Danske Spil leans on lottery jackpots to offset sports betting decline


Denmark’s state-run gambling operator Danske Spil took a pandemic beating in the first half of 2020 but says it’s “back on track” to realize its earlier projections for its full-year performance.  

Figures released Wednesday show Danske Spil generated revenue of DKK2.3b (US$365.3m) in the six months ending June 30, down 7.8% from H1 2019. But operating profit was flat at DKK1.67b and profit slipped only 2.9% to DKK794.4m (although that decline rises to 9.4% once the 2019 divestment of its stake in games developer CEGO is factored into the mix).

The company managed to keep its ship afloat through reduced expenses, particularly on the marketing front, while gaming taxes and commissions were also lower due to COVID-19 reducing the scope of Danske Spil’s operations.

The mainstay lottery division Danske Lotteri Spil reported revenue of DKK1.3b, up 5.2% year-on-year, thanks in part to a series of extra-large prizes on offer, particularly via the Eurojackpot lottery.

The Danske Licens Spil online casino/betting division wasn’t as fortunate, reporting a 15.7% year-on-year revenue decline to DKK894.4m. The company doesn’t break out separate betting/casino figures but did note that the betting unit was laid low when most major sports activity was halted in March due to COVID-19.

Danske Spil was also forced to temporarily shut its Youbet betting site in April after its SBTech platform provider mistakenly allowed customers to bet on under-18 Swedish football. The dearth of sports options also led to Danske Spil taking wagers on a Ukrainian football match that never actually took place.

The Elite Gaming land-based slots hall division saw its H1 revenue nearly cut in half to DKK98m as Denmark ordered the closure of all non-essential retail operations on March 13. The fledgling Swush fantasy sports unit also saw its revenue nearly halved to DKK2.1m as real-world sports were reduced to a mere fantasy.

Danske Spil chairman Peter Christensen, who only assumed the role in June, called the first half of 2020 “challenging in every way” but praised the company for “maintaining a satisfactory turnover” despite the disruptions. The company said it now expects an annual after-tax profit of between DKK1.3b-1.4b when the year is through.