May 28, 2015

Sportech sells SNG Interactive joint venture to NYX Gaming

Sportech Plc has confirmed the sale of its 50% stake in SNG Interactive to joint venture NYX Gaming for a reported £12 million sum.

Sportech has disclosed that it will receive £5.2 million in cash for its sale, with an additional 2.2 million in NYX Gaming corporate shares which have been valued at £5.2 million. Furthermore the operator will receive a differed consideration £1.6 million.

The operator expects to generate a pre-tax profit of £8.8 million on its sale. Sportech CEO Ian Penrose commented on the sale of the SNG interactive joint venture

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with NYX, generating a significant return for the group in a short space of time.”

“The structure of the deal enables us to reinvest in our US growth activities in the sports gaming market, whilst retaining a material stake in the future of online casino gaming in North America. NYX is endeavouring to build a market leading position and we look forward to sharing in this opportunity with them”

The sale of its joint venture stake, follows Sportech’s announcement that it had rejected a £75 million offer for its Football Pools from an unknown bidder

May 26, 2015

Gala Bingo suitors line up for bidding war

Gala Coral looks like selling its entire bingo division of 132 clubs to a whole host of suitors within the next four to six weeks it has been reported in the Times.

Several interested parties are looking at snapping up the bingo division of Gala as the betting firm looks to further consolidate its business to online where profits have continued to improve and also readying itself for an IPO later this year.

In selling the final piece of the companies land based business Gala Coral will then completely been able to concentrate on their internet business. Current favourite to take the bingo business is current Managing Director of the bingo business Simon Wykes and a management buyout, however German gaming giant the Gauselmann Group are also named as a potential suitor along with venture capital firms Bridgepoint, Risk Capital Partners and OPCapita.

One final possible player is former CEO of Scientific Games Lorne Weil who is believed to be trying to put together a US led acquisition company to enter the race to buy Gala Bingo. The price for the Gala Bingo business is estimated at £250 million and the eventual winner will expect to know their fate in late June or early July.

May 25, 2015 announce plans to close their WPTPoker skin has announced plans to close their WPTPoker skin on June 3 citing plans to focus their online poker efforts on the partypoker and bwin brands.

Players spending their time on will have to find a new home. Their cyber doors will shut on June 3, and they will not reopen. The online poker room opened on the partypoker network in 2009, after party acquired the World Poker Tour (WPT) from WPTE. Whilst it never set the world alight, it would have been home to a lot of people.

A letter sent to players explaining the reason for closure cited’s desire to concentrate all of their efforts on their two leading brands: partypoker and bwin poker. The content of the letter can be read below in full:

Dear Players, has made the decision to focus our online poker efforts entirely on our lead brands: partypoker and bwin poker. This has resulted in the decision to close our site.

Please be aware that we are unable to move any balance directly from a account to a account.

The poker room will cease to run from June 3rd however players will have a further 3 months to withdraw their cash balance. During this period we will remove withdrawal limits. The fee will not be waived.

We understand the frustration and apologize for the inconvenience.

We also appreciate the time that players gave to Thank you.

Players will not be allowed to transfer their funds to their partypoker account, players will have three months grace to withdraw their funds, and even if you have been hibernating for longer you can still withdraw your monies albeit through manual request to WPTPoker. Tournament dollars and tickets will be refunded, and any live event packages will still be honored.

It’s believed that the sale is connected with the impending sale of Last week saw 888 Holdings and a joint bid by Amaya Gaming Inc./GVC Holdings both make a move to acquire the largest online gambling outfit in the world.

888 Holdings have a relationship with the World Series of Poker (WSOP), and Amaya Gaming likewise with the European Poker Tour (EPT), both rival brands of the WPT.

May 19, 2015

The Online Gambling Battle For Bwin.Party

Online Gambling firm 888 Holdings is making a run at buying Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, the Gibraltar-based online gambling company. There are reports that Amaya, the world’s biggest publicly-traded online gambling company, is joining tiny GVC Holdings to try to buy and carve up Bwin.Party. Playtech, the gambling software developer, has not emerged as a potential bidder, but has shown interest in Bwin.Party in the past.

The sale of Bwin.Party may still not happen, but negotiations for the company have reached their most serious stage since activist hedge fund manager Jason Ader’s SpringOwl Asset Management struck a deal with Bwin.Party last year that seemed to put the company in play. The details of the bids have not been disclosed and remain murky.

A deal for Bwin.Party would be a big moment in the online gambling industry. Bwin.Party was formed in 2011, combining Bwin’s sports betting business and PartyGaming’s online casino and online poker offerings. Before it chose to leave the U.S. market in 2006, PartyGaming was the most valuable online gambling company in the world.

What makes Bwin.Party valuable to other online gambling companies today, however, is its big sports betting business. Billionaire Denise Coates’ Bet365 is the world’s biggest online sports betting company, but Bwin’s sports betting business is one of the next largest. Bwin’s sport betting business in Europe might be bigger than Bet365.

Amaya, 888 and Playtech have been working on becoming big online sports betting players. For any online gambling company looking for a sports betting business, buying Bwin would be the quickest way to do it.

Amaya reportedly is bidding with GVC by creating a special purpose vehicle controlled by GVC that would hold the bulk of Bwin.Party’s assets. There is precedent for such a partnership. GVC, which focuses on so-called gray markets, teamed up with British bookmaker William Hill in 2013 to buy Sportingbet for $850 million. William Hill took Sportingbet’s online gambling operations in Australia and Spain; GVC took Sportingbet’s business in unregulated markets.

Bwin.Party is scheduled to host its annual shareholders meeting in Gibraltar on Thursday.

May 11, 2015

SNAI strengthens Italian market position with Cogemat merger

Italian sports betting operator Gruppo SNAI has agreed to a corporate merger with Italian licensed gambling operator Cogemat, which will see the new company valued at + €145 million.

SNAI will incorporate all assets and business subsidiaries of Cogemat, including gambling technology and content provider Cogetech which services 9% of the Italian gambling machines market.

Italian news sources report that SNAI governance had concluded the merger deal with Global OI Games and Games 2 the majority shareholders in the Cogemat business. SNAI are believed to want to strengthen their position within the Italian gambling machines market, and further enhance its digital offering to the Italian market.

Gruppo SNAI released a short corporate statement detailing its intentions for the acquisition of Cogemat enterprises. The operator outlined the following

“The company will look to become the co-leader of the market with a share of over 15%” and will “strengthen the group’s leadership in the segment of horse betting and sports.”

“SNAI will further aim to strengthen its position in the segment of the gaming machines,” a market worth 48 billion euro in 2013”.
The merger deal will see Cogetech shareholders acquire 38% of the new company shares which are to be distributed under Gruppo SNAI terms and deal precedents.

May 06, 2015

Portugal opens up to online gambling

Portuguese gamblers will soon be allowed to gamble online following the Council of Ministers in the country passing the Online Gambling Bill which will commence on the 28th June.

Following the passing of the bill all forms of gambling online will be legalised and the legislative framework and regulation will be passed to the Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa.

With the bill the Ministers released a statement saying: “The bill will proceed with the regulation of online gambling in line with the recommendations issued by the EC on this matter and the international best practices. Licenses will be awarded to all the companies that will ensure the full respect of a set of financial, economic and technical requirements.”

The licensing for operators is now open and will be controlled by Santa Casa, advertising by operators will be allowed in approved media outlets which is not currently clear which those are. The government is hoping to raise some €25 million annually in online gambling taxes.