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Esports-focused betting operator Rivalry has promised to ramp up its investment efforts in 2022 as it targets international launches and an increased awareness among the investor community.

In 2021, Rivalry’s third year in operation, the company reported its strongest performance to date. Annual revenue rose by 600% to C$8.9m as of Q3, with Q4 still to complete.

Betting handle jumped 180% year-on-year to C$66.1m through to October 2021, with an implied annual run rate as of the last reported quarter (Q3) of nearly C$100m.

Over the same period, customer registrations increased to approximately 600,000, up from 350,000 at the end of the full year 2020.

Toronto-based Rivalry is a sports betting and media business offering fully regulated online wagering on esports, traditional sports, and iGaming for what it describes as “the next generation” of bettors.

The firm holds an Isle of Man operating licence and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RVLY.

On 4 January 2022, Rivalry co-founder and CEO Steven Salz published a letter to shareholders outlining the operator’s intentions for the coming year.

“We are confident 2022 will be another record year of accomplishments,” he said. “The investment we will be making in all key areas of the business will likely exceed the past three years combined.”

This increase in spend should see Rivalry launch its products in both Australia and Canada during 2022.

Last year, it was conditionally granted a bookmaker licence in Australia from the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) and it has also submitted an application to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to become a fully registered operator of internet gaming and sports betting in the province.

Rivalry is built on proprietary technology and has produced disruptive in-house titles including cyberpunk-themed multiplayer racing game Rushlane.

It has promised further innovative product releases and in-house developed games in 2022, which will be bankrolled by a balance sheet with approximately C$41.3m of cash and no debt as of Q3, a figure several times the amount it cost to build the entire business, according to management.

“We are executing against a generational opportunity, and our vision is clear,” Salz told shareholders. “To become the leader in next gen sports betting and entertainment globally, and to have the most engaged brand and portfolio of IP (games, content, creators, and more) that is revered and trusted,” he added.

Rivalry said it eventually wants to make an impact beyond betting by tapping into the online entertainment habits of Gen Z and young Millennials.

The company is targeting the same audience of digital natives as US giant DraftKings, which has created an NFT marketplace for example, and is creating games like Rushlane specifically for that profile of customer to create brand loyalty with under 30s.

“I’m confident Rivalry as a company, and as a collection of talented individuals, understands better than any of our peers how to navigate and participate in this culture,” said Salz.

“It is an inevitable generational tidal wave that we are focusing all our efforts on acquiring, retaining, and entertaining,” he added.

Rivalry started public trading on 5 October 2021. It closed at a high of C$3 per share on 11 November 2021, before dropping steadily to C$1.52 per share at the time of writing.

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