Connect with us


Esports and India – can the two win big?



Esports and India - can the two win big?Reading Time: 4 minutes

For 47 days in India’s summer heat last year, eight IPL teams played a 60-game tournament, culminating in a one-run win for Mumbai Indians. More than 25 players, along with several coaches and members of Mumbai’s staff were rewarded with USD 2.4 million. Two months later, in Seattle, Team Liquid, comprising five members, bagged USD 10.86 million of the USD 24.7 million prize money for winning an 11-day Dota 2 tournament called The International.

The rise of the esports industry – currently valued at USD 700 million – has been compared to the exponential growth of cryptocurrencies, but without the unpredictability of the bull and bear trends that govern financial markets. Predictably, the subsequent influx of capital from external investors – Alibaba, Intel, The Walt Disney Company*, The Kraft Group, Hewlett Packard and even Jennifer Lopez – has helped sustain its growth. The latest boost is the IOC recognizing it as a ‘competitive sport’, the first of many steps towards seeing esports in the Olympics.

More than half of the esports markets is in China, USA and South Korea; the scale of awareness, and inevitable growth in India, though, hasn’t yet materialised, with the absence of widespread high-speed internet connectivity the most influential of several reasons. Yet Lokesh Suji, director of the Esports Federation of India – India’s esports governing body – is optimistic on the sport’s prospects.

India’s world ranking (in the IeSF esports championship) jumped from 29 to 20 last year,” he told ESPN. “It’s estimated that India has around 120 million online gamers. This population will cross 300 million by 2021. From a PC and console perspective, the spread is largely concentrated to metro and B-category cities, but for mobile, the other cities have a decent share. From a gender perspective, we have 32% females, who are active on consoles. The serious esports community in India is pegged around 10 million.”

The typical gamer is between 18-25 years old and picks up esports in college. Game strategies are developed during classes, with breaks spent executing them. A few years ago, gamers had a hobby, but not a career opportunity. That is what’s changing. In 2017, for example, in all tournaments combined, more than INR 2 crores (USD 308,000 approx) was paid out as prize money for competitions in India.

Considering the incipient stage esports is in India, growth percentages, rather than actual prize pools, are a fairer measure of growth in a developing market. The prize money for Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), two of the most popular global games, increased by 40 and 46% respectively in the past 12 months. According to data from AFKgaming, Dota 2’s prize pay-out rose from INR 40 lakhs (USD 67,000) in 2016 to INR 67 lakhs (USD 103,000) in 2017. CS:GO’s increased from INR 36 lakhs (USD 56,000) to INR 68 lakhs (USD 105,000) in the same period.

But Suji advises caution. “We have always counselled the budding talent that studies and education comes first in a country like India,” he says. “Don’t compromise on your studies to follow your passion, India has not yet reached the level of cricket. It will take time. This time will be less in comparison to what cricket took to reach where it is today. India has the largest youth population in the world. Esports is culturally more relevant to current and upcoming generations.

There is much work to be done, Suji concedes. “Esports needs to be taken to the grassroots levels. Esports cafes will create awareness and act as a training ground for budding Indian talent and will help identifying the best athletes. With regards to counselling budding talent.. at times we even get calls from parents of the youngsters who want to take up esports as a career. ESFI is working with colleges and schools to get esports included as part of their sports and cultural fests.

No sport has gained popularity without spectators and growing fan bases. Esports has adopted a franchise-based model, with gamers from several countries comprising a team. According to a report by Newzoo, a company that tracks intelligence in the digital gaming industry, esports could have 586 million participants by 2020, with more than half coming from the Asia-Pacific region. Still in its nascent stage, India will make up just a fraction of that viewership base.

The size and scale of opportunity is growing, but it’s at a nascent stage,” Rajan Navani, Managing Director of JetSyntheses, a digital gaming company, tells ESPN. “Esports moving into the Olympics is going to give a big fillip to a country like India. The market will really grow when we have esports champions coming to India.

The best parallel is China, 10-15 years ago, if you look at digital gaming and esports, it was nothing. But now, it’s the largest market. India will have the same growth as China, but not in the same way. Broadband reached the homes of people, it changed the esports industry. When you have high bandwidth, you have great connectivity. And digital payments is a relatively new phenomenon.

In India, investments are flooding in, albeit primarily for millennial engagement as opposed to the traditional esports method of competitions played in front of specially-designed computers. “Gaming is the digital gateway to consumers in India. Esports cannot be developed in isolation, it needs an ecosystem of payments, players, competitiveness,” Navani says. “Many people don’t have the means. In India, there is a small group that pays and a larger group that engages.

That approach to esports in a developing market seems to be working. Walking into a recent digital gaming show on the outskirts of Bengaluru, it feels like a chance for gamers to tour the chocolate factory. Stalls covering the length of a football field allow trials of different genres of games. The characters of several RPG’s (Role Playing Games) have come to life through costumes. Shirts in bright colours with technical jargons, such as ‘Gamers don’t die, we respawn’ feel nostalgic.

But there only seem to be young faces around, another reminder of the distinct industry demographic. Parents lag behind their children, either unexcited or oblivious. Blaring, echoing music adds to the ambience. It’s loud, much like how esports has been in the last few years.

Like any other sport, the industry has had to maintain its integrity by effectively managing hurdles such as performance-enhancing drugs and match-fixing. Like any other sport, it is evolving and maturing quickly to a global audience. But with a unique niche, exponential growth and its ability to attract more, it is unlike any other sport.



Source: European Gaming Media and Events


New Orleans casino market outpaces state performance for February; see how much revenue was generated



New Orleans casino market outpaces state performance for FebruaryReading Time: 2 minutes

Casino winnings in the New Orleans gambling market were up by 1.9 percent in February from a year ago, better than the modest 0.6 percent gain reported across the state.

The state’s 15 riverboat casinos, four racinos and land-based casino generated nearly $210.0 million in revenue in February, according to figures released Monday by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.That was slightly ahead of the nearly $208.6 million they took in during February 2017. Video poker revenue was up 2 percent during that same period to $50.0 million from $44.3 million in February 2017. 

In New Orleans, gambling revenue was up from $49.7 million to $50.7 million. Improved business at Harrah’s contributed to the gains. The casino posted $23.6 million in winnings during February, 4.4 percent more than the $22.6 million from February 2017. Winnings at the Fair Grounds race track were up by 5.2 percent to $3.9 million from $3.7 million.

The Crescent City’s three riverboats had a modest drop in winnings during the month of 1 percent to $23.1 million. Treasure Chest was the biggest loser, dropping 2.2 percent to $9.1 million. Boomtown New Orleans was down 0.4 percent to $10.4 million. The Amelia Belle in Amelia was virtually unchanged, with earnings holding at $3.6 million.

While the performance in the state’s gambling markets was mixed, Baton Rouge was the biggest loser, with winnings at its three riverboats plunging by 10.4 percent. The Belle of Baton Rouge, the oldest riverboat in the city, dropped 16.2 percent to $4.5 million. Hollywood Casino revenue fell by 14.1 percent to $5.5 million. L’Auberge Baton Rouge was down 6.7 percent to $13.6 million.

In other markets, casino revenue at Lake Charles’ three riverboats and slots at the Delta Downs racetrack was up by 8.6 percent to $73.8 million. Shreveport-Bossier City, which has the most riverboats of any market along with the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs track, was down 3.8 percent to $55.1 million. Acadiana, which includes the Evangeline Downs race track, was down 7.1 percent to $6.7 million.



Source: European Gaming Media and Events

Continue Reading


MeReal Biometrics Combines Biometrics and NFC Technologies for New Card Solution



MeReal Biometrics Combines Biometrics and NFC Technologies for New Card SolutionReading Time: 5 minutes

The company, based in France and Hong Kong, is selling an ID card for the hospitality industry that leverages Near Field Communication, as well as biometrics and acoustic signals, to vary the level of security for access control, payments and VIP services.

Several hospitality companies are deploying or trialing a new biometrics- and Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID-enabled card from MeReal Biometrics that leverages the combination of technologies to ensure the companies meet regulatory standards for privacy, while also providing a variety of access-control, VIP treatment and payment options for those with the cards.

MeReal is also partnering with French access-control and security technology company EuroStation, which will resell the cards to its clients in the hotel, casino and television production industries. The card was released in 2017 and has since been used by casinos and hotels in trials or full deployments.

In La Ciotat France, for instance, Casino Pleinair is using the technology to provide its employees with access to its specific restricted areas. Casino Pleinair is the first French casino built for outdoor use, to enable guests to smoke while still complying with France’s indoor smoking ban. Players and other guests can roam outdoors in the facility’s gaming area, restaurants, and pool. The resort, in the long term, intends to provide guests with the MeReal Biometrics card to they can make payments, receive VIP services and gain access to authorized areas. Initially, however, the card is being used only by staff members.

In Nice, the Palais de Mediterranée is utilizing the cards to provide its employees with access control specific to their work requirements. In Macau, meanwhile, a hotel and casino (which has asked to remain unnamed) has begun piloting the card for use by its VIP customers. Regular customers have the card (approximately 1,000 will participate in the pilot by mid-year) and are using the technology to gain VIP access to the resort.

In the future, the company says, the plan is to use the system (the MeReal card with apps, Websites and customer hotlines) for payments and other services. The card has also been trialed in France for online gaming. To provide proof of authenticity, a gamer can simply tap his or her card on an NFC-enabled smartphone to log on to the gaming site or app. If NFC is unavailable, the card’s audio signature can be used: the gamer holds his or her card to the microphone of a PC, a laptop or a tablet to log into the game.

MeReal was cofounded in 2009 by Patrick Partouche, a casino and hotel group owner and operator, and Philippe Blot, whose background is in the “powered card” manufacturing industry, and before that in cyphering technology. The company says its goal is to disrupt the standard access-control card industry and digital-payments market, by providing the hospitality industry—among others—with a security and access-control solution that uses multiple technologies.

The card is intended to provide more than just access control, Blot says. The battery-powered biometric system-on-card, which features built-in fingerprint biometric capability, an acoustic signature emitter and an NFC chip, is being marketed for VIP and loyalty service, as well as for payments and security. It can be loaded with funds and be used for physical and online access, or make payments in a closed or open network. It comes with a portable charger and can transmit data via NFC or sound if a reader or microphone is available. With the NFC functionality, the device can also be used with an NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet.

Patrick Partouche

Patrick Partouche

When the company was founded, its goal was to create a card that would meet the requirements of European regulators. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), established in 2016, dictates how personal identification, as of May 2018, can be required, while protecting and simplifying the authentication process for citizens. While biometrics can ensure the authenticity of a person entering a facility or making a payment, EU regulations mandate that companies cannot require biometric data from people under all conditions.

For instance, at certain public doors and during specified times of the day, the companies must allow access without requiring a fingerprint. It’s more than just a matter of privacy, Blot explains—it’s a question of civil rights. How many times, he notes, can a company require an individual to stop and present his or her fingerprint in order to access a building or to gamble, for instance?

Hong Kong, where MeReal Biometrics is headquartered, is presently looking into similar protections as more companies are asking citizens to present ID cards or ID numbers to access basic needs, says Kate Davies, MeReal Biometrics’ head of marketing.

Using simply NFC on traditional cards spares an individual from having to provide a fingerprint, Blot says, though the technology has limits as well. “It comes down to the level of identification—who I am versus who I say I am,” he explains. Although an NFC card can authenticate the card itself, it cannot guarantee that the person holding the card is the same individual who owns that card’s account. “This can be quite important,” he says, especially in the gaming industry, in which online gaming is becoming popular and makesauthentication considerably more challenging than it would be for a casino employee standing face to face with a player.

MeReal wanted a card that would work for physical or virtual access, gaming, payments and other applications, with a variety of use cases depending on a user’s needs. The card’s biometrics sensor can read and authenticate a user’s fingerprint in less than one second before transmitting its unique ID number to an NFC reader, thereby ensuring the card’s authenticity, and that the card user is who he or she claims to be.

kate davies

Kate Davies

Because the biometrics data is stored directly on the card and not in the issuer’s database that could be hacked, Blot adds, it provides greater security for the card user. So a user can simply place a thumb or finger against the sensor on the card in order to unlock the NFCfunction, then tap the card against the NFC reader. The system also enabled multiple fingers to be enrolled so that one fingerprint (from an index finger, for example) could have different privileges or accomplish different functions than another (from a thumb, for instance).

Such flexibility is one of the card’s strengths, Davies says. The system can be set up so that it allows a cardholder to enter through a general doorway using only the NFC RFID chip in the card, without requiring the fingerprint sensor. However, the fingerprint sensor could be used, or required, to enter a card holder’s guest room. “Our card is dynamic enough to comply with the regulations that won’t allow biometric data to be used at [for example] the front door or entrance of a hotel.”

The card is expected to cost less than $20 when purchased in high volume, Blot reports. The card pays for itself with the functionality it provides to users, he adds. “You’re putting a device into the hand of a customer that makes them far more loyal to the brand,” Blot states. MeReal provides apps for users if so requested, while many companies are expected to utilize the card with their own existing apps and IT systems.


Source:RFID Journal

Source: European Gaming Media and Events

Continue Reading


Playtech BGT Sports unveils retail cash-out improvements



Playtech BGT Sports unveils retail cash-out improvementsReading Time: 3 minutes

21st February 2018, London – Playtech BGT Sports (PBS) has introduced several significant improvements to its unique retail cash-out tool.

Shop customers will now experience cash-out for a longer period, across more events and with improved margins on PBS’ proprietary self-service betting terminals (SSBTs).

The cash-out option will stay open for longer on matches with strong favourites, increasing the availability of the tool in multiple bets. Previously, players had to wait until traders had settled results, but the favourites price will now be factored in while the match is live, even if it’s not available as a selection.

Suspension times in-play have been reduced, significantly lengthening the time available for customers to both place and cash-out bets, driving stake turnover and operator revenue.

Tennis matches no longer suspend while players change ends and football matches go live much sooner after the occurrence of a match-changing event like a goal or penalty.

A further improvement will see margins now more consistent across market type and length of price. Overrounds are now shared equally across selections, allowing for more competitive pricing and a better user experience for bettors.

It’s expected the upgrades to the PBS cash-out tool will further enhance retail customers betting experience, while bringing the high street shop in-line with its online counterparts.

John Pettit, Managing Director for UK, Ireland, Asia, and Australia at Playtech BGT Sports, said: “We believe the retail space can, and should, offer the same experience as digital, and improving our cash-out feature is one way of doing so.

With lower suspension times, consistent margins and more events available with the cash-out option at any one time, customers will enjoy the flexibility and choice of bet offering that they deserve.

Improvements to its cash-out service follow the recent announcement of the PBS MatchAcca tool, which allows customers to create their own single match multipliers based on related contingencies, a first for the retail sector.


About Playtech:

Playtech is a market leader in the gambling and financial trading industries. Founded in 1999 and listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, Playtech has more than 5,000 employees in 17 countries.

Playtech is the gambling industry’s leading software and services supplier with more than 140 licensees globally, including many of the world’s leading regulated online, retail and mobile operators, land-based casino groups, government sponsored entities such as lotteries, and new entrants opening operations in newly-regulated markets. Its business intelligence-driven gambling software offering includes casino, live casino, bingo, poker and sports betting.

It is the pioneer of Omni-channel gambling which, through Playtech ONE, offers operators and their customers, a seamless, anytime, anywhere experience across any product, any channel (online, mobile, retail) and any device using a single account and single wallet. It provides marketing expertise, sophisticated CRM solutions and other services for operators seeking a full turnkey solution.

Playtech BGT Sports (“PBS”) is Playtech’s sports betting division, headquartered in Nicosia with more than 600 employees across 6 different business centres. PBS is the provider of the market leading Self Service Betting Terminals product with over 26,000 terminals supplied to retail operators in the UK and internationally as well as digital sports betting platforms and user interfaces to many major online licensees.

Playtech’s Financials division operates both on a B2C and B2B basis. Its B2C focused offering is an established and growing online CFDs broker, operating the brand Its B2B offering includes the division’s proprietary trading platform, CRM and back-office systems, as well as its liquidity technology platform which provides retail brokers with multi-asset execution, prime brokerage services, liquidity and complementary risk management tools.



Source: European Gaming Media and Events

Continue Reading


%d bloggers like this: