Playtech Ups Presence in Regulated Markets with Snaitech Investment

Snaitech stand.

A Snaitech conference stand shows off the companies wares ahead of its £252 million deal with Playtech. Image: investindustrial.com)

UK software supplier Playtech has agreed to buy a 70.6 percent stake in Italy’s largest gaming company, Snaitech.

Announced on April 12, the deal will cost Playtech £252 million and see the company increase its presence in another regulated market.

Under the terms agreed, the initial transaction is expected to conclude in the third quarter of 2018, with things being wrapped up by the close of the year.

A Move Away from Unregulated Markets

Also contained within the agreement will be a clause that requires Playtech to make an offer for the remaining shares in Snaitech once the dust has settled. With this investment in the Italian company, Playtech will now generate 78 percent of its pro-forma revenue from regulated markets.

With increased scrutiny on gaming brands that draw money from unregulated markets, Playtech’s move is a calculated one. In the last 18 months, GVC has scaled back its presence in grey markets and upped its stake in regulated regions.

After it a multi-billion-pound deal with Ladbrokes Coral fell through because of its reliance on revenue from countries where iGaming laws are unclear, GVC sold Headlong Limited. By selling the Turkish asset to Ropso Malta Limited, GVC’s annual revenue from unregulated countries dropped to less than 25 percent of its overall total.

Doubling down on this move, GVC went on to announce a £38 million takeover of Georgian betting site, Crystalbet in March 2018. Between these two moves, GVC has bolstered its reputation as a company that supports greater regulation ahead of a planned merger with Ladbrokes Coral.

Although Playtech hasn’t announced any desire to merge with another brand, the decision to solidify its status in regulated markets is in line with current industry trends. Indeed, following news of the Snaitech investment, Playtech shares went up by 8.3 percent.

UKGC Welcomes Old Face to New Role

In other news, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced the appointment of its new chief executive, Neil McArthur. Following the departure of former CEO Sarah Harrison at the end of February 2018, McArthur stepped into the role on a temporary basis.

After reviewing his performance and long history with the organisation, the board confirmed he would take up the position permanently.

“He brings to the role a thorough understanding of gambling issues and regulation, along with proven commitment to making gambling fairer and safer,” commented UKGC chair Bill Moyes in an April 12 press release.

Having worked with the UKGC for multiple years, McArthur has stated that he’ll be looking to continue the work started by his predecessor.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead to make gambling fairer and safer. It requires gambling operators to treat their customers fairly and they can expect us to be tough but fair,” said the new CEO on April 12.

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