Swedish gambling company Betsson, owner of Kroon Casino and Oranje Casino, among others, announced this morning figures for the last quarter of 2018. Above the press release was the jubilant headline "Revenue and EBIT all-time high for the third consecutive quarter".
A selection from the figures, converted from Swedish crown to euro:
- Betsson achieved a turnover of € 137.4 million. That is 14% higher than the 4th quarter of 2017).
- Online casino games accounted for € 102.5 million in revenue, or 74.5% of the total.
- Turnover grew in all regions where Betsson is active.
- The casino market segment in particular grew strongly: a plus of 24% compared to the 4th quarter of 2017.
- Betsson had 668,721 active players during the quarter.
- The operating result (EBIT) amounted to € 32.7 million.
- The net profit amounted to € 30.0 million.
Those are sounding figures and CEO Pontus Lindwall shows himself very satisfied in his explanation. He owes the results to the rigorous reorganization he has deployed since his inception at the end of 2017, under the name "Back on track" – a subtle way to blow his own praise:
"I am happy to see how we have been able to show continuous results from the" Back on track "program during the year. A year ago we announced the plan that involved the entire organization. Since then, the focus has been on the development of products and technology to continue to deliver the best customer experience. "
"A challenging start of the year"
But Lindwall doesn't just call hosanna. For example, he is not that enthusiastic about Sweden, where online gambling has been regulated since January 1 this year (with a gambling tax of 18 percent). That makes it more difficult and especially more expensive for Betsson to perform well:
"New big players entering the Swedish online casino market has changed market conditions and we are expected to see an impact in this segment. These factors, together with high bonus costs, a challenging start of the year in Sweden, but customer activity is in line with our expectations. "
The rough start in Sweden is of course not yet reflected in the figures presented today, but does not promise anything good for the results for the first quarter of 2019.
In addition, the gambling tax for casino games in Italy was increased from 20 to 25 percent on 1 January.
And then there is the uncertainty about the Dutch market. It seems likely that the new Act on Remote Gambling will be adopted by the Senate on Tuesday 19 February. But is that law accompanied by a strict one black out period, as a result of which Betsson may not be active in the Netherlands for a number of years That would cost millions of euros in sales.
It appears that, due to developments in Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands, investors have little confidence in the near future for the Swedish gambling giant. The Betsson share made a dive this morning and is currently nearly 6 percent lower than yesterday's closing price, at 76.03 Swedish krona.
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