Greece presses on with reforms
The Greek government has ignored advice from the European Commission over its gambling reforms and proceeded with plans to legalise online gambling and slot machines. The laws strengthen the position of the state monopoly OPAP, which the troubled Greek government is hoping to priva- tise later this year. It is also hoping to generate 700m euro (£609m) from gambling licence concessions and taxes on the new gambling income. However, analysts have warned that an unfriendly regulatory environment, especially one that contravenes EU law, may put off potential investors
Finding the line of best fit in newly regulated markets
The implementation of gaming legislation across world gaming markets presents a unique set of challenges for online operators, according to 888 Holdings’ Yaniv Sherman.
ontinued regulation across world gam- bling markets has ushered in a new era in the online sector, as operators seek to find the line of best fit across an ever- changing industry landscape. Speaking at the World Gaming Executive Summit, which took place in Madrid last month, Yaniv Sherman, vice president of business development and sales at 888 Hold- ings, noted that the opening up of regulated spaces had caused a sea-change in the men- tality of online gaming companies. “As a successful .com operator and then later a B2B provider, new legislation has pretty much forced a restart of our online ventures,” Sherman said. “Terms like ‘acqui- sition’, ‘retention’ and ‘conversion’ that were perfected in a non-regulated space are now becoming much more complicated when we are discussing newly regulated markets.” When it comes to entering - or re-entering
- regulated territories in 2011 and beyond, the 888 executive stressed the importance of taking a ‘humble’ approach that places strong importance on finding the right partner.
“Regulatory tax structures, which have
previously been the domain of offline opera- tors, is now increasingly affecting online businesses, and if you wish to optimise your efforts in a particular country you need the right partnerships,” he stated. “In addition, companies not only need to optimise or rein- vent their proposition to fit complicated reg- ulatory landscapes in terms of tax. It also relates to the language you are speaking and the localisation that needs to be carried out. It’s a monumental effort.” Amid ever-changing legislative land-
YANIV SHERMAN (CENTRE), WITH EDUARDO ANTOJA, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE RELATIONS FOR CIRSA (LEFT), AND ROBERTO DI FONZO, STRATEGY DIRECTOR FOR SISAL
scapes, Sherman said issues of commit- ment remain vital when it comes to estab- lishing partnerships, particularly in terms of how much businesses are willing to invest in the online space. “It does require hard investment - you need to put in the initial revenues in order to ‘buy’ traffic,” he said. “This is always one of the first conversations we have with every poten- tial prospect, either on the B2B or B2C front. In terms of partnerships, it’s about seeing whether they understand the commitment involved in entering a regulated space. “The hard part is deciding where to focus.
It’s a big world out there, and every territory is regulated in a different way, but regulation is the key to everything that we decide. As a publicly-listed company we are on the con- servative side of the map. However, not all of our competitors are like that. They could decide to stay in a particular market no matter what happens. But, as we have recently seen, this is not always wise.”
rs the decks for Ladbrokes s of Ladbrokes as the two firms take the courtship dance.
retention and customer yield strategies across all channels.
JOHN O’REILLY: NEW MD AT CORAL INTERACTIVE
ucts - each of which will be led by an existing director. Stephen Vowles will lead the Customer Experience group and will be responsi- ble for all thinking to do with the customer and the execution of acquisition,
Nick Rust will drive the Channel proposition to cus- tomers - continuing his current focus on retail and machines, but also taking on responsibility for the delivery to the customer of the Ladbrokes Digital proposition, including mobile.
Richard Ames will lead the Products group which is responsible for the deliv- ery of efficient solutions to support the Ladbrokes business, including IT and data centralisation, trading systems and margin man- agement.
In addition to the three
operational groups, new chief financial officer Ian Bull will also have respon- sibility for M&A and Inter- national Development whilst Andrew Harley remains group HR director. Glynn said: “There has been extensive change at Ladbrokes during the last year as we have imple- mented our strategy. This reorganisation of our senior management is the natural conclusion of these changes and will enable us to have one view of the Lad- brokes customer and how they interact with us through each of our chan- nels - retail, telephone, mobile or internet. As one of the leading multi-
channel operators this will enable us to play to our strengths and deliver a clear, consistent proposi- tion to all our customers.” However, Gary McIlraith, who Glynn appointed last year to replace John O’Reilly, has left the busi- ness. Meanwhile, O’Reilly has become managing director of Coral Interac- tive. He said: “I am itching to get back into the betting industry and couldn’t have a more exciting prospect than developing Coral’s online business. Coral has a fantastic shop estate and a terrific brand but it has yet to punch its weight in the online space and there is a huge appetite in the
company to do just that going forward. This chal- lenge is right up my street.” Coral CEO Andy Hornby added: “We are delighted to welcome John on board as MD of Coral Interactive. His
Sportingbet’s operations in the regulatory grey Turkish market might prove to be a sticking point for the whiter than white Ladbrokes, which is why Sportingbet’s review of operations in the country has been seen as an indication that talks could be quite well advanced. However, Ladbrokes was also thought to be quite far down the aisle with 888 at one point, a firm with a similar footprint to Sportingbet (sportsbook aside), and that ended suddenly without a match. Sportingbet will be hoping for a better outcome second time around, especially if it is to close off revenue streams in order to become more palatable.
BettingBusinessInteractive • AUGUST 2011 3
e-gaming track record and considerable bookmaking experience will make him a huge asset for Coral as we develop the Interactive business over the coming months and years.”
ACTION IMAGES / CARL RECINE LIVEPIC
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