Astra Games for Sky Vegas

Bridgend, UK games supplier Astra Games, a subsidiary of the Austrian-based Novomatic group, has inked an agreement with BSkyB's betting and gaming arm Sky Vegas to provide online gaming content for deployment on both the Sky Vegas online website and Sky TV interactive service.

The content will be supplied through NRGS, Novomatic's remote game server system. The deal signals the first commercial outing for the NRGS, whose comprehensive content provision solution empowers operators with the ability to introduce Novomatic's and Astra's globally successful games to their platform.

The marrying of Novomatic's and Astra's game portfolio to Sky Vegas, a trusted brand in the rapidly growing UK online gaming market, allows a widespread high visibility online release of the games. Astra's recently appointed md Zane Mersich claims.

"With the pedigree of game themes available in both Novomatic's and Astra's library it was critical that we formed a partnership with a provider that promoted the qualities and standards essential in delivering the games in a form that meets with the high expectations players have of Novomatic products. Sky Vegas was the only choice for the inaugural commercial deployment of NRGS," he said.

NRGS is a simple turnkey solution that delivers instant and seamless integration on a robust and stable medium that permits a smooth, uninterrupted gaming experience. Initial games include some of the most celebrated themes, notably Reel King; Golden Sevens and Bullion Bars.

Further popular games are planned for future release, meaning a continuous stream of top end game themes will constantly refresh the Sky Vegas NRGS offering:

Richard Flint, Managing Director at Sky Betting and Gaming, commented: "Our focus is on offering our customers the very best games in existence anywhere in the world. To achieve this we have to work with the experts, and Novomatic/Astra undoubtedly fall into that category. We have been extremely impressed with the quality of the games and the people that we have met, and look forward to a long and successful partnership."

The NRGS games will go live on Sky Vegas in Q1 of 2009.

"There has been a huge amount of investment in bringing the NRGS solution to life, both from a creative perspective and in terms of development," says Mersich. "The end result is a comprehensive solution that we believe will grow to become one of the best on the market; offers some of the most successful contemporary game brands available through any gaming medium, both online and land based; and will lead the way in online gaming provision."

Mersich (35) was recently appointed Astra Games md and hails from Pretoria in South Africa. Although a relative newcomer to the gaming industry, having joined the Novomatic group through subsidiary company Austrian Gaming Industries GmbH in October 2007, he is already regarded as one of Novomatic's rising management stars.

Graduating in Marketing and Business Economics from the University of Pretoria and following up with a post-graduate honours degree in Strategic Business Management from the University of South Africa, Mersich has 12 years of Board level international company management experience on which to draw as he takes up his new role.

Announcing the appointment of Zane Mersich, Austrian Gaming Industries Managing Director Jens Halle said: "The UK industry is encountering difficult trading conditions at present but I fully expect that Astra Games, under the leadership of Zane Mersich and together with Astra founder and games designer Ron Watts and our recently promoted Financial Director Neil Paramore, will take the lead in revitalising this important market sector."

Mersich commented: "This is a big challenge and I fully understand that the appointment of a foreign national as the managing director of such a high level UK-based company as Astra Games may come as a surprise to some people in our industry. It is, however, a challenge that I willingly undertake and, from the genuine warmth of welcome that I have received at Astra Games I already know that I will be working with a great team that takes pride in the company's reputation for leading edge product innovation."

Mersich has relocated from Novomatic's headquarters in Gumpoldskirchen, Austria to South Wales.

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