Venue: Emirates Stadium
Date: Sunday, April 2
Arsenal take on Manchester City in undoubtedly the biggest match this weekend.
Arsenal will have to manage without their goalkeeper Petr Cech (calf), forward Lucas Perez (thigh) and midfielder Santi Cazorla (Achilles). Boss Arsene Wenger also revealed that Mesut Ozil is nearing full fitness and is likely to start.
The Gunners have been defeated just once in their 19 previous home Premier League matches against Manchester City (W11 D6).
Pep Guardiola’s side is looking to complete the double over Arsenal for the first time.
Arsenal (8) and Man City (7) have found the back of the net through substitutes on more occasions than of all PL sides this term.
The last seven Premier League duels between these two teams have produced 27 goals, an average of 3.86 per match.
"They go for it; we go for it. It should be a promising game,” said Wenger ahead of the high-profile contest.
The north Londoners have lost four and won one of their last five games in the league. City have won 3 and drawn 2 of their last five.
Olivier Giroud to score
More than 3 goals in the match
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
William Hill has joined some of its competitors by moving out of the Polish iGaming market after the country brought in a new gambling law.
The company shot a letter to all stakeholders in Poland, informing them that it intends to stop offering its products in Poland prior to April 1.
Customers can withdraw their funds from the site until April 1. Post this date, they will have to contact customer support to do the same.
Apart from this, William Hill has informed all affiliates to take off any marketing material directed at Polish customers from their websites.
Despite withdrawing from the market, William Hill intends to return to the market in the future.
In December, the Polish government approved a new Gambling Act that will add a 12% tax on wagering turnover.
With such a high rate of tax, operators feel the Polish market is not profitable.
In retaliation, several operators have decided to cease operations in the country on April 1. EnergyBet announced its withdrawal earlier in the week.
Totalizator Sportowy will remain the monopoly in Poland, with total control over the online gaming market.
Italian football giants Juventus and Betsson Group-owned StarCasinò have now joined hands for a new commercial deal.
While the terms of the agreement were not made public, one thing is clear that StarCasinò will be the official gaming partner of the Serie A champions.
StarCasinò will work in tandem with the football club for a series of initiatives, contests and promotions for the fans and supporters.
The deal was announced after Juventus signed up with Asia-facing online bookmaker Vwin earlier this month.
Juventus are on fire in the Serie A and look set to retain their title.
In a significant new development in the world of online sports betting, 888sport has become the latest operator to join the integrity body ESSA.
Now, 888sport has joined the likes of Bet365, bwin, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Unibet and William Hill as part of ESSA.
ESSA’s primary objective is to safeguard the interest of customers across the world from potential fraud via manipulation of sporting events. The integrity body looks after the interests of almost 40 millions punters in the EU alone at the moment.
“888sport is determined to continue to ensure the security of our markets and customer playing experience from the adverse impact of corruption in sport,” 888 sports fraud and risk manager, Ross Harkins, said.
“Joining ESSA is a key part of that approach and to maintaining the high standards of responsible gambling that we are committed to.”
Khalid Ali, secretary general of ESSA, added:
“The operator is a leading player in the industry and I am delighted that it has joined ESSA; it is the perfect start to 2017 and builds upon a very successful 2016 both in terms of membership growth and the association’s ability to protect its regulated members from betting-related fraud.
“888sport will now add its unique customer base and betting market platforms to our global anti-fraud alert and reporting system.”
In a major new development in the world of online sports betting, William Hill has exited the Czech Republic after the new a new gambling legislation was introduced in the country.
The new law to regulate gambling in the country had the President Miloš Zeman’s signature after it was approved last summer. This new law, the Gambling Act, will help Czech Republic adhere to the European Union (EU) regulations.
From this year on, gambling operators will be subject to tougher licensing processes, which involve requirements such as having an official seat in an EU or European Economic Area country and holding at least €2 million ($2.1 million) in equity.
That’s not all. Other changes include a new tax rate of 23% on gross gaming revenue for sports betting and lotteries, as well as 35% for RNG casino games, on top of a standard 19% corporate tax rate.
Post the implementation of these new rules, British bookmaker opted to withdraw its services from the country and informed the same to its customers.
The players have been also told by the site to withdraw funds from their accounts.
It now remains to be seen whether other big players follow William Hill out of Czech Republic.
These, however, are testing and interesting times for the gambling operators and enthusiasts in the country.
Online betting company Codere Apuestas have joined hands with Spanish football giants Real Madrid for a new partnership.
The Spanish-facing brand entered into a three-year agreement with the La Liga side that runs through to 2019.
Codere Apuestas is not new to Spanish football. It has already gained tremendous amount of visibility in the country due to previous associations.
For the 2015-16 season, Codere Apuestas was Valencia’s shirt sponsor.
Emilio Butragueño, director of institutional relations at Real Madrid, said:
“Today we started a journey that in principle will last three years, although our desire is for it to be long-haul.
“Our club is admired by millions of people for what our institution represents; it is synonymous with success but is also identified by its code of values.
“That is why it is so important to choose our partners well and today we have the honour to present an alliance with Codere, with which we have an important thing in common: a Madrid firm with universal appeal.”
Several betting companies have previously collaborated with football clubs. However, an association with Real Madrid is actually a big deal for any betting brand considering the attention and love the club commands not just in Spain but across the world.
World football superstar, Neymar, who is mired in a corruption case regarding his transfer from Santos to Barcelona, now runs the risk of spending two years in prison.
Not just that, but the Spanish prosecutors want the Barcelona forward to be charged with a massive $10.6 million fine.
Neymar isn’t the only individual facing the heat in this matter. The list also includes former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, and Neymar’s father Neymar Santos Sr who are also facing a potential incarceration of three years or more.
In 2014, authorities found out that Neymar’s original transfer fee of €57.1 million ($60.3m) was actually €86.2 million ($91m). DIS Esporte informed this to authorities. The company had moved to court for its 40% share of the high-profile transfer.
Barcelona FC’s former Club VP and current president Josep Maria Bartomeu, was also incriminated in the case and was then charged with tax fraud.
Neymar is one of the biggest names in the world of football. He endorses several brands included online poker website PokerStars.
Like Neymar, his friend and teammate Lionel Messi to has had his fair share of problems with tax authorities in Spain.
In what will come as good news to the iGaming industry, Russia’s Ministry of Finance has decided to reduce the tax rate on licensed sports betting operators in the country to 1%.
Earlier in the year, the country’s government has brought into effect a 5% tax on sports betting revenue.
Under this law, operators in Russia had to pay the government a minimum quarterly payment of RUB15 million (€218/300/US$234,000).
Soon, that figure was dropped to 3% in order to give the companies a tax break. Now, there has been a further reduction to 1%.
According to several experts, the government decided to do so after several operators made representations highlighting the face various other taxes and regulatory fees that they have to pay.
This move will definitely boost the Russian iGaming market. More operators will now be willing to invest and existing ones will be able post much greater profits.
There is no denying that this is a solid move by the Russian government. However, the long-term benefits of this move need to measure in due course of time.
Venue: Stade de France
Date: Thursday, June 16
Germany will renew their rivalry with Poland as the two teams clash in Group C on Thursday. The world champions will be aiming to seal their spot in the next round with a convincing win.
Robert Lewandowski knows the German side extremely well, considering he is part of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. The Poles will rely on their talisman to deliver goals up front.
Before beating Germany in the Euro qualifying stages, Poland endured a 18-match winless streak.
The Germans however have a solid record against their archrivals at major tournaments, having not lost in any of their last 4 meetings.
While Mesut Ozil is setting up goals for Germany, the poor from of Thomas Muller will worry Joachim Low.
Despite that, Germany have scored in all their last 14 matches at major tournaments.
Poland have never scored more than 1 goal in Euro matches. Hence they will have to step up their efforts in that department to ensure an upset win.
Possible starting XIs
Germany: Neuer; Höwedes, Hummels/Mustafi, Boateng, Hector; Kroos, Khedira; Müller, Özil, Draxler; Götze.
Poland: Fabiański; Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jędrzejczyk; Błaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Mączyński, Kapustka; Milik, Lewandowski.
Germany 2-1 Poland
Venue: Stade des Lumieres
Date: Monday, June 13
Italy open their Euro 2016 campaign with a tough fixture against dark horses Belgium at the Stade des Lumieres on Monday. Considered a typical tournament team, Italy will have their work cut out against a very talented Belgian side.
Marc Wilmots will be delighted to welcome back Eden Hazard and Thomas Vermaelen into the starting line-up after the duo had an injury scare.
Known for their defensive discipline, the Azzurri will rely heavily on Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini to keep the flamboyant Belgian attack at bay.
Interestingly, the Red Devils have never beaten Antonio Conte’s men in their three encounters at major tournaments. The last five meetings between them have produced 18 goals.
Despite entering the tournament without key players, the Italians remain one of the favorites to lift the title. It must be noted that they were unbeaten in their qualifying campaign.
This match is likely to boil down to a tactical ballte between Belgium's attack and Italy's defense. One thing is for sure, this is the match of the tournament so far.
Possible starting XIs
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Witsel, Nainggolan; Mertens, De Bruyne, Hazard; Lukaku.
Italy: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Candreva, Parolo, De Rossi, Giaccherini, Darmian; Immobile, Zaza.
Belgium 1-1 Italy