Tether Gains Popularity as Payment Method

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There have been lots of debates regarding the legitimacy of Tether (USDT) as a stable means of payments as well as its speculated involvement in the manipulation of the prices of digital currencies. Despite this, the digital currency has been growing with a decent number of merchants now accepting it as a preferred means of stability. This is largely because of its unmatched stability.

As it stands, Tether occupies the fourth spot in the United States’ crypto market. This means that it is already highly regarded as a stablecoin and therefore its rise to the top should not be as much of a surprise. Over the past year, merchants who are using the digital currency have recorded a significant increase in Tether volumes over the past year.

According to CoinPayments.net, one of the world’s largest digital currency payment processors, Tether currently accounts for up to 30 percent of the volume of transactions it processes. In comparison, a year ago the volume of Tether transactions was 30 times less than what has been recently reported. The consistency in Tether’s meteoric rise has been quite consistent across a number of other cryptocurrency payment processors as well.

Why Now?

Well, unlike other digital currencies, Tether burst into the scene with the promise of living up to the stablecoin objective. The digital currency avoided fluctuations and instead opted for at least a one-to-one ratio with the US dollar by managing a reserve.

This feature made it quite popular and many merchants would often accept payments in other digital currencies such as Bitcoin and convert it to Tether in order to “hedge against the volatility” of other cryptocurrencies. The over 265 companies that accept payments in Tether has since switched and are now taking Tether payments directly.

What It Means for Other Digital Currencies

While Tether’s use in commerce is definitely a positive development for the crypto community, its growth has had a rather negative impact on other digital currencies especially the ones considered to be market leaders such as Ether and Bitcoin. Owing to several factors, Bitcoin and Ether have lost their appeal among many investors and due to the rapidly shifting dynamics of the crypto industry, a lot of focus is being given to alternative crypto solutions.

Moreover, there is a need for more accessible digital currency solutions in such areas as gambling and other adult product like cannabis and sex dolls. Tether has caught up and its stability is making many other digital currencies seem like raw deals for many customers. Perhaps this is the beginning of its ascension to the top of the crypto market.

BLUEBET Emerges as World’s Top Crypto Betting Site

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According to blockchain user analysis website DappRadar, BLUEBET is the world’s leading cryptocurrency betting platform. Further analysis of the gaming website suggested that it is set to consolidate the positions for even longer thanks to its longer-term strategic focus on the so-called cross-chain crypto gambling – this will definitely be a revolutionary step forward for the recently launched gambling website.

On the DappRadar website, BLUEBET which has been in operation for just a little over seven months is described as a “multi-person online entertainment platform that is based on blockchain.” The online gaming platform supports a number of popular gaming titles including Texas, multiplayer Blackjack, Baccarat, PowerBall Lottery, Caribbean Poker, Sports, and multiplayer Three Card among many others. Its goal is to create a professional, safe and transparent gaming environment for their customers who are from all around the world. Furthermore, the company leverages the power of blockchain technology to build “a user autonomous community, and create a platform that belongs to poker enthusiasts and sports enthusiasts.”

The EOS-based project also currently ranks as the most popular blockchain projects with more than three thousand customers using it on a daily basis. However, there have been speculations that the traffic may not be quite as impressive as portrayed.

“There is a very high level of bot traffic on gambling dApps. We’re currently doing some research on this subject at DappRadar, but my personal gut feeling is +50% of traffic for some gambling dApps comes from bots,” Jon Jordan, a spokesperson for DappRadar website.

The presence of bot traffic might be a result of deliberate manipulation in order to fake user adoption numbers. Another possibility is that the bot interaction may be the result of algorithmic interactions which are completely legitimate in the context of online gambling.

Still, this might just be mere speculation as stated above especially considering the fact that BLUEBET was primarily designed and built with the Chinese gaming market in mind. Chinese gamblers have been switching to blockchain-based casinos particularly because of the anonymity they offer – this is a very important factor since gambling is still illegal in the country.

Cross-Chain Functionality

BLUEBET plans to eventually accommodate many other digital currencies including Ethereum and bitcoin. This is directly in line with the platform’s plans to build cross-chain functionality. This will allow for peer-to-peer betting by users using different cryptocurrencies. Needless to say, the functionality is almost unheard of in the crypto gambling sector and therefore it will set BLUEBET apart from all other gaming platform and give it an upper hand in the very competitive market.

 

Crypto Gaming Platform Helping Physical Casinos Move Online

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Pbet, a brand new crypto-powered gambling platform has recently launched an initiative that is set to help land-based or physical casinos to move online. The initiative not only promises to see the casino operators incur much lower costs but also intends to afford them with the assurance of more savings. In addition to that, the platform is also meant to ensure better credibility for casino players thanks to its blockchain crypto-based Unified Gaming Platform.

Pbet is already considered to be a next-gen gaming platform and its crypto token that is referred to as “PBET” is also beginning to take off. In fact, the platform has already had its Initial Exchange Offering (IOE) in a number of popular cryptocurrency exchanges including the renowned P2PB2B. Furthermore, Pbet has gone ahead to further its participation through IEO sessions in a good number of other leading exchanges like ExMarkets. Now, after the Initial Exchange Offering (IEO), the platform’s token will now be officially listed on host exchanges where its holders will be able to trade it.

Revolutionary Casino Management System

Pbet has been around for over two years now and in that time, it has been able to penetrate the gaming market thanks to “Genuina”, its casino management system. Genuina is the brainchild of some hospitality and gaming industry veteran. Now, as mentioned earlier, Pbet has plans to create a smooth convergence of physical casinos and online casinos while at the same time integrating crypto-based payments.

The platform’s blockchain technology is set to help in ensuring that there is a trust factor for players through the delivery of transparency information among other things. This mission is based on the company’s vision to combine all the three pillars of physical casinos, that is, the players, the physical casinos themselves as well as Pbet.

One of the most notable but rather overlooked features is the fact that, with the adoption of blockchain technology, Pbet will now be able to offer the players crypto payment solutions that are not only more affordable but also assure the customers of much faster withdrawal speeds.

“We will enable physical casinos to beat the high cost of penetrating into online space with our blockchain crypto-based turn-key, zero fix fees, revenue sharing system. Pbet also assures almost ‘0’ transaction fees and super-fast withdrawals for players,” stated a Pbet spokesperson.

The convergence between crypto or blockchain and the gambling industry has been a long time coming but it is certainly refreshing to see companies such as Pbet take the leap forward by actualizing it. As such, it will not be long before even more companies begin to adopt the new model

Worldpay, Paysafe Unite for US Gambling Partnership

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Global payment providers Worldpay, Inc., and Paysafe Group have recently announced a new strategic partnership that is aimed at establishing a standard for the sports betting and online gaming digital payments acceptance and security in the United States. This move is perhaps a well-timed response to the rapid growth of the online and sport betting industry following the May Supreme Court ruling that event that lifted the federal ban on sports betting thus individual states the go-ahead to liberate on their own sports betting regulations.

Paysafe Group is one of the world’s most popular providers of end-to-end payment solutions and its core business is enabling businesses and consumers to connect and perform seamless transactions. The company has well over two decades worth of experience, close to 3,000 employees and up to 12 global locations. Worldpay, Inc, on the other hand, is highly regarded for its capability to power global omni-commerce.

The duo’s partnership will leverage Worldpay’s optimized credit card processing, fast-fund payouts as well the included treasury and payment solutions. Paysafe, on the other hand, will be providing its online gambling and gaming digital payment options which include Paysafecard online cash solution and NETELLER wallet. With this partnership in place, the duo will be able to facilitate seamless transactions while reducing operating costs and allowing universal payment acceptance.

This is exactly what the American sports betting and online gaming industry need as they continue to grow – the American Gaming Association estimates that the sports betting market in the country is worth over $150 billion in gross online and offline gaming revenue. From the looks of it, it could become the largest sports betting market in the world and therefore reliable and convenient payment systems are necessary.

More Choices for the Players

Joel Leonoff, the President and CEO of Paysafe Group believes that the partnership will be able to effectively champion the needs of both the players and the operators by giving them access to a secure, high-configurable and cost-effective payments systems that will deliver an unmatched player experience. The innovative approach the duo will be going with means that the partners will be able to support all transactions. In essence, this means that there will be a ton of payment choices for players to choose from.

In a statement released shortly after the announcement of the partnership, Shane Happach, Worldpay’s executive vice president and head of global enterprise eCommerce pointed out that the combined strengths and capabilities of the two companies would simplify payment options for the gaming operators while “continuing to show our attentiveness to responsible gaming and our mission to protect the integrity of every transaction.”

Are Esports Operators Prepared to Handle Skill-Based Games?

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Last month, renowned esports gambling website Unikrn announced plans to bring legal skill-based betting to the United States which will allow players to wager on themselves. Players will be able to link their games to their Unikrn accounts and the platform will in turn generated odds for the player based on their profiles within the game. This is one of the biggest milestones since the launch of such skill-based competitive video games such as Player Unknown’s Battleground and Fortnite.

As much as the esports industry is picking up in several different areas, Ian Smith, the commissioner of the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) is concerned that the industry is yet to be prepared for it. To be more specific, Mr. Smith is skeptical about operators like Unikrn having the ability to ensure the skill ratings of the punters match the abilities of those that are manning the game controls.

The Loopholes

One of the most notable loopholes of this model is the fact that some players may place Fortnite bets using their personal account then handle the controller over to a more talented gamer. Similarly, there is the possibility that some players may nuke the game profile and then hustle the system by placing a series of bets. To make it worse, the ESIC commissioner is still not certain about the existence of any tools that identify players and make sure that player is actually the holder of the game account on platforms such as Unikrn’s.

Unikrn, on the other hand, is very confident about the ability of its team to handle issues to do with fraud. According to Unikrn’s chief executive officer, Rahul Sood, the platform has been studying each and every player’s game so as to thoroughly understand the competitive ecosystem of all the games hosted on its platform. This might be the case especially considering how great the platform’s customer experience is – this is only possible by knowing the gaming style of each player. This information can also be very useful for the company if it is to maintain the integrity of the betting platform.

Is This Effective Enough?

It is still quite obvious that it will be very difficult to detect cheating in battle royale such as Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds than in other types of video games. This is primarily because these battle royale games usually feature multiple players all fighting to emerge as the last man standing.

Furthermore, data from these games are not very reliable because their results are not very predictable – most anti-fraud measures are based on the predictability of certain activities or actions. For instance, talented players can sometimes be easily knocked out of the games during the early stages and a less experienced player may, in some case, get lucky enough to win the game. Since battle royale games are not like the conventional esports betting formats better solutions are definitely needed.

US Legalizes Esports Betting, Approves Unikrn’s License

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Last Tuesday, Unikrn, a gaming operator known for its blockchain-infused esports betting projects, had its esports betting license approved by the Isle of Man, a move that has officially laid the groundwork for legal and regulated sports betting in the United States. Esports fans both within the United States and some other international markets will soon be able to bet on various esports events including tournaments and championship matches.

Unikrn, which is the world’s first betting platform to be built entirely on blockchain technology has had plans to merge real-money betting on competitive video gaming with crypto and blockchain technologies. The approval of its licenses by the Isle of Man is a huge step forward for the company and which has already moved fast to deploy its crypto esports gambling services in 20 different regions – the company began rolling out its online gaming products to the 20 countries as soon as the Isle of Man approved its license.

It plans to follow through by offering esports betting to European countries, South Korean and other Asian nations as well as parts of Latin America. In the US, the company will be offering several types of esports gambling services save for spectator betting which is yet to be legalized.

With the new products, the platform’s users in the countries where sports betting is legal will have the opportunity to bet on major esports competitions like the forthcoming League of Legends World Championship. Unlike traditional sportsbooks, Unikrn will be taking a unique approach that will be based on skill-based bets – this will allow the gamers to bet on their game performance for in games such as Player Unknown: Battlegrounds and Fortnite.

High Hopes Esports Betting Market

The approval of Unikrn esports betting license is certainly going to pave way for more companies to venture into the space – in fact, a number of esports betting platforms already exist but they have yet to be officially recognized by the Isle of Man. Still, the market is expected to significantly grow further from here on out. According to Rahul Sood, Unikrn’s CEO, the esports betting market could be worth $9 billion by 2020 if it’s nurtured properly.

“There is finally a legitimate, regulated operator in the space that has a pretty comprehensive offering,” Sood commented on his company’s approved esports betting license. “It’s huge.”

For the esports betting venture, Unikrn will also be featuring technology from Bittrex, a US-based asset trading platform. Bittrex’s technology will assist Unikrn in establishing a system for seamless crypto accessibility for the users of the gaming platform. The company’s in-house cryptocurrency, UnikoinGold (UKG) will be the primary token for esports spectator wagering in the 20 regions where Unikrn his set to begin operations.

NHS Asks Premier League Teams to Tackle Problem Gambling

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According to Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS (National Health Service), Premier League football clubs and the foreign bookmakers that sponsor them are failing at their duty to help protect problem gamblers. Speaking at a conference in Manchester, Mr. Stevens called out the overseas betting companies for their failure to make the required donations to an industry charity that was formed to help in tackling gambling addiction.

“There is an increasing link between problem gambling and stress, depression and other mental health problems. Doctors report that two-thirds of problem gamblers get worse without help, and the NHS does offer specialist treatment,” Simon Stevens said. “But reports that foreign gambling companies are failing to play their part in co-funding help for addicts are deeply concerning. Taxpayers and the NHS should not be left to pick up the pieces. The health of the nation is everyone’s responsibility.”

He further described compulsive gambling as one of the “new threat” that the NHS has to deal with waring that the implications could be very serious especially since the already overstretched NHS has had to “pick up the pieces” from gambling-related mental health issues.

“One of the things, if we’re serious about prevention, that we need to do – we need to be getting on to the Premier League and asking them to ensure that those foreign gambling firms are playing their part,” he added.

Worrying Numbers

According to the UK Gambling Commission, the UK has about 430,000 problem gamblers, a number that is likely to grow even further if nothing is done. In fact, the NHS has already moved to open its first mental clinic aimed specifically at problem gamblers but this is a just a drop in the ocean when compared to what really needs to be done.

“This is at the same time as the voluntary contribution from the gambling industry has not been responded to by eight overseas firms who sponsor Premier League clubs, so we need to get onto the Premier League to make sure they contribute.”

The dire need for interventions has been recognized and echoed by a number of organizations including GambleAware which has openly welcomed the NHS chief’s component.

“With nearly half the clubs in the Premier League and over two-thirds of the Championship league sponsored by gambling companies, we are seriously concerned the relationship between sport and gambling has reached a tipping point. There is a real risk gambling advertising and sponsorships are normalizing gambling for children. We welcome the call from NHS England for gambling companies, wherever they are based, to contribute more to treating problem gambling,” a spokesperson from GambleAware said. “We would like to see all clubs, leagues, and broadcasters who profit from gambling work with us to help fund treatment for this hidden addiction.”

California Tribe’s Online Gaming Bid Nixed by Federal Court

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The California-based Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, a native tribe in the United States has been championing its online poker and bingo offerings for a while now but it seems they were not quite ready for the battle that would ensue.

The tribe’s Desert Rose online bingo site has been the bone of contention that has pitted the federal regulators of the tribe for years. However, unfortunately for the tribe, a federal court has made a ruling that sides with federal regulators – the site will have to go.

The U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit, following the recent U.S. Supreme Court landmark ruling that lifted the federal ban on sports betting, upheld a previous decision by a lower district court. The decision had sided with the state of California is its efforts to try and force the tribe at the picture as far as online gambling is concerned.

Even though the tribe’s chances of winning this fight were somewhat limited, the case still represents a key milestone in the quest for adding clarity to gambling laws in the country.

The case which stems back to November 2014 stated that the tribal operator had violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) – at the time when the tribe launched the Desert Rose Bing Site, the state of California did not have any regulatory framework in place. The tribe, in its defense, argued that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) had given it sovereign right to offer Class II games like poker and bingo. However, the court maintained that the UIGEA law is superior to the IGRA.

“The panel held that Iipay Nation’s operation of Desert Rose Casino violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”). The panel held that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act protected gaming activity conducted on Indian lands, but the patrons’ act of placing a bet or wager on a game of Desert Rose Casino while located in California, violated the UIGEA and was not protected by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The panel further held that even if all of the “gaming activity” associated with Desert Rose Casino occurred on Indian lands, the patrons’ act of placing bets or wagers over the internet while located in a jurisdiction where those bets or wagers were illegal made Iipay Nation’s decision to accept financial payments associated with those bets or wagers a violation of the UIGEA,” reads an extract from the three-judge panel’s summary.

“Because Iipay’s operation of DRB violates the UIGEA, the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s order granting summary judgment to the Government.”

The tribe has not made any comments as to what it plans to do next – one of the options would be to take the case to the United States Supreme Court but there are very slim chances that the court would even consider hearing the case.

NBA Strikes Gambling Partnership with MGM Resorts

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The NBA on Tuesday, July 30, announced that it had struck a deal with MGM Resorts International to be its official gambling partner. This partnership, which is the first ever for a sports league and gambling operator marks a crucial step forward for sports betting in the United States especially considering that before the Supreme lifted the ban on sports betting, the leagues had for decades shunned any association with gambling activities.

“This is an industry and an area that we’ve been discussing a lot over the last several years, and of course, with the Supreme Court’s repeal of PASPA, it’s all come to a head,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.

Even though the Supreme Court ruling that repealed PASPA is not likely to culminate in a federal gambling bill, the ongoing state-by-state approach for the legalization of sports betting will help the NBA and other leagues to tap into the new revenue stream that acknowledges the sports betting interests in the country. According to the sources close to the partnership, the deal is approximated to be $25 million over three years which may seem small, but the real value for the league may come through the creation of a market for their direct data feed.

MGM Resorts International will also enjoy a number of perks from the partnership. These included the rights to NBA league and team logo, highlights, access to official league data as well as recognition for being an “official gaming partner” of the NBA and WNBA. Using the aforementioned official NBA league data on its betting platforms, MGM will also be able to work with the league to detect and prevent fraud and game-fixing which have plagued both industries for a very long time.

The NHL Also Wants a Piece of the Gambling Action

The leagues have since abandoned the controversial quest for an “integrity fee” but this is not stopping some of them, including the NHL, from candidly and directly pursuing their interests in the gambling scene. According to recent reports, Gary Bettman, the NHL Commissioner, the league hopes to be paid from gambling interests for the sports intellectual properties associated with the league.

“We’ve historically been opposed to extending sports betting on our game, and, emotionally, I don’t think that’s changed. However, it is a fact of life in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, and it’ll be up to states to decide whether or not they’re going to enact sports betting,” Bettman stated.

“From our standpoint, we believe that whether it’s our intellectual property or data, whether it’s a video of our game, we have important assets. And if somebody is going to avail themselves or want to avail themselves of those assets in order to conduct their business, then we’re going to need to have a negotiation.”

GVC Holdings, MGM Resorts Forge U.S. Gambling Joint Venture

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MGM Resorts International on Monday, July 30, announced two new partnerships that, according to CEO Jim Murren, will significantly help the company to rise above many other operators and become an industry leader in U.S. sports betting markets other than Las Vegas.

One of the two strategic partnerships is a market access agreement between MGM and Boyd Gaming which is expected to expand the scope of online and mobile gaming in the country. This partnership will offer sports betting, poker and other casino gaming platforms in the areas where either MGM Resorts International or Boyd Gaming operate a land-based casino or possess online licenses.

“Thanks to our partnership with MGM Resorts, Boyd Gaming will have the opportunity to potentially add an online presence in five additional states, positioning us for significant future growth as our respective companies take a leadership role in our industry’s evolution,” Boyd Gaming President and CEO Keith Smith.

Separately, MGM also announced that it had established a 50-50 joint venture with Europe-based GVC Holdings PLC. The venture will see both companies collaborating to establish a sports betting and online gaming platform that will have its headquarters in the United States. To capitalize on the venture, each of the companies will be raising a whopping $100 million.

GVC has made tremendous efforts to nab a share of the U.S. sports betting market and with the country’s Supreme Court having lifted the federal ban on sports betting, there are a ton of new opportunities in the nascent but rapidly growing market.

The joint venture alone will give the company access to 15 states which have around 90 million people. Added to the fact that the joint venture will also give GVC access to all the land-based gambling facilities and online sports betting platforms in the United States, there is certainly bound to be a revolution in the United States gambling scene.

“MGM Resorts is a world-leading entertainment business and the most trusted name in gaming, with the highest quality brands and management, and strong sports connectivity. This combined with GVC’s technology and experience in successfully building online gaming businesses across multiple markets presents a truly exciting opportunity for U.S. players and our respective shareholders. To be able to team up with a partner with such pedigree and knowledge, particularly in the U.S., is a real opportunity for GVC,” Kenneth Alexander, the GVC Holdings. Chief Executive Officer said.

Jim Murren, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MGM Resorts International also commented on the joint venture saying:

“We are excited to benefit from GVC’s proprietary, best-in-class technology, digital customer acquisition expertise, and experience with adapting to new operating environments. GVC is unusually qualified due to their existing operations in the U.S. Together, we are creating a one-of-a-kind platform that we expect will dominate the U.S. sports betting market.”