Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. A range of financial updates across an array of industry incumbents were a key feature of this past week, with an EBET restructure and largest UKGC enforcement action also prominent headlines.
The Entain Group is to pay a £17m regulatory settlement, the largest UK Gambling Commission enforcement outcome to date, after an investigation discovered a range of social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures across its online and land-based businesses.
Furthermore, additional licence conditions will also be added in a bid to ensure an improvement plan is overseen, with a third-party audit review regarding compliance with the licence conditions and codes of practice to take place within 12 months.
A total of £14m is due to digital failings at LC International, which runs 13 websites including Ladbrokes, Coral and Foxy Bingo, with a divestment of £544,048.03 made as well as a payment of 13,455,952 in lieu of a financial penalty
The remaining figure was issued to the Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming operation that is responsible for 2,746 gambling premises across Britain, with LBG to voluntarily divest itself of £212,849.86 and pay £2,787,150.14 in lieu of a financial penalty.
Itai Pazner, Chief Executive Officer of 888, elaborated on the “huge progress” being evidenced across the African continent, after the company outlined an aim of sticking to a three pillar framework to deliver “long-term sustainable growth”.
This came after what was lauded as an “incredible period for the business” that was buoyed by the closure of the group’s William Hill transaction in addition to an array of new market entities.
This has been “the most significant transformation in the 21 years that I have been in 888,” noted Pazner, with Ontario, Virginia, and four African regulated markets pinpointed as key developments.
As a result launches will be made across Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique under the 888bet brand, which came to fruition following the 888Africa joint venture being established in March.
Rank revised its ambitions of becoming a £1bn international gaming business by next year, a goal it now states is “unachievable” after encountering a “challenging year” for UK businesses.
The company updated that following the publication of the UK’s much anticipated white paper, a “better understanding of our future trajectory” will be known and medium to long-term aims will be restated.
Despite tracking revenue increases across all core divisions to record a group-wide 98 per cent uptick to £644m (2021: £325.3m) for the year ending June 30, 2022, it is noted that the time frame was distorted by significant periods of closure, curfews and regional restrictions.
In comparison to the last 12 month period that was unaffected by such measures, that being the year ending December 31, 2019, revenue was down ten per cent.
The firm also cited concerns at inflationary pressures impacting its retail venues, with energy prices through FY 2023 expected to come in at £46m. With exposure to market volatility beyond September, Rank is to implement a number of mitigation initiatives, such as energy efficiency programmes.
EBET detailed a 54 per cent reduction in its total number of employees and contractors as part of a “corporate restructuring and profitability plan” in a bid to enhance igaming and esports profitability.
Among the other “significant measures” undertaken in bid to become EBITDA positive through the current month include reducing the funding of non-revenue making esports products, and realigning resources to enhance its igaming focus.
Alongside these moves, which also include an overall reduction in operating costs, include hopes of fresh market entries, brand overhaul and new introduction.
In addition to expanding into Brazil, EBET is expecting to gain Dutch and Ontario licences between October and December, and undertake a “major upgrade” for the Karamba online casino and sports betting brand. An affiliate program, titled affiliates.com, will also be introduced.
Super Group is working on “a number of geographic opportunities” to deliver future growth, with the company on-track to finalise its Digital Gaming Corporation purchase by the end of the year.
The comments came in a second quarter earnings call, which saw Neal Menashe, Super Group Chief Executive Officer, assert that the firm is “uniquely positioned to take full advantage” of a global online betting and gaming market that it expects to exceed $140bn by 2025.
“One, I believe that our year-on-year results do not properly reflect our treatment over the last 12 months,” he said of the group’s performance.
“Our continued progress across the globe is better reflected by growing global tabs on loan growth in active customer numbers.
“Two, ongoing regulatory change post-COVID normalisation will ultimately benefit Super Group because we have an efficient cost structure and only – over 20 years track record of trading profitably through thick and thin. Importantly, our control over marketing, our products, and our operating costs gives us a number of levers to optimise them.”
New Jersey’s online gambling space tracked a 6.7 per cent overall growth rate through July to close with revenue of $480.69m (2021: $540.55m), despite a further 18.1 per cent fall being evidenced across the Garden State’s sports betting ecosystem.
This sees the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement report that total revenue across casinos, racetracks, and their partners through the year-to-date close at $2.91bn, up 13.7 per cent from $2.56n.
The region’s online casinos and poker rooms climbed 15.2 per cent from $118.68m to $136.7m year-on-year, with the Borgata leading the way once more courtesy of a 17.9 per cent increase to $42.98m (2021: $36.46m).
Melco Resorts & Entertainment voiced concern at continued uncertainty through the remainder of the year, after a second quarter that was “heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic” brought a series of declines.
With the imposition of restrictions across mainland China and Macau bringing much disruption, it is expected that precariousness surrounding future outbreaks and operational measures will continue to have a material effect on operations, finances and future prospects into Q3.
However, in contrast to the challenges faced in Macau, the operator’s businesses in the Philippines and Cyprus are reported as improving “with volumes gradually recovering toward pre-COVID levels”.
Revenue through the second quarter dropped 48 per cent year-on-year to US$296.1m (2021: 566.4m), which is attributed to heightened Asian border restrictions that led to softer performance in the rolling chip and mass market table games segments.