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Affiliate Industry

Gaming Innovation Group acquires AskGamblers

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Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG) has today signed an agreement to acquire the casino affiliate websites Askgamblers .com, Johnslots .com, Newcasinos .com and several smaller domains from Catena Media Plc. The total consideration is EUR 45 million, of which EUR 20 million will be paid in cash on closing, EUR 10 million twelve months after closing and the EUR 15 million balance 24 months after closing. Closing is expected in Q1 2023.

Askgamblers is an award-winning website recognised as a well-trusted website source in the iGaming industry with strong brand recognition by users. Johnslots and Newcasinos build on GiG Media’s strategy to diversify its business. With this acquisition, GiG Media cements its position in the industry as the leading casino affiliate.

The acquired websites generated revenue of EUR 12.9 million in the first nine months of 2022 with an EBITDA of EUR 8.4 million. GiG expects to have an EBITDA margin between 60-70% from the assets going forward. The assets are expected to generate around 53.000 FTDs in 2022.

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The acquisition will diversify GiG Media’s business further in line with the strategy to create sustainable long-term growth and provide the business with several key strategic assets and multiple revenue opportunities. The acquired websites are strong in markets that currently are non-core markets for GiG Media, therefore expanding our current geographical reach. Further to the revenue growth potential, operational synergies are expected to be realised after the acquisition via the shared use of marketing technologies, business intelligence systems and key functions.

The transaction is structured by way of a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) with GiG’s subsidiary Innovation Labs Ltd. (part of GiG Media) and includes the acquisition of the two companies Catena Publishing Ltd (Malta) and Catena Media D.O.O. Beograd (Serbia). These companies currently employ around 90 people.

GiG will finance the initial consideration through a combination of own cash, a revolving credit facility (RCF) and a share issue. Existing shareholders have committed to participate in the share issue and the RCF, securing sufficient financing to complete the transaction at closing.

Morten Hillestad, Director of Business Development in GiG Media, said: “After three years of consolidating and expanding the GiG Media business – realising strong annual organic growth – the time was ripe to act when this acquisition opportunity emerged. GiG Media has developed world class marketing technology and operational capabilities over the preceding years, and we feel that bringing the AskGamblers brand into the company structure will provide multiple opportunities for it to flourish.”

Jonas Warrer, Managing Director of GiG Media, said: “We are very pleased to welcome quality websites such as askgamblers.com into the business and look forward to integrating with the skilled teams that have built up the websites acquired. We want to be the leading casino affiliate in the industry, and this acquisition cements our position.”

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Catena Media CEO Michael Daly said: “Today’s agreement is a major step in our journey to focus the business on online sports betting and casino affiliation in high-growth, regulated markets in the Americas. I am confident that in GiG we have found a buyer that will provide a strong environment for AskGamblers and the other brands and their talented people to develop and grow.”

Richard Brown, CEO of Gaming Innovation Group commented: “GiG is extremely excited to take over the premium AskGamblers brand from Catena. Combining the assets with GiG’s media technology and operational capabilities, provides us with a great opportunity to expand our global reach and to deliver a path for the brand to continue with its strong evolution. The expansion of our strategic position in conjunction with the deal structure gives the group another great blueprint for growth. We look forward to integrating the assets and current staff into Gaming Innovation Group.”

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Affiliate Industry

Blaze Gaming turns up the heat by joining First Look Games

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Rising star studio gets serious about game promotion by partnering with award-winning marketing platform that directly connects providers and affiliates

First Look Games, the ultimate marketing platform for game studios, has partnered with Blaze Gaming as the up-and-coming provider looks to drive awareness of its titles among affiliates and players.

As a partner of First Look Games, Blaze Gaming gains access to a fully branded library where it can upload information and assets for each of its games. This can then be downloaded by a network of approved affiliates and used to create reviews and previews.

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The First Look Games library is powerful and sophisticated, with providers such as Blaze Gaming able to upload game sheets, logos, images and videos for each title in their portfolio.

The provider can even offer demo links for each of its games, with player verification that is carried out seamlessly by 1account. This means that affiliates in highly regulated markets such as the UK can still offer demo games to their audiences.

Blaze Gaming has complete control over the assets it shares via its library, and when those assets are made available to affiliates. It can even offer a “first look” to certain affiliates up to two weeks before a new game launches.

This allows affiliates to build anticipation of the game ahead of its launch – when it goes live, players can then fire up the reels without delay.

Elliott Resnick of First Look Games, said: “It’s great to see Blaze Gaming engaging with affiliates by using our award-winning platform. First Look Games provides cost-effective game marketing that is proven to work, and Blaze can now take advantage of its unrivalled power and reach.”

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Keith Goddard, CEO at Blaze Gaming, added: “We are excited to leverage First Look Games and its suite of features and tools to directly connect with affiliates and make them aware of the awesome games in our portfolio so that more players can discover Blaze Gaming and our innovative, entertaining slots for the first time.”

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Affiliate Industry

Catena Media Updates its Financial Targets

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Catena Media has updated its long-term financial targets for 2024-26 to reflect a change in revenue streams as the group transitions towards a more sustainable revenue model following the completion of the strategic review in November last year.

The group expects a resumption of organic growth in the second half of 2024 and full-year adjusted EBITDA in the range of EUR 20-30 million as the first operational impacts begin to show from an extensive programme of technology- and data-based investments.

The new targets are:

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  • Double-digit organic growth in both revenue and adjusted EBITDA for 2025 and 2026 at group level.
  • Net interest-bearing debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 0-1.75.

The shift towards a more sustainable revenue model involves recruiting more players via revenue-share agreements with operators compared to cost-per-acquisition (CPA) contracts and implementing a programme of investments in tech and data innovation that is being rolled out in Q1 and Q2 2024.

These investments, planned as a result of the strategic review, will reinvent the group’s core technological focus by strengthening the organisation with new product offerings that prioritise technology, innovation and immersive user experiences. The primary initiatives include investments in artificial intelligence (AI), paid media, sub affiliation and further strategic media partners to broaden audiences and deliver greater value to partners.

Investments into AI include the establishment of a joint venture with a specialist AI partner to develop a generative AI application dedicated exclusively to content production for online betting and casino gaming affiliation. This initiative launched its first minimum viable product (MVP) in February 2024.

AI innovations and other tech-facing enhancements will enable Catena Media to scale the business, develop new revenue streams and generate synergies while also delivering a more personalised user experience as the group positions to become the data- and technology-driven leader of online affiliate marketing in its target sports betting and casino gaming markets.

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Affiliate Industry

Affiliate GGR Doubles in 2023: Affilka by SOFTSWISS Recap

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Affilka by SOFTSWISS, a leading affiliate management software provider, registers a two-fold increase in affiliate Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) in 2023. 

In 2023, Affilka by SOFTSWISS significantly bolstered its reach, welcoming 120 new brands into its partner network, now exceeding 320 brands. Moreover, almost 100,000 new affiliate accounts were registered during the same timeframe, marking a 176% increase over the previous year. The number of new affiliate accounts registered in 2023 represents 43.5% of the total registrations since the platform’s establishment in 2018.

 

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The rise in new affiliate accounts has led to a notable acceleration in new player registrations, exceeding 24 million over the past year. Compared to 2022, this metric has increased around 2.4 times, highlighting the impact of effective affiliate management on success within the iGaming landscape.

 

In 2023, the number of unique clicks on referral links with Affilka by SOFTSWISS increased notably, jumping 4.4 times compared to 2022. This growth can be credited to the expansion of the affiliate partner network and the improved brands’ capabilities using Affilka by SOFTSWISS.

In the financial review of Affilka by SOFTSWISS, notable growth is evident over the past year. Notably, the player deposit amount surged 2.4 times, the affiliate GGR nearly doubled, and affiliate payments increased by 70%.

Anastasia Borovaya, Head of Affilka by SOFTSWISS, remarks: “Our recent performance boost can be attributed to our robust referral infrastructure, ensuring smooth traffic flow that converts into higher player deposit amounts. We’re seeing an uptick in partner payments because we refined the commission constructor, allowing for more flexibility and customised management of partner rewards.

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We invest consistently in innovation and improving user experience in affiliate marketing, recognising its crucial role in iGaming. Our mission is to provide clients with a comprehensive affiliate marketing software solution vital for their operations. We prioritise exceptional service to attract new clients and ensure their continued loyalty.”

In the last quarter of the previous year, the world’s leading agency, Kantar, conducted a customer satisfaction survey for Affilka by SOFTSWISS. The average score obtained was 8.1 out of 10, with 91% of respondents expressing satisfaction with the product. Additionally, the satisfaction score for account managers was also high at 9.1 out of 10, with 97% of clients expressing contentment with the quality of work provided by Affilka’s account managers.

 

 

About SOFTSWISS

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SOFTSWISS is an international tech company supplying software solutions for managing iGaming projects. The expert team, which counts over 2,000 employees, is based in Malta, Poland, and Georgia. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licences and provides one-stop-shop iGaming software solutions. The company has a vast product portfolio, including the Online Casino Platform, the Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, the Affilka affiliate platform, the Sportsbook Platform and the Jackpot Aggregator. In 2013, SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a Bitcoin-optimised online casino solution.

 

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