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Merkur UK raise charitable donations to £1.25m



Merkur UK raise charitable donations to £1.25m
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Merkur UK has underlined its strong community credentials by making a £5,000 donation to the UK’s Bacta Charitable Trust. Industry figurehead and Chairman of the Trust, Jimmy Thomas, together with Bacta Chief Executive John White were on the Blueprint Operations stand at the recent EAG show to acknowledge the donation which was made on behalf of Merkur UK by General Manager, Sascha Blodau. The donation, which is part of the Merkur Initiative programme introduced to help support smaller community-based good causes, raises Merkur’s charitable contributions in the UK to a staggering £1.25m.

Reflecting on the donation, Jimmy Thomas stated: “This sum is hugely appreciated by everyone connected with the Bacta Charitable Trust and extends Merkur UK’s tremendous support for community-focussed worthy causes. The last two-years have been extremely difficult for everyone in society not least the charity sector which saw its revenue streams run dry virtually over-night as a result of Covid-19. Contributions such as the one made by Merkur UK serve as a lifeline.”

Sascha Blodau added: “Merkur Initiative is all about providing financial assistance to those smaller charities that don’t receive the level of publicity and support enjoyed by bigger and better-known organisations. So far Merkur Initiative has helped over 40 such groups including an animal sanctuary, a foodbank in Manchester, an organisation that provides entertainment for children while they are receiving treatment in hospital, a hospice roof appeal, a homelessness organisation and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. What I hope we are demonstrating is that it’s possible to be a successful commercial organisation at the same time as being a responsible, progressive and positive corporate citizen. I am delighted that we have been able to support the UK trade association and help it to continue its fantastic work in the community.”


stc Group Announced as Elite Partner of First Esports World Cup to Create Unparalleled Gaming Experience



stc Group Announced as Elite Partner of First Esports World Cup to Create Unparalleled Gaming Experience
Reading Time: 2 minutes


The Esports World Cup Foundation (EWCF) today announced that stc Group, an engine of digital transformation, has been named as the Elite and Founding Partner of the inaugural Esports World Cup (EWC), being hosted at the world-class venue, Riyadh Boulevard City, between 3 July and 25 August. The partnership was announced at an official signing ceremony attended by Faisal Alsaber, Group Chief Commercial Officer and Ralf Reichert, CEO of Esports World Cup Foundation.

Through this partnership, stc Group will provide seamless connectivity across all EWC venues, creating an unparalleled competitive gaming experience. With a remarkable track record of innovation and integration of advanced technologies in gaming across the region, stc Group will elevate both professional and enthusiast gaming esports competitions to new heights.

stc Group is also the naming partner for three key venues at the event, which will showcase dynamic and immersive digital and gaming experiences: stc Arena, stc Play Gaming Hall, and stc TV World Cup Studios. These venues will highlight stc Group’s pivotal role in the festival, reaffirming its commitment to advancing the esports industry in the kingdom. The stc Arena and World Cup Studios will host esports matches, while the Gaming Hall will serve as a hub for participants to join community tournaments and other activations.

“I’m proud to welcome stc Group, a telecommunications giant and digital pioneer, as an Elite and Founding Partner of the Esports World Cup,” said Ralf Reichert, CEO of Esports World Cup Foundation. “stc Group is the digital backbone of our competitions and will bring the EWC content to local and global audiences. Through their festival activation, stc will enable fans visiting the EWC to stay connected with the special stc SIM Card. As one of the largest companies in the MENA region, their support means we’re not only going to offer exceptional digital access for fans and athletes but can take the Esports World Cup to the next level.”

Olayan Alwetaid, stc Group CEO, said: “Our partnership with the Esports World Cup is a testament to our vision for the future of gaming. We are thrilled to be deploying our seamless world-class connectivity, enabling the kingdom to become the premier global hub for gaming. stc Group is committed to bringing this event to life with innovative technological solutions, as well as showcasing the vast scale and scope of its services.”

During the EWC, stc play, the leading gaming platform for amateur and professional gamers, will feature engaging activities, including an ongoing prediction segment for all tournaments. Furthermore, with the stc play app, the participants can register for community tournaments taking place in the stc play Gaming Hall, one of the festival’s major venues.

stc tv, an industry-leading streaming service, will play a pivotal role in streaming all EWC tournaments on its platform, ensuring viewers can watch the action unfold in real-time. This partnership highlights the commitment of both stc Group and the Esports World Cup to advancing the growth of the gaming industry in the Kingdom, contributing to Vision 2030 objectives of becoming a premier gaming hub.

Mark your calendars for July 3, 2024, when the Esports World Cup will turn Riyadh into the heart of esports and gaming culture with an eight-week extravaganza. The Festival will showcase gaming activities, community tournaments, pop culture festivities, international experiences, and more. Fans can partake in these thrilling events and witness top athletes and clubs vie in 20 Game Championships for a share of over $60 million in prize money — the largest prize pool in esports history.

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Discover GR8 Tech’s Award-Winning Solutions at iGB L!VE 2024



Discover GR8 Tech's Award-Winning Solutions at iGB L!VE 2024
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GR8 Tech, an award-winning provider of high-performance Sportsbook and Casino platform, is gearing up for a productive iGB L!VE on July 17-18. For the last event to be held in Amsterdam before moving to London next year, GR8 Tech has prepared a vibrant booth 12-G75, drawing on the best practices that brought the company ‘Best Stand Experience’ at June’s SiGMA Asia; pleasant surprises for the attendees at the GR8 B2B Bar; and an exclusive event for the company’s partners.

GR8 Stand: Geo-Specific Solutions to Win the iGaming Race

GR8 Tech’s stand will feature several sections designed for productive business meetings, networking, and showcasing GR8 Tech’s solutions for iGaming operators. Visitors will be able to check out various products on demo screens and receive an in-depth consultation from an extensive team of product specialists and business development professionals, diving into the details of driving growth in various global markets with GR8 Tech’s geo-specific solutions.

Latin America? Asia? Africa? Europe? Wherever your next target is, GR8 Tech knows how to back up your next success story with robust technology and predictable results. Book a meeting with us at iGB L!VE, and let’s talk about your business challenges and how to beat them and win,” comments Yevhen Krazhan, GR8 Tech CBDO.

Pre-book a meeting with GR8 Tech to secure your time with the team, or visit booth 12-G75 at the event for an on-the-spot conversation.

An Experience to Remember: Interactive Game, B2B Bar, and Exclusive Event for Partners

In addition to the business side of the event, GR8 Tech will feature an interactive game at its stand, offering visitors a chance to relax and unwind, testing their skills in a fun digital race.

Next to the GR8 stand, the company will sponsor a B2B bar. Attendees can look forward to delicious surprises courtesy of GR8 Tech while networking in an excellent atmosphere designed for industry professionals.

On July 17, GR8 Tech will host an exclusive invite-only dinner for its cherished partners, promising a memorable experience celebrating mutual successes.

GR8 Tech looks forward to connecting with industry peers, partners, and new prospects at iGB L!VE 2024. Join us at Stand 12-G75 to explore how our award-winning high-performance solutions can drive your success in the iGaming industry and drive a GR8 success in the second half of 2024 and beyond.

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Our goal is to take the earnings of media buying teams to a new level” — Ayvar Gabidullin, CBDO of Extendy, on the features of the new platform and what is needed to launch your own online casino



Reading Time: 5 minutes


How did the idea of creating Extendy come about? What inspired you?

It all began around 5 years ago when representatives from two different areas of interest came together. On one side, we had an experienced team of IT developers, product managers, designers, and other professionals who together could create products of different complexities. On the other side, a team of media buying experts with years of experience of driving large volumes of traffic to others’ products, and who wished to reach new heights in this area.

By sharing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, it quickly became clear that by joining forces, we could create a great product both for ourselves and for the entire market. And this is how Extendy came about — it’s a platform for creating online casinos for media buying  teams.

Now, after developing and testing this product over these past 5 years, we are eager to talk about it and provide access to certain teams.

Why do media buying teams need their own casino? Isn’t it more profitable to have 4-5 different offers and not be tied to one specific one, even if it’s their own?

We’ve conducted hundreds of interviews with media buying experts and so many of them agree that having your own product is more economically advantageous in the long term. The key here is the long-term perspective and there currently is a strong demand in the market for creating one’s own casino.

Real, big, and stable earnings do not begin when you discover a couple of working combinations that return investments and start generating profit within six months. Rather, it’s when traffic grows after acquiring a new player, or when deposits cost nothing. This can only be achieved in one way—by investing in your brand, marketing, SMM, reactivating former users through CRM channels, and so on, increasing the share of organic traffic every day.

When media buying teams drive traffic to someone else’s casino, all the benefits of this free organic traffic go to the casino owners, not to the media buying experts. By having your own casino, and approaching promotion and all operational processes correctly, these benefits will go to you, as the owner, allowing you to significantly increase your profits and reach new heights.

What are Extendy’s key features?

The main aim is that media buying teams need only think about driving traffic. When it comes to all other operational aspects, they can rest assured that they will be taken care of.

We dedicated thousands of hours creating an infrastructure which would allow media buying teams to receive an online casino with fully autonomous, operational systems. We guarantee the seamless and efficient operation of every system, whether it’s user support, CRM, payment processing, anti-fraud mechanisms, etc. Extendy takes care of all this allowing teams to focus solely on traffic acquisition.

Another feature of the platform is the technical solutions offered for more effective traffic monetisation. Since the technical and media buying teams collaborated so closely during the platform’s creation, this helped us to conduct hundreds of experiments and implement the best practices into the final product version. This includes optimizing conversions at each stage of the funnel and the “Traffic Light” technology which predicts the LTV of users from a specific campaign in a short period. This allows teams to quickly stop the campaign in case of a red prediction or scale it in case of a green prediction.

Additionally, we have the AppAI technology for mobile traffic which analyzes the profile of the attracted user and the ad they clicked on to enter the product. Based on this data, a unique flow is created for each user, allowing for significant increases in conversion rates and faster return on traffic investment.

We are continuously improving the platform. The R&D team conducts experiments daily, develops new features, and implements them for our clients to enhance the efficiency of every dollar invested in traffic.

If someone wants to create their own platform instead of working with someone else, how much would it cost to develop such a platform?

I can’t give an exact figure, but I think it would cost at least $25 million if we’re talking about an all-inclusive platform like Extendy. But the difficulty isn’t so much in the investment as it is in the team, expertise, strategy, timing, focus, and other factors that aren’t immediately obvious.

A platform is a complex IT product that would take several years to develop. And while you’re developing it, significant changes could occur in the market which could affect your prospects. You need to accept these risks from the start.

Therefore, it’s obviously better to focus on what you do best—driving traffic—and let the platform handle everything else.

You mentioned earlier that the platform is already open, but not for everyone. What does this mean?

At the moment, we’re in closed beta and ready to work only with large media buying teams. Currently, our priority is a limited number of projects to which we can devote maximum attention.

Any past projects and clients you can mention?

The online casino brands BDMBet, BetOnRed, and CryptoLeo were launched on Extendy. We are delighted that they have gone on to become popular casino brands in their GEOs and we will do our best to scale this success.

We’re also working with some clients who prefer to remain anonymous, and several other brands which will soon be launched. We’re expecting to launch around 10 online casinos by the end of the year.

Thank you! Could you share your plans for the platform’s development and how media buying teams can get in touch?

If you represent a large media buying team, feel free to reach out to me, or you may fill in an application on our website and we’ll be in touch.

As for upcoming plans, as with any IT product, we have a long list of tasks and long-term plans that will expand our clients’ capabilities, both technically and product-wise. These include tasks for increasing profits and reducing traffic payback periods, improving user experience and design, increasing technical stability and speed, and much, much more.

I’d be happy to discuss more details in person! In fact, we’ll be at the iGB Amsterdam, SBC Lisbon, and SiGMA Malta conferences later this year. See you there!

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