Gamesys acquires Richard Branson owned Virgin Games to boost gaming and igaming business


Gamesys acquires Richard Branson owned Virgin Games to boost gaming and igaming business - 7th January 2012

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According to gaming trade publication eGR Magazine, game development company Gamesys has acquired Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Games for an undisclosed sum.

In addition, eGR (exclusively) reports that Gamesys has signed a ‘long-term deal’ to develop real money and social gambling properties, globally, under the Virgin brand.

Originally started in late 2003, Virgin Games is wholly owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and offers casino (poker, slots, bingo and other) games for the internet and mobile devices.

Its new owner, UK-based online gambling holding Gamesys, recently made headlines when it launched a new Facebook app called ‘Bingo Friendzy’, the first to hit the social network’s App Center that lets UK users aged 18 and over to play an online game for real cash prizes (rival 888 followed up with a similar offering back in December 2012).

Gamesys operates the UK’s leading bingo and slots website Jackpotjoy and other brands, such as The Sun Bingo and Caesars Casino, aside from developing its own social gaming properties.

A Gamesys spokesman advised eGR that it aims to migrate the Virgin Games site onto its own platform and relaunch it in the UK later this quarter. In a prepared statement, Richard Branson said:

“We are delighted the Gamesys Group has acquired Virgin Games and formed a partnership to build a global games business.

Simon Burridge and his team built a strong platform and now with the help of the Gamesys Group we can expand further internationally. We believe the Gamesys Group shares our vision and will be great partners in the sector.”

Simon Burridge is the former advertising executive who started and became CEO of Virgin Games in late 2003.

According to eGR, Virgin Games had been exploring outside investments in recent months, in a bid to expand its business across Europe.

Virgin Games is likely to come up against strong competition from the likes of bwin.party digital entertainment and its PartyCasino.com, PartyPoker and World Poker Tour, and word is that Austraila's gaming king, James Packer, head of Crown Limited, is also aiming to further expand into online gaming well beyond Betfair.

Stay turned to the Media Man and Casino News Media network as the story continues to unfold.

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Gamesys agrees Virgin Games purchase

Online casino and bingo operator Gamesys Limited has agreed to acquire operator Virgin Games for an undisclosed sum while additionally inking a long-term deal to develop a range of Virgin-branded real-money and social gaming propositions.

Gamesys, the operator behind popular online bingo domain JackpotJoy, revealed that the initial focus for the new partnership will be the UK market with the Virgin Games proposition set to be relaunched on the Gamesys platform in Q1 2013.

Established in 2001 by Noel Hayden, Andy Dixon and Robin Tombs, Gamesys became the first online gaming operator to agree a real-money deal with social network Facebook in August while it stated that it has been a ‘long term admirer’ of the Virgin brand.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to leverage our unique platform, games and services to power Virgin gaming propositions around the world,” said Hayden.

For its part, Virgin Games was founded in 2004 by Virgin Group and hosted close to 300 games from leading suppliers including Microgaming and Playtech. It additionally operates online bingo as well as games of poker using the International Poker Network from Spielo G2.

“With many new opportunities opening up across the world, it was important to attract a new partner to capitalise the power of the Virgin brand,” said Simon Burridge, Chief Executive Officer for Virgin Games.

“We are delighted Virgin Games is being acquired by Gamesys, whose track record of growth and innovation speaks for itself.”