Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. As we revisit the past week once more, we look back on news of a significant Atlantic City investment from Hard Rock International, the EGBA criticising proposals in Germany, and a slew of financial updates, including the likes of LeoVegas who also spoke of struggles in the German market.
The European Gaming and Betting Association urged members of the German parliament to reconsider the proposed gambling tax measure, as well as issuing warnings of a black market uptick and land-based advantage.
The trade association says that a proposal by Germany’s Bundesrat to tax online poker and slots stakes at punitive rates would lead to more players using unlicensed websites.
It adds that the move would also offer a “substantial and unfair” tax advantage to land-based operators, which it adds could reach as high as €290m each year in Bavaria alone.
It warned that the proposal by the German Bundesrat to introduce a 5.3 per cent tax on online poker and slots stakes would undermine the key objective of the country’s new online gambling regulations, and would be in breach of EU state aid rules.
Continuing on the same theme, LeoVegas once again elaborated on continued struggles in the German market, building on concerns detailed earlier in the year upon publication of the group’s Q4 and FY 2020 report.
Making fresh comments in the group’s latest quarterly update, the online gambling operator says that during the year’s first quarter “we saw the full effect of the changes taking place” in the region, with new restrictions related to the upcoming regulation affecting performance.
However, elsewhere in Europe, the group also highlights a Swedish market where it states “the strength of the LeoVegas brand and our product breadth is appreciated by our customers”.
The Nordic region set a record during the quarter, with March representing growth on a yearly basis for the first time since the temporary COVID-19 restrictions were implemented in July 2020.
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority unveiled a definitive agreement to acquire Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort for $650m.
The transaction, which would see a subsidiary of SMGHA purchase the venue from Red Rock Resorts and its Station Casinos subsidiary, is expected to close later in the year, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
“Today represents an important step for the Tribe and its long-term economic diversification strategy,” said Ken Ramirez San Manuel chairperson. “On behalf of the Tribe, we are thankful for the opportunity to join a community that we have come to know and appreciate.”
The Tribe says that it has long “demonstrated an interest in and supported the Las Vegas community,” through contributions to non-profits and institutions.
Caesars Entertainment reported a significant net revenue spike during the year’s first quarter to $1.69bn (2020: $473m), but net loss for the period has widened to $423m (2020: $173m).
However, this revenue performance represented a seven per cent decline from the $1.82bn recorded by the legacy Caesars business prior to its merger agreement with Eldorado Resorts, which was finalised in July 2020.
Net loss from continued operations finished up at $431m after a $79m benefit for income taxes, with $7m income from discontinued operations and $1m attributable to non-controlled assets reducing that to $423m.
Revenue from the group’s Las Vegas properties dropped 39.5 per cent to $497m (2020: $822m), with regional operations up 26.7 per cent to $1.1bn (2020: $874m).
The group’s managed, international, and Caesars interactive entertainment segment dropped 21.3 per cent to $90m (2020: $127m), with corporate and other at $4m (2020: $5m).
Aspire Global praised “solid growth” in a period that is “historically the weakest of the year,” as Q1 revenue increased 42.6 per cent to €48.1m (2020: €33.7m) driven by a “particularly strong” casino and sports showing in the UK and Ireland.
Total revenue growth, says the company, is a reflection of continued good business momentum related to the attractiveness of the broad igaming offering, combined with expansion into markets outside of Europe, and strong development across all segments.
On a geographical basis, the Nordics fell 20 per cent to €3.6m (2020: €4.5m), with the UK and Ireland up 142 per cent from €5.9m to €14.3m due to “good development in all segments”.
Aspire’s ‘rest of Europe’ segment increased 13 per cent to €24.5m (2020: €21.7m), and revenue from the rest of the world increased 256 per cent to €5.7m (2020: €1.6m) reflecting the group’s geographic expansion plans and the consolidation of BtoBet.
Hard Rock International announced that its Atlantic City resort will gain a minimum of $20m in capital improvements including additional slots and table games, suite renovations, the opening of a new Starbucks, a new dining outlet and a refresh of beachfront amenities.
The former see additional gaming units be created in the Asian and High Limit areas, which is being done as a positive response to the demand generated from seven consecutive months of gaming revenue growth.
The company adds that the revamp will also see the main casino floor and cage areas be expanded with added table games and slot machines.
Penn National Gaming reaffirmed a focus on garnering top-three gaming revenue market share for its Barstool Sportsbook, as well as continuing to drive profitable online gaming revenue.
The comments come as the operator publishes its latest financial update, with PNG saying that it “kicked off the year with record results in Q1 2021 from our land-based business”.
Revenue for the reporting period increased 14.2 per cent from $1.11bn to $1.27bn year-on-year, but dropped six per cent when contrasted to the $1.28m gained during the same timeframe two years ago.
Net income reached $90.9m, up from 2019’s $41m and a loss of $608.6m one year ago, with adjusted EBITDA of $336.6m representing increases of 117.4 per cent and 9.7 per cent from $154.8m and $306.7m from 2020 and 2019, respectively.
The results were driven by contributions from the online Barstool Sportsbook and igaming platforms, as well as land-based gaming properties, despite COVID-19 related closures in Pennsylvania and Illinois for parts of January, and Zia Park in New Mexico not reopening until early March.
Furthermore, when adjusting for the days the group’s casinos were mandated to close and excluding the contribution from Penn Interactive, revenues declined nine per cent and adjusted EBITDAR increased 12 per cent.