Nordic online gambling operator Betsson says strong growth in its casino vertical helped offset poor sports betting results in December.
Figures released Thursday show Betsson’s revenue rose 7% to SEK 1.12b (US $125.6m) in the three months ending December 31, while operating income surged 52% to SEK 256m as margins improved seven points to 23.7%.
Betsson’s core casino operations drove the numbers upward, as casino revenue rose one-fifth to SEK 823.7m. Mobile casino revenue was up 83%, while overall mobile revenue rose 46% to SEK 546.8m, now representing 49% of group revenue.
Betsson continues to humble-brag that its mobile casino is now the “world’s largest.” Betsson’s casino boasts 1,758 games, of which 1,246 are available via mobile channels thanks to the rollout of Betsson’s new OBG front-end technology platform.
On the flip side, Q4 sportsbook revenue dropped 15% to SEK 264.4m due to player-friendly results, the withdrawal from certain markets and decreased contributions from B2B partner Realm Entertainment, which derives a good chunk of its revenue from bettors in Turkey. Realm’s share of Betsson’s overall revenue slipped four points to 12% in Q4.
Betsson says its core Nordic operations grew 17.1% in Q4, faster than the market, and the Western Europe region gained 5.2% while the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) region declined 8.3%, which the company blamed in part on weak regional currencies.
For the year as a whole, group revenue rose 11% to SEK 4.12b, thanks to a 14% rise in Betsson’s core casino revenue. Operating margins slipped 0.8 points to 23% – blamed in part on its “very weak second quarter” – but operating income still managed to rise nearly 9% to SEK 946.4m.
Looking forward, Betsson says 2017 is off to a “strong” start, as Q1 revenue to date has been “significantly higher” than the average of Q1 2016 and also higher than Q4 2016’s average. Product development costs are expected to increase at a slower rate this year than in 2016.
Betsson expects great things from its UK and Italian operations, which more than doubled their revenue contribution in Q4 (and the UK offering got a further boost via last week’s acquisition of NetPlay TV). Combined, the company expects these two markets will “potentially” surpass contributions from the Turkish market in 2017.