Supreme Ventures deepens technology and investment spend
Peart..we will continue to expand and grow all digital offerings as the market requires.

With a plan on expanding the offerings and services on a regional level, Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) has received a Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) certified mark which forms part of its plan to deepen its technology and overall investment plans for the future.

GLI is an international firm which provides testing and certification services for the gaming industry in more than 480 jurisdictions across the world. Its client base includes gaming operators and regulators who rely on independent testing and inspection of electronic gaming products, certifying gaming products based on their laboratories' testing, inspection, and compliance determinations.

The GLI certification was given to SVL's mobile gaming platform which comprises original technology that is the intellectual property of SVL. While it can be used to run all lottery games, SVL currently uses International Game Technology PLC's (IGT) software in Jamaica. This leaves SVL as one of two firms in the region to be GLI certified and gives SVL the ability to offer it as a service to other operators. It also opens up the opportunity to enter regulated markets which require GLI certification or Benelux Association for Trademark and Design Law.

"The BGLC's jurisdiction is Jamaica. The GLI Certification of this software allows us to utilise it at a global level. As noted, being GLI certified allows us to offer our services at a global level if we so choose. At this time, we are focusing on the existing strategic imperatives that are being executed. Increasing our digital footprint is a major focus of our five-year strategic plan, and the growth has been on track across all the platforms," said Xesus Johnston, chief executive officer of Supreme Ventures Gaming Limited, formerly Prime Sports (Jamaica) Limited.

Johnston...increasing our digital footprint is a major focus of our 5-year strategic plan.

SVL currently has its SV Games app, MBET and JustBet Mobile as some of its current mobile applications for users of its betting and gaming, horseracing and sports betting offerings, respectively. It also has Acropolis Online Casino related to its Acropolis operation and its Supa Sellaz programme related to its mobile lottery sellers. All of this fits into the focus of not only broadening its retail network but reach of its product offerings across Jamaica.

"Persons can place wagers on all SVL offerings on the relevant platforms. The mobile gaming platform will allow SVL customers in that market to place wagers on number of games via a mobile app and web application. This latest technological milestone achieved by the company ensures that its core lottery and gaming businesses are continually developing and evolving," Johnston added.

The next major step for SVL will be the deployment of financial technology products under its fintech arm, Supreme Ventures Fintech Limited (SVFL). It is currently pushing the Evolve brand which includes a digital microfinance loan product powered by artificial intelligence. SVFL will also include bill payments, loans and other financial services. It is currently being tested internally within SVL's retailer network before its potential deployment to the general public under microcredit company McKayla Financial Services Limited. SVFL owns 51 per cent of McKayla which is in good standing with the Bank of Jamaica as it waits on the processing of its microcredit licence.

"The development of our suite of products from fintech has been going very well to date and we are in the soft launch phase with Evolve Pay at our Twin Gates location. We can say that launch of additional products are still in the pipeline and we are working through the product development process," said Executive Chairman Gary Peart to Sunday Finance.

Peart's compensation as chairman has gone up under his current contract where he's paid in SVL shares in lieu of cash. SVL is up 56 per cent year to date at $27.79 per share and up 45 per cent since April 1. SVL's market capitalisation is at $73.29 billion.

"This relationship has been going fairly well, and MO Technologies has been a cooperative and responsive partner. Our retail partners have responded well to the loan offering, and we are pleased at the take up rate as it aligns with our projections. Our focus in this particular area is to enable our retailers to 'Evolve' and grow their businesses, and we are seeing that objective being realised," said Johnston on its technology partner for SVFL. MO Technologies is headquartered in Bogotá, Colombia.

MO is a business-to-business fintech firms that assists companies launch their credit operations through an innovative credit scoring model that evaluates potential customers based on behavioural data without access to personal information. The credit scoring engine was built to address the needs of the unbanked population. MO launched operations in Jamaica in 2020 and has operations across the world.

"We are focused on the strategic imperatives currently underway, and we have also invested in Keo. This is an action that is independent of the general fintech development. We are always looking at lucrative opportunities to expand our business and if that opportunity presents itself, we would assess its potential like any other," Peart explained on KEO World Inc.

SVL invested $154.28 million or approximately US$1 million in KEO in February. KEO closed a US$20-million growth equity round in June which was led by Montreux Growth Partners with additional funding provided by Mayberry Investments Limited and Avior alongside a debt facility from Hayfin Capital Management. KEO noted in its press release that this would fuel its Workeo small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) inventory financing programme across the USA and Latin America. KEO World is a business-to-business buy now pay later fintech which currently works with more than 16,000 businesses including some in the Dominican Republic.

Peart is the CEO of Mayberry Investments and has noted that October would see significant moves by the SVL Group. SVL purchased 10 per cent of Main Event Entertainment Group Limited (MEEG) in April 2021 for $105 million at $3.50 a share from MEEG Holdings Limited. MEEG stock closed at $7.95 on Friday which values the stake at $238.50 million. SVL intends to set-up a joint venture production company with MEEG in the future.

While its roll-out in Guyana was slowed by the novel coronavirus, SVL is gearing up to capitalise on the space with the mobile gaming platform currently in deployment there. SVL is also looking forward to the broadcasting of its Cayman races in South Africa and its international offering through BetMakers Technology Group Limited.

"Mobile has been utilised in our business in Guyana almost from inception. Our mobile sports betting product is one of the most well received in the suite, and we will continue to expand and grow all digital offerings as the market requires," Peart closed.

SVL has enjoyed a robust six months so far, with total gaming income up 18 per cent to $25.47 billion and net profit attributable to shareholders increasing 34 per cent to $1.62 billion. Its total asset base has moved 18 per cent higher to $18.33 billion with equity attributable to shareholders rising four per cent to $4.27 billion. Its gross ticket sales for the second quarter grew 21 per cent to $28.3 billion and represented 47 per cent of the industry's $59.97 billion in sales for the period. The lottery sector also includes Goodwill Gaming Enterprises Limited and Mahoe Gaming Enterprises Limited.

BY DAVID ROSE Observer business writer davidr@jamaicaobserver.com

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