Rafi Ashkenazi: Stars Group will take advantage of UK disruption

Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive of the Stars Group Inc, has stated that effective integration of Sky Betting and Gaming (SBG) assets will simply lead to an enlarged Stars Group taking a larger market share of UK gambling.

During the close of 2018, all listed gambling operators detailed tough trading, adjusting to new UK market conditions. For Ashkenazi, this represents the optimum time for Stars Group to take advantage of UK disruptions.

“We are quite well positioned and very confident that we are going to continue taking market share in the U.K,” he said. “We are looking to grow the market double-digit in 2019.

“What we’re seeing is, essentially, the foundation that was laid by the SBG team over the course of the years, a very large significant customer base in the U.K.—we are the largest in terms of market share, we have the largest customer base in the U.K., and leveraging on this customer base is something that allows us to grow faster in the market.”

Speaking to investors on Stars Group’s 2019 guidance, Ashkenazi states that the firm’s UK market ambitions will be matched if the enlarged enterprise delivers on its co-synergy target, delivering circa $60 million in incremental benefits during 2019.

“SBG is very focused on continuing The Stars Group Inc’s product development and product roadmap,” he continued. “They have been, as part of their philosophy, very customer-focused and they continue to develop innovative products in order to continue growing the market share. So, those foundations that were laid by the SBG people are just simply allowing us to continue to grow market share.”

An enlarged Stars Group now operates multiple brands and products in 21 licensed/regulated market jurisdictions, with the company projecting to book-in $85 million in duty and regulatory charges during the course of 2019 trading – in which UK incumbents will adjust to a new 21% remote gambling duty inbound from 1 April 2019.

Ashkenazi concluded: “In the UK, our SBG business continues to grow market share, leveraging its strong brand, product expertise, and rapid innovation. We saw a notable improvement in growth rates throughout Q4, as some of the new innovations started to gain traction, such as our improved betstlip, a new in-play product set and Sky Vegas Creations, our in-house and exclusive games.

“We enter 2019 with positive momentum, and I am confident that we will deliver our plans for low double-digit pound revenue growth and ongoing market share gains in the UK.”

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