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OPAP strengthens its position in online sports-betting in Greece through the acquisition of Stoiximan Group’s Greek and Cypriot business

George Miller

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OPAP strengthens its position in online sports-betting in Greece through the acquisition of Stoiximan Group’s Greek and Cypriot business
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OPAP S.A., (“OPAP”), SAZKA Group’s Greek and Cypriot subsidiary, has today announced (i) the receipt of regulatory approvals for its previously announced acquisition of 51% of Stoiximan Group’s Greek and Cypriot business (“SMGC”) and (ii) the acquisition (subject to regulatory approvals) of a further stake in SMGC as a result of which OPAP will have a total shareholding of 85% in and sole control of SMGC.

OPAP’s announcement and presentation can be found here.

Robert Chvatal, SAZKA Group CEO, commented: “Today’s announcement marks an important step forward for SAZKA Group and for OPAP, as OPAP gains a leading market position in yet another gaming vertical. OPAP, with SAZKA Group’s support, has achieved a milestone that will significantly strengthen its position in the online sports-betting market. In recent weeks, we have been working in anything but a standard business environment. And yet under these extraordinary circumstances our joint teams brought this transaction to fruition. Here my thanks must go specifically to the management team led by Mr. George Daskalakis”.

In 2019, Stoiximan Group (under the parent company TCB) generated revenues (GGR) of €245 million and EBITDA of €38 million. SMGC generated revenues (GGR) of €197 million, corresponding to 80% of Stoiximan Group’s total revenues, and EBITDA of 44 million.

 

OPAP:

OPAP is the leading gaming company in Greece. The company, founded in 1958 as the country’s national lottery operator and listed on the Athens Exchange in 2001, is the exclusive licensed operator of numerical lotteries (7 games), sports betting (4 games), Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and horse racing in Greece. It also operates exclusively, as a controlling shareholder (83.5%) through a joint venture, the passive lotteries and instant (scratch) games in Greece. OPAP is one of the largest charitable donors in Greece, operating under World Lottery Association (WLA) and responsible gaming standards.

About SAZKA Group:

SAZKA Group is one of the largest pan-European lottery operators. Its businesses run lotteries in all the major continental European countries where lotteries are privately operated, including the Czech Republic, Greece, Austria, Italy, and Cyprus. Its businesses focus on the lottery segment, including numerical lotteries (draw-based games) and instant lotteries (scratch cards), while also providing complementary products in sports-betting and digital-only games. They sell their products both through extensive retail networks and digital platforms. All its lottery operators are members of the World Lottery Association and the European Lottery Association and operate in accordance with their codes of practice.

Industry News

Entain Appoints Jette Nygaard-Andersen as its New CEO

Niji Narayan

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Entain Appoints Jette Nygaard-Andersen as its New CEO
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Entain plc has appointed Jette Nygaard-Andersen as its Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect. Jette is currently an independent non-executive director of Entain.

Shay Segev, the outgoing CEO, will remain available to Jette, the Board and management until July 8, to facilitate an orderly transition.

In addition, Rob Wood, Entain’s CFO, will have the role of Deputy CEO added to his current role with immediate effect, and Sandeep Tiku, Entain’s Chief Operating Officer, will be appointed to the Board later in the year.

Barry Gibson, Chairman of Entain, said: “We are extremely fortunate to have such an outstanding candidate and readymade CEO in Jette. She is already deeply immersed in Entain’s strategy, and clearly shares our ambition to be the world-leader in sports betting and gaming entertainment.

“Jette and I have been immensely impressed by Rob. He is extremely well regarded internally and externally, and the additional responsibilities will enable him to further develop his operational skills as well as overseeing a key tenet of our growth ambitions through M&A.

“Sandeep has been integral to the development of Entain’s unique proprietary technology platform, which is a source of significant competitive advantage. His appointment not only reflects his contribution to the success of Entain but is also aligned with our aim to have a broader range of experiences and inputs on the Board.”

Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: “I am very excited to have the opportunity of continuing the extraordinary momentum that Entain has in its existing markets, as well as helping it enter new regulated markets and reach new audiences. I am delighted that Rob has agreed to take on broader responsibilities and that the importance of our proprietary technology is recognised through Sandeep’s appointment to the Board. I am deeply wedded to Entain’s commitment to providing industry-leading levels of player protection, and to its philosophy that the most sustainable business in our industry will be the most successful business in our industry. I cannot wait to get started.”

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Industry News

Dutch Gambling Regulator Imposes €600,000 Fine on Virtual Coin Gaming

Niji Narayan

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Dutch Gambling Regulator Imposes €600,000 Fine on Virtual Coin Gaming
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Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has issued a fine of EUR 500,000 against the Curacao-licensed operator Virtual Coin Gaming (VCG) and a separate EUR 100,000 fine against an unnamed employee of the company for creating online games that the authority deemed to be games of chance.

VCG offered games via the websites www.futgalaxy.nl and nl.futgamer.com, which included online betting for football, hockey, and US sports, a FUT jackpot and game packs. Its online games were based on FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), a card game that is part of the EA Sports FIFA video game franchise, in which players earned credits in the FUT video game either by purchasing these credits directly on www.futgalaxy.nl and nl.futgamer.com or by exchanging virtual currency earned in the EA Sports video game FIFA.

These game packs were a simulation of loot boxes found in the FUT-based FIFA video games in which players had the option to purchase six different packs with values ranging from 5000 to 100,000 credits. Highly rated soccer players were randomly added to the packs. Since the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act does not issue licenses for internet gaming, online games of chance are forbidden in the Netherlands.

Since 2018, in response to research that revealed a link between loot box games and gambling addiction, the KSA has focused on loot boxes, particularly in-game packs in FIFA video games.

The KSA pointed out that online games of chance violate the Betting and Gaming Act. According to the KSA, it was clear that this was a case of an unlicensed operator that specifically target Dutch consumers through the use of the Dutch language, the .nl domain extension and the use of the Dutch payment system iDEAL.

The KSA deemed the VCG game packs to be games of chance. Research carried out by the KSA in January 2019, bolstered by announcements on the websites themselves, revealed that participants generally are not able to predominantly influence their chances of receiving prizes from VCG loot boxes. The KSA also referred to a decision of the court The Hague of 15 October 2020 regarding Electronic Arts, which ruled that in-game packs (i.e. loot boxes) inside FIFA video games constituted games of chance.

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Industry News

Vermantia Signs Content Deal with Caspian Tech

Niji Narayan

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Vermantia Signs Content Deal with Caspian Tech
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Vermantia, a leader in omni-channel content solutions, has extended its partnership with Azerbaijan’s state-licensed operator, Topaz.

The deal sees Caspian Tech provided with premium live racing betting content from the supplier’s market-leading Ultimate Live Greyhound Channel via its integration into the Vermantia CONNECT platform. On Caspian Tech’s behalf, Vermantia will set-up, and operate the bespoke satellite channel across its 500-strong Topaz branded shop estate.

“Caspian Tech represents a very important partner for us and I would like nothing more than to see us expanding our collaboration together. Topaz customers are now able to enjoy top quality live racing content, complete with high-definition pictures, a powerful bet acceptance system and a full data service,” Spyros Stavropoulos, Commercial Director at Vermantia, said.

“CONNECT has proven to be a game-changer in other markets already, combining the highest picture quality with genuine low-latency in a cost-effective solution that allows the operator to choose exactly what content they need,” Spyros Stavropoulos added.

“Our partnership with Vermantia meets both our quest for a trusted partner with an international content distribution experience and our goal to offer fast-paced and exciting betting products to our customers,” Mustafa Onder, Deputy Technical Director at Caspian Tech, said.

“We are very excited to be launching an upgraded service which we believe will prove to be an immediate hit, and no doubt enhance our retail offering with exciting action-packed betting opportunities,” Mustafa Onder added.

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