Shares in Gambling.com Group have skyrocketed almost 16% as CEO Charles Gillespie unveiled a compelling growth opportunity alongside impressive Q2 results.
In Q2 2023, Gambling.com Group generated record-breaking revenue of $26m, indicating a substantial 63% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
The company’s adjusted EBITDA also experienced an impressive surge of 161%, reaching a new Q2 peak at $9.4m, which corresponds to a margin of 36%.
Meanwhile, during H1 2023, the affiliate business recorded revenue of $52.7m, a significant 48% rise compared to the first half of 2022.
Adjusted EBITDA also demonstrated strong growth, increasing by 87% to reach $20.1m over the first six months of 2023.
During the company’s earnings call, Gambling.com CEO and co-founder Charles Gillespie offered thorough insights into the company’s trajectory and the broader industry outlook.
He asserted that the Q2 results merely mark the initial phase of what Gambling.com Group is poised to accomplish in the long run.
Gillespie said that while the US represents the group’s largest reporting market, 43 states have yet to regulate iCasino and 21 states have yet to regulate online sports betting.
However, he also added that while expansion of regulated online gambling in the US still grabs the most headlines and the majority of investors’ attention, “the opportunity for sizeable new regulated markets outside of North America and Europe is compelling and remains under-appreciated.”
“We expect Brazil to be a major global sports betting market if the regulations are finalised and enacted.
“We are also excited about the potential for Japan to become one of the largest regulated online gambling markets in the world should regulatory efforts break through,” Gillespie added.
Mature market growth
Moreover, Gillespie said that the group’s growth in the UK and Ireland (25% year-on-year) is an often overlooked area.
He pointed out that in more mature markets, players become more discerning, selective and varied in their choices.
“In parallel, performance marketing partners become increasingly critical to operators and their ability to attract new players.
“For example, while we estimate that new depositing customers (NDCs) referred through performance marketing channels account for less than 10% of US operators’ customer databases, in the UK that percentage is 20% to 40%.”
Gillespie said that over time, the North American market will come to mirror the same dynamics that exist in more mature European markets.
He also noted that it’s frequently tier 2 and tier 3 operators who display the greatest enthusiasm to collaborate with affiliate firms.
“They’ve got more incentive to make the affiliate channel work than the big guys who are already market leaders,” he added.
The US iGaming opportunity
Gillespie also shared some thoughts on the competitive landscape in the US.
Earlier this month, Penn Entertainment parted ways with Barstool Sports and sealed a substantial $2bn agreement with ESPN to forge ESPN Bet.
He highlighted that ESPN’s entry further “destigmatises the industry” due to the broadcaster’s importance in US sports.
“It is another very meaningful step in the right direction for the industry going fully mainstream,” Gillespie said.
He also believes that more operators will enter the US market.
Gillespie said this opportunity is more aligned with online casinos rather than sports betting, as sports betting involves lower margins and tends to be more expensive to run effectively.
“It’s not so difficult to set up an online casino. You need a brand, a bit of software, customer service. It doesn’t have to be this enormously expensive capital expenditure exercise.
“We’ve seen for years operators in Europe set up online casino brands without crazy amounts of investment, but with very sharp precision digital marketing and succeed.”
Turning to Gambling.com Group’s plans, Gillespie emphasised the firm’s overarching goal for Casinos.com to become the definitive destination for the globally regulated casino market.
“In our heart of hearts, we’re casino people,” he said.
However, since most US states first regulated sports betting, “we created a very nice sports betting business for ourselves before casino really gained momentum.”
Finally this year, Gillespie said, the company has broken through on the casino side, however, the company did not provide detailed figures.
Barry Jonas from Truist Securities asked Gillespie about the group’s M&A pipeline and appetite at the moment.
CEO Gillespie replied: “We’ve got lots of conversations happening at the moment. There have been a few new things that have entered the scope of what we are considering.”
He added that assuming these conversations go well, he is hopeful he’d be able to announce a deal over the next six to nine months.
“We obviously have the balance sheet to do something,” he said.
However, he added: “We can grow this business without M&A, as we are demonstrating every single quarter. So, for us to pull the trigger, it’s got to really pass all the tests,” he added.
Current trading and outlook
Gambling.com raised its full-year revenue guidance to a range of $100 to $104m, while adjusted EBITDA is expected to hover between $36m and $40m.
The company has incorporated Kentucky’s sports betting launch on 28 September into its plans, and it foresees North Carolina following suit, possibly in the first quarter of 2024.
However, due to uncertainties surrounding details, North Carolina remains outside of Gambling.com’s guidance.
Investor enthusiasm was palpable, resulting in a remarkable 15.6% surge in Gambling.com’s stock.
Malta-based affiliate KaFe Rocks Group has rebranded and is now known as Time2Play Media.
The strategic move aims to reinforce the company’s commitment to its flagship brand, Time2Play.com.
Founded in 2018 by Feda Mecan and Tim Tepass, the business currently operates a portfolio of more than 35 websites in 10 different languages.
The decision to rebrand was preceded by a thorough analysis of the company’s existing portfolio, values structure and market positioning.
“This is a new chapter for the company. We have seen tremendous success from our Time2Play.com brand, and this commitment to our flagship brand will better align us with both our current and future strategic vision,” co-founder and non-executive chairman Tepass said.
“We are very excited to put our best foot forward as Time2Play Media, living and breathing our ‘Play as One’ value with our incredible teams who will bring this brand to life,” Tepass added.
Tepass further emphasised the significance of the rebranding, stating that the firm is confident that this new brand identity will help it achieve its long-term goals and “reinforce our position as a leading, trusted name in the industry”.
Long-serving CEO Simon Pilkington left the business at the end of last year.
Additionally, Glitnor Group’s proposed acquisition of KaFe Rocks was ultimately cancelled due to insufficient investment for a public listing.
The acquisition, initially announced in February 2022, aimed to create a larger business with increased revenue by expanding into the affiliate space.
The ultimate objective was to pursue a US listing with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Glitnor Group remains an active minority shareholder in the business.
The company also made headlines last year with the implementation of an unlimited leave policy.
Raketech has reported all-time high revenue in Q1 2023 despite a 31% decline in its tipster business.
Raketech set a new record by generating revenue of €15.8m in Q1 2023. This represents a 24.4% growth rate, with all growth being organic.
Revenue from Raketech’s core business area, affiliate marketing, grew by 32% year-on-year to €10.8m.
Sub-affiliation generated a record revenue of €3.6m, marking a 46% year-on-year increase.
According to the company, this growth was mainly due to the strong results from network sub-affiliation in South America.
Raketech’s Q1 performance was largely positive, with one exception: its smallest business area, betting tips & subscriptions, saw a year-on-year decline in revenue by 31% to €1.4m.
This decrease was primarily attributed to lower results from the company’s win-share component, which is based on its sports betting predictions.
EBITDA increased by 20.1% to €6.1m, corresponding to a 39% margin.
CEO Oskar Mühlbach (pictured left) expressed his satisfaction with Raketech’s geographical revenue breakdown, highlighting that non-Nordic revenue had now reached approximately 64%, while revenue from the Nordics had also grown by 7%.
However, he was rather tight-lipped on which Rest of World markets contributed to this growth.
“We have historically not provided guidance for specific markets, so I don’t think it’s a good idea to start now,” he said.
However, he identified three markets: India, Japan and South America, all of which are “showing positive signs and good underlying growth”.
“Regarding the Indian market, our online cricket betting assets target not only India but also other countries in the region.
“The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a major event, and we see a lot of activity on our assets, as well as high demand from operators for advertising,” Mühlbach added.
CFO Måns Svalborn meanwhile hailed Raketech’s sub-affiliation business, which enables the firm “to quickly and efficiently enter new markets”, and consequently was responsible for growing revenue in the Latam region.
Mühlbach also provided some insight into Raketech’s long-term strategy. “We believe that it is essential to invest in fewer but high-quality flasgship brands.
“This strategy does not only apply to traditional affiliation, but also to the betting tips and subscription division, or any other products we might have in the future.
“Simply put, this means that we are in parallel narrowing down and increasing our investments into fewer but stronger products to ensure our offering is sustainable in the long term,” he said.
However, Mühlbach did not provide any more details on the company’s long-term plan for competitive reasons.
Given Raketech’s strong Q1 performance, Marlon Värnik from Nordea asked if it is reasonable to assume that the company’s 2023 performance is trending above initial expectations, or if there is an expectation of market softening during Q3.
CEO Mühlbach responded that, despite the strong start in Q1, the company has chosen not to change its guidance at this point.
“We’re reiterating it and we do so with confidence,” he stated.
“If there’s a reason for us to update the guidance as we move along, we will, of course, address that to the market, but at this point, we’re setting with being confident about the guidance,” he added.
Current trading & outlook
During 2023, Raketech anticipates to generate between €60m to €65m in revenue, excluding any acquisitions.
Additionally, the company predicts an EBITDA of €20m to €24m for the year.
Raketech reported revenue of €5.9m in April, driven by the significant growth of its sub-affiliate programme.
The company sees this positive performance at the start of Q2 as an encouraging sign and is confident in meeting its full-year guidance.
Raktech shares were trading nearly 6% higher at the time of writing.
Special purpose acquisition company Parsec Capital Acquisitions has acquired a majority stake in Canadian affiliate business Enteractive Media and plans to rebrand as GameChangerz Media.
Parsec also intends to acquire the remaining Enteractive Media shares from minority shareholders, making Enteractive Media a wholly-owned subsidiary of Parsec.
Enteractive Media was established in 2013 and has offices in Toronto and Calgary. Its wholly owned subsidiary PlayerVision provides consumers with gambling-themed television broadcasts and on-demand video, as well as live streamed video sports wagering content.
Previously, Enteractive Media had planned to list on Nasdaq through a merger with Parsec and operate under the name Enteractive Media Inc with a new ticker symbol.
However, the new acquisition supersedes that plan.
Now, Parsec has plans to change its name to GameChangerz Media Inc in the near future and reapply for a Nasdaq listing.
GameChangerz Media already describes itself as the parent company to a variety of businesses and platforms supporting the gaming, gambling, and entertainment industries.
It has content creation studios in Calgary, Toronto, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Buenos Aires, London, Johannesburg and Macau.
Parsec CEO Kelly Kellner: “The completion of the acquisition means we are now ready to move forward with our vision of creating a game-changing media and gaming company that will create shareholder value through organic growth and strategic acquisitions.”
Once Parsec’s name change is approved, Enteractive Media will therefore become a part of GameChangerz Media.
Following the acquisition of Enteractive Media, several of Parsec’s directors and officers resigned, to be replaced as directors by Enteractive CEO Kelly Kellner, and partner at The Debono Group Terry Debono.
Kellner has also been appointed as the new CEO of Parsec, while Paul Haber remains a director of Parsec and the company’s CFO.
“The completion of the acquisition means we are now ready to move forward with our vision of creating a game-changing media and gaming company that will create shareholder value through organic growth and strategic acquisitions,” Kellner said.
The company will outline its international corporate strategy, management team, future growth and acquisition plans, and a potential timeline for an exchange listing in due course.
Better Collective has set new financial targets based on its intention to transform into a leading digital sports media group.
In 2023, Better Collective expects to generate revenue between €290m and €300m, with an EBITDA of €90m to €100m.
The company aims to maintain a net debt to EBITDA ratio of below 2, excluding any impact from potential mergers and acquisitions.
For the period 2023 to 2027, Better Collective is targeting a revenue CAGR of +20% and an EBITDA margin before special items of 30% to 40%, as well as a net debt to EBITDA ratio of below 3.
These projections include potential mergers and acquisitions, which will be financed by own cash flow and debt, the company said.
Better Collective reported that 2022 was a very strong year for the company.
The full-year revenue for 2022 was €269.3m, representing a 52% year-on-year increase, with 34% organic growth.
During 2022, the group sent a record 1.7 million new depositing customers (NDCs) to its partners, with 76% on revenue share contracts, which it said would lead to strong recurring revenue and less seasonality impacts.
Based on these results, the business doubled down on its ambition to switch from a sports betting affiliate into a “leading digital sports media group”.
To become more relevant and engaging for sports fans seeking entertainment and information, Better Collective plans to enhance its content with more newsworthy and investigative elements moving forward.
The company also envisions transforming from a single business entity to a group of businesses.
Better Collective CEO Jesper Søgaard: “There are a lot of synergies to harvest in combining strong authoritative sports media with large viewerships and Better Collective’s core strengths of optimisation, conversion, and diverse business models.”
The diversification has already proven its worth over the past five years, the company said.
Better Collective has decreased its reliance on search engine traffic from 60% to less than 35% and diversified its revenue stream, with 40% now coming from the US.
New M&A targets
Furthermore, since its IPO in 2018, Better Collective has acquired 28 companies, and although M&A will continue to play an important role, the company’s strategy will evolve.
Better Collective’s previous acquisition strategy was focused on obtaining “traditional” performance marketing companies with a user database and revenue share agreements to achieve critical scale.
However, the company said it has now achieved that scale, and M&A targets will shift towards strong local and global sports media outlets with a significant and loyal readership, often with most revenue generated from regular advertising under a single business model.
Co-founder and CEO of Better Collective Jesper Søgaard commented: “We have always been dreaming big at Better Collective, and today is no different.
“We are uniquely positioned to consolidate the digital sports media space. There are a lot of synergies to harvest in combining strong authoritative sports media with large viewerships and Better Collective’s core strengths of optimisation, conversion, and diverse business models.”
Strong start to 2023
Turning to the first months of 2023, Better Collective said it registered growth of over 40%.
This comes despite the tough comparable from 2022, when the state of New York launched, causing a significant spike in revenue.
The company attributed the significant growth to the state of Ohio launching sports betting, combined with a strong performance by the group.
Better Collective said that it would continue to invest in growing organically, including establishing a stronger presence in LATAM and other emerging markets where regulation is or is expected to facilitate operations.