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Mobile Sports Betting
JAVA makes the Difference

You don’t have to be a tech head to see the potential of mobile gambling.  It’s received, if a tad premature, plenty of unflappable B2B press over the last year.  However, in a recent weekend’s Sunday Times’ Style magazine supplement, there was finally evidence of mobile betting entering the mass market psyche.  The article referred to mobile gambling as “the end of civilization as we know it.”  However, most who launched services will have seen first hand, that the end of civilization hasn’t taken off quite as they had hoped.  Casino and fixed offers odds games are generating noticeable revenues, but not at the growth rate of other new gambling products.


      There is, however, one form mobile gambling  that is becoming a sustainable sub-sector of iGaming , generating real revenues for the early adopters that embraced it – mobile sports betting.
      The success of mobile sports betting can be attributed to a number of factors, the first being  remore access.  While a Game of blackjack whilst waiting for a bus is fun, it doesn’t enhance the remote gaming experience; on the other hand, betting on the 2.30 at Cheltenham whilst at Cheltenham does.  Mobile sports betting is all about access, and emulating what is done online poker or at the local betting shop, in the palm of your hand.


      With the World Cup around the corner, and the fact that football fans are a “mobile savvy” demographic, many operators are positioning themselves to take advantage of this well publicized sporting event, and are actively growing their mobile offering to a wider and more diverse user base.  Several of these early adaptors embraced WAP several years ago, but found that WAP’s basic betting functionality only brought limited  success.  Now forward thinking bookmakers are launching more functional Java-based sports book products.  Java marks a fundamental turning point for mobile gambling technology.  It offers rich user experience and has become (for now) the standard in the fast moving mobile entertainment sector.  Java is used for everything from music applications to big brand content portals, and offers a more compelling experience than WAP ever could.


      For mobile sports betting Java applications are now becoming content rich, pulling information from multiple feeds (odds, prices, results, news etc).   Compared to WAP, Java offers easy to use and intuitive navigation, where the GUI (Graphical User Interface) is more interactive and delivers better correlation between the online and mobile gambling experience.  Additionally, Java offers greater control in terms of brand continuity between all other digital and non-digital touch points.

      Another key advantage of a Java is that the data is dynamically updated.  The user isn’t required to refresh the application to get the latest odds or prices; instead, java has the ability to “multi thread”, meaning it can simultaneously receive several strings of data, even to the point of pre-empting subsequent screens.  To keep data costs to a minimum, applications are becoming smart by increasing the refresh rate frequency only as one get closer to placing a bet.  Java can also cache data, which means already-downloaded non-dynamic data is temporally stored locally on the device, therefore improving application speed and performance.
      Although many operators are beginning to recognize the importance of connectivity and customer support, it’s still to a great extent overlooked, and will make the difference between a mediocre mobile service and one that files, by ensuring a user can download, connect and place a bet remains the crux of mobile gambling.  The easier and more reliable this process becomes, the more likely a person is to continually bet through the phone.  Although more can be done both technically and through better mobile specific marketing, the typical conversion rate we see are around 60%, with much of this depending on the effectiveness of an operator to get behind and push the service.  Additionally, the average mobile bet size is approximately double an online bet at £ 25 with the average number of bets placed per month at 20 and increasing month on month.  The data clearly indicates that mobile sports betting is on the rise.
      Will mobile sports betting cannibalize the online product?  Actually, our experience suggests the opposite.  Existing players actually bet more as they have better  access at the weekends or on match night, where they can make a compulsive bet without the need to sit down at a PC.
      Of course, everyone is eager to see the likes of mobile poker take off, and although there are a number of live services out there, added to the compelling notion of playing against another user on the phone, the gaming experience will not meet expectations and due to the very nature of online peer to peer gaming, these services will likely promote customer dissatisfaction.  For now, until user experience and technology hurdles have been dramatically improved, mobile sports betting is the safest option.

AUTHORS PROFILE - CHARLES PALMER, commercial Director and  Co-Founder, Mfuse Charles co-founded Mfuse in 2002 and is responsible for marketing, sales and communication for the mobile gaming technology specialists.  He is currently working on launching Chinese language sports betting services in Asia.  Prior to Mfuse, Charles worked in the interactive Media (Netherlands).

What To Do When The Media’s At Your Door

By Susan M.Tellem, APR

As I was sitting down to write this article about handling cr4ises, a new Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Should Online Gaming Be Banned?” appeared on my screen.  This certainly isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, missive about our industry.  The article was an email exchange between Rep.Jim Leach (R-Iowa) and David Carruthers, CEO of BetonSports.com.
      Works and phrases like “money laundering,” “organized crime,”  “criminal activity,” “tax evasion” and “ terrorist financing” were bandied about throughout the exchange.  These are hot button words that can turn legal entertainment into a crisis.
      As iGaming continues to grow in popularity, the chance of a major crisis affecting the industry grows with it.  The vast majority of sites and players will be spared from scrutiny, but for those companies whose players or executives find themselves mired in unpleasantries or worse, being prepared is 99 percent of the battle.
      What often turns an emergency into a crisis or disaster is surprise compounded by the confusion and errors that occur during the initial response phase.  Our experience shows that most organizations fail to plan effectively about how they will trigger their response process, only to figure it out as collateral damage occurs and the problem expands.


     

There are some basic facts to consider.

  • Crises happen explosively but resolve incrementally.
  • Crisis management success depends on prompt recognition of the reason the crisis happened in the first place.
  • It is critical to have the involvement of the top official or someone at the top who the official trusts.

Where’s Your Crisis Plan?

Even very large corporations don’t have a crisis preparedness plan in place.  The first step is a vulnerability survey a (see sidebar).  Also called a crisis vulnerability audit, it includes reviewing existing procedures and making recommendations on how to improve outcomes from a communications point of view.  This includes

  • A review of existing corporate policies
  • The addressing of potential problems and
  • A written brief of findings along with next steps.  Next I suggest presenting a half-day or full day seminar for management.

I also recommend creating a short educational video that can be shown to staff- a “how to” primer on avoidance of common procedures that lead to a crisis.
     
A top-notch crisis management manual includes:

  • An assessment of the risks faced by the company.
  • A checklist of actions that should be taken when an emergency threatens or actually occurs.
  • Assignments of those who must carry out those actions (such tasks should have at least three people assigned to them whenever possible).
  • A means for coordinating information gathering, preparation and dissemination, both internally and with external organizations.
  • Identification of key local organizations – fire, police, ambulance.
  • A listing of essential audiences that must be kept informed (this includes reporters, lawyers, industry executives, government. Etc.).
  • A plan for monitoring media an concerns of employees, the general public and others.
  • Responding to a crises instead of proactively preventing it can be costly, and it is not an acceptable communications strategy.

Handling A Crisis

A member of the senior staff must immediately notify the contact person responsible to coordinating communications at your company day or night in the event of an emergency. 
      This person, and only he or she, will be responsible for the dissemination of any information regarding the situation, regardless of the nature or complexity.

Evaluating of Incident

The communications coordinator will contact appropriate individual employees and key audiences in the area of a reported incident to determine the next steps.
      The emergency communications coordinator may contact public relations counsel as soon as he or she verifies all details of the emergency and consult with the PR professionals about the proper response.  The crisis coordinator should have the home phone numbers of public relations representatives and should be able to reach them at any time.

Implement Internal Response

The crisis coordinator will establish contact with appropriate key internal personnel to alert them to the situation.


      Vendors, family members and other audiences need to be “hand held” during the crisis.  At this point, the communications coordinator should begin keeping a log of events, actions, times and phone inquiries.  This system will help document who has what information.

  • Working with the media is probably one of the most daunting aspects of working through a crisis.
  • Remember, a media-intensive case can occur in anywhere
  • Stonewalling and “no comment” doesn’t work
  • Lack of engagement is seen as passivity, which invites “media frenzy”
  • You can be overwhelmed, discredited or demoralized if you do not have a crisis plan to handle the media.

Your goals are:

  • Satisfy public’s right-to-know without compromising the victim’s rights
  • Alleviate media overload with printed statements as handouts
  • Do not let staff talk to the press –have strict rules – make it known that they will be terminated if they do not comply
  • Work closely with legal counsel

Media relations actions to take:

  • Draft press statement
  • Create and / or update media database
  • Distribute information in a timely manner
  • Field media inquiries quickly
  • Talk and meet one on one with local press via a press briefing
  • Work hand in hand with legal counsel

Your expected results:

  • Media inquiries redirected to PR team or consultant relieves the company executives and staff
  • Media are assured of receiving latest and most complete information, and generally stop bugging you
  • Keep press briefings focused and informative
  • The result will be improved coordination between media, PR, legal and the supervisors.

In today’s world with so many people and so little time, tempers are short, accidents happen and crises can happen anywhere.  Being prepared can make the difference between a good outcome and a disastrous one.

AUTHOR PROFILE – SUSAN M. TELLEM, APR, is president & CEO of Tellem Worldwide, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif. Ms. Tellem has headed the crisis team at a number of large and small public relations agencies throughout the county.

Short Form Vulnerability Audit

Take this vulnerability audit and see if you need help getting your business on a crisis track.

  1. Who is on your crisis team?  Do not choose the CEO.  Save him in case something goes wrong with your game plan and he needs to “save the sinking ship.”
  2. Do you have friends in your court if you need them?  This would include reporters/ regulators/ inspectors/ politicians / police, etc.
  3. Do you honestly monitor possible problems that could lead to a crisis like employee relationships, safety issues, confidentiality issues, player complaints or server and software problems?
  4. Do you have a written book of company  policies?
  5. Do you have a lit of emergency numbers / cell phones to be able to reach managers/ owners at a second’s notice?
  6. Who is you spokesperson if something negative happens?
  7. How do you handle belligerent employees?
  8. How do you handle sexual harassment accusations?
  9. Are you familiar with emergency response teams in your area?
  10. When was the last time that you had an emergency evacuation drill?

If you have had any trouble answering these questions or did not know the answer to even one of them, you need to have a complete vulnerability audit, and soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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