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LeoVegas carries out strategic measures in the UK and related cost initiatives

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LeoVegas is carrying out strategic changes coupled to the UK market and the Group’s organisation. During the first quarter the brands Rocket X provide managed services for will be migrated to the Group’s own technical platform, while the Royal Panda brand will leave the UK to instead focus on fast-growing markets in Europe and the Rest of the world. This will result in a more focused and efficient operation that fully uses economies of scale in technology, product and organisation. As a result of the company’s efficiency improvement work, a planned relocation to new offices in Malta is being called off. These various initiatives will lead to annual cost savings of approximately EUR 3.7 m. One-off restructuring costs of EUR 6.1 m will be charged against operating profit for the fourth quarter. LeoVegas is also recognising an impairment loss of approximately EUR 10 m on its investment in Royal Panda.

The UK market for online gaming has changed dramatically in recent years, such as with respect to stricter demands on compliance and higher gambling taxes. At the same time, since the trade and assets of IPS (Rocket X managed brands) and Royal Panda, LeoVegas has conducted its operations in the UK on three separate technical platforms and with three slightly separate organisations, which has resulted in internal complexity. As a result, in 2019 the marketing organisations for LeoVegas UK and Rocket X were integrated into a single unit. The Group is now taking the next step by migrating the Rocket X managed brand portfolio from a third-party solution to the Group’s own multibrand platform Rhino, where all technology is owned and run by LeoVegas. Parallel with this, Royal Panda is leaving the UK market, which entails that all operations coupled to the UK going forward will be driven on the same technical platform and with a joint organisation for technology, products, customer service, marketing and compliance.

The strategic initiatives were begun during the fourth quarter of 2019 and are expected to be largely completed during the first quarter of this year. The measures are expected to generate cost synergies in areas such as marketing, products, payments and customer service, and will result in reduced complexity in compliance. The annual savings relating to the UK are estimated to be approximately EUR 2.0 m after the migration has been completed and consist mainly of lower platform and product costs and a more efficient organisation.

During the fourth quarter Royal Panda had sales of approximately EUR 1.1 m in the UK with negative profitability and is not expected to generate significant revenue during the first quarter of 2020. Revenue for the remaining operations in the UK, consisting of 13 brands including LeoVegas, 21.co.uk and BetUK, grew 15% during the fourth quarter over the third quarter and showed good profitability.

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LeoVegas’ focus on efficiency and cost control during the past year, including the now-communicated measures in the UK, have contributed to a much more optimised organisation with improved processes. The number of full-time equivalent employees in the Group has decreased from just under 900 to around 800 during the past year. The Group has therefore decided to cancel its contract for new, larger premises in Malta in 2021 and will instead stay in its existing facilities during the coming five-year period. The annual cost savings compared with the previously planned move will amount to EUR 1.7 m per year.

The initiatives will give rise to total restructuring costs of EUR 6.1 m, which will be charged against operating profit (EBIT) for the fourth quarter. The costs are mainly related to early cancellations of third-party agreements on platforms and products, penalties for cancellation of the new lease in Malta, discontinuation costs for Royal Panda’s operations in the UK, and impairment of LeoVegas Gaming’s intangible assets coupled to Rocket X’s previous technological development. In addition to this, LeoVegas is recognising an impairment loss of approximately EUR 10 m for its investment in Royal Panda. All of the cited costs will be reported as items affecting comparability in the fourth quarter interim report. The operating profit in the fourth quarter will also include a capital gain of EUR 11.4 m from the previously communicated sale of the subsidiary Authentic Gaming, which will also be reported under items affecting comparability.

“The strategic initiatives we are now carrying out will create optimal conditions to be successful in the large, but at the same time complex, UK market,” comments Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO. “The consolidation of brands into one and the same platform will contribute to large economies of scale in the Group – both by allowing us to fully utilise our multibrand technology and through a more efficient organisation. Already during the second half of last year, the LeoVegas and Rocket X managed brands in the UK began to perform favourably, and the new structure gives us a good starting point to increase both growth and profitability in the UK market during 2020. At the same time, Royal Panda – which has struggled with weak performance in the UK but has performed well in other markets – can now focus fully on growth outside of the UK and also launch the brand in a couple of new markets in and outside of Europe.”

LeoVegas will publish its interim report for the fourth quarter of 2019 at 8 a.m. CET on 14 February.

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Compliance Updates

Gammix Limited slams “outrageous and unsubstantiated” €19.7m KSA penalty

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The operator vows to fight on all fronts against the Dutch regulator’s ‘unjust’ ruling.

Gammix Limited has announced its intention to contest the “outrageous and unsubstantiated” penalty handed to them by the Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA).

In response, Gammix stated that the record €19.7m penalty imposed is based on “falsified data, extreme inaccuracy and highly suspect mathematics”.

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In the ruling the regulator said that Gammix was adjudged to have allowed online gambling access for Dutch consumers, as well as not requiring age verification upon sign-up – something the company wholeheartedly disputes.

Gammix reports that accounts used to access its sites during the investigation were created in Luxembourg, with deposits made via credit card. Gammix added that such action violates the sites’ terms and conditions, specifically the provision of false information upon sign-up.

The operator asserts that the penalty, totalling €19,679,000, has been calculated using figures from a proprietary web-traffic aggregation service and a multiplier of 240 Euros per click. Gammix believes this would show turnover that doesn’t exist.

Furthermore, Gammix strongly condemns the KSA’s “mystery shopper” style of investigation, which, the operator states, is an unjust basis for this record-breaking penalty.

Phil Pearson, Director of Gammix Limited, has vowed to “fight on all fronts until it receives an apology and retraction!.

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He said: “The KSA has imposed upon our company a penalty that is both outrageous and unsubstantiated. Now that we are able to talk openly about the case, we can confirm that we are fighting on all fronts as, to us, this is an extraordinary and unnecessarily heavy-handed action from a regulator that many already regarded as unapproachable.

“When we received the first notice of a possible penalty, we reached out to them to say we have blocks in place. We also asked for any information they had that was material to the investigation, to ensure we remained in compliance with all guidelines  – a request they appeared to ignore. Our lawyers also approached the regulator, in writing, to gain more information, but again no response was forthcoming.

“We had enabled a block on Cloudflare for any Dutch IP, we have no Dutch language or direct Dutch payment methods, and categorically do not target Dutch traffic. If affiliates list any of our brands on Dutch-facing sites, we cannot be held responsible for those promotions. However, once players reached the end site, they would not be able to register an account.”

Pearson concluded: “This fine is an absolute joke, and we will contest this in every possible way, at every possible turn. We will only rest once this outrageous penalty has been rescinded and we have received the apology we deserve.”

 

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MiFinity Recognised for Information Security Excellence with ISO 27001 Certification

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MiFinity, an award-winning eWallet provider, proudly announces the achievement of ISO 27001 certification, a testament to its unwavering commitment to safeguarding sensitive information.

The attainment of ISO 27001 marks a significant milestone in MiFinity’s journey, underscoring its dedication to maintaining the highest standards of information security management. Following months of rigorous assessment and preparation, the payment services company has successfully demonstrated its adherence to the internationally recognised criteria, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information across all operational domains.

The Chief Executive Officer for MiFinity, Paul Kavanagh, emphasised the significance of this achievement, stating: “Attaining ISO 27001 certification underscores MiFinity’s commitment to preserving the integrity of data and maintaining robust information security protocols across our operations. By doing so, we will further strengthen our resilience and ensure the ongoing protection of our valuable assets. I extend my sincerest congratulations to our entire team for their collective efforts in realising this significant milestone, which reflects our relentless pursuit of excellence.”

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The Information Security Manager for MiFinity, Alan Ludden, commented further on this achievement, stating: “ISO 27001 certification not only validates our proactive approach to managing information security risks but also reinforces our credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of our customers, partners, merchants and stakeholders. It positions us as a reliable custodian of their confidential information, further enhancing our competitive edge in the payments market. This was a team effort and wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and collaboration from across the company.”

ISO 27001 is the internationally recognised standard for information security management. It provides a framework for organisations to establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain and continually improve an information security management system (ISMS). By implementing its best practices, organisations increase their security posture protecting them from cyber threats and enhancing data protection.

Looking ahead, MiFinity will continue to uphold the principles of ISO 27001, continuously improving its information security management system and staying abreast of emerging threats and best practices.

For more information about MiFinity and its ISO 27001 certification, please visit www. MiFinity. com.

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French Publisher TapNation tops Financial Times FT1000 list of Europe’s Leaders in Tech Media

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TapNation, a Paris-based leading mobile app publisher has been identified in the FT1000’s ranking of fastest-growing companies in Europe. TapNation, known for its work in the mobile app and gaming space, has ranked in the Top 14 of companies according to FT1000’s data provider Statista. Among the Media and Entertainment categories, TapNation has secured the number 1 ranking among all companies across Europe.

This announcement falls on the heels of a recent announcement that TapNation was also the Top ranked company of the esteemed Les Echos “Champions de la Croissance 2024” French ranking, representing the fastest-growing businesses in France. These accolades underscore TapNation’s commitment to innovation, growth, and excellence in the competitive mobile app industry.

A Leader in Mobile App Entertainment

These two recognitions followed a 2023 year of enormous growth for TapNation, which began with their selection for the French Tech 120 program, a government program that scales up promising new start ups within France’s tech space.

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Additionally, earlier in January of this year, TapNation acquired UAHero, a leading monetization and user acquisition platform, as a subsidiary to diversify their presence in the mobile market. And even more recently, TapNation announced a 15M€ fundraising before signing a partnership with the Web3 platform Immutable to deliver new Web3 functionality for their player base.

“We are immensely proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish over the last year,” says TapNation Co-founder , Hervé Montoute. “We are honored to be recognized as the Top ranked French company for business growth, and how that ranking reflects in our position within the broader European market. 2024 is on track to be our best year yet, and this distinction reflects the hard work of our teams and our dedication to excellence.”

“This distinction also supports the growth of France’s domestic game and entertainment industry, as we are deeply committed to supporting growing studios both domestically and beyond.”

As of 2024, TapNation games have surpassed over a billion downloads worldwide across multiple markets and genres.

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