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UK Govt “Likely” to Ban Gambling Firms from Football Shirt Sponsorship

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Increasing concerns over gambling addiction in the UK could see Boris Johnson announce a ban on betting company sponsors appearing on football shirts in the months ahead.

With a review being conducted by the government, The Telegraph report the prime minister could bring about a ban as soon as autumn, despite there being an awareness that such a move would increase pressure on the sport at a time when revenue streams have been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Any decision, the report continues, will be informed by evidence of the betting industry’s influence on addiction within the sport, but the suggestion is that a shirt sponsor ban looks “increasingly likely” to happen.

Betting fell during the first lockdown as elite sport was halted. It did not, however, drop to a level many anticipated, with a surge in interest in online slots believed to have been caused by punters who would have normally wagered on football and horse racing.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is heading up the review, with the PM expected to play a key role.

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Team Liquid Extends its Long-term Partnership with Alienware

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Esports organisation Team Liquid has announced the extension of its 10-year partnership with gaming hardware brand Alienware. This partnership, which completed ten years, is the longest hardware partnership in esports history.

To celebrate this ten-year partnership, both companies look to push three new initiatives. To increase fan engagement, Alienware will officially sponsor Team Liquid’s new programme, Liquid+, a new programme dedicated to rewarding fans who engage with TL online. In order to support the esports teams, new technology and facility upgrades will come later this year. Lastly, the two brands will create community opportunities to help those who are underrepresented in esports.

“Alienware and Team Liquid have been partners for a decade because we dream hard and work even harder. In our next chapter, we’re going bigger than we ever have by introducing programs that contribute to fans and players, starting with our Liquid+ launch, and open up the esports industry to underrepresented voices. Our plans are bold, but so are we, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Alienware and Liquid,” Steve Arhancet, co-CEO of Team Liquid, said.

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Kambi Group plc expands in Argentina with Casino Magic partnership

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Agreement with leading Argentinian casino operator grows Kambi’s LatAm footprint and strengthens global network

Kambi Group plc, the world’s trusted sports betting partner, has entered into a multi-year agreement to provide its technology and services to leading Argentinian operator Casino Magic.

The partnership will see Kambi support the launch of an online Casino Magic sportsbook in Argentina’s Neuquén province, with the country in the process of regulating sports betting on a province-by-province basis.

The Casino Magic sportsbook is expected to be live in Neuquén during Q1 2021, complementing the operator’s existing online casino offering.

Kristian Nylén, CEO, Kambi, said: “We are delighted to have finalised this agreement with Casino Magic and in doing so strengthened the Kambi network. It is a partnership with real promise as we aim to realise the potential of regulated sports betting in Argentina.

“Kambi’s ability to efficiently pivot our technology to satisfy the compliance requirements within any regulated market is evident, and we are very excited at the prospect of leveraging this to deliver fantastic sports betting experiences to Casino Magic’s players in Neuquén and continue our expansion in Latin America.”

Eduardo Nanton, General Manager, Casino Magic, said: “Kambi has established itself as the clear sportsbook of choice in regulated markets in Latin America and across the world, so we are pleased to have agreed this long-term partnership.

“Their commitment to bringing exciting experiences to players matches our own, and we look forward to working with them as we progress our ambitious plans for the Casino Magic brand.”

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Interactive Gaming Group Appoints Cristina Niculae as its New CEO

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Interactive Gaming Group (IGG) has appointed Cristina Niculae as its new CEO.

Niculae was previously the chief strategy officer at GiG and, prior to that, was the company’s chief operating officer, overseeing operations in its iGaming Cloud arm.

“I am delighted to accept the role as CEO of Interactive Gaming Group and lead the company into its next phase of growth. I have been impressed by the innovative and experienced founding team and I believe in this motivated and highly skilled group of people driven by a mission to rapidly become the best streaming affiliate in the industry,” Cristina Niculae said.

Niculae sees a bright future ahead for iGaming and understands what is needed to make a company technologically and digitally superior in an industry that continues to become more crowded.

“In the casino space, rapid digitalisation and increased competition between online casinos are creating a strong value proposition for what streaming communities have to offer. Therefore, I feel inspired by the tremendous potential of Interactive Gaming Group to innovate and create long term value in this exciting space,” she said.

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F1 Esports Champion Jarno Opmeer Joins Mercedes

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Reigning F1 Esports Pro Series drivers’ champion Jarno Opmeer has joined Mercedes from Alfa Romeo.

Opmeer will be joined at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team by last year’s F1 Esports Pro Series Rookie of the Year Dani Moreno, who switches from McLaren, along with Dutchman Bono Huis, who’s raced for Mercedes since 2020.

The move comes after Mercedes stalwart Brendon Leigh made a shock switch to rivals Ferrari to partner David Tonizza in an all-champion line-up for 2021. However, Opmeer showed last season that he was a force to be reckoned with himself, taking eight podiums and four wins en route to being crowned the 2020 F1 Esports Pro Series champ.

“We have a very strong new driver line-up with Jarno, Dani and Bono. It underlines our ambitions in the world of esports – we are here to compete at the front, in multiple disciplines and categories. We’re very happy with this new driver line-up and it will help us take the next step in the development of our esports programme,” James Vowles, Mercedes F1 team’s Motorsport Strategy Director, said.

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Sazka Group Appoints Aleš Veselý as New CEO of Czech Operations

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Sazka Group has appointed Aleš Veselý, currently its marketing director, as the new chief executive of its Czech business, replacing Robert Chvátal.

Veselý, who joined Sazka in 2013 as marketing director and also became deputy chief executive in 2018, will begin his new role on February 1. Veselý joined Sazka from telecommunications business Telefonica O2, where he served for seven years, including as marketing and content services director.

“Over the last eight years, we have managed to build a modern and entertainment company from a traditional lottery company. Thanks to innovation and online transformation, we can offer a wide portfolio of games that appeals to three quarters of the adult population in the Czech Republic. My main goal is for Sazka not only to maintain that trend, but above all to further develop its long-term strategy as an entertainment company,” Veselý said.

Meanwhile, Robert Chvátal will step down from the top role within Sazka’s home country, which he has held since 2013, but will remain chief executive for the Sazka Group as a whole. He will also become chair of the Czech business.

“I am very pleased to continue to be a part of Czech Sazka’s strategic decisions as chairman of the board of directors. At the same time, I am proud to be able to contribute to the growth of the Sazka Group in four other European countries,” Chvátal said.

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Las Vegas Sands Appoints Robert Goldstein as New CEO

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Las Vegas Sands has named its long-serving executive Robert Goldstein as the company’s new chairman and CEO.

The appointment comes after American casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who built lavish gambling palaces that made him one of the world’s richest men, died earlier this month at 87. Adelson was Las Vegas Sands’ chairman and chief executive officer since its inception in the late 1980s.

Goldstein, who assumed the role of acting chairman and CEO on January 7, joined Las Vegas Sands in 1995 and became a member of its board in 2015. He has served as president and chief operating officer since January 2015.

Goldstein has also held prominent roles at The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas, two of the world’s best-known casinos on the Vegas gambling strip.

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SportsModule and 247 Leagues Join Esports Integrity Commission

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Sports Data provider SportsModule and their subsidiary tournament organiser 247 Leagues have joined the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC).

Their membership highlights the 247 Leagues’ dedication to adopting and promoting ESIC’s Integrity Programme, to assist in the greater fight against cheating and corruption across esports competitions.

247 Leagues will integrate ESIC’s integrity codes and standards into its tournament operations, encouraging fair play and sporting integrity across the tournaments hosted on their platform.

“We are excited to welcome 247 Leagues as a member of ESIC. 247 Leagues’ commitment to ESIC is reflective of their pledge to maintain integrity in their esports operations. We believe it is important to collaborate with tournament operators such as 247 Leagues in order to facilitate the continual harmonisation of competitive integrity efforts in esports,” Ian Smith, Commissioner of ESIC, said.

“We are delighted to start a partnership with ESIC, which fits perfectly with our ambition to be a leading international eSports organiser with a trustworthy and transparent brand. 247 Leagues aims to cater perfectly to the high integrity requirements of all our customers. We welcome a more regulated esports market and see our membership with ESIC as vital in helping to support this process,” Robert Verschoyle, Founder at SportsModule, said.

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BLOX Expands Live Casino Range With LiveG24

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Italian iGaming platform provider BLOX Limited has further strengthened its Live Casino offering through a partnership with LiveG24.

The agreement with the leading Live Casino provider makes available even more Live Roulette, Live Blackjack, Live Baccarat, and Live Magic Card tables to BLOX’s operator partners, enabling them to capitalise on the growing demand for live dealer games in the exciting Italian market.

LiveG24’s games offer players the chance to experience an authentic real casino atmosphere from anywhere, and provide the real human interaction that players across Italy are craving during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which has forced the closure of most land-based venues.

Chief Commercial Officer at BLOX, Karl Grech, explained: “We live in challenging times and all across Europe, including Italy, players are missing out on the pleasure of gaming at their favourite land-based casinos. But, this does provide an excellent opportunity for online operators to show players just how entertaining Live Casino can be.

“That’s why BLOX is putting together the best Live Casino offering in the industry, and we’re delighted that LiveG24 is now part of that. We know players are going to love their games, and we’re thrilled to give our partners yet another way to grow their businesses.”

Chief Operating Officer of LiveG24, Angelo De Gobbi, said: “We are delighted to start this new partnership with BLOX for the Italian regulated market. The LiveG24 portfolio fits perfectly with BLOX’s customers. We are very confident that our live games will prove to be very popular indeed with BLOX’s clients and will also help to attract further new operators.”

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EXCEL ESPORTS partners with fitness equipment manufacturer Eleiko to enhance LEC performance

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The partnership will see Eleiko supply EXCEL ESPORTS’ League of Legends’ team with world leading fitness equipment, helping to better EXCEL’s performance strategy

British competitive gaming culture brand EXCEL ESPORTS has today announced a supplier partnership with the world leader in weightlifting equipment, Eleiko. As the Official Fitness Equipment Supplier, Eleiko will supply EXCEL’s League of Legends Championship (LEC) team with a selection of equipment at the player facilities in Berlin that will assist with performance and fitness training.

The announcement follows EXCEL’s brand update that saw it begin forging its own unique path in esports through its new belief in the Power of Better, which sees the team driven by performance and incorporates purpose in order to be better and create positive change in esports and gaming.

EXCEL ESPORTS’ League of Legends players are provided with a holistic, professional performance programme that incorporates both physical and psychological training and support and is spearheaded by the team’s Head of Performance Fabian Broich and Performance Manager Simon Bayer. The partnership with Eleiko will see the team utilise Eleiko’s equipment to support the players individual and team physical training regimes to prepare them throughout the 2021 Spring Split.

EXCEL’s LEC team officially kicked off its 2021 LEC campaign this past weekend with the team bidding to follow up on a successful 2020 Summer Split after narrowly missing out on playoffs. Each year EXCEL’s LEC team has improved significantly, surpassing the performance of the previous year with 2020 marking its best result to date. With a roster of long-standing EXCEL players and promising new talent, EXCEL is looking to continue to improve its results in the LEC in 2021.

The LEC is Europe’s leading League of Legends esports league and represents the highest level of esports competition in the region. Watched by millions of esports fans every week, the league is home to the best 10 teams in Europe who each year represent their region at the League of Legends World Championship.

“At EXCEL improvement never stops and we are always striving to be better. We have big ambitions for 2021 and it’s great to work with a partner like Eleiko who really understands the fitness environment and can provide us with the tools to reach our goals. Performance is a real focal point at EXCEL and it’s great we are able to provide our players with world-class equipment where they can train in a safe environment, ” said Robin McCammon, Chief Commercial Officer, EXCEL.

“EXCEL recently released a whitepaper called “Gaming for Better” which details how regular exercise has a positive impact on a professional gamers lifestyle and wellbeing and how physical health is vital to performance in gaming. The partnership with Eleiko allows us to improve our training regime even more and comes at the perfect time for the LEC Spring Split and while gyms are closed due to COVID. Partnering with Eleiko has given us an opportunity to create our own gym to adapt to the circumstances and find solutions to stabilize our players’ health and performance,” said Fabian Broich, Head of Performance at EXCEL.

”At Eleiko, we understand the difference a sharp mind and body makes. Strength training provides esports athletes with a competitive edge: enhanced memory, endurance and cognitive functions, faster reaction time and greater grip strength. We are proud to support EXCEL’s LEC team in their high-performance training as well as in their esports success,” says Erik Blomberg, CEO at Eleiko.

 

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