Online casino and bookmaker LeoVegas is planning to place a bigger focus on investing in start-up software and gaming companies. It will do so through a small subsidy it owns, Independent Mobile Productions (IMP), which is to be renamed LeoVenture, in line with the company’s main brand.
LeoVenture will act as what's called a strategic investment unit, seeking out opportunities for the LeoVegas brand to grow or expand, whether on its own or by investing in other companies. This is part of LeoVegas’ overall strategy to grow in several different markets over the next few years!
The revamped entity will be headed up by LeoVegas co-founder Robin Ramm-Ericson. This means he will be leaving his current executive role at the LeoVegas online casino, trading his old title for Managing Director of LeoVenture.
Although he will no longer be overseeing LeoVegas itself, Ramm-Ericson will retain his position on the LeoVegas Group's senior executive team. LeoVegas’ Chief Executive Gustaf Hagman commented on the news, stating that:
"The LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group strives to be the most innovative, entrepreneurial and fastest growing company in our industry. To strengthen this momentum, we give increased focus to our venture business IMP, and at the same time change the name to LeoVenture."
Prior to its rebranding, LeoVegas’ IMP subsidy had invested in several companies and suppliers which are already showing promise. The best known of these is Authentic Gaming, which is positioned as an independent company with LeoVegas itself. Authentic Gaming's aim is to take live streaming gaming to the next level.
By producing the feeds in real time from physical casinos, rather than hosting virtual casinos online, Players experience unparalleled authenticity as they immerse themselves in playing games at home alongside the real visitors to the casino itself.
The first live casino from Authentic Gaming was launched in late 2016 on a number of different online casino sites, including Mr Green. Jonas Delin, the company’s CEO, said at the launch:
"We at Authentic Gaming are extremely happy that our live casino is being launched with another operator. We have worked hard with our product, which offers something unique in live casino. Our streaming is delivered in HD quality, with sound and video that provide a genuine feeling for the players. We have received a good response from both operators and land-based casinos. Authentic Gaming's greatest focus now is on launching the product with more operators."
LeoVegas also announced during its Q3 update that it had acquired the Royal Panda for €100 million, with the aim of increasing its share of the UK online gaming market. The Royal Panda deal may also require a possible earn-out payment of another €60 million, if specific financial targets are achieved within 12 months of the purchase.
IMP was also responsible for a brand new game called 21 Heads Up. The hybrid game combined elements of both blackjack and poker and was a joint venture between LeoVegas Casino and software developer NYX, who distribute the game to all of its gaming partners.
The idea for 21 Heads Up came from the imagination of Olympic wrestling champion and keen poker player Frank Andersson, who dreamed of a fast-paced card game between two players. LeoVegas described the game as:
"possibly the fastest card game ever, combining a rake model similar to online poker with an unprecedented number of hands per hour."
The game launched to rave reviews in March 2016, with professional poker champion Mikael Thuriltz commenting that:
"21 Heads Up is the ultimate game for the 21st century. It’s the fastest rake game ever."
LeoVegas debuted the game at the ICE Exhibition in London, where Shenaly Amin, UK Country Manager at LeoVegas, said:
"Developing a game with Frank Andersson was a really exciting venture for everyone involved. Having Mikael Thuriltz’s support is also a huge positive. His authority in the gaming industry definitely makes him a credible critic so it’s great to have him on board."