Bingo leader expects regulator fine to be imposed before the end of 2018
Online bingo giant Stride Gaming expects to pay out up to £4m (€4.5m/$5.2m) in a fine imposed for compliance failures. The operator, which is believed to have around a 25% share of the UK’s online bingo-led casino market, lost a third of its market value last month after announcing it had been informed that the Gambling Commission intended to issue a “significant financial penalty” after reviewing how one of its brands “historically carried on its licensed activities”. In a trading update issued today (Wednesday), Stride said the board had made provision of £4m for the fine. It is expected that the final decision by the Commission on a financial penalty will be made before the end of the calendar year. Neither the company or the Commission has confirmed the name of the operator found to have erred or the nature of the accusations. The Commission told iGamingBusiness.com it would not comment until the matter reaches resolution. Stride’s brands include Kitty Bingo, Lucky Pants Bingo and online casino Spin and Win. Meanwhile, Stride said it expects to report net gaming revenue (NGR) of at least £85m and adjusted EBITDA of more than £16m when it announces its financial results for the year to August 31 next month. With trading in line with expectations, expected NGR would be up slightly on the revised £82m figure for last year, while adjusted EBITDA would be down by around 20%. The company described a “resilient performance” in the face of “challenging” trading conditions and the cost of implementing further measures related to responsible gaming. In a statement, CEO Eitan Boyd said: “I am pleased to report that the group has traded well during the second half of the year despite a number of headwinds impacting the UK online gaming market. “Our focus remains on delivering further market share growth in the UK, driven by continued product innovation and increasing player loyalty. “This is underpinned by the strength of our proprietary technology as well as our proven business analytics capabilities. “We have an excellent technology platform as well as a highly experienced team driving the Group forward, and as a result we look forward to the future with confidence.” Despite Boyd’s positivity Stride’s share price was down almost 8% on Wednesday morning, and at 90p is worth almost a third of the 266.5p year high. In a recent interview with iGamingBusiness.com, Boyd pointed towards an increasing focus on B2B partnerships via its Stride Together arm.