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EPL: Everton, Spurs battle for survival

first_imgRelatedPosts Fulham keen on Lookman loan deal EPL: Son fires four past Southampton EPL: Calvert-Lewin treble fires Everton past West Brom Everton vs. Tottenham Venue: Goodison Park Kick off: 5:30PMTwo teams who have endured disappointing campaigns to date will face off this afternoon when Everton welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Goodison Park. The hosts go into the weekend sitting only two places and two points above the relegation zone, while Spurs are also in the bottom half having won just twice in the league since the opening day of the season. It is hard to know which club will be more underwhelmed with their performances so far this season – an Everton side who sit 17th having been tipped to challenge for the top six or a Spurs side languishing in 13th when they were backed to be the closest challengers to Liverpool and Manchester City in the title race. Today will be the first time these two teams have met while both have been in the bottom half since April 2004, and for Spurs time is running out to turn their form around if they want to at least salvage a top-four challenge this term. Eight points already separate Mauricio Pochettino’s side from the Champions League spots, while leaders Liverpool are a full 19 points clear of Spurs 10 games into the season following their victory when the two sides met last weekend. The Londoners will hope for a happier trip south from their second Merseyside visit in as many weeks, but they have picked up just one point from their last three league games and have only won six of their last 22 in the top flight. Indeed, Spurs have amassed only 23 points from those 22 games – an average which, spread over a 38-game season, would leave them just short of the 40-point mark generally required to guarantee safety. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Tottenham have been in relegation form for more than eight months now, then, and another defeat on Sunday would be their 19th of the calendar year across all competitions – their most since 2008. Incidentally, 2008 was also the last time they failed to pick up more than their current tally of 12 points from their opening 10 games of a season, and it is their away form which is the biggest reason behind that. Only Everton and Norwich have picked up fewer points on the road this season, and remarkably Tottenham’s wait for an away Premier League win stretches all the way back to January, since when they have accrued a measly two points from the 33 on offer. Indeed, Spurs’ only two away league victories in 2019 as a whole came against Cardiff City and Fulham, meaning that you have to go back to their last visit to Everton – in December 2018 – for their most recent win away to a team currently in the top flight. It is a woeful record for a side that reached the final of the Champions League last season, but they will be hoping that a return to Goodison – where they won 6-2 just before Christmas last year – will spark a much-needed end to their troubles on the road. Everton possible XI: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne, Delphs, Gomes, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin. Tottenham possible XI: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Eriksen, Alli, Son, Kane.Tags: EvertonTottenham Hotspurlast_img read more

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Aldridge: Reds should sell Sterling

first_img The Reds have rejected two bids from their Premier League rivals for the England international, the last amounting to £40million, as they value the 20-year-old at £50million. However, with most of the players scheduled to return to pre-season training next week Aldridge insists now is the time to cash in on the youngster – who has turned down a £100,000-a-week contract offer. Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge believes selling Raheem Sterling to Manchester City is a “win-win” for the club as they have a better replacement in Jordon Ibe. “Brendan Rodgers should let Raheem Sterling leave for Manchester City now,” he wrote on sports social network Kicca. “The sooner he leaves the better for all involved. All this transfer talk is making a mockery of Liverpool Football Club. “Raheem is obviously a hugely talented player but Liverpool have a top replacement in Jordon Ibe. “I think he’s got as much, if not more, potential than Raheem and will go on to be a better player. “Sterling is obviously too young to think for himself so his agent (Aidy Ward) has been doing his thinking for him. “For the sake of Liverpool Football Club they should take the millions on offer and then everybody will be better off. “Raheem will be a bit richer and Liverpool will be rid of a player who doesn’t want to play for the club. It’s a win-win. “Manchester City are a big club and Raheem will get paid well and play Champions League football so he will be happy.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Ellsworth/Sumner football beats Washington Academy; Bucksport holds on to top Dexter

first_imgELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth/Sumner and Bucksport football teams stayed in the thick of the Class D North playoff race over the weekend with vital road wins over Little Ten Conference opponents.Ellsworth/Sumner traveled to East Machias on Friday and earned a 39-16 victory over Washington Academy (1-2). The Eagles led 18-8 at halftime before running away with the game in the fourth quarter.Junior Connor Crawford led a prolific Ellsworth/Sumner ground attack with 205 rushing yards, and senior Javon Williams ran for 199. Crawford also added 61 passing yards for the Eagles (2-1), who finished the game with more than 500 yards of total offense.On defense, Williams had four solo tackles, four assisted tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery that he returned 35 yards for a touchdown. Charlie Hughes had three solo tackles and eight assisted tackles, and Will Johnson added to the Eagles’ strong defensive showing with six solo tackles and three assisted tackles.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textBucksport extended its unbeaten start to the season Saturday afternoon with a 28-21 victory in Dexter. The Tigers (2-1) fought back in the fourth quarter after the visitors led 28-7 at halftime, but a crucial sack in the game’s final minute allowed the Golden Bucks (3-0) to hang on for the win.Ellsworth/Sumner and Bucksport will be back in action at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21. The No. 4 Eagles will host Stearns/Schenck (1-2), and the No. 2 Golden Bucks will be at home to take on top-ranked Foxcroft (3-0) in a rematch of last year’s Class D North title game.last_img read more

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Assam Wushu team win 11 medals in 64th National School Games Wushu Championship

first_imgOur Sports ReporterGUWAHATI: Assam won 11 medals including one Gold and three Silver in the recently concluded 64th National School Games Wushu Championship. The boys events of the championship were held in New Delhi while the girls events were held in Ranchi.Boys medal winners were Khwrwm Muchahari (Silver), Deba Basumatary (Bronze), Mahidhar Rabha (B), Dilip Brahma (B), Sanswrang Narzary (B), Bitupon Gogoi (B). Girls medal winners were Karabi Rajbongshi (Gold), Chisilia Mushahary (S), Hongbari Timungpi (S), Sunita Limbu (B), Bandana Muchahary (B).Also Read: Sports Newslast_img read more

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Austin announces student athlete admissions reform

first_img“Ensuring the integrity of our admissions process remains a top priority of University leadership,” Austin wrote. “I appreciate the patience of our community as we continue to work toward making our University stronger.” Interim President Wanda Austin announced several changes to the athletic admissions process after the Justice Department launched an investigation into the University last month, according to a memo sent to the USC community Wednesday. The Department of Justice investigation followed an FBI investigation that revealed a college bribery scheme in which 33 wealthy parents paid to have their children admitted to universities like USC, UCLA, Yale and Stanford under false pretenses. “While we continue to cooperate with the government’s investigation, and while our own investigation led by the Office of Professionalism and Ethics remains ongoing, USC has greatly strengthened its process for reviewing applications of prospective student-athletes, effective this month,” Austin wrote. The changes include more oversight in the student-athlete admissions process that the University will implement for student athletes considered for admission for the 2019-20 academic year, Austin wrote. The memo also provided an update on the students currently enrolled in the University who are tied to the bribery scheme. According to the memo, students have been notified of a review of their admissions status through Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards and most have completed their initial interviews. Student athlete applications will now be reviewed by a head coach, senior sports administrator overseeing the team and the Office of Athletics Compliance before they are sent to the admissions staff, the memo said. center_img According to the FBI investigation, former senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel, former water polo coach Jovan Vavic and former soccer coaches Ali Khosroshahin and Laura Janke helped create fake athletic profiles for the children of wealthy parents to ensure admission to USC. The students, who were admitted as athletic recruits, never played the sports for which they were accepted. “The possible outcomes range from no finding of violation to revocation of admission and will depend on the facts of each case,” Austin wrote.     Interim President Wanda Austin announced several changes to the athletic admissions process for next year. (Josh Dunst/Daily Trojan) Each team’s head coach will then confirm in writing that each student has been recruited for their athletic ability, the memo said. At the beginning and end of each academic year, each team’s athletic roster will be audited and checked with admissions lists,  the memo read. The memo said though the University is being investigated by the Department of Justice for its student-athlete admissions process, USC’s internal investigation will “examine the wider scope of how students gain admittance to the University.”last_img read more

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USC on top after Signing Day

first_imgIf a college football program were to describe its ideal signing day, it would be eerily similar to what transpired for USC last Wednesday. The Trojan football team performed perfectly in what could go down as one the greatest national signing days in USC history. While that might sound hyperbolic before spring practice even begins, last Wednesday meant a lot more than just bringing in the    No. 1 nationally-ranked class.The excitement and anticipation for signing day reached a fever pitch on Tuesday morning when top-rated linebacker Porter Gustin committed to USC. Prior to the announcement, rumors that Urban Meyer and Ohio State were able to secure a silent commitment during the Utah area prospect’s official visit to Columbus arose. That proved false when Gustin donned the Cardinal and Gold hat in his video announcement, setting the stage for Wednesday.Much like last year, when Sarkisian and company were able to close on the talented trio of Adoree’ Jackson, Juju Smith and Damien Mama, last Wednesday presented another chance to assert southbound recruiting dominance for the Trojans. They hit on this year’s big three, nabbing linebacker John Houston and lineman Rasheem Green from Serra and coupling that with defensive back Iman Marshall from Long Beach Polytechnic.After closing on the final five commits — Osa Masina and the aforementioned four — it was assumed that the Trojans had closed out their class. They had one last surprise in store, however. Through blue shirting offensive lineman Clayton Johnston, they were able to add Salesian defensive lineman Kevin Scott to add an exclamation point to a phenomenal day.Much like Lamont Simmons last year, Scott could be the under the radar prospect signed at the last minute that ends up paying major dividends down the road. While Simmons didn’t have an impact last year, he adds depth to secondary moving forward. The same can be said about Scott, who at 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds can grow into his frame and add versatility to the line.The influx of talent is huge for the Trojans. In between injuries and sanctions, the roster has been whittled down significantly. The first full class in the Sarkisian era will alleviate some areas of concern. The team won’t fully recover for another year or two, but it definitely helps to have so many freshmen who can contribute right away.Much has been made about the fact that rankings aren’t always accurate and this excitement might be premature. One can point at highly-touted recruits at USC who never materialized like Whitney Lewis, Cyrus Hobbi and Blake Ayles. However, for every Lewis and Ayles there is also a Brian Cushing or Rey Mauluagua, who were both top 20 recruits when they were brought to USC.Given the choice between a bevy of five-star recruits and an average recruiting class, every coach in the country would take the highly-touted prospects. Now it’s up to the position coaches and players to fulfill their immense potential as individuals, and as a class.The jury is still out regarding the effects the players will have on the field, but even more profound than the talent grab is the effect that last Wednesday had on the USC football program’s reputation. Los Angeles is a frontrunner city, and when teams are good, the fan base comes out.That’s just how it is, and it probably won’t ever change. The fan base came out on Wednesday — students could be overheard casually discussing the commitments of Green and Houston. People even streamed the Iman Marshall announcement and music video in class. The last few years have been plagued by empty seats in the student section. Outside of the 2013 Stanford game, this is the first time there has been a noticeable level of excitement and attention paid to the team on campus. There was a palpable level of tension prior to Marshall’s announcement. That buzz has been missing, and Wednesday was the first sign that it could be coming back.On a grander scale, USC flexed its muscles to the college football world. Teams that go 9-4 don’t generally close on every single target. Even more impressive, not one Trojan-commit defected on signing day. When was the last time a school got over 20 teenagers to stay resolute in their commitment?Pac-12 teams definitely took notice. Even though Oregon has dominated the conference the last couple of years and just played in the national championship game, they were thoroughly outclassed by the Trojans on the recruiting trail. UCLA has beat USC three straights on the field, and while they put together a great class in their own right, they didn’t beat out USC head-to-head for any of the top LA-based prospects.Free from the unjust sanctions of the NCAA, the Trojans made a statement on Wednesday. To the NCAA, they effectively said that no matter how hard it tries to cripple USC, we still are a national powerhouse. Reputation and public perception matter when it comes to college football. USC did a lot to boost their credibility last Wednesday; now the key is making sure the on-field product matches the recruiting abilities of the Trojan program.last_img read more

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Badgers ready for unique offense under both McEvoy and Stave

first_img“If you have two quarterbacks, you have none” is one of the most well-known clichés in football. However, the Wisconsin football team is trying to put an end to the negativity surrounding the cliché beginning this weekend against Illinois.University of Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said he will use both Tanner McEvoy and Joel Stave at quarterback this weekend after McEvoy – who started the team’s first four games – was benched in place of Stave just before halftime against Northwestern. Through four and a half games this season, McEvoy is 55-for-96 with five touchdowns and five interceptions, while throwing for only 629 yards.“[McEvoy and Stave] could possibly both be on the field at the same time,” Andersen said. “I’m hoping that happens because I think that opens up a little can of worms for people to wonder what’s going to happen. So we’ll see if that takes place for a couple plays. We’ll also play them in different situations.”However, Stave – who was essentially unable to play the first four games of the season with what can best be described as the “yips” – did not impress in his only half-game of football this season against the Wildcats last weekend. He was only 8-for-19 for 114 yards with one touchdown and a dismal three interceptions. Stave’s struggles certainly did not settle the situation at quarterback, and has turned the position into one of the biggest question marks for UW as they head into week six of the season.In order to highlight the talent of both quarterbacks, Andersen has decided to play both quarterbacks this Saturday, even possibly at the same time, and go forward with one of the most risky strategies in football.But how can a two-quarterback system possibly work?Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig thinks he has the answer. Ludwig ran a two-quarterback system while an offensive coordinator at Utah in 2007. Quarterbacks Brian Johnson and Tommy Grady combined for 1,822 yards with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while averaging a 121.95 quarterback rating. The Utes finished with a 9-4 record and ended the season with a win over Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.When using two quarterbacks in a game, Ludwig sees the position as one that fits into the larger scheme of the offense. The offense doesn’t need to rely solely on the quarterback, but on all ten of the guys on the field in order to compose an offensive unit as a whole.“It’s a real delicate balance,” Ludwig said of using two quarterbacks. “The most important thing is to stay within yourself and stay within the strength of the entire unit. Not deviate to match one player or the other. Just do what you do to put those quarterbacks in the best possible position.”Based on what happened at Northwestern, both Ludwig and Andersen showed that they are willing to pull a struggling quarterback, as they did with McEvoy.While the official starting quarterback is unknown, what is known is that whoever is playing better, whether it’s McEvoy or Stave, will likely take over and receive the bulk of the snaps.“You’re going to play the player with the hot hand,” Ludwig said. “[Does] the course of the game, the course of the season dictate that? Absolutely. We want to put our best players on the field right now. We’re trying to figure out who is the best player at [quarterback].”However, switching to the quarterback with the hot hand can force both quarterbacks into a sense of urgency, both on and off the field.For McEvoy, it can be tough to stay on the sidelines – which he experienced this past Saturday – but it’s simply a matter of staying focused and being ready to go when the coaches put him in.“I mean it is a challenge to stay in rhythm if you’re in for a series and you’re starting to get the hang of it and the next guy goes in,” McEvoy said. “But you just have to stay focused, stay loose and just keep watching the game and be ready when your numbers called.”Much like McEvoy, Stave sees the sharing of snaps at quarterback as one where you have to stay ready. Although recognizing that it may be “tougher to get into a rhythm,” Stave said it will just be about making good use of your limited snaps.While McEvoy and Stave will both certainly play quarterback at some point in Saturday’s game, Andersen has also alluded to the idea of both playing on the field at the same time with what will likely result in McEvoy lining up at wide receiver – a position he is familiar with. Andersen seems willing to try, especially with the lack of production out of the wide receivers so far this season.“Yeah, that’s also something to sit back and discuss,” Andersen said of playing McEvoy at wide receiver. “The knowledge base and the ability for him to get out there [at wide receiver], there is a learning curve, again. But it’s a possibility. Let me put it that way.”This would not be McEvoy’s first time at wide receiver with the Badgers. Last season, McEvoy played snaps at wide receiver in the opening game against UMass, before injuring his wrist and switching over to safety for the rest of the season. Although he didn’t catch any passes in his short stint at the position, it’s one McEvoy is comfortable with.“I used to play [wide receiver] back in high school and I used to love the position,” McEvoy said. “If that’s what [the coaches] want, then I’ll go out there and try to execute whatever they want me to do. But whatever it takes to win, I’m on board.”The bottom line is that the success of a two-quarterback system might just come down to the talent of the two quarterbacks. While McEvoy and Stave have their own strengths and weaknesses, Stave believes the pieces are there to make this old football cliché successful.“I think we have great players,” Stave said. “I think me and Tanner [McEvoy] can both do a lot of good things and we’re both very different quarterbacks. I think if used correctly, and I can’t say I know necessarily how that is or how it’s going to work, I think we have the players in the system that can make it work.”last_img read more

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Syracuse ice hockey’s next opponent: What to know about Wisconsin

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (13-21-3, 10-8-2 College Hockey America) earned its first berth to the NCAA tournament in program history by winning the CHA championship on March 8. As one of eight teams in the tournament, the Orange face No. 1 Wisconsin (32-4-2, 18-4-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) on Saturday at 3 p.m. SU traveled to Madison on Thursday and will faceoff at LaBahn Arena for the first round of the tournament. Here’s what to know about Wisconsin. All-time series: Wisconsin leads the all-time matchup, 6-0-0Last time they played: In the second of a back-to-back last December at Wisconsin, the Orange were thrashed, 9-1. It came in the midst of a 10-game, two-month losing streak. The Badgers struck thrice in the first period before Abby Moloughney answered with a shorthanded marker early into the second period. After two more Wisconsin goals pushed the lead to 5-1 heading into the second intermission, Emily Clark completed a hat trick nine minutes into the third. The Badgers scored four times on special teams, going 3-of-4 on power plays and adding another goal while shorthanded.  The Wisconsin report: Headed by the third-winningest head coach in NCAA history, Mark Johnson, the Badgers came into the season off five-straight Frozen Four appearances. They have four national championships, but they last won in 2011. First rounds haven’t been a problem for Wisconsin since its first tournament berth in 2005, though. It’s 11-1 in such games, and in the last three years, UW hasn’t even conceded a goal in the first round. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Badgers were the preseason No. 2 in both the USCHO.com and USA Hockey Magazine polls, but since taking over the top spot on Nov. 23, Wisconsin has stayed pat. The WCHA champions haven’t lost since Feb. 1, the longest unbeaten streak in the country. Wisconsin defeated Minnesota on the road to take home the conference crown. In two games against Syracuse this season, the Badgers won by a combined score of 15-2.How Syracuse beats Wisconsin: SU head coach Paul Flanagan admitted the Badgers are faster skaters and more skilled than the Orange after the NCAA selection show. Syracuse will need to play a similar physical defense to how it beat Robert Morris in the CHA championship and slow the game down as much as it can. Then, it must control faceoffs, limit neutral zone turnovers and have its goalie hold the puck to force more draws. The Orange defense pinned RMU’s best player, Jaycee Gebhard, by keeping a stick close to her near the boards. In the offensive zone, Syracuse will have to do that with the majority of Wisconsin’s players and give them as little room as possible to operate in. Emma Polaski and Brooke Avery will need to shine, especially in the neutral zone, if the Orange want to win, and SU’s freshman duo of Lauren Bellefontaine and Abby Moloughney will likely have to find a spark offensively to keep up with the Badgers offense.Stat to know: 1.12 — Wisconsin goalie Kristen Campbell’s goals against average, which leads the nation in over 2,200 minutes of play this season. She also has eight shutouts, tied for the NCAA lead.  Player to watch: Annie Pankowski, redshirt senior forward, No. 19Pankowski was slated to play her final season last year, but she took the year off to be eligible for the 2018 Winter Olympics for Team USA. She didn’t make the team, and since coming back to Wisconsin, Pankowski’s 23 goals and 45 points are both team-highs. Her 1.25 points per game are tied for No. 13 nationally. The redshirt senior is one of three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award given to the top female college ice hockey player, and Flanagan called her a “top-three” player in the country. Expect her to attack a SU defense that’s struggled against Wisconsin so far this season.center_img Published on March 16, 2019 at 12:51 am Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder last_img read more

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Nenagh Ormond go top after win in Galway

first_imgThe North Tipp’s try scorers at Corinthian Park were Peter O’Leary, Conor Muldoon, Eoin Gardiner, Willie Coffey and Kevin Seymour.Cashel take on Banbridge at Spafield this afternoon.When the sides last met in November a controversially retaken conversion late in the game gave Bann a 7-5. Tipp FM will have updates from today’s match, which starts at 3 o’clock.last_img

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Winning Post: Pre-COVID fragility doesn’t bode well for UK gambling

first_img Jason Ader – No Boogeyman… Activism will play a vital part in reshaping gambling August 20, 2020 Share Winning Post: Swedish regulator pushes back on ‘Storebror’ approach to deposit limits August 24, 2020 Share Related Articles Gambling.com maintains momentum against COVID-19 impacts August 19, 2020 StumbleUpon Submit Regulus Partners begins the week by looking at the gambling industry’s perceived fragility pre-COVID and the Swedish ministerial ‘climb down’ on deposit and bonus limits.UK: Regulation – Daily Mail relieves Gambling Commission of dutyIt seems that one of the effects of Covid-19 has been an abacus shortage in officialdom, so little do matters add up anymore. This week, the Gambling Commission took the highly unusual step for a regulator to announce that it had been unable to levy a £3.5m sanction on one of its licensees (Playtech) because of those pernickety things called erm…regulations.It was thus left to the Daily Mail to force the issue, gently persuading Playtech to pay the sum voluntarily; and raising the question of whether responsibility for regulating Britain’s gambling industry has now been transferred from Victoria Square House to Fleet Street.The latest sad chapter of Britain’s gambling review centred on the death by suicide in 2017 of Chris Bruney, a young man from Sheffield, who had been a ‘VIP customer’ with the Playtech subsidiary, Winner (with whom he spent a net £35,000). Almost two years later, the Gambling Commission opened an investigation into the matter. It found a number of social responsibility and source of funds failings in relation to the treatment of Mr Bruney and VIPs more generally.Following the conclusion of the investigation (in October 2019), Playtech paid £620,000 towards the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms and also committed £5m over five years for mental health and gambling-related charities. At this point, Playtech surrendered a licence seemingly kept open only in order to facilitate the probe. It is far from clear that the company exploited any loopholes to evade punishment – or even that such loopholes exist.There is no suggestion that Playtech failed to cooperate with the investigation; indeed, it accepted the findings without demur. The Commission’s press release grumbled that the company had not made notification of the suicide but given that the Daily Mail had carried the tragic news as early as June 2018 this seems a weak excuse for what the activist, Matt Zarb-Cousin (of Clean Up Gambling) described as the regulator’s “failure to act quickly”.What is not clear from the Commission’s ruling is whether the fine it felt unable to levy reflected the nature of Playtech’s social responsibility failings (not contested by the company) or the perceived consequences. Cases of death by suicide are both highly emotive and deeply complex, which is why the Samaritans repeatedly warn (and are repeatedly ignored by the press, MPs and others) against over-simplification or sensationalist reporting.When the TV presenter Caroline Flack (who had been hounded by the press) died earlier this year, the media were quick to point out the multi-factorial nature of suicide; but such nuances tend to evaporate from reporting where self-interest is not involved.The Daily Mail cited a coroner’s ruling that Mr Bruney’s death was “caused in part by the ‘shame of gambling’” which would indicate that other factors may also have been involved (and made no mention of Playtech or any of the other licensees that Mr Bruney transacted with). If it was the Commission’s intention this week to imply licensee culpability for the tragic death of a young man then it probably succeeded; but in so doing it opened up the question of wider responsibility, including its own. Further, there have been attempts in the recent past, in the UK and elsewhere, to establish state responsibility in similar cases – it is difficult to know where the cost of blame might end up.This week’s events have inflicted further damage on the standing of Britain’s licensed gambling industry as it sails towards a major review of gambling legislation; but it has also exposed the Gambling Commission once again to questions of transparency and competence. With a (presumably damning) Public Accounts Committee report expected soon, significant change at the Commission is looking increasingly likely. In the interests of governance and human tolerance, we must hope that the installation of the Daily Mail in its caretaker role as Britain’s gambling regulator is only a temporary measure.UK: Casinos – Latest Report Reveals pre-Covid Sector FragilityThe publication of the land based casino drop in win figures for the period to March 2020, highlights the fragility of the sector as it entered the Coronavirus emergency. For the first time in eight years, revenue from table games was recorded below £750m – a long way from the 2014 peak of more than £1bn – although these figures exclude around £225m of machine revenue.The high-end has been particularly hard hit as a result of a weakening international market and progressively more intrusive regulatory requirements. Revenue for the year fell to £109m – more than 60% lower than in 2015 when six London clubs generated nearly £300m in table gaming income and substantially less than the £137m reported by one club (Les Ambassadeurs) in 2014.The data hardly bodes well for a sector that has been shuttered since 20th March and – along with most operators in the hospitality industry – faces severe challenges upon reopening. High-end clubs face the additional issue that the international high-roller market is likely to remain in abeyance while travel restrictions and quarantine measures remain in place. Even after customers are permitted to travel with relative freedom, it is not clear how many of them will choose to do so.The sector has long lamented the preservation of legacy approaches to regulation and taxation (with effective rates of duty in excess of 45% for some) that pre-date the advent of online gambling and so reflect a more restrictive approach to licensing. Revival of this historic and culturally rich sector of Britain’s gambling industry may require a somewhat more enlightened approach from regulators and legislators than in recent years.Sweden: revenue statistics and regulatory change – little Chance and no Free ParkingThe Swedish Gambling Authority has reported Q120 GGR figures that demonstrate overall online resilience. Headline GGR for Q120 is SEK3,657 (€350m), flat QoQ and up 7.2% YoY – roughly in line with other mature markets and demonstrating limited net effect (positive or negative) from COVID-19 disruption. The state lottery (including VLTs) was 34% down QoQ to €110m but against a very strong Q4, the YoY decline was 21%; land based casinos were also down 20% against their run-rate average to €20m, reflecting thinning attendance (social distancing measures + consumer behaviour) followed by closure (from 29 March: right at the end of the period). Land Based bingo (not for profit) was down 10% to €5m, again reflecting social distancing measures (they remain open), while restaurant casino was down 23% also to €5m (social distancing, many closed).Given that Sweden reports GGR including bonuses and that the number of online licensees has remained broadly flat (71 in Q120), Sweden’s NGR position is likely to have improved materially as sign-on bonuses are washed through the system. We would estimate that Q119 bonusing was c. 40% of GGR (as everyone was trying to capture customers and all could offer everyone a bonus), a figure which is now likely to be c. 20% (less than the typical figure due to the regulatory distortion, but with plenty of licensees to go round for all but the most avid bonus hunters). On an NGR basis, YoY growth is therefore likely to be a much more impressive 40% as bonus distortions were through.Sweden is therefore rather bizarrely doing two things at once: it has significantly improved the monetisation of its regular player base and therefore revenue channelling (albeit from over-generosity rather than a black market), while also increasingly encouraging a black market as customers run out of sign-on bonuses within the domestically regulated market and seek unlicensed alternatives (something they and the operators are legally entitled to do so long as the operators do not ‘target’ Swedish customers: see WPs passim).The problem for the Swedish domestically regulated market is that the first driver has now likely largely washed through while the second driver is only just getting going (as reported previously while the black market assessments may be broadly accurate, the fact that they are GGR-based exaggerates the impact due to bonus distortion). Further, judging from Q1 operator results, the vast majority of the net revenue growth gains are accruing to the former monopolies (which also report GGR) rather than former .com licensees.Sweden is therefore growing net revenue to the benefit of former monopolies while also likely to have an increasing problem from a black market: former .com licensees are caught in the middle of this. They have a major problem, albeit not the one that is typically presented (an existing rampant black market).It is within this context that the ministerial ‘climb down’ on deposit and bonus limits should be seen. By hitting only gaming (and only from likely from July), these measures will do little to impact the former monopolies (which are much stronger at betting than gaming, have nearly all of their actives already and the limits are likely to be high enough for most of their customers to be unaffected), but they will give further incentives for VIPs especially to find offshore casino supply – and make it harder for smaller casino-led operators to attract customers. The Swedish licensed former .com sector, gaming and VIP-led as much of it is, is therefore likely to be hit even harder. It’s as if the former monopolies were writing the rules all along…last_img read more

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