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Will Hill Signs On Playtech

By: Joan Peppin, Wednesday October 22nd 2008
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William Hill Plc is the leading provider of gambling services in the United Kingdom, active in both land-based and online gambling. Among the online gambling services it provides is Will Hill Casino, which is currently powered by Cryptologic. Will Hill members are currently enjoying the best of Cryptologic games like Street Fighter and Native Treasure. But all this is set to change. William Hill has announced a switch over from Cryptologic to Playtech.

In simple terms this means that from the changeover date Cryptologic games will no longer be available to members of Will Hill, but Playtech games will be available. Since Playtech offers a more limited range of games, the choice to members will be restricted. However this should be made up by the excitement of playing a different set of games.

However the structure of the deal is a bit complex and will involve changes whose effects would be felt over a period of time. William Hill Plc will continue to operate Will Hill Online, which includes the casino, poker room and sports book. Playtech would get a minority stake of 29% of Will Hill Online but not much upfront cash for the services it will bring. These include critical affiliate services that have been described as purchased assets in the agreement and third party contracts valued at £144.5 million. The deal has been structured over five years. It allows Playtech to increase its stake to 32% under certain specified circumstances. After four years Will Hill can but out Playtech's stake at an independently assessed fair value. Henry Birch, the former CEO of Leisure and Gaming, will lead the new organization.

The objective of this exercise for Will Hill is to become the largest online gambling portal in Europe. The purchased assets consisting mainly of Webroute Services and CPays will play a critical role in meeting this objective. These affiliates consist of customer services companies, payment handling companies, some casino brands, international marketing agencies, and creative agencies that know both Playtech and the European market. When this affiliate group is combined with Will Hill's own affiliates it will constitute one of the largest affiliate networks in the world. According to Birch this combined affiliate initiative has some of the best people in the online gaming industry. He added that under his leadership Will Hill would come up with brand new affiliate management software which will be the best anywhere in the market.

Meanwhile for Cryptologic it has been a case of win some and lose some. Cryptologic lost Will Hill but almost at the same time won PartyGaming. In fact it has been a great year for Cryptologic. With nine new online casinos in their portfolio no one in Cryptologic will rue the loss of Will Hill.

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