FSB and Relax Gaming secure approval to launch in Ontario

FSB’s gaming related supplier licence will enable it to work with approved operators in the province, including providing its omnichannel sportsbook product and online casino aggregation.

“This hugely exciting news is a landmark moment for FSB and adds further fuel to our aggressive, forward momentum in the North American region,” FSB chief executive Dave McDowell said.

“The pre-market opening approval from the AGCO pays a huge tribute to the quality of our technology, services and people as we push forward in global regulated markets in 2022.”

FSB’s vice president of operations for North America, Bob Akeret, added: “Being licensed as a gaming related supplier as the market opens puts us in a strong position to play a leading role in Ontario and build further and faster on the major growth we have achieved in North America over the last 12 months. 

“This is an opportunity we look forward to embracing.”

Meanwhile, Relax Gaming’s supplier licence will also allow it to work with licensed operators in Ontario.

The provider estimated that it will launch an initial 130 games across a number of operators in the province, with almost half of these games coming from 16 of its partner studios.

“The opening of the Ontario province marks the long-awaited debuts of regulated operations in Canada and is truly a turning point for the industry in the region,” Relax’s chief regulatory officer Alexia Smilovic Rønde said.

“Relax Gaming is delighted to be part of this journey from the very beginning, as well as offer its compliant portfolio and suite of partners under our regulatory umbrella, to make an equally swift and brilliant entry on the local scene.”

Ontario’s regulated online gambling market is due to launch on April 4 with a number of major operators having secured approval in the province.

Licensed operators include Bet365, Flutter Entertainemnt-owned FanDuel and Unibet, the latter of which gained approval earlier this week.

US growth to offset Russia-Ukraine headwinds for Sportradar in 2022

Speaking on the sports media specialist’s earnings call after the business reported revenue of €561.2m for the past year, up from €404.9m in 2020, Koerl described 2021 as a “landmark” year for the business.

“It was an understatement to say it was historic – it was truly a landmark year in many, many aspects.”

This 38.6% increase in revenue for 2021 was down to significant growth in its betting division both in the US and rest-of-world segments, Sportradar said, as well as a rising contribution from streaming services.

Looking ahead to 2022, the business expects further growth, with revenue projected to fall between €665.0m and €700.0m for the year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), meanwhile, is expected to be in the range of €123.0m to €133.0m.

Koerl said that a major reason to be optimistic was the ongoing rapid growth of Sportradar’s US betting arm.

“We see that this market is doubling – well, 92%, not quite doubling – on a yearly basis. We are really super excited. It is only a question of time for reaching profitability. It makes me very happy to see that the investment we made in 2014 is now starting to pay off with that leverage.”

Koerl said there was still huge potential in the US market, as customers pivot to in-play betting and therefore rely more on Sportradar solutions.

“Live betting is still at the very beginning,” he said. “In established European markets, we see that 80% of bets are live and 20% are pre-match. 

“But in the US we see 70% of bets are pre-match and only 30% are live. It’s upside down.

“We expect that to change because betting during the match can be so much more exciting. So we go from selling the data about the match to selling the solution, and the solution is live odds or managed trading services.”

Koerl noted that this continued US growth was mitigating some disruption from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“So far in 2022, we have not had a meaningful financial impact from the conflict,” he said. “So far, the impact we have had is limited to the affected regions – we have not had a downstream impact.”

The impact Sportradar had experienced, he explained, came in two forms.

The first related to the collection of data for events in Ukraine, such as table tennis competitions, and the second concerned deals with bookmakers based in the countries. The first of these, he said, had largely been mitigated thanks to data collection deals in other markets.

“One impact is the content, and that’s most of the Ukrainian impact, and then the other is working with bookmakers,” he said. 

“In Ukraine we worked with table tennis and with esports at scale. Unfortunately they haven’t been able to hold these events any more, but this has been mitigated with content in other countries such as the Czech Republic. Of course we did have reduced content for a short period, but that has been fully mitigated now.

“Looking at bookmakers, there are bookmakers in both countries. Bookmakers in Ukraine have stopped business and bookmakers in Russia have reduced their scope. But our revenues are €665m to €700m even in a worst-case impact where Russia doesn’t work for us.

“We believe we can absorb potential losses in Russia and Ukraine and remain in that range.”

He and chief financial officer Alex Gersh went on to say that in a worst-case scenario, where remaining Russian deals are halted, EBITDA could fall below the target range. However, it would only fall €13m short of the lower end, coming in at €110m.

Koerl outlined that a plausible worst-case scenario would involve sanctions requiring the supplier to sever all ties with any Russian businesses. In addition to complying with existing sanctions, Koerl said Sportradar has agreed to suspend any new contracts with businesses in the country.

“Sanctions generally apply for us from the EU, from the US and from the UK,” Koerl said. “We are monitoring every sanction in those regions. So we ask, ‘Who is operating the business? Are there people on the sanctions list operating the business?’ 

“Then there could be a sanction that says, ‘Any company in the US or UK or EU cannot cooperate with Russian businesses’. That would be the worst-case scenario for sanctions.”

Novibet to go public and pursue new markets with $696m SPAC merger

The operator intends to use the capital that will become available through the deal to launch in new markets, both in Europe and the Americas.

Artemis will merge into a new wholly owned subsidiary of Novibet in a transaction based on Novibet’s pre-transaction enterprise valuation of $625.0m (£476.6m/€562.0m). 

Following the transaction, Novibet’s ordinary shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market, with Artemis founders and existing Novibet stakeholders to hold approximately 75% of the combined business at close.

The implied enterprise valuation of the transaction is approximately $696.0m. Novibet’s shareholders will roll at least 92% of their equity into ordinary shares of the combined business.

In terms of management, Rodolfo Odoni, the current owner of Novibet, will be serve as chairman of the new Novibet while George Athanasopoulos, chief executive of Novibet, will remain in this role. Artemis will also appoint two representatives to the Novibet board.

The proposed transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both businesses and is expected to close in the second half of 2022, subject to approval by Artemis’ shareholders and other customary closing conditions.

“Novibet has a strong record of success developing a superior technical platform to address the global igaming opportunity in a manner that delivers profitable financial performance and positive cash flow,” Novibet chairperson and co-chief executive Holly Gagnon said.

“This record, combined with its demonstrated ability to successfully and profitably enter new markets as well as the significant opportunity to leverage its competitive advantages in new markets, including in North America, aligns with our original investment thesis and makes Novibet an ideal partner for Artemis.”

Proceeds from the business combination and expected ongoing positive cash flow growth from existing operations will be used to support Novibet’s multi-pronged growth strategy, which will include growing its presence in existing market and launching in new regions.

This will cover moving into European markets such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, France and Spain, as well as igaming expansion in the US, Canada and Latin America, including Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina.

Novibet said its other near-term strategic growth initiatives include pursuing a return-focused acquisition strategy to acquire complementary igaming operators to further diversify its markets.

“We expect the available growth capital and ongoing positive cash flow growth from Novibet’s current operations, coupled with our own substantial industry expertise, will provide a significant benefit to Novibet’s efforts to continue to grow share in its existing markets and simultaneously address new markets, including the large North American igaming and sports betting opportunity along with the Latin American market,” Gagnon said.

“We are confident that Novibet’s proven, efficient, digital-focused customer acquisition strategy and depth of content offerings will enable it to deliver continued profitable growth as it launches its North American offerings beginning early next year.”

Athanasopoulos of Novibet added: “As we move closer to launching in additional markets where we can leverage our product and technology advantages, that focus will not waver. Our proposed combination with Artemis will enable us to both accelerate growth in our existing markets and efficiently enter newer markets. 

“We see a significant growth opportunity in North America as our planned launch of operations in the US, Canada and Mexico will significantly grow our total addressable market with our expected initial market access agreements for seven states enabling us to reach 14% of the US population. 

“We believe our execution on these strategies will result in consistent cash flow growth which, combined with our new access to the US financial markets, will help us to continue to invest in growth opportunities and drive significant long-term shareholder value.”

Clarion to launch women’s mentorship programme at iGB Affiliate London

The initiative will provide mentors with tools to build leadership skills and gain confidence, while networking with other women.

The initiative will debut during a launch event on 13 April at the ICC Capital Suite in the ExCeL London at 12:30pm, as part of Clarion Gaming’s iGB Affiliate London show.

The event will include a networking buffet with hosted roundtables.

“In order to be meaningful and effective, ASCEND has to reflect the real needs of women in the industry,” said Naomi Barton, iGB portfolio director. “The intention is to use the launch event to listen to the experiences of women working in gaming, and in the process ensure that we are addressing the issues that matter to them and that will help unlock the next steps in their career paths.”

“To achieve that core objective the launch will feature selected ‘hosts’ who are established in the sector and have experienced the issues and challenges: the hosts will moderate and generate conversation at the tables over an informal lunch around what ASCEND should be aiming to do for women in the industry.”

Barton added that purpose of the event will be “to create an ASCEND Board of female founder members, supported by an advisory board which will help to shape our terms of reference.”

“We have at our disposal some really powerful routes to market and will promote iGB ASCEND throughout the year via Clarion Gaming’s numerous engagement channels comprising events, digital and print in order to provide content, insight, networking, learning and support.”

iGB Affiliate will take place from 13-14 April at the ExCel London. To register for the event click here.

ICE 2022 will take place from 12-14 April at the ExCel London. To register for the event click here.

Genius Sports scores data deal with Resorts World in New York

Under the deal, Genius Sports will provide its LiveData and LiveTrading solutions, powered by official data, to Resorts WorldBET, which went live in New York earlier this month.

The partnership will include Genius Sports’ Nascar official data-driven in-race betting markets, as well as exclusive National Football League official sports data-powered products such as access to the league’s real-time statistics, proprietary Next Gen Stats (NGS) and official sports betting data feed. 

In addition, Resorts WorldBET will receive real-time data feeds and in-play pricing for football’s English Premier League alongside International Basketball Federation events and International Volleyball Federation leagues around the world.

“We are excited to partner with Genius Sports and offer the most cutting-edge technology with real-time data so that customers stay ahead of the game,” said Darlene Monzo, chief marketing officer of Genting Americas East, which operates Resorts WorldBET. 

“Mobile sports betting in New York is primed to lead the nation and our world-class platform offers exactly what customers are looking for: an innovative mix of speed, reliability and access to the most advanced data available.”

Genius Sports chief executive Mark Locke added: “With over 20 million people and a rich sporting history, the New York online sports betting market has enormous potential.

“Resorts WorldBET is set to be one of the key players in the market and Genius Sports will be central to their offering, providing premium exclusive content on top tier competitions including Nascar, EPL and NFL.”

XLMedia names Rich as non-executive chair

Rich, who will also become a member of Audit, Remuneration and Risk Committees, has served in a number of executive and non-executive roles corporations across the media sector.

These included six years as chief executive of TI Media, formerly known as Time Inc. UK, as well as five years at DMGT where he was managing director at the Mail On Sunday before becoming commercial director at Associated Newspapers.

Rich also spent time as managing director of Baur Consume Media and a consultant for Crash Test Media, while a 16-year spell at EMAP included time as group managing director of EMAP Lifestyle Magazines and EMAP Advertising, alongside overseeing its Australian and US businesses.

In addition, Rich is currently non-executive chairman of Digitalbox, an advisory board member at Hymag and non-executive director at Perfect Storm Productions. 

“I am very excited to be joining XLMedia plc at this important time in its development,” Rich said. “I am really looking forward to working with the team following the period of strategic redirection to maximise the digital opportunities from the existing assets and take advantage of the growth opportunities in the core areas of sports betting in a marketplace that is constantly evolving. 

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Julie Markey for the support she has provided as interim chair.”

Julie Markey, who had been serving as interim non-executive chair of XLMedia, added: “On behalf of the board, I am delighted to welcome Marcus to XLMedia, who brings a wealth of digital publishing and capital markets experience to this role. 

“We look forward to Marcus supporting the strategic ambitions for our business and I believe we will greatly benefit from his knowledge and expertise.”

The appointment comes after XLMedia this week reported a 610.2% year-on-year increase in net profit for its 2021 financial year following a 21.4% rise in revenue.

XLMedia put the revenue increase primarily down to its growth within the sports wagering market in North America, which helped to offset a decline in the online casino vertical.

Network Gaming attracts further £1.25m in strategic funding from investors

Black joins a number of other leading industry names to have invested in Network Gaming such as Colossus Bets chief executive David O’Reilly and TX Odds chief executive Einar Knobel.

Other investors in the business include Oakvale Capital partner Sandford Loudon, Los Angeles-based angel investor Gary Otto and angel investor Robert Markwick.

“I’ve felt for a while now that the betting landscape is ripe for change, and I’m delighted to be working with Network Gaming on a few fresh ideas,” Black said.

Network Gaming made its name with Fantasy Masters, a pay-to-play golf game that pitted friends and colleagues against each other with the chance to win cash prizes.

The business built on this with the launch of a range of other free-to-play and pay-to-play prediction games across a number of sports, while it also has partnerships in place with operator Fitzdares, The Sun newspaper’s Dream Team fantasy football offering and UK radio station TalkSport.

 “We give customers the experience of a game, not just a bet,” Network Gaming chief executive Harry Collins said. “Moving up or down a leaderboard right until the final seconds of an event offers a different type of excitement to betting, one where enjoyment comes from competing against friends or other sports fans in a rollercoaster ride.

“We’re delighted to have an industry trailblazer like Andrew advising us on fresh ideas and to have the support of other experienced innovators for this step-change in Network Gaming’s evolution.”

Nevada gaming revenue grows further in February

As ever, slots made up the majority of revenue with $764.4m, up by 44.0% from February 2021 on stakes of $11.06bn.

Multi-denomination slots were the most popular product, bringing in $377.5m in revenue, a 50.8% increase from 2021. Penny slots followed, with $282.4m, up 27.4%.

Table games, meanwhile, brought in $348.8m, which was 44.3% more than in 2021, as players staked $2.85bn.

Twenty one was easily the largest source of revenue, bringing in $114.0m, which was 67.3% more than in 2021, with players staking $764.1m.

Baccarat was next, as players staked $587.4m and casinos won $63.0m.

Roulette revenue was $36.0m while for craps the figure was $30.8m.

Looking at sports betting, total revenue across Nevada came to $30.9m in February, a month that included the Super Bowl. This figure was 2.9% less than the revenue in February 2021 and down by almost 40% from January 2022.

This came on bets worth $780.8m, which was 41.4% more than the handle in February 2021 but 29.6% less than January’s handle.

Most betting revenue came from retail bets, which brought in $21.8m to mobile’s $9.1m. However, mobile bets accounted for the majority of handle, with $512.4m, while retail handle was just $268.4m.

Basketball was the leading sport in terms of betting revenue, bringing in $12.5m on bets worth $465.3m. American football bets – including those on the Super Bowl – brought in $11.1m, as players staked $181.9m.

Hockey revenue came to $4.0m on $59.5m worth of bets, while baseball revenue was negative $471,000 and parlay card revenue came to $308,000.

Revenue from other sports was $3.4m.

Revenue from Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, was $949.9m, a 50.9% year-on-year increase, while revenue from the Las Vegas Strip was $599.1m, up 71.9%.

Spanish GGR dips despite 25.8% growth in stakes in 2021

According to figures from regulator the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), this came despite the fact that players deposited €2.77bn during the year, which was 216% more than in 2020, while turnover rose by 25.8% to €27.17bn.

For the first time, casino was the largest driver of online GGR, bringing in €407.1m in 2021, up 16.0%. Online casino revenue has grown year-on-year in every year in which DGOJ has recorded data.

Breaking this online casino revenue down further, slots brought in €241.4m, up 23.0%, while live roulette revenue grew 18.6% to €120.6m. Blackjack revenue was €23.2m, down 5.7%, while for RNG roulette this figure dipped by 27.2% to €22.0m.

Revenue from betting, which was previously the leading vertical, was down 16.2% to €305.9m, the lowest figure since 2016.

Of this total, €192.2m came from €5.81bn worth of in-play sports bets, while €114.9m in revenue came from live sports betting as players staked €4.65bn. Horse racing, meanwhile, contributed negative revenue on bets worth €355.1m.

Poker revenue came to €85.4m, which was 22.7% less than in 2020. This included €58.3m from cash games and €27.1m from tournaments.

Total stakes from each vertical, however, increased. Casino stakes were up 50.0% to €13.60bn, betting stakes rose to €11.07bn while poker stakes increased by 8.8% to €2.40bn.

In addition, 2021 was the first full year since a number of strict new marketing restrictions came into effect in Spain. All betting sponsorship deals with Spanish clubs were banned for the start of the 2021-22 football season, while advertising on TV and radio was restricted to the hours of 1am to 5am, a measure that extends to videos on YouTube.

Amid these new measures, marketing spend for Spanish operators dipped by 0.9% year-on-year.

Advertisements – both in media and in person – remained the main form of marketing, as spend ticked up slightly to €205.0m. Affiliate spending, meanwhile, grew by 6.7% to €41.1m. Bonus spending, on the other hand, dipped by 1.1% to €195.0m.

Given the new rules, sponsorship spend dropped by 29.3% to €19.0m.

Non-compliance is a loser’s game

Balancing frictionless customer onboarding, responsible gaming requirements, and financial crime compliance obligations provides the gambling industry with a unique challenge.
Learn more about best practices to implement an efficient compliance program while ensuring a seamless customer journey and strengthening your competitive advantage.


The impacts of an effective risk-based approach on the customer journeyHow to leverage compliance as an enablerHow to be regulator ready


Christina Thakor-Rankin

Principal Consultant, 1710 Gaming


Fiona Hughes

Head of Compliance/MLRO, Aspire Global
Adam Doyle

Head of Gaming, Trunarrative, part of LexisNexis® Risk Solutions
Ali Hawa

Head of Regulatory Compliance, Amber Gaming