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PLAYTECH: confirmed listing on the UK stockmarket - but what about the owed players?


Thursday, February 23, 2006

PLAYTECH: confirmed listing on the UK stockmarket - but what about the owed players?


It was announced last week that online casino software provider Playtech are confirmed as seeking a listing on the UK Alternative Investment Market:


The rumoured London listing of turnkey provider Playtech was confirmed this (Friday) morning by a company spokesman, who said that his company hoped the shares would be placed with institutional investors by the end of March.

The spokesman confirmed that Playtech plans to raise GBP 175 million in a London stock market flotation that will value it around GBP 550 million.

The firm, majority-owned by Israeli internet-gaming entrepreneur Teddy Sagi, counts the Tote, Bet365 and BetFred among its clients and is the latest in a series of online gambling firms to opt for a London listing. Yesterday, Excapa Software, which also makes online poker software, floated on London's junior AIM market and saw its shares rise 5 percent in early trade.

Cyprus-registered Playtech said in a statement it made sales of GBP 27.4 million and a post-tax profit of GBP 20.5 million for the financial year to December 31, 2005.

Collins Stewart has been appointed as sole bookrunner, nominated advisor and joint broker. Seymour Pierce is joint broker.

(Source: Casinomeister Playtech listing confirmation.)


This was originally mooted in September last year - see the Playtech seeks listing on the London stock exchange article.


My question, which remains the same now as then, is:

Will Playtech now step up the pressure on those licensees who have substantial debts to their players?

It's undeniably the case that, since Playtech act only as providers and are not responsible for the day to day running of their clients' businesses, they are not technically directly responsible for any of these client debts.

However, the reality of the online casino business is a little different.

As one of the biggest software providers in the business, Microgaming take an absolutely hands-on attitude towards the people to whom they license their product, and have been known to revoke a casino's license and settle all debts themselves, in extreme cases, as a last resort - see the following extract from a Microgaming press release when they revoked the license of failed client "Goodfellas":


SOURCE: MICROGAMING

Microgaming announces that the licence for the operation of the casino owned by Big Global, which runs Goodfellows Casino, has been terminated with immediate effect. Microgaming is aware that for some time there have been player allegations that pay outs to players have not been made by Goodfellows casino.

(Source: Winneronline Goodfellas discussion.)


Microgaming is not even a public company - they remain privately owned to this day.

It is not acceptable for Playtech to establish a position on the UK stock market while they demonstrate such a grossly irresponsible attitude towards their licensees' treatment of the players.


There are two options as I see it:

1) They ensure that their licensees settle all legitimate player debts.

2) They do not list.

If they fail to encourage their licensees to settle all legitimate customer debts they should not be entitled to their public listing - what kind of a message does it send out to investors and the interested public at large when such irresponsibility is rewarded in this way?

Three debts stand out, which can be read in their respective articles: Giant Vegas, Swiss Casino and African Palace. These are not the ONLY issues; they are, however, the largest.

I would ask Playtech to give serious consideration to encouraging these licensees to settle with the players before this public listing goes ahead.



1 Previous Comments


Worth 800 million, can't be bothered to sort out a few grand for players that have been cheated by various licensees.

The player is treated like cattle. The investors could'nt care less, as long as profits are made.

Typical.

By Blogger Gamblog UK, at 6:44 am  


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