with sports governing bodies, betting operators, sport and betting trade associations, law enforcement and gambling regulation with aim of improving integrity standards and monitoring.

Eric Konings, the Sports Betting Integrity Officer at Kindred Group, commented: “Cooperation is key in the battle against betting-related match-fixing, and we actively seek engagement with all parties, especially law enforcement, involved to keep sports clean of these criminal influences. Therefore, we are glad about the opportunity to contribute to the success of the Sports Betting Integrity Forum, and to cooperate with the RFU. It is in the best interest of all parties involved to keep British sports clean from corruption, and we thank both the SBIF and the RFU for teaming up with us”

Further to its update, Kindred details that it will work with England’s RFU, keeping rugby union free and safe from betting-related match-fixing.

Moving forward Kindred operations will pro-actively report suspicious betting patterns directly to RFU. The European bookmaker will further work with RFU stakeholders, on corruption prevention initiatives and educational projects.

Chris Watts, Co-chair of the SBIF praised Kindred Plc’s positive approach to fighting sports corruption and welcomed the operator as new forum partner.

“I welcome Kindred Group to becoming the newest member of the UK’s National Platform. The SBIF supports and coordinates the efforts of its members to developing and delivering Britain’s Action Plan for enhancing integrity in sport and sports betting, whilst keeping pace with increasing complexities and focusing on prevention, disruption and deterrents.”

“With Kindred Group’s global reach, extensive brand portfolio and innovations in the online gambling industry, I look forward to them becoming an active member of the SBIF and making a positive contribution to the delivery of our Action Plan.”

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AGA speaks out on illegal US sports betting industry

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has estimated that in excess of $10bn will be wagered by Americans in the upcoming 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Of that figure, however, only $300m, representing around 3 percent, will be wagered legally through Nevada sportsbooks, with it stated that “failed federal prohibition [is] making common criminals of millions of Americans.”

In addition, it also estimated that US nationals illegally bet approximately $150bn per year on sports, empowered by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), called a “a failed federal prohibition on single-game sports betting” in its statement.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is to deliver its verdict later this year on the Christie v NCAA case, which sees the state of New Jersey challenge PASPA’s constitutionality and has the potential to open up legal sports betting across the US.

Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association, commented: “Our current sports betting laws are so out of touch with reality that we’re turning tens of millions of Americans into criminals for the simple act of enjoying college basketball.

“The failed federal ban on sports betting has created an illegal, unregulated sports betting market that offers zero consumer protections and generates zero revenue for state and tribal governments.

“As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of PASPA, AGA is focused on working with all stakeholders to put the illegal market out of business and enable a safe, legal way for American consumers to participate in next year’s office pool without fear of prosecution.”

The AGA details that 48 pieces of sports betting legislation are active in 18 states, as legislatures across the country prepare to take advantage of a potential roll out.

Last week New York became the latest state to introduce a bill relating to sports betting, which will be allowed to proceed should SCOTUS overturn PASPA.

Significantly bill S7900 contained an integrity fee compromise of 0.25 percent, with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (ML😎 lobbying for 1 percent.
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Matchbook extends offer to cover Grand National and Punchestown

Matchbook is extending its offer of 0% commission on all UK and Irish racing to 28th April, meaning punters can look forward to commission-free betting on both the Grand National and the Punchestown Festival next month.

Neil Campbell, Matchbook’s Chief Marketing Officer, said: “We want to keep encouraging customers to move over to the Matchbook Betting Exchange. Those that did for the Cheltenham Festival not only paid 0% commission, but they also made 20% more profit when compared to the industry SP.”

Matchbook made the decision to extend the offer after a successful Cheltenham where it saw a 100% increase in bettors and a 400% increase in betting volume. With liquidity at record levels, Matchbook wants as many horse racing fans as possible to find out just how good exchange betting can be.

“Once you’ve moved over to Matchbook we’re confident you won’t look back,” Campbell added.

Matchbook initially came under criticism from rival exchange Betfair, with the firm arguing that the 0% commission offering for all Cheltenham races would instigate a “race to the bottom”.

However, Matchbook remains confident that increased competition will benefit both punters and betting firms.

Earlier this month, the betting exchange announced horse racing figures Joseph O’Brien and Bryony Frost as ambassadors.
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The Stars Group changes corporate structure & debt capacity for Sky Bet acquisition

The Stars Group Inc has moved to restructure its corporate debt facilities, alongside its future operational structure to accommodate its agreed $4.7 billion (€3.9 billion) acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming (SB&G).

Detailing further insight of its industry-changing acquisition, Stars Group governance is set to pay ‘$3.6 billion cash’ to CVC Capital and Sky Plc for SB&G’s entire asset portfolio.

The remainder of the transaction will be payable via a 38 million ‘new common share issue’, representing approximately 20% of the Stars Group’s enlarged enterprise.

The approved acquisition sees the Toronto TSX firm significantly diversify its revenue make-up beyond its flagship PokerStars brand.

SB&G’s nine core products will be integrated within a new-look The Stars Group Inc, alongside the recently acquired Australian assets of CrownBet and William Hill Australia.

Under the terms of the acquisition, the Stars Group will retain all SB&G’s commercial rights, licensing and marketing arrangements with Sky Plc, including agreements made for the markets of Germany and Italy.

Financing the transaction and its enlarged operations, the Stars Group governance has extended its corporate debt capacity to circa $6.9 billion (€5.7 billion).

The Stars Group restructured debt capacity, consists of $5.1 billion of first lien term loans, combined with $1.4 billion of senior unsecured notes.

Furthermore, the TSX enterprise increases its active ‘revolving credit facility’ from $225 million to $400 million.

Updating the market, The Stars Group Chief Executive Rafi Ashkenazi and corporate governance will participate in an ‘investor call’ set for Monday 23 April 8.30 am Eastern Time (13:30 UK Time).
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Bookies are struggling – but they’ve got a dead cert coming up, honest

The likes of Paddy Power have reported modest results, but all eyes are now turning expectantly to the US and ‘liberalisation’

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In the moaning and whingeing stakes, bookmakers are the thoroughbreds. The government expects us to pay too much tax! Horseracing is always asking for too much money! Sporting results have gone against us!

These are familiar refrains that usually provoke cheers rather sympathy. So, last week, one of the trade tried a new one: revenues had slipped, Paddy Power Betfair sobbed, because, er, the bookie had been winning too much off its punters. As sporting excuses go, it is right up there with goalie David James blaming his butterfingers on his PlayStation or Zambian tennis player Lighton Ndefwayl putting a defeat down to his underwear and his opponent’s flatulence. (“He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts,” Ndefwayl explained.)

All of which brings us to what defence William Hill might employ this week when the old bookmaker takes its turn to update the market on trading.

Paddy Power’s argument was that its punters had lost so much money by the first part of the reporting period that they had been put off betting. Combined with the chill of the “beast from the east”, the business was knocked sideways.

William Hill has been operating in an identical environment so, one assumes, will have faced similar pressures. But there are far more pressing issues for the firm than seasonal fluctuations, which tend to even out over the long term.

First, we are approaching the point (possibly on Thursday) where a decision will be made on stakes allowed on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – the addictive gambling games in UK bookmaking shops.

Last month, shares in the UK’s biggest bookmakers fell sharply on reports that chancellor Philip Hammond had accepted the need for a £2 maximum FOBT stake – which, if true, analysts at Canaccord reckon would hit William Hill profits by a further £65m.

Second, William Hill shares are so depressed at the moment that the City reckons that the whole company is in play – just as a trend is emerging for consolidation in the industry. Sky Bet has just been sold to Canada’s Stars Group – the owner of the PokerStars online cardroom – in a deal said to have created the largest publicly listed online gaming company in the world.

Third, and perhaps most intriguingly, the US betting market is nearing a watershed liberalisation moment (again), as the supreme court considers whether to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (Paspa), which effectively outlaws sport betting across much of the US. A decision is expected any time between now and the end of June.

Curiously, considering the amount of excuses William Hill has had to trot out of late, it has a decent story to tell here. It owns a sizeable operation in Nevada, where sports betting is permitted, operating more than half the casino sports books there.

It also has a betting operation ready to go in New Jersey in partnership with Monmouth Park racecourse and says it could be ready to take bets “within days”. The firm is in negotiations with potential partners in several states and believes the US could eventually become its most profitable territory.

Still, veteran industry watchers will know that bookmakers have been talking about US liberalisation – and the fortune it is going to make them all – for decades. It has never quite come to pass, although there has always been an excuse for that too.
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Supreme Court strikes down federal anti-sports-gambling law

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The 1992 law barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.

The decision could have an effect on business in Massachusetts, even before state lawmakers can begin debating whether to legalize such gaming here.

DraftKings, the daily fantasy sports provider that is one of the largest startups in the state, is hoping to get into the business of offering sports wagers. In a statement shortly after the ruling, chief executive Jason Robins celebrated the end of an “outdated” ban.

“Our mission has always been to bring fans closer to the sports they love and now, thanks to the wisdom of the Supreme Court, DraftKings will be able to harness our proven technology to provide our customers with innovative online sports betting products,” Robins said.

One research firm estimated before the ruling that if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.

The court’s decision came in a case from New Jersey, which has fought for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks in the state.

bostonglobe.com/business...jFdYPfUHITQuM/story.html
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Can I gamble legally on sports now?

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The Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the New Jersey sports gambling case and declared that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional, leaving states to decide individually if they want to offer sports betting.

What does this mean?

Here are the top-level takeaways to your biggest questions about the ruling:

Can I bet on single-game sports with a legal bookmaker in the United States now?

Yes, but only if you're in Nevada right now. Be patient, though. That will change quickly. New Jersey expects to be up and running within weeks -- potentially in time for the NBA Finals -- and many more states are likely to follow.

But didn't sports betting just become legal across the U.S.?

The Supreme Court invalidated the federal prohibition on state-sponsored sports betting (PASPA). It is now up to the states to decide for themselves on the issue, in the same way they choose whether to offer lotteries and other forms of gambling. More than a dozen states introduced sports betting legislation early in 2018. Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia join New Jersey as the states furthest along in the process of passing laws to regulate sports betting.

What about if I live in or go to New Jersey?

You will be able to bet with a legal operator at Atlantic City casinos and the state's racetracks as soon as they are ready to go. Monmouth Park racetrack plans to be open for business within weeks of the Supreme Court ruling. Most operators will target football season to be up and running. Stay tuned.

I don't live in Nevada or New Jersey. When can I place a bet on a game?

It's going to depend on how quickly your state, if interested in sports betting, can pass legislation. Some states, such as Delaware and Pennsylvania, are ahead of the game with their legislation, but even those are probably months away from that translating into taking legal bets. And if your state has yet to introduce legislation, it could be quite a while before this happens for you.

Can I bet online and on my phone with a legal bookmaker?

Eventually. The majority of interested states plan to offer online and/or mobile wagering, and industry experts predict most bets will be placed online in the future. In New Jersey, existing brick-and-mortar locations will need some time to obtain software, install apps and establish procedures for the deposits and payouts. The process could take months.

How do the sports leagues feel about legalized sports wagering?

There is a divide among the leagues. The NBA and MLB are spearheading a state-by-state lobbying effort, supporting legislation to legalize sports betting as long as it includes certain stipulations beneficial to the sports leagues. The PGA Tour recently joined the NBA and MLB lobbying coalition, with the MLS and UFC among the other sports leagues that have spoken favorably about legalization. Before the Supreme Court ruling, the NFL, NHL and NCAA had remained mostly quiet on the issue, though. NCAA president Mark Emmert has openly discussed the potential for a carveout for college sports in any future betting legislation.

What do the NBA and MLB want?

They prefer a consistent set of regulations that provide sports governing bodies the ability to restrict or prohibit betting on league events, data rights and a percentage of the amount bet on league events paid by operators.

Will legalization lead to increased match-fixing and point-shaving scandals?

Only time will tell, but proponents -- including the NBA -- believe a legal, heavily regulated market overseen by licensed officials is the better approach to protecting the integrity of sport than the illegal market that has been serving most of the U.S. for the past quarter century.
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Bookmakers win big after Supreme Court ruling

A landmark ruling yesterday by the US Supreme Court has sent shares in UK bookmakers soaring.

The Supreme Court endorsed a New Jersey state ruling from 2014 which permits sports betting in casinos and at horse racing tracks.

At this stage, legalised betting remains only a possibility but if Congress decides against regulating sports betting directly, each state will be free to act as it pleases. The changing situation will likely benefit bookmakers and race track operators.

With the exception of Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon, sports betting is outlawed under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 and even in those states where it is permitted there are severe restrictions.

UK bookmakers well poised

Several well-known UK bookmakers are present in the US and if yesterday’s share price movements are anything to go by, they will be the biggest winners.

William Hill has a Nevada-based sports book business and while the operation has proven to be a success, it still generates only 3% of the company’s total revenues.

If sports betting is legalised, then the only way is up for William Hill as betting on nationally popular sports like the NBA and NFL should prove highly lucrative.

Paddy Power Betfair is another potential winner as it too already has a US operation.

Betfair acquired TVG, an online horse racing betting company, in 2009 and it won’t take much work to use this well-known platform to host bets on the likes of basketball and baseball providing a great boost to the company’s top and bottom lines.

In a country with three national sports and pent up demand, the potential for legal bookmakers is colossal.

The NBA’s 82 game regular season offers up 1,230 matches and the playoffs provide further opportunities. MLB’s marathon 162 game regular season is even more of a goldmine with 2,430 matches plus playoffs.

When you consider the number of possible bets per game, the vast potential offered by these sports becomes very apparent and it would not be a surprise to see bookmakers go big on these two sports.

Both William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair are in a position to act swiftly and start taking bets and the markets recognised this advantage, with the respective share prices rising 12.4% and 13.6% yesterday.

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US horse race track owner Churchill Downs also saw a 4.6% increase as it should be able to boost track side gambling revenues significantly.
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