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Revenue dips as US plans gear up at BlueBet

| By Marese O'Hagan
Net revenue at sports betting operator BlueBet decreased marginally year-on-year for FY23, while turnover perked up as its US expansion plans took shape.

Revenue was AU$49.0m (£25.1m/€29.3m/US$31.7m) for the 12 months to 30 June, dipping by 1.3% compared to FY22. Turnover increased by 4.8% to AU$536.6m.

BlueBet pointed to its performance in Australia as a particular highlight for the year. But its full-year results came days after it was issued a $945,187 fine by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC). This figure could change subject to further legal proceedings. BlueBet displayed three advertisements on billboards between 29 August and 11 September last year, breaching state laws on marketing.

BlueBet’s active customers in Australia shot up by 22.7% to 65.4 million. Turnover grew 3.5% to $530.0m, accounting for a majority of the overall turnover for the year. BlueBet attributed this growth to a 24.0% increase in marketing spend, which was due to increased investment in the first half of the year.

BlueBet noted that it expects to be earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) positive in Australia in FY24.

State of play in the US

During the year, BlueBet made progress on its long-term expansion plans for the US, going live in Iowa in August 2022 and Colorado in April 2023 with its ClutchBet brand. The launch in Iowa was primarily focused on product enhancement.

Bill Richmond, chief executive of BlueBet, said the year centred around laying the groundwork for BlueBet’s development in the US, as well as furthering growth in Australia.

“FY23 was a year of strategic execution and laying platforms for long-term growth in Australia and the United States,” said Richmond. “Product is BlueBet’s key differentiator and the primary reason for impressive market share expansion in Australia and the driver of our early success in the US.”

BlueBet also said it was on track to launch in Louisiana in October 2023, and Indiana in January 2024.

“We were delighted to take bets in Colorado and Iowa during the period and we’re looking forward to doing the same in Louisiana and Indiana in FY24.

Net loss widens in FY23

Payouts at BlueBet totalled at $465.0m for the year, up by 5.3%. This left the gross revenue at $71.5m, which was an increase of 1.5%.

The net revenue resulted from $17.6m in promotions and $4.9m in goods and services tax. Cost of sales at $24.1m brought the net profit to $24.8m for the year.

Of other expenses, the highest was $19.2m in advertising and marketing costs. Employee benefits expense was $12.4m. The remaining expenses included IT, share based payments and administration.

This brought the EBITDA to a loss of $18.2m, a further collapse from the loss of $5.4m year-on-year. Depreciation and amortisation expense was $2.7m, while finance costs added up to $517,000. These costs left the pre-tax profit at a loss of $21.5m.

BlueBet paid $2.7m in tax throughout the year. After considering this, alongside $152,000 in foreign currency translation, the total loss for the year was $18.6m. This was an increased loss of $12.8m.

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