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India has a fast-growing fantasy gaming market, and even though Dream11 remains the dominating player with its massive user base and the recently acquired Unicorn status, the race to share a piece of the expanding fantasy gaming pie is intensely on. Online poker site 9stacks became the third poker platform in the country to enter fantasy gaming when it last month launched ‘Faboom.’ With Delta Corp divesting its in-house LeagueAdda, 9stacks became the second poker company to remain operational in the sector. 9stack’s USP remains its unique rank fantasy format that promises a more engaging experience while reducing variance.
Moving over to international updates, online poker brand PokerStars has been in the news for more reasons than one. Just as we heard that PokerStars has launched its all-new game engine codenamed Aurora for real-money players in Portugal comes news that the company’s parent firm The Star Group (TSG) has been levied with a fine of $10,000 for accepting bets on prohibited events.
Sweden is in the meantime, looking into the feasibility of imposing a total or partial ban on gambling advertising. Sweden’s Minister for Public Administration, Ardalan Shekarabi has divulged that Sweden’s Gaming Market Commission will look into this issue and also consider imposing specific conditions on gambling products like online casino games.
9stacks’ Foray Into Fantasy Gaming With ‘Faboom’ Comes Packed With Unique, Rank Fantasy Format
The fantasy gaming segment of India is becoming increasingly competitive.
Dream11 continues to remain the leading player in the market, even as the sector continues to grow amid high investor interest. One of the latest entrants to step into fantasy gaming is 9stacks. Last month, the online poker site launched its fantasy gaming offering – Faboom in association with social gaming app called Router.
A brainchild of 9stacks founders Sudhir Kamath, Pratik Kumar, Rishab Mathur, and Abhinav Nigam, Faboom has arrived at the right time – around the peak cricket season in India.
The launch makes 9stacks the third poker platform to enter the fantasy gaming sector. India`s biggest online poker site Adda52 divested its fantasy gaming platform LeagueAdda last month investing instead in another Fantasy Sports startup HalaPlay. The only other online poker company currently running a Fantasy Sports platform is PokerBaazi which has a majority stake in Fantasy Site BalleBaazi.
Faboom offers similar gameplay option as the other portals but has one unique feature – Rank Fantasy – a unique format that allows the user to rank his players from one to 11, delivering a more exciting and engaging experience for users.
The Rank Fantasy Format
In a rank-multiplier fantasy, each player gets to choose his fantasy team akin to that of any other fantasy format but doesn’t have to choose his two best players as captain and vice-captain. Instead, players are required to rank all eleven players from one to eleven. A multiplier is then applied based on the player’s rank. The player ranked one gets two times the points he makes, the one ranked two gets 1.9 times, and so on. This way, the player ranked 11 gets only 1 time the points he makes.
This way, even as the player gets to choose his players, he also gets to rank them increasing the probability of same teams picking up different points basis the rank of the respective players.
While rank fantasy is a unique format, it also reduces variance. Even if a player does not choose one player who performs well, he has his team of 11 who can generate enough points as a team. A cool idea indeed!
PokerStars’ Parent Firm TSG Fined in New Jersey
The Star Group (TSG), parent company of the online poker brand PokerStars has been slapped with a fine of $10,000 by the state regulators of New Jersey for accepting bets on prohibited events. While the amount may be minuscule for the company that dominates the industry, it is for the garden state, the biggest sports betting fine issued by it till date.
TSG runs the BetStars sportsbook in New Jersey.
Accepting the charges and the fine, TSG acknowledged that manual gating errors were responsible for the lapse. Since the issue, TSG said, the company has worked to fix the problem.
“We generally don’t comment on regulatory matters like these, but we had a manual gating error from our international games into New Jersey,” senior vice president for Strategy & Operations, USA at the Stars Group Matt Primeaux said. “We cooperated with the DGE as we always do, have learnt from the problem, and are confident it won’t reoccur.”
The state’s rules prohibit betting for collegiate events involving teams who play in the state or events that take place within venues that are located in New Jersey.
According to the U.S. State’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), PokerStars accepted close to 216 bets amounting to $2,756.89 for the Rutgers Men’s college basketball game versus Eastern Michigan. The match took place on November 19, 2018.
The DGE also determined that PokerStars accepted wagers for the Monmouth University men’s college basketball game against Pennsylvania on December 31.
Sweden Considers Total Gambling Ad Ban
In a move that will further strengthen the state’s gambling monopoly, Sweden is considering banning online casino advertising altogether. On Wednesday, Sweden’s Minister for Public Administration, Ardalan Shekarabi announced that the Gaming Market Commission aka Spelmarknadsutredningen will evaluate the possibility of imposing a “total or partial ban on gambling advertising.”
The Commission that was set up in 2018 to assess the impact of regulatory expansion on the Swedish horse racing and sports industry is expected to give its verdict by October 1, 2020.
The other aspects that the Commission will consider are – placing a blanket ban on gambling ads, and imposing specific conditions on gambling products deemed more ‘dangerous’ to consumers, including online casino games. Limits on the size of bonus offers, free-plays and jackpots will also be considered.
Notably, Shekarabi had earlier given Sweden’s new online licensees till March 31 to bring out an industry approved advertising approach. Later, however, he backtracked on this, on the grounds that the industry’s recommendations were not sufficient to deliver the requisite consumer protections.
Early in April, the state’s former betting monopoly Sevenska Spel announced that it would not be advertising its new online casino products anymore. CEO of Svenska Spel Patrik Hofbauer hailed Shekarabi’s latest announcement as a “step in the right direction,” claiming that his company was serving as an “example for the industry.”
Iowa Legal Sports Betting Bill Goes to Governor For Approval
Iowa may soon join the list of U.S. states offering legal sports betting. If Governor Kim Reynolds gives his approval on the SF 617, that is.
Sponsored by Republicans Rep. Bobby Kaufman and Senator Roby Smith, the Bill was cleared by the State Senate last week by a majority of 67 to 31.
Once the Bill reaches Governor Reynolds she will have three days to sign it. In case the Bill reaches her after the legislative session is over, the time frame will get extended to 30 days. The legislative session closes out this weekend.
If passed by Governor Reynolds, the bill will pave the way for legalized sports betting on both professional and college sporting events.
The next step for Iowa would be to develop rules for casinos to implement and it’d be the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that will act as the governing body for the market and adopt the rules expectedly in July or August.
If everything goes right, sports betting will be available at all of the state’s 19 casinos. Iowa residents will be able to wager bets by the start of the football season.
The Bill will levy an initial license fee of $45,000 on the operators and an additional $10,000 annual renewal fee. Daily fantasy sports operators like FanDuel and DraftKings will also be allowed to offer sports betting on their sites.