Elys revenue grows but slips to Q1 loss amid US expansion costs

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Operator and supplier Elys Game Technology - formerly Newgioco - brought in $14.1m (£10.0/€11.6m) in revenue, up 39.1%, but slipped to a loss due to its expansion in the US and the effects of low margins on expenses.

Elys’ revenue came on turnover of $243.2m, up 109.4%. Of this total, the vast majority, $231.3m, up 148.6%, was from online betting. The remaining $11.8m, down almost exactly 50%, came from retail bets.

“As illustrated by record revenue of $14.2 million for the first quarter of 2021, a 39% increase in revenue over the same period last year and on a combined record quarterly wager turnover of approximately $243 million in Q1 2021, the disciplined growth strategy we previously set out has been executed extremely well,” chief executive Matteo Monteverdi, appointed in November 2020, said.

The business then paid $225.8m in winnings for gross gaming revenue of $17.4m, up 48.8%. Of this total, $15.7m was made online, up 149.0%, while land-based revenue declined 69.7% to $1.7m.

After paying $3.3m in tax to the Agenzia delle dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) and receiving $92,000 in betting platform service fees, it was left with $14.1m in net gaming revenues, up 39.2%.

However, the business incurred costs and expenses of $14.8m, up 64.4%. Of this total, $10.7m were selling expenses such as commissions to sales agents. As this commission is based on handle rather than revenue, lower margins made these expenses more significant.

A further $4.1m of costs were classed as general and administrative expenses, with a 47.1% growth largely reflecting an increase in stock-based compensation and corporate salaries, many of these related to expansion in the US.

This led to an operating loss of $650,000, compared to a $1.1m profit in 2020. However, after other income including gains on securities, this loss was reduced to $221,000.

Elys then paid $339,000 in tax for a $610,000 net loss, compared to a profit of $158,000 the year prior.

After accounting for foreign currency changes, Elys reported a comprehensive loss of $954,000, compared to a $46,000 profit in 2020.

“We are more encouraged than ever by the outlook for the business both in Europe and as we plan our expansion into North America, especially as and when the pandemic begins to wane and land-based operations resume,” executive chairman Michele Ciavarella said. “Given the successful track record in Italy, we believe that we are ideally positioned to become a competitive player as regulations evolve, opening up new markets across North America and Europe.”

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