Optimal Payments

Optimal Payments Picks Up Skrill in $1.2 Billion Acquisition

March 27, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

Those engaging in online gaming may already be familiar of the rivalry between Optimal Payments—which operates the Neteller digital wallet system—and Skrill, which handles a similar eponymous product. But now, that rivalry is at an end as Skrill has been acquired in a deal valued at a reported $1.2 billion, and a set of new solutions are on tap as a result.

The announcement from Optimal Payments signaling the deal further noted that, as a result, Skrill’s e-wallet system would be put to work with Neteller’s digital payment system, thus allowing the online gambling and gaming communities access to a new range of services across both platforms.

Reportedly, Optimal has had its eye on Skrill since 2011, so the deal represented something of a long-awaited culmination of events. Both companies share a great many similarities, so bringing the two together will thin out the competition just a bit and make a more powerful new presence for Optimal.

But it’s not just about the gaming, either; Skrill already represented one of the biggest online payments companies in Europe, and it’s sufficiently well-known in the industry that eBay will actually allow it, according to reports, for marketplace transactions. Plus, Skrill is said to be in direct competition with PayPal thanks to Skrill’s move into payment services for digital markets, putting e-gaming at just 50 percent of Skrill’s overall operations.

Though online gambling has some limits to it, particularly in the United States markets where online gambling is very closely regulated, companies like Skrill—and now Optimal Payments—still have an impressive presence in other countries.

Indeed, as Optimal’s CEO and president Joel Leonoff noted, the company is “…very well positioned” when it comes to online gaming, a development that will serve it well given that there are plans to bring online gambling to some states in the United States. The laws are set up in such a fashion that individual states can potentially allow online gambling, and that’s a development that Optimal is ready to take on.

Optimal has a good position at this point. It’s brought in one of its biggest competitors and is now making large parts of that operation its own. When the market is fully ready, it will be able to hit the ground running, so to speak, and pose a major competitive prospect to anyone else trying to get in.

Of course, it’s going to have its share of opposition to take on—firms like PayPal and the like will likely also want in and will have the resources necessary to stage a significant fight—but Optimal may have the edge in sheer experience.

Only time will tell just what this new market will look like when it starts up in earnest, but in the short term, Optimal Payments just got a whole lot more ready to take on the field.