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AUSTRIA - GOVERNMENT PROPOSED REFORMS Austria's coalition government has proposed a range of gambling reforms in its first government programme. These include, most notably, stricter criminal sanctions and increased player protection. The coalition suggested closing down betting operators that repeatedly violate Austrian gambling laws. Other potential measures include blocking payments and websites to combat illegal gambling, and ban- ning in-play betting.


SWEDEN – EU THREATENS TO BREAK MONOPOLY Peter Norman, the Swedish Minister for financial markets, is to meet with EU Commissioner Michel Barnier to discuss the European Commission's legal threat against Sweden. In November, the Commission gave Sweden two months to take action regarding Svenska Spel's monopoly on online sports betting and poker, or risk being referred to the European Court of Justice. According to Mr. Norman, the meeting would be one of the last chances for Sweden to try and convince the Commission that its current gambling reg- ulation complies with EU law.


HOLLAND – POKER DECLARED A GAME OF SKILL In January, a criminal case that started seven years ago was finally brought to conclusion when the Court of Amsterdam decided that poker is predominantly a game of skill, rather than chance. In 2007, three men organised a poker tourna- ment in a bar, following which they were charged with the organisation of illegal gambling, violating the Dutch Gambling Act. The prosecution had demanded fines of several thou- sand euros from the three men and is still considering whether to appeal the ruling. It is the second occasion, where a Dutch court has found that poker is first and foremost a game of skill, rather than one predominantly of chance.


UK – WHITE HAT ADDS EZUGI TO CASINO PLATFORM White Hat Gaming is to integrate Ezugi’s Live Casino solution to its gaming platform. The distribution deal shall see Ezugi providing their entire portfolio of games including Black Jack, Roulette, Baccarat and Live Lottery. All of Ezugi’s live dealer games will be available in a mobile HTML5 version as well as the Android native application.


“This partnership further enhances the product offering to our clients, and confirms our commitment to working with the most innovative online live casino gaming providers such as Ezugi,” said Max Wright, CEO of White Hat Gaming. “


Kfir Kugler, CEO at Ezugi, added: “More and more platform providers and operators are contacting Ezugi, as we are the market leaders in the provision of Live Casino solutions when it comes to product innovation and development. We contin- ue to lead the way with our Live Lottery product and shall be introducing Live Keno very soon.”


BULGARIA - PARLIAMENT PASSES AMENDMENTS The Bulgarian Parliament has passed amendments to the Gambling Act, which include the abolishing of the 15 per cent tax on gambling revenues and the elimination of the coun- try's blacklist. According to the amendments, those compa- nies that hold gambling licenses will have to pay a one-time licensing fee of about €50.000, along with a 20 per cent tax on gambling profits. The Parliament did not adopt amend- ments related to gambling advertising and the manufactur- ing, importing and servicing of slot machines in Bulgaria. An exception has been granted, allowing companies to import machines that they intend to use themselves.


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INSPIRED SIGN COGETECH VLT DEAL


Inspired Gaming Group has signed a new video lottery terminal deal with Cogetech, one of the major gaming operators in Italy Italy - VLT operations


Inspired Gaming Group, the international SBG and VLT specialist, and one of the three largest suppli- ers of VLTs in Italy, has signed a new VLT deal with Cogetech, one of the major gaming operators in Italy. Inspired will be supplying its leading Open VLT cabinets, technology and HD games to Cogetech venues all over Italy. The agreement was signed during the ICE Totally Gaming tradeshow in London, where Inspired was exhibiting its latest innovations.


Inspired and Cogetech already have a partnership for Virtual Sports in Italy – Cogetech was one of the first Italian operators to sign up for Inspired’s Virtual Sports and is now live with eight market- leading sports.


Vitaliano Casalone, President of Inspired Italy, commented: “We are delighted to be working with such a key player in the Italian gaming market and we are extremely proud to be selected as one of Cogetech’s VLT suppliers. We look forward to bringing Inspired’s popular VLT entertainment to


Cogetech venues, alongside our Virtual Sports.”


Cogetech operates directly more than 5,200 VLTs, manages a network of more than 38,000 AWPs in about 15.000 shops, operates sports and horse racing betting through a retail network of 189 points of sale under the brand iZiPlay across Italy and provides services to a network of 300 inde- pendent betting shops.


Cogetch CEO, Fabio Schiavolin, added: “We are committed to providing the best range of enter- tainment to our players, and Inspired’s VLT prod- ucts and games are proven to be popular with Italian players. We have been impressed by Inspired’s range of approved VLT cabinets and games. This partnership will give us access to Inspired’s cabinets and games, as well as other leading suppliers such as APEX, WMS and Merkur Gaming.”


Bulgaria As a result of a license agreement concluded last year between both companies, some of the most successful video slot games from Casino Technology's library will soon reach a new audience of millions of players all over the world, both offline and online, via multiple distribution channels of the Playtech unified platform. Purple Hot, Thai Temple, Cat Queen, Esmeralda and the Pyramid of Ramessess, have been selected for their authentic game concepts and intriguing math models to entertain Playtech’s clientèle. “Expansion on the global market space and popularization of the products through convergence platforms is lining up with the new objectives that Casino Technology has committed at its 15th anniversary and we are very happy that the first step was made with such a renowned and trustful partner like Playtech,” said Rossi McKee, Vice President of Casino Technology.


IGT is selected by Casino de Frejus to install its Core suite


FRANCE IGT has been chosen, through Ludi its exclusive distributor for France, by the Vikings Casinos Group to install 51 new IGT gam- ing machines at the recently opened Casino de Frejus, on the Côte d'Azur, France.


IGT/Ludi has delivered more than half of the machines installed at the new venue, including 34 of its top-perform- ing video slots, 15 poker and two reel slot machines.


This deployment means much more to the Vikings Casinos Group than a standard machine installation. Thirty-four of the machines installed are connect-


ed to IGT’s sbX casino floor management technology which is allowing the group to be more responsive to its customers. Management can now oversee a flexible casino floor. This new technology has enabled Casino de Frejus to give its customers the optimal gaming experience and maximise takings from the floor. This has set the platform for growth, evidenced by the plans afoot to open another French casino in 2015.


Stéphane Hourcastagnou from Casino de Frejus commented, “The 51 IGT games that we have installed have enabled Casino de Frejus to execute a highly successful launch. The visual


appeal and engaging game play have given us the cutting edge that has seen gamers visit the casino in the first month since opening. We know that we can rely on a core group of top-per- forming games that deliver the thrills and spills that our cus- tomers want.”


“The high-tech innovation that we have delivered to Casino de Frejus and the Vikings Casinos Group has allowed the group to grow and deliver the optimal experience for its customers. Linking 34 of the games installed to our sbX system means that management can quickly respond to gamer pref- erences, ensuring that the cus- tomer experience is as enjoy- able as possible and that the group can maximise takings from the floor,” said Sabby Gill, IGT SVP of International Sales.


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