10 Great Spring Hiking Destinations in the Southeast

first_imgWhat better way to explore the outdoors than to hit the trails? Adventure awaits in the woods, and with mother nature on the brink of showing off for Spring, there’s no better time than now to tug on the hiking shoes and get outside. Pack a picnic and bring the kids, or grab a friend and catch up as you trek the paths that relax your mind, refresh your soul, and take your breath away.1. Shining Rock Wilderness, North Carolina The Shining Rock Wilderness is the largest wilderness area in North Carolina. As part of the Pisgah National Forest, there are several diverse hiking trails to choose from. Two of the main access points are Art Loeb and Investor’s Gap (moderate and easy, respectively), which are both well-traveled trails, but have incredible views. The Art Loeb makes the ascent up the side of Cold Mountain where the Cold Mountain trail itself takes you all the way to the peak. It’s a strenuous hike – about 11 miles round-trip to the peak and back – but once you see the view from the top, you’ll be too amazed to feel tired.3867348585_f265a7cca3_oView from Cold Mountain in the Shining Rock Wilderness2. DeSoto State Park, Alabama One of the best places to go for a hike in Alabama is DeSoto State Park. The park is located on Lookout Mountain with gorgeous ridges, amazing waterfalls and a peaceful river. There are over 25 miles of hiking trails ranging anywhere from easy to expert. Take the DeSoto Scout Trail, a historic 16 mile trail with exits along the way. It follows along Little River all the way to Little River Canyon National Preserve, where you can find some of the most breathtaking waterfalls you’ve ever seen.  Don’t forget to bring the camera – you’ll kick yourself if you don’t.Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 2.42.11 PMDeSoto State Park Trail to Laurel Falls3. Smoky Mountains, TennesseeHow can you list places to go hiking in the Southeast without mentioning the Smoky Mountains? Whether you choose the North Carolina side or the Tennessee side, the Smokies won’t disappoint. To find a trailhead to Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top, follow the Abrams Creek out of the Cades Cove picnic area, and you’ll find the Anthony Creek Trail. Grassy meadows, fragrant flowers and azaleas bursting with color will accompany you on this trail. Make frequent stops along the trail to take in your surroundings, some of the most regal views in the entire Smoky Mountains.View near Thunderhead MountainView near Thunderhead Mountain4. Sipsey Wilderness, AlabamaFor a truly wild experience check out Alabama’s Sipsey Wilderness. It is part of the Bankhead National Forest and is a popular wilderness area for both hikers and backpackers. There are many trails to choose from for a day hike or multiple-day backpacking trip. The Sipsey features waterfalls, free-flowing creeks, scenic overlooks and a yellow poplar named Big Tree that has become a star attraction. At 150-feet tall and 25-feet around, Big Tree is the largest specimen of poplar in Alabama.5490540429_cfa531afa7_bCool creek waters at Sipsey Wilderness5. Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, VirginiaScott’s Run Nature Preserve is as unique as it is beautiful. Home to remarkable wildflowers such as Virginia Bluebells and sessile trillium as well as rare species of flowers (please don’t pick them!), you’ll find yourself slowing down so that you don’t miss the streaks of color, tiny blooms and impressive hardwood trees. Go in the spring after a fresh rain and witness nature’s wonders as the creeks are swollen and spilling over into clear waterfalls and brilliant mushrooms peek up from the soil. Although this is a popular place to visit among the locals, please leave only footprints behind, as this beautiful atmosphere is threatened by the pollution and destruction of visitors. Grab a trail map and see just how many fun discoveries you can make along the way.11001328633_63af4258e9_kGorgeous waterfall in Scott’s Run Nature Preserve6. Jones Gap State Park, South CarolinaGet lost (in a good way) in Jones Gap State Park, where you’ll find little waterfalls at nearly every turn. There are many miles of trails to explore and find adventure in the great outdoors. The park requires registration before using the trails, for the protection of both hikers and nature. Count the beautiful cascades as you go, and notice the blooming flora and scampering fauna as you enjoy the quiet serenity of mother nature.127882186_8403ad425c_bOne of many refreshing waterfalls at Jones Gap State Park7. Monongahela National Forest, West VirginiaThere are few places as gorgeous as the Monongahela National Forest. With elevation ranges from 1000 feet to 4863 feet above sea level and diverse patterns of precipitation, it’s no wonder that this national forest is considered one of the most ecologically diverse in the country. Anything from the Cranberry Glades Botanical area to the Falls of Hills Creek, this paradise has much to explore.Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 3.00.50 PMRaven Ridge Trail at Monongahela National Forest8. Grandfather Mountain, North CarolinaNorth Carolina is rich in beauty and nature. There are so many opportunities to experience the earth through hiking with rolling hills crawling with wildlife, grassy meadows covered in carpets of flowers, and mountains that will make you forget everything in life to absorb the moment. Grandfather Mountain is a landmark that encompasses all that makes North Carolina unique, with 11 diverse trails to choose from fit for a party of one, or the entire family.3845864216_bc083c6422_bScenic overlook from Grandfather Mountain9. Radnor Lake State Park, TennesseeNestled in Nashville, Tennessee is Radnor Lake State Park, more than 1300 acres of forests and trails perfect for getting away from the city and entering the serene peace of the outdoors. The Natural Area preserves the natural state of the woods with rare wildflowers such as blood root and majestic wild life such as the bald eagles. It is a popular place for Nashville area residents to retreat into the woods and hit the trails for a breath of fresh air and scenic views.5219448777_a2ff346bb6_bTiny chipmunk scampering through Radnor Lake State Park10. Stone Mountain, GeorgiaWhen I think hiking in Georgia, Stone Mountain is one of the first places that comes to mind. Although it’s a popular place to hit the trails, and for the most part isn’t strenuous, it’s still lots of fun. There are trails as short as ¾ mile, and as long as 5 miles. Each trail will provide a different experience of the park area, and trail maps are available to use as a guide. Although Stone Mountain itself as an attraction is highly commercialized, it is surrounded by natural getaways that will take you along side lakes, up to the top of the mountain for a panoramic scenic view, or even through a Nature Garden where you can enjoy colorful plants and flowers in all their spring glory.2463358302_30eeb1206b_bHiking Stone Mountainauthor-photoNatalie Cone is a freelance writer from Birmingham, Alabama. As a nature enthusiast and mother of two boys, she writes articles about all things outdoors and blogs about the mishaps of motherhood. Her fiction short stories have won three first-place contest awards, and have appeared in various magazine publications and anthologies. Natalie can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NatalieWrites, on Twitter @nataliecone and in a field of flowers at springtime.last_img read more

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You are still in control…

first_imgI had a birthday recently.  I’m not writing this to solicit a “happy birthday” from you.  But if you feel so inclined, who am I to stop you? The reason I mentioned my birthday, is that I got a hoot out of all the Facebook messages I received. High school buddies. Credit union buddies. College buddies. Lots and lots of buddies.  I mentioned this to a close friend, who indicated her distaste of Facebook. Too much politics and rabble-rousing, she said. Not for me. My Facebook feed is full of pictures of friends and their families. People who get political get dropped from my feed.  I have no problem with people being political. I just don’t need or want that in my feed.  So they get cut. And what am I left with? Snippets of love and happiness from people that I’ve met during my 47 years on Planet Earth. For me, that’s priceless. And I think the same applies to other areas of life. Many will try to tell you what you need. What you should buy. Or watch. Or say. Phooey. That’s what I say. Figure out what you want, and make it happen. Don’t worry about “them.” You have the steering wheel. You are in control. And if you want to be my Facebook buddy, go right ahead.  I’d love it.Just don’t get political.  4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Anthony Demangone Anthony Demangone is executive vice president and chief operating officer at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU). Demangone oversees day-to-day operations and manages the association’s education, membership, … Web: https://www.cuinsight.com/partner/nafcu Detailslast_img read more

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Postal Service urged to hone plans for coping with anthrax

first_imgSep 15, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the most important lesson gleaned from examining the anthrax exposures in US Postal Service (USPS) facilities in 2001 is that agencies must err on the side of caution to protect people from uncertain and potentially life-threatening risks. GAO investigators concluded that critical information that could have alerted public health agencies and USPS to the risks postal employees faced in 2001 was not quickly available. The agency also suggests that the USPS update its guidelines for responding to anthrax attacks and similar threats. The Postal Service’s revised rules from December 2003 still don’t address problems that occurred during the anthrax incidents, investigators say. Despite the proximity of postal inspectors, public health experts, and FBI agents, agencies reported that information was not always shared among those involved, the report adds. The Postal Service response to the anthrax attacks has included creating a center to coordinate internal communication and collaborating with other agencies to develop guidelines for such incidents, the GAO says. “It’s important for agencies to err on the side of caution—meaning that agencies should choose a course of action that poses the least risk of harm to individuals,” the GAO recommends in the Sep 9 report. See also: The USPS closed the two postal facilities, but other contaminated sites remained open. The GAO’s findings were based on its review of actions surrounding closure of the two facilities and the decision to keep three others open. Brentwood was back in operation in December 2003, and Trenton is expected to reopen in February 2005. The GAO investigation into the United States’ first cases of bioterrorism-related anthrax came at the request of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., ranking minority member of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, and Reps. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., and Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.center_img Those guidelines have three main weaknesses, the GAO reports: They don’t define key terms such as what should trigger evacuation of a site; they include outdated, potentially confusing references; and they don’t address issues such as what steps to take between initial diagnosis of anthrax in a postal worker and confirmation of the disease by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although agencies are preparing policies and procedures to avoid confusion about where employees should obtain emergency medical services and who should pay for those services, it’s not clear when they will be ready, the GAO notes. The agency recommends that the Postal Service set and meet a clear schedule for completing those policies and procedures. Health officials initially underestimated the risks posed by the anthrax letters. Both the CDC and the Postal Service said agency officials would have made different decisions if they had understood earlier that anthrax spores could leak from taped, unopened letters and sicken postal workers. The USPS responded to a draft of the GAO report by saying it agreed with the thrust of the recommendations and was either already revising or would revise and clarify its guidance. USPS also added it was taking alternative action to address medical services and payment issues, the GAO said. In September and October 2001, at least four letters containing Bacillus anthracis spores were mailed to news media personnel and two US senators, contaminating the Trenton and Brentwood postal facilities in Hamilton, N.J., and Washington, D.C., respectively. The attacks caused 22 anthrax cases and five deaths, including nine cases and two deaths among postal employees. Problems also occurred when the USPS delayed the release of anthrax spore counts from one of its facilities because it was unsure how much risk the counts posed, the GAO says. In addition, postal employees called the long-standing distrust of management a communication barrier. GAO report, “Better Guidance is Needed to Ensure an Appropriate Response to Anthrax Contamination” [Full text]last_img read more

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Government critic faces incitement charges after WhatsApp hacked

first_imgAn independent researcher who has been critical of the government on social media is facing incitement charges after a message calling for nationwide riots on April 30 was broadcast from his WhatsApp account, which he says was hacked.His arrest has elicited protests from a coalition of human rights groups who believe that Ravio Patra, the researcher in question, was a victim of identity theft and should not be arrested or prosecuted.  Ravio, who has been critical of how the government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, was arrested between 09:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, shortly after he had announced that his WhatsApp had been hacked on his Twitter account, @raviopatra. The police have confirmed Ravio’s arrest, saying that he has been accused of inciting riots through social media but that they are still investigating the case. According to the coalition, SAFEnet received a report from Ravio at about 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday that someone had hacked his WhatsApp account after he saw a notification stating that his number had been registered on another phone and a One Time Password (OTP) had been requested, despite the fact that he had applied two-way verification and enabled fingerprint identification on his WhatsApp account.Ravio had also received calls from 082167672001, 081226661965 and numbers with Malaysian and United States area codes. The coalition said that the numbers belonged to two police personnel, identified as AKBP HS and Col. ATD.After hacking Ravio’s WhatsApp account, the coalition said, the hacker broadcast messages at about 02:35 p.m. to unknown numbers that read, “The crisis is already aflame. Come together and join us on April 30 for nationwide looting. All nearby shops are free to be looted.”Fears of nationwide riots have grown after the police claimed to have received information that an obscure group called Anarcho Syndicalist was planning to instigate riots throughout Java on April 18, a few days after the government imposed a partial lockdown in the capital on April 10. Activists, however, have doubts about the police’s claims.Rumors of a possible riot resurfaced after labor groups said they would hold a massive protest against the omnibus bill on job creation and risk contracting the coronavirus on April 30 to stop lawmakers from passing the bill. The police said they would not allow the rallies to take place as they would violate partial lockdown measures in Greater Jakarta. The coalition said that two hours after the announcement on his Twitter account, Ravio had reported at 07:00 p.m. that he was able to control his WhatsApp. However, a few minutes later, he reported that he was told by his boarding house guard that someone was looking for him and had left.Ravio also had reported that he was preparing to go to a safe house around midnight. The coalition has not been able to reach him since then.At the same time, around 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, the website seword.com published an article stating that Ravio was “a person who provoked national looting on April 30” with screenshots of the messages.”On Thursday morning around 08:00 a.m., SAFEnet received a report that Ravio had been arrested last night by police intelligence in front of the safe house,” the coalition stated.For the last three years, Ravio has been Indonesia’s representative in the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee (SC OGP). He recently criticized presidential special staffer Billy Mambrasar for having a conflict of interest in the government projects in Papua.Topics : The human rights coalition believed that the WhatsApp hacking was an attempt to frame Ravio Patra as a provocateur advocating for nationwide riots on April 30. Labor groups have previously threatened to protest the omnibus bill on job creation on the same date despite the COVID-19 pandemic.The coalition demanded that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and the National Police release the man, who they believed was innocent, without charges.”The police should have arrested those who hacked Ravio’s number and spread the hoax using his WhatsApp, not him,” the coalition said in a statement.The coalition includes the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet), the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS), Amnesty International Indonesia and the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (IJCR).last_img read more

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Liberian Registry Boosts Presence in Asia with New Imabari Office

first_imgThe Liberian Registry has established an office in Imabari, Japan, as part of the ship registry’s continued expansion of its presence in Asia.As informed, this is the fifth office Liberia has opened in Asia since 2017 as the country has been building up its network of full-service offices and representatives on this continent.Led by Eiji Okazaki, President of the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) Japan, the Imabari office would handle ship registrations and technical issues locally.Liberia is the second-largest ship registry in the world, according to January 2019 World Fleet Monitor provided by Clarksons. In gross tonnage terms, the country has overtaken and outgrown the Marshall Islands which is now in third place.Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, the Liberian Registry is said to be the fastest-growing major open registry. More than 4,400 Liberian-flagged vessels aggregating over 170 million gross tons represent 12% of the world’s oceangoing fleet.The world’s largest ship registry remains Panama and it is followed by Liberia and the Marshall Islands.last_img read more

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Argonauts Collect Tennis Awards

first_imgArgonauts Collect Tennis Awards Share May 14, 2007SKILLMAN, N.J. – During last week’s NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Tennis National Championships, several Argonaut men’s and women’s tennis players received recognition from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The awards were presented at a banquet for the final 16 men’s and women’s tennis teams from Division II.Dante Bottini (Buenos Aires, Argentina) was named the ITA South Region Senior of the Year. He joins Radovan Chrz (2004) as the only Argonauts to win the award. Bottini, who transferred from Drury University, posted a 15-4 singles record and a 24-4 mark in doubles. Bottini finished the season ranked sixth in singles and second in doubles.For the fifth time, head coach Derrick Racine was named the ITA/NCAA Division II South Region Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year. He also earned the award in 2001-03 and 2005. Racine led top-ranked West Florida to a 27-4 record, the fifth consecutive season of at least 25 wins. He also directed West Florida to the national semifinals for the fifth consecutive season. Racine has totaled a 227-44 (.837) record over nine seasons with the Argonauts.Two Argonaut women’s tennis players also earned awards. Mandy Septoe (Port Elizabeth, South Africa) was named the ITA South Region Senior Player of the Year. Septoe is the fourth Argonaut in the last six years to earn the award. She finished the season ranked 45th in singles with 10 victories. In doubles, Septoe teamed with Tammy Kevey (Auckland, New Zealand) to form the fourth-ranked doubles team in the nation. Septoe also earned her second consecutive All-Gulf South Conference First Team honor. The duo finished the season with a 21-5 record. Septoe ended her two-year West Florida career with a 27-15 singles record and a 44-10 mark in doubles.Kevey was award the ITA South Region Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship. She is the fifth Argonaut to earn the prestigious honor. The award is presented annually to a student-athlete in each of eight regions of Division II who uphold the qualities of sportsmanship set forth by Arthur Ashe. Kevey finished the season ranked 15th in singles with a team-high 21 victories. She also posted 23 doubles wins, 21 with Septoe. Kevey was named to her second straight All-GSC First TeamPrint Friendly Versionlast_img read more

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Conte ‘happy’ at Chelsea despite contradicting reports

first_imgPhoto © Pixabay It’s understood Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is happy at the club – following reports to the contrary.There have been claims there’s tension between the Italian and the Premier League champions’ board over transfers, the academy and the future of Diego Costa.But that’s been dismissed by the west London side.last_img

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World Cup: Give Other Goal Keepers a Chance

first_imgAn Abuja based football coach, Randy Iortyer has called on the coach of the super eagles, Gerjard Rohr to give former keeper for super eagles, Dele a second chance as the country prepares for the World Cup in Russia.In an interview with sports Journalists in Abuja, My Iortyer who is the coach of the Prisons Football Club of Abuja said in view of the tenuous nature of the super eagles Defence line, it is important to bring in people who are experienced and are exposed to international competitions. According ding to him, with the non-availability of former eagles number one hand, Vincent Enyama and the limited exposure of the eagles’ present fist choice goal keeper, it is important to expand the Defence base of the eagles.The former eagles goal keeper went into the bad book of Nigerian Football authorities when he conceded two goals in the match between Nigeria and Guinea, leading to the exit of Nigeria from the African cup of nations.But in an interview with journalists, Coach Iortyer said the forth coming World Cup tournament is too competitive to exclude other experience and exposed goal keepers.“Our last match against Algeria which technically speaking had nothing at stake except for pride and fifa rating, our goal line was deficient in two areas which I believe can be corrected with the presence of experienced goal keepers like Dele Aeyenugba and others who are doing well in their respective clubs.“Besides, Football is a game that errors must occur. The line of Defence can make a good or bad goal keeper. Football is a team game that is played as a unit. It is not an individual sport. There may be individual brilliance that makes players or even goal keepers exceptional. One individual cannot be singled out for blame. It is high time to bring in more goal keepers as the nation prepares for the World Cup. We saw a clear vacuum at the goal post during the last friendly match between super eagles and the Argentinean national team.“Since the FIFA World Cup is the apex of football, all departments should be fortified and carefully selected devoid of sentiment as to who made mistakes in the past so that Nigeria can discharged itself creditably with a sound technical crew ranging from MON Patrick Pascal to the head coach Gernort Rohr”.“Since his outing during the AFCON qualifier where Dele conceded two goals, he has been left out from being called to camp, though he is a regular player in his team, Hapoel Ashkelon in Israel.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Miramar to host art exhibition

first_imgThe Ansin Family Art Gallery The works of three Jamaican born artists will be on display at the Our Caribe Journey: The Exhibition, from June 7 – July 1 inside the Miramar Cultural Center’s Ansin Family Art Gallery, on June 7 at 6:00 PM.The three artists, Richard Hugh Blackford, Mark Cameron and David Muir will be on hand to participate in a meet and greet session.last_img

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Round table – BetConstruct: The future of sportsbook personalisation

first_img VBET agrees Armenian Premier League and Armenian Cup sponsorship August 13, 2020 GAMING1 uses AI to combat problem gambling August 4, 2020 Share Simon Noy, Kambi: Revolutionising the bet builder July 20, 2020 Share StumbleUpon Related Articles Submit Some of the leading suppliers to the sports betting industry offered their insights into the future for sportsbook personalisation based on automated customer segmentation, advanced behavioural analysis and predictive AI-driven models. The fifth round table participant was BetConstruct, represented by its Group Director of Sportsbook Product, Stuart Baker.SBC: What role does pricing and risk play in the differentiation of a sportsbook offering?Stuart Baker (BetConstruct): There is a misconception that a managed sportsbook solution leaves little room for differentiation; economies of scale do not necessarily mean similarity in product.BetConstruct powers over 300 operators worldwide, across many jurisdictions and with differing compliance standards. On top of that, every single operator wants to stand out from the crowd. Basically, they all want the flexibility to differentiate on the odds that they offer and the bets that they will lay.Everyone understands the importance of new features such as Cash Out, Bet Builder and Price Boost, and such innovations are readily adopted throughout the industry. Such differentiations never last long.It is true that the UX and UI of a sportsbook are extremely important and BetConstruct’s award winning SpringBuilder tool was designed to allow our partners to easily manage their various player UIs.However, the underlying DNA of a sportsbook is the events, the odds and how much you can bet. An operator with the freedom to control these has a key with which to further differentiate themselves from their competitors. It is only through the capabilities of our Spring platform, that we have been able to provide the tools that has allowed every single one of our 300+ partners to feel that they have a bespoke offering.It was five years ago that we looked at our long-term plans and realised that our then platform would not allow us to provide such differentiation in an increasingly crowded market. The bold decision back then to re-design (and build from the ground up) a next generation platform is testament to our understanding, both then and now, of the importance of differentiation. Be it through our in-house driven tailored trading strategies, through our partners own trading teams or more increasingly a mixture of the two, I’m often finding myself asking “is that also one of ours?”Differentiation in marketing gimmicks is a race to the bottom. Differentiation in the offering is a race to the top. We know where we want our partners to be.SBC: How can operators build on their customer analytics to both enhance player experience and drive higher margins?SB: Sports betting is data rich and it’s just getting richer. In simplistic terms it comes down to three key questions. Do you have the knowledge that I need? i.e. have you captured the relevant data in a timely manner?Can you answer my question? i.e. is the data stored in a way that allows flexible BI?Can I do what I need to do? i.e. do I have the necessary tools to allow automation based on the data?Without the ability to answer positively to the first two, an operator will struggle to effectively enhance the player experience and/or drive higher margins. If the answer is yes to both, the fun can begin.One of the strongest drivers of BetConstruct’s data analytics is our in-house CRM product. Our CRM database, fed in real-time by the betting platform, is designed for questions, not actions. The enhanced, data driven, player experiences and custom reporting functions, enabled by the CRM solution, are both possible due to the technical focus on getting the basics correct.Elsewhere, player risk management is no longer a reactive process. Data is now being used in a proactive way, negating the risk before it can happen and driving higher margins. BetConstruct’s Umbrella solution is an AI based automated Risk Management tool whose aim is to predict potential risk.We are only able to answer yes to the third question because we have passed the first two. That is key.SBC: How can AI and analytics be used to personalise and tailor the sports betting experience?SB: Personalisation has been a buzz word for a long time. However, it is easier to get wrong than right. A good starting point is to understand the difference between intention and behaviour. A player might have wanted to bet on a match but didn’t for some reason. Analytics needs to go further than using data that is routinely captured, like the bet. Understanding the players intentions as they navigate the site can often be more important than the end behaviour.A good personalisation engine is always capturing data, always learning. The personalisation that a player experiences on one visit could well be different on their next visit. It needs to be subtle and intuitive. The player should not realise that their experience is being personalised. Far too often, across many industries, personalisation becomes overwhelming and creepy. Sports betting specifically needs to be careful; it is a pastime that can be private and personal. Overtly showing that big brother is watching and analysing a player can be obtrusive and result in the polar opposite of the intended goal.Care needs to be taken to prevent personalisation getting in the way. AI driven personalisation is a guess which often will be wrong. Just because I often bet on this league should not mean that it is now harder to find the actual league that I plan to bet on.Whilst AI driven personalisation is an ever important and growing area, the old mantra of ‘do it well or don’t do it at all’ is always worth remembering. Trying to be too clever when you don’t have all the facts may not be the wisest of moves.Lastly, we are talking about data science. The skill is in extracting knowledge and insights from the data. This is a science, so leave this part to the scientists. BetConstruct’s Machine Learning department has specifically been recruited from outside the industry to remove any preconceived ideas of who a bettor is and how they might behave.So, to answer the question … how can AI and analytics be used to personalise and tailor the sports betting experience? Carefully, very carefully.SBC: A lot has been said recently about gamification; what can it do for sportsbook?SB: Gamification is another buzz word that has been around for a long time. It is also something that is often not fully understood in our industry.Just because gamification and gaming have the same origin does not necessarily mean that expanding elements from the gaming verticals is the be all and end all. Incentivising players with the one-time chance of rewards, be it a boost, prize or a jackpot, are very basic examples. BetConstruct has a cross product Jackpot, waiting to be won at any time, be it by a player on the sportsbook, casino or one of the many other verticals. Gamification is much more than that.I would guess that the majority of readers have a LinkedIn profile. Now, there is gamification. How many connections, endorsements, views and search appearances are all scores. Gamification is about taking normal behaviour patterns and turning them into a competition. Likewise, number of friends or re-tweets are all examples of turning something into a score. These scores in turn manifest them in the minds of the user as a game. People by nature have a competitive streak and like to measure themselves against others.In sportsbook it can come down to two key principles. Firstly, try and get players to compete against each other. Who can show the most profit? Who has the highest strike rate? Whose winning multiple has the highest odds? Secondly, make it easy for players to follow and copy the bets of other players. There are worse options than following winning players.BetBull is powered by the BetConstruct sportsbook and they have built their offering on gamification. Whilst the players benefit from BetConstruct’s full sportsbook offering, the experience is somewhat different. A key part of their offering is around the concept of tipsters. Every player can be a tipster. You can see how you rank against other tipsters. You can follow tipsters and be subscribed to receive notifications when their next tip is live. You can easily follow the tip and place the same bet.Having a think back to the likes, connections, re-tweets, views etc. These are all examples of gamification from within social media. The key there is the social aspect. Gamification is a game between players.If you want to make true gamification work in your sportsbook you need to introduce the social element.last_img read more

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