Osun Labs, a Massachusetts-based startup developer of a specially designed clip for wearing face masks for extended periods, has struck an agreement with the National Hockey League in which the company’s newly developed product will be used at this weekend’s outdoor games at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
The Go-Clip, developed by Osun Labs, is a plastic accessory that can be affixed to a hat, enabling users to hook mask straps onto the clip instead of placing them behind one’s ears. Ear chafing and discomfort has been a frequent complaint stemming from mask wearing amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Go-Clip is specifically designed to avoid that.
The NHL event, officially titled NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe series and serving a replacement of sorts for the previously canceled NHL Winter Classic and Stadium Series, will not have attending fans. But the Go-Clips will be used by a wide variety of game personnel working at the event, and the clips will bear the event logo.
“We’ve got this brand new product that a lot of people aren’t aware of yet. so our biggest challenge is educating the consumer,” said Jeff Eagles, Osun Labs co-founder. “This is something that will promote longer and better use of face masks, and as the pandemic continues it obviously looks like that masks will be part of all our lives for quite some time yet.
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The impossible has been made possible in Canada. The country has allowed certain types of sports gambling, but allowing wagers on individual games was a concept that never gained a lot of support. Last year, amid a global pandemic and a huge push to open the sports gambling market in Canada’s neighbor to the south, the country still didn’t want to accept the inevitable. As the year wore on and COVID-19 continued to batter away at long-standing revenue streams, Canada finally realized that it had to do something and the government launched a plan last November to bring single-event gambling to the country. That plan has now been fulfilled and Canada is now going to allow wagers on individual games.
Canadian parliamentary members saw the light yesterday when they approved Bill C-128, which was making its second appearance in the House of Commons. It was the brainchild of Member of Parliament Kevin Waugh and had no difficulty finding enough approval from other legislators, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 303 members of parliament said yes to the measure, while just 15 don’t think Canada needs to get into the 21st Century. The bill now goes before the House of Commons justice committee and then on to the Senate.
Sports gambling operators are now chomping at the bit to get the race for market control started. One, Score Media and Gaming, is already established in the country and could be first out the gate. Its CEO, John Levy, is only waiting for the gates to open and explains in a statement, “We expect that the legalization of single event sports betting will facilitate the introduction by provinces and territories of a much-needed modernized sports betting framework in their respective jurisdictions that can include important consumer protections and the ability to generate new revenue streams for provincial and territorial governments.”
Score Media won’t be the only game in town. The usual suspects will likely make a run, including DraftKings, FanDuel and everyone else. DraftKings has already tried to give itself an advantage, launching a deal with the NFL to increase the content agreement already established between the two entities. There’s going to be a lot of action to go around, too, with some analysts predicting a market that could be worth as much as $5.4 billion a year.
The commercial gaming scene in the US last year suffered greatly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the American Gaming Association (AGA) has now put a number on the extent of the damage. According to a report published by the group yesterday, US commercial gaming operations lost 31% of the revenue they had seen a year earlier, recording the lowest level experienced since 2013. Everyone is now looking at 2021 to help them recuperate lost ground.
Commercial casinos were forced to cut out around 27% of their normal working schedules last year, opening for a combined 124,882 days. A year earlier, that figure was 170,484 across all properties. As a result of the reduction and states’ restrictions on casino activity, the US commercial gaming industry was able to generate just about $30 billion by the time the year closed. The crux of the damage came in the second and third quarters, with the fourth quarter finally seeing a slight rebound. It produced $9.2 billion for the country’s casinos, a sequential increase of 1.7% over the third-quarter results, but that was still off by 17% from the fourth-quarter activity of 2019.
Per the AGA’s report, President and CEO Bill Miller asserts, “COVID-19 devastated our business and the employees and communities across the country that rely on casino gaming’s success. We have persevered by leading responsible reopening efforts, supporting our employees, and extending a hand to our communities. Still, these numbers show the economic realities of COVID-19 and underscore the importance of targeted federal relief and ramped-up vaccine distribution to accelerate gaming’s recovery in 2021.”
As the industry started to rebound last summer, there has been a slow return to normal activity by casinos. Now, there are 911 open out of the total 998 in the country; however, many are still operating at greatly reduced capacities. Just this week, Nevada’s casinos were allowed to increase their occupancy to 35% of their normal levels after spending months at 25% or less. Even though there are still more casinos that could potentially reopen this year, the reality is that some of those are going to be permanently shuttered due to a lack of funds.
This is a guest contribution by Karl Aadli, Chief Product Officer at Mr Gamble says that launching a streaming channel is a great way for operators, developers and affiliates to build brand awareness but channels must be run responsibly. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
Streaming is fast becoming a significant marketing platform for operators, suppliers and affiliates looking to drive brand awareness among the casino playing community and in particular the younger, lucrative demographic that makes up streaming audiences.
Popular streamers such as Let’s Give It A Spin, Chipmonkz and NickSlots have amassed large, global audiences across platforms like Twitch and YouTube and through commercial agreements allow operators to leverage the thousands of fans that tune in to their streams.
As streaming and casino streaming becomes more popular, the marketing power and value of these channels will only increase and that is why we are seeing more casino players become streamers, as well as affiliates launching their own channels.
As if dealing with massive scrutiny from all sides wasn’t enough, Crown Resorts is also bleeding serious amounts of money. The embattled casino operator out of Australia that has admitted it can’t keep its house in order is on the verge of losing any shot of holding onto its casino licenses, but is now also scrambling as revenue continues to drop. Crown just released its figures for the first half of the new fiscal year and acknowledged that it took a 155.4% year-on-year hit as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to threaten Australia.
At the same time Crown is being told by regulators in New South Wales that it is unsuitable to hold a casino license, the embarrassed company was forced to report a half-year loss of AUD$120.9 million (U.S. $87 million). Revenue plummeted 62.1% as Crown only took in $581 million ($450.4 million), and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was virtually wiped out from the prior year’s figure. It lost 99% from the same period a year earlier, coming in at just $4.4 million ($3.4 million).
Crown’s interim executive chairman, Helen Coonan, had to address the ongoing battle and try to rally the troops as they look at an almost definite defeat. She added with the release of the financials, “We recognise the need for immediate and swift action and I would like to reiterate my commitment to driving the necessary ‘root and branch’ change that is required. Crown has committed to working constructively with ILGA to advance reforms necessary to allow it to give effect to the Restricted Gaming Licence in Sydney. Crown also continues to work cooperatively with the Victorian and WA regulators as it works to restore public and regulatory confidence in its operations.”
Part of that restoration process involves the removal of several members of Crown’s top floor, including CEO Ken Barton, who resigned a few days ago. Another name is added to the growing list of executives to be interested in finding new ground, with General Counsel and Company Secretary Mary Manos having stepped down “with immediate effect.” The two roles will be assigned to two individuals going forward, but, for now, Chief Financial Officer Alan McGregor will serve as Crown’s interim Company Secretary.
Apple might not be a gambling company, but a new lawsuit alleges that they are involved enough in the business to face the same regulations. A class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Columbia alleges they should have to abide by the same laws as any online gambling operation, and pay for the damage they’ve done in states where that’s not legal.
In the suit, the plaintiffs allege “Zynga Casino Apps” violate gambling statues in as many as 25 states. By allowing the apps on their App Store, reaping rewards from microtransactions and providing iOS development tools, the plaintiffs believe Apple is also liable.
They note that Apple “permits and facilitates illegal gambling by operating as an unlicensed casino.” Although the games offer no real reward, by allowing real-money purchases of coins or chips on games like poker or blackjack, they believe Apple and Zynga are offering a form of gambling.
The suit may have a point where it concerns Zynga. Although no money can be won from the games, winning of course extends playing time. By also allowing microtransactions for more chips, the game developer may be violating anti-gambling laws in as many as 25 states.
Gina Carano has been fired from the cast of The Mandalroian on Disney+. The one-time MMA fighter leaves the show in a storm of controversy that has once again ignited America’s culture war, but has Bodog asking what will happen to her character on the show, Cara Dune?
If you missed all of the controversy, well, there’s a bunch of it. Carano has always been the most controversial member of The Mandalorian’s cast due to her outspoken nature on social media. She’s been criticized for spreading misinformation regarding Covid-19, alleging voter-fraud in the 2020 U.S. elections, and for mocking people for posting their pronouns on social media. The last problem led Disney to demand Carano apologize, for which she refused.
But all of that pales in comparison to the last straw. Feeling persecuted for her conversative views, the actress shared a photo on Instagram that implied the criticism that she and other conservatives faced was like being Jewish during the Holocaust.
The bosses at Disney and Lucasfilm didn’t appreciate the post. “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future,” a Lucasfilm statement noted shortly after. “Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Caesars Entertainment have reportedly decided that they’ve put as much effort as they’d like to into a South Korean resort. Local outlet MT reports the operator has withdrawn from the Midan City Complex Resort project in Yeongjong-do, leaving China’s Puri Group to go it alone.
At the time of publication, no reason was given for Caesars decision to leave the project, although MT speculated it was to focus on their U.S. business. A more likely explanation would be that Caesars has determined they would not be able to salvage the troubled development of the Midan City project. The operator was threatened with loss of license by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Incheon Free Economic Zone Office.
Construction on the project was meant to be completed as early as March 2018, but funding problems and construction delays have left the property unfinished. Caesars was warned in January 2021 that if they did not have an approved plan to complete the location by March 17, they would lose their license entirely. That has Caesars now deciding to pull out early.
With only 25% of construction said to be complete, the $150 million initially put towards the project has run out. Puri is reportedly going to continue with the project, but must still provide a new plan to keep the license alive. “The approval of the project change, such as extending the completion period, will be decided through a review by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism,” said an official from the Incheon Economic Office. “If approved, the speed of the project will increase.”
Alex Windsor began his journey as a sports betting affiliate in 2012, starting off with a focus on the U.K. market and transitioning to the U.S. market after the repeal of PASPA. Now serving as the Director of Apps4 web media LTD, Windsor is happy to share his experience in the U.S. market thus far with other affiliates out there, especially for those who are nervous about the licensing process and building relationships with operators in a market they are not as familiar with.
A big thank you to the GPWA for introducing Alex and I, without this helpful iGaming affiliate community we would not be here today. Sharing best practices amongst friends and peers is exactly why the GPWA was launched many years ago, it’s amazing to see the forum is still representing its original purpose.
Becky Liggero Fontana: Thank you so much for joining me today, Alex. Let’s start with why you made the decision to shift your focus from the U.K. affiliate market to the regulated U.S. market?
Alex Windsor: When I heard PASPA had been overturned in 2018 I knew instantly I had to have a piece of the pie. Up until that point our focus had been on the U.K., Italy and Spain, but the U.S. opening up to sports betting was too good of an opportunity to not get involved in. I launched gamble-usa.com in July 2019 and we have been working on it since.
Phil Hellmuth doesn’t think the younger GTO-minded pros are all that great compared to him, and Daniel Negreanu is fed up with the disrespect. The two poker superstars will soon face each other heads-up on PokerGo’s show, High Stakes Duel. And it appears there is some bad blood boiling between the competitors leading up to the match.
Daniel Negreanu would like to teach a Masterclass in heads-up poker to Phil Hellmuth. (Image: masterclass.com)
The Poker Hall of Famers have a lengthy relationship, one that has been mostly cordial. Hellmuth even attended Negreanu’s wedding in 2019, but occasionally they feud publicly, mostly over Hellmuth’s ego.
On the felt, they’ve competed against each other hundreds of times in high-stakes cash games and tournaments. They’ve both appeared numerous times on the popular televised shows such as Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker. But they’ve never faced off in a heads-up only format. So, it’s anyone’s guess who will come out victorious. We can all make our predictions, and we’ll find out who is right once the match takes place, although a date hasn’t yet been set.
In the fast-moving world of gambling, sometimes you might miss news that could be important to you. To make sure you’re all caught up on gaming industry news, be it online or brick and mortar, we’re rounding up the some of the announcements and partnerships from the last week that you might have missed.
Don’t miss out on all of the latest announcements from the gambling industry. Our Press Release section is updated constantly, and we publish roundups of the latest partnerships twice a week.
MOTO Renews Partnership with Inspired’s Playnation
Contract with leading provider of gaming machines extended for further five years
Phil Hellmuth vs. Daniel Negreanu is finally going to happen on PokerGo’s show, High Stakes Feud. Both players want to win. Only one can. But one player, at least from a public perception standpoint, needs this victory more than the other.
Phil Hellmuth vs. Daniel Negreanu, the match poker has always wanted, is officially on. (Image YouTube)
Following Negreanu’s $1.2 million loss in a 25,000-hand heads-up challenge to Doug Polk, Hellmuth piled on his pal, claiming “DNegs” played poorly. Of course, Negreanu wasn’t just going to sit back and take it from the self-proclaimed best no-limit hold’em player ever. So, he offered up a heads-up challenge to the “Poker Brat.”
On the Poker Central podcast, No Gamble No Future, the GGPoker ambassador announced the match is on. But this one, unlike Polk vs. Negreanu, won’t take place on the internet. Instead, it will be played at the PokerGo Studio in Las Vegas. And, yes, hole cards will be up, so you’ll get to see all the tight laydowns Hellmuth makes.
Sam Houston Race Park has canceled live racing through Saturday, Feb. 20, due to continued winter weather, the Houston track announced Feb. 17 via Twitter. Racing on Wednesday had also been canceled.
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano returned to action Feb. 17 at Gulfstream Park after sitting out for three months while rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery to clean up some debris in his right leg near the hip.
The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division), Ontario Racing Management and Woodbine Entertainment announced they have reached an agreement which includes the CTHS forming an industry relations sub-committee of its Board of Directors.
The popular Under 20’s Claiming Challenge, which gives modest-size stables the opportunity to compete for cash prizes, will return to Belmont Park for the spring/summer meet that runs from April 22 through July 11.
Wanamaker’s has released the catalogue for their February online auction, which will take place on February 25th.
In a short hearing Feb. 17, a United States District Court judge sentenced Florida-based trainer Alfredo Lichoa to three months in prison for violating money laundering laws.
Courtlandt Farms’ Holy Bull Stakes (G3) winner Greatest Honour is scheduled to return in the $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) Feb. 27 at Gulfstream Park.
Horse Racing Ireland boss Brian Kavanagh has outlined plans for the development of a floodlit all-weather track at Tipperary Racecourse.