LiveScore Bet launches new UK and Ireland sportsbook with Kambi

The launch builds on the LiveScore Bet platforms already live in Nigeria and the Netherlands. Kambi is replacing a third-party supplier to power the new sportsbook.

Confirmation of the roll-out comes after LiveScore and Kambi entered into a new sportsbook partnership in October of last year. The deal covers both the LiveScore Bet and Virgin Bet brands.

Kambi is providing its sports betting product suite for the new-look sportsbook. This offering includes a sports betting platform, managed services, AI-powered trading and Bet Builder.

In addition, the LiveScore in-house product teams will utilise Kambi’s open APIs, incentives tools and bespoke bet offer specials.

“We are delighted to have launched in the UK and Ireland with our enhanced sportsbook product ahead of the Euros and Copa América,” LiveScore Group CEO Sam Sadi said.

“It was crucial we were live on time in one of our most important markets. In collaboration with Kambi, we are incredibly excited to deliver memorable sports betting experiences for our players during these prestigious tournaments and beyond.”

Kambi’s managing director added: “This launch is a significant milestone in our partnership with LiveScore Bet. Kambi is committed to delivering a flexible sportsbook product that can be customised to meet the specific needs of each operator in their respective target markets. 

“The UK and Ireland are both highly competitive, but by leveraging the combined strengths and expertise of LiveScore Bet and Kambi technology, LiveScore Bet is uniquely positioned to create a one-of-a-kind sportsbook offering.”

What next for LiveScore?

The UK and Ireland launch marks the latest step for LiveScore and its ongoing expansion plan.

The group already has a sports betting presence in other markets including Nigeria, the Netherlands, Malta and Gibraltar. When the Kambi deal was announced last year, the group said it hoped to go live in “multiple” new markets. 

The actual LiveScore brand has been around since 1998, offering live scores from events around the world. At present, it has over 50 million daily users across more than 200 territories. 

LiveScore Group formed in 2019 following a spin-off from Gamesys and launched its first sportsbook product in the following year. Gamesys acquired the business in 2017 and, following Gamesys’ £490m sale to Jackpotjoy Group and the £2.0bn merger with Bally’s Corporation, LiveScore Group stands alone as an independent business led by Sadi. 

Mixed Q1 at Kambi

As for Kambi, the group last month released its Q1 results, with these revealing a slight drop in revenue to €43.2m (£36.7m/$46.7m).

Pre-tax profit hit €4.4m, in line with the amount posted last year. After paying €1.2m in tax, net profit for the quarter hit €3.2m, only marginally lower than in Q1 2023. In addition, EBITDA was 10.2% higher at €14.1m.

The mixed Q1 followed a follows a tricky 2023, during which CEO and co-founder Kristian Nylén said he was “not satisfied” with its financial performance. However, looking at Q1, Nylén was more upbeat. 

Nylén singled out the launch of LiveScore Group’s new Kambi-powered sportsbook in Nigeria as a key highlight. He also referenced the roll-out in the Netherlands soon after.

He went on to say the LiveScore partnership as a whole is “pivotal” for the group. 

Three Victoria venue operators fined for breaching opening hour limits

The VGCCC found patrons continued to play the pokies at the three Victoria casinos outside of opening hours. The commission said it takes such offences “seriously”, choosing to utilise available enforcement action by fining the casinos.

The VGCCC noted that venue operators can opt in to a free offering by Intralot Gaming Services that automatically switches poker machines on and off to align with opening hours.

Operators have also been urged to closely monitor poker machine play and review their licence conditions. The VGCCC encouraged operators to ensure processes are in place to restrict pokies to only being played during opening hours.

New online gambling measures in Victoria

In April, the VGCCC confirmed alterations to online gambling accounts. The new requirements were effective from 1 April.

The changes largely centred on how players viewed information relating to their online accounts. Information on spending will now deduct free and bonus bets from net losses, while net win figures will also be more accurate by excluding all stakes from total payouts.

Additionally, operators must use plain English, taking care to limit unnecessary jargon. The use of black and red should also be restricted to show losses more clearly.

The VGCCC stated it could issue operators with 60 penalty units, equivalent to AU$11,539, for each non-compliant activity statement.

VGCCC chief executive Annette Kimmitt stated: “The days of inconsistent player activity statements are over.

“Wagering account holders will be better informed about their spending. Therefore, they are better equipped to make informed decisions about their gambling, thanks to the clarity and fairness these changes bring.”

VGCCC clamping down

The VGCCC has made increasing efforts of late to punish operators who breach rules on responsible gaming.

MintBet, for instance, was fined AU$150,000 in April for repeatedly breaching responsible gambling regulations. It was found to have violated measures by allowing a player to gamble for 35 hours over a period of around 50 hours. Over that duration, the player in question lost $31,149.

Tabcorp, meanwhile, was ordered to make the majority of its electronic betting terminals in Victoria cashless after numerous cases of underage gambling.

Players will be required to purchase a voucher. To do so, they must pass an ID check at the counter to ensure they are the legal gambling age of 18 or over.

Nevada gambling revenue declines again in April

The monthly total was 6.9% ahead of $1.16bn in April last year but 3.9% less than $1.29bn in Nevada in March this year. March was also lower than February’s total, with February having been boosted by Nevada’s hosting of the NFL’s Super Bowl.

Once again, slots proved to be the primary source of revenue for operators, generating a total of $886.8m. This is 5.9% higher than in April last year. Multi-denomination slots drew the most revenue at $586.8m during the month, a rise of 26.4%. 

High-stakes slots also saw more revenue, with increases across both $25 (up 137.6%) and $100 machines (up 14.5%). In contrast, revenue from all lower-stakes machines was down year-on-year.

Blackjack and baccarat drive growth

Looking elsewhere in Nevada, revenue from table, counter and card games – including sports betting – climbed 9.8% to $353.4m. 

Within this segment, blackjack drew the most revenue, generating $110.2m in April, up by 16.0% year-on-year. Baccarat revenue also hiked 72.5% to $76.1m, while roulette revenue increased 4.6% to $35.9m.

In contrast, revenue from craps dropped 25.5% to $30.3m during the month, while Ultimate Texas Hold’em edged down 1.1% to $15.1m.

Sports betting revenue dips 5.0% in April

Focusing now on the sports betting market, revenue here was 5.0% lower at $30.8m in April.

Basketball wagering generated the most revenue at $13.3m, down by 12.1%. Revenue from baseball betting increased 18.4%% to $10.7m and hockey wagering revenue jumped 74.2% to $5.7m.

Football betting generated a $5.7m loss for operators, but this was a 17.1% improvement on last April. Wagering on other sports generated $6.8m in revenue, down 31.6% year-on-year.

Some $24.5m of all sports betting revenue in Nevada came from wagering online.

Las Vegas Strip revenue reaches $666.1m

As for the famous Las Vegas Strip, revenue in April amounted to $666.1m. This is 6.6% more than in the same month last year but 7.0% short of March’s total.

Slots revenue increased 5.1% to $409.3m, with high-stakes machines again seeing the most improvement. However, multi-denomination slots generated the most revenue at $276.9m, up 28.2%.

Table, counter and card games revenue amounted to $256.8m, also up 9.2% year-on-year. Blackjack drew the most revenue at $81.7m, up 10.2%, just ahead of baccarat on $76.7m, a rise of 11.6%.

Sports betting revenue on the Strip slipped 26.5% to $9.7m during April.

What else is happening in Nevada?

Looking at the wider Nevada market, the state has seen several key developments in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, London-listed Entain gained unconditional approval to operate in Nevada. The operator currently runs in the US as BetMGM, its joint venture with MGM Resorts.

Entain previously operated under a two-year licence and, more recently, a three-year licence that expired in May. The temporary licences reflected concerns from the Nevada Gaming Commission over its operations in unregulated markets. 

However, full approval suggests the Commission believes this is now in the past.

Meanwhile, Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) announced the $105m acquisition of three casino resorts in South Dakota and Nevada.

GLPI acquired the real estate assets of Baldini’s Casino in Nevada. Baldini’s stretches across nine acres with around 492 slot machines.

It has also secured the Silverado Franklin Hotel & Gaming Complex and Deadwood Mountain Grand casino in South Dakota.

Stuart Andrew steps down as gambling minister

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the 4 July general election last week. Yesterday (29 May), Andrew took to X – formerly known as Twitter – to confirm that he would no longer be a member of parliament.

“As of midnight tonight, parliament will dissolve and there will be no members of parliament until after the general election,” he wrote. “As the constituency of Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough will no longer exist at this point, I am no longer a member of parliament.

“All the very best for the future to all of my former constituents.”

As of midnight tonight, Parliament will dissolve and there will be no Members of Parliament until after the General Election. As the constituency of Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough will no longer exist at this point, I am no longer a Member of Parliament.

— Stuart Andrew (@StuartAndrew) May 29, 2024

Andrew was the Conservative MP for Pudsey. He was also the parliamentary under secretary of state for sport, gambling and civil society, as well as the minister for equalities.

The dissolving of parliament means that Andrew no longer holds the role of gambling minister. He was appointed to the role in March 2023, one month before the long-awaited Gambling Act review white paper was released. Andrew was the sixth minister appointed to oversee the review.

He succeeded Paul Scully, who was revealed to be the fifth minister appointed in October 2022. Prior to Scully was Damian Collins, who was preceded by Chris Philp. The first gambling minister – Nigel Huddleston – served in the role between 2018 and 2021 before being replaced by John Whittingdale.

Affordability checks top priority

With the process of implementing the Gambling Act review well under way, it is unlikely that the absence of a dedicated gambling minister will have much effect.

Progress in this area has ramped up in the last month, with both the GB Gambling Commission and the department for culture, media and sport (DCMS) making strides in their allotted policies. Certain aspects of the review are under the management of the Commission, while others require parliamentary legislation to pass.

At the beginning of May, the Commission outlined the next steps for some of the white paper’s most pressing policies – affordability checks, online games design, optimising consumer choice on direct marketing and improving age verification for land-based operations. These proposals were debated in the Commission’s first consultation round last summer.

The most talked-about aspect of this update was the announcement of an affordability checks pilot. The pilot is set to last for six months. The Commission stressed that customers would not be impacted by the trial and it would only be rolled out when the process of data-sharing is frictionless for a  “vast majority” of customers subject to checks.

Tim Miller, the Commission’s executive director, confirmed that an affordability checks pilot scheme was imminent in February.

Alongside the pilot, the Commission announced “light-touch” financial vulnerability checks. This will be implemented in two stages – firstly in August 2024 and then in February 2025.

White paper policies barrelling ahead regardless

As for the remaining three policies, the Commission announced that a number of games’ features are set to be banned from 17 January 2025. These include features that give the illusion of control, such as “turbo” and “slam stops”, autoplay and spin speeds under five seconds.

All land-based licence holders will also have to comply with tighter rules on age verification. Finally, all gambling companies will have to provide customers with the option to opt-in on which games types they would like to receive direct marketing on, as well as which channels.

Two weeks later, DCMS announced a host of new land-based rules stemming from the white paper. However, the reform in this area was also brought about by the ‘Smarter Regulation to Grow the Economy’ policy document, which was released in May 2023.

The DCMS announcement proposed five policies for implementation. The first is abolishing the ban on using debit cards on gaming machines, which will be enacted in relation to applicable player protection rules.

Under the proposals, a 2:1 ratio of Category B to Category C and D gaming machines will also be permitted in bingo halls and arcades. Casinos under the 1968 Act will also be allowed to increase their number of gaming machines to 80, if they meet the sizing rules of Small 2005 Act casino.

In addition, there will be an 18-or-over age limit for low stake Category D slot-style machines that pay out cash. Licensing fees for maximum chargeable premises will also be raised by 15%.

Michigan regulator issues cease and desist to Curaçao-based Bovada

The MGCB alleges that Bovada operator Harp Media BV is allowing and to be accessible to Michigan players. This is despite it not having the appropriate licence.

The regulator has accused Harp Media BV of infringing upon several Michigan gambling laws. This includes the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act and the Michigan Penalty Code.

Only federally authorised tribal casinos and casinos licensed under the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act are permitted to apply for an online gaming or sports betting licence.

Running an unlicensed gambling operation is a felony. Offenders could face a punishment of up to ten years in prison or a fine of up to $100,000 (£78,562/€92,276), or both.

Harp Media BV has 14 days from the receipt of the order to block Michigan residents from using its services. The letter was sent yesterday (29 May). After this period the MGCB will take legal action.

Henry Williams, executive director of the MGCB, said the cease-and-desist acts as a warning to other international operators.

“The proliferation of online gaming platforms has led to increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies worldwide and this action serves as a stern warning to overseas companies that flouting local regulations will not be tolerated,” said Williams.

“The MGCB remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding Michigan’s laws and regulations and will continue to actively monitor and enforce compliance within the state to ensure a fair and secure gaming environment for all.”

Curaçao re-regulation to improve reputation in industry

Bovada’s Curaçao homebase is currently in the process of reforming its gambling legislation. It is awaiting the implementation of the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK), a new piece of regulatory legislation.

It is hoped that the incoming LOK will tighten up Curaçao’s industry reputation. The region has long been associated with lax anti-money laundering (AML) rules and criminal activity.

The LOK will replace the current legislation, the National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (NOOGH). Javier Silvania, Curaçao’s minister of finance, has said that the LOK would provide a “safety net” from grey-listing by AML body the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Earlier this month, Michigan reported an 8.7% drop in online gaming revenue for April. Sports betting and igaming operators in the state recorded $234.8m in April revenue, slipping month-on-month. Detroit’s casinos also reported a dip in revenue for April, sliding 11.7% monthly to $109.4m.

GiG launches SweepX social platform in the US

SweepX offers dual-wallet, store management for redemptions and prize rewards, together with AI-assisted content management technology from GiG.

Featured GiG technology includes GiG’s real money igaming platform, which is already live in the US, Europe and Latin America. This is combined with a bespoke sweepstake back office, AI-assisted gamification layer and a library of sweepstake casino content.

Accompanying the launch is a new binding head of terms for a strategic partnership with Primero Games. Under the deal, GiG will power the operator’s expansion into the online social sweepstakes casino market.

Founded in 2009, Primero Games develops casino software and equipment for the gaming industry. The operator runs over 50,000 sweepstakes machines across the US. It also owns UK retail operator and content studio Storm Games.

GiG expects solution to power market growth

“SweepX is the result of our tireless pursuit of excellence for product innovation across the online sweepstake market,” chief business officer of GiG Platform & Sportsbook, Andrew Cochrane, said.

“As an extremely experienced turnkey solutions provider, the strength inherent in our technology and services has allowed us to develop what we consider to be the leading platform, data and AI-driven solutions available within social gaming and will help power the growth of the market across the US within the next few years.”

Primero CEO Barry Rutherford added: “GiG’s world class platform will allow us to bring more content and an experience for our players that is second to none. Combining our unique player acquisition strategy and GiG’s innovative technology, we are positioned perfectly for the US market and for igaming markets across the globe.”

GiG close to completing split

The news comes as GiG edges closer towards completing is planned business split. Speaking after GiG published its Q1 results this month, chairman Petter Nylander said he hopes to complete the split by Q3.

Last year, GiG announced it was to split the two businesses: GiG Media and Platform and Sportsbook. While this is yet to take place, GiG spent most of last year preparing for the move. As such, GiG has elected to report Q1 with the business as a whole – and to allow for year-on-year comparisons.

Group-wide revenue in Q1 jumped 27.5% to a record €36.2m (£30.8m/$39.2m). Of this, €28.0m came from GiG Media and Platform and Sportsbook €8.3m.

Rivalry upbeat despite wider net loss and lower revenue in Q1

In the three months to 31 March, net revenue hit $4.5m (£3.5m/€4.2m). This is down 16.7% from the $5.4m reported by Rivalry during Q1 of last year.

Net revenue is calculated by taking operational deductions off gross gaming revenue total. Incidentally, gross gaming revenue in Q1 was also down 35.8% to $7.7m, with declines across both sports betting and igaming.

However, when reflecting on the result, Salz was mainly optimistic. He spoke about a record revenue margin of 58.5%, the highest in the history of Rivalry. Salz also noted a quarter-on-quarter increase in player spending during Q1.

“We are very encouraged by the improvement to net revenue margin experienced in Q1, hitting an all-time record, proving our strategy is delivering results and representing a meaningful improvement as compared to the average levels experienced throughout 2023,” Salz said.

“Additionally, interest in our original casino content continues to build, unlocking B2B revenue opportunities that we are keen to detail more fully in the near future.”

Rivalry launches new crypto token

Salz also focused heavily on the launch of the operator’s new crypto token: Rivalry Token. This, the operator says, will add increased functionality, economics and user experiences across its product suite.

Rivalry Token is set to launch in the second half, with Salz adding that it represents one of several forthcoming initiatives to position Rivalry in the crypto gambling market and better serve its core audience of under-30 bettors.

Following the launch, the token will be available to customers in all Rivalry active markets, excluding Ontario and Australia.

“Rivalry is well-positioned to access the growth opportunity in crypto with a proven product set, a brand entrenched in internet culture and a captive audience of digitally native users that are driving this economic renaissance,” Salz said.

“The launch, alongside a broader expansion into cryptocurrencies, strengthens our product-market fit among an under-30 audience. It positions us competitively to capture a meaningful share of this fast-growing and highly valuable segment of the market.”

Quarter-on-quarter growth for Rivalry

While the impact of Rivalry Token will not be known until later in the year, Rivalry has some work to do to improve on its Q1 results.

Both net revenue and gross gaming revenue were lower year-on-year. This was mainly due to a drop in core sportsbook gross gaming revenue, which fell 39.8% to $6.2m. Gross gaming revenue from igaming was also down but not as sharply, with the reported $1.5m down 11.8% from last year.

However, as highlighted by Salz, there was reason for positivity in terms of player spending in Q1. Total betting handle during the quarter hit $94.7m, up 11.3% from $85.1m in Q4 of last year.

Incidentally, both net revenue and gross gaming revenue were also higher on a quarter-on-quarter basis. Net revenue climbed 50.0% while gross gaming revenue improved by 20.3%.

Net loss increases in Q1

Turning now to spending, operational deductions from gross gaming revenue hit $3.2m. This is an improvement on the $6.5m deducted in Q1 of 2023.

Total operating expenses were up 6.7% to $9.6m, with higher spending across marketing and promotions, as well as technology and content. Rivalry also noted $141,083 in net financial costs.

With no tax reported, this left a net loss of $5.2m, compared to $3.3m in Q1 last year. After also accounting for a negative foreign currency translation impact of $498,111, Rivalry ended Q1 with a comprehensive net loss of $5.7m, wider than last year’s $3.9m.

Flutter NYSE primary listing transition sees CFO Edgecliffe-Johnson depart

Plans for Flutter to list shares on the NYSE were announced in December, with the group eyeing a secondary listing. This then escalated in May when shareholders voted to approve to relocate its primary listing to the US.

Work has been ongoing to complete the transition, with the aim of listing by the end of May. Today’s (31 May) news confirms Flutter has hit this target.

Completion follows the transfer of its listing category on the Official List of the Financial Conduct Authority from ‘Premium Listing’ to ‘Standard Listing’. This is effective as of 08:00 BST today.

Flutter shares remain eligible for and continue to trade on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Thes shares are located within the Standard Listing segment.

“Today marks an important milestone in the evolution of Flutter with the commencement of our primary listing on the NYSE,” Flutter CEO Peter Jackson said. 

“This closely follows the recent move of our operational headquarters to New York. Both reflect the increasing importance of the US sports betting and igaming market to our business. 

“We have a fantastic position in the US, with FanDuel the clear number one operator, and we look forward to this next step on our journey.”

Flutter names Coldrake as new CFO

In relation to this confirmation, Flutter has announced that Edgecliffe-Johnson is leaving as group CFO with immediate effect from today. 

Flutter said in anticipation of its US primary listing, its board spoke with Edgecliffe-Johnson about the “extensive” executive management time to be spent in the US. This was in light of his family commitments in the UK.

As such, Flutter concluded it is in its best interests Edgecliffe-Johnson to step down as group CFO. He will also leave his role as executive director of the business.

His replacement, Rob Coldrake, steps up having served as CFO of Flutter International since joining the group in 2020. 

Prior to this, Coldrake spent 14 years working in a range of financial roles at TUI Travel. He also had a spell at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“During his four years at Flutter, Rob has shown himself to be a CFO of exceptional calibre,” CEO Jackson said. His skills and experience will help us to take advantage of the significant opportunities before us. 

“I would like to thank Paul for his contribution to the group, particularly in relation to achieving our US primary listing, and I wish him and his family well.

Flutter chair John Bryant added: “The board is especially delighted we were able to develop such a high-quality executive within our own business.  We look forward to working with him and the team into the future.  

“I would also like to take the opportunity to wish Paul well and to thank him for his contribution to the group.”

Net loss hits $375m at Flutter in Q1

The developments come on the back of a tricky Q1 for Flutter, during which it reported a net loss of $375m (£295m/€346m). This came as higher expenses and negative foreign currency translation offset a 16.4% year-on-year increase in revenue.

Revenue was up to $3.40bn, with Flutter reporting growth across almost all markets, with the exception of Australia. However, it is the US where the group continues to see the most growth, with ongoing expansion driving its listing transition.

In Q1, activity in the US accounted for more than 40.0% of all revenue at $1.41bn. Not only this, igaming gross gaming revenue (GGR) share hit a new high of 27%, helped by its focus on direct casino players and customer experiences, and the addition of new games and content to FanDuel Casino.

As for sports betting, online net gaming revenue market share also increased to 52%. During Q1, FanDuel went live in both Vermont and North Carolina, increasing its overall customer base and reach in the process.

Total new sportsbook and casino player volumes were lower in the quarter. This, Flutter said, is due to a full quarter of significant Ohio acquisition volumes last year. However, new players acquired in states that launched before 2022 was 12% higher than last year.

However, while the US growth is something to celebrate, higher costs let to a comprehensive net loss of $375m. This is in contrast to a $54m net profit in 2023. Last year’s figure was helped by significant foreign currency gains.

However, there was better news in terms of adjusted EBITDA, which improved by 46.0% to $514m. When excluding the US, this amount hit $488m, up 20.2% year-on-year.

Online casino growth pushes revenue up 4.2% at OPAP in Q1

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Q1 comfortably surpassed the €527.2m reported by OPAP in the same period last year. Net gaming revenue – GGR minus GGR contribution and other levies and duties – also increased 3.6% to €376.5m.

OPAP reported higher revenue across three of its five core segments in Q1. The highlight was growth in the online casino business, where revenue increased by 29.1% to €12.9m. Lottery and video lottery terminal (VLT) revenue was also higher, although OPAP did note declines in betting and instant and passives revenue.

On the whole, OPAP CEO Jan Karas is pleased with the results. He says the Q1 performance sets the group up for further growth throughout 2024.

“OPAP reported solid performance and organic growth in Q1, driven by our focus on enhancing our proposition and promoting innovation, with online recording strong activity and retail further solidifying its position,” Karas said.

“Looking ahead, we are focused on further upgrading our offering in every vertical and achieving progress in all pillars of OPAP’s Fast Forward business strategy.”

OPAP revels in online and lottery growth

Breaking down the Q1 figures, the stand-out result is revenue increasing 29.1% in the online casino segment to €70.9m. 

While this remains the lowest revenue source for OPAP, growth here was far higher than in any other segment. OPAP said the rise demonstrates strong growth on the back of higher player engagement levels and spending.

As for lottery, this remains OPAP’s main source of revenue. The €196.0m generated in Q1 is 3.9% ahead of the previous year, on the back of a revamp of the Lotto & Tzoker games late last year. In addition, OPAP said Eurojackpot, which launched in March this year, recorded a promising start and contributed incremental revenues.

Turning now to sports betting, revenue edged down 0.2% to €168.5m during the quarter. OPAP said despite the minor decline, this segment was supported by “healthy” growth of Pame Stoixima and solid contributions of Powerspin and virtuals.

Elsewhere, VLT revenue increased by 2.5% to €86.5m. This, OPAP says, maintains an upward trend, aided by ongoing machines optimisation and overall experience enhancement efforts.

Finally, revenue from the instant and passives business hit €27.8m, a drop of 9.0%. 

Net profit slips 4.0% in Q1

Looking at spending, total operating expenses were 18.6% higher during Q1 at €105.4m. This came amid increased costs across staffing, marketing and other operating costs.

Gaming revenue related expenses were also 15.8% higher at €25.6m, while depreciation and amortisation costs edged up. OPAP also noted €1.5m in net finance costs.

This left a pre-tax profit of €155.7m, down 3.4% year-on-year. OPAP paid €39.9m in income tax, meaning a Q1 net profit of €115.8m, a drop of 4.0% from €120.6m in 2023.

“Overall, we are well positioned for another successful year, with our focus now turning to the forthcoming major international sporting events,” Karas said.

“Finally, we remain committed to offering generous returns to our shareholders, as well as to creating value for our stakeholders and giving back to society.”

Appointments round-up: Churchill Downs and Catena welcome new VPs

Sam Ullrich joins Churchill Downs as its new vice president of investor relations, Meanwhile, Jasleen Kals is taking on the role of vice president of product at Catena Media.

Ullrich is a new addition to the CDI team, having worked for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) for the past nine years. This included spells in senior roles such as director of financial planning and restaurant economics. He also spent time as interim chief financial officer

Prior to this, Ullrich was senior analyst of external reporting at Yum! Brands, parent company of KFC. In addition, he had a spell as assurance senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers

In his new role at CDI, Ullrich will be reporting directly to executive vice president and chief financial officer Marcia Dall.

Catena welcomes former TMZ executive

Catena said that Kals’ appointment represents a step forward in its transition to a product-first operating model.

Kals previously worked at US media brand TMZ. Here, she spent over a year as executive director of digital product development and strategy.

Prior to this, Kals was director of product manager at CafeMedia and head of product for MarketMuse. Her other career roles include senior product manager at Searchmetrics and product manager for websites at QuinStreet.

Catena Media interim CEO Pierre Cadena welcomes the new appointment, hailing Kals’ experience in creating and building products.

“Her knowledge, leadership and drive will be central as we embed our new product-focused operating model across the organisation,” Cadena said.

“The model will prioritise the development of our best-performing products and create superior user experiences as we position the business to deliver sustainable long-term growth. Jasleen will lead the evolution and growth of Catena Media’s portfolio of outstanding assets and brands to enable us to unlock their full potential.”

Cadena is leading Catena Media on a temporary basis after Michael Daly resigned as CEO in February.