Rapid growth in the iGaming market

It was a tough year for the world’s financial markets. Thanks to OnlinePokiesFun.com for this post. The companies making up the iGaming Industry saw their combined share price increase by an impressive 50+ per cent over the course of 2015.

London’s FTSE100 was down 5 per cent at the end of the year. Moreover, the US based S&P 500 and Dow Jones had their most terrible year since 2008 with share price averages falling down 1 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

iGaming, the premier gambling information portal has a GI Index of 68 operators and suppliers involved in the iGaming sector . Of these 68 2015 was a year to remember, especially for those investing in Swedish companies. Of the eight Stockholm-listed companies in the list, all showed more than 36% growth on average within this portfolio. This marks a significant improvement on preceding years.

David-Baazov-Amaya-securities-raid

There are a number of reasons for the growth in iGaming stocks. One of the biggest reasons is that the markets have reacted to news that US regulators have softened their stance on a number of forms of internet gambling.

According to Numis Securities this stance change can be summarised as follows; ‘This is a major change in the position of the US DoJ. At the very least it clears the way for state level online poker legislation. Potentially it opens the way for gambling services to be provided from offshore and this may encourage the US Congress to legislate before the floodgates open.’
There were also big mergers in the industry in 2015. Two former rivals announced to the stock exchange that they we’re merging to create the Paddy Power Betfair Group/ an entity in which Paddy Power shareholders would own a 52% stake.Additionally, earlier in the year rivals Ladbrokes and Gala Coral agreed a merger to create a £2.3 billion gambling Goliath. This huge company is expected to outgrow William hill – the biggest player in the UK market.

2016 is shaping up to be another great year for iGaming and online casino stocks. With the rise of smartphone and internet penetration, the US moving and liberalising its online gambling policies and the European Union pushing out anti- competitive casino laws in member states the future is looking exceptionally bright for online gambling stocks.… Read the rest

Is the office really necessary?

The times, sang Bob Dylan, they are a-changin’. And while Dylan may argue that his words were addressing much greater societal concerns, there’s no denying that both businesses and individuals currently face one of the greatest periods of socio-economic reorganization in a generation as the how and the where of our working lives shifts to a new model: that of the dispersed workforce.

“The desire among employees to be more mobile and flexible in their work lifestyles is extremely strong throughout the world – as strong as salary.”

Ben Thompson

Signs of the shift are everywhere. Demand to work anywhere, anytime is stronger than ever before, while the rise of mobile solutions has meant that an increasing number of employees expect IT to allow access to corporate information with any device – personal or company-issued – and thus further enable remote working. Consumer hardware such as smartphones, tablets and netbooks have become common currency within the enterprise, while communication tools such as Skype and social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn have rapidly advanced the cause of the mobile worker.

Indeed, just last month, Cisco announced the results of an international workplace study that discovered three out of every five workers around the world feel they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive. In fact, their desire to be mobile and flexible in accessing corporate information is so strong that the same percentage of workers would choose jobs that were lower paid but had leniency in accessing information outside of the office over higher salaried jobs that lacked flexibility.

The report provides real-life insight into how the expectations, demands and behavior of the global workforce are influencing the way information is accessed, as well as how business communications are changing. “It is clear from the research findings that the desire among employees to be more mobile and flexible in their work lifestyles is extremely strong throughout the world – as strong as salary,” says Marie Hattar, Vice President of Borderless Networks at Cisco. “It is also evident that organizations need to embrace a borderless IT infrastructure to capture competitive advantage and increase employee satisfaction.”

Sign of the times

The study, which involved surveys of 2600 workers and IT professionals in 13 different countries, revealed that three of every five employees believed it was unnecessary to be in the office to be productive. This was especially … Read the rest

Double dip recession ‘now a definite possibility’

This week’s disappointing GDP figures, which saw Britain’s economy shrink by 0.5% in the last quarter of 2010, raises fresh concerns about the prospect of a double dip recession. MBS experts give their view.

“A fiasco requires a pivotal event that dramatises the government’s defeat. And what Cameron and Osborne now face is not that kind of climactic defeat but the insidious drip, drip of bad news on the economic policy front”

Colin Talbot

This week’s economic figures are much worse than expected, a full 1% lower than most experts forecast and if repeated next quarter will send us into double dip recession territory. This will be very hard for the Coalition to brush off as “the wrong sort of weather”, as the worst impact of public spending cuts has yet to even hit. When these kick in next quarter (April-June), alongside the impact of the VAT rise, this is now a definite possibility.

“It would not be surprising if the risk premiums demanded by financial markets from the UK sovereign bonds will be soon based on policy measures against rising inflation rather than the size of fiscal deficit.”

David Cameron and George Osborne have been very foolish to say that they had “secured the recovery” recently, when they clearly haven’t. What is more, the global economy is doing better than expected, so our performance is doubly disappointing. This will add to the Coalition’s woes at the May local elections.

Ismail Erturk

The UK government’s priority is to cut the fiscal deficit to appease the financial markets and then gamble with the Bank of England’s quantitative easing policy- lowering interest rates through pumping liquidity into the financial system- to stimulate economic growth. This is a simplistic rigid economic policy in an increasingly unpredictable international economic environment where commodity and food prices generate inflationary waves in global economy, currency wars in foreign exchange markets cause high volatility in global capital flows, and sovereign debt crisis in the EU put the bond markets in almost permanent turmoil. The government’s economic policy is not flexible enough to adjust to these unfolding major trends in a global economy. The assumption that the UK’s severe austerity measures to reduce the fiscal deficit will definitely have positive impact in financial markets is not realistic to say the least.

“The quantitative easing by the Bank of England is more likely to help financial markets to generate profits … Read the rest

Has hype hurt the cloud?

Cloud computing still generates plenty of interest, but that interest remains stuck in an ever-revolving debate of doubt and concern. So if the cloud landscape is to ever fully mature, what more should cloud providers be doing to convince the industry of its worth? FST US investigates.

“Technology always finds a way to mature if the interest is there. ”

Len Johnson
Overblown, overexcited, exaggerated and extreme – hype phrases that rarely infiltrate the financial service technology’s carefully crafted perimeter of suspicion and risk aversion. IT experts working within this field shy away from mind-blowing adjectives and extreme superlatives. They are naturally risk-averse, careful and considered individuals who cringe at the merest hint of hyperbole. But at the same time, they are inquisitive, intelligent, and under increasing pressure to perform, to do more with less and to further support the business goals of their organizations.

Hence, when a new industry trend comes along that promises all this and more, they take notice, but are wary of the ‘and more’ part. Cloud computing has been the number one source of hype hoopla throughout the industry for the past couple of years. Introduced as the solution to all CIOs’ concerns, the cloud landscape was meant to transform the ICT industry. It was going to improve systems, cut costs and make data more efficient, easier to store and access, and easier to scale. But here we are, on the cusp of 2011 and still the familiar concerns persist: ‘Is it secure?’ ‘How does it work?’ ‘Will it work for my business?’ ‘Does it actually add any value to my key business metrics?’

In an industry as fast-paced and technically savvy as financial services, are the cloud’s stuttering adoption rates a cause for concern? Or does the fact that – even in an industry as famously safety-conscious, decisive and unadventurous as this – cloud computing is still being deliberated over again and again hint at something positive for the technology? Is there a future for cloud computing in the financial services industry, or has the hype put a dampener on the cloud’s buzz?

It’s an interesting topic for which there are few easy answers. However, below are five steps the cloud computing industry could undertake in order to gain the trust and support of the technology executives working within the finance industry.

Step 1: Sort out security

Cloud security remains the number one concern. … Read the rest

The value of supply chain management

A well run supply chain brings many positive benefits and is a strategically important goal. Enrico Camerinelli, Chief Analyst and European Director of the Supply-Chain Council, explains how to get the measurement of your supply chain value right.

When discussing how best to measure the value of supply chain management, it is important to agree on a definition of supply chain management itself. One of the most respected sources of standard definitions, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), says that it “encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers”. An alternative definition is given on Wikipedia as “the process of planning, implementing, and controlling [the operations] with the purpose to satisfy customer requirements as efficiently as possible. Supply chain management spans all movement and storage of raw materials, work-in-process inventory, and finished goods from point-of-origin to point-of-consumption.”

What these thorough descriptions do not cover, however, is the unchanged sheer nature of organisations. That is, their still functional and silo-based structure.As a consequence, an organisation observes supply chain management from three distinct perspectives: the operational, the technical, and the business perspective.

At the operational level the focus is on how to manage the flow of goods and how to balance the network of warehouses, distribution centers and transportation services. Attention is given to the activity of keeping raw materials and finished goods in stock and is paralleled by the challenge of managing the best the flow of components across suppliers and production centers. The common terms used under this perspective are economic order quantity, production throughput, WIP, order fulfillment, lean production and kanban.

The technical perspective portrays the supply chain as a network of hardware, middleware, and software components. They all serve the purpose of supporting the execution of supply chain operations through the collection of data, automation, and sharing of information. ERP, MRP, business analytics, database, CRM, EDI is the jargon terms used in this domain. This is the perspective of IT people in the company, where the flows of information replace the flows of goods.

At the business level, company executives monitor performance indicators that measure the value generated by supply chain execution. Flows of money are under scrutiny.

Clear communication

Because decisions that impact the … Read the rest

Know your enemy

Barclays’ Head of Information Risk Management Mark Logsdon is on the frontline in the bank’s fight against internal and external threats to its all-important data. It’s a war Barclays is winning, but Logsdon says he won’t allow complacency to catch the bank off guard – “not even for a millisecond”.

“It’s about good technologies, good processes and good people management. I don’t think there’s anything new in that. I think that the danger is that there’s just a focus on one of those things.”

Mark Logsdon

Any information loss at a bank can escalate into a serious incident and a loss of customer confidence. Does the myriad of threats to data make you slightly paranoid or keep you awake at night?

Mark Logsdon.

I’m always a reasonable sleeper so the threats don’t keep me awake. However, we need to be on our toes collectively and understand the risks that are out there and ensure we’ve got sufficient controls to manage the risks accordingly. We’ve got a great team that help us do that and this helps me sleep a little easier, although one is never complacent, not for even a millisecond. We continue to monitor the threats so that we hopefully don’t get caught out. There is a there’s a whole [response] team here who are able to instantly respond to an incident. They are constantly monitoring systems and events as we speak and use some sophisticated programs around fraud detection and prevention.

As the bank’s Head of Information Risk Management, what are the main challenges you face at Barclays when tackling the issue of information security?

ML. Dear old John Dillinger (American bank robber and gangster during the Great Depression) was once asked why he robbed all the banks that he did and his response was ‘Because that’s where all the money is, stupid’. I think that’s still the case today. We are naturally a target because we’ve got money that people are going to seek to steal. That said, we’ve still got a lot of people’s personal data and it’s important to us that having been entrusted with that data by our clients, that we protect it in a manner entirely appropriate to make sure that it’s not lost. The traditional electronic scams like phishing and now social engineering have been around for a while just the same as con men, fraudsters and tricksters have been. What I … Read the rest

Did Anonymous Crash Amazon Website?

Amazon is potentially the next high-profile name to be targeted by a group of cyber-activists in relation to the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, after the online retailer’s website went down for half-an-hour on 12 December.

Among the European websites affected were the British, French, German, Austrian and Italian sites, which end .it, .de, .uk, .fr and .at – which are all hosted in Dublin. The half an hour crash happened at 21.45 GMT on Sunday – one of the busiest online shopping times.

Initial blame has been directed at Anonymous, a cyber-activist group that managed to bring down Mastercard’s official website last week after the financial giant withdrew funding to Wikileaks. However Amazon were quick to point out that the outage on Sunday was in fact due to a “hardware failure” and not cyber crime.

“The brief interruption to our European retail sites last night was due to hardware failure in our European datacentre network and not the result of a [distributed denial of service] attempt,” said a spokesperson for the firm.

Amazon stopped hosting Wikileaks material on its servers on 1 December saying the site was breaking its terms and conditions.

As part of its campaign, Anonymous had planned to mount a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Amazon on Friday, but publicly abandoned the plans, saying they did not have the “forces.”

“While it is indeed possible that Anonymous may not have been able to take Amazon.com down in a DDoS attack, this is not the only reason the attack never occurred,” read a statement that appeared to be published by the group.

“After the attack was so advertised in the media, we felt that it would affect people such as consumers in a negative way and make them feel threatened by Anonymous.

“Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones would be in bad taste.”… Read the rest