Gambling Industry Acquisitions, Mergers and Financial News — Weekly Round-up for November 30, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Nov 30, 2018

OPAP Making Gains

Growth driven by VLT sector

Greek gaming giant OPAP S.A. reported a 5.8 percent increase in gross gaming revenues in its consolidated financial results for the nine month period ended September 30, 2018.

Growth was negatively impacted by unfavourable sporting results in the third quarter but offset by a strong performance from the VLT sector.

Key performance highlights include:

  • Gross Gaming Revenues (GGR) up 5.8 percent at Euro 1,106.3 million (9M 2017: Euro 1,045.8 million).
  • Gross Profit (from gaming operations) grew 6.3 percent to reach Euro 434 million (9M 2017: Euro 408.2 million).
  • EBITDA increased by 9.4 percent to Euro 244.6 million (9M 2017: Euro 223.5 million) despite a 6.1 percent decline in the third quarter.
  • Net Profit stood at Euro 105.2 million (9M 2017: Euro 93.2 million) higher by 12.8 percent.
  • Strong financial position, with Net Debt at Euro 462.3 million, and Net Debt/EBITDA ratio of 1.4 times.

By Sector in terms of GGR in the nine months ending September 30, 2018:

  • Lottery declined 7.5 percent to reach Euro 561 million in GGR (9M 2017: Euro 606.8 million) and now counts for 50.7 percent of total GGR (9M 2017: 58 percent).
  • Betting declined 0.4 percent to Euro 299.8 million (9M 2017: Euro 300.9 million). Betting accounts for 27.1 percent of total GGR (9M 2017: 28.8 percent).
  • Instant and Passives declined 6.4 percent to Euro 105 million (9M 2017: Euro 112 million). This sector accounts for 9.5 percent of total GGR (9M 2017: 10.7 percent).
  • VLT installations reached 140,223 (9M 2017: 25,652).

Key developments during the period included a total of 16,043 VLTs and 4,016 SSBTs installed by end of September 2018, the launch of a new online sports betting platform at and a sports betting app ‘OPAPP’, as well as the introduction of new features on key games: KINO side bets & Virtual Sports Matchday.

OPAP CEO, Damian Cope, said: “As we approach the seasonally busiest period of the year we remain confident in meeting both our own expectations and the long-term ambition of establishing OPAP as a world class gaming entertainment company.”

Sagi Completes Full Disinvestment From Playtech Plc (Update)

Israeli billionaire sells off last 15,193,489 shares he held in online gambling giant

Completing a steady program of disinvestment from online gambling giant Playtech plc in order to finance his property and e-commerce ambitions, Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi confirmed Friday that he has sold off the last 15,193,489 shares held by his Brickington Trading Ltd personal investment firm.

Over the last few weeks, Brickington Trading Ltd has been working on this divestment,” Sagi advised in a statement. “The sale follows a smaller trade executed on the 12 November and is in line with our long-term diversification strategy.

Sagi founded Playtech in 1999, taking it public in London in 2006. In his statement Friday the billionaire noted:

My focus for the last few years has been in real estate, co-working, service apartments, e-commerce and advanced technology, cyber-security and innovation companies.

I consider myself part of Playtech’s successful history, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together since its inception. I wish it every success in the future.

Macau Gambling Firms Will Make Hefty Tax Contributions Next Year

Gaming tax revenue set to reach MOP 91 billion (US$ 11.3 million) in 2019

The draft budget tabled in Macau‘s Legislative Assembly Wednesday projects that gambling companies operating on the island will pay government gaming tax of MOP 91 billion (US$ 11.3 million) next year.

Leong Vai Tac, the secretary for the Economy and Finance, told lawmakers that the gaming tax revenue represents an increase of MOP 10.5 billion compared with 2018, and has been calculated using estimated gross revenue of MOP 260 billion for 2019.

Spanish Online Market Continues To Rise

Third quarter 2018 reports 29.86 percent rise in Y-O-Y GGR

Spain’s Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) released its third quarterly report of 2018 for the period ending September 30 2018 Wednesday showing a 28.86 percent rise in gross gaming revenues (GGR) year on year (YoY).

Total market GGR for the quarter was Euro 181.77 million, representing an increase of 8.74 percent over the previous quarter (QoQ) and an increase over the same quarter of 2017 of 29.86 percent.

Wagering accounted for 53.72 percent of Total GGR (TGGR) reaching Euro 97.65 million.

The wagering segment delivered a growth rate of 11.46 percent QoQ and 27.41 percent YoY.

Growth was attributed primarily to Iive sports betting which grew 15.56 percent while conventional bets grew by 6.72 percent compared to the last quarter.

The Casino segment contributed 33.48 percent to TGGR with an amount of Euro 60.85 million.

Casino delivered 7.74 percent growth compared to the second quarter of 2018 and an annual variation rate of 39.19 percent. Slots were primarily responsible for this growth.

The poker segment delivered Euro 19.81 million in GGR, now accounting for 10.9 percent of TGGR. Poker grew 1.87 percent quarter over quarter, and 35.11 percent year over year. Cash poker was the main contributor to growth.

Poker Tournaments GGR amounted to Euro 0.32 million account for 0.18 percent of TGGR.

Bingo declined 4.16 percent over last quarter but grew 11.26 percent y-o-y. Bingo GGR was Euro 3.14 million (1.73 percent of TGGR).

Total Deposits increased 6.18 percent QoQ and 53.29 percent YoY.

Marketing declined 6.87 percent QoQ to Euro 75.86 million of which advertising was Euro 36.38 million, promotions Euro 28.56, affiliate expenses Euro 7.42 million and Euro 3.5 million in sponsorships, but grew 56.28 percent YoY.

Active users totalled 812,007 implying a growth of 30.71 percent Y-o-Y, however, new Players have declined 13.46 percent QoQ and 1.93 percent YoY.

52 operators are now licensed in the market of which 29 operate sportsbetting, 6 bingo and 38 casino.

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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