iGaming Firm Rollbit Secures Southampton FC Front of Shirt Sponsorship

Curacao-based iGaming brand Rollbit has secured its first English Premier League partner in a front of shirt sponsorship deal with newly-promoted franchise Southampton FC.

Southampton took to X on Monday to announce its official partnership with Rollbit for the 2024-25 EPL season with a spoof video:

The crypto-based platform, which offers casino, sports betting, and futures trading services, also secured the rights to display its branding around the Saints’ St Mary’s stadium via LED ads and hospitality.

In an official news release, Southampton’s Chief Revenue Officer Greg Baker welcomed Rollbit “into the Saints family.” He said the tie-up heralds a “dynamic fusion of technology and sport, at an exciting time for the club.”

The Saints were demoted to the Championship in 2023 after a run of 11 years in the EPL. The south coast franchise, however, bounced back into English soccer’s showcase league at their first attempt after a 1-0 victory over Leeds United on May 26 in the Championship playoff final.

Rollbit’s Head of Partnerships Sam Norman said his firm was “delighted” to secure the new deal following Southampton’s “incredible win” over Leeds. Norman made reference to “an exciting next chapter” and stated Southampton’s EPL pedigree made it the perfect fit for Rollbit as the brand that styles itself as “crypto’s most innovative casino” seeks to expand its global reach.

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Founder of Zero Edge Crypto Casino Gambled Away $3.7m of Investor Money

A quick spiral

The founder of the Zero Edge crypto casino has apologized after taking at least $3.7m of investor money and gambling it away on leveraged cryptocurrency trades.

Richard Kim, who recently was a general partner of Galaxy Interactive, admitted during an interview with CoinDesk that he lost the cash after a $7m fundraising round that ended on June 20.

his struggles with gambling go back decades

The leveraged trades began the very next day and it was June 29 that he told the board about the losses, which led to the directors requesting his resignation. He blamed the big losses on Bitcoin’s price dropping last month from almost $70,000 to around $62,000 and said that his struggles with gambling go back decades.

Holding up his hands

Kim reported his transgressions to the public tip line of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), explaining that his actions were “grossly negligent. But I didn’t intend to go run away with this money.” He said that falling victim to an $80,000 phishing attack was the catalyst as he tried to claw back losses.

Kim previously worked in the trading divisions at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, as well as the well-known law firm Cleary Gottlieb.

An email received by investors from Zero Edge detailed how Kim handed in his resignation on July 2. Galaxy, which is among the crypto casino’s backers, reported the matter to the relevant authorities.

Not giving up

Zero Edge claimed to be different from other cryptocurrency casinos as it didn’t add edge to the games. Kim only started the company in March after departing Galaxy. He still intends to build the product and repay investors, despite the board of directors planning to wind down operations due to the reputational risk.

compels me to create trustless systems”

Explaining why people should trust him after his recent actions, Kim said: “It is precisely the fact that I have proven untrustworthy that compels me to create trustless systems.”

He isn’t the first person involved in a cryptocurrency company to misappropriate funds and use them to gamble. A developer for the crypto trading platform Cypher stole $317,000 in May and used the money to feed his gambling addiction.

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Thousands of Star Casino Slot Machines Shut Down Following Upgrade

Star Entertainment Group has announced that the slot machines at its casinos are currently down following an issue when upgrading the systems. The Australian company is preparing to introduce cashless gaming and discovered certain performance issues.

will lead to a significant drop in revenue at Star casinos

The machines were shut off on Saturday evening and remain down, which will lead to a significant drop in revenue at Star casinos in Brisbane, Sydney, and the Gold Coast.

In a statement on Monday morning, the company said that it decided to switch the slots off “to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and to maintain the company’s commitment to safer gambling procedures.”

It is working with the external provider of these machines, Konami, to get everything back to normal. The other operations at these properties remain available including table games, restaurants, and bars.

Under the new cashless gaming rules, anyone playing a slot machine has to scan a card that verifies their age and identity. Gamblers can still use cash on the machines after they tap their card.

Star believes the new limits will help combat money laundering and also help identify problematic gambling. The Star has until the end of August to ensure these changes are in place.

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UK Gambling Regulator Publishes Gambling Survey Data Amid Industry Optimism Over New Government

Survey data released

The United Kingdom’s gambling regulator used the release of fresh data from its Gambling Survey for Great Britain (GSGB) to announce a July 25 date for the publishing of its first annual GSGB survey amid industry optimism over the new Labour government.

part two of data that will inform the GSGB’s first annual report

On Wednesday, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)’s Head of Statistics Helen Bryce posted an introduction and summary of part two of data that will inform the GSGB’s first annual report.

Data for the concluding part of the upcoming report came from a NatCen-conducted survey that ran across the UK from November to February, canvassing 5,003 participants aged 18 or above.

Bryce wrote on the UKGC’s website that the new data shows most people gamble “for fun or for the chance to win money.”

Lottery remains king

Essentially, key outtakes from part two of the data show no change in betting patterns from part one, which interviewed 4,801 participants from July to November 2023.

Lotteries remain king in the UK, with 21% of respondents taking part in National Lottery draws, and 15% in charity lottery draws. The country’s next favorite gambling activity was scratchcards at 13%.

large proportion of online gamblers that only gamble on lottery draws”

While online gambling participation was at 36%, removing lottery draw-only players brought the online total to just 14%, with the UKGC highlighting “the large proportion of online gamblers that only gamble on lottery draws.”

Along with part two came data that was harvested over 12 months asking people how they rated their last gambling experience. The regulatory body reported 41% said their experience was positive, 22% expressed negative feelings, while 37% neither loved nor hated their last gambling encounter.

While this year’s GSGB annual report will contain data from two-part surveys, future annual reports will be comprised of four-part data surveys. Bryce stated that adding the two extra data streams will allow the regulator to “go into more detail about how responses vary across different population sub groups.”

Positive signs

Of all the data to pick out, Bryce’s decision to highlight both gambling and fun in the same sentence underlines what might be a positive wind of change for the UK industry following the landslide win of Keir Starmer’s Labour over Rishi Sunak’s Tories.

In a move welcomed by Michael Dugher, Chairman of UK gambling industry body the Betting and Gaming Council, new Prime Minister Starmer recently appointed Lisa Nandy First Secretary for Culture, Media, and Sport. Nandy’s role is pivotal in establishing and legalizing new rules for the UK gambling industry.

In what could bode well for the UK gambling industry, Dugher stated that Nandy is “a powerful advocate for working people and their culture.” The BGC chair said Nandy’s ethos was vital for the “110,000 people whose jobs depend on regulated betting—from bingo to casinos, high street retail to big tech and online.”

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Several Las Vegas Casinos Accused of Ignoring Sex Trafficking

Venetian among casinos accused

Multiple Las Vegas casinos have been named in a lawsuit which alleges they permitted sex trafficking operations on their property.

The lawsuit has been filed against a number of casinos including Mandalay Bay, The Venetian, and MGM Grand on behalf of an anonymous complainant, known as Tyla D., who was a victim of sex trafficking when just 14 years old in 2006.

Filed by THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys and Hilton Parker LLC on behalf of Tyla, the action claims that the casinos violated both the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 and the Child Abuse Victims’ Rights Act of 1986.

Tyla didn’t look 18, let alone 21. She looked like what she was”

According to the filing, Tyla was forced by her traffickers to walk around the casino floors and gamble small amounts of money on slot machines while looking for customers, using a fake ID under the name of Naina Santiago. “Tyla didn’t look 18, let alone 21. She looked like what she was, a lost and frightened 14- (and eventually 15-) year-old girl, dressed up for sex appeal by an older man,” stated the complaint.

Claims casinos ignored crimes

Tyla managed to escape her traffickers after being arrested in 2007, but was forced back into sex work in casinos in 2013, when she was 21 years old. At this time, casinos had invested heavily in facial recognition technology, which the lawsuit alleges should have ensured that the casinos recognized Tyla, but elected to turn a blind eye instead.

complaint states that Tyla’s true purpose for being in the casino would have been obvious to customers

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the casinos allowed Tyla to both enter their properties and gamble without performing any requisite ID checks. The complaint states that Tyla’s true purpose for being in the casino would have been obvious to customers, but that this was ignored by staff.

“The employees turned a blind eye to Tyla’s plight because to do otherwise would have inconvenienced the employees and potentially upset her clients,” continued the complaint.

Sex trafficking has been a persistent problem for casinos both in Las Vegas and elsewhere in the US. In December 2023, a couple staying at The Strat hotel in Vegas was arrested for trafficking a minor, while in February 2024 another couple was charged for the same offense in Missouri.

Casinos deny culpability

In response, the casinos have moved to deny any responsibility, insisting both that the case is beyond the statute of limitations, and that they did not participate in or benefit from the sex trafficking operation.

In a movement to dismiss the case, the defendants stated: “As proud supporters of non-profit organizations that help trafficking survivors in their recovery, Movants condemn human trafficking categorically, have the utmost sympathy for its victims, and are deeply dismayed by the allegation that this heinous crime may have unfolded at their properties.

“But on these facts alleged, Movants cannot, as a matter of law, be held legally responsible for the clandestine crimes of Tyla’s alleged traffickers or the many others that she claims were directly involved.”

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Bally’s Allays Fears Over Chicago Casino Development By Securing $2.07bn in Funding

Bally’s Corporation is in the process of developing Chicago’s first casino and has had to overcome certain challenges along the way. Issues over the location of a 500-room hotel caused consternation due to underlying water pipes and industry experts expressed concerns over the casino company’s ability to finance the project.

will initially charge Bally’s $20m rent per year

Bally’s has eased these concerns after announcing on Friday that it secured $2.07bn in funding from Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI), a real estate investment trust (REIT). In the deal, GLPI will own the real estate on which the property will be built and will initially charge Bally’s $20m rent per year.

As part of the agreement, GLPI will acquire the real estate of Bally’s Shreveport and Bally’s Kansas City properties for $395m. Bally’s also committed to selling the land of Twin River Lincoln in Rhode Island for $735m by the end of 2026.

The company also announced the new location of the 34-story hotel, which will be on the site’s southern end instead of the northern part. The current plan is for the property to open by the fall of 2026, at which point the temporary casino at Medinah’s Temple will close.

Talking about the deal, GLPI CEO and Chairman Peter Carlino said it will be “working hand-in-hand with Bally’s to bring this project to fruition on time and on budget.”

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Colorado Tribe Sues State Over Online Sports Betting

Southern Ute to file lawsuit in District Court

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Colorado has taken legal action against Governor Jared Polis and the state gaming division.

The tribe filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Colorado on Tuesday, arguing that they have been unfairly prevented from operating an online sports betting platform in the state.

“The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has been forced to file a lawsuit in federal court against the state of Colorado because the administration refuses to honor express commitments the state made to the tribe,” said Tribal Chairman Melvin J. Baker.

the State is powerless to tax the Tribe or require the Tribe to pay any revenues whatsoever to the State”

The lawsuit, against both Gov. Polis and Colorado Division of Gaming Director Chris Schroder, argues that the dispute comes down to tax revenues, stating that Polis “has improperly sought to exclude the Tribe from the Colorado sport betting market because the State is powerless to tax the Tribe or require the Tribe to pay any revenues whatsoever to the State.”

“Governor Polis has sought to manipulate the market so he can extract the maximum amount of taxes from sport betting activities with no care, concern or respect for the negative economic consequences for Colorado’s Tribal communities.”

Tribe alleges breach of 1995 agreement

A compact dating from 1995 allows tribal nations in Colorado to conduct gaming operations so long as they have similar games and betting limits to other legal options in the state. As a result of the compact, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe opened the Sky Ute Casino Resort, which is otherwise regulated by the tribe themselves rather than the state.

allowing Colorado residents to make off-reservation bets from anywhere in the state.

However, the Southern Ute claim that they were not adequately consulted when Proposition DD was passed by voters in 2019, which allowed legal online sports betting in the state. A Sky Ute sportsbook was established, allowing Colorado residents to make off-reservation bets from anywhere in the state. However, officials argued this should require a state license, which would subject it to a 10% tax rate and potentially clash with federal law concerning tribal gaming.

As a result, the Southern Ute argue that Polis delayed the application until other organizations had flooded the market, unfairly locking them out of the opportunity. The Sky Ute sportsbook closed down in 2023.

Familiar dispute over online sports bets

The dispute over whether online bets placed off reservations are considered to be on tribal land or not is not a new one. The case bears some similarities to a recent dispute involving the Seminole tribe in Florida, who have exclusive rights to online sports betting in the state.

The lawsuit asks the court to consider whether the governor and Colorado Division of Gaming’s decisions have been fully compliant with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and demands an injunction to prevent the “anti-sovereignty approach” to interference in tribal gaming.

“We like to resolve our differences amicably”, continued the statement from Baker. “We have spent years trying to do so, but here we have no choice.”

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Mirage Casino to Give Away $1.6m to Gamblers Before Closing on July 17

The Mirage casino resort in Las Vegas is giving away $1.6m before closing on July 17, though not out of the goodness of its heart. This money comes from outstanding progressive jackpots and Nevada law requires casinos to pay them out before closing their doors.

Patrons will have a chance to receiving part of the $200,000 in guaranteed slots winnings each day on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. They have to play a slot machine with a Unity card within two minutes of the draw to have a shot at a prize.

All told, there is $1.2m in slots money to be had.

The pot will rise to $250,000 for Friday and Saturday, with the remaining $100,000 reserved for July 16. All told, there is $1.2m in slots money to be had. The $400,000 table game jackpots will be given away separately on Friday and Saturday. Anyone who still has Mirage casino chips has 120 days after the property’s closure to claim their money at Treasure Island’s cashier cage.

The Mirage was an iconic Las Vegas Strip property and was the first proper mega-resort to open in the city. Hard Rock International bought it in 2022 for $1.08bn and will redevelop the facility into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which should be open in 2027. The new owners are holding a press conference on July 17 to mark the closure.

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AGA Endorses Legislation to Combat Human Trafficking Through Employee Training

The American Gaming Association (AGA) is endorsing legislation that would incentivize employers to train their workers to identify and combat cases of human trafficking.

Congressmen Troy Carter and David Valadao introduced their proposal on Tuesday that would create a new program under the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign to certify employers that provide relevant training.

AGA CEO and President Bill Miller spoke about the responsibility businesses in the entertainment and hospitality space have in fighting against human trafficking, saying that the “gaming industry is wholly committed to this imperative.” He thanked the congressmen for their efforts in recognizing that businesses can play a key role in the matter.

get the necessary training to spot indicators of crime

Congressman Valadao remarked that it is vital that people in the hospitality, entertainment, and transportation sectors get the necessary training to spot indicators of crime as they are on the front lines. This could save lives and help fight against those who commit “this growing and disturbing crime.”

The AGA does already offer free online training to educate gaming employees on ways to combat human trafficking.

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Entain’s AI Player Protection Sees 98% Increase in Player Uptake

Entain AI protection flags hundreds

Entain’s AI-powered player protection tool has seen a significant uptake in players using the system, according to the latest ESG report from the company.

The tool, named Advanced Responsibility and Care (ARC), saw an increase in usage of over 98%, with ARC flagging up to 742,122 customers over the 12-month period.

ARC makes heavy use of AI models to assess players’ risk levels and draw attention to unusual behavior. Game selection, deposit and withdrawal sizes, session length, are among 26 “markers of protection” used by the model to monitor individual player accounts.

After being flagged, players are recommended various player protection features depending on their circumstances. They may be encouraged to set deposit or loss limits, or even be directed to self-exclusion tools and treatment programs.

98% of individuals identified as high-risk opted to implement at least one player protection feature

Overall, there were 8.7 million ARC interventions in the 12-month period, which resulted in 98% of individuals identified as high-risk opting to implement at least one player protection feature. For players identified as medium-risk, the figure was 65%.

UK regulatory landscape still uncertain

ARC was rolled out in 2021 across 27 jurisdictions for Entain’s online gambling offerings, and also operates in the company’s many retail outlets across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, including major bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral.

The UK in particular has seen greater calls for gambling reform in recent years, with a consultation taking place when ARC was launched. A recent Freedom of Information request revealed that the consultation found heavy opposition to affordability checks from gamblers, and it remains to be seen how the recent change of government will affect the regulatory landscape in the country.

In a further effort to boost its contribution towards safer gambling (and with it, its ESG score), Entain increased its contributions towards Research, Education and Treatment (RET) of gambling to £18.7m ($23.7m). The move was part of an agreement in 2021 where the five largest members of the UK Gaming and Betting Council agreed to contribute 1% of their Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) per year for the purpose, up from 0.5%.

Entain withdraws from unregulated markets

Elsewhere in the report, Entain also confirmed that it now receives 100% of its revenue from regulated markets. The company had come under scrutiny from a UK government investigation into its activity in unregulated markets in previous years, and agreed to withdraw from all such territories other than those where it had a clear pathway to a license.

“The technology behind ARC leverages behavioral indicators, data science, and analytics to assess risk in betting and gaming, working behind the scenes using advanced artificial intelligence to learn and identify risks in player behavior,” stated the report.

These models are based on academic research and are constantly evaluated and retrained”

“To cover multiple elements of risky play, ARC uses three models to assess each individual player’s level of risk in real-time to help reduce risky behavior. These models are based on academic research and are constantly evaluated and retrained as necessary to further improve their accuracy.”

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