August, 2021 Archive

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Card fraud to rise 50% during World Cup, says HooYu

first_img Identity verification and customer on-boarding specialist HooYu will reveal its forecast for revenue growth and increase in card fraud around this year’s World Cup in a free webinar tomorrow.According to the company’s exclusive new research, operators are expected to see card fraud increase by 50% since the last World Cup in 2014, alongside the expected significant boost in revenues during the month-long tournament.The webinar hosted by HooYu’s managing director David Pope will also look at what kind of fraud attack vectors fraudsters are expected to use during this year’s World Cup and how can operators protect themselves with technologies such as HooYu.The hour-long webinar will take place at 15:00BST tomorrow Wednesday 6 of June.You can register for the World Cup 2018 webinar here.HooYu has also produced an accompanying white paper on  fraud and the World Cup 2018 which can be downloaded here Topics: Finance Card fraud to rise 50% during World Cup, says HooYu Finance ID verification and customer on-boarding specialist to unveil findings of new report on fraud and the World Cup 2018 in free webinar tomorrow AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwittercenter_img Email Address 5th June 2018 | By Stephen Carter Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Tags: Online Gambling Paymentslast_img read more

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SBTech renews Sazka sportsbook supply deal

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Topics: Sports betting Tech & innovation Regions: Europe Central and Eastern Europe Czech Republic Email Address Multi-year extension agreed after “substantial revenue gains” in first two years of partnership Sports bettingcenter_img SBTech chief commercial officer Andrew Cochrane has “high expectations” for continued growth in the Czech Republic after extending a sportsbook supply deal with the country’s national lottery operator, Sazka.The two parties have agreed a multi-year renewal two years after establishing their partnership.SBTech said that the partnership had generated “substantial revenue gains”, despite competition from international operators due to the supplier’s “tailored, data-driven risk management, a highly configurable bonus engine and a bespoke front-end designed specifically for the Czech market”.The Czech online gaming market opened up to foreign operators in January 2017, which was followed by the launch of Sazka’s revamped online portal in March that year.“SBTech’s complete sports betting solution has enabled us to expand rapidly over the past two years and we are very happy to extend our partnership,” Sazka CEO Robert Chvatal said. “We anticipate continued and sustained growth moving forward and are preparing to leverage the full power of the SBTech sportsbook in the months and years to come.”Cochrane added: “Sazka has achieved remarkable growth by embracing innovation, while also maintaining the highest standards of player safety and corporate and social responsibility.“We have high expectations for the growth of the regulated Czech market and are committed to long-term shared success in this exciting territory.”Internationally, SBTech is lined up to enter the re-regulated Swedish market in the New Year, as well as France and South Africa.Meanwhile, the supplier, which is already live in the new legal sports betting jurisdictions of New Jersey and Mississippi in the US, also expects to gain a foothold in Pennsylvania.To support the growth, SBTech has announced two major hires in recent weeks, with Dave Hammond appointed as the company’s new chief operating officer and Jeremie Kanter brought in as head of compliance. SBTech renews Sazka sportsbook supply deal Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter 7th December 2018 | By contenteditorlast_img read more

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SBTech renews sportsbook partnership with ComeOn

first_img Sports betting technology provider SBTech has signed an extension to its long-running partnership with Cherry AB subsidiary ComeOn. Topics: Sports betting Tech & innovation SBTech renews sportsbook partnership with ComeOn AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Sports betting 5th June 2019 | By contenteditor Sports betting technology provider SBTech has signed an extension to its long-running partnership with Cherry AB subsidiary ComeOn.The renewal allows ComeOn to continue to deploy SBTech’s sportsbook solution in new and existing markets around the world.SBTech supplies ComeOn and its subsidiary brands with a complete suite of solutions, including front-end technology, live betting and streaming services, as well as live match tracking and statistics feeds.The supplier will also provide ComeOn with its APIs allowing it to customise a range of key site elements including the front end layout, the bet slip and trading strategies. In addition, ComeOn will be able to control its operations in multiple markets from a centralised back end, utilising localisation capabilities, SBTech’s bonusing engine and responsible gambling tools.“We are very excited to continue our successful partnership with SBTech and we are confident that together we will be able to find new great opportunities and keep offering our players a great sportsbook experience,” ComeOn chief executive Lahcene Merzoug said.SBTech CEO Richard Carter added: “Our decade-long relationship with ComeOn continues to go from strength-to-strength with our innovative technology and new features enabling it to power new brands, broaden its footprint into new markets and offer its customers the ultimate, personalised online and mobile sports betting experience.”SBTech and ComeOn have been working together since 2009 and this extension represents the fifth contract renewal between the two parties. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Addresslast_img read more

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Not for turning

first_img While Ireland proved a positive test case for the lottery betting sector’s collective approach to lobbying, its highest profile exponent has found the going far from easy in other territories following product bans in the UK and Australia. But this is no reason for Lottoland to deviate from its core markets strategy, chief executive Nigel Birrell tells Joanne Christie.In recent years Lottoland has typically come out on the losing side of the battle against the monopoly lottery operators.Whenever the war of words has spilled into the political arena, politicians have sided with the monopolies, at times despite scant evidence of any harm to their business or good causes by the disruptive lottery betting firm.But its latest fight hasn’t been so one-sided. In Ireland, granted only a relatively small market for the company, this year has seen a couple of prominent politicians come out publicly with the view that lottery betting does not take money away from state lotteries, as is the stock claim.First the Irish minister for finance, Paschal Donohoe, responded to a parliamentary question in March by stating there was no evidence lottery betting had “a significant impact on the national lottery”. Then, David Stanton, the minister responsible for gambling, made similar comments in rejecting calls to add a ban on lottery betting to the country’s forthcoming updated gambling legislation.These developments are “massively encouraging”, says Lottoland chief executive Nigel Birrell.“When you’ve got people like that saying what we’ve been saying for years then it really enhances our claim,” he says.“It is very easy for politicians to bang out the same mantra and I really welcome the fact that these two gentlemen in Ireland have thought about it, looked at the numbers and said there’s no evidence [we’re taking from good causes]. It is probably not politically expedient for them to actually say that.”The positive noises in Ireland also perhaps point to the fact that a collective approach may be paying off for the lottery betting sector. Ireland was something of a test case for the European Lottery Betting Association, which was set up in July last year by Lottoland, MyLotto24, Multilotto, Legacy8 and LottoGo to try to avoid further bans on lottery betting following those in Australia and the UK.The organisation engaged in a PR offensive in Ireland, as well as commissioning independent research that ended up being quoted by the aforementioned politicians.Trouble in Sweden… Outside Ireland, however, this year hasn’t been such a success for Lottoland from a regulatory perspective. In June Sweden’s gambling regulator Spelinspektionen slapped it with a SEK700,000 (£52,276) fine after saying it breached its licence conditions.With its penalty coming just a week after the regulator revoked Global Gaming’s licence in the country and both operators being caught off guard by the announcements, Birrell is critical of this approach.“We only knew about it when it came up on the website so we don’t necessarily agree with it.“Sweden obviously is quite new but they seem to be just banging [the sanctions] out without a discussion. We had discussed with them the products in question and taken them down despite our view, which remains that they are probably legal and allowed. So that was fine and we thought, ‘let’s take them down and have a sensible discussion with them,’ and then this fine has just come out so we are reviewing our position.”He says the Swedish regulator should look at the UK’s approach if it wants to develop good relationships with operators. “The UK does it in a slightly more iterative way. They will contact you and [the process] often goes on for months. You have the right to discuss and appeal, and it is only when a final determination has been revealed that it then becomes public.”However, he adds: “The UK market probably had teething problems as well. I am sure Sweden will settle down, but it is early days as [the regulated market] has only been going since January. A lot of licences were granted quite quickly.”… and Australia One situation that doesn’t seem to be settling down for Lottoland is the regulatory landscape in Australia. After having to pull all of its lottery betting products in the country following January’s ban, the company launched a series of jackpot betting products based on financial markets.Lottoland’s opponents down under quickly complained about the new games and in June the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ruled that some were games
of chance and therefore prohibited.Lottoland swiftly announced plans to challenge ACMA in the Supreme Court.“ACMA are challenging us and I think that’s clearly instigated by Tatts/Tabcorp and the newsagents. These people won’t stop until we leave the market, which I think shows Australia in a very bad light. They are allowing interest groups to get rid of competition, which I think is so protectionist. It makes me angry.“But we are going to challenge [the situation] because we have hundreds of thousands of customers in Australia who want our products and we are going to try and give them what they want.”Perhaps surprisingly, Birrell says Australia remains one of the top three markets for Lottoland, alongside the UK and Germany, even with its core lottery betting products no longer available. That perhaps explains why the company is so determined to stay in the market, despite the constant attempts to force it out. It is therefore somewhat surprising that Lottoland hasn’t switched to a messenger model down under as that would have allowed it to continue offering players the chance to take part in the huge US lottery draws that were so popular with Australians.Asked why it hadn’t, particularly given some of the other synthetic lottery giants have been known
to switch models to adapt to local regulations, Birrell says: “We don’t have a messenger licence right now but we wouldn’t rule it out.“We have to adapt with the regulatory landscape. We may not agree with it but it is what it is and if the regulatory landscape is going to prevent you from doing betting on lottery in the way you’d like to, then we need to adapt and messenger, brokerage, any of those type of models are not beyond our thoughts.”Stateside ambitions This is particularly the case in the US, says Birrell. “In the US we are focusing on the messenger side of things, potentially in New Jersey. We obviously need to be licensed there for that, so that is something we are considering. We know we wouldn’t be able to do betting on lottery there at this stage. Hopefully the laws develop but certainly messenger would be our focus in the US.”He does, however, see it more as an entry point than an end goal. “Messenger is clearly not as high-margin as betting on lottery. I see messenger as getting us a foothold in the market, which clearly could be a profitable business in itself, and thereafter we could lobby to try and allow betting on lottery and open the market for that. Certainly it is a big enough market with enough people that messenger could be quite lucrative.”While North America is certainly the continent on everyone’s minds at the moment, Lottoland has also recently dipped its toes into a completely different, but in some people’s minds equally promising,  continent with its South African launch. So far Birrell says the country is a slow burner.“South Africa is a very slow start. We are not investing too much in marketing and seeing how it goes really.”Birrell has mixed views on the potential of Africa more widely. “It seems to be the buzz at most conferences we go to these days. But no one seems to be making a breakthrough. I think some of the jurisdictions are a bit unstable in terms of regulation – they just keep changing their views on what the tax should be at a whim so one has to be conscious of that.“But I think lottery is very suited to Africa. We tend to have the chance to win big with very small wagers, and given the economies there people can afford a few pounds to bet on the lottery.“Certainly that’s the future but not one we are spending a lot of time on right now. We’ve got plenty of work to do in the key markets we are active in. We’re far better off focusing on somewhere like Sweden, which is a far richer country and with much better returns, than we are Africa. We are only in 13 countries so we don’t want to be all things to all men. We just want to do well in the countries we are in rather than spreading ourselves too thinly.” Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Tags: Mobile Online Gambling AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Address Legal & compliance Not for turning 5th July 2019 | By contenteditor While Ireland proved a positive test case for the lottery betting sector’s collective approach to lobbying, its highest profile exponent has found the going far from easy in other territories following product bans in the UK and Australia. But this is no reason for Lottoland to deviate from its core markets strategy, chief executive Nigel Birrell tells Joanne Christie. Regions: Europe Oceania UK & Ireland Nordics Sweden Australia Topics: Legal & compliance Lottery Sports betting Strategylast_img read more

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Trade group claims new Lower Austria rules break EU law

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Legal & compliance Tags: Online Gambling One of Europe’s leading online gambling industry trade groups has called on the European Commission to dismiss Austria’s largest state’s proposed new gambling laws after claiming they are not compatible with trade rules.The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) – formerly ESSA – added that the Lower Austrian Betting Act – 2019/394/A (Austria) will lead to further growth of unlicensed offshore operators.IBIA – which represents major European operators including GVC Holdings, Flutter Entertainment and Kindred Group – questioned the limitation of online betting licences to a maximum of two years, the setting of a maximum stake of €350 per bet and a ban on in-play sports betting products other than partial or final results.The draft law, which seeks to amend a gambling framework in the region that dates back to the 1970s, was submitted to the Commission for consideration last month.“The IBIA contends that the notified draft law includes an unjustified short licensing duration limitation for online betting, an unwarranted restriction on live (in-play) betting products and an arbitrary limit on consumer stakes,” the body said in a statement.“The Lower Austrian authorities have not provided any evidence that would justify such measures which will have a detrimental impact on the market and the level of consumer channelling.“The association therefore requests that the Commission explore the appropriateness and compatibility of these unjustified product limitations and the related restriction of trade imposed on licensed betting operators and Austrian consumers in accordance with EU law.”IBIA said the two-year licence would be off-putting to operators and “clearly unattractive for long-term business investment”. It contrasted the duration with the unlimited licences in the UK and limitations of either five or 10 years in other markets such as Denmark, Spain and Sweden.IBIA said the €350 stake per bet limit appeared to be an “arbitrary and unevidenced restriction” and said that the UK and Spain do not suffer from increased levels of addiction despite not imposing limits.IBIA cited evidence from Harvard Medical School and the UK Gambling Commission that suggests in-play betting offers no greater risk of addiction than any other type of betting. It also said, again citing the UK authorities, that any threat to sports betting integrity can be managed without the need to impose a blanket ban.IBIA predicted that the restrictions would make licensed operators unattractive to punters. It cited research which shows Austria’s licensed market would account for just 37% of gambling in 2024, compared to 95% in the UK and Denmark.In summary, IBIA claims the restrictions on trade are unjustified and therefore not compliant with EU law.“Imposing product restrictions on regulated betting operators … does not make it any less likely that the sporting events in that licensing jurisdiction will be any safer from betting related corruption, which can take place with a multitude of operators around the world,” IBIA said.“The association and its members welcome the decision of the Lower Austrian authorities to license retail and online betting, but have concerns regarding the effectiveness and the underlining reasoning and impact of the proposals to restrict consumers.”The Lower Austria Sports Betting Act aims to update the state’s laws governing wagering, with the current legislation, the Law on the Activities of Totalizators and Bookmakers, having been in place since 1978. Though the regulations have been updated six times since 2001, the Lower Austrian government explained in August that a comprehensive update was necessary as a result of technological developments in the industry, and to set out specific regulations for online bookmakers and betting terminals hosted in outlets such as tobacconists, video stores and restaurants.Operators will be taxed based on turnover, with a fee for betting terminals also applied, of at least €175 per machine. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter 17th September 2019 | By contenteditor Email Address Topics: Legal & compliance Regions: Europe Western Europe Austria Trade group claims new Lower Austria rules break EU law IBIA, one of Europe’s leading online gambling industry trade groups, has called on the European Commission to dismiss Austria’s largest state’s proposed new gambling laws after claiming they are not compatible with trade rules.last_img read more

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GVC looks to move tax residence to UK

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Topics: Finance Sports betting Bwin.party and Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC Holdings will consider the company’s potential relocation of its place of management and control – and therefore also its tax residence – from the Isle of Man to the United Kingdom.Jay Dossetter, head of media relations at GVC, told iGaming Business that the move will increase the company’s efficiency by allowing key meetings to be based closer to its largest market.“The main reasons for making the move is that under the group’s current Articles of Association and tax residency we are unable to hold Board meetings or shareholder meetings within the UK,” Dossetter explained.“The proposed change will give us the ability to hold full board and board committee meetings in the UK, which will reduce operational complexity and enhance governance, and in turn, will increase efficiency and reduce costs. It also means that future shareholder meetings can be held in the UK.”Dossetter added that articles of association that located the company’s place of management on the Isle of Man came at a time when GVC was much smaller and long before its 2017 acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral. As a result, he said the move is more fitting with GVC’s place in the gaming market today.“The previous articles were drafted back in 2010 when the group was a radically different business, these changes reflect where the company is today,” Dossetter said.Dossetter added that the move would not mean any changes for GVC’s operations.“The relocation is just for the top holding company and has no impact on staffing or the operational side of the business,” Dossetter said. “It has no impact of our tax bill or the effective tax rate we pay. Operationally, the online business will continue to be run from Gibraltar and the UK retail estate from the UK.” GVC looks to move tax residence to UK 10th January 2020 | By Daniel O’Boyle Finance Tags: Online Gambling Bwin.party and Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC Holdings will consider the company’s potential relocation of its place of management and control – and therefore also its tax residence – from the Isle of Man to the United Kingdom. Regions: Europe UK & Ireland Southern Europe Gibraltar Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Addresslast_img read more

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GambleAware launches ‘safer gambling hub’ for football fans

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Regions: UK & Ireland Sports betting Email Address GambleAware launches ‘safer gambling hub’ for football fans Subscribe to the iGaming newslettercenter_img The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA), and GambleAware have created an online ‘safer gambling hub’ that contains resources to inform football fans about the risks of impulsive betting, as part of its ongoing BeGambleAware campaign.The hub will include links to materials from BeGambleAware’s “Think Twice or You’ll Bet Regret” campaign, including posters, stadium materials and videos, as well as tips for gamblers to avoid impulsive betting.“The inventory we have created for the digital hub are all part of our Bet Regret campaign, and throughout this football season we have been working hand in hand with the FSA to help educate fans across the country about safer gambling and the risks of impulsive betting,” Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware, said.Responsible gambling advocacy and funding body GambleAware explained that the aim of the hub is to raise awareness of impulsive gambling and to help fans recognise the behaviours that can turn a player from a low-risk bettor into someone with a gambling problem.“Betting when drunk, bored or chasing losses are the key characteristics we’re trying to educate fans to avoid, particularly with the plethora of opportunities to bet on football at everyone’s fingertips,” Etches said.Etches added that, given the current debate about the prevalence of gambling in football, the partnership between the FSA and beGambleAware has come at an extremely important time.“We know that from our own research with the FSA and recent news coverage that fans themselves are concerned about the relationship between gambling and football,” Etches added. “By using these assets we are looking to work together with members of the footballing community, to help promote safer gambling amongst fans in the UK.”David Rose, deputy chief executive of the FSA echoed this sentiment and said the FSA would work to encourage clubs to use the hub and make its resources available to their fans.“Supporter groups have real concerns about harmful betting and impulsive gambling behaviours among some football fans,” Rose said. ”We’ll be helping fans across the country lobby their clubs on the issue and get the safer gambling message out there. Football clubs have a unique position in their communities – so this is something they need to take seriously.” Topics: Sports betting The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA), and GambleAware have created an online ‘safer gambling hub’ that contains resources to inform football fans about the risks of impulsive betting, as part of its ongoing BeGambleAware campaign. 24th January 2020 | By Daniel O’Boylelast_img read more

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Two operators secure Nigerian sports betting licences

Two operators secure Nigerian sports betting licences Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter 21st February 2020 | By contenteditor AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Regions: Africa Western Africa Nigeria Tags: Mobile Online Gambling OTB and Betting Shops Nigeria’s National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) has awarded sports betting licences to Betwinner and Bet24hrs, amid efforts to expand the country’s regulated lottery and gaming industry. Topics: Legal & compliance Sports betting Nigeria’s National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) has awarded sports betting licences to Betwinner and Bet24hrs, amid efforts to expand the country’s regulated lottery and gaming industry.The pair have been licensed as the regulator looks to make the industry more transparent, by ensuring as many operators as possible are licensed.This follows the Commission prohibiting the operation, promotion and sale of tickets of all unlicensed foreign lottery businesses, after many providers failed to pay out player winnings.Upon receiving the licence, Bet24Hrs managing director Roy Jiang thanked the Commission for its help throughout the process, and pledged to contribute to the process and growth of Nigeria’s regulated gambling industry.Betwinner managing director Olatunji Idowu added that the operator was dedicated to being a trusted partner of the regulator. He said he was encouraged with the Commission’s ongoing efforts to clean up the industry, and ensure all stakeholders supported good causes.Commission director Lanre Gbajabiamila called on all operators currently serving Nigerian customers without a licence to apply for certification, warning those that failed to do so would “face the full wrath of the law”He also warned that licensees which failed to comply with regulations were liable to have approval to operate revoked. These companies were advised to pay taxes, winnings and social contributions when due, as well as hinting at changes to regulations as the industry expands.The NLRC currently offers three types of licences; companies can apply for lottery or sports betting licences, which come with a fixed NGN2m (£4,250/€5,077/$5,502) fee. A third, a promotional licence, covers online and mobile gaming, with the fee determined on a case-by-case basis. Legal & compliance Email Address read more

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Camelot set for six-month UK National Lottery extension

first_img Topics: Lottery Lottery Camelot Group is set to sign an extension to its contract to continue operating the UK’s National Lottery for an additional six months to the end of July 2023, with a tender process for the next licence having been delayed by three months. Regions: UK & Ireland Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Camelot Group is set to sign an extension to its contract to continue operating the UK’s National Lottery for an additional six months to the end of July 2023, with a tender process for the next licence having been delayed by three months.Speaking to iGB, a Camelot spokesperson said that the operator has received notice in writing from the GB Gambling Commission to extend the Third Licence to run the National Lottery.“We remain focused on continuing to build on the strong performance we have achieved over the last three years and delivering even more money for good causes, funding which is vitally important during this unprecedented time,” the spokesperson said.A Commission spokesperson confirmed that the launch of the tender has now been officially delayed by three months, primarily due to challenges caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.The Commission did not disclose exactly when the process would commence, but it did state that the Selection Questionnaire, which marks the first phase of the competition, would not be issued before August.Given that the last target was the first half of the year, this seems to suggest that the tender will launch in either late September or early October.“Having considered the market’s feedback on challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to delay the launch of the competition by three months,” the GC spokesperson explained. “As a result, the Selection Questionnaire will not be issued before August and we will review the circumstances up until that point.“During this period of high uncertainty, the extended timetable is designed to enable potential applicants to make adequate preparations for a fair, open and robust competition.”Camelot has operated the National Lottery since its inception in 1994, with new contracts awarded to the company in 2001 and 2007. It’s most recent licence had been due to expire at the start of 2023.The Commission had been set to launch the tender to award the fourth National Lottery licence early this year and last July announced the appointment of two executives to lead the process. John Tanner was to serve as executive director and senior responsible officer, with support from Andrew Wilson as commercial director.However, the process, which was expected to begin in March, was delayed, which led to criticism from potential bidders, who said that this reduced the chances of a serious challenge to Camelot’s tenure. At the time, both the Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it would launch in the first half of the year.Earlier this month, it was revealed that the UK National Lottery was able to generate a record £7.91bn (€8.76bn/$9.82bn) in total ticket sales in its 2019-20 fiscal year, aided by significant year-on-year growth from its digital offering.Overall sales in the 12 months to 31 March 2020 were up 9.7% from £7.21bn in the same period in the previous year, with investment in digital channels leading to record online sales of £2.46bn, up 34.0% on last year, and the first time sales for Camelot’s online offering surpassed £2.0bn.center_img 22nd June 2020 | By contenteditor Camelot set for six-month UK National Lottery extension AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Addresslast_img read more

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Interview: Push Gaming CEO James Marshall

first_imgCasino & games AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter It may celebrate its tenth birthday in 2020, but Push Gaming has only now just started to execute aggressive expansion plans, incorporating a key strategic acquisition and launches with top-tier clients. But amid an increasingly frosty regulatory climate, and in one of the most competitive igaming verticals, how does it plan to continue for another decade?Push Gaming began life in 2010 as a business repurposing land-based content for online play, at a time when there were fairly significant differences between the quality on offer in each channel.“There was no one who would take those games and redistribute them online,” the supplier’s chief executive James Marshall (pictured) explains. “GameAccount [now GAN] was coming through at that point, but it felt like a really good opportunity to set up a service taking games online, handling distribution.”Marshall admits that it took a while for him and his business partner – and Push operations chief – Winston Lee to get the business going, though said it was a sound business model for a bootstrapped start-up.Two middlemen Of course, Push is now producing proprietary content, rather than repurposing land-based developers’ titles for new channels. Marshall says that not only was the land-based studios shifting online a factor, but also the commercial returns were reasonably weak.“We didn’t have our own platform, so there were two middlemen,” he says. “Before we could take our share, the player, the platform, and the supplier, took their cut, so there wasn’t a strong enough commercial model to generate the revenue.”However, by this point mobile was emerging as the main growth channel, driven by the likes of Quickspin (since acquired by Playtech) and NetEnt. However, Marshall adds that the early titles were designed to be very similar to “rectangular land-based machines”.This shift to portrait mode – in the early days of mobile casino, often hailed as a major innovation – sparked Push’s expansion into in-house development, via a deal to develop two exclusive titles for Kindred Group.“That was really the start of us building our own development operation,” he says.However Push has since remained fixed on a fairly small content roadmap, focusing on a handful of titles, at a time when other studios, both large and small, have gone for more ‘maximalist’ approach. In Marshall’s view, the other studios are there to provide the volume – so Push can focus on the quality.“Operators are already being serviced with a lot of content,” he says. “Our approach is, what does the player want? Do they want a lot of similar games, or do they want to play something unique?“I think it’s a bit of both; the competitors deal with the volume, so that’s not an issue for casinos or players. They’ll be getting a new game or five each week. We’re trying to supply something that the players will want, and create new and exciting games, so players and operators can look forward to the latest release.”He says a “conveyor belt approach” to development would stop his team from creating “really unique” titles. Yet while this is working “very well” for the business, he admits that in order to become more competitive, ramping up its volume of new titles will be necessary.“Not by producing 50 plus games, but a release pattern that makes us more competitive in the market,” he adds.Features and functionality over volume And while a smaller number of really unique titles may offer something different, that’s no guarantor of success. For starters, as Marshall points out, it’s very difficult to create a guaranteed top-performing title.Push, he says, has a strong – if atypical – hit rate in which 60% to 70% of its titles perform well, and it will be maintaining that hit rate, though with more titles, that will drive the expansion plans.“We’re never going to get everything right, but we really need to be into the details, what players like, what they might like next, and what they don’t want,” he says. Learning what players don’t want is important according to Marshall, as it allows developers to know what features to avoid and in turn make the design process more efficient.“Ultimately it’s very tough.”The battleground, as he sees it, is player engagement, volume of players, and individual game performance, rather than sheer weight of numbers. Features and functionality over volume, in short.Marshall believes this is being aided by the acquisition of gaming technology provider GSI, announced in January this year. This gives Push access to solutions such as the Hive Remote Gaming Platform and Mesh Aggregator, not to mention the expertise of industry veterans (and former OpenBet technical leads) Paul Evison and Paul Beattie.Until this deal, Push was purely a front-end game studio, but effectively takes control of its destiny with its own platform. It builds on an existing relationship between the businesses, that saw Push acquire an instance of GSI’s remote games server and integration layer, and Marshall says this collaboration “was the best due diligence we could do on the business”.“It didn’t make sense to part ways when the handover of code was completed,” he explains. “The companies just aligned very well. The potential was much greater, looking at speed and the team synergies together, than as separate businesses.”The deal has had an immediate impact, and “definitely played a part” in Push’s supply deals with GVC Holdings – announced in April – and William Hill, for which it launched content that month.“The UK hasn’t been a main market for us, due to the partners we work with, so we’ve been focused on Scandinavia and other parts of Europe,” Marshall says. “It’s been brilliant to get these deals with such massive brands in the UK. Ultimately the platform just gives us the opportunity to control and operate in the markets we want and to control the distribution in general.”Regulatory uncertainty Having only raised significant funds in the past three years, after spending most of its life to date as a bootstrapped start-up, Push has the clients and the technology to ramp up growth. However, this coincides with a period of significant uncertainty for online casino, especially slots.In Great Britain, there is growing momentum behind a cap on stakes at between £1 and £5. In Germany players will be limited to a €1 stake per spin. In Sweden, a SEK5,000 weekly deposit limit is in force. Regulation is likely to limit growth, or even prompt casino revenue to decline in the coming years.Rather than bemoan this climate, Marshall is quick to state that he sees new regulations as a good thing. It’s how the industry is – and should – be evolving, he says. But he adds, slots are designed as a form of entertainment. If technical changes mandated by regulation take out the entertainment value, the business is no longer viable.“What concerns me most, particularly with technical requirements, is damaging the entertainment experience,” he says. “With some of these requirements, there’s no evidence of them reducing gambling harms. 
“The regulations have to be practical. Regulators need to understand the majority of payers that do not have a problem with gambling.“By damaging the entertainment element so much so, whether that’s through stake limits, spin times, especially in Germany, that will have a negative impact on the entertainment value of that game,” Marshall says. “If you’re taking away that excitement through regulation, it’s almost certain that players will move to illegal sites.”While he points out that the bulk of regulations affect operators, he feels suppliers can play a more active role in discussions with the wider range of industry stakeholders.“I think for us as a supplier it’s important for us to work with the operators at the forefront of regulations,” he explains. “Most of it falls on the operators but we shouldn’t look to leave that with our customers and see it as their issue. We have to work out ways of supporting them.”Equally, the operators can help their supplier partners by speaking up for them, especially when it comes to new technical standards. As the B2C businesses tend to interact more with regulators, and more clout with these bodies, Marshall believes they need to highlight what happens when technical changes change the player experience.Creating a responsible and sustainable industry is crucial, he adds, but equally so is playability. If players don’t have fun, they will find sites that offer more entertainment value.Even when faced with these issues Marshall believes there is still significant room for growth at Push. He says that having only recently begun the fundraising process, the backing has allowed the supplier to significantly expand in a short space of time.“The challenge for us now is prioritising the opportunities and understanding the potential there is,” he says. “We have a lot of big operators that we are launching with now, and have had many tier one launches in the past five years.“That being said, despite all this growth, there are still so many potential new clients and a lot of other markets for us yet to enter.”“There’s a lot of opportunity out there for us. We have already achieved so much, yet there is still so much more we can do, which is really exciting for us in this new phase of business that we’re entering.” Interview: Push Gaming CEO James Marshall Topics: Casino & games Strategy Slots 11th August 2020 | By contenteditorcenter_img It may celebrate its tenth birthday in 2020, but Push Gaming has only now just started to execute aggressive expansion plans, incorporating a key strategic acquisition and launches with top-tier clients. But amid an increasingly frosty regulatory climate, and in one of the most competitive igaming verticals, how does it plan to continue for another decade? Tags: Mobile Online Gambling Slot Machines Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Addresslast_img read more

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