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Industry News

Esports Entertainment Group CEO Provides Letter to Shareholders

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Esports Entertainment Group Inc., a leading, global iGaming company and business-to-business (B2B) esports content and solutions provider, provided the following letter to shareholders from the Company’s CEO, Alex Igelman, including an update on its ongoing restructuring plan aimed at driving accelerated growth and increased operational efficiency:

To my fellow shareholders,

Since joining the Company approximately three months ago, I immediately undertook a top-to-bottom review of the entire organization based on where I believe the esports and esports gambling industries are heading, and then tied this into a cohesive vision for the Company. Esports Entertainment already owns several valuable assets that it had previously acquired and, going forward, these assets should serve as the foundation for the Company’s new direction. By concentrating our efforts and streamlining the business, I am extremely confident in our ability to establish a dominant position within this high-growth industry and drive long-term profitability.

Strategic Focus

As a business-to-consumer (B2C) iGaming operator in international markets, operating under our MGA license, we plan to have a renewed focus on esports wagering through new betting content and offerings. Concurrently, the Company is implementing strategies to expand its B2C esports wagering services through its Idefix platform, and we are in the final stages of integrating the Oddin.gg iFrame solution on our platform for esports wagering. Eventually, we plan to offer an “esports-first,” Idefix-based B2B platform for sale and distribution to third parties. Through the Idefix iGaming platform and the MGA-based suite of B2C brands, together with growth opportunities in the B2B platform sector, we anticipate a unique opportunity to bridge the iGaming and esports worlds.

In the US market, we expect to direct our attention toward aggregating and supplying B2B esports solutions and content for the esports and esports gambling industries. The Company also plans to direct significant attention toward bespoke e-simulator tournaments and related e-simulator content. EEG is already well known in the esports community for its highly valuable esports venue management solution through its ggCircuit division, which has an established presence in the US and globally. Among the markets we plan to target, we believe there is a significant near-term opportunity within the education market, where there has been considerable growth across both domestic and international college and university campuses as well as K-12 schools. We also plan to enhance the existing ggCircuit software with unique features that facilitate integration with esports wagering content where it is legally permitted, and incorporate several achievable add-ons to the software, resulting in increased revenue for both clients and the Company.

Operational Efficiency

In addition to our near- and long-term growth strategies, we are divesting or closing non-core business lines to streamline our operations. In January of this year, we completed the sale of our eSports Spanish Gaming license for approximately $1.2 million. On the immediate heels of this transaction, we completed the sale of the Bethard business in February for approximately $1.7 million in cash at closing, and further eliminated debt and liabilities to the Bethard business of approximately $7.5 million. In March, we initiated the liquidation of Argyll Entertainment, an online gambling business in the UK with recurring losses.

We have also reduced headcount from 158 full-time employees at December 31, 2022, to 99 full-time employees, inclusive of planned reductions. As a result, annualized salaries are expected to decline by approximately 36% based on the actions being taken thus far. Although we incurred upfront costs related to the restructuring, over time, these initiatives are expected to lower our operating expenses by over $4.0 million on an annualized basis. In addition, we have pinpointed further opportunities for cost savings.

Balance Sheet Improvement

We have dramatically enhanced our balance sheet. Specifically, we reduced debt and other liabilities by approximately $27.1 million since December 31, 2022. The principal amount of our Senior Convertible Note was reduced by $16.3 million, from $32.2 million at December 31, 2022, to $15.9 million as of March 31, 2023. Other payables to the holder of the Senior Convertible Note were reduced by $2.5 million. Through the sale of the aforementioned Bethard business earlier this year, we eliminated approximately $7.5 million of debt and liabilities. Lastly, we terminated a lease, resulting in a $0.8 million reduction in lease liability. We appreciate the support of our senior lender and are working to convert additional debt to preferred equity, which we believe illustrates their confidence in the long-term outlook for the business.

Management Restructuring

In addition to my own appointment as CEO earlier this year, we recently promoted Michael Villani to interim CFO. Michael brings deep experience in corporate finance and capital markets and has been instrumental in the restructuring of the business and resulting cost reductions. Before joining Esports Entertainment, Michael worked as a Director in the Deal Advisory practice of KPMG supporting clients with technical accounting, buy-side and sell-side transactions, initial public offerings and SEC reporting. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer of a Geneva-based hedge fund and held other senior accounting roles at a number of public companies. Moreover, we eliminated non-core, senior leadership positions that were not aligned with the future direction of the Company.

Summary

The esports betting landscape today lacks uniformity and is often either a by-product of traditional sports betting, or something that conventional US bookmakers struggle to comprehend and integrate seamlessly into their platforms. Esports Entertainment has extremely valuable and differentiated assets, which we believe will be key to the future of this industry. We are executing on our vision with a specific focus on esports betting solutions and esports e-simulator content, targeting both the B2B and B2C markets.

I strongly believe that our achievements over a short three-month span are truly noteworthy. However, this is merely the starting point of our journey. Our team now comprises seasoned gambling executives, former regulators, and video game industry professionals, all of whom are committed to realizing this vision. We are also diversifying our sources of revenue to create a more resilient and sustainable business model. With the right leadership, direction and financial discipline, I am extremely confident we can establish Esports Entertainment as a leader in this rapidly emerging market, while unlocking value for shareholders.

We truly appreciate the support of our shareholders and look forward to providing further updates on our progress in the weeks and months ahead.

Alex Igelman

Chief Executive Officer

Industry News

Leading online slot developer announces launch of Snoop’s High Rollers which will go live exclusively with popular crypto sportsbook and casino

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Gaming Corps, a publicly listed game development company based in Sweden, has signed a major deal that will see it launch an exclusive slot game in collaboration with rap legend, Snoop Dogg. The game will drop exclusively on Roobet, the online casino where Snoop Dogg is a brand ambassador. 

Snoop Dogg needs no introduction. He made his music industry debut when he appeared on Dr Dre’s 1992 album, The Chronic, and has since sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. He’s also made several movie and TV show appearances, making him one of the most iconic artists of all time.

The game is “Snoop’s High Rollers” and allows players to experience what it’s like to live life as a music legend. The soundtrack is inspired by Snoop’s early and later works and the main man has also narrated parts of the game to really bring it to life.

Snoop has also played a part in creating the gameplay, hand-picking mechanics and bonus features to really put his stamp on the game. Roobet has also got in on the action, leading to a unique online slot that will soar to the top of the charts among its players.

Snoop’s High Rollers will make its debut exclusively on Roobet, the crypto casino and sportsbook that has taken the market by storm since its launch in 2019. The casino’s team has put a comprehensive marketing strategy behind the game with plans to use it to drive new customer acquisition at scale.

“It is with much pride that we at Gaming Corps have had the chance to develop a game in close collaboration with Snoop Dogg and Roobet, where we have combined our unique gaming perspective with Snoop Dogg’s unparalleled style and charisma,” Juha Kauppinen, Gaming Corps CEO, said:-

“Our vision is to offer players an experience where music, culture and gaming merge into something extraordinary. Our close collaboration with Roobet has enabled us to do the impossible, namely world-class marketing, game release is planned for 20 of April. We’re thrilled, and discussions are already underway about several game concepts!”

Anthony Brennan, Head of Partnerships at Roobet, added: “Roobet loves pushing the envelope and never flinches at an opportunity to bring iGaming and pop culture together. Snoop loves his game, we love the game, and we’ve been delighted at the experience of building something that feels fresh in an industry full of remixes.

“We can’t say enough nice things about the Gaming Corps team, and we’re excited to hear what the gaming community has to say!”

 

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Industry News

IDnow Bridges the AI-human Divide with New Expert-led Video Verification Solution

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IDnow, a leading identity verification provider in Europe, has unveiled VideoIdent Flex, a new version of its expert-led video verification service that blends advanced AI technology with human interaction. The human-based video call solution, supported by AI, has been designed and built to boost customer conversion rates, reduce rising fraud attempts, increase inclusivity, and tackle an array of complex online verification scenarios, while offering a high-end service experience to end customers.

The company’s original expert-led product, VideoIdent, has been a cornerstone in identity verification for over a decade, serving the strictest requirements in highly regulated industries across Europe. VideoIdent Flex, re-engineered specifically for the UK market, represents a significant evolution, addressing the growing challenges of identity fraud, compliance related to Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes and ensuring fair access and inclusivity in today’s digital world outside of fully automated processes.

As remote identity verification becomes more crucial yet more challenging, VideoIdent Flex combines high-quality live video identity verification with hundreds of trained verification experts, thus ensuring that genuine customers gain equal access to digital services while effectively deterring fraudsters and money mules. Unlike fully automated solutions based on document liveness and biometric liveness features, this human-machine collaboration not only boosts onboarding rates and prevents fraud but also strengthens trust and confidence in both end users and organisations. VideoIdent Flex can also serve as a fallback service in case a fully automated solution fails.

Bertrand Bouteloup, Chief Commercial Officer at IDnow, said: “VideoIdent Flex marks a groundbreaking advancement in identity verification, merging AI-based technology with human intuition. In a landscape of evolving fraud tactics and steady UK bank branch closures, our solution draws on our decade’s worth of video verification experience and fraud insights, empowering UK businesses to maintain a competitive edge by offering a white glove service for VIP onboarding. With its unique combination of KYC-compliant identity verification, real-time fraud prevention solutions, and expert support, VideoIdent Flex is a powerful tool for the UK market.”

Whereas previously firms may have found video identification solutions to be excessive for their compliance requirement or out of reach due to costs, VideoIdent Flex opens up this option by customising checks as required by the respective regulatory bodies in financial services, mobility, telecommunications or gaming, to offer a streamlined solution fit for every industry and geography.

Bouteloup added: “Identity verification is incredibly nuanced; it’s as intricate as we are as human beings. This really compounds the importance of adopting a hybrid approach to identity – capitalising on the dual benefits of advanced technology when combined with human knowledge and awareness of social cues. With bank branches in the UK closing down, especially in the countryside, and interactions becoming more and more digital, our solution offers a means to maintain a human relationship between businesses and their end customers, no matter their age, disability or neurodiversity.

“VideoIdent Flex is designed from the ground up for organisations that cannot depend on a one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring their customers are who they say they are. In a world where fraud is consistently increasing, our video capability paired with our experts adds a powerful layer of security, especially for those businesses and customers that require a face-to-face interaction.”

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Industry News

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Strive Gaming, the award-winning real money gaming platform provider for North America, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Smith as its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). With an illustrious career spanning over two decades in the gaming industry, Smith brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Strive.

Smith’s impressive career includes significant leadership roles at William Hill, Rank Group, Flutter Entertainment (owners of FanDuel) and Game Play Network. He has been instrumental in the technical development and growth of these businesses, each at varying levels of maturity and size.

At Rank Group, one of the UK’s leading land-based casino and bingo businesses, Smith oversaw the company-wide expansion of their Player Account Management (PAM) and Omni-Channel experience, demonstrating his ability to drive innovation and scalability within complex environments. This experience is extremely valid to tribal and commercial casinos alike who are figuring out how to create an ideal connection between land based and digital experiences.

With additional experience across Class III and Class II gaming, and a deep understanding of US regulatory and technical complexities, Smith brings a unique perspective to Strive Gaming. Known for his hands-on approach to technical leadership, Smith is committed to driving innovation and excellence within the organization.

“I’m thrilled to join the talented team at Strive Gaming,” said Smith. “Having worked with their PAM product from a customer perspective, I have firsthand experience of its quality and potential. I am confident that together, we can further evolve the company and achieve our vision of becoming the number one PAM provider in North America.”

Smith’s appointment underscores Strive Gaming’s commitment to fostering innovation and delivering cutting-edge solutions to its clients. His vast experience and proven track record make him an invaluable addition to the leadership team.

“We are delighted to welcome Ian Smith to Strive Gaming as our new CTO,” said Max Meltzer, CEO of Strive Gaming. “Ian has rare characteristics; exceptional hands-on skill, experience and yet a sense of calm, humility and above all a desire to help talent around him flourish. This coupled with his extensive industry experience in the gaming industry make him the right person to lead our technical initiatives and helping the business achieve its goals”

 

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