iGB Diary: Italian job, Sky's the limit, Adelson's on song, Kula-shaker and ICE's realm of the senses

18 October 2013

Italian job
Rumours are circulating that a certain Stoke-based operator may soon be seeking a fourth regulated licence following its openings in Denmark, Australia and Spain. Along with Paddy Power, Bet365 is part of a select band of operators (in the UK at least) that have reached close to mainstream brand-awareness levels and carry out their marketing as much to maintain those levels as to generate new customers. So it seems Bet365 is heading across the Alps to get a piece of the action, and why not. Italian regulator AAMS is trying to stamp out as much of the black market as possible, which always helps (France please take note). But once Bet365 enters the market, it will be interesting to see if its marketing power and igaming know-how have a significant impact on Italy’s online betting sector.

Sky books news face
SkyBet scored quite a coup this week. In what must be an industry first it has somehow tempted a Facebook exec, Bruce Bale, to join its operations in Leeds. The company has come a long way with Richard Flint at the helm, growing revenues by more than 20% every year for the last four years, investing heavily in marketing, mobile and some strong talent. We expect it to continue to be aggressive while keeping its cautious approach to business, and, with its Sky backing, as well as a number of legacy brands fading away due to either lack of investment, carelessness or simply taking their eye of the ball, it could soon establish itself as one of the top betting businesses in the UK.

Adelson surveys all
Sands Corp head honcho Sheldon Adelson continues his anti-igaming crusade in the US with the release of (yet) another survey that shows that some 60% of residents in California, Kentucky, Virginia and Pennsylvania are generally pro-gaming and 53% have a positive view of “casinos with Las Vegas style gaming”. That’s handy. But when it comes to internet poker or gambling, a whopping 66% of residents are against it, whoda thunk it eh? Thanks for that Mr Adelson, we had no idea those figures would be so revealing. But maybe the igaming sector should focus on names, as the recent Obamacare-US budget debacle (not quite, but very nearly) showed, when asked, US residents were generally in favour of the Affordable Care Act when it was explained to them, as opposed to Obamacare. The difference between the two laws? There ain’t none. So here’s an idea, rather than calling for pro-igaming bills in the US, maybe the sector should launch an initiative with a snappy title like: “US iGaming: draft bill to generate further tax revenues for US states, control unlicensed and illegal operators, create employment and enable US companies to get their share of the pie.” Now Mr Adelson, about that polling business we’re about to launch... (thanks to MV and BB)       

We may have been dreaming, but we’re 99.9% sure that the latest series of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den featured a very familiar igaming face. Blink and you’d have missed it, but during the round-up of the not-so-successful ‘pitchers’ was our industry’s very own Richard Hogg, CMO of odds compiler and trading services business Betting Promotion. Digging a little deeper, it turns out Richard hasn’t just been promoting betting, he’s also been selling his own ‘Salt Genie’ product, which, according to marketing material he undoubtedly penned, is a “new innovative shaker that dispenses salt evenly but not excessively so you do not over-season your food, offering a healthy option”. Phew! There we were panicking that every time we salted our steak, the slab of meat would be smothered in salt. Then again apparently the container’s “dri-shoot eliminates clogging when used in humid and damp conditions”. Perfect for the bookies in Costa Rica then!

Finally, in line with ICE 2014’s ‘Sensational’ theme around the five senses, we’d like to throw in a few suggestions:

  • Smell: Scratch and sniff name badges – each name has a specific odour depending on the company you represent (make your own minds up on that one)
  • Taste: Edible show guides – no one reads them anyway so why not make them taste nice
  • Sight: Show daily projections – no one reads them so why not save some trees
  • Hearing: Noise cancelling headphones handed to each delegate when walking round Excel so you don’t have to listen to the wall of noise produced by thousands of people talking at once
  • Touch: This isn’t an affiliate show so stop thinking what I’m thinking…