No IPO plans ‘at the moment’ for booming Cherry unit Topics: Finance Finance Tags: Online Gambling Cherry has played down the likelihood of an IPO for its Yggdrasil game development unit in the near future after the Swedish company’s online gaming brand, ComeOn, drove a 58% increase in group revenue to SEK899m (£77m/€86m/$98m) in the third quarter.Across the group, organic growth improved by 46%, helping to generate quarterly earnings before interest and deductions of SEK258m – a 130% increase.Marketing as a share of revenue dropped to a record low of 31%, even though the company spent more on activations in Q3 than ever before, according to executive chairman Morten Klein (pictured).Yggdrasil – which recently signed agreements with Paf and Veikkaus in Finland, and Svenska Spel and ATG in Sweden – posted a 62% rise in operating revenues to SEK71.5m and a 26% increase in earnings before tax to SEK19.3m.When asked directly in a conference call this (Wednesday) morning about the possibility of floating Yggdrasil, Klein said that there are currently “no plans”, although he added: “Potentially, yes – maybe in the future.”He added: “All companies have a high value by being part of Cherry at the moment, but at the same time, we know from history that we have companies that can stand alone.“Doing an IPO for a company takes a lot of focus. At the moment it’s good for the companies to have a focus on growth and being No.1 in their markets.“We’re looking at all companies in the portfolio to see if there will be that possibility [of flotation].“At the moment we have no plans on doing that and we think it creates higher shareholder value to keep it as it is.”Acting CEO Gunnar Lind added that Cherry’s game development units, Yggdrasil and Highlight Games, “had a good quarter”. Cherry acquired a majority stake in Highlight Games in August.He said: “The companies are run by strong entrepreneurs and skilled employees who understand what works in the market.”ComeOn, which applied for eight Swedish gaming licences in September ahead of the re-regulation of the market at the start of 2019, accounted for a whopping 81% of the group’s sales after posting a 63% rise in Q3 revenue from SEK448m to SEK732m.The mobile share of ComeOn’s net game win improved from 58% to 70%, with 83% of the online gaming brand’s revenues generated by casino games.“ComeOn has succeeded very well with the broad plan of action that was brought into effect just over a year ago,” Lind said. “All employees are making a tremendous effort and the company is now able to use more of its time and energy to establish even stronger positions in existing and new markets like in Poland, as well as with new brands such as Blitzino and PZBuk.”Just days ago, Cherry seized full control of affiliate company Game Lounge, which registered a 54% rise in revenue in the third quarter from SEK45m to SEK69m. 31st October 2018 | By contenteditor Executive chairman stresses benefits to shareholders of status quo Regions: Europe Nordics Sweden AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address
Topics: Marketing & affiliates Sports betting Golf’s PGA Tour is to expand its sponsorship programme and begin to consider gambling companies as official marketing partners for all six of its tours.Effective immediately, the PGA Tour said that the move reflects the changing landscape of public acceptance between sports leagues and legalised gambling. The PGA Tour previously prohibited any association with gambling companies.In addition to taking on gambling companies as marketing partners, the PGA Tour will allow its tournaments and players to seek sponsored deals with such entities.In the US, the revised rules will be limited to larger casino companies and daily fantasy sports brands, and will not apply to companies with a primary focus on sports betting, such as bookmakers William Hill and Bet365. However these companies can be considered for such deals outside of the US market.Andy Levinson, senior vice-president of the PGA Tour, said that the organisation carried out a comprehensive review of its policies following the Supreme Court ruling on PASPA last year.He said since the decision, which the PGA Tour had campaigned in favour of for some time, has seen a broader acceptance in sports betting and gaming involvement with pro sports in the US.“We felt it was time to look at our policies, given the public perception around gaming, and to update those policies to be consistent with public sentiment,” Levinson said.David Miller, vice-president and assistant general counsel for the PGA Tour, said the revised rules will help boost engagement with fans around the world and also increase interest in the sport as a whole.Miller said: “We want to develop partnerships in the gaming and fantasy industry that drive fan engagement – that provide our fans a deeper way to enjoy golf. We expect these partnerships will help create new golf gaming products that will enhance the in-venue and at-home fan experience.”In relation to the rule change, the PGA Tour has reiterated its commitment to its ongoing Integrity Program, which launched in January 2018 with a view to protecting its events from outside influences related to gambling. This program applies to all players and support staff, tournament staffers and volunteers, PGA Tour staff and the PGA Tour Policy Board.To support this focus, the PGA Tour will work with sports integrity services Genius Sports to develop an educational program to help players, caddies and officials to identify, resist and report incidents of potential betting corruption.The PGA Tour is also working in partnership with IMG Arena, the new betting and data division of sports media giant IMG, on an exclusive basis for the distribution of its scoring data for media and sports betting purposes.Image: nwilliams032601 28th February 2019 | By contenteditor AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Golf’s PGA Tour is to expand its sponsorship programme and begin to consider gambling companies as official marketing partners for all six of its tours. Marketing & affiliates Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address PGA Tour opens sponsorship to gambling companies
Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter The Stars Group targets double-digit UK growth in 2019 The Stars Group chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi believes the operator can achieve double-digit growth in highly competitive and mature UK market in 2019, by leveraging the Sky Betting and Gaming assets acquired in 2018. 7th March 2019 | By contenteditor The Stars Group chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi believes the operator can achieve double-digit growth in a highly competitive and mature UK market in 2019, by leveraging the Sky Betting and Gaming assets acquired in 2018.Ashkenazi (pictured) said the PokerStars operator would look to build on the foundations laid by the Sky Bet team in the years before it was acquired in a $4.7bn deal in April 2018.He said Sky Bet had a “very large, significant customer base” in the UK, which he claimed was the biggest in terms of market share.“And leveraging on this customer base is something that allows us to grow faster in the market,” he added.He denied that a softer fourth quarter performance, in which staking growth slowed to 10% in local currency, suggested that the business was losing market share to competitors.Looking beyond the UK, chief financial officer Brian Kyle admitted that the core poker vertical had been impacted by currency restrictions and the removal of its app from local iOS App Stores in its 2018 financial year. Among the markets to be impacted was Russia, which stepped up payment blocking during the third quarter, though Kyle added that strategies to mitigate the impact of these developments were working well.“The impact of these changes will continue to be a year-on-year drag on our revenue during 2019,” he said. “However, Russian revenues are now growing on a sequential basis, and we are optimistic that our poker business in Russia will return to year-over-year growth in due course.”The Stars Group is also targeting the Swiss market, where it will look to partner a local land-based casino operator to ensure it can continue offering poker. However, until it secures a path into the market, it has suspended its Swiss casino offering and discontinued sports betting there.It has also temporarily withdrawn from the Slovakian market, which recently voted to introduce new regulations, while it applies for a licence. This, Kyle said, would have a temporary negative impact on revenue in 2019. The operator is also planning on moving into the newly regulated Dutch market as soon as possible.Elsewhere in Europe, Ashkenazi revealed that the operator was lobbying the Italian authorities to join the European pooled liquidity framework alongside Portugal, Spain and France. Despite working to establish the cross-border player pools, Italy has given no indication that it is preparing to join the network.Despite this, Ashkenazi said he was still hopeful it would eventually join: “Italy joining the shared liquidity or the pooled liquidity would be very meaningful for our poker business. So we will definitely push for that.”Finally, the CEO added, The Stars Group is in active discussions with media companies, which he described as its preferred strategy in the US. Should such a deal be finalised, Ashkenazi said the operator would revise its US guidance to reflect the investment required for such a launch.He offered a bullish assessment for the year ahead: “We enter 2019 with confidence. We believe we have the assets, brands and capabilities in place to deliver on our strategy of becoming the global leader in this exciting and high-growth industry.“Today, we are diversified global market leader with unrivalled product and geographic reach in our industry,” Ashkenazi continued. “Additionally, our business has significant and sustainable competitive advantages that support ongoing market share gains in these markets and provide us with a platform for expansion into new markets.” Email Address Topics: Casino & games Sports betting Strategy Poker Slots Casino & games AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Regions: Europe UK & Ireland US Central and Eastern Europe Southern Europe Western Europe Russia Slovakia Switzerland Italy Netherlands Tags: Card Rooms and Poker Mobile Online Gambling Slot Machines
Casino & games Malta cancels eight licences and suspends four in 2018 AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliance Regions: Europe Southern Europe Malta 2nd July 2019 | By contenteditor The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has revealed how its emphasis on ‘effective enforcement’ of regulations in 2018 led to the cancellation of eight licences and suspension of another four.For the latter part of 2018, Malta was operating under new gaming laws, which came into effect on August 1 after approval from the Maltese Parliament in May of the same year. The laws handed the MGA greater powers in terms of both compliance and enforcement.In its annual report, the MGA said that it issued 16 Notices of Reprimand and 73 Notices of Breach over the course of the year. The regulator also handed out a total of 139 administrative fines to operators for various regulatory breaches.The majority of the fines were in relation to operators failing to submit periodic reports, as required required by law in Malta, while other penalties were issued for a breach of the licence conditions and failure to notify the MGA seek approval to make certain changes to their operations.Meanwhile, the MGA conducted a total of 33 full-scope investigations regarding anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism in order to clamp down on these issues and their links to the gambling industry.The MGA’s Fit & Proper Committee also deemed 63 individuals or companies to be unsuitable for a licence or role in a licence. In total, 37 were considered as not having satisfied the integrity and reputation requirements of the MGA’s fit and proper criteria due connections to money laundering or funding of terrorism.Meanwhile, jointly with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), the MGA implemented the Remote Gaming Implementing Procedures – Part II, directed at the remote gaming sector. This involved both organisations working together on cooperative initiatives to strengthen oversight of the gaming sector.However, just eight licence applications were rejected in 2018, while 93 were issued. A total of 209 licence applications were put forward, with the others still in the acceptance process.Land-based self-exclusion requests were up 14% year-on-year to 1,585, while requests from players to exclude themselves form websites operating under an MGA licence stood at 1.3m.The MGA is planning to launch unified self-exclusion system covering all of its online licensees and in March of this year commenced a preliminary market consultation to gather stakeholder feedback on the proposal.“2018 was a remarkable year for the Authority, predominantly because of the coming into force of the new law,” MGA chief executive, Heathcliff Farrugia, said.“The new framework strengthened the MGA’s supervisory role, specifically in the areas of compliance and enforcement, enabling it to focus efforts on areas which present a higher risk profile.“The new regulatory regime has also been pivotal in ensuring the Authority could become more agile in its decision-making.”In terms of the MGA’s focus for 2019, Farrugia said that the organisation will seek to build on its efforts last year and continue with its strict approach to enforcement.“The MGA’s focus will be that of consolidating what has been built so far, and continue building on its regulatory powers, to ensure holistic regulatory oversight focusing on the integrity of market participants and the protection of consumers, whilst also embracing technological innovation without prejudicing the attainment of its regulatory objectives,” he said. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has revealed how effective enforcement of the island’s gambling regulations in 2018 led to the cancellation of eight licences and suspension of another four. Tags: Online Gambling Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address
Swedish regulation slashes Svenska Spel profits in H1 Casino & games 19th July 2019 | By contenteditor Swedish state-owned gaming business Svenska Spel has seen profits hit by increased regulatory costs in the first half of the year, though the operator noted that customer growth and revenue had recovered during the second quarter.Revenue for the six months ended June 30, 2019 was down 4% year-on-year at SEK4.1bn (£349.1m/€389.4m/$437.0m), with Svenska Spel’s online division, Sport & Casino, the only one to post revenue growth in the period.Sport & Casino revenue rose to SEK1.0bn, up 5% from H1 2018, with growth driven by the new online casino and horse race betting products. Sports betting, on the other hand, saw net gaming revenue fall during the period.The lottery division Tur remained Svenska Spel’s main source of revenue, despite reporting a 3% drop to SEK2.2bn. Draw-based games performed strongly, reporting an SEK13m increase in revenue, which was offset by declines in instant win games.The land-based casino and gaming machine division Casino Cosmopol & Vegas saw revenue decline 14% to SEK849m. This was largely down to an SEK86m drop in the Vegas gaming machine revenue.“Svenska Spel’s operations have stabilized following the transition to the new gaming market and we see a recovery in customer growth and revenue,” the operator’s president and chief executive Patrik Hofbauer (pictured) said.“The customers we lost at the end of the year as a result of splitting the group into new divisions, and the transition to separate customer accounts for each have found their way back to us,” he explained. “We are pleased that customers choose Svenska Spel, because they appreciate our products, and because it is safe and secure to gamble with us.”While direct costs were down 9% at SEK595m, Svenska Spel paid a total of SEK783m in gaming taxes as a result of the opening of Sweden’s regulated igaming market. Once operating costs such as personnel expenses, depreciation and amortisation were stripped out, operating profit was down 50% at SEK1.1bn.After finance-related costs and corporate tax were removed, Svenska Spel’s net profit was SEK825m, down from SEK2.1bn in the prior year.For the second quarter of 2019, revenue was down 2% at SEK2.0bn. The operator paid SEK381m in Swedish gaming tax during the three months to June 30, 2019, with sales-related costs falling to SEK294m.After operating expenses, operating profit dropped 45% to SEK534m. Net profit after financial costs and tax came in at SEK417m, less than half the SEK973m reported in Q2 2018.Hofbauer said the second quarter had been “intensive” as a result of “vigorous” enforcement action from Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen. However, he added, this was a positive development for Swedish consumers, as it was evidence of consumer protection standards in the market being raised.“As Sweden’s gaming company, our vision is that games should be for everyone’s entertainment,” he added. “This that while we will look to grow aggressively, we will continue to consider our customers’ safety.” Regions: Europe Nordics Sweden Topics: Casino & games Finance Lottery Sports betting Swedish state-owned gaming business Svenska Spel has seen profits hit by increased regulatory costs in the first half of the year, though the operator noted that customer growth and revenue had recovered during the second quarter. Tags: Mobile Online Gambling Email Address Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter
Casino & games Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Topics: Casino & games Sports betting Social gaming Tribal gaming AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, has launched a new social casino product powered by Betconstruct, with the deal also allowing for the supplier to provide sports betting technology to the tribe’s non-profit igaming solutions arm GreySnow Group.The social platform is integrated with the tribe’s land-based loyalty program, allowing it to engage and retain players when they are off-property. The Iowa tribe currently operates two land-based casinos, Cimmaron Casino and Ioway Casino, as well as a travel plaza with slot machines, in the state.Cimmaron Casino general manager Stephan Burris said the venue was excited to partner Betconstruct to roll out its new social casino product.“We want our patrons to be familiar with what we believe will be a big part of the future of casino entertainment,” Burris explained. “This application offers a small example of what’s to come while further enhancing our relationships with our patrons through rewards and direct marketing.”This new agreement will also see Betconstruct provide GreySnow Group with its sportsbook technology, once legislation allowing for the launch of legal betting passes. This builds on an existing agreement with GreySnow, to provide online poker software.Read the full story on iGB North America. The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, has launched a new social casino product powered by Betconstruct, with the deal also allowing for the supplier to provide sports betting technology to the tribe’s non-profit igaming solutions arm GreySnow Group. OK tribe strikes social and sports deal with Betconstruct Companies: BetConstruct Regions: US Oklahoma 11th June 2020 | By contenteditor Email Address
Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Twin River hands NJ skin to exchange betting start-up Topics: Sports betting Sports betting Twin River Worldwide Holdings has granted the second of three online sports betting skins it is set to gain through its acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City to Sporttrade, an exchange betting start-up. Email Address AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter 25th August 2020 | By contenteditor Regions: US New Jersey Twin River Worldwide Holdings has granted the second of three online sports betting skins it is set to gain through its acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City to Sporttrade, an exchange betting start-up.The operator’s latest partner is a start-up currently developing what it claims will be the first regulated betting exchange in the US.Sporttrade was “thrilled” to partner Twin River as it prepares to introduce “a truly differentiated product to the New Jersey market”, its founder and chief executive Alexander Kane said.“By applying capital markets technology and market structure to the US sports betting ecosystem, we are creating something revolutionary,” Kane explained.“Sporttrade will establish a first-of-its-kind sports betting venue that will be fair, liquid, and transparent, and we look forward to offering customers innovative betting products at significantly lower costs than traditional sportsbooks.”The agreement remains dependant on Twin River finalising its acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City, agreed in April this year.Read the full story on iGB North America.
Tags: Churchill Downs Topics: Finance Net profit rockets 191.9% at CDI after online betting growth in Q3 However, gaming did not enjoy such a strong quarter, with revenue falling 24.5% to $134.9m. CDI put this down to Covid-19 restrictions at its land-based casinos. Regions: US Net revenue in the three months to September 30 amounted to $337.8m (£259.7m/€287.9m), up from $306.8m in the corresponding quarter last year. Read the full story on iGB North America. Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has reported a 10.3% year-on-year increase in net revenue in the third quarter, as growth within its online betting business also helped drive net profit up 191.9% during the period. Both Churchill Downs’ and the online wagering growth was down to the rescheduling of the Kentucky Derby, which was moved from its traditional date in May to August, as a result of restrictions related to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. CDI much of this growth was down to the success of its online wagering division, where revenue increased 79.6%. This was driven by its TwinSpires advance deposit wagering operations, with revenue reaching $54.1m after its handle jumped 68.8% to $253.7m. Finance The operator also saw growth from its Churchill Downs racetrack, with revenue rising 108.0% year-on-year to $68.0m. 29th October 2020 | By Robert Fletcher AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Address Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Calder Casino in Miami, Florida, was forced to temporarily close between July 2 and August 31, while its Oxford Casino in Maine, Presque Isle and Lady Luck sites in Pennsylvania, Ocean Downs in Maryland and Harlow’s in Refuge, Mississippi, all had to operate with reduced capacity.
“We can see that high-volume players who play within the licensing system increased the number of accounts they hold with different gaming companies,” it explained. “When a high-volume player previously normally played at two to four licensed gaming companies, they now play with significantly more companies, in order to avoid the deposit limit of SEK5,000. This, it said, “has an impact on gaming companies’ ability to offer strong consumer protection”. BOS added that there were two major consequences of the deposit cap, neither one being a decrease in problem play. The second major consequence was what it described as a “probable decrease” in the proportion of gamblers who play on licensed sites, though it noted that there has not yet been enough research into the area to prove that this has occurred. Swedish operator association Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel (BOS) has again hit out at the proposed extension of online casino deposit controls, arguing that there was never justification to introduce the measure in the first place. The measure was introduced on 2 July after being proposed in April as the country dealt with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), with BOS heavily criticising the measure before and after its implementation. It offered further criticism of the measure when an extension to June 2021 was first proposed earlier this month. Finally, the organisation added that it hoped the Swedish government would avoid putting further strict controls in place and would instead take action to boost channelisation rates. Now, in its formal response to the consultation on the extension, BOS has called for the cap to be removed at the end of the year as initially planned. The first of these, it said, was an increase in the number of gambling accounts per player. It pointed to the work of Professor Per Carlbring, head of the clinical psychology department at the University of Sotckholm. Carlbring found that gambling activity was 13.3% below forecasts during the first phase of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, and that while online casino play increased slightly, “there was no increase in likely problematic, high-intensity gambling and neither did total online gambling increase”. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Casino regulation BOS hits out again at deposit cap extension in consultation response Regulator Spelinspektionen has already published its own response to the consultation, arguing an extension would be “reasonable” given that the effects that led to the cap’s implementation are still in place. Tags: Branschföreningen för Onlinespel “BOS advocates that the Covid-19 restriction not be extended, that future government decisions continue to be based on facts and that the government takes action to protect the Swedish licensed market,” it said. BOS noted that a study by Copenhagen Economics estimated channelisation rates for Swedish online casino at 72-78%, and said at the very least it was unlikely they have improved under the measure. The body said that “little has changed” since the regulations were first proposed, and that many of its complaints from the initial consultation were still valid. Email Address “The duty of care is the cornerstone of consumer protection in the Swedish gaming regulation,” it continued. “This has now at least temporarily been put out of action by the government.” AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliance Casino regulation Online casino Compliance Legal Regulation 23rd November 2020 | By Daniel O’Boyle “We propose that the government abstain from further repressive measures against gaming companies licensed in Sweden, at least until its channelisation rate has been restored to the level achieved in early 2019: just over 90%,” it said. Regions: Europe Nordics Sweden
In a separate incident, CCTV captured aother employee, Pharadorn Naweesakorn, giving $6,000 worth of chips to a customer in exchange for $1,000 in cash. Tags: Star Entertainment Group Two Star Sydney Casino employees dismissed for AU$30,000 casino chip theft 16th March 2021 | By Conor Mulheir Regions: Australia A subsequent investigation found Naweesakorn had made a total overpayment of $20,000 to the same customer on four separate occasions. A subsequent investigation by the casino found that Quach had stolen $11,000 worth of chips over a one-week period in July 2020. Legal Quach was dismissed by The Star and convicted of theft in the New South Wales Local Court. He was sentenced to serve a two-year Community Corrections Order (CCO) and required to pay $6,000 in compensation. A CCO involves standard conditions, that an offender must not commit any offence, and must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Order. Additional conditions of a CCO which may be imposed by the sentencing court include curfew conditions, community service work, rehabilitation and treatment conditions, and non-association conditions prohibiting association with particular people, among others. Five of the chips, totalling $5,000 in value were recovered, with the attendant admitting he had cashed out $6,000 worth to play gaming machines inside the casino. Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliance Land-based casino Legal Baccarat dealer Richard Quach was captured on CCTV taking five chips off a gaming table and putting them into his sock while dealing a hand at the casino last year. A gaming attendant, who admitted to having gambling issues, was found to have placed 28 bets on a gambling app while on shift. An off-duty games dealer, meanwhile, was caught disposing of illicit drugs in a public area of the casino. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter “These people help safeguard the integrity of casino operations from criminal influence, serious misconduct or exploitation and a special degree of trust is placed in them.” “A casino special employee is a licensee engaged to supervise and facilitate gaming activities,” said Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority chair, Philip Crawford. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter He was sentenced to a two-year CCO and ordered to pay $8,550 in compensation to The Star. Two employees at the Star Entertainment Group’s Star Sydney Casino in New South Wales have been dismissed and convicted in court after attempting to steal over AU$30,000 (£16,732/€19,513/USD$23,233) in gaming chips. In December, two other members of staff at the casino were banned from casinos in New South Wales for five years following serious misconduct. According to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Commission in New South Wales, the dealer admitted he had colluded with the patron after the scheme “was first suggested to him as a joke”. Crawford said The Star was right to sack the employees after self-reporting the misconduct in line with its regulatory obligations. Email Address