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Pixel Federation goes back to Slovakian roots to ramp up its successful CSR strategy

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Pixel Federation goes back to Slovakian roots to ramp up its successful CSR strategy
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The largest game developer in Slovakia, Pixel Federation, has spent the last 14 years growing successfully, now boasting a staggering €47.8m annual revenue in 2020 and 120 million loyal players across international markets, however it has also consistently dedicated itself to contributing to Slovakia’s development. A strong focus on responsible business strategy has always been key to Pixel Federation’s operations and supporting its hometown of Bratislava was core to the CSR. Pixel rose admirably to the challenge of the pandemic, with focus splitting from its long-standing education and innovative development, towards fundraising resources for frontline workers, and now Pixel is adapting its CSR strategy once again, to focus on the environment.

Actively contributing to the green fight swept the games industry last Summer, with initiatives such as Playing for the Planet and Green Game Jams pointing the spotlight onto the impact gamers and respective developers can have on global issues. A sector heavily scrutinised for its environmental footprint and carbon waste, it was an important step for game developers to take towards counteracting their global footprint and joining together to conserve the environment. For Pixel Federation staff and expansive player communities, doing their bit for the planet continues to be a poignant issue and so the company has pledged to dedicate a large portion of its upcoming CSR to a number of environmental projects.

“Education, the environment, culture and sport are still only an appendix on the edge of many Slovakians’ understanding of life skills. It’s a long-term and unchanged situation in non-strength sectors as they don’t have a quick return on investment. We want to ensure that the Slovakia we leave behind is better than the one we were born into,” says Co-Founder, CSR Strategy lead and CLO, Lucia Šickova.

Breath of fresh air

Pixel Federation is a company rooted in strong community values, and the call from the players and staff was clear; the environment is key to our greater survival, and a worthwhile and meaningful investment. Rolling up its sleeves to get back to its founding roots, the company chose to collaborate with Bratislava city on the 10,000 trees project, the first 12 of which, planted through this green initiative, already stand proud on Šancova Street in Bratislava.

“I see this activity as a partnership with the city. Our motivation is not personal or corporate PR, our motivation is impact and something that will outlive all of us,” comments Co-Founder and former CEO, Šimon Šicko

Alongside dedicating time and funds to the 10,000 trees project, Pixel Federation will also work closely with BROZ (Bratislava Regional Conservation Association) which brings together professional conservationists dedicated to the protection and restoration of rare habitats in the Slovakian mountain range, Little Carpathians. These mountains are victim to extensive felling, often of healthy trees, leaving behind a sparse and barren environment. Funding from Pixel Federation will be used to mark healthy trees for forest rescue and rejuvenation of the local habitat.

With these projects already underway, Lucia is determined that Pixel Federation’s support for wider efforts won’t be fixed, to allow for spontaneous aid where needed. “Our CSR strategy has always been a combination of long-term, consistent support for the projects we believe in, as well as one-time support for efforts we see as an urgent need. In recent years, we have also supported the Kramáre Hospital, the well-known Red Nose initiative, and focused our efforts to fundraise for frontline workers when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Slovakia,” affirms Lucia.

The results stand firm

At the birth of Pixel Federation’s charitable ventures, the main ambition was to raise awareness of gaming and provide opportunities for young people to encourage fostering creativity and innovative skills, a field that Slovakian education at the time did not consider worthwhile.

Pixel’s first education project was the Butterfly Effect: a unique and highly valued platform across the nation where successful Slovakian digital companies such as Sygic, Leaf, HubHub and Pixel Federation share their knowledge with young people, and the results are impressive. More than 130 programme graduates have successfully created 22 products and produced four new start-ups full of enthusiastic young talent. With long-term financial support from Pixel Federation, the dedicated people behind Edulienka were able to create a standardized education system that focuses on innovative and comprehensive development of 21st century skills in socially disadvantaged children. Distributed amongst a number of schools in Slovakia, Pixel’s time and funds supported this project to ensure the expansion of the first school from 15 to 100 pupils and enabled those from socially disadvantaged families to study.

Pixel Federation also initiated the pandemic driven platform Who will help Slovakia to aid Slovak medical facilities in the face of COVID-19. Together with a number of other parties, Pixel launched a nationwide fundraising project in a record time of just a few days, gaining wider support from several companies including tech giant Amazon, ČSOB Foundation and many others. In total, Who will help Slovakia, headed by Pixel Federation, successfully raised an incredible fund of more than €1.4 million.

There is little doubt that the results Pixel has derived from its dedication to supporting development within Slovakia speak for themselves. The education projects alone have enabled hundreds of students to develop otherwise unattainable life skills and helped transform Slovakia into a gaming industry to be reckoned with.

Central Europe

Low6 equips BETFAN with free-to-play arcade games

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Low6 equips BETFAN with free-to-play arcade games
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The multi-game partnership sees the legal Polish operator build out its proposition by appealing to the nostalgia of much-loved games

Low6, the leading gamification innovator, has secured an agreement with BETFAN, a new legal Polish bookmaker, to deliver a suite of free-to-play games. The operator has earmarked Low6’s pioneering spin on free-to-play games as a strategic addition to their product offering to retain and boost their active player base.

The new product offering will launch BETFAN’s first arcade-style game, Horse Race. The side scroller game challengers players to navigate a horse between sporting objects by tapping their touchscreen or mouse. The further they progress in the game, the more points they earn.

The portfolio will also include a Bingo game where players will be issued a digital card of sporting events that are marked-off in real time with in-play action. Players are rewarded by getting a line or full-house on completing their card.

“Our goal is to make constant progress.” comments Jakub Świsłowski, Vice President of BETFAN. “The future of our sportsbook division sees free-to-play games as a key development in our product offering. We truly believe that our partnership with Low6 will allow us to make a huge difference in the Polish market and this cooperation will also open up new doors for sportsbooks in Poland”.

“BETFAN, like Low6, are focused on innovation and we’re delighted that part of our portfolio of games will be implemented within their product suite.” comments Jamie Mitchell CEO of Low6. “That our first game is delivered as a new, innovative arcade solution means we have something that the betting market has never seen before. We can’t wait to flick the switch and launch our arcade offering to the wider sportsbook and igaming verticals.”

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Central Europe

DSWV Calls for Changes as Black Market Betting Rises in 2023

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The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) has analysed the development of the German sports betting market for 2023 at its annual press conference. The main focus was on tax revenues, the black market and player protection.

Decline in Tax Revenue

In 2023, legal sports betting providers in Germany recorded stakes of €7.72 billion, a decrease of 5.4% compared to the previous year.

“Instead, the money flows into the coffers of the black market providers,” DSWV President Mathias Dahms said.

This development illustrates the challenges facing the legal market. One important reason for the decline is the migration of many players to illegal offerings. For example, since the State Treaty on Gambling came into force in 2021, regulated providers have not been able to keep up with the extensive betting offers of the black market due to a limited betting programme. The association is, therefore, calling for attractive framework conditions for regulated providers so that they remain competitive.

Combating the Black Market

Despite regulation, the black market has a significant market share in Germany. Studies, such as the Schnabl study by DSWV and DOCV, show that around half of the time spent by German online gambling users is spent on illegal sites. This alarming development requires urgent action on the part of the Joint Gambling Authority of the federal states (GGL). The DSWV is, therefore, calling for a reorientation of the current regulatory policy in order to strengthen the legal market and curb the black market.

Promotion of Player Protection

Many interested parties will open betting accounts during the European Football Championship. It is, therefore, all the more important that gamblers are directed to the legal market. Advertising helps to make the brands of legal providers stand out from the illegal offers on the black market. Only companies permitted by the GGL protect players. In the debate on sports betting advertising, the DSWV is, therefore, expressly opposed to a ban on advertising.

“No company can survive if it is not allowed to advertise, and this must remain the case for sports betting providers. Otherwise, players are left with the black market, where there are no protective measures and controls,” Dahms said during the conference.

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Central Europe

Greentube debuts content in Slovakia

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Greentube debuts content in Slovakia
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Greentube, the NOVOMATIC Digital Gaming and Entertainment division, has taken its diverse portfolio of popular slots live in Slovakia, marking further European growth for the company in regulated markets.

Now available via a range of the country’s leading online casino brands, players will be able to get their hands on Greentube’s upcoming releases such as Book of Ra™ Deluxe 10: Win Ways™, Sizzling Hot™ Deluxe 10 Win Ways™ and Top o’ the Money™ – Pots of Wealth.

These new releases will sit alongside the supplier’s classic games which have proved their enduring appeal among European players including hit titles such as Book of Ra™, Sizzling Hot™ and Ultrahot Deluxe™.

This latest market entry into Slovakia furthers Greentube’s growth in Central Europe and mirrors its progress globally, in line with its strategy for the year ahead.

Opher Ben Zvi, Deputy Head of Global Sales at Greentube, said: “Slovakia is another step forward in our roadmap for 2024. It’s a country with great potential and one where we expect big things from our proven content.

“Our range of games is set to provide a diverse choice for players, beginning with our successful WinWays™ titles. These will soon be joined by the global hits from our Diamond Mystery™, Diamond Link™ and Cash Connection™ game series.

“We’re proud to see them on offer to an even larger demographic via our partners in the country.”

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