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888 Holdings Expand Their Online Bingo Offerings

George Miller

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888 Deploys Diffusion for Real-Time Bingo App
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Since they burst onto the online gambling scene in 1997, 888 Holdings have grown from strength to strength. From pioneers to market leaders, their meteoric rise has been fuelled in no small part by the shrewd business decisions of the group’s board of directors. Many of these decisions have involved buying out and taking over competing businesses, and last month 888 Holdings added another big name to their portfolio with the acquisition of Costa Bingo from the JPJ Group. The deal, which included other Mandalay Media games, came to a total of £18 billion and is expected to be finalised by the end of March 2019.

The Mandalay Media group had previously been bought by the JPJ Group, then called Intertain, in 2014. In 2018 it generated £11 million worth of revenue for them, amounting to £3.7 million profit – meaning that if the brand’s success continues, 888 Holdings can look forward to a quick, and large, return on their investment. For their part, the JPJ Group have gone on record as being glad for the opportunity for the investment, as it now enables them to ‘concentrate on a more focused brand strategy’ in the United Kingdom promoting their other online games.

888 Holdings have a long history of deals within the online gambling market. The company first ventured into the bingo world in 2008 when they launched their own bingo site aimed at women. In a bid to expand further into the market, they soon attained Wink Bingo, the successful deal has ensured the online bingo platform has become 888 Holdings’ second-largest bingo brand with almost 1,000,000 registered users worldwide. Wink Bingo has since become a major household name in the United Kingdom thanks to a significant marketing campaign which drew in new players in droves. The fun and friendly atmosphere of the chatrooms and the variety of games have brought people back again and again.

And their first investment paid off, proving to be hugely successful almost immediately. In the first five weeks after adding Wink Bingo to their portfolio, 888 Holdings saw a 52% increase in customers signing up to their sites, and the average daily operating income rose by 18% compared to the previous 3 months. Obviously buoyed by this success, since 2008, 888 Holdings have gone on to acquire a further six bingo sites, including Posh Bingo, Tasty Bingo and most recently Red Bus Bingo. The purchase of Costa Bingo and its sister companies including Wish, Sun, City and Fancy means that they now own and manage a considerable chunk of the online bingo sector.

Although 888 Holdings started out as an online casino company, since diversifying into the bingo market they have fully embraced the different atmosphere and looked closely at understanding the needs of their new clientele. Eager to offer something extra to their loyal customers, 888 Holdings have linked their biggest bingo sites together within their unique Joy of Bingo network. Players can earn Joy points and transfer their points between all of 888’s sites, or exchange them for virtual gifts and bonuses. It has proven a wildly popular addition to the bingo community.

They have also been busy developing software to give their games a technological advantage. 888’s bingo software, Dragonfish, runs not only their own games, but it is licenced out to other companies looking for the best place to host their games. They are now ranked in the top three online bingo software providers in the world for 2019. Just as they revolutionised the emerging online casino industry 20 years ago, 888 have now gone above and beyond to make sure that they are instrumental in shaping the current online bingo market, a marketplace which has enjoyed continued success in recent years.

However, not everything has been as rosy for 888 Holdings. Although they are a Gibraltar-based company, their websites are accessible in the United Kingdom and have therefore been affected by recent changes in UK gambling laws. These laws have mostly been centred around the promotion of responsible gambling, with gambling establishments, both physical and online, now having to show that they are looking after their clientele in the same way a bartender has a responsibility not to serve those who are too drunk. As a result their UK revenue fell by 18% last year, mostly due to a change in their practises as they look to work with the new regulations.

And yet, the decision to purchase Costa Bingo underlies their commitment to the online bingo marketplace. 888 are not going to be dissuaded by a small bump in the road. Costa Bingo and the rest of the Mandalay group have not been served well by JPJ in the past and have been viewed by industry experts as underperforming. 888 Holdings have the market experience and capital to turn these great games into winners on a level with their other brands. Linking these new acquisitions to their existing Joy of Bingo will bring them to the awareness of thousands of potential new players, and they will almost surely benefit from a similar level of marketing to 888’s other famous bingo brands. Whether the Mandalay group games will prove to be as successful and profitable as Wink Bingo has been remains to be seen. But judging by the jump in 888 Holding’s share prices after the deal was announced, it seems that everyone is backing this to be yet another success for the online gambling giant.

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Nederlandse Loterij Appoints Sven Kramer as Brand Ambassador

Niji Narayan

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Nederlandse Loterij Appoints Sven Kramer as Brand Ambassador
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

The Dutch National Lottery (Nederlandse Loterij) has appointed speed skater and four-time Olympic champion Sven Kramer as its brand ambassador.

Kramer joins the team of Nederlandse Loterij sports ambassadors in the run-up to the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. The deal confirms the lottery’s role as a partner of skating Netherlands and as a co-main sponsor of the Royal Dutch Skating Association (KNSB).

“Within the rich history of long track speed skating, Sven is the undisputed number one. As a partner of TeamNL, we have of course been involved in the Olympic Games for many years and have already enjoyed his achievements a lot. He is a great sportsman with an unprecedented winning mentality, which we as a gaming organization are big fans of,” Judith Keizer, Sponsor Manager of Nederlandse Loterij, said.

“When Lotto, one of the seven game brands of the Nederlandse Loterij, was a partner of the skating team, I already worked with them a lot and I got to know the Nederlandse Loterij as a committed partner with a real heart for the sport. I look forward to the collaboration,” Sven Kramer said.

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Entain Appoints Jette Nygaard-Andersen as its New CEO

Niji Narayan

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Entain Appoints Jette Nygaard-Andersen as its New CEO
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Entain plc has appointed Jette Nygaard-Andersen as its Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect. Jette is currently an independent non-executive director of Entain.

Shay Segev, the outgoing CEO, will remain available to Jette, the Board and management until July 8, to facilitate an orderly transition.

In addition, Rob Wood, Entain’s CFO, will have the role of Deputy CEO added to his current role with immediate effect, and Sandeep Tiku, Entain’s Chief Operating Officer, will be appointed to the Board later in the year.

Barry Gibson, Chairman of Entain, said: “We are extremely fortunate to have such an outstanding candidate and readymade CEO in Jette. She is already deeply immersed in Entain’s strategy, and clearly shares our ambition to be the world-leader in sports betting and gaming entertainment.

“Jette and I have been immensely impressed by Rob. He is extremely well regarded internally and externally, and the additional responsibilities will enable him to further develop his operational skills as well as overseeing a key tenet of our growth ambitions through M&A.

“Sandeep has been integral to the development of Entain’s unique proprietary technology platform, which is a source of significant competitive advantage. His appointment not only reflects his contribution to the success of Entain but is also aligned with our aim to have a broader range of experiences and inputs on the Board.”

Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: “I am very excited to have the opportunity of continuing the extraordinary momentum that Entain has in its existing markets, as well as helping it enter new regulated markets and reach new audiences. I am delighted that Rob has agreed to take on broader responsibilities and that the importance of our proprietary technology is recognised through Sandeep’s appointment to the Board. I am deeply wedded to Entain’s commitment to providing industry-leading levels of player protection, and to its philosophy that the most sustainable business in our industry will be the most successful business in our industry. I cannot wait to get started.”

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Dutch Gambling Regulator Imposes €600,000 Fine on Virtual Coin Gaming

Niji Narayan

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Dutch Gambling Regulator Imposes €600,000 Fine on Virtual Coin Gaming
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has issued a fine of EUR 500,000 against the Curacao-licensed operator Virtual Coin Gaming (VCG) and a separate EUR 100,000 fine against an unnamed employee of the company for creating online games that the authority deemed to be games of chance.

VCG offered games via the websites www.futgalaxy.nl and nl.futgamer.com, which included online betting for football, hockey, and US sports, a FUT jackpot and game packs. Its online games were based on FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), a card game that is part of the EA Sports FIFA video game franchise, in which players earned credits in the FUT video game either by purchasing these credits directly on www.futgalaxy.nl and nl.futgamer.com or by exchanging virtual currency earned in the EA Sports video game FIFA.

These game packs were a simulation of loot boxes found in the FUT-based FIFA video games in which players had the option to purchase six different packs with values ranging from 5000 to 100,000 credits. Highly rated soccer players were randomly added to the packs. Since the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act does not issue licenses for internet gaming, online games of chance are forbidden in the Netherlands.

Since 2018, in response to research that revealed a link between loot box games and gambling addiction, the KSA has focused on loot boxes, particularly in-game packs in FIFA video games.

The KSA pointed out that online games of chance violate the Betting and Gaming Act. According to the KSA, it was clear that this was a case of an unlicensed operator that specifically target Dutch consumers through the use of the Dutch language, the .nl domain extension and the use of the Dutch payment system iDEAL.

The KSA deemed the VCG game packs to be games of chance. Research carried out by the KSA in January 2019, bolstered by announcements on the websites themselves, revealed that participants generally are not able to predominantly influence their chances of receiving prizes from VCG loot boxes. The KSA also referred to a decision of the court The Hague of 15 October 2020 regarding Electronic Arts, which ruled that in-game packs (i.e. loot boxes) inside FIFA video games constituted games of chance.

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