Playtech Offers Online Gambling Domain for Finnish Market

RAY, Finnish Slot Machine Association and Playtech launch the new service

As of today, Finnish players will have at their disposal a new online gambling service, released jointly by state operator, RAY, Finland’s Slot Machine Association and software provider, Playtech. Playtech was granted the contract by RAY in May this year, which led to the launch of this platform, fully in line with the Finnish regulatory environment.

An online gambling domain operated by RAY, Ray.fi, will have over 150 games on offer, such as slots (including Playtech branded slots: Iron Man and Pink Panther), traditional casino table games, and local content, JokeriPokeri and Tuplapotti.

There will also be seven different formats of online poker in the domain’s offering, along with the ability to share tournaments between the online environment and RAY’s gaming locations, such as Grand Casino Helsinki.

As per responsible gaming features, there is age and online identity verification from the Finnish Population Register as well as other limits set by the Finnish regulator. But apart from this, players are enabled to set their own gaming limits, and they are allowed to access a unique tool ‘Playscan’ which will help the analyze and monitor their personal gaming activity.

“It has been a close collaboration between Playtech and ourselves as we have worked to develop the very best online gaming environment for Finnish players under what is a new regulatory environment,” said Kari Hyttinen, Head of RAY Internet gaming operations.

“With our very strong focus on responsible gaming, we have been pushing the frontiers of technology and integration through this process. Playtech has delivered innovative solutions to achieve these and we can now offer our players market-leading content in a controlled environment that is fully consistent with our core values and controls,” she added.

On the other side, Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said: “Responsible gaming is a key feature of regulated markets and RAY has consistently been at the forefront of best practice and setting the highest standards.

“We have developed innovative solutions to what were complex requirements and are delighted to deliver a complete solution for RAY and industry-leading content for their Finnish players.”

Real money action on the iPhone from Supercasino

Online and interactive television gambling group NetPlayTV has announced the launch of its new Supercasino app for iPhone, which is now available from the Apple App Store. The app permits both play-for-free and real money action, and was designed by NetPlay in collaboration with specialist firm Miles Ahead.

The Supercasino app is not a standalone game, but an iPhone client for the Live Roulette and Autowheel TV shows which air, respectively, on Channel 5 and Sky in Britain.

Users can bet in real time using the app while the roulette wheel spins on the television screen, at the same time messaging the on-screen presenter.

“These groundbreaking moves in the mobile space show NetplayTV’s commitment to becoming the leading live gaming operator in the market, giving our customers access via telephone, web or mobile,” says NetPlayTV executive chairman Martin Higginson.

In related news, one of NetPlay’s non-executive directors, Moshe Edree, has stepped down in order to pursue other business interests. He has been replaced by Tim Mickley, who was a managing director at Collins Stewart where he led the gaming team.

Positive Q2 results for Playtech

Internet gambling software development group reports continued strength into traditional seasonal slowdown

Internet gambling software development group Playtech plc has released a trading update covering the three months ened June 30 2010.

Financial highlights in the report include:

* Gross income for the quarter totalled Euro 44.5 million, up 34 percent on Q2/09 and 2 percent ahead of Q1/10
* Total revenues up 32% on Q2/09 and 2% on Q1/10 to €36.8 million
* Casino revenues up 34 percent on Q2/09 to Euro 24.9 million, 3 percent higher than Q1/10
* Poker revenues down 13 percent on Q2/09 to Euro 7.3 million and 15 percent lower than Q2/10, owing to the impact of the Football World Cup and ‘slow’ summer seasonality effect
* Bingo revenues totalled Euro 2.8 million, 61 percent up on Q1/10, reflecting increasing the contribution from recently acquired Virtue Fusion
* Share of profit in William Hill Online of Euro 7.6 million, up 43 percent on Q2/09 and up 4 percent from Q1/10
* H1 2010 EBITDA expected to be not less than Euro 53 million.

Management reports that daily activity for first the 26 days of Q3/10 is more than 10 percent ahead of Q3/09 on an absolute basis and more than 20 percent ahead of Q3/09 on a like for like basis, excluding France.

Activity declined by 12 percent compared to Q2/10 on the same like for like basis reflecting the combined impact of the closing stages of the football World Cup and normal seasonal slowdown. On an absolute basis, including France, Q3/10 is 19 percent below the daily average of the previous quarter.

Recent initiatives include the launch of a new Italian bingo network with SNAI and Eurobet, two of Italy’s leading gaming companies, which will be joined by additional members in the near future.

Operational highlights include:

* Italian Bingo commenced with Sisal which gained 18 percent market share in May.
* The company won the contract for Finland’s RAY in May, and launch preparations are reportedly going well for a launch in Q4
* Playtech launched its dedicated French poker network launched with a number of well-established local operators, and it is anticipated that further licensees will join in Q3.
* Recent acquisitions Virtue Fusion and GTS are performing ahead of expectations after a good Football World Cup, with new licensees and games launched
* The Videobet UK roll-out is on track with large shop-tests progressing well.

Commenting on the key performance indicators, Playtech’s chief executive, Mor Weizer, said: “The second quarter’s performance continues our strong start for the year and provides a solid base for the full year. Operationally we are well positioned with significant licensee wins such as RAY in Finland and the launch of our new Italian bingo and French poker networks bringing a broad range of well recognised local operators.

“I am pleased by the continuing growth of Virtue Fusion and GTS and together they will help to mitigate the closure of the French casino market which will be felt in the second half of the year.”

“The decline in current trading is in line with our expectations with sportsbook operators focusing on World Cup betting during the period, and is not anticipated to be a useful indicator of performance throughout Q3. We continue to see significant growth opportunities over the near and medium term.”

Portomaso Gaming Invests in Gaming Platform

Portomaso Gaming, based in Malta, has invested Euro 500,000 toward improvements to its live dealer digital platform, which is the combination of casino and studio within one product.

As a result of the investment there have been an additional 25 job opportunities created in Malta.

“The new technology employs technology through which the games can be accessed from both desktop computers and mobile devices and is compatible with all browsers and operating systems,” said a company spokesman. “All streams are broadcast in high definition for a better experience all around.”

Discussing the previous platform, the spokesman explained that it was developed with the technology of the time and analogue streaming hindered the operation.

“The advanced features of the previous platform were a disadvantage to us since it restricted operators to a fixed games lobby, although the end user could open up to 16 games in one screen.

“The new platform was built with flexibility in mind to enable operators to design their own games lobby, and all games are HTML5 compatible meaning that they will work on any device,” he said.