Sazka Group CEO Robert Chvatal has announced in the group’s Q3 trading report that the COVID-19 pandemic had ‘a very limited impact’ on its lottery businesses.

Chvatal stated in the report that Sazka’s ‘businesses traded well in Q3 as lockdown measures were eased and online sales remained high’.

He added that the return to normal trading in the markets and channels that were more affected by restrictions in H1 demonstrated ‘the resilient underlying demand’ for its products as well as the ‘agility’ of its teams across the regions.

The CEO also commented on lotteries, noting how those in the Czech Republic and Austria experienced very limited impact by COVID as land-based casinos and VLT halls were reopened by the summer.

Lottoitalia in Italy, on the other hand, continued ‘to operate without any material impact’ as sales of the 10eLotto and MillionDay games restarted in late April and lotto sales restarted in early May, allowing sales of all products throughout Q3.

Chvatal said: “In recent weeks, some COVID-related restrictions have been reintroduced across our geographies, having some impact on our business.

“With our resilient business and strong management team having coped well with the situation earlier in the year, we are well placed to manage the business through the current restrictions. Our diverse geographic exposure, game portfolio and sales channel mix with a strong and growing online are key advantages in this environment.

“As was the case in the first wave, there has been a very limited impact on our lottery businesses in the Czech Republic and Austria and a key difference versus the first wave is that our Italian business (Lottoitalia) continues to operate without any material impact.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with Sazka Group’s strong performance in Q3 and so far in Q4 and the strategic progress made so far this year. I am confident in our ability to manage any further challenges and emerge with an even more resilient business that is well-positioned for growth.”

In Q3 2020, the group’s numerical lotteries’ GGR3 decreased by 7% to €235m, while instant lotteries’ GGR decreased by 13% to €30m. It noted the movements reflect among other factors slower sales of certain lottery products in Greece.

Sazka Czech GGR increased by 5%, while NGR decreased by 11% as a result of the increase in lottery tax from 23% to 35% which took effect as of 1 January 2020. Operating EBITDA decreased by 24% compared to Q3 2019 due to the lottery tax increase and increased marketing spend on a major campaign.

In November, Sazka and Karel Komárek’s KKCG Group also announced that funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management agreed to invest €500m in coordination with KKCG into a newly formed holding company at a valuation of €4.2bn.

The investment will be used to capitalise on acquisition and growth opportunities in Europe and North America, with a focus on lotteries.