Financial News — Weekly Round-up for September 22, 2017

Surge At The Stars Group

Share price climbed almost 9 percent Friday after the company published revised financial results

Stars Group (formally Amaya Inc.) investors experienced a surge of 8.75 percent in the share price Friday after the company presented revised financial figures for Q2-2017 which included:
* Revenues up 6.8 percent (excluding foreign exchange rates 7.9 percent);
* Online poker revenues down 5.9 percent;
* Online casino and sportsbook revenues up 50.2 percent to $89.2 million.

The Canadian business publication Baystreet noted that Stars Group stock has now increased 21.8 percent in 2017 and 12.5 percent year over year.

Baystreet claims that bigger things could be in store for Stars Group if the New Jersey challenge to PASPA due to be heard this year in the US Supreme Court is successful.

The group could benefit significantly if sports betting is permitted across the United States, the publication opines, observing that offshore sports betting gross gaming revenue could reach $2 billion in the U.S. within 5 years of sports gambling legalisation.

Stars Group has seen over 200 percent growth in a 5 year period.

Stride Gaming Details Successful Financial Year

In trading update ahead of formal results

Online bingo-led gaming company Stride Gaming plc has reported strong trading ahead of publishing its final results for the year ended August 31, 2017.

The Group detailed continued strong trading in the second half of its financial year, saying the Board is confident in meeting the upper end of market expectations.
“2017 has been a successful year for Stride Gaming,” Eitan Boyd, chief executive of Stride Gaming, commented.

Boyd detailed “exceptional underlying organic growth” across Stride Gaming’s real money gaming vertical, an excellent performance from its 8ball and Tarco business’ and the launch of the company’s new B2B vertical ‘Stride Together’ as defining moments over the past year.

“I am delighted with the current shape and future prospects of the business,” Boyd said.

Stars Group Upgrades Its Performance Guidance

CFO bullish on the group’s future progress

Pokerstars owner Star Group has issued an update on its guidance for this year’s performance, predicting group revenue in the range $1.28-1.31 billion, an increase on its earlier assessment that revenues would reach $1.20-1.26 billion.

Group CFO Brian Kyle expects EBITDA in the $590-610 million range, up from the previously anticipated $560-580 million, with adjusted net-earnings of $445-469 million, compared to the prior range of $413-437 million.

Kyle commented in a stock exchange advisory:
“As I am now fully familiar with our forecasting and given our solid trends across all business lines, which reinforce our conviction and commitment to our strategy, it is now appropriate to update our financial guidance. In addition, given our progress to date, we are also able to make another meaningful prepayment of our debt”

The comment on debt repayment refers to a $75 million second lien debt repayment.

Danish Online Gambling Sets New Revenue Record

It’s been a strong second quarter for operators

The Danish regulator Spillemyndigheden reported this week that online gambling turned in a strong performance in Q2-2017, delivering the highest revenues since liberalisation 5 years ago.

Interestingly, land gambling delivered less than a quarter of overall wagers as mobile betting again proved popular, accounting for 53.1 percent of sports bets, whilst desktop sources produced 23.5 percent.

Highlights of the quarter included:
* Overall GGR up 4 percent y-o-y at DKK 1.46 billion;
* Online casino and poker GGR up 16 percent at DKK458 million;
* Online poker GGR lower at DKK 33 million(Q2-2016: DKK 37.1 million);
* Revenue from online single player casino games up 18.6 percent y-o-y with significant growth in table and slot game revenue (slots generated around 68 percent of all online casino GGR);
* Sports betting GGR stable at DKK 522 million;
* Voluntary self-exclusions rose from 7,962 last October to 11,367 at the end of August 2017, the regulator reported, the majority of these permanent rather than cool-offs.

Offshore Operators Continue To Dominate Swedish Online Gambling

But Svenska Spel achieves double-digit growth in revenues

H1-2017 figures released this week by Sweden’s regulator Lotteriinspektionen show that online gambling operators licensed offshore continue to dominate the online segment, although the local gambling monopoly has experienced revenue growth in the double-digits.

Sweden’s overall gambling market reported turnover of SEK 11 billion in the first half of 2017 – up 3 percent year-on-year, with state-owned Svenska Spel delivering turnover from all divisions down 2 percent at SEK 4.3 billion, but online gains up 12 percent at SEK 1 billion. That translates to non-internet gambling turnover down 5 percent at Svenska Spel.

In contrast, offshore licensed operators achieved turnover in the Swedish online gambling market of SEK 2.65 billion, an impressive 17 percent year-on-year hike.

InfoPowa readers may recall reports last month on a Mediavision survey that found that 61 percent of all new online gambling accounts set up over the past year were with internationally licensed operators, with bet365, LeoVegas and Unibet particularly successful.

The liberalisation of Sweden’s market appears to be progressing, albeit slowly, with political observers holding the view that there will be little action on the project until the national elections next September decide which political party or parties will have control.