Danoptra deal could prove a game-changer

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BRITAIN’s largest gaming and amusement machine operator is in talks which could lead to it being sold, it was confirmed today.

Astra Games, the UK-based subsidiary of Austrian Gaming Industries and part of the Novomatic Group of companies, has confirmed that it is in discussions to acquire certain assets of the Danoptra Gaming Group, including Yorkshire-based Gamestec.

If the deal goes ahead, it will create a “leading presence” in the UK gaming market, Astra Games said.

Gamestec, which has its head office in Horsforth, near Leeds, provides services for more than 35,000 amusement machines in the UK.

It employs 700 staff, including around 120 in Leeds.

Gamestec operates machines for customers in a range of markets, including pubs, bars, leisure venues, licensed betting offices, clubs, bingo halls, casinos and adult gaming centres.

Gamestec has operated in the gaming and amusement machines business for more than 50 years.

An Astra games spokesman said today: “The present talks, which do not include the Danoptra companies OBL or Leisure Connection, and which would be subject to approval by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), now look set to represent one of the most significant developments of recent years in a gaming market that is rapidly developing.”

Julian Nicholls, the chairman of Danoptra, said today: “The strengths of Danoptra can be enhanced through access to the resources, market knowledge and experience of Astra and its position within the Novomatic Group.

“Danoptra companies will be ideally positioned to respond to the exciting opportunities presented by a changing marketplace. In short, the combination of the market strengths and skills of a combined Astra and Danoptra represent a step change in capability that represents a clear ‘win-win’ for the companies, their employees and their customers”

Zane Mersich, the managing director of Astra, added: “If our discussions are successful, it will ensure that some of the best known and much loved brands of the UK gaming entertainment industry will flourish.

“The coming together of these iconic companies will provide market leadership in both analogue and digital gaming, together with enhanced service and support to their customers.”

The parties hope that an exchange of contracts will take place in mid March.

Completion of the acquisition is scheduled for the end of April, subject to regulatory approval. Until the proposed deal is completed, Astra and Danoptra Gaming Group will continue to operate as fully independent companies in the market.

Austria’s Novomatic is one of the world’s largest integrated gaming groups. It was founded in 1980 and employs more than 18,000 staff worldwide.