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The International Social Games Association has released its first report into the state of the free-to-play sector, but its findings have failed to properly address concerns that social casino play may lead to real-money gambling.

With most domestic seasons now complete, the World Cup is just weeks away and players, fans and bookmakers are all anxious for different reasons. Players will want to avoid injury, fans will want to avoid hotspots on the streets of Rio and bookies will want to avoid any technical hitches or glitches both prior to and during the tournament when betting volumes are expected to soar to record levels.

People had high hopes for Bodugi but the Gambling Commission’s suspension of its licence highlights the perils of starting up.

With GSN Games’ acquisition of Bash Gaming marking the second major social casino purchase of the year, and gaming solutions giant Playtech launching into the sector, reports of social casino’s demise seem to have been greatly exaggerated.

The angst among operators about the forthcoming overhaul of the UK tax and regulatory regime was made crystal clear by 888 chief executive Bryan Mattingley in a conference call following publication of the company’s first quarter results last Thursday.

There are less than 100 days to go until the 20th FIFA World Cup kicks off and with Cheltenham almost over, operators will be re-focusing all efforts on the run-up to the June 12th opening day in Sao Paulo, when home nation Brazil faces Croatia.

The Gaming Intelligence Hot 50 2014 will be unveiled on the opening day of ICE next week. But how have previous winners fared?