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Friday, January 31, 2014

Lottery asks lawmakers for permission to experiment with online gambling - News - The Enterprise, Brockton, MA - Brockton, MA

Lottery asks lawmakers for permission to experiment with online gambling - News - The Enterprise, Brockton, MA - Brockton, MA

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 18:14 - Macedonia considers online gambling | 777.com

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 18:14 - Macedonia considers online gambling | 777.com

What Future Does Online Gambling Hold For Investors? [BWIN.PARTY DIGITAL E, 888 HOLDINGS PLC, WILLIAM HILL PLC, Betfair Group PLC, Ladbrokes PLC (ADR)] - Seeking Alpha

What Future Does Online Gambling Hold For Investors? [BWIN.PARTY DIGITAL E, 888 HOLDINGS PLC, WILLIAM HILL PLC, Betfair Group PLC, Ladbrokes PLC (ADR)] - Seeking Alpha



Editors' Note: This article covers a stock trading at less than $1 per share and/or with less than a $100 million market cap. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.
Online gambling is not legal in a majority of the states in the U.S. However, few are easing their regulations to allow it to take place. Nonetheless, the business continues to thrive in Europe and other parts of the world as the shift to mobility makes it easier for players to place their bets on the go. According to reports, the online betting industry, excluding the U.S. will grow to about EUR 12.9B or $17.7B worth of gross gaming revenues by 2015. This represents nearly 23% growth rate from the EUR 10.5B or $14.4B worth as of December 2012. Therefore, the compounded annual growth rate "CAGR" stands at about 7.1%, and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future.
In this article I look at the main players as the paradigm shift to mobility continues, and also the type of opportunity they offer to investors. The industry appears to be dominated by four or five companies, includingPaddy Power (OTC:PDYPF), Ladbrokes (OTCPK:LDBKY), Betfair(OTC:BTFRF), Bwin (OTCPK:PYGMF) and William Hill (OTC:WIMHF), among others.
There are ten or so others grappling for the remaining market share. Some joined a few years ago, but managed to gain significant market share enough to boost their market value substantially.
But first, how does online betting work?
Online betting, which is predominantly sport betting, exists in several countries. Most of the rules and characteristics are common across the different countries that allow it. Wagers are made in advance of or during sporting events in pursuit of an attractive return. The bookmaking process for online sports betting is structured in a similar manner to land based bookmaking. Normally operators distribute the bets in such a way that they would make a positive margin regardless of the result. However, due to advances in technology, which now allows live betting on events, operators have the ability to adjust the odds in such a way that favors the most unlikely outcome. Therefore, the more unlikely an outcome is, the higher the expected pay.
Who is who in the industry?
Companies located in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland dominate the online betting industry. However, not all of them are entirely based online. In fact, a good number of them get a small percentage of revenue from online betting compared to other sources. Nonetheless, that does not mean that their online betting business has been underperforming. There are also those that get all their revenues from online betting activities. For instance, U.K.'s Betfair and Bet365 are some of the most successful online betting companies that generate all their revenues from online betting activities. There are also others trying to join the queue, albeit by use of some aggressive marketing techniques; SeanieMac(OTCQB:BETS), a new player in the business, PaddyPower, which successfully penetrated the U.K. market, and BSkyB's (OTCQX:BSYBY)Sky Bet, which has grown as a result of multiple acquisitions. Here is a summary of the comparable veteran companies' fundamentals for trailing twelve months based on the most recent quarter (ending Sep 30) results.
Paddy Power
William Hill
Betfair
Bwin
Ladbrokes
Market Cap
$3.99B
$4.98B
$1.76B
$1.64B
$2.71B
intraday
Revenue
$935M
$2.25B
$601M
$950M
$1.77B
ttm
Debt
0.00
$1.44B
0.00
$45M
$648M
mrq
Cash
$233M
$273M
$275M
$230M
$45M
mrq
EBITDA
$222M
$589M
$128M
$144M
$397M
ttm
Operating Margin
19.9%
23.3%
13%
1%
12.2%
ttm
Profit Margin
17.7%
14.9%
9.4%
-7.3%
11.2%
ttm
Source of Data: Yahoo Finance
Paddy Power is an Irish bookmaker owned by Seamus Flynn. The company has offline betting offices and operated Ireland's largest telephone betting service. However, it is online gambling that its current CEO Patrick Kennedy sees the company growing to its potential in the next 10 years. The WSJ quoted Kennedy's following remarks after an investor conference:
"The global betting and gaming market is worth about $375 billion but only 9% is online. This is tiny and the proportion that's online is going to explode in the next 10 years."
The company appears strong fundamentally with a lot of cash and no debt against it. The company grew its revenues by 22% in the most recent quarter, while earnings were up 12.2% year-over-year.
When Paddy Power entered the U.K. sports betting market it launched an aggressive marketing campaign, which many thought would not pay off. However, results indicate that the Irish based bookmaker ranked fourthas of July 2012 in terms of net annual sports betting revenue, which accounts for more than 50% of its overall sports betting revenue. The company also engages in other online and betting activities including online Poker, Bingo and Casino. Casino and Bingo make the second and third largest gambling sectors after sports betting.
William Hill is the largest company in term of market capitalization. The company's fundamentals look strong despite the large amount of debt. It has good margins, which helps it ease on the expenses associated with the debt. Nonetheless, its current ratio of about 0.70 is undesirable, although the $273M worth of cash should help reduce its impact.
William Hill was founded in 1934 and is headquartered in London. The company owns and operates approximately 2,392 betting shops, most of which are located in the U.K. In the most recent quarter, William Hill grew its revenue and earnings by 19%. William Hill ranked third in a study conducted in July 2012, in terms of online net gaming revenue, behind Betfair and Bet365, and ahead of Paddy Power and Ladbrokes respectively.
Just like Paddy Power, William Hill is involved in more than just sports betting. It also engages in Casino, Bingo, and Poker. The company also runs a series of other betting resources including radio betting services, and reality TV betting shows among others.
Betfair is U.K's largest sports betting company. Unlike Paddy Power and William Hill, the company is based entirely online. It has no betting shops or radio betting service. Its online betting services are available in the U.K., Europe and internationally. Betfair was founded in the year 2000, and is headquartered in London, in the U.K.
Fundamentally, Betfair looks very stable with no debt on its balance sheet. It also has a huge amount of cash, which is nearly half the annual revenue. In the most recent quarter the company's revenues declined by 6%.
The company's free cash flow of $94M is a good incentive for expansion and the development of better betting platforms as it gears up to capitalize on the impending explosion of the online betting market.
Bwin operates under a several websites, each targeted at a particular online gambling sector. Its operations are divided into five, and are represented by six websites, including PartyBingo.com, PartyCasino.com, FoxyBingo.com, PartyPoker.com, GameBookers.com and PartyBets.com. All these target Sportsbook betting, Poker, Casino, events betting and Bingo.
The company provides sports betting services under various brand names, such as Bwin, an online sports betting service in continental Europe and South America. Its operation are based entirely online, and is headquartered in Gibraltar.
The company's fundamentals are not as impressive as those of Paddy Power and Betfair are. However, it has $61M worth of leveraged free cash flows, and a current ratio of 1.33. In the most recent quarter, the company's revenue declined by 16.5%, and stands at a loss making position based on annualized earnings for the last four quarters.
Bwin appears better valued than a majority of its rivals, trading at just 2.04 in price to book value compared to William Hill's 2.97x, Paddy Power's 10.65x, and Betfair's 7.26x.
Ladbrokes founded in 1886, is one of the oldest betting companies. It operates shops offering traditional over the counter betting on football, horse racing, greyhounds, and other sports, as well as gaming machines in Ireland, Belgium, the U.K., and Spain. Ladbrokes is headquartered in Harrow, the U.K., has more than 2,700 betting shops and machine, and supports 17 betting currencies.
In the most recent quarter, Ladbrokes revenues grew by 2.9%, while earnings fell by 58.5%. Its total cash of $45M, based on the most recent quarter results looks underwhelming when compared to a total debt of nearly $650M. Its current ratio is also unimpressive at 0.54, while its price to book value per share of 3.78x does not rank well when compared to some of its rivals.
The stock is down 9.7% over the last twelve months, compared to Betfair's rally of 38.5%, while Bwin and William Hill are up 12.2% and 11% respectively.
Conclusion
It is clear that there is a huge opportunity in online gambling, especially for companies that can access markets where the exercise is allowed. This is good news even for new entrants and small players in the business like Sky Bet and SeanieMac. Additionally, more countries are easing their regulation on online gambling, which should help widen the addressable market going forward.
The U.S. is also beginning to relax its rules on the activity as one state after another continue to welcome the business as they seek to boost their tax revenues. For instance, Caesars (CZR) joint venture with 888 Holdings (OTC:EIHDF) seems to be leading the campaign in Las Vegas, while Nevada and New Jersey are also reportedly easing their policies on online gambling.
As the market grows, online betting companies stand a chance to gain most, as the shift to mobile continues to make it easier to participate in online gambling.

Online gambling in South Africa; legalise it

Online gambling in South Africa; legalise it

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Asia’s Second-Richest Lui Plans to Expand Casino Empire - Bloomberg

Asia’s Second-Richest Lui Plans to Expand Casino Empire - Bloomberg



Lui Che-woo became Asia’s second-richest person by setting up a casino company that within a decade became the world’s third-biggest by market value. The 84-year-old says he’s just hitting his stride.
“What can I do if I retire, watch the sun rise and set?” said the chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (27) who first made his fortune in construction and also owns 13 hotels in the U.S., including seven Hiltons. “I want to do something meaningful. I don’t want to just sit there waiting to die.”
Lui, the richest person in Asia after Hong Kong property tycoon Li Ka-Shing, plans to expand his business empire beyond Macau and said he’s open to acquiring U.S. casinos. Meanwhile, Galaxy, which is spending about $10 billion to expand its gambling resort in the former Portuguese colony, may also invest HK$10 billion ($1.3 billion) in nearby Hengqin island, said Lui. He also plans to set up a charity to build schools in China.
Galaxy runs six out of 35 casinos in Macau, where casino revenue surged 19 percent to $45 billion last year, about seven times that of the Las Vegas Strip. After a more than sixfold increase innet income in the three years through 2012, the company seeks to repeat its success outside Macau, where the industry faces land and labor constraints in a city about half the size ofManhattan.

Net Worth

“We don’t miss out on great opportunities,” Lui said in a Jan. 23 interview in his office with a commanding view of Hong Kong’s east Kowloon, which includes land reclaimed with rocks from his quarries. “We’d love to expand, especially after our resorts that combine casino, entertainment shows, arts and shopping have proved to be successful.”
Lui’s net worth has risen to $23 billion, anchored by his family’s 51 percent stake in Galaxy, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Galaxy’s share price more than doubled last year in Hong Kong trading, beating the benchmark Hang Seng Index’s 2.9 percent advance. The stock slipped 2.4 percent to close at HK$74.40 today.
Galaxy would consider investing at least $2.6 billion in Japan or Taiwan each if those markets open up, Lui’s eldest son Francis, who runs the company as deputy chairman, said in November.
Business leaders including Lawson Inc. (2651) Chief Executive Officer Takeshi Niinami are forming a group backing casinos in Japan, and Osaka Prefecture Governor Ichiro Matsui this month said their legalization is “just a matter of time.” Lawson is Japan’s second-biggest convenience-store chain.

Floor Area

To complement its casino business, Lui said Galaxy intends to build sports-related facilities and hotels in Hengqin, an island next to Macau that’s connected by bridge. He declined to discuss possible acquisition targets in the U.S.
In Macau, Galaxy is allowed to build a maximum floor area of 2 million square meters (21.5 million square feet) on the Cotai strip, the most among the city’s six casino operators. The company plans to quadruple the size of its existing Galaxy Macau resort on Cotai, Asia’s equivalent of the Las Vegas Strip, by 2018.
The company’s net income for last year was probably HK$9.93 billion, according to the average of 20 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg, 35 percent more than in 2012.
Lui’s Galaxy Macau opened in May 2011 with more than 2,000 hotel rooms. The company isspending HK$20 billion on its second phase, due to open next year, with as much as HK$60 billion more earmarked for the third and fourth phases.

Dark Horse

While his StarWorld, opened in 2006, caters to high rollers who typically wager $1 million per visit and veteran gamblers who eschew the frills in other casinos, Lui says he now sees greater potential in China’s rising middle class.
Lui’s company was a “dark horse” in the industry before it opened Galaxy Macau as he had no track record of running a large-scale resort, said Kenny Lau, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG. “You could say Lui Che-woo is very bold. He is placing a much bigger bet on Macau than his competitors at a time when Macau is already seven times bigger than Las Vegas.”
Galaxy’s share price is about 30 times estimated earnings, second-highest of the six Macau casino operators listed in Hong Kong. That’s higher than the 24.8 ratio for Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), the world’s biggest casino company by market value.
Galaxy and competitors including Sands China Ltd. (1928)Wynn Macau Ltd. (1128) andMelco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (MPEL) are building lavish casino resorts that combine malls, theaters and concert halls to attract vacationing families who provide fatter margins.

Gang War

For four decades, Stanley Ho held a monopoly in Macau, the only place in the world’s most populous country where casinos are legal. In the 1990s, smoke-filled gambling halls were dimly lit, and prostitutes and loan sharks patrolled the entrances. In 1999, 40 people died in what law enforcement authorities said was a gang war among Chinese organized crime groups, called triads.
The Macau government ended Ho’s monopoly and granted licenses to rivals that included Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands Corp. in 2002.
“It’s different now,” said Lui, who has three sons and two daughters helping to run his businesses. “People can now bring their whole families to casino resorts in Macau.”

Lasting Serenity

Galaxy’s founder, who never finished high school, said he plans to set up a charity foundation to fund schools and universities in China.
Lui was forced to drop out of school as a teenager during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in World War II, according to the book “Lasting Serenity,” a collection of his speeches and letters.
He declined to say how much of his fortune he will donate. Lui has funded scholarships, teaching and research centers at universities in Hong Kong and China, including Fudan University inShanghaiChinese University of Hong Kong and University of Macau. In 2005, he pledged HK$45 million to help build and renovate 150 primary schools in China.
Lui was born in 1929, in the city of Jiangmen in China’s Guangdong province, and his family fled to Hong Kong during the Chinese Civil War in 1934. He helped support his family by selling food on the streets at the age of 13, before he entered the construction business by trading equipment left in Japan by the U.S. military after World War II.

200 Subsidiaries

At 26, Lui founded K. Wah Group, which later diversified into building materials, gambling, property and hotel development. Construction materials from his firms are in one of every three buildings in Hong Kong, he estimated during the interview.
The group has more than 200 subsidiaries, including Hong Kong-traded property developer K. Wah International Holdings Ltd. (173) and closely held Stanford Hotels Corp. and Cresleigh Homes Corp. in the U.S.
To stay healthy, Lui gets up early to play golf almost every morning and goes to bed before 10 p.m. He also enjoys swimming and playing mah-jongg.
The billionaire, who wears hats to keep warm, particularly in Hong Kong’s air-conditioned offices, uses a seven-seater Toyota minivan for his daily commutes.
“My son Francis offered to buy me a Rolls Royce Phantom but I refused,” according to Lui, who said he prefers simple meals such as vegetables and pork. His favorite dish is wonton noodles.
He isn’t always thrifty. Lui said he just bought a 200-foot long yacht, which is on its way from the U.S. to Hong Kong.
To contact the reporters on this story: Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at vchan91@bloomberg.net; Fion Li in Hong Kong at fli59@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net; Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ten Techniques to Build Rapport

Ten Techniques to Build Rapport





Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport With Anyone

by SHANE PARRISH on JULY 1, 2013
ten techniques for building quick rapport
**Warning – the content in this post is so effective that I encourage you to think carefully how it is used. I do not endorse or condone the use of these skills in malicious or deceptive ways**
I’m not quite sure how I came across Robin Dreeke’s It’s Not All About Me but I’m glad I did.
Robin is the lead instructor at the FBI’s Counterintelligence Training Center in all behavioral and interpersonal skills training.
And he wrote an awesome book on how to master the skills of communication.
His process not only includes research into social and evolutionary psychology, but it’s been honed from years of field experience.
I’ve been trying these out over the last few days and I’ve already noticed an improvement. Most importantly, I’ve put away my phone and focused on the person with whom I’m talking. This simple act of giving people my undivided attention has made a world of difference.
There are not many places that teach these techniques and I couldn’t have asked for a better guide than Robin.

1. Establishing Artificial Time Constraints

I suspect you’ve sat in a bar at one point or another and been approached by a stranger who tried to start a conversation. My guess is you felt awkward or possibly even uncomfortable. This is because you didn’t know when or if the conversation would end.
The first step in the process of developing great rapport and having great conversations is letting the other person know that there is an end in sight, and it is really close.
When you approach someone to start a conversation most people assess the situation for threat before anything else.
Humans have genetically survived because of this. This is a strong reason why these techniques work; they are specifically designed to lower the perceived risk to a stranger.

2. Accommodating Nonverbals

This is a pretty simple one. You want to look non threatening. The number one nonverbal technique to use to look more accommodating is to smile.
This isn’t new. It’s the second of six principles in Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
You can however accentuate your smile in a subtle way.
Adding a slight head tilt shows the other person that you have comfort with them and trust them. Another nonverbal to try and maintain is a slightly lower chin angle.
High chin angles make someone feel like you’re looking down at them.
Another key nonverbal is body angle. Standing toe to toe with someone else can be intimidating.
A slight body angle or blade away from the individual you are engaging will present a much more accommodating nonverbal.
How you shake hands matters too.
An accommodating handshake is one that matches the strength of the other, and also takes more of a palm up angle.

3. Slower Rate of Speech

Speaking fast may mean you’re excited. It may even mean that you know what you’re talking about. However speaking slowly gives you more credibility.
Whenever I have a conversation that I believe is important for me to be credible in my content, I purposely slow down the delivery and take pauses for people to absorb the content of what I have just said.

4. Sympathy or Assistance Theme

If you’re like most people, you’ve felt a bit of regret for turning down someone seeking help.
Think for a moment about the times in your life when you have either sought assistance or been asked to provide it. When the request is simple, of limited duration, and non-threatening, we are more inclined to accommodate the request. As human beings, we are biologically conditioned to accommodate requests for assistance. The compulsion is based upon the fact that our ancient ancestors knew that if they did not provide assistance when asked, the assistance would not be granted to them if requested at a later date.

5. Ego Suspension

This may be the most rewarding and most difficult of all of Robin’s techniques.
Suspending your ego is nothing more complex than putting other individuals’ wants, needs, and perceptions of reality ahead of your own. Most times, when two individuals engage in a conversation, each patiently waits for the other person to be done with whatever story he or she is telling. Then, the other person tells his or her own story, usually on a related topic and often times in an attempt to have a better and more interesting story. Individuals practicing good ego suspension would continue to encourage the other individual to talk about his or her story, neglecting their own need to share what they think is a great story.

6. Validate Others

There are many types of validation. Robin identifies three of them.
Listening
This is the simplest and one of the most effective. Just listen to someone can produce amazing results. Where we run into problems is keeping our own thoughts, ideas, and stories out of the conversation.
True validation coupled with ego suspension means that you have no story to offer, that you are there simply to hear theirs.
And there is another benefit. When the focus is on the other person and we’re not anxious to tell our own story, we also tend to remember the details. We’re mindful.
Thoughtfulness
… few people naturally use this to its fullest potential, and, most of the time, we don’t realize when it is being used; all we know is we really like the person who gives it.
Demonstrating thoughtfulness in words and actions with everyone in our lives is a simple and effective way to improve our relationships.
Validate Thoughts and Opinions
This technique is quite difficult because of “our innate need to correct others and the difficulty we have suppressing our own egos.”
But if you remember that we like people who are like us, you’ll immediately grasp the power of validating thoughts and opinions of others.
The best way to get someone to do what you want them to do is to have them come up with the idea. The best way to have them come up with your idea is, no surprise, to honestly understand the other person’s point of view and then build upon that base with your ideas.

7. Ask … How? When? Why?

It’s hard to answer these questions with a simple yes or no.
Once the individual being targeted in the conversation supplies more words and thoughts, a great conversationalist will utilize the content given and continue to ask open ended questions about the same content. The entire time, the individual being targeted is the one supplying the content of the conversation.
This means suppressing your ego and listening to what people are saying. You’re not thinking about what you’re going to say next. You’re not thinking about how the person is wrong. If you’re really listening then asking open ended questions based on the content of what they are saying should be pretty easy.

8. Connect with Quid Pro Quo

In the context of a conversation this means giving up a little information about yourself in order to further the conversation and get a little from others.
In my experiences, there are really only two types of situations where I have utilized quid pro quo. The first and more common of the instances is when you attempt to converse with someone who is either very introverted, guarded, or both. The second instance is when the person you are conversing with suddenly becomes very aware about how much they have been speaking, and they suddenly feel awkward. In both instances, giving a little information about you will help alleviate some of the issues.

9. Gift Giving

This is conversational reciprocation in action.
Great rapport builders and conversationalists use this desire proactively during every conversation. This technique, coupled with ego suspension, are the cornerstones for building great relationships. This is also the easiest technique to utilize, because gifts come in many forms, from non-material compliments, to tangible material gifts. Gift giving, or reciprocal altruism, is hardwired in our genetics.
The key is to do this without an agenda. If you have an agenda you’ll come across as insincere.

10. Manage Expectations

Regardless of the situation, whether it is an altruistic intention or not, there is an agenda. The individuals in life that are able to either mask their agenda or shift the agenda to something altruistic will have great success at building rapport.
The surest way to avoid disappointment is to lower expectations.
If you’re looking to improve the connections you have with others, give it a read.