Acquisitions, Las Vegas, igaming and online poker: The week in numbers

Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Today, we take a look at a pair of acquisitions, increased liquidity to protect jobs, an online surge, and praise for Las Vegas employees.

2.9

Caesars Entertainment has announced the agreement of a “historic acquisition” which will see the firm purchase William Hill for £2.9bn.

Coming just a short time after the bookmaker confirmed the receipt of two proposals, the other from US private equity fund Apollo Global Management, the acquisition, which is subject to antitrust and regulatory approvals, is expected to be finalised in the second half of 2021.

Caesars believes that the enlarged online gaming and sports businesses to be created as a result of the transaction could generate in the region of $600m-$700m in net revenue during 2021.

The agreement builds upon a current US joint venture operated by Caesars and William Hill, with 20 per cent and 80 per cent equity ownership respectively, which the former believes needs to be broadened in scope in order to be fully maximising across the betting and gaming ecosystem.

200

Canadian gaming and entertainment operator Gateway Casinos has secured CA$200m of liquidity to protect jobs across its roster of 26 gaming properties.

This has been achieved through the Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation’s first loan under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility.

CEEFC is a subsidiary of Canada Development Investment Corporation, both of which have been mandated to assist the Government of Canada as part of the country’s COVID-19 economic response plan.

The LEEFF is intended to supply bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing. It provides large employers with access to credit in order to preserve jobs and continue operations.

90

A strong online performance has resulted in 888 Holdings documenting a solid first half of the year, as igaming and online poker offset COVID-19 impacted sporting shortfalls.

Lauding strong momentum in the US where revenue increasing by 90 per cent year-on-year, reflecting significant B2C growth in New Jersey, H1 group revenue increased 37 per cent to $379.1m (2019: $277.3m).

On a B2C basis revenue reached $361.3m, a 38 per cent increase from $262.5m, led by strong performances across casino and poker which recorded rises of 72 per cent and 103 per cent in first time depositors. Across the group’s B2C brands FTDs rose 49 per cent.

Casino revenue was up 48 per cent for the period to finish at $260m (2019: US$175.4m), with poker increasing 56 per cent from $23.1m to $36.1m. Bingo revenue increased eight per cent to $21.1m (2019: $19.5m).

This offset an anticipated drop in the firm’s sports segment, with a one per cent dip to $44.1m (2019: $44.5m) coming as a result of global cancellations and postponements from March to June.

232

After previously asserting confidence in meeting its construction guidelines, Virgin Hotels has officially revealed that its Las Vegas property is to debut on January 15, 2021.

Revealing the date at a press conference featuring partners and investors, Richard Bosworth, president and CEO of JC Hospitality, owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, paid homage to the city and praised the resilience of the workforce across the region’s hospitality, gaming and entertainment industry.

“A lot has happened in the last 232 days (since Hard Rock was shutdown), the climate here in Las Vegas, COVID related, has been really devastating to the hospitality market,” it was commented.

“We feel very very fortunate that we were able to be closed during that time period, and we feel very fortunate that we were able to move towards completion on schedule, despite the COVID restrictions and the COVD requirements.

“We don’t take any of this for granted at all, in fact, before I talk about what is to come here with Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, I want to pay respect and homage to the employee and hospitality workforce of Las Vegas who has had to endure so much during the last six months.”

20

The European Gaming and Betting Association has welcomed the conclusion of a new European Commission report which has found a significant reduction in unintentional advertising on intellectual property rights infringing websites.

The Commission has found that an industry-led memorandum of understanding on online advertising and intellectual property rights has led to a 20 per cent reduction in the unintentional placement of their advertising on websites which infringe on IPR.

Published in 2018, the MoU was established with the purpose of limiting advertising on websites, such as illegal sports streaming sites and mobile applications that infringe copyright or disseminate counterfeit goods.

The MoU is a voluntary agreement signed by various industry associations which represent Europe’s major online advertising sectors and is facilitated and coordinated by the European Commission.

40

Better Collective has completed the £40m (€44m) acquisition of Atemi Group, a global igaming lead generation company specialising in paid media and social media advertising.

Lauded as a “major strategic move” that presents “significant synergistic opportunities,” Atemi has been branching out from its historic focus on igaming traffic acquisition and has more recently focused on building and investing in sports betting comparison platforms.

For 2020, the firm is on course to send more than 180,000 new depositing customers to their partners, and has set a revenue target of approximately €40m and operational earnings in the region of €8m. In 2019, Atemi generated revenues of €33m with an organic growth of 70 per cent year-on-year.

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