iGB Affiliate 55 Feb/Mar - Page 12

WEBMASTER NEWS SWEDISH INVESTIGATOR CONSIDERING IP-BLOCKING INITIATIVE Swedish internet service provider (ISP) Bahnhof has revealed that it has been contacted by the investigator hired by the country’s government to look at new gambling laws concerning the possibility of blocking unlicensed gaming websites. Jon Karlung, chief executive of Bahnhof, said that the company will not take a position “either for or against” the merits of gambling, citing the Swedish government’s attempt to censor the internet as one of his key concerns. Investigator Haken Hallstedt is due to announce his proposals for new online gambling laws in March 2017. “We want to strongly warn of action to close parts of the internet that authorities deem objectionable,” said Karlung. “Today there is no compelling state filtering of the internet in Sweden. To throttle the internet and freedom of communication is obviously the wrong way to go.” Bahnhof, which hosts the controversial WikiLeaks website, has been involved in various campaigns to preserve freedom in regards to the internet in Sweden. In 2008, it rejected government demands to block access to filesharing website Pirate Bay. ANTIGUA-BASED SPORTS BETTING SITE CO-FOUNDER PLEADS GUILTY IN US Haden Ware, co-founder of an Antigua-based sports betting website, has pleaded guilty to a gambling-related charge in the US. Ware had been a fugitive since an indictment was returned in 2002, accusing him and two others of operating sports betting business World Sports Exchange from at least 1996 through to 1998. The Associated Press agency reports that he pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in a Manhattan federal court, just one day after arriving in New York from Antigua. “I took wagers over the internet and over interstate lines,” Ware admitted in court. Authorities have suggested a prison sentence of between six months to one year, although Ware’s lawyer, Jim Henderson, said that his client should spend no time incarcerated. Ware has been released on $150,000 (€137,700) bail and has so far refused to comment. 8 iGB Affiliate Issue 55 FEB/MAR 2016 XLMEDIA DETAILS STRATEGIC REVIEW PLANS PERFORMANCE MARKETING BUSINESS XLMedia has appointed Canaccord Genuity Limited to undertake a strategic review of the business. In a statement, XLMedia said that the review would focus on the strategic options open to the firm with the intention of considering “all opportunities for maximising value for shareholders”. XLMedia added that the review will be “wide ranging” and could include a corporate transaction, such as the firm acquiring complementary businesses, a merger with, acquisition of or subscription for the company's securities by a third party, or a sale of the business. Canaccord Genuity will serve as lead financial adviser through the review, with Cenkos Securities taking on the role of financial adviser. “Since the company's initial public offering in March 2014, the company has consistently reported strong financial performance, continually invested in organic growth opportunities, completed several successful earnings enhancing acquisitions and declared $21.25 million (€19.6m) in dividends to shareholders,” XLMedia added in its statement. “Notwithstanding this and the company’s financial strength, the directors of the company have determined it is appropriate to evaluate opportunities to maximise value for the company's shareholders.” The announcement in late January followed a recent trading update in which XLMedia said it expected to exceed market expectations in both revenue and operating profit in its full-year financial report for 2015. It noted that strong growth in the second half of 2015, building on a good performance at the start of the year, meant it was likely to announce annual revenues of at least $88.6 million (€81.2 million), up 75% on 2014, and adjusted operating profit of at least $28.2 mi llion, up 66%. The marketing business noted that which was also boosted by the acquisition of Marmar Media in July 2015. It will release its audited results in March. CALIFORNIA EDGES CLOSER TO DAILY FANTASY SPORTS REGULATION CALIFORNIA HAS TAKEN another step closer to regulating daily fantasy sports (DFS) after a bill that would allow websites to legally offer such services progressed through the state legislature. AB 1437 would require websites to acquire the relevant licence in order to offer games in the state. DFS operators would also need to pay an annual regulatory fee and undergo a background check, paying taxes on profits and player winnings. In January, the state’s Government Organisation Committee approved the bill with a vote of 17-1. The bill has now been given a further boost with the State Assembly’s Committee on Appropriations voting 15-0 in favour of introducing such regulations. Industry consulting firm Eilers Research recently estimated that DFS games could generate up to $3.7 billion ($3.4 billion) in entry fees, in addition to $370 million in revenue this year, with California, the US' most populous state, responsible for 15% of these totals. NETPLAY BROKERS EXTENDED BROADCAST DEAL WITH ITV NETPLAY TV HAS signed an extension to a television airtime agreement with UK commercial broadcaster ITV. The three-year deal will run through to 2019. Under the agreement, ITV will continue to broadcast NetPlay TV’s ‘Jackpot247’ late night, seven days a week. Bjarke Larsen, chief executive of NetPlay TV, said: “I am delighted to announce the continuation of what will now be nearly a decade-long partnership with ITV. “Television continues to be NetPlay's USP and at the core of our strategy. “The combination of engagement through television with the development of our mobile platforms is driving customer acquisition and retention. “By continuous evolution of the production, style and format of our shows we ensure that NetPlay remains at the forefront of interactive gaming.”