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Kevin Smith

New CEO Brightens the Future for World Gaming

24 August 2001

In just four short months on the job as CEO of World Gaming, Mike Aymong is already starting to reap some reward from his efforts.

Within the last two months the company has released its much-anticipated next-generation software and signed on four new licensees in the process.

But even more important for Aymong is the new attitude within the company from top to bottom.

"In order to stay competitive in the industry you have to stay ahead of the curve and update your product more often than we used to."
- Mike Aymong

According to Aymong, it's all about communicating. "We really didn't have a good flow of communications," he explained. "We have tried to improve that and get everyone on the same page and striving for the same goals. There was some transition, and we are still going through that phase a little bit, but I think we really have things headed in the right direction."

A key element to the turnaround for World Gaming was the mid-summer release of its new software and the response from operators.

"The response we got initially was overwhelming," Aymong said. "I think that had a lot to do with getting the new licensees as well."

Last week, Aymong put to rest a three-year investigation into illegal gambling activity in Canada. World Gaming reached a settlement with Canadian authorities regarding the RCMP investigation of Starnet Communications, now a virtually defunct subsidiary of World Gaming.

The company pleaded guilty to one charge of keeping a device for gambling or betting, a violation of Section 202 (1) b of the Canadian criminal code.

No company officials were charged with criminal activity. The settlement included a payment of a CA$100,000 fine along with a $15,000 victim surcharge. The biggest cost, however, is the forfeiture of US$3.9 million from the company's $7.6 million funds that have been frozen since the RCMP raided the company's offices in 1999.

With its biggest legal troubles officially behind them now, it is full steam ahead for Aymong's regime.

"We plan to be cash-flow positive by the fourth quarter of this year," he said. "We have done a lot of work in the past months and will see the benefits of that in time."

The new software offers what Aymong feels is a complete array of gambling options.

"We are the only suite that can offer an operator casino games, sportsbook software and pari-mutuel wagering through their site," he said. "We plan to add bingo and lottery options to our software by the fourth quarter and that will give us the widest scope of anyone in the entire industry."

Not only is World Gaming focused on offering new options to operators, but Aymong said the firm is trying to update its software on a more frequent basis.

"The old way of doing things, we were updating the software every year and a half," he said. "We are pushing that up to every 12 weeks. In order to stay competitive in the industry you have to stay ahead of the curve and update your product more often than we used to."

The advancements don't stop there. Aymong says the new software is about more than just variety and aesthetics; it's also designed to help operators minimize fraud.

"We added technological documentation for transactions," he said. "We feel this gives us a competitive advantage over other software because we are able to provide a totally turn key solution. Everything from the software to customer support, credit card processing, fraud control and even marketing if the operator needs it."

To keep World Gaming headed in the right direction Aymong admits that the company has to do more than just update its software every three months.

He says that the company plans to launch its first PDA protocol by the end of the year and is in the research and development phase of creating a platform for the iTV market. The iTV protocol, he says, is slated for the second quarter of 2002.

"We have established ourselves as a leader in the (iTV) market," he said. "We have infrastructure that is second to none."

Aymong may have World Gaming headed in the right direction, but he admits that if the legal gray area in the United States is cleared up, things could turn very positive for the entire industry. And he knows that the company can't stand pat and wait for something good to happen in the States.

"The only people who are involved in gaming in the U.S. are special-interest groups and the government themselves," he said. "We are working with groups in Washington and attorneys general across the country as they struggle with ways to regulate the Internet. All we want--and the industry in general--is fair and equitable treatment."

If Aymong can sustain the upward trend he's established for World Gaming, he could bring some stability back to a company that had gone through three CEOs in three years before he joined the team. And with major legal woes in the rear-view mirror, Aymong says the future is bright.

"Things couldn't be more positive," he said. "I think we have this headed in the right direction. These are tough times for any Internet company. We have been able to weather some major storms and things are looking up now."

New CEO Brightens the Future for World Gaming is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith