Category: News

16 May 2012

Net Entertainment partners with Boylesports

Net-EntertainmentNet Entertainment, is delighted to announce it has partnered with Boylesports, Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker. Net Entertainment will deliver its range of high quality gaming and casino content to Boylegames.com and associated sites. The agreement strengthens Boylesports’ online games portfolio and provides the Boylegames.com brand with some of the best-of-breed online and mobile gaming content in the market.

Boylesports CEO, Keith O’Loughlin comments: “We are innovating across all of our gaming verticals and that’s why we’ve partnered with Net Entertainment; A company who have been producing some top quality content in this space”.

Boylesports Head of Gaming, Ruairi Boyle comments: “With the focus on delivering online, a top priority for us at Boylesports.com, we identified Net Entertainment as an ideal partner to deliver that cutting edge gaming experience that our customers demand. We see this as the start of a long and fruitful partnership which should deliver real growth online and across all platforms”.

Net Entertainment CEO, Per Eriksson comments: “We are very excited to become Boylesports gaming and casino content partner and this agreement further solidifies our position in the UK gaming market. Our continued focus on portfolio excellence and technology leadership has strengthened our position as the gaming industry’s market leading casino provider, and I am confident that our games will be well received by Boylesports.com players.”

16 May 2012

bwin.party: Total revenue up 1% to €215.9m

Bwin-Party-MergerTotal revenue[1] up 1% to €215.9m (2011: €214.0m) with strong growth in casino & other games as well as other revenues partially offset by a softer gross win margin in sports betting. Amounts wagered in sports betting up 11% to €1,083.4m (2011: €973.2m); net gaming revenue down 1% to €70.6m due to exceptionally high margin in prior year and higher bonus costs. Casino & other games revenue up 10% at €71.0m (2011: €64.8m); average daily casino revenue up 3% versus the previous quarter with an 8% increase in stakes mitigated by a small reduction in gross win margin. Poker revenue down 3% to €52.2m (2011: €54.0m); average daily poker revenue up 1% versus the previous quarter. Bingo revenue down 15% year-on-year at €15.6m (2011: €18.3m) following a loss of market share and cannibalisation from the newly launched casino in Italy during 2011; average daily bingo revenue down 2% versus the previous quarter due to an increase in bonus costs. Agreement signed with United Auburn to launch poker service in California once state regulations allow. Sports betting licence in Schleswig-Holstein expected shortly. Commenting on today’s announcement, Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, Co-CEOs said: “Trading performance overall in the first quarter has been as expected. Casino has continued to perform well as has our sports business that saw strong growth in both player activity and amounts wagered, albeit at a lower margin compared with last year which was particularly strong.  The poker market remains challenging across Europe and while the number of unique players in our bingo business has started to grow again during the first quarter, this was not enough to reverse the impact of a drop in market share that took place in 2011. “We remain on-track to realise the €65m of merger synergies as planned and these will help to mitigate the impact of additional gaming taxes as well as the current macroeconomic challenges faced by a number of the European economies. “With the imminent launch of our download casino product on the bwin platform, the Euro 2012 football tournament starting next month and the integration of our poker liquidity in the second half, we remain confident about the Group’s full year prospects.”  
Total pro forma revenue was up 1% year-on-year and flat quarter-on-quarter with a solid performance in casino & games offset by higher bonus rates in sports and bingo.

New player sign-ups increased by 7% and overall player activity increased by 4% quarter-on-quarter reflecting strong growth in sports betting.  Year-on-year traffic was down by 2% following a loss of market share in Italian bingo and the decision to reduce our reliance on third party affiliates in poker, a number of which were delivering large numbers of players to our sites that were only marginally profitable.

Sports betting
In sports betting, amounts wagered increased by 11% to €1,083.4m (2011: €973.2m) driven by strong growth in most markets mitigated by the closure of the bwin sports platform in Denmark ahead of regulation on 1 January 2012 as it could not be customised in time to meet the local Danish regulations.  While encouraged by the increase in amount wagered, an unusually high margin last year and an increase in bonus costs meant that player yields were down and average daily revenue in sports betting fell 2% to €775,800 (2011: €795,600) which was 3% down versus the previous quarter.

Casino & other games
Casino & other games delivered another strong performance with total amount wagered increasing by 14% year-on-year to €2,164.7m (2011: €1,894.2m).  This higher level of activity reflected the launch of casino in Italy in July 2011, the full period impact of the introduction of the no-download casino onto the bwin platform that took place in October 2011 as well as our continued focus on recruiting dedicated casino players that have a higher frequency of play.  Unique active players fell by 2% reflecting lower volumes in poker that continues to be a major source of casino traffic. Yield per active player day increased by 10% to €26.3 (2011: €24.0) despite a lower hold in the period, reflecting the higher proportion of dedicated casino players and average daily revenue increased by 8% to €780,200 (2011: €720,000), a 3% increase over the previous quarter.  

Poker
In poker, having adjusted our player marketing activities in 2011 away from high volume but low value affiliates towards direct marketing, average daily players fell 15% year-on-year to 96,700 (2011: 113,300), a 1% decline versus the previous quarter.  While this resulted in a marked improvement in player quality, reflected by an 11% increase in yield per active player day to €5.9 (2011: €5.3), this was not enough to increase average daily revenue that fell by 4% versus the prior year to €573,600 (2011: €600,000).  Against the previous quarter, average daily revenue increased by 1%.

Bingo
In bingo, a loss of market share in Italy in 2011 as new entrants launched and eroded our first mover advantage, as well as cannibalisation from the launch of casino there and the closure of bingo in Denmark when the market regulated, meant that average daily revenue fell 16% year-on-year. Average daily revenue fell by 2% quarter-on-quarter to €171,400 (2011:€175,000) due to an increase in bonus rates and we expect to see a return to growth in revenue in 2012 on the back of operational improvements already made and the regulation of the Spanish market.

Other revenue
Other revenue increased by 23% to €6.5m (2011: €5.3m) with strong growth in fees from our B2B partners that were joined by Danske Spil for the first time and continued growth in subscription poker revenues at the World Poker Tour.

Current trading
The pattern of trading since the end of March has been broadly in line with expectations with overall revenue showing the same seasonal decline as seen in previous years, albeit with poker slightly weaker than expected.  Average daily gross revenue in April (excluding other revenue) totalled €2,687,900 (Q1 12: €2,888,000) reflecting a 7% decrease over the previous quarter in line with the same period last year.  Average gross daily revenue for sports betting was €860,700 (Q1 12: €923,900), for casino & other games it was €892,200 (Q1 12: €913,300), for poker it was €621,800 (Q1 12: €728,100) and for bingo it was €313,200 (Q1 12: €322,700).

Regulatory update
In Europe, the regulatory landscape is continuing to evolve.  In Germany the picture remains unclear with Schleswig-Holstein having commenced the licensing process whilst the other 15 Länder are still seeking to ratify a revised version of the previous state lottery treaty, one that we continue to believe will fail to meet the tests set by the European Court of Justice.  Whilst the political situation remains unclear, we expect more licences to be issued by Schleswig-Holstein shortly and that we will also receive a licence.  In Spain where the licensing process has been delayed following the change of government, operators have now been told to expect licences to be issued from the beginning of June 2012.

In the United States, we continue to ensure we are well-positioned should regulation take place at either a state or a federal level. In New Jersey the administration there has taken further steps to pass a broader online gaming bill, including casino and other products, with that bill passing its first Assembly committee last week. In California, where we announced an agreement with United Auburn Indian Community last week, the debate over a bill to regulate intrastate online poker continues and we expect its first hearing later this month or early next.

Social gaming strategy
Our strategy to enter the social gaming market is almost complete and we plan to host an analyst briefing to present our strategy later this month when we will provide further details on how we will enter this exciting new business segment.  We believe that by leveraging our core assets, we can make a meaningful inroad into this fast growing and profitable market with relatively low levels of incremental investment.

15 May 2012

Record payouts at Magic Casinos Jackpot in France

Magic Jackpots logoSpielo International’s Wide Area Progressive (WAP) Jackpots system has broken national payout records in France on 6th May, presidential election day, with the country’s second biggest jackpots payout by Magic Casinos Jackpot of €5,875, 836. The lucky winner was a 49-year old father of two at Casino Joa de Gerardmer. France’s jackpot record of €9, 420, 902 in March 2011 is also held by Magic Casinos Jackpot.

Magic Casinos Jackpot is the world’s largest WAP jackpots system based on the well-known Star Jackpot™ software and Crystal Web™ floor network solution from Spielo International.

The fact that more than half the casinos in France have joined together to offer the country´s first truly national progressive jackpot also ensures the very high re-start value of €2, 010, 909 after the latest jackpot hit. A total of nearly 300 slot machines in nearly 100 casinos are connected to Magic Casinos Jackpot.

The joint venture includes the five largest casino groups including Lucien Barrière Hotels and Casinos, Joa, Tranchant, Emeraude, Cogit, and 20 independent casinos.

The jackpot generates enormous excitement, because a small bet can pay big: players wager a minimum of 3 credits of €0.50 (for a total of €1.5) to qualify for a jackpot of several million Euros.

This is another example of Spielo International´s unique WAP expertise, which can be easily deployed across any number of casinos. Spielo International offers the full scope of wide area progressive solutions, from just Star Jackpot and Crystal.net™ or Crystal Web installation to a full turnkey solution that includes machines, systems and administration.

Spielo International administrates the jackpot 24/7, and is subject to very strict regulations. The jackpot administration includes daily meter reconciliation against system participation, hit management and regulatory reporting, as well as the accounting.

Since May 2010 a record jackpot of €9, 420, 902 was won by Magic Casinos Jackpot at Casino Joa in the town of Port Crouesty, €5, 512, 448 at Casino Tranchant in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, €4, 522, 674 in Casino JOA La Siesta in Antibes, €3, 438, 701 at Casino JOA in Luxeuil-les-Bains and €1, 877, 087 at Casino Emeraude in Saint Jean de Monts. In total more than €30, 647, 649 have been redistributed across France since the jackpot was launched back in 2009.

15 May 2012

Bally Technologie to showcase innovative games at the G2E Asia

bally-technologies-logoBally Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BYI), a leader in slots, video machines, casino-management, interactive applications, and networked and server-based systems for the global gaming industry, today announced that it will exhibit a large selection of innovative and award-winning gaming solutions at G2E Asia in Macau, May 22-24.

“We are proud to showcase our new world-class licensed brands and award-winning systems solutions in Asia,” said Bally Technologies’ Vice President, Asia-Pacific and Managing Director of Bally India Srini Raghavan. “Attendees will experience our new compelling game content, trailblazing play mechanics, floor-wide bonusing applications, and cloud-based custom mobile apps. These technologies deliver an entertaining experience across the casino floor and tremendous return-on-investment for our casino partners across the world.”

Bally will exhibit its trailblazing gaming products in booth #1003 at the trade show and conference held at The Venetian Macao.

World-Class Brands – Taking center stage will be Michael Jackson King of Pop, which features one of the most beloved and influential artists of all time in an exciting, music-filled game on Bally’s new Pro Series™ V22/32 cabinet with the custom, Pro surround-sound chair. Offering everything from mystery wilds bonuses and free games bonus events and featuring hit songs Bad, Beat It, Billie Jean, Dirty Diana, and Smooth Criminal, this game is highlighted by a U-Spin™ Platinum Record Bonus and video clips showcasing the performer. Michael Jackson is represented exclusively for licensing by the Bravado International Group.

Inspired by Paramount Pictures’ 1978 American musical film about two love-struck teens in a 1950s high school, GREASE is Bally’s first double-play game, featuring two, 25-line games – enabling the player to play two games at once. GREASE also fully utilizes Bally’s iDeck™ touch-screen button deck in the “Dance Off” Free Games feature in which players “dance” on the iDeck to win additional free games or credits, and in the “How Cool Are You?” bonus in which the player selects from one of four cars on the iDeck and the car moves up the ladder; the winning character indicates the player’s “coolness” factor and awards one of the four progressive jackpots or credit values.

Market-Oriented Game Content – As part of Bally’s commitment to developing products designed specifically for the Asian market, the Company will exhibit a large number of Asian-themed titles including Sakura Festival™, Moon Dynasty™, Rainbow Dragon™, Tiger Treasures™, and Lucky Dragon™ on the sleek Pro™ V22/22 cabinet. Additionally, for the award-winning Pro Curve™ cabinet, featuring the industry’s only curved LCD to emulate spinning reels on a video slot, G2E Asia visitors will experience the titles Beijing Treasures™ and Radiant Riches™ among others. Furthermore, Bally will showcase Chinese versions of the popular Break the Ice™ and Cash Wizard™ games.

Bally Technologies will also showcase the Golden Empire™ and Jeepney Joyride™ mystery progressive links. Golden Empire and Jeepney Joyride were developed locally for the Macau and Philippines gaming markets respectively. These mystery links feature themes targeted for the region and enable players to win one of the three or four randomly triggered progressive jackpots, depending on the operator’s configurations. Golden Empire and Jeepney Joyride link over standalone video slot machines, allowing jackpots to be triggered randomly during game play; no max bet is required to win one of the progressive amounts.

“We are focusing on developing specialized market-oriented content,” said Bally Technologies’ Managing Director of Asia-Pacific Kurt Gissane. “We have released several games that have all been fully translated into Chinese, and they have been a huge success.”

Arcade-Like Play Mechanics – Another highlight of Bally’s exhibit will be the award-winning game Fish’n for Loot™ and Total Blast™. These exciting new games introduce Bally’s U-Shoot™ virtual-shooting gallery bonus-game play mechanic in which the player touches the iDeck to create weapons for “shooting” at targets on the main game screens.

Bally brings the arcade favorite SKEE-BALL® to casinos in Macau on the Pro™ V32 cabinet. The game includes a bonus feature in which players touch and slide to throw the SKEE-BALL®, winning “tickets” that enable them to “Pick a Prize” on the game that reveals credit awards.

All That Jazz™, also featured on Bally’s Pro V32 cabinet, has a revolutionary iDeck feature called U-Play™, in which players touch and play virtual piano keys. Players attempt to follow a melody by playing the piano keys. Every note is converted into numbers which populate four bonus reels. At the end of the song, the reels are spun to reveal the base-game prize.

Powerful Floor-Wide Player Experience – Asia-Pacific casino operators will experience the innovation with live demonstrations of iVIEW Display Manager™ (DM), an interactive communication tool used by players and controlled by the gaming operator. This picture-in-picture style player-user-interface is backward compatible on any gaming device with a touch-screen display, and provides a way for casino operators to present self-service player-account access, marketing messages, and secondary bonus games on the main game screen – without interrupting play.

Another show-stopper will be Bally’s Elite Bonusing Suite™ (EBS), which, when combined with the iVIEW and iVIEW DM player-user-interfaces, adds dramatic new levels of excitement and anticipation to the slot-play experience. The EBS applications delivers floor-wide, interactive promotions, second-chance-to-win events, and the ability for players to earn valuable rewards, all without interrupting play on the base game.

The Bally Mobile team will also be on hand to give live demonstrations of the Company’s cloud-based custom mobile apps and mobile websites for casino patrons and internal-facing apps for casino employees

15 May 2012

Bartlett (Gbgc): the economic forecast for gaming

gbgc-gaming-growth-slowdown-2012This is the speech of the ceo of Gbgc, Warwick Bartlett, at KPMG E-gaming Conference Gibraltar.

Overview – Mr Bartlett opened his presentation with reference to the last time he had travelled to Gibraltar in 2008 to present a message he described as being quite gloomy: “We looked at our economic forecasts, looked at what happened after Lehman Brothers and we said that, basically, the industry was going to go through quite a torrid time.”

“But the good news is”, he continued, “although times have been really tough, the industry has consolidated; they have reduced their costs, all of the unknowns are now known and I think that the growth-story is back on the agenda. Add to this the prospect that the industry may be able to gain access to the US market you can clearly see why prospects have improved”.

“I also think we’ve reached a tipping-point in taxation”, explained Mr Bartlett. “I think, depending on which country you are looking at, governments have realised that you cannot tax the industry to death without giving rise to illegal gambling.”

Politics and Gambling in the UK – Mr Bartlett then drew the attention of the Summit to a timeline of legislative and taxation changes that have taken place in the UK since 1961, when gambling was first legalised. It was punctuated throughout by changes made by the Labour, Conservative and Coalition governments”.

“Betting Tax was first introduced to the UK at 2.5% in 1966 by the Labour Government, the rate of taxation started very low because they were pre-conditioned by history,” he explained. “When the UK introduced a rate of tax at 5% on turnover in the 1930s bookmakers found ways to evade the tax and in the end it was scrapped to the embarrassment of Government. Fast forward to 1966 and Labour Chancellor Callaghan introduced betting tax at the low rate of 2.5% this time the bookmakers paid the tax but made the mistake of absorbing the tax and not passing it on to the gambler. The result was that in the next budget the tax was increased to 5%! If there’s one lesson you take from history, it is always pass the tax on otherwise you invite an increase.”

Betting tax rose again to 6% in 1970, 7.5% in 1974 and again, in 1990, to 8% under the Conservatives. “But what the Government did was test the system to destruction,” Mr Bartlett surmised. “Bookmakers suddenly had falling turnovers and compensated by making the deduction from the customer 10% a 2% premium over the rate of tax. That set-off illegal gambling.” Gambling tax was eventually dropped to 6.75% in 1996, “so this process of testing the system took 30 years and, eventually, we ended up with a sensible 15% Gross Profits Tax without any illegal gambling.”

So which Government suits the industry the best Tory or Labour?

“It seems that Labour likes to tax the most” explained Mr Bartlett. “The Conservative Party has always been quite cautious on gambling matters but in 1972, they reduced on-course race betting tax to 4%. Why? Because they wanted to encourage people to go to race courses to support the horserace industry. They then abolished it later on, so there was a differential of no tax on the race course and tax off-course. The Conservative Party has always favourably treated the horse-race industry – and still does.”

“But the interesting thing,” as Mr Bartlett pointed out, “is that from 1963 through to the 2001 Budd Report, there were relatively few changes. Since then, the industry has had to contend with changes almost every four months and what this tells you, in my opinion, is that with the 2005 Gambling Act, Government got it wrong. With the 1963 Act, they got it right.”

The Timeline for Italy – Mr Bartlett then drew the attention of the Summit to a timeline correlating various legislative changes with Italy’s Gross Gaming Yield since the Gambelli Case of 2003. He noted that over the past 9 years, Italy’s GGY has increased from €6.3billion to €18.9billion per year. “But the interesting thing is that turnover has gone up” he remarked, ”GGY has gone up, the tax has gone up, but the percentage of tax to Gross Gaming Yield has actually gone down, and I think that’s a case for optimism.”

What are the prospects for the USA?

The USA is the world’s largest gambling market, explained Mr Bartlett, “and on the 23rd December, 2011, the US Department of Justice gave the lotteries a huge Christmas present by saying that there is now nothing to stop them selling tickets on the internet. So far, Illinois and Massachusetts are to go ahead, but what of the rest?”

GBGC finds that most simply are not interested. “People will queue block after block for a rollover lottery ticket so why aren’t states taking advantage of online? Is it because to do so, they would have to open themselves up to other forms of online gaming and are reluctant to invite competition or that they just want everything to stay the same or they are waiting to see if the pathfinders at Illinois are successful? This remains to be seen. In the meantime, operators are betting big money that the market will open up by forming strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions” he confirmed.

How will the US market open up? What is the timeframe?

Mr Bartlett explained to the Summit that gambling is still a politically toxic subject in the US, which poses the question; will the market open up through state or federal legislation? Due to the politically sensitive nature of the subject, “federal law changes will only happen during the first two years of a given presidency and if the Republicans win, legalisation of internet gambling is unlikely to happen,” he predicted. “Mitt Romney has already stated that he is opposed to gambling.”

“But if we do accept that the US will eventually allow Internet gambling and continues to remain the largest gambling market in the world,” explained Mr Bartlett, “we have to ask; where is the best place in which to serve the global market and in which to base your headquarters? Which state or country is likely to give operators the best protection when they trade overseas? In my view the most likely place to base your headquarters would be the US and the most likely state would be Delaware because of its tax advantages and close proximity to Washington and New York. Were the US to follow the UK example of adopting a place of consumption tax where profits on all foreign income would be taxed in the US and given that the US is the world’s largest market I can see that this does not bode well for the offshore jurisdictions. However this is very long-term, ten years at-least” he reassured the Summit. “Sports betting drives Internet gambling and the US is a long way from legalising sports betting”.

Looking to the future

“I envisage lower taxes and a more open market in France and Italy, particularly during the next 5 to 10 years” predicted Mr Bartlett. “But the real growth story, of course, is Asia.”

European operators have, historically, had little success in Asia, explained Mr Bartlett. But domestic sites are all very successful in their own markets. Indeed, some are making £6million net profit per month. These sites, he continued, understand the Asian gambler and perhaps more importantly, have the payment solutions to operate in those un-banked markets. Most also operate on credit, making it very difficult for European operators to penetrate that market because they do not have the connections in place.

Looking Forward

“I’m more optimistic than I have been in the past because all of the unknowns are now known. As we’ve already demonstrated, changes do not happen as quickly as we would like them to because they move ahead at Governments’ pace and not our own. So I think we’re looking at a 5 to 7 year cycle for taxation where Governments, due to necessity and a lack of understanding, begin tax at a higher rate only to move down later. We’re at a high-stage of the cycle at the moment in Europe but I’m pretty confident that it will come down to realistic levels. All this is predicated on the internet remaining as free as was originally intended,” Mr Bartlett concluded, “thank you.”

10 May 2012

Aga: internet gambling would help land-based casinos

AGA-Logo-Red-StackedCommercial casino gaming revenues rose for the second consecutive year in 2011, continuing the recovery that began in 2010, according to a national economic impact study released today by the American Gaming Association (AGA). The annual State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment shows national gross gaming revenues increased by 3 percent from 2010 figures (when revenues rose just under 1 percent) to a total of $35.64 billion in 2011. The report also includes a survey that found continued strong support of the industry among gaming community leaders.

“These positive 2011 economic figures are welcome news to our industry, our employees, and the communities where we operate,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA. “While the recovery is ongoing and the commercial casino industry is not monolithic, the data paint an optimistic picture.”

The gaming industry demonstrated significant growth in many states. For example, the first full year of operations at Maryland’s inaugural casino in Perryville and the opening of its second property in Berlin led to the collection of four times the amount of gaming revenue in 2011 as was collected in 2010. Similarly, Pennsylvania gaming revenue increased by more than 21 percent in 2011, while Nevada, which was hit hard by the economic recession, had a 2.9 percent increase in gaming revenue and more than one million more visitors last year than in 2010.

The new edition of State of the States also reported that in 2011 the industry directly employed more than 339,000 people who earned $12.9 billion in wages, tips and benefits. In addition, commercial casinos contributed $7.93 billion in tax revenues to gaming communities across the country – 4.5 percent more than in 2010.

“Gaming companies are providing much-needed jobs and tax revenue to communities across the nation at a time when both are greatly needed,” Fahrenkopf said.

State of the States also reports on the state of the gaming equipment manufacturing sector. Research conducted by Applied Analysis on behalf of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers shows that the sector directly generated $12.3 billion in revenue in 2011, 7 percent more than the previous year. Gaming equipment manufacturers also provided direct employment to 30,300 people, paying salaries and wages totaling $2.2 billion. According to the report, there were more than 837,000 gaming machines in operation throughout the U.S. in 2011.

A special section of this year’s State of the States report features a poll of elected officials and civic leaders in gaming jurisdictions. According to the results, community leaders say casinos have more than delivered on their promises of jobs, economic development and tax revenues. The vast majority (83 percent) of community leaders say that the overall impact of casinos in their area has been positive, and more than three-quarters (76 percent) say casinos have done more to help than hurt other area businesses. A full 83 percent say the introduction of casinos has met or exceeded their expectations. Perhaps most telling, more than three-quarters (76 percent) say they would vote in favor of bringing casinos to their community if given the chance to go back and cast the deciding vote.

The State of the States report also highlights public polling data showing that more than one-quarter (27 percent) of the U.S. adult population visited casinos during 2011, while fully 81 percent view casino gaming as acceptable for themselves or others. In addition to enjoying the gambling, these patrons ate in a fine dining restaurant (76 percent), saw live entertainment (62 percent), went shopping (46 percent), and took advantage of many other casino amenities. More than one-quarter (27 percent) of casino patrons say they never or rarely gamble when they visit.

Widely regarded as the most comprehensive resource of its kind, State of the States offers an in-depth look at the commercial casino industry and provides national and state-by-state economic impact data, such as gaming revenues, tax contributions and employment and wage figures for the 22 U.S. commercial casino states operating in 2011. Public polling data included in the report were collected by VP Communications Inc. in conjunction with national pollster Peter D. Hart.

10 May 2012

Merkur Gaming looks back on excellent FADJA exhibition in Bogota

mekurfadjaMerkur Gaming took prime position at the recent FADJA exhibition that was held between 11th and 12th April in Bogota, Columbia. Following the stated company strategy of the Gauselmann Group to focus even more on the international business opportunities, the FADJA was an ideal exhibition for Merkur Gaming to put this strategy into lived practice.

The exhibition itself reflected the growth and opportunities in the Columbian market. Over 3,000 visitors came to the trade show that had over 100 companies exhibiting. Merkur Gaming has positioned itself extremely well in Latin America, providing the unique combination of decades of experience in gaming within the group of companies, international knowledge from operating gaming machines in a multitude of countries and the in-depth knowledge of local player needs.

It was precisely this last point that brought in the crowds on the Merkur Gaming stand. The new Cantinflas game is based on the much-loved actor and comedian from Mexico. The game revolves around this popular personality and the Merkur Gaming machines were played upon practically non-stop with visitors lining up to get to know this fantastic game. Having been named ‘the funniest person in the world’ by Charlie Chaplin, it is no wonder that Latin Americans still carry Cantinflas in their hearts. Today players in Columbia are revelling at the opportunity to play Cantinflas – even more as the game is packaged in state-of-the-art cabinets from Merkur Gaming.

In addition Merkur Gaming presented the popular multi-game ‘Games Unlimited’ that is available in the Premium Casino cabinet and the Vision Slant Top as well as the Highflyer. These ‘made in Germany’ cabinets bring together the best games with the most modern cabinet innovations. The Highflyer gaming machine was a true eye-catcher with its second, upper monitor seeming to be floating in the air. The specially designed and produced chairs to match with the Highflyer create a complete and unique solution. Players can lean back and even control the start button from their chair.

Another innovation that was presented at the exhibition in Bogota was the server-based gaming system. On Merkur’s stand visitors received first-hand information on how this technology allows the operators to configure, control and analyse their machines – both locally and remotely.

The continued focus of bringing innovations to the market which bring true value and gaming fun has brought success to the Gauselmann Group for over five decades. Local operators are in agreement that they can stand out from their competition in attracting and keeping players at their locations with the combination of the Highflyer cabinet, the corresponding gaming chair and the huge variety of games offered by ‘Games Unlimited’ to catch each type of player. Furthermore, Merkur Gaming had a wide range of accessories on display. Naturally, Merkur Gaming entertained guests on their stand with great catering, cocktail hours with music from the Mariachis band and a Cantiflas look-alike who enjoyed the music so much that even he joined in the dance!

Mr. Thomas Niehenke, COO of the Gauselmann Group, summed up the exhibition, stating, “The welcome we received from the visitors to our stand in Bogota is a great reflection on how Merkur Gaming is in a unique position to bring added value to both operators and players. Our technology together with our ‘made in Germany’ gaming machines and local games concepts puts us at a real advantage. These are very exciting times for Merkur Gaming”.

09 May 2012

Lottomatica Group spa conduct annual shareholders’ meeting: approved 2011 stand-alone finanzial statements

lottomatica stand2Lottomatica Group S.p.A. held its Annual Shareholders’ Meeting today, chaired by Lorenzo Pellicioli, at which the Company’s stand-alone financial statements for the full year ended December 31, 2011 were approved, as well as the proposal for the dividend distribution of €0.71 per share, for a total of €122.2 million. The dividend will be payable on May 24, 2012, with an ex-dividend date of May 21, 2012, coupon no. 8. Additionally, Lottomatica Group presented to its shareholders the consolidated financial statements and the corporate governance report as of December 31, 2011.

2011 key figures and dividend distribution

Lottomatica Group’s stand-alone Net Income in 2011 was €51.66 million compared to €72.88 million in 2010. Total Equity and Liabilities in 2011 were €5,143.69 million versus €5,193.27 million in 2010. Cash and Cash Equivalents at the end of 2011 were €15.3 million compared to €33.6 million in 2010.

The Shareholders’ Meeting approved the proposals of the Board of Directors to allocate a portion of the net profits for completion of the legal reserve fund. The remaining portion of the net profits, equal to €51.63 million, together with €70.58 million as carried forward profits, will be used to distribute the ordinary dividend.

Appointment of new Board of Directors member

Following the resignation of Severino Salvemini which became effective at today’s Shareholders’ Meeting, Donatella Busso was appointed by the Shareholders’ Meeting as a new Director upon proposal of majority shareholder De Agostini S.p.A. Donatella Busso certified that she meets the requirements of independence set forth in article 148, paragraph 3, of the “Unified Financial Act” as well as in the Corporate Governance Code promoted by Borsa Italiana S.p.A.. As a consequence, three Board members out of a total of nine will qualify as independent members pursuant to the law and the Corporate Governance Code.

New share buy-back plan, Group’s compensation policy, and new stock-based incentive plans

The ordinary Shareholders’ Meeting also approved a share buy-back plan that would authorize the acquisition and disposal of ordinary shares of the Company. The plan allows the Board to purchase, in bulk or in several stages, and on a revolving basis, a maximum number of ordinary shares representing an interest not exceeding 20 percent of the Company’s share capital. The Company does not have any immediate plans to acquire shares.

The Group’s compensation policy was also examined. The Shareholders favorably resolved on the first section of the compensation policy which relates to the policy for the remuneration in 2012 of the Board of Directors and of the General Manager of the Company, as well as of the other executives vested with strategic responsibilities. The Meeting also approved the 2012–2016 stock allocation plan, and the 2012-2018 stock option plan, both reserved for employees of Lottomatica and/or of its subsidiaries.

08 May 2012

European revolution in Spanish style: soon a meeting between Spain, Italy and France

spain revolution gioconewsA meeting between the regulators of the gaming field in Spain, France and Italy. According to what GiocoNews.it learns from institutional sources, an international briefing dedicated to gaming will be held in mid-June, in Madrid, and it will gather Enrique Alejo, the new Spanish person in charge for the field, Jean François Vilotte, president of the Arjel, and Raffaele Ferrara, “our” general manager of AAMS. There would be nothing to be surprised in the news of the meeting from the point of view of international relationships and following the logic of an international cooperation, as pressed by the European Commission over and over again. But, besides being a good example for the other Member States, the summit dedicated to gaming market that the three European countries are preparing, looks like a much more interesting date. For example, we must look at the rule that Spain has just written – and that now they are putting into effect – to understand. Is not coincidence that Gioco News dedicated a report about the Spanish situation in the May issue of the paper magazine that we are delivering during these days (and that is available, as usual, even in the digital free version).

The gaming revolution in Europe begins from Spain. If Italy has acted as a forerunner on the regulations survey, also laying the foundations for the cooperation between Member States through the Memorandum of Understanding signed with France, Spain seems destined to mark time of gaming regulation, introducing national legislations on online gambling and, above all, bursting the banks of territoriality in favor of the international liquidity.
The new rule is clear: open door for the gaming coming from other countries to gambling sites with a license ‘dot es’. This means that players from other countries can play on Spanish (virtual) tables. Respecting, of course, the rules in force in other States. For an Italian player is inevitably confirmed the prohibition of gambling on foreign sites; therefore, a “dot es” gambling site will still be inaccessible, like a ‘dot com’ one. Unless  we establish a cooperation aimed at sharing the market and, in this sense, the discussion started between Italy and Spain during the past few months would suggest some chances, but it is still too early to guess real opportunities . And it is too early also to know the new Spanish operators of online gaming, after the change imposed by Enrique Alejo, General Director of  the “Ordenacion del Juego’ (the branch of the Ministry of Economy in charge for the field). The licenses will be assigned by the end of June, and the intention is to analyze very well the requirements to be sure to charge healthy and totally reliable operators. There are nearly 60 requests on the table: too many according to the experts, with the risk that some licenses will remain unrealized. Due to the online race rouse at the end of 2011 with short times imposed by the rule, without permitting at the market the appropriate considerations.
Three general licenses are expected: betting, competitions (including television), and ‘other games’. The first and third ones include other single licences, which will be awarded by the operators who will choose the respective channels. Besides the individual kind of bets who are part of the first part, the general license for ‘other games’ contains poker, bingo and three casino games (roulette, blackjack and baccarat). So the general licenses are translated into a pre-condition necessary to achieve the specific one, without it no one can enter the market until the next tender.
So, a totally changing market and with remarkable potentialities. Especially because of the opening of borders mentioned above. If the sharing of gaming network that presupposes the introduction of an international liquidity may seem complicated into the EU, everything changes thinking a little bit big. Shifting the attention away from the Old Continent and considering the linguistic advantage that Spain has as regards other European countries, which would favourite a lot the international play. A part of the market not yet rated (even  if government, in general, had expected an increase of up 50% of the number of online players in comparison with the ones estimated today) but without a doubt an important one, considering all the neo-Latin countries where the online gambling is not yet regulated or not forbidden abroad. Although, we must say that for the ‘.com” sites the matter is reduced to a mere trade-off between the opportunities of the present market and the “.es’ one, studying in depth the issue of taxation.

07 May 2012

Crompton’s Coaster presentes a new modular pusher signed Brent Sales

DSCF3418The first of the new Crompton’s Coaster pushers are coming off the production line in the very factory that has created so many classic pushers in the past for the family business. “I think it is important that customers know that Crompton’s Coaster doesn’t just bear our name, it is actually built by us here in Ramsgate,” says Gordon Crompton, Managing Director of Game Concepts.

Crompton’s Coaster is a two-player modular pusher, which can be linked together to form 2,4,6, or 8, player combinations to suit available space. “You can create a central island of pushers or arrange them along a wall,” says Gordon. “They are incredibly versatile and offer fantastic value for money as well as the Crompton’s guarantee of quality. The deeper play-bed design allows space for higher net-worth items to be placed on it, to stimulate greater repeat play.”

Crompton’s Coaster is available to buy in the UK and Europe exclusively through Brent Sales. “We are really excited about this product which has already attracted a great deal of interest due to its quality build and versatility,” says John Brennan Commercial Director at Brent Sales/Bandai Namco.