Tuesday September 11, 2012 : SPORTS BETTING THE DRIVER IN LATEST BETFAIR RESULTS
Q1 of FY 2013 celebrates the Brit "Summer of Sports"
Sports betting in the UK's much-hyped "Summer of Sports" was the main contributor to revenues for online gambling group Betfair plc in its first quarter report for the financial year 2013.
Key performance indicators for the period included:
* Core Betfair revenue up 13 percent to GBP 91.6 million (Q1 FY12: GBP 80.8 million)
* Sports revenue up 21 percent to GBP 72.3 million, with a particularly good UK performance, where revenues rose 23 percent.
* Quarterly average revenue per user was stable at GBP 188 (Q1 FY12: GBP 186)
* Active customers increased across the group by 13 percent to 485,000 (Q1 FY12: 430,000).
* Mobile betting growth continued with betting volume up 114 percent to GBP 15.8 million, and revenues up 98 percent to GBP 8.2 million..
* Non-risk sports business generated revenues of GBP 68.9 million – up 16 percent
* Risk sports activity brought in GBP 3.4 million in revenues – up a staggering 952 percent
* Sports revenues of GBP 72.3 million represented an increase of 21 percent
* Games revenues were down 7 percent at GBP 13.7 million
* Poker revenues slipped another 4 percent to GBP 91.6 million
The company announced that acting CEO Stephen Morana would step down following the arrival of new CEO Breon Corcoran on August 1st.
Morana reported that Q1 growth was primarily driven by football's Euro 2012, improved monetisation of exchange activity, continued mobile growth and a recovery in risk-sports margins. The resulting growth was partially offset by the impact of regulation.
“The UK, our largest market, was our strongest performing region, driven by the continued success of the “Don’t Settle for Less” advertising campaign and a great summer of sport," Morana reported.
“Mobile betting goes from strength to strength, reflecting increasing smartphone penetration, product enhancements and customer familiarity. Mobile usage and revenues doubled and half of all customers in the UK and Ireland placed a mobile bet in the first quarter. We have also continued to deliver important new product upgrades in recent months, including new Android and iPad apps that include our popular Cash Out functionality.
“Change in the regulatory environment in which we operate has brought challenges in the form of product restrictions and higher levels of taxation. This has recently been illustrated in Spain and Cyprus, which have sought to restrict the products that operators can offer, and in Germany, where a turnover tax has been implemented that purports to cover all sports betting.
“Like-for-like net gaming revenue, adjusting for the impact of regulation, was marginally higher in Q2 to date compared to the same period last year. A slower start to the football season and reduced interest in other sports during the Olympics resulted in slower revenue growth in August.
“Finally, I have informed the Board that I intend to step down once a successor in the CFO role has been identified. It’s been a very difficult decision to make but I feel the time is now right, for both me and the company, to move on. I have been incredibly fortunate to have been part of the Betfair success story over the past 10 years and am immensely proud of our achievements. Betfair is entering into a new era under the leadership of Breon Corcoran and I believe the company has a very bright future ahead of it.”
Gerald Corbett, Betfair’s chairman, said Tuesday:
“We understand why, after ten years, Stephen would like to start thinking about the next stage of his career and hand the reins over to a new CFO. On behalf of the whole company I would like to convey our immense gratitude to Stephen for the work he has put in to make the business the success it is today, and in particular, the excellent job he did as Interim CEO. Stephen will continue in his current position until we find his successor and we will begin the search process immediately.”
Listing its KPIs by product, Betfair reported:
Active players rose 17 percent to 445,000, with average revenue per user (ARPU) up 3 percent at GBP 162
Active players were up 10 percent at 91,000, but ARPU was down 15 percent at GBP 151.
Revenues slipped 7 percent to GBP 13.7 million
Active players dropped 3 percent to 61,000, with ARPU down 2 percent at GBP 84Revenbues declined 4 percent to GBP 5.1 million
"Games and Poker continued to act as a drag on our overall growth rate," Management reported, explaining that revenues were affected by regulatory factors in Italy, Cyprus and Spain.
The launch of Betfair's first mobile casino took place in the reporting period, and this has begun to deliver "meaningful revenue," Management said.
The United Kingdom and Ireland continue to be the most successful region geographically for Betfair, with revenue up 23 percent driven by higher actives and ARPU.
Revenue in Europe, excluding the impact of regulation, was up 10 percent. However, reported revenue in the region was flat, with a circa GBP 3 million regulatory impact offsetting underlying growth.
Due to regulatory changes, Betfair has stopped accepting Spanish business pending the issue of a Spanish licence, and the company notes that in July the Cyprus government passed legalization that seeks to limit the products that operators can offer in the country, including restrictions on betting exchanges, casino and poker.
"We believe that the legalization contains serious flaws and, in certain significant areas, is inconsistent with European Union law," Management notes. "We expect that the on-going impact from these regulatory changes on revenue will be circa GBP 1.5 million per month on a run-rate basis.
"In addition, the regulatory and fiscal situation in Germany remains uncertain. We were disappointed to see the introduction of a 5 percent Federal turnover tax in July and we are in discussions with relevant authorities. A tax at this rate, if applicable, would make our current exchange model unviable, restricting the product choice of our 40,000 German customers. In FY12, approximately 4 percent of Core Betfair revenue came from Germany and this revenue delivered a contribution of approximately GBP 6 million before the allocation of central costs.
Turning to current trading, Management reported that in the company's second quarter to date, net gaming revenue was down 2 percent compared to the same period in the prior year. However, like-for-like revenue, adjusting for the impact of regulation, was marginally higher and, after a strong Q1, is in line with expectations for the year to date.
Betfair's investment in Australia continued to produce favourable returns, with Betfair Australia growing revenues by 25 percent. Mobile growth has been particularly strong and 48 percent of customers placed a mobile bet in the quarter. Following the increase in the commission rate on Australian racing markets from 5 percent to 6.5 percent in April, the business implemented a turnover charge on 30 July to certain customers on those Australian racing markets where it faces a turnover based race fields fee. The charge is designed to reduce the impact of these fees on Betfair Australia’s profitability.
In the United States, Betfair's TVG delivered handle growth of 6 percent and revenue growth of 9 percent. On 1 August, TVG launched in Pennsylvania and is now operational in 20 states, although Management expressed disappointment that the introduction of exchange wagering has been delayed in California. Betfair is continuing to work with the US racing industry to ensure participants understand the benefits the product would bring to the sport.
LMAX continues to win new customers for its exchange product and volumes have remained robust through the seasonally quiet summer months.
The Management report concluded: "The financial position of the Group remains strong with substantial cash balances and no debt."