Europe/Middle East/Africa

EXECUTIVE SHAKEUP IN VIENNA AS CAI PREPARES TO EXPAND

A reshuffling of top management is under way at Casinos Austria International as the operating giant prepares to implement a new strategy of expansion.

“The future positioning of Casinos Austria International Holding requires a clear division of board responsibilities,” the Vienna-based company said.

Accordingly, CAI Chief Executive Paul Herzfeld and CFO Josef Leutgeb are relinquishing their executive roles with Casinos Austria AG, the gambling and betting monopoly of the Austrian government and CAI’s parent company. Herzfeld was deputy director general of Casinos Austria and Leutgeb was financial director. Both will now concentrate “first and foremost” on the international business, CAI said.

To better concentrate on the business of the parent company, Karl Stoss, director general of Casinos Austria, has stepped down as chairman of CAI, and Dietmar Hoscher has stepped down as a director. Replacing Leutgeb at Casinos Austria is Bettina Glatz-Kremsner, financial director of Austrian Lotteries.

Walter Rothensteiner, president of the supervisory board of Casinos Austria AG, endorsed the realignment, saying, “I am convinced that this new management structure provides us with a strong and sustainable basis for a successful future.”

CAI operates 38 land-based casinos in 16 countries and 11 shipboard casinos. Casinos Austria AG operates Austria’s 12 casinos. The corporate group, which includes Austrian Lotteries and the country’s state-sponsored sports betting and remote gambling monopolies, posted €2.96 billion in total revenues in the last financial year.





NEW AND IMPROVED LADBROKES ONLINE

Ladbrokes has launched a new online sports book focusing on in-play betting and capable of streaming more than 30,000 live sporting events.

According to a report on the Gaming Intelligence Web site, the UK bookmaker has spent more than £3 million to secure Internet broadcast rights so that it can provide free viewing, with the exception of horseracing, to players. A minimum £1 bet is required to access live racing.

With betting in-play accounting for almost half the company’s sports betting turnover last year, the new site focuses heavily on in-play with a dedicated module on the home page and links to the live streaming service.

“This initiative, together with further development of our mobile offering and the development of new markets in Europe will continue the growth of our sports book,” said John O’Reilly, Ladbroke’s managing director of Remote Betting and Gaming.

Improvements also have been made to the site’s functionality and navigation, including single-click betting from every page, race-by-race betting, continual access to all events from the left hand menu, and personalized features that allow players to save favorite events for quick access.

The site, which offers betting in 18 languages and 18 currencies, currently has more than 500,000 active customers, according to GI.



PARTY WINS CONTRACT WITH DANSKE SPIL FOR CASINO, POKER GAMES

Party Gaming has been selected to provide online poker and casino games to the Danish government’s Danske Spil gambling monopoly.

Party will be the company’s exclusive provider under the terms of a five-year agreement.

“Party Gaming is definitely a strong business partner,” said Danske Spil Chief Executive H.C. Madsen. “Combining this with Danske Spil’s unique and strong position in the Danish market, with more than 500,000 Danish online customers, will guarantee that together we will deliver a highly attractive customer experience to players in Denmark.”

Party CEO Jim Ryan called it a “landmark” agreement for his company, one that “validates our strategy to become a leading provider of B2B services to both corporations and governments around the world.”

Last year the Danish government published draft legislation to partially open up the country to competition in the online poker and casino sectors. Currently, the Danske Spil Group is one of Europe’s largest operators. Its offerings include the national lottery, numbers and instant games and machine gambling. Total turnover in 2008 was more than US$2 billion.



SOUTH AFRICANS GAMBLING LESS, NEW REPORT FINDS

Fewer South Africans are gambling, according to a report by the country’s National Gambling Board which found declines in participation from similar surveys conducted in 2002 and 2005.

“This may point to a more stable gambling community regarding their involvement in gambling as a regular entertainment event,” the report said in a statement cited by Inter Game Online.

“Novelty and irregular gamblers will always be present, but they seem to be on the decline after almost a decade of legalised gambling in South Africa,” the report concluded.

The study showed that the frequency of casino gambling by South African adults was 6.3 percent in 2009, well off the 19.3 percent of 2003 and down 7.1 percent from 2005. Players spent 1.34 percent of their household expenditure on gambling, down from 1.7 percent in 2005 but up slightly over the 1.3 percent in 2002.

The study found that most gambling - 76 percent of total spend excluding lotteries - took place in casinos. Horse racing and sports betting were second, followed by limited-pay slot machines in street markets.



SCIENTIFIC GAMES EXPANDS IN GERMANY

Scientific Games has been awarded a contract to supply instant tickets and other services to Sachsische LOTTO in the German state of Saxony.

The ticket contract is exclusive, U.S.-based Scientific Games said, and it includes consulting on marketing support, training and production.

The instant tickets will be sold in some 1,300 shops across the state, which has a total population of 4.2 million.

“Our goal for the Sachsen Lottery is to responsibly transform new and modern lottery possibilities,” said Wolfgang Bildstein, the lottery’s managing director.

The agreement is the sixth cooperative services contract in Germany for Scientific Games. CEO Mike Chambrello called it “further proof of the proliferation of the partnership model internationally.”