UK-listed betting and gaming operator Gala Coral Group saw significant improvement in its online operations despite the UK’s new point-of-consumption tax (POCT).
Total group revenue in Gala Coral’s fiscal H1 – covering the 28 weeks ending April 11 – was up 5% year-on-year to £684.8m. But online revenue rose 38% to £123.3m and betting handle was up 42%, leading the company to crow that the combined Coral and Gala websites are “the fastest growing in the UK online gambling market, adding more net revenue than any of our listed peers.”
Online earnings were up 12% to £23.9m, although the company hastened to add that earnings would have been up 72% if you discount the new 15% online POCT. On a similar note, if you discount the fact that I am not Brad Pitt, I’d be having sex with Angelina Jolie right now, rather than relaying some gambling company’s fiscal rationalizations.
On an individual website basis, Coral.co.uk was the star performer, with active customers up 44% and revenue up 66% to £54.9m. Sports revenue rose 55% to £16.1m while gaming was up 72% to £38.9m. In-play wagers now represent 71% of sports wagers (excluding horseracing), up from 41% in the same period last year. Mobile wagering accounted for 71% of sports betting stakes and 63% of gaming.
Gala websites saw actives rise 4% while revenue rose 28% to £48.8m. Gala Bingo revenue was up 30% to £40.9m as mobile stakes more than doubled, accounting for 49% of the total. The ‘Play Happy’ TV campaign was credited with delivering “record levels of acquisition and reactivation.” Gala Casino revenue rose 9% to £7.2m, despite stakes falling 14% on reduced VIP activity.
The Italian-facing Eurobet site saw actives up 34% while revenue gained 8% to £19.6m. Gala Coral says the combination of a cross-channel marketing pitch and multichannel customer acquisition has allowed Eurobet to boost its market share to 10%, “overtaking a number of online-only competitors,” with only Bet365 holding a bigger chunk of the Italian online pie.
On the retail front, Coral Retail’s H1 revenue was basically flat at £366.2m and earnings nudged up 1% to £78.5m. Gala retail revenue slipped 1% to £149m but earnings leaped 64% to £26.2m thanks to last year’s reduction in bingo duty. Eurobet revenue rose £500k to £42.5m but “exceptionally poor” Italian football results pushed earnings down 26% to £6.9m.
Looking forward, the company says online growth trends have persisted into the five weeks to May 17, with “particularly strong” performances by Coral.co.uk and Galabingo.com, while Eurobet.it has enjoyed improved football margins.