Gambling Industry Financial News — Weekly Round-up for October 27, 2017

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Oct 27, 2017

Revenue Up At Betsson In Third Quarter

But online gambling group reports a 21 percent decline in EBIT due to negative currency impacts, increased betting duties and weak performance from recent acquisitions

Swedish online gambling group Betsson AB has reported on its Q3-2017 and year-to-end September results, highlighting:

* Q3 revenue growth up 11 percent at SEK 1,181 million; 2 percent of this was organic;

* Revenue from Western European operations up 63 percent, with a 31 percent organic growth;

* Strong growth in mobile casino operations;

* Operating income (EBIT) down 21 percent at SEK 216 million, attributed to negative currency impacts, increased betting duties and weak performance from recent acquisitions.

* Operating margin lower at 18.3 percent (25.7);

* Active customers up 20 percent at 619,000;

* Online casino revenue up 19 percent at SEK871.1 millionm;

* Online sports betting revenue down 8 percent at SEK 275.1 million;

* Sports betting handle down 3 percent at SEK 5.9 billion.

For the period January to end September 2017, the group reported:

* Revenue up 15 percent at SEK 3,460 million. Casino revenue up by 23 percent.

* Operating income (EBIT) down at SEK 663.8 (681.3) million;

* Profit before tax down at SEK 633.3 (676.4) million;

* Net profit down at SEK 587.6 (634.5) million;

* Operating cash flow down at SEK 667.7 (836.3) million.

CEO, Pontus Lindwall said that despite a good finish to Q3, the group was not satisfied with overall growth and action has been taken to improve overall performance.

He revealed that NetPlay, which was acquired in April 2017, has not developed as well as planned and measures have been taken to get the business back on track. These include more product offerings and increased marketing spend.

On the upside, Lindwall noted that active customers and deposits reached an all-time-high in the third quarter.

“Betsson has made significant investments in the product offering and we have seen a positive impact in customer activity and mobile casino revenues,” Lindwall said. “The roll-out of the new mobile Sportsbook will continue in the fourth quarter, which should put the company in a favourable position for the football World Cup in 2018. Betsson plans to launch the front-end framework OBG for Casino and Sportsbook on apps and desktop during 2018.”

Lindwall concluded by observing that he took over as CEO in September and whilst acknowledging that there is room for improvement, notes that the product offering has probably never been better.

“We have good control of the business, and the Betsson team and I are committed to achieve the long-term growth and earnings that I believe the company is capable of,” he said.

Online Payment Specialist Opens London Office, Appoints New Business Development Head

Paysafe veteran joins Easy Payment Gateway

Online payment solutions specialist Easy Payment Gateway (EPG), has cut the ribbon on its first London office, naming Paysafe veteran Jonathan Gonzalez Rambal as head of UK business development.

In a statement Monday EPG said that the decision to open a London office was motivated by a significant increase in UK business, and that former Paysafe business development executive Rambal has been appointed to head business development in the UK market, tasked with driving growth in the country and internationally.

Rambal has more than 12 years’ experience in e-commerce, online payments, and the investment advisory and real estate industries.

Jose Peral, COO at EPG, said that London is a hub for innovative fin-tech companies, and EPG fits into that category. He said the new office allows the company to meet the increase in demand for its products and services, and forge closer relationships with UK clients and those further afield.”

Rambal said: “I’m looking forward to strengthening the relationships we have with our current UK and international clients, as well as forging new partnerships with businesses that can benefit from our cutting-edge technology.”

Easy Payment Gateway recently closed a GBP 5.5 million funding round, with the cash injection being used to drive operational growth, with new offices in Malta, Madrid and London (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Paddypower To Exit Italian Market

Group presence will henceforth be confined to the Betfair element

Amid rumours that the Italian government is mulling both online and land gambling tax increases, Paddy Power Betfair has announced that the Paddy Power brands will be exiting the market in December this year, leaving Betfair Italia active for Italian online punters.

Speculation over the past few weeks is that tax hikes of 1 percent are likely to be imposed on land gambling operators, bringing the tax rate up to 19 percent of GGR, whilst online operators will probably face a similar increase, bringing their tax rate to 23 percent of GGR.

Live Dealer Provider Releases Year-To-Date Metrics

Evolution reports on January to September 2017 performance

Live dealer technology provider Evolution Gaming released its 2017 year-to-date numbers Wednesday, highlighting:

Q3-2017 results:

* Q3-2017 operating revenues increased by 56 percent to Euro 45.7 million;

* EBITDA rose 103 percent to Euro 21.8 million, up from the Euro 10.8 million last year, corresponding to a margin of 47.7 percent.

* Profit for the period totaled Euro 16.8 million.

Year-to-end September 2017:

* Operating revenues increased by 57 percent to Euro 127.7 million;

* EBITDA is up 83 percent to Euro 58 million, a total margin of 45.5 percent;

* Profit for the period amounted to Euro 44.1 million.

CEO Martin Carlesund said that third quarter growth and margin continued to achieve high levels, with investments in new studios in Georgia and Canada, as well as a positive development for Dream Catcher,

“Once again, I can summarise a strong quarter for Evolution Gaming, driven, among other things, by a high level of activity among our customers in the summer months,” he reported.

“We have seen continued high growth in existing studios, as several of our customers are extending their dedicated environments. This expansion intensified during the latter part of the quarter, which meant that the cost increase was somewhat lower than expected for the full period.

“By the end of the year, we expect to have about 400 tables in operation at all of our studios, making Evolution Gaming Europe’s largest casino by a good margin in terms of the number of tables.”

Carlesund detailed work on new studios in Georgia and Canada, designed to meet growth with Canada set to open early 2018 and Georgia during Q2-2018.

“Combined, these [new operations] entail a significant expansion of Evolution’s delivery capacity – with the new studio in Tbilisi as a primary hub, we will have prepared the company for continued expansion for 2-3 years. At the same time, the studio in Canada marks our first land-based establishment in a market outside Europe,” he observed.

Carlesund also noted a development that has occurred after the reporting period, namely the agreement with Bulgaria’s largest regulated operator National Lottery AD, which is to launch a complete Live Casino service later this year (see previous InfoPowa report).

“We also have good opportunities to focus growth in new tables to our other studios in the future,” Carlesund concluded.

“We currently perceive a favourable market situation, with good opportunities to continue growing. Next year, the FIFA World Cup will take place, and this has historically entailed a high level of activity among our customers. We continue to work according to our ambition to continually increase our lead on competitors and, with two new studios on the cards, I am convinced that we will progress further along that path.”

Portuguese Online Gambling Market Resumes Growth In Q3-2017

Revenues up at Euro 29.3 million

The Portuguese online gambling market shook off second quarter revenue declines in Q3-2017, with the Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) regulator reporting that revenues resumed a growth trend at Euro 29.3 million…an improvement of 15.6 percent on Q2-2017.

On a year-on-year basis Q3 numbers this year represent an improvement of 21..5 percent; InfoPowa readers will recall that the Portuguese online gambling market was launched in June last year.

SRIJ reported that total gambling revenue to date this year is Euro 86.3 million, with government tax offtake at Euro 24.5 million.

At Euro 47.7 million, sports betting has so far delivered 55 percent of total revenue, with online casino and poker operations contributing around Euro 38.4 million.

Betting on football has emerged as the sports betting public’s favourite.

Online casino and poker activity rose 15 percent sequentially in the third quarter to Euro 13.1 million, maintaining an average monthly rate between Euro 4.2 and Euro 4.4 million, with slots the game of choice for Portuguese online punters (about 42 percent of revenue from the vertical).

Poker cash games were slightly down in the quarter, contributing 22 percent, and the remainder came from table games.

82,400 new players registered in the third quarter, a welcome improvement to the generally declining sign-up rates experienced in recent quarters

There are currently seven operators active in the licensed and legal Portuguese online market.

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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