Gambling Industry Acquisitions and Financial News — Weekly Round-up for January 12, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Jan 12, 2018

Growth Continues At Nektan In Fiscal Second Quarter

Net gaming revenues up 41.6 percent, first B2B revenue generated and an additional 17 new casino sites and 5 new partners

Gibraltar-based international B2B mobile gaming solutions and services provider Nektan plc has posted a Q2-2018 report showing continued growth through strong trading over the period ended December 31 2018.

The company said it continued to deliver year-on-year growth, with NGR in the quarter increasing 41.6 percent to GBP 4.7 million versus the same period last year.

A focus on player quality and reducing bonus cash spend has driven a 37 percent saving in bonuses awarded in Q2 FY18 versus Q1 FY18 and an expected small drop in First Time Depositors (FTDs) at 39,907.

The company launched 17 new sites and five new partners in Q2 FY18 and is currently operating a total of 94 brands from 51 partners with plans to launch up to 18 new sites from both existing and new partners during the current quarter to 31 March 2018 (Q3 FY18).

Nektan launched a number of new games from existing and new vendors, including Evolution Gaming and IWG, taking the Group’s total mobile games portfolio to over 450.

On the business-to-business front the company generated initial revenue from its B2B business and now has five live deals. The platform deal previously announced with Tyche is expected to go live during January 2018 and to generate revenue during Q3 FY18.

In On-premises Gaming in North America, the company’s subsidiary Respin re-branded as Rapid Games; the company signed two further deals and is in discussions with other land-based casinos regarding its on premise solution.

Gary Shaw, interim CEO, reported:

“Our core European business continued to progress as expected in Q2 FY18 with a number of further launches planned in Q3 FY18. Our strategy to move into B2B is paying off with initial revenue generated by the company. We look forward to announcing further positive updates across Nektan’s business over the next few months, including on our platform deal with Tyche and our US business.”

GVC Holdings Ends 2017 On A Strong Note

Online gambling group’s Q4-2017 update shows good revenue growth

Online gambling group GVC Holdings plc has posted its trading update for Q4-2017, showing good growth and with the following highlights:

* Total Net Gaming Revenue up 21 percent year-on-year at Euro 279.5 million – the highest since GVC acquired Bwin in February 2016;

* The Q4 results bring NGR for the year to around Euro 1,009 million, a y-o-y increase of 13 percent;

* Sports daily NGR up 35 percent y-o-y at Euro 1.20 million during the fourth quarter on a 13.1 percent sports margin (vs. 9.7 pc in 2016);

* Daily group net gaming revenues of Euro 2.2 million up 24 percent on corresponding Q4 2016;

* Gaming Brands daily NGR increased 22 percent to Euro 677,000;

* Active corporate initiatives saw the company divest its Turkish operation for Euro 150 million in November, and commence the Euro 3.4 billion acquisition oif Ladbrokes Coral in in December;

* The Board expects Clean EBITDA for the period to be at the top end of management’s internal expectations;

* Daily NGR for the fourth quarter increased by 21 percent;

* All verticals delivered a solid performance, with PartyPoker maintaining impressive growth. B2B and non-core revenues grew by an underlying 4 percent, adjusting for Kalixa which was sold in the first half of 2017;.

Kenneth Alexander (CEO) said:

“I’m delighted to report another strong year for the Group with underlying NGR growth of 18 percent, reflecting the strength of our brands, technology and the hard work of our talented people. We have once again demonstrated our ability to integrate significant acquisitions, realise material synergies and at the same time deliver top line growth.

“The recommended transaction with Ladbrokes Coral Group presents an exciting opportunity for both sets of shareholders, creating a global gaming group with a portfolio of strong brands across all major regulated online markets, together with proprietary technology and proven management.”

Scientific Games Completes NYX Acquisition (Update)

NYX shares to be delisted on January 10

Scientific Games has announced the completion of its acquisition of NYX and its intention to delist NYX shares from the TSX Venture Exchange on or before the close of business on January 10, 2018.

“Today, Scientific Games moves forward as a leading digital provider of sports betting, iGaming and iLottery technologies, platforms, content, products and services,” said Kevin Sheehan, Scientific Games CEO and President. “As we look to 2018, we are truly excited by the opportunities that this acquisition presents to us.”

A statement from the company said the acquisition of NYX “perfectly positions” Scientific Gaming to capitalise on future regulatory developments in real-money wagering and sports betting by adding NYX’s OpenBet Sportsbook.

“NYX’s digital Sportsbook can be seamlessly delivered throughout Scientific Games’ global gaming and lottery networks in existing and future regulated U.S. and global markets.

“In addition, NYX’s worldwide channels, markets and customer base offer new growth opportunities to build on the significant momentum of Scientific Games’ existing interactive gaming business. The transaction will be accretive to earnings and cash flow this year,” the statement concluded.

Aristocrat Completes 41.3 Billion Takeover Of Big Fish Gaming

Management has high hopes for social casino games developer

Australian gambling supplier Aristocrat has announced the completion of its $1.3 billion takeover of social casino games developer Big Fish Gaming, with CEO Trevor Croker commenting:

“The strategic and financial benefits of this acquisition are highly compelling. Big Fish’s digital-first social casino content and industry leading meta-game capability and applications are highly complementary to Aristocrat’s existing and industry-leading land-based digital content business.

“Big Fish will immediately provide scale across our entire digital platform, and our social casino business will become the second largest social casino publisher globally.”

The ASX-listed Aristocrat on Wednesday announced it had acquired Seattle’s Big Fish Games, the creator of several popular mobile and desktop games played by more than 12.4 million active users every month.

Aristocrat has significantly increased focus on the online social gaming market in recent years. In August, it announced the purchase of Israeli gaming company Plarium, which makes the popular Vikings: War of Clans game, for $635 million (see previous InfoPowa report).

Big Fish has about 700 employees and five in-house development studios in Seattle and Oakland in the US.

This week’s Big Fish Games acquisition has reportedly doubled the size of Aristocrat’s digital division, accounting for 38 percent of its revenue. It also makes Aristocrat the world’s second-largest provider of “social casino” games, which include free-to-play online poker, slots, table games and bingo, on desktop and mobile devices.

Israeli-founded but now Chinese-owned Playtika is widely considered to be the biggest provider of social casino games.

Macquarie Research said although Big Fish had delivered just 2 percent revenue growth in a segment growing by more than 15 percent a year, the deal could pay off for Aristocrat over time.

“Unlike other recent acquisitions, Big Fish will require greater focus on optimisation but in time should provide a solid growth platform,” Macquarie analysts 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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