iGB Diary: UK election fever (not), Betfair security, EU poker, SwC arrest = In Bruges best clips

1 May 2015

Happy Friday igaming execs! One week to go to the UK election and we still can't work out how surveys are carried out, who would the UK igaming sector want in government, Betfair security breach (kinda), EU poker liquidity - sometime this decade; and, saving the best 'til last, the best bits from In Bruges.

Bank Holiday update 
It's May 1 or Labour Day as it used to be called in the olden days so the UK is taking next Monday off. No iGB Newslines that day but we'll be back on Tuesday, enjoy the long weekend.   

What’s in a poll? 
Election fever is well and truly upon the UK with polling day just under a week away. Well, fever might be pushing it. This is the UK after all, so no heated political arguments at the office or in the pub and, as opposed to our continental cousins on the European mainland, no posters of our favourite politicians beaming down on us as we take the kids to school. Which is actually quite strange once it’s pointed out to you. Anyway, if someone can explain to us how polls are carried out and how they end up with such different outcomes we'd be very grateful. Apparently it’s to do with whether the surveys are carried out over the phone or internet or how long the surveying company has been in business. Which really clears things up, we're sure you’ll agree. When it comes to betting, one punter in Scotland clearly thinks the Tories are going to win, and big, while on Betfair, punters are expecting a minority Labour government while the operator is predicting a hung Parliament with a 10% Tory majority.

Which party for the industry?
It's fair to say the UK igaming sector would probably favour a Conservative victory next week, what with both Labour and the SNP making some fairly radical pledges in their manifestos about what they would do with FOBTs and betting shops. Although it's worth remembering that the biggest changes to igaming in the UK came under the last Labour government as it implemented the Gambling Act (2005) in err... 2007. Although it also depends on the MP who's appointed to the portfolio, if they have racecourses or a host of betting outlets in their constituency and if they take an interest in the business.        

Betfair security
Speaking of Betfair, Venturebeat’s headline about the betting exchange’s security issues grabbed our attention. The article was impressive in its detail, if one actually read the whole thing, so we thought we’d give it to you straight: there were no security breaches at Betfair despite what looked like pretty lax password recovery procedures. 

EU poker liquidity – at some point this decade
French igaming regulator ARJEL’s press release about the visit of France’s Budget Minister to its offices was truly captivating, as was its announcement that the long-mooted European poker liquidity sharing agreement it wants to set up with Spain, Italy and other EU markets will be put forward as part of the country’s digital law. However the timeframe for the law means it will be presented this side of June and then debated in parliament in… September after the summer recess. At this rate there won’t be any French poker players left to share liquidity with. Meanwhile anyone waiting for a sign of change to the taxation system to gross profits will have to do just that; wait, and wait, and wait some more, and then a bit more, and then even more, and more and more… (a bit like our requests to ARJEL for comment by the sounds of it, Ed).    

Seals with Clubs arrest – Belgium in the house!!
Nevada’s Attorney General Adam Laxalt has launched the first ever suit against “an individual tied to a poker website targeted by gaming officials in February”, according to Vegasinc. The individual in question is Vegas-based poker pro Bryan Micon, who the Silver State’s authorities say is the chairman of the bitcoin poker site, although he says he just does the marketing for SwC. If he is found guilty Micon risks up to 10 years in jail and a $50,000 fine, that is if law enforcement officials can locate him. He’s been off the radar since the raid on his house in early February and his last known whereabouts were Antigua in the Caribbean. Apparently Nevada’s “Gaming Control Board began looking into Seals with Clubs after receiving an email from someone reportedly living in Belgium alleging that Micon was operating an unlicensed poker website”. Which looks like some personal feud with one source grassing up a former colleague/friend to the authorities. Which sounds familiar to anyone who followed the Full Tilt fiasco, when payment processor Intabill’s boss Daniel Tzvetkoff was collared by US officials and spilled the beans on the whole sorry affair. Although it does beg the question of what Nevada’s authorities were up to while Full Tilt management and shareholders (Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer et al) swanned around Sin City for all those years while Full Tilt made millions from US players. But since Belgium is in the news and any tenuous excuse to waste a bit of quality time on Youtube sounds good to us, here are the best bits from the classic In Bruges


Have a great weekend!