Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Financial updates from the likes of BetMGM, Las Vegas Sands and Rank Group, GambleAware donations, another UK Gambling Commission penalty and a pair of regulatory updates all feature in our latest recap of last week’s headlines.
Intouch Games was issued with a third financial penalty in four years by the UK Gambling Commission, which takes the total paid by the group to in excess of £10m.
This latest penalty package, received for social responsibility and money laundering failings, will see the gambling business pay £6.1m, taking its total to £11.7m.
This followed a £2.2m settlement being paid in 2019 for regulatory failures, as well as a £3.4m action and warning in 2021 after a UKGC assessment revealed social responsibility, money laundering and marketing failures.
The regulator noted that Intouch Games, which operates 11 websites including Bonus Boss, Cashmo, Dr Slot, Jammy Monkey and Slot Factory, failed a compliance assessment in March 2022.
BetMGM exceeded commercial targets for 2022, according to a joint-statement by venture partners Entain and MGM Resorts, as the US brand achieved full year revenues of $1.44bn.
The headline figure is above guidance issued 12 months ago, in which the JV partners set a target of $1.3bn, with the firm’s revenue growth objectives more than on track.
However, this is not to say it has been entirely smooth sailing during the course of 2022. The JV recorded an EBITDA loss of around $440m, in contrast to its goal set last year of achieving an EBITDA positive month by 2023, having been conducting business since 2018.
Despite setbacks, Entain asserted FY22 EBITDA falls in line with established guidance and that the entities digital operations have been taking strides, recording same-state revenue growth of 51 per cent.
Looking ahead, the group expects net revenue of between $1.8bn and $2bn by the end of 2023, as leadership believes that BetMGM can achieve its EBITDA positive target by the end of H1 trading.
A series of struggles through the six months ending December 31, 2022, were reported by Rank Group, with a “severe impact” on UK gaming venues seeing statutory group operating loss swing to £101m from a profit of £102.4m one year earlier.
On a statutory basis, revenue increased two percentage points to £338.9m (2021: £333.7m), with the same uplift felt on like-for-like reporting to close at £337.4m (2021: 3330.5m). Net debt has increased 11 per cent to £153.8m (2021: £142.7m).
Underlying LFL operating profit closed the sixth months at £4.2m (2021: £24.9m), with the company pointing to a £15m impact in incremental energy costs and wage inflation.
John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of The Rank, cited a slower than anticipated recovery in hampering the group’s Grosvenor and Mecca estates following the pandemic, with a slew of headwinds also highlighted.
These included an increase in energy costs, high wage inflation, slow return of overseas visitors to London and increasing pressure on consumer’s income, as well as a tightening of the regulatory environment.
René Jansen, Chair of the Kansspelautoriteit, vowed to step up enforcement action in the land-based domain through the current year in a bid to combat illegal activities.
In what was dubbed as a new year’s resolution in a latest regulatory blog entry, which featured a comparison to that much heard exercising pledge at the turn of another 12 months, the Dutch gambling authority has stressed that “we will put this into practice”.
Despite stressing that enforcement through the past year “took place mainly in the online domain,” with 2023 already witnessing a fine of €900,000 be imposed on Shark77 for unregulated activity, the Ksa is committing to inspectors travelling the country more often through 2023.
In collaboration with key partners across the country, the regulator is to up its search of physically offered illegal games of chance, which could range from operating slot machines, poker, bingo or lotteries without a licence to the gambling kiosks used for illegal sports betting.
Illicit online gambling sites are “having a field day” due to constant delays to the gambling white paper, according to Craig Whittaker, MP for Calder Valley.
In a blog post on Conservative Home, Whittaker expressed that the white paper “cannot come soon enough”, with the potential launch a mere few weeks away, something that’s been stated more than once since 2019.
It was also noted that any further delays and the uncertainty that brings to the sector, will only serve to threaten investment, jobs and player safety, while bolstering a growing black market in gambling.
Las Vegas Sands once again predicted future gains, driven by additional investments in Macau and Singapore as well as new market opportunities, despite encountering a familiar number of headwinds.
Offering an update for 2022’s fourth quarter and full-year, travel restrictions and a maintained drop of visitation and tourist numbers have continued to have a detrimental impact on the group.
Despite this, Robert Goldstein, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, confidently proclaimed that “we remain confident in a robust recovery in travel and tourism spending across our markets and deeply enthusiastic about the opportunity to welcome more guests back to our properties throughout 2023 and in the years ahead.”
Online casino and ilottery in Indiana have taken one step closer to becoming a reality after Representative Ethan Manning filed legislation in the Indiana House of Representatives.
Following weeks of preamble and speculation, the filing of the online legislation – House Bill 1536 – would allow for both online casinos and poker sites as well as regulating online lottery under the Hoosier Lottery.
Under the terms of the bill, groups that are eligible in brick-and-mortar gambling and sports betting throughout the state will also be granted an online casino and poker licence. This licence will come with an upfront fee, said to be $500,000 with a $50,000 annual renewal rate.
The first key metric report on Swedish problem gambling rates was published by Kindred Group, ATG and Svenska Spel.
The trio’s maiden entry detailed that Kindred had contacted 0.5 per cent of customers who it suspected were displaying problematic behaviours.
Alongside this, Svenska Spel reported contact with 4.2 per cent of problematic customers across its sports and casino online business. In addition, ATG reported a 1.4 per cent contact with customers showing signs of “risky behaviour”.
A total of £13,209,805 in voluntary donations was received by GambleAware in Q3 of the 2022/23 financial year, with two familiar faces leading the table in terms of total contributions.
The charity explained that donations from the UK’s two largest operators, Entain and bet365, accounted for 90.4 per cent of the total £13m figure, with the remaining 9.6 per cent coming from a range of small to large operators.
Entain was once again the table leader for donations, somewhat unsurprising given its prominent market share in the UK retail and online sectors, with its Ladbrokes Coral holdings contributing £7m.
Donations from bet365’s three operating entities – Hillside (UK Sports), Hillside (UK Gaming) and Hillside (Technology) – came in at £2.3m, £1.6m and £907,000, for a total of £4.9m.