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

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Oct 12, 2018

Rich Gambling Tax Harvest For Macau Government

Gaming taxes reach MOP 70.9 billion (US$8.7 billion) in first eight months of 2018

The value of Macau’s gambling industry was displayed again this week when the Financial Services Bureau released its figures for the first eight months of 2018, reporting that direct taxes from gaming reached MOP70.9 billion (US$8.7 billion), a 17 percent year-on-year increase.

The accumulated tax revenue makes up 86 percent of the MOP82.4 billion in gaming tax revenue targeted for the full year, and the increase is attributed to a similarly strong growth in gaming revenue.

Playtech Set To Raise More Money Through Bond Issue

Bond worth Euro 530 million will carry an interest rate of 3.75 percent and falls due in 2023

Online gambling software and games developer Playtech plc has announced a new senior secured notes Euro 530 million bond due in 2023 and carrying a 3.75 percent interest rate.

The proceeds, along with existing company cash, will go toward the repayment of outstanding debt; the acquisition of Italian betting company Snaitech and related expenses such as the redemption of a Snaitech high yield bond.

“Details of the Notes will be set out in the Offering Circular. Application will be made to the Irish Stock Exchange plc trading as Euronext Dublin (“Euronext Dublin”) for the Notes to be admitted to the Official List of Euronext Dublin and to trading on the Global Exchange Market, which is the exchange-regulated market of Euronext Dublin,” a press release from the company advised this week.

“The Notes are expected to settle on 12 October 2018.”

A successful issue will see Playtech’s debt burden decrease to Euro 297 million in senior convertible bonds, which are due next year. Those borrowings are in addition to the new notes. The company additionally has revolving credit of Euro 250 million, currently undrawn.

InfoPowa readers may recall that Playtech reaped a harvest of Euro 227 million recently by selling off its 10 percent stake in cfd firm Plus500 Limited.

Solid September For Italian Gambling

Overall revenue rises 19 percent year-on-year

The Italian market maintained momentum in September as overall revenues (retail and online) rose 19 percent year-on-year to Euro 139.6 million, bringing the market’s year-to-date numbers to Euro 1.1 billion -a 38.7 percent year-on-year improvement.

Online betting contributed Euro 472 million of the year-to-date revenue, rising 39.1 percent y-o-y.

In September, online betting revenue was up 25.7 percent at Euro 60.5 million with SKS365 online subsidiary PlanetWin365 leading the market with a 16.2 percent share, chased by the usual market leader Bet365 on 15.5 percent, and Playtech’s Snaitech with 10.5 percent.

Retail betting revenue rose 14.1 percent in September, led by the Gamenet-Goldbet-Intralot alliance, which commanded a 22 percent market share

Retail channels also generated the bulk of virtual sports revenue – Euro 20.4 million of the total Euro 22 million in revenue, with Goldbet again dominating the market. Virtual revenues in Italy have now risen to Euro 192 million.

Italian online casinos had another good month, with revenues up 16.8 percent year-on-year at Euro 58.6 million PokerStars Casino led the market with 9.2 percent share, followed by Lottomatica on 8.7 percent and Sisal on 8.2 percent. Year to date figures for online casino are impressive at Euro 517.5 million – up 26.7 percent.

Online poker again underperformed with tournament revenue down 11 percent to just Euro 6.1 million and cash games down 18 percent at Euro 4.9 million. In YTD terms online poker is down 0.8 percent y-o-y at Euro 61 million and cash games down 5.8 percent at Euro 49 million.

Land casinos YTD numbers after September’s audit reached Euro 194.3 million.

Skybet Takeover Deal With The Stars Group Approved

New CEO appointed as CMA clears $4.7 billion acquisition

There was momentous news for Skybet and The Stars Group investors Thursday afternoon as the latter company announced that it had completed its $4.7 billion acquisition of SkyBet following the approval of the agreement by the UK Competition & Markets Authority.

The announcement was accompanied by details of a top management restructuring plan for the company, where former Sky Betting and Gaming CEO Richard Flint becomes executive chairman of Sky Betting and Gaming, whilst former CFO Ian Proctor moves up to the CEO position in the company, and Conor Grant becomes COO, moving up from his previous position as director of Sky Vegas, Sky Casino, Sky Bingo and Sky Poker.

Grant will report to Proctor, whilst Flint and Proctor will report to The Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi, who said in a company statement:

“We believe these appointments position us well to deliver our strategy to become the world’s favourite online gaming destination.”

Flint added: “I am confident that the new management structure, which includes an operational board for SBG, will allow us to maintain our unique culture that has delivered success over the years and continue delivering market share gains in the UK online betting and gaming market, building on our position as the UK’s most popular online betting brand.”

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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