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LeoVegas AB: Q4 report and financial targets pushed one year to 2021

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LeoVegas AB: Q4 report and financial targets pushed one year to 2021Reading Time: 9 minutes

 

After a challenging 2018 we now see improved momentum with a record strong December and a positive start to 2019. Entering the new year we have full focus on expansion, cost control, increased profitability and to continue building the world’s best mobile casino.” – Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO

Fourth quarter 2018: 1 October– 31 December 2018

  • Revenue increased by 25% to EUR 84.5 m (67.8).
  • Organic growth in local currencies was 7%. Organic growth in local currencies excluding the UK was 14%.
  • EBITDA was EUR 8.1 m (6.1), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 9.6% (9.0%).
  • Net Gaming Revenue (NGR) from regulated markets was 33% (29%) of total NGR.
  • The number of depositing customers was 327,156 (253,299), an increase of 29%.
  • The number of returning depositing customers was 181,747 (124,890), an increase of 46%.
  • Earnings per share were EUR 0.22 (0.02) before dilution and EUR 0.22 (0.01) after dilution.

Events during the quarter

  • LeoVegas has applied for a gambling licence for the Spanish market. Approval and implementation are expected during the first or second quarter of 2019.
  • LeoVegas was one of the first operators to receive a licence for both casino and sports betting in Sweden.

Events after the end of the quarter

  • LeoVegas has postponed its financial targets from 2020 to 2021 due to developments in the UK market. However, the direction remains unchanged with financial targets in absolute numbers to reach EUR 600 m in revenue and EUR 100 m in EBITDA.
  • The Group’s Pixel.bet brand was granted a licence for online casino and sports betting in Sweden.
  • The Board proposes a total dividend of SEK 1.20 per share (1.20), to be paid out on two occasions during the year.
  • Revenue amounted to EUR 28.7 m (24.8) in January, representing growth of 16%.

Comment from Gustaf Hagman – Group CEO

2018 – an educational year for a seven-year old
2018 was the most challenging year in LeoVegas’ history. We bumped into challenges that we have not previously encountered and saw a slowdown in growth as a result. It was also a year in which we carried out a number of strategically crucial projects that have taken us large steps forward on our growth journey. There is much left to do, and there’s no doubt we can and will improve in many areas. We have learned a lot, and our position for achieving our long-term vision – to be the global market leader in mobile casino – is good. Today we are already the most appreciated brand in our home market in Sweden, and we are live in more markets than ever before. We are well-invested with our own technology, which makes us scalable and flexible, and we have taken large leaps in responsible gaming and compliance. Our multibrand strategy is in place, enabling us to rapidly launch new casino brands, and we are ready to expand in more markets in 2019 with an overall focus on cost control and increased profitability.

During the fourth quarter we also returned to sequential growth following a slowdown during the third quarter, and we ended the year with all-time high revenues in December, and with record-high customer activity. The new year has also started on a promising note – for example, our depositing customer base was up 42% in January. LeoVegas has just celebrated seven years as a company. We have achieved a lot in a short period of time, but we are still just at the start of our growth journey.

Fourth quarter figures
Revenue during the fourth quarter amounted to EUR 84.5 m (67.8), an increase of 25%. Organic growth in local currencies was 7%. As in the preceding quarter, growth during the period was affected by weak performance in the UK. Excluding the UK, organic growth for the Group was 14% during the quarter, which shows healthy underlying growth. October was the weakest month during the quarter, and December the strongest.

EBITDA totalled EUR 8.1 m (6.1), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 9.6% (9.0%). We increased our investments in marketing during the quarter, among other things to reassure our leading position in Sweden ahead of the market’s regulation, but also in other key markets. Marketing costs amounted to 37.9% during the fourth quarter, compared with 35.6% during the third quarter. Our personnel costs in relation to revenue remained at a higher level than we are pleased with. We will thus now focus on cost control, improving efficiency in our ways of working, and increase automation in our operations. This is also necessary in order to adapt our cost base to rising tax pressure in our regulated markets.

Sweden – finally a regulated market
The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived, when Sweden became a regulated market. We were among the first companies to be granted a licence, which is a quality seal and confirms our position as a leading, long-term and serious player in the industry. In January, LeoVegas’ Pixel.bet brand also received a licence in Sweden for casino and sports betting. Pixel.bet has the ambition to take the leading brand position in esports betting.

A regulated market has extensive guidelines for responsible gaming. We have good experience from other regulated markets, and we have developed the organisation and our marketing methods to offer our games in the best, sustainable way. We look forward to working side-by-side the Swedish Gambling Authority and our licensed competitors to ensure a sound and responsible market that impedes the presence of unlicensed actors.

With regulation of the market, all licensed gaming companies are now free to operate in stores. LeoVegas was the first one to grasp this opportunity in January. There is important symbolic value in having a physical presence at betting agents in connection with the implementation of the new gambling law in Sweden. We will now be able to truly challenge to the old monopoly through a greater exposure of our LeoVegas brand with an even closer presence to our customers in a new type of environment.

Regulation of the market in Sweden also made it possible for us to launch the popular Swish mobile payment method in the Swedish market. Swish both strengthens our customer offering and is expected to significantly lower our transaction costs.

Improvements in the product combined with increased marketing led to a strong fourth quarter in Sweden, with 18% sequential growth, which affirms our position as the leading casino brand. The new year has also started on a positive note for LeoVegas in Sweden. We have seen record-high customer activity, with 28% growth of our Swedish depositing customer base compared with the same period a year ago. At the same time, revenue is down somewhat compared with the same period a year ago, which is partly due to many customers initially using their welcome bonuses, but also to some trim-in challenges during the first two weeks following the start of regulation, and to the fact that players are getting accustomed to certain modifications in the gaming experience.

It is still hard to accurately predict the market dynamics in Sweden in the near term, but with a record-large active customer base and a large number of exciting product and marketing initiatives under way during the year, we are well positioned in our home market. As previously, we are confident that our product, customer experience, competence in responsible gaming, very strong brand and data-driven marketing will lead to higher market shares in Sweden.

UK
The UK is Europe’s largest gambling market and a market in which LeoVegas sees continued major growth potential in the long term. Together with our brands in Rocket X, LeoVegas and Royal Panda we have a unique multibrand position in casino. In the near term the market continues to be challenging, and after a transitional period we are now working from a new, lower level on which to grow. Our revenue continued to decrease sequentially during the fourth quarter, but with gradual improvements in both revenue and KPIs. This positive development continued on Group level during January. It is still too early to declare that we have turned the corner yet in the UK, but we are confident with the plan we have charted out.

Scale-up markets
We are satisfied with our performance in most of our markets during the fourth quarter. Germany continues to be a strong growth market and once again delivered a record quarter with growth of more than 200%. In addition to Germany – Finland, Denmark and Canada amongst other markets delivered good results during the quarter.

Changes in Group Management team
As previously communicated, Richard Woodbridge has been recruited as our new Chief Operating Officer. He took up his position on 7 January and has overarching responsibility for operations in LeoVegas. Richard is based at LeoVegas’ offices in Malta.

Group Management has also been reinforced with Avshalom Lazar, who we recruited as Chief Compliance & Legal Officer. Avshalom, who is based in Malta, will strengthen the Group Management team with relevant knowledge about the industry and an understanding of and experience in the higher requirements that are placed on companies in regulated markets.

We are also adding a new role to the Group Management, Chief Product and Technical Officer (CPTO), where we are combining the CTO and CPO roles. Mattias Wedar has been recruited to this new position and will begin at LeoVegas during the spring. Mattias joins us most recently from a similar role and has solid experience in product development and keen industry knowledge. With this new position, the product and technology organisation will have a single leader, which will increase its effectiveness and cooperation within the Group.

Tech update
We have previously presented the upgrade of our technical front-end platform, which took place during the second quarter. This has improved our organic search capabilities and during the fourth quarter we saw an increase in organic traffic by more than 70% compared to the same period last year. We expect to see continued positive effects from this combined with our data-driven marketing.

The Rocket X managed UK brands encountered certain technical issues that impacted the site performance during part of the fourth quarter. The issues are now to a large extent solved which is confirmed by a higher revenue and customer activity in January compared to December.

Our technology organisation has been through an intensive period, and during the fourth quarter, three parallel platform adaptations were made to the locally regulated markets in Sweden, Germany and Spain – an impressive record for LeoVegas. We are now beginning to gradually free up resources for a renewed focus on product innovation, new brands and markets – areas that are expected to drive our growth going forward.

Financial targets and focus on growth with profitability
Following a year burdened by a number of external factors and large internal projects, we are now well prepared for the future with a renewed focus on growth. Our direction remains firm, with financial targets in absolute figures to reach EUR 600 m in revenue and EUR 100 m in EBITDA. However, we have decided to push back these targets one year, until 2021, as our adaptation to the increased regulatory requirements in the important UK market caused us to temporarily lose our tempo compared with the previous business plan.

It is also increasingly clear for us that the coming years will be decisive for who will be the long-term winners in our industry and who will not be able to cope with the increased complexity, compliance, technological development and higher tax burden. We are therefore currently in a very exciting period in the gaming industry, and we are well prepared.

As more markets become locally regulated – with more regulatory requirements and higher tax pressure – it is important to be a company that is both agile and of a size that enables economies of scale. We are convinced that this requires proprietary technology and a world-class user experience while at the same time being well invested in responsible gambling and compliance – and having a diver­sified operation both geographically and in terms of brands. Moreover, we will continuously evaluate our marketing and our organisational set-up, all in line with our focus on growth with increased profitability in an increasingly complex business environment.

We have also decided to conduct a strategic evaluation of our portfolio companies within LeoVentures, with the intention to further intensify focus within the Company on our end goal – to be the market-leading mobile casino operator globally. At the same time, we believe that the years ahead will offer a number of new growth opportunities within casino for operators with the strength and ability to act quickly, as smaller actors have a hard time adapting to the growing requirements and complexity.

Comments regarding Q1 2019
2019 has begun on a good note for LeoVegas, with Revenue of EUR 28.7 m (24.8) in January, representing growth of 16%. Underlying customer activity remains strong, with 42% growth in depositing customers compared to the same period last year.

We have now forged ahead through both an eventful and challenging year with several acquisitions, accolades, higher regulatory requirements, a number of major platform projects and a change in listing to the Stockholm Stock Exchange’s main market list. We at LeoVegas now look forward to 2019, where we have put casino front and centre and have our full focus on profitable growth.

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 56 61 84 67, UK: +44 (0) 84 44 81 97 52, US: +1 64 67 41 31 67, Confirmation code: 9775259 or join at the web https://edge.media-server.com/m6/p/jtyut9im

This information is information that LeoVegas AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation 596/2014. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out below, at 08:00 CET on 12 February 2019.

 

 

About the LeoVegas mobile gaming group:
LeoVegas’ passion is “Leading the way into the mobile future”. LeoVegas is the premier GameTech company and is at the forefront of using state-of-the-art technology for mobile gaming. A large part of this success can be credited to an extreme product and technology focus coupled with effective and data-driven marketing. Technology development is conducted in Sweden, while operations are based in Malta. LeoVegas offers casino, live casino and sports betting, and operates two global and scalable brands – LeoVegas and Royal Panda – as well as a number of local brands in the UK. The company’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. For more about LeoVegas, visit www.leovegasgroup.com.

 


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: LeoVegas AB: Q4 report and financial targets pushed one year to 2021

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How the NBA is Making Waves in eSports

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How the NBA is Making Waves in eSportsReading Time: 4 minutes

 

The National Basketball Association has just turned 73 years old and is one of the four major leagues for professional level sports in North America. Thanks to this age and prominence, it is often considered the world’s leading basketball league, with good reason. Whilst comprising of teams only from the United States and Canada, the NBA attracts many international players who join from every continent. In addition, the average NBA team is worth $1.9 billion, considerably more than teams in other leagues.

Expanding the Empire

The NBA is currently enacting a strategy to leverage its brand around the world, developing audiences in regions outside of the United States including the UK, Africa and China. As part of this it recently announced the launch of a NBA YouTube channel to stream games to sub-Saharan audiences.

The eSports Expansion

In 2017, the NBA and games developer Take-Two Interactive announced that 17 of the 30 NBA teams would be taking part in the inaugural NBA 2K eSports League. This list included big names like the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors. The first of these eSports games took place in 2018, using the NBA 2K video games. Like real life games, NBA 2K eSports League games are contested between two teams of 5 players, making use of the “Pro-Am” mode found in the consumer version of NBA 2K 2018.

Just like in real life basketball, the eSports teams are generally made up of the following types of player:

  • Point guard: generally taking the on court leadership role for the team, typically having the best ball handling and passing skills to assist in creating shots
  • Shooting guard: typically the best shooter on the team, tasked with exploiting these skills, particularly when shooting from behind the three-point line
  • Small forward: often considered the most versatile position of the five, the small forward often takes on the role of the shooting guard, but is more likely to score baskets from lay-ups or slam dunks in contrast to the shooting guard’s three-point shooting abilities
  • Power forward: a versatile role, similar to the centre, which requires shooting and defence skills against all types of players
  • Centre: typically the tallest players, defending against shots and collecting rebounds.

The “eSeason”

In the real world, the NBA Championship will be decided between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors in mid June. Currently, odds comparison site Oddschecker is ranking the Raptors as favourites to take the crown. However, the NBA 2K eSports season begins in spring and finishes in summer. This timing allows the NBA to have its brand utilised for a larger portion of the year, beyond the end of the traditional basketball season.

eSports has become a multi million dollar industry.  Photo by Anthony Brolin, License

 

First Mover Advantage

The NBA’s announcement in 2017 that it would be launching the NBA 2K eSports League meant that it was the first major sports brand in the United States to enter the world of eSports. In contrast, most other eSports leagues are organised by tech companies like Intel – or games companies like Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite. Therefore, if the NBA is successful it will have several years of development to build a loyal eSports fan base, before rivals such as the National Football League or Major League Baseball join the party.

Growing Already

After a successful first year, four additional real life NBA teams will be joining the NBA 2K eSports League lineup, bringing the total number to 21. These new teams are: the Atlanta Hawks, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Brooklyn Nets and the Minnesota Timberwolves.The growth provides mutual benefits, since the teams will bring with them their own existing supporters who are more likely to follow their team’s eSports team, than an unknown entrant. In addition, the fans of eSports are likely to also gain a stronger interest in the real life team, buying merchandise and visiting games.

Live Streaming

Just as traditional sports leagues like the NBA have sold rights to air games on TV, the NBA 2K eSports League has signed a deal to have its games streamed live over the internet. The deal with streaming platform Twitch sees all games shown live, available to its audience of 15 million daily active users. The multi year streaming deal also includes commentary and analysis, just like you would expect from traditional TV coverage of any other sport.

The NBA 2K eSports deal is not Twitch’s first with the NBA. In December 2017, the two companies signed a deal that enabled Twitch to live stream games from the NBA G League, the official minor league, with up to 6 matches each week being distributed on the platform.

Sponsorship

Just like traditional sports leagues, the NBA 2K eSports League has signed a number of major sponsorship deals with large companies. Games are played on computers provided by gaming PC brand Alienware, using powerful processing chipsets supplied by Intel. Players use HyperX sponsored headsets and Scuf Gaming branded controllers. Teams also have their own sponsors, with their logos displayed on the teams’ in-game uniforms, just like in real life.

Conclusion

The growth in eSports has been massive, with large sums of money now being invested in creating leagues with all of the hallmarks of a traditional sport. In its quest to become a global sports brand, the NBA has been able to leverage its existing assets to create a large following in eSports, almost overnight. By launching the league in 2018 with 17 existing NBA teams, the NBA 2K eSports League already had loyal fans of 17 established sports clubs who would want to support them. Thus, it has a pre-made fanbase, huge financial assets and an established brand to leverage sponsorship deals and to use in negotiations when selling streaming rights.

In addition, the NBA’s venture into eSports is a significant opportunity to expand the reach of its brand into new geographic regions, as well as to new demographics that had not previously been interested in basketball. Even if a player does not become an avid watcher of NBA games, sales of the NBA 2K video game titles are also likely to benefit from the exposure of the NBA 2K eSports League.


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: How the NBA is Making Waves in eSports

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Week 24 slot games releases

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Week 24/2019 slot games releasesReading Time: 3 minutes

 

Spinsane, the latest release from NetEnt’s world-leading production studio, is a high-energy game with a land-based feel and big pay-out potential. The 5-reel, 3-row, 27-line video slot is based on classic stepper mechanics and has a look and feel that brings the ultimate slot machine experience, boosted with suspense effects randomly activated to add to the excitement.

NetEnt launches suspense-filled Spinsane

 

Get ready for super fun in the superhero-themed slot Spinfinity Man by Betsoft Gaming. Featuring a 7×7 cluster grid and wins of up to 5000x, there’s plenty to be excited about. Not only can our titular hero use his superpowers to amass huge wins, but he’s also ready to face off against his evil nemesis: the dastardly Mr. X. Chase him through Metropolis and battle for your chance to win huge in the bonus rounds!

Betsoft: SPINFINITY MAN

 

Quickspin, the Sweden based slot specialist, has released its first ever jackpot game, Dragon Chase. This 3×5 reel slot with 20 betlines boasts a stunning Asian theme steeped in traditional symbols, with striking graphics accompanied by beautiful themed music. Dragon Chase boasts several fantastic features, such as “Dragon Pearl Respin,” that are guaranteed to create a unique and thrilling gaming experience. In the Dragon Pearl Respin feature, users can collect up to 15 Dragon Pearl symbols to trigger the Mini, Minor, Major, or Grand Jackpot. The more symbols, the higher the jackpot level.

Quickspin's Dragon Chase

 

Realistic Games is offering players the chance to win big Down Under with its latest release, Aussie Adventure. The five-reel slot features some of the country’s most iconic sights and sounds, with bouncing kangaroos, shrimps on the barbie, a surfing koala on Bondi Beach, and the infamous digeridoos. Aussie Adventure gives players the chance to fly to Australia in the free spins bonus round, where they’re greeted with upside down reels, a retrigger chance at any point, and a jackpot of up to 250x their starting stake.

Realistic Games - Aussie Adventure

 

Kalamba Games has released its latest fun-filled title Joker 3600, offering players a nostalgic 80s themed slot experience with the chance to win big. Joker 3600’s 80s theme incorporates elements of classic computing, movies, toys and of course fruit, as well as other media particularly resonant with 40+ demographic. Joker 3600is exclusively distributed on the ORYX Gaming platform and is now available to leading casino operators.

Kalamba Games- Joker 3600

 

Pragmatic Play, one of the leading software providers for video slots, live casino and bingo, has unveiled its latest premium slot game, 5 Lions Gold. Offering 243 ways to win, the engaging 3×5 video slot features distinctive golden symbols including frogs, turtles and dragons. Three yin-yang scatter symbols trigger the free spins feature, while the lion symbol is a substituting wild which appears randomly on reels two, three and four.

PRAGMATIC - 5 LIONS GOLD

 

Microgaming, has launched Ruby Casino Queen, developed exclusively by Just For The Win. This luxurious five-reel, 20-payline slot transports players into a glamorous world of riches. Ruby Casino Queen features respins, free spins and three types of wilds, all accompanied by sumptuous sounds and dazzling graphics.

Microgaming - Ruby Casino Queen

 


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Week 24 slot games releases

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Sports Betting Revenue of West Virginia Increases in May

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Sports Betting Revenue of West Virginia Increases in MayReading Time: 1 minute

 

Sports betting revenue in West Virginia has increased by 69% in May to $937,065, while amounts wagered rose 4%.

The Penn National Gaming-operated Hollywood Casino remains the leading venue in the state generating $672,070 in revenue from $7.64m staked. Eldorado Resorts’ Mountaineer Casino ranked second with revenue of $222,736 and total wagers of $2.84m.

Delaware North’s Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Mardi Gras Casino did not accept any wagers again last month as its sportsbooks remained closed. Neither casino has processed any sports bets since early March. However, both the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Mardi Gras Casino paid out on a number of bets placed prior to the split, leaving them with minor losses for the month.


Source: Latest News on European Gaming Media Network
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Sports Betting Revenue of West Virginia Increases in May

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