BUSINESS

Playtech has record Q3, eyes major acquisition, triumphs over Winamax

TAGs: Playtech, winamax

playtech-record-quarter-expressoOnline gambling technology provider Playtech says its third quarter was a record breaker, putting the company on track to exceed current market expectations for full-year results. The company issued a Q3 trading update on Wednesday, showing a 28.6% year-on-year rise in revenue to €116.5m. The good times have continued into the first three weeks of Q4, with average daily revenue up 22% over the same period last year and up 2% sequentially.

Playtech’s mainstay casino vertical continued to earn the lion’s share of company revenue, rising 33% to €62.4m, while services revenue rose 19.3% to €34m. In fact, every vertical besides ‘other’ was in positive territory, but ‘other’ at least had the decency to remain flat at €1.6m. Sports betting posted the most dramatic gain, rising nearly 109% to €7.1m, thanks in part to the launch of an online sportbook for Italian media outlet Gazzetta dello Sport. Bingo rose 9.5% to €4.6m, land-based gambling rose 20.7% to €3.5m and even poker managed to improve 3.1% to €3.3m (although this was down 8.3% sequentially).

Playtech’s eastward shift continued in Q3, with Asia’s share of company revenue rising two points to 36% from Q2, while Europe and the rest of the world shed a point apiece to 56% and 8% respectively.

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer touted the number of deals the company inked in the quarter as evidence that the party is only getting started. Weizer noted that three licensees had shifted their UK-facing business to Playtech’s white label structure, “demonstrating the financial and operational benefits that can be achieved by using our turnkey offering.”

Weizer said Playtech would have big news sometime in H1 2015 regarding a major acquisition that would take the company “to the next level”. Weizer suggested the financial pressures about to be brought on UK-facing operators by regulatory changes would “put them in the right position to do a deal.” Playtech has been sitting on a massive cash pile for over a year after its former William Hill Online joint venture partner cut a check to acquire Playtech’s stake.

In even more good news, Playtech has triumphed in a French court case in which it had been accused of thieving the intellectual property of French online poker market leader Winamax. In August, Winamax had sued Playtech and several of its licensees over Playtech’s Twister sit n’ go game format, which Winamax believed infringed on its own Expresso three-handed ‘hyper-turbo’ lottery-style poker product. But earlier this month, the court rejected this argument, saying Expresso was “neither innovative nor original” and ordered Winamax to pay Playtech, Betclic Everest and Unibet €3k apiece.

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