Playtech acquires Geneity, inks two JVs; Hills loses 32Red infringement appeal

playtech-geneity-32red-william-hillTuesday was definitely a day in which Playtech’s PR department earned its pay. As the online gaming software provider’s CEO Mor Weizer trumpeted his company being “well positioned to take advantage of market opportunities wherever as and when they appear,” lo and behold, several such opportunities appeared. The first came when Playtech acquired Chiswick-based gaming software outfit Geneity for £11m up front, plus an additional £4m if certain targets are met. (Geneity can now afford to pay for that Fire & Ice stage show.) The deal comes with 20 staff members and software that will supplant Playtech’s current sports betting product, which will come in handy because…

Playtech has entered into two new joint ventures. The first is a 50/50 partnership with South African land-based gaming and hospitality firm Peermont, which holds seven casino licenses in South Africa and three more in Botswana. The deal will initially focus on the sports betting market, expanding to other channels as the country’s regulations allow. Playtech’s other JV is with Merkur Interactive, the online division of German gaming machine maker Gauselmann. Here too, the initial focus will be on sports betting, with an eye towards bigger and better offerings once Germany sorts out its online gambling legislation. Playtech will provide the technology and “marketing knowhow” while Gauselmann will provide its well-known German gaming brands, related infrastructure and business relationships. While each partner will retain the same number of seats on the board, Gauselmann will hold a technical controlling interest of 50.01%.

Meanwhile, Playtech’s partner in joint venture William Hill Online has lost its appeal of the successful trademark infringement suit brought against the bookmaker by rival 32Red. The multi-year saga began when 32Red claimed William Hill’s use of 32Vegas and 32V had infringed on 32Red’s trademarks. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal dismissed Hills’ appeal and ordered the bookmaker to pay 32Red an initial sum of £70k within two weeks. That’s merely a taste of what’s to come, as Hills is liable for damages and costs, the full sum of which will be assessed via an inquiry process before the High Court sometime early next year. 32Red CEO Ed Ware was understandably “delighted” with the “very satisfying” result, which he suggested “should deter other operators from infringing our trade marks.” Oooh, might another cheeky blog post by Hills’ honcho Ralph Topping be forthcoming?