President of the Cyprus National Betting Authority, Ioanna Fiakkou, is under criminal investigation in connection to match-fixing claims after she refused to answer MPs’ questions at a House hearing.
The House’s Ethics Committee called Fiakkou after she refused to provide information about corruption in football.
Reportedly, Fiakkou refused to hand over information to the Cyprus Sports Ethics Committee, former board member and lawyer Charis Savvides claimed.
As then head of the Sports Ethics Committee, Savvides had been investigating allegations by investor in Nicosia club Omonia FC Stavros Papastavrou about corrupt acts by prominent people within the football association.
Savvides claimed he had asked Fiakkou to provide relevant information on suspicious betting activity in 2021, but she refused to do so, citing personal data protection.
The required information involved a specific betting company active on the island.
Fiakkou was invited to give her side of events but refused to answer questions posed by House Ethics Committee chair AKEL MP Irene Charalambides.
Infuriated, Charalambides demanded that Fiakkou respect the House and answer the questions, noting that concealment is a criminal offence.
The head of the National Betting Authority responded by saying her obligation is to report to the investigating authorities, asking for the intervention of the Legal Service.
A spokesperson for the Legal Service told the committee that a person under investigation has the right not to answer because anything they say before the House Committee can be used against them in court.
Those comments revealed that Fiakkou is under investigation in connection with match-fixing, with Charalambides telling her she should have made that clear to MPs.
Last month, Savvides, the former head of the Sports Ethics Committee, had told MPs that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) had recently sent an email involving red notices for 16 matches likely to have been manipulated.
He claimed a coverup by the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and a UEFA official.
Savvides told MPs the CFA did not take the designated measures to investigate warnings over possible fixed matches sent by UEFA and even denied receiving any red notice.
Counter-Strike 2 launches on FACEIT with new $100,000 FACEIT Pro League (FPL) Proving Grounds
Today, ESL FACEIT Group (EFG), the leading esports and video game entertainment company, reveals that Counter-Strike 2 (CS2) is now playable on FACEIT, the world’s leading online platform for competitive gaming. CS2 players looking to master the new iteration of Counter-Strike can now join the world’s largest community on FACEIT, with 22 million serious players, to hone their skills faster than anywhere else.
On FACEIT, players can join communities, gather tips and feedback for their path going pro and join or host matches on private servers. FACEIT provides its own ranking system in which players start at Level 1 and are able to reach Level 10. Players can participate in community tournaments or qualify for the FACEIT Pro League (FPL) and start their journey to become one of the best CS players in the world. To ensure a safe environment, FACEIT offers its renowned anti-cheat and chat moderation through its own AI called “Minerva”.
The new era of Counter-Strike begins on FACEIT with the launch of a new seasonal Elo system. FACEIT Season 1 is designed to create the ultimate competitive environment for CS2. FACEIT Season 1 will culminate with the first FPL Proving Grounds: The Ultimate Path to Pro, which will boast the highest prize pool ever awarded in a public matchmaking system – featuring $100,000 in prizes for top ‘Challenger’ rank players. Challenger is the new rank on FACEIT, introduced for the top 1,000 players in Europe, South America, and North America. Additionally, the top three players of FPL Proving Grounds will earn a direct invite to the FPL, and a monthly stipend to support them on their path to pro.
Designed to empower the highest Elo rated matchmaking players to break into the professional scene, FPL Proving Grounds will take place every four months and will act as a new way to qualify for FPL. Its first iteration will serve as the grand finale of FACEIT Season 1, replacing FPL-C Hubs and FPL-C Qualifiers. The path to FPL is now free and directly connects to the Elo leaderboards in Europe, North America and South America.
The FPL has already been launched in Counter-Strike 2 featuring top players, CS legends and truly top talents, optimizing the famous path to pro environment that supported stars such as Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, Robin “ropz” Kool, and Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov. The goal is to recreate the look and feel of the early days of FPL with matches full of top pros and unique livestream content for the community. FACEIT is also making Elo and Skill Level adjustments to better reflect the current player base, which will reduce wait times for high-ranked players and offer better match balance, revitalizing the race to the #1 spot in Counter-Strike 2.
Further additions to CS2 on FACEIT include Super Match, a new innovative feature that empowers players to take control of their matching experience and 100% guarantee specific characteristics of their next match, ensuring the algorithm can adapt to player needs. Version 1.0 of Super Match will be available in all regions for all Plus and Premium subscribers.
In addition to North America, FACEIT has now rolled out a server selector feature for European players, offering an array of server locations to choose from, including Moscow, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, UK, and France. CS2 players can now fine-tune their ping optimization by selecting server locations before they queue up. This is a game-changer for players in the CIS region, enhancing connectivity, while also minimizing language barriers at scale, by more effectively clustering Western and Eastern European players. To support this expansion without affecting queue times, FACEIT has raised the minimum map selection requirement for premium subscribers.
“Over the past decade, we have had the honor of collaborating with the CS community to build FACEIT, a platform capable of bolstering the entire CS ecosystem and its sporting scene. CS2 is an incredibly exciting new chapter that gives us the chance to reinforce our commitment to this mission on an even grander scale,” said Niccolo Maisto, co-CEO, ESL FACEIT Group. “We seize this moment to extend a warm welcome to all players, organizers, teams, and creators who, like us, have a profound passion for competitive Counter-Strike and want to contribute to grow this great scene even further.”
FACEIT users can play Counter-Strike 2 now at FACEIT .com.
IGSA Takes Action to Enhance Cyber Resiliency with New Committee
With the recent string of cyber attacks on MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, the world is reminded of the effect an intelligent group of hackers can have on even the most robust enterprises.
In the aftermath of these attacks, IGSA (International Gaming Standards Association) has announced its commitment to addressing the increased threat of cyberattacks by creating the Cyber Resiliency Committee (CRC).
Supported by global gaming giants such as Aristocrat Technologies, Light & Wonder and Axes.ai, the committee will establish guidelines for overseeing cybersecurity, managing cyber risks, and setting framework control criteria for casino operators and their associated networks.
It will include knowledge from experts within the IGSA membership to create a set of standards that are actionable and topical, taking into account emerging technologies and the present and future challenges specific to UK online casinos, betting sites, and general iGaming sectors.
Addressing Cyber Threats
While it is suspected that the hackers behind MGM Resorts and Ceasars Entertainment also orchestrated at least 52 other attacks across various sectors, mainly in the US, the casino industry is a highly lucrative target for cybercriminals.
Physical casinos handle a substantial amount of money but, moreover, hold a vast amount of personal and financial data. It was reported that as part of the recent round of attacks, Caesars paid “millions” to get their data back.
MGM Resorts was affected on several operating levels, including the use of hotel key cards, guest check-in, and the use of slot machines and ATMs.
Online casinos, built entirely from digital infrastructures, are at the frontline for cyber threats. Common attacks include Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), which will flood the target website with traffic or send information to the site that triggers a crash, disrupting services and impacting the target’s reputation.
Building a Resilient Cyber Infrastructure
The creation of the IGSA’s CRC committee is proof that the industry is taking these threats seriously. By cooperating and forming alliances, the online casino and gaming sector can exchange resources, share threat intelligence, and safeguard against well-organized, multi-targeted attacks.
Regular audits are another way to prevent unwanted access to sensitive systems. Penetration testing, which entails a simulated and authorized attack by professional, ethical hackers, is a common way for enterprises to evaluate cybersecurity systems, allowing companies to better defend against such attacks.
Some cyberattacks, such as the one recently performed on MGM Resorts, are executed not only through hacking but by using additional methods such as social engineering. Social engineering involves the exploitation of “human error” to gain access to a computer system or to bypass multi-factor authentication.
This includes techniques such as phishing, baiting, or, in some extreme cases, contacting a company’s helpdesk to determine login information.
Adept cybercriminals are often convincing and have the necessary information to avert the sensation of suspicious activity. Employee training can mitigate some of the risk of human error, which many hackers rely on to access targeted systems.
Users should also take steps to prevent falling victim to cyber warfare. There are several strategies for safer online conduct, including using certified providers, creating strong passwords, and regularly updating gaming platforms.
Slotegrator presented its solutions at SBC Summit Barcelona 2023: AI, Telegram Casino, and new features
The 15th stop in Slotegrator’s year-round business trip was SBC Summit Barcelona, held in the Catalan capital from the 19th to 21st of September. Here, Slotegrator presented its AI-integrated flagship product – turnkey online casino solution.
Barcelona was the perfect place to present the new AI-powered capabilities of Slotegrator’s turnkey online casino solution and its phenomenal mobile solution – Telegram Casino. SBC Barcelona Summit is one the biggest industrial events. In 2023, there were a lot of new participants, 15,000+ delegates from different regions who firstly got acquainted with Slotegrator’s Telegram casino – one of the most popular solutions – and noted its convenience and opportunities. Audience also noted that this solution’s arrival was very timely and it’s interesting to explore all its possibilities.
Spain is one of the biggest markets in Western Europe, with its combined GGR of €7.6 billion. The company is interested in this market because of the widespread passion for gaming and esports; annual studies show that the Spanish population really enjoys gambling. From 2010 to 2020, according to Statista, more than 80% of the public participated in gambling annually. So, we see a great potential here with an abiding community interest.
Slotegrator had an interactive presentation to demonstrate the impressive new advantages of its platform, which included:
- An Artificial BI module to ease and accelerate analytical processes and strategic decision-making. The module helps operators track the analytical data they need to improve their business strategy. It allows operators to compare profitability and other indicators (withdrawal, average deposit sum, etc.) of their project with others that operate in the same market.
- A chatbot powered by ChatGPT to enhance customer care on the platform. The bot can consult operators on how to increase income in their project, among other issues, 24/7. The chatbot helps operators streamline their business operations, solve problems, and capitalize on opportunities in the rapidly evolving iGaming industry by providing real-time advice and insights.
- A multiplayer chat function to diversify communication in the player community. Players can open it on any of the front pages of the casino and communicate with other players. This effective retention tool creates an opportunity for networking and creating player communities.
“We presented the new AI-powered capabilities of Slotegrator’s turnkey online casino solution at one of the industry’s most anticipated events – the SBC Barcelona Summit. We believe in AI and embrace this technology because of its efficiency and inexhaustibility. AI has fantastic potential for development in the areas of accelerated data processing, smart analysis, behavioral detection, and accurate prediction. All these options are useful in the iGaming sphere because they help to save time on routine, time-consuming, but nevertheless essential tasks,” says Yana Khaidukova, Managing Director at Slotegrator.
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