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Twitter UK’s Dara Nasr to support digital evolution of lotteries by joining Allwyn Advisory Board

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Allwyn and Cohn Robbins Announce Decision on Proposed Business Combination
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Allwyn is pleased to announce Dara Nasr, Managing Director of Twitter UK, as the latest appointment to its high profile advisory board providing support to Sir Keith Mills and team. Allwyn is bidding for the Fourth National Lottery Licence to operate the UK National Lottery.

During a distinguished career working for some of the largest global technology companies, including Twitter and Google, Mr. Nasr has established himself as a leader in the world of digital communications. As Managing Director of Twitter UK, Dara has built one of the strongest sales teams in the UK media landscape. During the Coronavirus pandemic, he has placed Twitter UK at the centre of the future of work debate through the launch of its “New Business As Usual” framework, while also leading the UK’s internal work rules to protect the mental health of staff who have been working remotely.

By working closely with quality technology partners, SAZKA Group, Allwyn’s parent company, has invested in digital platforms to grow and scale at pace across Europe. By recognising trends towards online play early, SAKZA Group’s lotteries adapted their product offerings long before the pandemic disrupted the retail sector. Online sales of draw based games increased by 134% between 2015 and 2019, with sales continuing to grow during the pandemic and maintaining momentum as restrictions eased. This includes Austria, where a 42% rise in online draw based sales coincided with a 9% increase in funding for good causes between 2015 and 2019, while Sazka Czech’s ‘Digital Entertainment Hub’ boosted lottery sales via mobile phone by 820% during the same period.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Nasr said: “How companies communicate with customers is evolving thanks to the disruptive rise of social media platforms. Brand communications, advertising, and marketing has become more exciting due to the complementary and unique ability of digital to engage with the consumer. As I’ve seen during my time at Twitter, mobile means there is huge potential to establish a close 24/7 relationship between company and customer. I’ve teamed up with Allwyn and their parent company SAZKA Group because they understand the importance of digital to lotteries. I can’t wait to get started.”

Allwyn’s U.K. Bid Chair Sir Keith Mills added: “For many years, Allwyn’s parent company SAZKA Group have pursued a digital- approach to lotteries across Europe. Not only has this produced impressive online sales growth, making their lotteries resilient to the challenges of the pandemic, but it has also translated to consistently strong sales growth in the retail sector too. Regardless of whether a player purchases their lottery ticket online or in-store, we’ve seen overall player participation only increases if people feel more connected to their lottery. Allwyn’s sister companies are a testament to the powers of digital in the lottery world and I can’t wait to work with Dara and apply his knowledge of the digital and social media landscape.”

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SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP’S RACING POST BRAND LAUNCHES SMART VIEW FOR INTERNATIONAL RACING

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Spotlight Sports Group (SSG), a world-leading technology, content, and media company specialising in sports betting, has recently announced the launch of Smart View to cover International Horse Racing. Powered by the industry-leading racing media and tech supplier, the Racing Post, Smart View has recently been featured in racecards on sale at the York Dante Festival, as well as Naas racecourse, and has now grown to include races from all around the globe.

Smart View is the latest product in the Spotlight Sports Group portfolio and combines complex data such as previous form, draw, pedigree, trainer and jockey. These are then factored into providing six easy to understand attributes for each runner, and an overall Smart View score.

With standout action in France and the US this weekend, notably the French Derby, Smart View offers an engaging, user-friendly and dynamic racecard that is accessible to all. In addition, Smart View has already displayed strong ROI at major festivals, including a 76% return at the Cheltenham Festival where eight out of the 27 winners were correctly selected as top rated.

Spotlight Sports Group’s Managing Director, Sam Houlding, was delighted with the latest addition to Smart View: “Using the Racing Post data we have been able to provide Smart View selections for every British and Irish race since launch, and the inclusion of International Racing from such as France, Australia, and the USA only expands the reach of this product. Smart View remains a unique and original way to read a racecard and appeals to all racegoers”.

Live in over 1,000 retail outlets in the UK and Ireland, and on the Racing Post App, Smart View continues to provide an industry-leading, user-orientated experience for existing bettors and new.

Spotlight Sports Group’s retail services are powered by the Racing Post and are proven to drive revenues with a rich content experience for betting audiences.

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JUICY BUTTON GAMES LAUNCHES WITH $3M SEED ROUND LED BY THE GAMES FUND

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Juicy Button Games, a new independent games studio co-founded by the creators of Total Battle, Pixel Gun 3D and Mighty Party, today emerges from stealth with the announcement of a USD $3M seed round led by The Games Fund, a specialist early-stage VC fund that invests in outstanding video game developers and GameTech companies.

The investment will fuel Juicy Button Games’ development of an innovative mobile-first 4x strategy game from its headquarters in Limassol, Cyprus. The 4x genre is typically dominated by studios from China and, in its quest to create a worthy European challenger, Juicy Button Games has assembled a founding superteam which has been responsible for mobile titles grossing over $700M. Each co-founder brings a unique skillset to Juicy Button Games to create the perfect blend of top-tier 4x mechanics, slick user experience, and data-backed creative marketing. They are:

  • Alexander Kravchuk. A mobile gaming veteran with over 20 years of experience, Alexander is the creator of Total Battle, a leading MMO strategy title with $222M in lifetime revenue and 43M lifetime unique players.

  • Anton Sinelnikov. Anton is the co-founder and game design director of Cubic Games, which was acquired by Nexters in 2022 in a $100M deal. Cubic Games is best known for its legendary mobile FPS, Pixel Gun 3D, which has grossed over $220M on mobile and achieved 190M downloads. Anton is participating in Juicy Button Games’ seed round alongside The Games Fund as an angel investor.

  • Aleksandr Zaytsev. Aleksandr is the co-founder of Panoramik Games, a studio specializing in mobile midcore fantasy games including Mighty Party. Panoramik Games’ titles have achieved more than 70M downloads, with lifetime revenue of almost $180M across its portfolio.

Alexander Kravchuk, co-founder at Juicy Button Games, said:

“To launch Juicy Button Games, we brought together all four key elements: leading marketing expertise, cutting-edge tech, massive game design knowledge, and smart capital. Each of us has been in the games industry for decades and built successful companies, best in class. We united to alloy our collective expertise and resources and pour it into building the best 4x strategy game on the market. We’re set to launch and scale top-quality, deep, and juicy games that players will enjoy for years. We have known The Games Fund team for years and are excited to join forces with them as our first investor for this journey from Cyprus to global top charts!”

Ilya Karpinskiy, co-founder and General Partner at The Games Fund, said:

“At The Games Fund we are big believers in the mobile games market. But if you want to survive in the red ocean you better be a shark. Alexander, Anton, and Aleksandr are AAA founders and gurus in their domains with proven track records and top-grossing games under their belts. We can not imagine a better founding team for such an ambitious goal! Europe’s game development scene is an untapped pool of opportunities, and we are on a mission to connect outstanding gaming founders from overlooked regions with the global industry from the United States to South Korea! We are proud and humbled that both young and seasoned founders trust TGF to be their founding investor and can’t wait to see them building global companies!”

The Games Fund has raised $50 million to invest in gaming companies and founders from emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe, such as ROAR Games, Obelisk Studio, Made on Earth Games, KEK Entertainment and Jarvi Games.

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More powerful prizes await with Playson’s Thunder Coins: Hold and Win

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Playson, the fast-growing digital entertainment supplier, provides an electrifying experience in Thunder Coins: Hold and Win, showcasing the signature Thunder Coins feature.

Players are treated to a classic 3×3 grid as a feast of fruit symbols occupy the reels, accompanied by a fierce bolt of lightning striking through the golden coins which act as the Thunder Bonus symbols. Advanced graphics and gripping sound effects add even more thrill to each spin.

Triggered by the appearance of the Thunder Bonus symbol, the Thunder Coins feature accumulates the values of all other Bonus symbols to add them to a total win of a spin. Players will be able to benefit from the stand-out feature in both the main gameplay and Bonus Game.

The classic Bonus Game is triggered when there is at least one Bonus symbol on each reel. Only Bonus and Thunder symbols land on the reels during the Bonus Game, with the latter landing solely on reel two and remaining sticky throughout.

Four jackpots during the Bonus Game bring an extra dimension, with the random appearance of red, green, blue and purple lightning coins triggering jackpots rising as high as x1000.

Bonus symbols landing during the main game also present the chance of triggering the Pile of Gold feature, which fast tracks access to the Bonus Game by granting additional Bonus and Thunder symbols.

Thunder Coins: Hold and Win illustrates Playson’s commitment to continuously implementing stimulating new features whilst paying testament to popular mechanics that have proven a clear success with players.

Tamas Kusztos, CCO at Playson, said: “Thunder Coins: Hold and Win is a thrilling addition to our slot portfolio, showcasing our ever-popular Hold and Win mechanic and an array of engaging new features.

“The classic feel to the game combined with crisp graphics, immersive bonus rounds and an exciting new Thunder Coins feature presents a complete package and we are eager to see the response from players.”

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