iGB Diary: LinkedIn Stars, scrummaging around, Losta the plota, Top young men and it's the French countdown!

14 February 2014

Seeing stars
LinkedIn has always been described as a social network, but it's not that err... exciting? Actually it’s pretty dull. Send someone a message on LI and you’ll be lucky to get a reply by 2016. The only social thing about it is that you can stalk former colleagues and contacts and find out where they work, while HR and recruitment companies love it, so at least it is useful for them. Anyway, one of our favourite features is the stream of weekly automated emails about people who either have new job roles or are “celebrating a work anniversary”. So here’s our job change alert of the week’ courtesy of Linked In’s ‘social’ email marketing team: 

Stefan Kovach, former senior PartyGaming marketing bod, has a new job. He's now 'Rafael Nadal sponsorship and US marketing re-entry strategy at PokerStars'.

The job title is pretty awesome, so let’s take a closer look. Firstly, we're pretty sure looking after Rafa’s online poker habit (what, five online tourneys a year max?) is not a full time job and secondly, it is highly unlikely that Stars will get back into the US anytime soon. It tried and failed in New Jersey having shelled US$15m for an aborted casino takeover and only a handful of other states are showing any interest in regulating online poker and, among those, the big one (California) is more divided than ever before. If anyone can beat this gem of a job, let us know.

Scrummaging for jobs
While we’re on the subject of jobs, who knew that job boards could be so entertaining? The boffins at William Hill, the bookie has invested large sums in a new R&D “hub” near the hip young things at the Google Campus/Silicon Roundabout in east London, are looking for a rather unpleasant sounding ‘Scrum Master’ (does it mean they're just looking for trader who knows about rugby? Ed). We know, England lost their opening game in this year’s Six Nations Rugby Union tournament, but we doubt they need anyone at Hills telling them what they’re looking for. According to the ad though, this would suit someone who has “transitioned into a pure scrum master role”. We're not sure we’d like to see the practical part of the interview.

Losta the plota
Losing the plot is a regular occurrence for politicians, but this tends to happen more frequently in Italy, particularly when gambling comes into the mix. First newspaper Gazetta dello Sport’s journos announce they are to strike after discovering their owners are keen on launching a sportsbook ahead of this summer’s World Cup, and now the country’s Senate has approved a ban on radio and television real-money gambling advertising. While the proposed amendment, which will return to the Italian House of Representatives for a third reading, for some unknown reason doesn’t mention online gaming, a large number of balding men in suits seem to think that clamping down on a highly lucrative source of revenue and taxes is a good idea. With the country, like many other European nations, facing a huge budget deficit far be it for us to suggest that coming down hard on the gaming industry isn’t the wisest of moves. Then again they’ve always been bonkers and we would expect nothing less.

Top young men
The Diary loves lists, the Power this, the Hot that, in fact we’ve worked on quite a few over the years, including genuine lists with set criteria and everything! However the best thing to be published this week, and we don’t often say this, was Casinoaffiliateprograms.com’s list of ‘Affiliate Marketing’s Top Young Men’. And yes that is the title and no this isn’t a men-only dating site. Aside from all the typos, incorrectly spelt names, cutting edge insight into affiliates' cccc-razy social habits and the fact that very few of these “dudes” are young (never mind affiliate "XYZ started playing online poker at 15..." igaming really can be trusted to prevent underage gambling!), the list fell down on a number of levels, including: criteria; there is none, interest; there is none, reason and timing; there is none, point in reading; really not sure… You get the picture. Final thought: As much as it was great to see our very own James King at #2, last time we checked he only fulfilled one half of the title’s criteria…

It's the French countdown! 
Latest news from France is that the government might wait until after the country's local elections at the end of March to nominate the new ARJEL president. From being caught on the hop by Jean-Francois Vilotte's departure, to wanting to appoint a new president in time for ICE, to now having to wait 'til the end of March, to the ARJEL press office not even answering emails or phone calls... this new ARJEL president business has been handled with such expertise. The reason for the delay, as many of you will have guessed, is so that some of the losing MPs can be recycled into cushy civil servant jobs. And since there's no realistic chance of a change in the tax system or other igaming regulation until the presidential elections of 2017, who wouldn't like a nice little number like that?

And finally another nugget from that side of the Channel, online poker players in France have risky gambling behaviours that could lead to problem gambling, according to a study by some government bods or other, because they chase their losses more than in other types of igaming and so on. But since poker is the only form of online table game allowed, they're comparing it with online scratchcards, because of course those players are really similar to the poker demographic... gotta love the logic. And of course it's nothing to do with the fact that poker operators are taxed at 40% + of gross win, with the result that the cash game product is so poor and unattractive that 25% (!) of French players play all their online poker on illegal sites...