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City Bet Club predicts 2022 UK operator earnings to fall short

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City Bet Club, the expert tipster service founded by leading industry veterans, predicts that UK operator Q4 2022 earnings reports are likely to make disappointing reading.

In a ‘triple punch’ for operator brands, the compounded issues of a steep decline in World Cup turnover compared to Russia 2018, an overhaul of the winter sporting calendar to accommodate the Qatar tournament, and “intrusive” affordability checks are expected to have a significant impact on turnover and consequentially, reported earnings.

By analysing financial performance, the World Cup is expected to have netted a strong margin-win for operators due to shock results, making it one of the most “bookie-friendly” in history.

However, early-stage punter losses in the Group Stage, which continued throughout the tournament will have heavily affected overall turnover.

In particular, City Bet Club’s analysis of January 2023’s trading and financial updates issued so far by major UK brands reflect this, noting that Bet365’s announcement this month is a key indicator of market health.

With Bet365’s operating profit down by 88% for the financial year due to significant investment in overseas jurisdictions, it is seen as a strong indication that major operators no longer view the UK as a growth market.

This view is supported further with Kindred’s trading update, owner of UK flagship brand Unibet. It highlights an unexpectedly low sports margin in the last quarter – despite the “bookie-friendly” World Cup results. This likely alludes to overstretched marketing and promotional spend, eroding gross win and margin.

The third major indicator that World Cup turnover has fallen short of expectations is via 888/William Hill’s trading update; especially with like-for-like gross win performance compared to Russia 2018.

In choosing to highlight the metric of ‘Player User Days’, by comparing customer engagement performance of the delayed Euro 2020 with Qatar 2022, City Bet Club believes that the data does not bode well.

This is especially due to the World Cup having 25% more matches as well as the lack of a heavy summer horse racing program to compete with, suggesting the like-for-like comparison indicates an uplift of only 22% to be disappointing.

Compounding the overall issue for UK-facing bookmakers further is the third punch, that of affordability checks, pointing to a far wider structural issue in the industry.

As highlighted by leading commentators in the Racing Post, major betting exchanges and high-profile professional gamblers, the issue of “intrusive” affordability checks are a major factor in reduced betting activity for UK operators.

The effect on horse racing’s income from the levy is directly related to bookmaker profits. Not only is this seen by City Bet Club as a serious issue for bookmakers, but also for UK racing.

As further confirmation of this view, Arena Racing Company has estimated that digital betting turnover on UK racing has declined by £800m in 2022, with an estimated £40m loss in income from bookmakers.

Commenting on the situation, David Brown, Co-founder of City Bet Club and one of the UK’s most experienced trading directors, believes that this has created a bleak outlook for the UK. He added:

I’ve been in the industry since 1976, and with 47 years in the game, this is by far the most pessimistic outlook for the health of the UK betting market that I’ve seen.

“While the World Cup may have seen record margins, word on the street is that turnover is significantly down compared to Russia 2018. Given that punters suffered many setbacks early in the Group Stage, the industry saw reduced recycling of customer money as bookie-friendly results continued throughout the tournament.

“Traditionally a major football tournament and robust Christmas period, with a full program of racing, would normally put the big brands in very positive territory. Currently – the silence says it all, and we’re yet to see comparisons of like-for-like turnover to the 2018 World Cup, which may infer all is not well.

“Last but not least is the uncertainty around the government white paper on gambling, which is yet to go public. This has the potential to add even more challenges to the operation of the UK betting market. It will no doubt be a key decider on how the industry proceeds from here.”

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Ixia launches $20 million global gaming venture Fund and Studio

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Ixia launches $20 million global gaming venture Fund and Studio
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Ixia Capital, a venture capital fund and studio, has launched with an investment of $20 million focused on high-growth companies across gaming, esports, digital assets, and complementary technologies.

The fund has been founded by partners with deep firsthand iGaming industry experience, enabling entrepreneurs to realise innovative ideas, technologies, and transform business models into profitable companies.

Ixia Capital is a global fund with a focus in India, Africa and UAE where the mission is to accelerate development and manage risks to help ventures succeed in specialised fields. The fund is based in the Cayman Islands, while the Ixia Studio is headquartered in the USA.

Ixia Capital CEO and Venture Partner Mona Motwani, said: “It’s a proud moment for us to officially launch Ixia Capital. Our mission is partnering with driven entrepreneurs to equip them with resources, expertise, exposure and capital that allow them to build the best ideas into great companies. Through this hands-on approach, Ixia is all about accelerating ideas and mitigating risks.”

Ixia Studio, the venture studio arm of Ixia Capital, is in the process of launching six disruptive projects – FasFas Games, a Sports NFT Trading Exchange, a Gaming Loyalty Reward Platform, Sports Investment Thought Leadership Platform, and a Sports Coverage and Games Engagement App. The role of the Studio is to provide funding, resources, and operational support to help entrepreneurs build and scale companies.

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SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP AGREES NEW DEAL WITH HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB

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SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP AGREES NEW DEAL WITH HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB
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Spotlight Sports Group (SSG), a world-leading technology, content, and media company specialising in sports betting, has signed a deal to extend a multi-year agreement with the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC).

The long-term partnership, powered by the Racing Post, will promote Hong Kong racing to a worldwide audience through the provision of full racecards for the Hong Kong Jockey Club meetings at Sha Tin and Happy Valley, editorial and tipping content. The partnership will also enable free-to-view live streams and replays of all Hong Kong racing via Racing Post digital platforms.

The collaboration also sees the promotion of the HKJC’s World Pool initiative, specifically with editorial, tipping and signposting of World Pool meetings. Spotlight Sports Group is delighted to have this agreement in place before Royal Ascot, a meeting that not only features high-class horse racing, but five days of World Pool betting.

James Fitzpatrick, Account Director for B2B Content Services at Spotlight Sports Group, said: “The Hong Kong Jockey Club is one of our key partners and I’m delighted we will be continuing our relationship. Extending this deal ahead of Royal Ascot will allow us to continue to promote World Pool days to a global audience during one of the biggest international meetings of the year.”

The view was shared by Michael Fitzsimons, Executive Director, Wagering Products of the HKJC: “The HKJC and Racing Post are two of the most powerful and respected brands in the horse racing industry and we can see many great opportunities to work together to achieve our goals and longer-term vision throughout the life of the agreement.”

 Spotlight Sports Group aims to support the global betting, horse racing and fantasy sports industries.

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EGT’s Gods & Kings Link with first installation in Bulgaria

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EGT’s Gods & Kings Link with first installation in Bulgaria
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EGT’s jackpot Gods & Kings Link made its debut in Bulgaria. The first local gaming establishment to install the product is the largest casino in the country GoldenEye, located in Svilengrad.

“We are very happy to once again have the opportunity to support our partners from GoldenEye by providing them with one of the latest developments from our slot portfolio,” commented Biserka Draganova, Sales Manager for the Balkans and Egypt at EGT. “The fact that out of a total of 500 machines in the casino, 320 are EGT’s is a testament to the great confidence they have in us, and I believe that Gods & Kings Link will show the excellent results expected from it.”

The product is currently available on several cabinets of the G 50 J2 St model, and will be installed on more by the end of June. Gods & Kings Link has 4 levels of jackpot: Minor and Mini, that are fixed for each machine and Grand and Major, which are progressive and can be won with every bet made on any of the 4 games Rise of Ra, Olympus Glory, Ape of luck and Glorious Alexander. The Grand and Major levels are common with EGT’s bestseller jackpot Bell Link, thus creating even greater chances for wealth.

Gods & Kings Link has definitely caught the attention of our customers and in the short period of time we’ve been offering it, we’ve seen a lot of interest in it,” said Mert Caliskan, Casino Operation Director. “The titles in the mix are extremely interesting and provide lots of bonuses and fun during play. This in combination with the possibility of getting even bigger winnings thanks to the connection to Bell Link, which is very popular in our casino, is a guarantee that this will be another very successful EGT product.”

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