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NOVOMATIC Group catches the lion share of attention at ICE Totally gaming with its grand appearance

Niji Ng

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NOVOMATIC GROUP, one of the biggest international producers and operators of gaming technologies in Europe captured the lion share of attention once again with its biggest appearance at ICE Totally Gaming London, the world’s most important gaming fair. Here a total of 25 group companies presented the NOVOMATIC Group’s comprehensive product portfolio from February 6th-8th, across an expanse of approximately 4,700 m². The offers at the NOVOMATIC exhibition stand ranged from high-tech casino equipment, systems and cash management solutions to arcade and pub products, sports betting, online, mobile and social gaming etc.

Harald Neumann, the CEO of NOVOMATIC AG said at a press conference at ICE London: “With this trade show appearance, which was again the largest, NOVOMATIC persists  to prove that as a full-service provider, we are among the world’s leading gaming technology groups.”

During the fair, Harald Neumann made an initial assessment of the 2017 fiscal year of the NOVOMATIC Group. The initial assessments revealed that the accumulated revenue of the NOVOMATIC Group witnessed a hike by around 10 percent to more than EUR 4.8 billion in 2017. Accordingly, Neumann expects to achieve a new revenue record.

NOVOMATIC is all determined to set its focus this year on leveraging the synergies between its approximately 300 companies, following the acquisition of a 52 percent stake of Ainsworth Game Technology. However, further acquisitions are not ruled out.

According to Neumann, initial calculations indicate that the NOVOMATIC Group will generate an accumulated revenue of EUR 4.8 billion in the 2017 fiscal year (2016: EUR 4.4 billion). The NOVOMATIC Group includes – in addition to NOVOMATIC AG – the Swiss companies ACE Casino Holding AG and Gryphon Invest AG.

NOVOMATIC AG itself will also be able to report a record revenue again this year, with figures increasing by a further 10 percent compared to 2016. The NOVOMATIC Group additionally achieved a new record in terms of headcount with around 29,500 employees.

The NOVOMATIC Group has seen strong growth in recent times, primarily through strategic acquisitions. The company now has 300 shareholdings, around 230 of which are consolidated in the balance sheet. Indeed, on January 5 this year, the finalisation of the majority holding in the Australian industry giant, Ainsworth Game Technology Limited marked a significant milestone in the history of NOVOMATIC AG. “Having grown a lot over the past few years, we will this year focus on increasing synergies between companies and, correspondingly, on more effective internal structures,” added Neumann. “Nevertheless, we will continue to watch the market and make purchases, where it makes sense,” He concluded.

About NOVOMATIC
The NOVOMATIC Group is one of the biggest international producers and operators of gaming technologies and employs around 29,500 staff worldwide. Founded by entrepreneur Professor, Johann F. Graf in 1980, the Group has locations in more than 50 countries and exports high-tech electronic gaming equipment and solutions to more than 75 countries. The Group operates around 270,000 gaming terminals and video lottery terminals (VLTs) in it’s some 2,100 plus gaming operations as well as via rental concepts.

Through its numerous international subsidiaries, the NOVOMATIC Group is fully active in all segments of the gaming industry and thus, offers a diversified Omni-channel product portfolio to its partners and clients around the world. This product range includes land-based gaming products and services, management systems and cash management, online/mobile and social gaming solutions as well as lottery and sports betting solutions together with a range of sophisticated ancillary products and services.

Niji has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. Besides reporting industry headlines from all around the globe, Niji is also head of the content management team at Impressions Content Management, based in Kerala, India, which offers writing and editing services to clients around the world.

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Central Europe

Interview with Dr. Mag. Klaus Christian Vögl

Niji Ng

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Dr. Mag. Klaus Christian Vögl, the long-serving Managing Director of the Department of Leisure and Sports Facilities in the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, offers here his lucid opinions on gambling and betting legislation in Austria. He not just talks about the nitty-gritty of legislation, but clearly implies where the new legislation could lead the betting industry to.

He is critical of Austria’s legislators and regulator. He says some of the legislators wantsimply to preserve and protect the acquis of monopoly companies (Austrian Lotteries, Casinos Austria)”. He talks positively about the way gambling legislation is changing in Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe.

There is much more. Read on for an enlightening interview with one of the foremost legal experts in Europe.

I’d first like to ask you to begin with a few words about yourself. It’s always nice to hear top-class professionals say a few words about themselves for our audience.

Klaus: I´m Managing Director of the Department of Leisure and Sports Facilities in the Vienna Chamber of Commerce since 1981. Our specialist group looks after around 40 different branches, from tourist guides to dance schools and sports companies to the gambling and betting sector. The companies in the gambling monopoly sector are members of another division of the Chamber. Here in Austria, we have a statutory compulsory membership of all commercial enterprises in the Chamber of Commerce, which is around 600,000.

 

Now on to betting laws in Austria. Protective can be a word used for the gambling legislation in the country. It is also somewhat unique in its distinction between betting and gambling. Your thoughts on this?

Klaus: The distinction made by the Austrian Federal Constitution is indeed special. Gambling is a federal matter and essentially regulated in a monopoly, sports betting is a matter of the state and governed by various different state laws. In the betting area, there is (still) a free market regulated under very strict conditions, apart from Vienna. In Vienna the competent authority, due to political decisions, almost does not issue licenses although we have a brand new state law.

 

The betting law varies from region to region in Austria. For instance, the betting law of Salzburg is different from that of Vienna. What about a uniform betting legislation throughout the country – like the gambling legislation?

Klaus: In fact, the current government program plans to transfer the betting system into federal competence. In principle, nothing would be objectionable. For the providers operating throughout Austria, it could even be a great advantage and a simplification. However, we fear that the legislator and the stakeholders behind it could establish a monopoly or oligopoly, in order to eliminate the free market. As was accomplished concerning slot machines before in 2012.

 There have been reports about new amendments in the betting and gambling legislation, ranging from IP blocking for online betting to the operation of biometric recognition in slot apparatus and setting up of a Competence Center. How are these legal amendments going to affect the betting industry in the country? Is it going to be stricter?

Klaus: We fear that the train will roll in the stricter direction. The planned changes in the gambling sector that you address are not yet affecting sports betting. Setting up biometric controls is not a problem for our industry in itself, even welcomed. What worries us most of all at the moment is the demonization of the betting terminals and, in Vienna in special, the legislators fight against betting exchange. Imagine: the whole country, the government and the whole of Europe is talking about digitization, and then we should get back to the bookmakers switch if possible. Whereas it anyway still exists.

Isn’t the conservative approach to betting and gambling legislation a hindrance to the growth of betting and gambling industry in the country?

Klaus: Absolutely, but that’s the political will of all political parties in Austria. The Chamber of Commerce is also in favour of strict framework conditions. The gambling and betting market does not have to grow at all, but it should be regulated in a consolidated way. This applies, for example, to the area of online gambling, which is totally ignored by our gambling law, or even online betting, for example, for which the Viennese authorities declare to be not responsible. Only in Salzburg you can apply for such a license concerning betting.

The gaming world has been witnessing a massive change with the introduction of new software platforms, crypto currencies and generally smarter operators. How is Austria’s law faring against the changes?

Klaus: Not at all, these areas are ignored and declared illegal by our regulator. The aim of the legislator is simply to preserve and protect the acquis of monopoly companies (Austrian Lotteries, Casinos Austria).

What are the major challenges facing the formulation of betting and gambling legislation as a whole? There is a thin line separating the need for protecting the society from gambling addiction and the need for allowing the industry to grow economically. How do the legislators negotiate this inherent conflict of interests?

Klaus: Legislators see, as far as private sector providers are concerned, exclusively the field of protection of players and minors. Economic considerations or argumentation with secure jobs go nowhere, and there is not even a willingness to talk in Vienna. In the federal states, the policy is sometimes more prudent. When, for example, in Vienna in 2014, the “small slot machine game” was turned off by the legislature, this brought many gastronomic businesses and of course also long-established vending machines companies in distress. We argued with a high number of jobs and a tax loss alone from the amusement tax of around 80 million Euros for the city of Vienna, per year. Then a politician in a leading medium said, “these jobs are worth nothing”. In such a view, unfortunately, every factual conversation is unnecessary. On the other hand, the protected monopoly sector is expected to grow, with regular sales and profit figures being published on a regular basis, pointing out the high social importance of gambling. That this is not EU-coherent, is evident.

 

What are the chances of realizing a unified betting law for Europe, at least for online gambling and betting? A legal equivalent of Euro, that is.

Klaus: The ball is clearly in the hands of the commission, which has been squandering on the “hot mush” for years. Even the Services Directive excluded the gambling sector. The chances are not good in the short term. In the medium term, the need to intervene regulatively cannot be ignored. We can only hope that this does not happen too restrictive, although with full respect for consumer protection, which is one of the declared main aims oft he EU.

 

On to a more general question now. E-sports are gaining more recognition and exponential popularity. It may soon be drafted into the Olympics too. Do you see any legal hurdles for the further growth of E-sports?

Klaus: As long as E-Sports remains skill-based, I do not see any problems, these are normal events. Should it be possible to make the area Olympic, that would be a milestone, because the sport is regulated more favourably than the game. It could also be legally betted on the outcome of e-sports events, which is currently not possible. It is important to observe whether e-sports is not abused for illegal gambling, there is a certain danger I see, and this would put the entire new business sector in the wrong light.

Now the final question – a bit off-topic. You have had a chance to travel a lot owing to your official position. Could you please share some interesting experience during your travels?

Klaus: It is interesting for me to learn, for example in the Prague meetings, that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are wider than Austria in terms of realistic regulation of gambling. Unthinkable, for example, that official representatives of the Austrian Ministry of Finance would sit down with operators and ask: what can we do better? Our regulator always knows everything better on its own, even a public corporation like the Chamber of Commerce is only partially heard. Fascinating for me is in my travels, in what a short time Europe has grown together. You can really feel European today, and I do it with all my heart. I still experienced customs borders, the Berlin Wall, the Iron Curtain – an hour’s drive from Vienna. How far away is that today! And that’s good.

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Central Europe

CEEG Awards 2018 Nomination Phase is open, submit your company

Zoltan Tundik

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Budapest – 16 May 2018 – We are excited to announce that the Nomination Phase for the third edition of the CEEG Awards is open. Companies operating in Europe are asked to nominate their brands for the 15 categories that are available in 2018.

CEEG Awards* 2018

CEEG Awards 2016 and CEEG Awards 2017 were a huge success, bringing a large wave of Post Event linking and mentions of the winners published on major portal such as Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, PRNewWire, GlobalLiveNews, local media, TV adverts and many more.

The awards in 2018 will be given to 15 categories (introducing eSports, Daily Fantasy Sports and Law Services) as the CEEG Awards has managed to create an independent, fair and representative awards event that recognizes significant achievements within the Central and Eastern European gaming industry.

The Awards celebrate gaming software suppliers, operators and service providers for their outstanding contributions to the online sector of industry in their respective fields.

The process in divided in 5 phases:

  1. Nominations period: 02.05.2018 – 15.07.2018
  2. Online voting period: 01.08.2018 – 31.08.2018
  3. Shortlist announcement (top 5): 05.09.2018
  4. 1 minutes live pitch in front of the attending audience of CEEGC Budapest for shortlisted companies: 25.09.2018
  5. Envelope style voting by the attending delegates of CEEGC Budapest: 25.09.2018

The winners will be announced on the final session of the day during CEEGC Budapest. You can book your seat on the following link.

*CEEG Awards stands for Central and Eastern European Gaming Awards

Below are the the 15 categories for which you can apply until 15.07.2018:

  • Best Sports Betting Innovation
  • Best Sports Betting Customer Support
  • Best Overall Sports Betting Provider
  • Best Casino Innovation
  • Best Casino Customer Support
  • Best Casino Provider
  • Best Financial Software provider
  • Best Overall Casino operator
  • Best Overall Online Sports Betting operator
  • Best iGaming Press in the region
  • Best iGaming Service Provider(Testing Laboratories, Hosting Services, Consultancy)
  • Best Testing Laboratory
  • Best eSports Provider
  • Best Daily Fantasy Sports Provider
  • Best Legal Services Provider

You can nominate your company on the following link.

As in earlier years, the conference is limited to 125 delegates and will host special networking session for delegates to meet and greet with an emphasis of getting to know each other’s area of business.

You can view the full agenda on the following link.

Make sure you grab your seat in time and attend the most prestigious boutique style gaming event which gather C-level executives yearly in one of Europe’s most visited city.

Register here!

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Central Europe

The registrations for CEEGC 2018 Budapest are now officially open, check the highlights

George Miller

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The registrations for CEEGC 2018 Budapest are now officially open
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Budapest – 14 May 2018 – The organizers of the Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference (CEEGC) are excited to announce that the registrations for the third edition of the annual event is now open. You can book your seat on the following link.

 

New year, new venue (even more luxurious)

The 2018 edition of the “bombastic gaming seminar” will be held at The Ritz-Carlton on the 25th of September and the event promises to once again bring the quality content and networking opportunities for attending delegates.

We are looking forward to organizing the 3rd edition of our crown event in Budapest. CEEGC gathers the international gaming community each year and we are aiming for an event at an even more luxurious venue this year. The event will of course also feature the yearly CEEG Awards, which will highlight some of the leading brands of the industry. See you all in Budapest!” said Zoltan Tundik, Founder and Head of Business at European Gaming Media and Events.

 

The age of Machine Intelligence and how regulators must keep up with technology

The subtitle of the 2018 event is “The age of Machine Intelligence and how regulators must keep up with technology” and the agenda is full of high quality content. CEEGC 2018 will once again feature regulatory and compliance related panel discussions about Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belarus, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, but will also focus on Responsible Gambling, AML, Licensing Procedures in the European Union, Innovation and will feature a special IMGL MasterClass™.

As in earlier years, the conference is limited to 125 delegates and will host special networking session for delegates to meet and greet with an emphasis of getting to know each other’s area of business.

You can view the full agenda on the following link.

Already announced sponsors of the event are NetEnt, BetConstruct and Tal Ron, Drihem & Co. Be sure to take advantage of the sponsorship opportunities in time as the packages are limited. View available sponsorship packages here.

Make sure you grab your seat in time and attend the most prestigious boutique style gaming event which gather C-level executives yearly in one of Europe’s most visited city.

Register here!

About the organizer, European Gaming Media and Events (formerly EEGMedia/EEGEvents)

European Gaming Media and Events is a leading media and boutique event organizer company in the European Union.

The live events/conference division is in charge of organizing boutique style executive gaming events that focus on bringing inside information from the top gaming experts in the European Union and beyond. Their first event was held in Budapest on the 19th of September 2016. Since then the team have implemented more destinations into their event portfolio.

In short, they cover most areas of Europe with international events that serve the local and global industry, optimize networking opportunities and bring the hottest topics into scope.

The event destinations include Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Riga and Ljubljana with special focus around emerging markets.

For more details about the calendar, agendas and locations, visit the Live Events/Conferences section on europeangaming.eu

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