US recovery, German target and COVID relaxation: The week in numbers

Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In this latest edition we take a look at the US’ gaming recovery, a fresh GVC acquisition, New Zealand COVID protocols and German targets.

31

Bojoko has published its latest industry report as the online casino comparison site asks a variety of stakeholders whether impending changes to VIP schemes go far enough.

This follows the publication of revised rules by the UK Gambling Commission last month around how its licensees must operate and manage VIP schemes and high value customers, with the regulator asserting that it is striving to “clean up the malpractice of so-called VIP schemes”.

The rules come into force from October 31 and require operators to conduct enhanced affordability and responsible gambling checks before awarding VIP status to a player.

Furthermore, they are also required to keep up to date evidence of a player’s identity, occupation and where their gambling funds come from, as well as a full audit trail on all VIPs.

While the Bojoko team believes an outright ban is the only way to properly protect players, the firm says that the majority of operators do not believe that abolishing VIP schemes is the best way forward.

5.6

The American Gaming Association has revealed that August marked the fourth straight month of gaming’s recovery, with nationwide revenue up 5.6 percent from July.

The figures released in its August Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker report, which highlights the ongoing health status of the US gaming sector, also highlighted a stronger appetite for sporting wagers, with a busy sporting calendar leading Americans to legally bet $2.1bn during the month, the highest monthly handle in US sports betting history.

Furthermore, the report highlighted that igaming’s year-on-year GGR increased by 224.2 percent to $145.3m, yet slot and table games saw a decline of 21.7 per cent and 29 per cent respectively.

Throughout August, several states saw more money wagered on sports than in any previous month, including Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, and New Jersey. The Garden State’s sportsbooks accepted $668m in bets in August, the largest monthly handle ever recorded in any state.

Yet, the AGA warned that the path to a full recovery remains long with August’s revenue down 19.8 per cent year-on-year.

3

Portuguese online casino and sports betting operator Bet.pt has been purchased by GVC Holdings, as the group documents “another strong period” in its Q3 trading update.

Lauded as “one of the leading online gambling operators in Portugal,” GVC says that the acquisition is consistent with the group’s ongoing new market expansion, targeting those that are either regulated or regulating in order to support our international growth ambitions.

The group anticipates that the Portuguese sports betting and gaming market, which it asserts is “growing rapidly,” is expected to more than double to around €450m by 2023.

Updating on its quarterly performance, group net gaming revenue increased 12 per cent during the period, with online delivering its nineteenth consecutive quarter of double-digit online growth with a 26 per cent rise.

Reflecting “the strength and diversity” of the business, online gaming trends remain ahead of pre-COVID-19 levels with the group’s Australian performance continuing to increase with NGR of +64 per cent.

7

Gaming and entertainment firm SkyCity Entertainment is to relax restrictions at its Auckland property this week, after the New Zealand government announced that the COVID-19 protocols currently in place would be eased in the city.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement, as well as expressing confidence that a second wave within SkyCity’s home region has been wiped out.

Subsequently, Auckland will move to alert level one from 11:59pm on Wednesday 7 October, 2020, joining the rest of the country at New Zealand’s lowest level on its COVID alert system.

Last month, SkyCity relaxed measures at its Hamilton and Queenstown properties following the move to alert level one, however, Auckland saw restrictions remain in place for what was said to be at least a two week period.

At alert level one, also dubbed ‘prepare,’ there are no restrictions on mass gatherings and physical distancing requirements for businesses.

2021

Eyas Gaming has been established by a team of online gambling industry veterans with backing from the Gauselmann Group, with a prime objective of targeting the newly regulated German online gambling market.

Joe Saumarez-Smith (chairman), Michael Brady (chief executive) and Adam Joseph (chief operations officer) will work together to build the online gaming offering, with an initial launch pencilled in for the opening of the fully regulated German market in July 2021.

“The regulation of the German market is a very exciting time and a huge opportunity for us,” Saumarez Smith said of the ambitions for Eyas Gaming.

“The proposed rules for the German market will present some big challenges for all operators but we think that we will be able to build a market-leading product with Merkur that is specific to the German market and the new regulatory regime.”

Gaining the backing of German gaming giant Gauselmann, Eyas Gaming will use the Bede Gaming platform, acquired by the group in March 2020, for all of its operations. The igaming entity will offer Merkur online slots games from Gauselmann’s Blueprint and Edict divisions.

125

Twin River Worldwide Holdings has published its preliminary third quarter operating results, as the casino owner and operator discloses plans of a private offering, subject to market conditions, of $125m in aggregate principal amount of 6.750 per cent senior unsecured notes due 2027.

For the three month period ending September 30, 2020, the company is expecting consolidated revenues to range from $100m to $130m, with consolidated adjusted EBITDA anticipated to fall in the $30m to $40m boundary.

Due to company wide property closures, the firm saw its second quarter revenue decrease 79.8 per cent to $28.9m from $143.2m a year earlier, with net loss finishing at $23.6m compared to an income of $17.2m year-on-year, and adjusted EBITDA closing at -$10.7m, a 122.6 per cent swing from $47.5m.

For the current quarter, the operator is expecting to be cash flow positive, and says that it will end with liquidity in excess of $360m inclusive of availability under its revolving credit facility.

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