Euro 2020, Crown Resorts, EGBA, and GamCare: the week in numbers

Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. As we glance back to the previous week once more we feature more offers heading the way of Crown Resorts, US commercial gaming continuing on down the road of recovery, bingo hall warnings ahead of UK reopening and urges for the suspension of gambling advertising during the upcoming European Championships. 

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Broadcasters have been urged to suspend all UEFA European Football Championship based gambling advertising for the duration of the tournament, by a group of over 60 survivors of gambling harm, MPs, and clinicians.

The open letter, organised by The Big Step, which forms part of the Gambling with Lives charity, has been sent to ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky Sports, BT Sport, TalkSport, Global Radio, Acast, and Stakhanov.

Signatories include Carolyn Harris MP and Ronnie Cowan MP, chair and vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm as well as Paul Blomfield, Stuart McDonald and Mark Menzies MPs.

The letter is also backed by Christina Marriott, CEO of the Royal Society for Public Health and Louisa Mason, senior policy and communications executive at the Gambling Health Alliance.

12

The Star Entertainment Group tabled a AU$12bn merger proposal to Crown Resorts, which it believes would create a “national tourism and entertainment leader”.

The proposal pits the casino operator against Blackstone Group, which already owns a little under ten per cent of the group and has revised its offer to $12.35 per share after tabling a bid of $11.85 each, valuing the group at AU$8bn, last month.

Star believes that merging the two businesses would deliver between $150m to $200m of cost synergies per annum, with an estimated net value of $2bn.

The conditional, non-binding, indicative proposal offers 2.68 Star shares per Crown share, which the former says creates an implied value of $14 per share of the Melbourne headquartered group.

Furthermore, the merger proposal also contemplates a cash alternative of $12.50 per Crown share, subject to a cap equal to 25 per cent of the company’s total shares on issue.

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GamCare issued a warning of the ‘imminent need’ to talk to young people about gambling risks, after warning that they aren’t aware of when gambling ‘becomes harmful’ to them.

User data from GamCare’s support services, including the National Gambling Helpline, found that more than seven in ten (71.5 per cent) of the 353 young people that called the helpline or used services were considered to have a gambling issue themselves, as opposed to being considered ‘at risk’ (8.5 per cent) or calling with concerns about a family member or friend (20 per cent).

It was also found that of under-18s who gamble, 77 per cent do so online, through esports betting and social gaming, including in-app purchases and skins betting, which involves buying, selling and exchanging items with other players, and loot boxes.

25

The European Gaming and Betting Association voiced encouragement at the continent’s multi-licensing uptake, but has also issued fresh warnings to those “still very much out of step with the rest of Europe”.

With new analysis by the Brussels-based trade association finding that 25 out of 29 European countries have introduced a multi-licensing mode, the EGBA has again cautioned on the “ineffective” nature of gambling monopolies.

It says that the former, which allows both private and publicly owned companies to obtain a license to offer online gambling in a country, has become Europe’s “clear and preferred basis” for regulation, with the latter narrowing choice and heightening the attractiveness of unlicensed offerings.

11

US commercial gaming revenue surpassed the $11bn barrier during the first quarter, matching the third quarter of 2019 as the industry’s highest-grossing three month time frame, according to the American Gaming Association.

This marks a 4.1 percent increase to $11.13bn over the industry’s pre-pandemic performance in Q1 2019, and is a 17.7 percent rise over the same period one year ago, when the entire gaming industry shut down due to COVID-19.

While January and February contracted 7.8 per cent and 14.6 per cent, respectively, March reached $4.48bn, which represents a 12.9 per cent jump from the $4bn recorded in the previous all-time high monthly revenue which was recorded in March 2019.

Despite significant COVID-mandated restrictions on capacity and amenities across the country, traditional brick-and-mortar casino games generated 90 per cent of their Q1 2019 revenue, with March’s slots and table games performance coming within one percentage point of the totals recorded during the same month two years ago.

3.2

Wynn Resorts announced that its Wynn Interactive online gaming division is to become an independent public company, after unveiling plans of a business combination with newly incorporated blank check company Austerlitz Acquisition Corporation I.

Upon closing of the proposed transaction, the combined company will retain the ‘Wynn Interactive, Ltd.’ name and relist its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol ‘WBET’.

The combination includes approximately $640m of cash proceeds from Austerlitz to fund operations and support new and existing growth initiatives, with an enterprise valued at approximately $3.2bn at closing, representing 4.5x Wynn Interactive’s projected 2023 revenue, to be created.

Current shareholders of Wynn Interactive will retain approximately 79 per cent of the combined company, including 58 per cent to be held by Wynn Resorts.

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Bragg Gaming is to acquire Spin Games in a $30m cash and stock transaction that it says will serve to immediately establish its US operating footprint, and set the foundation for the company’s growth strategy in the region.

Under the terms of the deal, sellers of the Nevada-based B2B gaming technology and content provider will receive $10m in cash and $20m in common shares of Bragg, of which $5m in common shares will be issued on closing and the balance over the next three years.

The group says that it intends to leverage key strategic operator relationships to cross-sell its existing casino offerings which are currently live in European markets, while continuing to develop its US-centric content creation.

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WhichBingo reported that bingo halls will continue to face a steady decline in numbers amid the soaring popularity of online channels, as venues prepare to reopen once more on Monday 17 May.

The XLMedia owned and operated site says a recent survey, of more than 800 adults, found a significant shift in the industry to younger online consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 2021 WhichBingo survey, 45 per cent of respondents said that they prefer to play bingo online, while only 28 per cent indicated a preference of playing in a land-based hall. The report reveals player numbers at bingo halls have continued to decline year on year since 2007.

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