Unibet, Kambi roar out 2016’s starting gate

unibet-kambi-sports-solutions-2016-strong-startSwedish-listed online gambling operator Unibet set another revenue record in the first quarter of 2016 following an acquisition-heavy 2015.

Figures released Wednesday showed Unibet’s gross winnings revenue hit £122.4m in the three months ending March 31, up 61% from the same period last year. The numbers were goosed by £12.8m in contributions from recent acquisitions Stan James Online and iGame Group.

Unibet’s earnings were similarly impressive, rising 80% to £27.6m while profit after tax doubled to £20m. The acquisitions dramatically improved the number of active customers, which rose from 612k in Q1 2015 to just over 1m this year.

Unibet CEO Henrik Tjärnstöm said organic growth excluding last year’s acquisitions was 41%. Gross winnings revenue to date in Q2 is up around 50% year-on-year (20% minus the acquisitions) despite lower sports betting margins.

As might be expected, Unibet’s individual verticals posted equally hefty gains in Q1, with sports betting revenue up 52%, casino up 76% and even the traditionally sucky poker vertical joined the party, rising 45% to £3.2m.

The acquisitions helped accelerate Unibet’s shift away from a reliance on its core Nordic markets, which earned only £200k more than Western European markets in Q1. Both categories tied at 44% of the overall pie, with Central, Eastern and Southern Europe improving two points to 10% and other markets falling one point to 2%.

Also shining brightly in Q1 was Unibet’s former B2B sports betting arm, Kambi Sports Solutions, which was spun off into a standalone entity in 2014. Kambi reported its Q1 revenue rising 33% to €13.3m, while operating profit more than doubled to €2m and profit after tax tripled to €1.8m.

Kambi said its sports betting licensees enjoyed turnover growth of 50% in Q1. Kambi added two more licensees – LeoVegas and Rank Group – during the quarter, and announced a new deal with Malta-licensed online casino operator Mr Green last week.

Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén said the company was in the process of rolling out its new HTML5 client to all its operators, and he expected the company’s strong start to 2016 to continue given the year’s action-packed sports calendar.