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Ladbrokes Coral to Make Job Cuts after GVC Takeover

1,600 employees stand to face redundancy under proposed deal

GVC Holdings’ ongoing takeover of the UK’s largest high street bookmaker could eventually result in up to 1,600 employees being made redundant, as per official merger documents. A scheme document issued to investors by the two organisations notes that the total headcount reduction “will be less than 6%” of the combined group’s employee base of 26,800.

Most of these cuts would occur in the UK, and they are not expected to affect the currently employed staff until next year. It is unlikely that the Ladbrokes network of high street bookmakers will be affected, but the Ladbrokes Coral head office is expected to close – some of the staff therein would relocate to the GVC head office when this occurs

According to industry reports, GVC’s offer is worth up to £3.9 billion, but could fall by £800 million. The UK government might yet opt to slash the maximum permitted fixed-odd betting terminals stake to £2. Since the machines bring in more than half of bookmakers’ revenues, a big chunk of Ladbrokes’ income could disappear.

More takeovers could be in the pipeline, as William Hill, online casino 888 and Mecca Bingo firm Rank are all potential merger or acquisition candidates.
Ladbrokes also revealed information about of its recent trading, showing that revenues rose 12% in the final quarter of the year on the back of a series of unexpected football outcomes.

 

Multibillion-pound Merger Between Ladbrokes Coral And GVC

Ladbrokes Coral and GVC’s multibillion-pound merger could finally be set in stone this month.

As the Financial Times newspaper revealed, the two companies are closer towards signing a deal for a multibillion-pound merger than it was previously known and have already come to a conclusion in terms of how the new executive team and bored should look like.
This move could lead to a new wave of further Merger and Acquisition deals among the gaming industry. Especially since the merger would occur with the publishing of a regulatory review in the UK at the end of this month. It could inspire competitors to merge also in order to prevent the loss of market share.

As reported, the companies Paddy Power Betfair, 888 Holdings, Jackpotjoy, Rank Group, The Stars Group and William Hill have all just recently set up their own battle plans.
As David Jennings, Davy’s head of leisure research, stated, “After the review, it won’t be the commencement of talks, it will be the continuation of them.”

As the Financial Times reported in August, GVC offered up to £3.6bn (€4.0bn/$4.7bn) to merge with Ladbrokes Coral. But after the negations turned out to be unsuccessful, GVC’s chief executive, Kenny Alexander announced that there will be no considerations for any other deal till the review is launched.

Last month, GVC published that the company was able to achieve a growth in their earnings and increased their revenue in around a double-digit within the first six month of 2017. The results were released in order to seek for more acquisitors.

 

Kenny Alexander stated, “Strategically, the organic growth potential remains exciting and through further product development and increased marketing investment we are well placed to pursue these opportunities.

“However, we operate in an industry where regulation and increased taxation present headwinds and these are best addressed through scale and diversification. The combination of our people, proprietary technology and proven M&A track record, means GVC is well positioned to play a significant role in the industry’s ongoing consolidation.”

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

First 3D online casino SlotsMillion now available in the UK

The 3D online casino SlotsMillion has been launched in the UK, the first of its kind, after the UK Gambling Commission issued the operating license to its parent organisation Alea Gaming Ltd.

Not long ago, UK players were not permitted to play at SlotsMillion. Now after the launch, players from the UK have access to a broad choice of 700 slot titles supported by 26 platforms such as Microgaming, Blueprint, Leander, Red Tiger Gaming, NetEnt, Games Warehouse, Pragmatic Play, Quickspin, Core Gaming and NextGen. With an offer of more than 500 games in their online mobile portfolio, Slots millions first online mobile approach is considered to be one of the biggest in the UK.

The online casino games can be accessed by players via smartphone, desktop or tablet and is supported by the main operating systems iOS, Windows and Android.

Alexandre Tomic, the co-founder of SlotsMillion, proudly commented on the UK debut, and stated that the company is happy to achieve this launch, which is considered as huge breakthrough for SlotsMillion.

Tomic added to the new release, “Our core focus is to offer players a unique, engaging and most importantly, entertaining experience, which we believe UK players will find when they walk through the digital doors of our casino.”

In partnership with VR Casino the company developed a special feature for Owners of an Oculus Rift headset, which allows them to wander about and walk through VR Casino’s doors on the highest floor of a virtual skyscraper. On this floor players can not only find dozens for slot machines but also a bar & lounge area.

As soon as the players have entered the building, they will have a stunning view out of the windows. Additionally, they are able to do some exploring among the cityscape, where they will come across a casino floor on which they will find more than 40 popular games such as Big Bad Wolf, the Beanstalk, Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest.

For Players who do not have access to the Oculus Rift hardware, SlotsMillion provides the 3D experience in their Casinos on the computer desktop.

The aim of ALEA was to develop new technologies and innovations to encourage player engagement and hereby create a world-class experience of online casinos.

The operator employs a team of more than 50 developers with the company’s offices based in Barcelona and Malta, and has already gained a decade of experience within the industry.

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Sky Betting and Gaming applies for local licence

Sky Betting and Gaming, one of the UK’s leading online bookmakers, has applied for a sports betting licence in Malta.It is the biggest online player by customer numbers in the UK market.

Sky betting & Gaming

Headquartered in Leeds and led by chief executive Richard Flint, Sky Betting & Gaming was formed in 2001 and now has a team of 1,200 employees.

It has offices in Sheffield, London, Rome and Munich, recently expanded into Italy and has plans to do the same in Germany soon.

Sky Betting & Gaming today operates five major online products – Bet, Vegas, Casino, Poker, and Bingo – as well as leading sports affiliate Oddschecker. Sky Betting and Gaming was recently valued at £800million.

The Gaming Authority has received 59 applications from gaming companies in the first four months of the year and approved 36 of them.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had yesterday hinted at gaming application, telling journalists that a “household name” in the gaming sector was seeking to relocate to Malta.

Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

 

888 considers relocating from Gibraltar to Malta post-Brexit

In an annual report by one of the world’s most popular online gaming operators & platform providers, 888 Holdings PLC Company, it was stated that they were considering a possibility that post-Brexit, they may have to move their headquarters from Gibraltar to Malta.

In the report, they highlighted the various risks that the European online gaming industry faced. One of them is currently the uncertainty of Brexit as most of their business is presently drawn from the UK. Although they stated they were considering moving their headquarters and license away from the Rock, they will still retain some presence there.

According to the report, it said: “The proposed status of Gibraltar in relation to the United Kingdom as a result of ‘Brexit’ is at present unclear. If 888 were to remain registered, licensed and operating in Gibraltar in these circumstances, its ability to rely on EU freedom of services/establishment principles in supplying its services within the EU will be limited.”

It went on to state: “Brexit could adversely affect economic or market conditions in the United Kingdom, Europe or globally and could contribute to instability in global financial markets, in particular until there is more certainty as to the form that Brexit will take and its effect on Gibraltar, the United Kingdom and the EU. Malta may be considered as an alternative ‘dot com’ licensing jurisdiction.”

There are currently around 30 leading iGaming and sports betting companies regulated and licensed in Gibraltar including BetVictor, Ladbrokes, 32Red, Bet365, Yggdrasil, NetEnt, Bwin and Lottoland to name a few.

Not every gaming company in Gibraltar predicts the same post-Brexit future for their company as 888 Holdings. Bwin’s GVC Holdings group stated: “Beyond the impact of currency movements there has been no visible impact on the business from the UK’s decision to seek an exit from the EU. The Group has greater sterling costs than revenues and therefore the impact from sterling weakness is a net positive. The detail of how the UK intends to exit the EU is yet to be decided, however, management believe GVC’s global footprint gives it significant flexibility to face any challenges that may arise.”

In the meantime, Lottoland, which offers the world’s biggest jackpots and attracts around four million players has confirmed their loyalty to the Rock.  Its operating base is located in Gibraltar’s Ocean Village Marina development with over 160 employees.

Nigel Birrell, Lottoland CEO stated: “We began operating from Gibraltar in May 2013 and it has been the perfect base for our business, providing an excellent platform for our success… Our business is thriving and the benefits of staying in Gibraltar remain very strong indeed.”

Have you attended SiGMA last year? Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Casumo and SSE Arena Wembley sign partnership deal

Malta-based online casino Casumo announces their three-year brand partnership deal with the SSE Arena Wembley in London.

Casumo at SiGMA 16

Casumo at SiGMA 16

Launched back in 2012, the online based casino has been seeking to expand their brand profile in the UK gaming market and has acknowledged their agreement with venue operator AEG Global to become a key sponsor of the SSE Arena.

Casumo will now have a presence at the famous London Entertainment venue that accommodates approximately 700,000 visitors yearly for performances ranging from comedy, music and live TV performances. The arena is also the host venue of ITV’s X Factor live TV Show.

Casumo stand at SiGMA 16

Casumo stand at SiGMA 16

The partnership will also include Casumo’s presence on the internal as well as the external screens. They plan to develop activations, engaging fans over the three year period at selected events as well as reaching venue fans through social media channels.

Nathan Kosky, Vice President, AEG Global Partnerships spoke at the launch of the partnership saying: “Casumo’s products are designed to create stand-out moments and this is what fans at The SSE Arena, Wembley have been enjoying for over 70 years.”

“The partnership will give Casumo access to some of the most engaged fans in the country and we’re very excited to be partnering with a brand who shares our ethos of creating unforgettable experiences.”

UK Market Manager for Casumo Greg Tatton-Brown also commented on the live partnership: “At Casumo we quickly understood that it is not only about having great casino games but also about the environment in which those are played. Our product is designed to optimise for happiness, create thrilling moments and make people smile – similar to the experience that The SSE Arena, Wembley delivers”

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. View Startup Pitch 2016 gallery here.

Kindred makes a £175m takeover bid for 32Red

Malta-based online Swedish gaming and sports betting company Kindred Group has agreed to buy the smaller UK rival award-winning online casino 32Red for £175.6, the latest deal in a wave of betting industry consolidation.
Kindred, formerly known as Unibet, will pay 196 pence per share which is 16% above the latest closing price of 172 pence. A second interim dividend of 4p per share will be paid by 32Red and not Kindred. Over the last few weeks, share prices for 32Red have surged with takeover speculations.

The last acquisition made by Kindred Group was back in 2015 with the purchase of StanJames.com which in turn made them one of Europe’s biggest online gambling providers. The group has more than 15 million customers across 100 markets with Europe and Australia considered their core regions.

Founded in 2002, the Gibraltar-based casino who is listed on London’s Aim market has grown quickly within the past few years with around 125 employees based in Gibraltar. They operate online casino, online poker, online bingo and online sports betting under the brands 32Red.com, 32RedPoker.com, 32RedBingo.com and 32RedSport.com.

Confirmation of accepting the offer has already been given by the shareholders who hold a combined 71.1% stake in 32Red. The offer is conditional upon Kindred gaining acceptances of more than 75%.

Kindred Group Chief Executive Officer Henrik Tjaernstroem said: “We’re optimistic we will be over 75 percent in a short space of time.”

32Red’s CEO Ed Ware had this to say about the acquisition: “We have consistently and profitably grown 32Red’s market share in the regulated markets of the UK and more recently, Italy,” 

“The management team at Kindred have a similar business philosophy to our own and we look forward to joining forces with Kindred and continuing our successful growth within the Kindred group.”

 

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. View Startup Pitch 2016 gallery here.

Evolution Gaming inks partnership agreement with White Hat Gaming

Stockholm-listed leading B2B provider of Live Casino systems in Europe, Evolution Gaming has revealed that they have signed a partnership agreement with the UK-licenced gaming platform provider White Hat Gaming.
White Hat becomes the latest client to be added to Evolution Gaming portfolio which is available for desktop, tablet and smartphone.

The agreement allows them access to Evolutions full range of mainstream and VIP Live Casino games including roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack and a variety of poker variants. Access to a new progressive jackpot along with exclusive titles will also be a part of the agreement which is expected to go live on White Hat gaming platform in the early part of Q2 this year.

The UK licenced market leading platform provider is a conglomeration of casino content from dominant providers delivering to their customers’ players the best in gaming experience. They currently work with top multiple igaming brands such as The Grand Ivy Casino, Hello Casino, and 21 Casino.

White Hat Gaming’s Chief Marketing Officer Marc Weinberg stated:  “Adding Evolution Live Casino to our content roster is a strategic step as it significantly increases the number of tables and game variants in our Live offering — and across all devices.”

Weinberg continued:  “The deal greatly expands choice for our customers and their players. At the same time, innovative Evolution developments such as Immersive Roulette and Baccarat Control Squeeze are stand-out games that will significantly help our operators acquire and retain players.”

Chief Commercial Officer at Evolution Sebastian Johannisson also commented: “White Hat Gaming has a growing number of operators using its platform as a ‘one-contract’, solution and we are delighted to serve those operators via this channel. Their players can look forward to access to all of our live tables, including exclusive titles such as Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and to other attractions too. I’m sure our upcoming Dream Catcher game, for example, will be a big hit. As a uniquely different online live lucky wheel, it will appeal to operators’ existing slots and bingo players and add further fun and stickiness to White Hat Gaming’s wide-ranging content offering.”

Betsson acquires NetPlay TV boosting their UK expansion

The Swedish online gaming group Betsson AB announces their plan to continue their expansion into the UK market in 2017 with the acquisition of the interactive gaming operator NetPlay TV.

Betsson governance reveals that they have made a cash offer to obtain the London AIM-listed company for a grand amount of £26.4 million.

This transaction is expected to be finalised by April and still has to be approved by the UK High Court of Justice and NetPlay TV shareholders. In order for the acquisition to go through, 75% acceptance is needed. Several investors in the gambling company have already given the thumbs up for the deal with the purchase being seen as a way of increasing their presence in the highly saturated UK online gambling market.

Betsson team at their stand during SiGMA16

Betsson team at their stand during SiGMA16

NetPlay TV generated a revenue of £14.7 million last year for the six months ended June 30. They currently run three casinos, sports betting and bingo brands as well as a B2B business that focuses on providing online digital marketing services and related operations.

Ulrik Bengtsson - on the right

Ulrik Bengtsson – on the right

CEO of Betsson Group Ulrik Bengtsson who was a speaker at one of the SiGMA 2016 conferences entitled “Catapulting Malta into the future”, made a short statement on his firm acquiring three established UK betting brands (Jackpot24/7, SuperCasino and Vernons) as well as the NetPlay asset which would see future growth and efficiency in scalability once integrated with its Techsson platform.

“Betsson’s experience of operating successful casino brands will add to NetPlay’s earnings and growth. We have a long-term view on NetPlay and will achieve significant cost synergies and operational improvements over time. Part of Betsson’s acquisition strategy is to add volume to its scalable Techsson platform and to increase the share of regulated revenue,” he commented.

CEO of NetPlay Bjarke Larsen endorsed Betsson’s  approach  stating: “With the changing market dynamics and as the market continues to consolidate, we believe now is the right time to take advantage of this opportunity to realise value for all of our shareholders.”

Mr Green becomes Front Runner TV first sponsor

The Malta-based online gaming operator Mr Green has become the first sponsor of the self-labelled UK’s only free to air sports TV channel Front Runner (frontrunner.tv).

Front Runner was launched last October and is a digital broadcaster which is currently available on Freeview channel 91 and sky channel 468. Their sports content is combined with sporting documents and sports-focused reality TV-shows.

The exclusive Front Runner UK content includes TV shows such as ‘M80’ (motocross), ‘ThrillBillies’ (reality stunt show), ‘The Adventures of Danny & the Dingo’ (snowboarding) and ‘Built to Shred’ (skateboarding).

The Front Runner management announced last Friday their first broadcast partnership with the gaming operator and will be promoting the mobile and desktop services of the newly Nordic Nasdaq-listed Mr Green on their first broadcast partnership.

In compliance with the UK advertising standards and marketing practices, Front Runner will only be promoting Mr Green services after UK 9pm watershed.

The deal commenced on Friday 20 January and Ryan Scarratt MD of Front Runner TV updated the stakeholders and media stating: “Now the channel is established we are inviting more brands to contact us to be part of the future success.”

Mr Green recently won the awards for Innovative App of the Year and Best Casino App of The Year at the 2016 Gaming App Awards.