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Our latest interviewee has an impressive gambler background. Tomas Draksas is the Co-founder of Edgeless, Professional Poker Player & Gambler.
In 2008 – 2013, online poker was on the rise and a lot of new players were jumping into the game. At that time, Tomas decided to study the math of probability and poker. Later on, his direction changed to investing, cryptocurrency and digital marketing. He is the CEO of a conversion rate design company (Convi Design) which provides solutions to start-ups in the field of conversion rates and sales funnels. Additionally, he is investing into other start-ups. Right now Tomas is a Co-founder of Edgeless.io first fully transparent decentralised Ethereum casino.
Tomas will be among the speakers at the second edition of Vienna International Gaming Expo, held on the 31st of May at Melia Vienna. More details about the event can be found here.
Thank you very much for answering our questions. First I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself and tell us when and why you started working in this industry.
Tomas: Hey, I am Tomas, co-founder of Edgeless blockchain based casino. Well it’s not a coincidence for me to be in such an industry. In 2011 I used to play online poker professionally as my full time occupation. Even before my poker career, gambling was an activity which I love and have positive relationship with. So naturally I collected decent amount of knowledge on entire online gambling industry.
And what about blockchain?
Tomas: I am millennial. Personal computer was introduced to me in an early childhood. I got hooked immediately, spending tons of time learning how to use it. After my poker career, I launched an IT and digital marketing business which is still running up to day. It happened to be that most of my friends are into IT and computers too. So we tend to follow latest IT sector trends. In 2012 a friend of mine introduced me bitcoin as ‘something cool in IT”. Since then I follow everything related to blockchains up to day.
So here you go, that’s how I got into blockchain gambling industry.
You are the co-founder of Edgeless.io, a first fully transparent decentralised Ethereum casino. What makes this casino different and what services does it offer?
Tomas: There is a decent amount of online gambling customers who do not trust casinos they are playing at. And not without a reason – casino industry is full of cheating scandals. If player loses, they immediately assume that casino is cheating.
We solve this problem connecting our casino infrastructure to Ethereum ‘smart-contracts’. Using this system we entirely get rid of a ‘trust-problem’.
“Smart-contract” automatically uploads random number inputs a blockchain. That becomes publicly visible. After that people can take these inputs and recreate an outcome of past games.
That means our casino cannot cheat without being spotted on a blockchain. And that makes us incredibly transparent gambling service provider.
In a long run we aim to build most transparent and user-friendly online casino brand.
You are very much interested in investing, cryptocurrency and digital marketing. Please tell us more about the state of gambling industry in Europe considering these important issues you have experience in.
Tomas: In last 5 years, online gambling has its own peak/ prime moments. It expanded rapidly to almost every country making it incredibly profitable industry. However, more than half of an industry operates illegally breaching most gambling laws. That creates huge problems for local governments. So now the trend is: heavy regulations on gambling industry and no mercy for operators. Local governments create local gambling laws and prevent outsiders from entering the market.
As an operator I understand that, because most of these shady gambling platforms offer incredibly poor service, no transparency and allow minors gambling.
From tech perspective: gambling industry has many new interesting products such as fantasy sports and e-sports betting tournaments. There games have much more interesting gaming experience that classical casino games such as roulette. It seems like in the future we will have more advanced games and betting element.
It is believed that cryptocurrencies are digital gold. Sound money that is secure from political influence, money that promises to preserve and increase its value over time. Cryptocurrencies are also a fast and comfortable means of payment with a worldwide scope, and they are private and anonymous enough to serve as a means of payment for black markets and any other outlawed economic activity. Do you agree with this? How secure do you think is paying with cryptocurrency?
Tomas: It depends. As an industry insider, I can easily see that blockchain tech is just in its infant state. It’s not ready yet and still being under development. I think that it went viral slightly too early than it should.
So now it is NOT fast enough to fuel dapps at a large scale. It is not comfortable to use, crypto service payment infrastructure is not developed yet. It doesn’t provide the anonymity everyone thinks it has. And it is HEAVILY influenced by political environment.
However blockchain developers are addressing each issue and improving blockchains every day. Keep in mind that is incredibly complex programming challenge. My guess would be that after 2 – 3 years, we will have something more tangible which can have all benefits you mentioned.
Can this method of payment have huge effect on the gaming industry, either positive or negative?
Tomas: Yes, it gives incredible improvement on a service. Gambling operators tend to abuse payment methods to trick people into trapping their assets. Let’s say a player wins 10k USD. Most small operators would freeze their money and say something like “it might take 2 – 4 days to withdraw your money”.
Gladly with a cryptocurrency, we do not have this ‘2 – 4’ days’ withdrawal conditions for “some reasons”.
I would say now players will feel more secure depositing assets to an online casino.
What is your opinion about the perspectives the use of cryptocurrency can mean for the industry? What advantages would this bring to the industry?
Tomas: Most important: fast deposits/ withdrawal systems and casino transparency using ‘smart-contracts’.
If you could change anything in the world of gambling what would that be?
Tomas: Now gambling industry is living in some sort of a ‘shadow’; having incredibly negative outlook from environment, being blocked from banking services and marketing networks. Secondly gambling activities get tons of judgement from average citizens.
That’s pretty sad. I gamble from time to time, having no issues what’s so ever. That’s one of oldest forms of entertainment humankind enjoyed. Games combined with betting have existed since a start of human civilization. And it will not disappear.
I would love to change overall ‘image of a gambling’ industry into something more transparent, consumer orientated and capable of providing high quality entertainment products without being judged by environment.
Which were the most difficult periods in your career so far and what do you consider your biggest success and what are your future plans?
Tomas: Most difficult part was to program a scalable mass consumer product on a blockchain infrastructure. We launched our 1.0 version in 2018 Q1. As I mentioned before, today blockchain does not have the necessary functionality which we need to deliver our promise. During our journey, we had to make a ‘lot of work-arounds’ and compromises.
Gladly blockchain tech is improving allowing to move forward, even if that is just by small incremental steps.
I still laugh at other ICO promises and their ‘road-maps’. It seems like most newcomers have no idea at what state blockchain technology is and what problems it has.
If you want to meet Tomas in person or networking with the biggest names of the Sports betting, Casino, VR/AR, Marketing, eSports, DFS, Virtual Sports and Crypto industry, make sure your attend the Vienna International Gaming Expo.
Source: European Gaming News
Could UK Government Policy Threaten Online Betting Promos?
Most observers would agree that the UK political class is pursuing a dialogue on the very nature of the gambling industry. The headline issue is, of course, fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT’s), which have been the focus of a huge campaign. This week the UK Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, announced that the maximum stake in these gaming machines will be cut dramatically starting in October 2019. The move has cross-party support, and even the gambling industry has been vocally supportive, knowing that it at least makes sense from a PR perspective to seem concerned about the issue.
However, FOBT’s are not the only issue being discussed about the industry in the UK, with some changes perhaps having a big impact on punters. Advertising has come under scrutiny recently, with an almost saturated feel to the volume of sports betting adverts played on television during events like Premier League games. Sky, the UK’s dominant figure in sports broadcasting, has agreed to ‘regulate itself’ and limit the number of betting adverts beginning at the start of the 2019 Premier League season.
The move by Sky, while seemingly commendable as they will lose out on a chunk of the estimated £460 million gambling companies spend on advertising in the UK, is also indicative of the fact that the landscape is changing. The Labour Party, in particular, has signalled that they will try to put curbs on many aspects of the industry should they win the next election. For example, Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson, has called for a ban on funding accounts with credit cards and any advertising during live sports events.
However, one area that will be keenly watched by casino players and bettors is that of promotions. Incentives like free bets, price boosts, reload bonuses and the rest are the “carrot” that usually acts as a tipping point to encourage a player to join a new site, but they are certainly not the only reason why people bet. If a Government decides that promotions force people to bet, rather than supplement a decision that has already been made, could they too be in the firing line as the UK authorities try to further regulate the industry?
Free bets offers popular with punters
One would argue that would come to the detriment of the customer, rather than the industry. Consider how a punter might want to bet with William Hill on Real Madrid at 12/1 to win the Champions League, or the Boston Celtics at 7/1 with Bet365 to win the NBA Championships; they could check a list of free bet no deposit 2018 offers and potentially make their bet for free. Is it fair to take away those incentives from the customer?
There is a fine line between the idea of a promotion and the “bet now!” command that is being looked at by the Advertising Standards Agency, but it’s hard to know where that line will be drawn in the future. Punters would be irate to learn that they can’t, for example, go to a bookie and find an incentive like a price boost on the current odds of 12/1 for Chelsea to win the Premier League.
In the end though, money usually settles these matters. While the UK Government has made moves on FOBTs, it was slow-acting because bookmaker shops were keen to point out that those betting terminals equate to jobs. 2017/18 was estimated to have raised £2.8 billion in gaming tax receipts for the UK Exchequer. The Government will be loath to jeopardise that income. The point is: if the bookies can make their case, those promos will be here to stay.
Pragmatic Play roars to life with 5 lions
New release sees ancient spirits guarding amazing riches
15 June 2018: Pragmatic Play, the multi-award-winning games provider, has announced the launch of 5 Lions, a 3×5 video slot steeped in myth and legend.
Chinese iconography lights up the reels of 5 Lions, with turtles, phoenixes and dragons appearing covered in glittering gemstones.
The mystical lions of the game’s title act as the wild symbols, granting the player a random multiplier of up to 40x and springing to life when they appear in any winning line.
Melissa Summerfield, Chief Commercial Officer at Pragmatic Play, said: “Our suite of high quality games continues to go from strength to strength, and 5 Lions is a great addition that we are proud to introduce to our partners and players.
“The game’s mystical air is complemented by an engaging and visually satisfying array of bonus content, and it certainly has the potential to keep players coming back.”
Three gilded yin-yang symbols unlock 5 Lions unique free spins feature, expanding the three central reels to four symbols in height and boosting the potential ways to win from 243 to 576.
Players then have the opportunity to choose between seven lions, offering a wide selection of different multiplier ranges. These options range from six free spins with a range of high multipliers (15x, 30x, or 40x) to 25 free spins with a range of lower multipliers (2x, 3x, or 5x).
Pragmatic Play’s portfolio contains more than 80 proven HTML5 video slots, including Wolf Gold, Chilli Heat and The Champions. These titles are now live with a growing list of leading casino brands, including Mr Green, Betsson and LeoVegas.
For more information on this release or to arrange an interview please contact Tom Lewis at Square in the Air on 020 3586 8257 or email@example.com
About Pragmatic Play
Pragmatic Play is one of the fastest growing providers of slots games in the online gaming industry. It has proven expertise in creating mobile and desktop content that engages modern players. Its expanding portfolio features more than 80 proven HTML5 titles, which support 26 languages and all major currencies, and are built on unique in-house designs.
The provider’s games are attuned to the needs of players and operators in regulated markets all over the world and are now a fixture on many of the leading casino brands.
For more information please visit http://pragmaticplay.com/
Source: European Gaming News
21Bet upgrades Sportsbook with Digitain
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June 15th, 2018 – Digitain the multi-channel casino and sports betting platform provider confirmed that Malta-licensed 21Bet had been successfully migrated to Digitain’s fully managed sportsbook solution.
21Bet is operated by Aureate Gaming Solutions Ltd and is also the official shirt sponsors of Waterford FC. Under the agreement, Digitain provided its API technology for 21Bet’s online operations including a new improved version of their sportsbook, with features that include cash out, edit my bet, and express bonus and the latest promotional tools for player marketing acquisition and retention.
Digitain CEO, Suren Khachatryan, said: “21Bet is a growing brand in Europe and we are delighted to be their technology partner of choice. Digitain’s frictionless API integration along with our fully managed Sportsbook will deliver 21Bet with enhanced user experience and over 30,000 real live monthly events and full coverage of the most popular sports in Pre-match and Live Betting, and cash out options. 21Bet will also have access to the latest World Cup content zone, including team news, standings, and head-2-head to further engage players throughout this year’s largest betting tournament.”
James Hudson CEO at 21bet, said: “Our company’s vision is to have the optimal strategic partnership with our technology providers. Digitain has a proven international and European market expertise, and their technology allows our brand to be agile and flexible, and in control of our roadmap to adapt to ever-changing market conditions and player preferences. The Digitain team are a delight to work with and they made the migration to our new sportsbook as smooth as silk! ”
Digitain has more than 1,000 employees, 35+ global partners, and more than 400 betting shops worldwide.
The multi-channel Digitain Gaming Platform allows for a frictionless turnkey or white-label solution for both land-based and online operators via our API’s to integrate a sportsbook, casino, live dealer, and virtual sports modules. The stack also includes an extensive payment gateway, bonus engine, CRM system, and dedicated customer support 24/7.
The sportsbook product covers 30,000 live events each month, across 65 sports taking in 7,500 leagues, and more than 3,000 betting markets, while our casino solution has 3,000+ games from the likes of NetEnt, Microgaming, and Playson and many more.
Source: European Gaming News
Week 12 slot games releases
IGT Extends Contract with Kansas Lottery for Providing INTELLIGEN™ System
Rivers Casino Schenectady submits comment on legalising sports betting
New Hampshire Passes Sports Betting Bill
STS Inks New Sponsorship Deal with KSW
TÜV Thüringen Certifies Sportradar AG’s Customer Care Unit for ISO 9001:2015
Portugal Reviews Gambling Tax Regime
Riga to close gaming venues in city and neighborhoods
Irish Gaming Startup WarDucks Obtains €3.3 Million Funding
Carl Icahn to team up with Tilman Fertitta to acquire Caesars
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