Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. This week’s edition looks at a successful awards night, a $1m scholarship re-establishment and a Sky Sports press launch.
CasinoBeats ended its first year by recognising five of the online casino sector’s star performers, as part of the SBC Awards ceremony and dinner held at the HAC Artillery Garden in London.
Hosted by Kirsty Gallacher and Peter Schmeichel, around 700 guests saw LeoVegas claim the top CasinoBeats gong of Casino Operator of the Year.
Amongst the other winners were Yggdrasil (Gaming Innovation), Evolution Gaming (Innovation in Live Casino), Play’n Go (Developer of the Year) and Twin Casino (Rising Star in Gaming).
Reflecting on the evening, which saw a total of 38 awards presented, Andrew McCarron, managing director at SBC, commented: “Congratulations to everyone who has been recognised for excellent performance by the Sports Betting Community.
“This year the quality and quantity of entries increased dramatically, so all the winners had to work exceptionally hard to stand out from their competition.”
MGM Resorts International has announced that it has re-established a $1m scholarship program, designed to bring crucial aid to numerous children of its vast employee base.
The ‘MGM Resorts Scholarship Program for Children of Employees’ is to give the sum at the beginning of next year, and is intended to help high school graduates increase their access to post-secondary opportunities, including universities, community colleges and recognised certification programs.
“Our MGM Resorts Scholarship Program for Children of Employees represents another expression of our commitment to the success of our employees and their families,” stated Jim Murren, MGM’s chairman & CEO. “When we assist the college education or vocational training of our employees’ children, as provided by this program, we invest in development of the workforces of our communities, their stability and growth.”
Boston Red Sox president and chief executive officer Sam Kennedy has been addressing the impact sports betting could have on the franchise, and the wider Major League Baseball community.
Acknowledging the increased revenues and undoubted positives it could bring, Kennedy was quick to highlight a belief that its benefits will be second fiddle to added engagement, which will see “people following, paying attention, being engaged with the Boston Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics as a result of betting on that sport and betting on in-game activities.”
With such a vast offering, encapsulating 2,430 MLB games between April and September, adding up to more than 7,300 hours of live programming, Kennedy emphasised the need for a regulated market to eradicate the problem of such an overwhelming illegal market: “It’s more overall interest in watching games, being connected to the game. What’s going to happen between a pitcher a batter at this very moment, what will this outcome be – you can see in the future where that all can happen very fast in real time.
“If there’s a game that’s 10-1 in the seventh inning, people might tune out but the thought is now that you’ll stay in, watching, because you’re engaging in betting on the outcome of what may happen.
“That’s happening today, it’s just in illegal fashion with non-licensed, non-regulated betting providers – off-shore or in other countries. The regulation is important, there is nothing more important to the commissioner and the leagues than the integrity of the game. Players, front office members will not be allowed to engage in these activities. The general public will.”
Sky Sports Racing, which is set to replace At The Races of January 1, 2019, is to be lead by Alex Hammond, who bring in excess of 15 years experience with Sky Sports News to the channel.
Also joining is former Group 1 winning jockey Freddy Tylicki, as well as Josh Apiafi, the former head of the Professional Jockeys Association, and Jamie Lynch, who is leaving his post as chief correspondent at Timeform.
In addition to the new team members are a number of familiar faces from At The Races, which include Gina Bryce, Kevin Blake, Matt Chapman, Mick Fitzgerald, Luke Harvey, Hayley Moore and Jason Weaver.
Commenting on her new role, Hammond explained: “I’ve loved horses since I was a child and to be returning to my roots to present racing on Sky is my dream job. I’ve been part of the Sky family for over 15 years, and know we will bring superb quality to the racing coverage. I’m incredibly excited about the future and can’t wait to begin on 1st January, 2019.”