Is Gala Coral’s mobile product that good or is its desktop product that bad?

gala-coral-mobile-gamblingUK-listed gambling firm Gala Coral Group turned in a stellar performance in what could be its final earnings report before its pending merger with rival Ladbrokes.

Gala Coral reported growth across all its divisions in the 16 weeks ending Jan. 16, despite the additional taxes that have undone so many of its UK competitors. Gala Coral CEO Carl Leaver credited “CRM-led reductions in churn and high levels of customer acquisition at market leading costs-per-acquisition.”

Group revenue rose more than 16% to £333.3m while gross profit improved by 10% to £225m and earnings rose nearly 15% to £62.4m. Leaver credited better football results and claimed earnings would have risen 56% were it not for an extra £22.7m bill courtesy of the UK’s new online point-of-consumption tax (£12.7m) and the increase in land-based Machine Games Duty (£9.9m).

The division reported revenue up 69% to £47.6m thanks to the aforementioned sporting turnaround. Sports betting revenue rose 173% to £19.4m as stakes rose 50%, driven by a 39% rise in first-time depositors and 28% gains in spend-per-head.

Coral’s online gaming revenue rose 34% to £28.2m as active customer ranks leaped 45%. Mobile accounted for 71.3% of gaming stakes (+10pp), higher even than sports’ 70.4% mobile share (+9.3pp), suggesting Coral is either doing something very right with its mobile product or something very wrong on its desktop. revenue improved 18% to £25.8m thanks to enhancements to its VIP program and continued use of the Play Happy TV campaign. Mobile activity rose 11.8pp to 56.4% of stakes, marking the first time mobile has accounted for the majority of Gala’s digital wagers (and one record jackpot).

The Italian-facing site saw revenue leap 42% to £14.5m, as sports betting nearly doubled to £7.4m while gaming gained 11% to £7.1m.

Coral’s retail revenue rose 6.5% despite over-the-counter betting stakes being largely flat year-on-year while gaming machine stakes dipped slightly. OTC revenue rose 11% to £92m while machine revenue rose 4% to £117m.

The Eurobet retail operations reported revenue up more than one-third to £28.4m after 250 shops were relocated to “more profitable locations.” Sports betting revenue jumped 78% to £19.6m and Eurobet increased its retail sports market share by 2.4pp to 16.1%.

Leaver offered a brief update on his group’s merger with Ladbrokes, saying the companies expected to hear the Competition and Markets Authority’s provisional findings by “mid-to-late April,” with a final decision due by June 24. In the meantime, Leaver says his focus remains on executing Gala Coral’s existing strategy, which he believes has the company “very well placed for the year ahead.”