iGB Intelligence reports iGB-Market-Monitor-May-2020-proof4 | Page 8

Part 1: The UK – Covid-19 compounds contraction Selected company-by-company analysis 888 – good things come to those who wait Having had to delay its results announcement due to the market chaos at the end of March, 888 had to wait to show investors just how much the company’s fortunes have improved in the past year. Total group revenue was up 10% on a constant currency basis to US$560m (£454m), driven by casino (up 17%) and sports betting (up 19%). Not coincidentally, the company’s UK position has improved with the growth. Revenues from the UK grew to 36% of group total or circa $202m as the company claimed that a focus on recruiting recreational customers had paid off. The company said first-time depositors had risen 26% over the course of the year, while ARPU decreased 10%. Notably, VIP revenues as a percentage of the UK total fell to 4%, from 35% in 2018 and 65% in 2017, which suggests the company has gone through a complete overhaul of its marketing and customer relationship practices in the past two years and with nothing by way of a detrimental effect on revenues. Of course, the overhaul was needed. Back in August 2017, 888 was on the wrong side of a then record £7.8m fine from the UK’s Gambling Commission for self-exclusion and customer care failings. In response, 888 has cleaned up its act and reaped the benefit of an increased focus on its ‘safer gaming’ efforts, to the extent that it now says compliance and safer gaming are “at the forefront” of the company’s operations. Analysts at Peel Hunt suggested the company was now more able to withstand any potential further regulatory shocks than many of its competitors. Bearing in mind the temporary ban on TV and radio advertising announced at the end of April by the BGC, the Peel Hunt team noted that in Italy, 888 increased its first-time depositors number by 18% even as an advertising ban fully came into force. “A shift away from the relatively blunt instrument of display advertising and in favour of the precision of digital marketing plays to 888’s strengths,” the Peel Hunt team added. Gamesys – in a ‘sweet spot’ There has been a circularity about Gamesys; having sold the JackpotJoy business to Intertain back in 2015, this then became JPJ Group, which then subsequently regained the Gamesys name after a reverse takeover last year. In amongst all that change and change about, the UK casino and bingo business has continued to plough its very fruitful furrow. In the most recent trading statement from the company, Table 2: 888 FY 2019 selected figures Group revenue ($m) Est. UK revenues ($) Sports exposure (% of total revenues) Source: Company reports 580.6 202 16 Table 3: Gamesys selected figures Q120 revenues (£m) Q1 growth rate (%) Percentage of group revenues derived from the UK (%) Sports exposure as percentage of total revenues (%) Source: Company reports 155.3 19 63 0 iGB Market Monitor • The UK and Sweden • May 2020 5