Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. An array of financial reports, including Entain, Evolution and PENN Entertainment; the purchase of AskGamblers by Gaming Innovation Group and significant changes at 888 all feature in our latest look back at a selection of last week’s headline.
Itai Pazner became the latest high profile exit from 888, with the gambling business having detailed that he was “immediately leaving office” as both CEO and a Director.
This move came a little over two weeks after finance chief Yariv Dafna detailed a mutually agreed decision to step down from his role as CFO and Executive Director and will now leave at the end of the year, as opposed to the March 31 date first announced.
The group’s Non-Executive Chair, Lord Jonathan Mendelsohn, assumed the position of Executive Chair on an interim basis while the board searches for a permanent successor.
As a result of the move, a four year stint at helm of 888 has been brought to an end, with Pazner also bringing down the curtain on a 22 year association with the company having started out as Marketing Manager in January 2021.
“Playing responsibly also means stopping responsibly. If you really want to gamble, do so safely. If you really want to stop, take a gambling stop,” concluded René Jansen in his latest address.
This time the Chair of the Kansspelautoriteit was marking the Center for Responsible Gaming’s tenth anniversary; elaborating on the role that all stakeholders have to play in making a thriving a safe digital environment a possibility.
“I am not telling you anything new when I tell you that problem gambling is a major social concern,” he began.
“A concern that explicitly looks at providers and the Gaming Authority, as supervisor. The consequences of a gambling addiction can be very serious and far-reaching.
“Both financially and socially and spiritually. And not only for the person who is struggling with the addiction, but also for the family and loved ones.
“It is therefore only natural that the gambling policy is built around the principle that players must be able to play safely.”
Gaming Innovation Group wass “thrilled to add another top casino affiliate site to our portfolio” after confirming that the acquisition of AskGamblers had been finalised.
The long mooted €45m sale came after Catena Media launched a strategic business review that was tasked with streamlining the group ahead of a North American charge being initiated.
The transaction is carried out through a share purchase by the Innovation Labs subsidiary of GiG, which sees €20m paid immediately and the remaining balance due in two instalments. On January 31, 2024, a further €10m will be paid, with the remaining €15m to be issued on January 31, 2025.
Following completion, GiG will consolidate these assets, which saw Catena offload a pair of wholly owned subsidiaries in Malta and Serbia that operate the AskGamblers brand and associated online casino entities JohnSlots and NewCasinos, immediately.
PENN Entertainment voiced caution for the year ahead due to “the potential for further economic headwinds,” despite group-wide momentum, following “a solid year” for the group.
Revenue through the quarter, which saw a “strong conclusion” on the retail front and a profitable interactive segment, increased less than one percentage point year-on-year to $1.58bn (2021: $1.57bn). On a full-year basis, PENN saw revenue increase 8.41 per cent to $6.4bn (2021: $5.9n).
“I’m proud of PENN’s numerous financial and operational achievements in the past year as well as our continued progress on the ESG front,” stated Jay Snowden, Chief Executive Officer and President, despite encountering ongoing macroeconomic headwinds.
Net income through the quarter dropped to $20.8m (2021: $44.8m), with that figure almost halving across the year after closing 2022 at $221.7m (2021: $420.5m).
Q4 adjusted EBITDA ended the three months at $438.3m, up 18.8 per cent from $369m, which helped deliver a 16.2 per cent increase to $1.78bn (2021: $1.54bn).
Entain is optimistic at building on the “good momentum” enjoyed through the current year thus far, after reflecting on “another year of strong financial, operational and strategic progress”.
This came as the operator reported a fourth quarter and full-year update, with the former’s net gaming revenue up 11 per cent, as sports and gaming each rose 13 per cent.
A successful World Cup, partially offset by weather disruptions to sporting fixtures, was acknowledged as primary drivers of an online uptick. Retail rose ten per cent, driven by strong growth in gaming and betting terminals.
On the M&A front, Entain hailed a SuperSport acquisition as delivering further growth and geographic diversity through the group’s CEE division, with European expansion expected via BetCity, the purchase of which was finalised last month.
On a full-year basis, NGR is expected to rise 12 per cent, inclusive of the 50 per cent BetMGM share, with online down one percentage point due to online drawbacks.
This, Entain said, is due to strong COVID comparators and the absorption of regulatory changes, particularly in the UK and Germany. Retail is up 66 per cent, with volumes ahead of pre-COVID levels, market share gains and a broadening customer base. Active customers were seven per cent ahead
Evolution stressed an aim of continuing “to widen the gap to competition” after the group reported that it had “wrapped-up a strong financial year 2022 with a very good fourth quarter”.
The Malta-headquartered company, which welcomed the €340m Nolimit City into the fold during the past year, saw revenue through 2022’s fourth quarter increase 35.7 per cent to €407.48m (2021: €300.23m).
Breaking this figure down, Evolution’s live casino segment contributed €334.94m, up 41.11 per cent from €237.35m year-on-year, with RNG increasing 15.35 per cent to €15.35m.
For the full-year, revenue rose 36.3 per cent to €1.45n (2021: €1.06bn), with the former of those reporting divisions topping the €1bn barrier to close the 12 month period at €1.18bn (2021: €839.23m).
RNG came in at €268.42m for the year, an increase of 16.94 per cent YoY from €229.53m, however, the group noted that this still remains below expectations.
A “first major step” towards achieving “planned expansion throughout Latin America” was detailed by Golden Matrix Group after entry into the $300m purchase of Meridianbet was detailed earlier this month.
The acquisition is expected to be finalised during the second half of the current year, with the group expecting to generate “considerable revenues” via the group’s B2C online sports betting and igaming entity in the Mexican market.
Brian Goodman, Golden Matrix CEO, said that Meridianbet “will significantly advance GMGI’s global footprint with numerous B2B and B2C product offerings on most continents and, we believe, create the opportunity for us to participate in online gambling markets in the US and Canada.”
Adding: “We believe it should serve as the first major step toward GMGI’s planned expansion throughout Latin America.”
EveryMatrix reflected on a “phenomenal year on so many levels,” with an array of developments charged with leading the group “to even greater success and enabling us to continue to invest in future growth”.
A fourth quarter and full-year update showed expectations were surpassed across the casino, sports and platform reports segments, with a “record financial performance” causing optimism.
Annual gross profit increased by 26 per cent year-on-year through 2022 to €65m (2021: €51.3m), buoyed by a fourth quarter uptick of 36 per cent to €19.4m.
EverMatrix hailed “strategic diversification and a broad client” in offsetting headwinds encountered across certain jurisdictions. Excluding Germany, group gross profit for the rest of the world increased 43 per cent and 113 per cent during Q4 and FY, respectively.
The company’s casino division reported “another record quarter” as gross profit recorded a 43 per cent uptick to €8.9m. This, said EveryMatrix, is expected to continue on a strong growth trajectory in 2023 via further investments.