Gambling Industry Acquisitions, Mergers and Financial News — Weekly Round-up for December 28, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Dec 28, 2018

Online Casino Vertical Performance Boosts Portuguese Gambling Revenues

Rather belated Q3 report continues to show good growth despite high taxes

Somewhat tardy Q3-2018 numbers released this week by the Portuguese regulator Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) showed continued impressive online revenue growth, boosted especially by the performance of the online casino sector, where eight licensees generated overall revenue of Euro 19.1 million in the period ending September 30. Over half the revenues generated came from slots, trailed weakly by roulette (16.2 percent) and poker (16.7 percent).

That’s a Euro 13.1 million improvement in y-o-y terms

However the governments high tax rate ensured that Euro 17 million of that was taken in taxes across online performance, which included tax on Euro 19.4 million in revenue created by six online sports betting operators. That represented an over Euro 3 million year-on-year improvement but fell below the Euro 20.5 million in revenue reported in Q2-2018. Football betting accounted for almost 76 percent of sports betting revenue, trailed on 16.9 percent by tennis.

Overall new player registrations in the third quarter totalled 83,400.

The regulator also reported on land gambling numbers, noting that overall revenues there rose 13.6 percent y-o-y to Euro 87.5 million.

Macau Visitor Arrivals Up In November

Attributed to opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

Almost 3.3 million visitors were recorded by the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR)’s statistic department during the month of November, up 15.3 percent year-on-year and a month to month growth of 3.6 percent.

InfoPowa readers will recall Gross gaming revenues on games of chance, recorded by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, for the month of November increased 8.5 percent to reach 25 billion patacas or $3.1 billion (see previous InfoPowa report).

The rise in visitor numbers is attributed to the opening of the 55km Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge-tunnel system on October 24, 2018.

Mainland Chinese visitors grew 15.3 percent and those from Hong Kong surged 25.6 percent. Visitors from Korea and Taiwan dropped 6.6 percent and 2.4 percent respectively.

Visitor arrivals by land soared 47.9 percent year-on-year to 2,314,952, with 436,660 travelling via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge; visitors arriving through the Border Gate (1,665,364) rose by 21.5 percent. Visitor arrivals by air increased by 11.3 percent year-on-year to 272,818. However, visitor arrivals by sea plunged 33.7 percent.

In the first eleven months of 2018, visitor arrivals totalled 32,233,838, up by 9.1 percent year-on-year; overnight visitors (16,751,684) and same-day visitors (15,482,154) grew by 7.2 percent and 11.1 recent respectively.

Zeal Network’s Takeover Of Lotto24 AG Progresses (Update)

With signing of Business Combination Agreement

ZEAL Network’s takeover of LOTTO24 AG has progressed with the signing of a ‘Business Combination Agreement’ in which the parties have laid out key areas of cooperation.

Lotto24 and ZEAL have agreed cooperation in achieving the synergy effects targeted by both parties, and in gaining the necessary approval of the competent gambling authorities.

Both parties have agreed that Lotto24 should retain its independence after conclusion of the takeover as a subsidiary of ZEAL in a de facto group, and that all relevant arrangements in connection with the cooperation should be made on an arm’s length principle.

In addition, the parties have agreed Petra von Strombeck, chief executive officer and Magnus von Zitzewitz, chief financial officer of LOTTO24 will join the ZEAL executive board as additional members. In turn Jonas Mattsson, chief financial officer of ZEAL will join LOTTO24’s board of executives.

The deal still has some way to go. On publication of the offer document by ZEAL, the Executive Board and Supervisory Board of Lotto24 will publish a reasoned opinion on the takeover offer pursuant to Section 27 of the German Securities Acquisition and Takeover Act (Wertpapiererwerbs- und Übernahmegesetz – WpÜG) and at the same time also comment on the financial adequacy of the consideration.

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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