Founder Offers to Take Amaya Private in $6.7bn Deal

Amaya’s founder and former CEO David Baazov, who took an indefinite leave this year amid a Quebec insider trading probe, has made a US$6.7bn cash offer to the company’s current owners to take the publicly-listed firm private.

Amaya’s foremost asset is the PokerStars brand, with which the company is market leader in the poker vertical in many local markets, including the Netherlands.

While Amaya’s Q3 revenue rose 9.5%, the company’s core poker business declined 1.3% year-on-year.

PokerStars’ online casino and sports betting products, however, have been experiencing significant growth. The company’s online casino branch, moreover, will roll out a major UK ad campaign next week.


Unibet Tackles Customer Identification Process

Unibet has integrated the electronic authentication system BankID into its Sweden-facing Unibet and MariaCasino sites, in an effort to speed up the customer identification process.

The Swedish BankID system, which is used regularly by 6.5 million people, provides customers with a digital, legally binding signature.

“For other markets, we are implementing local solutions since Bank ID is only available to Sweden,” a Unibet spokesperson said. “In Belgium for example, we have implemented a local solution called mydigipass. We are looking at local solutions in other markets like Finland and the Netherlands.”


UK Affiliates under Scrutiny

UK affiliates are under scrutiny by the The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s data protection watchdog:

“The ICO said it has written to more than 400 businesses believed to be promoting online gambling websites asking them to disclose “how they use people’s personal details and send marketing texts”. It said it also wants details on where those businesses have sourced the personal data they use and how many marketing texts they have sent.”

Affiliates could face fines of up to £500,000.


Window of Opportunity for Smaller Operators

Smaller operators in the online gaming sector have a window of opportunity to snatch market share away from the “mega-merger giants,” as these big firms may struggle with front-end integration, according to EGR Magazine:

“As Hills’ recent troubles proved, new product innovation and front-end slickness count for naught if customers can’t access your site. And while DDoS attacks are thankfully still rare, downtime isn’t and nobody should underestimate the scale of some of these integration and migration tasks; nor the scale of some of the platform updates underway at some other large operators.

What we may have is a small 12 month window where rival operators can look to steal a             march on the mega-merger giants. Once PPB is operating on a single platform and can pour its considerable resource into product innovation then it will be a brave man who thinks they not have the firepower to blow the smaller players out of the water.

But for now there seems to be an opportunity for some of the many new entrants such as Sun Bets, Leo Vegas and Mr Green to make their mark. The question is whether they will take it.”


Dutch Regulator to Launch “Transparent” Horse Racing License Tender

The Netherlands Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit) announced yesterday that it will launch a digital tender for an exclusive five-year horse racing and harness racing totalizator betting license on November 29, 2016.

Contrary to previous license grantings, the tender will be open to multiple competitors whose offers will be judged according to transparent criteria.

The Gaming Authority’s announcement follows a series of court decisions finding private tenders of gaming and lottery licenses (in the absence of strict government oversight) to be in violation of EU law.

The license granting process will consist of two phases. During the first stage, the Gaming Authority will judge, based on set criteria, whether applicants are eligible for operating the license.

During the second, “knockout” phase, qualifying parties will be asked to account for the manner in which they intend to implement the totalizator license.

The current totalizator betting license, which expires on December 31, 2016, is held by Sportech Racing. As it will be all but impossible for the tender to be concluded on January 1, 2017, it seems likely that Sportech will be given a temporary license extension.

“This decision by the Gaming Authority comes at a rather late stage, considering the looming expiration date of the current license on December 31,” gaming lawyer Justin Franssen of Kalff Katz & Franssen commented. “It should also be noted that there is no objective justification to treat other exclusive gaming licenses, such as the license for sports betting, any differently.”


Other News

The Holland Casino branch in Eindhoven has joined “Samen voor Eindhoven,” an organization dedicated to responsible entrepreneurship and local social involvement.


Nederlandse Loterij is looking to hire a Head of Online Gaming.


Amsterdam-based law firm Kalff Katz & Franssen is looking to hire a paralegal/trainee solicitor for their nationally renowned gaming practice.


Slots content from Dutch company StakeLogic will be offered to EveryMatrix operators via the company’s CasinoEngine platform or its white label solution.


Germany is set to grant temporary licenses to all 35 operators that fulfilled minimum requirements in the controversial 2012 sports-betting tender.


The French parliament has approved a binary options, FX and CFD advertisement ban. A similar ban is currently being worked on in the Netherlands as well.


While the Swedish online market is booming, the online revenue of the country’s Postcode Lottery took a 37% dive.


Swedish gambling group Betsson is looking to raise additional capital to facilitate the group’s acquisition strategy, refinancing debt and general corporate purposes.


Playtech has launched a new live dealer roulette product based on HTML5, which offers the latest multimedia support. The new live roulette game has resulted in increased player engagement levels and higher revenue, according to the supplier.


Denise Coates, CEO of online gaming business Bet365, became Britain’s highest paid businesswoman after taking home £117.5m last year.