SBC News Henson takes over CEO duties from Buckingham as BetMakers seeks ‘agile team’
Todd Buckingham

Henson takes over CEO duties from Buckingham as BetMakers seeks ‘agile team’

Ahead of its Q2 FY23 earnings call later today, BetMakers has announced some major changes to its Board, citing a need to address operational deficiencies to maximise and increase profits

The long-time CEO of BetMakers, Todd Buckingham will transition to the role of Chief Growth Officer, whilst Jake Henson will step up to the CEO role, having previously been Chief Operating Officer.

Additional changes have seen Matt Davey join the Board of President and Executive Chairman, whilst Nick Chan has been moved up from Non-Executive Chairman to Non-Executive Director.

Davey remarked: “Over the last 25 years as an executive in the industry, and through my investment company Tekkorp Capital LLC, I have had the opportunity to explore many gaming and wagering opportunities across the world.

“It remains clear to me that there is no better business or investment opportunity on the international stage than what the BetMakers business currently has on a global scale. I am delighted, after discussions with management and Board members, to be re-investing my energy and time to deliver on these opportunities. 

“I am taking on the role of President and Executive Chairman to work closely at a Board and management level with the intention to get results for all shareholders. I have confidence in the team, I have a strong belief in the market opportunities, and I will begin with an urgency in our approach to deliver results.”

BetMakers emphasised that the changes have been made with an aim to ‘accelerate the delivery of business optimisation and growth, and ultimately to maximise shareholder value’, having made a number of large investments over the past six months. 

Having played a key role in launching Australia’s new wagering vertical last year as well as completing a major M&A, BetMakers has projected an initially difficult start to 2023 but with strong growth prospects on the horizon.

The ASX-registered sports betting technology company saw the number of cash receipts in Q2 FY23 – the three-month period ending 31 December – rise 13% against the first quarter (AU$25.2m) and 9% year-on-year to AU$28.9m (Q2 2022: AU$26.3m). 

Cash divestments into technology and new holdings, as well as cyber-security, ISO certification, regulatory and compliance frameworks, have driven up costs, the company explained, requiring a ‘more agile team’ to capitalise on emerging international opportunities.

Commenting on his change in duties, Buckingham said: “I am especially proud to have been the founding CEO of BetMakers as we have built the Company from a start up to the respected expansive Global company it is today.

“The decision to transition from CEO to a focused delivery role on our international opportunities and growth initiatives came after an internal review to best position the company for accelerated growth and how best I could assist in capitalising on these opportunities.

“I have no doubt that we have assembled some of the best and most forward-thinking racing, wagering, and technology executives in the world.”

After a year in which new betting brand Betr – which Davey’s Tekkorp Capital is a key shareholder in – hit the market, as well as the launches of the NextGen and Global Tote Hub platforms in Q2 FY23, BetMakers informed investors that substantial investment would likely deliver a negative earnings call.

Despite this, the company has stated that its focus moving forward will be on ‘reducing and normalising the cost base’, which it believes will ‘set the business up’ for positive cash flow in H2 FY23 and growth in FY24.

Reflecting on its investments over the past six months, BetMakers lauded the Global Tote Hub as achieving its objective ‘to enhance connectivity between our customers and improve liquidity across the global tote wagering network’.

Buckiingham commented on the development: “The ‘International Pools’ concept will take our existing relationships with content rights and connect them to Global Tote customers around the world to create global liquidity.

“BetMakers is extremely excited about the opportunity that the Global Tote Hub offers our clients – both the wagering operators and the racing bodies. It has long been a goal of BetMakers to reduce the barriers to global commingling and to improve the liquidity and efficiency of global tote pooling.

“All parties involved in our December launch are extremely happy with the initial results – the team are now working hard to expand and replicate this model with our other partners.”

Further strengthening its racing operations, BetMakers successfully completed its acquisition of Punting Form last year, and also secured agreements to distribute Racing.com’s content to Thoroughbred Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing NSW fixtures to domestic operators.

The takeover of Punting Form was completed at a cost of AU$3m in cash, with BetMakers integrating the firm with its Global Betting ServicesManaged Trading Services (MTS) unit, which it projects will allow pricing improvements across its racing division.

“Sectional times are at the forefront of any ratings system and required by any serious ratings engine,” Buckingham remarked.

“The synergies across our business are exceptional with both internal use and our external client base benefiting greatly from this acquisition. 

“The team at Punting Form are very experienced in delivering B2B wagering solutions and we are excited to have them onboard at BetMakers.”

Perhaps of greatest significance for the company, however, was the launch of Betr to the market last year, the new wagering vertical for the Australian market and trading arm of NTD, a joint venture between Tekkorp Capital and the Murdoch family, led by Matt Tripp.

BetMakers was keen to highlight the growth potential of Betr – which it is the sportsbook supplier for – posting to an onboarding of 300,000 customers in the platform’s first four weeks of operations. 

Having launched the new operator in Q1 FY23, Buckingham praised this as ‘the most successful launch in the Australian market’, underscoring its growth potential to SBC Leaders.

“Matt Tripp is the pioneer of online wagering in Australia having started and exited from two scaled operations in the Australian market,” he said.

“Betr has an experienced management and leadership team with a proven track record of scaling Tier 1 betting brands. I expect that they will look to utilise their media partnership with Newscorp Australia for a tighter integration of wagering content and media assets. 

“Over the medium term they will look to bring new products, ideas and user experience to the market and leverage these media assets to promote, engage and understand the new age punter.”

BetMakers’ full Q2 FY23 earnings call will be announced later today

SBC News Henson takes over CEO duties from Buckingham as BetMakers seeks ‘agile team’

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