August 31, 2011

Sportingbet completes Centrebet acquisition

UK-listed gaming operator Sportingbet plc said Wednesday that it has completed the acquisition of Australia’s Centrebet International Limited following the implementation of two separate inter-conditional schemes of arrangement between Centrebet and its shareholders and performance right-holders.

Under the terms of the schemes, Centrebet shareholders and performance right-holders will receive a cash consideration of $2.00 per Centrebet security, valuing Centrebet equity at approximately $183m.

In addition to the cash consideration, Centrebet security-holders will receive a litigation claim right and a litigation claim unit which will entitle them to 90 per cent of the potential net proceeds of the company’s proposed GST litigation claim.

Following the approval of the schemes by Centrebet shareholders and performance right-holders earlier this month, and by the Federal Court of Australia last week, Sportingbet confirmed this morning that the schemes have been implemented and Centrebet is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sbet Australia Pty Limited.

Shares in Centrebet were suspended from quotation on the Australian Securities Exchange last week and an application to remove Centrebet from the official list of the Australian Securities Exchange has been made today.

“We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of Centrebet which means we are now the leading bookmaker in Australia, a fast growing, regulated market,” said Sportingbet CEO Andrew McIver. “This transaction highlights the Sportingbet Group's strategy of increasing its proportion of revenue generated from regulated markets and of geographic diversification.”

Centrebet confirmed that in accordance with Listing Rule 3.16.1, the company has announced the resignations of Graham Kelly, Con Kafataris, Michael McRitchie, Max Donnelly and George Kafataris as directors of Centrebet and Mal Lucas-Smith as the company secretary of Centrebet with effect from today
McRitchie’s resignation as director of Centrebet is separate to his employment as managing director of Centrebet which will continue on the terms and conditions of his employment contract.

The company has today appointed Michael Sullivan, Anthony Waller, Jim Wilkinson and Andrew McIver as directors of Centrebet and Lawrence Chartres as the company secretary of Centrebet.

Modern Times Group launches female friendly bingo brand

Nordic Betting Limited, a subsidiary of Swedish media company Modern Times Group and operator of, has launched a new female friendly bingo brand which will be powered by online gaming developer Microgaming.

Nordic Betting said that its new brand, Freya Bingo, will be targeted towards female players and will have a unique look and feel focusing on community, integrity and a personal touch.

Freya Bingo will run on Microgaming’s new Bingo+ Plus software, providing customers with access to multi-lingual and currency rooms, chat hosts and a range of jackpots in addition to a wide variety of casino games.

Customers will also have access to the popular Microgaming-powered Progressive Jackpots and leading branded content, such as Hellboy and Hitman.

“When choosing a provider to power our new bingo offering, we were very impressed by the customisation possibilities available on Microgaming’s Bingo+ Plus platform,” said Thomas Petersen, Nordic Betting’s chief operating officer. “Freya Bingo seeks to provide players with a truly localised offering, with an emphasis on community and integrity, and Bingo+ Plus was flexible enough to meet all our requirements whilst sharing games with operators from around the world.”

Lydia Melton, head of Network Games at Microgaming, said: “We are delighted to be working with Nordic Betting Ltd. and we are confident of Freya Bingo’s appeal in the marketplace. Increasingly, players are looking for a personalised bingo experience, and through Microgaming’s Bingo+ Plus platform, operators can adapt their brand to suit their target market perfectly. We look forward to a long and prosperous working relationship.”

Modern Times Group MTG AB, a leading international entertainment broadcasting group which includes Viasat Broadcasting, has been the major shareholder of Nordic Betting since March 2006, owning 90 per cent of the company. Nordic Betting also operates

August 25, 2011

Fortuna targets rival in Polish betting market expansion

European retail and online betting operator Fortuna Entertainment Group said Thursday that it is currently in negotiations to acquire the Polish subsidiary of rival Tipsport, as the company looks to strengthen its hold on the recently liberalised Polish betting market.

Fortuna said that the acquisition of Tipsport PL Sp. z.o.o would expand its Polish betting network which currently comprises 380 branches and a further 190 retail outlets across the country.

Earlier this month, Fortuna filed a formal request with the Polish Ministry of Finance related to the change of shareholders in Tipsport PL. The final decision by the Ministry is expected within three months. No financial details have yet been made available for the proposed transaction.

“We have begun due diligence this week and if there will be no unexpected complications, then nothing will prevent the conclusion of the takeover of Tipsport PL before the end of this September,” said Jiří Bunda, CEO of Fortuna Entertainment Group.

As a result of the acquisition, Fortuna will increase its stake in the Polish fixed-odds betting market by one third and further strengthen its position as the largest fixed-odds betting operator on the Polish market.

“Our strategy is a combination of branch network and online betting,” continued Bunda. “We are engaged in intensive preparations to expand network retail outlets and strengthen our market position so that it will positively impact on online betting in Poland.”

On May 26th, the Polish parliament amended the gambling law to allow online sports betting for locally licensed players. The new regulations also strengthened the Polish Customs Service’s authority in controlling illegal online gambling activities, including monitoring and suspension of money transfers.

The new regulations came into force on July 14th, with parliament maintaining the high 12 per cent tax on betting turnover.

Immediately after the new regulations were introduced, Fortuna’s Polish subsidiary, Fortuna zakłady bukmacherskie, submitted a request to the Ministry of Finance for permission to provide its clients in Poland with online betting.

The Ministry of Finance is expected to approve this within the next few months, the company said.

In its results for the six month period ended June 30th, also released this morning, Fortuna said that revenues from Poland accounted for 15 per cent of total revenues.

August 24, 2011

California delays online gambling debates

In California, the State Senate has announced that it will delay until at least January any debates on proposed measures that could legalise intrastate online gambling due to its busy schedule.

In a letter sent to members of the upper house late on Monday, State Senate President Darrell Steinberg revealed that no debates will be held on whether to legalise online gambling including poker before the current legislative session ends on September 9.

“We believe the concept of bringing intrastate Internet gaming to California has merit and is worth pursuing in a smart, methodical way,” read the letter from the Sacramento Democrat.

“And, as you know, in the last three years legislative efforts have intensified to authorise intrastate Internet gaming in California - so much so that it now seems abundantly clear the issue is here to stay.”

Steinberg went on to praise the work of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee for identifying ‘problems and solutions’ that have ‘narrowed the differences between the proponents and opponents’.

“Despite these efforts, significant, unresolved issues remain including tribal exclusivity and waiver of sovereignty immunity, the types of games that would be authorised, who would be eligible to apply for gaming site licenses and potential Federal Constitutional questions,” read Steinberg’s letter.

“We believe that well thought out, fair solutions to these differences can be reached, but not before the end of this legislative session on September 9, when Interim Study Recess is scheduled to begin. Rushing to meet a legislative deadline on an issue of such significance for our state and our people would be unwise.

“Having stated that, we also believe a significant amount of progress has been made on intrastate Internet gaming to the point where, absent unforeseen circumstances, we fully expect an objective proposal will be developed during the interim in time for consideration when the legislature reconvenes in 2012.”

August 22, 2011

Sportingbet closes in on Centrebet acquisition

UK-listed Sportingbet plc has moved a step closer to acquiring Centrebet International Limited, after the Federal Court of Australia issued orders approving two separate inter-conditional schemes of arrangement between Centrebet and its shareholders and performance right-holders.

Under the terms of the schemes, Centrebet shareholders and performance right-holders will receive a cash consideration of $2.00 per Centrebet security, valuing Centrebet equity at approximately $183m.

In addition to the cash consideration, Centrebet security-holders will receive a litigation claim right and a litigation claim unit which will entitle them to 90 per cent of the potential net proceeds of the company’s proposed GST litigation claim.

The court orders were made following the overwhelming support of Centrebet shareholders and performance right-holders who voted in favour of the schemes last week.

The court orders will be lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASX) tomorrow, as which time the schemes will become effective.

Pursuant to Listing Rule 17.2, Centrebet will request a suspension from quotation of its securities, which if granted by ASX, will result in the suspension of trading in Centrebet shares from the close of trading tomorrow, Tuesday August 23rd. Centrebet’s shares will be removed from the official list of the Australian Securities Exchange on or shortly after August 31st.

The schemes are scheduled to be implemented on Wednesday August 31st, following which Centrebet will acquired by Sbet Australia Pty Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sportingbet plc.

It is also expected that the scheme consideration of AUD$2.00, payable in cash, plus one litigation claim right and one litigation claim unit (which are the additional consideration in respect of the Centrebet GST claim), per share or performance right will be provided to the security-holders on or about September 1st.

Centrebet option-holders will also receive cash (being the difference between $2.00 and the exercise price of each option) plus one litigation claim right and one litigation claim unit for each option that has been granted.

August 19, 2011

Betsson signs multi-year B2B deal with Arsenal FC

Marking the company’s first ever football partnership deal, Betsson Business Solutions has signed a three-year agreement with Premiership football club Arsenal FC, under which it will become the club’s official betting partner as well as launch a wide range of Arsenal-branded online gaming and betting services.

Under the agreement, which is the company’s first ever football partnership, Betsson’s B2B arm will provide both online and in-stadia betting services for Arsenal fans for the next three seasons.

Betsson has launched a newly created brand, GunnersGaming by Betsson, with in-stadia operations starting at Arsenal’s first Barclays Premier League match of the season against Liverpool tomorrow, as well as an online offering launched on

“We are delighted to be welcoming Betsson on board as an Official Partner of the Club, an experienced and trusted brand who will be delivering this innovative new venture,” said Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s head of global partnerships. “Through designing a range of gaming products specifically for Arsenal fans, we intend to offer our supporters a valuable and unique experience that we hope will have no rival to our supporters.”

As well as providing fans with a fully Arsenal-branded experience, the site will also reward fans with exclusive offers and ‘money can’t buy’ Arsenal prizes. Fans can also redeem winning in-stadia bets, and take part in a range of betting and gaming products including casino, poker, sportsbook and other games.

“Betsson chose Arsenal Football Club not only because it is a huge international club with a very large fanbase, but also because its tradition of innovation matches perfectly with the ‘GunnersGaming by Betsson’ concept,” said Betsson Business Solutions’ managing director, David Björk. “Arsenal is one of the greatest football teams in the world and we’re looking forward to enjoying a long and successful partnership together.”

Arsenal’s full roster of partners now includes Emirates, Nike, Betsson, Carlsberg, Citroen, EA SPORTS, Lucozade, Indesit, O2 and Thomas Cook.

“Signing these kinds of B2B deals with a football club like Arsenal shows what a technically attractive partner Betsson is today,” said Betsson CEO and president Magnus Silfverberg. “This is also a good opportunity for Betsson to gain a part of the regulated UK market.”

August 18, 2011

Paddy Power & Centrebet to receive tax refunds in Australia

Shares in Centrebet International Limited soared by more than 8 per cent this morning after the Australian Tax Office (ATO) confirmed that it does not intend to appeal a decision by the Federal Court relating to overpaid goods and services tax (GST), with Centrebet claiming a tax refund of AUD$90.7m and rival operator Paddy Power receiving $36m.

Paddy Power said that the refund relates to GST paid by its Australian subsidiaries, Sportsbet and IAS, between October 2005 and October 2009, with the company to receive AUD$36m (€26m) from the ATO.

Approximately half of the gain is expected to be received as a cash refund later this year and half as a credit against Goods and Services Tax (GST) payable in future years, the company said.

The one-off tax gain followed July’s decision by the Federal Court in Australia which ruled in favour of Sportsbet's and IAS' interpretation of the relevant GST legislation. The relevant legislation has since been amended so the judgement does not impact future periods.

Paddy Power said that the ATO has today confirmed that it does not intend to appeal the Court's decision.

Following the favourable ruling, Centrebet had said previously that it expects to receive a tax refund of $90.7m in respect of sample transactions on the basis that it had incorrectly calculated its global GST amount.

“Centrebet considers that the Sportsbet Judgement forms a reasonable basis to hold the view that the Federal Court at first instance is likely to determine the Centrebet Proceedings in favour of Centrebet Pty Limited,” said the company in a statement this morning.

August 16, 2011

Gaming VC in talks over Sportingbet Turkish business

Gaming VC has revealed this morning that it is in talks with Sportingbet with regards to acquiring the bookmaker’s Turkish language website business, potentially moving the latter one step closer to being taken over by Ladbrokes.

Trading of shares in the AIM-listed operator was suspended this morning pending publication of a re-admission document, and it confirmed this morning that “exclusive” discussions had begun.

Under AIM regulations, any transaction with regards to the Turkish business would be considered a ‘reverse takeover’.

Sportingbet revealed last month that it was considering the future of its Turkish business “as part of its long-term strategy of increasing the proportion of its business mix derived from regulated markets”.At the time the London-listed bookmaker pledged to conduct a review which it explained “may lead to an exit from this business,” which chief executive Andy McIver (pictured) told eGR accounted for 15% of the company’s NGR.

Sportingbet in May agreed terms for the buyout of Australian bookmaker Centrebet and has also stated its intent to apply for Greek and Spanish licences, seen by analysts as better positioning it for a takeover from London-listed peer Ladbrokes, which first made a “highly preliminary approach” in June.

Analyst James Hollins of Evolution Securities today reiterated his firm’s ‘buy’ stance on Sportingbet shares: “We think the sale of Sportingbet’s Turkish operations will pave the way for a Ladbrokes takeover of the group.”

Hollins added that: “We think the market is consistently failing to ascribe any value to Sportingbet’s Turkish operations and we would regard a sale as beneficial to its EV and subsequent valuation.”

Addiction redefined as a chronic brain disease

Following a four-year process involving more than 80 experts, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has adopted a new definition of addiction, having concluded that addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavioural problem involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex.

When people see compulsive and damaging behaviours in friends or family members—or public figures such as celebrities or politicians—they often focus only on the substance use or behaviours as the problem. However, these outward behaviours are actually manifestations of an underlying disease that involves various areas of the brain, according to the new definition by ASAM, America’s largest professional society of physicians dedicated to treating and preventing addiction.

“At its core, addiction isn’t just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It’s a brain problem whose behaviours manifest in all these other areas,” said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM who oversaw the development of the new definition. “Many behaviours driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It’s about underlying neurology, not outward actions.”

The new definition is the result of an intensive four‐year process involving more than 80 experts, including top addiction authorities, addiction medicine clinicians and leading neuroscience researchers from across the US, as well as extensive dialogue with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The new definition also describes addiction as a primary disease, meaning that it is not the result of other causes such as emotional or psychiatric problems. Addiction is also recognised as a chronic disease, like cardiovascular disease or diabetes, meaning that it must be treated, managed and monitored over a life‐time.

Two decades of advancements in neurosciences convinced ASAM that addiction needed to be redefined by what’s going on in the brain. Research shows that the disease of addiction affects neurotransmission and interactions within reward circuitry of the brain, leading to addictive behaviours that supplant healthy behaviours, while memories of previous experiences trigger craving and renewal of addictive behaviours. Meanwhile, brain circuitry that governs impulse control and judgment is also altered in this disease, resulting in the dysfunctional pursuit of rewards. This area of the brain is still developing during teenage years, which may be why early exposure to alcohol, drugs and gambling is related to greater likelihood of addiction later in life.

There is longstanding controversy over whether people with addiction have choice over antisocial and dangerous behaviours, said Dr. Raju Hajela, past president of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine and chair of the ASAM committee on the new definition. He stated that “the disease creates distortions in thinking, feelings and perceptions, which drive people to behave in ways that are not understandable to others around them. Simply put, addiction is not a choice. Addictive behaviours are a manifestation of the disease, not a cause.”

“Choice still plays an important role in getting help. While the neurobiology of choice may not be fully understood, a person with addiction must make choices for a healthier life in order to enter treatment and recovery. Because there is no pill which alone can cure addiction, choosing recovery over unhealthy behaviours is necessary,” Hajela said.

“Many chronic diseases require behavioural choices, such as people with heart disease choosing to eat healthier or begin exercising, in addition to medical or surgical interventions,” added Dr. Miller. “So, we have to stop moralising, blaming, controlling or smirking at the person with the disease of addiction, and start creating opportunities for individuals and families to get help and providing assistance in choosing proper treatment.”

August 11, 2011

Oddschecker adds live in-play to odds comparison service

Oddschecker, the online betting odds comparison site owned by British satellite broadcaster BSkyB, has selected Push Technology Ltd to power the company’s new live in-play betting service which allows customers to compare live in-play odds from a host of online bookmakers.

Launched to coincide with the opening of the new Premier League football season, Oddschecker will use Push Technology's Diffusion enterprise messaging and internet communications technology to support the launch of live in-play betting odds on

“At Oddschecker our overarching aim is to provide the industry's best betting site, and to achieve this it's essential that we deliver a first-class proposition for In-Play,” said Derren Maggs, general manager at Oddschecker. “Speed is critical to this, allowing us to provide Oddschecker customers with access to the best in-play prices - particularly as in-play now accounts for over 50 percent of some bookmakers' overall betting stakes.

“Working with Push Technology's Diffusion enterprise messaging and Internet communication solution ensures that we can provide our customers with the latest prices at near zero latency.”

Oddschecker is one of the leading online betting odds comparison service, supporting more than one million unique users and publishing over half a million markets each month.

Oddschecker gives customers direct access to the best prices from leading bookmaking brands, with its new in-play service featuring live odds from leading bookmakers such as bet365, Sky Bet, Paddy Power, Stan James, bwin and Betfair, as well as the latest Opta football statistics that can help customers make more informed decisions.

“Our new live in-play service is all about fast, reliable and efficient online data distribution, and we're convinced that Push Technology sets the performance standard in this critical area,” continued Maggs. “Diffusion helps us to achieve the industry's lowest latency levels, especially when a bookmaker is also using Push Technology to deliver its prices. With an end-to-end, Diffusion-enabled data delivery service in place - with bet365, for example - we can remove some 3-4 seconds from the in-play process and deliver in-play prices in well under a second.”

Sean Bowen, CEO of Push Technology, added: “Oddschecker is the market's leading odds comparison site, and one of the key reasons for its impressive recent growth has been its strong commitment to sharing pricing data at near zero latency.

“We're delighted that they're now using Diffusion for their new live in-play service, and we're looking forward to providing further support for Oddschecker as they continue to develop their price comparison service for mobile users. Thanks to Diffusion, Oddschecker can be certain that all their customers are receiving the same immediate, reliable online pricing.”

Oddschecker is part of 365 Media Group, a subsidiary of British satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

August 09, 2011

Latest Betfair marketing ploy a bum deal

Visitors to this week’s test London 2012 beach volleyball tournament at Horse Guards Parade in London are being encouraged to photograph the backsides of Britain’s female beach volleyball champions by online betting exchange Betfair.

Zara Dampney, 24, and Shauna Mullin, 26, members of the British Beach Volleyball team, have rented their rears out to Betfair as part of a novel sponsorship deal with the company, with Betfair placing a Quick Response (QR) code on the back of the volleyball champions bikini bottoms.

When photographed using a smartphone, the QR code takes a user to a specific website, in this case that of Betfair. The QR code is designed to be read quickly from any angle making it ideal for this type of promotion, but with an ideal code size to scanning distance ratio of 10:1, spectators may need to get up close and personal with the backsides in question in order to gain the full benefit.

The marketing technique is being trialled by Betfair at the event which runs from August 9th to 14th at Horse Guards Parade in London, the venue of the 2012 Olympic Games beach volleyball competition.

“There is huge interest in beach volleyball and we want to ensure that our advertising campaign is seen and remembered by as many sports-fans as possible,” said Betfair’s Andy Lulham. “As far as we’re aware this is the first time QR codes have been used in in-play sports advertising and what better way to test its effectiveness than by putting them on one of the places that is likely to get photographed the most.”

August 04, 2011

World Cup 2014: Shadow of alleged match-fixing already haunting competition

The preliminary draw for Brazil’s World Cup took place on Saturday but already the shadow of alleged match-fixing has touched the 2014 qualifying tournament.

The threat of fixing was highlighted by Fifa president Sepp Blatter prior to the draw in Rio and Telegraph Sport can disclose that one of the early rounds of Asian qualifying has been internally investigated following allegations of manipulation.

Fifa investigators have been alerted to unusual betting patterns in connection with the two-legged tie between Cambodia and Laos in the first round of the Asian Football Confederation qualifying zone.

Both countries were eliminated before the preliminary draw in Rio, but the case highlights the rash of match-fixing allegations that have touched teams in more than 50 countries.

The first game in Phnom Penh on June 29 was won 4-2 by Cambodia, with the return in Vientiane on July 3 won by Laos 6-2 after extra time, enough for them to progress to the second round. The second leg was followed by accusations in Cambodia that the game was manipulated, and Telegraph Sport understands that data from betting monitoring software, including the Early Warning System used by Fifa, has highlighted unusual patterns, particularly in the first game.

The last goal in that game, scored by Cambodia in the 88th minute, attracted highly unusual betting patterns. With 86 minutes gone Cambodia were five-to-one on to score again on Asian handicap markets, an extreme price.

According to footage of the game on YouTube, Cambodia had two goals disallowed in the last six minutes, after 84 and 86 minutes, and Laos had a penalty appeal turned down in the 88th minute shortly before Cambodia’s Samel Nasa scored.

The second leg finished 4-2 to Laos after 90 minutes, with two further goals in extra time sealing their progress to the second round, where they lost to China 13-3 on aggregate.
Fifa would not comment on whether the case was part of its ongoing investigation into match fixing.

In a statement Fifa said: “We cannot confirm or deny any specific investigation taking place on these matches”.

The Football Federation of Cambodia carried out an internal investigation after receiving allegations that the games might have been manipulated, but has found no evidence of match-fixing.

In an emailed response to questions May Tola, the deputy general-secretary of the FFC, said that it had heard “unconfirmed rumours” about the tie, and that supporters had made accusations after the disappointment of the second-leg defeat.

“Some had accused players of result manipulation,” Tola wrote.

“Immediately after the team returned home, our FFC leadership has instructed the federation to form an investigation commission to find out if there is any irregularities as rumoured accusation [sic].

“After thorough examination and discussion, the Commission has found no substantial evidence or suspicion that the match had been manipulated by players or whosoevers [sic] within the team.”
The acting president of the Asian Football Confederation told Telegraph Sport that while he was not aware of any direct evidence that the Cambodia v Laos games were “not genuinely contested”, the allegations underlined “the destructive nature of match-fixing”.

Zhang Jilong, of China, who became acting president when Mohamed bin Hammam was suspended by Fifa, described match-fixing as a “pandemic” in world football, and is hoping to open a dedicated Fifa security office in Asia next year.

Jilong said: “There is no doubt that match-fixing is a real danger to football’s ethical values and needs to be completely eliminated to preserve the sanctity of the sport.

"AFC will not rest until this plague is completely stamped out in Asia.”

Asia is considered the hub of match-fixing and Jilong is in talks with Fifa’s security department to open a dedicated security office in Asia by the start of 2012.
The latest concerns come as Fifa prepares to take disciplinary action against six match officials involved in two notorious internationals staged in Antalya, Turkey, in February, in which all seven goals were penalties.

The referees, from Hungary and Bosnia, have been summoned to appear at a disciplinary hearing in Zurich next week, though none is expected to attend having already been banned for life by their home federations.

August 02, 2011

Kahnawake approves Full Tilt licence renewal

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) has approved Full Tilt’s application to renew the secondary licence which it holds in the territory after receiving confirmation from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission that it considers Full Tilt’s primary licence to still be valid.

The Kahnawake regulator had launched a review of Full Tilt’s Secondary Client Provider Authorization (SCPA) in late June after Alderney’s decision to suspend the company’s primary licence. Under Kahnawake regulations, the SCPA is only available to operators holding a valid licence issued by a primary jurisdiction.

The KGC said that it has received confirmation from the Alderney regulator that although Full Tilt’s primary licence is presently suspended pending the outcome of a hearing scheduled to take place before September 15th, “these licences are still considered to be valid”. Accordingly, the KGC has granted Kolyma Corporation A.V.V., operating as Full Tilt Poker, a renewal of its SCPA for a term of two years ending August 1st 2013.

The regulator added that Full Tilt is not currently offering gaming to the public from servers that are located within Kahnawake or under the Commission’s supervision and said that it is “closely monitoring the proceedings being conducted by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission”.

August 01, 2011 confirms merger of bwin France with Sajoo digital entertainment said Friday that it will merge its bwin France online gaming business with, the joint venture between bwin and French media group Amaury Group. said that it has decided to merge the two online gaming businesses as a result of the “challenging regulatory and fiscal regime that currently prevails in France” and in order to “drive greater value for both parties.”

The company has not disclosed any terms of the merger, but said that the combination will deliver real financial benefits in a number of areas including marketing and shared resources and that as a result, the combined entity will be “much better placed to deliver attractive financial returns.”

bwin and its local joint venture partner, Amaury Group, launched and developed online gaming services under the brand Sajoo to take advantage of the partial liberalisation of the French gaming market last year.

The company was among the first wave of operators to receive licences for sports betting and poker from regulator ARJEL in June 2010.

“Combining the resources of SAjOO and bwin France makes perfect sense and will only enhance our already strong position in the French market,” said Norbert Teufelberger, co-CEO of “With the prospect of a more commercial regulatory framework in 2012, we look forward to building a market leading enterprise with our long-standing partner.”

With an estimated 9 per cent share of the French online betting market, has already surpassed the goals set at its launch last year.

“This merger creates a new force in the French market, one that we expect will prosper over the months and years to come,” said Philippe Carli, Amaury Group’s CEO. “We remain optimistic that the current review of the existing regulatory framework being conducted by the French Government will result in significant improvements to the legal and regulatory framework.

“In this context, Amaury group is strengthening its involvement with bwin France, one of the sector’s leading operators.”