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Captain’s Quest: Treasure Island

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Setting the Stage for Gaming Innovation

The excitement is building for the unparalleled celebration of gaming culture with the opening of the Africa Gaming Expo 2024 (AGE Lagos 2024). This monumental event, scheduled for 12th to 15th March 2024, is set to take place at the Eko Hotel and Suites Convention Centre. It marks a significant moment, highlighting the dynamic and rapidly expanding gaming industry across Africa. This includes a diverse range of sectors such as sports betting, lotteries, casinos, eSports, online and mobile gaming, financial technology, and banking (payment platforms).

Previewing the Future of Gaming

In the run-up to the expo, a press briefing offered a glimpse into what attendees can look forward to. “This expo is not just about learning; it’s an opportunity to forge lasting partnerships globally,” highlighted Bashir Are, CEO of the Lagos State Lottery and Gaming Authority and Chairman of AGE Lagos.

A Pan-African Regulatory Dialogue

The press briefing shed light on various topics to be discussed and offered sneak peeks into the latest gaming hardware, software, and virtual reality experiences. A notable feature of the event is the African Regulator’s Forum, scheduled for 13th March 2024. It will bring together regulators from Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria, with invitations extended to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Adenike Oyebamiji, Project Coordinator for AGE Lagos 2024, emphasised this as a chance for these nations to discuss regulations and find common ground in addressing industry challenges.

South Africa’s Perspective

From a South African viewpoint, this expo is a significant platform for showcasing the country’s advancements in the gaming industry and engaging in meaningful dialogue on regulatory practices and market growth opportunities within the continent.

Gathering of Gaming Industry Leaders

The press conference saw the presence of key figures such as Bashir Are, Chairman of the Federation of State Gaming Regulation of Nigeria, and Mrs. Adenike Oyebamiji, Project Coordinator of AGE Lagos 2024, alongside other influential stakeholders.

Exploring Africa’s Gaming Landscape

The Africa Gaming Expo 2024 aims to delve into the emerging trends, potential, and opportunities within the African gaming sector. It seeks to foster collaboration and idea exchange among experts, leaders, and stakeholders from Africa and beyond. The expo will also address operational challenges faced by operators across the continent.

A Hands-On Gaming Experience

Participants at the expo can look forward to engaging hands-on demonstrations, interactive exhibits, and a unique chance to experience the future of gaming up close.


As part of a crackdown on organized crime, Italian law enforcement agencies have targeted a Malta-based iGaming company suspected of laundering money obtained from illicit gambling activities across Italy. Italian authorities confiscated assets worth approximately €400 million ($433 million). This bold move is part of Italy’s broader strategy to combat the penetration of organized crime into the online gaming and betting sectors, with a strong focus on dismantling corruption and money laundering schemes.

Europe-Wide Criminal Network Uncovered in Online Gambling Sting

The investigation into the Malta-registered iGaming operator revealed its deep entanglement in a sophisticated criminal network that orchestrated black market online gambling operations. Originating from Reggio Calabria in Italy, the organization extended its influence across Europe, with business entities in Malta, Romania, Austria, and Spain. This illicit network posed serious risks due to its lack of customer protection and responsible gambling measures.

The criminal system operated through a “cascade” system, involving ties with organized crime groups that provided both brand promotion and protection. Local businesses were instrumental in the illicit collection of funds, a portion of which was funneled to the criminal entities. This elaborate setup not only laundered substantial sums but was also set to expand further.

Italy’s Vigilant Crackdown on Organized Crime’s Infiltration into iGaming

After probing the connections between businesses and organized crime, the Italian authorities were alerted to the organization’s activities. It was discovered that the crime boss, central to the operation, held assets disproportionate to his declared income. This led to a seizure warrant on his assets, followed by orders targeting assets linked to three iGaming companies.

Seizing assets worth around €400 million marks a significant victory for Italy’s financial police and the Public Prosecutor’s office. This case underscores the ongoing vulnerabilities in the online gaming and betting sectors to criminal influence and the necessity for continued vigilance and rigorous enforcement actions.

Malta Gaming Authority Refutes Connections with Alleged Mafia-Linked Gambling Kingpin

In the wake of these revelations, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has categorically denied any association with Antonio Ricci, the identified key figure in the criminal investigation against the ‘Ndrangheta mafia. Despite the MGA’s official statement disavowing any links with Ricci, the case has raised concerns over the regulatory oversight of iGaming operations.

Ricci, who was arrested in Malta in 2019 on money laundering charges, had resided in Malta since at least 2010. The Italian police’s recent seizure of assets linked to Ricci underscores the extent of his involvement in the illegal gambling ring. The MGA has emphasized its commitment to cooperating with authorities and ensuring the integrity of its licensed operators, highlighting its dedication to maintaining a secure and trustworthy gambling environment.


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The gaming industry is witnessing a significant expansion with Light & Wonder, Inc., a NASDAQ and ASX-listed company, announcing two major deals that will extend its reach both in the United States and Greece. These developments underscore the company’s commitment to delivering dynamic and immersive gaming experiences across different markets.

Exclusive Entry into the US Market with 1X2 Network

Light & Wonder has made a strategic move by signing an exclusive aggregation agreement with 1X2 Network, marking the latter’s debut in the US market, starting with Michigan. This deal represents an important milestone for 1X2 Network, known for its diverse array of gaming content, including crash games, slots, instant win games, and virtual sports. The partnership leverages Light & Wonder’s robust distribution network and premium aggregation platform, further enhancing its presence in the American market.

Kevin Reid, 1X2 Network’s CEO, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, emphasizing the strength of Light & Wonder as an exclusive aggregation partner. He noted that while Michigan is the starting point, expansion efforts in other states are already well underway. This move signifies a significant step for 1X2 Network, building on its successful European operations and aiming to replicate this success in the US.

Steve Mayes, Digital Partnerships Director at Light & Wonder, highlighted 1X2 Network’s two-decade history of producing innovative and popular content. He anticipates a warm reception from US players, akin to the European market’s response.

Expanding Footprint in Greece with Bet365

In addition to its US venture, Light & Wonder has expanded its international footprint by partnering with Bet365 in Greece. This agreement introduces a selection of Light & Wonder’s top-performing games, such as Lock It Link Diamonds and 88 Fortunes, to the Greek market. This expansion is part of the company’s strategy to build a strong presence in Greece, a market that has recently opened up.

Luke Dimech, Commercial Account Director at Light & Wonder, expressed excitement about the expansion, reflecting the company’s efforts to grow in the Greek market. A Bet365 spokesperson echoed these sentiments, noting that Light & Wonder’s innovative content would significantly enhance the gaming experience for Greek customers.


These strategic moves by Light & Wonder in partnering with 1X2 Network in the US and Bet365 in Greece demonstrate the company’s commitment to expanding its global presence. By delivering a diverse range of high-quality, engaging content, Light & Wonder continues to solidify its position as a leader in the gaming industry. The company’s focus on establishing strong partnerships and entering new markets positions it well for continued growth and success in the ever-evolving world of gaming entertainment.

Introduction to the UK Gambling Market and Political Influence

The United Kingdom’s gambling market is a dynamic and substantial sector of the national economy, deeply interwoven with the fabric of British society. Over the years, it has evolved into a complex ecosystem, encompassing traditional betting shops, casinos, and a burgeoning online gambling industry. The fate of this lucrative yet controversial industry often becomes a pivotal issue in political campaigns, with parties using it as a pawn to garner support or criticize opponents. Politicians, including those aspiring for high office, frequently weigh in on gambling legislation, reflecting their party’s stance and responding to public concerns about the social impacts of gambling.

Keir Starmer and Labour’s Perspective on Gambling Regulation

As the United Kingdom gears up for the next general election, anticipated to occur in November 2024, all eyes are on the major political parties and their policies, especially regarding sectors like gambling. The Labour Party, potentially on the cusp of a landslide victory according to various polls, could play a crucial role in shaping the future of the UK’s gambling landscape. This brings into focus the views and proposed policies of Keir Starmer and the Labour Party towards gambling legislation and regulation.

Although the Labour Party’s manifesto for the upcoming election has yet to be unveiled, historical precedents and recent statements provide insights into their approach. Labour, under Keir Starmer, seems poised to advocate for significant amendments to the existing gambling laws, particularly the Gambling Act of 2005, which was implemented during Tony Blair’s Labour government. This act is now seen as outdated, especially in the context of the digital age and the proliferation of mobile gambling.

One key document that may influence Labour’s policy is the ‘High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age’ white paper. This paper aims to address the shortcomings of the 2005 Act, reflecting the changed landscape of gambling in the era of smartphones and continuous online access.

Contrasting Labour and Conservative Views

The approach of Keir Starmer and the Labour Party towards gambling regulation appears to diverge significantly from that of Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives. While Starmer has indicated a need for tighter regulations, the Conservative Party has been criticized for its perceived inaction in reforming gambling laws. Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, Lucy Powell, has emphasized the urgency of updating gambling regulations for the digital age, a sentiment that seems to resonate with the party’s broader stance.

Potential Reforms under a Labour Government

Should the Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, win the upcoming election, several changes to the Gambling Act of 2005 could be on the horizon. These potential reforms include:

  1. NHS Funding: Implementing a levy on gambling businesses to fund NHS education, research, and treatment for gambling addiction.
  2. Financial Checks: Introducing affordability checks to ensure that gambling does not become financially harmful to customers.
  3. Stake Restrictions: Proposing age-based stake limits, such as a maximum of £2 per spin for under-25s on slot machines.
  4. Advertising Regulations: Tightening rules around gambling advertising, especially those targeting children, and enforcing safe gambling messages in adverts.

It is crucial to note that these are speculative projections based on current discussions and the ‘High Stakes’ white paper. The actual policies of a Labour government led by Keir Starmer will become clearer once the party releases its detailed plans for the gambling industry.


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