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Gaming Report: Viaan Industries Signs Distribution Agreement With Chandigarh-Based Firm, Washington D.C. Okays Legal Sports Betting & More

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  • Namita Ghosh December 20, 2018
  • 5 Minutes Read

After stepping into the online poker sector with their new site, PokerRaj, Viaan Industries seems to be firmly on its way to strengthen roots in the Indian gaming industry. The company recently signed a strategic distribution agreement with a Chandigarh-based firm, B Square Global Inc. Pvt. Ltd for its digital game offering, Game of Dot (GOD).

Across the continents, the council of Washington D.C. in the U.S. has given its final approval for legal sports betting even while Sweden’s online gambling regulator has said “no” to temporary online licenses.

Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor continues to tighten its grip on keeping forbidden online content away from residents. The organization has vowed to spend RUB20 Billion ($295 Million) in bringing in a new system of filtering and blocking illegal content.

Meanwhile, online sportsbook operator Sportsbet seems to have set a new Australian record for complaints by people. If the country’s Ad Standards is to be believed, a 15-second promo by Sportsbet received a total of 793 complaints.

Viaan Industries Ltd. Signs Strategic Distribution Deal For Game of Dot

Viaan Industries Ltd., the popular licensing, gaming and entertainment enterprise promoted by Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty Kundra, has roped in a Chandigarh-based firm for distribution of its prime digital game product, Game of Dot (GOD).

Raj Kundra B Square Deal
Chairman of Viaan Industries, Raj Kundra

According to reports, the company has signed a strategic offline distribution deal with B Square Global Inc. Pvt. Ltd., for its digital offering Game of Dot (GOD). In a programme hosted in Chandigarh last week, Kundra and co-founders of B Square, Kunal Bhandari and Girish Bhayana shared the stage to officially announce their deal.

GOD is an easy to play ‘spot the ball’ game that was launched seven months back. It involves judging the position of the cricket ball in a picture within 60 seconds. While the game format is not a new concept and has been there for decades, GOD is a digitized and monetized version of this age-old game.

Talking about the game, chairman and managing director Raj Kundra stated, “I grew up playing spot the ball in England, and in those days, it was a manual paper game. We have just digitised an old school favorite game, added the game-of-skill element with live judging, and am happy to say that we payout over 1500 winners over a month. We use cricket pictures for our game, as cricket is the most popular sport here (in India).”

He added, “In time we will introduce Football and Hockey spot the ball games too. I am super excited to be tying up with the B Square Group, as their knowledge of marketing and distribution in the north is unparalleled. This strategic distribution deal helps us expand our touch points for the game to over 3000 locations across north India.”

The company figures claim that the game has grown organically since launch. With B Square handling the offline distribution of the game, Viaaan Industries is aiming to widen the user base of GOD.

Washington D.C. Approves Legal Sports Betting

The council of Washington D.C. has given its final stamp of approval to legal sports betting in the federal district. The bill i.e. the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 had the backing of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and was passed on an 11-to-2 vote. With this move, the six million strong population of Washington D.C. will soon have access to a regulated sports wagering market.

Washington DC

The bill would have to be sent to Bowser who will need to sign her approval for the same, before sports betting is formally allowed in the federal district. With this, the federal district joins Nevada, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Mexico and other states that have authorized sports betting.

As of date, the federal district doesn’t have any functional casinos. Once the Act is approved, it would open the doors for betting companies to establish outlets around Washington D.C.’s two pro sports team arenas, namely Capital One Arena and Nationals Park. Soon private setups and D.C. Lottery mobile app are expected to enter the district’s markets for betting.

The Act envisages giving exclusivity to the D.C. Lottery which essentially means that once approved, sports betting in the federal district would run mainly through the D.C. Lottery and would be available online. However, the act also features provisions for partnerships between sports arenas and private, licensed sports betting companies on site, as part of ‘exclusive zones’. This has been the long-standing demand of MLB, NBA and gaming firms like DraftsKings and MGM.

Russian Telecom Regulator Roskomnadzor Testing Deep Packet Inspection Online Filtering System

After its recent move to fine Google for continuing to allow banned search results, Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has expressed its intention to establish a more stringent system for keeping Russian away from accessing banned online content.

Roskomnadzor

The regulator has been talking about putting a new system in place for months now. In October, head of Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov hinted that the agency was preparing “a completely new system of filtering and blocking [illegal] content.” For this purpose, Roskomnadzor has reportedly kept aside a budget of RUB20Billion ($295 Million).

A BBC Russian service has on Tuesday reported that the new system involves ‘deep packet inspection’ (DPI) that would facilitate examining and inspection of content of digital messages en route to their intended recipients.

Currently, Roskomnadzor carries out filtering of banned content through an ineffective domain-blocking system that routinely targets thousands of international gambling sites. These sites mostly serve Russian punters who continue to gamble online without local permission.

Functional tests of the new DPI system were reportedly initiated in August and have gathered pace in the last few months, with successful trials in several major cities across Russia. Even though Roskomnadzor is supervising these trials, several local companies are reported to be competing for the rights to operate the new system.

‘Temporary’ Online Licenses Not Allowed in Sweden

According to Sweden’s local gaming regulator, not all of the country’s online gambling operators will be entering through the doors of the liberalized market come January, 2019, when the new liberalized market regime comes into force.

Sweden Gambling Regulator

This week, the gaming regulatory agency of Sweden i.e. Lotteriinspektionen stated that no ‘temporary’ online gambling licenses would be issued to operators who don’t receive their new online permits before the liberalized market kicks off on January 1, 2019.

As of this week, the regulator has issued 31 online licenses from a pool of 70 applications that it had received since the licensing window opened on August 1. Lotteriinspektionen has said it is doing its best to process these applications ahead of the January 1 launch but warned last month that its staff was “under severe pressure” to make that timeline.

Lotteriinspektionen further stated that it had “received inquiries from some companies still waiting on their diplomas regarding the possibility of “temporary’ licensing that would allow them to launch with the other licensees on January 1.” But the regulator said that Sweden’s new online gambling legislation contains no “grace period” and that operators “may not provide games in Sweden until they have been licensed.”

Sportsbet TV Ad Clocks Record Complaints

Online sportsbook operator, Sportsbet has set a new record, and that too for public complaints against its new sports betting advertisement.

Sportsbet

On Wednesday, CEO of Ads Standards Fiona Jolly was quoted informing that a 15-second promo by Sportsbet has received 793 complaints ever since it was first aired in March, on the Australian free-to-air television.

This figure, Jolly added, has overshot the previous record of 481 complaints that the regulators had received in 2014 for a dating website advert.

The Sportsbet ad in question is reported to be featuring an objectionable scene with a young man in a bathroom. Ad Standards has received a number of complaints on the Advert, with viewers arguing that the chosen spot for filming the ad was violent, demeaned men, and lent a sexual connotation to betting.

Sportsbet, which is a division of the UK-listed Paddy Power Betfair, in its defense has denied that the ad was demeaning or violent and stated that it “regrets if the jovial nature of the advertisement was either misconstrued or may have offended the complainants.” However, the company denied that its ad violated the AANA Wagering Advertising and Marketing Communications Code.

While Sportsbet found the Ad Standards community panel largely agreeing with its arguments, it did not agree to Sportsbet’s claim that the ad was not “sexually suggestive.”

The panel also determined that the ad “did not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant broad audience,” that could include children, and thus was in violation of Section 2.4 of the Code.

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