Tag Archive : Business

OPAP Buys Additional Stake in Stoiximan’s Greek, Cypriot Business

Greek gambling giant OPAP today announced that it is set to acquire an additional stake in Stoiximan Group’s Greek and Cypriot business after it has recently secured regulatory clearance to buy a 51% stake in the same operation.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of OPAP, OPAP Investment, currently owns a 36.75% stake in Stoiximan through an entity named TCB Holdings.

OPAP previously announced plans to buy a 51% stake in Stoiximan’s Greek and Cypriot business (SMGC), which is currently operated by GML Interactive Ltd. The transaction received regulatory approval from the Hellenic Competition Commission in November 2019 and from the Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus.

The regulatory clearance paved the way for OPAP to proceed with that pre-agreed acquisition. The Greek operator announced today that it has reached a further agreement to acquire an additional 15.48% indirect stake in SMGC. That new agreement will effectively increase OPAP’s total holding in SMGC to 84.49%.

That second transaction is subject to requisite regulatory and competition approvals. OPAP can also subsequently assume full control over SMGC, which will continue to operate under the Stoiximan brand.

OPAP will retain its existing 36.75% stake in TCB. The latter will continue to provide online sports betting and gaming services outside Greece and Cyprus under the Betano brand. Betano currently operates in Portugal, Romania, and Germany.

Financial Details about the Transactions

OPAP said today that the total net consideration it plans to pay throughout 2020 to close the above-mentioned two transactions stands at €163.4 million. In addition, the sellers may receive certain earn-out payments calculated as a multiple of EBITDA differential for 2020 and 2021 based on performance criteria set out for SMGC.

SMGC will retain its current management team and will continue to operate separately from OPAP’s online gambling business.

Commenting on their investment in Stoiximan, OPAP’s Chairman, Kamil Ziegler, said that the Greek iGaming market is “evolving and is gradually entering a new era, which provides for its fully regulated and supervised operation” and that their strategic investment in Stoiximan along with their focus on their own online activities “is a significant move for OPAP as it secures that we are properly positioned to leverage the opportunities offered by the growing online market.”

OPAP CEO Damian Cope added that building up their online presence “was a key element of our original 2020 Vision” and that “in the last two years we have been steadily implementing our strategy of developing OPAP’s own Online business while also taking an investment in the leading Greek online operator, Stoiximan Group.”

Stoiximan’s CEO, George Daskalakis commented that since OPAP’s initial investment in his company 14 months ago, both the Stoiximan and Betano brands have achieved impressive growth.

Mr. Daskalakis went on to say:

“Today, OPAP’s decision to increase its investment in Stoiximan, essentially fuels the prospects of our company in the future, but mainly constitutes a strong vote of confidence in our way of doing business.”

Stoiximan’s CEO also noted that they embark upon a new day of creativity with the same commitment and determination to work hard to “further consolidate Stoiximan’s position as the leading operator in the Greek online gaming market, while at the same time strengthen the growth of Betano in all target international markets.”

Source: Stoiximan Investment Update

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GiG Closes Sale of B2C Business to Betsson

Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) on Thursday closed the sale of its B2C brands to online gambling operator Betsson Group in a €33 million deal.

Betsson thus bolstered its multi-brand portfolio with four new assets. The company acquired the Rizk, Guts, Kaboo, and Thrills casino and sports betting brands from GiG.

Under the terms of the sale, all four brands will continue to be operated on GiG’s platform for a minimum period of 30 months. In addition, Betsson has become a long-term partner of GiG and will generate revenues to GiG’s Platform Services.

As mentioned above, Betsson has paid the amount of €33 million for GiG’s B2C operations and related operational assets. The purchase price included €22.3 million in cash payment, €8.7 million in prepaid platform fee, and €2 million in cash deposit securing GiG’s Spanish casino license, which the company obtained in the summer of 2019.

During the first 24 months after the deal was closed, Betsson will pay a premium platform fee based on net gaming revenue. Based on estimates, GiG could collect up to €50 million from the sale of its four B2C brands.

News that GiG has successfully offloaded its B2C business to Betsson emerge a week after the company secured required regulatory approvals to close the deal.

Sale Frees Up Resources for B2B Growth

GiG said that it would use part of the sale proceeds to repay its SEK300 million 2017-2020 bond on April 22, 2020 as this would strengthen its balance sheet and significantly reduce the financial leverage ratio.

As part of the deal, 63 GiG employees were transferred to Betsson. The two companies have also entered into a Transition Service Agreement, under the terms of which GiG will offer services to Betsson to support the operation of the four brands for an initial period. The agreement comprises an additional 54 employees at GiG.

GiG first announced that it would divest its B2C operations to Betsson this past February. The company said back then that the move was prompted by a strategic review of its business and that it would result in reduction of complexity and improved efficiency.

The gambling group will thus free up resources that would enable it to fully focus its attention on “driving and growing its B2B business.” GiG expects stable and sustainable earnings and profit margins from its new strategic focus.

The company said Thursday that it sees “a large and sustainable addressable market for its Media and platform business” as iGaming continues to become a regulated industry in new markets. In addition, GiG believes that it is well positioned with its omni-channel platform offering to capitalize on the “continued digital transformation” of the global gambling market.

Source: Gaming Innovation Group: Completion of the sale of B2C assets to Betsson

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GiG Sale of B2C Business on Track to Close Mid-April

Gaming Innovation Group’s (GiG) sale of its B2C gaming and sports betting brands to Betsson was this week approved by antitrust regulators, enabling the deal to close by mid-April.

GiG announced in mid-February plans to offload its B2C division to Betsson in a bid to focus on its B2B operations. The move would help the company “reduce complexity and improve efficiency.”

Under the terms of the deal, Betsson, which already operates a multi-brand online casino and sports betting portfolio, has agreed to pay €33 million to acquire GiG’s B2C operations. The purchase amount includes €22.3 million in cash payment, €8.7 million in prepaid platform fee, and €2 million in cash deposit securing GiG’s Spanish casino license.

GiG said this week that it would use part of the proceeds from the sale of its B2C operations to repay its SEK300 million 2017-2020 bond, which would help it strengthen its balance sheet and reduce significantly the financial leverage ratio.

GiG’s B2C operations include the Rizk, Guts, Kaboo, and Thrills online casino and sports betting brands. Under the terms of the sale, Betsson will keep all four websites operational on GiG’s proprietary iGaming platform for the first 30 months after the transaction closes.

During the first 24 months, Betsson will pay a premium platform fee based on net gaming revenue generated. Based on estimated platform fees, GiG could trouser up to €50 million from the sale of the four brands.

Freeing Up Resources to Spearhead B2B Growth

GiG has previously explained that its decision to divest its B2C business was a result of a strategic review as the company seeks to “reduce complexity and improve efficiency.”

The online gambling group has also pointed out that the sale of the four iGaming and wagering brands would free up resources and enable it to fully dedicate its attention to driving and growing its B2B business, and thus secure stable and sustainable earnings and profit margins.

According to GiG, there is a “large and sustainable addressable market” for its platform business as iGaming continues to become a regulated industry in more and more countries around the world.

As part of its strategic review, GiG has also decided to make its platform “sportsbook agnostic” and to partner up with betting technology providers in a bid to offer its clients the best possible wagering solutions.

Under the deal for the sale of GiG’s B2C brands, Betsson will integrate its sportsbook solution onto GiG’s platform. As a result, the two companies will be able to sell their B2B solutions without creating conflict in the B2C vertical.

Commenting on their decision to offload their B2C brands, GiG CEO Richard Brown said previously that the deal would enable them to focus on their growth in the B2B sector and that while offering both B2B and B2C products had synergies in the past, the “current conflicting priorities of the two business areas, and increased complexity in the market, have lessened the potential offering on both fronts and our ability to sign new customers.”

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Key Benefits of the Online Conference on Betting Business During the Pandemic

Betting in face of COVID-19: Key Benefits of the Online Conference on Betting Business During the Pandemic

On April 17, Smile-Expo will hold an online conference for the European market – Betting in face of COVID-19. This event is dedicated to the peculiarities of operating a betting business during the quarantine imposed by different countries because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Best practices of overcoming the crisis, a heated discussion about relevant betting areas and networking in a new format – all of this will be available to the conference audience!

The event starts at 11:00.

Who will speak at the online event?

The conference will bring together representatives of the European betting market, members of sports associations, as well as providers of betting products and services.

Speakers will include:

  • Harry Lang, Founder of Brand Architects;
  • Ian Smith, Integrity Commissioner at Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC);
  • Mark O’Sullivan, Assistant Manager at KPMG Malta;
  • Martin Wachter, CEO & founder of Golden Race;
  • Ivan Alonso,General Manager at Club Nacional de Football (Uruguay).

Experts will talk about betting market changes caused by the cancellation of sports matches and explain how to grow businesses within the crisis. They will examine the most sought-after betting lines and the future of the industry. 

Besides, speakers will thoroughly analyze the features and prospects of such betting directions as traditional, virtual, esports and fantasy sports.

Tickets to Betting in face of COVID-19at the best price

Smile-Expo is carrying out a special offeronly from 6 to 10 of April. Buying a ticket to the online conference, you can obtain the second one for free.

Two tickets will cost just€100 during the offer. Their price will increase after April 10.

Hurry up to use the special offer and buy tickets to the event at a profitable price!

Reasons to visit the event

All participants of the online conference will discover how to save and enhance their businesses in the context of the pandemic. Moreover, listeners will be able to establish favorable contacts, find new customers or potential partners. 

Core advantages of the online event:

  • Networking in a convenient format.A general chat room will allow all attendees to introduce themselves, present their companies and fields of interest. Therefore, participants will realize easier whom to make an acquaintance with and continue communication in the future.
  • An opportunity to talk directly to speakers and sponsors. The organizers will create an individual chat room on WhatsApp, adding all speakers, sponsors andparticipants of the conference. They will be able to ask their questions to each other and share expert opinions.
  • No risks for health.With the conference being held in the online format, participants won’t have to risk their health to join the event.
  • Free access to useful content. Speakers’ presentations and event video recording will be sent to emails of each participant.

Organizer and date of the event

The Betting in face of COVID-19online conference will take place on April 17, 2020.

The event is organized by Smile-Expo, an international company with experience in conducting offline events dedicated to the potential and prospects of gambling. 

 Buy tickets to the event at the best price and get a chance to find out about anti-crisis strategies of betting business operations!

Ways in Which Stablecoins are expected to Transform Business Endeavours

One factor that binds every entrepreneur around the world, especially if they are the aspiring ones, is the capital. Making arrangements for the seed money is the most challenging part of any business endeavour. And if at all you happen to make the necessary arrangements for the initial capital, sustaining the business project with the required amount of money becomes an arduous task. Plus, as your business grows and scales up, managing more funds and the further capital acquisition makes for a nagging issue. And while there is a growth and mushrooming of new technology that promises to solve these problems to an extent, they are still not enough to make for long-term and stable solutions. However, the situation is not all that bleak. One way to ease the financial doldrums in your business affairs is the usage of Stablecoins. And if you are still unaware of what these coins are, read on to understand better and see how Stablecoins can help solve the issues we just addressed in this section.

What exactly are Stablecoins?

By now, several questions might be flitting across your minds. What are Stablecoins? Are these a form of the cryptocurrency? Or are they an entirely new concept? How volatile are they and can they solve the issues of arranging for the initial capital for business? These questions might have already taken roots in your brain. Fret not, as all your queries shall be answered throughout the course of the article.

Stablecoins are a form of the cryptocurrencies, yes; but they have much more value and credibility to offer than the various other types of cryptocurrencies that we have seen so far. Unlike Bitcoin, which was the very first cryptocurrency to be introduced, Stablecoins provide a solution to the problem of volatility. The value of Bitcoin is maintained only when all its users agree upon the same value. This, therefore, does not offer much credibility or stability to the currency. Plus, there are several other factors that one needs to consider while using Bitcoins. For instance, the issue of Blockcard Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash is a persistent one and needs careful investigation before one can decide upon anything. Stablecoins step in as a welcome relief. The main difference between Stablecoins and the other cryptocurrencies is that Stablecoins are backed by the assets of fiat currencies. Stablecoins use the blockchain network to carry forward its transactions, but that is not all about it. The fact that it has the backing of fiat currencies is what makes it stable and less susceptible to volatilities. And when a currency is this stable, it is normal for entrepreneurs to take much interest in it. The unique balance between the features of traditional money as well as the cryptocurrency is what makes Stablecoins different from the other cryptocurrencies. It is a fresh concept with a lot of potential.       

How Are Stablecoins Managing to Help Entrepreneurs?

The backing that Stablecoins have from fiat currencies is enough to pull the entire fraternity of entrepreneurs to the currency. Stablecoins allow users to streamline their payment methods and go for capital acquisition through a peer-to-peer process of transfer. This also ensures maximum liquidity and security for the business endeavours.

As we have mentioned in the previous section, Stablecoins are the perfect balance between the fiat currency and the cryptocurrency. This means that there shall be credibility and stability in the transactions like the fiat currencies but without the trouble of going through arduous banking procedures. The cryptocurrency is a decentralized affair and therefore, transactions occur quickly through the blockchain network. There are no inherent third-party fees or a time-consuming process that shall delay the funds to come through for your business. Everything is prompt and with all the stability that you needed to further the cause of your business.

Final Words:

Therefore, in a nutshell, it is essential that you understand that Stablecoins are a great boon to your business endeavours. They offer not only stability to your business, but also provide it flexibility and the potential for immense capital acquisition. These advantages when seen together and put under microscopic scrutiny shall reveal that Stablecoins are a much real and feasible option for entrepreneurs to propel their business endeavours, especially when arranging for funds to get an idea rolling seems like a challenge. Then comes the difficulty of getting more funds together to keep the business venture afloat. It is not all that easy as some experts might claim and portray them to be. A business, in order to sustain itself, requires the right ideas and the right amount of capital investment, without which it could witness a cataclysmic downfall. Therefore, now that you know what Stablecoins amount to, use the currency in an optimum way and to your favour.

How technology is paving the way for business growth

Every business needs growth and adopts several different ways to stay afloat in the presence of heightened competition and challenges. When development in business is stalled, it begins to slide on a downward slope. Because of this, fewer businesses survive long-term after braving the initial years. One of the critical factors in their success is the ability to remain relevant and noticeable, and build a rapport.

This ability to stay relevant is only possible by embracing the technology and customizing its usage for the business. In this article, we will discover how you can pave the way for your organization’s growth, sales, and productivity through the use of technology.

The first good effects of embracing technology at the workplace emerge in the form of increased efficiency. Firstly, it brings multiple software that is helpful in terms of ensuring punctuality. Secondly, it modernizes several different processes, all the way from ideation to production. When these things start to happen, your business becomes capable to overcome many shortcomings. Over time, the integration with technology optimizes the capacity of your workforce and maximizes the revenues.

  • Extended Customer Outreach

Bringing technology to your organization helps enhance your customer outreach. Your business can respond to the clients and address their queries on time. Technology also helps you convey the positive impact of your business, which compels them to remain associated with it. A smoothly running business attracts long-term and happy customers. In this context, mobile-friendly websites of the organization and interactive social media platforms play a key role in keeping the clients engaged.

The integration of technology drives your business to a whole new level as it transforms all of its communication channels. When the employees communicate using the messaging platforms, not only their pace of work is elevated, but they begin to function with a digital mindset. Also, with the right mix of technology, you notice positive changes in all external communications. With automated systems, no client faces delays or trouble reaching out to you. You can also hire accounts receivable financing company to streamline your operations. Moreover, marketing emails begin to fetch better results due to their appeal.

  • Better Project Management

Using technological tools helps you bring a visible difference in all project management affairs. The resources that you use for this purpose streamline your operations. You are better able to manage the projects through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. They are also infinitely helpful in making the key details handy and accessible. This automatically increases the pace of every project and builds a strong impression on every single client.

A digitized environment where technology is the driving force for the progress has long-term productive effects for any business. With the use of several different useful apps and features, such as cloud computing, you can store all the crucial data as well as bring more accuracy and precision to your work. The good part with this is that the digital tools continue to improve, thus providing an opportunity to modernize your business too.

Integrating technology with work brings higher levels of security for your data, such as an end to end encryption, and defense against viruses and other forms of malware. With such a security apparatus in place, your main server, as well as individual computers at the workplace, remain safe and sound, and your sensitive data secure. You are also able to apply several layers of security to your website, thus protecting online visitors, such as potential clients and business partners.

When you have effective use of technology in place, you have real and authentic insights about the performance of your business and the client’s interest in your product. Using such metrics, you can plan the operations and capacity of your organization and make future decisions. With such a proactive approach, you stay one step ahead of your competitors and stand-out with your productivity and performance.

Final Word

The world is moving towards its most modern era: electric and flying cars, AI solutions, robotics, and smart cities are transforming each and everything. Technology is the main driving force behind all of this and it is here to change our lives, whether or not we embrace it. The time is ripe for a technological integration with business to put the latter on the fast track of progress.

Why has the UK gambling industry been excluded from business rate relief?

On 17 March, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK ensured the House of Commons the Government would “do whatever it takes to support our economy through this crisis.”

He was speaking, of course, about the outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact on the various industries of Britain.

The Chancellor continued: “I am extending this business rates holiday to all businesses in those sectors, irrespective of their rateable value.

“That means every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue and restaurant and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, will pay no business rates whatsoever for 12 months.”

This was music to the ears of the gambling industry, which assumed it would be included in the leisure sector category.

Yet this did not prove the case. The Treasury decided to exclude casinos, bingo halls and betting shops from the 100% business rates holiday, classifying them as ‘financial services’ as opposed to leisure.

On Thursday, this prompted the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) to condemn the decision in an open letter addressed to the Chancellor.

The BGC, which acts as the single industry association for betting and gaming in the UK, described the decision as “frankly bizarre,” given gambling businesses would be listed on the London Stock Exchange as part of the leisure industry.

While these are unprecedented times, it is difficult not to speculate at ulterior motives for this resolution, particularly when the industry generates more than £3bn ($3.91bn) in annual taxation for the Government choosing not to support it.

Throughout 2019, negative coverage of the industry in the mainstream press seemed to be at an all-time-high and this only increased pressure on the Government to introduce tighter regulation.

As a result of this pressure, the Conservative government re-elected at the end of the year pledged to review the Gambling Act 2005, which it said was “increasingly becoming an analogue law in a digital age.”

In addition, and perhaps as a result, public trust of the gambling industry hit an all-time low. In a 2019 UK gambling report released by the Gambling Commission, trust in the industry was down, with 43% of participants associating gambling with crime, up 5% from 2018, and 29% believing gambling to be fair and trustworthy, down 1% at 29%.

When we consider the UK Government and mainstream media’s treatment of the industry over the past year, it would be amiss not to consider that the Treasury’s refusal to provide aid to the industry could be rooted in a desire to appeal to this same mentality – perhaps the Government doesn’t want to be seen assisting an industry struggling to relinquish a negative image.

Gambling consultant Steve Donoghue certainly makes a compelling argument that this might be the case. Speaking with Gambling Insider, he explains why he is unconvinced that the decision to exclude the retail gambling industry is based on any archaic categorisation.

He said: “Under the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, betting shops were class A2 which included financial and professional services other than health or medical services.

“But this ended with the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2015 which made them suis generis.

“Casinos and bingo halls have never been linked to financial services. So it can’t really be this.”

Last year, we saw the Government introduce a stake reduction on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2 ($2.38) and undoubtedly this has had a huge impact on retail betting shops, with many forced to close their doors for good.

GVC Holdings, owner of Ladbrokes Coral, had to close down 13% of its land-based estate in 2019, and calculated it would have to close 900 of its betting shops over the next two years as a result of the maximum stake cut.

Donoghue believes that, similar to this regulation, the lack of governmental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic will cause many gambling industry employees to lose their jobs.

He said: “The decision to ban FOBTs saw thousands of gambling industry jobs go; so why should this be any different?

“We need a Jarrow Crusade of the industry’s potential unemployed to march on Carolyn Harris MP’s offices – via BACTA’s headquarters.”

Regardless of the Government’s reasons for the exclusion, it is evident this will have a huge impact for the industry’s employees. According to BGC data, all casinos and betting shops are currently making losses, with most casinos due to close this weekend.

Nearly 7,000 high-street betting shops are also expected to close imminently due to the lack of sport and the need for social distancing. The BGC estimates that, within months, many casinos will be insolvent while betting shops will also be at risk of permanent closures; in terms of employees this represents around 64,000 jobs.

While the UK Government may not be keen to help the regulated gambling market, a lack of licensed betting shops will only see a rise in the unregulated black market, which as the BGC says is “not only an unsafe place for people to bet, but also contributes nothing to the Exchequer or the country.”

At times like this, it is important the country pulls together and protects the industries which cannot protect themselves – of which the retail gambling industry is certainly one.

Popular opinon can be left by the wayside, while the needs of UK businesses and their thousands of employees must not be forgotten.

RELATED TAGS: Online | Land-Based | Industry | Sports Betting | Financial | Bingo | Casino | Feature

Playtech outlines EBITDA loss expectations in business update

Playtech has announced it is working to protect its cash flow amid the global outbreak of coronavirus.

The gaming supplier said it has seen “limited impact” towards its B2B business, with the company’s poker and bingo businesses seeing increases in activity due to the restrictions imposed on movement in certain countries.

Playtech expects the live casino vertical to be impacted as the situation continues, with the segment requiring employees to work within the same location.

As a result of the postponement and cancellation of sporting events, Playtech expects its B2B sport business, which predominantly operates in Greece and the UK, to generate a loss of €4m ($4.3m) in adjusted EBITDA.

Playtech’s B2C operations have been impacted by the closure of Italian-based operator Snaitech’s betting shops.

The bookmaker, acquired by Playtech in 2018, continues to generate revenue from its online business but has been impacted by the lack of sporting events.

Snaitech is expected to generate a loss of €3m in adjusted EBITDA per month as the situation continues.

The supplier’s revenue in Asia is expected to remain at the same level as last month, at €7m.

In the UK, the Gambling Commission has asked for license application documentation to be sent in via email as the coronavirus forces its employees to work from home.  

Better Collective and GiG adamant coronavirus won’t affect business

Better Collective’s business and financial targets remain unaffected, despite the coronavirus outbreak causing all major sport to be suspended.

The affiliate said business has been performing strongly up until mid-March and financial targets for 2020 won’t be affected. However, it did admit sports betting activity will take a blow as all major sporting events come to a halt; but esports and casino business remains the same.

February revenue increased 27% year-on-year to €6.9m ($7.6m). The affiliate expects the postponement of UEFA Euro 2020 until 2021 will mean between €2-4m of revenue will be postponed until next year.

On the assumption all major sports events are back and completed by the end of 2020, revenue excluding that of the Euros could be reduced by a further €4-6m. But because costs will be lower than budgeted for the full year, this will offset reduced revenue.

Better Collective CEO Jesper Søgaard said: “Though visibility is currently limited, we stay optimistic that normal sports betting activity levels will be restored.”

Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has also stated casino operations and daily net gaming revenue (NGR) will be unaffected despite the outbreak.

The supplier said NGR for March is in line with January and February, for both B2B and B2C platforms. This is due to the fact sports betting has accounted for just 6% of total revenue for 2020 so far, the same as last year

Media spend moving from sports to casino will reduce the impact on operations, it adds.

CEO Richard Brown said: “In these times of turmoil, GiG has so far proven our technology is robust, staff agile and that there is an increased demand for our services across of different verticals.”

Letters: Meeting with the enemy demonstrates hypocrisy; Bad for marijuana business, good for criminals; This land is our land; Agree to disagree (2/20/20)

Meeting with the enemy demonstrates hypocrisy

This past weekend, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., secretly met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Murphy justified this meeting by saying, “I think it’s dangerous to not talk to your enemies.

Discussions and negotiations are a way to ease tensions and reduce the chances for crisis.”

Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.