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Talarius plans to bolster online presence in 2012

With recession-bucking revenues being reported in the group’s land-based adult gaming centre operations, Talarius plans to ramp up its online presence in 2012. James Walker reports.


he Quicksilver adult gaming centre brand is a stalwart of the British high

street, with owner Talarius now operating in excess of 180 venues and more than 10,000 machines across the country. Despite owning one of the most pervasive gaming brands in the UK, group chief executive Peter Harvey said Talarius has maintained a somewhat niche online pres- ence over recent years, but that 2012 will see Quicksil- vergames embark on a rapid expansion of its platform in an effort to drive visitors. “In terms of both our land- based and online operations, 2011 has been an interesting year, to say the least,” Harvey told Betting Business Inter- active. “Our half-year results to June demonstrated that

we have sustained growth in our business for the first time since Tatts Group acquired us in 2007. This has contin- ued through the back end of 2011, so overall I am delighted that we will exit this half year in excess of two per cent up on the previous year, which is way in excess of how the economy is per- forming. I remain optimistic about the fragile economy, as our business really does leverage off consumer confi- dence and them being happy that they can spend the money that they have got.” According to Harvey,

Talarius’ land-based venues are staunchly community focused, and as such there are relatively few core syner- gies between players on the high street and online gamers, which are described as being more discreet. “Our

synergy team recently visited a Quicksilver venue in Crewe, and as part of that exercise we asked people to sign up to the online plat- form,” he said. “Some took up the offer, but the venue customers tend to prefer the community aspect, where they can meet their friends, know all the staff and have free tea and coffee.”

Due to the distinct nature of the offline and online sectors, Talarius essentially continues to operate its Quicksilver and Quicksil- vergames brands as two sep- arate businesses. And interestingly, despite the fact that the land-based brand has limited leveragability online, the group is currently ramping up its presence in an effort to drive its web- based business.

“Quicksilvergames was ANALYSIS

Out of all the land-based gambling sectors, the adult gaming centre has been by far the slowest to translate its business online. While bookmakers, bingo clubs and eventually casinos have made a splash via the internet, arcades have not really had a presence - an odd occurrence considering how popular online slots are with the public. Perhaps it is partly explained by the mainly disparate levels of gaming centre ownership, certainly in the UK, although consolidation in the marketplace by Talarius and Praesepe is driving a sea change in the industry, which might translate to stronger online competition from firms who really know how to market slot machines.

launched more than 10 years ago,” Harvey said. “We have experienced some ebbs and flows over the years, but the business is performing well and I am expecting good things throughout 2012. We remain a fairly niche opera- tor in the market, but we develop our own games and our customers come to us

because of this. We also offer the more generic games, and plan to launch many more next year. We dipped our toe in the water with television promotions between Christ- mas and New Year, and 2012 will be all about the constant drip feeding of new games onto our site - probably at the rate of one a week.” still confident of synergies B

MERGER has main- tained that it is still on track to deliver over

100m euro of synergies over the next two years following last year’s major merger of the Bwin and Party Gaming operations.

In a trading update to the market before Christmas, the company revealed: “Whilst certain of our integration projects were postponed so that we could be ready to launch into Spain and Denmark at the beginning of 2012, we remain on-track to deliver approximately 40m euro (£33.5m) of synergies in 2012 and the full 65m euro (£54.4m) of annualised syn- ergies in 2013 as previously announced.” The group said that trading performance since the end of September has been ‘solid’, in-line with man- agement’s expectations. It added that for the full year, continuing clean EBITDA margins are expected to be in the range of 22 per cent to 24 per cent. The group’s licence appli-


Schleswig-Holstein has dis- sented from the proposals; mainly because it has its own online gaming laws planned, which have already been approved by the EU. commented: “Whilst we welcome the move to regulate the online gaming market in Germany, this must be in a consistent and coher- ent manner in-line with EU law that also enables licensed operators to compete effec- tively with black market oper- ators. Any other approach, if sustained, will create a com- mercially unviable market and result in consumers being driven outside the regulated framework.”

cations for Spain were sub- mitted on 25 November 2011 and it expects that approvals for its sports, casino, poker and bingo products will be issued in the first wave of licences to be issued ahead of the market opening this year. The firm is also in the first rank of operators to be awarded online gaming licences by the Danish Gam- bling Authority.

10 BettingBusinessInteractive • JANUARY 2012

Having successfully passed all financial, legal and technical tests, the group has been awarded two separate licences, allowing it to offer online sports betting, poker and casino in Denmark from 1 January 2012. The licensed brands include bwin, Party- Poker, PartyCasino, Party- Bets and World Poker Tour. The firm said: “The success- ful licence applications and

early market entry is in line with group’s strategy to be a leading operator in all regu- lated online gaming markets.”

Meanwhile in the German market, which is key for the firm, has once again expressed its exasper- ation with the highly taxed State Treaty on gaming agreed by 15 of the German federal states. Only

Meanwhile, the company’s sale of its gaming solution provider Ongame has been dragging out despite being ‘at an advanced stage’ of the process. added: “As one of the world’s leading online poker networks with a state-of-the-art technology platform, the sale of Ongame’s B2B business has attracted a number of inter- ested parties.”





announced a brand new plan to further protect its customers’ funds through the use of a third-party trust and is urging Europe’s gaming industry to follow suit. Called the PokerStars Player Protection Plan, this strategy will see the appointment of a fully independent UK trust company to oversee player funds - IFG Group plc. PokerStars is introducing this plan in the closed French market first, but hopes it will become the industry standard across Europe. “The security of player accounts and the integrity of online poker play are fundamental to the ongoing and future success of the industry,” said PokerStars’ CEO Gabi Campos.


Last month saw the launch of a new online casino brand LuckyVegas77. The Maltese firm says it represents ‘the evolution in online gaming’; providing a full range of online casino and poker games, with live betting and live casino and multiple poker rooms. LuckyVegas77 prides itself in only employing experienced staff from the gaming sector who have many years’ experience in both land- based and online casino operations. Alex Kamberos, managing director of LuckyVegas77, commented: “We have put together a great team of online gaming experts and we are completely committed to giving our players the games of their lives.”


Betfair has said that it has seen operational benefits in its games division following the launch of a new browser-based casino product which enables more frequent product refreshes. However, it said its games performance has been ‘mixed in the first half of the year’. Overall, games revenue was down 5 per cent year-on-year in Q2. It commented: “We have had some successes, such as Live Dealer, but overall revenue growth has slowed as we have phased marketing spend to later in the year to coincide with the new site and other product launches.”

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