The Weekly Round-up – 15 March 2021:

15 March 2021: The Tip Top Fox brings you the top poker and gambling industry stories of the week; Holz beats Malinowski in Face-Off Challenge; Football Index enters administration; GambleAware report reveals UK betting habits

Holz beats Malinowski in Face-Off Challenge

Despite getting off to a mildly controversial start – with poker pundit Doug Polk initially claiming the Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz vs Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowski Face-Off Challenge on GGPoker was staged before backtracking slightly on Reddit – the series played out to a conclusion without any other incidents.

The $100/$200 heads-up Hold’em cash series saw GGTeam ambassador Fedor Holz take on the might of Polish poker professional Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowsky. German wunderkind Holz emerged victorious over four 400-hand online sessions.

While Malinowsky was fancied as the match favourite, Holz took an early lead. The German won the initial Friday, 5 March 459-hand session for $37,421. Holz followed this up with a $14,651 win over the 472-hand second session on Monday, 8 March to pull $52,072 in front.

The duo clashed once more with a 562-hand mid-week third session on Wednesday, 10 March. This saw Holz win a further $108,195, climbing into an almost unassailable lead of over $160k for the series.

Despite Malinowky battling back for a $69,893 win in the fourth and final game, which played out on Saturday, 13 March, it was Holz who took the series. Holz won the challenge with a profit of $90,374 over the four games played.

While 1,600 hands is a long way from something like Tom Dwan’s 50,000 hand Durrrr Challenge, or some of the epic confrontations that Run It Once’s Galfond Challenge has generated, GG’s Face-Off Challenge is more of a lighthearted publicity match, with several more planned for 2021.

You can watch the four matches, complete with reviews by Daniel Negreanu over on the GGPoker YouTube channel.

It’s a Funny Old Game

Bucking predictions of upward trending growth in the online gaming sector, online gambling operator Football Index has announced it will be entering administration:

Football Index license suspended as gambling operator enters administration

Self-styled as a “football stock market” where users trade virtual time-limited “shares” in the games’ top players, Football Index launched in 2015. Just over six years later the UK Gambling Commission has suspended its operating licence.

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UK Betting Habits Revealed

In other news, the results of a study commissioned by UK charity GambleAware revealed some interesting statistics about British betting habits.

The study, entitled ‘Patterns of Play, was conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). It tracked the online gambling habits of 140,000 UK online gambling accounts over a 12 month period from July 2018 to June 2019.

GambleAware said: “This research was able to analyse and assess an unprecedented source of information on how people in Great Britain gamble. It opens up numerous opportunities to further understand people’s gambling habits.”

“These interim findings are just the first stage. Future research will provide a greater opportunity to understand the risk factors associated with gambling behaviour.” 

This is the first time a dataset containing this level of detail on online gambling transactions has been collated for research purposes.

The results show the majority of active UK online gambling accounts are infrequently used and bet relatively low amounts. However, a small proportion of accounts were used extensively, generating substantial losses.

Key Findings

  • 85% of accounts used for betting spent less than £200 on betting over the year between July 2018 and June 2019. 90% of ‘gaming’ accounts had either an overall win or loss of less than £500 for the same period.
  • 0.7% of accounts used for betting (representing approximately 60,000 accounts among participating operators) and 1.2% of accounts used for gaming (representing approximately 47,000 accounts among participating operators) lost £5,000 or more over the course of the year.
  • The 5% of online accounts with the highest losses generated a minimum of 70% of Gross Gambling Yield (GGY).
  • Pre-match football, in-play football, and horseracing accounted for most spending from betting. Slots and casino games accounted for most spending from ‘gaming’.
  • Among women, gaming was more popular than betting. 26% of GGY for ‘gaming’ came from women compared to 6% for betting.
  • 4% of accounts used for ‘gaming’ (an estimated 164,000 accounts) lost more than £500 in a single session.
  • Late-night ‘gaming’ was associated with greater spending intensity, particularly for live and virtual casino games.
  • The online betting sector derives an estimated 94% of its GGY from men, who held 78% of betting accounts.
  • Gaming covers a range of gambling activities: bingo, live and virtual casino games, poker, slots, and instant wins. Betting generally relates to events external to the gambling environment, for example, results of a cricket match.
  • Among accounts that spent £5,000 or more over the year, over 95% were held by men, typically in their 40s.
  • Participation in online gambling was higher in more deprived areas than less deprived areas. However, people living in more and less deprived areas spent on average similar amounts throughout the year.
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