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Top user-friendly initiatives for enhanced safety and gaming experience



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India is the world’s largest mobile gaming market in terms of app downloads. Thanks to evolving technologies, the gaming business is expected to grow in new ways, with platforms that host games creating a wide range of employment prospects. According to an EY – AIGF (All India Gaming Federation) report, the Indian online gaming market, presently valued at $1.8 billion, is predicted to reach $4–5 billion by 2025. Additionally, it is predicted that there will be 510 million online gamers in India by 2022, up from 360 million in 2020.

While online gaming is growing exponentially and opens a world of connectivity and fast-paced fun, it is imperative for companies behind these popular games to put in place best in class security and privacy measures to protect the interests of the ever-increasing user base.

Here we list down a few noteworthy initiatives you can familiarize yourself with and keep in mind the next time you pick up your phone to play.

Protecting your money: Loss Protection Policy

Love playing chess, carrom or ludo in your free time? There are many notable apps right now that allow you to monetise your skills when playing these games. But sometimes, it’s easy to get carried away while gaming, regardless of whether you are winning or losing. What if you lose your money in the process? Do not worry! A few gaming companies are trying to address this with novel initiatives. For instance, MPL, one of the gaming unicorns in India, recently launched a ‘Loss Protection Policy.’ With this, you can play risk-free and get a refund of up to 100% of your net loss in case you lose a game.

Safeguards against cyber threats

Gaming has always been a great source of entertainment. But what happens when a game is hacked or your information is stolen? Cybersecurity in gaming is on everyone’s mind, both gamers and gaming companies alike. A few months ago, there were reports of a data breach on popular games such as Roblox and Grand Theft Auto. To protect user data, big gaming platforms like Steam have introduced 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) protocols to give players more control over their accounts. Indian companies are taking active steps in this regard too. MPL, PokerBaazi, WinZo, all have systems in place to scan for threats and bad actors and preempt any attacks. Incidentally, MPL and PokerBaazi were recently announced as winners of the SHIELD Trust Awards 2022, awarded by SHIELD a global risk intelligence company, based on the strength of their security measures.

No more bots or troublesome players

There’s no denying that games are a lot more enjoyable when played against friends and other people. But one of the biggest issues facing gamers is the prevalence of bots. We’ve all seen it before — they are programmed to act like real people but are system-generated. And they ruin the fun of a game well-played —afterall where is the fun and challenge in shooting down automated opponents in, say, a First Person Shooter? Another common issue is gamers using cheat codes to get ahead in the game and gain an unfair advantage. Fortunately, many gaming companies monitor such accounts in real-time and permanently ban them if any illegal programme or activity is traced. For instance, Krafton, the South Korean video gaming giant, recently removed 25 lakh accounts in a month to eradicate cheating on Battlegrounds Mobile India, popularly known as BGMI. Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, also regularly ejects gamers who are found guilty of cheating in games.

Keep your gaming in check: Time Lock

Like all good things in life, gaming is best enjoyed in moderation. That’s where time locks come into play. iPhones and Android phones already have in-built features or third-party apps available to help you check and reduce your screen time. Going a step further, several online gaming apps have also introduced methods to warn you if you are going overboard when playing your favorite game. For instance, the poker platform PokerBaazi has something called a Poker Break, a way for you to walk away and cool down for a duration of your choice. Other skill-gaming companies like Rummy Circle and MPL also have similar features to ensure you are gaming within reason.

To sum it up, gaming is a great way to unwind and have fun. And the above-listed player-first initiatives will go a long way in keeping it that way.

Industry News

Azerion Announces Proposed Changes to its Supervisory Board



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Since the start of 2022, Azerion has seen a period of significant transformation and growth including its listing on Euronext Amsterdam, the completed sale of the Youda card games portfolio and the recently announced placement of EUR 165 million of senior secured floating rate bonds.

Following their successful stewardship throughout this period, Azerion now announced the decision of Peter Tordoir (Chairman) and Derk Haank to step down from Azerion’s Supervisory Board. Both decisions to step down are expected to take effect as from the date of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to be convened as soon as is reasonably practicable to appoint the proposed new Supervisory Board members described below.

As Azerion prepares for the next stage of its growth plan and the business continues to scale into becoming one of Europe’s largest digital advertising and entertainment media platforms, Azerion welcomed Zafer Karataş and Wim de Pundert as proposed new Supervisory Board members. Further details relating to both proposed Supervisory Board members and the arrangements for the EGM are expected to be published shortly. A new Chairperson will be appointed by the Supervisory Board in due course.

Umut Akpinar, CEO of Azerion, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Tordoir and Derk Haank for their invaluable contribution to the success of Azerion and, in particular, during its initial phase as a listed company. We will be pleased to welcome Zafer Karataş and Wim de Pundert as new Supervisory Board members bringing additional commercial, industry and capital markets experience to the Board.”

Background on Proposed New Supervisory Board Members

Zafer Karataş brings extensive experience in Business Management, M&A, Reorganizations and Financial Audit. He is currently Chairman of the Board of technology company MeritGrup and a Supervisory board member of DVA Bilisim and Most Teknoloji.

Wim de Pundert has been active as an investor and entrepreneur since the early 1990s, including through the use of buy and build and market consolidation strategies. De Pundert founded HTP Investments, a shareholder of Azerion, together with Klaas Meertens. He is also a member of the supervisory board of Knaus Tabbert AG, a European manufacturer of caravans and mobile homes listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

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Industry News

Entain Provides Update on Current Trading and FY23 Guidance



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Entain plc has provided an update on current trading and FY 2023 guidance, as well as plans to update shareholders on the progress of ongoing actions to accelerate operational performance and drive shareholder value.

Current Trading

Post the summer, Online Net Gaming Revenue (NGR) has been mixed across the Group, but in aggregate, softer than anticipated. Q3 Online NGR growth is now expected to be up high single-digit percent, and down high single digit percent on a proforma basis. Key drivers include:

  • Adverse sporting results impacting sports margins during September
  • Group wide implementation of industry leading safer gambling measures and ongoing regulatory headwinds persisting longer than expected, particularly in the UK
  • Slower growth than expected in Australia and Italy
  • Good underlying Online growth (ex-regulatory impacts) as evidenced by further strong proforma growth in active customers across the quarter
  • Strong performance from recent acquisitions, particularly SuperSport in Croatia
  • Robust performance across Retail

BetMGM in the US continuing to perform well: on track to deliver positive EBITDA in the second half of 2023; FY2023 NGR at the upper end of $1.8-$2.0bn guidance; and the successful rollout of Single Account Single Wallet, as well as online sportsbook enhancements supporting strong start to the NFL season.

Entain now expect Group Online NGR for FY2023 to be up low double-digit percent with proforma NGR down low single digit percent. The company reiterate their expectations for FY2023 EBITDA to be in the range of £1.00bn-£1.05bn supported by robust operational controls.

Actions to Accelerate Operational Strategy and Performance

Over the last three years Entain has undergone a significant strategic transformation, improving the quality of earnings and aligning operations to ensure the Group is positioned as strongly as possible to deliver long term shareholder value.

Alongside the Q3 trading update on 2 November 2023, management will share more detail on how these actions are being implemented to accelerate performance and delivery, including:

  • A comprehensive market review focusing on long-term sustainable organic growth
  • The simplification of Group structures and operations to improve operational leverage and reduce costs
  • A plan for the migration of acquired businesses on to the Group’s industry leading technology platform
  • Optimising our capital allocation priorities
  • Progress on delivery of the Group’s Online EBITDA margin target of 30%

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain, said: “We continue to see good underlying growth in our online business and are reiterating our EBITDA guidance for the year despite softer than expected revenue growth in Q3 and the ongoing roll-out of industry-leading safer gambling measures. We continue to attract more customers than ever before to enjoy our products and services. BetMGM remains on track to deliver positive EBITDA in H2 and a full year NGR performance at the top end of our expectations, and we are particularly excited about the product improvements that we are rolling out over the NFL season.

“We have made significant changes to the Group over the last three years. Our focus now is on accelerating the actions we are taking to drive sustainable organic growth, expand our margins, capitalise on the US opportunity and deliver long-term returns for our shareholders. We remain confident in our ability to deliver on the vast opportunities ahead of us, and look forward to sharing more detail about the changes that we are making alongside our Q3 trading update in November.”

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Industry News

Holland Casino Identifies New Groningen Casino Site



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Holland Casino has chosen Business Park Ter Borch as the new location for its Groningen casino. Holland Casino selected the location at the gateway to Groningen for its accessibility and construction opportunities. Business park Ter Borch, on the edge of the municipality of Tynaarlo, offers Holland Casino the best opportunities to build a casino that meets the company’s architectural and sustainability requirements. Moreover, the location at the gateway to Groningen is easily accessible for guests and there is ample parking.

CEO Petra de Ruiter said: “We are happy that the decision has now been made. If the Tynaarlo municipal council is as enthusiastic as the board of Holland Casino, we can enter the period of planning and construction. I’m looking forward to that and especially to the moment when the new Holland Casino Groningen is open. That is not only good news for our guests, but also for our employees.

“They will soon be able to optimally welcome guests from a new building and offer the hospitality that can be expected from us.”

Spatial planning councilor Jurryt Vellinga of the municipality of Tynaarlo said: “The location makes sense because of the good accessibility and the space that the business park offers. For us it is a sign that the municipality of Tynaarlo and the region are still popular for companies. This location offers employment opportunities and is a great boost for tourism in our municipality.”

Attention has also been paid to the former Holland Casino location on Gedempte Kattendiep in Groningen. The casino was destroyed in a fire in 2017, with Holland Casino operating a temporary facility since 2018.

“Holland Casino offers the municipality of Groningen every cooperation to ensure that something beautiful comes back to the city center. We are grateful to everyone involved for all the cooperation and support we have received in recent years. We are very grateful to Groningen and Tynaarlo for the efforts made to find a suitable location,” Ms. de Ruiter said.

The new branch of Holland Casino, Holland Casino Groningen, is expected to open in 2027.

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