Betsson sells stake in rival Global Gaming, won’t say why


betsson-sells-stake-global-gamingNordic online betting operator Betsson AB has ditched its investment in rival Global Gaming not long after it acquired the stake, apparently spooked by the latter firm’s ongoing struggles in Sweden’s regulated market.

On Tuesday, Swedish media reported that the Stockholm-listed Betsson had quietly sold its entire stake in Global Gaming 555 AB. The sale was reportedly done sometime in July, mere weeks after Betsson was revealed to have equally quietly acquired 726k shares (1.8%) of Global Gaming.

Local media attempts to get Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwall to offer some explanation for the reasons behind the sale proved just as fruitless as the media’s previous efforts to get Lindwall to dish on why Betsson had bought Global Gaming’s shares in the first place.

Betsson’s shares closed out Wednesday’s trading up 4%, while Global Gaming’s shares tumbled 9.3%. Global Gaming’s share price is now less than one-fifth of what it was at the start of the year, reflecting the turmoil the company has endured in its biggest market.

In June, Sweden’s Spelinspektionen gambling regulatory body revoked Global Gaming’s online license due to alleged anti-money laundering and social responsibility shortcomings at the company’s Ninja Casino brand. The company’s efforts to appeal the revocation were rejected by Swedish courts.

In mid-July, Global Gaming announced the launch of a new Swedish-facing brand, NanoCasino, which would piggyback on the Swedish license held by Finnish operator Finnplay’s subsidiary Viral Interactive Ltd. In September, Global Gaming transferred control of Ninja Casino’s Swedish domain to Viral Interactive but Global Gaming continues to provide marketing services for the brand.

Despite these efforts, Global Gaming has struggled to get back on firm financial footing. In August, the company announced it would cut its payroll in half – and completely eliminate its Swedish technology team – after reporting a 42% decline in revenue and booking a net loss of SEK11m (US$1.1m) during the three months ending June 30. Global Gaming is scheduled to release its Q3 interim report on November 21.