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Ladbrokes-Coral Merger Officially Approved by UK CMA

The merger between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral has officially been given final approval by the UK Competition & Markets Authority (CMA).

The £2.3 billion deal has taken 18 months to complete since the original announcement for the merger in June 2015. In the final review, the CMA approved the operators’ sale of 322 betting shops to Betfred and 37 to Stan James for £55.5 million.

The Ladbrokes-Coral merger has been under review by the CMA since December 2015, with focus on a market competition study that the operators’ combined retail portfolio would “reduce consumer choice in a number of local areas”, and has subsequently forced the companies to sell 359 retail outlets combined.

Ladbrokes and Coral governance will publish a combined corporate prospectus detailing its joint entry as a single entity on the London Stock Exchange.

The new business seeks to register a premium listing on the LSE granted by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Jim Mullen, CEO of Ladbrokes, will remain leader of the new entity, and Coral CEO Carl Leaver will take on the role of Executive Deputy Chairman for 12 months, charged with delivery of corporate synergies between the newly combined companies.

Commenting on the news of the merger, Mullen said: “I am delighted that the CMA has given approval to our merger with Coral. Both businesses are approaching the merger with good momentum and we are now focusing on completing the merger and delivering on the opportunities it offers.”

Ladbrokes will also be showcasing at Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event, SiGMA16. If you’re interested in joining this great iGaming summit in November, click here to register today.

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NetEnt Posts Boosted Q3 Revenue & Profits Report

Stockholm-listed industry games developer NetEnt AB has published its Q3 2016 trading period, reporting a further consecutive quarter of top-line growth on all metrics.

Closing the Q3 period ending 30th September, NetEnt recorded a corporate revenue increase of 27.7% to SEK 357.4 million, compared to SEK 279.8 million in the same period last year. Its strong revenue performance achieved operating profits of SEK 129 million (€13.3 million), and profits after tax of SEK 119 million (€12.2 million).

Detailing performance drivers, NetEnt governance pointed to the firm’s strong commercial pipeline which had seen 11 new customer agreements signed during the period – including UK gambling operator Rank Group Plc.

Updating investors on its year-to-date performance, NetEnt governance is confident to reach all corporate expectations as the company hits a yearly operating profit of SEK 380 million (€39 million).

Governance detailed that the company will continue its focus on expanding its services within regulated European markets. It also stated that it will support its strategy by “increasing the number of employees” and adding further resources to the development of its platforms.

Commenting on corporate performance, President and CEO of NetEnt, Per Eriksson, said: “NetEnt’s growth strategy keeps delivering results – we grow in new markets, with new products and with more customers. During the quarter, we launched our games in the regulated market in Romania and we rolled out our live casino product for mobile.”

“The UK continues to be an important growth driver but the weaker pound had an estimated negative effect of about three percentage points on revenue growth compared to the same quarter last year. Our ambition to achieve continued strong sales growth in 2016 remains.”

NetEnt will also be showcasing at Malta’s upcoming gaming event of the year, SiGMA16. If you’re interested in joining this iGaming summit in November, click here to register.

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Play’n Go Signs Multi-Year Landmark Agreement with Paf

Swedish slot supplier Play’n Go has officially signed a multi-year agreement with international gaming operator Paf.

The deal, which is understood to be for an initial three-year period, will see Play’n Go’s award-winning suite of mobile and desktop content become available to Paf’s customers for the first time, including award-winning premium titles such as Gemix, Grim Muerto, and Eye of the Kraken.

Paf has been around for around 50 years, and has grown to serve countries including Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Spain and Italy. Apart from its online gaming site, Paf also offers gaming entertainment in their casinos and on cruise ships. Its selection of games includes slots, lotteries, casino games, bingo, poker, and betting.

Commenting on the agreement, Paf’s Director of Games, Kim Johansson, said: “Play’n GO is well known across the industry for producing some of the best titles around, and we’re thrilled to be give our players the chance to share in the fun and excitement.”

Chief Executive Officer of Play’n Go, Johan Törnqvist, also commented: “We’re delighted to have signed an agreement with Paf, one of the most well-respected companies in the industry. Paf is known in the business for being in the forefront when it comes to responsible gaming, with all of their profit going to good causes.”

He went on to say that: “As a Scandinavian company at heart, we feel strongly that our suite of premium titles with industry leading performance will be music to the ears of Paf’s customers. We’re looking forward to working closely with Paf in the years to come, and are confident that this agreement is just the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.”

Play’n Go will also be showcasing at SiGMA16 – Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event of the year. If you’re interested in joining this iGaming summit in November where you can watch Play’n Go among the many other exhibitors, click here to register today.

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Betsson to Open Second Office in Malta for European Expansion

Stockholm-listed sports betting operator Betsson AB has officially confirmed that it will be opening a second office in Malta.

The new office will be named “Betsson E² Hub” and will be situated in the town of St Julian’s. It will house approximately 300 employees and will act as a support department for the operator’s growing European footprint.

When confirming the opening of the office in Malta, Betsson management stated that the E² Hub would house a mix of different departments. The operator will maintain its “centralised operations” within its “Experience Centre” which is situation in the town of Ta’ Xbiex, Malta.

Presently, the Betsson group employs around 1,900 employees, with strategic hubs based in Europe including Stockholm, Budapest, and London.

Commenting on the opening of the E² Hub, Chief HR Officer at Betsson Group, Taina Makkonen, said: “Betsson Group is experiencing strong growth, and as a result, we are continually looking to bolster our talent pool, hiring the brightest talent from across Europe.

“This expansion means we have simply outgrown the Betsson Experience Centre, the operational headquarters of Betsson in Malta, and as a result, will be expanding to a second building – the Betsson E² Hub – in St Julians.”

Betsson will also be showcasing during Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event of the year – SiGMA16. If you’re interested in coming to watch Betsson along with the many other exhibitors at this iGaming summit in November, click here to register today.

Betfred and Stan James to Purchase 359 Ladbrokes and Coral Shops

A total of 359 shops belonging to Ladbrokes and Gala Coral are set to be sold to Betfred and Stan James in order to complete the merger between the two betting companies.

The final steps of the £2.7billion merger between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral have been cleared, with the pair having agreed to sell an amount of their shops to Betfred and Stan James.

The pair will be selling 359 shops to comply with the ruling of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), of which 322 will be purchased by Betfred for £55million, and 37 to go to Stan James for a cash consideration of £500,000, with the intention being that the £55.5million received will be used to repay debt.

Ladbrokes has confirmed that the 359 shops being sold generated fully costed EBITDA of £16.8 million in the year to 31st December 2015. The betting company is going to be selling a total of 185 shops, while Gala Coral is going to be letting go of 174 locations.

The CMA will be assessing the shop sales, with the merger to be completed upon its approval and the sale of one further shop.

Chief Executive of Ladbrokes, Jim Mullen, said of the matter: “The sale of these shops will clear the last significant hurdle to delivering on the merger with Coral and paves the way for our focus on completion and quickly delivering on the opportunities the merger offers.”

Ladbrokes will also be one of the exhibitors showcasing at Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event, SiGMA16. If you’re interested in joining this great iGaming summit in November, click here to register today.

A look into SiGMA’s third outstanding networking event

On Thursday 29th September 2016, SiGMA hosted our third networking event for this year, the final one leading up to the much-anticipated SiGMA 2016 conference that takes places next month from November 16th-19th 2016 at the Intercontinental Hotel. 150 C-level executives in and around the gaming industry were once again invited to our networking event.

sigma-gathering16Organized by SiGMA and hosted by Hipay, iGaming Cloud, Kyte Consultants, Play ‘N’ Go and Tipico Careers, this third igaming gathering did not disappoint. Held on the rooftop of The Palace Hotel in Sliema at dusk, it allowed the attendees a breathtaking birds’ eye view of the surrounding glittering lit area. This time around, the setup was a bit different with the third theme being an Asian cuisine bbq style buffet. Instead of a sit-down brunch or dinner as the past two networking events entailed, a lavishly displayed buffet of all you can eat meats, sushi, salads and desserts awaited the guests, beckoning them to indulge.

sigma16-gathering3The open bars and welcome drinks of mojitos and the endless supply of wines and beers added fuel to the networking event, with guests mingling, munching and enjoying the background music of the live jazz band that was on hand to add an ambiance to the already perfect mood. Not to forget the signature touch of  premium welcome cigars that are always on hand at every SiGMA event.

This third event sees the success of this networking gathering come alive with the previously invited executives having met and made contacts from the past two SiGMA gatherings, to once again catch up with each other, the industry and the upcoming SiGMA event.

sigma16-gathering-funTo take a look at the pictures on the night of this third and final igaming gathering for the year before the real McCoy next month click here.

The SiGMAgazine is a bi-annual publication of which 4,000 hard copies of each issue are distributed to leading gaming and business companies worldwide, and also circulated online to the SiGMA database as well as other business networks. The second edition for this year has just been published last week. Hard copies of the magazine will be available at the SiGMA conference next month. However, you can click this link to have a full view of the latest issue #5.

You can register here today if you have not yet registered and want to be a part of this Malta gaming event of the year. Act fast because prices go up this month.

Ladbrokes on Rumours Regarding eSports Market Temporary Drop

Bookmaker Ladbrokes has officially stated that it will continue to take bets on the vertical, responding to news reports that it had closed down its eSports market.

eSports Betting Report was the first to notice that the online bookmaker had taken eSports off the virtual shelf. The reports by esportsbetting.com stated that eSports would no longer be offered as a market, and Ladbrokes cleared up these rumours.

The bookmaker detailed that the rumours of its eSports closure were simply a misconception between the news source and its customer support services. It stated that its eSports market had been closed temporarily in order to carry out improvements to the vertical.

Commenting on the matter, PR Manager and Head of Ladbrokes News, Alex Donohue, said: “We have been in the process of upgrading our eSports product. At no point have we decided to stop taking these bets, and we will shortly have more markets available to all our customers.”

Ladbrokes is a British-based betting and gambling company that aims to provide its customers with an enjoyable experience available from its shops to its website, mobile app, and phone services to make betting simple and fun.

Ladbrokes will also be showcasing at the biggest upcoming gaming event of the year – SiGMA16. If you are interested in coming to watch Ladbrokes as well as the many other great exhibitors at this iGaming summit in November, click here to register today.

BetConstruct to Add Mr. Slotty Games to Spring Platform

Industry software and platform provider BetConstruct has announced that it has signed a games supplier agreement with new industry HD slots developer Mr Slotty.

With aim to promote fresh online games to its client base, the agreement will see BetConstruct’s Spring Platform opening up new Mr Slotty games.

Mr Slotty is an industry games studio operated by Loberta UAB, a Lithuania-based web developing company, which aims to bring best-in-class graphics and in-game features to iGaming operators.

Its HD portfolio of games and slot content is multi-channel compatible includes titles such as Emoji Slot, Super Dragon Fire, and MEME Faces.

Commenting on the agreement, Loberta UAM CEO, Anatoliy Peev, said: “We are pleased to be a strategic slot game content provider with BetConstruct and look forward to showcasing our best-performing games to the industry with this integration.

“The agreement with BetConstruct is an excellent opportunity to distribute Mr Slotty’s light-weight, html5, full HD slots to their rapidly growing network of casino clients, and we are sure our innovative slot games will be a hit among their players!”

COO of BetConstruct Sergey Harutyunyan welcomed Mr Slotty’s content onboard BetConstruct’s Spring Platform, commenting: “BetConstruct enjoys working with developers who don’t follow a well-trodden path. Mr Slotty fits this description very well and we are happy to offer their content to our growing partner community.

“Focused on mobile, Mr Slotty will enhance our multivendor portfolio of 3000 casino games and prove very popular with our partners’ players.”

BetConstruct will also be showcasing at Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event of the year, SiGMA16. If you are interested in joining this iGaming summit in November, click here to register today.

BtoBet Signs Partnership with NairaBet for Expansion to African Market

Following sportsbook and gaming platform BtoBet’s actions to expand into the African market, the company is proud to announce that it has officially entered into a partnership with Nigerian online betting and gambling operator, NairaBet.

NairaBet, – The home of sports betting – is a leading in-play bookmaker that offers a wide range of betting opportunities on all sports, as well as virtual racing and games.

CEO of NairaBet, Akin Alabi, said of the partnership: “As a leading sports betting operator in the Nigerian market, we are always on the lookout for quality partners and products to ensure a great experience for our customers.

“One such partner is BtoBet, and we are looking forward to working with them.”

BtoBet is a pioneer in new technologies for iGaming operators and the betting industry. The company uses technological intelligence as its main base for its products, and it offers unique, customisable, flexible, and secure cloud-based systems to deliver unprecedented capabilities to drive the sportsbook and iGaming business.

Also commenting on the partnership, BtoBet CEO Alessandro Fried added: “We are very proud to have NairaBet as a partner in Nigeria.

“The growing number of gamblers and the spread of mobile is indicating the need to adopt a suitable platform and fitting software to manage player data and gambling-related business anywhere, from land-based shops to mobile and online.

“I firmly believe BtoBet’s next-level omni-channel platform – B Neuron – will provide NairaBet with the greatest insight into players’ data and behaviour and will drive the company to increase revenues.”

BtoBet will also be showcasing at Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event of the year, SiGMA16. If you’re interested in joining this iGaming summit in November and watching BtoBet among the other exhibitors, click here to register today.

Esports Insider Launches and Joins the SBC Family

Going a step further in its provision of in-depth news and knowledge about all things gambling, SBC News has launched Esports Insider.

This will provide readers with daily news updates focusing on the business of esports, in addition to the expert insight from its editorial team as well as interviews with the major stakeholders all across the esports sphere.

Esports Insider’s primary focus will be on the business aspect of the rapidly expanding industry, and it will also be keeping its readers up to date with all goings on with a weekly betting preview, events coverage, and also an events calendar.

Interviews will be carried out with teams, players, organisers, developers, and startups as well as non-endemic companies all looking to make their way successfully.

SBC’s Sam Cooke will be leading the team, supported by Oliver Ring; a freelance journalist who writes extensively for Redbull, and Michael Moriarty; an expert in the CS: GO scene.

Commenting on the launch, Esports Insider Editor Sam Cooke said: “We’ve been looking to move more into the esports space for some time. With the excellent contacts we’ve established and worked with at SBC, I believe that we can quickly establish Esports Insider as one of the primary sources of esports business news worldwide.

“It’s much needed and will only continue to grow in relevance. Newzoo predicts that esports will be a billion-dollar industry by 2019. Those thinking that esports is a bubble that’s going to burst…it isn’t. It’s very much here to stay.”

The Betting on Sports Conference in London last week had four esports panels. Speakers included ESL UK’s James Dean, Sportradar’s James Watson, Betgenius’s Moritz Maurer, RTSmunity’s Pavol Krasnovsky, ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith, and more.

Rasmus Sojmark, Founder of SBC, also commented on the launch, saying that: “SBC has continued to expand its esports coverage and as the industry grows and professionalises, we have expanded SBC Media to include an arm dedicated to the business of esports.

“Any company that is interested in reaching an esports audience should get in touch.”

SBC will be taking part in Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event of the year, SiGMA16. If you are interested in joining this iGaming summit in November, click here to register.