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Caroline Watson

Caroline Watson

News | Press Releases
18th May
Scientific Games executives weigh in on Supreme Court ruling

Following the US Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down the 1992 federal ban on sports betting, a number of companies from around the world have offered their insights into what this landmark decision could mean for the future of their businesses.

Three executives from Scientific Games have offered their opinions on the decision that opens up sports betting across the country, finally ending Nevada’s monopoly on the practice.

Referring to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Barry Cottle, CEO SG Interactive and incoming President & CEO of Scientific Games, says: “This decision will potentially bring about the greatest wave of gaming expansion in the United States in the past 20 years. This is certainly an exciting development for our industry, our customers and our company.

“Scientific Games is uniquely equipped to help our customers capitalise on this new sports betting opportunity. I have full confidence that our dgital and lottery teams will underpin this ruling with world-class customer service and speed-to-market solutions for all stakeholders.”

Also weighing in on the decision was Matt Davey, Group Chief Executive of SG Digital, stating: “The US Supreme Court's decision today creates an unprecedented opportunity for sports betting providers and operators, and most of all sports betting enthusiasts in the US. We're excited to see this first step toward legalisation, and we are well advanced in working with our lottery and gaming partners on solutions to fit their individual needs.

“The market growth expected as a result of this decision will have lasting impact on the US gaming and lottery industry, and on the revenues generated for the states that participate.

“While the ruling certainly benefits operators and suppliers, it’s also a fantastic development for bettors and players. Soon, they’ll have cohesive, legal, and regulated solutions that allow them to bet in a safe and protected betting environment.”

And finally, Pat McHugh, SVP Global Lottery Systems, adds: “This is a historic move forward for the US gaming and lottery industry. Legalised sports wagering will allow our lottery customers to provide an entertaining product to their players, all while generating significant revenue for states and lottery beneficiaries.

Beyond the excitement, legal sports betting will offer Americans the ability to place secure bets using trusted technology that meets all regulatory requirements and protects the wager, the consumer and the lottery or gaming organisation.”

17th May
Warwick Bartlett: FOBT’s £2 stake – A Disastrous Decision

The decision on the part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DDCMS) will have far reaching effects on the gambling industry.  Those likely to be hit hardest will be the independent betting shop proprietors.   As one old friend said to me “I am a third-generation bookmaker, the business was started by my grandfather, handed down to my father and now I have lost it, and through nothing I have done".

The B2 or FOBT saw 80 percent of play on roulette. Even for a betting shop, a £2 stake is very low with the average around £8 to £10. So, playing roulette with a £2 stake causes the even money options (red, black odd and even) to be an immaterial play. This forces the player to bet numbers, but £2 on a single number would be like a donation.  Most players split their stakes between several numbers but because the limit per spin is £2, players will be placing bets of 20 pence per number making it an immaterial play.

So, the B2 machine may as well not exist. They will become B3 machines. 

The FOBT revenue will be split between vaporisation, some will migrate over the counter, I would suggest 20%, and some on B3 play.  Either way the loss of revenue will be significant.

This comes at a time when costs are rising for media, regulation and now increased taxation.  We have written about this before.

Although the independent sector will be hardest hit the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange will also see a substantial reduction in profits.  To be fair they have put their hands up to it, and given shareholders fair warning. What they have not been able to model is the effect of an increase in remote gaming duty which is to cover the cost of treasury revenue from the FOBT’s because the rate is not known.

It is my view that city analysts have underestimated the effect of the stake change.  Their figures were prediction on a £20 stake because that seemed logical.  I never expected a £2 stake because such a fall would not be reasonable, based on evidence, or would such a drastic drop be proportionate.

The decision is bizarre.  Punters in betting shops can play roulette on their hand-held devices on line and stake as much as they like. 

Hilton hotels in the USA have iPad in hotel bedrooms that are programmed to access only the Hilton website. You can order food, beverage, towels, soap and shampoo without talking to anyone. A bookmaker could put iPad in the shops and access their websites with customers paying cash over the counter. That goes someway to explain the hypocrisy of this decision.

Rising media costs for horseracing, loss of FOBT revenue, increases in taxation, will lead to the closure of shops causing the remaining shops to shoulder the burden of the industries high fixed costs, leading to a downward spiral.

This could not come at a worse time for the industry as the USA has finally announced this week that the legalisation of sports betting is underway.  UK bookmakers are best of class for probity, efficiency and working in a regulated environment.

Moving into the lucrative US market will require substantial investment at a time when the industry is being drained of liquidity.There is potential for missed opportunity again.

What lessons can we learn?

  1. An industry should present a united front to Government. We saw online operators telling Government to impose a low stake. Now they face an increase in remote gaming duty.  Don’t say we did not warn you!
  2. Never ask government for anything, everyone does, and everyone’s case is special and no different from yours. Government is used to saying no!
  3. Go to Government with a plan where it is in their interests and they are the winners. Ideally operators should have self-imposed a limit of a £20 stake a year ago.  But such a move would have been in breach of competition regulations.  Hard to do the right thing even if you would like to.
  4. Do not threaten Government. You will be the loser.
17th May
UK Govt slashes FOBT stakes by 98%

The UK Government has introduced rules that will reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2.

The move follows repeated calls from campaigners to protect vulnerable gamblers from the terminals that have been described as highly addictive and dubbed the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.

High street betting shops opposed such significant reductions in the maximum stake, claiming that thousands of jobs would be lost. William Hill said that half of its retail revenues came from FOBTs and that 900 of its shops could make losses and face closure as a result of the rule change.

However, following the announcement, other UK bookmakers have accepted the move and said they were pleased that the uncertainty was finally over.

GVC Holdings, which owns Ladbrokes, said it expects profits to be cut by about £160m (US$215m) in the first year that the new limit is in force.

“Although we are ultimately disappointed with the outcome of the Triennial Review, it is a decision we accept,” said GVC Holdings CEO Kenneth Alexander.

“The uncertainty has weighed heavy on the industry and the many thousands of people who work within it. Our focus now is to work with Government to build a constructive relationship that will ensure a positive future for the sector and the many millions of customers who enjoy our products responsibly. The offer for Ladbrokes Coral Group was structured to address the potential of a £2 max stake outcome and as such the strategic rationale for the acquisition remains unchanged.”

Another major UK high street brand, Paddy Power Betfair, added: “We’ve consistently called for a significant stake cut which would take this issue off the table, so we’re pleased that the Secretary of State and Government has acted so decisively.

“Our industry provides a fun, exciting experience for the vast majority of customers and it makes sense to try and get back to that by removing what had become a toxic issue. Today’s move will have a short-term impact on our business, but we think it’s a really important step towards building a sustainable industry.”

The impact of the announcement was no doubt softened by the news earlier this week regarding US online sports betting, with big-name betting brands already making moves to offset any potential losses with significant gains in the States.

 

14th May
Landmark ruling sees the Supreme Court vote open up sports betting across the US

The US Supreme Court has voted in a 6-3 ruling that has overturned a 1992 federal ban on sports betting across the country. The landmark ruling that has put an end to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, will now open up opportunities for states to legalise sports betting, putting an end to Nevada’s monopoly on the practice.

"The legalisation of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own," Justice Samuel Alito wrote on behalf of the court.

The court upheld the legality of a 2014 state law permitting sports betting at New Jersey casinos and horse racetracks and voided the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

New Jersey has been campaigning for a number of years for the ban to be withdrawn on the potential billion dollar industry, highlighting the level of illegal sports betting across the US as one of its principle arguments.

Over the years of campaigning, a number of leading operators and sporting associations have joined New Jersey’s fight for a regulated sports betting market. These various professional sports leagues have included the likes of the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour.

In recent months, a number of operators have been gearing up for the potential positive outcome of the ruling, with companies around the world hoping to enter an industry that could change the face of sports betting on a global scale.

Commenting on the breaking news, the American Gaming Association said: “Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner. According to a Washington Post survey, a solid 55% of Americans believe it’s time to end the federal ban on sports betting.

"Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting. Through smart, efficient regulation this new market will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others.

"The AGA stands ready to work with all stakeholders – states, tribes, sports leagues, and law enforcement – to create a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this opportunity to engage fans and boost local economies.”

10th May
Paradise Co’s Q1 net income plummets

South Korean casino operator, Paradise Co has reported a 61.6% decrease in net income for the three months ending 31 March, totalling at a meagre $2,8m.

Despite these figures, according to a filing to the Korea Exchange, the foreigner-only casino reported an operating profit of approximately $4.5m for the first three months of 2018, compared to an operating loss of $7.2m in the first quarter of 2017.

Although the figures show a substantial disparity in the results, the company failed to supply any commentary on the reasons for the year-on-year net income decline.

Paradise Co’s total revenue increased by 26% year-on-year in the first quarter to about $168m, from approximately $133m in the prior-year period.

Additionally, the first-quarter revenue included casino sales of $140m for the three months to March 31, up 19.9% from a year earlier.

Paradise Co operates a number of casinos in the region, including Walkerhill in Seoul, Jeju Grand, Busan Casino and Paradise City in Incheon.

Japan is currently in the process of establishing its own casino industry framework, a fact that some investment analysts have said could have a negative impact on South Korea’s gambling market.

10th May
AffiliateCon Sofia mixes serious business with serious fun

With AffiliateCon Sofia taking place on 15 and 16 May, organisers have released details of the afternoon entertainment. While quality networking and education is the serious business side of AffiliateCon, the two-day industry event also wants to provide serious fun.

Held at the Sofia Event Center, day one of the conference will conclude with a free drinks reception with a jazz performance from Dani Sax to entertain attendees after a full day of networking and talks, where guests can enjoy a cold beverage watching the sunset over the beautiful city of Sofia.

Later that night, affiliates will be treated to Mixology - a special networking party sponsored by Trafficology magazine. Held at the stylish Carrusel Club in the heart of the Bulgarian capital’s hip arts district, this party will go onto the early hours of the morning allowing guests to let their hair down after a successful day of business.

The two-floor club is the perfect venue for guests and brands to meet and mingle over drinks after the first day of the convention. Fresh from her starring role in Bulgaria’s bid for Eurovision glory, singing sensation Zhana Bergendorff will be performing live at the event, combined with complimentary drinks and canapés, this will give attendees enough energy to party into the night.

On day two of the event, affiliates will be treated to a Hula and dance stage show featuring Emi Velkova and ‘New X Dance’ before enjoying their evening in Sofia or heading back home after a successful few days forming new business relationships.

It is not too late to get involved. Register now for your free tickets at AffiliateCon.com

8th May
Wynn removed from Boston casino licence

State casino regulators have reached an agreement to remove Steve Wynn’s name from a license that his former company was issued to operate a $2.5bn resort casino currently under construction in Boston, Massachusetts.

This move will see the casino giant effectively severing ties with the founder of the company and former chief executive.

As a result of the agreement, Wynn has been removed as a ‘qualifier’ for the company’s Everett casino project, as long as he does not vote at the company’s 16 May annual shareholders meeting.

Lawyers for the company and for Steve Wynn had applied to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to have Wynn removed noting that he had resigned from the company in February before liquidating his shares in Wynn Resorts.

In a statement, Wynn’s lawyer wrote: “The commission rejects the characterisation by Mr. Wynn’s legal counsel that he is nothing more than an ordinary private citizen of the State of Nevada vis-a-vis Wynn Resorts.

“There is, however, substantial evidence that the relationship between Mr. Wynn and Wynn Resorts has been terminated in a meaningful way such that Mr. Wynn no longer falls with the definition of qualifier at the conclusion of the upcoming annual shareholders meeting.”

It has been several months since Wynn formerly resigned from the company back in February, following sexual misconduct allegations that he has since denied.

Nonetheless, the decision does not end a separate investigation by the commission into Wynn Resorts and its handling of the sexual misconduct allegations.

2nd May
Pinnacle withdraws from UKGC application process

Online gaming and eSports bookmaker Pinnacle has announced the withdrawal of its application to the UK Gambling Commission, after previously seeking a licence for nearly two years.

In a statement, the company said: “Although we are eager to serve the UK betting market, the decision has been made that now is not the right time.

“We appreciate that this will leave some of you disappointed but please rest assured that Pinnacle remains committed to bringing its low margins, high limits and unique winners welcome policy to the UK market when the time is right.”

Back in 2015, Pinnacle outlined a new strategic vision that primarily focused on expanding it services within regulated European markets.

Following this, the operator secured a MGA2 licence from the Malta Gaming Authority later that year, permitting it to offer its sports betting services within European member states markets.

Originally, Pinnacle was hoping for an early 2017 launch of its UK sportsbook product, but since its initial application there has been little progress to securing the licence.

30th April
AffiliateCon Sofia announces Mega Panel full of industry experts

AffiliateCon Sofia has announced that it will host a ‘Mega Panel’ that will discuss the new industry landscape. Subjects covered will look at the ever-evolving regulatory environment, the growing impact of M&A activity, the pros and cons of outsourcing to Central and Eastern Europe, GDPR and of course, debating over what’s hot and what’s not.

Advocate, Notary and International Master of Gaming Law (IMGL) Tal Itzhak Ron from Tal Ron, Drihem & Co., Law Firm, will lead and moderate the panel discussion, which is expected to get pretty heated. Tal is internationally known as one of the leaders of the Financial, Crypto and Gaming online industries, working with all the biggest names in online finance and online gaming. 

The Mega Panel will consist of several industry executives, including Claire Wellard, the Chief Operating Officer of international firm Ihre Consulting. Since 2010, she has worked almost exclusively in the gaming industry and has extensive experience in affiliate management. 

Additionally, Amir Mikay who is Co-Founder and CEO of Traffic Light Media and Tech Coin Group will be offering his opinions on the panel. Mikay has ten years of experience in the marketing and affiliation industries, working with leading companies in both the gaming and finance sectors. 

Another speaker who will be joining the panel with years of knowledge and experience in the gaming and financial industries is Ray Shepherd, Senior Executive in UFX Group Business Development. Ray overseesintroducing brokers, franchises and affiliates, making him the perfect addition to the panel. 

And last but not least is Assaf Stieglitz who is an entrepreneur at heart and a software engineer by degree. Involved in the online gaming industry since 2003, Assaf established Odds1x2.com where he is still currently CEO,  but has since launched PlayWiseCasino.com. Assaf is a frequent speaker at many conferences around the globe and likes to share his insights into the industry. 

AffiliateCon Sofia is held over two days on the 15-16 May, setting a benchmark in affiliate networking and education. The landmark industryconvention is free for affiliates to attend, and rather than being a trade show with big intimidating stands, it will provide a relaxed environment where selected high-profile brands will get the opportunity to discuss potential partnerships with a wide range of affiliates. 

To register for your free affiliate tickets, click here: AffiliateCon Sofia

27th April
Seeking the lion's share of the market
LeoVegas has been one of the most exciting operators to watch in the online gaming space, taking just six years to go from concept to a billion-dollar market valuation. Co-Founder and CEO, Gustaf Hagman shares his thoughts on the journey so far, and offers an insight into the group’s ambitious plans for 2018
26th March
Paddy Power launches electronic self-exclusion process for all UK shops

UK and Ireland sportsbook operator Paddy Power has launched an electronic self-exclusion process via an in-shop app for all of its UK-based shops. The new electronic self-exclusion system, which will make the self-exclusion status of the customer instant, will replace the current paper-based process.

The new system which is hosted via an Android or IOS tablet stores the customer’s image and contact information and then automatically distributes their profile to up to 10 Paddy Power shops in their area. In addition the system simplifies the photo identification process and has a responsive interface for shop staff.

Commenting on the introduction of the new process, David Newton Managing Director of Retail at Paddy Power said: “Providing quick support for customers who want to self-exclude is a key element of our responsible gambling agenda. We believe that this new process will make self-exclusion easier and quicker for our customers and hope that other retail betting-operators join us in providing this service.”

Following a successful trial of the product in Kent with all betting operators in the area taking part, the electronic system has been developed by Responsible Gambling Consultancy Ltd so that any betting operator can sign up to use the system.

The new process, which is GDPR compliant, will be available in all UK Paddy Power shops by June 2018 and will also be launched across all Paddy Power shops in Ireland later in the year.

20th March
Mr Green makes a splash in Denmark

Mr Green posted its full-year financial results for 2017m with the company benefiting from its entrance into the Danish market.

Last year, the company acquired Dansk Underholdning and after enjoying a “healthy influx” of customers in the territory, the company expects it to become a key market.

Overall revenues hit the SEK1.192bn mark, increasing an incredible 28.9% on 2016’s figure of SEK924.5m. The EBITDA margin grew from 9.9% the previous year to 15.6%, with the share price in 2017 rising by 73.9%.

Mr Green CEO, Per Norman, commented: “Even after the acquisition of Evoke Gaming, Mr Green has a continuously favourable financial position.

“In the spring of 2017, we conducted a directed new share issue of SEK195m before issue expenses. We have an explicitly conservative approach regarding the balance sheet and want to have the scope to be able to manage unexpected situations.

“We have opted for a cautious approach to the tax issue in Austria and made provisions for a high taxation level. The board’s proposal to the AGM of a transfer of SEK1.30 per share to shareholders is confirmation of the strength of our customer offering, our financial position and cash flow.”

19th March
Wynn is given the go-ahead to dispose of shares

A regulatory filing posted late last week detailed that Steve Wynn is now free to sell all, or a portion of his stake in the company.  

According to Thomson Reuters Eikon data, Steve Wynn is the largest shareholder in the company, owning approximately 11.8% of the casino operator, followed by his former wife who has a 9.3% stake.

Due to a prior agreement with Wynn Resorts, Wynn was not allowed to dispose more than one-third of the shares he holds in the company. However, the former CEO and his wife dissolved the agreement, as disclosed by CNBC.

It’s been over a month since Wynn resigned from his roles as CEO and Chairman of the company amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Wynn previously served as CEO and Chair of Mirage Resorts before founding Wynn Resorts in 2002, turning the company into a multinational multi-billion dollar enterprise and amassing a personal fortune of over $3.3bn. 

At the time at which the news broke, Wynn released a statement, saying: "In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity.

“As I have reflected upon the environment this has created — one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts — I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.” 

19th March
The UKGC weighs in on FOBT outcome

The UK Gambling Commission has given the UK Government its blessing to cut stakes on the “crack cocaine of gambling”, fixed odds betting terminals, to £2.

Furthermore, despite campaigners’ concerns about the risks of casino-style games including roulette offered on FOBTs, by far the most popular category, the commission said stakes for these should be cut to £30 or below.

Bookmakers around the UK have been hotly anticipating the results of Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and now the Gambling Commissions influential recommendation has the potential to have a prominent negative impact.

The popular betting machines have been under an extreme amount of scrutiny over the past year, as they currently allow players to bet £100 every 20 seconds at the terminals, potentially allowing a punter to spend £18,000 an hour.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, the Gambling Commission stated: “At the heart of our advice is an aim to reduce the risks that consumers, especially those that are vulnerable, face from gambling. We think that action – from government, the Gambling Commission and operators – is needed to achieve that aim.”

“While the package which we are recommending includes a stake cut for Category B2 gaming machines, our advice is clear that any serious attempt to reduce the risk of harm must not rely solely on a change to the stake limit for one product, which only 1.5% of the population plays each month. The package should include, for example, action to improve the tools available to customers to help them to manage their gambling.”

A spokesperson for Fairer Gambling, which has been campaigning for a blanket reduction in all B2 stakes to £2, said: “The Gambling Commission is giving the government free rein to determine an appropriate stake. We are confident that when the evidence has been reviewed, £2 a spin will be considered the most appropriate level.”

However, the Commission has received backlash after announcing its guidance, with Carolyn Harris MP describing it as “outrageous” that the watchdog was not “brave enough” to adopt the £2 limit, and said the machines “blight” lives.

16th March
XLMedia posts record-breaking results for 2017

In an update to investors, XLMedia has published its full-year 2017 financial results, posting another record-breaking set of figures.

The affiliate marketing firm’s revenues increased by a whopping 33% to $137.6m in comparison to the year prior, with gross profit rising to $73.1m, up 37% from 2016.

Ory Weihs, Chief Executive Officer of XLMedia, commented: “We are delighted to have delivered another record performance for the Group, underpinned by our clear strategic vision.

“Our recent entry into the personal finance sector is already delivering tangible benefits with potential for further upside, while the core activities continue to deliver solid growth.”

The past 12 months have been very busy for the company, after acquiring a number of leading Finnish gambling related informational websites from Good Game Ltd, for a total consideration of up to €15m.

Furthermore, the company continued to focus on its presence in the growing Romanian market after it completed the acquisition of a Romanian portfolio of publishing assets.

Weihs adds: “Elsewhere, core markets continue to perform well, and alongside the acquisitions and ongoing investment in technology, we are confident these will generate significant returns.

“Further to the fundraising completed in January, we believe we will be able to capitalise on our acquisition pipeline in addition to growing the business organically. The Board remains focused on continuing to deliver further progress and shareholder value.”

14th March
The future looks bright for Everi after successful 2017

Everi Holdings Inc. has announced its financial results for both the fourth quarter and full-year for the 2017 financial year.

Q4 revenues increased to $247.9m, up from $217.5m in the same period a year prior. Games and payments segment revenues were $57.0m and $190.9m, respectively, for the fourth quarter of 2017. 

Additionally, net loss for the fourth quarter of 2017 was $25m compared to a net loss of $217.3m in the prior-year period.

Exceeding the upper end of its guidance range, for the full-year, revenue increased 13.4% to $974.9m  and Adjusted EBITDA rose 7.5% to $212.8m.

Michael Rumbolz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Everi, commented: “Our strong fourth quarter operating results mark Everi’s sixth consecutive quarter of revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth which reflect, in part, consistent market share gains for the broad array of casino industry technology products we provide. 

“Through the efforts of the entire Everi team, over the last two years we have established a solid foundation for consistent growth and we will continue to build and expand on this progress.”

Looking ahead, Everi has also provided its forecast for 2018 financial and operational metrics. With the company expecting to generate revenue and adjusted EBITDA growth in 2018, with adjusted EBITDA expected to grow 6% to 8% to between $225m to $230m.

Rumbolz added: “We anticipate continued success across both of our business segments will lead to further growth in our financial performance. This outlook, combined with significantly lower cash interest expense, is expected to benefit our free cash flow generation in 2018, and lead to an even more significant acceleration in free cash flow generation beginning in 2019.”

13th March
97% of the bets placed on March Madness set to be illegally wagered

The US Supreme Court is only but a few weeks away from ruling on New Jersey’s challenge to a law overturn the existing sports betting legislation, just in time for the America Gaming Association to release some jaw-dropping figures on illegal sports betting.

The AGA estimates that only around 3% of the expected $10bn set to be wagered on the upcoming 2018 NCAA men's basketball tournament will be bet legally, through Nevada sports books.

This minuscule proportion of bets placed legally only amounts to approximately $300m.

Americans illegally bet at least $150bn annually on sports, using bookies, illegal offshore websites, or through sports pools such as popular March Madness basketball bracket pools.

Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association comments: "Our current sports betting laws are so out of touch with reality that we're turning tens of millions of Americans into criminals for the simple act of enjoying college basketball.”

At present, there are 48 pieces of sports betting legislation active in 18 states, as legislatures across the country prepare to take advantage of this opportunity the repeal could offer.

“The failed federal ban on sports betting has created an illegal, unregulated sports betting market that offers zero consumer protections and generates zero revenue for state and tribal governments,” Freeman adds.

"As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of PASPA, AGA is focused on working with all stakeholders to put the illegal market out of business and enable a safe, legal way for American consumers to participate in next year's office pool without fear of prosecution." 

9th March
Aristocrat files lawsuit against AGS LLC and PlayAGS

Aristocrat has filed a lawsuit against AGS LLC and PlayAGS, Inc. the United States District Court in Nevada, alleging infringement of its trademark rights for the firm’s “Buffalo”-branded slot machine product.

Aristocrat has filed the suit for a number of reasons, alleging federal trademark and trade dress infringements, in addition to unfair competition.

Managing Director of the Americas, Matt Wilson, said: “We will aggressively protect our market-leading brands and intellectual property in every jurisdiction.  Buffalo is an iconic game franchise and an enduring player favourite.

“With this suit, Aristocrat is defending the brand and standing up against trademark and trade dress infringement, consistent with the best interests of customers and our company.”

Furthermore, Aristocrat is seeking that AGS be preliminarily and permanently enjoined from all trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition.

9th March
IGT hits Q4 2017 targets

In an update to investors, IGT has posted its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2017, posting modest results, with consolidated revenue increasing 3% year-on-year, from $1,321m in 2016 to $1,3746m.

Adjusted operating income was up to $268m compared to the $281m generated in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA was $452m compared to $422m in the fourth quarter of 2016, primarily attributed by the company to strong International performance, Italy sports betting results, and lower operating expenses.

A strong second-half performance led by the international segment in the fourth quarter enabled the supplier to hit its financial objective for the year, despite the gains being fairly modest.

However, full-year results for 2017, showed a decrease in total revenue, falling from $5,154m in 2016 to $4,939m.

IGT CEO, Marco Sala, commented: "We had a strong finish to 2017, amplifying the progress we made throughout the year. We delivered outstanding results in our Lottery business and improved our key performance indicators in the Gaming business.”

North America Lottery revenue of $304 million was up 7% from the prior-year period, on strong wager growth and product sales.

“These achievements were enhanced by disciplined expense management. Bringing innovative content and technology to market remains the cornerstone of our strategy,” Sala adds. “Last year, we executed well along this path and established a solid foundation for growth in 2018 and beyond."

Alberto Fornaro, CFO of IGT, added: "We met all of our financial objectives for the year, including the top end of our EBITDA expectations. Net debt was slightly better than our outlook, despite the early Scratch & Win renewal in the fourth quarter. The results for the fourth quarter and full year highlight the diversity and resilience of the IGT franchise."  

7th March
Paddy Power Betfair announces 2017 preliminary results

In an update to investors, Paddy Power Betfair has announced its preliminary results for the full-year 2017.

Boosted by a 16% growth in sports revenue, total revenue for the group increased by 13% reaching a total £1,745m.

Exceeding analyst predictions, underlying EBITDA was up 18% to £473m. Due to favourable Q4 sporting results; Underlying EBITDA exceeded the previous guidance range of £450m - £465m.

Peter Jackson, Paddy Power Betfair Chief Executive, commented: “I joined Paddy Power Betfair because of its great brands, fantastic people and exciting prospects. It is an exceptional business with market leading positions in key online and retail markets; differentiated products; and leading capabilities in technology, risk & trading and digital marketing.

“We saw the benefits of investing in our customer propositions in 2017, with Sportsbet launching a number of product features that give extra value to customers and Betfair moving to a clear market leadership position in its football pricing.”

At the start of the year, in January 2018, the company fully integrated its European platform, allowing it to focus its resources on developing customer facing products.

Additionally, leading customer propositions and continued strong performance in Australia, retail and the US means that the operator is prepared for any potential future regulatory changes that may occur later in the year.

“Now the Paddy Power brand is operating with an improved product, we will increase marketing spend to align with its mass market positioning and step up the retention-focused investment that we started in 2017,” adds Jackson. “At the same time, we also plan to increase our investment in international markets.

“Our scale, leading customer propositions and strong balance sheet mean we are well positioned ahead of the regulatory and fiscal changes expected in the UK, Australia and the USA. Our strengths in operating efficiently and responsibly will enable us to build a business that can sustainably generate shareholder returns over the long-term.”

6th March
GGA Las Vegas announces latest award sponsors

Gambling Insider is proud to announce the latest Global Gaming Awards Las Vegas sponsors for the 2018 ceremony. Ahead of G2E in October, hundreds of industry executives will descend on The Venetian in Las Vegas for the fifth inauguration of the event.

The GGAs seek to recognise all of the companies that have made a huge impact on the market in the past year, and this year’s awards see the introduction of three new categories, Slot of the Year, Property of the Year and lastly, Product Innovation of the Year.

The Awards are powered by leading B2B-gaming publication Gambling Insider in association with G2E and independently audited by KPMG Gibraltar.

Konami Gaming, Inc. has been announced as the awards’ Content Sponsor, aligning itself with the industry’s most trusted and respected awards show. Tom Jingoli, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer at Konami Gaming, Inc. comments: “Konami is thrilled to support news and information surrounding the 2018 Global Gaming Awards.

“Each year the program honours top achievements in areas from product innovation to corporate social responsibility, which are critical to industry growth and success. We’re proud to be a part of celebrating the gaming industry’s diverse landscape and highlighting the accomplishments that continue to drive us forward.”

Furthermore, Microgaming, IGT, Betradar and NetEnt are the latest awards sponsors, each representing one of the 12 categories, encapsulating all sectors of the gambling industry, be it from the land-based or digital spheres.  

Once again IGT will sponsor Land-Based Operator of the Year, with Nick Khin, IGT Chief Commercial Officer, North America Gaming & Interactive, saying: “The Global Gaming Awards are one of the highlights of G2E, as they help us differentiate IGT solutions to important customers and investors.”

Also for the third-year in a row, NetEnt, the leading digital entertainment company, is sponsoring the GGA category Digital Operator of the Year. Gambling Insider COO, Julian Perry states: “We are very proud to have NetEnt on board again, Per Eriksson and his team have been long-term supporters of the event and we’re delighted to have them sponsoring this category for another year.”

The Responsible Business of the Year category is sponsored by Microgaming, with Andrew Clucas, Director of Quickfire, Microgaming commenting: “The independently audited Global Gaming Awards is a trusted and respected industry event. With social responsibility entrenched in our culture at Microgaming, we are proud to sponsor the Responsible Business of the Year award."

Additionally, after working with the GGAs for three years, Betradar is sponsoring Executive of the Year, with Tobias Brunner, Director of Marketing Operations at Sportradar AG stating: “We are extremely pleased with the outstanding performance of the Global Gaming Awards in Las Vegas. We feel the focus on integrity reflects our own values perfectly and it’s an honour to participate in such a valued competition.”

5th March
BetConstruct announced as the GGA Las Vegas Lead Sponsor

For the second year in a row, the Global Gaming Awards Las Vegas are proud to announce that BetConstruct will be its lead partner for the 2018 event.

On the 8 October, over 700 industry leaders will attend a glittering ceremony at The Venetian, in the heart of Las Vegas, providing the perfect platform to celebrate the successes of their industry peers over the past 12 months.

In the past few years, the Global Gaming Awards have gone from strength to strength, recognising the gaming industry’s best across both the land-based and digital sectors.

The Global Gaming Awards Las Vegas seeks to shine a light on those companies that have had a big impact on the gaming market in the past year. This year’s awards see the introduction of three new categories, Slot of the Year and, Property of the Year and lastly, Product Innovation of the Year.

The Awards are powered by leading B2B-gaming publication Gambling Insider in association with G2E and independently audited by KPMG Gibraltar.

Julian Perry, COO of Gambling Insider, comments: “We are delighted to announce the news that BetConstruct has joined the Global Gaming Awards as our Lead Partner, to once again present the industry’s leading awards show.

“The Global Gaming Award have built a strong reputation as the fairest and most respected in the industry, thanks to the rigorous selection process undertaken to find the deserved winners. 2018’s event will be no different and we look forward to seeing who will be crowned the winners in this year’s ceremony.”

The process begins with self-nomination submissions, giving companies or individuals the opportunity to put forward themselves in any category they feel is best suited, with the self-nomination process set to begin later this week.

22nd February
Mixed results for Playtech due to concerns surrounding Asia

Playtech has announced its full-year results for 2017, in addition to a trading update for the period ending 20 February 2018.

The company’s total revenues for 2017 increased 14% in comparison to the year prior, with a 5% rise in revenue growth at constant currency and excluding acquisitions. Full-year revenue was up from €708.6m in 2016 to €807.1m in 2017.

However, average daily revenue in the B2B gaming division for the first 51 days of Q1 2018, was down 11% on Q1 2017 against strong comparatives in Asia in H1 2017.

In November, Playtech issues a profit warning, explaining that earnings would be impacted by a crackdown on gambling syndicates in Malaysia, one of its largest Asian markets, with no change since the announcement.

Nonetheless, the B2C Gaming Division is performing in line with expectations with the Sun Bingo contract continuing to see revenue improvement.

Alan Jackson, Playtech Chairman, comments: “Playtech delivered double digit revenue growth in 2017 despite headwinds in both regulated and unregulated operations. Playtech’s performance continues to be converted into strong cash generation enabling a 10% increase to the full year dividend.

“The completion of the Playtech BGT Sports integration and the completion of the new Live Casino studio in Riga are key operational milestones in the extension of Playtech’s omni-channel offering and the quality of both offerings has already delivered new clients.

“Momentum in TradeTech Group continued with improvements across all KPIs. The division is strategically well positioned for the potential incoming regulations in the financial trading industry and 2017 saw TradeTech consolidate its B2B offering creating a full turnkey financial trading solution. 

“Management is confident 2017 has delivered a strong platform for strategic progress in 2018 through execution of organic opportunities and M&A.”

Playtech’s stock peaked in July last year, valuing the company at about £3.3bn. However, since then the shares have fallen by more than a quarter following concerns of crackdowns. Playtech’s shares were down a further 13% in early trading.

21st February
Betting on Football announces record-breaking speaker lineup

20-23 March, 2018

21st February
Tal Itzhak Ron confirmed to speak at AffiliateCon Sofia
Tal Itzhak Ron from Tal Ron, Drihem & Co. Law Firm has confirmed his attendance to speak at AffiliateCon Sofia. The landmark affiliate convention is held over two days on the 15-16 May, setting a benchmark in affiliate networking and education.
20th February
SG Gaming inks deal with Paddy Power following Ladbrokes Coral agreement
Following a recent announcement that SG Gaming would be installing its new Equniox range across 100 Ladbrokes and Coral shops nationwide, the supplier has now also signed an agreement with Paddy Power in a 30 shop trial.
19th February
Catena Media introduces new corporate debt structure
In an update to investors, Catena Media has confirmed the placement of a new €150m senior unsecured bond scheduled for 2021.
19th February
Portugal posts record figures for 2017
Portugal posted record-high revenue results in the final quarter of the year, with 2017 marking the country’s first full calendar year after launching back in May 2016.
16th February
Yggdrasil enters the Spanish market following successful 2017
In a deal with GVC, Yggdrasil will now be able to enter the Spanish online gaming market later this year in Q2.
15th February
Scottish bookmakers on the decline amidst FOBT review
Despite the popularity of fixed odd betting terminals, the number of high street bookmakers in Scotland has actually been in a period of steady decline since 2011.
15th February
Japanese Government may limit casino visits to ten times a month
In a bid to combat problem gambling, the Japanese Government have announced plans to potentially limit casino visits to ten times per month.
15th February
January sees a 10% drop in revenue for Atlantic City
After a month of perpetually bad weather, Atlantic City suffered the consequences, posting a 9.9% decline in casino revenue as punters didn’t brave the weather to play at the gaming properties.
15th February
GSA selects a new Board of Directors for 2018
Marking the organisations 20th year, the Gaming Standards Association has elected a new Board of Directors for the 2018 year.
14th February
Kambi Group posts encouraging Q4 2017 results
In an update to investors, Kambi Group has posted its financial results for the final quarter of 2017, announcing an impressive 33% year-on-year increase in revenue.
13th February
Spain’s online gaming revenue jumps 38% in the final quarter of 2017
In 2017’s fourth quarter, Spanish online gaming revenue increased by a whopping 38% according to the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), showing gains across all of the key verticals.
13th February
MGA begins first phase of investigation into Italian licensee holders
The Malta Gaming Authority has launched an investigation into all of its current Italian licensees that may be potentially linked to organised crime.
8th February
GGA London 2018 Winners Revealed
Finally after months of nominating, voting and adjudicating, the Global Gaming Awards London 2018 winners have been announced. Hosted at the iconic Hippodrome Casino, more than a hundred of the industry's leading Chief Executives attended the invite-only event to find out who had been crowned this year's winners in the heart of London.
2nd February
UltraPlay appoints new Chief Executive Officer
UltraPlay has announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer, commencing at the start of Q1, 2018.
2nd February
GameArt uncovers the magic journey of the King of Monkeys in its 243 ways slot!
From the mountain of flowers and fruit to the distant lands of Gandara we invite you to join the mighty King of Monkeys Sun Wukong and his companions Tang Sanzang, Zhu Wuneng and Shā Wùjìng on their quest for the sacred scrolls!
1st February
Relax Gaming appoints new CEO with Co-Founder becoming Chairman of the Board
Relax Gaming has announced the appointment of Daniel Eskola as its new Chief Executive Officer.
31st January
Americans set to wager $4.6bn on the Super Bowl illegally
According to the American Gaming Association, only 3% of the total Super Bowl bets are expected to be legally wagered through licensed sports books in Nevada.
30th January
CVC Capital’s IPO of Sky Bet set to raise £3bn
According to reports, CVC Capital, the majority owner of Sky Betting and Gaming are considering the possibility of a stock market flotation of the online betting operator.
26th January
Portugal set to reach the final stages with the shared liquidity agreement
At the beginning of January there was a milestone moment for shared liquidity platforms in Europe, and potentially worldwide, as PokerStars launched its French-Spanish site with combined player pools from both countries.
25th January
Arsenal becomes the first club to partner with a cryptocurrency
Ahead of CashBet’s Initial Coin Offering, the cryptocurrency-enabled, mobile-first platform provider has announced a landmark partnership with Premier League football club Arsenal FC.
19th January
Catena Media acquires Dreamworx Online
Catena Media has announced the completion of a deal to acquire Dreamworx Online for €9.5m, of which €4m will be paid with newly issued shares in Catena, and the remaining €5.5m in cash.
18th January
Caesars ups the IR anté with Japan Advisory Committee
In a bid to increase its chances in obtaining a Japanese Integrated Resorts licence, Caesars Entertainment has created a strategic, ‘Japan Advisory Committee’.
16th January
William Hill’s 2017 results set to exceed expectations amidst Australia woes
In an update to investors, William Hill has predicted a 11% year-on-year increase in profit for its 2017 full-year financial results. The forecasted results exceed analyst expectations, with full-year profit likely to come in at approximately £290m.



IN-DEPTH 21 May 2018
#WeAllWantToPlay: Diversity in the gaming Sector
Micky Swindale, Partner at KPMG reflects on the lack of diversity in the gaming industry and what has spurred this growing trend. Using the past as a guide, Micky considers how the industry might redress the issue
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