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Master catergory inherit only

Master catergory inherit only (391)

Sunday, 03 April 2016 21:05 Written by

Leading iGaming operators to campaign for UK to remain in EU

UK’s biggest iGaming players have made their intentions of opposing the move to separate UK from European Union quite clear.

Date for the EU referendum is June 23. In a first of sorts, several big iGaming companies from UK have made their opinions public with regards to UK’s Europe referendum.

“These matters are too important to be left to a Tory party pissing contest between (UK Prime Minister David) Cameron and (challenger and London mayor Boris) Johnson. We will fight tooth and nail to defend the ideals of the EU: peace, cooperation and understanding between nations,” said at source at a London-listed operator to iGaming Business.

“If the UK votes for Brexit our travel arrangements will be thrown into chaos. How are we supposed to travel monthly, weekly, sometimes daily! To Gibraltar, Malta or Germany if we’re out of the EU?! The visa arrangements will be a total nightmare. That’s got to be the main issue for us,”he further added.

Interestingly, the position taken by operators comes as a surprise since European Commission has consistently opposed the idea that gambling should be part of EU Services Directive that enables it to offer products across EU markets without the need for a license from individual countries.

“You could interpret it that way, but the fact is the EC was always going to side with national regulators and monopoly license holders, so we have to keep believing that one day there will be EU harmonisation of taxes and set up conditions. And if UK companies have to start paying tariffs to operate in Spain, Germany or Italy… I mean, it’s not like we’re not taxed enough already is it?,” the source stated

Paddy Power Betfair, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral or Sportingbet are part of this group that intends to fight tooth and nail against UK moving out of EU.

According to some media reports, they intend to make UK travel trade body ABTA the official press spokespeople for their campaign to enable people to travel across the continent without visas.

Monday, 28 March 2016 20:32 Written by

Amaya Gaming’s shares tank as CEO Davi Baazov faces insider trading charges

Amaya Gaming’s shares tanked earlier this week as news of chief executive David Baazov facing five charges of insider trading trickled in.

The allegations against him date back to the time of his company’s acquisition of online poker giant PokerStars.

Quebec’s security regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) has filed 23 charges, accusing Baazov of “aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya inc., and communicating privileged information”.

An investigation into the deal was launched in 2014.

Commenting on this developmebt, Baazov said:

“These allegations are false and I intend to vigorously contest these accusations. While I am deeply disappointed with the AMF’s decision, I am highly confident I will be found innocent of all charges.”

Benjamin Ahdoot and Yoel Altman also face fire “for trading while in possession of privileged information and influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya”.

Diocles Capital inc, Sababa Consulting inc. and 2374879 Ontario inc. have also been charged for similar offences.

Amaya’s share price dropped by 17% during early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday as soon as the news broke.

The company put on a brave face, claiming the incident will do no harm to its daily operations. Also, Amaya clarified that PokerStars or Full Tilt product offerings will continue to remain the same.

Dave Gadhia, lead director and independent board member at Amaya, said:

“David Baazov has the full support of the independent members of the board.

“As noted previously, Amaya conducted an extensive internal review, supervised by its independent board members with the assistance of external legal counsel from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Canada and Greenberg Traurig LLP in the U.S., which thoroughly reviewed the relevant internal activities surrounding the Oldford Group acquisition.

“This review found no evidence of any violations of Canadian securities laws or regulations.

“The independent members of the board received and reviewed the information and concluded that no action should be taken.

“We have not been provided with any new information upon which the AMF’s allegations of infractions are based.”

Monday, 29 February 2016 10:22 Written by

Mark Pincus steps down Zynga CEO yet again, Frank Gibeau to take charge from March 7

Social gaming company Zynga announced earlier this week that its founder Mark Pincus will step down from position as CEO, with Frank Gibeau confirmed as his replacement.

This is not the first time Pincus has vacated seat. Don Mattrick replaced him after his first stint ended in July 2012. Pincus at the time continued as chairman and chief product officer of the company.

But in April 2015, he returned as CEO as the company slipped up in the social gaming market. However just after 11 months, he is stepping down again to make way for Gibeau, who will take charge from March 7.

Pincus will be the executive chairman of the board and work in tandem with Gibeau and product teams.

In an email to the company staff, Pincus wrote:

“Frank has a history of developing strong teams and shipping market-leading games. He is a seasoned leader with the experience to quickly navigate the kinds of challenges we face on a weekly basis. He has a proven 25-year track record having helped architect the successful turnaround of Electronic Arts as the president of EA Labels and more recently navigating the company’s platform transition efforts as executive vice-president of EA Mobile.

“In our industry he’s known for driving operational excellence and leading winning teams on both the publishing and studio side of the gaming business.”

Gibeau added: “I’m excited to get started and expect a seamless transition given the progress we’ve made together over the past seven months.

“That time was invaluable for me to begin to understand Zynga’s people, products and players.

“I’m encouraged by our early momentum and I look forward to partnering with our teams to build on the progress we’re seeing across the company.”

How this decision impacts the company and its direction remains to be seen, but these definitely are anxious times for one of the best social gaming brands in the world.

Saturday, 27 February 2016 09:31 Written by

PokerStars’ current and previous owners embroiled in dispute over $300 million in Escrow

Of late, Amaya Gaming has been dealing with plenty of legal troubles. Currently fighting in court against an $870 million ruling in Kentucky, the company now finds itself in a $300 million dispute with PokerStars’ previous owners.

According to the agreement between the two parties, an escrow fund needed to be established. This was to cover expenses of pending legal problems that occurred during Rational Group’s ownership of the online poker giant.

RG has now issued a notice to Amaya, disputing the claims made by the latter in a bid to get the funds.

Last month, Amaya and the Italian tax authorities reached an out of court settlement worth €5.9 million. This was to do with inconsistencies found in an audit of PokerStars subsidiary Halfords Media Italy S.r.l in matter that dates back to 2009.

At the time, Amaya issues a press release claiming that the settle amount was paid from an escrow account established when they bought out PokerStars.

Another interesting bit of news from the Amaya stable is that the company has filed a notice of appeal in its case against Kentucky.

The company was earlier told to deposit a $100 million supersedes bond in the matter regarding the court’s previous $870 million judgment in favor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

What happens next remains to be seen, but Amaya currently finds itself in a maze of legal mess.

 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016 16:25 Written by

Crushed by taxes, Ladbrokes posts first negative result in a decade

 
Bookmaker giant Ladbrokes posted a loss of £43.2 million for 2015. This is the first negative result for the company in a decade. Despite a drop in profit of £37.7 million as compared to 2014, chief executive Jim Mullen feels Ladbrokes is headed in the right direction.
 
Interestingly, the company’s revenue increased by 2.1% to £1.2 billion over the duration of the full year, with H2 results up by 5% year-on-year.
 
But there were two major problems for Ladbrokes - tax increased by £50 million, and they incurred a £99 million exceptional charge on the write-downs and costs for merger.
 
In addition, there was a 15% "point of consumption" tax on gross profits and £19.8 million in merger costs with regards to collaboration with Coral.
 
The digital net revenue of Ladbrokes went up by 12.9%, with the Q4 figure up 31.4% “as marketing and product investment delivered strong growth in actives and staking”.
 
Mullen said: "I am pleased to be able to report a good start to the delivery of the strategy outlined in July. Although it remains early days there is positive progress to report.
 
"In UK retail, self-service betting terminals are delivering growth, football is up and our retail team are delivering strong multi-channel growth.
 
"The full-year figures reflect the costs needed to undertake significant investment to deliver the strategy as well as facing circa £50 million of increased taxation.”
 
The company’s UK Retail net revenue shot up 2% with growth of 6.5% in Q4.
 
There was a 65% increase in activity and a 71% rise in net revenue in their Australian operations.
 
Mullen said: "While it is pleasing to report that after two quarters we have made a good start, we are only at the beginning of the journey.
 
“Therefore, 2016 will see the same focus on winning more recreational customers, excellent operational delivery and a performance driven approach as the basis for delivering on our clear 2017 financial targets.”
 
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 09:07 Written by

PokerStars set for March 21 New Jersey launch

Online poker giant PokerStars has set March 21 as the date for its highly-anticipated return to US market.

The Amaya-owned gaming site was awarded a license by New Jersey’s regulator in October 2015.

The site, in collaboration with Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel, will offer poker, table games and slots to NJ resident. Before the official launch, PokerStars client will undergo rigorous testing by state regulators.

David Baazov, Amaya's chairman and chief executive, said.

 “PokerStars is the global leader in online poker and trusted by its customers for its robust and innovative technology, world-class security and game integrity. We are honoured and excited to now bring these experiences to New Jersey.”

PokerStars made two attempts in 2013 to acquire a license in the state, but the New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement handed a two-year suspension to the company on account of legal troubles involving certain some of their executives. Also, an unresolved indictment against its founder Isai Scheinberg made matters worse for the poster child of online poker.

PokerStars’ attempt to acquire Atlantic Club Casino failed and the casino shut shop in January 2014.

With the re-entry of PokerStars, the poker landscape in the US is bound to change. What impact it will have on current players in the market remains to be seen.

Saturday, 20 February 2016 17:19 Written by

Zynga acquires Zindagi Games in a bid to boost mobile offering

According to a report on iGaming Business, Zynga has acquired mobile gaming developer Zindagi Games.

The financial details of this deal remain undisclosed for now.

Zindagi Games was co-founded by Umrao Mayer and George Simmons. The company is famous for its free-to-play titles such as ‘Yummy Gummy’ and ‘Crazy Kitchen’.

According to the terms of agreement, Zynga will launch Zindagi Gaming’s ‘Crazy Cake Swap’ in the first half of 2016.

 

A statement from Zynga said:

“Zindagi is made up of world-class engineers, game designers, product managers and artists who have delivered high quality games.”

 

Last week, an increase in Zynga’s revenue was reported for the 12 months through to Decmeber 31, 3015.

On paper, this deal does look pretty interesting. However, it remains to be seen whether this acquisition can help Zynga in the long run.

 

Saturday, 20 February 2016 17:10 Written by

Sky Betting and Gaming joins Senet Group

According a report on iGaming Business Sky Betting & Gaming became the first online-only operator to join the Senet Group.

In a bid to promote responsible gaming, the company will collaborate with Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Scotbet and William Hill.

In order to comply with all of Senet’s ‘enforceable commitments’, the new member Sky Betting & Gaming has been handed a three-month ‘grace period’.

 

Sky Betting & Gaming chief executive Richard Flint said.

“The gambling industry has definitely upped its game on social responsibility issues over the last 12 months and the Senet Group has been a key part of those efforts.”

“There’s obviously still further room for improvement but I’m really looking forward to helping shape the group’s work on online gambling issues.”

 

Wanda Goldwag, chair of Senet Group, stated.

“We’re delighted to welcome such an important online and mobile operator as a member.

“It demonstrates that Sky Betting & Gaming is prepared to adhere to and promote high standards of social responsibility, which is good news for players and for the industry.

“Remote gambling is the fastest growing sector of the industry, with innovations being developed regularly.

“It’s therefore particularly important that we will have a leading operator in this space to inform the development of our code of conduct.”

Saturday, 20 February 2016 17:06 Written by

William Hill to partner NYX Gaming Group for £300 million OpenBet bid

Bookmaker giant William Hill is likely to team up with NYX Gaming Group in a bid to acquire OpenBet for a whooping £300 million.

According to a report in the Telegraph, William Hill will offer financial muscle to boost NYX’s bid for OpenBet, which was acquired by Vitruvian Partners in 2011 after opting to back a £208 million management buy-out of the company.

Interestingly, Vitruvian not long ago made it intentions of selling the company clear. However, there is no official confirmation from both parties so far.

Whether the deal materializes or not remains to be seen, but one thing is certain with new strategies in place, the iGaming industry is in for quite a few surprises in 2016.

 

Saturday, 20 February 2016 16:21 Written by

Playtech strikes deal to power Austrian online poker network

Gambling software provider Playtech has signed an agreement with Austrian Lotteries and Casinos Austria-owned brand win2day power the country’s online poker network.

As per the three-year-deal, the company will work in tandem with win2day to replace current suppliers and develop a new desktop and mobile poker client for the regulated network.

The new poker platform will go live in March, with the software provider offering technical support right through the duration of the deal.

 

Joerg Nottebaum, head of iPoker at Playtech, said:

“Working in regulated and newly regulating markets with the largest and leading operators is one of Playtech’s core strengths.

“We’re delighted to have agreed terms with win2day and look forward to developing not only the country’s first, but also best-performing poker network and products.”

 

On paper, this deal makes perfect sense and Playtech appears to be going from strength to strength.

Though the execution remains to be see, one can be relatively sure of Playtech delivering on it promises based on the vast experience their engineers have.

 
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