Every week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most fascinating stories. Our latest headline reflection features Evolution’s Q4 2023 financial results, gambling performance in the UK and a GambleAware study on the LGBTQ+ community.
Evolution published strong figures for the final quarter of 2023, witnessing a 16.6 per cent increase YoY in operating revenues, coming in at €475.3m ((Q4 2022: €407.5m).
However, despite the positive performance overall, only live casino operations saw improvements in comparison to the previous year as RNG revenue dropped by 3.7 per cent YoY to €69.8m (Q4 2022: €72.5m).
Despite RNG revenue falling, CEO Martin Carlesund noted that he is “happy” with the developments made and that the aim is for continued “step-by-step improvements” in the next year.
Evolution’s revenue from live casino rose by 21.1 per cent YoY to €405.6m (Q4 2022: €334.9m),
EBITDA rose by 20.5 per cent to €337m (Q4 2022: €279.5m), corresponding to a margin of 70.9 per cent (Q4 2022: 68.6 per cent). Profit for the period amounted to €282.9m (Q4 2022: €223.5m), while earnings per share amounted to €1.32 (Q4 2022: €1.05).
For the full year, the supplier reported operating revenues of €1.8bn, up 23.5 per cent (2022: €1.5bn). EBITDA rose by 25.7 per cent to €1.3bn (2022: €1bn), corresponding to a margin of 70.5 per cent (2022: 69.2 per cent).
Profit came in at €1.1bn (2022: €843.4m), earnings per share amounted to €5.01 (2022: €3.95) and the board is proposing a dividend of €2.65 per share (2022: €2).
Carlesund added: “We want to do more – we want to create games that take entertainment to the next level. We want to invent, we want to develop, we want to break new boundaries. 2024-2025 we will do more for our product, more for our end users, than ever.
“We are going to deliver more exciting games, we will explore new types of games that we do not have today and we will invest in unique games for specific markets. We will yet again increase the gap to the competition. I very much look forward to what I call “the Product Leap” years 2024-2025.”
Following a challenging period, Rank Group has revealed positive net gaming revenue for the six-month period ending on December 31, 2023.
The firm’s NGR increased by nine per cent in total as it navigated UK challenges which hindered the growth of land-based operations across H2 2023. .
Nonetheless, utilising operating efficiencies, Rank elevated operating profit by £2.7m to £21.7m in H1, with £17.5m being declared in the second half of the year.
Countering soft trading for its UK venues, statutory operating profit stood at £16.2m, reversing losses of £103m posted in H1 2022/23.
The group underlined that it is prepared for something of a transitional period within the UK market, as regulatory changes loom on the horizon in what is expected to be a challenging time for many UK operators.
John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Rank Group, said: “After what has been a very challenging few years for Rank due to a wide range of external macro factors, we are starting to build revenues and, with our strong operational leverage, we are improving our profitability, with the group delivering revenue and operating profit growth across all businesses.
“We are well positioned to optimise the opportunities afforded by the UK Government’s planned land-based regulatory reforms which will hopefully be implemented through the passing of secondary legislation in the summer of 2024. These reforms cannot come soon enough in enabling us to modernise our proposition to better meet our customers’ expectations.”
Tropicana Las Vegas has announced that it is expecting to close its doors on April 2 ahead of the planned demolition of the resort.
According to Las Vegas Locally on X, team members of Tropicana Las Vegas were told by Vice President and General Manager Arik Knowles in a memo that Bally’s is moving forward with the next steps to replace the resort with a new $1.5bn venue for the MLB’s Oakland Athletics.
Knowles commented: “Our expected closing date is April 2, 2024. In the interim, we will begin to close out all hotel bookings and relocate all reservations booked for April and beyond.
“The company will then begin its preparations to demolish the Tropicana Las Vegas and finalise its master plan, after which approximately nine acres will be granted to the Athletics to develop their stadium.”
Expected to open in 2028, the 30,000-seat ballpark will feature a partially retractable roof and an outfield playing surface that opens to the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard for a view of the Strip.
The A’s will continue playing home games in Oakland until the end of the 2024 season when their lease at their current home, the Oakland Coliseum, expires. The team will then play at a temporary home between 2025 and 2027 before moving to their new stadium in Vegas in 2028.
GambleAware has published a new scoping study which has revealed that some members of the LGBTQ+ community may be at an increased risk of gambling harm.
The study – ‘LGBTQ+ People and Gambling Harms: A Scoping Review’ – was commissioned to build an understanding of the lived experience of gambling harm amongst the LGBTQ+ community in Great Britain.
Researchers from the University of Brighton completed the study by analysing articles published between 2000 and 2023 on gambling harms in the LGBTQ+ community and its impact on people’s mental health, finances, relationships and employment.
Evidence on experiences of LGBTQ+ people accessing support services for gambling harms was also examined, as well as any barriers faced in doing so.
The study noted that “gay and bisexual men and young lesbian and bisexual women may be at increased risk and may experience greater harms associated with gambling”.
In addition, gay and bisexual men could be 3.4 times more likely than heterosexual men to suffer from gambling harms, while gay/lesbian and bisexual women could be 2.5 times more likely than heterosexual women to experience gambling harms.
The study also discovered that transgender and non-binary youth were also more likely to experience gambling harms, with transgender women showing the highest risk.
A summary of the study noted: “Whilst research in this area is limited, there is some evidence to suggest that fears around disclosure of sexuality or transgender status, and anticipated stigma, may be a risk factor for gambling harm, where gambling offered a form of escapism.”
The UK Gambling Commission has reported a year-over-year increase in online total gross gambling yield in the third quarter of 2023, driven by slots and real event betting.
Publishing its operator data for Q3, the UKGC declared £1.3bn in GGY, a four per cent increase YoY thanks to the aforementioned increase in slots and real event betting GGY, while GGY in nearly all other verticals decreased. Q3’s figure is also a slight increase on Q2’s GGY of £1.2bn.
The overall number of total bets and/or spins rose by nine per cent YoY to 24 billion, the highest such number for this segment in a single quarter since data collection began in March 2020.
The number of average monthly active accounts grew as well by two per cent in comparison to the previous year.
Online real event betting recorded a GGY of £468m, a five per cent increase YoY. However, the number of bets and active accounts fell by three per cent in comparison to the previous year, which the UKGC says was likely due to the FIFA World Cup taking place during Q3 2022.
For online slots, GGY increased by six per cent YoY to £618m, the highest recorded quarter since data collection began. The number of spins also rose by 11 per cent to a new high of nearly 22 billion, while the average monthly active accounts increased by eight per cent to four million per month.
Across the remaining products, other gaming including casino generated GGY of £148.5m, virtual betting GGY came in at £11.1m, esports betting GGY stood at £4.1m, poker produced £15.4m GGY and other GGY came in at £1.2m.
GamCare has announced that the National Gambling Helpline took more calls and online chats to provide gambling support in 2023 than any other previous year.
Following its uptick in usage, Samantha Turnton, Head of Remote Support Services at GamCare, has described the helpline as an “invaluable” step for those looking for gambling support.
The helpline received 52,370 calls and online chats during the year, a 24 per cent increase year-over-year, with August 2023 becoming the helpline’s busiest month on record.
December 2023 saw a 39 per cent year-over-year uptick in comparison to the previous year, becoming the busiest Christmas period ever. There was an increase in calls from people concerned about someone else’s gambling during the holiday season, while others said they struggled to watch TV with their families due to the number of gambling advertisements.
In addition, on 117 calls and online chats to advisors, people stated that their gambling was related to financial pressures caused by the cost-of-living crisis.
Turnton commented: “We are used to seeing small increases in the volume of people contacting us each year. However, in 2023 there has been a landmark climb in people reaching out who want to start their recovery journey from gambling.
“While it is concerning to see the rising numbers who need help, we are encouraged that advisors are reporting an increase in calls from people who reach out at an earlier stage. This is an invaluable step to prevent gambling harm from escalating further down the line, and we encourage anyone to get in touch if they feel ready to discuss their relationship with it, no matter what stage they are at.
“We know how difficult it can be to open up about gambling for the first time and we’re here to listen. We want people to know we are here for you 24/7, we understand, and we can help.”