Gambling Industry Acquisitions and Financial News — Weekly Round-up for August 03, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Aug 3, 2018

Pagcor H1-2018 Better Than Expected

Philippines regulator and operator exceeds target by almost 10 percent

The Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. has posted its H1-2018 financials, reporting that it has exceeded expectations and targets by 9.7 percent.

The operator-regulator reported revenue up 18.3 percent y-o-y from gaming operations at PHP33.4 billion (US$629.4 million).

Net income reached PHP15.88 billion, whilst profit soared to PHP35.79 billion, compared with PHP3.05 billion in the same period a year ago.

Management noted that the performance numbers were boosted by the sale of land to Bloomberry Resorts & Entertainment for PHP32.71 billion.

Online Gambling Firm Claims Record Numbers In Q2-2018

LeoVegas management says new initiatives in technology and sustainability will aid future growth

Online gambling group LeoVegas AB has released its Q2-2018 numbers, reporting:

  • Revenue increased by 76 percent y-o-y to Euro 87.4 million (49.7);
  • EBITDA was Euro 15 million (6.1), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 17.2 percent (12.4%);
  • Organic growth of 38 percent (excluding markets closed in 2017);
  • NGR from regulated markets was 38.8 percent (25.1 percent) of total NGR;
  • NGR from Royal Panda and Rocket X accounted for 15.6 percent and 12.8 percent, of total NGR;
  • Depositing customers reached 309,987 (173,034), an increase of 79 percent.
  • Management expects to achieve 2020 targets of Euro 600 million and EBITDA of Euro 100 million;
  • The company has registered with Gamstop, the UK self-exclusion system, and has integrated all group brands with LeoSafePlay;
  • The company launched a new front-end platform with new and improved technology;
  • LeoVegas also launched its Sportsbook 2.0 product;
  • Management believes the group is strongly positioned to prosper from the liberated Swedish market due to open early in 2019;

Looking ahead, group CEO Gustav Hagman said that NGR in July grew 45 percent to Euro 26.4 million (18.3) auguring well for Q3 as the company continues to improve sustainability and growth. During the third quarter Management expects marketing in relation to revenue to be at roughly the same level as during the second quarter.

He applauded company staff for achieving record profit numbers following a reduction in marketing costs as the company applied its data-driven marketing strategies.

The advent of the GDPR had resulted in the company focusing more tightly on compliance and LeoVegas stopped working with a large number of affiliates in the British market, Hagman revealed. This had impacted customer inflow and growth during the quarter.

Turning to compliance issues, Hagman said:

“The online gaming business in Europe is currently undergoing a fundamental change. A growing number of markets are choosing to embrace local regulation. The compliance requirements for operators are both growing and becoming more complex. This elevated focus on compliance is having a short-term effect on growth. In long term, however, we see this as an opportunity – since only professional and responsible operators will be able to work in this environment.

“For some time LeoVegas has been engaged in talks with the UK Gambling Commission on improvements that LeoVegas can make in compliance. It is a productive discussion on how we will improve with respect to compliance in certain areas.”

Hagman revealed that in parallel with the launch of sports betting for, subsidiary Rocket X will also launch sports betting under its Bet UK brand. Rocket X has chosen SB Tech as its provider. The Group will thereby be working with three different providers in sports betting: Kambi, Betconstruct, and SB Tech.

The proposed Italian advertising ban was addressed by Hagman, whp said:

“Italy is one of Europe’s largest gambling markets. More than 3 million people in Italy play online every month, and it is a growth market that we believe strongly in. Italy’s government has now proposed a ban of all gambling advertising.

“We firmly believe that such a ban would benefit unlicensed actors, and a debate has now ensued about this, where LeoVegas is engaged and is trying to educate politicians about what we as licensed operators are doing in the areas of sustainability and responsible gaming. The outcome of the proposal is highly uncertain at present, and we are monitoring developments closely.”

Macau Gambling Revenue Up 10.3 Percent In July

Reaches the equivalent of US$ 3.14 billion

Figures from the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau released Wednesday show that in July gambling revenues were up 10.3 percent y-o-y at 25.3 billion patacas (US$3.14 billion).

July was the 24th month of consecutive revenue gain in the former Portuguese colony after it plunged to five-year lows due to slowing economic growth and a widespread crackdown on corruption starting in 2014.

The Bureau noted that July 2018 revenues were up from the month of June 2018, and were within the range expected by analysts.

Scientific Games Reduces Losses In Q2-2018

Strong revenues reported

US gambling supply company Scientific Games has posted its Q2-2018 report, announcing strong revenues and a reduction in debt.

Highlights include:

  • Revenue up 10 percent at $844.7 million, with a $50.6 million contribution from NYX subsidiary;
  • Net loss for the group narrowed to $5.8 million, compared to $39.1 million in Q2-2017, thanks to more efficient business processes;
  • Consolidated Attributable EBITDA was up 8 percent at $340.4 million, primarily driven by higher revenue and more efficient business processes throughout the organization. The margin was 40.3 percent;
  • Net cash provided by operating activities decreased to $102.5 million from $168.5 million last year due to the timing of interest payments resulting from the February 2018 refinancing.
  • Barry Cottle, CEO and president of Scientific Games, said, “Our core businesses are strong and ready to capitalize on the significant opportunities in the marketplace to drive growth by delivering great games and robust platforms and systems that enable them. We remain focused on delivering results, maintaining our financial discipline and strategically investing in our future to maximize shareholder return.”

CFO Michael Quartieri, added: “This quarter marks our eleventh consecutive quarter of year over year growth in revenue and AEBITDA. We have clear momentum across all of our global businesses. The improvement in our operating results, along with lower interest costs, provides us with a clear path of increasing cash flows, deleveraging, and strengthening our balance sheet.”

Zeal Group Encouraged By H1-2018 Results

Online lottery provider reports improved revenues and sales

Online lottery group Zeal has posted a positive set of H1-2018 results, highlighting:

  • Revenue up 17 percent y-o-y at Euro 73 million;
  • Sales up marginally at Euro 141.9 million;
  • Marketing spend up 69 percent;
  • New players up at 293,000 (H1-2017 : 174,000;
  • On the negative side, the company withdrew from Australia following new lottery laws which impacted the firm’s MyLotto24 synthetic lottery;

CEO Helmut Becker acknowledged that the Australian bans were disappointing, but said that the company was looking at other opportunities across the global lottery industry, including the Netherlands, where an innovative new product was seen to have potential following research.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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