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Court date set


Online operator 32Red has revealed that its legal case against William Hill will likely be heard in the High Court in London next month. In its recent trading update, the company told the market: “32Red Plc contin- ues to take steps to protect its Intellectual Property Rights.” The dispute stems from William Hill’s 32Vegas online casino, which the bookmaker has since renamed 21Nova.


888 launches 3D casino ahead of cost cutting programme


PRODUCT LAUNCH 8


88 has launched a no-download 3D casino which allows its customers to design their own avatar and wander


around the 3D environment, playing casino games or interacting with fellow players. The innovative new release enhances the gaming portfolio at 888casino with 3D versions of blackjack, roulette and high roller rooms. The operator believes that the devel- opment will encourage players to stay on the website. It said in a statement: “The ability to see and interact with other players’ avatars also gives the site a strong social gaming aspect, and makes the 3D casino the most realistic online gaming experience yet. 888 staff avatars, distinguished by their uniforms and 888 badges, are on hand to help.” 888’s COO Itai Pazner commented:


PARTYGAMING AT A GLANCE H1 2010


REVENUES (IN EURO) Poker


Casino Bingo


EBITDA (IN EURO)


64.4m (down 10%) 8.6m (down 53%) 76.4m (up 23%)


24.3m (down 3%) Sports betting 10.2m (up 89%)


25.8m (up from 1.2m) 7.2m (up from 0.1m) 3.4m (up from 1.0m)


anticipating for merger


said. “What one has to under- stand is we will have a com- bined organisation of over 3,000 staff spread across Europe, highly complicated businesses with diverse cul- tures. To have two experi- enced online gaming executives coming together as a true partnership to drive the future of the business, I think, is going to be nothing but good for the sharehold- ers. And for Norbert and I it’s about value creation.” PartyGaming’s interims showed that the company remains in rude health, poker aside. The firm reported that total revenue for the first six months of the year was up 30 per cent to 181.2m euro (£150.4m) driven by acquisi- tions and strong growth in casino and sports betting. Its continuing clean EBITDA was also up 14 per cent to 48.1m euro (£39.9m). Ryan seemed happy with the performance: “In the first half of this year we had solid revenue growth - overall 30


per cent - but if you actually dissect it, our casino vertical grew 23 per cent organically and our sports vertical grew 89 per cent organically. So if you extract out the acquisi- tions of Cashcade and World Poker Tour, which we did mid to late last year, the business overall still grew 7 per cent half on half. So in light of the current macroeconomic climate and the competitive nature of poker, we’re not unhappy with that growth.” He was also pleased that


the World Cup didn’t affect bingo and casino business as badly as poker revenues. “There’s a higher correlation between a poker consumer and a sports betting con- sumer,” Ryan said. “Anyone who was likely to be watch- ing the football games would typically be a poker player or a sports betting player on our network. Bingo and casino consumers are less likely and, hence, those two verti- cals weren’t impacted as much as poker was.”


ANALYSIS


THE LITMUS TEST OVER WHETHER THE MERGED COMPANY WILL BE QUICK OUT OF THE BLOCKS WILL BE THE RELATIONSHIP


BETWEEN CO-CEOS JIM RYAN AND NORBERT TEUFELBERGER. RYAN APPEARS TO


RECOGNISE THIS “WE HAVE SPENT A GOOD CHUNK OF TIME TALKING ABOUT VERY DIFFICULT ISSUES AS WE HAVE NEGOTIATED OUR WAY TOWARDS COMPLETING A MERGER AGREEMENT. THE MORE TIME WE SPEND WITH EACH OTHER THE MORE CHALLENGES THAT WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO WORK THROUGH TOGETHER, THE MORE GOOD I FEEL ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP AND HOW WE'RE GOING TO WORK TOGETHER. SO I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT - I KNOW HE IS.”


888’s new 3D casino was developed by Digital Strip


Recruitment drive to launch slots.com


SLOTS S


lots.com has revealed that it is looking to recruit a minimum of 100 new employees in all areas of a gaming company from IT to marketing and all points in between as it gets ready to launch onto the market.


Bodog Brand bought the slots.com domain for almost £4m, but plans to allow the new business to operate as an independent company with offices in London and Barcelona.


Some of the new jobs will be based in Barcelona


Bodog believes that by combining the domain name with the drive of the new company personnel,


slots.com can become the largest player in online slots and casino too, given that in the future it plans to host a full featured casino including live dealer options.


The new brand will be looking to make headway into the opportunities pre- sented by the female market, which has seen genuine growth in recent years on which only bingo brands have so far capi- talised.


BettingBusinessInteractive • SEPTEMBER 2010 13


“We are extremely proud and excited about this innovative project. The release of the 3D casino brings players into a real-life gaming experience, with cus- tomisable avatars adding both personal- ity and depth to further enhance our players’ overall gaming experience.” The 3D casino was designed and developed by London-based Digital Strip Limited, a fast growing high-tech company providing innovative 3D soft- ware to the online gaming, retail and sports sectors.


In the meantime, 888 Holdings has announced that it is to save $5m-$6m


(£3.3-£3.9m) in the second half of the year through a cost reduction programme after the operator reported a 23 percent drop in profit after tax to US$8.4m (£5.5m). The as yet unspecified cost cutting


procedures were joined by the cancelling of an interim dividend ‘in order to con- tinue investing for future growth, and to support potential acquisitions’. 888 chief executive Gigi Levy com- mented: “Our business experienced a difficult first half against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment, with trading impacted by a number of factors including general online poker weakness, adverse F/X movements and, in relation to poker and casino in Q2, the FIFA World Cup. “A cost reduction programme has been implemented to help mitigate against this impact, the benefit of which will be seen in H2. A reorganisation of the technology and product divisions and a re-focusing of certain aspects of the business is also underway to better posi- tion the business for the future.” Looking ahead, the company said that the early indications of trading in the second half have suggested a return to historical seasonal patterns, with an ‘expected daily revenue decrease due to seasonality’. However, the firm reported an increase in first time depositors com- pared to the previous quarter and some ‘reassuring’ poker KPIs.


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