Latvia’s Baltic Gaming has been acquired by Estonia’s Olympic Entertainment Group

Mid-December, Olympic Entertainment Group (Olympic Casinos), the largest casino operator in the Baltic states, acquired 100 per cent of Baltic Gaming A/S, Latvia’s second largest casino operator. The acquisition is one of the largest direct investments made by an Estonian company in Latvia. The transaction took effect at the moment of signing and the contracting parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. As a result of the transaction, the market share of Olympic Entertainment Group, which owns Olympic Casino, will increase to 15 per cent of the saturated Latvian gaming market. This will be only 5 per cent less than that of the market leader. “The primary objective of the transaction was so ensure that the company is able to develop on the Latvian market both in a stable and powerful manner.

In Latvia we are determined to become the market leader in the nearest few years,” said Armin Karu, chairman of Olympic online poker casino, commenting the purchase transaction. Baltic Gaming A/s owns 33 gaming locations in Latvia, including Voodoo, one of the most popular casinos in Riga, located in Reval Hotel Latvija. Of the company’s casinos, 32 are electronic casinos, which until now have operated under the Bumerangs brand. “All casinos are operating with a profit and will remain in business in the future,” assured Mr. Karu. He added that in the course of 2006, many of them will be upgraded to comply with the standards of Olympic Casino and will be rebranded under the Olympic Casino name.

During the next year the company plans to invest in Latvia another 8m euros. In the last three years Olympic Casino has invested in its operations in Latvia around 9m euros. Among others, the company owns Riga’s largest and most popular casino in the Radisson SAS Hotel. Baltic Gaming, which has an annual turnover of approximately 12m euros, employs around 900 staff. This year, Olympic Casino plans to merge the operators of its Latvian subsidiary Olympic Casino Latvija and Baltic Gaming. During the course of the merger process the company will be managed by a joint Management Board. “In larger mergers there is often talk about cut-backs- I can assure you that the operators of Baltic’s Gaming have been successful , which means that we are not planning any major staff changes in the nearest future,” said Mr. Karu. He added that since the company was planning to expand further in Latvia, it could well hire more people. As one of Latvia’s leading casino operates, Baltic Gaming A/S was owned by a group of private persons. According to group president Niklas Braathen, one of the most important factors in entering the transaction was to find a suitable buyer. “When you have for more than 10 years put your heart into your business, it is only natural that when you sell it, you will make sure that the company will be in good hands – a buyer you can trust. I believe that we have managed to close the deal with exactly such a buyer, who is capable of maintaining a high level of operations and ensure even better opportunities for development to our more than 900 employees,” commented Mr. Braathen.

Magic Dreams grounded in the reality of growth

A straiht forward and clearly defined strategies has guided Italian slot manufacturer, Magic Dreams, through the last 12 months. The company having focused attention internally, introducing professional figures to its staff, reshaping its offices and its offices and instigating new polices in order to work in a more structures way. Its second step, according to magic dream’s Mr. Geradini, has been the development of a new model of slot machine, MD X-500, targeted at high profile gaming locations. “The main features of the MD X-500 are the very innovative ergonomic design for maximum player comfort, together with high quality and luxurious trimmings,” described Mr. Gerardini. “We believe that the ‘made in Italy ’ product label is a strong ‘added value’ and we consider it one of the most relevant points in our corporate stratage. We are also very proud to present the latest games library, which is the outcome of a successful mix of research and development by our creative team. ” Innovative and entertaining features will characterize the latest MD X-500 games :   Mexico Maze, Mad Mob, Desperado Bucks, Drakkar Race, Lucky Pub, My My Maya, each available on single or multi-screen models. “The company is ready to face new challenges in order to successfully enter the international market,” said Mr. Gerardini. “stratgic alliances and partnerships will be the right tools to spread Magic Dreams ’ products all over the world, because supplying high quality for slot machines to customers is our prime objective. ”

Last year, the international photo play tournament at the ATEL Photo Play booth was one of the highlights of the exhibition. Top players had traveled from around the world to challenge each other before the trade fair audience. Several plasma screens were used to broadcast the finals, generating a tense atmosphere around the packed Photo Play stand. In the end, German player, Barbara Fuβ, won the finalists ’ showdown. Once again visitors and participants experienced this ‘Touch of Sports ’ at this year’s ATEI event. On Wednesday, January 25, the second day of the exhibition, the finals of the two best Photo Play players are to be held  at the Photo Play booth  for the Second London Open 2006, with its over 50 novelties that concentrates on gaining new players for Photo Play, as well as simplifying access for tournament poker players. The user-friendliness of the arena-style menu’s software design was specially tested by an independent testing institute. Operators ’ needs were also given particular attention and the entire set-up section was revised. In addition, aTEI will see the launch of the new Photo Play Sportster Xtreme terminal, which is the world’s first flexible touch-screen   terminal. The Photo Play Sportster Xtreme can be deployed as both a seated or standing terminal.

Amusement industry veteran, Brian Duke, has signed on to market TopJam Games complete product line including the newly introduced Alien Attack video conversion kit. “The move solidifies our product development and marketing teams and brings us a highly qualified sales professional with over 25 years experience to lead the marketing function,” said Jason Powell, TopJam Games President and head of product development. “Brian brings both an understanding of the customer base together with a full understanding of the history of the video ppoker games business. ” Mr. Duke and Mr. Powell previously worked together at another video games company in Fremont, US. “Jason not only understands what it takes to develop high quality games but also that arcade operators have to make money for the industry to survive,” said Mr. Duke.