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Having a responsible gaming strategy is good for prospective buyers, advises Blackstone MD, Haide Hong ahead of appearance at iGB Live! HQ

Gaming owners wishing to make their businesses more attractive to potential buyers, would be well advised to have in place a credible strategy around responsible gambling, according to Haide Hong, Managing Director of The Blackstone Group and a key note at The Boardroom, one of four immersive learning environments being featured at the first iGB Live! (17th - 20th July 2018, Amsterdam RAI). 
Mr Hong, who has been involved with the analysis and execution of  a number of  high profile private equity investments, believes Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is becoming more of a consideration for prospective buyers.  He explained: “Businesses should focus on having a cogent strategy and delivering on that. Prospective buyers will care about financial performance, scalability – but also the quality of the management team and assets they will be acquiring, and if there is a differentiated ‘story' they are buying into. But ESG is also an important factor – buyers would like to know that prospective acquisitions care about responsible gaming and that companies have a credible strategy around that.”
Despite its vulnerability to regulatory control he believes that gaming remains attractive to investors. "Gaming is a large, global business with strong cashflow generation and opportunities to buy/create scale market leaders – hence the interest to private equity” he advised. "It is right that regulation is a key risk and consideration whenever one evaluates investments in gaming – and we have a strong focus on that as part of our diligence process on every potential investment.”
“There is general consensus that online gaming will grow faster than land based – but land based will continue to grow.  As such, one should expect to see more investment in online, but land based gaming can still offer attractive opportunities."
He confirmed the rule that multiples ultimately have reference to the prospects and qualities of each individual business and that they have in general increased relative to the crash years of 2008 – 2011, with Blackstone typically triangulating between EV / EBITDA, P/E and EV / EBITDA-Capex multiples.

Mr Hong will be the keynote speaker in The Boardroom and his session will be taking place between 14:00 – 15:00 on the 18th July 2018 in the iGB Live! HQ area. iGB Live! HQ is the paid for conference and networking area with The Boardoom hosting the keynote sessions.
Sadie Walters part of the Clarion Gaming team responsible for creating the feature, said: "While The Boardroom may be the most conventional of the events four learning areas, its content is far from ordinary. Attendees will be able to see how the rest of the world innovates, learn from elite level influencers and innovators, be inspired by those outside the industry who are ripping up the rule book and rewriting the way we work and leave The Boardroom with a head full of new ideas and a pocket full of tools to put them into action."
iGB Live!, is a consolidated three brand event and the biggest dedicated igaming exhibition and conference in the world. Part of Clarion Gaming's commitment to streamline the events calendar, iGB Live! has been curated to meet stakeholders networking, education and business needs, in the process delivering a unique opportunity to engage across the entire igaming space.

Image:  Haide Hong, Managing Director of The Blackstone Group