Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In our latest headline recap we revisit a potential Flutter US listing, Playtech purchase, MGM offload, SkyCity civil proceedings, a record US gaming performance and fresh igaming efforts in New York
Blue Star Planet, trading as 10bet, is to pay a £620,000 penalty package after a UK Gambling Commission investigation discovered an array of failings.
These were found in the group’s processes that were aimed at preventing money laundering and protecting vulnerable people following a compliance assessment.
Following the examination and subsequent regulatory review, failings in the firm’s AML policies procedures and controls and weaknesses in reporting arrangements were uncovered.
Furthermore, deficiencies in responsible gambling policies, procedures, controls and practices, including flaws in implementation, are also reported.
The regulator noted that between November 2019 and June 2021, Blue Star Planet failed to comply with an array of clauses in the licence conditions and codes of practice, as well as the social responsibility code provision.
Fresh efforts to legalise igaming in New York were made once again by Senator Joseph Addabbo, who earlier this month expressed much disappointment that no provision for such an introduction was included in the New York state executive budget for FY24.
After expressing concern that players are either fleeing to the black market or over state lines to play online casino games, Addabbo has introduced S4856 in a bid to finally get the ball rolling towards legalisation for the activity.
“New York State would receive approximately $475m annually in state tax revenue based upon conservative market estimates,” the bill said of the fiscal implications for state and local governments.
“In addition, in the first year of operation, New York would receive approximately $150m in one time licence fees from casinos, operators and independent contractors seeking to conduct online interactive casino gaming.”
Flutter Entertainment commenced a shareholder consultation that could deliver a US listing as the group looks to gain further ground in the North American market.
The FTSE-100 listed company noted that the consultation will start immediately, and, in the event of “broad shareholder support for an additional US listing”, would take precedence over any plans to list a small shareholding in FanDuel.
This option comes after FanDuel established itself as Flutter’s largest revenue-generating unit, which in November brought an upgraded year-end forecast to stand between $3-to-$3.2bn.
FanDuel growth is expected to outpace all Flutter brands, with leadership anticipating the entity becoming the dominant US leader in a marketplace projected to be worth over $40bn by 2030.
US commercial gaming revenue toppled the $60bn barrier for the first time, smashing a previous record of $53bn that was set one year earlier, reported the American Gaming Association.
According to the group’s commercial gaming revenue tracker, the $60.4bn figure was aided by an “all-time high” quarterly revenue of almost $15.9bn that was gained through the year’s final quarter.
Sports betting and igaming each marked single quarter highs, with traditional gaming growing 1.7 per cent year-on-year.
Retail gaming comprised 80.5 per cent of the overall figure, with online gaming soaring to a best performance by accounting for the remaining 19.5 per cent.
Playtech made a C$12.25m strategic investment into Ontario-based online casino and sportsbook operator NorthStar Gaming, as well as extending a commercial arrangement alongside the group.
This, said the latter, completed the concurrent financing in connection with the company’s reverse take over of Baden Resources, which is said to have resulted in aggregate gross proceeds of C$22.33m. Once finalised, NorthStar will begin trading on the TSX Venture Exchange.
The funding was made by way of a convertible debenture, which will convert into shares and warrants upon completion of this aforementioned RTO.
As a result, Playtech will own approximately 16 per cent of the issued and outstanding common shares of the TSXV-listed entity, and will also hold warrants that offer the right to further increase its stake to beyond 20 per cent.
Gaming Innovation Group reiterated confidence at achieving an array of long-term objectives, with the group also elaborating on the potential of its recently acquired AskGamblers.
This €45m sale saw Catena Media offload a pair of wholly owned subsidiaries in Malta and Serbia that operate the AskGamblers brand and associated online casino entities JohnSlots and NewCasinos.
It is noted that the purchase is in line with a strategy “to create sustainable long-term growth through diversification,” with the assets hailed as possessing a strong presence in current non-core jurisdictions for GiG.
In the aftermath of the company initiating a strategic review that could split the group’s media services and platform and sportsbook divisions, GiG has disclosed “all-time high revenues in Q4” of €26m, an increase of 44 per cent year-on-year from €18.1m.
SkyCity Entertainment warned that a resolution to civil proceedings filed by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre could take one to two years to reach a resolution.
The Auckland-based gaming and entertainment operator noted that the financial watchdog’s allegations, which claim serious and systemic non‑compliance with Australian Anti‑Money Laundering and Counter‑Terrorism Financing Act 2006, “are extensive”.
Two alleged specific breaches of the act cited by AUSTRAC include the SkyCity Adelaide contravened section 81 of the Act, which relates to the requirement to adopt and maintain an AML/CTF program, on countless occasions on and from December 7, 2016.
LeoVegas’ struggles through the past year’s third quarter continued through the remainder of the year, with a slight revenue uptick bucking the trend of a number of hits being taken.
In the first quarter since officially joining the MGM Resorts network, revenue increased one percentage point through the past year’s fourth quarter, with the figure reaching €99.5m (2021: €98.2m).
Across the Nordics, LeoVegas posted a nine per cent uptick year-on-year, with Sweden cited as posting “another good quarter” that was “driven by new records” for the Expekt brand.
In the rest of Europe division, the company documented a four per cent increase, with “healthy growth” across the UK and Spain offsetting negative impacts brought by the German market.
The final geographic reporting segment, that of the rest of the world, dropped 15 per cent, with growth said to have been “adversely impacted in the short term by the company closing a couple of smaller markets in the region earlier in the year”.
MGM Resorts International finalised the sale of Mississippi’s Gold Strike Tunica to CNE Gaming, a subsidiary of Cherokee Nation Businesses, for $450m in cash.
At the close of the transaction, which would see the operator net approximately $350m in proceeds after taxes and fees, MGM will see a master lease with Vici Properties be reduced by approximately $40m.
For the year ending December 31, 2022, Gold Strike reported net income of $47m and adjusted property EBITDAR of $98m.