Gambling Industry Financial News — Weekly Round-up for November 24, 2017

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Nov 24, 2017

William Hill Trading Statement Details Progress

On track to meet management expectations

Digital and the US region are the star performers in William Hill‘s latest trading update for the 17 weeks to October 24 2017, with company performance on track to deliver on management expectations.

Key performance highlights include:

– Online net revenue was up 6 percent, amounts wagered grew 13 percent (despite rolling over EURO 2016), and gaming net revenue increased 14 percent.

– Retail net revenue delivered 3 percent growth in both Sportsbook and gaming despite a 1 percent decline in amounts wagered.

– The Australian business reported a 2 percent decline in net revenues, however, an improved gross win margin of 10.8 percent softened a 5 percent wagering decline.

– US continues to deliver strong net revenue growth, up 30 percent in local currency

– Progressing towards the delivery of GBP 40 million of annualised cost efficiencies by the end of 2017 for reinvestment

Philip Bowcock, CEO, commented:

“Overall, I am encouraged by the huge amount of progress the William Hill team has made this year in improving our customer proposition and delivering on our strategy. We remain on track to deliver on market expectations for 2017.”

Scientific Games Acquires NYX Gaming Group Shares (Update)

Representing 10.72 percent of the total share holding

In an early warning report, Scientific Games Corporation has notified its acquisition of 11.6 million ordinary shares in NYX Gaming Grouprepresenting a 10.72 percent share for an aggregate price of CAD$27,054,565.

The companies, who signed an acquisition deal earlier this month, also entered into a first amendment agreement in which Scientific Games will make a contractual takeover offer to NYX shareholders should the deal not be approved at the shareholder vote in December 2017 or not move forward for other reasons.

NYX also agreed to waive the existing standstill with Scientific Games so that Scientific Games and its affiliates could purchase any ordinary, preferred or other equity securities of NYX or any of its subsidiaries.

InfoPowa readers will recall William Hill is opposing the acquisition saying it may use its shareholding to veto the deal (see previous InfoPowa reports).

A major shareholder, the UK gambling firm moved to change its NYX convertible preference shares into ordinary shares earlier this month, enabling it to vote on the proposed agreement.

Evolution Gaming Co-Founders Sell Down Share Holdings

Move to assure market of their continued commitment

Evolution co-founders Jens von Bahr and Fredrik Österberg have sold a combined total of 1,798,520 shares in Evolution Gaming Group.

The transaction undertaken through an accelerated bookbuilding process to Swedish and international institutional investors, corresponds to approximately 5 percent of all outstanding shares in the company, at a price of SEK 557 per share.

The duo moved quickly to calm the market saying the decision had been an “emotional process” and acknowledged that “no time is a good time” in a decision of this nature but that the vast majority of their wealth remained in the business.

“We remain firm in our belief in, and commitment to, Evolution Gaming and intend to continue to be active shareholders for the long run,” a press statement reads.

MGA Reports Rise In Gaming Industry Contribution To Malta Economy

Third largest sector in the economy

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published its interim performance report for the period January to June 2017 detailing a rise in the gaming industry’s contribution to the Maltese economy which now stands at 12 percent.

The gaming industry represents the third largest sector in the economy which contributed an additional Euro 556 million or 10 percent in terms of gross value in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period 2016.

The gaming industry directly generated over 6,400 full-time jobs in the region, or 9,000 full-time jobs when including indirect employment.

Gaming tax revenue reached Euro 29 million in the first half of 2017, representing 5.5 percent of the total indirect tax intake of the Maltese Government.

The number of companies licensed in the Maltese jurisdiction stood at 282 in June 2017, growing by 6 percent from December 2016.

The full text of the 2017 Interim Performance Report can be accessed here:

Aspire Global In JV To Launch Mr. Play Brand

Backs venture with Euro 2 million and a 40 percent shareholding

Aspire Global has agreed a joint venture with a group of ‘industry veterans’ to launch the new Mr. Play casino and sports betting brand.

The company has acquired a 40 percent minority shareholding, backing Mr. Play with a Euro 2 million investment. A further Euro 2 million has been pledged by other investors.

In addition to the technology behind the brand, Aspire will provide a complete suite of in-house services such as bespoke CRM, multilingual Customer Support and multi-market licenses, for both the Mr. Play casino and sportsbook.

“When we decided to launch Mr. Play, we looked for more than just a software vendor. We wanted a first-rate strategic partner who could provide us with anything it takes to carve out significant market share by offering customers the best possible online gaming experience,” Hanan Greenberg, chief marketing officer at Mr. Play, said.

“We are always open to opportunities where we can leverage our strong position in new profitable ways,” added Tsachi Maimon, chief executive officer of Aspire Global. We are excited to be part of this joint venture and look forward to materializing the potential of this product in our role as full partner.”

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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