BUSINESS

Worldlink Group all wound up; Italian poker declines; Microgaming providing Hippodrome with casino site

TAGs: AAMS, Hippodrome Casino, Italy, Microgaming, PokerStars, worldlink group, worldlink sport

news in brief may 2Worldlink Group Plc has been served with a winding up petition after funding from an external source fell through. Sports Media Group has served the petition after Worldlink announced that SMG, along with Stephen Pearson, had been ousted from their role as chief marketing officer. The news comes as no surprise as only last week cash from Across The Line, which was supposed to keep the company going, didn’t materalise as the “required funding” didn’t arrive. That would have seen 51 percent of the firm’s Worldlink Sport subsidiary owned by Across The Line and provided a much-needed injection of cash. Worldlink is defending itself against the petition and has even prepared a counterclaim that is seeking damages based on “non-performance” and “breaches of professional confidentiality”. Worldlink signed a number of deals with Premier League clubs, including Sunderland, Newcastle and Fulham, at the beginning of the current season. Those contracts could end up being terminated and it begs the question as to whether BetButler.com will continue to trade.

Italy’s poker industry is another in a crisis with the regulator’s annual report showing a decline in revenues of 43 percent. The AAMS report shows that after hitting the heights of €41million in January it is now just above €23million and shows no signs of slowing. Tournament revenue has suffered an even worse fate with a drop of 75 percent from €35.5m in January 2011 to August 2012’s frighteningly low figure of €9.1m. The problems come from the fact that a combination of high taxes and low liquidity are dissuading companies from getting involved and unless the player pool is opened up beyond Italian players, it’s likely to continue.

Microgaming has signed up to provide an online casino for the Hippodrome Casino’s yet-to-be-launched website. Hippodromecasino.com will be constructed using Microgaming’s renowned casino platform and the company will work alongside Betway, who will look after the back office support for the site. It follows a report yesterday that PokerStars had taken a stake in the Hippodrome and that will see them construct a poker room, which will open next year.

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