Bally’s confirms UK sports betting launch as bosses talk up cross-sell opportunity

Rhode Island-based firm looking to capitalise on sustained igaming gains in UK with launch of sports vertical to snare wallet share and drive down acquisition costs
The post Bally’s confirms UK sports betting launch as bosses talk up cross-sell opportunity first appeared on EGR Intel.  

Bally’s has committed to launching online sports betting in the UK in 2024 after the operator once again made igaming gains in the market.

The commitment comes as UK revenue for the operator, which runs online casino brands including Jackpotjoy and Virgin Casino in the market, increased by 12% year on year (YoY) in USD and 7% on a constant currency basis. 

That revenue growth came as Bally’s International Interactive arm saw revenue decline 4.4% in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023 to $234.7m.

Bally’s also confirmed its igaming market share in the UK was estimated to be around 15%, while its online slots market share was around 17%, with a total customer database of more than 14 million registered accounts.

In the opening quarter of this year, the UK accounted for 68% of the revenue mix by geography for the firm’s international division. 

The operator said the reasons behind this successful performance in the UK was due to lower acquisition costs and improved returning customer engagement, as well as changes coming from the white paper into the Gambling Act 2005 review bearing fruit for the business.

On the online sports betting launch, while management did not say which brand would go live with the vertical, bosses did reveal their thinking behind adding the offering to the firm’s arsenal.

A core focus on cross-sell opportunities, as well as expanding UK TAM, were cited as the main reasons behind the upcoming launch.

Speaking on an analyst call following the results publication, Robeson Reeves, Bally’s CEO, said: “We’ve got the two prongs. You’ve got existing players who already spend on sports with our competitors. There’s a large proportion of our player base who do that. We’re hoping to consolidate some of that wallet into our system just by having a product we are missing.

“As you’ll see in virtually every market, acquiring through sports is much cheaper than acquiring direct to casino. I don’t intend to spend more in marketing, I intend to just drive more volume through acquisition because I’ve now got another tool in the locker.”

The CEO added that he also expects to see improved average revenue per user (ARPU) following the launch of UK sports betting.

Staying in the UK, Reeves also praised yesterday’s announcement from the Gambling Commission (GC) regarding its plans for affordability checks.

The GC revealed a six-month pilot scheme for enhanced affordability checks while confirming “light touch” checks will begin with net deposits of £150 a month.

On the announcement, Reeves commented: “Firstly, I wanted to say they’ve done a great job. They worked well with the industry. They listened to all operators and they’re doing the right thing for players, and this will be a good long-term environment for operators to exist in.

I’m delighted it’s [the pilot] been released and, as I’ve said before on the topic, it still remains true. As larger, high-quality operators will continue to gain share, and it will get more and more difficult for the smaller operators. I’m very happy of where the UK is.”

Bally’s has previously said the upcoming online stake limits in the UK, due to begin in September with £5 limits per spin for those aged 25 and over, would not impact the business.

Reeves once again took the opportunity to explain how the regulatory changes in the UK would result in a more sustainable outlook for the Rhode Island-based firm.

Reeves said: “In the UK, we took advantage of the uncertainties created by the white paper and continued our online igaming market share gains, resulting in strong revenue growth. As the year progresses, we look forward to the launch of online sports betting in the UK to complement our igaming offering and add another customer acquisition funnel.”

Away from the UK, Bally’s said it would be looking to market more in Spain, following the news the Spanish Supreme Court has overturned a raft of gambling advertising restrictions implemented by Royal Decree 958/2020. 

Meanwhile, Bally’s Q1 2024 financial report saw group revenue increase 3.3% YoY to $618.5m (£494.1m). 

When broken down by segment, the firm’s land-based casinos and resorts division’s revenue went up 4.1% YoY to $342.3m. 

The International Interactive division, as mentioned, saw revenue slip, with Reeves stating this drop-off was mainly due to operations outside the UK.

North America Interactive saw the biggest growth in the quarter, jumping 70.2% YoY to $41.5m. This was mainly due to the firm’s growth in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well as its launch as a monopoly igaming operator in Rhode Island in March.

Bally’s said its revenue from Rhode Island igaming had “ramped up nicely” throughout April, in line with internal expectations.

Adjusted EBITDAR for the operator totalled $148m, representing a 6% downturn YoY from Q1 2023, with total adjusted EBITDA landing at $116m.

Land-based EBITDAR declined from $105.1m to $89.4m, while the International Interactive arm saw a slight uptick in the KPI from $80.3m to $83.5m.

However, North America Interactive was unable to shake its losses, landing at $10.2m for the quarter.

Bally’s CFO Marcus Glover said: “Our financial results for the first quarter of 2024 demonstrate the strength of our diversified business segments. Bally’s operating teams remain focused on reducing expenses and enhancing operating efficiency. 

“We are evaluating all business areas and implementing initiatives to streamline or centralise operations where it makes sense. Overall, we made progress on several of these initiatives in the first quarter and are looking forward to the promising opportunities that lie ahead.”

Finally, Bally’s expects full-year 2024 revenue to fall between $2.5bn and $2.7bn, with adjusted EBITDAR between $655m and $695m. 

Breaking this guidance down, the firm anticipates its casinos and resorts division to generate revenue of between $1.4bn and $1.5bn, with adjusted EBITDAR between $410m and $440m. 

The International Interactive division is forecast to produce revenue between $950m and $1bn and adjusted EBITDAR between $329m and $350m.

The North America Interactive division is expected to turn revenue between $150m and $200m along with an estimated EBITDAR loss of between $25m and $35m.

The post Bally’s confirms UK sports betting launch as bosses talk up cross-sell opportunity first appeared on EGR Intel.


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