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.
Blaze Gaming turns up the heat by joining First Look Games
Rising star studio gets serious about game promotion by partnering with award-winning marketing platform that directly connects providers and affiliates
First Look Games, the ultimate marketing platform for game studios, has partnered with Blaze Gaming as the up-and-coming provider looks to drive awareness of its titles among affiliates and players.
As a partner of First Look Games, Blaze Gaming gains access to a fully branded library where it can upload information and assets for each of its games. This can then be downloaded by a network of approved affiliates and used to create reviews and previews.
The First Look Games library is powerful and sophisticated, with providers such as Blaze Gaming able to upload game sheets, logos, images and videos for each title in their portfolio.
The provider can even offer demo links for each of its games, with player verification that is carried out seamlessly by 1account. This means that affiliates in highly regulated markets such as the UK can still offer demo games to their audiences.
Blaze Gaming has complete control over the assets it shares via its library, and when those assets are made available to affiliates. It can even offer a “first look” to certain affiliates up to two weeks before a new game launches.
This allows affiliates to build anticipation of the game ahead of its launch – when it goes live, players can then fire up the reels without delay.
Elliott Resnick of First Look Games, said: “It’s great to see Blaze Gaming engaging with affiliates by using our award-winning platform. First Look Games provides cost-effective game marketing that is proven to work, and Blaze can now take advantage of its unrivalled power and reach.”
Keith Goddard, CEO at Blaze Gaming, added: “We are excited to leverage First Look Games and its suite of features and tools to directly connect with affiliates and make them aware of the awesome games in our portfolio so that more players can discover Blaze Gaming and our innovative, entertaining slots for the first time.”
Catena Media Updates its Financial Targets
Catena Media has updated its long-term financial targets for 2024-26 to reflect a change in revenue streams as the group transitions towards a more sustainable revenue model following the completion of the strategic review in November last year.
The group expects a resumption of organic growth in the second half of 2024 and full-year adjusted EBITDA in the range of EUR 20-30 million as the first operational impacts begin to show from an extensive programme of technology- and data-based investments.
The new targets are:
- Double-digit organic growth in both revenue and adjusted EBITDA for 2025 and 2026 at group level.
- Net interest-bearing debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 0-1.75.
The shift towards a more sustainable revenue model involves recruiting more players via revenue-share agreements with operators compared to cost-per-acquisition (CPA) contracts and implementing a programme of investments in tech and data innovation that is being rolled out in Q1 and Q2 2024.
These investments, planned as a result of the strategic review, will reinvent the group’s core technological focus by strengthening the organisation with new product offerings that prioritise technology, innovation and immersive user experiences. The primary initiatives include investments in artificial intelligence (AI), paid media, sub affiliation and further strategic media partners to broaden audiences and deliver greater value to partners.
Investments into AI include the establishment of a joint venture with a specialist AI partner to develop a generative AI application dedicated exclusively to content production for online betting and casino gaming affiliation. This initiative launched its first minimum viable product (MVP) in February 2024.
AI innovations and other tech-facing enhancements will enable Catena Media to scale the business, develop new revenue streams and generate synergies while also delivering a more personalised user experience as the group positions to become the data- and technology-driven leader of online affiliate marketing in its target sports betting and casino gaming markets.
Affiliate GGR Doubles in 2023: Affilka by SOFTSWISS Recap
Affilka by SOFTSWISS, a leading affiliate management software provider, registers a two-fold increase in affiliate Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) in 2023.
In 2023, Affilka by SOFTSWISS significantly bolstered its reach, welcoming 120 new brands into its partner network, now exceeding 320 brands. Moreover, almost 100,000 new affiliate accounts were registered during the same timeframe, marking a 176% increase over the previous year. The number of new affiliate accounts registered in 2023 represents 43.5% of the total registrations since the platform’s establishment in 2018.
The rise in new affiliate accounts has led to a notable acceleration in new player registrations, exceeding 24 million over the past year. Compared to 2022, this metric has increased around 2.4 times, highlighting the impact of effective affiliate management on success within the iGaming landscape.
In 2023, the number of unique clicks on referral links with Affilka by SOFTSWISS increased notably, jumping 4.4 times compared to 2022. This growth can be credited to the expansion of the affiliate partner network and the improved brands’ capabilities using Affilka by SOFTSWISS.
In the financial review of Affilka by SOFTSWISS, notable growth is evident over the past year. Notably, the player deposit amount surged 2.4 times, the affiliate GGR nearly doubled, and affiliate payments increased by 70%.
Anastasia Borovaya, Head of Affilka by SOFTSWISS, remarks: “Our recent performance boost can be attributed to our robust referral infrastructure, ensuring smooth traffic flow that converts into higher player deposit amounts. We’re seeing an uptick in partner payments because we refined the commission constructor, allowing for more flexibility and customised management of partner rewards.
We invest consistently in innovation and improving user experience in affiliate marketing, recognising its crucial role in iGaming. Our mission is to provide clients with a comprehensive affiliate marketing software solution vital for their operations. We prioritise exceptional service to attract new clients and ensure their continued loyalty.”
In the last quarter of the previous year, the world’s leading agency, Kantar, conducted a customer satisfaction survey for Affilka by SOFTSWISS. The average score obtained was 8.1 out of 10, with 91% of respondents expressing satisfaction with the product. Additionally, the satisfaction score for account managers was also high at 9.1 out of 10, with 97% of clients expressing contentment with the quality of work provided by Affilka’s account managers.
SOFTSWISS is an international tech company supplying software solutions for managing iGaming projects. The expert team, which counts over 2,000 employees, is based in Malta, Poland, and Georgia. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licences and provides one-stop-shop iGaming software solutions. The company has a vast product portfolio, including the Online Casino Platform, the Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, the Affilka affiliate platform, the Sportsbook Platform and the Jackpot Aggregator. In 2013, SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a Bitcoin-optimised online casino solution.
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