Bodog leaves US for ‘assault’ on UK high street
Perhaps belatedly compared to other operators, Bodog is removing its brand from the US in order to be squeaky clean for its new UK operations.
igh profile online operator Bodog has announced that it will be removing its
brand from the US market in order to improve its image in the European and Asia markets.
In a statement, the firm said: “In order to ensure the brand’s expansion is not affected by negative percep- tions, both in the UK and elsewhere in emerging markets such as Asia, where Bodog88 is already success- ful, a decision has been made to withdraw the Bodog brand from the US market at the end of 2011.” The decision means that the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group (MMG), which licenses the Bodog brand for the US, will no longer be able to use the Bodog name after 31 December 2011 when the current licensing deal expires. After this, Bodog said that US resi- dents will no longer be able to access bodog.eu
or any other Bodog branded website.
The company added: “We understand that MMGG will launch under its own brand in 2012, licenced by the Kah- nawake Gaming Commis- sion. All Bodog.eu
funds will remain safe and they will have the option to switch to a new MMGG brand should they wish but MMGG confirms it is busi- ness as usual.”
The Bodog brand has long been a popular one for gam- blers in the US, despite the murky legal situation around offering gambling products in the country, so the decision to extricate its brand from the region will not have been taken lightly. The firm said: “This deci- sion presents a fresh direc- tion for the Bodogbrand.com
as it looks to create a new chapter in its history. The move will enable the Bodog brand to continue its growth and expansion and maintain its position as the world’s largest gaming brand.” Interestingly, the announcement came soon after Bodog’s embracing of the likely new local licens- ing regulatory scheme for remote gaming in the UK. The company was quick to announce that its new Bodog UK subsidiary has had a remote and non- remote gaming licence granted by the UK Gambling Commission.
The firm said: “Bodog UK, the newest addition to the
Bodog Brand’s licensee portfolio, will operate bodog.co.uk
exclusively for the UK market under its newly issued remote casino and sports-betting operat- ing licence and also has plans to strategically posi- tion itself on the high street, utilising its non-remote operating licence to launch an assault on the bricks and mortar business.”
While the online opera- tions will very much con- tinue to be Bodog’s main focus in the UK, the company is anticipating launching ‘some very high class flagship shops in major cities’, which will no doubt support the online brand. Patrik Selin, CEO of Bodog UK, commented: “Holding a licence granted by the world’s most robust and respected regulatory regime is a huge spring board from which Bodog UK can launch from. The credi- bility and trust that the UK already enjoys in the online gaming industry is immeas- urable. To be able to launch Bodog UK with these licences in place is a huge bonus for us and not only will it benefit our customers but will also allow us to attract the best talent in the industry to work with us.”
PATRIK SELIN: UK LICENCES ‘ALLOW US TO ATTRACT THE BEST TALENT’
Business in Asia and Europe must be brisk for Bodog to be looking to ‘clean up’ its act by removing its brand from the regulatory complicated US market, but it is the non-remote licence in the UK which is the most intriguing part of the company’s recent announcements. Bodog’s retail experience up until now has been a concession at Fulham’s Craven Cottage, which is unlikely to have provided the inspiration for this strategy. The presence of a bricks & mortar operation is well known to reassure punters when betting online, so a series of Bodog branded shops in well chosen locations could actually turn out to be more of a marketing coup.
888 keen on Vegas with Caesars ADVANCED TALKS
888 is weighing up a move for an online poker software licence in Nevada with a potentially lucrative deal with Caesars Entertainment the prize. 888 deputy chairman Brian Mattingley told investors at his firm’s interim management statement that tales with Caesars were in the ‘advanced stages’. The company recorded a 29 per cent rise in second-quarter revenue to US$78.5m (£48.3m), compared with the corresponding period last year. Mattingley commented: “This quarter has seen strong perform- ance in B2C for 888 especially in poker and casino. We have been focused as ever on our goals - further bolstering our B2C performance
6 BettingBusinessInteractive • AUGUST 2011
and leveraging our industry-leading offerings, while maintaining our Dragonfish brand pres- ence and B2B deal pipeline.” However, Mat- tingley said that the company may have to put its hand in its pocket if it wants to take advan- tage of growth opportuni- ties when they come around.
“Whilst the excellent figures reported give the board confidence of future growth, H2 will be impacted by our need to invest in regulating markets as these open up for us. However, despite the second half including the seasonally weaker summer trading period, and after taking account of the increased cost of investment we are confi- dent, given the strength of current trading,
that the company will report a financial per-
formance for the full year to 31 December 2011 marginally ahead of current market expectations.” The firm added that strong trading during Q2 has continued into July, led by its poker opera- tions: “Whilst the historical season- ally quiet period is beginning to impact activity levels, daily average revenue during the first 19 days of July is 27 per cent higher than Q3 2010 and is at an almost the same level as Q2 2011.
“In addition, during the same period daily average deposits increased by 10 percent and daily average poker new customer recruitment increased by more than 75 per cent compared to Q2 2011.”
HEAVENS ABOVE The Gaming Media Group has revealed that its Poker Heaven operation has paid out a world record Bad Beat Jackpot of 1,265,583 euro (£1.1m) after one of its Finnish players saw a hand of four kings beaten by four aces. All 9 players at the table took away cash prizes with the Finn pocketing 442,000 euro (£383,000). Colin McCreadie, head of poker at Poker Heaven, commented: “Our core focus is to give more value back to our loyal players, and with the Jackpot immediately reset to 250,000 euro we are hoping that it is not long until more records are being set.”
GENTING MAKES VILLA DEAL
Genting Group, the land- based and online casino operator, has signed a two-year shirt sponsor- ship deal with Premier League club Aston Villa in order to both promote its planned £120m casino at the NEC and its online website globally. The firm also operates five existing casinos in the West Mid- lands area.
Genting UK executive deputy chairman Peter Brooks commented: “When you look at the viewing figures you see just enormous numbers of people out there in Asia are watching what’s hap- pening. So for us this is both an exciting opportu- nity and a really good development for us in terms of brand recognition and brand promotion.”
DROP AT PURPLE LOUNGE
Media Corporation is upbeat about the perform- ance of its Purple Lounge casino despite the website posting a 14 per cent drop in revenues of £9.5m for the third quarter. In a trading update, the company revealed that Purple Lounge acquired a further 4,500 customers in the three month period and as at 30 June now has over 115,000 registered customers.
CEO Justin Drummond commented: “Purple Lounge has had another good quarter against industry wide declines in online poker revenue. The group is continuing to successfully test a number of innovative online marketing tech- niques which the directors believe will significantly increase customer signups, active players and revenues in the coming months.”
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