Intralot-owned Totolotek became the first licensed bookmaker in Poland to launch a virtual sports betting service along with Betradar.
Customers can initially wager on virtual football matches, dog racing and horse racing, with basketball and tennis to be added in the months to come.
The launch was done after changes to the Polish Gambling Law were implemented on April 1, permitting gambling companies to organize bets on virtual events.
“We believe that this kind of gaming will be of great interest to our customers; it is fast and much more accessible than betting on real games,” Totolotek chief executive Adam Lamentowicz said.
“We have put a lot of work into making the simulations as realistic and elaborate as possible, and placed a lot of data inside so as to enable players to analyse possible results.”
Neale Deeley, managing director Virtual Gaming at Betradar, which will deliver the new service, added: “We are really excited to launch with Totolotek; punters around the world place millions of bets on Betradar virtual sports every week and now punters in Poland can enjoy the same thrilling experience.”
Venue: Stadium of Light
Date: Sunday, April 9
Sunderland will have forward Victor Anichebe available again and midfielder Lee Cattermole is likely to start, but defender John O'Shea won’t feature in the squad.
Manchester United will be without Wayne Rooney (ankle) and Ashley Young (knock), Juan Mata (groin), Chris Smalling (knee) and Phil Jones (foot).
Sunderland have lost 22 times versus Manchester United in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho’s side has won six and lost none of their last eight PL away matches away.
Jermain Defoe has not found the back of the net in his last six PL matches against United.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has netted eight goals in his last 7 PL matches away from home.
"We've relied on Jermain a lot and I hope he has another half dozen before the end of the season, but others have to score as well," said David Moyes.
"I think it’s a good feeling to know we don’t lose many matches, that we have a fantastic run of 20 games unbeaten in the Premier League," Mourinho said.
Sunderland 2-2 Manchester United
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
Amaya Gaming's BetStars became the newest and 25th member of he international betting integrity body ESSA.
ESSA takes positions on match-fixing policy forums at the European Commission, Council of Europe and the IOC. Other key members of ESSA include Bet365, Ladbrokes Coral, Unibet and William Hill.
BetStars was launched in late 2015 and is the official betting partner of English Premier League champions Leicester City.
“BetStars is committed to keeping online betting fun and safe for our customers. The move to join ESSA underlines that approach and our determination to identify and tackle those that seek to manipulate sporting events against fellow consumers and responsible operators,” said Zeno Osskó, managing director of BetStars.
“We look forward to engaging closely with our partners within ESSA to maintain the integrity of sportsbook markets.”
ESSA is driving a number of activities aimed at addressing match-fixing, including a player education programme with EU Athletes and an international project, entitled ‘Keep Crime out of Sport’, led by the Council of Europe.
Khalid Ali, secretary general of ESSA, said:
“BetStars’ decision to join ESSA is excellent news for all concerned and another important milestone for the association.
“Backed by Amaya, one of the world’s largest gaming groups with 108 million registered customers, the addition of BetStars brings clear advantages for ESSA and its alert platform. Whilst BetStars will benefit from access to a growing and effective operator run network focused on protecting its members’ businesses from fraud.”
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.
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.
Venue: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
Date: Friday, July 1
Wales take on Belgium in one of the most exciting quarterfinal fixtures of the tournament. Considering the firepower at its disposal, Belgium is the favorite to win this encounter.
When the two sides last meet in 2015, Wales edged out the Eden Hazard’s side 1-0. In 2014 however, the two teams played out a goalless draw.
Gareth Bale’s side made it to the quarterfinal after beating Northern Ireland 1-0. Belgium on the other hand crushed Hungary 4-0.
Without a doubt Bale and Hazard will be the two most discussed players in the team dressing rooms.
Defensively strong Wales have relied upon the pace and trickery of Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale to unlock teams.
Belgium too have plenty of firepower in attack and the Welsh defenders could find it too hot to handle.
While Belgium are the dark horse, Wales are a surprise entrant to this late stage of the tournament.
With Iceland dumping out England, Chris Coleman will know anything is possible on a big football night.
Possible playing XIs
Wales: Hennessey; Chester, Williams, Davies; Gunter, Allen, Ledley, Ramsey, Taylor; Bale; Vokes
Belgium: Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Nainggolan, Witsel; Mertens, De Bruyne, Hazard; Lukaku
Belgium 2-1 Wales
Over 1.5 goals in match
Eden Hazard to score
Venue: Stade Velodorme, Marseille
Date: June 30
Portugal face Poland in Marseille for a place in the semifinal of Euro 2016. While Cristiano Ronaldo’s men are favorites to win this tie, Poland are more than capable of creating an upset.
The Real Madrid superstar is yet to win a major tournament with his country and he will hope to keep those hopes alive when the two sides clash.
Portugal have not exactly set the tournament on fire. They held firm against Croatia in the round of 16 before Ricardo Quaresma delivered a late winner.
Lukasz Fabianski will retain his position between the sticks for Poland as first-choice keeper Wojciech Szczesny continues to nurse a thigh injury.
Poland fans will be praying for Robert Lewandowski to come good in this crucial encounter.
“Sometimes you have to be pragmatic. It’d be nice to play pretty but that’s not always how you win tournaments,” said Fernando Santos ahead of the game.
"We don't have a single problem with the fact that Robert Lewandowski hasn't scored so far,” said Adam Nawalka.
Possible starting XI:
Poland: Fabianski, Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Maczynski, Grosicki, Milik, Lewandowski.
Portugal: Rui Patricio, Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro, Joao Mario,, Adrien Silva, Carvalho, Renato Sanches, Nani, Ronaldo.
Poland 2-1 Portugal
Over 1.5 goals
Robert Lewandowski to score
Venue: Stade Geoffroy Guichard
Date: Tuesday, June 13
Portugal kick start their Euro 2016 campaign with a tricky tie against Iceland. Like the other big teams, Cristiano Ronaldo’s men too will be looking to get off to a winning start against their less fancied opponents.
The Portuguese struggled en route the tournament, with seven one-goal margin wins in qualifying.
Iceland will need to resolve their defensive issues against a Portugal side that is flamboyant going forward. The Euro debutants have conceded 17 goals in their last 8 outings.
Ronaldo is one appearance short of equaling Luis Figo’s 127-cap record for Portugal.
Fernando Santos’ team beat Iceland on both occasions during the qualifying stages.
Possible starting XIs:
Portugal: Rui Patrício; Vieirinha, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Raphäel Guerreiro; João Mário, Danilo, João Moutinho, Adrien Silva; Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Iceland: Halldorsson; Sævarsson, R Sigurdsson, Árnason, Skúlason; Gudmundsson, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Sigthórsson, Finnbogason.
Portugal 2-0 Iceland
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