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20 Apr
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GSN Games on the verge of acquiring Barcelona-based Gamedonia

GSN Games has recently signed a deal to acquire Barcelona-based Gamedonia backend-as-a-service developer.

As per the agreement, Gamedonia will be rebranded as GSN Games Barcelona whose staff too will join the GSN team.

Gamedonia staff will work in tandem with GSN Games India studio to execute the backend technology in the country’s game development pipeline.

This understanding between the two parties comes after GSN acquired Plumbee in February. That’s not all, the company also acquired games developer Idle Gaming in 2015.

GSN chief executive Steve Brunell said.

“GSN Games’ acquisition of Gamedonia aligns with our strategy of leveraging talented teams and advanced technologies to create best-in-class games that delight millions of players worldwide,”

David Xicota, chief executive and founder of Gamedonia added:

“The Gamedonia team brings both leading technologists and a high-performing mobile backend platform with the services and tools required to accelerate game development.

“While this is an exciting change for the team at Gamedonia, we want to reassure all of our existing customers that the Gamedonia platform they have come to rely on for backend and real-time game development will remain the same for the foreseeable future.

“To all of our customers, thank you for helping us grow and improve the Gamedonia platform over the last four years.

“Now that we are shifting focus to work on GSN Games projects, we will no longer accept new customer sign ups as of today.”

 

16 Apr
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Czech Republic’s lower house gives nod to tax increase on slot machines

The Czech Republic’s lower house earlier this week, has given its nod to an iGaming bill that aims to increase taxes on betting operators and slot machines in the European country.

As per this bill, tax on slot machines will be increased from 28% to 35%. However, tax rate activities like sports betting and lotteries will not be changed from the existing 23%.

It must be remembered that operators will have to pay this tax over and above the 19% standard corporation tax rate of 19%.

According to media reports, Czech residents gambled worth138 billion crowns (€5.1 billion/$5.7 billion) in 2014. This figure is almost 3.5% of the country’s annual economic output. Interestingly, over 50% of this amount was wagered on mechanical and video slot machines.

The country’s Finance Ministry the bill, which is yet approved by the Senate, will play a dual role when implemented. First, it will help shoot up the state revenue and second, it will help bring down country’s gambling addiction.

If the bill is past, foreign operators will gain access to the Czech market. Also, the Finance Ministry will have the right to close down illegal betting websites operating in the country.

09 Apr
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Tennessee becomes 13th US state to declare DFS as illegal

In yet another blow to daily fantasy sports industry, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III classified DFS as illegal.

 With that, number of US states to ban DFS has now increased to 13.

Slatery’s office released a statement wherein the Attorney General challenged the legal standing of DFS games, which hand players an opportunity to win a cash prize that was paid for by their fees itself.

Law in the state describes gambling, as an individual risking something of value to earn a profit whose return is contingent on chance.

However, there are some exceptional situations wherein this definition does not apply.

A statement from the Slatery’s office:

“A person who knowingly engages in 'gambling' commits a punishable offence. Absent legislation specifically exempting fantasy sports contests from the definition of ‘gambling’, these contests constitute illegal gambling under Tennessee law.”

Post this ruling, DFS brand DraftKings stated that it is involved in an “active dialogue with elected officials” in Tennessee to discuss the future roadmap.

The operator added:

“We call on all of our fans and Tennessee supporters to let their voices be heard in the coming days to show support for this legislation and protect their right to play the games they love.”

It appears as though the DFS industry as run into plenty of problems in US. It now remains to be seen whether operators can work with the authorities to work out a solution going forward.

04 Apr
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William Hill signs 10-year deal to invest £80m in NYX Gaming Group

UK bookmaker William Hill signed a long-term deal with NYX Gaming Group, committing to invest £80 million (€100.5 million/$114.5 million) into the latter.

The said investment will flow into the company in the form of cash or shares and will be accompanied an additional £10 million by William Hill.

The new 10-year deal will also aims to facilitate the proposed acquisition of OpenBet and strengthen William Hill’s existing sports betting, gaming and retail platforms, plus a new platform over the course of the next three years.

Sky Betting and Gaming too is part of the consortium that will invest along with William Hill in NYX. Sky is likely to invest in the note and the equity, through enabling both online operators to create a bigger NYX Gaming Group.

William Hill chief executive James Henderson said:

“Our new commercial agreement is a key step in delivering our technology strategy by enhancing our current platforms and, in parallel, developing a new back-end platform for William Hill to complement and support our Trafalgar platform, which is focused on our front-end user experience.

“This route draws on the OpenBet team’s proven sports betting technology expertise and NYX’s gaming platform to give us a bespoke technology solution to support and deliver our UK and international growth strategies.”

Matt Davey, chief executive of NYX, further added:

“The acquisition of OpenBet by NYX completes the core portfolio of industry-leading products and services we offer to our customers.

“They are two highly complementary businesses with key strengths in regulated markets, technology services and gaming content.

“To have a consortium of operators with the pedigree of William Hill and Skybet and the public support of Paddy Power Betfair highlights the strength of NYX’s proposition and I look forward to extending our relationship with them.”

03 Apr
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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.

28 Mar
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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.”

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