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Everything You Need to Know Ahead of Intel Extreme Masters Sydney 2023: The First Live Counter-Strike 2 Event



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Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) returns down under to Sydney, Australia, on October 16 to 22 and will be the first ever live international tournament to be played on Counter-Strike (CS) 2. The final three days of the competition will be held in front of a live audience as fans are invited to enter the Aware Super Theatre to witness history being made.

  • Intel Extreme Masters returns to Sydney as 16 of the world’s best Counter-Strike teams face off on October 16 to 22 to battle it out for a share of the US$250,000 prize pool.
  • During the final three days, the top six teams will compete in front of a live crowd at the iconic Aware Super Theatre.
  • The winning team will cement their spot in eSports history as the first Champions in Counter-Strike 2 and take a step forward in the race to secure Intel Grand Slam V.
  • Amongst others, local heroes Grayhound.Rivalry and VERTEX Esports Club will be attending, fighting for the crown.
  • The competition will be streamed live from Sydney on ESL Counter-Strike Twitch and YouTube channels and via dedicated broadcast partners.

Here is all you need to know about IEM Sydney 2023

IEM Sydney 2023 will see 16 top CS 2 teams compete for a total prize pool of US$250,000, a win in the race to secure Intel Grand Slam V and a spot in the Group Stage of IEM Katowice 2024, the first ESL Pro Tour Championship event next year. Commencing October 16, contenders from around the globe will compete in Sydney with the six best teams facing off live in front of a packed-out audience at the Aware Super Theatre between October 20 to 22.

The Caches IV show-match


Powered by Intel and Acer, The Caches is a legendary fan-favourite show-match that will be making its return to IEM Sydney for a fourth time. As a lead-in to the IEM Sydney Grand Final, Team Australia will battle it out against Team UK at 16:30 local time on Sunday, October 22, with Chad ‘SPUNJ’ Burchill and Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer returning to the stage and continuing their epic rivalry.

Schedule and format

Group Stage (October 16 to 18):

  • Featuring 16 teams of which the top six advance to the playoffs.
    * The group stage will be a double-elimination bracket.
    * Opening matches are best-of-one.
    * All following matches are best-of-three.
    * Group stage winners advance to the semi-finals.
    * The group stage runners-up advance to the quarterfinals as the high seeds.
    * The group stage third-place teams advance to the quarter-finals as the low seeds.

Playoffs (October 20 to 22):

  • Played in a single elimination format.
  • The quarter-finals, semi-finals and grand final will all be best-of-three.

Teams attending

  • ENCE (ESL Partner Team)
  •  FaZe Clan (ESL Partner Team)
  • G2 Esports (ESL Partner Team)
  • MOUZ (ESL Partner Team)
  • Natus Vincere (ESL Partner Team)
  • Team Vitality (ESL Partner Team)
  • Cloud9 (ESL World Ranking)
  • Fnatic (ESL World Ranking)
  • GamerLegion (ESL World Ranking)
  • Monte (ESL World Ranking)
  • Grayhound.Rivalry (Local Hero Invite)
  • Apeks (European Qualifier)
  • BetBoom Team (European Qualifier)
  • Complexity Gaming (North American Qualifier)
  • Lynn Vision Gaming (Asian Qualifier)
  • VERTEX Esports Club (Oceanic Qualifier)

Prize money (USD)

TOTAL $250,000
1st $100,000
2nd $42,000
3rd-4th $20,000
5th-6th $10,000
7th – 8th $6,000
9th – 12th $5,000
13th-16th $4,000

Broadcast talent

  • Tres ‘stunna’ Saranthus (Desk Host)
  • Freya ‘Freya’ Spiers (Desk Host)
  • Janko ‘YNk’ Paunovic (Analyst)
  • Sudhen ‘Bleh’ Wahengbam (Analyst)
  • Aleksandar ‘kassad’ Trifunovic (Analyst)
  • Anastasija ‘Heccu’ Tolmaceva (Sideline Reporter)
  • Alex ‘Machine’ Richardson (Caster)
  • Chad ‘SPUNJ’ Burchill (Caster)
  • James Bardolph (Caster)
  • Alex ‘Hawka’ Hawkins (Caster)
  • Mitch ‘Conky’ Concanen (Stage Host)
  • Jordan ‘Elfishguy’ Mays (Caster)
  • Mitchell ‘pilski’ Pilipowski (Caster)
  • Geordie ‘Mac’ McAleer (Caster)
  • James ‘jimNeso’ Cowan (Caster)

On-site side activities

Held in conjunction with IEM Sydney, the SXSW Sydney Innovation and Technology expo takes place on October 18 to 21, giving fans attending the event in person the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of on-site activities:

  • At the Intel Booth, fans are invited to try out the latest games and hardware, participate in activities and get their idols’ signatures.
  • At the ESL Shop, attendees can pick up official eSports merch including exclusive drops, Kolex Cards and their favourite team’s jersey. Local teams Vertex and Grayhound.Rivalry will also be stocked.
  • The Monster Energy Booth features a sampling bar where fans can grab their prefered flavor, meet Monster streamers, get a fresh haircut and more.
  • Stay tuned as additional details and activities will be revealed.

Where to watch

Fans tuning in online and watching the matches from around the globe can look forward to an exciting broadcast filled with extra content.

The live broadcast will be available on the ESL Counter-Strike Twitch and YouTube channels. For those unable to tune in live, all matches will also be available to watch for free on-demand via YouTube.

Assets for IEM Sydney 2023 can be found in the press kit.

For more information about IEM Sydney 2023 and the latest updates, please visit the official website and follow ESL Counter-Strike on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Details of the mentioned activities are still subject to change.



BTG’s ‘Christmas Catch’ Slot Hits Evolution Network December 1



Reading Time: 2 minutes


Is there anything more Christmassy than BTG’s Christmas Catch?

The countdown to Christmas has begun, which can mean only one thing: a new festive game from Big Time Gaming. Christmas Catch is high on volatility, even higher on tinsel, and comes stuffed with more goodies than Santa’s sack. This seasonal slot will be hitting the Evolution Network on December 1 like a Christmas pud out of a bazooka.

If all you want for Christmas is a seasonal twist on BTG’s fan favourite Golden Catch slot, then you’ve come to the right place. Christmas Catch takes the magic of the original and transplants it to a winter wonderland on Christmas Eve.


Santa’s hardworking reindeer are putting in overtime this year. With every every spin and reaction, there’s the chance of a Sleigh symbol appearing above reels two to five. Whenever winning symbols are removed, one or more Gift Bonus Prizes may appear. Gift Bonus Prizes are awarded for each Sleigh and can be worth up to 500x the bet, depending on how many symbols are on its reel.

Meanwhile, land three Golden Pudding scatters in the base game to win 10 free spins, with an additional two for every scatter beyond the third. Then it’s take-off for Rudolph and his reindeer pals. The first Sleigh sets off with a 1x Sleigh Multiplier, and with each subsequent Sleigh, the multiplier increases by 1, enhancing your Gifts Bonus Prizes as it goes.

By gathering three or more Scatters during your Free Spins, you’ll be gifted four extra Free Spins. And just like before, for every Scatter beyond the third, you’ll receive an extra two Free Spins, ensuring the festivities continue.

Meanwhile, because this is a Megaways slot, there can be up to 117,649 ways to win on each spin, which could make for some potential big wins this Christmas.

Nik Robinson, BTG CEO, said: “We love this time of year because we have a lot of momentum with our annual Christmas slot, and we have sprinkled as much festive fun as we can onto Christmas Catch. And so, on behalf of everyone at BTG, we’d like to wish all slots fans around the world, health, wealth, happiness and prosperity this Christmas season.” 


Nicholas Peters, Chief Business Development Officer for Europe at Evolution said: “Christmas-themed slots are becoming a genre unto themselves, but Christmas Catch must be a contender for the best one ever. This is more than just a seasonal gimmick, it’s a seriously good game with the kind of hugely engaging gameplay we’ve come to expect from BTG.”

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Tabcorp Appoints New Chief Financial Officer



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Tabcorp Holdings has announced the appointment of Mark Howell as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Howell is currently the general manager liquor finance and network optimisation for Coles Group Limited’s liquor business, which trades as Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice Liquor Market.

He has formerly held senior finance, strategy, business development and investor relations roles at Coles, as well as senior banking roles at Rothschild and Goldman Sachs in Australia and New York.


Adam Rytenskild, Managing Director and CEO of Tabcorp, said: “Mark is the perfect fit for Tabcorp as we deliver our transformation. He’s passionate about our growth story and dynamic in his thinking.

“Wagering is one of the most competitive industries in Australia and Mark comes from an equally competitive customer focused industry. His experience leading finance teams at Coles and working closely with investors will be invaluable moving forward.”

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South Australia: Gambling Report Urges Primetime Ad Ban



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South Australia has banned gambling ads on television from 4 pm to 7:30 pm, now a parliamentary inquiry has concluded Victoria should do similar.

The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) is urging the state government to consider stricter rules on gambling ads during primetime broadcasts and in public places.

“More appropriate regulations and safeguards are needed to protect Victorians, especially our children and young people,” Committee Chair Sarah Connolly said.


The report also urges the government to consider the impact of reducing the total number of electronic gaming machines across the state and update education resources for school students about gambling and alcohol-related harms.

“Our culture has often been described as one that tends to normalise both drinking and gambling,” Ms Connolly said.

“The Committee heard evidence to suggest that this has become more entrenched than ever, with the rise in social media and digital technology.”

Over eight months PAEC reviewed three Auditor-General’s reports relating to the regulation of gambling and liquor, and reducing the harm caused by gambling.

“Our report’s 96 findings and 61 recommendations have been informed by 54 public submissions, three days of public hearings, a Geelong site visit and a youth roundtable,” Ms Connolly said.

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