Swedish lottery operator Svenska Spel has released its interim report for the first quarter of 2021 (January-March), signalling increased revenue in two out of three business areas and ‘good profitability’ allied to an upturn in digital.
However, the operator also noted it is still facing challenges as a result of the pandemic, as its group total revenues and results have been affected by a year-long closure of its land-based casinos.
President and CEO Patrik Hofbauer said: “We have growth in two out of three business areas as well as good profitability and strong finances in the Group as a whole. I am pleased and proud that the Board of Directors has proposed a dividend of SEK 3.2bn to the owner.
“The fact that our profits go back to the Swedish people is one of the reasons why we are the whole of Sweden’s bookmakers. Another reason is that we continue to develop our products and services for a larger gaming experience and that we do so in a safe and responsible way.”
Svenska Spel’s Sport & Casino net gaming revenue increased by 20% compared to the same quarter last year, but the operator noted this increase was due to the shortfall experienced by sports betting in March last year as a result of the pandemic.
Lottery Tur net gaming revenue increased by 6%, while the highest listing ever for the number of customers playing number games and lottery tickets was generated during the quarter.
Both areas also had a positive impact on the firm’s digital business, which now accounts for 51% of the group’s total revenue during the quarter.
The group achieved SEK 1,999m in net gaming revenue for the quarter, a decrease of SEK 55m or just under 3% when compared to the same quarter last year.
Svenska Spel noted that this decrease was due to the Casino Cosmopol & Vegas business area witnessing a fall of SEK 236m as its land-based casinos remain closed. Meanwhile, Vegas vending machines continue to be affected by the restrictions on restaurants and by the temporary gaming liability measures.
Operating profit came in at SEK 598m, down SEK 103m or 15% year-on-year due to the Casino Cosmopol & Vegas business area reporting a significantly lower operating profit of SEK 174m due to COVID-19. It was also impacted by voluntary reimbursement of support for short-term work received in 2020. Profit for the group amounted to SEK 477m (545), a decrease of SEK 69m or 13%.
The decrease in earnings was partly compensated by lower operating expenses, which yielded an operating margin of 30%. Adjusted for the repayment of state aid for 2020, the margin was 35%.