The gambling industry saw a lot of action in 2014. There were a lot of exciting and positive changes, as well as some disappointments. Here are some of the highlights of world events from the year that have ties to the gambling industry. First Quarter (January, February and March) The first part of 2014 saw a mix of everything. There were several developments, as well as a few companies that didn’t get to take hold in the new year. Las Vegas concluded its fifth year of decreased earnings. Gamesys/Virgin went live online in New Jersey. UK officials asked ISPs to block gambling sites without a UK license and the ISPs refused. Full-Tilt Poker partnered with Leander Games and also launched casino games. Merge Gaming dropped poker players in New Jersey and Delaware. Zynga laid off hundreds of employees. First online scratch tickets in US were sold in Michigan. Williams Interactive sold JackpotParty to SkillOnNet. Caesars Interactive Entertainment acquired Pacific Interactive. GSN Games acquired Bash Gaming (Bingo Bash developer). Las Vegas Sands admitted hackers stole consumer info. Sheriff Gaming’s Alderney license was revoked. Black Belt Poker closed. BetFair unveiled “Paddy Power Bets at Betfair” ad campaign. Carter Gill won the Latin series of Poker Millions. The UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 moved to the final stage of Royal Assent. Second Quarter (April, May and June) The second quarter of the year was a big one for celebrities and acquisitions. Phil Ivey was accused of edge sorting by The Borgada. Victoria Coren Mitchell won the European Poker Tour for the second time. China announced they would be issuing sports-betting licenses. Ben Affleck was banned from the Hard Rock Casino for counting cards. Gamesys dropped Bingo and Slots Friendzy, the Facebook real-money gambling apps. Bally Technologies acquired Dragonplay. Revel Casino Hotel filed for bankruptcy. Amaya Gaming purchased PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker for 4.9 billion-dollars after months of claiming they weren’t working on a deal. This made Amaya the world’s biggest publicly-listed online gambling company. Zynga launched its poker leagues. Third Quarter (July, August and September) There was more activity in the third quarter than at any other part of the year. While land-based casinos did not fare well, online casinos continued to boom, despite legislation issues throughout the world. GTECH acquired International Game Technology for 6.4 billion-dollars. Paul Phua was arrested for operating a sports betting ring at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Ali Tekintamgac was sentenced to three years in prison cheating at poker. World Corp acquired Digiwave Solutions. The Netherlands determined they would charge online casinos a 20-percent tax on revenue. Betsoft’s Alderney gaming license was revoked. The Trump Plaza announced it would be the fourth Atlantic City casino to close in 2014. Bitcoin transactions were banned by Neteller. 888 Holdings dropped their paid-gambling Facebook app. Scientific Games acquired Bally Technologies for 5.1 billion-dollars. Paddy Power admitted that player data had been stolen. Singapore created legislation which included strict penalties for gambling operators. The Trump Taj Mahal became the fifth Atlantic City to close in 2014. Playtech acquired Aristocrat’s lottery operations division. South Korea blocked all social gaming while waiting for each to obtain an age-appropriate rating. LCB Network acquired WizardofOdds and WizardofVegas for 2.35 million-dollars. Ben Affleck admitted he counts cards. The UK announced it would wait to roll out new gambling laws. Mybet and others announced they were leaving the UK market. South Africa suspended every member of their National Gambling Board for undisclosed reasons. Fourth Quarter (October, November and December) At the time this was written, December hadn’t quite wrapped up yet. However, it seemed that the fourth quarter quieted down the flurry of activity the industry had recently seen. Intertain Group acquired Vera&John. Studies were released which showed a genetic link for people with gambling problems. The Chukchansi Gold Casino was overtaken by armed members of feuding tribal sect. A study was released which showed that there was no correlation between children playing social games and online gambling issues. Churchill Downs acquired Big Fish Games for 885 million-dollars. Yahoo opened and closed their online poker room. Overall, 2014 had some huge developments in regulatory decisions across the globe. Each jurisdiction was working hard to define what gambling options were permissible, as well as who should be able to collect taxes on gambling revenue. Although many of these decisions will carry over into 2015, it looks like online casinos will continue to thrive, though perhaps we’ll see more companies move offshore. Land-based casinos throughout the world are struggling, and 2015 will likely see huge developments in this area. Social casinos had just started to take serious hold in 2014, and we also saw some big changes in technology. There were a lot of mergers and acquisitions, as well as a major movement towards operators who provided a bit of everything. It will be very interesting what 2015 has in store as a result of this year’s events.