On Wednesday, Playtech announced it had inked a three-year deal with Austrian-licensed online poker operator Win2Day, which is owned by Austrian Lotteries and Casinos Austria. The deal will see Win2Day shift to a bespoke iPoker desktop and mobile product by mid-March.
Playtech’s poker chief Joerg Nottebaum said the company was looking forward to furthering the development of Austria’s “first, but also best-performing poker network and products.” Win2Day is the latest addition to the struggling iPoker network, which underwent an overhaul last year in a bid to reverse its declining fortunes. Other iPoker skins include UK sportsbooks bet365, Coral, Paddy Power and William Hill.
Meanwhile, the fight for control over Win2Day’s parent company continues unabated. Last July, Austrian gaming technology outfit Novomatic boosted its stake in Casinos Austria and Novomatic announced its pursuit of a majority stake in December. But a Czech consortium gummed up the works in January by announcing its own Casinos Austria takeover bid.
Austrian Gaming Holding (AGH), whose principals include the Czech investors who control betting operator Sazka and who also acquired the Greek government’s stake in the OPAP betting monopoly in 2013, already hold a roughly 11% stake in Casinos Austria but want to push this to 50.8%.
AGH also filed a lawsuit intended to block Novomatic’s bid based on AGH’s belief that they had the right of first refusal on some of the Casinos Austria shares Novomatic is looking to acquire.
Last week, Austria’s competition watchdog BWB voiced concerns over Novomatic’s planned takeover and has referred the matter to the country’s Cartel Court. BWB has until Feb. 17 to voice its opinion on the AGH takeover bid.
Both AGH and Novomatic have since confirmed that they are in discussions to resolve their ownership squabble quickly so as not to harm Casinos Austria’s operations. The parties hope to reach some kind of understanding within four to six weeks.