iGB Diary: BiG Dinner, BAC-EiG drinks, Content kings, Hoddle-Unibet, Cali poker

18 September 2015

Happy Friday igaming people! This week it's all about the BIG Sports Dinner, beerfests and currywurst, content so bad it's good (not), Chocolate signs up with Unibet and Cali poker, will it ever get regulated?

BiG Dinner, big spillage 
The BiG Sports Dinner that took place yesterday at London’s Dorchester Hotel was a roaring success by all accounts. Former England rugby star Austin Healey hosted the event and aimed some classic banter at BiG chief executive Richard Hogg. During one of the auctions he also promised an Irish-dominated table that he'd wear a pair of green y-fronts if they doubled their bid, which would probably mean him losing his ambassador gig with Ladbrokes... All good stuff, meanwhile iGB and other members of the trade and national media were grouped around the one table, luckily no cat fight ensued, although one iGB staffer did his best to start one by spilling a glass of champagne over one unlucky journo. But never mind spilled champers, it was the lack of black tie outfits that made the iGB team stick out like a sore thumb…

Beerfests and currywurst
Speaking of igaming festivities, don’t forget the pre-BAC and EiG warm up drinks at the Bavarian Beerhouse next Wednesday as the iGB Affiliate Conference moves from Barcelona to Berlin this year. So it’ll be more steins and currywurst than cervezas and pintxos, but hey a change is as good as a rest. Apparently currywurst is very tasty; and we thought we had strange culinary tastes in the UK… See you there! 

Content is king…
… or so the old saying goes, so put your hands in your pockets and get yourselves some decent journos to write your marketing spiel! Ok we’re (kind of) joking, but one UK bookmaker really needs to check up on the SEO/content provider it recently hired. The betting previews it produces are so badly written, cheesy and verging on the irrelevant that it’s difficult to see how it got the gig. We won’t say which operator we’re referring to because we like them, but it should check out marketing emails from the likes of Betfair, William Hill or even this one from PokerStars for smart content that draws viewers in. Now, speaking of content services, did we tell you we have excellent writers who can provide you with very good marketing copy, SEO-ready… 

So good he could eat himself
Good to see Unibet signing up former Tottenham maestro and ex-England manager Glenn Hoddle as betting pundit. Hoddle was by far the most gifted player of his generation but despite his 53 England caps was often overlooked (mistrusted, some say) in favour of more ‘athletic’ players such as Bryan Robson. Michel Platini famously said that had Hoddle been French, the team would have been built around him. But such was English football in the 1980s. Hoddle’s managerial career included stints at Chelsea, England and Tottenham but he never actually won anything and became more famous for his terrible man-management skills than anything else. The France ’98 World Cup was a particular low point, from dropping David Beckham and leaving him out to dry in front of the media to writing a memoir of the event where he revealed much of what went on in the dressing room (big no no in football circles). No doubt he’ll have great insights to make as part Unibet’s team but the nickname ‘Chocolate’ bestowed on him by England players is what a lot of people remember of Hoddle. Why was he called Chocolate? One player put it like this: “If he was chocolate, he would eat himself.” (Mind you, Ray Parlour asking for a short-back-and-sides when ordered to visit Hoddle’s faith healer Eileen Drewery is pretty good as well, Ed).

Cali poker: time running out?
The always excellent Online Poker Report provided a good summary of the California-online poker debate this week. The points it raises are valid, but also make one wonder if online poker will ever get regulated in the 38-million strong state, such are the many challenges facing the sector there. Take just two of the arguments raised in the piece: the need for a grass roots movement to gain momentum and put pressure on lawmakers and the impact of PokerStars on lobbying efforts. Surely it is debatable whether the enthusiasm is there from enough Californians to band together to put enough pressure on their politicians. Meanwhile the mere mention of PokerStars provokes all kinds of heated reactions and, as the article implies, the group is more of a barrier to progress than anything else. In addition, Stars' US lobbying efforts have failed so far and it’s worth wondering how Cali regulators view these past efforts. We’ll throw in one final question: are California’s poker stakeholders running out of time as the social and fantasy sports verticals carry on operating and recruiting players? 

Have a great weekend!