Gala Coral Group lost nearly £50m in its fiscal H1 despite online sports betting revenue more than doubling year-on-year.
On Wednesday, Gala Coral reported a net loss of £49.8m in the 28 weeks to April 9, a significant turnaround from the £103.4m profit reported in the same period a year ago, although that figure was artificially goosed by the sale of its retail bingo operations.
The company blamed the shortfall on paying down debt, new taxes and increased costs, including those associated with the company’s imminent merger with rival Ladbrokes and training retail staff on new consumer protections and anti-money laundering measures.
Overall revenue was up 13% to £605m, with most of the gains coming online. While Coral retail revenue improved 4.3% to £382m and the continental Eurobet retail division was up 29% to £54.9m, Gala Coral’s online operations surged 45% to £166.2m.
Coral.co.uk’s sports betting revenue jumped 108% to £32.7m despite stakes rising a comparatively puny 39% as margins rose nearly two points to 7.8%. The site’s gaming revenue was up 38% to £53.4m thanks to improved cross-sell and high levels of multi-channel play.
Mobile channels represented 74% of sports stakes and 70% of gaming. The company’s omni-channel Coral Connect customers accounted for between 40% to 50% of Coral.co.uk’s revenue and the company says they represent twice the value of non-Connect punters.
Galabingo.com reported revenue up 15% to £47m, with 60% of stakes coming via mobile channels. Galacasino.com revenue fell 17% to £1.2m following a deliberate reduction in marketing.
The Italian-facing Eurobet.it site saw revenue jump 38% to £27.1m as increased marketing drove a 110% rise in first-time depositors. Sports revenue was up 70% to £14.1m while gaming revenue rose 15% to £13m.
Coral retail machine revenue was up 3% to £209.3m while OTC betting revenue rose 5% to £165.7m despite stakes falling 1% and the worst Cheltenham Festival gross win margin since 2003, although these losses were largely offset by a good showing from the Grand National. Eurobet retail revenue spiked 29% to £54.9m thanks to a 53% rise in sports revenue and a four-point margin gain, which helped offset a 9% fall in virtual sports take.