Gaming Report: Paytm’s Gamepind Launches Daily Fantasy Cricket; Nazara Technologies Invests in Vernacular Social Contests Platform Bakbuck & More

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  • Namita Ghosh May 8, 2019
  • 4 Minutes Read

In fresh updates from the gaming sector, online e-commerce giant Paytm-owned gaming venture Gamepind has crossed the 30 Million-mark in registered users on its portal. Gamepind that launched last year claims that its portal has hosted 70 Million gameplays in one month alone, and is growing at a rate of 20% month-on-month.

In other significant development, Mumbai-based mobile gaming firm Nazara Technologies that is gearing up for an IPO has made a seed investment in the women-focused vernacular social contest platform, Bakbuck. Though the company did not disclose the invested amount in its official statement, according to a Glaws report, Nazara has invested ₹75 Lakhs in Bakbuck for 2,143 compulsorily convertible preference shares. Back in the U.S, New Jersey Attorney-General Gurbir Grewal has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Department of Justice (DOJ) for not providing answers to his requests under the Freedom of Information Act about Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s influence on the legal decision that entailed a revision of the Wire Act opinion by the DOJ.

Two lawmakers in New York have, in the meantime, amended the legislation that authorizes sports betting in the state. As a direct result of the amendment, off-track betting corporations, pro sports stadiums, and Aqueduct casino will be banned from operating as ‘affiliates’ or sports betting outlets.

In the meantime, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau of Macau has reported a marked drop in the region’s gaming revenue. According to the bureau, casinos in Macau garnered revenue of $2.92 Billion in April, the lowest for the month year-on-year in the last three years.

 

Paytm’s Gamepind Registers 30 Million Users, Launches Daily Fantasy Cricket

Gamepind, the skill-gaming portal launched by India’s leading e-commerce and digital wallets portal Paytm in February 2018 has taken significant strides towards growth lately.

Gamepind

Last year in August, the company received investment to the tune of ₹110 Crores for business expansion from Paytm founders One97 Communications and gaming technology company AGTech Holdings Ltd which is backed by Chinese online gaming giant Alibaba Group. This year in February we reported that Paytm has launched Gamepind-operated fantasy and rummy games on its mobile app.

COO of Gamepind, Sudhanshu Gupta explained the company’s ambitious plans to emerge as a prominent force in the Indian online gaming industry, “Our goal is to build the largest gaming destination in the country, which not only provides the best games to our users, but also rewards them for playing. We have already seen great success with games like Ludo and Snake Wars, and competitive skill based real money games like Trivia and with the cricket world cup coming up, we are excited to launch Gamepind Fantasy Sports. We will continue to strive to innovate and bring more exciting and rewarding games for our users.”

In the latest update coming on Gamepind, the company has announced that its registered user base has reached 30 Million within a year of operations. Gamepind has also launched daily fantasy cricket – ‘Gamepind Fantasy Sports’ for cricket and card game enthusiasts. Further on, the portal has witnessed impressive traction, with 70 Million gameplays in a month that is growing 20% month-on-month. According to Gamepind, 95% of the user access on the portal is on mobile devices, and female users make for 30% of the total numbers.

Gamepind’s current repertoire boasts of over 100 games and quizzes including both, single-user and multiple user games. Users registered on the site can play these to win freebies like Paytm cash, flight tickets, movie tickets, etc. Apart from casual games like Ludo, Badlands, 8 Ball Pool, and Snake Wars, it also offers skill-based real money games like Trivia.

 

Nazara Technologies Invests in Vernacular Social Contests Platform Bakbuck

Mobile gaming company headquartered in Mumbai, Nazara Technologies Ltd has, in the last year-and-a-half, made investment moves in different sectors of the social and fantasy gaming segments. Last year, in January, Nazara acquired a 55% stake in esports gaming firm Nodwin Gaming. Nazara has also invested in Bengaluru-based virtual reality company, InstaSports, in addition to picking up stakes in MasterMind Sports, Moong Labs, fantasy sports startup HalaPlay, and CrimzonCode. The firm has now invested in Bakbuck – a vernacular social contests portal during Bakbuck’s seed funding round.

Nazara Bakbuck

While the exact invested amount has not been disclosed by the company, Glaws reports that according to Registrar of Companies (ROC) records, Nazara has invested ₹75 Lakhs in Bakbuck for 2,143 compulsorily convertible preference shares.

CEO of Nazara Technologies, Manish Agarwal outlined the company’s vision behind the investment, “Nazara has successfully built a very strong network of younger audience through its investments and offerings in sports-based mobile games. It is now looking at building the largest and most secure platform for virtual kitty parties where housewives can interact with each other freely and securely and enjoy a multitude of entertainment options.”

Operated by Khichadi Technologies Pvt Ltd., Bakbuck was founded in 2018 by Abhinay Jain, Shashank Kakrecha and Rohit Naidu as a women-focused platform offering social contests like Antakshari and Tol Mol ke Bol. Bakbuck is available in Hindi currently but is expected to soon provide services in at least 10 other Indian languages.

Talking about Bakbuck, co-founder and CEO Abhinay Jain said, “Users are now looking for a more interactive, social and instant form of engagement on their mobile phones.”

He added that the company will be using these funds for product development, to acquire new users and build a community of women users.

In addition to Nazara, Bakbuck is reported to have received investments of close to ₹24.99 Lakhs from several other founders, individuals and corporate investors, taking the total investment in the company during the seed funding round to ₹1 Crore.

 

New York Moves to Amend Sports Gambling Bill

Two lawmakers in New York have amended the legislation that legalizes sports betting in the U.S. state. As per the amendment made by Senator Joseph Addabbo, a Queens Democrat and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow who is a Democrat from Westchester County, off-track betting companies, Aqueduct casino, and venues likes pro sports stadiums will be legally prohibited from participating in the gambling industry by operating as affiliates of sports betting outlets. The ban would also prohibit such companies from offering in-person sports wagering kiosks at their setups, or let customers sign up on mobile sports gambling platforms. In other words, only entities that run casinos in New York State would be able to operate mobile sports betting.

New York Sports Betting

Image Courtesy: NBC News

The amendment also specifies that the three Indian-run tribal casinos in the state will be able to legally offer mobile sports betting. This means residents of New York would have access to place bets on pro and college sports through their smartphone devices, laptops, etc.

Both Addabbo and Pretlow chair the racing and gaming committees of their respective counties. According to Pretlow, the two houses agreed to make the sports betting bill cleaner by removing provisions that would allow mobile sports betting at places like Aqueduct’s Casino.

“We wanted to get over the first hurdle, that first hurdle being mobile. Once we get over that, the rest can be easier,” Pretlow clarified.

In 2013, New York had authorized four commercial casinos to offer sports betting in case the federal ban was dropped. With the U.S. Supreme Court lifting the ban last year, the state’s administration released a set of proposed rules that would permit in-person sports betting at these casinos.

The recently amended legislation maintains the essence of these proposed rules that envisaged royalty payments to sports leagues. It further specifies that such payments would be limited to leagues that have specific policies in place on their sportsbooks, for protecting players, referees, and others against threats.

 

New Jersey Attorney-General Sues DOJ Over Sheldon Adelson’s Role in the Revision of Wire Act

Attorney-general of New Jersey, Gurbir S Grewal has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for not disclosing information he had requested for, under the Freedom of Information Act.

Gurbir Grewal
Gurbir Grewal

Image Courtesy: Asian Journal

Grewal had in February, filed an FOIA request to DOJ over the extent of involvement of the owner of Las Vegas Sands Corp, Sheldon Adelson and lobbying by him for the revision of the DOJ opinion on the Wire Act.

Justifying the move, Grewal said, “Online gaming is an important part of New Jersey’s economy, and the residents of New Jersey deserve to know why the Justice Department is threatening to come after an industry we legalized years ago. It’s especially important that we figure out whether this federal crackdown is the result of a lobbying campaign by a single individual seeking to protect his personal business interests.”

The revised DOJ opinion renders mobile sports betting illegal and puts a big question mark on the future of online gambling in the country. Adelson who is reportedly close to U.S. President Donald Trump, and a known foe of online gaming has criticized and lobbied against it.

Grewal’s move to sue DOJ comes in the wake of the fact that since November 2013 when online gaming was rendered legal in New Jersey, the online gaming industry of New Jersey has generated more than $2 Billion in revenue and $152.23 Million in taxes. A sudden halt to the burgeoning business owing to the DOJ’s revised opinion on the Wire Act will lead to significant losses for the state.

Grewal had sought documents in context to Adelson’s involvement and requested an expedited response since the DOJ opinion will become effective from June 14, but received no reply. He did not receive the required documents or any communication from the DOJ citing the reason for not being provided the materials.

 

Macau Suffers Largest Decline in Gaming Revenue in 3 Years

Macau is one of the most favored gambling destinations in Asia, but recent figures indicate a marked decline in gaming revenue of China’s Special Administrative Region (SAR).

Macau Gaming

Image Courtesy: World Finance

According to Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, casinos in Macau garnered revenue of $2.92 Billion in April. Though the numbers may look impressive, there has been an 8.3% drop in revenue year-on-year compared to last year. It is also the most significant decline in gaming revenue for Macau since June 2016.

According to Bloomberg, the primary reason for the decline in revenue is the economic slowdown in China, and since two-thirds of the gambling revenue for Macau reportedly comes from gamblers from Mainland China, the revenue inflow has correspondingly dropped.

On a positive note, there has been a rise in the number of casual gamblers visiting Macau to gamble. Also, despite the downtrend, the inventory costs of Macau’s online casino majors have been on a continuous climb. A 6.4% growth in the GDP within the first quarter has the experts predicting that Macau’ s casino industry may soon see a turnaround.

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