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Mail.Ru acquires largest Russian esports company in $100m deal

George Miller

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Mail.Ru acquires largest Russian esports company in $100m deal
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Esports “forecast by some to overtake the traditional sports market over the next decade,” says Mail.Ru CEO

Russian internet giant Mail.Ru has inked a deal worth more than $100 million for the complete acquisition of leading esports company, ESforce.

Mail.Ru will acquire 100% of ESforce in an all-cash transaction, plus a further payment at the end of 2018 based on key performance incentives, expected to be be around $20 million.

Commenting on the acquisition, Mail.Ru Group CEO Boris Dobrodeev said esports is “forecast by some to overtake the traditional sports market over the next decade.

According to recent estimates from Superdata, the global esports market is worth around $1.6 billion with around 300 million users.

ESforce is the largest esports firm in Russia and eastern Europe. The company owns two major competitive organisation – Virtus Pro and SK – and organises tournaments for the world’s best Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams.

Included in the varied portfolio of ESforce is the Moscow Yota Arena, one of the world’s largest esports tournament venues, and merchandising retailer Fragstore which is present in over 20 countries.

Investment in the business has grown steadily over recent years with around $60 million of funding to-date. In 2017, ESforce posted a negative earning before taxes, depreciation, and amortization of $15 million.

However, ESforce revenues for 2017 are estimated to be around $19m which equates to a growth 150% growth on the year prior.

Mail.Ru expect that with the prior investments into ESforce, the company will continue to scale and a revenue growth of between 80-100% is anticipated for 2018, with losses halving as the business moves into profitability at the end of the year.

ESforce is one of the global leaders and has built a dominant presence in all of the key verticals,” Dobrodeev added. “We are very pleased that the talented team who have been responsible for building this business will all be remaining with the business.

The very obvious strategic fit with Mail.Ru Group needs little explanation and we will be looking to leverage our unrivalled position inside of the social networks and gaming in order to drive ESforce to even greater success. We are very excited by this acquisition and believe it fits well with all of our key strategic priorities.”

 

Source: gamesindustry.biz

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Central Europe

3 Countries That Once Banned Online Casinos But Brought Them Back

George Miller

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3 Countries That Once Banned Online Casinos But Brought Them Back
Photo Source: flickr.com
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Online casinos have experienced great success around the world ever since the industry first began to bloom in the late 1990s, but some countries have been hesitant to allow online gambling. For a variety of reasons, many governments have restricted the use of online casinos throughout the last two decades. Fortunately, many of these countries have started to embrace the opportunity, fun, and freedom that the iGaming industry can provide, with some of these citizens now being some of the online casino world’s biggest fans!

Slovakia

The most recent change in online casino legislation comes from Slovakia, where iGaming is set to become more popular than ever. Back in 2005, laws were set in place to ban over 200 online casino platforms, including some of the world’s largest brands. However, as of 2019, online casinos in Slovakia are overseen by the state-run TIPOS national lottery organisation, who are planning to relax the laws and give the industry a great boost. Already casino comparison sites are listing which online casinos are regulated and available in Slovakia, as well as what they each have to offer (for more info, visit casino-online-sk.com). The re-introduction of online casinos in Slovakia will hopefully begin in March when the ban on many other off-shore platforms will hopefully be lifted.

Denmark

While Slovakia has the TIPOS, Denmark is home to the Danske Spil (you can read more about the company at Bloomberg.com). Before 2012, laws regarding gambling and online casinos were generally considered overly restrictive and didn’t really allow for grey areas and ambiguity. Thankfully, on January 2012, these laws were revised, and ever since then online casinos have been able to flourish far more easily throughout Denmark. The transition was so successful that even now other countries such as Ukraine that are rethinking their restriction on the iGaming industry are using it as the prime example. After all, Denmark’s success shows that countries can relax their gambling laws without things getting completely out of hand.

Romania

One such country is Romania, another European state that upheld overly strict rules when it came to online casinos. It wasn’t until the end of 2014 that the Romanian government relaxed these restrictions. The decision to do this has allowed the online casino industry in Romania to grow to incredible levels, with the country receiving a good chunk of the sector’s income.

Some countries, including Brazil, Australia, and India, are still struggling with how to deal with online casino regulations. Some pick and choose which forms of gambling are legal, while others are even more inconsistent, picking specific sites to support while outlawing others. Still, we must remember that iGaming is still a relatively young industry, and over time it’s likely that many countries will follow in the footsteps of the countries we’ve explored here.

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Compliance Updates

UNL redesigns its website to comply with principles of the European Lotteries

Niji Ng

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UNL redesigns its website to comply with principles of the European Lotteries
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Ukrainian National Lottery (UNL) has redesigned its website in its bid to comply with the principles of The “European State Lotteries and Toto Association.” General Director of UNL Andrei Bochkovsky said that his organisation will comply with all the principles, as it received the membership certificate of the continental body in 2018.

For getting membership in the Association, the lottery operator must implement the Responsible Gaming program in its activities. The new site unl.ua is already up and running. The updated site received a modern design, and also improved functionality. Registered players will be reminded about unverified and unpaid tickets. The account balance has been increased. The improved features also include simplified registration system for new players, convenient mobile version, and extended selection of payment options.

The launch of the new website and implementation of other modern solutions reflects a general change in the work and policy of UNL. The lottery operator continues following European standards of business.

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Balkan's

The large B2B gambling industry conference in London is over, where to go next in S1

Zoltan Tundik

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Photo credits: European Gaming Media
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Year by year, the gambling industry is trying to reshape itself and explore new partnership opportunities and regional expansions to grow the B2C side.

Now, that the largest gambling industry conference has closed its doors, we would like to showcase some of the options you have for learning and networking in Europe that are going to take place in the first semester of 2019.

DACH, Central Europe and Eastern Europe

The third edition of Prague Gaming Summit, also known as #PragueGamingSummit3, will take place on the 12th of March at Vienna House Andel’s Prague and gathers will gather +150 delegates from all across Europe for a full day of learning and networking.

Here is a short list of the companies that you can meet in Prague: Multigate, iFortuna Slovakia, Odds1x2 Holding, TrafficLightMedia, Genesis Global, Tal Ron, Drihem & Co., PLANZER LAW, Zurich, Scout Gaming Group, Golden Race, All-in Translations, Hyperion Tech, PS Legal, Fortuna Group, Endorphina, Republis, Bird & Bird Poland, WH Partners, Playtech, Gabnys Law, OSM Solutions, ARQ Group Malta, Federbet AISBL, Mindway AI, Assissa, BETEGY, Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling, MME Legal, MELCHERS LAW, KPMG Malta, NSoft, ARENDTS ANWAELTE, Global Legal Group, Efbet, Greentube Internet Entertainment Solutions GmbH, NetEnt, Trustly, Boljoro and many more.

The conference will highlight compliance updates and expansion opportunities in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and Germany, while also focusing on trending industry topics topics such as the relationships between Regulators, Operators – Affiliates, MasterCard’s new requirements for Online Merchants (CFD, FX, Gaming, Crypto), understanding millennials (with emphasis on eSports, Daily Fantasy Sports, Online Slots Games and Virtual Sports), outsourcing for gaming companies, IT security, AML, KYC, CSR. +40 speakers are awaited to bring the latest in terms of content and business intelligence!

As the current status of some European jurisdictions dictates the rise of advertisement banning, we have invited the members of IMGL to hold an IMGL MasterClass that will focus on Advertisement banning trends in the European Union and the Balkans.

Do not miss this exciting opportunity to hear the latest information first hand at Prague Gaming Summit 3 and discuss collaboration possibilities with attending delegates!

You can Register here or View the Agenda

Full details about the event can be found on the official event website: www.praguegamingsummit.com


The Baltics and Nordics

In the second part of S1, we are inviting you to the second edition of the most important conference in the Baltic Sea region, the MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit, also known as The Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Summit and Awards.

The Summit will the place on the 9th of May at Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel in Vilnius (Lithuania) and will bring together the most influential gambling companies from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark, and Sweden.

The event will also be the launching pad for the first edition of the Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Awards which will celebrate the top 30 companies form the two regions during an awards ceremony. You can find more details about the awards here!

The compliance-related information will be presented by the 5 regulators which will be present at the event and the summit promises to gather +125 leading companies under one roof for a full day of networking and learning.

You can find more details about the Agenda here

Register here!

Browse the official event website here: www.marebalticumgaming.com

We hope to see you there and make sure to plan your autumn events calendar after checking out to opportunities we have at the fourth edition of CEEGC and CEEG Awards Budapest, and the leading conference in Europe that covers +20 jurisdiction updates, the European Gaming Congress, held in Milan, Italy.

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