U.S.A. A LOW PRIORITY FOR PLAYTECH?
CEO discusses the way forward in post-results media conference.
The traditional post-interim results media conference by Playtech executives this week provided some interesting insights into the companys future plans and present priorities; among the revelations by chief executive officer Mor Weizer were the following:
* Weizer confirmed that Playtech has ambitious international expansion plans and is interested in operating in the growing number of regulated markets, especially in Europe. Asked about possibilities in the United States, he pointed out that at present the legalised online gambling market is relatively small, offering limited opportunities for Playtech, which focuses on markets that are presently more appealing commercially.
In the meantime US developments are monitored, and given the right business potential Playtech would definitely be interested in establishing a presence in every state that opts for legalization.
* Questioned about merger and acquisition intentions, the Playtech chief said that M&A was a key element in the companys business strategy as it seeks to augment organic growth. He revealed that there were a number of deals currently under discussion or negotiation in both the gaming and financial divisions of Playtech, and that a major consideration is strengthening the number of clients and helping them improve their businesses by offering attractive products to their customers.
* On industry consolidation, Weizer observed that many chief executives are being urged to pursue merger and acquisition opportunities, and that consolidation within the industry will continue to reduce costs and create more powerful businesses.
His own criteria is to first focus on the best opportunity for the company, and finding the right partners. In his personal view, consolidation is a good thing, and illustrates that the sector has matured, he said. It is a trend that will continue, delivering larger, more powerful businesses and better commercial opportunities for Playtech.
* Weizer spoke about the performance of the different verticals, noting that during the first half online casino operations delivered more than half (52 percent) of Playtech revenues, and opining that he expected that this vertical would continue to be a strong performer.
However, he flagged the importance of sports betting and indicated that Playtech would be putting increasing emphasis on growing the sports betting channel in order to service demand from retail operators with a desire to launch an online gaming arm. He predicted that sports would grow "massively" in the years ahead and acts as an effective introduction to gaming, with clients ordering the Playtech omni-channel sports products along with the online casino offerings. The two verticals were therefore complementary and essential for continued growth, with sports becoming critically important in a business sense he opined.
* The future planning of Playtech is centred on ensuring that the group has the right resources and products at the right time in every jurisdiction where it operates or which it might find attractive, Weizer revealed, explaining that this was essential if the company is to secure its position with the right sort of operators and business partners both existing and potential.
He said that the company has a large number of projects underway and others in the pipeline as the company pursues its global growth strategy.
He elaborated on the importance of long and fruitful partnerships, noting that seven of Playtechs Top Ten licensees are now contracted to the company for at least three years, locking in future growth for the company, with others soon likely to follow.
He added that a slew of new licensees across Europe had recently been signed, including a major operator in the burgeoning Central and Eastern European market, where exciting regulatory developments are taking place in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.