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2018 FIFA World Cup Facts

Posted on | May 23, 2018 | No Comments

The World Cup is now less than a month away, and with squad announcements filtering in, the excitement surrounding the event just went up a notch.

Perhaps the one fact which makes this tournament unique is that it is being played across four time zones. With eleven time zones in Russia, this World Cup could have been absolute hell for some. Fortunately, the action will be largely restricted to European Russia, but there is still a challenge for tournament coordinators.

With nearly 2,000 miles separating the furthest west (Kaliningrad) and the furthest east (Yekaterinburg) stadiums, this tournament promises to show exactly how much logistical muscle FIFA now has.

In addition to the issue of time zones, there are four more talking points ahead of Russia.

Enter Iceland and Panama

There are two nations making a World Cup debut: Iceland and Panama. Yet, debuting teams seldom have as much expectation surrounding them as the Iceland squad does. Years of investment into Icelandic football, materialised by the presence of indoor training academies, finally paid off in 2016 with a run to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals. The Iceland team remained strong thereafter, and progressed as winners from their qualification group for the World Cup.

By contrast, Panama carries nothing in the way of expectation, and the squad contains no players with notable playing experience in the UEFA Champions League. Regardless, the history of the World Cup is awash with debutants that stunned. In the two World Cups of the 2000s, Senegal and Ghana both negotiated the group stages on their respective debuts. Going further back, another Central American nation did the same in 1990, with Costa Rica progressing after beating a strong Sweden side 2-1.

Exit the veterans

For England, Gary Cahill, Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy will be making their final appearance at a World Cup final. All are now in their thirties, but boast the type of experience that can galvanise younger players like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There are also some well-known players within other teams, who have endeared themselves to Englanders through club-level heroics, and all of them will know that this summer’s tournament represents their World Cup swansong. Belgian thirty-something duo Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) and Thomas Vermaelen (Tottenham) have been exceptional in defence for their respective clubs, and will certainly give Jamie Vardy a tough time, in the game that the World Cup spreads suggest will determine the winners of Group G.

Of course, there is one superstar who will be more eager than anybody else to win the World Cup on what must be his last attempt. Alongside a Lionel Messi who could still be game for 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo has been one of the most electrifying athletes of his generation. Without his influence, Portugal could never have won Euro 2016, and at the age of 33, it is now or never for ‘#CR7’ to take the big one.

A poisoned chalice?

The last two World Cups have seen the reigning holders bow out at the group stage. 2014 saw Spain lose 5-1 to the Netherlands in a re-run of the 2010 final. It was a seismic result that propelled the Dutch all the way to the semi finals, but the tables have since turned again, with the Netherlands failing to qualify and Spain rampaging to top spot in the qualifiers.

In 2010, Italy fared even worse in their own cup defence, finishing last in a group containing an unfancied New Zealand side. Indeed, only Brazil’s negotiation of the group stage in 2006 prevented this apparent ‘curse’ from being given an even deeper context. France’s bottom-placed finish in the 2002 group stages is also an infamous example of how far a defending champion can fall.

Up for grabs?

There is better news, however, for ‘seeded’ teams – or teams drawn from pot 1. Since 1990, every cup-winning nation has been drawn from pot 1. Argentina is the last nation to defy the odds in that respect, doing so via Diego Maradona’s heroics in 1986. Additionally, no team qualifying from the CONCACAF (North American), CAF (African), AFC (Asian) or OFC (Oceanic) regions has ever won the cup.

Speaking of trophies, the ‘golden boot’ carries a curse of its own, in that no player has won it alongside a World Cup winner’s medal since 1982. Paolo Rossi remains the last man to pull off a personal ‘double’, but no man has ever managed to win it twice in a row. For that reason, James Rodriguez will be a particular person of interest this summer, having taken it in 2014 with six goals.

Behind the Reels

Posted on | May 17, 2018 | No Comments

There is a large amount of work that goes into creating the latest and best online slots. From the humble work of Charles Fay, slots have come way. But they have maintained the central concept of Fay’s invention.

The Liberty Bell was the first real money slot machine, click here to see more slots games. This device had three drums rolling to produce the outcome of the bet. As you can expect the machine was a lot simpler than today’s slots.

How the Latest Slots Work

There are still some casinos like goldenrivieracasino, where you can play slots that still use drums. But it will be difficult finding these classic slots that are still in good working order. Everyone has migrated to digital games. Even slot title from the earlier years can be found on the digital games.

Instead of the drums, a sophisticated system was created to generate the sequence of symbols after every spin. Slots whether online or at land-based casinos now use Random Number Generators (RNG).

An RNG is a mathematical algorithm which randomly determines when each reel will stop. This system makes it impossible for a machine to be hot or cold as each successive spin is not affected by the previous spin.

However, the machines are designed to payout a certain percentage of bets made. This percentage becomes perfect in the very long term. For example, after 1 million spins a slot should have paid back 95% of the money wagered on the game.

This is where chance takes over. The machine can give a lot of really small wins and small loses over a period of time. These are the winning streaks and losing streaks that gamblers are so fond of talking about. And then there is that time when the game just goes mad and gives massive jackpot wins. Or it can just starts not giving wins.

These are the events that naturally occur in “the life” of a slot machine. Which is why the games are so entertaining so that you keep playing even when the chance is not favoring you.

A beginner’s guide to betting on horse-racing

Posted on | May 16, 2018 | No Comments

Whether you’re a complete novice or an occasional punter, getting to know the world of horse-racing betting can seem a daunting task at first. However, once you get to grips with a few basic tips it all starts to make a lot more sense and becomes more enjoyable. We take a you through some beginner horse racing tips to get you started below:

If you’re looking for the latest horse-racing tips then you can also head over to The Winners Enclsoure. This site offers free daily tips and previews on all practically race meetings, and they also keep their followers in the loop with all of the latest racing news to ensure that you have up-to-date information ahead of picking your bet.

Betting only what you can afford, and betting responsibly is of course paramount, and should never be compromised. With that being said, so long as you follow those rules then there’s no reason why betting on horse-racing won’t be a fun experience for you.

Research form

It perhaps goes without saying, but like any bet you place on a sports market, you should always do your research beforehand – as thoroughly as possible. There is a wide variety of ways and means to go about checking horse-racing form and stats, both online and more traditional methods. If you’re looking for the most up-to-date information, then of course online is the better route for you. Most bookmaker websites also now offer some runner and rider information, at least for the major race meetings.

Checking stats such as previous finishes for both horse and jockeys alike, and how they tend to do on certain grounds and courses is also recommended. You can then match this up with bookmaker odds and asses which bets represent the best value.

Check out Tipster sites

There are many tipsters that you can find online, whether you want to source tips or just see how your own predictions tally with those of tipsters. Sites like The Winners Enclosure offer a wide variety of recommended bets that punters can use to do exactly this.

Find the best Bookmaker for you

It’s well worth shopping around to find a bookmaker that offers the information that is most relevant to what it is that you’re looking to bet on, and that offers you information that is useful to you when picking your bets.

Most bookmakers also offer incentives for signing up such as free bets or offers for certain race meetings and events.

 

Two of Europe’s Most Successful Clubs Get Ready to Battle for Champions League Glory

Posted on | May 15, 2018 | No Comments

European football’s night of nights is upon us once again as we get ready to watch Liverpool and Real Madrid battle it out in the Champions League final. It promises to be a spectacular event with both teams having an extremely successful history in the competition. The match will be played in Kiev, Ukraine, at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in front of a fully packed house of 70,000 fans.

Real have won the tournament a record 12 times and are the reigning champs after defeating Italian side Juventus 4-1 in Cardiff last year. It was the first time a club had won consecutive titles and their third Champions League title in four years.

Liverpool also have a rich history in the league, having won five titles with the last being back in 2005 against AC Milan. The Reds came back from a 3-0 deficit at half-time to stun the Italian giants and push the game to penalties. Some superb goalkeeping from Jerzy Dudek and a cool head from Liverpool’s penalty takers ensured that the coveted trophy returned back to Anfield once again.

This year’s final is expected to be a high scoring affair with Liverpool being the competition’s highest-scoring side with 40, and Madrid in second on 30. The Spanish giants will go into the match as favourites at 6/5 though, with the Reds currently 21/10 according to this link at William Hill’s betting website.

The tournament’s all-time leading goal scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the bookmakers’ choice to draw first blood at 3/1, and will be a major attacking threat for Real having scored 15 goals already in the competition. The Portuguese superstar is not only magnificent during normal play, but has one of the most lethal boots in world football when it comes to free kicks. The key for the English side will be to shut Ronaldo out of the game as much as possible, forcing Madrid to use their other attacking options instead.

Liverpool however, have a much more even spread when it comes to their key forwards, with the fantastic trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane tearing apart team’s defences on their way to the final. Salah and Firmino lead the way for the English side with an impressive ten goals apiece, with Mane right behind them scoring nine.

Although Liverpool are the underdogs heading into the match, the ability to score goals from a range of different positions is sure to cause a few headaches for the Madrid defence. Their midfield has also played a large part in the journey to Kiev, with James Milner leading the competition for assists with nine.

Stopping Ronaldo is the key if the Reds have any chance of lifting the trophy and it looks like they may have had some help from Liverpool’s football gods. Cristiano picked up an ankle injury in the recent 2-2 Classico draw against fierce rivals Barcelona, and some football experts think it may be more serious than the club is letting on. Madrid will feel that they have to start him but it could prove costly if he aggravates the injury and needs to be substituted. It would surely open the game wide open and Liverpool’s offensive style could see the momentum shift the English side’s way.

Will the Spanish side continue its dominance in Europe or are the glory days about to return to Anfield? In a few short weeks, we will have the answer to the question on every football fan’s lips. It’s going to be a sensational night of football as spectators from all over the world tune in to see who will be crowned the champions of Europe.

The Future of Sports Betting – What to Look Out For

Posted on | May 3, 2018 | No Comments

Although online casinos and online bingo sites have become increasingly popular over the last decade, particularly since there’s been an increase in operators making a move towards mobile-friendly software platforms, the biggest success story in the online gambling industry has almost always been sports betting.

Lately, however, revenues for online sports betting have taken a worrying dip, according to gaming industry market researchers, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. Plus, with an ever-widening number of sources now providing punters with access to sports betting statistics, and a dynamic shift towards placing bets on smartphones and tablets, it begs the question, “what is the future of sports betting”?

Better use of data

New and emerging technologies are both enticing to operators and consumers alike. The brains behind some of the UK’s top rated online sports betting sites have begun investing heavily in data analysis. With such a vast amount of information available about the modern consumer’s shopping habits, web browsing habits, and social interactions, businesses have the opportunity to better target their marketing efforts and offer their customers a more personalised experience.

Tailored marketing campaigns are likely to be well-received by sports betting customers as, according to a recent survey performed by Talend, 67% of UK gamblers say that they would be more likely to stay loyal to online bookies that offer a more personalised service. A further 72% say they feel that UK online bookmakers are not currently doing enough to offer this type of individualised service.

For online sports betting operators, tapping into such data could give them an increased advantage, and the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) software could give them a better insight into customer trends, patterns, and behaviours.

Data intelligence also has the power to analyse sports betting statistics such as football scoring patterns, resulting in the operators being able to offer their customers better and more accurate odds.

Taking a more proactive approach to problem gambling

It’s not just Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) that have been blamed for the rise in problem gambling in the last few years. Due to the isolating nature of online betting, it’s easier for players’ wagering to get out of control without being detected.

However, AI software stands a better chance of identifying gambling additions through data analysis and forecasting, and could also help to flag up players who are at risk of developing an addition before it becomes a major problem.

By taking a more proactive role in preventing online gambling addiction, sports betting operators could gain a more positive public image while also helping their customers to have a more enjoyable experience by gambling responsibly.

Improved mobile platforms

Since the shift towards mobile gambling, which allows consumers to place bets on the move, online sports betting sites have taken measures to provide mobile sports betting software platforms. As the user experience on a desktop can differ considerably to that offered by a mobile device, operators will need to work harder to make their apps and web-based sites more attractive to customers.

With 80% of people aged 18 and over now owning smartphones, the potential for online gambling operators to increase their revenues in the mobile market is huge. Therefore, we expect to see significant growth in this sector as sports betting brands introduce innovative new features and additional marketing incentives to stay ahead of the competition.

Virtual reality wagers

Big names in the online gaming industry, including NetEnt and Microgaming, are already turning their attention to virtual reality so that they can offer consumers a fully immersive playing experience. While it’s easier for online operators to increase the appeal of their brands via VR casino games and slots, there’s no reason why sports betting brands can’t also hitch a ride on the virtual reality train.

In fact, companies like Bet On VR are already working on virtual sports betting app development, which they predict to be the “new sports betting phenomenon” in coming months and years. As live sporting events only occur at specific times of the day and are subject to being postponed, gamblers may become increasingly inclined to take advantage of virtual sports games which can run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. By simply putting on a VR headset, sports fans can enjoy the feeling of being in a live stadium, cheering on their favourite teams while simultaneously placing wagers.

Gamification

While we’ve seen a number of emerging online casinos use gamification as a way to stand out from the crowd and attract customers (e.g. Casumo, Ikibu, and Fantasino are just a few examples), it’s not a trend that’s as easily applied to online sports betting. However, Hero Gaming’s Betser has successfully integrated gamification elements into its website to create “the first sports betting adventure”. Players can compete against their fellow players in sports leagues, and earn “balls” by placing bets with odds of 8.0 or more and “brains” by placing bets with odds of 1.25 to 7.99. Both balls and brains can be exchanged for free bets and free spins.

Should Fifa introduce video replay?

Posted on | August 18, 2010 | No Comments

The video replay one of the most discussed topic in football in the recent years.

Everyone expects from the referees to be perfect, or at least to reduce the mistakes during the games but it looks that this is a very hard task to do. So everyone tries to find solutions, and Fifa is pressed from all sides to come with an alternative.

In the first phase Fifa tried the system with 6 referees, tested it in Europa League, but even this solution doesn’t seem to be better. There were also speculations that the ball should contain a chip to signal when the ball passes the line of the goal but the solutions is not well seen by the specialists.

So at the moment it looks like the only viable solution is the video replay.Regarding the video replay the opinions are divided with a plus for it. Fifa is pressed to take a decision especially after the World Cup mistakes, when some of them proved to be crucial.

So after rugby, basketball, tennis or american football we might have video replays also in football. This decision would bring advantages but not only.

At advantages we can mention fewer mistakes that can decide games and fewer scandals. On the other side the spirit and the charm of the game would suffer.  Imagine for example a game show with a similar setup – a Who Wants To Be Millionaire Online Game for example would take so long and become boring. Also the game could have more than 10 minutes of additional time which could determine the players to lose their patience  awaiting for the verdict, the fluidity of the game could also suffer.

The final decision will be taken in November but there are chances for a positive answer.

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