Playtech

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As the second leading developer of gaming software for the Internet (right behind Microgaming), Playtech exerts considerable influence on the online gaming industry worldwide. The company counts among its clients some 235 web sites, including many of the best-known brands in the world, such as bet365, William Hill, Betfred, Blue Square, Victor Chandler, Gala Casino, Coral Casino and more.

Playtech was founded in 1999 by a group of experts from the casino, software engineering and multimedia industries, led by a young Israeli entrepreneur named Teddy Sagi. Their mission as a new business-to-business gaming software supplier was to develop unified platforms and content for web-based gaming operators, but later their vision would widen to incorporate mobile and land-based gaming, too.

Today, Playtech has a workforce of some 1,000 employees. Its technology extends to online casino, poker, bingo, mobile gaming, live gaming, land-based kiosk networks and fixed-odds games. The applications that power these are fully inter-compatible. They can be incorporated freely as stand-alone applications and managed by operators via a single powerful management interface, which allows players to access and fund betting opportunities through a single user account.

The company’s success did not arrive overnight, however. It took two years for Playtech develop the architecture for its gaming software and gain their first customer. In 2002, they helped Europe’s first land-based casino launch an online presence, as the Cyprus-based City Club Casino made its Internet debut. It is still powered by Playtech to this day.

Several milestones followed quickly thereafter. Playtech made headlines by introducing Bingoland, the first worldwide bingo network to which online operators could subscribe. Then, they spurred the “live dealer gaming” revolution by setting up a broadcast studio in Asia. And next came iPoker, a network for linking multiple poker sites or “skins” into a single huge poker room for the benefit of all involved.

Today, Playtech provides the code that powers many of the world’s top poker sites. They include bet365 Poker, William Hill Poker, Poker770, Betfred Poker, Expekt Poker, Sun Poker, myBet Poker, Mansion Poker, BetSpace Poker, Titan Poker, Genting Poker and Notable Poker, among others.

In 2005, Playtech began offering its own mobile gaming platform. Certification of the company’s Random Number Generator by software analyst Technical Systems Testing (TST) was achieved that same year, along with approval of its gaming software by the Alderney Gaming Control Board. Those actions were preparatory to making an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange in early 2006. The IPO was worth approximately £550 million, and the company now trades under the symbol PTEC.

Playtech’s early success was based upon a business plan that focused on just three factors. First and foremost was the development of new applications to help existing online gaming sites upgrade their software. Second was assisting land-based casinos in gaining an Internet foothold. Third was supporting online start-ups in getting their operations up and running. Technical innovation and business savvy were the underpinnings of those efforts.

In 2007, 15 new licensees joined the Playtech stable. Tribeca’s non-US poker network was acquired and an Italian poker network was started. The following year, Playtech signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Paramount Pictures to bring movie themes to online slots. And in 2009, Marvel Entertainment inked a similar agreement for “superhero” slots.

Membership in the World Lottery Association membership, acquisition of Gaming Technology Solutions, the streaming of live European dealers directly from Riga, Latvia and the launch of a Live TV sports betting platform helped Playtech earn the honor of being named the 2010 AIM International Company of the Year.

Perhaps the only complaint ever voiced about Playtech is that they forbid licensees from offering use of their software to U.S. players. In 2006, the company decided to comply with America’s Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act and the prohibition has been enforced ever since.

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