Despite Ireland having pushed back implementation of its long-awaited gambling law reforms until 2013, the government plans to publish the proposed amendments before legislators break for the summer. On Tuesday, a Department of Finance spokesman told GamblingCompliance that “the intention” was to make public the proposed changes to the country’s betting laws – including the introduction of a 1% turnover tax on online gambling – before the scheduled July 19 summer recess. The Department for Public Expenditure and Reform issued a similar statement regarding publication of amendments to the National Lottery Act 1986, including the awarding of a 20-year operating license, a plum for which at least four companies have already expressed an interest.
Online gambling software outfit Playtech has announced it will halt trading on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on July 2, simultaneously making its debut on the LSE’s main market (subject to regulatory approval). Playtech will publish an admission prospectus on June 28, and has advised shareholders to consult their advisers as to the tax ramifications of this move. Playtech attempted a similar upwardly mobile shift in 2011, only to be told that the significant revenue produced by its joint venture with William Hill Online (WHO) meant Playtech hadn’t met the requirements of generating at least 75% of its income in-house. Playtech now says WHO contributes a sufficiently smaller percentage of its total revenues.
This change of address card arrived the day after Playtech announced a €6m/year deal to license social gaming and mobile gambling software from companies owned by Playtech founder and largest shareholder Teddy Sagi, as well as 10-year leases worth £7.5m on office/apartment space in London, also owned by Sagi. Insiders told CalvinAyre.com that on Thursday, Playtech is expected to announce it has agreed to lease Sagi’s 1971 Ford Cortina (pictured above) for £1m/year, a deal that CEO Mor Weizer says represents excellent value for shareholders, in that the car gets great mileage, the radio still works and Playtech’s junior execs can use it to carpool to and from the office. (Fine, we made that last part up. But at this point, such an announcement probably wouldn’t surprise shareholders all that much.)