Mike Ciavarella: No Tweaking… A rebuilt Newgioco is the real deal for US Wagering

first_imgShare Share TVBET passes GLI test for five live games in Malta and Italy August 25, 2020 CT Gaming bolsters Italian profile with The Betting Coach  August 27, 2020 Related Articles Esports Entertainment bolsters tournament capacity by acquiring EGL August 27, 2020 StumbleUpon Submit Mike Ciavarella – NewgiocoNewgioco Group Chairman and CEO Michele (Mike) Ciavarella has led an eight-year project to launch the Italian legacy outfit in the US, seeking to be the best-prepared technology incumbent tackling the world’s biggest and most diverse sports market.Speaking to SBC, Ciavarella details that technology stakeholders will face a rude awakening if they simply ‘copy-paste’ European strategies to US market realities, as all reputations are placed on the line in betting’s new horizon. ____________________SBC: Mike thanks for this interview. Can you detail to SBC readers Newgioco’s unique corporate journey, from operating an established Italian betting network to becoming a US Nasdaq enterprise?  Mike Ciavarella (Chairman & Group CEO Newgioco): Newgioco is comprised of a highly talented management and business administration team with over 20 years of experience in the highly contested Italian regulated betting market.During those formative years, we determined that all existing legacy betting technology platforms, although each having slight differences between them, lacked a common feature that is critical to be able to perform best in managing sports bet risk. In 2017, we launched our state-of-the-art Elys Gameboard Platform which has proven itself in the tough Italian market as a highly effective and powerful technology, purpose built for the sports betting industry.Once, we coupled Elys with our mobile and retail market know-how in Italy, we knew we had something special and that we could replicate this powerful combination around the world. To that end, becoming the first pure-play leisure betting company listed on the Nasdaq stock market was a key milestone for Newgioco.Our Nasdaq listing now provides the highest level of corporate transparency not only to potential clients in the US and around the world but to fundamental investors that also see the massive opportunities for an enterprise like Newgioco with a disruptive technology in one of the largest global industry sectors.SBC: You have led Newgioco for eight years. Why change the company’s strategy so drastically to compete within the US market? MC: Interestingly, we had established the plan to build for the US sports betting market in late 2013 while development for Elys was underway. We simply keep the strategy under wraps.In fact, for the first few years until Elys was ready for market we used a cover name for the company. I recall several instances early on of presenting our plan with investment bankers in New York and strangely being asked – “Isn’t sports-betting illegal?” During those first few years we made numerous press releases hinting at our US readiness plan for when the market “liberalised”.That said, the industry understood that the passion and enthusiasm for American sports could only be repressed for so long and that prohibition would ultimately fall as it did in May 2018. So, the Newgioco strategy was built to compete in the US market from inception as a pure-play leisure betting technology company.Importantly, our deployment strategy includes allowing the US market to develop on both a regulatory and consumer demand basis so that we as a company and business can intelligently deploy the right product for the market rather than using a tweaked European product.To that end, we have been coding our US or “American” platform so that our Elys technology can think better in the US market once we start trading. Part of that is not just the UX, but also the risk assessment algorithms as well as our plan to have a US trading floor specifically for managing risk in the US market. Newgioco is well down the field on this development and will be in a strong position with our first US roll out once sports leagues get back up and running.SBC: Still in very much its infancy stage, what unique market intricacies are you witnessing within the US market?  MC: The most glaring observation is that many operators are learning the hard way that a “sports bet” as a commercial product is like no other product in the world.You cannot run a sports betting business like you run an online business selling items like most consumer goods. Sports betting is the only product in the world where the operator competes with their client. And many times, the client (the bettor) is much smarter than you.Spending hundreds of millions simply to obtain market share is great to make a name for yourself and for bragging rights, but sports betting is “not a popularity contest”, its serious competition between operator and customer where as an operator you can lose against a good player. And loses are what several new operators in the US are incurring.SBC: As a tech incumbent, are you surprised at the way a liberalised US market has taken shape? There appears to be some very convoluted deals and partnerships at play?  MC: Yes indeed, as I mentioned, sports betting is a unique commercial product, in fact sports betting is not a casino product, nor is it a lottery product, it’s a high risk product which means that casino operators and state lottery corporations may not necessarily the best companies to run the sports betting business. Many state regulators and enterprises including national sports leagues are tying sports betting to casinos and state lotteries.That is quite remarkable, when in many cases, but not all, those entities have no experience whatsoever in sports betting. In my opinion, that could be a recipe for disaster. I think a lot of lessons can be learned from the UK and Europe, especially when it comes to handing over exclusivity deals in sports betting that are the worst possible disaster for the public, and will have the opposite effect to market regulation in the long run.SBC: Amongst US stakeholders, is there a worry at the lack of strategic creativity being undertaken by market players? MC: I believe so, but understanding the underlying reason is the main point. Again, I believe that the traditional big business approach of “marketing over matter mentality”, such as exclusivity deals that award the deep-pocket entities, is not the winning solution for long term sustainability in a sports betting business. Instead, what is needed is a core technology that can manage sports bet risk while providing a specific U.S. user experience, not a European UX with some tweaking to make it appear American. This is not very simple to appreciate from the general eye, but I will try – the analogy to use is automobile manufactures building cars for the UK market with a ‘right-drive’ versus building the same model with a ‘left-drive’ for the US. Everything is reversed, although it’s possible to navigate the right-drive car in the US, it gets challenging.The same holds true for sports betting, European lines move differently than US lines, furthermore, some individual US sports have unique betting nuances compared to the same event posted in other markets. The technology must be able to react to these nuances, otherwise, you can have an accident, like driving on the wrong side of the road.SBC: At a consumer level, what do you feel are the US market’s relevant unknown dynamics. How prepared are incumbents to tackle these issues?  MC: Think of it this way – understanding a sports bet as a product, the first thing you do is offer your customer a set of odds based on the potential future outcome of an event, once the sale is executed you now carry a risk as the product you sold, meaning that if the customer comes back, they are not returning the product based on the outcome, they are actually coming back to collect. What if during the event, a key player gets injured which changes the entire spectrum of the outcome? Its too late, you are on the hook and that customer will most likely be back. Many new US stakeholders new to sports betting are finding this out the hard way.SBC: Competing within a disrupted market, Newgioco has placed its ELYS system as its flagship product. What new dynamics does ELYS want to deliver to its US incumbents? MC: The unique feature of Elys is its industry-tailored ‘POS level risk assessment module’. Our Elys platform was designed and purpose-built in the Italian sports betting market where, like American bettors, our clients are passionate about their favourite teams and athletes, but they also truly understand the event and the possible outcomes.Further, aside from the passionate bettor, we also have the “sharp” that seek to arbitrage odds against the bookmaker. Therefore, technology is critical. Specifically, the analogy here is that bookmakers used to be a person (still is in some cases), with a book and a pencil, that would assess the risk and negotiate the bet with the player before taking the sale.This all changed with the internet when our industry went online through technology. Most betting platforms did not have the ability to filter the bet like a bookmaker would, instead, all bets get processed and the risk is laid-off at the back end. Some platforms have recently added features now used to prevent some bets by blocking players, however, the Elys architecture is designed to act before the bet enters the system.This dynamic feature provides operators a betting platform that thinks like a bookmaker by assessing and negotiating the bet before it gets into the book. This allows an operator to run a sports betting business with a better semblance of risk management to level out their commercial expectations from the sports bet product.SBC: Finally, betting has entered a new decade. What big ideas should the industry embrace, and what legacy values should incumbents drop?  MC: The challenge with legacy platforms in our industry is that version changes, product evolutions, the advent of new events and so on created new legacy layers on the technology stack over the years. We are all very familiar with the rapid pace and evolution of new technologies and browsers for internet access, so it stands to reason that the bigger a company gets and the more they expand around the globe on their core technology built 20 years ago, the more challenging it would be to manoeuvre with new technologies, especially in this age of fast-changing 5G and other network super features-In my opinion, as the industry moved to a technology-based business, rather than a book and pencil, the industry has made offering a great variety of in-game bets and other features such as “cash-out” and so on, whilst capitalising on tech features to embrace user experience as a method to attract players as a priority. That was great when most operating jurisdictions were unregulated and the margins were bountiful, however, I think more than anything, as the industry regulates around the world, more emphasis needs to be placed on product economics, specifically through the use of pro-active and adaptive risk-management so that operators can manage their sports betting business actually like a business rather than a guessing game.____________Michele (Mike) Ciavarella – Chairman & CEO Newgioco Grouplast_img read more

Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott has perfect response to criticism from anonymous NFL coach

first_imgMORE: Richard Sherman notes NFL’s hypocrisy with new coronavirus protocolsHe also received some criticism from an anonymous NFL offensive coach, who didn’t place the Cowboys star in his top 10 and noted Elliott “doesn’t look as strong anymore.” A different coordinator told ESPN that Elliott isn’t incredibly elusive out of the backfield as a pass-catcher.One NFL offensive coach ranked #Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott as the 11th-best RB in the NFL.”Very few breakout runs, doesn’t look as strong anymore. Feels like he’s about 60 to 70 percent of what he was.”https://t.co/g0RVDhmzFJ— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) July 9, 2020Elliott, who signed a six-year, $90 million extension with the Cowboys last September after holding out through training camp, happened to see those comments.”Whoever that is, is faded lol,” Elliott said. Ahead of the 2020 NFL season, ESPN asked “more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players” to vote on the best players at 11 different positions. On Thursday, ESPN released its running back rankings, and there was a bit of controversy near the top of the list.Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey took the No. 1 and No. 2 slots, respectively, ahead of Ezekiel Elliott, though the 24-year-old did earn several first-place votes. One NFL personnel evaluator went so far as to say Elliott may have “the best natural traits” of any back in the league. Whoever that is, is faded lol https://t.co/mCqdYv1U2a— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) July 9, 2020So why did Elliott use the word “faded” in his tweet? That’s a reference to Elliott saying he was “low-key faded” during a Twitch stream in June. He later clarified that he only had consumed a few drinks after Sports Illustrated suggested he may have been smoking marijuana.”A previous version of this story included a headline with an incorrect interpretation of Elliott’s meaning of ‘faded,'” Sports Illustrated said in a correction. “We apologize and regret the error.”I expect that from little gossip site but Sports Illustrated? REALLY?— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) June 29, 2020With no holdout concerns this year, Elliott will be ready to prove he’s the best running back in the NFL. If he produces at a Pro Bowl level, then maybe that “faded” coach will change up those rankings in 2021.last_img read more

Vipers SC reveal squad for 2019/2020 season

first_imgVipers SC finished second in the league last season. (PHOTOS/Vipers)As the countdown to the 2019/2020 StarTimes Uganda Premier League season continues, all the 16 teams expected to take part are beefing up their respective preparations.On Monday, July 30th, Vipers SC revealed the squad of players they intend to use throughout the campaign.The Venoms who had an average season, last, are very much intent on improving their 2018/19 showings and have already acquired new faces that they hope will improve their 2nd place finish.The new faces along with the old-ones were all unveiled at the St. Mary’s Stadium in Kitende.The new acquisitionsThe Venoms splashed cash on the likes of Rashid Toha, Paul Willa, Siraje Ssentamu and Allan Kayiwa. Toha was signed from Onduparaka, Ssentamu who has previously featured for Vipers returned from URA FC, Willa joins from Police FC while Kayiwa joined from Tooro United.Other new facesAside from the high profile signings, the Venoms have also brought in Henry Kitegenyi from Kansai Plascon and Denis Mwemezi from Ssese.Vipers are a side that prides it’s self on their feeder side St. Mary’s Kitende and once again have promoted several youngstars from their accademy.The six players that have been promoted include goalkeeper Denis Kiggundu, defenders Ahmed Amayo and Jacob Okao, midfielders Najib Yiga and Karim Watambala and forward Richard Basangwa.The Venoms have also recalled back Frank ‘Zaga’ Tuwesigye from his season long loan at Express FC. Zaga spent the entire 2018/19 season at the Red Eagles where he at times showed flushes of brilliance but failed to assert his authority to the side that finished mid table.Speaking after his unveiling, defender-Toha assured that he is at Vipers to compete and hopefully win titles.“I am happy to be here and ready to compete in a sporting way to serve the club and contribute immensely. Vipers is a big side and hopefully I can win titles here.” Toha stated.The unveiling ceremony was graced by Vipers SC club patron Lawrence Mulindwa who expressed his delight to see players graduating from St. Mary’s Kitende and also backed the new technical team.“Seeing many young players graduate from the school team and our academy team to the real senior team is a dream come true, noted Mulindwa.“This is what we have been working for over the years.“With the new technical team in place, we are in the right direction.Mulindwa (left) speaking to the press on Monday.The Venoms announced the departure of Nam Ouma as head coach and it was announced last week that the Kenyan would be replaced by Edward Golola.Golola will work with Ram Nyakana Mpuga (fitness coach), Edward Ssali (second assistant coach), Mathius Kassagga (physiotherapist) and Moses Oloya as goalkeeping coach, as part of his technical team.The Venoms had a disappointing 2018/19 season, finishing second to KCCA FC in the league, exiting both the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup in the early stages before losing to Proline FC in the last 8 of the Uganda Cup. As consequence, the team needed freshening up and with the arrivals of new players, some of the old ones have been released.The old faces that have been let go of include Yayo Lutimba, Joseph Jjanjali, Ibrahim Kiyemba, Karim Niyigizimana and Duncan Sseninde.Moses Waiswa was sold to South Africa’s SuperSport United and former skipper Tadeo Lwanga is finalizing a move to Egypt.It was also announced that defender Halid Lwaliwa will replace Lwanga as Vipers SC’s new captain for the upcoming season.Comments Tags: Allan KayiwaLawrance MulindwaPaul WillaRashid TohaSiraje SsentamuStarTimes Uganda Premeir Leaguevipers sclast_img read more

Peace will not return with guns but dialogue: Sayeed

first_imgSrinagar, Sep 13 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said Islams message of peace was too loud to be lost in the din of violence perpetrated by some people in its noble name. “Islams message of peace is too loud to be lost in the din of violence perpetrated by some people in its noble name. Peace will not return with guns but dialogue. “Innocent people in Syria, Iraq and Yemen are fleeing and taking shelter in Europe to escape bloodshed in their countries. Leaders like Chancellor of Germany and Prime Minister of England are taking a lead to provide succour to the refugees who are in a despicable condition,” Sayeed said. The chief minister was addressing people after inaugurating South Kashmir Sports Festival at Government Degree College for Boys in Anantnag. Sayeed vowed to end political instability in the state and restore peoples honour and dignity, saying he had a vision for equitable development of all the three regions of the state. “I vow to end political instability of 70 long years in the state and restore peoples honour and dignity. I enjoy the faith and confidence of people in taking J-K forward on the path of peace and development,” he said. The chief minister said he has a big vision for J-K which would see equitable development of all the three regions of the state. “We will practically demonstrate our resolve to improve communication network, education, health, rural and urban development,” he said. Sayeed promised people to annihilate distances and give them their rights. “J-K was just like a locked jail with no keys in sight when I took over (for first term as chief minister) in 2002. “We build roads, strengthened institutions and encouraged people-to-people contact, including confidence building measures across the LoC (Line of Control). I promise to take forward that agenda again,” he said. MORE PTI SSB MIJ RCJadvertisementlast_img read more

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray eye milestones in blockbuster French Open final

first_imgAn 18-year rivalry will play out its next gripping chapter at Roland Garros as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic eye up a French Open final in which milestones galore will be on the line.CAREER SLAM? Will Murray become the first British man to lift the French Open trophy in more than eight decades? Or will Djokovic have enough energy left in the tank after playing four days in succession at the rain-ravaged claycourt grand slam to become the first man in almost 50 years to hold all four majors at once? (Also read: Garbine Muguruza stuns Serena Williams to win French Open)What is certain though, is that the Musketeers’ Cup will have a new name engraved on it come Sunday — weather permitting — after Djokovic pulled rank on a player he described as “a leader of a new generation” to reach his fourth Paris final in five years. (Also read: Spanish pair denies Bryans 17th major title) The world number one’s 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over Austrian tyrol Dominic Thiem on Friday had to be staged on the secondary Court Suzanne Lenglen after a week of rain derailed the tournament’s usual schedule.IN-FORM MURRAYThat left Murray and defending champion Wawrinka to grab Centre Court billing and while the Swiss conjured some blazing backhands to whip the noisy crowd into a frenzy, the winners were rare as he surrendered his Roland Garros crown with a 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2 defeat by the British second seed.”I knew today if I wanted to win I was going to have to play one of my best claycourt matches. Stan was playing better every match,” an emotional Murray, who became the first British man to reach the Paris showpiece since Bunny Austin in 1937, told the crowd with a quivering voice.advertisement”I am extremely proud. I never expected to reach the final here, I always struggled on the clay. I played one of my best claycourt matches today… I hope I can put on a good match on Sunday.”Djokovic and Murray, born a week apart in May 1987, are not the only ones in pursuit of records in Paris. Martina Hingis and Leander Paes both completed the full set of grand slam doubles titles when they beat Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig 4-6 6-4 10-8 (champions tiebreak) in the mixed final.last_img read more