IQL diversifies to buy up First Pay in £ 3m deal

Gaming software provider and electronic payment processor IQ-Ludorum (IQL) has acquired First Pay, on online debit card solution specialist in an all-shares deal. As of 13 April the share price was 7.5p. valuing the First Pay deal at around £ 3m (US $ 5.3m).

      This is significant for IQ-Ludorum as First Pay has a long –standing arrangement with Antigua-based operator World Sports Exchange (WSEX.)  The two deals also represent a diversification in IQL’s traditional profile, away from revenue based on software sales, to one with a dual focus with payment services.
      Mike Muscato, chairman of IQ-Ludorum, said: “The development reflect a fundamental shift in IQL’s business model towards recurring revenue and towards sales linked to the dollar volume of transactions. Gaming is expected to continue with double-digit, multi-billion dollar year-on-year growth and IQL is now poised to maximize its participation in this growth. ”
      WSEX, an Antigua-based  gaming operator and long-established egaming company which has been up and running since 1996, will deliver US $250m in payment processing volume to First Pay over three years under the terms of the deal. WSEX is part of the NetBet group of companies.
      IQL is aiming some products and services at individual consumers and through First Pay. It will profit from debt card fees. Sean Forward, founder of WSEX, has relocated to Antigua from the UK to take up an executive role at IQL, and will be responsible for the First Pay launch.
      Also in the past month, IQL has completed a deal for its IQ-Softech sportsbook to Betcorp. The deal will see IQL, providing software solutions for the routine management of a call centre and online sportsbook. Betcorp have been using IQ-Softech for five years, something which is predicted to continue. There is also a planned payment solutions deal between the two companies.
Malta simplifies licence process

Being awarded an egaming licence in Malta has been simplified following agreement between the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta (LGA) and self-regulatory standards organization eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA).

      Operators which use software provided by eCOGRA members will no longer have to go through a monitoring review and further tests for a licence after the LGA agreed to work closely with the independent standards association. Both groups citred player protection as a unified aim.
      Andrew Beveridge, chief executive of eCOGRA, said: “eCOGRA is keen to interact with any jurisdiction that shares our values and we regard this closer relationship with the LGA as a significant step toward consistent global regulation for safe online gambling. ” Currently there are 71 online gambling licensees, and 76 sites which has been given eCOGRA’s ‘Play It Safe’ certification.

      The standards organization awards ‘Play It Safe’ approval following testing and has a codified set of standards. It also provides a dispute mediation service, something the LGA’s compliance and disputes officer also aims to work closely with following the mutual announcement.
      Mario Galeo, chief executive for Malta Licensing, said: “We share a common purpose in seeking to ensure the player is given fair gaming and efficient, courteous service by casinos and pokr rooms that are licensed and regulated by our respective bodies,” he said.
     “We look forward to a closer working relationship that benefits both the players and the industry in the years ahead. ”

News in brief

  • Gaming Corporation has appointed Paul Tuson as group finance director. He previously held senior finance roles with a variety of technology and media companies and latterly was group finance director at Stream Group. Justin Drummond, chief executive, said: “The board is delighted to appoint Paul, who has a strong financial background and a successful track record with two highly successful AIM-listed technology companies. ”
  • Skill-gaming site has appointed Matthias Schmidt-Pfitzner as executive vice-president of sales and marketing (Europe) with immediate effect. Schmidt-Pftizer has held senior positions in the online industry for more than 10 years. He joins from Yahoo! Where he was director of business development and distributions Europe for all Yahoo! Products. Toby Rowland, director and co-founder, said: “Matthias ’ unique experience and expertise will help us to accelerate our growth in Europe. ”
  • Gaming VC has made some changes to its board of directors. Bob Willis and Scott Miller have tendered their resignations with immediate effect, while Adrian   smith Joins the board as a non-executive director. Meanwhile, the board is proposing Gerard Cassels is appointed as finance director at the AGM on 16 May.
  • Interactive Gaming Holdings (IGH) has appointed Robert Spriddell to the board as a non-executive director. Spriddell is corporate development director at Consensus Business Group, where he is responsible for the portfolio management and development of the group’s gambling interests. Thomas Taule, chief executive, said : “The board looks forward to working with Robert and I am confident he will make an excellent contribution. ”

Bet and Win strikes milan deal

European online sportsbook BetandWin will be Italian football giant AC Milan’s official shirt sponsor as of next season, after the Austria- based sportsbook signed a four-year deal worth up to € 60m (US $74m).
      The sponsorship of a major club from one of the leading European football leagues is a coup for BetandWin which was previously reported to be in negotiations with Spanish club Barcelona to be its first –ever shirt sponsor.
      The milan deal follows the news that BetandWin would also be German club Werder Bremen’s official sponsor from next season.

BetandAWin has been on the lookout for a shirt Sponsorship deal with a major European club for some time. Although BetandWin has been the betting partner of several French, Spanish and German football clubs as well as partnering organizations such as the motorbike grand Prix, until now it had never been the official sponsor of a top-flight football club.
Boris Hedde of sports marketing consultancy Sport + Markt, commented : “If you think of the sums involved for Chelsea (£ 50m for a five-year deal) or Manchester United (£ 56.5m for a four-year deal). BetandWin has not paid over the odds for this one.

“Milan is an internationally renowned football brand, is more popular than Chelsea and at the moment is more successful on the pitch than Manchester United. From every angle BetandWin has got it right on this one. ”
Hedde added the relevance of sportsbooks sponsoring football clubs was obvious and that operators “have been taking the first steps in becoming more accepted by the general public (in continental Europe). Outside the UK, sports betting is still relatively new and is not that well perceived by parts of the population. In the long run, companies that are highly visible and seen often in the media will become the most accepted”.