NeoGames has reported $46.4in revenue in Q3 2023indicating a year-over-year decline of 25.5%.

NeoGames’ share in NeoPollard Interactive (NPI), a co-owned iLottery supplier with Pollard Banknote Limited, generated additional revenue of $17m, taking total revenue for the period to €63.4m.

This also represents a year-over-year decline of 13.6%. 

However, NeoGames stated that this decline was primarily due to a change in accounting methods from gross to net revenue for the company’s Aspire core division.

When comparing like-for-like, the total revenue, incorporating the company’s share in NPI revenues, would have reached $81.7m, signifying an 11.5% year-on-year growth.

NeoGames also reported an increase in adjusted EBITDA, with Q3 2023 figures coming in at $19.9m, up 13% on Q3 2022.

Strong iLottery performance

iLottery emerged as a significant growth driver for NeoGames. 

NeoGames’ iLottery segment generated a 5.5% year-on-year revenue rise to $14.4m.

This means total iLottery revenue, when combined with the NPI revenues, reached $31.4m, demonstrating a substantial 27% year-over-year growth. 

NeoGames said the growth was primarily driven by positive trends in major accounts and a jackpot in the US market during the third quarter.

Meanwhile, iGaming revenue came in at $31.9m for Q3 2023.

NeoGames noted that Aspire core results slowed due to regulatory shifts in the UK and operational changes in Germany as the company obtained a licence to operate in that market. 

The supplier expects to see gradual improvement over the next few quarters.

While NeoGames reported a net loss of $3.6m, or $0.10 per share, during Q3 2023, this was an improvement from the net loss of $4.4m, or $0.13 per share, during the same period in 2022. 

The net loss in Q3 2023 was mainly attributed to costs related to the Aristocrat transaction and the amortisation linked to the Aspire business combination.

CEO comment 

NeoGames CEO Moti Malul said: “We are pleased with the progress we made during the third quarter advancing our strategic goals while we continue to work towards completing our merger with Aristocrat Leisure. 

“We remain focused on achieving sustainable growth. We are also encouraged by the interest and pipeline in the US market for our iGaming offering.”

Malul also stated that NeoGames’ iLottery business continues to gain market share and grow, highlighting that NeoPollard Interactive secured a public procurement deal to provide the West Virginia Lottery with a comprehensive iLottery programme.

In Q3, NeoGames also inked ten new operator contracts, including major players such as Hard Rock and Fortuna Entertainment Group.

Aristocrat merger progress

In addition, Malul provided a brief update on the progress of the merger with Aristocrat, which, in May, agreed to acquire NeoGames in a £1.2bn deal.

“We continue to make progress towards completing our merger with Aristocrat Leisure, and during this quarter have received additional regulatory approvals which are required to close. 

“We continue to expect the deal to be completed during the first half of fiscal year 2024,” Malul stated. 

NeoGames also revealed that a second shareholder vote to approve the merger will take place during the first half of fiscal year 2024. 

first vote took place in July, and the majority of shareholders voted in favour. 

Moreover, NeoGames’ shareholders representing approximately 61% of the company’s outstanding shares have already agreed to vote in favour of the merger.

NFL gives slots a spin

This week CNBC put out a report on a curious development in the US, as Aristocrat Gaming unveiled its first ever NFL-themed slot machines.

The American football-themed reels are due to hit casino floors when the NFL season kicks off this September.

The new slots are “symbolic of a major reversal for the NFL,” CNBC points out, “from its vehement opposition to legalised sports betting prior to the 2018 Supreme Court decision, which paved the way for states to adopt sports wagering, to partnering with the AGA on responsible gambling initiatives.”

The NFL itself put a more positive spin on the new products, with its SVP of consumer products Joe Ruggiero suggesting “the unveiling of the first NFL-themed slot machines represents an opportunity to bring the League closer to our fans in a new area.”

Aristocrat Gaming was equally optimistic about the development, as CEO Hector Fernandez said: “I truly believe that this could be an industry changing event for slot machines and for casinos themselves … pushing the boundaries, driving innovation to something that really has never been done before.”

The slots will feature customisable skins, allowing players to choose their favorite team, and the game will then load relevant imagery, videos of key game moments and even stadium anthems.

Fernandez suggested that the machines will encourage younger men to give slots a go, helping bring them into a vertical currently dominated by older, female demographics.

When you think of the crossover between sports and casino gambling, is this what springs to mind?

Goodbye, Twitter

Elon Musk hit the headlines once again this week as he unceremoniously dropped Twitter’s existing branding and logo in favour of a minimalist new brand, X.

The change occurred suddenly and without warning, which The Conversation suggested was in keeping with Musk’s movements since taking over the social media giant last year.

“Such drastic changes are usually accompanied by presentations delving into rebrand reasoning from company execs desperate to show how the new image aligns with organisational strategy and company vision,” said the article in its assessment of the rebrand.

Musk’s sudden dropping of the much-loved blue bird is “in keeping with Twitter’s disruptive nature of late,” the article suggests, as the social media network has undergone a series of rapid transformations since it was overtaken by Tesla boss Musk.

The rebrand apparently aligns with Musk’s plans to develop Twitter (sorry, X) into an “everything app”, offering users much more than the ability to simply communicate.

Taking inspiration from China’s WeChat, Musk wants to turn X into a central component of users’ daily lives, facilitating financial transactions, written, audio, and video content, and more.

“But of course, one of the biggest risks of changing a brand identity from one that has global recognition, recall and awareness, is that users may not like the change,” The Conversation suggested. 

“By removing the Twitter brand there is an immediate loss of brand equity – the positive associations consumers have with the brand – which could ultimately encourage people to move to other platforms.”

If the conversation on X this week has been anything to go by, plenty of users have already been “encouraged” to jump ship from the platform.

How do you solve a problem like affordability?

The Racing Post this week offered up a response to the UK government’s Gambling Act review, with one commentator suggesting “I don’t think they truly understand a lot of betting.”

The article focuses closely on the introduction of so-called affordability checks, described as “background checks taking place at a trigger of £125 net loss within a month or £500 within a year.”

A higher tier of enhanced checks has also been proposed for customers crossing thresholds of a £1,000 net loss within 24 hours or £2,000 within 90 days. 

Under more detailed proposals set out in the Gambling Commission’s consultations on the matter, however, “anyone triggering checks at that second tier could be forced to undergo an enhanced check into their finances as often as twice a year,” the piece suggested.

Added to that, it explains, “for the purposes of calculating a net loss, it is proposed that any money won more than seven days ago for those at the £1,000 threshold, and 90 days ago at the £2,000 threshold, would be ignored, meaning that some could be made to prove they could afford their gambling, despite being in profit.”

The piece goes on to set out a number of different example customers, whose gambling activity either would or would not lead to enhanced financial checks being carried out.

The examples point out certain oddities in the way checks would be carried out under the proposals due to the time limits applied to what winnings can be considered, when assessing who needs to undergo checks and who doesn’t.

The piece also suggests that the checks may have the opposite of their intended impact.

“If you are truly trying to get people to gamble in a more responsible way, if I win some money on the first of the month and by the ninth of the month that money doesn’t count any more as my winnings, isn’t that encouraging me to punt through my money quicker, rather than when I actually fancy something?” asked professional gambler Neil Channing.

“’I’d better have a bet because otherwise it won’t count’. That feels totally counter-productive to what they are trying to achieve,” he concluded.

The Gambling Commission’s consultations on the matter are far from over, but the topic of affordability checks continues to be a sticking point for many in the UK gambling market.

Aristocrat delivered 12% revenue growth in the first half of its 2023 financial year (six months ended 31 March) as it continues to invest in entering the online real-money gaming sector.

Topline numbers

Revenue for the half-year totalled A$3.08bn, an increase of 12.2% year-on-year.

Aristocrat’s largest business area by revenue was its Americas Gaming segment, which generated A$1.45bn during the half, up 26.4%.

Pixel United, the company’s social gaming-focused online division, generated a further A$1.32bn, but came in flat at 0.7% year-on-year.

Gaming sales in Australia and New Zealand brought in a further A$221.6m, down 0.5%, while International sales totalled A$88m, up 37.5%

Group EBITDA totalled A$1.03bn, up 5.7% year-on-year, on an EBITDA margin of 33.3%

Profit after tax for the half was A$653m, up 27.3% from A$513m in the comparative period.

News nugget

Undoubtedly the biggest news for Aristocrat this half was the announcement of its $1.2bn acquisition of iGaming supplier NeoGames.

The deal represents a major statement of intent on Aristocrat’s part, as it continues to increase its focus on the online RMG sector.

Through its four distinct business units, NeoGames offers Aristocrat a suite of products and services across the iLottery, iGaming and online sports betting sectors.

Aristocrat CEO Trevor Croker said he believes the acquisition “will truly be transformational for Aristocrat, laying the foundation to fulfil our ambition to be a global leader in online RMG”. 

He added: “The combination of Aristocrat’s market-leading content and deep customer relationships across our gaming and digital businesses, with NeoGames’ technology and platforms, will enable us to accelerate our content distribution globally, position us as the technology partner of choice with online RMG customers, and ultimately create an additional sustainable growth engine for the group.”

The acquisition represents Aristocrat’s latest move towards the RMG sector, following the unveiling of its Anaxi RMG brand in October last year.

Anaxi is Aristocrat’s online RMG division, which creates digital versions of the company’s land-based slot games for online casinos.

Aristocrat has continued to splash the cash on this segment, with A$42m invested in Anaxi specifically during the reported half-year.

Commenting on the progress of that business unit, CEO Croker said: “Our newest operating business, Anaxi, delivered on its initial market entry commitments and established sound foundations for growth. 

“With content agreements signed with partners representing over 55% of the iGaming market in the US [by GGR], we are comfortably on course to exceed our target of penetrating at least 70% of regulated jurisdictions across North America over the next five years.”

During the half, Anaxi signed deals with operators including Caesars Sportsbook & Casino, BetMGM and Penn Entertainment, as well as announcing a new agreement with FanDuel at the end of the reporting period.

“Early industry data on a small sample is highly encouraging and validates our hypothesis that our market leading land-based content will resonate well online,” commented Croker on the firm’s H1 earnings call.

Anaxi also completed the acquisition of Roxor Gaming during the half, which it said offers it a “highly scalable and feature rich” remote game server, as well as content publishing technology intended to help accelerate Anaxi’s growth plans.

The combination of NeoGames and Anaxi acts as the foundation for Aristocrat’s entry into the RMG space, the company said, together demonstrating both sides of its “build and buy” strategy in the sector.

Best quote

“We remain steadfast in our view that online RMG is a logical and complementary growth and diversification opportunity for the group, to leverage our leading land-based content across a new and growing distribution channel.”

– Aristocrat CEO Trevor Croker on the company’s commitment to the RMG sector

Best question

Executive director of equity research at UBS Andre Fromyhr wanted to know more detail about the financial impact of Aristocrat’s Anaxi RMG segment.

“I appreciate you’ve shared some information around what share of design and development (D&D) spend could be allocated toward Anaxi, but are there other costs associated with setting up that business, and are you starting to recognise the income streams from Roxor and the other initiatives that you’ve got?” he asked.

In response, CEO Croker said: “This is a start-up business, so we are at the investment stage. We’re investing in critical infrastructure and in D&D to make games and technology. 

“I think we need to think of this as a building strategy, and it is going to require some investment to actually generate revenues longer term.”

Aristocrat CFO Sally Denby added some more colour to the Anaxi strategy, as she revealed that some 10% of the company’s total employee base is dedicated to Anaxi at this point in time.

On the question of when the business segment can be expected to generate revenue, she added: “Given that our content has only just started to go out to market, you can probably expect to see revenue come through the RMG segment in the second half.”

Current trading and outlook

Aristocrat has reaffirmed that it expects to see net profit after tax and amortisation (NPATA) growth for the full-year 2023.

It also expects to improve the profit from Pixel United in the second half of the year compared to the prior-year period, albeit with full-year profit from the business segment expected to come in “moderately below” the level reported for the full-year 2022.

The business will continue to invest in the Anaxi business segment, while over the medium term it intends to continue gaining market share across all of its business segments and deliver profitable growth.

Australian gaming giant Aristocrat Leisure has agreed to acquire iLottery and iGaming solutions provider NeoGames in an all-cash transaction.

The deal values NeoGames at approximately $1.2bn, with shares purchased at a price of $29.50 each.

This represents a 104% premium over the company’s three-month volume weighted average stock price.

ASX-listed Aristocrat has been exploring opportunities to enter the rapidly growing RMG space following the collapse of its attempt to acquire industry giant Playtech.

The company subsequently established its dedicated RMG gaming division called Anaxi.

Nasdaq-listed NeoGames provides end-to-end solutions for regulated lotteries and gaming operators. It flexed its own M&A muscles last year with the purchase of Aspire Global.

Their suite of services includes iLottery, iGaming, and online sports betting, with four complementary business units: NeoGames, AspireCore, Pariplay, and BtoBet.

Strategic rationale

“Bringing together NeoGames and our growing Anaxi business will position Aristocrat with global scale and capability in the growing online RMG industry,” said Aristocrat CEO and managing director Trevor Croker.

“We see great opportunities in the combination of our complementary businesses, with clear revenue and growth potential that comes with a complete and seamless online RMG solution.

“This proposed acquisition builds on the strength and resilience of our business, expands market opportunities and adds capabilities to unlock our full potential,” he added.

“This proposed acquisition builds on the strength and resilience of our business, expands market opportunities and adds capabilities to unlock our full potential.”

Aristocrat CEO and managing director Trevor Croker

Aristocrat said the acquisition will provide significant international growth opportunities across the online RMG industry, particularly in the large North America segment.

Moreover, the entry into the highly regulated iLottery market is expected to facilitate further penetration across other online RMG verticals.

Finally, Aristocrat anticipates that the acquisition will deliver attractive financial returns and growth, with the acquisition being EPSA accretive from the first full year of Aristocrat ownership (FY25).

During an investor presentation, Croker emphasised the importance of NeoGames’ “solid technology stack” as a key factor behind the acquisition.

“It’s got a proven PAM that is now used in a number of markets in Europe and offers the ability to then leverage that PAM into the North American market as well,” he added.

Croker further disclosed that discussions between Aristocrat and NeoGames had been ongoing for the past year.

“It was about understanding them as people, understanding their business, understanding the markets, understanding their technology, and really getting to the core of what drives their organisation as a whole,” he explained.

Key executives to stay on

Meanwhile, NeoGames CEO Moti Malul commented: “I am tremendously proud of our entire team at NeoGames, as together we have established our leadership position, driving our success across iLottery, iGaming, and online sports betting.

“We are delighted that the team at Aristocrat recognises the significance of what we have built, and the strategic opportunity to combine our complementary businesses. We firmly believe that this transaction represents a great outcome for all of NeoGames’ shareholders, customers and employees.”

Members of NeoGames’ management team, including CEO Malul, president and head of gaming Tsachi Maimon and COO Rinat Belfer, have agreed to stay with NeoGames under Aristocrat ownership.

Terms of the agreement

Under the terms of the agreement, NeoGames has agreed to transfer its statutory seat, registered office and seat of central administration from Luxembourg to the Cayman Islands.

Moreover, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aristocrat will merge with and into NeoGames, with NeoGames being the surviving company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Aristocrat. NeoGames will become a privately-held company and no longer be listed on any public market.

The transaction is to be completed within 12 months, and is subject to, among other things, NeoGames’ shareholder approval and certain regulatory approvals.

However, NeoGames’ board of directors unanimously approved the agreement and has recommended the transaction, while shareholders representing 61% of NeoGames’ outstanding shares have also already agreed to vote in favour.

Aristocrat requires 66.7% of NeoGames’ shareholders’ approval to proceed with the transaction and initiate the regulatory approval process.

Social gaming specialist Aristocrat has revealed a new brand for its real money gaming (RMG) segment, Anaxi.

The firm announced the creation of a dedicated online RMG business in February this year, in the wake of the collapse of its attempted acquisition of industry giant Playtech.

After that deal fell through, Aristocrat announced it was exploring alternative ways of entering the RMG space, based on a ‘build and buy’ approach to scaling in the sector.

It said the strategy would see it invest in building out its own online RMG platform infrastructure, while undertaking select M&A, partnerships and talent acquisitions to accelerate progress where appropriate.

Aristocrat said the creation of its new Anaxi brand would support the execution of that strategy, including by helping the business continue to attract and retain talent and foster team culture within the company.

“We’re excited to announce Anaxi as the name of our emerging online Real Money Gaming business at Aristocrat,” said Anaxi CEO Mitchell Bowen.

Anaxi CEO Mitchell Bowen: “We look forward to working with our partners as Anaxi reimagines the world’s greatest gaming content online and begins our journey towards becoming the most trusted name in online RMG globally.”

“We look forward to working with our partners as Anaxi reimagines the world’s greatest gaming content online and begins our journey towards becoming the most trusted name in online RMG globally.

“We are thrilled to be showcasing our new Anaxi brand at G2E Las Vegas and invite our customers, partners and players to ‘Experience Anaxi’ with us on the Aristocrat Gaming stand,” Bowen concluded.

Anaxi’s first regulated iGaming products will launch with two “major” customers in the US by the end of the calendar year 2022, the firm said.

The rebrand comes shortly after Aristocrat’s acquisition of independent, UK-based B2B gaming supplier Roxor Gaming in September.

Roxor was founded in 2019 by former Gamesys chairman and co-founder Noel Hayden, and was previously the in-house studio and product team of the Gamesys Group.

Since separating from Gamesys in 2019, the business has invested heavily in its content portfolio, responsible gambling and platform technology, it said, in addition to its retention-focused gaming ecosystem.

The business is live with operators in New Jersey and is primed for expansion in the UK and North America, it added.

ASX-listed Aristocrat has agreed to acquire independent UK-based iGaming content supplier and development studio, Roxor Gaming.

Roxor was founded in 2019 by former Gamesys chairman and co-founder Noel Hayden, and was previously the in-house studio and product team of the Gamesys Group.

Since separating from Gamesys in 2019, the business has invested heavily in its content portfolio, responsible gambling and platform technology, it said, in addition to its retention-focused gaming ecosystem.

The business is live with operators in New Jersey and is primed for expansion in the UK and North America, it added.

The acquisition is intended to help the social gaming-focused Aristocrat accelerate its real-money gaming strategy, by providing it with the background iGaming experience associated with Roxor and its team.

“I am delighted to see this deal signed as I feel it brings together two great companies that complement each other perfectly,” said Roxor’s executive chairman Noel Hayden

Roxor Gaming executive chairman Noel Hayden: “Roxor holds a very important place in my heart as the team and the games we have built, have delivered so much to so many over the last 20 years. I couldn’t be more excited for Roxor Gaming and the road ahead.”

“Roxor holds a very important place in my heart as the team and the games we have built, have delivered so much to so many over the last 20 years. I couldn’t be more excited for Roxor Gaming and the road ahead.”

Mitchell Bowen, CEO of online real-money gaming for Aristocrat, added: “Roxor is a great fit for Aristocrat, and this acquisition is another step forward in Aristocrat’s strategy to scale in online RMG. We look forward to growing together with the talented Roxor team.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023 subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. No further information on the value or structure of the deal has yet been made available.

Roxor Gaming’s general manager Josh Morris concluded that the deal “has happened at the perfect time for Roxor Gaming as we look to expand and grow through new partnerships in the US and UK markets.

“I feel that the combination of Roxor and Aristocrat brings a significant opportunity to build the most entertaining and widely adopted iGaming solution in the market,” he added.

The agreement shows Aristocrat following through on its “build and buy” approach to the RMG sector, which CEO Trevor Croker revealed in February following the firm’s failed acquisition of industry giant Playtech.

Global Gaming Women has elected Lauren Bates as first vice president and Siobhan Lane as second vice president of the board of directors.  

Bates currently serves as Konami Gaming’s VP of sales for the western region, while Lane is Light & Wonder’s SVP and CCO.

Global Gaming Women (GGW) is a US non-profit dedicated to supporting, inspiring, and influencing the development of professional women in the gaming industry.

Bates has been with Konami Gaming, a manufacturer of slot machines and gaming enterprise management systems, for more than 16 years and has held various positions throughout this time. Since 2019, she has also been a board member of GGW.

Light & Wonder SVP Siobhan Lane: “It is integral that we continue to create opportunities and spaces that uplift, celebrate and support the countless women in gaming who are inspiring and affecting change.”

Before joining Light & Wonder, Lane rose through the ranks at Aristocrat, joining as regional market specialist in 2007 and leaving 12 years later as SVP of marketing and gaming operations.

Commenting on her election to GGW, Lane said: “As a woman in the industry, this role with GGW is deeply personal to me.

“It is integral that we continue to create opportunities and spaces that uplift, celebrate and support the countless women in gaming who are inspiring and affecting change.”

GGW was established by the American Gaming Association (AGA) to create a broad network that allows peers to connect with their colleagues.

The goal is for female gaming professionals to learn from one another, create lasting connections and nurture female leaders.

Today, more than 100 female gaming executives and emerging leaders are engaged in various GGW committees.

Playtech shares are trading higher today (15 June) after the supplier received all required regulatory approvals for the sale of its Finalto financial trading division to Gopher Investments.

The sale was agreed in September last year, with an all-cash price of $250m approved by Playtech shareholders at the firm’s general meeting in December.

In line with the agreement with Gopher, Playtech said it expects the sale to complete on 30 June. 

The supplier added that the completion of the transaction is a significant step in its strategy to simplify the group and focus on its technology-led offering as a ‘pureplay’ gambling business across B2B and B2C.

Playtech’s overall business remains a candidate for acquisition, despite a 680p per share offer from Australian supplier Aristocrat collapsing earlier this year.

In the wake of that deal falling through, TTB Partners – which had advised Gopher Investments on its acquisition of the Finalto division – was released from Takeover Code restrictions which would otherwise have prevented it from making an offer for the business.

Peel Hunt analyst Ivor Jones: “Shorn of Finalto, the B2B and B2C arms of the group should be attractive targets in this M&A-driven sector, and we still hope to see a route into the US for Caliente.”

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer, and former director and CEO Tom Hall, were subsequently confirmed to have approached TTB in order to explore the possibility of participating and collaborating over a future offer to buy Playtech. 

As a result, Weizer was excluded from an independent committee formed by Playtech’s other directors to assess any M&A proposals at the business.

An update on the Playtech acquisition saga is expected on Friday, which marks the 17 June deadline by which TTB Partners must place a formal bid for the firm, if indeed it chooses to make one.

On TTB, Peel Hunt analyst Ivor Jones said in a note to investors: “We will not be too despondent if no bid emerges – Playtech has been trading strongly but not able fully to set out its investment stall while subject to a bid. 

“Shorn of Finalto, the B2B and B2C arms of the group should be attractive targets in this M&A-driven sector, and we still hope to see a route into the US for Caliente.”

Playtech said in its Q1 2022 financial report that “positive progress” had been made in discussions with TTB, but that there could still be no certainty as to whether a concrete offer would be forthcoming.

Playtech grew full-year revenue from continuing operations by 11.8% in 2021 as the firm’s diverse business divisions brought in €1.21bn.

Of the total, €554.3m came from Playtech’s core B2B gambling offering, up 12.0% year-on-year, while the B2C segment generated the majority of revenue at €663.7m, up 11.3%.

B2C revenue was driven principally by the Snaitech brand in Italy at €584.7m.

B2B revenue was split more evenly across the globe, with the UK, Mexico and the Philippines delivering €132.2m, €90.3m and €67.6m, respectively.

Other key markets for B2B included Malta, Italy and Gibraltar, which generated €52.3m, €30.7m and €27.9m, respectively. 

A variety of markets around the world delivered the remainder, including Spain, Netherlands, Colombia, Romania and Norway – in addition to €60.2m from the supplier’s Rest of World segment, which includes Latam and its budding US operations.

Playtech said its overall growth was driven by “very strong” online performance, more than offsetting the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns which, for instance, had a negative impact on the retail revenue of Playtech’s business in Italy.

The supplier ended the year with EBITDA of €281.3m, an increase of 26.2% over 2020. 

Thanks to a further €583.2m in unrealised fair value changes of derivative financial assets – relating to options held by Playtech in various Latam-facing businesses including Caliente in Mexico and Wplay in Colombia – the company declared full-year profit before taxation of €605.0m, up from a €52.7m net loss in 2020.

After an income tax credit worth €81.7m, Playtech declared overall profit from continuing operations of €686.7m. Following a loss from discontinued operations of €12.1m, including the Finalto financial trading division sold to Gopher, this left an overall profit for the year of €674.6m, compared to a €297.4m loss in 2020.

The firm ended 2021 with total assets of €3.65bn, up from €3.07bn at the end of 2020.

“Our full year results demonstrate the quality of Playtech’s technology and the momentum across the group,” said Playtech CEO Mor Weizer. 

“Our strong performance is underpinned by our B2B business, in particular the tremendous growth we have seen in the Americas. We have made real progress in the execution of our US strategy, supported by new licences, new launches and new partnerships, and we continue to go from strength to strength in Latin America, buoyed by new strategic agreements across the region. 

“In B2C, the story is similar, with Snaitech continuing to outperform the market, achieving the position of the number one brand across sports betting and retail in Italy.

“Over the year Playtech has also refocused the business, with the sale of Casual and Social Gaming in January and the disposal of Finalto due to complete later this year. The appointment of Brian Mattingley as chairman significantly strengthens our corporate governance, and our Sustainable Success strategy places ESG at the core of our business.”

After the collapse of a recommended 680p per share acquisition by Aristocrat earlier this year, Playtech said in its annual report that it is still in talks with Hong Kong-based TTB Partners over a possible takeover.

Last month, Playtech announced that CEO Weizer would be excluded from any M&A-related board discussions, after he explored participating in a potential bid from TTB, alongside former Playtech director and CEO Tom Hall, colloquially known as “Hong Kong Tom”.

Pinpointing potential headwinds, London-based investment bank Peel Hunt said: “Playtech has over 700 colleagues in Ukraine and supporting them and managing the related disruption to the business may have a material impact. We are also uncertain about the impact of possible UK regulatory change.”

It did say however that the supplier’s full-year results were “stuffed with good things” and came in much better than expected, adding: “Caution over the potential impact of the Ukraine conflict and UK regulation hold us back from upgrading forecasts, but we reiterate our 800p target price and Buy recommendation.”

Aristocrat is set to establish a third business division dedicated to entering the online real-money gambling (RMG) space alongside its existing core business units.

After the collapse of its attempted acquisition of industry giant Playtech, Aristocrat appears to be exploring alternative ways of entering the RMG space in order to diversify its product offering.

At the supplier’s AGM yesterday (24 February), CEO Trevor Croker announced that a newly established RMG-focused business unit would be led by current Aristocrat Gaming chief Mitchell Bowen, and supported by a dedicated leadership team formed of several internal and external appointments.

Aristocrat has been developing its online RMG capabilities in-house throughout 2021, Croker said, and will now accelerate a ‘build and buy’ approach to scaling in the sector.

The strategy will see the business invest in building out its own online RMG platform infrastructure, while undertaking select M&A, partnerships and talent acquisitions to accelerate progress where appropriate.

Building a scaled position in the sector will be a medium-term effort, Croker said, built upon sustained investment over a number of years.

He added that Aristocrat has a track record of successfully scaling businesses and derives clear advantages from its product portfolio and cash balance. 

As Bowen moves to become CEO of the new division, he will be replaced as CEO of Aristocrat Gaming by Hector Fernandez, who joined the business in 2018 before taking on the role of president in 2019.

“Throughout his time at Aristocrat, Hector has championed fresh thinking and high performance and worked with a talented team to solidify our Americas business as the market pace-setter, and the supplier of choice,” commented Croker.

“A seamless leadership transition is well underway, and will be supported by additional internal appointments and promotions that further underline the depth of talent we’re delighted to have at Aristocrat.” 

More detail on the establishment of its new business division, including strategy and key priorities, will be made available alongside Aristocrat’s half-year 2022 results in May.

Besides its announcement regarding the new division, Aristocrat also gave its broader financial outlook for 2022 at the AGM.

It unveiled plans for continued expansion over the full year to 30 September 2022, with investment in design and development helping to drive sustained, long-term growth. Investment in this area is likely to be “modestly above” its historic range of 11-12% of revenue, it said.

Croker added: “We have entered the 2022 fiscal year with momentum and a balance sheet that continues to provide full strategic optionality. Our people are excited to accelerate our strategy and transformation in the period ahead.”