Nevada smashes handle record with $1.10bn staked in October

The state’s betting handle easily eclipsed last month’s record of $787.6m. However, the figure fell short of the $1.30bn wagered in New Jersey in the same month, which remains the highest total ever wagered within a single state in a month.

However while handle was up 66.9% from October 2020’s then-record figure, betting revenue rose more modestly, by 14.0% to $48.3m.

Football accounted for the majority of the state’s betting revenue and handle, at $32.6m and $729.3m, respectively. Baseball followed with $4.2m while parlay cards brought in $4.3m.

Mobile betting brought in $16.9m of the state’s sports betting revenue, with players wagering $703.8m online.

Total gaming revenue for the state of Nevada came to $1.22bn, up 39.8% from October 2020.

Slots made up most of this total, bringing in $790.4m, 39.8% more than 2020, as players staked $11.69bn. Multi-denomination slots were, as usual, the most popular type of machine, bringing in $367.6m, with a further $312.9m coming from penny slots.

Table, card and counter game revenue – which includes sports betting – came to $431.0m, a 67.8% year-on-year rise. 

This figure included $115.4m in revenue from blackjack, up 91.8%. Revenue from baccarat also rose quickly, by 55.4% to $92.4m, and roulette revenue more than doubled to $40.4m.

Looking just at Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, total gaming revenue was $1.06bn, up 57.3% from 2020. On the Las Vegas Strip, meanwhile, revenue came to $702.2m, a 86.9% jump from October 2020. 

GambleAware CEO speaks out after drop in gambling harm treatment

In the year to 31 March 2021, the number of individuals that used treatment offered through the service fell 5.8%, to 8,490.

However, of those that ended treatment in the twelve months to 31 March, 74% completed their programme, an improvement from 59% in the 2019-20 year. The number of people that dropped out before treatment finished fell from 35% to 20% in this period.

And 92% of those that completed the treatment offered saw their Problem Gambling Severity Index (PSGI) scores declined, which GambleAware cited as evidence of the National Gambling Treatment Service’s impact. Even among those that dropped out of treatment, 60% recorded lower PSGI scores.

GambleAware chief executive Zoë Osmond said the results were particularly impressive given the disruption treatment services faced due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“It is encouraging to see that during an unprecedented year, when many of the services had to move online, the National Gambling Treatment Service has been able to continue to deliver good results for those receiving treatment,” she said.

However, she added that further awareness of the service is needed, given the decline in uptake.

“The worryingly low uptake of services however underlines the very real need to continue to raise awareness of and improve pathways to the service, so that more people know that help is available,” she said.

The vast majority of clients, at 70.4%, were male, with the largest age group being those aged between 30 and 34.

In the month preceding treatment, 25.2% of respondents said they had spent more than £2000 on gambling, with a further 24.6% spending between £1,000 and £2,000. However, after treatment, only 4.1% spent more than £2,000, while 6.0% spent between £1,000 and £2,000.

Online gambling was the main activity for those treated, with 79.0% of those to complete treatment gambling via the channel, and 69.7% using the internet as their “main gambling location”.

This included 31.9% of respondents who said they played online slots, while 26.9% bet on sports and 20.7% who said they played table games.

The majority of respondents also said they were in some kind of debt due to gambling. This included 1.3% who admitted to debts of more than £100,000 or more and 12.7% that owed between £20,000 and £100,000. In addition, 0.6% said they had gone through bankruptcy proceedings due to their gambling and 1.4% said they had agreed individual voluntary agreement to repay debts.

The median decline in PGSI scores for those treated was 13 points, and the percentage reporting a score of eight – indicating problem gambling – or more dropped from 94% to 28%. For 26.9% of customers, PGSI scores improved by more than 20 points on the 27-point scale.

For 2.6% of customers, however, PGSI scores increased.

In November, GambleAware reported that awareness for the treatment service had grown after a new campaign, comprising four bursts of media targeting men and one for women.

The project ran across newspapers, magazine, out-of-home advertising, radio and online, with the aim of reaching high-risk gamblers experiencing significant harms.

Luckbox expenses grow in Q3 as operator prepares for casino launch

After subtracting sales costs of CAD$66,960, net revenue for the quarter came to a loss of CAD$59,722 – down from CAD$53,654 in 2020.

Expenses for the quarter came to CAD$1.9m, up by 171.4% from last year. Consulting fees were the largest expense at CAD$407,134, followed by CAD$381,645 of salaries and director fees, and CAD$358,849 worth of share-based compensation.

Legal fees were CAD$278,643, administrative costs came to CAD$201,878, while advertising and marketing expenses totalled CAD$142,253.

Adding other expenses of CAD$32,181, net losses before tax came to CAD$1.9m. Factoring in CAD$4,572 of income tax expenses, net losses for the quarter came to CAD$1.92m – up 137.5%.

Luckbox CEO Thomas Rosander suggested that the company’s Q3 results have laid good foundations for the company’s intentions to launch a casino product, which it expects to do in Q4.

He said: “The team has been focused on enhancing our proprietary platform by building a superior business intelligence infrastructure, offering a unique and modern user experience tailored to the next generation of bettors, while ensuring maximum coverage of esports betting opportunities.

“I am delighted to say our efforts during Q3 have paved the way for the addition of casino, which is an important anticipated near-term revenue driver that we expect to be live in Q4. As a result, we will be in a position to launch our player acquisition efforts in Q1 2022, by starting meaningful marketing for the first time in the company’s history.”

Luckbox also mentioned the addition of David Conde as head of data as a Q3 highlight. During the quarter, the company also secured a sports betting partnership with Aspire Global-owned sportsbook provider BtoBet.

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Chau announces intent to resign from SunCity after illegal gambling arrest

The resignation was announced in statements issued by SunCity and its Summit Ascent subsidiary, as stocks in each business resumed trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange following a one day halt, in the wake of Chau’s arrest on 27 November.

Chau will resign as board chairman and executive director of SunCity, as well as board chairman and non-executive director of Summit Ascent.

SunCity and Summit Ascent both stressed that neither company is aware of any investigations on the businesses or any subsidiaries, directors or staff members.

SunCity noted that the majority of its business would be able to continue without Chau’s involvement. For the six months to 30 June, 72.5% of group revenue was generated through Tigre de Cristal, its integrated resort in Vladivostok in the Russian Federation.

A further 0.9% was generated through hotel and integrated resort general management consultancy services; and 8.5% from the management and operation of malls in mainland China. It would be the travel related businesses, responsible for 18.1% of group revenue, which stand to be adversely affected.

This division is supported by hotel accommodation products provided through Chau’s Sun City Gaming Promotion Company Limited (SCGPC), which contributed 17.4% of group revenue alone. Should SCGPC stop supplying these products, and should SunCity be unable to find alternative sources, the travel related business segment would be adversely affected.

SunCity and Summit Ascent denied any suggestion that Tigre de Cristal was involved in the alleged cross-border gambling activities.

Earlier today the Macau government provided further details of the eleven arrests of individuals suspected of illegal gambling, which included Chau.

On Saturday (27 November), The Macau government issued a release confirming an individual named Chau had been asked to assist a police investigation regarding a cross-border online gambling syndicate.

The group is suspected of creating an illegal live betting platform in the Philippines, which attracted customers from mainland China via a Macau-based junket. The group is then said to have used local bank accounts to transfer its revenue from the operation.

The Procurator General noted that the group is suspected of committing four crimes, with sentences ranging from 10 to 12 years imprisonment. The eleven are suspected of involvement in a criminal group; money laundering; illegal online gambling and leading a criminal group.

The prosecution court has approved mandatory detention measures for five of the suspects, including Chau, due to “the serious nature of the above crimes”.

BetConnect closes funding round and appoints Chhabra as advisor

The funding will allow BetConnect to expand in the UK and internationally, pursuing its 12 month technology growth plan.

The investors include Tom Waterhouse, chief information officer of Waterhouse VC, former Fox Bet board advisor and Grand Parade founder Andy Clerkson, and former Fox Bet CEO Robin Chhabra.

Chhabra has also been appointed as BetConnect’s strategic business advisor.

“BetConnect has a genuinely innovative product that has been stress-tested in the UK’s ultra-competitive marketplace,” said Chhabra.

“Dan and his team offer a transformative vision and a super-agile platform which, combined with their ability to execute, sets BetConnect up for international expansion.”

The final new investor for the round is the Tim Heath-fronted venture capital Yolo Investments.

Candy Ventures, who supports each funding round, will also be re-investing.

“BetConnect’s growth over the last three years has been incredible and to have secured investment from such prominent industry leaders will accelerate this growth to the next level,” said Daniel Schreiber, founder of BetConnect.

“The BetConnect platform already offers players the ability to choose from best odds from all major bookies. But this funding gives us the opportunity to develop new products and services to complement the core offering, keeping them all accessible and intuitive to the evolving demands of the end user.”

FansUnite reveals 22.5% year-on-year revenue growth in Q3

Total revenue for the three months through to September 30 amounted to CAN$580,024 (£340,457/€399,961/US$454,024), up from $473,600 in the corresponding period last year.

FansUnite did not publish the full details of its revenue performance but did reveal that it was helped in the quarter by a 19.1% increase in betting turnover to $10.6m.

The provider also noted a number of business highlights for the quarter, including that it was able to secure two licences from Great Britain’s Gambling Commission, to serve as a B2B technology provider and B2C operator in the market.

Read the full story on iGB North America.

GB remote gambling yield reaches £6.85bn in Covid-hit 2019-20

The Gambling Commission revealed in its industry statistics for the year that total revenue from these sectors came on turnover of £141.38bn, up 18.1% from 2019-20.

Remote casino licensees made up most of the online GGY, as they brought in gross gaming yield of £4.02bn, up 26.4% from the same period of 2019-20. Slots made up the vast majority of this total at £2.91bn, up 22.2%.

Online betting, meanwhile, saw revenue grow 13.6% to £2.65bn, despite the suspension of a number of major sporting fixtures during the period. Almost all of this total was from sportsbooks, at £2.48bn, while betting exchange revenue was down 16.1% to £135.7m and pool betting revenue dipped slightly to £27.2m.

Online bingo revenue also grew, by 7.5% to £189.1m.

All three of these figures were the highest recorded for any full year.

Remote gambling revenue was highest during the six-month period from October 2020 to March 2021, reaching £1.87bn in the last three months of 2020 and £1.85bn in the first three of 2021. During these months, the casino sector remained strong – with revenue of more than £1bn per quarter – while sports betting revenue rebounded to new highs amid busy sporting calendars.

At the end of the period, £893.8m was held by operators in player accounts, with a total of 32.0 million active accounts during the year.

Ordinarily, the report would include the total GGY for all sectors in Great Britain, but due to the impact of lockdowns on the land-based sector, the regulator said it has not included estimates “where returns have either been late or are not yet due as we would not have confidence in their accuracy”.

The only non-remote sector for which data was provided was the National Lottery. Combined retail and online National Lottery sales came to £8.39bn, up 6.0%. Of this total, £4.87bn came from retail sales and £3.52bn from online. Of this total, £524.5m was retained by licensee Camelot.

Last week, Camelot revealed that lottery sales reached an all-time high of £3.96bn in the first half of its 2021-22 financial year, ended 25 September.

The number of licensed operators dropped by 5.4% to 2,439, due mostly to sharper drops in land-based sectors. The number of non-remote betting licensees was down by 7.8%, gaming machine technical licensees declined by 8.6% and non-remote bingo licensees dropped by 9.2%.

The number of gaming premises in the country dipped by 6.2% to 10,128, a change related to both lockdowns and a £2 stake limit on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which prompted some betting operators to close shops.

The regulator also published its quarterly sports betting integrity snapshot. This report revealed that the majority of integrity reports generated during the quarter, at 56%, dealt with football. Tennis made up 18% of reports and esports 15%.

Betting operators were the largest source of reports, providing 37%. Sports governing bodies made 31% of reports, integrity monitoring bodies and data providers combined for 19% and other regulators contributed 6%.

Most Influential Women 2021: Part 1

Welcome to our Most Influential Women in iGaming rundown for 2021. Over the next three days we will reveal who has won their way through a public survey, shortlisting and final judging to land a place in the coveted top 10.

What shone through this year was the discernible uplift in the quality of the submissions, reflective of the huge achievements of this year’s nominees but also of the additional care and time taken by colleagues and friends to fill out the survey and build a case for their inclusion.

Also what became apparent during this year’s process was the hugely different backdrop against which these achievements took place compared to four years ago when we launched Most Influential. Roles dedicated to driving D&I initiatives within companies are now far more widespread, with the business case for more diverse workforces performing better than those with less diversity in their ranks now widely understood.

Such initiatives have also to some extent become swept up by the industry wide sustainability push of the last two years, in turn driven by the need to put player protection and the customer at the core of operations to ensure its longevity and viability as a sector, particularly in the more heavily regulated and mature European markets.

But as All-In Diversity founder Christina Thakor-Rankin argued in a precursor article for iGB, this hasn’t sidelined or diminished the importance of dedicated D&I initiatives for the sector we work in, far from it.

The challenge remains bigger than ever and campaigns that highlight those organisations and the women making their influence felt within them are needed more than ever, “so that the industry continues along the right path and so more efforts are made to make sure people from all sorts of backgrounds are given the opportunity to advance to such positions.”

Some of this year’s candidates were nominated based on their influence on the industry, their company, and/or as a champion of diversity.

A number of nominees into more than one category, and the judging panel took all of these factors into account when whittling the many entries down to the top 10 and the five runners-up.

Here are the first three profiles of our 10 Most Influential Women for 2021, listed in no particular order. The remainder will be published in Parts 2 and 3 over the coming days.

Sarah Blackburn
Director, GameOn Marketing
Sarah Blackburn first puts her inclusion in iGB’s Most Influential Women down to luck. She feels she feels lucky to have such a strong group of clients, a strong team, and to be considered.

But the fact GameOn has carved out a place as a serious competitor in a crowded field of specialist agencies is down to her leadership and standing in the industry rather than luck.

It’s down to being invested in what she does, Blackburn explains. “The biggest overriding secret is caring about what you do, caring about the industry, caring about the people you work with and bringing them on, caring about your clients and what they do, and wanting to help with their success. It’s about being and doing better really.”

With a career in the industry spanning more than 16 years, she admits the sector is a “very different place” from the one she joined. “There were definitely very different standards applied to the roles of women vs men, and this was a very tricky landscape to navigate, especially when I was in my twenties.”

She felt that to participate in the sector, have peers and make a different meant she had to start her own business. That business today aims to provide a platform for other women, Blackburn continues. Its account managers often run their own businesses alongside their work for GameOn.

“The team feel valued, and they give value in return, and I don’t want anyone to feel underestimated – they can achieve anything and my responsibility lies in making sure that can happen,” she says.

Confidence is key she adds. “So many women in C-level positions who you think would be so confident are scared of being judged, or saying the wrong thing, or just don’t get the opportunity to speak.”

Blackburn is especially keen to give women joining the industry now an opportunity to build their profiles. She wants to help women, and anyone from under-represented groups, to be supported to the point that they can speak to their peers, present to boards, even ask for a raise. “These people will be the key speakers at trade shows in five years’ time,” she points out.

Ultimately she’s simply flatted that her fellow industry professionals thought highly enough of her to put her name forward for iGB’s Most Influential Women. “I’m extremely proud to be recognised alongside such an esteemed group of successful women.”

Melanie Gross
Former VP of online casino & sportsbook, Caesars Interactive
Throughout her 18-year career in igaming, Melanie Gross has been a shining example of how to maximise the opportunities that you’re given.

Melanie worked her way up from being an engineer in 2003, and by 2005 she was responsible for the output of seven casinos across 150 countries.

“Having experience in multiple departments made me a better executive and business vertical leader, earning cross-departmental credibility and trust,” she says.

“By having an in-depth understanding of the product, I can focus on communicating the “what” and the “why” for a new business initiative, and give the development teams the authority to own the “how.”

While recognising the importance of representation within the industry, Melanie is a self-confessed introvert who’s had to navigate the social challenges which come with the job.

“I consider myself pretty introverted: networking and ‘working the room’ don’t come easily to me, and I’d much rather author a document or nerd out with some related analysis about it instead (laughs). So being part of a bigger audience gets me out of my comfort zone, while showing both men and women that I have earned the right to succeed here, and others like me have as well.”

In order to create a more balanced and diverse environment moving forward, Melanie believes that the industry needs to address a culture that rewards men for their potential, but women for their performance.

“We need more male and female sponsors of talented women,” she says. “Those sponsors are the ones who are in the ‘room where it happens’ (nod to Hamilton) –  the C-Suite meetings, the long-term strategy discussions and so on. The sponsors need to advocate on behalf of those high potential women who aren’t in those meetings, and perhaps may not have the recognition to be at the forefront of consideration.”

Melanie adds that opportunities need to be better publicised to ensure that they’re available to everyone, alongside diversified selection committees.

 “If a candidate checks nine out of 10 boxes, let’s not be so quick to reject them. Is the 10th box as important as the other nine, and if so a deal-breaker?

“As I think back to that internal leap I took all those years ago, I wonder what would have happened if that role weren’t visible to me… or if the hiring manager only focused on my past experience and didn’t see the potential I had. What I do know is that there’d be little chance I’d be receiving this award today.”

Charmaine Mabuza
Chief executive, Ithuba Holdings
South Africa’s Ithuba, led by CEO Charmaine Mabuza, is a trailblazing business. It was the first in the world to integrate with banks, and last year alone rolled out an online platform, and introduced a random number generator-powered draw system that has since become an industry standard.

And it was the first black female owned and led operator when it won the tender to run the National Lottery in 2015. “By default I was immediately faced with the challenge of changing the mindset, this meant that awareness and education has been imperative in this male dominated industry,” Mabuza recalls.

She says her mother, also a business owner, was a key influence. “I learnt valuable lessons from her which I implement the running of Ithuba, learning that it is necessary to keep your eye on the goal and what you set out to achieve and to believe that you have every right to succeed.”

And Mabuza uses her success to raise others. She has launched a number of corporate social investment programmes, initiatives to support women, and offers bursary programmes to university students across South Africa, with the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty through education.

This is only the start, in her eyes. Ithuba’s executive team is 60% female, compared to an industry average of around 20%. As a black female leader, she continues, she has been subjected to racial and gender discrimination.

“This has strongly motivated me to pull women off the sidelines and ensure that they are fully integrated into decision-making positions.”

These goals can be fathered by legislative and policy change. By prioritising and empowering women, ensuring they are granted the same level of exposure as their male counterparts, gender parity in the boardroom can be achieved, and the gender pay gap narrowed, she says.

“Education and awareness are only some of the ways we are able to change the narrative and transform the societal barriers that certain industries are designated for certain genders only,” she continues. “The change in thinking will assist us to transform the current leadership structures within companies.

“As women, we want our voices to be heard and to be included holistically in the industry, it is thus up to us as a collective, is to start leading from the front to ensure that we change the dynamic in the boardroom and the workplace.

“When we support and stand with each other, we are unstoppable.”

Profiles by Robin Harrison and Nosa Omoigui

Success Dragon strikes gold as H1 revenue doubles

The revenue figure for the six months to 30 September 2021 represents a 114.7% increase on the same period last year.

The majority of the revenue total – HK$85.4m – was derived from the company’s gold-laden carbon processing and trading business, up from HK$29.6m in 2020. HK$19.1m came from the management of electronic gaming equipment in Macau, while money lending services contributed HK$3.8m.

“Due to the expected inflation in long-term global economy environment as well as geopolitical uncertainties, the group expected the gold price will remain stably high and will grow further in coming few years,” Success Dragon said, explaining its diversification.

“The group will continue to operate the gold-laden carbon processing and trading of gold and other precious metal business as its core business as which will enable the group to provide a diversified income sources and increase shareholders’ return in long-term.”

Sales costs also increased in 2021, rising from HK$41.7m to HK$87.0m. This led to gross profits of HK$21.4m, representing a 143.2% increase on 2020.

Administrative costs amounted to HK$13.9m, and distribution costs added a further HK$0.7m. Operating profit for the first half of the year came to HK$7.9m, up 88.1% from 2020.

After subtracting finance costs of HK$1.4m and accounting for share of profit of an an associate, Success Dragon’s pre-tax profits totaled HK$7.1m. After income tax expenses of HK$2.7m, the company’s profit for the period came to HK$4.4m, up from a HK$6.1m loss suffered in 2020.

The first half of the year has also seen Success Dragon appoint a new chief financial officer in the form of Yam Wan Fung, who took on the role back in September.