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SBC Summit North America: 5,000 Decision-Makers to Convene for Industry-shaping Talks

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SBC Summit North America is gearing up for another edition, set to gather 5,000 senior decision-makers for a dynamic event filled with learning, networking and business opportunities.

The leading iGaming and sports betting event in North America will return to the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey (May 8-9). Preceding the core event, a pre-day conference (May 7) will unfold in New York City and showcase the well-regarded Player Protection Symposium and Compliance & Leadership conferences as well as the newly-established Earnings+More: Capital Markets Forum, organized in collaboration with +More Media.

Rasmus Sojmark, CEO and Founder of SBC said: “The goal is to leverage the momentum we gained last year when we gathered the key operators, affiliates, suppliers, regulators, and media from the North American region. We anticipate a 66% surge in delegate numbers and are focused on attracting both industry newcomers and those who missed out on the opportunity to attend last year. The early numbers are promising, and the exhibition floor is approaching full capacity, even though we had added 15 extra booths this year to meet the demand.”

The exhibition floor is set to showcase a diverse lineup, with over 75 prominent companies taking the spotlight. Standout exhibitors include leading game providers like White Hat Gaming and Relax Gaming, alongside notable affiliates such as Better CollectiveMediaTroopersSpotlight Sports Group, and KeyAffiliates. Key payment providers like TrustlyPayNearMeTransUnionPXP Financial, and PayBrokers, operators like Betsson, risk management platforms like Kinectify, real-time content and data providers such as SportsDataIO and hosting providers like Internet Vikings will further enhance the comprehensive range of offerings, making the exhibition a must-visit for industry enthusiasts seeking the latest innovations.

The conference, spanning five stages and featuring over 300 expert speakers, will showcase a diverse selection of tracks: Leaders, Sports Betting, iGaming, Affiliates & Marketing, Payments & Tech, and Compliance & Regulation.”

In terms of themes, the conference will delve into several crucial topics shaping the multifaceted nature of the industry, highlighting its intersection with technological advancements, regulatory considerations and the critical balance between innovation and responsibility. These include the recent trend of revising existing sports betting bills instead of introducing new ones, the strategic considerations for second movers within the saturated sector, the influential role of social media personalities, and the challenge of interpreting extensive big data to gain insights into customer behavior across diverse channels. Furthermore, discussions will center around the role of artificial intelligence in promoting responsible gaming practices, the ongoing expansion of iGaming in new states, the evolving dynamics of sports integrity, and the ongoing regulatory deliberations in regions such as California and Canada.

Some of the speakers that will grace the stage include Kim Barker Lee (EVP & Chief Legal Officer, Bally’s Corporation), David Denenberg (SVP, Global Media Distribution & Business Affairs, NBA), Matthew Sunderland (SVP of iGaming, Caesars Digital), Dave Rivers (SVP Marketing, PointsBet Canada), Sarah Brennan (Senior Director-Compliance, BetMGM), Justin Barrett (Treasurer, Eastern Shawnee Tribe), Noam Klivitzky (VP US Marketing, 888 Holdings), Jon Steinbrecher (Commissioner, Mid-American Conference), Michael Golub (Deputy Attorney General, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement), Catherine Meade (VP Community, Sustainability & Social Responsibility, OLG), Jacob Coin (Director of Public Affairs, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians) and more.

Alongside other notable event features, the SBC Awards North America* ceremony will be back on the final day, celebrating outstanding industry talent across various categories and verticals. Additionally, the third annual SBC First Pitch competition will be a key highlight, providing a platform for five industry startups to showcase their innovative ideas to a panel of judges specializing in investment and innovation. Another addition to this year’s roster will be the so-called Tribal Symposium—a series of conference panels dedicated to exploring the intricate landscape of tribal gaming. One session will focus on the regulatory roadblocks in California and another one offering advice on identifying and effectively addressing signs of human trafficking in land-based casinos.

In the evenings, attendees can seize the chance to network before the main event by attending the Pre-Registration & Networking Drinks at Slate NYC on May 7. Furthermore, they can shift discussions away from the exhibition floor to a more laid-back setting at the Official Networking Party and Sports Betting Hall of Fame on May 8, followed by the Official Closing Party on May 9.

Gaming

Snail Games Enhances Current Game Titles with Exciting New Developments

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Snail Inc., a leading global independent developer and publisher of interactive digital entertainment, announced significant strides with the launch of West Hunt on Nintendo Switch and the introduction of ASA Premium Mods for ARK Survival Ascended. These initiatives underscore Snail Games’ unwavering commitment to continuously improving and enhancing its current portfolio of game titles.

West Hunt on Nintendo Switch

Snail Games’ independent game branch, Wandering Wizard, in collaboration with developing studio New Gen, recently launched West Hunt on Nintendo Switch. This highly anticipated game transports players into the heart of the Wild West, enabling them to embark on manhunts wherever they go. The launch of West Hunt on Nintendo Switch marks a significant milestone in Snail Games’ journey, as it extends the game’s reach beyond Steam into the thriving console gaming community.

ASA Premium Mods

Snail Games is also set to introduce ARK Survival Ascended’s Premium Mods program. This innovative initiative revolutionizes the modding landscape by providing unprecedented opportunities for monetization. With one of the most competitive revenue-sharing models in the industry, ARK Survival Ascended’s Premium Mods program ensures that modders are duly recognized and rewarded for their creativity and dedication. Moreover, ASA Premium Mods’ cross-platform compatibility across PC, Xbox, and PlayStation amplifies modders’ reach, enabling them to maximize their earnings and connect with a broader audience. ARK Survival Ascended’s mod program is committed to fostering an environment that encourages innovation, collaboration, and fair compensation for modders. The program aims to be a catalyst for positive change within the modding community, empowering creators to thrive in their craft. The premium mod program has launched on the PC platform with other platforms to follow in time.

“We remain committed to improving and elevating our current portfolio of games, ensuring that every player finds adventure and excitement in our diverse offerings. We embark on these exciting new ventures with our community and partners at the forefront of our strategy,” Jim Tsai, Chief Executive Officer of Snail Games, said.

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Gaming

WA.Technology appoints Waldir Marques as Director of Regulatory Affairs

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WA.Technology, a leading B2B iGaming solutions provider, is thrilled to announce the appointment of Waldir Marques as its new Director of Regulatory Affairs—this key addition to WA.Technology’s leadership team fortifies the company, particularly in light of recent regulatory changes in Brazil.

Waldir Marques, the former CEO of the government-backed lottery syndicate CAIXA Loterias S.A., brings a wealth of experience and an outstanding track record in iGaming regulation. His high-profile role at Brazil’s CAIXA Loterias S.A., a company renowned for its commitment to ethics, integrity, and transparency, has honed his skills in ensuring strict adherence to regulatory requirements – a crucial asset for WA.Technology’s operations. Waldir’s insights and expertise will be invaluable in bringing credible and knowledgeable advice to clients, opening the door for bigger and better opportunities in a legally compliant way.

“With the latest regulatory developments in Brazil, Waldir’s profound understanding of the legal landscape will be instrumental in guiding our expansion efforts in the country and the wider Latam market,” said Tim Scoffham, CEO of WA.Technology. “His appointment proves our commitment to operating within legal compliance, ensuring our clients receive exceptional service and the peace of mind that comes with rigorous regulatory adherence.”

Waldir’s curriculum vitae is a testament to his breadth of knowledge and experience in the field. His roles as Director-President & CEO at CAIXA Loterias S.A. and  Subsecretary of Regulation of Lotteries, Prizes and Sweepstakes at the Ministry of Economy, Brazil, highlight his capabilities in navigating the regulatory environment of the Brazilian market and beyond. His team leadership and governance skills further solidify his fit for this pivotal role.

“I am excited to start this new chapter with WA.Technology and contribute to its growth in the Latam region,” said Waldir Marques. “Ensuring compliance and fostering a trustworthy environment for our clients is my top priority. I look forward to helping to steer the company through the evolving regulatory landscape, particularly in Brazil, in light of the ongoing changes. I’m also looking forward to taking on the challenge of bettering WA.Technology’s advancement in the broader South American market as the company branches out into other markets such as Mexico.”

Waldir Marques will be part of the WA.Technology team at ICE London 2024 and will be available at the WA.Technology stand S4-240. His presence at such a prominent event underscores WA.Technology’s commitment to expanding its reach and expertise in the flourishing Latam market.

This appointment marks a significant stride for WA.Technology in fortifying its position in Latam. WA.Technology is dedicated to upholding the highest standards of regulatory compliance and client service, and the addition of Waldir Marques to its leadership team signifies its commitment to excellence, integrity, and growth in the region.

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Gaming

SharpLink Gaming Sells Fantasy Sports and Sports Game Development Business Units to RSports Interactive

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SharpLink Gaming Ltd. (Nasdaq: SBET) (“SharpLink” or the “Company”) announced that on January 18, 2024, the Company entered into an agreement to sell all of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock or membership interests, as applicable, in its SportsHub/fantasy sports and free to play sports game development business units to RSports Interactive, Inc. (“RSports”) for $22.5 million in an all-cash transaction. Nearly all employees of these acquired business units will also move to RSports to help ensure a seamless transition.

SharpLink further reported that it used approximately $14.9 million of the proceeds from the sale to repay in full all outstanding term loans and lines of credit with its lender; in addition, SharpLink paid approximately $4.5 million to redeem an 8% Interest, 10% Original Issue Discount Senior Convertible Debenture issued to an existing shareholder in connection with a Securities Purchase Agreement signed in February 2023. As a result, the Company is now free of interest bearing debt.

As further detailed in a Current Report on Form 8-K to be filed by the Company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission later today, SharpLink’s Board of Directors considered the following factors, among others, in reaching their decision to approve the sale:

  • With the sale consummated, SharpLink expects to significantly reduce its operating expenses, primarily due to a significant reduction in headcount, lower office lease costs, greatly diminished state licensing requirements, elimination of interest bearing debt service and other resulting cost savings, thereby positioning the Company with the ability to achieve positive cash flow from its remaining performance marketing business on an accelerated basis;
  • The sale significantly strengthens the Company’s working cash position and total shareholders’ equity and provides the capital necessary to extinguish nearly $19.4 million in interest bearing debt – all without having to rely on dilutive equity financings to support the Company’s future growth;
  • The improvement in the Company’s total shareholders’ equity position is expected to enable SharpLink to regain compliance with Nasdaq’s minimum continued listing requirements; and
  • The sale of the Company’s fantasy sports and free-to-play games development businesses positions SharpLink as a pure-play, performance marketing company serving the global sports betting and iGaming industries.

In connection with the sale, Chris Nicholas, the Company’s Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board of Directors, resigned as an officer and director of the Company, effective immediately.

Commenting on the sale, Rob Phythian, SharpLink’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “This sale represents a pivotal milestone for SharpLink, allowing us to unlock significant value in our fantasy sports and game development businesses and achieve multiple critical objectives without having to turn to a potentially dilutive equity financing to strengthen our financial footing, regain compliance with Nasdaq, and support our efforts to ultimately create sustainable long-term value for our shareholders. Moreover, we are confident that our fantasy sports and sports game development businesses will continue to thrive and prosper in the great hands of RSports, which has exciting plans to elevate the combined businesses to new heights.”

Continuing, Phythian said, “Our remaining sports betting and iGaming performance marketing business will be more focused and simplified, allowing us to prioritize innovation and organic growth, while empowering us to look for strategic opportunities to strengthen SharpLink’s position as a trusted solutions provider to both current and future business partners.”

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