Tag: Horse racing

Swedish monopolies carving out their place in the market

In the second part of Daniel O’Boyle’s deep dive into the changing role of Sweden’s gambling monopolies, ATG CEO Hasse Lord Skarplöth and Svenska Spel CEO Patrik Hofbauer discuss how their businesses have evolved since re-regulation.

When the new Gambling Act came into force in 2019, Svenska Spel and AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) face licensed competition online for the first time. They underwent many changes themselves.

2019: a new era for Swedish gambling regulation

For Svenska Spel the changes were mostly aimed at preventing the business from using its former monopoly status to gain an unfair leg-up in online betting and gaming.

Sweden launched its regulated gambling market in January 2019

This necessitated major changes, Hofbauer recalls.

“The biggest change was to adjust the whole organisation and operations to be in line with the re-regulated gambling legislation. Today Svenska Spel operates as a group with three separate business areas.

“And an important factor in that was c..

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BetMakers pens distribution deal with Racing Victoria’s media business

Betting technology and data business BetMakers has entered into a digital distribution agreement with Racing Victoria’s media business, the Victorian Thoroughbred Racing IMB (VTRIMB).

As part of the deal, BetMakers will embed a feed featuring Victoria horse races into its digital platform. This will then be distributed to betting companies across Australia via Betmakers’ streaming services .

“BetMakers is delighted to reach agreement with VTRIMB as a distribution partner for Racing.com’s live horse racing vision,” said BetMakers CEO Todd Buckingham. “Making this top-quality content available to more consumers will drive increased interest and wagering in Victorian horse racing.

“The content will also continue to bridge the product gap for BetMakers’ platform customers and is the first of many exciting updates we will roll out in this space.”

The agreement means BetMakers will provide content to up to 25 new distribution partners in the Australian online betting market.

“BetMakers..

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Singapore Pools outlines digital plans as revenue beats pre-pandemic total

State-owned gaming monopoly Singapore Pools’ 2021-22 revenue levels rebounded to 20% above the pre-pandemic total, growing to S$10.1bn ($7.2bn/£6.3bn/€7.2bn) from S$8.4bn for the 2018-19 period, the last pre-Covid data set.

According to the operator, growth in sports betting primarily drove the revenue increases. Singapore Pools added five new South American football leagues to its offering, and the resumption of delayed events – notably 2021’s UEFA Euro 2020 – led to a one-time boost in revenue.

Lottery revenue also rebounded past its pre-pandemic level, but horse race betting remained below trend as a result of the continuance of Covid-19 prevention measures in the betting venues.

The money raised via betting duties and taxes amounted to S$2.1bn, which was a 30% increase from the S$1.6bn raised the previous year, but has not yet significantly increased past the pre-pandemic norm.

The surplus paid to the Tote Board was a record S$464m compared to S$456 in 2019-20 and S$455m in 20..

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ATG warns over impact of “global economic challenges”

Sweden’s former horse racing monopoly ATG said net gaming revenue was broadly level year-on-year during the first three quarters of its 2022 financial year, despite the impact of global economic challenges.

Total revenue for the nine months through to the end of September amounted to SEK3.9bn (£305.9m/€352.6m/$346.9m), a decrease of less than 1% on the same period last year.

ATG said that while the effects of the pandemic had continued to die down during the nine months, the business now faces wider challenges in the impact of the war in Ukraine and also global economic issues due to high inflation and the potential for an impending recession.

Chief financial officer Lotta Nilsson Viitala said it was difficult to estimate how much both of these factors would hit ATG, but admitted that the business would be impacted.

“We see tendencies towards our customers having less money left in the entertainment wallet,” Viitala said. “It is completely natural with the price increases and inte..

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ATG chief slams bonuses as “embarrassing”

Hasse Lord Skarplöth, CEO of Swedish state-affiliated horse racing operator ATG, has said that bonuses are “embarrassing” and “drive gambling addiction” in a blistering critique of the common industry practice.

Bonuses are the practice of offering free or extra bets to consumers in order to attract or retain players to their platforms; with the method sometimes coming under criticism as an inducement that helps contribute to negative social responsibility outcomes.

Sweden has a stringent bonus regime, only allowing operators to offer one bonus per player at sign-up, worth no more than SEK100. This has been criticised by the Swedish Moderate Party – which have called for the rules to be reformed:

Hasse Lord Skarplöth

“This would make it easier for gaming companies to retain customers in the licensed market and have long-term relationships with the players, both of which increase consumer protection,” said the party.

Much of the industry has also opposed the bonus ban. However, as ..

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FDJ opens talks over ZEturf Group acquisition

French national lottery operator Française des Jeux (FDJ) has entered into exclusive negotiations over the acquisition of online horse racing and sports betting brand ZEturf Group.

Details of the talks or financial terms of the potential deal were not disclosed, but FDJ did state that the purchase would form part of wider plans to expand its presence in France’s online gambling market.

Founded in 2001, ZEturf employs approximately 100 staff and processed almost €800.0m (£701.6m/$802.5m) in wagers, including more than €100.0m in pool bets, in 2021.

According to FDJ, online horse racing betting accounts for more than 50% of ZEturf bets. This makes the business France’s second largest operator in this segment with a market share of around 20%.

In addition to its activities in France, ZEturf operates in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.

Should the acquisition proceed to the next stage, the deal would be subject to approval by competition and regulatory authorities

The talks come a..

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Churchill Downs to acquire Kentucky’s Ellis Park for $79m

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has agreed a deal to acquire the Ellis Park racetrack and gaming facility in Kentucky for a total consideration of $79.0m (£69.4m/€79.3m).

Under the arrangement, CDI will purchase Ellis Park Racing & Gaming from Enchantment Holdings, an affiliate of Laguna Development Corporation, and take full ownership of the venue.

Located in Henderson, Kentucky, Ellis Park has hosted horse racing for the past 100 years, while the site also features a gaming facility venue with approximately 300 historical racing machines (HRMs).

The acquisition agreement also includes CDI assuming Ellis Park’s opportunity to construct a track extension facility at Owensboro’s Towne Square Mall. The new Owensboro Racing & Gaming site will also house an entertainment venue with 600 HRMs, a simulcast wagering centre and multiple food and beverage offerings.

Over the next year, CDI said it expects the total investment in the Henderson and Daviess counties to be approximately $75.0..

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BHA appoints former Downing Street spokesperson Swift to comms director role

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced the appointment of Greg Swift, formerly a spokesperson for the prime minister, as its director of communications and corporate affairs.

Scheduled to join the organisation at the end of October, Swift will lead the BHA’s recently restructured Communications and Corporate Affairs department, with Robin Mounsey to serve as interim director prior to his arrival.

The BHA said the new-look department forms part of a wider plan to reform its strategy and structures, with the aim of delivering a more strategic approach to communications and public affairs.

Swift is currently head of news and press secretary to the foreign secretary within the UK government, having previously been head of communications for the Department for Exiting the European Union and the prime minister’s official deputy spokesperson and head of news.

Prior to that, he spent time working in national newspapers, including as assistant editor for the Daily Express.

“..

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BetMakers CEO optimistic as revenue rockets after Sportech acquisition

BetMakers chief executive Todd Buckingham said the business is now “unquestionably robust and independent of any single contract or strategy”, following rapid revenue growth in 2021-22, aided by the acquisition of Sportech’s global tote arm.

The business brought in AU$91.7m in revenue during the year ended 30 June, though its losses also increased following the deal.

Global betting services – which previously made up the vast majority of BetMakers’ revenue – brought in AU$19.5m, up by 179.3%.

However, with acquisition-driven growth in other segments, it was no longer the leading revenue generator for the business.
Instead, the global tote arm – acquired from Sportech last year – was the new leader. Tote revenue was AU$46.9m, up from just AU$1.7m a year earlier as the acquisition closed in the final weeks of 2020-21.

The BetMakers global racing network brought in AU$4.1m, up by 28%.

Costs of goods sold also increased, but more slowly, from AU$9.3m to AU$25.4m, resulting in a gross..

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UK Tote Group names Spencer and Holt non-executive directors

Pool betting operator UK Tote Group has appointed Lord Spencer of Alresford and Mark Holt as non-executive directors to its board.

UK Tote said the double addition would support its ongoing growth plans, with the focus on product innovation, better value, improved customer experience and strong partnerships to create more liquidity and bigger pools.

Lord Spencer is an entrepreneur and founder of interdealer broker ICAP, which became a FTSE100 business in 2006, and its successor, electronic markets services provider NEX plc. He is also one of more than 150 investors in UK Tote.

In addition to acting as a board director of a small number of private businesses, Spencer became chairman of the Centre for Policy Studies in 2020.

Holt brings experience and knowledge from his time working in senior technology roles with a number of businesses. These included spells as chief technology officer at CPA Global and chief technology officer for Trainline.

He is currently chief product and engi..

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