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Allwyn to acquire Camelot UK from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Allwyn AG («Allwyn»), Europe’s leading lottery operator, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board («Ontario Teachers'») today announced that Allwyn has agreed to acquire the Camelot Lottery Solutions group of companies (the «Camelot LS Group»), currently owned by Ontario Teachers’.

The Camelot LS Group, headquartered in Chicago, operates the Illinois Lottery under a private management agreement through its operating company, Camelot Illinois LLC, and partners with the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery to enhance its lottery operations. Furthermore, the group includes a technology arm that provides products and services to lotteries and their players throughout Europe and North America. No changes are planned to the Camelot LS Group leadership team in connection with the transaction, and the business will continue to enhance the performance of the lotteries it supports. Following the transaction, the proven leadership team will have access to the in-depth experience developed by Allwyn over more than a decade of operating and improving lotteries across Europe.

«We remain committed to serving our customers, engaging players and growing lottery revenue to benefit the communities they serve,» said Camelot LS Group Chief Executive, Wayne Pickup. «As the private manager of the Illinois Lottery, we work closely with the Department of Lottery to drive responsible and sustainable growth to maximize revenue for the State of Illinois. Combining the resources, expertise, and talent of Allwyn and Camelot LS Group will only strengthen the results we help the State of Illinois and all our customers achieve.»

Robert Chvátal, CEO of Allwyn, added, «We have always viewed the US market as an important part of Allwyn’s future growth story, and the acquisition of Camelot LS Group, is the right step. Allwyn’s goal is building better lotteries, and helping them raise more for good causes, through innovation, technology, efficiency and safety in our quest for enhanced player engagement. Both Allwyn and Camelot share a passion about the lottery business, delivering value to our customers, and growing lottery returns to communities.»

Allwyn operates lotteries in Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece and Cyprus and Italy. Camelot Group is an affiliate of Camelot UK Lotteries Limited («Camelot UK»), which Allwyn agreed to acquire from Ontario Teachers’ last month. Camelot UK is the current operator of the UK National Lottery under a license that runs until 31 January 2024. Earlier this year, a subsidiary of Allwyn was awarded the license to operate the UK National Lottery under the Fourth License, which runs from 1 February 2024 for 10 years.

Upon completion of the transaction, the companies of the Camelot LS Group will become wholly owned subsidiaries of Allwyn. The transaction is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2023, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Allwyn

Allwyn is a leading global lottery operator. Allwyn builds better lotteries that return more to good causes by focusing on innovation, technology, efficiency and safety across a growing casual gaming entertainment portfolio. The lottery-first approach of focusing on affordable recreational play has earned Allwyn leading market positions with trusted brands across Europe in Austria, Czech Republic, Greece and Cyprus, and Italy. Following a successful tender process earlier this year, Allwyn is set to become the operator of the UK National Lottery from February 2024.

About Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPP) is a global investor with net assets of $242.5 billion as of June 30, 2022. We invest in more than 50 countries in a broad array of assets including public and private equities, fixed income, credit, commodities, natural resources, infrastructure, real estate and venture growth to deliver retirement income for 333,000 working members and pensioners.

With offices in Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, Singapore and Toronto, our more than 350 investment professionals bring deep expertise in industries ranging from agriculture to artificial intelligence. We are a fully funded defined benefit pension plan and have earned an annual total-fund net return of 9.6% since the plan’s founding in 1990. At OTPP, we don’t just invest to make a return, we invest to shape a better future for the teachers we serve, the businesses we back, and the world we live in. For more information, visit otpp.com and follow us on Twitter @OtppInfo.

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement may include forward-looking statements regarding certain of our plans and our current goals, intentions, beliefs and expectations concerning, among other things, our future results of operation, financial condition, liquidity, prospects, growth, strategies, pending acquisitions or other transactions (including regarding the completion of the announced acquisition of the Camelot Lottery Solutions Group), financing plans and the industries in which we operate. These forward-looking statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate only to historical or current facts. Generally, but not always, words such as «may,» «could,» «should,» «will,» «expect,» «intend,» «estimate,» «anticipate,» «assume,» «believe,» «plan,» «seek,» «continue,» «target,» «goal,» «would» or their negative variations or similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future. We caution you that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and that our actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity and the development of the industries in which we operate may differ materially from those made in or suggested by the forward-looking statements contained in this announcement. In addition, even if our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity and the development of the industries in which we operate are consistent with the forward-looking statements contained in this document, those past results or developments may not be indicative of results or developments in future periods. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described in the «Risk Factors» section of the annual report published by Allwyn International a.s. and other documents we publish on our website. Most of these factors are outside our control and are difficult to predict.

We do not undertake any obligation to review, update or confirm expectations or estimates or to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that arise after the date of this document.

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Russian hackers exploit six-year-old Cisco flaw to target US government agencies

APT28, a state-sponsored hacking group operated by Russian military intelligence, is exploiting a six-year-old vulnerability in Cisco routers to deploy malware and carry out surveillance, according to the U.S. and U.K. governments.

In a joint advisory issued on Tuesday, U.S. cybersecurity agency CISA along with the FBI, the NSA and the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Center detail how the Russia-backed hackers exploited Cisco router vulnerabilities throughout 2021 with the aim of targeting European organizations and U.S. government institutions. The advisory said the hackers also hacked “approximately 250 Ukrainian victims,” which the agencies did not name.

APT28, also known as Fancy Bear, is known for carrying out a range of cyberattacks, espionage and hack-and-leak information operations on behalf of the Russian government.

According to the joint advisory, the hackers exploited a remotely exploitable vulnerability patched by Cisco in 2017 to deploy a custom-built malware dubbed “Jaguar Tooth,” which is designed to infect unpatched routers.

To install the malware, the threat actors scan for internet-facing Cisco routers using a default or easy-to-guess SNMP community string.

SNMP, or Simple Network Management Protocol, allows network administrators to remotely access and configure routers in place of a username or password, but can also be misused to obtain sensitive network information.

Once installed, the malware exfiltrates information from the router and provides stealthy backdoor access to the device, the agencies said.

Matt Olney, director of threat intelligence at Cisco Talos, said in a blog post this campaign is an example of “a much broader trend of sophisticated adversaries targeting networking infrastructure to advance espionage objectives or pre-position for future destructive activity.”

“Cisco is deeply concerned by an increase in the rate of high-sophistication attacks on network infrastructure — that we have observed and have seen corroborated by numerous reports issued by various intelligence organizations — indicating state-sponsored actors are targeting routers and firewalls globally,” Olney said.

Olney added that in addition to Russia, China has also been spotted attacking network equipment in several campaigns.

Earlier this year, Mandiant reported that Chinese state-backed attackers exploited a zero-day vulnerability in Fortinet devices to carry out a series of attacks on government organizations.

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South Florida counties gear up for stinky seaweed season

Sargassum making its annual voyage to South Florida’s shorelines, threatening tourism and coastal ecosystem.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Large patches of what will become stinky shoreline seaweed, stretching from the west coast of Africa to just off the southern cost of Cuba, are making their way to South Florida and local leaders are getting ready.

Local 10 News Photojournalist Curt Calhoon recently spotted sargassum, surface floating patches of brown micro algae, off the deck of a ship cruising through the Caribbean.

Brian Barnes is one of the University of South Florida researchers tracking a bloom via satellite.

“We call it the great Atlantic sargassum belt,” Barnes said. “They range in size from a handful to a square mile.”

In the ocean, it serves as a floating nursery for a variety of marine species.

The problem happens when it comes on shore. If not cleaned up properly, it can shade out corals and sea grass and create near-shore dead zones as it decays.

“It uses up all of the oxygen in the area and you can get a dead zone,” said Barnes. “As it decays, it can fall in the weather column and straight smother those ecosystems.”

As it starts to decompose, the sargassum releases hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs.

“Some people with asthma may have some respiratory issues, but not the broader population,” said Barnes.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the county will gear up as needed.

“We have a contract in place with a company that is removing sargassum from some of the hot spots,” she said.

Researchers who have been tracking the steady annual increase in sargassum say there are a variety of factors at play regarding why the naturally occurring micro algae is blooming patches upwards of a square mile in size, from warming seas to oceans rich in nutrients like human sewage and fertilizer run-offs from the world’s rivers into the sea.

“Definitely we are on alert and making sure there should be an increase — our current cost is $3.9 million per year for the contract,” said Levine Cava. “We do have requests for support from state and federal sources, so we are gearing up to bring attention to the fact that we do need help.”

Sargassum season typically runs from May to October, the same window as sea turtle nesting season.

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South Florida counties gear up for stinky seaweed season
Sargassum making its annual voyage to South Florida’s shorelines, threatening tourism and coastal ecosystem
South Florida coastal counties preparing for stinky seaweed season

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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Large patches of what will become stinky shoreline seaweed, stretching from the west coast of Africa to just off the southern cost of Cuba, are making their way to South Florida and local leaders are getting ready.

Local 10 News Photojournalist Curt Calhoon recently spotted sargassum, surface floating patches of brown micro algae, off the deck of a ship cruising through the Caribbean.

Brian Barnes is one of the University of South Florida researchers tracking a bloom via satellite.

“We call it the great Atlantic sargassum belt,” Barnes said. “They range in size from a handful to a square mile.”

In the ocean, it serves as a floating nursery for a variety of marine species.

The problem happens when it comes on shore. If not cleaned up properly, it can shade out corals and sea grass and create near-shore dead zones as it decays.

“It uses up all of the oxygen in the area and you can get a dead zone,” said Barnes. “As it decays, it can fall in the weather column and straight smother those ecosystems.”

As it starts to decompose, the sargassum releases hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs.

“Some people with asthma may have some respiratory issues, but not the broader population,” said Barnes.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the county will gear up as needed.

“We have a contract in place with a company that is removing sargassum from some of the hot spots,” she said.

Researchers who have been tracking the steady annual increase in sargassum say there are a variety of factors at play regarding why the naturally occurring micro algae is blooming patches upwards of a square mile in size, from warming seas to oceans rich in nutrients like human sewage and fertilizer run-offs from the world’s rivers into the sea.

“Definitely we are on alert and making sure there should be an increase — our current cost is $3.9 million per year for the contract,” said Levine Cava. “We do have requests for support from state and federal sources, so we are gearing up to bring attention to the fact that we do need help.”

Sargassum season typically runs from May to October, the same window as sea turtle nesting season.

“Every day, there are people looking for where nests might be, marking off those areas, making sure they are not disturbing any nests while cleaning up the sargassum,” Levine Cava said.

In Monroe County, officials said they are planning for twice-daily cleanings.

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Antisemitic incidents are at an all-time high, the ADL reports

Antisemitic incidents in the U.S. rose 36% in 2022, an annual audit by the Anti-Defamation League shows.

The report, released Thursday, tracked 3,697 incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault targeting Jewish people and communities last year. It is the third time in five years that the tally has been the highest number ever recorded since the ADL first began collecting data in 1979.

«This escalation in antisemitic incidents comes just as ADL has reported on Americans’ highest level of antisemitic attitudes in decades,» the report says, adding that public officials, famous artists and social media stars have been instrumental in normalizing longstanding antisemitic tropes.

The ADL report comes on the heels of an FBI report earlier this month, stating that hate crimes reported across the country increased nearly 12% in 2021 from 2020.

5 states account for more than half of the incidents
According to the latest ADL analysis, surges in each of the major audit categories occurred in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Antisemitic harassment increased 29%, from 1,776 to 2,298
Antisemitic vandalism increased 51%, from 853 to 1,288
Antisemitic assaults increased 26%, from 88 to 111.

New York is the state with the highest number of reported incidents: 580. California follows with 518, New Jersey with 408, Florida with 269 and Texas with 211. «Combined, these five states account for 54 % of the total incidents.

Schools and synagogues are growing targets
Another alarming finding is the number of bomb threats towards Jewish institutions, including schools and synagogues, spiking from eight to 91. It is the highest number of bomb threats since 2017.

Young children and educators in K-12 schools were victims of threats or assaults in 494 incidents. Meanwhile, 219 incidents were reported on college campuses.

People who presented as Orthodox Jews were targeted in 59 of the assault incidents nationally.

The Goyim Defense League is behind more than half of all propaganda incidents
The ADL also found activity doubled among organized white supremacist groups, which were linked to 852 incidents of distributing antisemitic propaganda.

While the study cites a number of factors contributing to the surge, the organization concluded the massive uptick in the spread of anti-Jewish propaganda was «largely due to the growth of the Goyim Defense League,» known as the GDL.

The GDL network, which has significant crossover with other white supremacist groups and movements, was responsible for at least 492 propaganda incidents in 2022, a dramatic increase from the 74 recorded in 2021.

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