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Stanleybet Pays Taxes in Bid to End Block on Entering Italian Betting Tenders

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Stanleybet Pays Taxes in Bid to End Block on Entering Italian Betting Tenders
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Stanleybet Malta Ltd., the Maltese subsidiary of the Liverpool based Stanleybet Group, has announced its decision to pay Italian retail betting tax to the Italian regulator, Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM), for the first time ever in Italy. The first payment, made on 2nd January 2023, with the “F24” form under the same rules that apply to Italian licensed operators, refers to the revenue made by Stanleybet in its Italian retail shops for the period 1st to 31st December 2022, which by law is due for payment by 31st January 2023. ADM was informed of this decision on the same day of the payment, via letter sent to its General Manager and to the 2 top officials responsible for gaming and betting at ADM.

Four sentences of the European Court of Justice, later confirmed by the Italian Court of Cassation and, recently, by the Italian Council of State, ruled that Stanleybet had been discriminated against with respect to free access to the Italian retail licensing system: both in the initial experimental phase (1998), and with regards to subsequent public tenders: in 2000, 2006 – with the “Bersani” tender – and, lastly, in 2012, with the “Monti” tender.

In addition, ADM prevented Stanleybet from entering the 2015 and 2016 “amnesty” proceedings. In fact, with multiple trials initiated by the Italian Regulator between 2014 and 2017 against senior Stanleybet executives and against Stanleybet shop owners (CTDs), ADM effectively made Stanleybet’s participation in those proceedings impossible, due to a lack of fair and objective entry conditions. Those proceedings ended in December 2017, when the deadline for seeking participation in the “amnesty” expired.

It should be noted that Stanleybet has never actually filed a complaint against ADM – despite all the crime reports that have been filed against its business in Italy and yet were ultimately concluded in Stanleybet’s favour.

The company has always favoured the path of dialogue. In fact, around the time of the expiry of the Italian retail betting licensing system, on 30th June 2016, Stanleybet, which by then was officially recognised as a lawful operator by the Italian courts, formally asked ADM to allow it to start paying the Italian retail betting tax in the same way as the Italian licensed operators do, by being linked to the “national totaliser” (the centralised data control system for licensed operators). ADM ignored the letter for 3 long years, and then only responded when forced to do so by the Italian Ministry of the Economy, whom Stanleybet urged to intervene as a last resort.

ADM’s historical aversion to Stanleybet should come as no surprise. After all, how could ADM, the organisation which itself was responsible for the discrimination suffered by Stanleybet, then turn around and admit that Stanleybet’s activity was always lawful? In addition, as ADM is a government body should the Italian Government not share some of the responsibility?

With the 2011 Stability Law and subsequent amendments, the Italian legislator provided for payment of the retail betting tax, not only by operators licensed in Italy but also by operators that were not licensed by the Italian authorities. However, in the latter case the betting tax payable could instead be calculated by reference to shop revenue based on tripling the average betting shop revenue for the relevant province. ADM then chose to apply these “tripling” provisions to Stanleybet, thereby effectively admitting that it still considered Stanleybet to be an illegal operator. The result of ADM’s actions was a large and unnecessary tax dispute, which remains ongoing.

During 2022, Stanleybet proposed to ADM that it was prepared to immediately start paying the retail betting tax as a licensed operator, subject to a formal settlement agreement to deal with alleged historic liabilities, with the intention of drawing a line under the issue, once and for all. Although various meetings were held in “Piazza Mastai”, ADM’s headquarters, even with the initial participation of the ADM Director himself, ADM’s position remained totally against this proposal. Even numerous settlement proposals put forward to ADM in individual tax proceedings, often with the support of the relevant Judge, were met with an absolute refusal by ADM to reconsider the calculations and Stanleybet’s position as an Italian licensed operator.

Given that any attempt to get ADM to accept a reasonable solution to the dispute seemed futile, Stanleybet proposed during a Group Board Meeting of its Executive Directors in Liverpool, held on 15th December 2022, to start paying the Italian retail betting tax, exercising the right to pay taxes in Italy like any other licensed operator. The decision was formally approved, after further deliberation and planning, at a further extraordinary Group Board Meeting of its Executive Directors held on 28th December 2022. Stanleybet hopes that ADM will consider this proactive decision not as a challenge, but as an act of common sense made in good faith and in the best interests of the Italian State. The Maltese gambling regulator (MGA), which is well aware of Stanleybet’s history in Italy, fully understands Stanleybet’s decision and the reasons behind it, and was officially informed at the same time as ADM. Whilst Stanleybet Malta Ltd.’s aim is for full participation in the Italian regulated system, it remains and wishes to remain, a licensee of the MGA – which it thanks officially, and with deep gratitude, for its continued support.

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Soft2Bet Announces 2023 Financial Results

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Company’s strong growth driven by Motivational Engineering Gamification Application (MEGA), sports betting, and geographic expansion.

Soft2Bet, a leading B2B casino and sportsbook platform provider, today released several key metrics demonstrating impressive company growth in 2023. Soft2Bet’s revenues grew steadily in 2023, as the company’s focus on expansion in regulated markets and highly gamified products enabled it to deliver its strongest year to date. For 2023, the company recorded an audited growth of 46% in gross revenue across its B2B and B2C operational areas. This corresponds to a 207% increase in EBITDA from the prior reporting period.

These results were driven by several factors, including the introduction of Soft2Bet’s gamification solutions known as Motivational Engineering Gamification Application (MEGA), which have proven to significantly increase Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) by more than 60%, player engagement and average revenue per user (ARPU) by 70% for the company’s partners.

Other contributing factors include strong growth in the company’s sports betting solutions, which saw a revenue increase of 300% in 2023, and expansion into a number of regulated markets with new licenses in Sweden, Greece, Romania and Italy.

Uri Poliavich, CEO and founder of Soft2Bet, commented: “With our MEGA solutions and ambitious expansion strategy, 2023 was an incredible year for our family at Soft2Bet. I have no doubt we’ll continue to see strong growth in 2024 as we innovate our gamification engine. We are already developing partnerships with new and old friends, expanding into North America, and delivering more game-changing solutions for our partners this year.”

In 2024, Soft2Bet will focus on further expanding its presence in Europe and North America. The company looks forward to entering the US market in New Jersey, as well as expanding into Portugal and Ontario, Canada and Mexico over the course of the year.

Soft2Bet’s primary focus remains on enhancing its MEGA technology. Powered by a robust tech stack, this solution consistently boosts engagement, volumes, and revenues by providing unparalleled personalization and tailored user experiences. Innovation remains at the core of the company’s philosophy, and going forward it will look to integrate AI and other new technologies to enhance and inform new features.

 

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North Star Network acquires SportsMole.co.uk

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North Star Network are delighted to confirm the successful seven-figure sum acquisition of SportsMole.co.uk, whichbecomes its first significant investment of 2024 and the latestaddition to NSN’s sports media portfolio.

With over a decade of online heritage, and seven million sessions monthly, SportsMole becomes one of the flagship assets in North Star Network’s family of over 30 sportsm edia sites globally.

The latest addition to the NSN portfolio joins existing media properties including Top Mercato, Afrik-Foot, Trivela, Premier League Brasil, and Vringe to expand North Star’s international footprint while providing a strong home for our UK-focused coverage.

North Star Network co-founder Julien Josset said: “I want to thank Alan Jay and Neil Wilkes for their trust.

SportsMole is a well-known sports media brand in the UK and many other English-speaking countries. Our ambition is to take this brand to the next level, by refining the editorial product, migrating to a new platform, and diversifying the
monetization sources to make it a sustainable asset for North Star.”

Founded in 2011, SportsMole is a sports news site delivering the latest breaking news and results from multiple sports, with a specific focus on football.

As well as providing coverage for the UK audience, SportsMole also enjoys a readership across the Anglophone world, with significant visibility in Africa and the United States.

SportsMole founders Alan Jay and Neil Wilkes said: “We are thrilled to conclude an agreement with North Star for the acquisition of SportsMole.co.uk. They have a proven track record of working with the biggest sports brands around the world, have a wealth of talent and experience at their disposal, and we are confident that they will take SportsMole.co.uk onwards to the next level in the years to come.”

NSN are excited to work with the SportsMole legacy team, who have demonstrated their ability to consistently reach a broad audience with their predictions and match coverage, and are excited to develop the site using their creative, data driven approach to sports media.

North Star Network is a leading sports media group, operating sports brands across 30 countries. With a headcount of 85 people, the company is headquartered in Paris, with offices in Lille and Sao Paulo.

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Team Liquid, Ninjas In Pyjamas, ENCE, and BIG join $350,000 Skyesports Masters 2024 in India

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Skyesports, the premier esports tournament organizer based in India catering to gamers across Asia, has officially announced the initial lineup of invited Counter-Strike 2 teams set to compete in the highly anticipated Skyesports Masters 2024, as the company eyes global expansion. Scheduled to unfold offline in India from April 8 to 14, this thrilling event promises a week-long spectacle of intense Counter-Strike action, as eight formidable teams lock horns to become the ultimate masters and for a share of the staggering $350,000 prize pool.

Among the distinguished participants revealed in this first wave of invitations are some of the most renowned names in Counter-Strike esports:

  • Team Liquid

  • Ninjas In Pyjamas

  • ENCE

  • BIG

Team Liquid and Ninjas In Pyjamas are two of the most notable names in Counter-Strike esports, with the latter being a Major winning organization. Furthermore, ENCE is a world-famous team from Poland, headlined by the 4-time Major winning player, Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander. Last but not the least, Germany’s BIG will also be competing in the Skyesports Masters with a stellar lineup.

The four teams will be joined by two more invited teams and the champion of the Europe Qualifiers. Finally, the champion of the India Qualifier will also compete in the Skyesports Masters 2024, providing the home fans with a local team to rally behind. The details for the Europe and India Qualifiers will be revealed at a later date. With the final eight teams, fans are set to be treated with intense Counter-Strike esports action as the world’s best lock horns for the title. Stay tuned to Skyesports’ Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook handles for more information.

With notable teams participating, a $350,000 prize pool, and a seven-day LAN event, the Skyesports Masters is set to feature nail-biting Counter-Strike esports action for fans. The eight teams will compete in a double-elimination bracket to determine the champion.

The Skyesports Masters is a part of Skyesports’ 2024 roadmap for Counter-Strike 2, which includes a total prize pool of $1 million across six international tournaments, as Skyesports solidifies its presence in the global esports roadmap for the FPS. The first of these is the Skyesports Grand Slam 2024, set to take place in Pune, India from March 14 to 16 with four teams – one from India, one from Australia, and two invited international teams – locking horns for a chunk of the $50,000 prize pool.

 Besides the Skyesports Grand Slam and the Skyesports Masters, Skyesports will be bringing the Championship 6.0, Skyesports Souvenir Colombo, Skyesports Global Tour in Thailand, and the India vs Pakistan Series in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The Skyesports Masters was launched in 2023 with an impressive $240,000 prize pool. In its first year, eight esports organizations competed across a month-long regular season leading into the Playoffs in Bangalore, India for the title. Now, the premium IP is being expanded in 2024 with a bigger prize pool and international teams.

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