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888 Holdings and Rank Group Abandon Proposed William Hill Merger

Gambling companies 888 Holdings and Rank Group have announced that they will no longer be pursuing a merger with William Hill.

Towards the end of July, the two companies confirmed plans for a £3billion+ merger with William Hill, which would have resulted in the creation of the UK’s largest operator and one of the world’s gambling powerhouses.

Over the past few weeks, 888 Holdings and Rank Group reached William Hill with two offers. Under the original bid, one of the leading bookmakers in the UK was valued at 339 pence per share. Following the rejection of the first offer, 888 and Rank sweetened their proposal by valuing their bigger rival at 352 pence per share. William Hill also rejected the second bid earlier this week, giving the reason that it has substantially undervalued the gambling operator.

Although there was strong belief that the two bidders would do their best to make their offer attractive enough for the bookmaker to accept, 888 Holdings and Rank Group eventually decided to walk away from the proposed merger.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the two companies said that they had failed to engage meaningfully with William Hill’s Board.

CEO of 888 Holdings Itai Frieberger pointed out that they were rather disappointed that their bigger rival didn’t share their vision of combining their businesses, as they could have created a gambling powerhouse that would have not only changed the UK gambling landscape, but also the global one.

Henry Birch, CEO of Rank Group, added that the deal would have delivered substantial value for all shareholders involved.

Despite the news that a consolidation will no longer be pursued, William Hill said in a statement that it will continue to focus on delivering value for shareholders by diversifying offering both digitally and internationally.

It is still not clear whether 888 and Rank would engage into a merger without William Hill, but as the acquisition of their bigger rival has been the main driving force of their consolidation efforts, the chances for such a move seem very small.

888 Holdings will be showcasing at Malta’s biggest gaming event of the year, SiGMA16. If you’re interested in coming to watch 888 along with the many other exhibitors in November, click here to register for the iGaming summit today.

KPMG to Aid Creation of National Self-Exclusion Platform in the UK

The Remote Gaming Association (RGA) have officially recruited professional service company KPMG to assist in the creation of the online gambling self-exclusion system in the UK.

The company will initially assist the trade body by undertaking a scoping study which will help to shape the development of the National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme.

It will then support and advise the RGA during the implementation process which could take place before the end of 2017.

The National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme (NOSES), has been in development since February this year, when the Gambling Commission (UKGC) decided that the industry itself, through the RGA, would be responsible for the creation of a national online self-exclusion system.

RGA chief executive Clive Hawkswood commented: “Self-exclusion can be a vitally important tool, especially for problem gamblers or those who are at risk of developing problems.

“Self-exclusions have long been offered on a company basis, but in terms of consumer protection it will be a huge step forward to have a single national scheme of the type envisaged by government and the Gambling Commission.”

He went on to say that establishing a cross-industry system of this sort will raise a host of complex legal, technical and governance issues, adding: “We are therefore delighted to have retained KPMG to help us successfully navigate our way through all of these details with a view to having everything in place before the end of 2017.”

In addition to providing consumers with a single process where they can self-exclude themselves from all online gambling operators, the NOSES website will also set out other measures that can help people to manage and control their gambling, and will signpost specialist advice and support services for those who might benefit from them.

Paul Hope, UKGC programme director, commented: “We are very pleased that the RGA is developing the scheme on behalf of the online sector. The Commission will work with the RGA to achieve our shared objective of a scheme that is focused on what works best for people that would benefit from using it.”

KPMG will also be showcasing at SiGMA16; Malta’s biggest gaming event of the year. If you are interested in watching KPMG and other exhibitors in November, click here to register for this iGaming summit today.

888poker Releases Super XL Series Schedule

888poker, one of the largest online poker networks in the world, has officially released its schedule for the upcoming Super XL Series in September.

This is the sixth running of the Super XL, which goes to show how popular and successful it has become. The festival will take place between September 17th and 25th, with a total of 40 events. Each tournament will have three different buy-ins – Main, Mini and Turbo – to suit all bankrolls and playing styles.

There will be $4 million in guaranteed prize money; quite the increase from the $1 million in the last edition in May, and double the Super XL Series IV in January.

When the series kicks off, there will be 3 events for players to choose from. The Crazy 8 Super XL Kick-off tournament will offer a guarantee of $100K for an $88 buy-in, a $10K guarantee for the low buy-in of $8.80, and a $10K guarantee also for the $55 buy-in turbo edition.

888Poker Ambassadors Chris Moorman, Dominik Nitsche, Bruno Kawauti, Bruno Politano, Sofia Lovgren, Akira Ohyama, and Kara Scott will be seen at the tables competing alongside all other players. During the Super XL Series V, Nitsche had won the Mini Main Event for $36,541.

Ambassador Chris Moorman said: “I’m hoping I can take one down as the newest 888Poker ambassador. There is a great selection of tournaments every day with great structures and a wide variety of tournament types to keep it fresh.”

On the final date of the festival, the Main Events will be out in force. The $1,050, $1.5 million guaranteed Main Event will steal the show, but there will be four other Main Events with buy-ins ranging between $5 and $160 in Micro, Mini, Turbo and even Super Turbo formats.

In November, 888poker will also be showcasing at Malta’s biggest gaming event of the year, SiGMA16. If you are interested in coming to watch 888poker along with the other exhibitors at this iGaming summit, click here to register.

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.

LeoVegas Reports Strong Customer Growth in Q2 2016

LeoVegas, award-winning mobile gaming casino, has announced its second ever set of interim results as a Stockholm-listed corporation.

Detailing a revenue increase in Q2 of 67% to €31 million, compared to the €18.5 million in the same period last year, the iGaming operator was pleased with its 2016 momentum, recording a player activity increase on its products as the quarter’s customer deposit hit the + €100 million mark.

While competing in the Nordic and UK iGaming markets, the company’s corporate focus remains on growing its customer base, after reporting a period of heavy acquisition with a gain of 109k new customers.

Raised marketing costs during the period would see LeoVegas report an operating margin of -7.9 recording EBITDA of -€2.2 million in Q2 2016.

Commenting on the company’s performance in Q2 2016, LeoVegas CEO and Co-founder Gustaf Hagman said:

“LeoVegas’ strategy is to prioritise growth. In connection with the launch of LeoVegas Sport, we will increase our investments in marketing and act upon the new opportunities during this major year in the world of sport. This venture represents an exciting growth opportunity and the addition of new customers, even though we will likely see a decrease in profitability in the near term. Our investments in LeoVegas Sport and Live Casino should be viewed from a long-term perspective.”

The considerable investments made during the period as well as the great success achieved by LeoVegas Sport and Live Casino have resulted in a strong start to Q3 for the company. The revenue for July alone totalled €12.8 million, which shows a growth rate of 68%. In addition, the number of newly created accounts and active customers was constantly growing.

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

SlotsMillion Adds Two New Slots to its Game Portfolio

SlotsMillion, a virtual reality online casino, has added two more brand new slots to its portfolio of more than 1,200 games.

All its games are available to be played on both desktop and mobile. The two new offerings are Grim Muerto from Play’n GO and NetEnt’s Pigns May Fly.

Although these two games are very different from each other in terms of theme and layout, both of these video slots offer incredible high-end graphics and sound along with great entertainment value and massive potential wins. SlotsMillion’s platform already hosts 113 NetEnt slots, and Play’n GO provides 57 of their games.

Grim Muerto is a slot with 5 reels and 20 paylines, and also features a Mexican Mariachi band. Some of the highlights include a free spins feature with the chance of earning unlimited free spins. The slot incorporates lots of winning opportunities with wilds and extra wilds, where wins of up to 2,500 times the stake can be paid out.

When Pigs Fly is a rather quirky theme featuring cartoon pig astronauts in outer space. The game is a 5-reel, 3-row video slot with an original cross-shaped grid that offers up to 3,125 ways to win, and also incorporates several great features that include wild symbols, free spins and more.

SlotsMillion co-founder Alexandre Tomic commented: “Both NetEnt and Play’n GO are two of the top game developers in the industry, with hugely popular slots on our platform already. We are always seeking out the ‘latest and greatest’ to keep our customers happy, and we have no doubt that these new and highly entertaining offerings will always appeal to our players.”

SlotsMillion was created by a group of highly experienced land-based casino industry figures and technologies who all share a passion for slots and casinos, driven by the vision of creating an online casino that works seamlessly on any device.

SlotsMillion, Play’n GO, and NetEnt will all be showcasing at Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event of the year, SiGMA16. If you’re interested in joining this great iGaming summit, click here to register.

888 to Run Low Buy-In Summer ChampionChips Series

888poker has announced that it will be running a week-long Summer ChampionChips tournament series, with 18 different events all based on athletic competitions.

In the light of the Olympic Games in Rio, 888poker’s tournament series will run from the 14th till the 21st August, offering buy-ins ranging from merely $1 to $55 for the high roller event, as well as a $50,000 guaranteed Main Event on the 21st August, with a buy-in of only $30.

The Summer ChampionChips will include a lucrative leaderboard which will award prizes to whoever makes the top 200 during the series. If a player tops everyone else on the leaderboard by the end of the series, they will take home an impressive $1,000.

Only points from the 18 Final Tournaments will be calculated in the Summer ChampionChips leaderboard, and all points are calculated and updated automatically at the end of each tournament.

The series offers a bit of everything, from boxing, wrestling and weightlifting to synchronised swimming, trampoline, hurdles, long distance, and more.

Players who wish to get a head start in the tournament can do so by playing in 888’s Free Summer ChampionChips Qualifier Tourneys, which began on the 6th August and will be running until the 13th August.

888casino will also be exhibiting at Malta’s biggest iGaming summit of the year, SiGMA16. If you’re interested in coming to watch 888casino along with the many other exhibitors in November, click here to register today.

Ladbrokes Publishes H1 2016 Profits Showing Accelerated Growth

Ladbrokes Plc governance has published this year’s H1 results, stating that its ongoing corporate strategy has seen it deliver an “accelerated multi-channel” growth on all core metrics.

The bookmaker would close H1 ending 30th June 2016, recording group revenues of £661 million with an increase of 13% compared to the £585 million from same period last year.

Reversing its H1 2015 losses of -£37 million, the revenue uplift would see the operator post an operating profit of £37.7 million. Ladbrokes would record pre-tax profits of “25 million, maintaining its strong start in 2016, as it reverses 2015’s corresponding £50 million group losses.

Commenting on the H1 2016 performance, Ladbrokes Chief Executive Jim Mullen said: “These strong numbers show customers are responding positively to the new strategy at a time when the sporting gods have generally been on our side and we’ve enjoyed some helpful bookmaker friendly results. This combination has helped boost profits in the first half of the year.”

He went on to say: “We will continue to compete hard on pricing, product and customer services and maintain a relentless focus on meeting and exceeding customer expectations. With the merger on the horizon we recognise there is a lot of hard work still to come, but this is an exciting time for Ladbrokes and we approach the opportunities ahead with a strong sense of confidence.”

Ladbrokes will be exhibiting at Malta’s biggest iGaming summit of the year, SiGMA16. If you would like to join this gaming event and watch Ladbrokes along with the many other exhibitors in November, click here to register.

EGBA’s Maarten Haijer to Lead Responsible Gaming Panel at SiGMA

Leading up to Malta’s biggest iGaming summit of the year, preparations are well underway for SiGMA16. It has just been confirmed that Secretary General at EGBA Maarten Haijer will be leading the Responsible Gaming Panel at the event.

Responsible Gaming is a concept that is crucial for gaming and gambling operators, software suppliers and associated service providers. Upholding this concept ensures that their offerings provide the highest standards, as well as a fair and safe gaming experience that protects players from the adverse consequences associated with gaming and gambling.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is the body that represents the leading online gaming and betting operators established, licensed and regulated within the EU. The EGBA promotes the creation of a safe European digital environment for online gambling players, and takes lead on responsible gaming and sustainable regulation.

Operators are now required by the majority of gambling and gaming codes to ensure that both land-based and online gaming services are offered in a responsible manner. Topics such as the prevention of underage gambling, ensuring information privacy, protection against fraudulent and criminal behaviour, and ensuring a safe, secure and reliable operating environment are some of the topics that will be covered.

Secretary General Maarten Haijer joined the EGBA as Director for Regulatory Affairs. He previously worked as the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Counsellor at the Netherlands permanent representation to the EU, as well as having held several positions in the Dutch ministry of economic affairs.

Commenting on the partnership, Eman Pulis, SiGMA’s Managing Director, said: “This new strategic partnership will not only increase the quality of the conferences, but also bring more veterans from the industry to the Maltese shores. We are looking forward to seeing what the EGBA will bring to the conference.”

The goal of SiGMA is to ultimately bring the entire gaming community together, from affiliates and operators to regulators and vendors. This year’s edition of the iGaming summit will be bigger and better, following the multitude of great feedback received from the previous years.

EGBA will be one of the many great exhibitors at SiGMA16 this November. If you’re interested in experiencing Malta’s biggest gaming event of the year, click here to register.

LeoVegas Launches Felt Table Games

Award-winning mobile casino gaming operator LeoVegas has added a full suite of proprietary table games from specialist supplier Felt.

Customers of LeoVegas.com can now play table games such as Perfect Pairs, Lucky Lucky and 21+3, which have shown to be some of the most popular and successful games in the US and European land-based sectors over the past few years.

John Parsonage, CEO of Felt, said that these games will help LeoVegas to extend its reach and drive revenues by tapping into the profitable table game sector.

He commented: “There is a real demand for innovative and stimulating table game content that provides multiple betting opportunities across different devices, attracts new players, and increases existing player value.

“LeoVegas shares the same view, believing these games positively complement their existing game portfolio and provide them with an all-round enhanced casino offering. Being mobile-focused, they see the benefit of providing a suite of games that have each earned their spurs in the highly-competitive and challenging bricks and mortar environment, but are now perfectly tailored to its use.”

Committed to enrich player experience, Felt provided the ultimate table game formats, designed with authentic real-life casino attributes and a clean, modern and functional presentation.

Karolina Pelc, LeoVegas Head of Casino, stated: “We were very happy about going live with Felt’s content, with the recent launch of Sportsbook and a dedicated Live Casino vertical, I think adding exciting new content to our table games portfolio will be a great fit for the new demographics of players we start to see more of these days.

“Many think there is little place for innovation in the field of Table Games but Felt proves different. With a heritage of successful game formats, authentic styling and a user centric, mobile focused interface, I am confident these games will work well for LeoVegas and our players will find great enjoyment in playing them.”

LeoVegas will be showcasing at Malta’s biggest upcoming event of the year, SiGMA16. To come and watch LeoVegas along with the many other exhibitors at this iGaming summit in November, click here to register.