Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. A long mooted Australian casino acquisition, further igaming addition for the Evolution Group, closure of BetBull and Dutch warnings all feature in our latest recap.
Evolution added yet another string to its igaming bow after entering into an agreement to acquire Nolimit City for an upfront consideration of €200m.
The transaction also contains a number of earn-outs that could amount to €140m, which could nudge the total consideration towards €340m, payable in cash.
The company notes that this falls in line with a “strategy of being the world’s number one provider of online casino games,” and follows past purchases made during recent years of NetEnt, Red Tiger and Big Time Gaming. The company’s wider portfolio also boasts Evolution, Ezugi, and DigiWheel.
Nolimit City revenue is expected to amount to €30m with an EBITDA of €23m for the calendar year 2022. The transaction is expected to contribute positively to 2022 EPS for the Evolution Group.
BetBull, which was founded in 2015 by Sadok Kohen and received the backing of former CEOs of 888 and Bwin, as well as several other investors, detailed a cessation of its operations
The online sports betting and igaming operator advised that it will “soon cease all gambling activity” having made the “difficult decision” to close to close operations on July 3, 2022.
Furthermore, it was disclosed that the last day to register and deposit at the site had already passed, having been on June 20, 2022, with the only activity set to be available to users from June 24 until the aforementioned date in July to be concerning withdrawals.
The UK Gambling Commission elaborated a raft of fresh rules that are set to be introduced later in the year as part of an “ongoing drive to make gambling in Britain safer”.
In April the regulator touched upon new consumer protection guidance, which it is noted that gambling businesses are required to take account of, that will be officially introduced on September 12.
This includes further information for remote gambling businesses on identifying vulnerable customers; indicators of harm they must monitor for, including what is considered a strong indicator of harm; when to use automated systems and processes; and how to evaluate the impact of customer interactions.
It is noted that existing guidance, and additional practices outlined throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, will still apply and be available for operators to refer to until that aforementioned date.
Blackstone finalised its “largest transaction to date for the firm in Asia Pacific” after completing the long protracted A$8.9bn (US$6.3bn) Crown Resorts takeover.
The global investment business initially made its move in November 2021 following interest being expressed by a number of parties, and concluded the acquisition days Crown gained offered conditional approval by the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to commence gaming operations at its the A$2.2bn (US$1.7bn) Crown Sydney Hotel Resort.
The transaction comprises three resort and casino properties in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, regarding which Blackstone affirmed that it will work with all stakeholders to “transform … into world-class entertainment destinations and continue Crown’s transformation” on compliance, governance, and integrity.
Government intervention “is the obvious choice” warned René Jansen, chair of the board of directors at the Kansspelautoriteit, should licensed gaming incumbents “not quickly take their responsibilities seriously” when it comes to player care.
Speaking at the annual Gaming in Holland conference that was being held in Utrecht on June 20-21, Jansen urged firms to not dismiss their responsibilities as an administrative obligation.
During a keynote address it was pointed out that the Dutch legislator chose to give players and providers their own responsibility. For example, players can set their own playing limits, following which online providers should create a risk profile of their customers.
They must then intervene in good time if there are signs of risky behaviour, indications of which could include playing for a long time or making high bets.
Rank lowered its expected underlying operating profit expectations for the year ending June 30, 2022, as retail pressures continue to take hold.
After detailing a softer performance across UK venues during March and beyond during its third quarter update earlier in the year, the company noted that this has continued with visit numbers down across its Grosvenor Casinos estate.
As a result of the recent performance in these venues as well as continued inflationary cost pressures, and subject to normal casino win margins between now and the year end, the firm anticipates like-for-like underlying operating profit to be approximately £40m for the year ending, contrasted to the previously guided range of £47m-£55m.
SIG Sports Investment will become the largest shareholder of PointsBet with a 12.8 per cent stake after a “significant equity investment” of A$94.16m (£53.59m) was made into the digital sports betting and igaming group.
In accordance with the terms of a subscription agreement, which does not prevent SIG from acquiring additional interests, PointsBet will issue 38,750,000 shares to the group at a price of A$2.43 each, which will raise the aforementioned figure that represents a 15 per cent premium compared to the five-day volume weighted average price to June 17, 2022.
There will be no change to the company’s board as a result of the equity placement, with it added that notifications will be provided to gaming regulators as required.
Hard Rock Internationally has officially taken over the development of an integrated resort and casino development on Greece’s Athens Riviera, after Connecticut-based Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment withdrew its plans in November 2021.
The latter won the right to operate a casino resort at Greece’s €8bn The Ellinikon in 2019, beating off competition from Hard Rock, which is being developed on the site of the airport of the same name that has sat empty for over 20 years after being replaced by a new central entity.
A cessation of services in the Dutch online market, as well as the impact of additional safety measures, is expected to be offset by growth across a selection of European markets for 888 during the first half of the year.
Delivering a brief trading update and outlook for the six months ending June 30, 2022, the gambling group also informed that it expects to close its acquisition of the non-US business of William Hill on July 1, 2022, after shareholders last month gave the transaction the green-light.
In September 2021, 888 entered into a £2.2bn deal with Caesars to buy the non-US business of William Hill, however, a revised value of between £1.95bn and £2.05bn, a potential £250m drop, was agreed in April due to tough economic conditions, as well as ongoing regulatory and compliance developments.
888 anticipates reporting revenue for the aforementioned half-year time frame of between £330m-£335m, which, at the top end of the estimate, would represent a 22.39 per cent decrease from 2021’s £431.7m.