BUSINESS

GVC hails Q3’s online growth, rues UK retail betting decline

TAGs: GVC Holdings

gvc-holdings-online-gambling-growth-uk-retail-bettingUK-listed gambling operator GVC Holdings says it enjoyed strong double-digit online growth in the third quarter of 2018, although UK retail betting operations lagged the rest of this otherwise happy gambling family.

In a trading update issued Thursday, GVC says total group net gaming revenue was up 14% year-on-year in the three months ending September 30. The numbers assume that GVC’s acquisition of the Ladbrokes Coral brands was a fait accompli in the prior-year period, while factoring out GVC’s divestment of its Turkish-facing business.

Overall online revenue was up 31%, with GVC’s sports brands – bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Ladbrokes and Sportingbet – improving 28% (up from 19% growth in H1 2018). The second half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup helped boost betting turnover by 16% while margins improved 0.8 points, and the recently acquired Georgian-facing Crystalbet business “continues to grow strongly.”

GVC’s gaming brands – CasinoClub, Foxy Bingo, Gala, Gioco Digtale, PartyPoker and PartyCasino – enjoyed 19% growth (versus 13% in H1). PartyPoker was singled out for posting 43% year-on-year growth thanks to increased marketing spend and a packed lineup of live event tournaments, confirming the brand’s resurgence after its dire performance in the Bwin.party era.

European retail revenue was up 24% in Q3 thanks to “growth in all regions.” The Eurobet brand’s betting shops reported growth up one-third (17% if you factor out the World Cup wind-assist). It was a different story in the UK, where retail revenue dipped 2%, as a 1% rise in machine gaming revenue failed to offset a 4% fall in OTC wagering and a slight decline in OTC betting margin.

GVC also announced that it had appointed Rob Wood as its deputy chief financial officer, effective immediately. Wood, who currently serves as CFO of GVC’s Ladbrokes-Coral UK retail ops, will eventually replace current CFO Paul Bowtell, who plans to step down from GVC’s board effective March 5, 2019 to start his new life in the private equity world.

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