betmakers-ditches-plans-to-acquire-wagering-and-media-business-of-tabcorp

BetMakers Ditches Plans to Acquire Wagering and Media Business of Tabcorp

Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

BetMakers has ditched its plans to acquire the wagering and media business of Tabcorp after the latter announced plans to demerge its lotteries and Keno business.

The demerger, which would create two standalone ASX-listed companies, follows the conclusion of a strategic review by Tabcorp to maximise value for shareholders.

If it goes ahead there will be two companies on the ASX with “distinct operating profiles, strategies, and growth opportunities”: Lotteries & Keno Co (comprising TAH’s lotteries and Keno businesses) and Wagering & Gaming Co (made up of TAH’s wagering & media and gaming services businesses).

As such, BetMakers Technology Group has decided to ditch plans for a partial takeover of Tabcorp, and will instead continue discussions with the company in relation to commercial opportunities in international markets.

“Having received clarity from Tabcorp regarding the planned direction for its Wagering and Media business, BetMakers will continue discussions with Tabcorp regarding international opportunities, and we believe these opportunities have the potential to be significant,” BetMakers CEO Todd Buckingham said

“BetMakers remains firmly of the view that the company’s opportunities in regulated wagering jurisdictions, and in particular Australia and the United States, are a clear priority and we will continue to explore all opportunities that can accelerate or capitalise on this foundation.”

crown-melbourne-casino-to-remain-closed

Crown Melbourne Casino to Remain Closed

Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Crown Resorts is reopening its hotel and food & beverage facilities at Crown Melbourne on June 11 (today), but its casino will remain closed until further notice.

The announcement comes in accordance with temporary restrictions imposed by the Victorian Government, and arrives two weeks after the venue was required to suspend the majority of its activities as Melbourne went into another Covid-19 lockdown.

Victoria entered an initial week-long lockdown on May 27 due to a rise in cases, but this was extended by another week as further cases were confirmed.

“Crown Melbourne will continue to financially support staff who remain stood down, including the majority of gaming operational staff, by paying an additional discretionary payment. This includes eligible casual staff,” a statement from Crown read.

“Crown Melbourne will continue to work closely with the Government and health authorities in Victoria and will respond to measures taken in relation to Covid-19.”

cloud-gaming-platform-antstream-arcade-launches-in-australia

Cloud Gaming Platform Antstream Arcade Launches in Australia

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Leading global retro games company Antstream Arcade has today announced its launch into Australia, following significant growth in both the UK and US markets.

Making its library of over 1000 iconic video games available to play for free through its video game streaming platform, players in Australia will be able to play classics titles like Space Invaders, Asteroids and Mortal Kombat over any 3G, 4G, 5G, wired or Wifi connection. They will also be able to swap between any game on almost any device they choose, from TVs, laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile phones, with no need to download games to their device thanks to Antstream Arcade’s streaming infrastructure.

This launch coincides with the Australian launch of the Atari VCS, Atari’s modern video computer system that blends the best of PCs and consoles. Antstream Arcade will come preloaded on the console, providing Australian Atari users with an expansive retro gaming experience. Antstream Arcade will also provide something new for players, with many games on its platform featuring challenge modes, tournaments and international leaderboards, giving retro gamers old and new a modern social aspect to classic games.

Steve Cottam, CEO of Antstream said: “Australia is a country underserved by the emerging cloud gaming market. We aim to change that by giving Australian gamers the chance to enjoy over 1000 iconic games for free thanks to our cloud gaming platform. Antstream is the first truly device agnostic game streaming service in the world, and the first to offer its library of games to players for free via an ad-funded model and premium ad-free subscription service – allowing us to bring our library of classics and forgotten gems to the widest audience possible.”

Antstream Arcade’s library features games from over 55 publishing partners across the games industry, including the likes of Bandai Namco, Taito, Disney/LucasArts, Atari and Warner media to name a few. Combined, this makes Antstream Arcade’s library the world’s largest collection of iconic retro games in the world. With playable titles ranging from definitive classics to obscure curios, Antstream Arcade represents the only way that players are able to officially access the games of the past while supporting the game’s original creators and rights holders.

austrac-accuses-australian-casinos-of-money-laundering

Austrac Accuses Australian Casinos of Money-Laundering

Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), a state-run financial intelligence organization, has leveled allegations against many of the major land-based casinos in the country.

Crown Resorts, Star Entertainment and SkyCity Entertainment Group are among those who have received notices. Austrac has also reportedly contacted National Bank of Australia (NAB) regarding the matter.

Austrac is taked with monitoring financial transactions in and identifying money laundering, organised crime, tax evasion, welfare fraud and terrorism financing.

According to Crown Resorts, Austrac sent a notice mainly regarding potential non-compliance with Australia’s money-laundering rules in connection with the operations of Crown Perth, a casino in Perth.

Star Entertainment revealed that the notice it received was about its Star Sydney property, for the same money-laundering non-complaince.

The company issued a statement, which asserted:

“The Star takes its anti-money laundering obligations very seriously and will fully co-operate with Austrac in relation to its requests for information and documents and the investigation.”

exclusive-q-&-a-with-marc-edwards,-ceo-of-order- 

Exclusive Q & A with Marc Edwards, CEO of ORDER  

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Q. Congratulations on joining ORDER as the new CEO! What are your early reactions to the job?

A. It is an exciting time to join the organisation. I had been working for ORDER in a consultancy capacity for 6 months prior to joining as CEO, so the transition has been relatively seamless. My early impressions are full of opportunity and growth. The industry is forging ahead and receiving a lot of attention from mainstream media and non-endemic brands looking to be involved in the space, and with ORDER being a first mover in esports and now 4 years later is well established, we are looking forward to this next stage of our evolution.

Q. Do you find heading an Esports team much different than leading an organization in traditional sports or motor sports, where you had spent most of your career?

A. There are a lot of similarities with the support structure of esports and traditional sports, especially when it comes to fostering a culture of high performance and professionalism. And now as we look ahead, player welfare and grass roots programs are firmly on the agenda to ensure we are both looking after our professional players, but also playing a role as a leader in the industry to provide pathways for the next generation of talent. If we look at the commercial side of the industry there are certainly some parallels to draw with sponsorship, brand activations and fan engagement and how these are delivered to offer the best value to brands. The real difference in this area of the business is the ability to innovate and execute on new ideas without the constraint of governing or league bodies. Further, we also see the customer facing area of our business as a far more creative than traditional sports – more along the lines of a music label. Essentially our talent, who are professional gamers and content creators, are at the core and the support crew we build around them to bring this to life are creatives, e.g. content managers, creative directors, digital marketers and brand builders.

Q. For the outside world, Australia, where ORDER is based, is known for its outdoor sports. How is esports catching up in the country? How does its popularity compare with that of traditional sports?

A. Traditional sports are fed by generations of participation and ultimately viewership. Right now the esports industry in Australia is no more than 5 years old, yet despite the lack of history and level of unfamiliarity the fan base has more than doubled in the past 2 years alone. With the majority of esports fans being in the 18 to 34 age bracket and skewing male, there has been a natural migration of fans from traditional sport into esports, which is a sign of how Australia’s deep passion for sport is changing. Esports provides this generation an alternative outlet for entertainment and it’s being supported big time. While the current audience base skews male there is a ground swell of engagement coming from the female audience and is being driven by women gamers increasingly turning professional.

Q. ORDER has recently raised a $5.3 million funding? What are the immediate plans to drive the growth?

A. We will solidify our position in Oceania esports while continuing to look at opportunities in other esports titles. The real growth for ORDER though will be in content creation and production and building an audience around our brand. To do that we are looking for content creators across multiple platforms and gaming influencers who will become part of the ORDER crew and benefit from our administrative support and enabled to continue to grow their current activities. Also, in a first for an esports organisation the region, earlier this year ORDER took residency at our new facility in Collingwood Melbourne, which will feature the Alienware esports high performance room, Logitech streaming room, production studio and administrative offices.

Q. Could you talk about the new diversification initiatives that are in pipeline?

A. Outside of what I have mentioned above, ORDER will continue to evolve our gaming production capabilities, with a bespoke offering across events and licensed content. We are also looking towards collaborations with creatives and artists across music, fashion, and art. We see gaming as aligning strongly with the future of pop culture and these pursuits have paved the way for gaming to move from a subculture to pop culture in its own right.

Q. It appears that the lock down forced by the Covid 19 pandemic has turned out to be a turning point for esports in general. How did it affect the growth of ORDER?

A. For ORDER, and most esports organisations, the events of the last year or so have put greater emphasis on the need for online event capability, content production and building a mass audience. While much of this growth is still in it’s infancy, the realignment of strategy in the early stage of 2020 provided us a long enough runway to start executing and importantly secure significant funding to accelerate our growth ambitions.

 

 

australia-mulls-prohibiting-credit-cards-for-online-gambling

Australia Mulls Prohibiting Credit Cards for Online Gambling

Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

The Australian Parliament is planning to put into effect a law that would ban the use of credit cards or digital wallets for online gambling transactions in the country.  Already credit cards cannot be used in physical gambling outlets in the country.

Andrew Wallace, a powerful politician belonging to Queensland Liberal National Party and chairperson of joint parliamentary committee on corporations and financial services, called for an inquiry seeking possibilities of considering the amendment of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2017.

He recently told the Parliament that gamblers using credit cards online risk a chance of high interest rates and big chances of making losses. He urged the government to take corrective measures.

Mr Wallace said: “We as a Commonwealth government control that space, and we need to do better than what are we doing right now. Around $25 billion is spent on gambling each year. About six Sunshine Coast University hospitals could be built every year.”

The parliament committee will enquire into a range issues such as the following:

  • The adverse effects on the consumers by the use of credit cards for online gambling
  • The extent of existing voluntary bans by Australian financial institutions
  • Forms of existing consumer protection measures
  • Regulatory frameworks in force in other jurisdictions.

The enquiry committee will submit the report by July 30.

star-entertainment-submits-proposal-to-merge-with-crown-resorts

Star Entertainment Submits Proposal to Merge with Crown Resorts

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Australia’s Star Entertainment Group has submitted a conditional, non-binding, indicative proposal to merge with Crown Resorts.

According to details released via the ASX, the proposal values Crown’s shares in excess of AU$14 per share – exceeding the value put forward by competing bids in recent weeks which value Crown at closer to AU$12 per share.

Those competing bids include a revised offer from American multinational private equity and hedge fund giant The Blackstone Group, received over the weekend, which increases its bid from an original AU$11.85 per share to AU$12.35 per share.

US global asset management firm Oaktree Capital Management L.P. has also proposed a AU$3 billion offer to acquire the 37% stake in Crown currently held by James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings.

However, Star has outlined its case for a merger, with the offer representing a share exchange ratio of 2.68 The Star shares per Crown share with a cash alternative of AU$12.50 per Crown share for up to 25% of Crown’s issued share capital.

“Based on recent trading values of The Star and the substantial value that would be unlocked by a merger, The Star estimates its pro forma share price to be more than AU$5 per share, implying potential value of the Scrip Consideration in excess of AU$14 per Crown share,” it said.

The Star said it believes a merger represents a “compelling value proposition for all shareholders by creating a national tourism and entertainment leader with a world-class portfolio of integrated resorts with enhanced scale and geographic earnings diversification, significant balance sheet strength and free cash flow generation.”

It would also allow for AU$150 million to AU$200 million in cost synergies per annum with an estimated net value of AU$2 billion.

“A merger of The Star and Crown would result in significant scale and diversification and unlock an estimated AU$2 billion in net value from synergies,” Star Chairman John O’Neill said.

“With a portfolio of world-class properties across four states in Australia’s most attractive and populated catchment areas and tourism hubs, the combined group would be a compelling investment proposition and one of the largest and most attractive integrated resort operators in the Asia Pacific region.”

According to Star, a merger would also open the door for potential sale and leaseback opportunities on some of the group’s enhanced property portfolio – leaving the door open for the likes of Blackstone and Oaktree to acquire assets in the future.

Crown said it has not yet formed a view on the merits of the proposal and will commence an assessment process on its merits.

senet-announces-gambling-regulatory-education-programme

Senet Announces Gambling Regulatory Education Programme

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Specialised training for organisations in the gambling sector will be rolled out for the first time in Australia as part of a new partnership between Australia’s leading specialist gambling law, regulatory, and compliance advisory, Senet, and the International Centre for Gaming Regulation (ICGR).

Senet’s five-day gambling regulation education programme, Regulating the Game, is aimed at providing attendees with deeper sector knowledge and an understanding of key compliance and regulatory principles and how to apply them.

The announcement comes as a royal commission examines the regulation of the gambling industry in WA, informed by the NSW Bergin probe, as well as a royal commission being undertaken in VIC.

Senet regulatory and gambling specialist Paul Newson said the nature of the training was one-of-a-kind worldwide and would address the distinct challenges facing the industry in 2021.

“Australians love a punt and outspend the rest of the world by a decent margin per capita. In the face of regulatory headwinds and associated public policy uncertainty, it is increasingly important for industry to demonstrate effective governance, contribute to policy discussions and cultivate a workplace culture of compliance and social responsibility.

“This course will equip individuals and organisations alike to enhance their capacity to participate in policy discourse, inform effective public policy, contribute to efficient regulation and help achieve a secure, safe, responsible, innovative and vibrant sector.

“Training of this nature with a mix of Australian and international experts is not available anywhere – it’s truly exceptional – we’ve lined up a star cast of leading practitioners in gambling law and regulation with vast industry knowledge and experience.

“To name a few, Gaming Laboratories International will contribute vital regulatory technology expertise and AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence unit and AML/CTF regulator, will share its expertise around known and emerging AML risk in the gambling sector including casinos, bookmakers and licensed venues.”

Newson said the programme will run concurrently with the Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE), also held at the ICC Sydney, giving attendees further opportunities to experience emerging technologies and products and speak with leading industry figures about innovation and emerging trends that are expected to shape the future direction of the sector.

entain-makes-new-and-improved-tabcorp-offer

Entain Makes New and Improved Tabcorp Offer

Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

The Board of Entain has confirmed that it has made a revised offer of AU$3.5 billion (Revised Proposal) to the Board of Tabcorp to acquire its Wagering and Media business (Proposed Transaction). Entain believes that the Revised Proposal is compelling both in terms of the value it represents for Tabcorp shareholders in cash, and certainty of deliverability.

The Proposed Transaction would be in-line with Entain’s current M&A strategy, and presents an opportunity to acquire an attractive business, which when combined with Entain’s existing Australian business, would create a leading, integrated multi-channel and multi-brand wagering company.

crown-perth-temporarily-suspends-its-gaming-and-hospitality-operations

Crown Perth Temporarily Suspends its Gaming and Hospitality Operations

Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Australia’s Crown Resorts has temporarily suspended the gaming and hospitality operations at Crown Perth following a small outbreak of COVID-19 in the Western Australian capital city.

Crown issued a statement late Friday in which it said it had ceased all gaming activities and closed down all food and beverage, banqueting and conference facilities, other than for the provision of takeaway. However, hotel accommodation has remained available in a reduced capacity.