Group-wide growth as Betsson praises impacts of acquisitions & licenses

Acquisitions and new market entries have been pinpointed as a key facet to 2020’s success by Betsson Group, with an accelerated, COVID driven, transition to digital also acknowledged.

With manoeuvres within Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kenya; and Colorado, USA, gaining particular praise, the online gambling group reasserts its long-term goal of showing stronger growth than its operational markets.

The comments come as the business reports its fourth quarter and full-year 2020 financial report, with the former showing growth across all regions primarily due to both its casino and sportsbook verticals.

Q4 group revenue was SEK 1.76bn (2019: SEK 1.28bn), an increase of 37 per cent, with that of mobile finishing up at SEK 1.39bn (2019: 920.4m), a figure which represents 79 per cent (2019: 71 per cent) of that total.

Moreover, the firm notes that, due to the pandemic, it lowered the threshold for how and when it interacts with customers as a way of increasing work around responsible gaming and to early identify signs of problem gambling. 

During the fourth quarter, Betsson interacted with 94,052 customers (manual, automatic and real-time notifications) from 26,300 in the first quarter 2020, to 55,300 in the second and 91,800 in the third. 

On the product front, casino revenue finished up at SEK 1.28bn for 2020’s final period, an increase of 33 per cent from SEK 964.1m year-on-year. Mobile Casino revenue was SEK 1.02bn (2019: SEK 654.9m) and accounted for 80 per cent (2019: 68 per cent) of the total

Sportsbook revenue finished at SEK 459m (2019: 311.6m), an increase of 47 per cent, with mobile taking 80 per cent (2019: 83 per cent) at SEK 368.3m (2019: 260.1m).

On a regional basis, the Nordics leads the way with revenue of SEK 573.5m (2019: SEK 450.2m), ahead of central and eastern Europe and Central Asia’s SEK 511.4m (2019: SEK 369.9m, western Europe’s SEK 462.1m (2019: SEK 387.7), and the rest of the world’s SEK 215.6m (2019: SEK 81.7m). All markets, except Betsson’s down-sized operations in the UK, reported increased revenues. 

Operating income for the quarter was SEK 317.8m (2019: SEK 200.5m), with net income increasing from SEK 204.4m to SEK 277.8m. Active customers rose to 989,969 from 686,499.

Pontus Lindwall, president and CEO Betsson, commented: “Betsson ended 2020 with yet another strong quarter. Under the extraordinary circumstances that still prevail, online gaming continue to demonstrate its resilience to market fluctuations and Betsson demonstrates good profitability.”

Adding: “There are several reasons for Betsson’s success. The transition to digital entertainment has been further accelerated during the pandemic, which has benefited us, but in the long run Betsson’s underlying strengths are crucial in creating growth and shareholder value. 

“Our long experience and the strong financial position mean that we can continue to implement our strategy with a focus on growth despite current challenges.”

For the full-year, group revenue increased 24 per cent to total SEK 6.38bn (2019: 5.17bn), gross profit amounted to SEK 4.1bn (2019: 3.42bn), operating income came in at SEK 1.1bn (2019: 865m), and net income finished at SEK 990.8m (2019: 787.1m).

The average daily revenue in the first quarter of 2021, for the period until February 5, was 11 per cent higher than the average of the full first quarter 2020. Adjusted for negative currency effects, the average daily revenue until February 5 was 26 per cent higher.

Lindwall continued: “We still face challenges, but we leave 2020 behind and continue with determination to benefit from our strengths to create a strong global and diversified product portfolio of strong brands and local expertise. 

“The strong financial position enables investments in technology and existing product portfolio. And we are confident in our ambition with a scalable and flexible proprietary technology as well as highly dedicated and talented teams”.