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Gig economy companies will emerge from coronavirus crisis ‘harmed’

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Jim Chanos

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

The coronavirus pandemic may not be the boon for gig economy companies that some believe it will be, Kynikos Associates Founder Jim Chanos said on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” Thursday. 

“I think the gig economy companies are going to come out of this harmed, not enhanced,” said the billionaire investor and famous short seller. “I know there’s a body of thought that oh, well everybody will just do food delivery and we’ll all take Ubers and no one is going to buy a car again and I think the flip side of it is that the labor pool issue for the gig economy companies is going to loom very very large coming out of this crisis.”

Chanos said the unemployment benefits being paid to gig economy workers, as outlined in the $2 trillion relief bill, could highlight certain issues with the models of companies like Uber, Lyft and GrubHub. Because these companies classify drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees, the companies have avoided paying into unemployment programs the way a traditional employer would, meaning the payments fall on taxpayers.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi appealed directly to lawmakers and President Donald Trump to secure unemployment benefits for gig economy workers like his. Uber, along with other gig economy companies, has fiercely opposed measures to reclassify its workers as employees, arguing it would strip them of flexibility and supplemental income they enjoy. Uber is challenging a new California law that aims to reclassify its workers along with delivery service Postmates.

While these companies have been integral in transporting food and essential workers during social distancing measures, Chanos said their models could leave them open to government scrutiny and regulation down the road.

“I think both political parties are going to be looking at that pretty hard coming out of the crisis to enhance corporate responsibility in lots of different ways whether it’s keeping employees as independent contractors, whether its restricting buybacks,” Chanos said.

Representatives from Uber, Lyft and GrubHub did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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WATCH: Billionaire investor Jim Chanos: Coronavirus pandemic is going to hurt the gig economy

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GiG to power Hungary’s Casino Win online launch

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Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has agreed a long-term contract with Hungarian land-based casino operator Casino Win to power the launch of its digital offering in the country.

Under the agreement, GIG will provide its platform, frontend development and managed services to Casino Win, which recently secured a licence to extend its offering to online.

Online licences in Hungary are only available to land-based operators that have a physical location in the country. Two of Hungary’s four operators are currently active online, with Casino Win set to launch its offering in the first half of 2021.

The deal with GiG is based on a combination of fixed fees and a revenue share structure, and, as such, GiG said it expects the partnership to make a positive contribution to revenue during the second half of next year.

“We are pleased to have GiG supporting our digital transformation and online player acquisition strategy as we expand into the regulated Hungarian online market,” Casino Win’s managing director Zsolt Kruppa said.

“We believe that by joining our efforts we can transfer the feel and look of our casino’s into an online offering that both caters for our current players as well as attracts new ones.”

GiG’s chief executive Richard Brown added: “Casino Win has a proven track record of success and have some of the market-leading land-based operations.

“We believe that this, in conjunction with GiG’s tailored online offering will lead to further success for the companies, while providing Casino Win’s customer base a seamless, high quality retail and digital experience.”

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Google Fiber gears up for a trial run of its 2-Gig tier

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While it may not exactly be “Déjà vu all over again”—to partially quote Yogi Berra—Google Fiber is gearing up for a 2 Gbps offering

In a Monday blog post, Google Fiber said it was teeing-up the new “2-Gig” tier for a trial run with select subscribers in Nashville, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama next month as part of its Trusted Tester program.

In 2010, Google shook up the telecommunications industry when it first announced its plan to deploy a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) internet service with speeds of up to a 1 gigabit per second, which was 100 times faster than the average speeds of that era.

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While at the time cable operators and other service providers downplayed the need for 1-gigabit services, Google Fiber jumpstarted a rush to deploy the faster speed to residential and business customers. Today, 1G speeds are a almost table stakes across Verizon, Comcast, Charter Communications and AT&T, and other ISPs.

RELATED: CableLabs sticks a fork into DOCSIS 4.0 specification

At last year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, cable operators outlined their vision for delivering 10-gigabit data speeds, which includes the cable industry’s DOCSIS 4.0 specifications. DOCSIS 4.0 was designed to hit downstream speeds of up to 10 Gbps, which is twice the download speed of DOCSIS 3.1, and an upstream of up to 6 Gbps (quadruple the DOCSIS 3.1 upstream speed.)

 Google Fiber’s 2-Gig service costs $100 per month, which is $30 more than its 1-Gig service. It comes with a new Wi-Fi router and Wi-Fi mesh extender.

Google Fiber’s Amalia O’Sullivan, director of product management, said in Monday’s blog that the 2-Gig service will also be trialed in other Google Fiber cities late this fall. The 2-G service will also take a trial run Google Fiber Webpass, which is available in nine U.S. cities.

“This year has made this need for more speed and bandwidth especially acute, as many of us are now living our entire lives — from work to school to play — within our homes, creating unprecedented demand for internet capacity,” O’Sullivan said in her blog. “Google Fiber networks are designed so there’s plenty of capacity to allow our customers, with the right in-home hardware, to reach 2 Gig (and even faster) speeds. Our approach to network design allows us to keep our customers connected to the fastest speeds available.”

After the 2-Gig service passes muster with Google’s voluntary testers, it will be rolled across Google Fiber’s Nashville and Huntsville networks later this year, with plans to launch the service across most of the Google Fiber and Google Fiber Webpass cities early next year.

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GiG signs with Casino Win in Hungary

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GiG signs with Casino Win in Hungary


18 September 2020




(PRESS RELEASE) — Gaming Innovation Group Inc. has today signed a long term contract with Casino Win, one of Hungary’s leading land-based casino operators, for the provision of GiG’s platform, front-end development and managed services to launch their digital operation in the regulated Hungarian market.

Casino Win has been present in the Hungarian gambling market since 2016, and has always prioritized their players to ensure that they receive the highest possible levels of service, coupled with the latest gambling equipment and technology to provide the best gaming experience there is. To complement their successful land-based operations, Casino Win is now taking their operation to the next level by entering the online space.

Online licenses in Hungary are only available to land-based operators who have physical locations within the country. At present there are only four operators in Hungary of which two are already online, with Casino Win becoming the third in H1 2021. Casino Win own three casinos in leading locations across Hungary and offer an extensive selection of slots games as well as roulette, blackjack and poker.

The agreement is based on a combination of fixed fees and revenue share structure. The casino offering is expected to go live in H1 2021, and this partnership is expected to make a positive contribution to GiG’s revenues from the second half of 2021. The term of the contract is for an initial three year period.

Mr. Zsolt Kruppa Managing Director of Casino Win says: “Gaming Innovation Group is known in the iGaming industry as a reliable and trustful company with a history of success working with land-based operators like ourselves. We are pleased to have them supporting our digital transformation and online player acquisition strategy as we expand into the regulated Hungarian online market. We believe that by joining our efforts we can transfer the feel and look of our casino’s into an online offering that both caters for our current players as well as attracts new ones. We are looking forward to a long lasting and mutually beneficial partnership.”

Richard Brown, Chief Executive Officer of GiG says, “We are very pleased to move into the regulated Hungarian market supporting Casino Wins expansion into online. They have a proven track record of success and have some of the market-leading land-based operations. We believe that this, in conjunction with GiG’s tailored online offering will lead to further success for the companies, while providing Casino Win’s customer base a seamless, high quality retail and digital experience.”

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