Gambling Industry Acquisitions and Financial News — Weekly Round-up for February 9, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Feb 9, 2018

Mr Green Completes Evoke Gaming Acquisition (Update)

Expects significant synergies with Redbet, Vinnarum casino, Bertil and MamaMia brands

Online casino and sports betting operator Mr Green has completed the December 2017 acquisition of Evoke Gaming from Bonnier Growth Media for Euro 7 million.

Mr Green said it expects significant synergies with Evoke online gaming sites Redbet, Vinnarum casino, Bertil and MamaMia and intends expanding the Redbet brand to its present and future markets.

Mybet Adjusts 2017 Forecast

Attributes online delays in Greece and Ghana

mybet Holding SE has issued an adjustment to its full year 2017 targets citing delays in online business in the Greece and Ghanain markets.

The Management Board and Supervisory Board of mybet Holding lowered forecasts to reflect:

– Sales revenue from between Euro 35.5 and 37.5 million to between Euro 34.5 and 35 million

– EBIT from between Euro 2.5 and 3 million to Euro 1 million.

– Liquidity levels are forecast to reach around Euro 1.8 million.

mybet Holding SE will release its full year 2017 report at the end of March 2018.

LeoVegas Acquires World Of Sportsbetting Ltd

Gains gaming licences issued by Schleswig-Holstein and Hesse

LeoVegas has confirmed its acquisition of World of Sportsbetting Ltd, a Malta situated company who holds an online casino and sports betting licence in Schleswig-Holstein along with an approved application for sportsbetting from Hesse, under the stalled Interstate Treaty on Gambling.

Completion of the acquisition is expected by the end of February and comes at a price of Euro 2.6 million.

Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO, LeoVegas, said: “The licenses give increased credibility when we collaborate with, for example, media partners, which is important in order to get full effect on our market investments.”

“This is in line with our strategy to enter regulated markets and gives LeoVegas the best possible conditions to accelerate further in the German market.”

In related news, the company revealed its strongest quarter ever in a fourth quarter report ending December 31, 2017.

Key performance indicators include:

– Revenue increase of 65 percent to Euro 67.8 million (Q4/2016: Euro 41.2 million).

– Revenue from regulated markets accounted for 29 percent (Q4/2016: 11 percent) of total revenue.

– Mobile deposits accounted for 69 percent (Q4/2017: 67 percent) of total deposits, which increased by 62 percent to Euro 224.6 million (Q4/2016: Euro 139.1 million).

– The number of depositing customers was 253,299 (Q4/2016: 176,306), an increase of 44 percent.

– The number of new depositing customers was 128,409 (Q4/2016: 85,384), an increase of 50 percent.

– The number of returning depositing customers was 124,890 (Q4/2016: 90,922), an increase of 37 percent.

– EBITDA was Euro 6.1 million (Q4/2016: Euro 10 million), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 9.0 percent (Q4/206: 24.2 percent).

– Earnings per share were Euro 0.02 (Q4/206: Euro 0.10) before dilution and Euro 0.01 (Q4/2016: Euro 0.10) after dilution.

LeoVegas’ board of directors has proposed a dividend of SEK 1.20 (Q4/2016: SEK 1.00) per share, for a total of SEK 119,634,564 (Euro 12.2 million).

Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO and co-founder, commenting on the results, said:

“Q4 2017 was one of our best quarters ever, with very strong underlying growth. Compared with Q4 2016 and excluding markets that we closed in 2017, our organic growth was an incredible 82% during the quarter. We even set a record for new depositing customers.”

Numerous staffing changes have been put into effect to support LeoVegas’ growth. The newly created position of chief human resources officer has been filled by Caroline Palm who joins the group management team.

In addition, Jarl Modén has been promoted to the permanent position of Chief Product Officer (CPO) on the Group Management team.

“With several great acquisitions, awards, our change in listing and a strong start to the first quarter, all of us at LeoVegas are looking forward to an exciting 2018,” Hagman concluded.

Sportsbook Drives Betsson Full Year Growth

But operating income and margins impacted by lower-than-expected acquisitions, currency fluctuations and marketing spend

Online gaming company Betsson reported on progress made for the full year 2017, showing a 15 percent revenue growth largely driven by Sportsbook.

Operating income and margins declined due to increased marketing spend, currency fluctuations and and lower-than-expected performance from recent acquisitions.

Key performance indicators for the full year period include:

– Group revenue increased 15 percent to SEK 4 716,5 million (FY2016: SEK 4 117,3 million), with 9 percent organic growth.

– Operating income (EBIT) was SEK 882.2 million (FY2016: 946.4 million).

– Net profit was SEK 786.5 million (FY2016: SEK 878 million, corresponding to SEK 5.68 (FY2016: SEK 6.34) per share.

– Operating cash flow amounted to SEK 946.7 million (FY2016: SEK 1,168.5 million.

The Board of Directors proposes to the AGM that SEK 393.1 million (FY2016: SEK 658.9 million), which corresponds to SEK 2.84 (FY2016: SEK 4.76) per share, is distributed to shareholders.

Betsson’s CEO, Pontus Lindwall, said the company had identified and begun to implement a number of improvements on both the product and marketing fronts.

Betsson expects to launch a new front-end omni-channel system for Casino and Sportsbook during 2018 and will focus marketing spend on the key markets that deliver a higher ROI.

Responsible gambling is again high on Betsson’s agenda. The company detailed the commission of an independent review in December 2017 which identified potential additional enhancements in their system, development of which will be followed up closely by Betsson AB management and the Board of Directors.

“When I stepped in as CEO in September, my first action was to analyse the situation the company was in and together with management set a plan on how to bring Betsson back to higher growth and earnings,” Lindwall said. “It will take some time until I am satisfied, but we are systematically implementing actions to improve performance and expect to see results towards the end of the year.”

In related news, Betsson has strengthened its Southern European operations with the launch of its flagship casino and sports betting brand in Spain via

The company entered the Spanish market in March 2017, after acquiring the locally-licensed online gaming operator, Premier Casino.

“We are proud to be entering one of the most exciting and established gaming markets with It was an opportunity we simply did not want to miss,” Andrea Rossi, Betsson Group’s Managing Director, Southern Europe and LatAm, said.

“With over 55 years in the gaming industry and an award winning team, we want to offer our Spanish customers a fantastic gaming experience with the widest choice of slot games, jackpots, and sports betting.”

Tatts Merger And Sunbets Weigh Down Tabcorp Financials In First Half Report

UK-facing joint venture continues under review

Tabcorp first half net profit plunged 58 percent, the Aussie betting giant reported Thursday, despite an 18.7 percent rise in Group Revenues.

The company attributed its performance to costs related to its A$11 billion merger with Tatts Group and a poor performance from UK-facing joint online gambling venture Sun Bets which continues to operate under review.

Tabcorp reported A$1.376 billion in revenues and net profit of A$24.6 million after A$25.5 million in significant merger related items after tax were deducted, saying before the deduction net profit rose 2.1 percent to A$127.9 million.

SunBets, Tabcorp and News International’s joint delivered a loss of A$22.5 million in EBITDA in the first half, the company reported, describing its performance as “unsatisfactory”.

“Significant items have been raised in respect of a Sun Bets onerous contract provision of $49 million and impairment of business assets of $4.3 million ($3.2 million after tax),” a Tabcorp statement reads.

Zynga Turning Its Fortunes Around

With first profitable year in 6 years and the launch of WPT Tourneys on its flagship social poker brand

Social gaming firm Zynga and Ourgame International have partnered in a multi year deal to bring the World Poker Tour (WPT) brand to Zynga’s flagship social brand Zynga Poker with the launch of WPT-themed, in-game tournaments later this year.

“We’re incredibly proud to bring the World Poker Tour to Zynga Poker,” Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour, said.

“Zynga has built the largest social poker game, and we are confident their millions of players will enjoy their experience even more with the introduction of WPT-themed tournaments in Zynga Poker.”

“We’re proud to partner with World Poker Tour, a global leader in real-world poker tournaments, to deliver an authentic in-game tournament experience to our Zynga Poker players later this year,” added Bernard Kim, President of Publishing, Zynga.

“WPT has innovated in the sport of poker for more than 16 years, and our new free-to-play WPT-themed Zynga Poker tournaments will put the most competitive and genuine poker experience in the palm of players’ hands.”

In related news, Zynga released its full year 2017 results delivering a series of all-time-highs and heartening growth in mobile revenue and mobile bookings.

The company reported a 29 percent increase in mobile revenue, and a 23 percent increase in mobile bookings year-over-year referencing all-time-highs in its flagship brand Zynga Poker.

Zynga ended 2017 with the highest Group mobile average DAUs in four years and a profitable year for the first time since 2010.

GVC’s Ladbrokes Coral Acquisition To Be Reviewed By CMA

Phase 1 invites public comment

GVC Holding’s proposed acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral will be investigated by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to determine whether the deal will lessen competition within the market.

The CMA launched the investigation Wednesday with Phase 1 of the process, an invitation to comment, open until February 21, 2018.

The deadline for the CMA to announce its decision on whether to refer the merger for a Phase 2 investigation is April 6, 2018.

Svenska Spel Deliver Lack Lustre Full Year Results

Despite 49 percent growth in mobile over 2017

Swedish gambling monopoly Svenska Spel delivered a 1.4 percent increase in net gaming revenue and a 3.2 percent decline in profit despite reporting 59 percent growth in the mobile channel in its full year 2017 report.

“Increased costs for adaptations to the new regulations AML and GDPR, new gaming market preparation, and increased marketing costs have contributed to a lower profit of 2017 compared to 2016,” the operator said.

Key performance indicators include:

– Full year net gaming revenue amounted to SEK 8,980 million (FY2016: SEK 8,993 million), which is slightly lower than the previous year.

– Full year group profit was SEK 4,709 million (fY2016: SEK 4,866 million), a decrease of 3.2 percent.

President and CEO Lennart Käll highlighted strides the company was making in responsible gambling, saying, around 20,000 customers had voluntarily suspended themselves by year end.

“We are still strong as the Swedish people’s gaming company and meet customer demand for gaming experience with an expanded range and product development. Customers continue to give us high ratings in our satisfied customer index and we have the highest image value of the gaming companies with broad margins,” Käll said.

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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