Operator Talk: Market entry is a matter of timing, Paf chief explains09/03/2015

Operator Talk: Market entry is a matter of timing, Paf chief explains

Selecting the right moment to enter a new market is a challenging task for international operators, but Anders Ingves, the chief executive of Paf, has told TotallyGaming.com that he is convinced the Scandinavian online gaming company has found the perfect time to push into Italy.

Last month, Åland Islands-based Paf acquired Milan-headquartered online gaming operator Winga, which operates within the country’s regulated market and offers a range of online, casino and bingo products via its website and television channel.

In a world of regulatory changes and grey markets, entering international markets can provide a variety of obstacles as well as opportunities for ambitious operators.

However, Ingves told TotallyGaming.com that Paf believes the timing of the Winga deal is spot on.

“The best timing of the market is probably not when everyone is entering the market, even though that is usually the case,” he said.

“The timing now, when some are leaving and there are a few mergers in the Italian market, is the right time for us. Also Winga is a good fit for Paf and our operations and corporate culture.

“As a first step, we will expand Winga’s product range to include additional casino games and betting in the next few years.”

Ingves said that the company remains committed to a “continued internationalisation and expansion” strategy.

“We have never scaled back our involvement on any markets due to other reasons than legal or legislative reasons,” he added.

“The biggest challenge for Paf is always to beat our competitors locally and internationally.

“We always seek for potential acquisitions on licensed markets. We search for companies that fit in to our business model and culture. The key here is if we see any growth opportunities in the company and the market conditions.”

Paf also announced last month that the company had linked up with Finnish hotel chain Sunborn with a view to opening an international casino on board the floating five-star super yacht Sunborn Hotel in Gibraltar.

The casino, which will be called Casino Sunborn, is subject to the granting of a licence and regulatory approval, with a planned opening in April.

“The opening of the Casino Sunborn in Gibraltar with Sunborn signifies that Paf's land-based activities are now taking a big and exciting step into Europe, just like Paf.com online,” Ingves added. “The casino will also be a good base for creating synergies with our internet-based business.”

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