Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. M&A activity at Entain and Everi, an array of financial updates, wage underpayments, safer gambling strategies, and a Casino de Spa licence, all feature in our latest look back to a selection of last week’s headlines.
Flutter detailed the launch of what the gambling group dubbed a “refreshed and comprehensive safer gambling strategy” for its business across the UK and Ireland.
This, says Conor Grant, CEO of Flutter UK&I, has been done with a view to ensure that the company makes “every moment safe for our customers”.
The strategy, which the company added followed months of work alongside industry experts, customers and colleagues to identify priority issues to focus on, is based on a “shifting” approach to focus on the best methods of prevention and not purely on intervention.
The Star Entertainment Group is to pay AU$13m to current and former salaried staff members, after identifying an underpayment following a six-year retrospective wage review.
The casino and entertainment operator, which revealed that the process to fully remediate all impacted team members has commenced, said that individuals were found to not be ‘better off overall’ as the annual salary was not sufficient to compensate for the equivalent award entitlements, such as overtime and penalty rates.
Over the review period, the number of team members on annualised salaries underpinned by an award is approximately 2,200, and The Star plans to take a provision of approximately AU$13m in its 1H FY2022 accounts for the expected cost of remediation.
This provision includes estimated back payments, interest and superannuation contributions, where applicable.
Entain bolstered its Canadian ambitions after detailing the CA$300m (£174m) acquisition of Avid Gaming, including online sports betting and gaming brand Sports Interaction.
The gambling group brokered the transaction with Middlebrook Investments, the owner of Avid Gaming, who exclusively licenses the Sports Interaction trademark.
The firm provides proprietary online betting and gaming products and services to the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, which operates under its wholly owned Mohawk Online socioeconomic initiative which invests revenue back into the community. Mohawk Online, which is wholly-owned by the MCK, operates Sports Interaction in Canada.
Everi expanded its fintech reach into the Australian gaming market for cash handling and payment solutions, as well as “other gaming markets we do not currently serve,” via the purchase of ecash.
The Australia-based firm develops and provides cash handling and financial payment solutions for the gaming industry within its home market, in addition to Asia, Europe and the US.
Everi asserted that ecash’s products and technologies “represent a strategic extension” of its current financial technology solutions within the fintech segment, with the purchase to provide an array of new customer locations.
The transaction is for guaranteed payments totaling AU$33m, consisting of an initial payment at the time of closing of AU$20m (approximately US$14m), with the remaining payments to be made on each of the first and second anniversaries in 2023 and 2024.
Subject to achieving certain growth targets, there will be an additional contingent payment of up to AU$10m, which could increase the total consideration up to AU$43m.
Kindred Group asserted that it remains “dedicated and focused on our journey towards zero,” despite its share from harmful gambling increasing to four per cent during 2021’s fourth quarter.
In February last year, the gambling group started to communicate its commitment to contribute to a sustainable industry across all markets, with its share of gross winnings revenue from high-risk players coming in at 3.9 per cent, 4.3 per cent, and 3.3 per cent in Q1, Q2 and Q3, respectively.
This quarter-on-quarter increase, said Kindred, is “based on different factors,” such as, an historic rise in high-risk gambling during the time frame, a holiday season which it notes “can be a sensitive time for some people,” as well as a cessation of all service in the Dutch market.
Belgium’s Casino de Spa is the latest entity to be issued with a licence by the Dutch Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit, becoming the 12th licensed incumbent of the country’s online gambling ecosystem.
The licence, which permits the offer of games of chance via the internet, officially came into effect from February 2, 2022, and will run for a period of five years before being scheduled to expire on February 1, 2027.
It is anticipated that Casino de Spa, which was founded in 1763 and has been rebuilt several times following fires, will enter the country via its 777.be online casino and sports betting portal.
The reopening of land-based gaming establishments across Sweden in July 2021 was cited as a key contributing factor for Svenska Spel recording “continued growth and good profitability”.
This came as the company recorded net gaming revenue of SEK 2.23bn for the final quarter of 2021, a five per cent uptick from 2020’s SEK 2.12bn. However, it is added that the renewed effects of the pandemic in December 2021 had a negative effect.
The group’s land-based Casino Cosmopol businesses in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, re-opened on July 7, following 465 days of mandated closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MGM Resorts lauded the achievement of several “strategic milestones” through 2021, as the casino and entertainment operator eyes further sports betting and igaming growth, as well as geographical expansion, moving forward.
The company, which anticipates closing its $1.075bn divestment of Las Vegas’ Mirage to Hard Rock during the second half of the year, is expecting key land-based expansion to occur within Japan in addition to closer to home in New York.
In the former, the group, said Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and president of MGM, is looking to “diversify geographically into what we believe will be one of the world’s largest gaming markets in the world”.
Working alongside its Orix partner within the city of Osaka, MGM intends to submit an area development plan to the central government by April as it remains “hopeful and confident in being awarded a license later this year to build an integrated resort in Japan”.
Stateside, the group stressed encouragement at “the continued progress being made in the commercial gaming license opportunity in New York,” with MGM believing that it is “extremely well positioned” due to existing Empire City operations.
bet365 led GambleAware’s donations list through a provision of £4.2m as the gambling charity revealed a list of its Q3 donations and pledges.
Throughout the period, a total of £16m was donated to the organisation by UK betting operators, which are requested to contribute 0.1 per cent of their gross gaming yield to the group.
Following bet365’s contribution, which mirrored its H1 figures, was Entain at £4m and William Hill at £1m, falling in line with a pledge made by operators in the UK to increase the amount of their GGY given to GambleAware to one per cent.
In the latest update, other significant contributors included Petfre (Gibraltar) Limited (£93,714), Unibet UK (£92,000), TSG Interactive Services (£80,000), Betway (£60,200), Playtech (£51,768), Videoslots (£50,000), White Hat Gaming (£47,230), Broadway Gaming (£30,000), Star Racing (£26,069.00), 32Red (£28,000) and Gamesys (£22,998).