Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Today we take a brief look at an array of financial updates from across the industry, as well as a five-year strategy released by GambleAware, LeoVegas appeal, and the “devastating” effect of COVID-19.
Super Group unveiled its intention to combine with Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corp, with an intention to apply to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol ‘SGHC’.
The holding company for Betway and multi-brand online casino operator Spin, says that the enlarged business will provide a strong platform to accelerate its global growth strategy, as well as expansion into the fast-growing US online sports betting and gaming market.
The combined enterprise will operate under the name Super Group, with SEAH having agreement to combine based on a $4.75bn pre-money equity valuation.
Assuming no redemptions by SEAH’s shareholders the transaction will deliver approximately $450m of cash (currently held in trust) to the combined company, with Super Group’s existing shareholders to hold approximately 88 per cent of shares on closing; with the group to have approximately $200m in cash on its balance sheet on closing.
LeoVegas voiced its intention to appeal a warning and SEK 2m (£171,734/€197,497) penalty fee issued by the Swedish Gambling Authority for what the regulator calls “shortcomings in the work against money laundering and terrorist financing”.
The company says that it has been deemed to have been in breach of certain customer due diligence routines with respect to its Swedish customers during the first year of the market being regulated.
The size of the sanction, says the SGA, is based on the Money Laundering Act, unlike most of its other supervisory decisions which are based on the Gambling Act. According to the Act, the ceiling for this type of infringement is €1m.
GambleAware published its five-year organisational strategy, underpinned by four key objectives linked to awareness, inequalities, service capacity and access, which will guide a long-term vision of a society safe from gambling harms.
These objectives include developing awareness and understanding of gambling harms; increasing access to services and reducing inequalities; building capacity among health and community services to respond better to gambling harms; and improving the coherence, accessibility, diversity, and effectiveness of the National Gambling Treatment Service.
The charity says that financial commitments from the industry has enabled it to take a longer-term integrated and strategic approach to addressing gambling harms, which includes collaboration with the government, NHS, public health agencies, local authorities, and voluntary sector organisations.
This approach, says GambleAware, is aimed at the delivery of a programme of work that demonstrates leadership in establishing, developing, and maintaining a coordinated network of services.
The European Casino Association detailed the “devastating” effect of COVID-19 on the region’s gambling industry, stating that the land-based casino sector has taken the brunt of the impact.
Detailing the results of a members poll, the association says that European casinos were closed for an average of 136 days in 2020, with the vast majority unable to welcome guests in 2021 thus far.
It is added that 70 per cent of casinos in Europe remain closed with exceptions, such as Luxembourg, Spain and Monaco, having reopened in 2021 under specific restrictions, while the worst affected casinos, such as in Sweden, have been closed for an entire year.
Further findings state that European land-based operators have seen revenues fall by over 50 per cent in the last year, and that the majority of ECA members do not have a clear schedule for the official reopening of their businesses.
Evolution is continuing to “push forward towards our vision of being a global market leader in online casino,” as the group praises past addition of NetEnt and Red Tiger, as well as its impending Big Time Gaming transaction, as taking “one step further towards the position as a leader in online casino products”.
The €450m BTG acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of the year, and Martin Carlesund, CEO of Evolution, lauds the addition of “ strong IPs and innovative fantastic talent,” amid calls for the group to “continue to widen the gap to competition”.
“Supported by a combination of underlying megatrends – like the digitalisation of the world in general and the shift from land-based to online casinos in particular – Evolution has relentlessly continued to develop and drive the digitalisation of the global casino market,” he states in his executive statement within the firm’s latest financial update.
For the January to March 2021 reporting period, Evolution saw operating revenue more than double to reach €235.84m (2020: €115.14m), with €52.2m derived from RNG games and €183.7m from live.
Kindred Group documented a decrease in the share of revenue that the group derives from harmful gambling to 3.9 per cent for the first quarter of the year.
The update comes as the firm strives to make further progress as its previously communicated ambition to reach zero per cent by 2023.
Earlier in the year, Kindred became the first gambling operator to report its share of revenue from harmful gambling, with the Stockholm-listed group vowing to release its new ‘transparency metric’ as part of its safer gambling mandate.
For the first quarter of 2021, the share of revenue from harmful gambling decreased slightly to 3.9 per cent from 4.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Further safer gambling metrics saw Kindred report a group-wide one per cent increase in ‘improvement effect after interventions’ by its customer care teams to 76.6 per cent.
A strong product-leadership strategy, long-term positive customer acquisition trends, and continued expansion in regulated markets have been praised by 888 as key factors to a 56 per cent Q1 revenue increase to $272.5m (2020: $164.6m).
B2C revenue increased 67 per cent year-on-year to finish at $262.8m (2020: $156.9m), with casino up 80 per cent to $195.2m (2020: $108.7m) driven by increased investment, ongoing development of its artificial intelligence driven personalisation, and continued expansion of content.
The group’s sports segment rose 63 per cent to $41.6m (2020: $25.5m), reflecting a combination of favourable sporting results and a structural improvement in win margin due to the enhanced product and promotional capabilities.
Poker revenue increased 13 per cent to $14.7m (2020: $13m), which 888 says is due to strong customer reaction to the Poker8 product and sustained successful market.
Revenue in the group’s bingo division reached $11.4m, representing a 16 per cent YoY uptick from $9.8m, supported by a new improved home page, and AI features delivering an enhanced personalised experience to players.
Flutter Entertainment remains confident that its diversified business portfolio ensures that the group is “well placed to deliver sustainable growth going forward,” as the operator dissects a “strong start” in 2021.
Total revenue during the period is up 32 per cent year-on-year to £1.48bn from £1.12bn with online making up £1.47bn of that figure, which itself is a 41 per cent uptick from £1.04bn.
As average monthly players increased 36 per cent globally, and 132 per cent in the US, revenue across Flutter’s core gaming and sports segments surged 18 per cent and 43 per cent to £589m (2020: £498m) and £896m (2020: £627m), respectively.