Genting Singapore, Playtech, LVS & EGBA: the week in numbers

Insider trading, licence review & M&A activity: the week in numbers

Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Potential M&A action at Genting Singapore and Playtech, loot box dismay in the UK, second quarter financial performances, as well as potential strike action in Canada all feature in our latest review of a selection of last week’s headlines.

1,600

Genting Singapore confirmed that the group it is “not aware of nor has it been party to any ongoing discussions concerning any potential transaction”.

This came as the company responded to questions from the Singapore Exchange regarding perceived unusual price movements, with shares up more than nine per cent at the latter end of last week, after several media outlets mooted acquisitive interest in the company.

This saw Bloomberg, among others, report that MGM Resorts International had made overtures to the billionaire Lim family, controlling shareholder of Genting Singapore, to sound out potential interest in a deal.

In response to the SGX query, the company noted that while an “unsolicited approach” was received there’s no interest in pursuing a deal regarding a potential divestment. 

Genting Singapore operates Resorts World Sentosa, one of two integrated resorts in the city-state alongside Las Vegas Sands’ Marina Bay Sands.

The resort, worth in excess of $5bn, features six themed hotels with approximately 1,600 hotel rooms, casino, aquarium, aquatic park, Universal Studios Singapore, spa, selection of indoor and outdoor MICE venues, and a variety of dining, retail and entertainment options.

3.3

Kindred revealed that the ongoing quest to stamp out the receipt of revenue from harmful gambling remained consistent through the year’s second quarter at 3.3 per cent.

This figure remains level with that recorded during the year’s first quarter and 2021’s July to August time frame, and a drop from the four per cent that was detailed during the latter stages of the past 12 months.

However, the online gambling group also reveals that improvement effects after interventions have increased to 84.7 per cent, which it says has been impacted by the continued work with a focused and more cautious approach towards a younger 18-25 demographic.

8

A potential strike could have unfolded in Ontario as Unifor members at eight Great Canadian Gaming Corporation casinos threatened action, before a tentative agreement at six was reached.

The threat of a strike, which would have begin on July 22 at midnight if a new agreement has not been negotiated, is down to workers prioritising wages, benefits and pensions for Unifor members working at table games, slot, security, cashiering, food and beverage, kitchen and culinary, guest services, housekeeping and maintenance.

Unifor Local 1090 represents approximately 1,500 gaming workers at the Great Blue Heron Casino, Casino Woodbine, Pickering Casino Resort, Casino Ajax, Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands, and Shorelines Casino Peterborough.

750

Eddie Jordan expressed interest in a bid for B2B gambling group Playtech for the second time, reported The Times.

This came as positive news for Playtech, which hit another hurdle in its search for a buyer last week when Hong Kong investment fund TBB Investments, which remains a shareholder in the firm, withdrew its bid, citing ‘challenging underlying market conditions’.

Jordan hreportedly come close to making a 750p-per-share offer for the company in February via his JKO Play investment vehicle, co-owned with fellow Irish businessman Keith O’Loughlin.

However, despite Playtech extending the deadline for JKO to make an offer from January 5 to January 26, Jordan withdrew his bid for the company.

1,240

Members of the European Gaming and Betting Association have reportedly made progress in responsible advertising efforts, according to an independent monitoring.

This came after the European Advertising Standards Alliance, assisted by advertising analytics firm Nielsen, was commissioned to assess adherence to the group’s pan-European responsible advertising code during last year’s Euro 2020 football tournament.

This first monitoring of the EGBA code is said to have discovered that it forms a solid basis for responsible advertising, with most members already applying most of its measures. 

The evaluation was from a sample of 1240 adverts from EGBA members in Greece, Romania, Ireland, and Sweden, which included TV ads, online pre-rolls, static and animated online banners, along with the social media accounts.

In their conclusions, shared with EGBA in June 2022, EASA was reported as giving positive feedback about the code, with it cited that the “comprehensive and detailed content” contained are responsible for the aforementioned solid foundation.

However, it was suggested that the code could be strengthened further, particularly on the clarity of the responsible gambling message in the adverts.

344

Martin Carlesund, CEO of Evolution, commented that he viewed the second quarter as “good but not great” on a financial basis, adding that the figures reported are “not quite” reflective of the “success we have had operationally”.

In addition to factoring in “the exceptional development” of 2021’s first and second quarters, Carlesund stated that “we are happy but not content” with an EBITDA margin of 69.3 per cent which is expected to continue varying through the year.

“We all know that the world is a challenging place right now and it’s hard not to mention the ongoing horrible war and also the effects of the pandemic,” he noted.

“Our fast expansion is affected by the current cost inflation especially in categories like energy, logistics, semiconductor products and wages.”

Revenue through the quarter amounted to €344m, up 34 per cent from €256.7m, with the live casino and RNG segments increasing 36.7 per cent and 6.1 per cent to €278.5m (2021: €203.7m) and €65.5m (2021: €53m), respectively.

2020

Epic Risk Management expressed deep disappointment that the UK has not recommended the introduction of legislation to govern the sale of loot boxes to minors.

These comments followed a two-year Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport inquiry that ruled against taking legislative action, after a call for evidence was opened in 2020.

Instead, the government suggested that the purchase of loot boxes be made unavailable to children and young people unless they are approved by a parent or guardian.

In addition to voicing plans to educate on the virtual items, the gambling harm minimisation group noted that “contrary to the government’s stance, we see loot boxes as gambling and as with any other gambling product, the sale of loot boxes to under 18s should not be legal”.

186.3

Betsson is to continue monitoring macro and geopolitical factors that could bring yet more uncertainty and influence business trends, particularly if a potential recession comes to reality, as the online gambling group reflected on its second quarter and full-year performance.

The saw the company record an eight per cent Q2 revenue uptick to €186.3m (2021: €172.8m), primarily driven by significant upticks across the Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia regions.

Gross profit for the year increased three per cent to €111.8m (2021: €115.7m), however declines of 14 per cent and 16 per cent were felt across net income and EBITDA which closed the quarter at €28.5m (2021: €33.3m) and €39.3m (2021: €14.6m), respectively. Active customers increased by 21.3 per cent to 1.24m (2021: 1.02m).

For the year these trends are maintained, with revenue up eight per cent during January and June to €356.4m (2021: €330.2m), as gross profit reached €225.8m, up four per cent from 2021’s €218.1m.

1.05

Las Vegas Sands asserted that it remains committed to its digital investment strategy, despite acknowledging that, at the current time, the group is focused on land-based recovery.

After voicing an expectation of exploring multiple online and land-based growth opportunities, with New York, Texas, and Florida mooted, earlier in the year, the company has issued an update that Singapore and Macau recoveries are now the focal point.

However, on the Empire State, the company did note that despite having nothing new to report, the prospects presented by the region make it increasingly appealing.

“We have a plan in place,” said Rob Goldstein, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of LVS, in addition to suggesting that “we’re one of many in the hunt there” that are awaiting the RFP process to unfold.

The comments came as LVS disclosed its performance through the year’s second quarter, which saw revenue drop 11.4 per cent year-on-year to $1.05bn (2021: $1.17bn).

Operating and net losses increased slightly from $139m and $280m to $147m and $414m, respectively, with adjusted property EBITDA down 14.3 per cent to $244m (2021: $209m).

However, net income and EBITDA slid 13 per cent and 12 per cent to close the six month time frame at €49.4m (2021: €57.1m) and €72.7m (2021: €82.3m).

Author: Ava Harvey