Allwyn Entertainment Ltd (Allwyn), a wholly owned subsidiary of Allwyn AG, has been officially awarded the Fourth Licence to operate the National Lottery for a decade starting February 1, 2024.
This formal award by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) kickstarts the process of transition to a bigger, better, and safer National Lottery. Under Allwyn’s stewardship, sales growth is expected to result in the money allocated to UK good causes more than doubling.
As the new operator of the National Lottery, Allwyn will prioritise the protection of all participants, particularly those who are vulnerable, and discourage excess, unaffordable play whether online or in stores. Allwyn also intends to reinvigorate safer draw-based games. With 16 months remaining until the start of the new chapter for the National Lottery, an intensive transition period lies ahead. To that end, Allwyn has opened an office in Watford in order to work near the heart of the current operations, thereby helping to ensure Allwyn and Camelot can work collaboratively to deliver the transition successfully.
Allwyn’s chairman Justin King said: “Today’s award formally marks a fresh start for the National Lottery. We have exciting plans for this important and cherished institution, crucially raising even more proceeds for good causes across the country, improving the player experience through the latest technology and ensuring safe participation. Everyone at Allwyn is ready to meet the challenge of working under a shortened timeframe for transition. We look forward to working closely with Camelot’s team over the coming months to ensure the lottery is in its best ever shape when we take the reins in February 2024.”
Sir Keith Mills, bid chair during the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition and now senior independent director, commented on the formal award of the Fourth National Lottery Licence: “The whole team at Allwyn is immensely proud to be taking on the responsibility for growing the National Lottery over the next ten years. In our bid proposals we set out our plans to win back customers that have stopped playing and to bring a new generation of players to the National Lottery by introducing new games and technology to capture the imagination of the nation. I’m really looking forward to working with Justin, the Allwyn board and the wider management team to manage the transition as we take over in 2024.”
Allwyn’s CEO David Craven said: “This moment signals a time for change for the National Lottery. We have already begun this exciting new chapter; our transformation programme has started with energy and purpose from our Watford based headquarters. We must seize this moment, creating the right conditions for The National Lottery to innovate. Our primary transition objective is to responsibly boost performance leading to increased contributions to good causes. We look forward to welcoming the existing Camelot colleagues in Watford to be part of this new, exciting chapter.”
Aspire Global Facing Pair of Legal Battles
Prominent online gaming software and platform provider Aspire Global has been named as the defendant in a pair of court cases that could potentially result in it being ordered to pay compensation totaling up to €101 million ($109 million).
In the first complaint, Aspire Global is being sued in the United Kingdom by the founders of sports betting software, solutions and services provider BtoBet, Alessandro Fried and Igor Lestar, for €36 million ($39 million). This pair inked a deal in 2020 to sell their company to the Malta-based defendant in exchange for an upfront payment of some €20 million ($21.6 million) as well as an earn-out consideration tied to future earnings before tax.
However, Fried and Lestar through their Sousa Enterprises Limited and Eltsar Limited entities are alleging Aspire Global, which was last year acquired by NeoGames as part of a deal worth some €402.3 million ($423.5 million), violated the terms of this share purchase agreement by spending too little and not charging enough so as to deliberately decrease revenues and the subsequent earn-out sum.
The complex case with its many intricacies is not expected to go to trial before 2025 but could well result in Aspire Global being ordered to pay more than the €36 million headline figure. The financial implications are even more concerning as the defendant’s NeoGames parent is currently in the process of being acquired by Aristocrat in an arrangement valued at north of €1 billion.
In the United States and Aspire Global has also been separately named as the offender in an action brought by Ebet Incorporated, which is the operator of the Karamba, Griffon Casino, Hopa, Generation VIP, Scratch2Cash, Gogawi, Dansk 777 and Bet Target iGaming brands. This Nevada action is seeking some €65 million ($70 million) embracing compensatory damages, punitive fines and other financial penalties to be proven at trial and moreover names AG Communications and other affiliated entities as defendants.
Ebet Incorporated acquired specific business-to-consumer (B2C) assets and associated websites from Aspire Global in 2021 and simultaneously entered into a ‘white-label’ operator agreement embracing collaborative efforts on the future running of the purchased assets. The plaintiff is claiming the defendants breached these deals by manipulating their books to falsify and overstate active player data and exaggerate the health of the acquired properties.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Aspire Global is furthermore being accused by Ebet Incorporated of violating the terms of the agreements by materially failing to maintain necessary operations in Germany, falsifying records and violating industry regulations. The allegations could potentially shape the future trajectories of these companies as they also run to reputational harm, fraud, breach of contract and other unnamed violations due to be proven during the course of the trial.
Habanero obtains Swedish B2B licence for slots and RNG portfolio
Premium slots and table games provider Habanero has been granted a licence from the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) in a move which will further boost its presence in Europe.
The supplier is now permitted to provide its entire full catalogue of games to operators in the region, including the likes of perennially popular player-favourites such as Hot Hot Fruit, Mystic Fortune Deluxe and Santa’s Village.
Marking the latest milestone for Habanero, it follows the provider’s MGA licence award as well as approvals in the likes of Romania, the Argentinian-regulated City and Province of Buenos Aires, and Panama.
Habanero is now live in 22 European markets and has major agreements with tier-one operators such as Entain, Sisal, Sportium and Betway.
Commenting on its latest licence, Arcangelo Lonoce, Head of Business Development at Habanero, said: “Being awarded our Swedish licence is both gratifying and exciting for Habanero as we look to scale up our operations in the market and partner with leading stakeholders to bring the wonderful world of Habanero to even more players than ever before.
“This new licence is a testament to our dedication to our adaptability as well as our commitment to navigating and complying with regulatory landscapes worldwide.”
ELA Games obtains the MGA Recognition Notice
ELA Games is delighted to announce that it has been authorized by the Malta Gaming Authority. Marking the beginning of our expansion into select global markets in collaboration with MGA.
ELA Games continues its strategic expansion in Europe and it is another major step in its ability to access distribution and commercial partnerships with companies based in the iGaming hub of Malta.
Mike Cini, Business Owner at ELA Games, commented: “We’re delighted to have obtained our MGA Recognition Notice as it is another major milestone in our regulatory expansion. Malta is the leading iGaming hub in Europe and being authorized there will enable us to work even more closely with our operators and bring player engagement to the next level for our partners.”
ELA Games focuses on producing high quality products that are stacked with gamification features, quality design and animation. Recent releases include Vikings Wild Cash and Lucky Dwarfs. They have already received amazing feedback from operators and players and the studio looks forward to signing more partnerships and launching more games in the coming months.
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