Seasonality was highlighted as a “recurring challenge” by Catena Media as its 2021 interim results showed a one per cent dip in casino revenue.

Catena reported €21.1m (2020: €21.2m) in year-on-year revenues along with a drop of four per cent in adjusted EBITDA to €12.3m (2020: €13.9m).

The company also made reference to the relaxation of COVID restrictions which it stated has resulted in fewer sessions as players shifted offline, causing the slight dip in year-on-year revenue and earnings. 

Updating investors, Catena Media, CEO, Michael Daly, noted: “I am exceptionally pleased with the group’s financial results for the second quarter, in which we surpassed last year’s revenue by nine per cent and lifted adjusted EBITDA by one per cent. 

“This outcome represents a notable achievement considering the one-off spike in casino gaming seen in the second quarter of 2020, when COVID-related lockdowns sparked an unprecedented surge in consumer interest and player activity. 

“The results demonstrate the robustness of our business model as they came in the face of low seasonal sports activity in the US, the re-opening this year of land-based entertainment venues in North America and other locations, and a sharp increase in product investment in Q2 compared to the same period last year. 

“These factors together explain the expected drop in quarter-on-quarter revenue and EBITDA. “

But despite the drop in overall casino revenues, Catena reported that casino revenue in the North American market showed a “solid year-on-year growth”, hailing the notable outcome and record-setting levels set in online gaming during last year’s lockdown. 

Catena reported YTD revenues of €71m – up 31 per cent on equivalent 2020 results of €54.5m.

YTD metrics saw it sustain its “forward momentum” in the growth markets of Japan and North America, as US trading registered a revenue growth of 121 per cent – accounting for 49 per cent of YTD group revenues. Moreover, player activity in recently opened states – including Michigan and Virginia – delivered a “major boost”.

On the company’s North American performance, Daly explained: “Among the highlights was North America, where Q2 traditionally brings a dip in sports betting coinciding with the end of the major sports seasons. 

“This year we offset this seasonal lull with strong growth in the casino segment. Michigan state, which opened for online gaming in January, exceeded our expectations and highlighted the business value we can create from establishing strong footholds in the casino segment as well as in sports.”

The report also revealed that “continued to perform strongly” and “advance its market position” despite a marginally slower year-on-year revenue, again attributed to seasonal impacts along with a drop in cryptocurrency-related activity. 

“In April, notched a new monthly revenue high, an impressive showing given the huge spike in online casino demand seen at the same time last year due to the COVID-19 lockdown,” Daly commented. 

“However, due to both seasonality and changing crypto values impacting operators, it did not reach any further highs during the quarter. Global brands are showing strong growth opportunities in Japan, which remains a powerhouse and recorded double-digit revenue growth in Q2.”

Daly added that brand transformation initiatives “remained on track” in its European casino business, while its global brands “continued to cement” its international footprint and “break new ground”.