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Evolution Gaming Partners with iSoftBet for Romanian Live Casino Launch

Since the Romanian gambling regulator started granting full gaming licenses to international operators and providers, Live Casino supplier Evolution Gaming has announced that it is opening the first live studio in the country at Grand Casino Bucharest.

To do this, the leading provider partnered with UK online casino games developer iSoftBet.

The Live Casino studio will be launched later in September and will be located one level below the casino’s actual gaming floor. It will initially offer Evolution Gaming’s core titles, and more content will be added at a later stage. Games will be available on both desktop and hand-held devices.

Under the partnership, iSoftBet will be able to provide its clients with such offering from the Grand Casino Bucharest studio.

iSoftBet CEO Nir Elbaz said that the expansion across regulated iGaming markets forms part of their growth strategy. Being licensed in Romania, therefore being given the opportunity to provide more than 60 titles, is a huge step towards its implementation.

Mr Elbaz said that given the quality of the games offered by Evolution Gaming, the Live Casino supplier was the natural choice for a partner. He also pointed out how the company will now be able to sell multi-product offering to clients operating in the regulated Romanian market and their players.

James Stern, Director of Business Development and Land-Based Sales at Evolution Gaming, said that with Grand Casino Bucharest being a venue that local players know very well, they have chosen the best possible location for their Live Casino studio.

He added that being the first Live Casino providers to roll out their products in newly regulated markets is something they have always strived to achieve. Mr Stern expressed confidence that with Evolution Gaming’s proven track record of successful launches across newly regulated jurisdictions, such as Italy, Spain and Belgium, the upcoming roll-out in Romania will prove to be just as successful.

Pariplay Ltd. Announces Strategic Partnership with iSoftBet

Leading gaming technology company Pariplay Ltd. has announced a strategic partnership with London-based online and mobile casino software provider iSoftBet.

Under the new agreement, the two companies will distribute each other’s content through their content aggregator networks – Pariplay’s FUSION and iSoftBet’s Game Aggregation Platform (GAP).

Pariplay’s portfolio of over 100 branded and proprietary online slots and instant win and scratch card games are a key element in the partnership and will be available to operators via iSoftBet’s network. The partnership will cover Pariplay’s branded slots like Atari Black Widow®, Las Cucas Locas, and The Three Stooges®, instant win games such as Atari® Asteroids, Arctic Madness, and Tiki Madness, as well as other games too.

Likewise, iSoftBet’s whole selection of online and mobile casino games will be available to operators integrated with Pariplay’s FUSION network. These games include iSoftBet’s branded online slots that are based on hit TV shows and Hollywood films like 24™, Basic Instinct™, Beverly Hills 90210™, and Rambo™, as well as the recently launched title Platoon Wild.

Adrian Bailey, General Manager at Pariplay Ltd., said of the partnership: “Our content partnership with iSoftBet will extend the reach of our own portfolio of games into new European and international markets. At the same time, iSoftBet’s content, which includes many state-of-the-art branded games and an important focus on mobile gaming, will expand and diversify our own FUSION content network.”

iSoftBet will be showcasing at Malta’s biggest gaming event of the year, SiGMA16. If you are interested in coming to see iSoftBet along with the many other exhibitors, click here to register for this iGaming summit in November.

Playtech Officially Launches Sun Bets Live Casino Offering

Market leading software supplier Playtech has officially completed work on a comprehensive, business intelligence-enabled Casino and Live Casino offering for Sun Bets, a new UK online betting operator.

The Playtech Casino offering gives players of Sun Bets a variety of the best games from Playtech’s portfolio, including the hit series Age of the Gods™ and the forthcoming DC Comics and Warner Bros. titles such as Classic TV Series Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman I and II. The industry’s leading and best-performing progressive jackpot games will also be included, where players can spin to win fantastic prizes.

The casino offering launched simultaneously on the Sun Bets site where players are able to experience classic live table content.

Sun Bets is a partnership between News UK and Tabcorp Holdings, bringing together News UK’s vast customer base and market-leading assets and Tabcorp’s global wagering capabilities. Last November, Playtech announced that it had signed a 5-year contract with News UK to power its iconic Sun Bingo and Fabulous Bingo brands.

Playtech COO Shimon Akad said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Tabcorp and extending our already strong, existing relationship with News UK. The fact that Sun Bets has launched our exclusive casino and live casino offerings is a great endorsement of our market-leading products and we look forward to working together to achieve fantastic results now and in the future.”

Also commenting on the partnership, Adam Rytenskild, COO of Keno and Gaming at Tabcorp said: “Playtech’s casino and live casino products have proven to be among the best performing in the industry for many years and we’re very excited to have a comprehensive selection of branded games for Sun Bets. We are excited about the size of the opportunity that Sun Bets presents and a first-class casino is a crucial part of what we’re offering customers.”

Yggdrasil Gaming Goes Live with Online Operator Bet365

Yggdrasil Gaming, leading provider of online and mobile casino games, has today announced that its slots portfolio has officially gone live with the world’s biggest online gaming operator, bet365.

Back in February, Yggdrasil struck a deal with bet365, under which the operator would have access to the award-winning provider’s full suite of casino products. Following a rapid integration, the slots are now live on bet365 under the Gibraltar and UK licenses of Yggdrasil.

Some of the recent game releases which bet365 customers will now be able to enjoy include Wicked Circus, Bicicletta, and Seasons.

CEO at Yggdrasil gaming, Fredrik Elmqvist, commented: “There is no bigger name in online gaming than bet365, so we are delighted to announce that Yggdrasil’s games are now live on yet another of the world’s leading operators.

“We have worked extremely hard to ensure a swift and seamless integration, and it has been a pleasure to work with bet365. Delivering on huge deals such as this confirms Yggdrasil’s position as the fastest growing provider in the industry.”

At the recent 2016 EGR B2B Awards, Yggdrasil won Slot Provider of the Year, following the award for Gaming Software Supplier of the Year at 2016’s International Gaming Awards, as well as Software Rising Star at the EGR B2B Awards in 2015.

Unibet Sees New Revenue Record in Q2

Online gambling operator Unibet continues to set new records in what is proving to be a monumental year for the company.

UEFA Euro 2016’s success has propelled Unibet to raise its revenue by 57% year-on-year to a new record of £126.6million for the second quarter of 2016 ending June 30.

Figures showed that earnings rose to £22million, up from the £19million in the same period last year, while profit after tax was up only £100k, reaching merely £13.5million, due to the heavy marketing surrounding the football tournament.

Henrik Tjärnström, CEO of Unibet Group, said: “The quarter was characterised by the Euro 2016 which provided a new all-time high in customer activity and continued strong growth. Margins in the tournament were significantly higher in July than in June. If the margins had been consistent across the tournament, then gross winnings revenue for the second quarter would have been around £3m higher.

“In the period from 1 to 24 July 2016, average daily gross winnings revenue in GBP has more than doubled compared to the same period in 2015. Adjusting for the unusually high margin on the final stages of the Euros, the impact of exchange rate changes and acquisitions, the organic constant currency growth is close to 50 per cent.”

Euro 2016 betting generated £19.6million worth of revenue, and a hefty 14% betting margin. The tournament also helped to drive active customer numbers to 1.13 million at the end of the quarter, nearly double the 603k from the same period in 2015. Around 216k of these new customers came via iGame Group and Stan James Online; two businesses acquired by Unibet last year.

The revenue gains were aided by £14.7 million in contributions from these recent acquisitions, without which, revenue was up 39% while earnings would have dropped 8% to £17.4million.

Estoril Sol Launches Portugal’s First Licensed Online Casino Site

On Monday, Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ), local gaming regulator, announced that it had issued an online casino license to Estoril Sol to operate using the estorilsolcasinos.pt domain.

This is the first online casino license issued by Portugal under its new regulated online gambling market.

Estoril Sol operates three land-based casinos; Casino Estoril, Casino da Povoa, and Casino Lisbon, which in 2015 reported revenue of €182 million, which is more than two thirds of the total casino market value. Estoril’s chairman is Stanley Ho; Macau casino icon, who founded the SJM Holdings casino business.

Estoril’s new website, which has already gone live, is licensed to offer slots, roulette and blackjack. Its online platform is powered by Gaming1, a Brussels-based provider.

Following the May launching of French operator Betclic Everest’s sports betting site Betclic.pt, which was also followed earlier this month by Malta-based Bet Entertainment Technologies Ltd’s online sportsbook, Estoril’s online launch brings Portugal’s tally of licensed online operators to three.

Although Estoril may be considered a ‘latecomer’ to the party, it may in fact be the first to post an online profit. Casino sites are taxed at 15% of gross gaming revenue, while sports betting websites have to pay 8% tax on betting turnover; an already prohibitive rate which, once turnover tops €30 million, increases incrementally.

Brick-and-mortar casino operator Solverde, and state lottery operator Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa are among other operators which have expressed a form of interest in launching online casino sites. Due to the government’s delays in seeking European Commission approval for liquidity sharing with other EU member states, however, Portugal, may not welcome its first licensed online poker operator until November at the earliest.

Ladbrokes and Gala Coral Merger to be Completed in Autumn

The merger between betting and gambling company Ladbrokes and casino operator Gala Coral Group is set to be completed this autumn after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed that the two firms are to divest between 350 to 400 shops.

The CMA said in its final judgement: “Having considered responses to its provisional findings published in May and further analysed the evidence, the group of independent panel members investigating the merger has, in a summary of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) final report, identified 642 local areas where it may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition.”

In the summary, it is stated that the merger could lead to a worsening of the offer made to customers, at both a local as well as a national level.

It went on the say that: “To address these concerns and preserve competition for the benefit of customers in these local areas, Ladbokes and Coral must sell around 350 to 400 betting shops to one or more suitably qualified up-front buyers, which must be approved by the CMA. As many of the problematic local areas overlap, the sale of a betting shop in one local area may also remedy the competition concerns in the overlapping area.”

Before the merger can go ahead, the sales must be substantially completed.

Martin Cave, Inquiry Chair, added: “We’ve found that the merger between two of the largest bookmakers in the country would reduce competition and choice for customers in a large number of local areas.

“For these customers, competition comes from the choice of shops in their local area and they would lose out from any reduction of competition and choice. Discounts and offers of free bets to individual customers are two of the ways betting shops respond to local competition which could be threatened by the merger. Such a widespread reduction in competition at the local level could also worsen those elements that are set centrally, such as odds and betting limits.

“Although online betting has grown substantially in recent years, the evidence we’ve seen confirms that a significant proportion of customers still choose to bet in shops – and many will continue to do so after the merger. We therefore believe that a sale of shops of this scale is needed to protect these customers.”

There was always the likelihood that the CMA would insist on betting shop sales, but the bookmakers will be more than happy with the judgement, given that some estimates suggested that the number would be as high as 1,000. The sale of these shops, which was already identified months ago, will now be accelerated in order to allow the merger. Boylesports and Betfred have been touted as potential buyers.

Ladbrokes said: “Ladbrokes welcomes the announcement by the CMA that the merger with the Coral Group can proceed subject to the sale of 350-400 shops. This is a significant step forward and we will now begin to talk in earnest to potential buyers for these shops. We remain on track to complete the merger in the autumn.”

Ladbrokes will also be one of the exhibitors showcasing at Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event of the year, SiGMA16. If you would like to come and join this iGaming summit in November, click here to register.

Playtech Wins International Corporate Event Awards for ICE 2016

Playtech, gaming software and service supplier, has claimed the prize of ‘Most Effective Agency Collaboration’ at this year’s prestigious International Corporate Event Awards.

The awards ceremony took place in London at the iconic Victoria and Albert Museum, and was attended by professionals from some of the world’s largest and most popular brands and their event agencies.

Beating fellow contenders Google and BP, the company’s unparalleled stand at the ICE Totally Gaming exhibition last February was recognised by the judges for its “outstanding event production”.

Work on the stand project began in July last year, together with brand experience experts 2Heads, in order to put together an integrated, visual and experiential customer journey around the company’s Playtech ONE Omnichannel solution, and also incorporating the experience into each element of messaging and design.

The Playtech ONE brand captures the power of the company’s offering which enables players to play any product, across any channel and on any device, in order to create the best possible customer journey for the company’s ecommerce customers.

An extensive content strategy was developed from the recorded findings at brand experience workshops in order to fuel the content-rich experience. Playtech and 2Heads together creatively developed, story-boarded, scripted and produced a thorough catalogue which amounted to over 40 minutes worth of content.

This reflected Playtech ONE visually, with architecture that played with perspective, as well as an environment that evolved and engaged, and drew visitors’ eyes to the heart of the huge 900metre space which housed the latest cutting-edge technologies to provide a memorable visitor experience.

The judging panel commented: “We unanimously agreed there was a clear winner. The Playtech entry consistently performed on all criteria and we were especially taken with the quality and proof of ROI and also the clarity and explanation from brief through to delivery.”

Shimon Akad, Playtech’s COO, said: “The award provides fantastic recognition of all the hard work that went into designing, developing and building our stand at ICE Totally Gaming to successfully showcase our pioneering Playtech ONE offering.”

Inspired Gaming Acquired by Hydra for £200 Million

New York-based private equity firm Hydra Industries has acquired Inspired Gaming Group, the manufacturer of FOBTs and developer of virtual and slots games, for a total valuation of £200 million.

Negotiated with main investor Vituvian Partners LLP and its co-investor in the enterprise, deal stakeholders informed that the acquisition includes cash and shares, had been approved by the boards of Inspired and Hydra. Presently, Inspired’s fiscal year end is September 2016 and the corporate prognosis estimates $110 million incomes with $38 million EBITDA.

Although excluding transactional costs sustained by the deal, Hydra claimed that it would take on Inspired’s corporate debts. Inspired investors would be paid an amalgamation of cash and Hydra issued shares at $10 per stake, depending on the deal’s closing adjustments. Hydra has taken a $20 million private placement with Macquire Capital, to complete its cash contribution, with the supplementary funds being used from its $80 million cash-trust.
Once finalized, Inspired investors will keep 35% of equity, with the company credit lines expected to stay in place.

Hydra kept its investors up-to-date, and informed them that its CEO Lorne Weil would become Inspire Gaming Executive Chairman, with Luke Alvarez retaining leadership of the company. Commenting on the acquisition, Weil stated: “We have been searching for a compelling business that utilizes our skill set to drive growth. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Luke and his team as we work together to grow the digital business through increased focus and the deployment of new technology and content.”

“We look forward to not only growing Inspired’s business, but also using it as a platform for potential opportunistic acquisitions of synergistic businesses across its regions. We believe the combination of Inspired’s management team and our experience in utilizing technology and content to drive revenue growth in gaming markets makes us well-positioned to enhance value for our shareholders.”

Alvarez corroborated Weil’s sentiments and said: “We are excited to be partnering with Lorne Weil and Hydra while continuing our strong relationship with Vitruvian. Lorne’s history in the gaming industry and Hydra’s access to the public capital markets are the perfect combination to take Inspired to the next level.

Our ambition with Inspired has always been to build a truly scaled and global leader in gaming technology, which we believe is transitioning rapidly to an all-digital environment. Our visions are aligned, and the Inspired team is looking forward to working with Hydra to drive value through organic and strategic growth.”

Tipbet Extends ‘Premium Partnership’ with Fortuna Dusseldorf

Tipbet Ltd., an emerging European sports trading company with headquarters in Malta, has today revealed that it has extended its ‘Premium Partner’ sponsorship of Bundesliga 2 football club Fortuna Dusseldorf for the 2016/17 season.

Conducted by Infront Sports & Media a representative marketing agency for Fortuna Dusseldorf, for Bundesliga 2 season 2016/17, the Tipbet trademark will gain a widespread coverage all the way through the ESpirt Arena (capacity 50,000) on match days. The Tipbet product will be endorsed on LED boards and exclusive TV areas. In addition, Tipbet packages will also gain exposure on Fortuna Dusseldorf digital and social media channels.

Product Marketing Manager for Tipbet, Philippos Naskos, was satisfied to extend his company’s partnership with Fortuna Dusseldorf. Commenting on the extension, Naskos said: “Tipbet Betting stands for passion in sport! We are therefore very pleased to continue our commitment with Fortuna Dusseldorf as a partner for the new season.

Fortuna has an impressively large fan base with top football ambitions as a Premium Partner and official betting partner, we have a lot of exciting options for the thousands of Fortuna fans to participate in. Fortuna has an impressively large fan base with top football ambitions as a Premium Partner and official betting partner, we have a lot of exciting options for the thousands of Fortuna fans to participate in. Optimistically we go with the Fortuna as partner, side by side for a successful season 2016/17.”

An evolving betting company with based bang in the middle of the Mediterranean, Tipbet is dedicated to the provision of sports betting. As a sports trading provider, it funds thousands of national and international sporting events on a daily basis, with top odds.

To guarantee the satisfaction of both our partners and customers, proven software and hardware solutions are always delivered using avant-garde technology. Whether live, combination or single bet – with Tipbet every sports event is a memorable experience.