iGB Diary: Wir sind nicht kaputt, yet...

23 October 2015

Grey the new green? 
Guten tag from the never-ending EIG-BAC week in Berlin! And no, wir sind nicht kaputt, yet, but no doubt we will be by the time Sunday comes around. Did you know grey is the new green according to EiG? It's certainly grey in Berlin, as for anything green we can't say we saw much. Still, it is a great city once you get used to it. Anyway, the event’s second turn in the German capital was ok all things considered, although on the content side of things many attendees bemoaned the fact that there were no panels covering daily fantasy sports.

The likes of DraftKings or Fanduel would not have attended in light of recent news anyway, but many other proponents of the vertical would have been happy to offer their views on the issues surrounding it. DFS is on everyone’s minds and with Nevada’s Gaming Control Board recently stating that DFS operators have to be licensed to work in the state because it considers it to be a gambling product; this leaves the likes of DraftKings in something of a catch 22 position.

The state is an important marker for the sector, DraftKings or Fanduel however can never apply for a DFS licence there, since in their view DFS is not a gambling product but a game of skill, and the reason they are able to operate and advertise freely across the US. Unikrn chief executive Rahul Sood gave this succinct view when he commented on the whole DFS saga: “We never really bought into fantasy sports at all; it was building a business around a loophole.” It seems early to be talking in the past tense about DFS, but with the likes of Amaya and casino groups wanting to put the brakes on DraftKings and Fanduel, it will be interesting to see how those two navigate the coming months. 

OpenBet sale an open secret
Out on the expo floor there was much talk of who was up, down and more importantly who was for sale, with OpenBet and Inspired Gaming’s names cropping up regularly. Both groups are owned by private equity firm Vitruvian Partners and it’s an open secret that they are up for sale, the key question being for how much and when. From what we understand Morgan Stanley has beren brought in to run the book while Playtech is mulling over a buy out. While Inspired has a strong estate of server-based gaming machines, OpenBet is the one grabbing most of the headlines. If it did end up being bought out by Playtech a tantalising scenario would come into view for major operators such as Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes et al; who all work off OpenBet. It would mean Playtech effectively supplying the biggest online betting and casino operators in the sector with their key products and platforms and there's a strong likelihood they would not all be happy about it. 

Reception invite only
Back to the really serious stuff now and as the Diary attended the excellent drinks and dinner put on by Betconstruct on the Tuesday evening of EiG, we were told that one well-known contact thought he could only stay for the reception drinks but not for dinner, and so made his exit as we all went to sit down. Cue laughter and jokes about only being invited to wedding receptions and so on, but when the Diary caught up with said contact, it turned out that he wanted to watch the Arsenal-Bayern Champions League games. The obvious explanations are usually the right ones.

Berlin life
We wanted to regale you with stories of Berlin nightlife and igaming debauchery, because, of course, there was plenty of all that this past week; but we’ve been told we need to be professional so we’ll give you this tidbit from the opening panel of the Berlin Affiliate Conference this morning. As moderator Michael Caselli whipped out his Blackberry to make a point about tech, everyone in the room started laughing since, well, they’re so rare these days. But yes he still uses his and is clearly attached to it. Best line came from one of the delegates who, pointing at some oranges on a table, said the fruits were more valuable than the Blackberry. Oh for the days when we could go on the rampage after a day’s conference and tell you all about it.

Have a great weekend!