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The Age of Affiliates: PartnerMatrix CEO argues for greater sector recognition

George Miller

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The Age of Affiliates: PartnerMatrix CEO argues for greater sector recognition
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

In an ideal world, affiliates should be encouraged for every action they undertake”, explained Levon Nikoghosyan, PartnerMatrix CEO highlighting the positive influence they bring to gaming’s image and profitability across the globe. Exploring the market and the future of their customizable platform, he discusses why the new dawn of affiliate marketing can’t come soon enough.

 

PartnerMatrix, the powerful stand-alone affiliate platform software solution from EveryMatrix, has been making waves in the affiliate sector since it launched five years ago. In 2020, with an increased focus on the brand and affiliates in general, the company is planning to expand its reach and introduce a series of exclusive new tools to the market. Commenting on their future focus, Nikoghosyan said: “Our strategy is quite simple, by investing in the development of our system and implementation of new features, we increase the profit of our operators and affiliates and bring an enhanced user experience to both sides of the business. In other words, our primary goal is to make our clients more competitive.

“Last year we launched Reactivation Reward which enables operators to offer commissions for reactivated players alongside newly registered ones. This new tool was an industry first. This year we will focus on the development of tools such as fraud detection, risk management, analytical reports of a player lifetime, behavior, quality of traffic.”

PartnerMatrix’s platform allows bookmakers and casino operators to create, run and track multi-brand affiliate marketing campaigns. For Nikoghosyan, the importance of using affiliates and recognizing their influence is a crucial change the gaming industry needs to address in order to push forward in the coming decade.

“In an ideal world, affiliates should be encouraged for every action,” he said. “Yes, they bring players and get paid for that. But we often forget that in many cases they promote your brand, they increase brand awareness by placing your company banners or creating content that directly supports your platform.

“We need to come up with a formula that can allow affiliates to get bonuses and rewards also for promoting your company name. Because in the long run, it also affects your company’s prosperity. I don’t think a problem like this can be solved in just one year, but I hope this ideal world will arrive sooner rather than later.”

Continuing his focus on how the affiliate market can continue to drive the industry forward, Nikoghosyan is clear that ‘flexibility and content’ will be the trends to watch out for in the months ahead. “By flexibility, I mean the ability for operators and affiliates to solve any type of issues and problems within one system, one interface,” he commented. “Some providers offer a wonderful platform, very light, with a set of versatile statistics, but for other tools, you need additional integrations.

“From this point of view, PartnerMatrix offers an all-in-one solution, including a secure payment method, transparent analysis and set of every single tool needed for affiliate marketing. Speaking about content, the market is moving towards more specific messages. PartnerMatrix also offers marketing solutions and consultancy, so by choosing our system, our clients get everything to enter the affiliate market.”

2019 saw PartnerMatrix launch two highly requested features, the aforementioned, industry-first Player Reactivation Reward, alongside the brand’s powerful player segmentation tool which offers higher productivity. The brand’s segmentation tool simplifies daily routine of the Affiliate Manager allowing to set different commissions for different segments of players without any need to manually divide traffic into segments and assign different commissions for each segment. Since its launch the tool has yielded significant results, guaranteeing the company will continue to invest in its growth according to Nikoghosyan.

“When analysing our client behavior, it becomes clear that the ones who use the segmentation tool are more competitive, they create more appealing content,” he explained.  “Needless to say, this entails increased sales and greater customer engagement. We are constantly improving this tool, bringing more options to segment players depending on region, preferences, registration period, sources they came from, and other criteria upon request.”

Since its inception in 2015, PartnerMatrix has helped evolve the betting industry’s understanding of affiliate marketing. The main focus of PartnerMatrix’s team is to ensure uninterrupted and transparent operation of the system – taking into account all market risks. “There are many issues in the affiliate industry as in any other industry. Shaving, which refers to cutting down the commissions, is the main concern of any affiliate and nowadays with real-time software, it is easy to find out whether an operator does that or doesn’t.

“Another noteworthy factor is the conversion and monetization of the traffic – the better is the monetization, the more affiliates will promote the brand. However, it’s equally important to protect operators from unfair affiliates by providing effective anti-fraud tools.”

With 60,000 affiliates around the world and 7 million players, PartnerMatrix services more than 100 operators from different jurisdictions and the brand is keen to continue this growth.  Nikoghosyan attributes at least some of the brand’s success to constantly improving their software as well as fierce loyalty to contributing to its clients’ businesses.

He concluded: “We think we’ve had a fair amount of success in the last years, and the numbers are showing very clearly that we enjoy the trust of our clients, affiliates and players.  At the end of the day, this is the most crucial aspect of this business, which is mainly based on referrals.”

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Affiliate Industry

Better Collective interim report January 1 – December 31, 2019

George Miller

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Better Collective interim report January 1 - December 31, 2019
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Highlights fourth quarter 2019

  • Q4 Revenue grew by 61% to 19,579 tEUR (Q4 2018: 12,135 tEUR). Organic revenue growth was 24%.
  • Q4 EBITA before special items increased 32% to 7,117 tEUR (Q4 2018: 5,382 tEUR). The EBITA-margin before special items was 36% including an expected downwards impact of 4%-points from the acquired US-businesses. Excluding the impact from US, the EBITA-margin before special items was 40%.
  • Sports win margins were significantly lower than historic average. Compared to historic average, revenue and earnings were affected negatively by an estimated 2 mEUR in the quarter.
  • New Depositing Customers (NDCs) exceeded 118.000 in the quarter (growth of 55%, most of which organic). This established a new quarterly company record.
  • Bank financing with Nordea has been re-structured and Better Collective now has committed 3-year credit facilities of >80 mEUR with an extension option for one additional year.
  • A directed new share issue of 4 million shares raised cash proceeds to the Company of 30 mEUR (312 mSEK) before transaction costs.
  • Cash Flow from operations before special items was 7,532 tEUR (Q4 2018: 5,411 tEUR), an increase of 39%. The cash conversion was 96%. End of Q4, capital reserves stood at 90 mEUR consisting of net cash of 23 mEUR and unused bank credit facilities of 67 mEUR.
  • A new version of the flagship product bettingexpert.com was launched.

Financial highlights full year 2019

  • Revenue grew by 67% to 67,449 tEUR (YTD 2018:40,483 tEUR). Organic revenue growth was 26%.
  • EBITA before special items grew by 69% to 27,231 tEUR (YTD 2018: 16,072 tEUR). The EBITA-margin before special items was 40% (YTD 2018: 40%). Excluding the acquired US-business the EBITA-margin was 43%.
  • Cash Flow from operations before special items was 26,585 tEUR (YTD 2018: 15,158 tEUR), an increase of 75%. The cash conversion rate before special items was 91% (YTD 2018: 89%).
  • New Depositing Costumers (NDCs) exceeded 431,000 (growth of 66%).
  • Acquisitions completed in 2019 by Better Collective:
  • 60% of the shares in Rical LLC (RotoGrinders Network) were acquired for 18 mEUR (21 mUSD). Better Collective will acquire the remaining 40% of shares in the period 2022-24 and a contingent consideration of 26.7 mEUR is recorded.
  • Through the wholly-owned US subsidiary, the assets of Florida based Vegasinsider.com and Scoresandodds.com for a total transaction price of 18 mEUR (20 mUSD).
  • All shares in the company owning and operating the site mybettingsites.co.uk for up to 2.4 mEUR.
  • 19.99% of the shares in Mindway AI at 0.5 mEUR, who develops software solutions for the identification of at-risk and problem gambling behaviour.

Other significant events after the closure of the period

  • January trading update: Revenue of approximately 7.2 mEUR (growth of 48%, of which organic growth 30% compared to January 2019). The sports win margin in January was significantly higher than historical average.
  • Advanced negotiations for the potential acquisition of 100% of the shares in an e-sport company, who promotes and advertises sports betting operators, for up to 34 mEUR.
  • On January 23, 2020, Better Collective hosted the first edition of bookmaker awards starting in Greece with its Greek flagship product Betarades.gr.
  • Better Collective won the “Affiliate of the Year” at the EGR Nordics Awards 2020 and bettingexpert.com won the iGB Affiliate Award for Best Sports Betting Affiliate website.
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Affiliate Industry

GiG Secures Gaming Service Provider Authorisation in Pennsylvania for WSN.com

George Miller

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GiG Secures Gaming Service Provider Authorisation in Pennsylvania for WSN.com
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has continued its expansion into the regulated US space by securing authorisation from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to provide affiliate services in the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania becomes the fourth state in which GiG’s Media division is active through its US-facing websites the World Sports Network (WSN.com) and CasinoTopsOnline.com.

GiG was granted an affiliate vendor registration in New Jersey in January 2019, which was followed by a certificate of registration for sports wagering in Indiana in December 2019. WSN.com is also operational in West Virginia, where there are no licensing requirements for sports betting affiliates.

Richard Brown, CEO of GiG, comments, “The Pennsylvania authorisation comes at an opportune moment for us as our flagship website, WSN.com, continues to climb in Google rankings in the US. This will provide us with more opportunities to convert visitors into players and we’re fully prepared to enter more states as they allow legal operators to start accepting customers.”

 

About Gaming Innovation Group (GiG): 

Gaming Innovation Group Inc. is a technology company providing products and services throughout the entire value chain in the iGaming industry. Founded in 2012, Gaming Innovation Group’s vision is ‘To open up iGaming and make it fair and fun for all’. Through its ecosystem of products and services, it is connecting operators, suppliers, and users, to create the best iGaming experiences in the world. GiG operates out of Malta and is dual-listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GIG and on Nasdaq Stockholm under the ticker symbol GIGSEK. www.gig.com

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Affiliate Industry

LeoVegas AB Q4: Quarterly report 1 October – 31 December 2019. LeoVegas reiterates its long-term financial targets, remove short term financial targets and raises the dividend

George Miller

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LeoVegas AB Q4: Quarterly report 1 October – 31 December 2019. LeoVegas reiterates its long-term financial targets, remove short term financial targets and raises the dividend
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

“We have entered 2020 with good underlying growth and profitability, and an ever-stronger balance sheet”
– Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO

FOURTH QUARTER 2019: 1 october–31 december 2019[1]

  • Revenue increased by 3% to EUR 87.1 m (84.5).
  • EBITDA was EUR 14.5 m (8.1), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 16.7% (9.6%)
  • Adjusted EBITDA was EUR 9.2 m (8.1), corresponding to a margin of 10.6% (9.6%).
  • The number of depositing customers was 351,613 (327,156), an increase of 7%.
  • The number of returning depositing customers was record-high 207,982 (181,747), an increase of 14%.
  • Adjusted earnings per share were EUR 0.06 (0.06).

Events during the quarter

  • LeoVegas investment company LeoVentures sold the subsidiary Authentic Gaming to Genting. The sales price was EUR 15.2 m on a debt-free basis and generated a capital gain of EUR 11.4 m.
  • LeoVegas carried out strategic measures in the UK and has called off a move to new offices in Malta. These initiatives will lead to annual cost savings of approximately EUR 3.7 m. Restructuring costs of EUR 6.1 m are reported under items affecting comparability for the fourth quarter. At the same time, an impairment loss of EUR 10.2 m has been recognised for the Royal Panda investment.

Events after the end of the quarter

  • Preliminary revenue of EUR 30,1 m in January (28.7), representing growth of 5%.
  • In light of a more pronounced focus on profitability in an increasingly dynamic business environment LeoVegas has decided to remove the financial targets to reach sales of EUR 600 m and EBITDA of EUR 100 m by 2021. At the same time, the company has reaffirmed its long-term financial target to achieve organic growth that outperforms the online gaming market and an EBITDA margin of no less than 15%.
  • LeoVegas’ Chairman, Mårten Forste, hired as new COO in Malta.
  • The Board of Directors proposes a dividend of SEK 1.40 per share (1.20), an increase of 17%, to be paid out – as in the preceding year – on two occasions during the year.

 

COMMENT FROM GUSTAF HAGMAN – GROUP CEO

sustainability and long-term growth
During 2019 we worked hard to reduce complexity in the Group, be more efficient and adapt to the changes taking place in the gaming industry. In parallel with this we have enhanced the attraction of our product through new functionality and greater personalisation. We have launched new brands, focused more on Casino, and expanded to new markets. Towards the end of the year we intensified the integration of our previous acquisitions, which is expected to contribute to cost savings and increased economies of scale.

Our investments in sustainability have been particularly meaningful, where LeoVegas is one of the leading operators. For example, today we have some 70 employees who work exclusively with responsible gaming and compliance.

an industry in change
2019 was a year characterised by change in our industry, with external challenges coupled to higher demands for compliance, higher gambling taxes and undertainty surrounding future regulation. In the near term this is presenting challenges to navigate in an increasingly complex world, but it also presents long term competitive advantages for a company like LeoVegas, which has a scalable organisation, proprietary technology and focus on sustainable growth along with an increasingly broader revenue base spread across several markets and brands.

We have entered 2020 with a good starting point, with an increasingly efficient organisation and many ongoing initiatives surrounding product innovation and brand expansion. Owing to the increasingly dynamic business environment and a more pronounced focus on profitability, we have decided to remove our financial targets for 2021 while we reiterate our long-term financial targets of organic growth in excess of the market and an EBITDA margin of at least 15%.

At the same time, our underlying profitable growth and favourable financial position have created the foundation for the Board’s proposal to raise the dividend for 2019 by 17% to SEK 1.40 per share.

fourth quarter 2019
Revenue for the fourth quarter amounted to EUR 87.1 m (84.5), representing organic growth of 3%. Growth during the period remained good in most of our markets. Excluding the UK market, organic growth in local currencies was 11%. We are especially pleased with our performance in Sweden, where we continue to take market shares.

EBITDA for the fourth quarter adjusted for items affecting comparability during the period totalled EUR 9.2 m (8.1), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 10.6% (9.6%). We thereby improved our underlying profit by 13% compared with a year ago despite a higher burden from gambling taxes and increased regulatory complexity, which confirms that our focus on efficiency and cost control is yielding the desired result.

A couple of weeks ago we communicated a number of strategic decisions coupled mainly to the UK and our ambitions to create a less complex and more scalable organisation. These initiatives gave rise to one-off restructuring costs that affected fourth quarter earnings by a total of EUR 6.1 m and are expected to lead to annual cost savings of approximately EUR 3.7 m. The savings consist mainly of platform and product costs, a more efficient organisation and more optimized premises.

During the fourth quarter we recognised a capital gain on the sale of Authentic Gaming, which was sold in October. The capital gain was EUR 11.4 m. EBIT for the fourth quarter was also affected by an impairment loss of EUR 10.2 m related to goodwill in Royal Panda.

markets
We had favourable performance in most of our markets during the full year 2019. Three of our major markets, Sweden, the UK and Germany, underwent major changes during the past year. In Germany, the removal of a key payment services provider affected our revenue during the fourth quarter. Development improved gradually during the quarter in pace with customers finding alternative payment methods. We are now growing again sequentially month-on-month in Germany. We are confidently waiting for clarity regarding what future regulation will look like in Germany. Based on the most recent information, the German federal states are now in agreement to regulate the market at the national level at the end of 2021.

As previously communicated, we are addressing the challenges in the UK by migrating all of our brands in the UK to our proprietary technical platform. In parallel with this we are refining our brand portfolio and closing Royal Panda in the UK. Altogether these measures are leading to a more focused and efficient operation and opening up economies of scale within the Group. Revenue for the remaining operations in the UK, consisting of 13 brands, grew 15% over the third quarter and showed good profitability. Royal Panda will now focus entirely on fast-growing markets outside the UK.

In the Swedish market we are stronger than ever. It is clear that we are benefiting from our strong brand, focus on responsible gaming and experience from regulated markets. In addition, GoGoCasino has exceeded our expectations and was successful in the strategy of filling an empty space in the Swedish casino market. December was record-strong and we ended the year with revenue as well as the number of customers at record high levels. During 2020 we expect to see the authorities taking a harder line against unlicensed actors, which will improve channelisation and consumer protection in the Swedish market.

Comments on first quarter 2020
Revenue for the month of January amounted to EUR 30.1 m (28.7), representing growth of 5%.

Royal Panda in the UK, which was closed in January, is not expected to generate any significant revenue during the first quarter. During the fourth quarter Royal Panda generated revenue of EUR 1.1 m in the UK.

With good momentum in many of our markets and a number of growth initiatives, we are looking forward to the remainder of 2020. We continue to work hard to deliver profitable growth at the same time as we are working to live up to our vision, to be “King of Casino”.

Presentation of the report – today at 09:00 CET
To participate in the conference call, and thereby be able to ask questions, please call one of the following numbers: SE: +46 (0) 8 50 69 21 80, UK: +44 (0) 20 71 92 80 00, US: +1 63 15 10 74 95, Confirmation code: 9682129 or join at the web https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/g9y6w2q8

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