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US firm taking over Australian casino company

George Miller

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US firm taking over Australian casino company
Photo Source: CNBC.com
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

The seemingly permanently advancing nature of the Australian gambling world has recently seen trouble. If you have been keeping an eye out for the news, you know that the recent Beijing crackdowns on the gambling within the Chinese borders have caused many, spenders and investors, to turn away from the industry. This has resulted, in turn, in the decrease in revenues that the Australian gambling firms have been seeing over the years. While real money casinos in Australia are seeing a rise in users the physical casinos have seen a lot of damage done to them. While not catastrophic, the crackdown has had its effect. The large scale divesting by shareholders has resulted in a loss of value for many shares of large companies. Crown, the large casino company from Australia, has also seen itself face trouble as a result. So it came like a fresh breath of air when an American resort company got in touch with Crown with an offer to but them out lock, stock, and barrel, in the past few months.

Wynn resorts makes an offer
Wynn Resorts is a huge American company. It owns and operates resorts and, more importantly, casinos, in some of the biggest gambling hotspots around the world. The company owns and operates large casinos in Las Vegas and Macau, and have been interested in expanding its operations further into the world. The time could not be better, as with the Australian physical casino market looking a little bleak has caused the price of acquiring them to become so much lower.
Despite this, the offer to the owners of Crown is still quite a staggering number. Wynn resorts are offering seven billion US dollars to Crown for the entirety of their operation. The offer seems to be more than generous, and it has been reflected in the share value of Crown. The only recently, the value of shares was only around $14, while after the news was released, the value of the shares jumped up to $24, as people scrambled to get their share of the pie and drove the prices of the shares sky high. And while the markets are going wild over Crown shares, the heads and shareholders of the company sit in their offices deliberating if the deal is good enough for them. Whatever they decide, this deal is a much welcome infusion into the industry, as the markets once more get excited about the casino-related news

A slow year for gambling
The past year has been slow for the gambling industry within Australia, a direct result of some of the more significant changes in the gambling regulations over the past years. The reforms in advertising and requirements have been causing a slow loss of customer base for physical casinos. These users are heading to a more comfortable online experience, but the result is the physical casino industry. The biggest slots machine manufacturer in the country, Ainsworth Game Technology, has already been seeing losses in revenue and is expecting the trend to continue in the near future.
But the regulations do not seem to be abating. Some are expecting even more regulation to hit sometime in 2019 or beginning of 2020, which might again cause some problems for the gambling industry in AU. With the regulation already diverting most of the casino revenue to offshore companies, because of the requirement for online casinos to be from foreign countries. Some companies have already been showing signs that the coming years might be a bit of a struggle.
But the potential of the industry is not getting any smaller. All that is being done is that the energy of the people is directed elsewhere – to non-Australian shores. The issue with regulation is thus quite apparent and obvious, but there isn’t much being done to change it, only the add more regulation. The government has an issue with the citizens gambling but is not taking constructive steps to limit or change the nature of the problem, instead of moving the responsibility for regulation to other countries, which is already damaging to the economy.

A new hope
Despite the issues with regulation, there is no doubt that the current deal that is taking place between Wynn Resorts and Crown is a good sign for the industry. With a large offer such as this being made to the Australian casinos, it must mean that the potential of the market has become of interest to the world’s largest players. And if the largest players are trying to get into Australia, it might be a chance for the industry to be able to revitalize itself. Or maybe the large scale companies such as Wynn Resorts have the necessary funds and economic advantages to be able to compete with international online casinos and offer services that online casinos cannot compete with.
Whatever it is, the current face of the casino industry will need to see some change and revitalization. As Australian casinos lose their users to online casinos from offshore companies, it is important for them to get a chance at operation again with the infusion of new blood and new funds into the industry. It is hard to compete with what online casinos are offering to their users: experience a casino from home. But if the physical casinos manage to figure out a way to offer something attractive enough to the people who play, they might be able to compete with them. Whether this is the experience of the tangibility of the markets, the real world experience of playing at a casino, or something else that a physical casino is able to provide that an online casino won’t be able to, is up for the industry to figure out on itself. But at this rate, the casinos are competing against themselves. After all, who needs to go to Vegas, when you can bring Vegas to you, through your screen?

Other entrants?
Is it possible that there might be other big, international companies interested in the Australian casinos? While there is no way to confirm this at the time, there are suspicions that are international companies are interested in Australia. After all, when 80% of the country is likely to be gambling and some point in the year, it becomes an attractive market for companies that deal in the industry. So it is not surprising the Wynn resorts is interested in entering the already established market, but Crown is not the only company dealing in casinos within Australia, and each one of them has the potential to be a solid way to enter the market.

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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Australia

Gaming Innovation Group launches online casino with SkyCity in New Zealand

Zoltan Tundik

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Photo source: www.gig.com
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG) today launched an online casino with SkyCity Malta (a subsidiary of New Zealand based SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited (SkyCity) its long-term Tier 1 partner. GiG will supply New Zealand customers with a fully managed, first-class online casino experience focused on host responsibility, trust, fun and entertainment. The new experience of online casino is now available for end-users in New Zealand.

Today’s announcement follows GiG signing an agreement with SkyCity on 21 May 2019 for the provision of its turnkey and fully managed online casino solution, including a gambling license. The turnkey solution, powered by its leading technology and flexible architecture, includes the technical platform, fully managed services, gaming content, front end development, CRM, compliance, and marketing. GiG will operate the online casino site from Malta on behalf of SkyCity.

SkyCity is one of Australasia’s leading gaming, entertainment and hospitality groups with world-class casino facilities in both New Zealand and Australia. SkyCity is a listed company in both New Zealand and Australia with a current enterprise value of around NZ$3bn (€1.8bn). SkyCity’s vision is to be the leader in gaming, entertainment, and hospitality in its communities. Responsible gaming is one of the cornerstones of its focus on sustainability and being a good corporate citizen.

The offshore online gambling market in New Zealand is currently estimated at approximately NZ$160m (€96m)* with the total gambling market in New Zealand estimated at NZ$2.7bn (€1.6bn) 2019e**. The New Zealand market is following the worldwide trend of strong and accelerating growth in online channels, underpinned by changing demands of consumers and constant evolution of technology. The general expectation is that the country will regulate online casino gambling in the foreseeable future. All gambling which takes place in New Zealand is regulated by the country’s Department of Internal Affairs.

This partnership is expected to make a significant positive contribution to GiG’s revenues from 2020 onwards, however, GiG does not expect a material impact on its revenues in 2019.

On the news of today’s announcement, Graeme Stephens, Chief Executive Officer of SkyCity says: “This is an exciting day for SkyCity and one we have been working towards for some time alongside SkyCity Malta and our partner GiG. While ultimately a regulated online gaming market remains the preferred solution, the site launch is another step on our journey of pursuing opportunities to grow and diversify our earnings, addressing a new, fast growing industry which is highly complementary to our land-based activities and offering customers a multi-channel gaming experience.”

Robin Reed, Chief Executive Officer at GiG says: “GiG is pursuing a strategy of becoming the global partner for strong brands in iGaming. SkyCity Entertainment Group is the largest and most reputable gambling and leisure firm in New Zealand. We are very proud to have been entrusted to provide our full suite of gaming services to them. It has been great to work with Graeme and his accomplished team and due to a great collaboration we have managed to launch a state-of-the art digital casino experience only two months after signing the agreement. We are looking forward to supporting SkyCity in its aspirations to provide the leading online gambling venue in New Zealand.” 

*Source: SKYCITY

**Source: H2GC

About Gaming Innovation Group (GiG): 

Gaming Innovation Group Inc. is a technology company providing solutions, products and services throughout the entire value chain in the iGaming industry. Founded in 2012, Gaming Innovation Group’s vision is ‘To open up iGaming and make it fair and fun for all’. Through its ecosystem of products and services, GiG is connecting operators, suppliers and users, to create the best iGaming experiences in the world. Gaming Innovation Group operates out of Malta and is dual-listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GIG and on Nasdaq Stockholm under the ticker symbol GIGSEK. www.gig.com

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Australia

INQUIRY INTO BARANGAROO RESTRICTED GAMING FACILITY LICENSEE AND ITS CLOSE ASSOCIATES

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: casino.org
Reading Time: 2 minutes
The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority will conduct an inquiry under the NSW Casino Control Act into the proposed sale of shares in Crown Resorts from James Packer’s CPH Crown Holdings Pty Ltd to Lawrence Ho’s Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited, a Hong Kong-based casino operator, through a subsidiary.

The sale was announced in a Crown Resorts/ASX Media Release on 31 May 2019 and has apparently yet to be finalised.

The Authority is inquiring into this transaction under section 35 of the Act together with various matters raised in recent media reports published by the Nine Network, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age relating to Crown Resorts.

The Authority has issued notices to relevant Crown parties and other parties compulsorily seeking documents and information which will assist it in its investigations and be used in the inquiry.

The Authority is to have regard to the primary objects of the Act in exercising its functions.

This includes ensuring that the management and operation of a casino remain free from criminal influence or exploitation, that gaming in a casino is conducted honestly and controlling the potential of a casino to cause harm to the public interest and to individuals and families.

The Authority will appoint the Honourable Patricia Bergin SC to conduct the inquiry.

Ms Naomi Sharp SC and Mr Scott Aspinall will be appointed as counsel assisting the inquiry. Patricia Bergin SC was a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1999 to 2017, serving as Commercial List Judge and thereafter as Chief Judge in Equity from 2009 to January 2017.

Since her retirement from the Court in 2017, Ms Bergin served an International Judge on the Singapore International Commercial Court.

The inquiry will take evidence in public, with the capacity to conduct private hearings to receive confidential information from law enforcement or other sensitive information.

Section 143A of the Act will give Ms Bergin similar powers, authorities, protections and immunities to those conferred upon a commissioner under the Royal Commissions Act 1923 (NSW).

The Terms of Reference and a timetable for public submissions will be published by the Authority shortly and announcements will be made later regarding the processes of the inquiry, including how submissions can be made.

Media contact The Authority has engaged Norton Rose Fulbright solicitors to assist with its conduct of the inquiry.

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Australia

Crown Casino Denies Links to Organised Crime

Niji Narayan

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Crown Casino Denies Links to Organised Crime
Photo Source: gamblinglegislation.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

A television documentary has made allegations linking Crown Casino to organised crime, money laundering and human trafficking.

The investigation into Crown Casino for the documentary was carried out by an Australian television Channel and two newspapers. The story was based on tens of thousands of documents apparently leaked from the company that owns casinos in the cities of Melbourne and Perth, and is planning another in Sydney.

The documentary alleged links between Crown and organised crime and claims the company turned a “blind eye” to money laundering and exploited weaknesses in Australia’s immigration processes to fly wealthy Chinese gamblers into the country without proper checks. There are also claims it had business links with an Australian brothel that has been investigated over human trafficking.

“I now know of three police officers — two currently serving — who have openly said to my staff that in Victoria, Crown is regarded as the Vatican, an independent sovereign state all to its own where the laws of Victoria, the laws of the Commonwealth (of Australia) do not apply,” Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said.

The state of Victoria has ordered the state’s gambling office to examine the claims against Crown Casino “as a matter of priority.” Experts have also demanded Australia’s anti-money laundering regulator AUSTRAC examine claims that criminals have passed money through Crown Casino.

The company has strongly denied the allegations. In a series of newspaper advertisements, the company said it wanted to set the “record straight in the face of a deceitful campaign against Crown.” Crown Casino accused the TV documentary of unfairly attempting to damage its reputation. It also said it takes its regulatory obligations very seriously.

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