Australasian Gaming Expo 2018 – purpose and hot topics covered

The Australasian Gaming Expo 2018 will be taking place between 14 – 16 August 2018 and it will gather for the 28th year in a row, leading enterprises in the industry. The Gaming Technology Association is once again the organizer, and the big event will take place at the International Convention Centre Sidney. For those that activate in the accommodation industry, but also casinos and clubs, attendance is a no-discussion topic.

With the main purpose to announce the latest innovations in the gaming industry, new networking opportunities and a launching opportunity for association developing the latest gaming technologies, the event is a true learning opportunity, featuring a series of seminars, during the three-day exhibition. Some new additions that caught everybody’s attention for this year’s line-up are the Networking Zone and the “First Timers” Program.

The Networking Zone is expected to be the heartbeat of the Expo, as it will allow businesses in the industry to get in touch with each other, bond collaboration relationships with fellow businesses that activate in the casino, club and accommodation industry, as Ross Ferrar, CEO of Gaming Technologies Association claims. The Networking Zone will have a specifically tailored a Networking Lounge, as a better context for these connections to take place and develop.

The First Timers Program will welcome those businesses that are new to this event, but also all the other new attendees. Those that will attend the First Timers Program will be presented the premises by a guide; they will be presented with some of the hottest areas of the expo and will also benefit from a dedicated networking event that will help newcomers get in touch with each other and get the most out of this event.

A hot topic that will be touched during the expo will be, just like last year, the importance of proper and meaningful education and professional development in the industry. During the entire event, the seminars will take place according to a schedule. Last year, only two of the three days included seminars, which brings a little extra for everybody that is attending the event in 2018.

With a big emphasis on emerging and disruptive technologies in the gaming, hospitality industry but also regarding the client and their needs in Australasia, this year’s program is expected to surpass everybody’s expectations in terms of meaningful and relevant information offered to businesses in all related industries. This is one of the main reasons the event’s organizers think that the impressive number of 6,000 attendees will be outnumbered this year. Also, the importance of the millennial generation and the disruptions brought in the industry are to be debated, besides the usual regulations, politics, and practices that are characteristic to the industry.

The whole event has a webpage dedicated to it, with plentiful information regarding the hot speakers, but also a detailed schedule of the whole event, including the seminars that are expected to take place during each day of the event.

 

New investments are planned for Queensland

Queensland is known for the initiatives they take in order to improve the economics of the territory. So there is no surprise that they decided to bring the world’s most well-known investors in casino industry to the region in an attempt to improve the state’s finances. The officials of the eastern Australian state decided to reach the representatives of the most noticeable casino brands from Macau and Las Vegas in order to understand how they can successfully invest in this domain. They know that the best strategy to attract casino operators to Australia is to travel to the City of Lights, meet with the casino companies and present them the benefits they will have if they will choose to invest in Queensland. Queensland will be represented by Kate Jones when the delegates will travel to Las Vegas and Macau. She is the Queensland Tourism Minister, so she is the right person to negotiate with casino operators.

During the official visit, Jones and her team plan to get in touch with representatives of companies as MGM Resorts International and Caesar Entertainment, because they want to collaborate with great brands in order to improve the effectiveness of the tourism strategies they are using at the present moment. They want to bring famous casino names to Queensland because in this way they will attract a higher number of tourists who will opt for longer vacations. If tourists stay longer then they will spend more money and they will facilitate job creation. This is an initiative that will increase the number of jobs for the locals so it is saluted by officials from all around Australia.

Jones stated that she got in touch with some of the world’s biggest brands, and they are willing to invest here, but before deciding what operators will establish their businesses here, the Minister has to make sure that they will choose the best opportunities for the locals. Nowadays the monopoly on casino operations in Australia is held by the Star Entertainment Group Limited. This company not only that owns but also operates some great hotels and casinos in Australia, The Star, in Sydney, The Star Gold coast, on the Gold coast and the Treasury Casino and Hotel in Brisbane.

The same group also operates the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition center on the side of Queensland officials. Alongside Star Entertainment Group Limited, the officials of Queensland plan to bring new names both in Cairns and on the Gold Coast. They have as main goal to bring to Australia operators that are able to provide integrated solutions. It is crucial for the economics of the region the casino resorts to also offer restaurants, hotels and entertainment spaces. It is important to say that Jones is not supported by all officials of the state, some politicians argue her choices. Some people consider that the trip Jones takes is not for official reasons but for personal ones, and she will only use the state’s funds to pay for her trip to Las Vegas. In order to defend herself, she told Nine Network that famous entertainment companies have contacted her because they want to invest in Queensland and she wants to make sure that the region will have only benefits if they choose to collaborate.

New social betting games introduced by SportsCaller and Sportsbet partnership

Free-to-play sports games grow in popularity, and two big players in the industry are ready to sign another partnership in this regard.

By prolonging the contract with Sportsbet, Sportscaller introduced to their clients a series of social betting games, games that are due to satisfy the client’s passion for two of the most loved sports across Australia: rugby and football. The localized titles will offer jackpots that pass AU$350,000 (US$263,480). Sportscaller claimed that these games are developed to help the company increase the acquisition and retention potential.

Initially, the two corporations had a deal to supply the Melbourne-based Sportsbet with a free game, based on the US National Basketball League, but due to the incredible success, it was shortly re-commissioned to develop games and titles based on the sports with a high attraction to the Australian public. The games will involve rules and regulations of the Australian rugby and football league. The goal of the two collaborators is to also increase betting rates amongst the Australian public. The games will be developed in such a fashion to be easy to integrate on bookmaker’s apps. This will provide the two companies an increased “organic cross-sale”.

Such additions in bookmarker’s app inventory are due to broaden the audience, increase betting and retention rates. As the games are developed based on some of the most popular national games, this perspective is an attainable and realistic one; both casual and dedicated betters responded positively to the first FTP game.

SportsCaller’s representative, Cillian Barry, claimed that the game developer’s database is a highly flexible and adaptable one, being one of the pioneers in the free-to-play jackpot game industry. The Managing Director also described the company’s decision as a “no-brainer”, is the only logical step that the company could take regarding the collaboration of the two. What may seem like an ambitious project, the decision was based on the incredible performance results that appeared as the first partnership between SportsCaller and Sportsbet ended. Higher retention rates, higher bets, these all were palpable results of the development and implementation of the first FTP game.

The prediction game industry is a flourishing one, and the NBA-based game developed by the experts at SportsCaller hooked the Australian public, as the games allow players to make live-bets, seamlessly integrated into the games. But the company’s visionary projects don’t end here. The developer also launched a series of World Cup prediction games that allow players to answer a series of betting-related questions and win prizes. Also, the bet prompts will allow players to convert that prizes into real money.

The final project aims to include all the games into a single Sportsbet app. This is expected to generate a higher revenue for both companies, as an increased number of options will encourage active betting, even from casual player’s side.

Should we expect even more similar collaborations? Most certainly, if the current partnership will deliver the expected results. Regardless, FTP games have an incredible potential, boosting bookmaker’s profits, as proven in this particular case.

Victorian budget 2018-2019: no mention of the point of consumption tax on betting

On Tuesday, May 1, the Victorian Government established the state’s budget for 2018-2019 but, in spite of rumours of a point of consumption tax being introduced for corporate bookmarkers, lawmakers did not include this topic on the agenda.

Lawmakers from several other Australian states declared that they would introduce a point of consumption tax in order to receive part of the income that remote gambling operators made on their territories. During last year’s talks, the Victorian Government expressed their intention of taking similar measures, but it seems that it will not happen too soon.

Due to lower taxes, the vast majority of Australian bookmakers are registered in the Northern Territory, but they operate across the entire continent. As a result, more state governments have decided to introduce a tax – the point of consumption tax – so that these betting houses had to pay a percentage of their profit to the states where they were servicing, even though they were licensed in another territory.

The tax value depends on local state policies. For example, in South Australia the point of consumption tax on betting is at 15%. As of 2019, Western Australia will implement the same tax. Other states, such as Queensland and New South Wales, have not included this in their budgets yet, but they have promised to do so and have published discussion papers in this regard.

Victorian lawmakers expressed their intentions of introducing the point of consumption tax of 8% in 2017, so many expected the announcement on Tuesday, but it seems that the tax will not come into effect in 2018 or 2019. According to State Treasurer Tim Pallas, lawmakers are still discussing the matter of the point of consumption tax and the public will receive more details on the matter in the upcoming months. Should the tax be introduced eventually, it could generate up to 150 million Australian dollars per year for Victoria.

The point of consumption tax not being mentioned in the budget announcement raised concerns regarding the aggressiveness of betting ad campaigns. A gambling ad ban is currently in place, as the federal government forbids bookmakers from advertising their services during live sports events between 5 am and 8:30 pm. This measure was taken to reduce the exposure of certain categories of the population (especially children or people with history of gambling addiction) to tempting ads and prevent them from gambling irresponsibly, but the lack of a concrete measure has people worried that betting operators will launch aggressive ad campaigns. According to the latest research, a typical Australian betting enthusiast loses around A$1,000 on gambling and there is a great deal of public concern on how much young people are exposed to misleading gambling ads. This is one of the reasons why in 2017 Victorian lawmakers banned gambling ads on public transport and near schools.

As other states implement point consumption taxes and Victoria delays taking measures in this regard, the territory will become more attractive to betting operators, who are likely to increase their activity in this sector. Considering that the Australian betting industry keeps on growing, lawmakers are under pressure to regulate their activity and provide a sustainable legal framework in the best interest of Australian bettors.

Daily fantasy sports come to Australia thanks to DraftKings

DraftKings mentioned that launching daily fantasy sports (DFS) to Australia could end up being more profitable than people expect. Bringing DFS to more markets is the company’s goal since forever. DFS wants to expand internationally and carefully assess what the results will be. The next location for the DFS opening in Australia. DraftKings announced that DFS got all of their legal licenses to launch the company here. The only region that is not included in what DraftKings planned is South Australia, which seems to have its own gaming regime. Yet DFS will reach around 20 million persons in Australia, which is quite impressive.

Fantasy sports sites such as Draftstars, PlayON and Moneyball also serve Australia in terms of DFS. This is why it was paramount for DraftKings to consult the Northern Territory Racing Commission for a permit. The NTRC mentioned that PlayOn and Moneyball are actually sports bookmakers. DraftKings focuses on paid-entry fantasy sports. Anyway, DraftKings decided not to officially announce the launch of DFS in Australia because the sport plans are not yet defined. DraftKings mentioned they will take into account cricket, rugby and Australian rules football. Australians are eager to play NBA and golf as well.

At this moment, DraftKings serves countries such as the UK, Germany, Austria, Malta, and Ireland. At first, DraftKings activated in different parts of the US only. They continue to expand to this day. The CEO of DraftKings, Jason Robins said that Australia is a promising country in terms of launching DFS there because of the high passion of the locals to get closer to such sports. This is why Australia represents one of the most important potential markets for DraftKings and it should not miss the chance of launching here. DraftKings has international expectations that they plan to transform into reality in the future years.

In the DFS industry, there are numerous other companies that can’t even think of launching internationally. For instance, FanDuel immediately pulled back from launching on a global level. They even stopped offering their services to the UK market. Yahoo DFS also decided that they should leave the UK. This means that the only competition that DraftKings will face is PlayON, although they offer niche products. DraftKings has the possibility to launch DFS freely, but it has to pay attention to multiple factors when doing it.

As in any other situation, there are several risks that DraftKings exposes itself to. The company will invest a lot of money in launching and expending it, without properly knowing if it is going to generate the expected profit. DraftKings might need to invest in strong marketing campaigns to gain customers, which is unlikely for the company. The company used to launch on new markets without working too hard on attracting users. This time, marketing campaigns are more like a necessity rather than an option. The addressable potential audience is promising, so – with the right strategy – DraftKings possesses all chances to rule the DFS industry on a global scale.

 

What do Australians excel at? Losing money when gambling

When visiting Australia one thing that will hit you in the face is that they have electronic gambling machines at every step. What effect does this have on people’s savings? Well, the majority of them are not able to save a single penny, because they lose around 24 billion Australian dollars annually. Australia has registered the greatest losses in the world when it comes to gambling.

Here there are numerous forms of gambling, people have access to pokies, casinos and multiple types of electronic gambling machines. The losses reported in Australia are the greatest in the world because they have these machines installed everywhere, not only inside casinos, like other states of the world have. Every hotel, restaurant, and pub has an area dedicated to gambling. What the majority of Australian citizens do not know is that the biggest brands in their country are also the greatest pokies operators. One example is Woolworths –  the most well-known supermarket chain of Australia, which also happens to be specialized in installing gambling machines around the country.

The main question people have in mind is Why does the state approve of pokies being installed everywhere? The answer is simple. A great part of the state’s revenue comes from gambling. If you check the studies you will notice that people are simply obsessed with gambling in Australia, and the less wealthy regions are the ones that spend the most on this pastime activity. Why does this happen? Because casinos have worked on their methods of reaching customers and maximising their income. They invest in exquisite venues, many of them offer free drinks and food to their clients and all of them hire only model-looking people as staff.

To see how big this phenomenon is, there are regions where people make reservations for certain machines in casinos because they consider that they win only if they use a particular one. This shows only one thing, for Australians, gambling is one of the activities they practice the most. Australians state that when they leave home, to go shopping for example, they do not intend to gamble, but they are attracted by the way the casinos and pokies areas are organized.

To show people what is really going on, Andrew Wilkie, an Australian politician, decided to publish documents that show how companies such as Woolworths manage to have so many gamblers. They collect information on their clients and they know when they are likely to spend more, what their favourite activities are, and even if they are married or not. In a state where there are tough regulations for cigarettes and guns, some might wonder why politicians do not confront this issue. There are voices that state that politicians are simply afraid to get involved into a public war with the gambling companies. Others consider that Australians have a blind spot for this activity, like Americans have for guns. Also, some believe that if gambling machines were heavily regulated, this would lead to great job losses, and this is one of the main reasons they prefer to not get involved in the process. What’s the truth? Only time will tell.

Nevertheless, to avoid such troubles, we recommend you to use online casinos, read reviews and forums carefully, as well as to look for trusted and reliable casino operators.

Gambling advertising just became much more complicated

People got used to the many ads popping on television, radio or other digital sources in terms of gambling. Well, this is no longer allowed due to the tighter regulations set by the government. Tabcorp, which is entirely based on online sports and horse racing betting will suffer tremendously given the new regulations. Promotions that are somehow related to gambling or betting in any way will be entirely banned. Even though punters considered these ads extremely helpful, they are now unavailable. Chasing expected losses is no longer considered ethical, and live betting encourages impulse betting. This is the main reason why the NSW Government makes active efforts to reduce the harm of gambling ads.

Third-party marketing or social media are also included in this category and carefully analyzed by the NSW Government. All sorts of international gaming and wagering businesses will be directly targeted by the legislation of the country. Not respecting the new regulations will lead to serious consequences such as fines or even criminal convictions, in extreme cases. All corporate bookmarkers will face a major breakdown considering the fact that they can no longer attract new clients through media and advertising. Newspapers who included special categories for gambling bets will have to cut them down while racing broadcasters might remain out of material to present.

Famous publications like The Daily Telegraph or Herald Sun who previously dealt with wagering advertising need to renew their content based on the new rules. The Principal Racing Authorities also consider that the impact of such legislation changes could affect their media rights. Numerous wagering operators are entirely based on advertising and such a dramatic change could restrict many of their actual possibilities. In addition, directors and senior managers are directly liable for any offense committed.

Because of the mass ban of gambling advertising, many people started to worry about the future of the industry they are working in, the reason why they addressed their issues to the Government, waiting for a response. Yet, the NSW considers any gambling ad against the law and will treat it accordingly. The penalties are substantial and difficult to ignore, starting from$5,000. The directors of various wagering companies are still unpleased with the lack of communication between the government and the industry itself. Colossal names such as bet356, Betfair or Unibet are suffering the consequences of this decision. They continue to sustain that a consultation considering these major changes would have been required beforehand.

The regulatory environment set by the NSW government affected the wagering industry. The television audience was entirely captivated by betting ads, the reason why it is difficult to ignore the aftereffects of this decision. The NSW Government decided to include new regulations during the upcoming weeks. RWA stated that they accept any regulations coming from the NSW Government as long as it takes into consideration the implications they have upon digital platform advertising, broadcasters and national publications. Racing.com or Best Bets could end their activity because of the on-going process, so having regard to all points of view is absolutely paramount in the present situation.

The gambling scene in Australia is facing new advertising restrictions

According to the latest decisions taken by the Turnbull government, it seems that the gambling industry will face some drastic advertising changes from March 30 on.  While until recently gambling promotions were possible during major sports events, once the new regulations come into effect, the industry’ sadvertising possibilities will become limited.

The Australian broadcast sector codes have been adjusted through the collaboration between ACMA, Commercial Radio Australia, Free TV as well as ASTRA and Subscription Television. The announcement has been made public quickly after the industry’s revised codes of practice have been properly registered. Gambling advertisers will no longer be able to share promotional content through media during live broadcasts before 8:30 pm.

The country’s minister of communication – Mitch Fifield – was pleased to accept the changes, congratulating the collaboration amidst the industry and ACMA for a positive community change. He also stated that the community’s complaints regarding gambling advertising were not left unheard, and industry ads will be prohibited during the airing of live sporting events.

The main factor that triggered the implementation of such a change was the concern regarding the exposer of Australian children to this industry’s promotions, so the government has decided to pursue a restriction, starting with five minutes prior to the broadcast and ending five minutes after, during 5:00 am and 8:30 pm local timeframe.

Together with the gambling advertising ban, the Turnbull government’ focus has been redirected towards the sharing of more qualitative content through media channels, as well as the streamlining of the anti-siphoning list. This means, starting from March 30, more events of national or cultural importance are being free-to-air televised. Future goals have also been set revolving the topic, the government aspirin to dissolve unreasonable license fees for broadcasts.

The Broadcast and Content reform changes are discussed to play an essential role in the further economic, as well as social, welfare of the country.

JustBet Faces Ban in Australia

Many years passed from the time when JustBet started to operate in Australia, but now it faces an imminent ban. This ban comes on the heels of the revelation that JustBet is not a registered betting organization in the country. The ban will not be painful as the fact that so many people have trusted this betting platform. Australians find JustBet as the go-to for top-tier games. Also, results show that betting returns on the betting platform are always huge because deals are done in cryptocurrency. That is in addition to the fact that deals can also be carried out in the US dollars.

JustBet took Australian government for a fool

What angers the Australian authorities is that JustBet is working under false registration in the country. And as such is operating with a fake front. The Australians feel that they have been fooled for so long. However, it is not connected to the fact that JustBet’s registration was made with Christmas Island Domain Administration (CIDA), an Australian domain administrator of ‘ex’ addresses. CIDA is an Australian company. The faux pas was that JustBet was being registered with CIDA through an IP by a Panamanian and traced to Costa Rica. The Australian authorities became furious not only that JustBet was operating under pretense but also was never registered at all. There were no traces of registration with any licensing authorities in Australia.

What makes JustBet different

Many things differentiate JustBet from other betting platforms. Some of those things are that it streams live betting on the Australian sports like the Australian Football League (AFL), the AFLX, and the A-League. JustBet also offers live and pre-match betting for many international sports.

A ban on JustBet will not be just a hard hit on the betting world. This will also be a knock on thrive of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency hasn’t become mainstream like the traditional money. One of the ways of normalizing and strengthening cryptocurrency is introducing such platforms like JustBet. So now, it is clear that hit on JustBet is just a hit on the cryptocurrency world.

Shutting down of JustBet

The Australian online gambling regulator, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), said that it would begin full investigations into the JustBet operations. And bad news, under the new Australian law, ACMA can wield its full wrath on any illegal online gambling activity. A vociferous voice against this kind of illegal activity, Mr.Wilkie, condemned JustBet in a very strong term.

With JustBet going down, there are rumors that CloudBet, an equally online gaming platform, will take over. CloudBet has always been a strong competitor of JustBet. Now the war is fighting against JustBet shutdown. Mr.Wilkie called for this when he said:”The site should be shut down immediately, and the Christmas Island Domain Administration should act straight away to remedy the situation.” However Christmas Island Domain Administration is hesitant on shutting it down, claiming that they have not broken the law in any way while registering JustBet. The company also stated that it could operate until the authority files a formal complaint against the platform.

Woolworths reportedly spied on gamblers, reaped benefits

Supermarket chain Woolworths has a set of Pokies-owning pubs that are under investigation after reports show that the staff kept tabs and wrote down personal details about gamblers in order to keep them gambling for longer. An issue that is against many rules that the pubs swore to abide by.

This has occurred after screenshots were shared with federal and state authorities in Australia that showed a digital database that was shared between over 400 pubs. These included the names of certain patrons, their gambling habits, and even which football team that they followed. This information was given by a whistleblower to federal MP Andrew Wilkie, who is investigating the pubs.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW is urgently investigating the allegations as they relate to venues in NSW,” Said The New South Wales gaming regulator “Such behavior is in clear breach of Responsible Conduct of Gambling responsibilities, which all NSW venues with gaming machines are required to uphold.”

One note that was in the database said that a lot of coffee, sandwiches, and promotional items were being used to keep in guests. And even stated that staff is rewarded so long as they “do whatever you have to do to keep people in the room.”

Most of the venues are owned by the Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) Group, which is subsequently owned by Woolworths. The regular claims that it would consider the appropriate disciplinary actions to take if the chain is in violation.

The controversy arises due to the idea that the pub is coercing people to stay as long as possible and spend money above their limit. Since gambling addiction is a serious problem for many people, trying to trick people into spending more than they have is otherwise unethical.

They are not the only ones who had anything to say on the matter either.  Marlene Kairouz, Victorian Gaming Minister, said that people gambling should never be encouraged to spend more than they can.

According to Jeanette Barnes, acting director of Independent Gambling Authority, getting some details on gambling in order to check for problematic gambling behaviors is OK, but Woolworths took it too far.

“We would expect staff to be conscious of…gambling patrons” Which would include other things such as how long they have been gambling, as well as how they are acting. However, she says that getting information on football teams for marketing reasons is far too much information.

Mr. Wilkie later said that although he understands that some states need to own pubs in order to own bottle shops, that the cost of producing so much misery in people far outweighs the profit they would receive. He finishes off by saying that if Woolsworth plans on keeping their gambling machines, that they work hard to make sure that people don’t get harmed by them.

As of now, only time will tell if Woolworths will stick to their end of the accountability, and rectify this issue for the many people they caused to suffer.