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Interview with Dario Arruda, the CEO XCaliber

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Dario Arruda, the CEO of XCaliber, Malta, is a hands-on leader driven by a passion to meet the challenges and to realise the goals. Under his leadership, the company has made great strides in the last one and a half years. In this exclusive interview, Dario Arruda opens up about the company’s growth and its vision for the future. He provides detailed and lucid answers to a wide range of questions about the changing phases of technology, the new projects his company is into, and future trends in the gaming industry. Meet the man behind one of the most talked-about companies in the gaming technology sector.

Question 1

I would first like to ask you to begin with a few words about yourself. It’s always nice to hear top-class professionals say a few words about themselves for our audience.

Together with Cherry, I co-founded XCaliber in December 2016, having previously spent more than five years as Chief Technology Officer for Cherry Malta. Much of my background is in technology – I spent a number of years working on product and technical development for Allied Newspapers, Malta’s leading news and publishing company.

This experience translated effectively into the role of CTO with Cherry Malta, and I have not looked back since. I was delighted that Cherry accepted my proposal to create the B2B Technology business area, XCaliber, and am very proud of what we have achieved since the company was founded.

Question 2

It has been just over a year since XCaliber was launched. How do you look back at the journey so far?

It is fair to say, this has been a 15 months packed with progress to tell you about. We signed a number of important third-party deals, notably including the first partner for Omarsys, our affiliate-marketing platform. FSport is one of the world’s leading fantasy sports platforms, and we were delighted to partner with them in increasing our foothold in the Swedish iGaming market.

The launch of our new Responsive Framework technology at the beginning of February marked a major milestone in our efforts to deliver innovative solutions that bring clarity and ease-of-use for both player and operator.

In financial terms, 2017 was a year in which we have built solid momentum, reporting revenue figures of MSEK 38.6, while we are also now ISO 27001 certified, reflecting how seriously we take, and the importance we place on maintaining full and robust levels of data security.

More than that, we have built a tightly knit team of experienced iGaming professionals, committed to our path of pushing the boundaries of business excellence. Put simply, I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far, and with plenty of new developments on the horizon, the future looks very bright.

Question 3

XCaliber’s LinkedIn page talks about “child-like curiosity and an insatiable appetite for creating novelty. We are all curious to know how you actually manage to retain the “child-like curiosity and an insatiable appetite for creating novelty” even when developing software for the fiercely competitive betting industry?

What we look to get across in all our dealings with fellow providers and operators is our passion for delivering innovation. This is reflected in the groundbreaking nature of our recently unveiled Omarsys and Responsive Framework, and our nominations in the “Software Rising Star” and “Affiliate Software” at the 2017 EGR B2B Awards underline the value in our growth strategy.

We have an exceptionally motivated team, and the innovation-driven nature of our approach is something that delegates really responded to at the recent ICE Totally Gaming Conference in London.

Question 4

XCaliber has won two awards at the prestigious Malta’s Best in Business Awards 2017: 1. Startup of the Year and 2. Best Online Web and Design. How do you reflect on the achievement?

We were humbled and delighted to receive those awards, as we are with any awards that recognise the effort and achievements of the hard-working team of experienced professionals that we have built at XCaliber.

It is great to see the speed of our growth acknowledged with the “Start-Up of the Year” award, and we are carving out a real reputation as one of iGaming’s foremost suppliers on a technological and design level.

Question 5

From the outside, it looks like XCaliber is mainly into two broad activities: 1. Rebranding the existing products, as in the case of CherryCasino and Game Lounge, and 2. Developing your own innovative products.

Let us talk about the rebranding first. What are the main things that XCaliber usually brings into a successful existing brand?

Speed to market, a slick and sophisticated experience for the end user, performance and quality of our products and a proactive approach to entering new jurisdictions are all vital aspects that our technology promotes, and this is reflected in the growth experienced by Cherry brands including CherryCasino and Sunmaker. As one of the industry’s fastest-growing providers of premium systems and software, we pride ourselves on our ability to deliver best-in-breed solutions to all of our partners, and we are proud to do so as a core part of and provider to the Cherry Group.

Question 6

Following from the previous question, you have your own innovative products as well – like Omarsys and Paypi. There are other products with the same or similar functionality. What makes your products special, or what makes them take the gaming world by storm – even if “a very quiet storm”, as your website says?

We are quietly bringing great advancements to the industry through products like Omarsys and Paypi. Taking our performance-marketing framework Omarsys as an example, it goes far beyond traditional tracking platforms. We recognise that adaptability is key to marketing efforts in the iGaming industry, and as such, we have fitted Omarsys with real-time reporting and analytics tools, allowing our partners to react swiftly and decisively to emerging trends. It is this desire to go above and beyond for our clients that elevates our offering above the competition.

Question 7

The latest news from XCaliber is about a new solution, called Responsive Framework. Could you tell more about it to our readers?

Absolutely. XCaliber’s Responsive Framework, codenamed XCAF, is an industry-first solution that enhances the ability of our operating partners to deliver a truly Omnichannel experience through the intuitive and intelligent use of data. The solution promotes a seamless customer journey, via a one-page structure built into the operator’s existing back-end, making streamlined use of collected customer data to ensure that players are always being promoted with offers perfectly synced to their preferences.

Instant gratification and a discovery-based experience drive so much of modern multimedia entertainment as we know it, and the data-led approach that our Responsive Framework facilitates puts all of the required functionality in the palm of an operator’s hand.

Question 8

How do you see the gaming industry and the software development for the industry evolving in 2018? Do you see a paradigm shift in the near future, especially with reference to artificial intelligence, robotics and all that?

I think there is certainly scope for evolution this year in light of the potential, that rapidly developing technology is bringing with it. Machine learning certainly has a role to play here, as part of the wider picture presented by iGaming providers that are making increasingly intelligent use of data in their solutions. I wouldn’t say this necessarily equates to a complete “paradigm shift”, but you can expect to see a lot of developments when it comes to making better use of customer data and preferences to deliver an experience tailored to the individual user.

While I will not give away what we have in the pipeline at XCaliber, I will say that you should definitely watch this space!

 

 


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Pennsylvania Gambling Expansion Nears $400 Million for the State in First Year

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Pennsylvania Gambling Expansion Nears $400 Million for the State in First YearReading Time: 2 minutes

 

Upfront licensing fees a short-term boon for state coffers, but revenue from gamblers will still have to wait, says PlayPennsylvania.com

 

Gambling has injected more than $385 million into Pennsylvania coffers in the first year since a law was passed to expand gambling in the state, surpassing state budget estimates. Upfront licensing fees for casinos, online casinos, and sportsbooks, as well as mini-casino auction profits and tax revenue from lottery expansion and daily fantasy sports, have combined to net Pennsylvania more than $1 million a day since late 2017, according to a recent analysis by PlayPennsylvania.com.

“The most notable aspect of the significant revenue that has been generated is that this is almost completely from fees, rather than tax revenue gained from gamblers,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Clearly there is enough interest in Pennsylvania’s enormous market so far to generate the fees.”

The revenue estimates were tabulated by PlayPennsylvania.com using a combination of official statistics and estimates based on iLottery, keno, and virtual sports sales numbers. A detailed accounting of the revenue generated so far can be found at playpennsylvania.com/revenue.

Using return-to-player rates of the games, PlayPennsylvania estimates that the state has collected more than $23 million in revenue from online lotto games ($19.6 million), keno ($3.6 million), and virtual sports ($87,000) through October.

Other sources of revenue so far from the law include:

  • Mini-casino auction profits, $128 million
  • Interactive gaming petitions, $94 million
  • Casino licensing, $78 million
  • Sports betting petitions, $60 million
  • Daily Fantasy Sports tax revenue, $1.4 million

By comparison to the gambling expansion, the state collected $799.8 million in taxes from statewide slot revenues in fiscal 2017-18. Pennsylvania estimated in February that the state will generate more than $34 billion in general fund revenues for its 2018-19 fiscal year.

“If the point of the expansion was to fill short-term gaps in the state’s budget, then the expansion would have to be considered a success so far,” Welman said. “We believe that the gambling expansion will eventually prove to be a winner for the state’s budget, but the long-term picture is less certain. More casinos and sportsbooks must open before we get a clear picture of whether Pennsylvania’s relatively steep tax rates and license fees will produce the desired outcome.”

With the November opening of the sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Penn National, the rollout of sports betting is just beginning in Pennsylvania. More openings are expected in December and January, too.

In addition, Pennsylvania should begin adding revenue from online gambling in early 2019, and further down the line, mini-casinos should enter the fray.

“The addition of retail sports betting should help buoy a slowing Pennsylvania casino industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “If New Jersey is any indication, though, the more significant revenue generator will be online sports betting. A successful rollout there should generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.”

 

About The PlayUSA Network:
The PlayUSA Network and its state-focused branches (including PlayNJ.com, PlayNY.com, PlayPennsylvania.com, and PlayCA.com) is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the U.S.

 

Source: PlayPennsylvania.com


Source: European Gaming Media

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Week 49 slot games releases

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Week 49 slot games releasesReading Time: 3 minutes

 

We’re back with the latest slots releases!

 

Innovative game development studio: Evoplay Entertainment has released its latest out of this world slots game, E.T. Lost Socks. Alexander Levchenko, Chief Executive Officer at Evoplay Entertainment, said: “E.T. Lost Socks is one of our most adventurous slots yet, and proof that we really aren’t alone. This highly engaging, all-action game will appeal to every type of slots fan across the globe. E.T. Lost Socks joins a 50-strong portfolio of slots, table, and instant games produced at the company’s development studios in Ukraine.

 E.T. Lost Socks Slot Game

 

Tom Horn Gaming takes slots players on an icy adventure in the kingdom of perpetual winter with it’s release of Frozen Queen! Wandering through a 4-reel frozen landscape in the base game, players might get lucky and come across two special Scatter Symbols in the form of magic crystals. These crystals activate 10 non-retriggerable Free Spins and introduce the Frozen Queen that materialises like the Sticky Expanding Wild, forming the 5th reel.

Tom Horn Gaming Frozen Queen slot

 

Santa’s got to get the sleigh ready for Christmas and what better way to do it than with the charming Naughty or Nice girls in their new bikini car wash? With five reels and 30 fixed lines, you can find yourself getting lucky with the Lucky Feature (5-7 free games), or the hit three Naughty or Nice III scatters for seven Free Spins, or, the toughest decision you’ll have to make playing this game, choose between the two girls and see what you get with the Pick A Girl Bonus. Tough choice!

Naughty or Nice 3 slot from RTG Asia

 

Green Jade Games, a company in the MRG Group, has launched its innovative slots portfolio with Hammer of Fortune. Green Jade’s games clearly stand out from what is currently available on the market. “Hammer of Fortune is the ideal game to introduce Green Jade Games to the market. It’s innovative and represents a new iGaming genre. Green Jade Games’ future is set to be very interesting,” – commented Per Norman, CEO of MRG.

 Green Jade Games - Hammer of Furtune

We end our weekly roundup, with perhaps the most anticipated release: Aristocrat is all set to launch a slot game based on the sci-fi-fantasy TV programme Westworld. The game leverages full potential of the fantasy and takes players on a thrilling journey through Delos Lab and Westworld, filled with unexpected twists and turns, fan-favourite characters and beautiful landscapes, as well as high-definition footage of the most memorable scenes, episodic photography and the show’s distinctive music. It promises to be a unique gaming experience in which fans can play in two different worlds.

Aristocrat to launch Westworld slot

 


Source: European Gaming Media

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Gaming Partners International Announces Special Dividend

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Gaming Partners International Announces Special DividendReading Time: 1 minute

 

Gaming Partners International Corporation, the leading worldwide provider of casino currency and table gaming equipment, announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a special cash dividend of $0.12 per issued and outstanding share of common stock to be paid no later than 21 December 2018 to stockholders of record as of 10 December 2018. As of November 27, 2018, the Company had 8,045,968 common shares issued and outstanding, resulting in an aggregate dividend of $965,516.

 

About Gaming Partners International Corporation:

GPIC manufactures and supplies casino table game equipment to licensed casinos worldwide. Under the brand names of Paulson®, Bourgogne et Grasset®, Gemaco®, Dolphin® and Bud Jones®, GPIC provides casino currency such as chips, plaques and jetons; playing cards; table layouts; gaming furniture and table accessories; dice; and roulette wheels. GPIC pioneered the use of security features such as radio frequency identification device (RFID) technology in casino currency and provides RFID solutions including RFID readers, software and displays. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, GPIC also has manufacturing facilities, warehouses and/or sales offices in Beaune, FranceSan Luis Rio Colorado, MexicoBlue Springs, MissouriAtlantic City, New JerseyGulfport, Mississippi; and Macau S.A.R., China. For additional information, please visit http://www.gpigaming.com.


Source: European Gaming Media

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