Vera&John continues to underpin growth at Jackpotjoy in Q1

Publishing its results for the three months to March 21, 2019, bingo-led online gaming operator Jackpotjoy reported a 13 per cent year-on-year climb in gaming revenue, to £83.3m.

Earnings (adjusted EBITDA) rose similarly in the period, up 16 per cent to £29m. The underlying picture behind the headline figures is a little more complex however, with Jackpotjoy UK dragging Jackpotjoy operations down, with a seven per cent drop in revenue.

This fall was attributed to the introduction of enhanced responsible gambling measures in the UK and increased marketing spend in Spain and the UK, as well as the “intense competitive environment in Sweden”.

However, these negatives were once again heavily outweighed but the continuing stellar success of the Vera&John brand, which posted a 62 per cent Q1 increase in gaming revenue, now accounting for 41 per cent of group revenue. Adjusted EBITDA for Vera&John leapt 234 per cent.

This extends the recent trend for Vera&John sustaining and driving growth at Jackpotjoy as the core UK business faces continuing regulatory and competitive challenges.

The group’s average active customers per month grew to 242,938 in the 12 months to the end of March 2019, an increase of eight per cent on the same point in 2018.

In a statement released this morning the group’s executive chairman Neil Goulden, said: I’m pleased to report that the group has delivered another good quarter of growth… driven by a strong performance in Vera&John.

“We successfully completed the sale of our Mandalay business to 888 Holdings in March for £18m, which will allow us to focus on driving progress in our core market-leading brands in the UK. We remain convinced of the growth opportunities in global online gaming markets and are confident that we are well-placed to take advantage of this positive backdrop and deliver value to shareholders.

“The board is currently comfortable retaining significant cash on the balance sheet given the optionality which this confers and we will update the market at our interim results with respect to our plans to return cash to shareholders.”

The group said that trading in the first quarter has been in line with management’s expectations and the company “remains confident in the full-year outlook”.