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GiG extends Betsson relationship with Rizk launch in Germany

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GiG extends Betsson relationship with Rizk launch in Germany
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Gaming Innovation Group has today announced that the Rizk casino brand is now live in Germany, powered by GiG’s award winning platform, following confirmation of its suitability to the regulations now consolidated under Germany’s new nationalised online gaming authority.

A part of the Zecure deal that saw Betsson purchase GiG’s B2C assets in April 2020, the launch expands on a relationship that continues to grow and now covers multiple brands in nine regulated markets, across both Europe and Latin America. Rizk will look to benefit from a strong team behind an established brand, with extensive knowledge of the market.

GiG’s B2B platform, a multiple winner at one of the industry’s leading awards including ‘Full service platform of the year’ for 2023, has proven well suited to complex regulated markets like Germany, combining GiG’s wealth of experience together with an agile technology stack to ensure it is securely positioned to adapt and scale to any changes in regulatory frameworks. This commitment to compliance has seen GiG regulated in 29 global markets as of today, with a further 8 in the pipeline, to offer a breadth of growth opportunities for tier 1 partners such as Betsson, all under the highest levels of consumer protection.

iGaming in Germany has undergone a series of well documented changes to legislation following the Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, which came into force in July 2021. Previously regulated at state level, the appointment of a new federal regulator, Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) on 01 January 2023 has entrusted Germany’s policy development, licensing controls, market monitoring, disputes and operator conduct to a national governing body for the first time. It is expected that the changes will provide a secure footing for operators and providers to expand the German igaming market into the largest in Europe, over the coming years.

Marcel Elfersy, Chief Commercial Officer at GiG said: “Our excellent relationship with Betsson and the continuing expansion of our original deal, highlights the strength of our Platform, technology and managed services teams. We’ve positioned ourselves to be able to support our partners growth aspirations, understanding where those opportunities are and ensuring we not only meet those expectations, but exceed them. It is this ability to offer a localised and personalised service to a tier 1 operator like Betsson, that we believe places GiG as a market leader in the B2B space.”

Andrew Valenzia, Commercial Director at Betsson, added; This is a fantastic milestone for Betsson Group having such a legendary brand in RIZK return to the market. Our main focus is to provide our German customers the best player experience in the industry, that is safe and sustainable. The expansion into Germany reaffirms our fantastic partnership with GiG, who continue to provide us with an excellent service that goes beyond our expectations.

Central Europe

Playtech Expands iPoker Network into the Czech Republic in Partnership with Fortuna Entertainment Group

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Playtech announced the expansion of its iPoker network into the Czech Republic, in partnership with Fortuna Entertainment Group (Fortuna), marking the first introduction of Playtech’s iPoker network in the Czech market.

This launch represents a significant milestone for both Playtech and Fortuna, as it introduces poker into the Fortuna Entertainment Group for the first time. Through Playtech’s iPoker network, Fortuna’s players in the Czech Republic will now have access to a diverse range of poker games, benefitting from a strong international liquidity pool of players from all around the world, plus a high-quality player experience and state-of-the-art poker product.

The iPoker network has experienced explosive growth over the past few years, and the addition of Fortuna will contribute to the continuation of this trend. The Czech Republic is a prominent hub for live poker tournaments in Europe, with prestigious events held year-round in cities like Prague and Rozvadov. By joining forces with Fortuna, Playtech aims to tap into the potential of this vibrant market, bringing an unmatched online poker experience to the Czech audience.

Marat Koss, VP of Interactive Gaming at Playtech, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Fortuna to expand our iPoker network into the Czech market. Playtech is committed to providing a high-quality player experience through its cutting-edge poker product and continuous innovation and together with Fortuna’s continued success and significant growth trajectory as the leading betting and gaming operator in Central and Eastern Europe, this partnership will offer a modern, seamless, and engaging user experience for Fortuna’s players.”

Myke Foster, Group Head of Gaming & Commercial Strategy at Fortuna Entertainment Group, said: “Poker has a significant presence in the Czech market with an established player base and we are impressed by the quality of Playtech’s poker product. We see tremendous potential in this product and are confident it will deliver an exceptional and modern user experience to our customer base. We have had a very successful partnership with Playtech over the years and we look forward to watching this partnership continue to grow from strength to strength.”

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Central Europe

BF Games Enters Czech Market with Apollo Games

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BF Games Enters Czech Market with Apollo Games
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BF Games, the dynamic game development studio, has entered a new market through a collaboration with Apollo Games, a major licensed online casino operator in the Czech Republic. The content deal provides Apollo Games customers with the supplier’s most engaging releases, including titles like Stunning Hot Remastered and Cave of Fortune, which are now available.

ApolloGames.cz has been entertaining Czech players since 2021 and is part of the globally known Apollo Game Group, which boasts more than 17 years of experience in online games as well as land-based operations. The commercial partnership is part of the supplier’s plans to expand across Europe and supply thrilling games to operator partners worldwide.

Rok Hribar, Head of Sales and Account Management at BF Games, said, “Our new partnership with Apollo Games is a huge milestone for us as we make a significant entrance into the growing Czech market.
“We look forward to providing some of our most popular games to Apollo Games player base and bringing our creative content to their screens.”

Stanislav Jurecka, Casino Manager at Apollo Games, said, “We are watching the rapid development of BF Games’ offerings and are thrilled to sign this deal with the studio.”
“Adding BF Games’ slots to our online casino is a great win for us and our players, providing fantastic entertainment through a great mix of classic and innovative content. We look forward to introducing further games throughout the year and growing our successful partnership.”

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Central Europe

ZEAL starts with 35 percent revenue growth into the year 2024

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ZEAL Network SE, the leading German online provider of lottery products, has started the new financial year with a strong growth spurt. In the first quarter of 2024, billings from lotteries climbed by 22% to € 246.3 million. Group revenue increased by 35.0% to € 36.1 million (2023: € 26.7 million). EBITDA at Group level increased slightly by 1% to € 9.4 million due to one-off effects and the almost doubling of marketing expenses compared to the previous year.

“We made a very strong start to 2024 and were able to significantly accelerate our revenue growth, particularly in our core business of lottery brokerage. We are also particularly proud of the fact that we were able to achieve EBITDA slightly above the previous year’s level in the past quarter despite almost doubling our marketing expenses and a negative one-off effect from a major win in our charity lottery Deutsche Traumhauslotterie amounting to € 0.8 million. This shows that our measures to acquire new customers are paying off very quickly and that we are generating income across the entire breadth of our customer base,” says Sebastian Bielski, CFO of ZEAL. “With the announced squeeze-out at LOTTO24, we are also putting ZEAL in the best possible position for the future and are leveraging further efficiency potential.”

Revenue in core business grows by 28 percent

ZEAL’s significant revenue growth in the first quarter is primarily due to the strong performance of the lottery business. Billings increased by 22% to € 246.3 million, while revenue from lotteries rose by as much as 28% to € 32.0 million (2023: € 24.9 million). The growth in billings is primarily due to the 21% increase in the average number of active customers per month (MAU). ZEAL was also able to improve the gross margin in the lottery business to 13.0% (2023: 12.4%) thanks to a change in the product mix and further margin optimizations. Excluding the one-off effect from the distribution of a major prize in the company’s charity lottery Deutsche Traumhauslotterie, the gross margin would have been as high as 13.3%.

Games business with significant revenue growth compared to Q4 2023

The games business, which was launched last year, also developed very positively in the first three months of the year. Compared to the fourth quarter of last year, ZEAL was able to increase revenue from games by around 20% from € 1.8 million to € 2.2 million. At 7.0%, the gross margin was stable compared to the previous quarters.

ZEAL was also able to further expand its games portfolio at the end of the quarter. The subsidiary LOTTO24 AG received permission to offer a further 64 games.

Stable result thanks to efficient expansion of future earnings base

ZEAL invested heavily in future growth in the past quarter, acquiring more than twice as many new customers (320 thousand) as in the same period of the previous year (2023: 143 thousand). The company achieved this customer growth much more efficiently than in the same period of the previous year. At € 33.04, the acquisition costs per registered new customer (cost per lead, CPL) were noticeably lower than in the previous year (2023: € 36.77). Due to the company’s strategic decision to use the exceptionally good jackpot situation in January 2024 for efficient new customer growth, marketing expenses of € 13.4 million were 91% higher than in the same period of the previous year (2023: € 7.0 million). As a result, other operating expenses rose to € 21.0 million (2023: € 12.5 million). As a result of the increased number of new customers and the growth of the games business, the direct costs of business operations also rose to € 4.0 million (2023: € 2.7 million).

At € 9.4 million, EBITDA was slightly higher than in the first quarter of the previous year (2023: € 9.3 million). At € 7.5 million, EBIT was 6% higher than in the same period of the previous year (2023: € 7.1 million) due to lower depreciation and amortization recognized in profit or loss. Net income for the period rose to € 21.1 million (2023: € 4.7 million) due to the first-time recognition of expected tax benefits from the utilization of existing tax loss carryforwards in connection with the LOTTO24 squeeze-out.

Due to the good results of the first quarter of 2024, ZEAL confirms the forecast published on March 20, 2024. 

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