GVC Holdings Acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral OnTrack

The acquisitions and merger story has been told many times and each time it looks as if one company may eventually own all of the online gambling opportunities. The agreement reached by GVC Holding and the Ladbrokes Coral firm at the end of last year is an example of the never ending story of the big entities getting even bigger.

Ladbrokes Coral agreed to a buyout by GVC Holdings for around £4bn should FOBT stakes be limited to £50, with the offer dropping to £3.2bn if the limit is £2. GVC Holdings PLC is a multinational sports betting and gaming group incorporated in the Isle of Man.  GVC has four business segments with a number of leading brands; Sports Labels (bwin, Sportingbet, gamebookers), Games Labels (partypoker, partycasino, Foxy Bingo, Gioco Digitale, CasinoClub), B2B and non-core assets. The Group also acquired bwin.party digital entertainment plc in 2016.

GVC chief executive officer Kenneth Alexander said back when the story broke, describing the deal as "a truly exciting prospect." Alexander also said, "The creation of one of the world's largest listed sports betting companies, combining a portfolio of established brands, proven technology and leading market positions in multiple geographies, is a truly exciting prospect.

“In a dynamically evolving industry, the transaction creates an enlarged group with the scale, diversity, proprietary technology and management expertise to pursue many opportunities globally.

“GVC has a proven track record of creating shareholder value through the successful integration of acquired businesses and the GVC board believe this transaction will create further value for our shareholders and those of Ladbrokes Coral."

Both firms agreed, the group will be “a fast-growing, diversified, international online and retail sports betting led gaming group with more than 90% of net gaming revenue generated from locally regulated/taxed markets.”

A recent update revealed Ladbrokes Coral will publish a scheme document containing details of the deal that will be sent out to its shareholders next month for consideration.


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Codere Moves To Expand Digital Division

Codere a Spanish multinational company in the private gaming sector which was founded in 1980 is undergoing some management changes and has announced a new direction. Spanish media provider El Economista recently reported that Codere’s newly installed senior management team has dismissed the strategy of growth using mergers or acquisitions for at least “the next few years.” Codere’s new chairman Norman Sorensen and CEO Vicente di Loreto have voiced they are, “not interested in participating in Cirsa’s open sale process.”  In addition to Mexico, Codere also does business in Argentina, Colombia, Panama and Uruguay.

The potential deal with rival Cirsa has been scuttled in order for the company to focus on building Codere’s digital division. Codere’s new management team expressed interest in taking a potion of Cirsa’s market share, in both local and market abroad, notably in the digital sector. Codere said it has a plan to take the next two or three months to produce a directive with an online focused strategy which the company will devote 20-25% of its gross profits.

As the potential market in Latin America grows Codere will target Mexico and Italy as areas where they see online growth possibilities. Having already launched a new Colombian-licensed online gaming site last November and the firm is expecting to be one of the first to establish its services in Brazil when the country finally approves the long expected new gambling expansion legislation. Coderes’ profit from bingo is expected to decline as the company continues to roll out more digital platforms in Latin America.

The strategy of the new management team at Codere is to operate with a leaner budget for the next few years with the aim of bringing down its long-term debt levels. The firm has announced plans to not offer dividends to its shareholders for at least another year.


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Sporting SolutionsTo Supply Sweden's Svenska Spel

Sporting Solutions has since 2007, has, using market-leading technology created superior turn-key pricing and trading solutions for Tier 1 operators across the planet in more than 20 major sports. Sporting Solutions is the Business 2 Business branch of the UK´s widely respected Sporting Group.  Sporting Index, is another division and it is one of the world’s leading sports spread betting solutions.

The Sporting Group has been operating since 1992and is part of The European Lotteries and World Lottery Associations. Now a recent announcement says Sporting Solutions has agreed to an arrangement to provide its outsourced pricing services to respected Swedish lottery Svenska Spel.

The arrangement will run for a preliminary  year with Sweden’s Svenska Spel having the option to continue for another year. The supply of pre-match and in-play pricing across many key sports, including international tennis, football , American football and the National Hockey League will be provided by Sporting Solutions. Also  as a bonus Svenska Spel will have complete access to the Sporting Solutions ‘self-trade’ technology offering.

Svenska Spel’s vice-president products and services, Fredrik Wastenson, commented on the deal, “We committed to a competitive procurement process in 2017 to attract a sportsbook supplier able to provide us with expansive content, accurate pricing and strong heritage in the industry, and we’re confident Sporting Solutions can deliver on all three,” Wastenson continued,  “Having seen their trading solutions first hand, it’s clear they’re built on decades of experience delivering profitable models across numerous sports.”

Sporting Group’s , chief executive, Simon Trim, the parent company of Sporting Solutions, also commented, “Svenska Spel are one of the most established names in lottery sports betting with a very strong customer base, and we are very proud to announce them as our latest lottery partner. Trim added, “With the help of our pricing and trading services they will be better able to compete with private operators in their liberalising domestic market.”





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Italy Looking to Expand Licensing of Online Gambling

Italy has seen the writing on the wall and now realizes that online gambling is a gold mine with potential not yet fully tapped. The Italian regulator Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) announced recently it has launched a public tender to award as many as 120 new online gaming licences.

Covering odds and pool betting on sports and non-sports events, as well as skill games with cash prizes, fixed odds betting with interaction between players, and bingo the new licences will enable operators to create online gaming platforms across various regulated markets.

The deadline of March 19 to submit an application has been established for applicants who are required to meet a series of qualifying criteria set out by the ADM in the tender form. The online gambling licences will be active through to the end of 2022 and successful applicants will be subject to a one-time licence fee of €200,000 ($241,200).

Although the ADM said it would consider applicants active operating out of the European Economic Area EEA as well as those not solely focused on the gaming sector with turnover below the established threshold of an overall gaming turnover of at least €1.5m in the last two years sector applicants must have a registered office in the European Economic Area (EEA), be active in this region and  provide at least one of the games regulated by ADM.

The ADM said it is open to applicants that undertake an independent appraisal to reveal that the firm holds the technical and infrastructure capacity, either through its subsidiaries or a parent firm, as well as those operators that have a two-year first demand bank guarantee for an amount of €1.5m.

The requirements set out by the ADM also include applicants must have a dedicated technical infrastructure that is compliant  with the national standards as well as members of the corporate bodies of the applicant meeting  the rules for both the personal and professional wishes of the Italian Public Procurement Code.




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U.K.Gambling Commission​ Clamps Down On Online Gambling

Not doing enough to combat criminal activities is the reason behind the U.K.’s Gambling Commission’s recent announcement that there are five online casinos under a cloud of possibly losing their licences to operate in the jurisdiction.

The Gambling commission has sent letters to seventeen  online casino operators, regarding the “serious nature” of its findings on their controls that deal with money laundering, terrorist financing and problem gambling. The noted regulator has mentioned they are reviewing the licenses of five of the operations and are considering revoking the permission to continue offering gambling services in the United Kingdom.

The letter from the Commission stated research had revealed a number of failings in money-laundering controls, and also in social responsibility provisions designed to protect problem gamblers from harm.

Reporting officers employed by these operators had no formal qualifications and were “unable to provide suitable explanations as to what constitutes money laundering”.

The Commission noted, “There was a general lack of understanding of how criminal spend could affect the business.” It also maintained that the firms in question did not submit enough information about suspicious activity to law enforcement agencies such as the National Crime Agency. Failing to intervene when customers were showing signs of problem gambling was also revealed, the commission said. “This behaviour did not trigger a customer interaction,” by these operators, the Commission declared.

Chief executive officer at the Commission,  Sarah Harrison, said, “It is vital that the gambling industry takes its duty to protect consumers and keep crime out of gambling seriously.

“The Gambling Commission’s new strategy sets out our vision for a fairer and safer gambling market.

“The action we are taking to examine online casino operators’ compliance with money laundering and customer interaction requirements is just one example of how we will be relentless in turning that vision into reality.”


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Eventus Presents Sports Betting & Gaming India 2018

India has many aspects that lend themselves to creating enormous potential for online betting with sports betting making the top of the list. In order to help realize the vast potential for operators and administrators interested in gaining insight into the jurisdiction a conference has been arranged by Eventus International.  Eventus International has announced the venue for Sports Betting & Gaming India at the Park Hyatt Goa Resort & Spa, with the conference dates scheduled for 27 - 28 February 2018. Eventus International is an independent  global events and exhibitions company.

This first of its kind event, the Sports Betting & Gaming India Conference (SGBI), aims to bring together all of the key stakeholders, instrumental to the discussion about the future of betting and gambling in India.

The agenda is designed to spot-light the current situation and consider the case for legalisation and regulation, taking in commercial opportunities, responsible gambling and consumer protection and legislation and regulation as a vehicle for ensuring betting integrity.  The event will provide a platform for open discussion and debate on the future of betting, gaming and gambling in Indian jurisdiction. Attending the event an opportunity is presented to learn about the latest legal status on sports betting and gambling in India as well as the latest trends in the gaming market.

Expert professionals will offer effective new strategies and cutting-edge technological developments. As well as sage advice on pressing issues from some of the world’s top lawyers and consultants the industry's top companies and service providers will be on hand for possible supply deals.

The speaker list is extensive with experts such as Ms. Aahna Mehrotra who works as an independent ‘Sports Law and Management Consultant’ in Mumbai, India. Others include Anuj Gupta who has over 17 years of experience and a decade of proven track record in IT sector.

This first time event will be a pivotal experience for anyone who attends.

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Neteller & Skrill Leave Brazil's Online Gambling Industry

A report commissioned by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), the largest trade association representing the online gambling industry has released the results of the report  by consulting firm KPMG which estimates the Brazilian iGaming market, measured in Gross Gaming revenue (GGR), to be worth more than $2.1 billion (R$6.7 billion).

The Brazilian Congress and Executive branch are working towards regulated online gambling in the country which for now has prohibited all gambling. The estimated timeline for the government to actualize reforms is uncertain but as the Brazilian Senate recently revealed the results of an online poll finding that 86% of the 2,672 respondents were in favour of legalizing online gambling. Almost two-thirds of respondents commented that legalization would benefit the country, compared to only 12% that commented that it would bring negative results for the country.

The recent announcement that payment processors Neteller and Skrill said they would no longer support Brazilians making deposits to gambling services has put yet another perspective on the situation in the nation.  Neteller and Skrill, are both owned by Paysafe Group (formerly Optimal Payments) and it is obvious some form of pressure was placed on the companies involved.  Paysafe has been reducing its online gambling relationship with the governments of recent years noticing the government is becoming more restrictive in controlling the economy.

Although confusion has been the latest reaction to the news received by email notices from Neteller informing them that the firm, “will no longer process deposits by members in Brazil to gambling merchants” effective February 21. Skrill customers also received a message stating the same.

Customers will have until February 28 2018 to withdraw any funds from online gambling sites from their Neteller/Skrill accounts. The money processing firms have apologized for any inconvenience stating their customers’ accounts will otherwise be not affected.


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Young Maltese Players Banned For Match FIxing

There are many incredible opportunities for the young athlete today but there is always a few players  who want to take advantage of those opportunities and cheat. Spoiling a promising career by taking the corrupt path is not the most intelligent move for those involved in organized sport. Match fixing hurts everyone and creates distrust for everyone.

European football’s governing body UEFA has issued a ban to six Maltese under 21 players after finding them guilty of match-fixing.

The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body ruled that Emanuel Briffa and Kyle Cesare will both receive lifetime prohibition from the professional game of football after it was ruled they “acted in a manner that is likely to exert an unlawful or undue influence on the course and/or result of a match or competition with a view to gaining an advantage for himself or a third party.”

Activities during Malta’s UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2017 qualification matches against Montenegro on March 23, 2016, and the Czech Republic on March 29 in the same year were under investigation resulting in the forever ban of the players.

Others included in the crackdown include Samir Arab who will serve a two-year ban from the game after “not immediately and voluntarily informing UEFA if approached in connection with activities aimed at influencing in an unlawful or undue manner the course and/or result of a match or competition.” Llywelyn Cremona and Luke Montebello both received a 12-month ban for the same offence.  

Ryan Camenzuli has received an 18-month ban from the sport for contravening the rules. UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body also investigated Matthew Cremona, but chose disciplinary proceedings against him while allowing him to still play. UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin described match-fixing “a disease that attacks football’s very core. ”





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 Aristocrat Takes Over Big Fish Games For $990 Million

Big Fish Games is a casual gaming company based in Seattle, Washington, United States and is both a developer and distributor of casual games for computers and mobile devices. Established in 2002 by founder Paul Thelen in 2014, the company was acquired by Churchill Downs Incorporated for approximately $ $885 million.

Now the firm has been acquired by Aristocrat Technologies for 990 million USD. Back in November of 2017 Aristocrat revealed that it had agreed a deal to purchase the social gaming company.  Aristocrat’s Product Madness and Plarium, which it acquired in a deal worth $500m in October 2017 will work alongside Big Fish Games as a standalone business the firm confirmed.

Trevor Croker, Managing director of Aristocrat, Trevor Croker, commented on the confirmation of the deal,  “The strategic and financial benefits of this acquisition are highly compelling.

“Big Fish will immediately provide scale across our entire digital platform, and our social casino business will become the second largest social casino publisher globally.

“Big Fish’s digital-first social casino content and industry leading meta-game capability and applications are highly complementary to Aristocrat’s existing and industry-leading land based digital content business.”

Croker continued to say, “We are excited to work with the Big Fish team to take advantage of the opportunities this combination will create for shareholders and all stakeholders.”

Employing  2,080 people Aristocrat Leisure Limited is an Australian gambling machine manufacturer, which has its administrative centre in the Sydney suburb of North Ryde Australia. It has marketing and development offices in South Africa, Russia and the United States. Company revenue during 2004 was in excess of A $1.1 billion.



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Kambi Extends Contract With Napoleon Games

Establishing long term commitments is a basic element for sustained growth in the online gambling industry. Operators that prove they can provide solid performance are called upon to renew relationships amid growing competition from start ups and others. Premium sports betting services provider Kambi has recently announced it has signed a long term agreement to provide its multi-channel sports betting and technology services to Napoleon Games.

Registered in Malta Kambi is listed on the First North at Nasdaq Stockholm its service include a broad offering from frontend user interface through to odds compiling, customer intelligence and risk management, built on an in-house developed software platform.

Since 2012 Kambi and Napoleon Games have been working together and the extended contract is the fourth such arrangement for Kambi made within the last six months. Napoleon Games will retain Kambi’s full suite of online and retail products, including its price differentiation tool, real-time bonuses features, and a market-leading Instant Betting offer. 

Kambi Chief Executive, Kristian Nylén commented, “We are delighted to have agreed yet another customer contract extension, this time with Napoleon Games,” Nylén continued to add, “Following agreements with 888, LeoVegas and Paf, Kambi has strengthened relationships with four key customers in a short period, which not only underlines the quality and flexibility of the Kambi Sportsbook but also secures important sources of revenues for years to come.”  

“When coupled with the four new customers signed in 2017, Kambi enters 2018 with real momentum and I am very excited for what the year has in store,”

A spokesperson for Napoleon Games said, “Belgium has become a very competitive market and therefore Kambi’s depth of offer is an important element as it gives Napoleon a key point of difference,” “Kambi has also made its platform more flexible, including the creation of customisable odds, which is vital to us.”  “These two elements, combined with Kambi’s track record of spring boarding sports books and the strong relationships we have between us, make this an ideal partnership,”



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