Greece has confirmed that it will proceed with plans to revise its online gambling licensing regime to ensure new revenue streams for the cash-strapped government.
On Thursday, Greece’s Deputy Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis (pictured) informed parliament that the government intended to proceed with its plans to issue new online gambling licenses, 10 months after first announcing the plans.
Alexiadis said the government had finally had enough of the old licensing regime, under which the previous administration had issued 24 temporary licenses in 2011. These licenses were revoked the following year in what was perceived as a shameless attempt to boost the value of the government’s one-third stake in the OPAP betting monopoly before flogging that stake on the open market.
The botched licensing regime has been the subject of much legal wrangling between spurned operators, the Greek government and the European Commission. Not surprisingly, these 24 operators haven’t felt much responsibility to ante up a share of their Greek market revenue to the government. Alexiadis told parliament that the government’s total take from these operators has been less than €60k over the past three years.
In announcing its intention to revamp its online licensing regime, Greece estimated that the plan could generate up to €500m per year for the government, which is struggling to repay the €240b bailout it received from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in 2011 after the country’s economy imploded.
Greece envisioned a system in which online licenses would cost €3m for a five-year term. Operators would have to prepay minimum tax of €1m per year although the precise rate of tax has yet to be determined.
Also unspecified is what range of products operators would be able to offer. In November, the government proposed preserving OPAP’s monopoly of online random number generator casino games, which would likely produce still more legal challenges by aggrieved international license applicants.
Source: Calvin Eyre
William Hill rolls out ‘Judge Dredd’ slot from NYX
William Hill has announced the availability of ‘Judge Dredd’, a new omni-channel slot game developed by NYX Gaming Group’s proprietary games studio NextGen Gaming.
Based on the world famous ‘Judge Dredd’ series, the title will be made available across William Hill’s retail, mobile and online platforms on an exclusive basis.
The new title forms part of NextGen Gaming’s ‘Superbet’ slot series.
“This omni-channel launch with NYX allows for even more of our players to enjoy premium gaming content across our channels – that is exclusively in all of our UK shops, on the go via mobile and via traditional desktop,” William Hill’s head of product and content, Andrews Sackey, said.
David Johnson, commercial director at NYX, added: “High profile brands such as Judge Dredd, supported by best in breed NextGen game engines are invaluable for the acquisition and retention efforts of our operator partners and I’m confident the game will replicate its success online, instore.”
William Hill financially backing NYX Gaming Group’s bid to acquire OpenBet
UK-listed bookmakers William Hill are reportedly backing a bid by NYX Gaming Group to acquire betting technology provider OpenBet.
On Saturday, the Telegraph reported that Hills was lending its financial clout to a bid by the Toronto-listed NYX to acquire OpenBet, which supplies technology to the majority of the UK’s top online gambling companies, including Hills.
OpenBet’s private equity owners Vitruvian Partners have reportedly engaged Morgan Stanley to handle the sale of the sports betting industry mainstay. Vitruvian is believed to be seeking upwards of £300m for OpenBet, a healthy premium on the £208m Vitruvian paid when it acquired OpenBet in 2011.
Also among the names bandied about as potential OpenBet suitors is rival gambling tech firm Playtech, which supplies online casino products to the majority of UK-listed firms. Hills and a number of other major UK operators are reportedly uneasy at the prospect of becoming overly dependent on Playtech, which has developed a sharp-elbowed reputation among some of its clients, including Hills, which ultimately felt the need to buy out its former partner in the William Hill Online joint venture.
William Hill has so far been only a bridesmaid in the UK’s recent gambling merger mania, which has seen Betfair join up with Paddy Power, Coral get married to Ladbrokes and GVC Holdings absorb Bwin.party. Hills did make a £744m bid for rival 888 Holdings but the offer was rejected by 888 stakeholders.
With a market cap of only around £65m, NYX is much smaller than OpenBet, but NYX has been on an expansionist tear, Last April, NYX acquired Amaya Gaming’s Chartwell and Cryptologic B2B software businesses, which followed the November 2014 acquisition of Amaya’s Ongame poker business. More recently, NYX acquired Belgrade-based tech firm eGaming Consulting and Montreal-based games developers Side City Studios.
Unibet launches BetUP from Commologic
Unibet has agreed a deal to begin offering the BetUP second screen live betting game from Commologic.
Featuring a number of different gaming genres, the BetUP will be made available on Unibet’s desktop, mobile and tablet channels.
Commologic said the game has been designed to appeal to both existing players, as well as softer sports fans, educating them about in-play betting methods and techniques.
“Although sports betting is thriving, there has been very little innovation when it comes to softer, complementary products,” Commologic founder and chief executive, Tamir Berler, said
“BetUP is a fresh and innovative game that is entertaining and fun to play, while for operators it provides a new audience, high profit-margins, is risk free and extends session times and touch points.”
Erik Bäcklund, head of sportsbook at Unibet, added: “At Unibet we are very much focused on innovation and we believe that BetUP has great potential as a fan engagement tool.
“Both the online gaming industry and the way we consume media are changing and BetUP provides a friendly and entertaining second-screen live betting experience for casual players.
“We expect the product to be popular with existing customers, but also to act as a solid entry point for the less betting-savvy sports fans, who currently don’t bet online.”