World Cup marketing investment pays off for Betsson as Q4 2022 caps record year
“Thanks all Betssonites for the hard work that you put in in 2022. You are the best and we are the best,” said a triumphant Pontus Lindwall at the end of Betsson’s Q4 2022 earnings call, which saw another set of records broken.
Q4 revenue increased by 40% year-on-year to €220.6m as a result of a 27% uptick in casino revenue and a 76% upturn in sportsbook revenue thanks to the World Cup.For the same period, EBITDA reached €51.1m, up 68%, on an EBITDA margin of 23.2%. Q4 active customers rose by 23% to 1,424,794.
It was a record full-year performance for Betsson. In 2022, group revenue hit €777.2m amid an annual rise of 18%. Full-year EBITDA came in at €172.4m following a 12% increase. Casino revenue climbed 8% to €514.7m as sportsbook revenue rose 46% to €250.6m.
The news angle is arguably the firm’s full-year performance. CEO Pontus Lindwall described it as the “best ever” year for Betsson due to strong growth and profitability, which is no mean feat in the current operating environment.
According to his comments, this was achieved via “disciplined capital allocation, geographical diversification and investments in new markets, as well as the continuous strengthening of the tech platform and product offering”.
Whereas some operators bemoaned the World Cup for disrupting an ordinarily packed fixture list, the winter tournament was a major success for Betsson, primarily because of its exposure in Latam, where football is massive and the national sport in most markets.Indeed, Latam recorded “new highs on most key parameters” according to the Q4 report.
Lindwall and CFO Martin Öhman fielded very few questions from analysts this morning. In conversation with iGaming NEXT, Lindwall said: “Normally you can always find something on the balance sheet to ask what happened here or what happened there, but this time there was nothing really to pick on. The number of questions went down dramatically,” he joked.
Even so, the best question came from ABG analyst Oscar Rönnkvist. He asked if Betsson had gained market share in Norway after Kindred tweaked its customer offering under threat from the regulator and subsequently suffered a revenue decline from the country.
Lindwall was tight-lipped, however. He said: “We have made changes to our offering as well and we are in a dialogue with the Norwegian authorities.”
“You can see from our sportsbook margin (7.3%) that it wasn’t that strong actually and was a little bit below our average margin (7.7%). But the activity was really good, and I think that boils down to execution.”
This was Lindwall’s response when asked what Betsson had got right during the World Cup that other operators may have got wrong. The firm invested heavily in marketing both before and during the tournament, culminating in €37m of marketing expenses, equal to 17% of total revenue.
Current trading and outlook
The average daily revenue in Q1 2023 up until 8 February was 34% higher than the average daily revenue of the full first quarter 2022. Betsson noted that during this period, the sportsbook margin was higher than the average margin over time.
The Stockholm-listed firm’s shares ticked 9% higher in early trading. The board of directors has proposed that €59.7m, equal to EUR 0.436 (0.367) per share, be distributed to shareholders through an automatic redemption programme.