Entain Says Only Half German Population May Get Online Casino

October 13, 2021
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An Entain executive has estimated that about half of Germany's population will be eligible to access online casino games, although some states would be reserved for state monopolies.

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An Entain executive has estimated that about half of Germany's population will be eligible to access online casino games, although some states would be reserved for state monopolies.

The information surfaced in a webcast about Entain's third quarter revenue, in which net gaming revenue rose 4 percent year-on-year.

Online net gaming revenue rose 10 percent, the 23rd consecutive quarter of double-digit online revenue growth, the UK bookmaker said. Retail net gaming revenue declined by 1 percent.

But that online revenue record will end in the fourth quarter, with Entain officials noting the difficulty of improving on last year's quarterly 41 percent gain, plus a drag from its forced withdrawal from the Dutch market.

Entain had been expecting a decline of about 10 percent in the fourth quarter, off last year's pandemic-linked growth, but the Netherlands withdrawal will lower expectations to about a 13 percent drop, CFO Rob Wood said.

The company said it will not change its 2021 estimate of £850-900m in EBITDA, despite the loss of income from the Netherlands of about £5m per month.

Excluding Germany, third-quarter revenue would have gained 18 percent in constant currency, the company said.

Regulus Partners estimated those numbers suggest that German revenue declined by about 35 percent.

Germany's sports betting licences are valid nationwide, but so far only a handful of states have tipped their hands on licensing for online casino games, which are regulated state by state.

North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein have announced plans to set up licensing programmes, while Bavaria, Brandenburg and Saxony have said they will reserve table games for a monopoly.

In Germany, revenue is "stable, but materially down year-on-year", Wood said. "We look forward to more robust policing of the market.”

Last week, Saxony-Anhalt, the German state designated to be regulator, published a list of 35 companies that have been granted online sports betting licences, a list that includes Entain brands such as bwin, Sportingbet and Ladbrokes DE.

No online casino licences are on the list.

Entain's overall fourth quarter could also be tougher if inflation bites in the run-up to Christmas, with inflation projected to rise due to supply shortages, Regulus said.

In the US, Entain’s BetMGM venture is growing quickly, as it claimed a 32 percent share of online casino in the three months to the end of August, and a 26 percent share of sports betting and online casino in the states where it is present.

Company officials refused to discuss DraftKings' $22bn-plus offer for the company, which is complicated by the BetMGM venture, as partner MGM Resorts has said it would have a veto over any deal.

"With US gambling assets at a premium, revenue growing rapidly and no sign of US regulatory pressure, perhaps now is the right time for Entain to cash in and sell its share of BetMGM to MGM", wrote Peel Hunt analyst Ivor Jones. "That doesn't mean it is the right time to sell the whole group".

DraftKings has until October 19 to either make a firm offer or walk away.

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