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Betclic mess (Betclic Everest Group)

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by rainmaker, May 15, 2012.

    May 15, 2012
  1. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    Casinomeister`s hard working PAB manager (maxd) updated his Betclic warning yesterday (here).

    It is not possible to reply to threads in the “Casinomeister Warning” section, so I am starting a new one based on his warning.

    Betclic is offering games from different providers, but I think most players will see them as a “NetEnt casino” since their main casino is powered by Net Entertainment.

    Betclic is part of the Betclic Everest Group (BEG). BEG is privately owned, which of course means that they are not required to publish financial information in the same way as publicly traded companies. But two of their owners are publicly traded (Paris Stock Exchange), so it is possible to look at their numbers in order to find out how BEG is doing.

    One of their shareholders, Société des Bains de Me, reported this in their annual report for the financial year ended March 2011:



    So it has been known for a longer time that this group is not doing very well. And I assume that the bad trend we saw early in 2011 continued throughout 2011. Their CEO (and others) resigned in 2011. Several of their sponsorship deals have also been ended recently, latest their deal with Juventus (as reported last month).

    These are the brands in the group:

    Betclic
    Bet-At-Home.com (publicly traded)
    Everest Gaming
    Expekt

    Net Entertainment also proudly announced in their Q3 presentation last year that “Monte Carlo is going online and they have selected Net Entertainment as a provider”.

    Monte Carlo online (montecarlocasino.com) is a part of the Betclic Everest Group. I asked their casino manager earlier this year, and he told me that they had not started promoting yet. I found this quite strange, since the site had been up and running since some time last year. You do not launch a new online casino with the world famous Monte Carlo brand and put it on “hold” for several months unless you have some major problems. Not sure what the status is today, but I looked at their progressive jackpots (which is some of NetEnt most popular games) and it certainly does not seems like they have more than a couple of customers.

    The warning from Casinomeister concerned Betclic. But I would like to add that I think players (and affiliates) should be careful or in my opinion avoid other brands in this group as well, especially montecarlocasino.com, Expekt and Everest Gaming.
     
    16 people like this.
  2. May 15, 2012
  3. mn001

    mn001 Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Troll
    Location:
    Casino
    Wow, I'm very surprised. This was one of the better casinos with super quick payments and very good bonuses etc. Not had much bonuses lately from them and not played much for a few months with them though.

    Good to know I should not use them anymore until this is cleared then.
     
  4. May 15, 2012
  5. Silencio

    Silencio Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Webmaster
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hmm confusing.. Everest Gaming is a brand/casino?
    Cause I thought they were the group behind everest casino / poker, casino elegance etc etc. All those grand virtual casinos, which are listed in the accredited section.
     
  6. May 15, 2012
  7. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Rainmaker is correct - the Betclic Everest Group evolved from the old Mangas Gaming, rebranding in 2010 with Nick Beraud taking over as CEO early in that year.

    He left late last year for undisclosed reasons, handing over to former online travel senior executive Ignicio Martos, but was invited to join the b.o.d.

    At the time of his departure Beraud made amicable noises, saying in a statement:

    “I will remember what a pleasure it has been in the last six years to experience an adventure that was so out of the ordinary, in the company of enthusiastic and innovative staff, and in a sector where everything was yet to be created…I am grateful to the Board of Directors for its trust in me.”.

    They have a French poker site, too.

    Gigamedia used to be the other big shareholder in the group, but I'm not sure if that Asian group is still involved.

    I hope NetEnt is clued up on this outfit, especially its lack of performance of late.

    Edited to add a little more info:

    Beraud was formerly Betclic's CEO and COO of the Mangas Group; with the changes his superior Isabelle Parise moved up the corporate ladder and he took her place as group CEO of BEG.

    A few months after Beraud departed, his colleague and Betclic co-founder, Eric Moncada also left BEG, followed closely by group Chief Technical Officer Pierrick Petain and other senior managers.

    At the time there was speculation that the serious cost-cutting measures imposed by new CEO Martos may be to blame.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. May 16, 2012
  9. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    Thanks for the info jetset :thumbsup:


    As far as I know, GigaMedia is involved as a shareholder in Everest Gaming which, as you know, is a part of Betclick Everest. I think GigaMedia in 2010 sold 60% of their gambling software business to Mangas Gaming (now Betclic Everest), owned by Lov Group and as mentioned, Société des Bains de Mer. But they still hold the remaining 40% (of what is now known as Everest Gaming).

    From the press release at that time:

    I looked at a couple of quarterly reports (Q4 2011 released now in March) from GigaMedia and found some numbers regarding Everest Gaming:

    Total revenues (Everest Gaming):

    Q4 2011 $10,9 mill (including $7,4 from poker)
    Q4 2010 $15,4 mill (including $10,8 from poker)

    Unique active players (Everest Gaming):

    Q4 2011 82 000
    Q4 2010 146 000

    Total net loss (Everest Gaming):

    Q4 2011 $86,7 mill :eek::eek2:
    Q4 2010 $8,6 mill


    It is also interesting to see how excited they were in 2010 about the opening of the French market. We all know how that went :rolleyes:

    "We are particularly excited about the opening of the French market slated for this Summer," stated GigaMedia CEO Arthur Wang. "Everest and Mangas are strongest in France and we see an enormous market opportunity for which we are best positioned."


    Silencio: Everest Gaming is listed as a “brand” on their website. But I do not know how subsidiaries of Everest Gaming are organized. I see that the Everest Casino Group rep has not been logged in since last year (dormant account).
     
  10. May 16, 2012
  11. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    This is the latest release (this week) from Everest, which is adding new games: it perhaps answers Silencio's question...

    "Everest Gaming is proud to announce the launch of new, thrilling third-party games for their world class casino brands Everest Casino, Imperial Casino, Casino Elegance, and Casino Lux. These additions to their vast library of exclusive games makes Everest a “one-stop shop” for games from industry leaders such as Ash Gaming, Cryptologic, Blueprint Gaming, Electracade, Playtech, and many more.

    "Etienne Leroy, Director of Casino at Everest Gaming: “After a complete website makeover and the launch of an industry-leading VIP program, the expansion of our gaming portfolio is just the next step for us. We are committed to guaranteeing our players the best gaming experience, and there is more to come in 2012!”

    With losses of almost $90 million, they appear to have a mountain to climb back to profitability.
     
  12. May 16, 2012
  13. Silencio

    Silencio Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Webmaster
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thanks guys, but I'm still confused :D
    Although of one thing I'm sure, all those grand virtual casinos desperately need a redesign / new games / software.. One of my employees, who makes the screenshots, is still joking about how their games gave him seizures.
    So at least them getting an upgrade is some great news. Let's hope it's not the same group..
     
  14. May 16, 2012
  15. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    Sorry, I did not read your question in your first post good enough. The Betclic Everest Group, to my knowledge, are connected to all of the casinos listed under “Everest Casino Group” in the accredited list. So when I said that players and affiliates should be careful about the Betclic Everest Group/ Everest Gaming, then this will include accredited casinos (including Everest Poker) listed under the Everest Casino Group.

    (I think Everest Gaming previously has been known as Grand Virtual. They changed their name from Grand Virtual to Ultra Internet Media and finally to Everest Gaming. And Everest Gaming is a part of Betclic Everest)

    ..............................................................................

    Please understand that I am not trying to bash these companies, but I think players should know that they are struggling.

    As for Betclic, they used to be quite reputable and trustworthy. Cases like those mentioned in the CM warning are most likely a result of their financial difficulties, and also why players should avoid them.

    I just recently read a thread concerning Expekt over at GPWA. Several members reported that Expekt would deactivate all aff. accounts because of "software migration". And that affiliates therefore would lose all of their players. It was also reported on another forum with this opening post:

    Do any of you know more about this, as I have not got it confirmed?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  16. May 17, 2012
  17. deucebag

    deucebag Experienced Member PABnononaccred PABnonaccred PABaccred

    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    cyberspace
    Grand Virtual is the name of the casino software these casinos use.
     
  18. May 17, 2012
  19. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Grand Virtual was a software provider in the industry - in Canada if memory serves me well - and I seem to recall they were bought by GigaMedia (a company in Taiwan) which had Everest in its stable. GigaMedia then became involved with Mangas, leading to the present developments. Business wheeling and dealing over a decade can often be confusing, so I'm open to correction here.
     
  20. May 17, 2012
  21. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Homemaker
    Location:
    Bierland
    You are correct - Grand Virtual was one of the very first brands listed here at Casinomeister. They've been here since 1998.

    They have a new rep who signed up last month. Hopefully this person will be able to shed some light on this issue. i.e. what connection does Betclic have with the group of casinos listed in the Accredited section.
    http://www.casinomeister.com/forums/members/itsik_everest.html
     
  22. May 17, 2012
  23. Christoff

    Christoff Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Media Auditor
    Location:
    Spain
    Thanks for the information. I've worked (briefly) for Mangas and the management was a bit chaotic to be honest.

    Let's just hope players/affiliates are not shafted.
     
  24. May 17, 2012
  25. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    Thanks for the rep link Casinomeister!

    It would be great if he could shade some lights yes :D

    ..................................


    As I said, I think those accredited casinos are connected to Betclic Everest (not only connected in ownership, but they are run by Betclic Everest). This information from GigaMedia`s annual report for 2011 (released today actually) also confirms this in my opinion (but I may be wrong of course):


    Mangas Everest S.A.S. (“Mangas Everest” or the “Company) was formed by BetClic Everest Group (“BEG”) as a limited liability holding company in France in December 2008. On January 21, 2010, Mangas Everest was reorganized into a French Stock Company for the purpose of acquiring the assets and liabilities of an online gaming business (referred to herein as “Everest”). Through April 7, 2010, Everest was wholly-owned by Gigamedia Limited (“GigaMedia”), a company incorporated in Singapore.

    In accordance with the terms of the transaction, Mangas Everest is 60 percent owned by BEG, which operates in the sports betting and online gaming industry, primarily in continental Europe, with a significant market presence in France; and is 40 percent owned by GigaMedia, which operates in the online gaming industry, primarily in Asia. Since the date of the acquisition, Mangas Everest has operated through its 11 majority-owned subsidiaries. See Note 16.



    Betclic mess (Betclic Everest Group): Everest.jpg,May 17, 2012

    If you for example visit the accredited "Everest Casino", then you will find this statement:

    This casino is owned and operated by Everest Gaming (Gibraltar) Ltd. Everest Gaming (Gibraltar) Ltd is regulated by the Licensing Authority of Gibraltar.

    As mentioned, 60% is owned by Betclick Everest and 40% by GigaMedia. But GigaMedia has previously stated:

    We do not control Everest Gaming’s management and hence have no control over its day-to-day business operations.

    It is also worth mentioning that they also wrote this in their annual report published today:

    In 2010 and 2011, Everest Gaming recorded an operating loss of US$24.2 million and US$111.1 million, respectively. Everest Gaming has been incurring losses and may not be able to obtain financing from third parties on attractive terms or at all.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  26. May 17, 2012
  27. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

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    I just want to add one more thing from the report. This really shows us how serious the situation is at Everest Gaming. Very few players would probably have deposited at related brands if they had this information:


    Everest Gaming may have insufficient resources to cover its operating expenses in 2012. We and BetClic have provided a certain amount of shareholder loans to Everest Gaming in proportion to our respective shareholding percentage in 2011. However, none of us or BetClic is obligated to provide any additional financing pursuant to the shareholders agreement or under the French law. We cannot assure you that we will continue providing additional financing to meet Everest Gaming’s working capital needs, and we may lose our return on our investment in the Everest Gaming business which will adversely affect our business and results of operations.




    (Minor correction: The annual report I am referring to was filed a couple of weeks ago. It was Q1 2012 that was presented today.)
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  28. May 17, 2012
  29. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Their casinos may be accredited, but so was Purple Lounge, and when Media Corp decided to no longer provide further cash to PL, we all know what happened.

    This is a prime example of WHY the rogue business practice of one highly regarded company not only affects it's own credibilty, but damages the credibilty of others who show signs that they face a similar problem.

    Everest may well ensure that player funds are not lost "in the works" when lack of money forces them to close, but the problems with Betclic finding excuses to delay payment, or confiscate payments due to some far fetched interpretations of the terms, does not bode well for players at any of the brands being looked after should the business be forced to close due to an inabilty to refinance.

    Only time can tell, but players should ask themselves whether they want to have money sat in a Betclic run casino when the crunch comes, and have to worry about procedures for getting paid.

    If Everest Gaming suddenly suffer "technical issues" with their software, and are promising to be "working on it", ..... RUN!!!!
     
  30. May 18, 2012
  31. RUSTYROO

    RUSTYROO Senior Member

    Occupation:
    Prime minister of Laura Land :P
    Location:
    Australia
    After reading this and maxd's warning thread, it shed a little more light on the problem i am having with Casino Elegance...

    I made a withdrawal to neteller for the rather low sum of $155 on Tuesday and being a past player i knew it would be paid Wednesday.

    Well anyway, Wednesday came and went so Thursday I wrote and asked if there was a problem as maybe they wanted to do ID stuff again or something and this was their response.
    That seemed rather strange to me so I wrote back and questioned why it would take that long when their website says 1 business day and also that is what it has been on every withdrawal previously, plus why do I have to wait another 24 hours after it is processed for the funds to "reach" my neteller account (i have only ever gotten this line when a casino has been stalling on payment by the way).

    Response was rather alarming especially since it is an accredited casino..:(
    So things must be getting REALLY bad over their right now and like I said, it was only a small withdrawal too.

    I hope they get back on track and not dumped in the casino graveyard as I really started to dig their new games and other interesting ones only found there.
     
    1 person likes this.
  32. May 18, 2012
  33. rainmaker

    rainmaker I'm not a penguin CAG webmeister

    Occupation:
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    I listened to GigaMedia`s Q1 presentation from Taiwan last night on live webcast, so just some updates based on that:

    CEO John Stringe said this (about Everest Gaming): “they are struggling. Business and profit/loss are weak. Last quarter we wrote off our total investment".

    Everest Gaming are raising capital (“to fund them a bit longer” as it was said). GigaMedia did not want to be a part of this in Q1, so their interest in Everest Gaming are now down to 34% (from 40%).

    GamingIntelligence wrote this earlier today:

    GigaMedia attributed the omission to the failure on the part of Betclic Everest to provide it with financial results for the first quarter of 2012, but GigaMedia CEO John Stringer offered little hope for optimism when questioned about the subject.”


    You can listen to a replay of their presentation here (available for 7 days):

    You must register/login in order to see the link.

    Everest Gaming related issues are mentioned in the Q/A-session at the end of the presentation (from about 18.55 min)
     
  34. May 18, 2012
  35. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    This looks like they are about to implode.

    They have not told anybody about this severe cutback to once a week for withdrawals, but are only saying so when people ask about the delay. The 24 hours to reach Neteller can be ignored, it is merely an ass covering statement, as unless Neteller is down for maintenance, crediting is immediate.

    Processing only on Friday will save them money as they only need to employ the staff for one day, not five. They may also have lost enough players to make such a cutback viable.

    The signs are clear, unless they get some kind of bailout, such as new finance, they are on the way out. Prudent players should withdraw NOW, and hope they stick around till next Friday to process the withdrawals.

    Only when fresh finance has been agreed should players consider it safe to return.

    Given how the Purple Lounge meltdown caught almost everybody by surprise, we can't say that this can't turn bad just because this has been a long term accredited group generating few complaints.

    The signs are that the whole industry is about to go through a hard time, and there will be more closures, mergers, takeovers, and of course, operators who hang on to the bitter end with hope, rather than working capital, placing players' balances at an unacceptable risk.
     
  36. May 18, 2012
  37. itsik

    itsik Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Consulting
    Location:
    USA
    Response from Everest Gaming

    Hello all,

    My name is Itsik Akiva, and I am the Director of Acquisition Marketing at Everest Gaming. I would like to thank you for your interest in Everest Gaming, its online properties and results, and share with you some information that would hopefully shed some more light on our current and future operations as well as the stability of our business.

    I could start by explaining the different financial metrics and reports for Everest gaming or its parent companies, but I believe that this is not the point of this thread. I can summarize our situation by saying that while the current environment is much more challenging than any in our 15 year history, and while our operational results did weaken in 2011 vs. 2010 (along with most of the industry, particularly the operators with significant presence in France) we have been able to reverse the trend and the company is now gradually improving its financial performance.

    Those of you who follow our company and brands know that we have been in business as a reputable and accredited operator since 1997 for casino & since 2004 for poker. We also operate Everest Affiliates, an awards winning affiliate program (including Best Poker Affiliate program at the 2012 iGaming Business Awards).

    In recent years our company went through several strategic changes with the sale to Mangas Gaming (now Betclic Everest group), the regulation of several key markets (notably France) and the implementation of multiple organizational changes.

    Many of those changes are reflected in financial reports and statements that some of your readership have quoted (and misquoted) While we do not argue with the overall sentiment, i.e. that our 2011 financial performance weakened in comparison to prior years , please keep in mind that the information in those reports can easily be taken out of context.

    Much of the weakness sighted in our financial results (see attachment) is attributable to two phenomena: First, ongoing reorganizational efforts and secondly, the unnatural economic environment in France as a result of a very burdensome and tax regime which has been well documented by your readers and others throughout the industry.

    Reorganizational efforts take time, are expensive and are inefficient by their very nature. Similarly, the tax regime in France, in the opinions of many, has negatively impacted player behavior in a manner almost unimaginable just two years ago. You can see this in great detail in the annual reports of our peers with substantial operations in France.

    In 2011 these two phenomena manifested themselves in a “write-down” or “impairment” of our shareholder’s investment in Everest. This write down is responsible for nearly 70% of Everest’s 2011 loss. Not operational losses, not use of cash. This is an accounting adjustment which has absolutely nothing to do with Everest’s ability to continue providing great customer service, continue paying its players promptly and continue providing the most fun, unpretentious, online gaming destination for players of all skill levels. To claim that this 59M EUR accounting entry has any bearing on Everest’s overall financial fortitude, which some posters have, is misinformed information at best or disingenuous at worst.

    So in closing, while 2011 was not a profitable year, and while 2012 continues to be a somewhat challenging environment, Everest continues to be a well-funded, shareholder-supported operator that looks forward to continuing to provide our players worldwide the enjoyable online experience they’ve been accustomed to for years and years to come.

    Of course, actions speak louder than words (or reports), so to really evaluate the stability and future of our company and brands I would like to point your attention to our actions. After years of continuous growth and investment in our poker products we took a strategic decision to put our casino product and brands at the top of our priority list. Although this decision was taken only several months ago, we are very proud to highlight a long list of achievements, with many new features and product improvements scheduled to be rolled out in the coming months: We gave a new and more modern look to Everest casino and Casino Elegance, introduced comp points and launched a very rewarding VIP program for all brands, added many recurring promotions, and integrated 3rd party games (with many more games to be added every month). In the pipeline for the coming months are the integration of Live Casino and the roll out of a web based real money casino. Other improvements include a more dedicated and proactive customer service and VIP management, new payment methods etc.

    As you can see, we have a very ambitious plan and we are making great progress in executing it. In my view, these are not the actions of a company that is on its way down, but rather of a company that is bouncing up again and is focusing on its long term vision.

    Another very important point is licensing and auditing. Everest Gaming is one of few operators licensed in Gibraltar as well as by ARJEL in France. As part of the terms of our license player funds must be completely segregated and secured at all times. If there were any concerns for the safety of player funds we would have not been able to retain our licenses. Additionally as a subsidiary of BetClic Everest Group (formerly Mangas Gaming) our financial results are audited semi-annually and reviewed annually by licensed external auditors.

    Lastly, It is true that Everest gaming is now part of the Betclic Everest Group, however we operate as separate entities. For anything that is player and affiliate facing Everest Gaming and its brands are completely independent. In other words our team is at your service for anything related to the following gaming and affiliate brands: Everest Casino, Everest Poker, Casino Elegance, Imperial Casino, Casino Glamour, Casino Lux, Casino Treasure, Casino Fantasy, Home of Fun and Everest Affiliates. We have no involvement in nor influence over any brands operated by our sister companies, including Betclic, Expekt, Bet-at-Home, Monte Carlo Casino or their respective affiliate programs.

    I am hoping to leverage this thread to rejuvenate the relationship between Everest gaming and the Casinomeister community. In the coming weeks we will introduce some members of our team so that players and affiliates alike can engage in direct conversation with us, provide feedback, share their experience and also resolve any potential disputes and disagreements.

    Thank you,

    Itsik Akiva
     

    Attached Files:

    6 people like this.
  38. May 19, 2012
  39. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Whilst I have thanked the Everest Gaming player acquisition manager for his post above, I have to say that in my opinion this looks like a belated smoke-and-mirrors damage control job, and I remain unconvinced.

    Regardless of how you frame them - and I do not believe the write down can be dismissed so casually - the numbers don't lie (and I do not see where they have been "misquoted" in this thread); the financial health of Everest Gaming is clearly not good, as has been admitted.

    From a practical player's viewpoint the slowdown in payments and less than communicative management is a red flag when viewed in the context of Everest's parents' factual financial reportage.

    Improvements may very well be in progress in making the enterprise's content and appearance more appealing, but that won't be any comfort to players if the company's owners pull the plug and leave them uninformed and worried about their money, as we have seen in other industry failures.

    I have to say that recent events in the industry have seriously dented my faith in regulators, too; for all the PR statements asserting their concern with player protection, there has been precious little from this quarter to reassure players in debacles like Purple Lounge and Full Tilt Poker, where it appears that the player community is the last thing on the regulators' and the licensees' minds when things go to hell in a bucket.

    I'm afraid I remain sceptical and very, very cautious on this.
     
    4 people like this.

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