Intralot hopes to stem red ink with red, white & blue betting
Greek lottery and betting operator Intralot continues to bleed red ink following the loss of some significant contracts and a much-derided US sports betting presence.
Figures released Friday show Intralot generated revenue of €168.2m in the six months ending June 30, a 55.5% decline from the first half of 2019. Gross profit fell 60% to €30.6m, earnings slid 54.5% to €26.7m and the company booked a net loss of €42.6m versus a comparatively paltry loss of €13.7m the previous year.
Intralot blamed the decline on this spring’s suspension of its Bulgarian client’s operations, the 2019 loss of a major Turkish contract, social unrest in Chile and the general negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on retail operations and major league sports. The net loss came despite significant declines in operating expenses, including a 44% fall in selling costs.
Intralot was keen to switch the spotlight to its US-facing operations, which saw revenue rise by 15.2% to €62.2m (although the wider ‘Americas’ segment saw revenue fall 13.2% to €88.7m). However, the US gains were largely due to a new lottery contract in Illinois rather than the company’s fledgling sports betting operations.
In May, the Montana Lottery launched its Intralot-powered Sports Bet Montana betting product, which stumbled out the gate due to the pandemic-related halt to most sports operations. By the end of August, the Intralot offering had generated total betting handle of only $3.75m.
Later that month, the District of Columbia’s controversial Intralot-powered GamBet online sports betting product made its debut to almost universal disdain due to the product’s expensive betting lines. The lousy odds mean the product has almost no chance of ‘channeling’ punters to the locally approved option when so many fiscally superior internationally licensed options exist.
Intralot is poised to launch Sports 603, another lottery-affiliated retail betting product in New Hampshire, sometime before the end of the year. But given that Intralot’s limited offering will be competing with DraftKings’ digital wagering product, don’t expect this deal to rescue Intralot’s bottom line anytime soon.
Despite its modest US betting footprint, Intralot signed on as an Authorized Gaming Operator of Major League Baseball in July, allowing the company to display MLB trademarks in products that few bettors will actually ever see.
Looking ahead to H2, Intralot expects its overall picture to improve due in part to some new product launches and “the recovery of a number of operations from the pandemic,” which is a level of certainty that most medical professionals can’t muster. Beware of Greeks bearing optimism?
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