No Clear Verdict Yet: Mexican Operator Caliplay Keen to Resolve Dispute With Playtech


Caliplay has doubled down on its defense following Playtech’s decision to seek English court intervention over a disagreement regarding a redemption option in their strategic partnership. According to the BPI Network, more and more businesses are relying on strategic partnerships to grow their revenue, acquire customers and expand their market reach. So what went wrong?

The Mexican online casino and sports betting brand has called out Playtech’s stance, accusing the London-listed supplier of omitting vital information. Caliplay also maintains that they were not informed prior to Playtech’s filing, despite both sides being currently engaged in a mutually agreed resolution process.

Also known as ‘Caliente Interactive’, Caliplay is a household name within the Mexico online casino and sports betting market. Its main priority is UX, through its suite of websites offering a selection of online gaming services which include sportsbooks, casino games, online slots, live games as well as online betting. Customers can enjoy not only an array of different entertaining games but also some of the most sought-after online casino bonuses available in the jurisdiction.

Business Deal Turned Sour

The dispute concerns the long-lasting disagreement between Playtech and Caliplay regarding their strategic partnership. Playtech controls nearly half of Caliente through a joint venture. The FTSE250 gambling group has sought out the help of the English court to determine whether its partner, Caliplay, can still redeem an additional services fee payable to Playtech’s Malta subsidiary that was included in the agreement the two companies originally signed.

The strategic agreement states that the amount payable by Caliplay to Playtech would be either determined by both parties or determined by an independent investment bank, should they fail to agree on an amount. It has already been determined that Playtech will have a right to an additional services fee until the end of 2034.

For the six months ended 30th June 2022, the amount of this service fee was determined to be  €34.4 million, however, that period ended 7 months ago in June 2022. The main point of conflict between the two companies lies in the fact that they cannot agree if the option is still exercisable.

In their case, Playtech has argued that the option is exercisable for 45 days following the approval of Caliplay’s audited accounts for the year ended 31 December 2021. Playtech has stated that the option has expired and that this was mentioned in its interim report for the six-month period ending 30th June 2022.

Caliplay maintains that the period has not expired and is accusing Playtech of omitting information regarding the company’s services fee entitlements which were updated in the firm’s interim results in the December filing and not disclosed in September.

Abandoned Plans

Last year, Playtech also made headlines with Caliplay, after revealing its plans to spin off its joint venture, merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), with the intention of going public. The plan was for the SPAC to then partner with media businesses and focus on reaching Latin American customers in the US market.

The plan did not come to fruition just a few months later, with Playtech blaming the deteriorating market conditions at the time. However, Playtech stated that they were looking to create a business honing in on Hispanic customers in the US, using the Caliente brand.

Playtech leadership revealed that they had £60m to fund new strategic local partnerships in South America. This announcement came shortly after Playtech prospective buyer TTB Partners chose not to submit a bid, despite initial interest.

What’s Next

Caliplay remains eager to find a speedy resolution and is engaged in current conversations. Playtech on the other hand has revised its EBITDA projection for 2022 which is expected to reach at least €400m after continuing to exceed expectations in the wake of its H1 2022 interim results. The company credits its improved financial position to the success of its B2B and Snaitech businesses.

At the end of last year, the company also announced that along with Holland Casino, they will be funding a research project into responsible gaming solutions through the Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Amsterdam. The recognized academic institutions will work together to analyze data from Holland Casino’s online gaming offering, which uses Playtech’s platform.

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