Global Gaming revenue falls three-quarters, share price rises


global-gaming-ninja-casino-sweden-online-gambling-revenueOnline gambling operator Global Gaming insists that it will survive the “dark times” it’s undergoing following the disruption of its Sweden-facing operations.

On Thursday, the Stockholm-listed Global Gaming issued an interim report on its financial performance during the three months ending September 30. The company’s revenue was down more than three-quarters to SEK60.3m (US$6.2m), leading to an operating loss of SEK37.6m and an after-tax loss of SEK37m.

Things were only slightly better on the year-to-date front, as revenue was down 48% to SEK354.6m, with an operating loss of SEK92.1m and after-tax losses of SEK90.3m. Despite the gloom and doom, investors reacted favorably to Global Gaming’s update, pushing the company’s share price up 9.5% by the end of Thursday’s trading.

Tobias Fagerlund, who took control of the flailing company in July, wryly observed Thursday that “saying it was dark times would be a gross understatement.” The revocation of its Swedish online gambling license in mid-June meant that “the word ‘challenge’ took on a whole new meaning for us.”

Last week, Global Gaming lost its latest appeal of that license revocation, a decision the company plans to challenge based on its belief that the Swedish gambling regulator’s decision was “wrong and disproportionate.” Fagerlund said the ultimate outcome of this appeal “is important not just for us but for the legislation and the future of the gaming industry in Sweden.”

Fagerlund copped to the fact that there were “no magic tricks” that will restore Global Gaming to its former glories but the company is taking a number of steps to stop the slide, including cutting its payroll in half. The company will also significantly reduce its marketing once the “financial burden” of its current commitments for the year expire.

Fagerlund said the company was “truly pleased” with its collaboration with rival Finnplay, which acquired the Swedish domain of Global Gaming’s flagship Ninja Casino brand in September. Global Gaming says it will “wholly” transfer Ninja’s Swedish operations to Finnplay’s tech platform in Q4 and expects to “fully reap the benefits of this transfer” starting in Q1 2020.

Global Gaming also launched a new Swedish-facing online casino brand (NanoCasino) via Finnplay’s Viral Interactive subsidiary, and Fagerlund said the new brand had met a “positive reception” with Swedish gamblers, although the brand “has not produced any major financial results yet.”

While Global Gaming hopes to resume its Swedish-facing operations at some point, Fagerlund said this is “not our main focus.” The company’s other products and brands will be targeting “other and new markets” in 2020.

Sweden may be dead to Global Gaming but the Ninja Casino brand’s previous marketing activities are currently the subject of a court case that could add some badly needed clarity to the country’s vague requirements for ‘moderation’ in gambling advertising. A ruling on the case is expected to be handed down on Friday.