Aspire Global terminates contract with Russian National Lottery operator

Aspire Global has terminated its contract with Sports Lotteries LLC, operator of the Russian National Lottery, due to a “different view of the business”.

The supplier did not disclose the full details behind the decision but did confirm that the termination would be effective immediately.

Aspire added that the ending of the contract, which began in October 2020, would not have any impact on its income and earnings in 2022.

The termination came after a number of other businesses in the gambling severed their ties with Russia over the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, though Aspire did not mention the invasion in its announcement.

Genius Sports Group suspended operations in Russia and Belarus, while online gambling operator LeoVegas stopped all betting on domestic Russian and Belarusian sports.

Parimatch Tech announced it would withdraw its franchise from Russia in response to the invasion. The Parimatch brand was founded in Ukraine in 1994 and the main development centre of Parimatch Tech is in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Aristocrat also said it has suspended operating its mobile games in Russia, saying offering games in the country is “currently not viable”.

Last month, Aspire posted record revenue of €213.3m (£177.8m/$234.0m) for 2021, which was 31.8% up on the previous year.

The revenue figure included B2C continued operations. In December, Aspire reached an agreement with Esports Technologies to sell off these B2C assets in a $75.9m deal.

Net profit for the year totalled €24.1m – a 60.7% increase from the year before. If the B2C segment was excluded, net profit was €19.8m.

In January, NeoGames commenced a public offer worth SEK4.3bn to acquire 100% of the shares in Aspire Global.

The proposal comprised a combination of cash for 50% of Aspire Global shares at a price of SEK111 per share, and equity consideration for the remaining 50%, consisting of 7.6 million newly issued shares in NeoGames.

NeoGames said that Aspire Global shareholders, who in aggregate own 67.0% of Aspire Global’s outstanding shares, elected to accept the offer and will elect to receive up to 100% of the 7.6 million offered NeoGames shares.

A bid committee of independent Aspire Global directors, formed in response to the offer, also unanimously recommended shareholders accept the offer.

Author: Raymond Fleming