The UK is becoming an increasingly important market for heritage US gambling group Bally’s Corporation, as cited by the company’s third quarter trading report.
Updating investors, the NYSE firm outlined group-wide revenues of $632.5m, an increase of 9.4% year-on-year against Q3 2022 comparatives of $578.3m, with a strong performance enjoyed by its international unit.
Bally’s International Interactive revenue stood at $243.9m, a 7.2% increase on $227.6m recorded the year prior. In particular, its UK operations were cited as playing a key role in this, with the group’s operations in the country recording a 13.1% increase ‘as market share gains continue’.
The company’s operations in the UK revolve around the Gamesys Group, acquired in October 2021 for over $2bn. The deal saw Bally’s acquire Gamesys UK flagship brand Jackpotjoy and partner brands of Virgin Casino and Monopoly Casino sites.
In September its profile was further strengthened in the British market via the introduction of its own online casino app, carrying the Bally’s branding. The app was launched by replacing one of Gamesys’ existing properties, Megaways Casino.
Commenting on the group’s UK performance in a webcast post-earnings call, Bally’s CEO Robson Reeves said: “Our Bally’s International Interactive division continues its impressive operating momentum in the UK, where we also successfully launched the Bally’s branded icasino app. We believe the Bally’s brand will drive revenue and profit growth and build brand equity in the UK market.”
Gamesys confident of matching UK compliance demands
Further breaking down Bally’s UK performance, Reeves attributed the group’s growth in the market as being due to ‘timely adaptations in response to regulatory policy changes’, with the market continuing to adjust to the recommendations of the Gambling Act review’s White Paper.
Ahead of implementation of the White Paper’s recommendations, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and DCMS are engaged in consultations with stakeholders on implementing affordability checks and tougher KYC compliance requirements.
This period of change has led to uncertainty, with betting stakeholders unsure of exactly what the future might hold from a regulatory standpoint. Despite this, Bally’s has remained consistently confident in its British prospects.
Back in August, Reeves asserted that Bally’s had established a strong foothold in the country and would be working ‘constructively with both the government and Gambling Commission’ moving forward.
In his address to investors last week, he reiterated: “We’re confident in our ability to sustain or exceed these level. This includes our plans to reinvest in our core UK and Asia businesses as we pursue selected growth opportunities in international markets that fit our return criteria.”
Following the repeal of PASPA in 2018, the US unsurprisingly became the scene of a highly-publicised ‘gold rush’ as various European firms sought to acquire real estate in the rapidly expanding market.
This saw the likes of Betway, bet365 and Betfred acquire licences and begin to offer local services, whilst Entain pursued its joint-venture with MGM Resorts in BetMGM, and Flutter Entertainment acquired market leader FanDuel.
In recent years, attention has begun to turn the other way to some extent, however, with Bally’s acquiring Gamesys – and clearly remaining confident in its UK ambitions – whilst both DraftKings and MGM have probed a purchase of Entain.
In the case of MGM, the company became one of the latest additions to the UK market when it acquired international igaming firm LeoVegas, and further built up its presence by launching BetMGM in the country outside the scope of its JV with Entain.