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India: Six People, Including Cops, Arrested After Ranchi Police Busts Illegal Gambling Den

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Six people, including cops, were arrested after the Ranchi Police busted an illegal gambling group in the Gonda area of Jharkhand’s capital.

In recent news, six people, including cops were arrested after the Ranchi Police busted an illegal gambling den in the Gonda area of Jharkhand’s capital. Acting on the received information, a police team raided the spot. Reportedly, a sum of five lakh rupees was seized from the accused.

BJP State President Babulal Marandi raised his concern over the incident, emphasising on the involvement of police personnel stationed at CM Hemant Soren’s residence in the gambling operation. Marandi suggested that there might be pressure on the police, leading to potential manipulation of the case.

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He even took to his official handle on X (formerly Twitter), to express his worries over the state’s leadership being involved in wrongdoings. He also questioned where the money earned from the gambling activities was going.

The station in-charge Ravi Thakur confirmed the arrests. A detailed investigation into the matter is underway. The illegal gambling activities were reportedly ongoing in the police like area for several days. Upon receiving the information about the illegal gambling den, Ranchi SSP formed the team who conducted the raid.

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MGM China Reports 2023 Annual Results

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MGM China Holdings Limited has announced the selected unaudited financial data of the Company and its subsidiaries (the Group) for the three and 12 months ended December 31, 2023.

The Group saw a solid recovery in Macau since the market reopened in the beginning of last year. Macau saw average daily visitor arrival for 2023, up by 395% from 2022 to 77,296, recovered to 72% of 2019 pre-COVID levels.

Visitation has boosted the growth of gross gaming revenue (GGR). Industry GGR recorded sequential growth over the quarters last year to reach MOP502 million per day in 2023, recovered to 63% of 2019.

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  • MGM China saw record-high performance across segments last year and continued to outperform industry recovery. Property visitation in 2023 was 106% of 2019. Daily GGR was 101% of 2019 and mass GGR (including slot) was 134% of pre-COVID levels.
  • Net revenue of the Group grew by 369% from 2022 to HK$24.7 billion, or 108% of 2019.
  • The Group saw adjusted EBITDA turnaround from 2022 to historical high of HK$7.2 billion, represented 117% of 2019.
  • MGM China had market share of 15.2% for year 2023, up from 9.5% in 2019. MGM COTAI market share was 8.6% and MGM Macau was 6.6%.
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin for the year 29.3%, 210 basis points higher than 2019, with a mass-focused business and continuous improvement in operational efficiency.
  • On a quarterly basis, the Group recorded sequential growth for four consecutive quarters over daily GGR, mass GGR and Adjusted EBITDA. Fourth-quarter Adjusted EBITDA was up 16% from previously to HK$2.2 billion, with adjusted EBITDA margin of 28.5%.
  • The Group maintained a healthy financial position. As of December 31, 2023, the Group had a total liquidity of approximately HK$21.5 billion, comprises cash, cash equivalents and undrawn revolver.

The Group saw business volumes continued to grow in January. Market daily GGR further grew 4% from December to MOP624 million, implying a year-on-year growth of 67%, and 78% recovery of January 2019.

Kenneth Feng, President and Executive Director of MGM China, said: “We are excited about the recovery in Macau and our outperformance across various business segments.

“We will continue to innovate our products and services to enhance customer experience. We are also committed to bringing in more unique integrated tourism experiences to attract international visitors.”

During the year, MGM China has expanded overseas offices in Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul and Osaka. The Group had also held flagship entertainment and gastronomy events including MGM x RR1 Culinary Masters Macau, MGM Chef Nic Gastronomusic Fest and Oktoberfest Macau at MGM, which drew both local and international visitors.

As a supporter of cultural tourism, MGM again collaborated with world-renowned Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos to present a large-scale art installation Valkyrie Miss Dior at MGM COTAI. On the art front, the Group presented at MGM Theatre To Infinity and Beyond: The Art of Hsiao Chin, an unprecedented large-scale immersive exhibition as part of Art Macao, a city-wide international event organised by the Macao SAR government. The Group has also announced the collaboration with Poly Culture Group to build a cutting-edge arts and culture museum at MGM MACAU.

In addition, MGM China is determined to bring in world-class events to Macau. The Group has organised MGM Macau Tennis Masters tournament with IMG featuring top international tennis players at the Macao East Asia Games Dome. The Group has also joined hand with the Macao Cultural Affairs Bureau to organise hush! Beach Concerts x Urban Yo~ga Wellfest, a multi-disciplinary festival which marks the debut of MGM’s wellness IP Programme that integrates tourism, health and music industries along the natural coastal Hac Sá Beach in Macau.

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“We strive to develop MGM as a destination for visitors and customers, along with the diversification development of Macau. We are devoted in developing Macau into a global and diversified tourist destination through our concession commitments,” Kenneth Feng said.

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NODWIN Gaming and BLAST Triumphantly Conclude ‘The Draft’ with ‘shox’- Led Marcos Gaming Clinching Inaugural Title

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South Asia’s leading gaming and esports media company, NODWIN Gaming, in partnership with global esports entertainment company, BLAST celebrates the successful culmination of the region’s first legends-led  Counter-Strike tournament, ‘The Draft’. After an electrifying Super Six LAN final phase and a riveting BO5 grand final encounter against KennyS’ True Rippers Esports, Marcos Gaming, under the leadership of Counter-Strike icon Richard ‘shox’ Papillon, clinched a heart-stopping 3-2 victory, securing their place as the inaugural champions of ‘The Draft’.

Held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and powered by energy drink partners Red Bull, the Super Six LAN final phase of ‘The Draft’ featured 6 of the best Counter-Strike teams from India and Pakistan, with  India’s True Rippers Esports and Marcos Gaming emerging as the grand finalists. Richard ‘shox’ Papillon of team Liquid, G2, Team Vitality fame, boasting a remarkable career tally of over a dozen global CS tournaments including 1 Major led Marcos Gaming across the finish line. Shox was also named the tournament MVP with 302 kills, 187 deaths, and an impressive ADR of 103 across 5 Super Six LAN phase matches.

Speaking on the recently concluded tournament, Gautam Virk Co-Founder and CEO of NODWIN Gaming said, “We’re thrilled by the overwhelming success of ‘The Draft’ and the extraordinary display of Counter-Strike talent witnessed throughout the event. It’s been an exhilarating journey, witnessing the unwavering passion and dedication of gamers from the region. ‘The Draft’ embodies our unwavering commitment to not only elevate the esports ecosystem but also to nurture talent and cultivate a dynamic gaming community. The collaboration between NODWIN Gaming and BLAST has been a beacon of opportunity, providing emerging CS stars from the region with a platform to shine. Our heartiest congratulations to Marcos Gaming for their historic triumph as the inaugural champions of ‘The Draft’.

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We extend our deepest gratitude to our esteemed partners at BLAST, the participating teams, esteemed legends, and everyone who contributed to making this event a resounding success. Additionally, our heartfelt appreciation goes out to our passionate community whose steadfast support fuels our drive for excellence. As we conclude this remarkable chapter, we look forward to continuing our mission of pushing the boundaries of esports and creating more platforms for players to realize their full potential.”

Faye Marlborough, Director of Brand at BLAST, said: “The inaugural ‘The Draft’ has been a huge success and just goes to show the ever-growing passion and talent currently available in the South East Asia esports region. The event highlights the need for more opportunities for these underserved gaming regions and ‘The Draft’ provided exactly that with Counter-Strike legends joining them on a global platform where we saw the very best from each region – the skill, passion and dedication on display was incredible.”

Speaking on ‘The Draft’, Counter Strike legend and MVP of the tournament, Richard ‘shox’ Papillon said, “CS isn’t as well known in this region as it is in Europe or North America but being here to lend a hand feels really good. Sharing the passion for the game is key because, without that spotlight, it’s tough for players to progress. I’m just glad to be part of that journey. Every kid deserves a shot at making their dreams come true, no matter where they’re from. And I’m looking forward to meeting some fans, I hope there are some fans in the teams here that we can meet and interact with. It’s not often they get the chance to meet us, so being in this smaller intimate setting gives us a chance to connect – different people, different cultures, and different countries. It’s what makes this whole experience so special.”

The tournament started with 64 teams each from India and Pakistan vying for a spot in the group stages to join the 4 invited teams in the India group stage and 1 invited team in the Pakistan group stage. From the group stages  True Rippers Esports, Marcos Gaming, and Gods Reign represented India at the Super Six LAN phase while Pakistan was represented by Pak Boyz, Team Wah Wah, and Com Mid. Counter-Strike legends Adam ‘friberg’ Friberg, Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovacs, Richard ‘shox’ Papillon, Olof ‘olofmeister’ Gustafsson, Christopher ‘GeT_RiGhT’ Alesund, and Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub were drafted in to lead and mentor the teams, further elevating the tournament’s intensity and prestige.

‘The Draft’ stands as a testament to the joint commitment of NODWIN Gaming and BLAST to enable the Counter-Strike ecosystem in the region and provide a platform for emerging CS talents to showcase their esports prowess on the world stage while playing alongside some of the brightest and legendary names to have ever played the game.

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The collaboration between South Asia’s leading esports and gaming media company NODWIN Gaming and global esports giant BLAST underscores a collective initiative to enhance and elevate the overall esports landscape within South Asia.

 

About BLAST

We’re on a mission to take esports to the next level of global entertainment. We excite and invite billions of fans to join the esports revolution. We create live and digital experiences – from tournaments that pack out major arenas around the world to great content that’s guaranteed to blow your socks off.

We work with some of the world’s best game publishers and brands to elevate their properties into amazing esports experiences – having delivered tournaments, content and shows in a variety of games, including: Counter-Strike, Rainbow Six Siege, DOTA 2, VALORANT, Apex Legends, FIFA 2022 and Fortnite.

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BLAST Premier is a worldwide Counter-Strike tournament series where the best teams and biggest superstars fight it out for glory and a multi-million dollar prize pool. Famous for its unparalleled production quality and game changing fan-first moments. Attracting tens-of-thousands of fans to our crazy-big-adrenaline-pumped live events in big arenas from London and Copenhagen to Miami and Sao Paulo, with millions more watching at home on our broadcast tuning in from more than 154 territories and in 25 different languages.

 

About NODWIN Gaming

NODWIN Gaming, a material and independent subsidiary of Nazara Technologies Ltd. (BSE: NAZARA), holds a significant position in the global gaming and esports industry as a leader in emerging markets. NODWIN Gaming is valued at $349 million as of 2023. Since its inception in 2014 by Akshat Rathee and Gautam Virk, NODWIN has established a global presence in regions such as South Asia, Singapore, the Middle East, and Turkey. The company’s business centers around building and monetising gaming and esports IPs such as Leagues, Tournaments, Reality shows. It engages with professional esports athletes, teams and content creators. Notable investors include Nazara, KRAFTON Inc, Sony Group Corporation and JetSynthesys

A key focus for NODWIN Gaming is the expertise in the mobile gaming and esports sector, where it has established a dominant position worldwide. By catering to the youth demographic, NODWIN is expanding its Total Addressable Market (TAM) by becoming increasingly relevant in the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape. Their diverse range of intellectual properties that engages the youth spans esports, gaming, pop culture, music, and comedy. This strategic expansion and cultivation of new intellectual properties are crucial to NODWIN’s aim of maintaining a significant role in the global gaming esports arena.

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Thai House Committee Studying Introduction of Legal Casinos to Request 120-Day Deadline Extension

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A 60-member house committee tasked with considering the possibility of developing Thailand’s first legal casinos is reportedly requesting an additional four months to finalise its findings.

According to reports, the committee has asked for another 120 days to continue research and discussions once its initial 120-day period expires later this month.

Among the reasons given for the request are disagreements over what restrictions should be applied to local Thai players should one or more casino resort developments proceed, and whether the government or private sector should take the lead in such developments, according to the comments by the committee member and Move Forward Party MP, Karit Pannaim.

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The current 60-member committee, established after Thailand appointed the Pheu Thai Party’s Srettha Thavisin as its Prime Minister under a new coalition government in August, is different from the one formed under the previous government and which compiled a report proposing the establishment of integrated resorts with casinos in various locations across the country.

That report recommended the development of legalised casinos within broader entertainment complexes in up to five locations nationwide, with Bangkok and Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) – which includes the likes of Pattaya and Rayong – named as the most suitable locations.

It also called for casino areas to comprise no more than 5% of the total IR floor space, with the remainder to incorporate attractions such as five-star hotels, shopping malls, beauty and spa parlours, amusement parks, zoos and indoor and outdoor sports stadiums.

Entry to casinos would be open to foreigners and locals of 21 years and above although the latter would need to show that they held at least THB500,000 ($15,000) in their accounts for the previous six months.

Members of the current committee seem to support the idea of the integrated resort model whereby casino gaming is located within broader entertainment complexes, as seen across Asia’s major gaming jurisdictions such as Macau, Singapore and the Philippines.

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“People on the committee are thinking of the big picture. They know the public might reject this so that’s why they’re talking about entertainment complexes like in Singapore,” said Dr Nualnoi Treerat, Director of the Centre for Gambling Studies at Chulalongkorn University.

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