Shareholders happy, employees out of work

Despite all the problems this year, 2020 has been great for online gambling companies because everyone has spent much more time at home. But while things have been lucrative for companies, hundreds of employees of NetEnt are about to find themselves unemployed.

On Tuesday, online gaming company Evolution, which specialized in live casino games, completed its $2.3 billion acquisition of NetEnt. Because of an overlap in the products they offer, Evolution immediately close NetEnt’s live dealer studio in Qormi, Malta, and sent many other employees home. Most know – particularly those who worked in the studio – know that they are out of jobs, but others, at least as of Tuesday morning, were waiting for e-mails with more information from Evolution.

According to the Times of Malta, “a few hundred” of NetEnt’s more than 1,000 employees worldwide will be handed their pink slips. Malta’s Ministry for the Economy is already beginning to try to help those who lose their jobs to find new work. Additionally, the Gaming Malta Foundation is going to look for other gaming companies that might be able to hire the affected employees. Malta is home to more than 250 online gambling companies, so there should be landing spots for many.

Evolution originally approached NetEnt in June about an acquisition bid. The offer was 0.1306 Evolution shares for each NetEnt share. The proposal put the valye of a NetEnt share at SEK 79.93 ($9.44), 43% above NetEnt’s June 23 closing price. The total value of the deal was SEK 19.6bn ($2.3bn).

NetEnt shareholders approved the offer last week. By the time the extended acceptance period ended on Monday, shareholders representing 96.8% of outstanding shares and 98.6% of the company’s votes gave their approval.

Live dealer games gaining popularity

Evolution specializes in live dealer online casino games. It is a weird-sounding type of game, to be sure: live and online? For the unfamiliar, they are online casino games like roulette and blackjack, but instead of a computer simulating the spin of the wheel or deal of the cards, a real human being is doing it, just like at a casino.

The human dealers are in a studio, live-streaming the action through the gaming site or app. All of the equipment used has RFID chips or special barcodes which are read by scanners on the table. The data is fed into the gaming system and results are calculated.

The original idea behind live dealer casinos was to make people who wanted to gamble online, but were skeptical of its legitimacy, the confidence to try it out. They could see the cards just like in a real casino, so they could be sure that the deal was legitimate. Over time, it has become a very popular form of online gambling, not as much for the “internet gaming is rigged” crowd, but for the people who want to get as real of a live gaming experience as possible.

There has been a site or two that has tried the same concept for poker, but it never panned out.

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