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Daily Archives: October 7, 2020
Posted: October 7, 2020 at 8:56 am
With the presidential election fast approaching, Russia is preparing for another four years of confrontation with the United States regardless of whetherPresident Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden prevails.
A growing consensus in Moscow is arguing that neither Trump nor Biden will improve relations with Russia if elected and that more importantly, the deepening political polarization in the United States will destabilize Washingtons foreign policy decisionmaking for the foreseeable future.
If you listen to our officials, expectations for relations with the United States are very low regardless of who wins in November, said Andrey Kortunov, director-general of the Russian International Affairs Council, a think-tank affiliated with the foreign ministry.
There is a sense that relations cannot get better in the near future until at least the United States exits its domestic political crisis, he added. But there also is not much room for things to get worse, since they already are on a low-level today.
When Trump won an unexpected victory in the 2016 presidential elections, many in Moscow were hopeful that Russia could find common ground with the bombastic billionaire. Russian lawmakers famously burst into applause on the floor of the State Duma upon learning that Trump would become the next president of the United States. For its part, the Kremlin issued a statement calling Trumps foreign policy approach phenomenally close to that of President Vladimir Putin.
Yet that early optimism quickly faded once it became clear that Trumps stated desire for detente with Russia faced overwhelming opposition from Congress. In the summer of 2017, while Trump was battling accusations that his presidential campaign had colluded with Russia, Congress passed the Countering Americas Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which mandated that the president receive approval from Congress before removing any existing sanctions against Russia.
Moreover, despite Trumps rhetoric about wanting to improve relations with Russia, his administration has pursued a tough line against Moscow. Under Trumps command, the United States withdrew from two arms control treaties with Russia, imposed sanctions against Russias lucrative Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany, began supplying Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, launched missile attacks against Syria over Russias protests, and deployed additional troops to Poland.
Dmitry Suslov, a professor of international relations at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, told me that the Kremlin had little reason to believe that Trumps second term would be any different for U.S.-Russian relations.
In 2016, the majority of the Russian leadership genuinely hoped that Trumps victory would bring an opportunity to end the confrontation and improve relations, he said. Now there is no such expectation whatsoever. The prevailing view is that regardless of the elections outcome, Russia must prepare for confrontation with the United States to continue.
Nevertheless, Suslov noted that Russias leadership likely regards Biden as the worse of two evils since the former vice president is known to support increased pressure on Moscow over its domestic record on democracy and human rights. Biden is also expected to be far more enthusiastic than Trump about backing Ukraine against Russia, Suslov said.
On the campaign trail, Biden has frequently accused Trump of being insufficiently tough on Russia. The former vice president has also suggested that he will impose new sanctions on Russia if elected.
Yet Biden was not always a Russia hawk or a Putin foe. Some of his early remarks about the longtime Russian president were unusually flattering. As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden once compared Putin to Peter the Great, a seventeenth-century tsar credited for modernizing and westernizing Russia.
Upon becoming Barack Obamas vice president in 2009, Biden became a strong supporter of his administrations reset policy with Russia, even coining the term itself.
Bidens relationship with Russia soured over the past decade, however. During a 2011 visit to Moscow, Biden reportedly angered the Kremlin after he told Russian opposition leaders that the United States did not want to see Putin run for a third presidential term. Following Russias annexation of Crimea in 2014, Biden became the Obama administrations point man on Ukraine and spearheaded U.S. efforts to rally its European allies to impose sanctions against the Kremlin.
Yet many in Moscow are increasingly looking less at the specific positions of both candidates, and more at the growing political polarization in the United States. From Russiagate to impeachment, the past several years of political battles in Washington has left a strong impression on Russias political elite, convincing that Washingtons partisan divisions are approaching a boiling point.
The past eight months have only strengthened that perception. During an interview in June, Putin argued that the George Floyd protests were a sign of deep internal crises in the United States and suggested that Washingtons response to the coronavirus pandemic had been undermined by partisan divisions.
Few in Russia understand what is going on right now in the United States, yet looking at the situation from the outside, one gets an impression of total madness, said Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a research group that advises the Russian government.
Lukyanov told me that recent events have convinced Russias leadership that attempting to improve relations with the United States over the next four years is not only pointless but even potentially dangerous. Moscow is concerned that any diplomatic efforts between the two countries would quickly become dragged into U.S. domestic political battles, he explained.
As a result, you often hear [in Moscow] that we should minimize relations with the United States as much as possible until things calm down over there, Lukyanov said. But that is unlikely to happen before 2024 at a minimum since if Biden takes office, he will govern a country as divided as the one Trump did, only the sides will be switched.
How does Russia plan on dealing with a potentially unpredictable United States over the next four years? One option is to continue strengthening relations with China. Since 2014, when Moscow found itself estranged from the West over the Ukraine crisis, Russia and China have boosted their bilateral trade to $110 billion in 2019 while also cutting their reliance on the dollar. The two countries now regularly hold joint military exercises, including in geopolitical hotspots such as the Baltic and South China Seas. Russia has also sought to lessen its technological dependence on the United States by turning to Chinese tech giants like Huawei Technologies.
Suslov told me that Moscow and Beijing are likely to draw closer over the next four years. He argued that the two countries are well-positioned to push back against Washington.
He predicted that deepening polarization would weaken the ability of the United States to conduct an effective foreign policy making it more impulsive, more mercantilist, and less capable of consolidating allies to confront Russia and China.
Russia is going off the assumption that while the United States policy of confrontation is painful but not deadly, Suslov added. And that in the long run, it will be the United States that will have to adjust its policies, adapt to a multipolar world, and accept both Russia and China as legitimate great powers.
Dimitri Alexander Simes is a contributor to the National Interest.
Posted: at 8:56 am
What were senators such as Missouris Josh Hawley and Nebraskas Ben Sasse thinking? Both have Ivy League pedigrees and presumably took a few science courses along the way. They should know the dangers of not wearing masks during indoor events, especially at close quarters.
Already the White House staff has been ravaged in the last week by the virus. Presumably, Trump staffers were too intimidated by the president to practice safe behavior. Reuters reported that Matt Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, was frequently mocked by his colleagues for being a rare White House aide who wore a mask.
But were Hawley and Sasse both senators who may run for president someday that intimidated by peer pressure? What were they afraid of? That Trump might make a 10-second joke at their expense?
Monday afternoon, McConnell declared that it was full steam ahead on the Barrett nomination. But at the rate the Republicans are going, the Barrett confirmation train will need its own hospital car and quarantine facilities.
Trump is a con man who has convinced himself that only losers are threatened by COVID-19. Thats Trumps personal delusion. But what remains baffling in the midst of a pandemic is the way that GOP legislators seemed so determined to play their own daily games of Russian roulette.
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Posted: at 8:56 am
Q. At a double-zero roulette table, I saw someone playing the five-number bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 on almost every spin. It was a $5 table, and she was using $1 chips to bet $1 on the five-number, then spread $4 on other numbers.
Can you think of a good reason to always make the highest house edge bet?
A. Maybe 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 are her lucky numbers but she didnt want to risk more than $1 on the combination.
The house edge on double-zero roulette is 7.89 percent on that combo, sometimes called the basket, and 5.26 percent on every other wager.
You can bet the same numbers and get the lower edge. A two-number split on 0 and 00 and a three-number street on 1, 2 and 3 would do it. So would single-number bets on each of the five. There are other possible combos using three or four bets.
However, each of those combos require multiple bets. The average result when betting $1 on the basket is a 7.89-cent loss. If you bet $1 on the 0-00 split and $1 on the 1-2-3 street, average losses are 5.26 cents on each loss, or 10.52 cents overall.
For someone who is dead set on betting those five numbers, then the basket might be the lowest-loss way to go.
Theres a flaw, of course. Shed be better off with the split and the street while reducing to three bets on other numbers instead of four. That would keep the edge at 5.26 percent. But if shes bound and determined to bet 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 while still making four other bets and staying at table minimum, thats her choice.
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Playtech Expands its Romanian Live Casino Operations European Gaming Industry News – European Gaming Industry News
Posted: at 8:56 am
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Gambling technology company Playtech has announced the significant expansion of its Romanian Live Casino operations.
Originally designed to support the expanding Romanian market, the dedicated studio space is currently home to a range of blackjack, roulette and baccarat Live tables, hosted by native-speaking Romanian, English, Spanish and Italian dealers. The newly upgraded facility will now have twice the number of tables available with the addition of Greek-speaking dealers to serve the Greek market, with the Colombian market to follow.
The unprecedented extension of our Live Casino facility here in Romania reflects not only the significant growth of the local market, but also the major expansion of Playtechs Live Casino business internationally. By investing in the development of our facilities now, we can support the existing building demand for our services as well as planning for future growth. Expansion into newly regulating markets is at the core of Playtechs long-term strategy, and by offering additional capacity and native-speaking dealers for a growing range of languages, we can prepare our business and our partners for an exciting next stage in Live Casino services, Artyom Moskvin, Live Country Manager (Romania) for Playtech Live, said.
Posted: at 8:56 am
All casino games stack the odds in favor of the casino. Thats obvious. The casinos wouldnt stay in business if they didnt.
But people play casino games anyway.
They find them entertaining.
But what one casino gambler finds entertaining varies from what another casino gambler might find entertaining.
This post looks at what pros and cons each of the various casino games offer players.
The biggest pro that blackjack offers is that it offers some of the best odds in the house. The house edge for blackjack, when played with perfect basic strategy, is less than 1%.
The house edge is the statistically predicted amount youll lose on each bet. The lower the house edge is, the better your chances are (generally speaking) of walking away from the game a winner.
The biggest pro in blackjack is that you have a certain amount of agency when playing the game. Agency refers to your ability to affect the outcomes with your decisions. In most casino games, you have no agency at all. You make your bet and hope for the best.
But in blackjack, you get to make decisions that either improve your odds or make them worse.
This is also the biggest con of the game. Some gamblers dont want to play a game where they have any decisions to make. Its too much pressure.
The other big con to blackjack is that its impossible to win any kind of big prize at the blackjack table. If you bet $10, youll win $10 or $15 if you get a blackjack. Some people prefer bigger payouts even if it means they get paid off less often.
The biggest pro for playing real money slots is that you can win a large enough amount of money on a single bet to really make a difference in your life. Even the lower ranges of flat-top machines average a top prizes of 1000 coins. I dont know many people playing dollar slots who wouldnt get excited about a $1000 win.
Of course, this ignores the progressive jackpots that are available, too. These are games where you can literally win a life-changing amount of money. Megabucks has a starting jackpot of $10 million and gets bigger every time someone in Nevada spins the wheel.
Also, slot machines dont involve any skill at all. For some gamblers, this is a great perk. Theyd rather not have the pressure of making decisions. Other gamblers, though, might find the lack of agency disturbing or boring.
The biggest con for playing slot machines is that theyre a huge drain on your bankroll over time. You calculate your expected hourly loss by multiplying the house edge by your hourly action. Most people make 500+ spins per hour at a slot machine, which drives their hourly action through the roof.
Think about it this way:
If youre risking $3 per spin on a slot machine, youre probably putting at least $1500 per hour into action.
If the house edge on the slot machine is only 6% which would make it one of the best-paying slot machines out there you hourly expected loss on that machine is $90.
Compare that to a game like blackjack, where the best you can hope for is 200 hands per hour (and thats if youre heads-up with the dealer). If youre betting $5 per hand, youre only putting $1000 per hour into action. Since the house edge for blackjack is around 1% or as bad as 2% if you play poorly, your hourly loss is likely to be in the $10 to $20 range.
The biggest drawback to slots is that you never know what the house edge is for the game. With all other casino games, you can calculate the house edge for the game by looking at the difference between the odds of winning and the payout odds for a win. Slots odds is important information not made available to gamblers.
I prefer my gambling games to be transparent about the odds theyre offering, and thats just not the case with slot machines. You could play 2 identical slot machines sitting right next to each other on the casino floor, and one might have a house edge of 6%, while the other might have a house edge of 12%.
The biggest pro of craps is that its more fun than any other game in the casino. Its an adrenaline rush, and its a streaky game. You can start off with very little money on the table and find yourself up several times that in minutes.
You can also see all those winnings washed away with a single throw of the dice that goes badly.
The other pro of craps is that it offers some of the best odds in the casino if you stick with the right bets. I always suggest sticking with games where the house edge is 1.5% or less. Craps makes the cut if you stick with the pass or come bets. You can also play dont pass and dont come bets. Taking or laying odds has a house edge of 0%.
You should skip all the other bets at the craps table. This is one of the cons of the game a huge number of bets with a high house edge that the casino staff is going to pressure you to make every time the dice are thrown.
Being a reader of my blog, though, youll be immune to the casinos sales techniques.
The other con is that the game seems complicated to newcomers, and it can be intimidating to learn how craps betting works. Dont worry about it, though. Its less complicated than you think, and most craps players are more welcoming to newcomers than you might think.
The biggest pro for roulette is that its easy to understand. I was able to pick up how to play in a couple of bets, and most gamblers are smart enough to do the same. You dont have to stress out about learning a lot of jargon or looking foolish at the roulette table.
The other big pro for roulette is that you have some flexibility with how volatile you want your bets to be. If you want to experience lots of small wins, you can place even money bets which win half the time. If you prefer to see larger wins that happen less often, you can place bets on single numbers and see a payoff of 35 to 1 when you win.
You can place bets with payouts in between, too.
The biggest pro for roulette is that its a relaxed, slow-paced game where you dont have to put much money into action per hour. This reduces your average hourly loss. The biggest cons for roulette are the high house edge and the lack of a skill element.
In American roulette, the default house edge is 5.26%, which is far outside of my usual recommendation. If you can find a European roulette game, though one with a single zero instead of a 0 and a 00, you can get a lower house edge of 2.70%.
In most Vegas casinos, the European roulette games have a higher minimum bet than the standard American roulette tables.
Some people fall for some terrible casino betting systems related to roulette, like the Martingale. If youre a sucker for those kinds of things, roulette might be a game youd be better off avoiding.
If you like having some influence over the outcome of your gambling games, video poker might be ideal for you especially if youre an introvert. I usually recommend blackjack to casino players who want to make decisions that matter.
But introverts often dislike blackjack because of the necessity of sitting with other players at the table.
Another pro to video poker is the low house edge. You can find video poker games with a house edge of between 0.3% and 0.5%. You must be able to use close-to-optimal video poker strategy to see those numbers, though.
Video poker doesnt lack cons, though. Its as fast-paced a game as slot machines, so youll be putting a lot of money into action per hour when you play video poker. Just like slots, youll probably make 500 bets per hour when playing video poker games.
Its also more volatile than some of the games with a low house edge. Even though the house edge is low, part of why its low is because of the payout for a royal flush, which only comes up once every 40,000 hands. That means youll only see a royal flush on average once every 80 hours or so.
The other con to video poker is that the house edge varies based on the pay table. If youre not familiar with how the various pay tables work, you might easily find yourself at a video poker game where the house edge is 6% or 7% instead of the 0.3% to 0.5% I was touting earlier.
All gambling games in a casino have their pros and cons. Much of the decision about what you should and shouldnt bet on in the casino boils down to your personal preferences.
There are no right or wrong answers, although I think you should stick with games where the house edge is lower than 1.5%.
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Union claims DWP is putting lives at risk by forcing people to attend interviews – Stoke-on-Trent Live
Posted: at 8:56 am
Union reps have spoken out after claiming job-seekers are being needlessly forced to attend Jobcentre interviews - when they could be conducted over the phone.
Civil Service Union PCS says the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is playing 'Russian roulette' with the health and lives of some of the most vulnerable members of society - especially in areas which are seeing an increase in Covid-19 infections.
The call comes as the number of people claiming benefits across Staffordshire increased last month, as a result of the pandemic.
Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that 13,155 people living in Stoke-on-Trent claimed benefits last month (August) - compared to 12,820 in July.
At the same time, the number of claimants living in Newcastle has increase from 3,955 in July to 4,060 in August.
While the number of job-seekers in Stafford and the Staffordshire Moorlands have increased to 2,975 and 1,820 from 2,845 and 1,710 respectively over the month-long period.
Throughout the pandemic, job centres have continued to operate to ensure those who are unemployed can get help.
Until now, most of the contact has been digitally or by telephone, with ability to see those most vulnerable and who are unable to use these forms of communication face-to-face.
But from this week DWP bosses are demanding that members of the public turn up to job centres to conduct business.
PCS is now calling on DWP to halt the process immediately over fears it will mean job-seekers not only mixing with other people in job centres, but also with others travelling to and from - when there is no need.
PCS Midlands regional secretary, Andrew Lloyd said: "DWP appear to want to play Russian roulette with health and lives with our members and members of the public.
"There is no need get more people into Jobcentres, and not to offer the option of conducting matters over the phone from the outset defies any logic at best, at worst it needlessly puts people at risk."
As it stands, DWP will conduct telephone appointments - but only if they are specifically requested by the job-seeker.
A DWP Spokesperson said: "Staff and customer safety is our priority. Sites have been adapted to ensure they are Covid-19 secure and we have engaged and consulted extensively about the safety of our colleagues including with the PCS many of whom have continued to work in our sites throughout Covid-19.
"We are actively engaged with PCS and other unions about how to ensure the continued safety of our employees and support the most vulnerable in society."
Recruitment company boss Claire Leigh believes the DWP need to be flexible.
Claire, who runs Brampton Recruitment in Newcastle, said: "What is the need to go into branch? it's risking the job-seeker and the employee when there isn't a need. I understand some people might not have the technology to be able to have a virtual meeting but surely a phone call can be had if they can't see them via a video call. It is about adapting to the situation."
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She added: "We are working in the office but we are all distanced we can work from home if needed as well so we can be flexible. We've adapted to virtual registrations and have produced a new application form on our website as well for people to complete and upload to us, then we have the virtual meeting to go through it. It's working really well and it's saving time for the job-seeker."
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Posted: at 8:56 am
Two Americans and a British scientist have won the 2020 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for their groundbreaking work on blood-borne hepatitis, a health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer around the world.
Harvey J Alter at the US National Institutes of Health in Maryland, Charles M Rice from Rockefeller University in New York, and Michael Houghton, a British virologist at the University of Alberta in Canada, were honoured for their joint discovery of the hepatitis C virus, a major cause of liver disease.
The award, announced on Monday by the Nobel assembly from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is worth 10m Swedish kronor (870,000), which will be shared among the winners.
Thanks to their discovery, highly sensitive blood tests for the virus are now available and these have essentially eliminated post-transfusion hepatitis in many parts of the world, greatly improving global health, the Nobel committee said.
Speaking of how he heard the news, Alter said he ignored the phone twice when it rang before 5am local time. The third time I got up angrily to answer it and it was Stockholm. Its a weird experience, he said. Its the best alarm clock Ive ever had. Rice said he was absolutely stunned on receiving the call, adding it is a success story for team science.
The prize may prove controversial. In 2013, Houghton refused a major award for his hepatitis C work because it excluded two former co-workers, George Quo and Qui-Lim Choo, who helped him identify the virus. Houghton, who received his PhD from Kings College London in 1977, said his colleagues did not get the recognition they deserved.
David Pendlebury, a citation analyst at Clarivate, a scientific data firm, said he was surprised the Nobel committee had made the award. Theres no question about the importance of this work and the worthiness of this prize, but one assumes the Nobel committee tries to avoid controversy where possible, he said. The award threw into high relief the perennial issue of the Nobels rule of three, he added, where no more than three researchers can be named for discoveries that have often been team efforts.
Houghton accepted the Nobel but said he hoped future award committees would recognise larger groups of scientists. Great science, often, is a group of people and I think going forward we somehow need to acknowledge that, he said. Asked for his advice to students, he said: If you have the passion you are likely to be successful. Find your passion.
The scientists work transformed the understanding and treatment of hepatitis C, a virus that infects more than 70 million people, and kills 400,000 a year, according to the World Health Organization.
In the 1940s, doctors knew there were two main types of infectious hepatitis. The first, transmitted by the hepatitis A virus, spread via contaminated food and water and tended to have little long-term impact on people. The second, spread by blood and body fluids, was more insidious. Patients could be silently infected for years before serious complications emerged liver cancer and liver scarring known as cirrhosis.
Researchers discovered hepatitis B in the 1960s, but it quickly became clear that it was not the only cause of the blood-borne infections. While studying hepatitis spread by blood transfusions, Alter found that some patients were being infected by an unknown agent. Having a transfusion at the time was like Russian roulette, the Nobel committee said. Alter later showed that blood from the patients could transmit the disease to chimpanzees.
The next breakthrough came from Houghton and his colleagues at Chiron. Through a new and untested strategy, they used human antibodies from patients to help identify the mystery pathogen and sequenced the genetic code of what became the hepatitis C virus.
The final step in the effort came from Rice, then at Washington University in St Louis, who demonstrated that the virus alone could cause hepatitis, explaining the remaining infections spread by blood transfusions. The advent of sensitive tests for hepatitis C and antiviral drugs to treat the infection soon followed, saving millions of lives.
The discovery was crucial in defining the fact that there was this other virus that was so important, particularly for transfusion-related infections, said Graham Cooke, the NIHR professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London. Since then weve seen a tremendous explosion in our understanding of the virus, to the point that we are now talking about eliminating hepatitis C.
The physics prize will be announced on Tuesday and the prize for chemistry on Wednesday, both from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Posted: at 8:56 am
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Posted: at 8:56 am
WASHINGTON For all the divisions in Washington, one issue that had united Republicans and Democrats in recent years was their animus toward the power of the biggest tech companies.
That bipartisanship was supposed to come together this week in a landmark House report that caps a 15-month investigation into the practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. The report was set to feature recommendations from lawmakers to rein in the companies, including the most sweeping changes to U.S. antitrust laws in half a century.
But over the past few days, support for the recommendations has split largely along party lines, said five people familiar with the talks, who were not authorized to speak publicly because the discussions are private.
On Monday, the Democratic staff on the House Judiciary Committee delayed the reports release because they were unable to gain Republican support. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the committee, has asked his colleagues not to endorse the Democratic-led report, said two people with knowledge of the discussions. And Representative Ken Buck, a Republican of Colorado, has circulated a separate report titled The Third Way that pushes back against some of the Democrats legislative recommendations, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times.
The Republicans chief objections to the report are that some of the legislative proposals against the tech giants could hamper other businesses and impede economic growth, said four people with knowledge of the situation. Several Republicans were also frustrated that the report didnt address claims of anti-conservative bias from the tech platforms. Mr. Buck said in The Third Way that some of the recommendations were a nonstarter for conservatives.
The partisan bickering has cast a cloud over what would be Congresss most aggressive act to curtail the power of technology companies since Microsoft stood trial on antitrust claims two decades ago. And while the House report may still be released this week, it is likely to lose some of its force if Democrats, led by Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, the chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, are unable to gain many signatures from Republican members.
The turmoil gives Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google a reprieve, even if only temporarily. The House committee was expected to accuse them of rising to the top of the global economy by gobbling up nascent rivals, bullying businesses that needed them to reach users and reducing competition across the economy, said three people familiar with the report.
The report was also expected to kick off other actions against the tech giants. The Justice Department has been working to file an antitrust complaint against Google, followed by separate suits against the internet search giant from state attorneys general.
Mr. Cicilline declined to comment. Russell Dye, a spokesman for Mr. Jordan, also declined to comment.
I agree with Chairman Cicilline that big tech has acted anti-competitively, Mr. Buck said in a statement. But, he added, with a problem this significant, Im not surprised that theres a variety of legislative options.
The House Judiciary Committee began its investigation into the four tech giants in June 2019 with bipartisan support. The committee interviewed hundreds of rivals and business clients of the platforms, such as third-party sellers on Amazon and developers who distribute their apps through Apples App Store.
In July, the chief executives of the tech behemoths Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google testified in a hearing with the committee to defend their companies. Republican and Democratic lawmakers directed sharp questions at the chief executives, repeatedly interrupting and talking over them.
But the bipartisanship has eroded. Mr. Jordan, who became the committees top Republican this year, has been publicly skeptical of the investigation. He spent much of his time in the July hearing attacking the chief executives for their platforms alleged bias against conservatives, straying from the sessions stated focus of antitrust laws and Silicon Valleys market power.
Last week, the committees Democratic staff made its draft report available to all members of the committee who wanted to review it, said a person with knowledge of the proceedings. The lawmakers were not allowed to take a copy of the draft with them, the person said.
On Friday, staff received new evidence about Facebooks 2012 acquisition of Instagram to include in the report, which also delayed it, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Mr. Jordan now has no plans to sign on to the Democrats report, one person said. His reluctance to endorse the report may cause other Republicans on the committee to withhold their signatures.
Mr. Buck shared his separate report, The Third Way, in recent days. It supports several recommendations made by the committees Democrats, including giving more resources to federal antitrust agencies and making limited legislative changes to empower enforcement of antitrust laws. But it pushes back against other proposals, like not allowing companies online to compete on platforms they operate, calling it a thinly veiled call to break up Big Tech firms, according to the draft obtained by The Times.
Mr. Jordans office was not involved in the drafting process for Mr. Bucks Third Way, said a person familiar with the matter. The document was reported earlier by Politico.
Antitrust laws last underwent a major alteration nearly 50 years ago, when new rules were enacted around merger reviews. The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976 required companies to notify the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department the main antitrust enforcement agencies of large mergers. Those laws are now regarded by techs critics as insufficient in accounting for the companies power to quickly expand across new markets and kill off young competitors.
William Kovacic, former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, said the House Judiciary Committees antitrust report has the potential to be the most influential study of its kind since the 1970s. He added, It could lead to really big changes, but any changes would come slowly.
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Posted: at 8:56 am
The forthcoming antitrust proposal by the US House of Representatives is being called a "thinly veiled call to break up" large technology firms including Apple, Google, and Facebook.
Following the US House of Representative's final hearing on the topic of big tech antitrust, a draft response claims that the as-yet unreleased proposals call for the breakup of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
According to Reuters, Republican Congressman Ken Buck has responded to the forthcoming report, criticizing its main conclusions. "This proposal is a thinly veiled call to break up Big Tech firms," he wrote. "We do not agree with the majority's approach."
While Buck writes that he agrees with concerns about Big Tech, he objects to the report's plan to require companies to delineate a clear "single line of business." He reportedly points out that Amazon, for example, runs both its ecommerce store and the separate but hugely successful Amazon Cloud Services.
"The report offers a chilling look into how Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook have used their power to control how we see and understand the world," continued Buck. "[However] these potential changes need not be dramatic to be effective."
The House antitrust subcommittee is expected to publish its report before October 9. Any road to break-up will take years, and may not happen, depending on political will going forward.
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