iGB Diary: iGB Ride London, GVC-bwin, Omni-everything, eSports dopes

31 July 2015

Happy Friday igamers! The sun is shining and Ride London is happening this weekend so sponsor IGB's Jake Pollard! How much more to go in the GVC-888-bwin party saga? One more episode or will 888 fold? Playtech and Ladbrokes' launch of all things omni-channel gets the omni-treatment on Twitter. And eSports, cycling ain't got nothing on this bunch of dopes!

Ride London
Chris Froome move aside, the Prudential Ride London cycling festival is upon us this weekend… so it’s shameless plug time! Being serious for a minute, iGaming Business online editor Jake Pollard is doing the ride this Sunday (100 miles/160km across London and Surrey) for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity and is calling on you good igaming folk to help out if you can.      
Feel free to make a donation, however big or small; it’s always welcome and it’s all for a great cause. Shout outs will go out next week and if any of you are taking part in the ride feel free to send in pictures and stories of your Ride London experiences and we’ll put them all together. Now let’s make sure we don’t get swept up by the broom car!  

GVC-888-bwin party bid - how long to go?  
Back to this week’s news. Will the £1bn bwin party bid GVC put forward Monday swing the buy-out its way? No one knows, it’s certainly more than 888 offered (circa £900m) but that doesn’t mean bwin party will head off into the sunset with GVC. Why? (Or more like how long have you got?) The offer: 888 is offering more cash than GVC but a lower price, how much cash vs. shares will bwin party want? Regulated revenues: much has been of the unregulated sports betting business GVC is so good at and how it jars with bwin’s stated aim of working in regulated markets (although bwin still recorded 38% of its revenues form unregulated markets according to its Q1 update). Poker: does the PartyPoker brand and the group’s US ventures in Nevada and New Jersey go to Amaya? The latter has still not updated the markets on its NJ licensing process, does that mean it’s not going as well as envisaged? Does it also mean that US igaming bête noire extraordinaire Sheldon Adelson, who is also a major backer of NJ Governor Chris Christie, has been successful in pressuring the Garden State's authorities into delaying/holding off on Amaya/PokerStars’ return to the US? Jason Ader: the activist investor and second biggest bwin party shareholder seems to have got his way at bwin party, or is he just trying to up the ante? Will 888 come back with an improved offer? (Likely but still won't be as high as GVC's). GVC’s statement said it had “delivered the relevant documentation, in substantially final form, to the board of bwin.party”. Does that mean it’s GVC’s final, final offer or will it raise it to the 140p Ader says he’s looking for? So many questions, although maybe bwin party’s market cap at end of trading Monday was the giveaway sign. How much was it? £888m…

Omni-channel, omni-present 
Some people… We report on the Ladbrokes-Playtech omni-channel launch (where’s George Osborne’s omni-shambles budget when you need it eh) and all we get is this pithy retort...  

Mind you after some of the comments we’ve seen from the Britain at the bookies documentary that one wasn’t that bad. Speaking of which, this week’s episode was a bit more jovial than the first one, although this Monday's final instalment, with problem gambling as its focus, will likely be a lot more hard-hitting. There was one scene from Monday’s episode which stuck however. As Steve Palmer, betting columnist for the Racing Post, discussed the merits of betting with his editor and how those who don’t bet will never understand the buzz and thrill of betting on a Saturday afternoon, the Diary couldn’t help thinking, you seem to have a constant frown and look pretty stressed Steve, are you sure it’s been that good for you? Go to 34m50sec for said clip or just watch him throughout, the guy needs some vitamin D.  

Who you calling a dope?
Is to dope to be a dope? Same difference? Such is the question as news comes out that drug tests are set to come into force in eSports. The vertical is just getting started when it comes to the big time, but apparently players have already been using Aderall to improve their focus and skills. What is Aderall? An anti-ADHD drug. That’s right, those nerds can’t focus on anything for more than 30 seconds. What’s the world coming to eh? Mind you, you know you’ve made it as a sport when doping comes into play. Just ask Chris Froome. 

Have a great weekend!