Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In our latest look back to a selection of last week’s top stories we feature a bumper UKGC fine, Dutch expectations, a pair of potential multi-billion dollar transactions, and a GameCo financing round.
A UK Gambling Commission assessment has found a series of historic social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures at Casumo, as a result of which the firm will pay a £6m fine, undergo extensive auditing, and receive an official warning.
Casumo said that it has cooperated fully with the Gambling Commission of Great Britain on the in-depth review of its compliance-related gambling procedures, which commenced under the previous management team.
The findings have been made in respect of earlier breaches that were identified from an audit conducted between October 2019 and January 2020 and took place in the context of the hyper growth Casumo experienced in its start-up phase.
Among the social responsibility failings identified in the investigation was not putting into effect policies and procedures for customer interaction where it has concerns that a customer’s activity may indicate problem gambling.
This, says the regulator, resulted in one customer losing £1.1m over three years, a second losing £65,000 in one month, with a third losing £76,000 over seven months, all without being subject to a responsible gambling interaction.
Gamesys Group backed a proposed $2bn business combination with Bally’s Corporation that would see the US casino operator absorb the company in a deal worth 1,850 pence per share.
Bally’s, whose M&A spree since rebranding from its former Twin River Worldwide Holdings moniker is showing no signs of slowing down, would acquire the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Gamesys under the terms of the deal.
The cash offer represents a premium of approximately 12.7 per cent to the closing price per Gamesys ordinary share of 1,642 pence on March 23, 2021, with it said that the “key terms of a possible combination” had been agreed in principle.
Both parties assert that the transaction would position the enlarged group to best capitalise on the “steep anticipated growth trajectory” of the US’ online gambling and sports betting sector, which analysts estimate could bring a potential total addressable market size to in excess of $45bn.
Blackstone Group tabled a $6bn takeover proposal for beleaguered Australian casino operator Crown Resorts, as regulators in the firm’s home country continue investigations into its suitability to hold casino licenses.
The US investment management firm, and affiliates, have offered AU$11.85 cash per share, which represents a premium of 19 per cent to the volume-weighted average price of Crown shares since the release of its H1 FY21 results.
The proposal is conditional upon a number of conditions, including execution of a binding ‘Implementation Agreement’ incorporating various terms and conditions, such as the company receiving regulatory confirmation that a Blackstone-owned Crown is considered a suitable person to continue to own and operate the Sydney, Melbourne & Perth licences, and other gaming-related approvals as required.
Further conditions include, due diligence; arranging debt finance; a unanimous Crown Board recommendation and a commitment from all directors to vote in favour of the proposal; and approval from Blackstone investment committees.
A public health approach to gambling should include protecting the whole population and those at risk of, and currently, experiencing harms, including young people, says the Gambling Health Alliance amid the disclosure of its latest study.
This found that 58 per cent of gamblers and 61 per cent of non-gamblers would support a £2 limit to online slots, as opposed to opposition of eight per cent and five per cent, respectively.
The poll, conducted by Yonder from February 26-28, 2021, is from a representative sample of 2,094 UK adults aged 18 and over. In the population sampled, 1,442 reported that they had gambled, with examples including lottery, sports betting, bingo, casinos, slots, online gambling or scratch cards, while 652 had never done so.
The GHA adds the public health approach should also take a precautionary and preventive perspective; de-normalise gambling by reducing exposure to it; have equivalent measures in place between the online and offline ecosystems; invest in research, education and treatment to build the evidence base for effective policy making; and collaborate between key stakeholders from different backgrounds.
The Dutch Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit, lauded 2021 as another historic year, with the group anticipating to issue approximately 35 licences ahead of the opening of its online gaming market later in the year.
The KSA will start processing applications for an online gambling licence from April 1, after the Dutch Senate adopted the Remote Gambling Bill, thereby giving the go-ahead for the legalisation and regulation of online games of chance, a little over two years ago.
René Jansen, chairman of the KSA, says that 2019 was a “historic year” for the country’s gambling ecosystem, ahead of the market opening on October 1 for parties that succeed in obtaining a license.
GameCo announced a new round of financing and strategic investment, led by Playtech and SpringOwl Asset Management, headed by Jason Ader, alongside participation from many of the group’s previous investors.
The capital infusion is designed to accelerate the company’s ambition of providing revolutionary gaming products and experiences, while driving new players and demographics to casino entertainment.
Asserting that it is striving to capitalise on the millennial audience opportunity, throughout 2021 GameCo is aiming to expand rapidly into digital markets, with a focus on bringing arcade-style gambling to online casinos worldwide and positioning itself as a leader in esports betting in the US.
The new funding will be used to develop new game titles and expand the scope of its online, esports betting and retail businesses, with plans including the development of a portfolio featuring dozens of igaming products released yearly, with a focus on attracting and monetising a new and differentiated player