CVC Capital picks up stake in German sports-betting giant Tipico
In a significant new development in the world of iGaming, private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners on Sunday confirmed its acquisition of a stake in German sports-betting company Tipico Co.
This was the company’s first investment in Europe's largest economy after recruiting Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s former Germany head Alexander Dibelius last June.
While there is no official confirmation of the financial figures, sources claim that Tipico might have fetches around €1 billion to €1.5 billion, ($1.12 billion to $1.68 billion).
It must be noted that CVC already has stakes in UK-based Sky Bet.
Tipico is the main sponsor of Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and is the biggest private sports-betting company in Germany.
Tipico bosts of around €500 million in net revenue or €2.5 billion in processed bets annually, which gives it 50% of the country’s market share.
Some experts believe Tipico buyers might want a discount in the deal considering the vague gambling laws in Germany. While other believe that the company is currently operating in a legal gray zone.
With mounting pressure from European Union for not providing service-provision freedom, Germany has attempted to deregulate its state-betting several times since 2008.
Betclic Everest to close Everest Poker in France on May 31
In a fresh blow to France’s online poker market, Betclic Everest Group confirmed that Everest Poker would shut shop on May 31 in the country.
Betclic Everest communicated its decision in an email to customers. Existing players have been offered the option to transfer their funds and migrate their VIP status to Betclic’s platform.
Players that do not migrate to the new platform by October 2016 be automatically refunded. However, their player accounts will be closed down.
Speaking about this latest development, Isabelle Andres, chief executive of Betclic Everest said:
“There was no logic in maintaining two poker sites in the French market.
“We keep all our ambition and are confident that our customers will benefit from Betclic’s a quality poker offering.”
France has been struggling to attract operators and investors in the last few years. It now remains to be seen what steps the government will take to boost the online poker industry.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”