Sports betting and online casino drive growth at OPAP in Q3

| By Robert Fletcher
Sazka Group-owned OPAP credited growth across its sports betting and online casino operations for a year-on-year increase in revenue and net profit during the third quarter of 2021.

Revenue for the three months to 30 September amounted to €470.2m (£395.0m/$528.8m), up 20.3% from €391.0m in the third quarter of 2020.

Lottery remained the main source of revenue for OPAP in the period, though revenue was flat at €178.4m, with 97.7% of this total coming from retail channels.

Sports betting revenue increased 39.1% year-on-year to €141.4m, on the back of what OPAP described as a strong online contribution. Online betting was responsible for 29.8% of all betting revenue in Q3, compared to just 3.9% last year.

Video lottery terminal (VLT) revenue climbed by 5.4% to €84.4m, despite restricted access to the machines from mid-September due to novel coronavirus (Covid-19) measures in Greece. However, instant and passives revenue fell 11.2% to €24.1m as restrictions limited access for players.

Online casino reported the biggest growth in the period, with revenue rocketing to €42.0m, reflecting the contribution of OPAP’s increased stake in Stoiximan. OPAP upped its stake in Stoiximan Group’s Greek and Cypriot operations to 84.48% in November last year.

Turning to expenses, operating costs were 62.1% higher at €93.6m, with spending up across staffing, marketing and other operations, but revenue growth meant earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 66.7% to €175.0m.

Depreciation, amortisation and impairment costs amounted to €42.0m in the quarter, while after also including €9.6m in financial costs, this left a pre-tax profit of €123.5m, up 80.6% year-on-year.

OPAP paid €27.5m in tax during the quarter, resulting in a net profit of €96.0m, an increase of 83.6% on €52.3m in Q3 of 2020.

“OPAP’s Q3 results affirm our ability to sustain a strong financial performance, while implementing key initiatives of our Fast Forward Strategy,” OPAP chief executive Jan Karas said. “Retail resilience and continuing online growth, clearly aided by Stoiximan’s contribution, were the key drivers.

“During the quarter, we tapped the benefits of our recently launched loyalty program, which is key to further digitalising our offering. We are pleased to see the positive impact of our loyalty program, which has been well received both by our customers and partners. 

“In any case, we remain committed to delivering an even more entertaining customer experience across all our channels, so as to promote OPAP’s long-term growth.”

In terms of year-to-date performance, revenue for the nine months to 30 September was 15.7% higher at €1.04bn, aided by growth across all business areas.

Operating expenses were 47.2% higher at €268.7m, but the rise in revenue meant EBITDA also increased by 83.0% to €379.9m.

After including €108.5m in depreciation, amortisation and impairment costs, as well as €31.1m in finance costs, pre-tax profit was €240.4m, up 157.7% on last year.

Tax payments for the period amounted to €60.8m, meaning OPAP’s net profit for the year to date stands at €179.6m, up 155.1% year-on-year.

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