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City Bet Club predicts 2022 UK operator earnings to fall short


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City Bet Club, the expert tipster service founded by leading industry veterans, predicts that UK operator Q4 2022 earnings reports are likely to make disappointing reading.

In a ‘triple punch’ for operator brands, the compounded issues of a steep decline in World Cup turnover compared to Russia 2018, an overhaul of the winter sporting calendar to accommodate the Qatar tournament, and “intrusive” affordability checks are expected to have a significant impact on turnover and consequentially, reported earnings.

By analysing financial performance, the World Cup is expected to have netted a strong margin-win for operators due to shock results, making it one of the most “bookie-friendly” in history.

However, early-stage punter losses in the Group Stage, which continued throughout the tournament will have heavily affected overall turnover.

In particular, City Bet Club’s analysis of January 2023’s trading and financial updates issued so far by major UK brands reflect this, noting that Bet365’s announcement this month is a key indicator of market health.

With Bet365’s operating profit down by 88% for the financial year due to significant investment in overseas jurisdictions, it is seen as a strong indication that major operators no longer view the UK as a growth market.

This view is supported further with Kindred’s trading update, owner of UK flagship brand Unibet. It highlights an unexpectedly low sports margin in the last quarter – despite the “bookie-friendly” World Cup results. This likely alludes to overstretched marketing and promotional spend, eroding gross win and margin.

The third major indicator that World Cup turnover has fallen short of expectations is via 888/William Hill’s trading update; especially with like-for-like gross win performance compared to Russia 2018.

In choosing to highlight the metric of ‘Player User Days’, by comparing customer engagement performance of the delayed Euro 2020 with Qatar 2022, City Bet Club believes that the data does not bode well.

This is especially due to the World Cup having 25% more matches as well as the lack of a heavy summer horse racing program to compete with, suggesting the like-for-like comparison indicates an uplift of only 22% to be disappointing.

Compounding the overall issue for UK-facing bookmakers further is the third punch, that of affordability checks, pointing to a far wider structural issue in the industry.

As highlighted by leading commentators in the Racing Post, major betting exchanges and high-profile professional gamblers, the issue of “intrusive” affordability checks are a major factor in reduced betting activity for UK operators.

The effect on horse racing’s income from the levy is directly related to bookmaker profits. Not only is this seen by City Bet Club as a serious issue for bookmakers, but also for UK racing.

As further confirmation of this view, Arena Racing Company has estimated that digital betting turnover on UK racing has declined by £800m in 2022, with an estimated £40m loss in income from bookmakers.

Commenting on the situation, David Brown, Co-founder of City Bet Club and one of the UK’s most experienced trading directors, believes that this has created a bleak outlook for the UK. He added:

I’ve been in the industry since 1976, and with 47 years in the game, this is by far the most pessimistic outlook for the health of the UK betting market that I’ve seen.

“While the World Cup may have seen record margins, word on the street is that turnover is significantly down compared to Russia 2018. Given that punters suffered many setbacks early in the Group Stage, the industry saw reduced recycling of customer money as bookie-friendly results continued throughout the tournament.

“Traditionally a major football tournament and robust Christmas period, with a full program of racing, would normally put the big brands in very positive territory. Currently – the silence says it all, and we’re yet to see comparisons of like-for-like turnover to the 2018 World Cup, which may infer all is not well.

“Last but not least is the uncertainty around the government white paper on gambling, which is yet to go public. This has the potential to add even more challenges to the operation of the UK betting market. It will no doubt be a key decider on how the industry proceeds from here.”

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Yggdrasil and Reel Life Games set to charm players in new launch Power of Love

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Yggdrasil and Reel Life Games set to charm players in new launch Power of Love
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Yggdrasil and Reel Life Games have coupled up to develop a truly romantic reel adventure like no other in their latest Valentine’s Day themed launch, Power of Love.

The 5×4, 40 payline title sees a mischievous cherub overlook the reels, whilst a suave gentleman and dashing lady take centre stage on reels filled with roses, hearts, and diamonds.

But don’t judge a pretty book by its cover… Power of Love has plenty of valuable features to keep any audience engaged. During base gameplay the Power of Love symbol acts as a Wild, significantly boosting the chances of players forming winning paylines. Should two halves of the heart land on consecutive reels, a special Love Meter will fill up. If it reaches the full height, then the features selection is activated.

The selection screen displays three different features: Love is Popping, Love is All Around, and Love Grows, which can also stack and work in tandem, allowing for impressive win opportunities.

The Love is Popping feature sees between two and 20 Wilds land on the reels, all whilst heart symbols automatically change into Wild symbols leading to further wins.

Love is in the Air is a symbol upgrade feature that enables all of the selected symbols to convert to a matching, higher value symbol. Additionally, two Wilds will also land on the game reels.

Love Grows will alter the reel height, allowing the play field to expand in height up to 5×8, doubling the amount of paylines in play, meaning even greater winning potential.

Lastly, should three bonus symbols land on a single spin, players will be awarded with seven Free Spins which can see all three of the features stack for the duration of the bonus.

Power of Love is the latest title by Reel Life Games to join the YG Masters portfolio, following Midway Money. The title is powered by GATI, Yggdrasil’s state-of-the-art technology enabling partners to employ the preconfigured, regulation-ready, standardised development toolkit to consistently produce cutting-edge content followed by rapid distribution.

Stuart McCarthy, Head of Product & Programs at Yggdrasil, said: “Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we’re delighted to announce that love is very much in the air with our latest release.

Power of Love combines numerous exciting features with an amorous theme, and we can’t wait for players to fall in love with our latest game!”

Andy Kniaz, CEO at Reel Life Games, said: “Valentine’s Day brings around the chance to match a timely and novel holiday theme with some exciting features. We are honoured to release another Reel Life game as part of the YG Masters program. Working with Yggdrasil allows us to create fantastic gaming experiences, and we’re confident Power of Love will be another strong performing title in the portfolio.”

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Love is in the air for Spinomenal!

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Love is in the air for Spinomenal!
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Leading iGaming content provider, Spinomenal has added a new dimension to its ever-expanding Universe with the timely release of Book of Aphrodite – The Love Spell. As we gear up for the Valentine’s season, this slot promises to leave your players feeling all warm and fuzzy inside on their hunt for riches.

The legend of Aphrodite will live forever, based on the story of the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty. This mythical themed slot is the next stage in the Spinomenal Demi Gods Series and takes players on a thrilling journey to uncover the legendary story of Aphrodite’s powerful love spell.

This game has a 6×3 slot layout with 10 winning lines. Medium paying reel symbols are represented by beautiful images inspired by this legend of love including a shimmering pearl, a majestic dove, an ancient Greek bust of Aphrodite and a life-like image of the beautiful Goddess herself! The highest value symbol is the gleaming magical book of spells.

This also acts as the Wild. It possesses a scatter feature that will enable it to be counted as any symbol on the reels. Three or more scattered Wilds anywhere on the slot will pay 3- x2, 4– x25, 5– x250, 6- x500 and it will also activate 10 free spins.

During the Free Spins game, for every spin, a randomly assigned symbol (except for the scatter Wild) will act as the expanding symbol for that spin only. Once the slot result is determined, the expanding symbol will expand to form new pay-lines in addition to existing pay-lines, giving the player the opportunity to win up to x10000!

Spinomenal CTO, Omer Henya commented: “The beautiful aesthetics of this game combined with our renowned, innovative game mechanics are a winning mix and represent a fantastic, timely addition to the Spinomenal Universe.”

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PRAGMATIC PLAY OFFERS A TASTE OF PARADISE IN CLUB TROPICANA™

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PRAGMATIC PLAY OFFERS A TASTE OF PARADISE IN CLUB TROPICANA™
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The provider delivers an exotic experience with Club Tropicana

Pragmatic Play, a leading content provider to the iGaming industry, is shaking up the marketplace with its latest release, Club Tropicana™.

Inspired by exotic drinks, fruit, inflatables and umbrellas are depicted as the symbols in this 5×4 slot. Players will be aiming to create matching combinations across the title’s 12 paylines to be awarded a win.

Money symbols also appear on the reels with instant cash prizes attached to them, however, they can only be unlocked in the free spins round. Awarded for landing at least three scatter symbols in the base game, 10 free spins are initially unlocked and additional scatters award extra spins up to a maximum of 20.

Here, a wild is added to the reels which collects all instant cash prizes on the game board. Every fourth wild collected unlocks a retrigger granting 10 additional spins and an incrementally increasing multiplier of up to 10x in total.

This slot release follows hot on the heels of recent hits like Fire Archer™ ,Monster Superlanche™ and Fish Eye™ which reside amongst a collection of over 300 unique titles in Pragmatic Play’s award-winning games portfolio.

Irina Cornides, Chief Operating Officer at Pragmatic Play, said: “In need of a highly volatile vacation? Then look no further than Club Tropicana™ where vibrant aesthetics are only outshone by the big win potential in our colourful new slot.

“Showcasing fan favourite mechanics seen in hit titles like Big Bass Bonanza™, Club Tropicana™ has a free spins round where players upgrade multipliers and retrigger free spins by collecting instant cash prizes which culminate in some huge wins. Additionally, there is a 4,000x instant cash prize found on the reels that truly demonstrates the volatility we have packed into this release.”

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