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Betsson Group – strong full-year operating profit thanks to geographical spread and efficient organisation

George Miller

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Betsson Group - strong full-year operating profit thanks to geographical spread and efficient organisation
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

QUARTER OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2019

  • Group revenue was SEK 1,289.5 (1,436.6) million, a decrease of 10 percent with an organic  decrease of 11 percent.
  • Casino revenue declined by 10 percent and Sportsbook revenue declined by 9 percent. The sportsbook margin was 6.8 (7.3) percent.
  • Operating income (EBIT) was SEK 200.5 (341.5) million. The variance was mainly due to decreased revenue. The EBIT margin was 15.5 (23.8) percent.
  • Operating cash flow amounted to SEK 237.8 (289.3) million.

FULL YEAR 2019

  • Group revenue was SEK 5,173.0 (5,419.8) million, a decrease of 5 percent, reported and organic.
  • Operating income (EBIT) was SEK 865.0 (1,193.8) million, corresponding to an operating margin of 16.7 (22.0) percent.
  • Net income was SEK 787.1 (1,078.1) million, corresponding to SEK 5.69 (7.79) per share.
  • Operating cash flow amounted to SEK 1,150.3 (1,273.3) million.
  • The Board of Directors proposes to the AGM that SEK 393.1 (538.4) million, which corresponds to SEK 2.84 (3.89) per share, is distributed to shareholders.

FOURTH QUARTER

Revenue for the fourth quarter was SEK 1,289.5 million, a decrease compared to the same quarter last year but an increase compared to the previous quarter. Development in Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands have continued to be weak, while other markets in which Betsson operates, locally regulated and non-locally regulated, have performed well. The sportsbook margin for the fourth quarter at 6.8 percent is slightly lower than the previous two quarters, which impacted the sportsbook’s revenue for the quarter negatively. Sportsbook gross turnover on the other hand, have developed strongly both during the fourth quarter and the full year 2019, with an increase during the quarter of 15 percent compared with the same period last year and 6 percent for the full year. Operating profit (EBIT) for the fourth quarter amounted to SEK 200.5 million, which corresponds to an operating margin of 15.5 percent.

CEO COMMENTS

2019 full-year operating profit of SEK 865 million shows that  Betsson can deliver despite several market challanges

“We are proud to present an operating profit for the full year 2019 of SEK 865 million. The operating profit shows Betsson’s ability to deliver profitability, also during the challenges that 2019 entailed. We had expected some recovery in the closing fourth quarter, above all in the Swedish market, but we did not reach our objectives there. Up until now, one year after the Swedish re-regulation, we have still not seen the market consolidation that we expect due to the great number of operators, many of them showing no profitability. On the other hand, we have seen declining channelisation, which makes it difficult for the licensed operators who pay 18 percent gaming tax and it also jeopardizes consumer protection. High channelisation contributes to competition on equal terms for the companies in the sector that operate in the Swedish market.

During its long history, Betsson has grown more than the market. In 2019, we had a notch in this curve, but our long-term ambition to grow more than the market, organically and through acquisitions, remains. Our efficient organisation, the strong cash flow and the strong financial position provide a good foundation for acquisitions. During the fourth quarter we made a minor strategic acquisition and continue to analyse several opportunities, both in locally regulated markets and in markets that will be regulated. By further increasing the geographical distribution, we can reduce the impact of temporary downturns in individual markets.

The geographical and product distribution provide stability and also gives us the opportunity to be sustainable in our long-term efforts to run a profitable business with growth and good margins. Betsson is continuously investing in the development of the product offering and it is gratifying to get an acknowledgment that we do the right things. We saw an increase in active customers during the fourth quarter by 3 percent compared to the fourth quarter of last year 9 percent compared to the third quarter. Our in-house developed sportsbook with constantly improved performance delivers good customer experiences, sales growth and good profitability. The high performance also makes it an attractive third-party product. We have previously stated that our ambition is to offer the sportsbook to external customers and we have concluded the first deal with a third party at the beginning of the current year. We are now looking forward to the European Football Championship in June.”

ABOUT BETSSON:

Betsson AB (publ) is a holding company that invests in and manages fast-growing companies within online gaming. The company is one of the largest in online gaming in Europe and has the ambition to outgrow the market, organically and through acquisitions. This should be done in a profitable and sustainable manner, primarily in locally regulated markets. Betsson AB is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm Large Cap (BETS).

Betsson’s operational subsidiaries’ vision is to deliver the best customer experience in the industry. They offer casino, sportsbook and other games via gaming licences in twelve countries in Europe and Central Asia. The business model is to offer gaming under multiple brands, including Betsson, Betsafe, NordicBet and Casinoeuro. The brands are operated on a proprietary platform, which is the core of the offer and the customer experience.

Being a responsible operator in relation to customers, suppliers, authorities, investors and other stakeholders is a cornerstone of the Betsson’s business. Betsson is a member of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity) and G4 (The Global Gambling Guidance Group).

Learn more about the Group on www.betssonab.com

Press Releases

PubCos want to test Game Payment app following successful pilot and dramatic increase in demand for cashless

George Miller

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PubCos want to test Game Payment app following successful pilot and dramatic increase in demand for cashless
L-R- John Rozek, Financial Compliance Director at Game Payment Technology and Greg Wood, Bacta Vice-President
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

A total of 30 pub sites drawn from a cross-section of PubCos are eagerly waiting to trial the Game Payment cashless app following its successful technical pilot. Although the pilot was truncated by the prime minister’s March 20 Covid-19 instruction to close all pubs with immediate effect, it nonetheless provided the Game Payment system with a robust test of its technology which it passed with flying colours.

“Obviously we were disappointed at having to curtail the pilot for reasons beyond our control, but we were able to monitor the app in real time and in the field operating successfully on both digital and analogue machines” stated bacta Vice-President, Greg Wood, part of the senior team responsible for bringing Game Payment to market. “I am delighted to confirm that the app showed itself to be extremely robust and the pilot served as a vindication of the technology that lies behind it.”

He added: “We demonstrated the app to a number of leading UK and European operators first at EAG and then at ICE London in February.  Since then and partly as a result of the response to Covid-19, the demand for safe and reliable cashless payment solutions has soared and a significant number of our UK contacts have come back to us asking to test across a sample of their pub estates.

“We have also received lots of interest from AGC operators which has resulted in us bringing forward our development plans for this sector by six months.  As the restrictions on lockdown begin to lift, the team is looking forward to implementing the business development plan secure in the knowledge that the Game Payment app has the strongest of technical foundations.”

The Game Payment app underwent its successful pilot following completion of a payment acquiring agreement with one of the top three UK acquirers. The agreement, which was struck in February, represents the first such deal with a tier 1 UK bank for cashless gaming in pubs and other venues and is a testament of the acquirer’s confidence in Game Payment’s business plan, product credentials and financial structure, as well as the team’s ability to manage a gambling e-wallet.

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Malta

The sky’s the limit at United Remote

George Miller

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The sky's the limit at United Remote
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Aggregator United Remote has moved its headquarters to the state-of-the-art 14 East skyscraper, Malta’s second tallest building, and the landmark building seen from capital city Valletta.

These new premises for the aggregator are not the only change, but this is a very visible statement by the aggregator that it means business, and comes as the restructuring of the enterprise nears completion. 14 East skyscraper stands out not least due to the stunning views it showcases, reaching from Sliema and St Julian’s to Manoel Island and Valletta, right on to Mdina, which is in the middle of Malta, several miles from the prestigious office location. Moreover, the iconic building and its views can be enjoyed from anywhere within due to glass partitions, without, crucially, compromising on privacy, thanks to expert acoustic treatments.

United Remote’s aggregation platform provides a broad portfolio of games from respected international partners combined with pioneering real-time backend tools for casino operators. The company has successfully completed a period of intensive restructuring which has resulted in major technology and enterprise investments, with the organisational culture having been significantly reshaped to provide added-value to operators and the company investing in new office surroundings at 14 East for the United Remote team that mirrors management’s ambition to be a leading industry platform.

A team of over 30 people inhabits three levels within the stunning new 14 East skyscraper, delivering technology and services that are used by the global iGaming industry. Part of the floorspace is occupied by a re-energised United Remote Games, who are innovating around a legacy portfolio and bringing new releases to market with increasing frequency.

In addition to technology investments and enhancements, United Remote has been adapting the agreements the company previously had put in place, de-risking the entire enterprise, and focusing very particularly on customer protection. In addition, United Remote has been building a strong compliance culture as well as raising standards in terms of transparency, the glass fronted 14 East symbolising this transparency on a daily basis for every member of the team.

United Remote has embraced substantial change to streamline new integrations and provide operators more profitable real-time data. This is all part of upping United Remote’s service to the iGaming industry and ensuring that the B2B-channel is given priority with an easy-to-use back-end where operators can quickly set up the tools available on the platform.

Jeremy Fall, CEO of United Remote added: “It’s great to see this global company thriving in this new environment at 14 East to the extent that it has necessitated this move to these excellent new offices. It is also a great endorsement of Malta as an excellent and supportive jurisdiction for a technology company of this caliber. Working in an office like this is inspiring for the whole team and we look forward to significantly growing our business here over the next couple of years.”

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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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