Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter The days when the igaming sector would be revolutionised by social betting on Facebook or via peer-to-peer platforms are long gone, but features that grew out of social, such as Sky Bet’s Request A Bet, are now being supplemented by player feeds and group betting, writes Jake PollardThe rise of social features in sports betting has been one of the key trends of the igaming sector over the past two years, but it is not a re-run of the social betting model that so many start-ups tried to develop with little success five years ago.This is visible from the current user-generated products that have proved so popular in the past two years or from features such as BetBright’s BetFeed. This acts as a recommendation tool that enables punters to see what other players have bet on. In essence, it gives them ideas or suggestions.Sky Bet kicked off the whole trend with (what has turned out to be) the game-changing Request A Bet. It’s worth remembering that the product had humble beginnings: it started out on Twitter on Friday afternoons, with the bookmaker telling customers it had a trader available to price up any weekend markets they fancied. Soon enough it had more customers than it could handle and the rest, as they say, is history.The Leeds-based bookmaker’s latest ‘social’ feature is Group Betting, which allows punters to create a group and invite friends to join. Each player is able to add a leg to an accumulator and the group can track its progress in-play.However, this is not a repeat of the Facebook or peer-to-peer social betting trend of circa 2012-2013. Where those companies were extolling the virtues of word of mouth, bragging rights and fantasy football leagues as prime examples of how social interactions could power them to untold fame and fortune, these days the social features launched by the likes of Sky Bet or BetBright are add-ons to existing products, rather than the main attraction. The fact that all online bookmakers now offer some variant of the bet-request model is proof that the product works when it comes to attracting customers and will stay in its current form for some time.This explains why Sky Bet has continued to develop social features such as Group Betting. But as Brian MacSweeney, formerly of Betgenius and now a consultant for DraftKings, explains, the social factor within online betting only works up to a point.“The new wave of social features are more semi-private, where you are really sharing with a tight group of friends,” he says. “You can see the genesis in Australia where they have ‘punt clubs’ and the like. Betting is a private matter, shared with trusted friends and a lot of the business failures along the way didn’t really reflect this.”MacSweeney is right; for all the talk of players bragging about their winning bets, how often have you seen punters post on Facebook or Instagram to brag about their winnings?The counter to this argument is that the power of recommendations and seeing what other people bet on acts as a conduit for players to look around and potentially bet on the same or related markets.“Across e-commerce, ‘most read’ or ‘most popular’ are powerful features,” adds MacSweeney, “so I’ve been surprised we’ve not seen more of this sooner. All of it is based on social proof, an age-old technique that we all are susceptible to, and for that reason I think it has a lot of potential.”Marc Thomas, formerly of William Hill and Sportingbet and now working as a consultant with Propus Partners, agrees that it is more about harnessing social features than going ‘all in on social’. Referring to Sky Bet’s accomplishments, Thomas says, “Request A Bet was something of a happy accident and prior to it the customer journey and experience for specific bet requests was very clunky and slow, so it has played a major part in moving the sector forward.A social platform like Twitter was also ideal, because it enabled positive engagement with customers, differentiation for Sky Bet and fast service for pricing up markets. Where SkyBet’s qualities really came through is that it is more progressive as a company than many of its competitors and uses the best tech and strong marketing to come up with excellent products.” This is certainly true, and in 2018 it is not unfair to say that where Sky Bet leads, the rest of the industry follows. In corporate terms the group also benefited hugely from being associated with its broadcasting parent company Sky and long-standing association with the TV show Soccer Saturday. That said, having huge brand recognition isn’t enough on its own as the Sun Bets experience of the past two years has shown. To succeed, operators must combine operational excellence with the best strategy execution.In terms of product development it will be interesting to see where the whole social-group betting, build-your-bet products head to next. They generate some margins for the operators, but how sustainable are they? Surely some player fatigue at rarely winning will slow the juggernaut down. Unfortunately, BetBright did not return requests for comment from iGaming Business, while Sky Bet said it was “too early to share anything on Group Bets at the moment”.When it comes to financials, a quick look at William Hill’s most recent results revealed that Your Odds, its own version of Request A Bet, generated 25% of the group’s World Cup-related gross win. While this is impressive, it didn’t lead to any substantial rise in betting revenues across the group, which implies that punters are simply switching spend from existing products to Your Odds. Nonetheless, there is no denying that having a crack at a potential major accumulator payout is fun and same-game multiples are now standard across the betting portfolio.MacSweeney is unequivocal in his thinking. “A weekly social-led acca is more about the chat and group dynamics and not really about the revenue,” he insists. “Where the value is likely to be is in keeping a group with the brand and helping acquire friends who may not already have a Sky Bet account. It is another addition to betting, which is turning into a rich tapestry of options from the days when a single bet on the league outright winner was the only offer.”As to how much extra revenue these products bring in, William Hill’s figures suggest punters’ leisure spend is being spread around more, rather than increasing. Sky Bet might change that with Group Bets, but the focus will remain on real-time feeds of overall betting activity to provide stimulus and data to players.More likely, bookmakers’ homepages will soon have players’ and their friends’ activity showing personalised offerings according to latest bets and suggestions for related markets. In other words, betting with a side of personalisation, social and recommended products.Jake Pollard is a leading journalist and content producer in the igaming sector. He has covered the industry for many years and worked on all the major business-to-business publications. The days when the igaming sector would be revolutionised by social betting on Facebook are long gone, but features that grew out of social are making waves, writes Jake Pollard Topics: Casino & games Sports betting Strategy Social gaming The rise of social betting Tags: Online Gambling Casino & games 11th September 2018 | By Hannah Gannage-Stewart AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Email Address
Victoria first to implement new consumer protection controls Legal & compliance Tags: Online Gambling 22nd May 2019 | By contenteditor Victoria will this weekend become the first Australian state to introduce strict new nationwide online gambling rules covering marketing, promotions and deposits.From Sunday (May 26) Victoria will implement regulations agreed late last year by regional and federal authorities to commit to the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering.Under the rules, online betting operators in Victoria – home to 6.4m people – must comply with requirements for betting account deposit limits, restrictions on direct marketing and a ban on perks that encourage consumers to continue betting.Victoria’s Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Marlene Kairouz, said the new rules would make the state’s gambling sector the best regulated in Australia.“These Australian-first changes are about tightening the rules for online betting operators and empowering consumers to make better choices – and I encourage other states and territories to follow our lead,” said Kairouz.“Victoria is the first state to sign up to the national framework because it offers greater protection to people who gamble online and gives them practical steps to better manage their gambling.”From Sunday wagering service providers will be banned from offering credit, vouchers or other rewards to an account holder as an incentive to refer their family or friends to open a betting account. Operators will also be prohibited from providing complementary or free bets on the condition that account holders can only use the winnings to continue to bet, rather than giving customers an option to withdraw the funds.Consumers must proactively opt-in to direct marketing, and must be offered simple and easy-to-use tools to set limits on the amount of money that can be deposited. Customers must also be able to easily close accounts.The changes were welcomed by Shane Lucas, the chief executive of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.He said: “Providing individuals with easily accessible tools and information to monitor and manage their gambling are important steps in reducing and preventing gambling harm.”The National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering, designed to offer “nationally consistent protections for consumers of Australian interactive wagering services” is to be implemented across the country by May 2020.The federal government introduced the new rules following the 2015 Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering and over fears about the prevalence of problem gambling among online punters. It claims that the rate of online problem gambling is three times higher than other types of gambling.Speaking in December 2018, Paul Fletcher, the Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, said: “The measures are designed to reduce the harm that can be caused to individuals and their families by excessive or at-risk online wagering.“The National Framework will apply to about 2.5 million active online wagering accounts, or about a million people in Australia.” Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Topics: Legal & compliance AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Victoria will this weekend become the first Australian state to introduce strict new nationwide online gambling rules covering marketing, promotions and deposits. Regions: Oceania Australia Email Address
Finance 16th September 2019 | By Daniel O’Boyle Czech lottery and gaming giant Sazka Group has reported a 6% year-on-year increase in gross gaming revenue to €908.5m for the first half of 2019, while profit for the period was boosted by the sale of its Croatian business to Emma Capital. Czech lottery and gaming giant Sazka Group has reported a 6% year-on-year increase in gross gaming revenue to €908.5m for the first half of 2019, while profit for the period was boosted by the sale of its Croatian business to Emma Capital.Amounts wagered for the six months to 30 June, 2019 rose 3.8% to €2.59bn. Of the business’ €908.5m GGR, the majority came from numerical lotteries, comprising draw-based and passive lottery games. While draw-based games reported a 2.7% increase in revenue to €468.0m, passive lottery revenue fell 9.9% to €26.8m, resulting in total numerical lottery GGR declining marginally year-on-year. The sports betting vertical also declined compared to the prior year, which included the group stage matches at the 2018 Fifa World Cup. Sportsbook revenue was down 4.7% to €194.5m.However, the lower lottery and sports betting revenue was offset by a strong performance from Sazka’s video lottery terminals and gaming machine operations, which saw revenue jump 63.7% to €146.6m. Digital revenue also grew strongly, though from a low base, with revenue from the channel soaring 335.5% to €10.3m. The company paid out €283.2m in lottery taxes, leaving net gaming revenue of €625.3m, up 6.8% year-on-year, while its revenue from the sale of goods and services and other operating income declined 3.9% a combined €65.6m.The company’s operating expenses totalled €461.2m, down 2.2% year-on-year. Agents’ commissions increased 2.2% to €200.3m, while costs for materials, consumables and services fell 4.9% to €152m. Marketing costs increased slightly to €45m, while personnel expenses rose 8.7% to €52m. Other operating expenses decreased 49.5% to €11.9m, while Sazka also received an additional €57.0m in income from investments.This left operating earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €286.6m, up 24% year-on-year.Depreciation and amortisation costs increased 22.9% to €59.4m, bringing profit from operating activities to €227.1m, up 24.4%. Interest income more than tripled to €3.7m, while financial income fell 39.1% to €1.3m and financial costs declined 9.4% to €39.7m. Sazka’s pre-tax profit rose 35.2% year-on-year to €192.4m, and its net profit from continuing operations increased 38.6% to €145.1m.In March, Sazka — which was 75% is owned by KKCG and 25% by Emma Capital — divided its assets between the two investment groups. Following the deal, KKCG held 100% Sazka Group shares and all of the shares Sazka Group holds in the Greek OPAP lottery (which the operator is set to acquire outright), the Italian Lotto Italia and Casinos Austria. Emma Capital, meanwhile, received Sazka’s Croatian operation, including sportsbook company SuperSport.The sale to Emma Capital was counted as a €274.7m profit, while Sazka group also made €15.6m from the Croatian subsidiary during the period, resulting in a net profit of €435.4m for H1 2019. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter VLT growth offsets H1 lottery and betting decline for Sazka Regions: Europe Central and Eastern Europe Southern Europe Western Europe Czech Republic Croatia Greece Italy Austria Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Topics: Finance Lottery Sports betting Email Address
14th January 2020 | By contenteditor Regions: Europe Central and Eastern Europe Germany Legal & compliance Topics: Legal & compliance Sports betting Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter The Ministry of the Interior in the German state of Hesse has revealed that it has received eleven applications for sports betting licences, with a further seven operators making binding commitments to make submissions.Minister of the Interior Peter Beuth said that according to the current status of applications, at least 75% of operators active in the German sports betting market were intending to apply for a licence.“This is a good sign for player protection in Germany,” Beuth said.The announcement comes a month after the Regional Council of Darmstadt, the body responsible for managing the application process, issued a warning that unlicensed activity would not be tolerated, with no companies having submitted their applications at the time. Its warning had been heeded, the minister claimed.However, Beuth also stressed that the implementation of the third amended State Treaty on Gambling, ratified by lawmakers in March 2019, was only a short-term effort. Negotiations for a long-term regulatory model, which were due to begin last year, will continue into 2020.To replace the State Treaty after it expires on 30 June, 2021, Hesse is pushing for a system that will allow online casino alongside sport betting, as well as a national self-exclusion system across all product verticals.It believes that supervision of this expanded market should be handled by a new, dedicated institution. As Hesse, specifically the Regional Council of Darmstadt, has built up signficant knowledge of gambling regulation after being tasked with overseeing the licensing process, Beuth argued that it was the natural base for this new regulatory body.The minister also noted that progress was being made on negations between the states. However, he did warn against “over-regulation”, which he said could drive players to unlicensed operators.“The states must work together to find solutions that protect the player but at the same time represent a regulatory framework that [is viable for the operator],” he said.Beuth has previously warned that failure to adopt a more liberal regulatory framework by 2021 could force Hesse to break away from Germany’s other 15 states to create its own model. Tags: Mobile Online Gambling OTB and Betting Shops AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Hesse receives 11 sportsbook licence applications The Ministry of the Interior in the German state of Hesse has revealed that it has received eleven applications for sports betting licences, with a further seven operators making binding commitments to make submissions. Email Address
Casino Cosmopol rolls out retraining scheme for staff Topics: Casino & games People Strategy The Casino Cosmopol subsidiary of Svenska Spel has announced the launch of a new initiative to help furloughed staff retrain as healthcare workers during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.Working in partnership with the Skill Shift Initiative (Beredskapslyftet), the new scheme will offer up to 20 guaranteed places for Casino Cosmopol employees to undertake intensive carer training.The training will take place at the at the Grand Hôtel and Sophiahemmet in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, with Casino Cosmopol to provide SEK200,000 (£16,070/€18,396/$19,995) in funding to support the project.Those that undertake training will be offered temporary work in health care and care in the Swedish capital Stockholm.“I am really proud that we at Casino Cosmopol can contribute to social benefit in the difficult situation we are in; it is important that all good forces work together now,” Casino Cosmopol’s Stockholm casino manager, Thérèse Liljeqvist, said.“I really believe that at Casino Cosmopol, with our service attitude, the habit of working all hours of the day and our professionalism, can make a big difference to many people in health and social care.”Svenska Spel temporarily closed all four of its land-based Casino Cosmopol sites in Sweden at the end of March, in line with government measures to combat the spread of coronavirus. As part of its plans to mitigate the impact of the outbreak, Casino Cosmopol laid off all workers in hourly and probationary positions, while 98% all permanent staff were placed on temporary leave. In total Svenska Spel has furloughed 800 of its 900 land-based staff, and 45 of the 135 employees working for its igaming division, Svenska Spel Sport & Casino.Casino Cosmopol operates casinos in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Sundsvall and Malmö.Confirmation of the new training scheme comes after Svenska Spel earlier today (20 April) issued responsible gambling advice for players spending more time at home due to the coronavirus, but said it had not yet seen any signs of higher-risk gambling.Svenska Spel said it is continuing to observe player behaviour and has increased the number of interventions in makes for players who show signs of problem behaviour. 20th April 2020 | By contenteditor Email Address Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Casino & games The Casino Cosmopol subsidiary of Svenska Spel has announced the launch of a new initiative to help furloughed staff retrain as healthcare workers during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Regions: Europe Nordics Sweden
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has maintained its criticism of the country’s upcoming casino stake limits, arguing amendments to the rules may make them even more difficult to implement in time.A SEK5,000 (£401/€459/$495) mandatory weekly cap on stakes across all verticals, alongside a SEK100 bonus cap, were initially proposed by Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi in April, and were due to come into effect from 1 June. The government later amended these rules so that they would only apply to online casino products and would come into effect from 2 July.However, the regulator said these restrictions may still be too difficult to implement, even by the later deadline of 2 July deadline.“The Gaming Inspectorate has no detailed knowledge of the extent of the changes involved, but it cannot be ruled out that these are changes that are both time-consuming and that can, to some extent, require re-certification of the systems,” it said. “Therefore, there is a risk that there are licensees who cannot meet the new requirements within the proposed time.”It added that making the restrictions apply specifically to casino games, rather than across all verticals, was likely to make them more difficult to implement.“Different limits for different games can in themselves pose a difficulty for the gaming companies in cases where the operator has a license to provide both commercial online betting and gamng,” it continued.In addition, Spelinspektionen said it “maintains its position” set out in its response to the consultation on the earlier version of the restrictions. In that response, it said the rules would only have a “marginal” effect on player protection, while they may benefit the unlicenced market to a greater degree.The rules have been widely criticised by stakeholders. Online gambling operator association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) said the measures were likely to lead to more players moving to the unlicensed market. It launched a petition against the restrictions, signed by chief executives of many operators including Betsson, Kindred Group, LeoVegas, NetEnt and William Hill.BOS added that the changes to the rules, making them apply only to online casino, appeared intended to protect businesses in which the government held a stake, such as former horse racing monopoly ATG, rather than players.The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) also criticised the measures as “not evidence-led” and warned they may do more harm than good for Swedish player protection.Earlier this week, chief executives from nine major Sweden-facing gambling operators suggested a series of new player protection measures that they said would be more effective than the stake limit. Topics: Casino & games Sports betting 9th June 2020 | By Daniel O’Boyle Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has maintained its criticism of the country’s upcoming casino stake limits, arguing amendments to the rules may make them even more difficult to implement in time. Casino & games Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Spelinspektionen hits out again at casino stake limits Regions: Europe Nordics Sweden Email Address
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter UK casinos are to remain closed until at least 15 August after the government postponed the further easing of lockdown measures put in place due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. UK government orders casinos to stay closed until 15 August 31st July 2020 | By contenteditor Regions: UK & Ireland Topics: Casino & games Legal & compliance Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter UK casinos are to remain closed until at least 15 August after the government postponed the further easing of lockdown measures put in place due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.Earlier this month, the government said that it would allow more indoor venues including casinos, cinemas and bowling alleys to reopen from tomorrow (1 August) as part of its gradual easing of lockdown in the UK.Casinos have been closed since 20 March and remained shuttered despite other land-based gambling outlets such as betting shops (15 June) and bingo halls (4 July) being allowed to welcome back customers.However, the government has now delayed the planned relaxation of measures on larger indoor venues, with these now set to remain shut for at least another two weeks.Planned trials of sports event with some fans in attendance will also now not take place until later this month at the earliest.“We simply cannot take the risk; we will continue to study the data carefully and move forward with our intention to open up as soon as we can,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.However, Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, hit out at the decision, saying there is “no evidence” to show that casinos are higher risk venues. He also blasted the decision to enforce the ongoing closures nationwide.“What happened to the government’s local lockdown strategy,” Dugher said in a Twitter post. “Why should a casino business remain closed in Bristol in the south west, where Covid-19 is low, because there’s a spike in greater Manchester? Big threat to jobs.”The announcement came after the government last night (July 30) reintroduced a number of restrictions in northern England over concerns about an increase in Covid-19 cases. People living in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire can no longer meet with other households inside their homes.The Scottish government has warned against all but essential travel to the regions.Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday also set a provisional date of 24 August for the country’s casinos, bingo halls and amusement arcades to reopen, subject to a further decline in Covid-19 cases.However, Sturgeon said that the indicative dates are not confirmed, meaning they may still be changed should the government decide there has not been enough of a reduction in cases across the country.It is not yet clear whether today’s announcement by the Prime Minister will have an impact on the planned Scottish reopening, with Covid-19 cases only mainly on the rise in England. The Welsh government is yet to announce a reopening date for casinos in the country. Email Address Casino & games
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Enlabs has acquired a further tranche of shares in Global Gaming, triggering the threshold for the Latvian operator to make a bid to acquire the business outright.Enlabs has acquired 9,878,086 shares in Global Gaming, priced at SEK11 per share, which it intends to pay for 50% with cash, and 50% by issuing new Enlabs shares.This takes its holding in the Ninja Casino operator from 29.89% to 54.06% of all shares and votes.As a result it is obliged to make a public offer to acquire the remaining shares of the business within four weeks, which it fully intends to do.It plans to offer Global Gaming’s other shareholders the opportunity to transfer their shares to Enlabs for a consideration of SEK11 per Global Gaming share. This represents a 34% premium on Global Gaming’s average trading price over the last 90 days. Enlabs said it would not increase this offer.Over the year to date, Enlabs has steadily increased its stake in Global Gaming, acquiring 11,300,000 shares in the business in June on top of the 920,028 shares it already held. This took its holding to 29.9% of the operator’s issued shares, making it the business’ largest shareholder.That in turn gave Enlabs the right to put forward a number of proposed appointments to the Global Gaming board. After these were approved, Enlabs chair Niklas Braathen joined the board, alongside finance professional Christian Rasmussen, lawyer Michael Niklasson and Jonas Bertilsson, chief executive of investment company Rugosa.Per Enlabs’ wishes, Arne Reinemo, a director of Global since May this year, was reappointed to the board.For the first half of the year, Enlabs saw operations disrupted by novel coronavirus (Covid-19), with authorities in its core Latvian market shutting down gambling across all channels from 8 April to 10 June. This resulted in revenue falling 9.9% to €16.6m (£15.0m/$19.6m).In its report for the period, the operator’s managing director for Central Eastern Europe Dainis Niedra described the Global investment as an “important milestone” for the business.“Enlabs and Global Gaming complement each other well as we both operate on the same markets in Finland and Estonia,” Niedra explained. “Global Gamings brand NinjaCasino is one of the best-known brands in the gaming industry and are pioneers of pay and play technology.”Global Gaming, which added an Altenar-powered sportsbook to Ninja Casino this week, saw first half revenue revenue fall significantly year-on-year, in part due to the business being shut out of its core Swedish market. However, the operator significantly reduced its net loss for the first half, having returned to profit in the second quarter. Strategy Regions: Europe Baltics Nordics Estonia Finland 27th August 2020 | By contenteditor Topics: Strategy Email Address Tags: Mobile Online Gambling Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Enlabs prepares bid to acquire Global Gaming Enlabs has acquired a further tranche of shares in Global Gaming, triggering the threshold for the Latvian operator to make a bid to acquire the business outright.
Land-based decline offsets digital growth for Rank in FY2020 AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Rank Group has reported a year-on-year decline in net gaming revenue (NGR) and net profit for its 2020 financial year, mainly due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on its land-based operations. Bingo Rank Group has reported a year-on-year decline in net gaming revenue (NGR) and net profit for its 2020 financial year, mainly due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on its land-based operations.NGR for the 12 months to 30 June amounted to £638.1m (€702.4m/$831.1m), down 8.2% from £695.1m in the previous year.Rank noted declines across all of its land-based businesses in the UK, Spain and Belgium, all of which were forced to closed for a number of months in line with Covid-19 measures in both markets.Grosvenor Casinos in Great Britain remained Rank’s main source of income, despite having been closed from mid-March until 15 August. However, NGR in this area of the business tumbled 18.4% to £275.9m.Rank’s Mecca Bingo venues began to reopen on 4 July, after being shut since mid-March, and this period of closure inevitably had a negative impact on revenue, with revenue down 30.1% to £128.4m.Outside of Great Britain, revenue from Rank’s international venues business fell 20.9% to £35.5m. Enracha venues across Spain closed in March and started to reopen throughout June, while this was the same for Rank’s Casino Blankenberge in Belgium.However, there was some positive news for Rank in terms of its digital business, where operations – including Grosvenor and Mecca sites in the UK, Yo bingo in Spain and Passion Gaming in India – continued. revenue here was up by 22.6% year-on-year to £145.3m, making it the second highest source of income behind Grosvenor CasinosRank also hailed the impact of Stride Gaming, which, acquired in October 2019, helped bring in an additional £51.0m in revenue. The operator reported a further £2.3m in revenue from closed venues that have since been closed.Rank took a number of steps to help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on its business, including placing more than 7,600 staff on furlough, with a core team kept on to support communications with customers and furloughed employees.The operator also rolled out community initiatives to support those impacted by the pandemic, including using kitchens at its Mecca and Grosvenor locations to prepare over 50,000 free meals for emergency service workers, NHS staff and vulnerable residents.As to how this impacted its costs, Rank only saw a small year-on-year decline in total expenses, with overall spent falling by 0.6% to £616.0m. Cost of sales was down 3.4% to £365.5m, but operating costs increased 3.9% to £250.5m.Employment and related costs, Rank’s main outgoing, were lowered by 5.2% to £211.9m, while tax and duties remained level at £134.3m. Direct costs edged up 3.6% to £85.4m, but property costs were slashed by 67.3% to £19.6m, due to the closure of land-based sites in the latter part of the year.Marketing expenses increased 52.4% to £51.5m, depreciation and amortisation costs climbed 79.8% to £75.5m, though other spend was down 12.3% to $37.8m.Rank also reported details of separately disclosed items outside of usual costs, which amounted to a loss of £27.6m. This included £37.9m worth of impairment charges, £1.4m in acquisition costs, and £10.2m in property-related provisions, but these were partially offset by a successful £25.0m VAT claim in the UK.When accounting for all costs, this left Rank with an operating profit of £23.5m for the year, down by 39.7% from £23.5m in 2019. After including finance costs, profit before tax was £15.3m, compared to £34.6m last year.Rank paid £6.0m in tax, leaving the operator with a net profit of £9.4m for the full year, down 67.7% from £29.1m at the end of its 2019 financial year.“Despite continued good growth in our digital brands, with our venues closed from mid-March, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the group has been significant,” Rank chief executive John O’Reilly said.“However, with the huge commitment and dedication of our colleagues, very tight cost control across the business and the support we have received from government, we have carefully navigated the past few months and are now beginning to successfully emerge.”Rank noted its current performance following the reopening of venues in the UK and Spain. Mecca venues in July and August typically achieved 70% of prior year revenue and with visit numbers at 55% of prior year levels.London Grosvenor venues saw 40% of prior year revenue levels, but locations outside London saw revenue at 75% of the previous year. Enracha venues have ben operating at approximately 65% of prior year levels.In addition, Rank said its digital businesses are performing broadly in line with expectations, with its Mecca, Yo and the Stride non-proprietary brands showing positive performances in recent months.“We’ve been encouraged by the first few weeks of trading following reopening and whilst the supply-side constraints, including social distancing and changes to the way we operate table gaming, are going to be challenging over the coming months, the response from customers to the extensive safety measures we have in place has been very positive,” O’Reilly said.“The post-lockdown expectations of customers who are looking for ways to safely enjoy their leisure time and spend will be higher than ever, and we are determined to ensure our brands are well-positioned to benefit from this shift.” Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Tags: Online Gambling 10th September 2020 | By contenteditor Topics: Casino & games Finance Bingo Email Address
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter “This possibly suggests that 2019 may have seen the start of a new trend where organisations shifted focus from supporting individual groups to the broader more inclusive theme of mental health and well-being for all, incorporating the needs of specific groups and the impact of exclusion on health and wellbeing,” All-in said. Male staff also accounted for the majority of executive board positions. In total, 59.2% of these roles were held by men, and 40.8% by women. “We believe that surveying the industry annually is one of the most significant ways we can continue real progress globally,” All-in Diversity Project co-founder Kelly Kehn said. “We are grateful to all participants who are both committed to their own progress but also to the industry’s overall improvement.” The report also found male and female dominations within certain jobs areas, with males dominating technology, and trading and risk roles. Women, meanwhile, tended to hold positions in hospitality, and human resources and people development, which All-in put down to “traditional stereotypical assumptions” in the workplace. Furthermore, though the percentage of females working in technology roles compared to males was consistent with 2018, the number of women in trading dropped halved from 18% in 2018 to 9% in 2019. All-in also flagged concerns over equality and anti-discrimination policy training, saying less than 70% of organisations offer training and learning to help support their policies, compared to 90% in the previous year. The majority of women included were found to be earning less than 50,000, with just 12.4% earning above this sum. In comparison, 24.8% of male industry employees earned over 50,000 in 2019. Tags: All-in Diversity Project Regions: UK & Ireland Topics: Social responsibility CSR Looking at the types of policies respondents had in place, 83.3% ran policies for both equal opportunities and anti-discrimination, while 91.7% committed to an anti-bullying and harassment policy. All-in Diversity Project blasts lack of female board representation Though there was no significant change between 2018 and 2019 regarding types of employment contract based on gender, All-in did see a gender gap in terms of pay. IGT ranked second on 71 points, followed by Sky Betting & Gaming on 70, then Betsson Group with 68 and SIS on 60. One company, which was not identified in the report, scored zero in the performance study. “This could be due to a realignment of the role description to distinguish between compliance and commercial risk, or it could again be a reflection of the expansion of the survey to include more organisations active in the expanding and predominantly masculine US sports betting market,” All-in suggested. Email Address Respondents reported data in several different currencies, and as such All-in did not specify currency. However, it did reveal a significant imbalance among the highest paid executives. While 51 male executives had an annual salary of 200,000 or higher, just five women were paid this sum. However, there was a rise in the number of organisations running conscious and unconscious bias training, with this rising from 50% of companies to 72%. There was also an increase in organisations offering training related to inter-cultural competence and challenging inappropriate behaviour. Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Some 79.2% of organisations had diversity and inclusion policies, but only 58.3% ran mental health and wellbeing policies. CSR The All-in Diversity Project has called for women in industry management roles, after its latest industry benchmarking report revealed less than a quarter of non-executive board positions were held by female members off staff. 17th November 2020 | By Robert Fletcher Other key findings included 80% of respondents saying they communicated an organisation-wide message on diversity and inclusion, while over half of the featured companies said their senior teams promoted gender quality, had an equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, and spoke at internal events about these issues. Developed in partnership with the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice at Oxford Brookes University, the All-Index 2019 Annual Report looked at data from 26 organisations across the industry, which together represent more than 100 global gambling brands. Just 34% of heads of department and directors were female, the report said, while only 15% of chief executives and managing directors were women. Among the major findings in the study was that 77.5% of non-executive board members were male, compared to just 22.5% that were female, down 5.5% on the previous year. However, 77.8% of organisations offered support for both mental health and wellbeing. In contrast, males accounted for over 70% of all C-level roles and 80% of chief executive or managing director roles. In terms of under-represented groups, the number of organisations that offered additional support to groups including LGBTQ+ communities, disabled people, ethnic minorities and those with cognitive profiles fell by 30% year-on-year. Though All-in did not disclose the identity of all the organisations that took part in the report, it did reveal GVC Holdings scored the highest in its performance study with a top score of 73, up from 39 last year.