The official government advertising watchdog in the United Kingdom, the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority is reporting that quite a few online gambling ads are being shown to children on the web. Of course, no one can really control where kids will browse on the internet, but there are certain rules that restrict where gambling ads can be placed.
The Advertising Standards Authority set up a wide area type of sting by creating many dummy children profiles which then simulated the known browsing habits of children online. For over two weeks, the advertisements displayed were monitored and the Advertising Standards Authority found 43 gambling operators that were displaying ads on sites that children can easily access.
Some of those sites include:
- 20 YouTube channels
- 20 various children sites
However, only five gambling operators were found to actually violate the code which bans all online gambling ads targeting individuals under the age of 18:
- Vikings Video Slot,
- and PlayOjo.
One of the gambling operators, Vikings Video Slot, turns out to be the most common violater accounting for almost half of the advertising. The response from Viking was “The advert did not lead to under-18 gambling.” But the point remains that the children saw the ads and therefore ‘the desire’ to gamble was triggered.
Most casino gamblers will tell you that slots are the most difficult game to win money since they are so random and so electronically controlled. However, in some rare cases, the slots can be very lucrative. A case in point is the news of a man named ‘Jay’, (and a few of his friends), that beat the online casinos in New Jersey on two occasions, once in January and then again in February of this year to the tune of almost $1 million. But Jay didn’t simply get lucky, he had a legal advantage and the casinos were more or less forced to pay off his winnings.
How did Jay do it?
Jay is what is known in the casino gambling circles as ‘an advantage player’ which means that he studies the slot games for built-in flaws or opportunities that the slot game manufacturer did not expect. In this case, it was two different slots games: Golden Egypt and Ocean Magic. Jay noticed that when there are two bonus coins showing at the top of the game, (this is normal, but rare), there will be more Wild icons in the game and therefore a much better chance of winning.
To make a long, (and technical), story short, Jay would simply increase the size of his bets to the maximum during the bonus games, then reduce his bets until the next bonus spin.
Sorry, but this is not recommended for the casual player. Jay has been doing this type of thing for almost 20 years.
A report from Experian claims that playing video games is the third most popular online activity at 51% after shopping at 90%, and personal banking at 88%. Most of this activity is happening on smartphones due to their
- ever-lowering prices,
- always-on connectivity,
- hot spots everywhere,
- and increasing technology.
People have found a way of passing the time when:
- waiting in an airport,
- between classes in school,
- waiting for supper to cook,
- riding a bus,
- riding a subway,
- riding a train,
- waiting in line anywhere.
Although sending email and social chat are still mainstays, playing a game online is just a click away with any smartphone. With this much activity and convenience, online games are getting a lot of attention from:
- new players,
- game developers,
- and advertisers.
According to a Newzoo report, the consumer spending on games will likely exceed $180 billion in 2021. And most of that spending will be done with mobile devices, in fact, already mobile spending accounts for almost 80% of the revenue on the popular online app stores.
What was once a little known online activity for a few enthusiasts of multiplayer online games is now a multi-million dollar industry which is predicted by experts in-the-know to grow a whopping 25% this year reaching over $178 million USD. This revenue boom is expected to continue at least into 2020 where it could surpass 200 million USD.
Those that stand to benefit from this growth include:
- game developers,
- live venues,
- streaming platforms,
- TV networks,
The revenue from eSports mainly comes from:
- media rights deals,
- ticket sales,
Much of the eSports growth is due to the increasing audiences which is expected to grow 18% this year to about 30 million. According to some, the viewership will reach 50 million by year 2023. And it’s getting easier and easier to join the global audience as the livestreaming of the multiplayer games can be seen on sites like Twitch and YouTube. Plus, there are live venues that show the games on a large screen such as Madison Square Garden in NYC and Key Arena in Seattle.
In case you’re wondering, this trend is not just in the U.S., it’s very much alive in Europe and Asia, especially in S. Korea and China. All this is quite remarkable considering that only a few years ago, advertisers wouldn’t even consider reaching out to kids playing online games against each other.
888 Holdings PLC, often known as just 888.com, has purchased Dublin-based BetBright’s sports betting technology platform which is one area that 888 was outsourcing to a company named Kambi. Kambi Group Plc is a business to business sports betting provider marketing it’s front end user interface, odds compiling, customer intelligence and risk management. That outsourcing was a huge financial burden on 888, but as soon as 888 can integrate BetBright’s technology with their present platform, they will save a bundle and drive up their profits as well.
Just this past Monday, 888 announced to it’s investors of it’s deal with BetBright’s parent company Dedsert Ltd for almost 20 million USD in order to acquire the operator’s sports betting platform, it’s Dublin office, and it’s staff.
888 Holdings is based in Gibraltar and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. 888 got it’s start back in May of 1997 as Virtual Holdings Limited; founded by four Israeli entrepreneurs. Their first website was Casino-on-Net.com which is still active even today boasting over 1,000,000 punters over the years.
This acquisition of it’s own sports betting product gives 888 complete ownership of it’s gambling products:
- and bingo.
Although the addition of it’s own sports betting product will save 888 royalty fees, the cost of integrating the new product with it’s current line is said to be huge, driving stocks down 2%.
Announced just yesterday, the Today Show is offering an application that includes free games for mobile phone users. The app can be downloaded from itunes.apple.com or play.google.com. However, the Today app has more than just a few games, it has all or most of the content from the actual live broadcast and it has archived shows.
“Find your favorite recipes, celebrity interviews, parenting tips, uplifting stories, healthy living, pop culture, and national news.” Today.com
For those of you not familiar with the Today Show:
“Today, also called The Today Show, is an American news and talk morning television show that airs on NBC. The program debuted on January 14, 1952. It was the first of its genre on American television and in the world, and after 67 years of broadcasting it is the fifth-longest-running American television series.” Wikipedia.org
A few of the hosts on the Today Show are:
- Savannah Guthrie
- Hoda Kotb
- Al Roker
- Craig Melvin
- Carson Daly
- Jenna Bush Hager
So, now you get have games, news, weather, and commentary all day long no matter where you are all in one single application on your iphone or android device. The games mentioned on the Today Show’s website are:
- crossword puzzles,
- card games.
Great while riding the bus or subway.
Over the years, online games have become more and more a personal experience. Another way to express oneself with armor, choice of weapons, and choice of many male or female avatars. In a nutshell, you can control your appearance in the game and that makes the whole game more fun. Now, a computer software company called Modulate, co-founded by Mike Pappas and Carter Huffman is introducing voice skins, which will basically change the way you sound in the game.
Modulate uses neural networks and machine learning in order to allow a user to customize their voice. You could choose a voice sounding like the opposite gender, or maybe your favorite celebrity. So, if the skin you happen to be wearing is of something menacing or makes your avatar look intimidating you might change your voice skin to Darth Vader.
On the other hand, for those players that are somewhat self-conscious about the sound of their natural voice, Modulate’s voice skin could let them have a better game experience.
Of course, all of this is still in Modulate’s pilot program where they are testing with certain chat platforms and new games. Other features they want to add would be such things as changing your accent. This feature could give a British accent to an American player or a Texas drawl to a British player.