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  • Rivalry reports record quarterly revenue in Q1 2022 and eyes online casino launch in Q3
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Shares in esports-focused betting operator Rivalry tumbled 6.1% today after the firm’s Q1 2022 financial results showed a total comprehensive loss of C$7.4m.

The firm posted the loss despite a 149.3% increase in revenue year-on-year to C$4.8m.

That revenue came off the back of C$40.2m in betting handle, nearly four times the C$10.8m processed in wagers by the firm during Q1 2021.

This brought Rivalry’s gross profit to C$0.7m in Q1 2022, up some 26% from the prior year period’s C$0.5m.

However, after C$7.2m in operating expenses, up 155.5% year-on-year, the business declared a net loss of C$6.6m, compared to a C$2.3m net loss in Q1 2021.

After accounting for other expenses, the business declared a total comprehensive loss of C$7.5m for the period, or a C$0.13 comprehensive loss per share.

During the quarter, Rivalry was awarded a sports betting licence by the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC), allowing it to offer regulated betting throughout Australia.

It subsequently launched operations in Australia earlier this month, having also entered Ontario’s regulated online sports betting and iGaming market on 4 April, following the end of the reporting period.

As of the end of the quarter, the business held C$30.1m in cash and no debt.

“We are pleased to report the highest betting handle and quarterly revenue in company history,” said Steven Salz, Rivalry co-founder and CEO. 

“These results are a testament to the consistency Rivalry has delivered for over two years now, demonstrating triple-digit year-over-year growth in every quarter.

“We note that first quarter figures represent organic growth in our existing markets and do not include any results from our two new regulated markets, Ontario and Australia, both of which launched in the second quarter.

Regulus Partners analyst Paul Leyland: “Rivalry continues to show that all hope in esports-dedicated books should not be lost, yet.”

“The strength we saw during the first quarter is evidence of strong momentum in the business,” Salz continued. “We expect to continue delivering considerable year-over-year growth throughout 2022.

“I’m very encouraged by the trends we’re seeing in the business and the performance of our team as we continue to execute on this generational opportunity. I’ve never been more confident,” he concluded

Looking to the future, Rivalry set out a number of key priorities for the rest of this year on today’s Q1 earnings call with investment analysts.

A major addition to the operator’s portfolio will be the development of a casino product which is relevant to and meets the expectations of its core demographic of esports bettors, it said. 

The firm added that it expects to roll this out during the third quarter of 2022, in a move which may be able to significantly improve its future earning potential compared to Rivalry’s current offering, which does not include online casino games.

In Q3, the business also aims to launch its new mobile app, “consistent with the surprise and delight the next generation of customers is looking for.”

Rivalry will also continue to focus on the development of its proprietary game IP, it said, building on the launch of Rushlane, a multiplayer online gambling game created by the business and launched in October last year.

Rivalry described its development of proprietary games as a key differentiator for the business within the online gambling market.

The company’s market launches in Ontario and Australia are expected to bring significant additional costs to the business through increased personnel and marketing expenses throughout the rest of the year, but management said it expects the increased diversity of customers generated by the entries will help to stabilise the firm’s margins over time.

Despite its losses in this quarter, Paul Leyland of Regulus Partners holds a positive outlook for the firm’s future. In a note to investors, he said: “Rivalry has thus far championed low consumer acquisition costs, with a tailored product to an esports audience. 

“The company has exhibited strong growth (in both revenue and handle) so far in Q122 and looks healthy on the balance sheet with CA$30.1m in cash. Rivalry’s leadership has pinpointed markets where an esports (and also normal sports/igaming) product can work, and with entrance to regulated markets such as Australia and Canada, we would expect the growth to continue.”

Speaking on one of Rivalry’s esports-endemic competitors, however, Leyland added: “Esports Entertainment faces delisting from Nasdaq given share underperformance, and with business units facing large impairment charges, the company’s future looks far from steady. 

“Rivalry, on the other hand, continue to show that all hope in esports dedicated books should not be lost, yet.”

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