Every week, casinoBeats delves into the numbers that drive some of the most interesting stories in the industry. The M&A theme was a recurring theme in a week which began with the news of Aristocrat’s $1.2bn purchase of NeoGames. This continued throughout the week, as the US once again became a hotbed. A key Kindred employee resigned, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld their complaint against Kwiff, and a report by NHS on gambling behavior was published.
Aristocrat has entered into an agreement for a definitive merger that will see it acquire NeoGames at $29.50 per share. This represents a value of $1.2bn.
The ASX listed group has maintained lofty ambitions in online gaming after a $2.7bn Playtech chase collapsed early 2022. NeoGames also bolstered its own operations by $470m acquiring AspireGlobal.
NeoGames unanimously approved the transaction. The company will merge with Aristocrat’s wholly-owned subsidiary and become a private company, no longer listed in any public markets.
The purchase price represents an increase of approximately 104% over the volume-weighted average price for NeoGames shares during the three months that ended on May 12, 2023. This was the last trading day before the announcement.
The Finnish National Police Board imposed a conditional EUR2.4m fine, along with a marketing prohibition order on Betssonsubsidiary BML group.
The police board stated that BML targeted customers on the mainland of Finland through multiple channels for a “lengthy period” and posted material online which “directly or indirect promotes the sale of gambling services in the country”, which is prohibited under the Finnish Lotteries Law.
According to the act, companies without a license under the Lotteries Act cannot market in the mainland of the country, where the state-owned company Veikkaus holds a monopoly over gaming, betting, and lottery.
The law enforcement agency stated that BML was given multiple chances to make a statement about the activity. Although the company “introduced some changes to its marketing channels”, marketing on the mainland continued.
Rene Jansen is the Chair of Kansspelautoriteit. He reiterated “crime shouldn’t pay”, and vowed to continue “to hit companies right where it hurts,” regarding violations of Dutch gaming laws.
Jansen’s latest blog post stated that it was “paying off” for game providers to legally offer their games. He also claimed that the penalty package adopted by the online market when it opened on October 1, 2020, “has produced good results”.
It must be profitable for game providers to legally offer their games. This is only possible when we penalize illegal supply severely,” he said.
Jansen backed an approach whereby threats are issued through an order that is subject to periodic penalties payments. He reiterated that the regulator was not opposed to taking firm actions.
The NHS has published a Report on the impact of gambling behavior and problem gambling in UK.
The report, which looked at gambling participation, published statistics that drew some parallels to the insights from a recent survey by the UK Gambling Commission.
According to the Health Service, 0.3 percent of the UK population is considered to be “engaging in problematic gambling” according to Problem Gambling Severity Index, while 2.8% can be identified as “engaging in risky gambling behaviour”.
The UKGC published its own statistics in the form of a quarterly telephone survey. It stated that the UK’s rate of problem gambling was 0.2 percent as of February 2023. This is a drop of 0.3 percent from the previous quarter.
Light & Wonder announced its intention to purchase the remaining 17 percent of SciPlay for $422m in cash. The group valued the shares at $20 each.
The group currently owns 83 percent of SciPlay’s economic interest and 98 percent of its voting interests. This proposal represents an enterprise value $2.1 billion and a premium 28.5 % based on stock prices at the end of business May 17, 2023.
After the transaction, SciPlay will become a fully owned subsidiary of Light & Wonder.
Nils anden was appointed Interim CEO of the Kindred Group by its board after Henrik Tjarnstrom resigned, effective immediately.
Anden, who took up the post, expressed a “strong faith” in the business model of the organization, and also affirmed his confidence in leveraging the potential of the operator by building a solid base.
The departing Chief Executive ends a nearly 13-year stint in the position, which began when he assumed CFO and deputy CEO duties in March 2008 after stepping up in July 2010.
In 2003, he began his tenure with the company under its former name of Unibet Group as a non-executive director and member of the Audit Committee.
Vici Properties announced a third investment in the international market after concluding definitive agreements to buy the real estate assets from a quartet gaming establishments under a sale-and-leaseback arrangement.
The real estate investment trust will acquire Century Casinos’ Century Casino & Hotel Edmonton and Century Casinos’ Century Mile Racetrack & Casino in Alberta, as well as Century Downs Racetrack & Casino and Century Downs Racetrack & Casino for C$221.7m ($164.7m), payable in cash.
The transaction will be subject to the usual regulatory approvals, closing conditions, and is expected to conclude in the second half 2023.
The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld their own challenge, after discovering that an advertisement for Kwiff appeared in a news story about junior blues published on the Portsmouth FC site.
The advertisement in question was seen on December 15,2022. It featured an advertisement for the Book of Dead Slot Game, which included free spins and a text stating that it was only intended for 18+ new customers.
Eaton Gate Gaming (trading as Kwiff) responded that the ad had been placed in the news section and not the junior blues membership page or other areas geared towards children and youth.
The content and location of the advertisement and content would change depending on the online behavior of the viewers, the data collected by the technology and the advertiser.