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Bookmaker News of the Week

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The Canadian owner of Poker Stars and Bet Stars will become the world’s largest online bookmaker after agreeing a £3.4 billion deal to buy Sky Bet. The Stars Group, formerly called Amaya, said it sees “great growth potential” for Sky Bet. The deal also includes odds comparison website Oddschecker and brands such as Sky Vegas, Sky Poker and Sky Casino. It follows on from Ladbrokes’ takeover of Coral and the Paddy Power/Betfair merger as consolidation sweeps the industry ahead of regulatory changes and a boom in online sports betting. Read more at Sky News.

The English Premier League has weighed in on efforts to introduce legalised sports betting in the USA. Lawyers for the NBA and MLB want sports betting operators in the US to be required to use official league data, share customer data, pay a percentage fee of the amount wagered on the sports and allow the leagues to have input on what types of bets sportsbooks are allowed to offer. The US Supreme Court is mulling over the issue, with a decision expected by June it not sooner. The EPL said it supports the NBA and MLB and advocates the partnership approach between leagues and bookmakers. ESPN has the exclusive interview.

Online gaming revenue has overtaken land-based gambling for the first time in Denmark. Danish gambling authority Spillemyndigheden reported an increase of 19% in online wagering revenue in 2017.

Mark Etches, chief executive at the charity GambleAware has written an open letter thanking supporters after it received a record £9.4 million in donations during the 2017-18 financial year. It just missed its £10 million target but seemed happy with fundraising efforts. It represents a 16% increase on the amount it raised the previous year. “Last October we made very public our concerns regarding the industry’s funding of GambleAware,” wrote Etches. “Six months later, it is only fair that, just as publicly, we acknowledge and thank all those in the industry who have helped us to achieve a record-breaking £9.4 million in voluntary donations. Only by all operators contributing a minimum of 0.1% of gross gaming yield can we ensure the charity has certainty that it can meet its financial obligations to those organisations it has commissioned, as well as commit confidently to future investment.”

MGM Grand, Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio are all heading to Dubai, with new hotel complexes planned, but the emirate’s rulers have insisted that they will not be bringing gambling to the city.

A total of 29,139 Belgians self-excluded from gambling in 2017, a 9% increase on the previous year. Another 158,413 were banned from gambling with a court ruling. The press release is on the official website of Belgian minister of justice Koen Geens.