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Gaming Innovation Group divesting its B2C vertical to Betsson Group

George Miller

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Gaming Innovation Group reports Q1 2020
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG) signs a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Betsson Group (Betsson) for the divestment of GiG’s B2C assets which include the operator brands Rizk, Guts, Kaboo and Thrills. Betsson will, through this agreement, become a long term partner of GiG, generating revenues to GiG’s Platform Services. On the day of closing, Betsson will pay €31 million, consisting of a €22.3 million cash payment for the acquisition, plus a prepaid platform fee of €8.7 million. GiG will use the proceeds to repay the Company’s SEK300 million 2017 – 2020 bond.

Betsson commits to keep the brands operational on GiG’s platform for a minimum of 30 months. For the first 24 months, Betsson will pay a premium platform fee based on NGR generated. Based on the expected platform fees, the total value of the transaction is estimated at approximately €50 million.

Betsson, listed at Nasdaq Stockholm, is one of the most dominant European companies in online gambling with a long and strong track record of brand building, both organically and via acquisitions. It offers online casino, proprietary sportsbook and other online games in a multi-brand strategy via gaming licences in twelve countries in Europe and Central Asia.

The sale of the B2C vertical is a result of GiG’s strategic review, initiated in November 2019, leading to an evolved strategic direction to reduce complexity and improve efficiency. By divesting the B2C vertical, GiG will free up resources, enabling full dedication on driving and growing its B2B business, securing stable and sustainable earnings and profit margins. GiG sees a large and sustainable addressable market for its platform business as the regulation of the iGaming industry continues and is well positioned with the omni-channel platform offering to capitalise on the continued digital transformation of the worldwide gambling market.

GiG has, as part of the strategic review, taken a decision to make its technical platform sportsbook agnostic, and partner with other sport book providers to offer the best solutions to its customers. Betsson’s sportsbook solution is intended to be integrated on GiG’s platform-offering. Both GiG and Betsson will gain strategic advantage in having the possibility to sell their respective B2B solutions in an environment without conflict of their own B2C brands.

In order to keep the strategic position for its own proprietary sportsbook, GiG will seek joint ventures or other constellations with partners to release the true asset value of the sportsbook and to secure external long term funding. The ambition is to gradually grow with existing and new long term partners, including the fast growing US market. GiG is one of the few B2B providers present with omni-channel online gambling services in multi-state jurisdictions in the US.

Pontus Lindwall, Chief Executive Officer of Betsson AB comments: “We believe this deal offers a good opportunity for Betsson to consolidate, create synergies and apply our core B2C skills and marketing insights to scale these assets to their true potential. The agreement with GiG further strengthens and expands Betsson’s outreach and growth potential for its proprietary sportsbook and payments platforms in the B2B market.

Betsson has significantly invested in the development of its sportsbook and now delivers a powerful offering. A key strategy is to grow our sportsbook with B2B customers and I am excited to collaborate with GiG as a distribution channel. We share the same passion for sports betting and providing a player environment which is unique, entertaining and safe.”

Richard Brown, Chief Executive Officer of GiG says: “I am very excited about this transaction as it provides multiple upsides to GiG. While putting the Company in a financially sustainable position, it gives us the ability to focus on where we see real long term shareholder value. This transaction serves as a strategic focusing of the Company’s efforts towards the B2B segment. Offering both B2C and B2B services had synergies in the past, however, the current conflicting priorities of the two business areas, and increased complexity in the market, have lessened the potential offering on both fronts and our ability to sign new customers.

I am delighted to retain our brands on the platform and in the process, adding Betsson as a partner as we share the same ambition of responsibility for all stakeholders, safe play for the end user, and an entertaining user experience. I am certain that together with their speciality, focus and strong track record on driving B2C growth, it will be a fruitful partnership. Additionally, the planned integration of Betsson’s sportsbook into our platform offering, not only provides cost saving synergies, it also allows us to offer one of the most well-renowned European sportsbooks to our current and future B2B partners. We are excited to support Betsson’s growth of the brands we have built and now look forward to GiG next chapter as a specialist iGaming B2B provider“.

GiG’s full year 2019 revenues were €123.0 million (€29.4m in Q4 2019) with an EBITDA of €14.1 million (€4.8m Q4 2019), assuming B2C as continued operations. The isolated B2C full year 2019 revenues were €79.0 million (€19.0m in Q4 2019) with a full year 2019 EBITDA of €8.1 million (€4.1m in Q4 2019). The divestment of the B2C vertical will lead to a write-down of the remaining book value of the B2C assets and related goodwill, an impairment will be recognised in the fourth quarter 2019.

With the divestment of the B2C vertical, full year 2020 revenues are expected in the range of €70 – 75 million, with an EBITDA expected in the range of €14 – 17 million, including, for comparison, B2C as continued operations until completion of the transaction.

Expected completion of the transaction is mid April 2020, giving time for the compulsory regulatory approvals from merger control and gaming authorities. GiG is in dialogue with its largest bondholders and will seek consent from its bondholders to extend the repayment of the 2017 – 2020 bond from the maturity date in March 2020 until 22 April 2020. Written resolutions for the two bonds will commence shortly, and GiG has received voting undertakings from investors representing around 53% of the outstanding volume in the 2017 – 2020 bond, and around 46% of the outstanding volume in the 2019 – 2022 bond. As compensation for the extension of repayment date in the 2017- 2020 bond, bondholders in said bond will receive a consent fee of 0.35% of the nominal amount.

GiG invites all interested parties to a press conference with Q&A today, 14 February, at 08:30 CET. Questions can be addressed both in the call and via the web. Please find dial-in details and weblink below.

Weblink (an on-demand version will be available approx. 30 minutes after the call using the same link):

https://tv.streamfabriken.com/gig-press-conference

Participants dial in numbers:

SE: +46 856642651

NO: +47 23500243

UK: +44 3333000804

US: +18558570686

DK: +45 35445577

IT: +39 0236013821

Participants Pin code: 84408716#

Stella EOC acts as financial adviser to GiG in connection with the transaction.

Industry News

Frankie’s on board with Sporting Index

George Miller

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Frankie's on board with Sporting Index
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

World’s top jockey joins leading bookmaker to offer unique insight for the 2020 Flat racing season

Sporting Index has made the landmark signing of world-class jockey Frankie Dettori, widely regarded as one of the greatest riders of all time, as a brand ambassador.

The deal will see Dettori carry the Sporting Index logo on his breeches and collar, offer exclusive thoughts on his rides at sportingindex.com and support with social media posts and daily previews during the season’s major meetings, such as Royal Ascot.

The Italian’s unrivalled achievements in the Flat racing sphere consist of 19 British Classics, including two Derby wins at Epsom, and an astonishing 251 Group 1 victories worldwide. He currently holds the LONGINES World’s Best Jockey Award and has done so for three of the last five years.

Sporting Index, who launched a fixed odds offering in 2019 to run alongside its well-established spread betting service, also currently sponsor leading National Hunt jockey Barry Geraghty, who celebrated a vintage Cheltenham Festival with five wins in March.

Simon Trim, CEO at Sporting Index, said: “Frankie is the face of Flat racing, if not horse racing as a whole, so it’s hugely exciting to have him as a Sporting Index brand ambassador.

“He is often riding the most talked about horses of the season, like Enable and Stradivarius, and we’re delighted to be able to bring racing fans closer to that with his regular blog.

“Even though he has cost us plenty of money over the years, no-one has done more to promote the sport of horse racing and we couldn’t be happier to have him on board.”

Frankie Dettori, said: “I’m over the moon to be joining Sporting Index ahead of the new Flat season. There are some top-quality horses that I can’t wait to get on this year, and I look forward to telling readers all about them.

“I saw over the winter that Barry Geraghty had plenty of success with Sporting Index on his breeches, so hopefully it’s the same for me too!”

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Industry News

Playtech “Takes Full Responsibility” and Apologises for PTES Failings

Niji Narayan

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Playtech “Takes Full Responsibility” and Apologises for PTES Failings
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Playtech has issued an apology for the failings of its PT Entertainment Services (PTES) subsidiary.

The case saw a customer sign up for an account in December 2016, ultimately spending £4.5m (€5.0m/$5.5m) on PTES’ Winner and Titanbet brands – losing £119,395 between 1 to 5 April 2017 alone – before committing suicide.

The UK Gambling Commission’s investigation uncovered widespread failings in the business’ social responsibility and anti-money laundering processes that resulted in no action being taken over the individual’s excessive gambling.

“We take full responsibility for these regulatory breaches. As a technology specialist, Playtech focuses on harnessing its capabilities in data-driven intelligence to place consumer protection at the centre of every stage of the player experience from game design to real-time engagement and messaging,” More Weizer, Chief Executive of Playtech, said.

“In recent years, we have invested significantly to seek to ensure that these types of breaches do not happen again, including addressing the specific issues raised by the Commission,” More Weizer added.

Playtech’s board extended its “deepest sympathies” to the victim’s family. Its interim chair, Claire Milne, will be contacting the family to apologise personally for the B2C subsidiary’s failings.

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Industry News

Bojoko Special Report assess the impact of Covid-19

George Miller

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Bojoko Special Report assess the impact of Covid-19
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Online casino comparison site has created a report that looks at what the pandemic means for the industry and how it can move forwards on a positive footing

Bojoko.com has created a special report analysing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the online casino sector.

The online casino comparison site has used Google Trends data to see how consumers have reacted to the global sports blackout and what this means for online casino operators.

Some of the headline numbers show:

  • Sports betting search terms have declined from February to April. In particular, searches for “Best Betting Sites” and “Sports Betting UK” fell 41% and 33% respectively.
  • Online casino search terms have increased in volume over the three-month period, with “Best Casino Sites” enjoying a 78% increase in volume between February and April.
  • “New Online Casino” search volume recorded a 31% increase over the three months but made the biggest jump between March and April with its score increasing 50% MoM.
  • There were spikes in sports betting search terms on April 4 when the Virtual Grand National took place and casino search terms on Valentine’s Day.

The report also includes expert analysis and comment from a range of contributors, including operators, game developers and responsible gambling experts.

Joonas KarhuChief Business Officer at Bojoko, said: “We have created this report as a record of this unprecedented time in the history of the online gambling industry.

“But we also want it to act as a blueprint for how the sector can come out the other side on a positive footing and ensure it is business as usual as soon as possible.

“I’d like to thank those that have provided their opinion and insight and hope that the Bojoko Special Report provides understanding and value to all industry stakeholders.”

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