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NBA Odds — Johnson Joins Heat as They Face Knicks

NBA Odds -- Johnson Joins Heat as They Face Knicks

The Miami Heat are in a very spirited battle for playoff position in the Eastern Conference, so they have just reached out for some help. Their Sunday night game against the New York Knicks may be a little too early to get it to any significant extent, but the acquisition of Joe Johnson may have its initial effect in this game that is set to begin at 7:35 PM ET at Madison Square Garden. BetAnySports customers don’t have to stop their wagering at the opening tipoff, however; they can continue challenging the NBA odds in real time as they make use of the software provided by Live Betting Extra.

If the season ended right now, the Heat would have the home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, by virtue of their #4 spot in the East. But this is a tenuous position at best, because they are only 2.5 games ahead of the Detroit Pistons, who are all the way back in NINTH place. With the prospect of losing Chris Bosh for the rest of the season with a blood clot in his left leg, the Heat sought to make a proactive personnel move, and Johnson, a seven-time All-Star who had his contract bought out by the Brooklyn Nets for the purposes of waiving him, fell into their hands. Word is that he was heavily recruited by Dwyane Wade.

In the reduced juice NBA odds that have been established on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, Miami is a slight favorite:

Miami Heat -1.5 (-107) New York Knicks +1.5 (-103)

Over 197 points -102 Under 197 points -108

If the Cleveland Cavaliers are indeed vulnerable, the Heat (32-26 SU, 30-27-1 ATS) might have as good a chance as anyone to be the team to come out of the East, IF Bosh was healthy. But as Bosh seeks further medical opinion, they must make plans to move forward without him.

The Knicks have been a disappointment after what was a very encouraging start, in which they introduced rookie Kristaps Porzingis, a sleek seven-foot forward who can hit from the outside and reminds some people of Dirk Nowitzki. After Phil Jackson had a disastrous first season as a team executive, contending for a playoff spot in the East appeared to be a moral victory at the very least. But the wheels came off after they split the first 44 games. A slump, combined with controversies surrounding head coach Derek Fisher, forced Jackson to make a change, and now Kurt Rambis is in the interim position.

Carmelo Anthony leads the team in points, rebounds and assists – the only player in the NBA to hold that distinction – and that is not a good sign, considering his reputation as a “me first” player. Yesterday he missed practice, along with Porzingis and Aaron Afflalo, as he was nursing a sore knee.

Miami may be suiting up Johnson for the first time, although he would have to make something of an adjustment if he is to come off the bench. He would be quite a sixth man, though, and Wade knew that, which is why, in his words, “I tried to do my best to paint the picture that this is a good place to be.” There is a need for more depth in the backcourt, as Beno Udrih’s season is over with a foot injury.

Take to the floor with BetAnySports and get all kinds of goodies, including reduced juice, which helps you get a little more value when you challenge the NBA odds! And when you are ready to open up an account, you have choices – your Visa card, a person-to-person transfer or Bitcoin!

State legislatures see flurry of daily fantasy sports bills

State legislatures see flurry of daily fantasy sports bills

The daily fantasy sports debate has spilled into state capitols nationwide, with nearly 30 legislatures considering proposals to regulate, ban or affirm the games played by millions of Americans.

The flurry of recent legislative activity represents a sea change for the industry, which for years was content to operate largely unregulated.

“We’ve been operating in this gray area for a long time, and, up until now, it hasn’t really been a problem,” says Peter Schoenke, chairman of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, which hired about 65 lobbying firms in 44 states to push bills favorable to the industry. “What we want to do in all of these states is to clarify that it is legal.”

A 2006 federal law banned online gambling but specifically exempted fantasy sports, paving the way for the creation of the niche industry that’s since exploded in popularity, prompting policymakers to take a closer look.

Companies like Boston’s DraftKings and New York’s FanDuel have argued their contests aren’t gambling because the games require more skill than luck. But where it once shied away from heavy oversight, the industry is now embracing limited regulation, so long as it isn’t subjected to the same exacting standards as traditional gambling operations.

“The laws of skill gaming and gambling were written like a hundred years ago and they don’t really fit fantasy sports,” Schoenke says.

This year’s tally of 30 states with pending bills is up from roughly 16 states last year and two in 2014, according to GamblingCompliance Research Services, which has been tracking the legislation.

At least half the bills represent variations of an industry-backed proposal exempting the games from state gambling regulations and imposing requirements meant to protect consumers, according to an Associated Press review.

Among them is a Virginia bill that’s the first headed to the governor for approval this year, following passage by the legislature last week.

About 14 states are weighing bills requiring a player be at least 18 years old. California and Maryland are considering bills with a minimum age of 21, as is Massachusetts through a rule-making initiative taking place outside the legislative process.

Most bills filed so far seek to impose licensing and registration fees on fantasy sports companies.

The payments range from a one-time, $2,500 fee proposed in Oklahoma to a one-time fee of up to $500,000 plus an annual renewal fee of up to $100,000 called for in a Florida bill.

At least two states — California and New York — have proposals to tax revenues from games.

“We feel strongly that there ought to be some revenues to help offset any negative consequences,” says California Rep. Adam Gray, the Democrat who submitted the proposal. “There are legitimate concerns that gambling and other gaming activities create significant personal challenges for people.”

In terms of oversight, the industry-backed bills generally call for companies to hire a third party to conduct a compliance audit, which is then reviewed by the state attorney general.

At least two states — Indiana and Maryland — are considering bills placing oversight directly in the hands of state agencies that regulate gambling, horse racing and lotteries.

Two others — Massachusetts and Rhode Island — are weighing bills that simply authorize their state lotteries to develop fantasy sports games but steer clear of the regulatory debate.

Industry watchers are concerned that some of the bills are still too vague.

Chris Grove, editor of the Legal Sports Report, a Nevada-based publication, says the definition of “fantasy contests” used in many of the industry-backed bills doesn’t specifically limit competitions to sports. Fantasy contests based on award shows, political debates, even spelling bees could theoretically be permissible, he says.

“The broader and vaguer the definition, the more likely it becomes that operators will push the limits of that definition,” Grove wrote in a recent analysis.

Schoenke, of the trade association, says the industry isn’t opposed to bills refining that language, as some lawmakers have already done.

“The intent of my legislation is to define daily fantasy contests as those involving sports,” says Illinois Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Democrat who introduced a version of the industry bill that includes the “fantasy contests” definition in question. “I’m confident through corrective drafting and legislative intent, we can address concerns addressed.”

Advocates for problem gamblers, meanwhile, are concerned the bills don’t go far enough to protect consumers.

“They’re absolutely inadequate,” says Keith Whyte, head of the National Council on Problem Gambling. “Regulating fantasy sports without decent minimum standards will exacerbate gambling addiction problems.”

The industry-backed bill, introduced in many states as the “Fantasy Contests Act,” requires companies to verify players are 18 or older, ban employees and their relatives from competing in cash contests, allow players with gambling problems to limit or restrict their play and segregate player funds from the company’s operational funds, among other things.

The National Council on Problem Gambling suggests lawmakers impose more stringent age verification measures and require operators to prominently post gambling addiction resources on their websites.

Schoenke says the industry is open to more specific legislative requirements. DraftKings and FanDuel say they already use a multistep process to verify the age and location of players, post gambling addiction information online and allow players to limit their play.

It’s too early to say which bills will ultimately pass, but Jeremy Kudon, a New York-based lawyer coordinating the trade association’s lobbying effort, says up to eight states could pass legislation favorable to the industry. Most, he acknowledges, will take years of work.

“Passing legislation is like getting into the Hall of Fame,” Kudon says. “Very few are first ballot Hall of Famers.”

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Admiral launches Inspired virtual titles in Italy

Admiral launches Inspired virtual titles in Italy

Admiral Interactive has become the latest gambling operator to launch virtual sports games from Inspired Gaming Group in Italy.

Part of the Novomatic Group, Admiral has launched all 11 of Inspired’s certified virtuals games, including football, horse- and motor-racing products.

Inspired said that virtual sports make up 25% of all bets in Italy, with the firm reporting year-on-year growth since the first games went live in the country in 2014.

Vitaliano Casalone, president of the Inspired Italia arm, said: “Inspired currently supplies circa 95% of the land-based, online and mobile virtual sports deployments in Italy and launches such as this continue to prove the quality of the Inspired product portfolio.

“I’m confident that Admiral customers will be delighted with the award-winning Virtual Sports products which we supply, and I look forward to adding to this portfolio of games in the future.”

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Australia’s Tabcorp bets on UK gambling with Sun tie-up

Australia’s Tabcorp bets on UK gambling with Sun tie-up

For several years Tabcorp, Australia’s biggest bookmaker, has felt the full force of foreign competition with Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes and others grabbing a large slice of its home market. Now the listed tote operator is turning the tables by teaming up with The Sun newspaper to enter the UK’s ?3bn-a-year online gambling market.

“It is a natural step for us,” says David Attenborough, Tabcorp’s chief executive, who cut his teeth in the industry at Ladbrokes in the UK. “We have worked with News Ltd closely in Australia and built up a high degree of trust. They have one of the strongest brands in the UK with half of the UK betting population regularly reading or engaging with The Sun.”

Sun Bets is scheduled to launch within six months, with Tabcorp providing the gambling platform and products while News UK promotes the joint venture through its titles. Under the deal Tabcorp will provide News UK with a share of the revenue from Sun Bets. Tabcorp, which made pre-tax profit of A$334m (US$240m) in 2015, is spending A$20m over 12 months to get the UK venture off the ground in what has become one of the world’s most competitive online gambling markets.

Web-based revenues are worth ?3bn a year and there are 427 licensed operators in the UK, according to research by the Gambling Commission. Mark Bryan, analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says the fragmented nature of the market and the tie-up with an established brand provides an opportunity for Tabcorp to gain share.

“The Sun newspaper in the UK has significant readership and is targeted at the C2DE demographic (working classes). It is an excellent platform for a wagering operation,” he wrote in High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

“Brand and trust are so important. You can’t carve out a share of a new market without a brand people know,” says Mr Attenborough, who cites Bet365’s difficult experience in Australia where it has chalked up almost A$100m of accumulated losses since obtaining an Australian bookmaking licence in 2011. The Sun has more than 10m readers a week and 1m football fans engaged in its fantasy football competition, which is expected to draw customers to the joint venture. It also has experience of online gaming through its Sun Bingo unit.

a note published in December. Tabcorp says its deal with The Sun ensures it will not have to spend a lot of energy establishing a new brand. Instead it can focus on delivering innovative products and good customer service.

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Amaya files notice of appeal against Kentucky court order

Amaya files notice of appeal against Kentucky court order

Canadian gaming giant Amaya has filed a notice of appeal against a Kentucky court order to pay $870 million (€794 million) in damages for subsidiary PokerStars’ allegedly illegal operations in the US state between 2006 and 2011.

Amaya said that it has filed a $100 million supersedeas bond to stay enforcement of the order “during the pendency of the appeals process”.

Amaya added that it will “continue to vigorously challenge the trial court’s order”.

“In late January, pursuant to and in accordance with the procedures set forth in the merger agreement governing the acquisition of the PokerStars business, a subsidiary of Amaya submitted a notice of claim to the sellers’ representative and escrow agent seeking indemnification for losses and potential losses caused by breaches under the merger agreement,” Amaya said.

Amaya added that its subsidiary’s notice of claim requested “among other things, that the escrow agent retain the then-remaining balance of the escrow fund established under the merger agreement in an aggregate amount equal to approximately $300 million”.

Amaya continued: “Amaya has since received a notice from the sellers’ representative initially disputing all claims set forth in Amaya’s notice of claim. The disputed indemnity claims and release of the escrow funds will be resolved in accordance with the provisions of the merger agreement and escrow agreement.”

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate originally fined the company $290 million in November, but tripled the amount in December following a request from the state.

Amaya, which only bought PokerStars owner Rational Group in 2014, has been told that it will pay 12% interest per year until the debt is paid off.

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Aussie voters not fans of online in-play betting

Aussie voters not fans of online in-play betting

Leaked poll data shows Australian voters could punish the current federal coalition government if it relaxes the ban on online in-play sports betting.

On Sunday, The Australian published details of a Crosby Textor poll commissioned by the Liberal/National government that showed 35% of voters would be less likely to vote for the coalition in this year’s federal election if the government relaxed the online in-play ban. Only 10% said they would be more likely to vote for the coalition if it allowed online in-play bets.

The poll also showed 33% of voters would be more likely to vote for the coalition partners if gambling laws were left as they are or if the government closed the loopholes that enabled Aussie-licensed online betting operators to introduce digital workarounds intended to circumvent the online in-play ban.

The poll found that a mere 21% of respondents supported legal online in-play bets while 61% stood opposed. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents believed the government should more vigorously enforce existing gambling laws via the use of fines and bans, while just 15% stood opposed. Similarly, 65% supported closing loopholes to make online in-play bets explicitly illegal, while just 18% stood opposed.

The 2001 Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) restricts in-play sports wagers to over the telephone or in-person at a licensed land-based betting facility. The government recently conducted a review of the IGA, the results of which are due to be released any day now.

Aussie-licensed online betting operators have argued that the online in-play ban is archaic and point out that the activity is widely available via internationally-licensed online operators serving the Australian market. Anti-gambling campaigners, the racing industry and domestic land-based operators like Tabcorp and Tatts Group have pushed back against any further liberalization of the Aussie online market.

Reading the Aussie in-play tea leaves is becoming increasingly difficult. In January, Alan Tudge, the assistant minister of social services tasked with overseeing the IGA review, publicly suggested that legal in-play wagering wouldn’t increase match- or spot-fixing controversies, leading many to conclude that the online ban was not long for this world.

But an unidentified federal minister told The Australian that the Crosby Textor poll revealed it was “not politically smart” to embrace gambling liberalization “at any time, let alone an election year.” The minister went on to say that the public held a dim view of the “UK and Irish bookies” and the “greedy” sports leagues pushing for an end to the online in-play restriction.

A consultant hired by an unidentified domestic betting operator told The Australian that Aussie-licensed international firms like William Hill, Ladbrokes, Bet365 and Paddy Power may have won over “some policy purist bureaucrats and a handful of advisers” on the wisdom of ending the in-play ban but these firms have failed to convince “those that matter, the elected officials” that the change would be good policy or a shrewd political play.

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Fantasy sports sites support Illinois regulation plan

Fantasy sports sites support Illinois regulation plan

Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel are expected to announce their support of a proposal sponsored by Illinois Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) at the Capitol on Thursday.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued an opinion in December saying the sites were illegal. The companies argued the opinion could destroy a “legitimate industry” allowed by state law.

New York and Texas have also issued opinions challenging the legality of the industry.

The Virginia General Assembly has passed legislation regulating the sites. Virginia is the first state in the country to establish a legal framework for fantasy sports. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe can sign or veto the plan.

The sites have been banned in six states.

New York-based FanDuel and Boston-based DraftKings filed separate lawsuits against Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday, a day after she declared daily fantasy sports betting illegal in the state.

The companies argue that their contests are games of skill allowed by state law. They’re seeking to stop Madigan from enforcing her interpretation of the law and putting them out of business in Illinois.

Madigan’s action “has set off a chain of events that — if unchecked — will unjustly destroy a legitimate industry,” the lawsuit filed by DraftKings in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago contends. The Illinois decree followed decisions in New York and Nevada to ban the online sites as illegal gambling.

Attorney Randy Mastro, who represents DraftKings, said the company took legal action “so that the hundreds of thousands of Illinois fans who have played openly and honestly for nearly a decade will know they can continue to enjoy the fantasy sports games they love.”

Illinois residents make up 10 percent of DraftKings customers, according to the court filing.

FanDuel filed its lawsuit in Illinois’ Sangamon County along with Arizona-based Head2Head Sports LLC, a season-long fantasy contest operator. The state capital of Springfield is located in Sangamon County, and state lawmakers there will consider a measure to regulate the contests.

A Madigan spokeswoman said the attorney general’s office would have no comment on the companies’ lawsuits outside of Wednesday’s opinion.

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