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As World Cup arrives, Asian authorities begin defence against illegal gambling

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The Football world cup in Russia is just a couple of days away, and the law enforcement and regulatory authorities in Asia are facing a different sort of battle away from the limelight. They are readying themselves for a battle against illegal gambling operators. These illegal operators upped the ante in the region ahead of the World Cup, using state-of-the-art technology and cryptocurrencies to evade prosecution.

Such illegal activities are prevalent mostly in countries like Thailand and Malaysia, mainly for two reasons: First, football is hugely popular here. Second, people do not have any legal alternative for gambling.

However, in South Korea and the Chinese territory of Hong Kong – where betting is legal under registered bodies – the illegal gambling activities are rampant.

Illegal bookmakers have shifted to online and mobile platforms, which offer a wider range of betting options than legal vendors, making it harder for enforcement agencies to police, the experts say.

Hong Kong and Macau police have said crime syndicates have often used platforms like WeChat to place bets.

Online payment providers and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have also made it easier for illegal operators to facilitate illegal bets, according to Interpol, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which runs Hong Kong’s horse racing and football betting franchise.

“There is a need to develop and execute a sustainable enforcement strategy for a lasting impact against illegal betting and related transnational organized crime,” said Martin Purbrick, the club’s director of security and integrity.

The Jockey Club estimates Hong Kong’s illegal betting turnover this year, including the World Cup, will be at least $68 billion, compared to $6.5 billion in Singapore and $79 billion in South Korea annually.

Hong Kong earns around 5 per cent of its budget from taxing legal gambling and views illegal betting as lost potential revenue. The Jockey Club put the potential loss at about HK$13 billion ($1.7 billion) this year.

Illegal bookmakers in Hong Kong are expected to reap HK$750 million during the World Cup alone, the club said.

Illegal betting this year is expected to be far larger than during the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil, helped by the closer time zones between Russia and countries in the Asia region, according to gambling industry executives.

Asia accounts for 80 per cent of the estimated $500 billion in illegal betting volumes globally, according to Transparency International and the Asian Racing Federation.

Much of the illegal betting is facilitated by companies registered offshore, particularly in the Philippines, which sells online betting licenses to operators.

While operators can claim to be licensed in the Philippines, their sites are illegal in most jurisdictions in Asia, including Hong Kong and South Korea.

Since 2016, Philippine authorities have clamped down on illegal betting operators but there has still been a proliferation in the number of sites in operation, according to officials and executives in the country.

Alfredo Lim, president of PAGCOR, the Philippine gaming regulator, said the bureau was collaborating with government agencies to fight illegal gambling.

“We lose millions from unlawful gambling,” Lim said.

In South Korea, police said they would closely monitor illegal sports betting during the World Cup. Hong Kong police said they were conducting a large anti-gambling operation called “Crowbreak” to crack down on illegal gambling activities.

Macau, the world’s biggest gambling centre, is expected to see revenues squeezed in June due to more Chinese gamblers wagering on the World Cup than in the enclave’s glitzy casinos, according to gaming analysts.

Police in China broke up a large illegal online gambling ring in April, arresting more than 100 people, the Xinhua news agency reported, while Macau police have broken up illegal betting operations conducted via the popular WeChat app.

At the last World Cup in 2014, Interpol said during a six-week operation across China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, law enforcement officers cracked crime gangs estimated to have handled around $2.2 billion worth of bets, mainly through illicit websites.

(Reporting by Farah Master; additional reporting by Heekyong Yang in Seoul, Jerome Morales in Manila,)

Copyright 2018 Thomson Reuters.

Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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International Game Technology PLC to Host Second Quarter 2018 Results Conference Call on Tuesday, July 31, 2018

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International Game Technology PLC to Host Second Quarter 2018 Results Conference Call on Tuesday, July 31, 2018Reading Time: 2 minutes

LONDON, July, 2018 — International Game Technology PLC (“IGT”) (NYSE:IGT) will host a conference call and live webcast to discuss second quarter 2018 results for the period ended June 30, 2018 on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Conference call:
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
8:00 a.m. EDT

US/Canada Toll-Free Dial-In Number: +1 844 842 7999
Dial-In Number (Outside US/Canada): +1 612 979 9887
Conference ID (passcode): 3642779

Webcast:
A live webcast may be accessed along with accompanying slides under “News, Events & Presentations” in the Investor Relations section of IGT’s website at www.IGT.com. A replay of the webcast will be available on the website following the live event.

Telephone replay:
A telephone replay of the call will be available for one week:

US/Canada Toll-Free Dial-In Number: +1 855 859 2056
Dial-In Number (Outside US/Canada): +1 404 537 3406
Conference ID (passcode): 3642779

 

About IGT:
IGT (NYSE:IGT) is the global leader in gaming. We enable players to experience their favorite games across all channels and regulated segments, from Gaming Machines and Lotteries to Interactive and Social Gaming. Leveraging a wealth of premium content, substantial investment in innovation, in-depth customer intelligence, operational expertise and leading-edge technology, our gaming solutions anticipate the demands of consumers wherever they decide to play. We have a well-established local presence and relationships with governments and regulators in more than 100 countries around the world, and create value by adhering to the highest standards of service, integrity, and responsibility. IGT has over 12,000 employees. For more information, please visit www.IGT.com.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release may contain forward-looking statements (including within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) concerning International Game Technology PLC and its consolidated subsidiaries (the “Company”) and other matters. These statements may discuss goals, intentions, and expectations as to future plans, trends, events, dividends, results of operations, or financial condition, or otherwise, based on current beliefs of the management of the Company as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, such management. Forward-looking statements may be accompanied by words such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “shall,” “continue,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “future,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “will,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project” or the negative or other variations of them. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which such statements are made and are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside the Company’s control. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should any of the underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may differ materially from those predicted in the forward-looking statements and from past results, performance, or achievements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include (but are not limited to) the factors and risks described in the Company’s annual report on Form 20-F for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 and other documents filed from time to time with the SEC, which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and on the investor relations section of the Company’s website at www.IGT.com. Except as required under applicable law, the Company does not assume any obligation to update these forward-looking statements. You should carefully consider these factors and other risks and uncertainties that affect the Company’s business. All forward-looking statements contained in this news release are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. All subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to International Game Technology PLC, or persons acting on its behalf, are expressly qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement.

Source: Press Release submitted to European Gaming Media

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Big Fish Games migrates to new HQ, with plans to reel in top talent with eye-catching space

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Big Fish Games migrates to new HQ, with plans to reel in top talent with eye-catching spaceReading Time: 3 minutes

Big Fish Games has a new headquarters to go along with its new leader.

The Seattle-based gaming company, which was acquired by Australia’s Aristocrat Technologies for $990 million earlier this year, moved into its new office in Seattle’s Pioneer Square this week. In the appropriately named Maritime building, Big Fish has leased all the office space — 187,000 square feet in total — with more than enough room to house its 633 Seattle employees plus the more than 100 open positions the company is advertising online.

The move is another sign of a new era for Big Fish. In 2014 it was acquired by Churchill Downs Inc., operator of the famous Kentucky Derby racetrack, for $885 million and sold again to Aristocrat earlier this year.

Just this month the company announced former Electronic Arts and Zynga executive Jeff Karp is joining Big Fish Games as managing director and president. He is taking the helm permanently after former CEO Paul Thelen left following the Aristocrat acquisition.

Aimee Paganini, lead senior game producer for Big Fish, has worked through all these changes. In her six years at the company she’s worked on several of Big Fish’s flagship games like Fairway Solitaire and Panda Pandamonium, and right now her latest game, Let’s Dish, is in Google’s open beta program. Paganini, who leads a team of 27 people, said not much has changed with her day-to-day operations despite the company shuffling between two parent companies in four years.

“I’m really fortunate that I have a boss and a general manager that allows our team to run as a small business,” Paganini said. “They’re the investors, so we need to make them happy.”

But the new headquarters will bring major changes for Paganini and everyone else at Big Fish. Employees felt like fishes out of water in the old HQ space at 333 Elliott West, which Big Fish steadily grew into over the years.

The company started looking for space two years ago, and at the time it surveyed employees to see what they wanted. The main gripe was lack of transit connections. The old office, which is just a few blocks down from where Expedia is setting up its Seattle HQ for a move next year, only has access to a couple of bus lines. Pioneer Square is the transit hub of the region, with hundreds of buses and a light rail line just a few blocks away, and plenty of access to restaurants and other attractions.

“We were out on a deserted island or at least peninsula on Elliott Avenue, so coming here it really opened up the ability for people to go out and experience the neighborhood,” said Evan Cottingham, director of real estate and facilities for Big Fish.

The old office was never a perfect fit for Big Fish, as the company gradually took on more and more space in the building from Classmates.com. Gaming companies have different needs than traditional office users — testing areas, big desks to spread out multiple devices and monitors, lots of collaboration spaces for meetings — and none of that really existed in Big Fish’s old space.

For Big Fish, the new digs will help with recruiting in the competitive gaming hub of Seattle that includes tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft and others prominent gaming powerhouses such as Valve and Bungie. Before, Cottingham said its interview rooms were “windowless dungeons,” and now they look out over the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.

Nearby spaces for human testers will have multiple cameras that track eye and hand movement of users when playing.

“Everyone assumes that a game company, a tech company, is a playground, but there’s a lot of work,” Cottingham said. “I can’t fathom how much Aimee and her team does to produce a game, so I need to design for all those ideas.”

Big Fish leased the building close to two years ago in a deal brokered by Seattle real estate company Clark Fadden and has been waiting for its new HQ since. During that time, the Maritime Building has undergone a complex and unique renovation. Crews dropped three additional stories on top of the 108-year-old structure to add to the office space.

 

Source

Source: Press Release submitted to European Gaming Media

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Aruze Gaming America Enters Licensing Agreement with Walker Digital Table Systems, LLC.

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Aruze Gaming America Enters Licensing Agreement with Walker Digital Table Systems, LLC.Reading Time: 2 minutes

Aruze Gaming America, Inc. (“Aruze”) obtaines a license from Walker Digital Table Systems, LLC (“WDTS”) to the world’s most powerful RFID chip technology, PJM3.0™.

 

“As we expand our business, we’re partnering with the best companies in these new areas. We are excited about the potential that these relationships unlock,” said Eric Persson, Aruze Gaming’s Global Chief Operating Officer and President of Aruze Gaming America.

“We are very pleased that Aruze has chosen PJM3.0™ for their RFID chip solution,” said Neil Crossan, Chief Commercial Officer for WDTS. “As a leading casino supplier, they have adopted the global standard, opening up a world of possibilities for their customers. PJM3.0™ is the RFID protocol that supports table gaming applications in the world’s largest casinos, delivering unmatched game protection, data and performance.”

As Aruze continues to expand their product offerings, they will be delivering their casino chips and RFID casino chips to the casino industry before the end of 2018, with the first install slated to happen in October 2018.

Persson adds, “We intend to be a major market disruptor, with the best technologies and prices that are often half that our competitors are charging. Walker Digital’s PJM3.0™ technology coupled with our chips allows us to provide a turnkey product to our customers.”

For more information regarding Aruze’s RFID casino chips or Aruze’s Electronic Table Games products, please contact Brandon Knowles at Brandon.Knowles@Aruze-Gaming.com.

 

About Aruze Gaming:
Aruze Gaming designs, develops, and manufactures slot machines and gaming devices for the global casino market. With affiliates in America, Hong Kong, Australia, South Africa, Macau, Philippines, and Japan, Aruze Gaming produces innovative gaming products, including high-resolution video and stepper slot machines, communal gaming products, and multi-terminal devices.
For more news and information about Aruze, please visit http://www.aruzegaming.com.

About Walker Digital Table Systems:
WDTS provides automation for live-dealt casino games including the RFID-enabled Perfect Pay™ table system that sets the standard for game security, accuracy and efficiency while delivering the player’s preferred live gaming experience. WDTS solutions are powered by patented PJM3.0™ technology, the fastest RFID for gaming. WDTS is headquartered in Las Vegas with sales support in Macau, SAR.
For more information about WDTS, please visit http://www.wdtablesystems.com or email contact@wdtablesystems.com.

Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” based on current expectations that are inherently subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or achievements may be materially different from those expressed or implied. Our plans and objectives are based on various assumptions, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many of which are beyond our control and are subject to change. Therefore, there can be no assurance that any forward-looking statement will prove to be accurate.

Source: Press Release submitted to European Gaming Media

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