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Merkur Increases Betcenter Holding


Gauselmann Group increases shareholding from 50.1 per cent to 74.9 per cent in second largest sports betting provider in the Belgian market


Gauselmann subsidiary Merkur Sportwetten has increased its holding in the Belgian sports betting business, Betcenter


BELGIUM SPORTS BETTING


With retroactive effect to 1 January 2020, Merkur Sportwetten GmbH, a subsidiary of the Gauselmann Group, has increased its holding in the Belgian sports betting company Betcenter Group NV from 50.1 per cent to 74.9 per cent.


After the partial sale, Seydi Tekin will remain the managing partner of Betcenter for the long term; Carsten Schaudienst will continue to be active as a board member.


Business relations have existed between Merkur Sportwetten and Betcenter for approximately four years. Te Belgian company has been using products of Cashpoint Malta, a subsidiary of the Gauselmann Group, in its sports betting shops since 2016. Merkur Sportwetten purchased a share of 50.1 per cent of Betcenter at the beginning of 2018.


Tis holding has now been increased by 24.8 per cent. It has been agreed that the purchase price shall not be disclosed. Te partnership will also be visible in terms of external image: In future, the MERKUR sun will shine alongside the Betcenter company logo.


“In 2018, we decided to sell part of our business in order to be able to further expand our business activities in Belgium and grow more strongly as a company.


“We found an ideal partner in Merkur Sportwetten, which supports us as a technology partner for system bets as well as financially. Te partnership quickly brought benefits and we were able to double our turnover in the past two years,” explained Betcenter’s Seydi Tekin.


“Together, we want to increase the already large footprint of Merkur Sportwetten under the Betcenter brand in Belgium. In line with this, we will further extend the omnichannel product offering (physical as well as online) in the coming months,” announced Markus Ettlin, Managing Director of Merkur Sportwetten.


With 87 outlets (70 betting shops and 17 kiosks) as well as a comprehensive online sports betting offering, Betcenter is the second-largest sports betting provider and agent in Belgium. Te company was established in 2005 and today has 150 employees.


Italy Greentube extends 888casino partnership


Greentube has extended its successful partnership with 888 to launch its popular online titles in Italy on 888casino.


Te deal will see 888casino host Greentube’s adaptions of land- based titles, which have proven successful in the Italian market, and complements 888’s existing engaging online games portfolio.


888casino players in Italy will now have access to an even wider range of slot games including Greentube fan-favourite Book of Ra deluxe as well as Lucky Lady’s Charm deluxe and Dolphin’s Pearl deluxe, which are due to go live soon.


Greentube’s games portfolio has built a loyal fan base in Italy since the supplier entered the market in 2018 and its new premium online slot content is highly anticipated.


Greentube’s content is now live with 888casino in several key


markets, including Sweden where it recently launched its games offering with the operator.


Michael Bauer, CFO/CGO of Greentube, said: “888 is one of the biggest brands in the industry and our successful partnership has enabled us to reach a wide player base in the regions we have entered together. We expect Italy will deliver equal success, and through this cooperation we will significantly strengthen our position in the country.”


Guy Cohen, Senior Vice President of B2C at 888, commented on the partnership: “At 888, we are focused on offering our customers a wide portfolio of engaging and entertaining content. With the addition of Greentube’s premium games portfolio to our Italian platform, customers can enjoy a variety of titles. We are excited by this partnership and look forward to building on it.”


Poland


Poland’s government took a hit from the lack of sports betting with tax revenue for the last three months down 21 per cent to PLN450m (US$121.6m). Te Ministry of Finance said the decline was more than one-quarter below 2020’s first quarter tax level. State-run lotteries generated the biggest amount of tax PLN176m, down 16.7 per cent in the first quarter with sports betting down 32 per cent to PLN138.6m. Tax from online betting tax dropped 28 per cent to PLN124m with retail betting falling 55 per cent to PLN14.6m. Likewise, closures for Poland’s land-based casinos generated 52 per cent less tax at PLN44.6m, with slot hall tax dropping 50 per cent to PLN3.7m. Te state-run Totalizator Sportowy generated tax of PLN39.3m, an increase of over 28 per cent month by month and double that of the second quarter in 2019.


LUXEMBOURG – Casino 2000 has marked the first stopping point on the maiden European voyage of Aristocrat’s Cash Express Luxury Line. The locomotive-themed linked progressive game has gone live on the floor in Luxembourg after setting out from its starting point in north-western Germany the previous week.


Casino 2000 Slots Director, Serge Ebstein said: “Cash Express has been a Pullman-class performer with our customer base for more than a decade. Whilst the original XCite cabinets were now starting to show their age, the bonus concept still remains a strong attraction. This contemporary upgrade should help to build new tracks with old and new players alike and we are delighted to be the first stop on this epic excursion.”


Aristocrat Vice-President of Sales & Business Development – EMEA, Erik-Jan van den Berg added: “At the heart of Europe, Casino 2000 lies in a strategically important location, providing the latest gaming entertainment not only to residents of Luxembourg but also those in neighbouring countries of France, Germany and Belgium.


“As a longstanding partner, the casino has always been amongst the first adopters of new Aristocrat games and we trust that Cash Express Luxury Line will prove to be just the ticket to delight more fast- track fun seekers.”


NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA P17


MALTA – Euro Games Technology is once again spinning the reels for players of the recently reopened Casino Malta. The venue is owned by local enterprise Eden Leisure Group and the Olympic Entertainment Group, a leader in the Baltic States and an important investor in Slovakia and Italy. Slawomir Switalski, country manager at Casino Malta by Olympic Casino, said there are several more main advantages with the EGT machines including the great quality/price ratio and the game’s high performance. The fruit-themed titles in the Collection multigame palette offer more lines and combinations compared to many competitors.


“Our products are recognised in Malta for their reliability and appeal to the audience,” said Gergana Chelebieva, Regional Manager of EGT for Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Malta. “We will continue to reveal their potential in the country, stressing mainly on the General slot line and completing more installations of the five-level progressive Cai Shen Kingdom jackpot system that has already been presented in the casinos Portomaso and Dragonara. Soon the domestic players will also be able to try the four-level mystery-progressive Jackpot Cards that we expect to be accepted well, as its performance is proven to be successful in many other markets.”


EMEA


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