Romanian gambling operator with bold ambitions

by Mia Chapman Last Updated

A Romanian gambling operator has acquired a majority stake in a popular online casino as part of its international expansion plans.

Calvin Ayre reports that on Monday, gambling operator SuperBet announced it reached a deal to acquire 60 per cent of Lucky7, an online casino business founded by Olor Orn, Magnus Petersson and Karl Ahlberg.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but SuperBet did reveal it previously provided start-up capital to Lucky7, which started in early 2019.

Lucky7 operates a number of online casino brands in Europe and the Americas.

Co-founder Orn claims the company hit its stride during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of online sports betting, resulting in a turnover of 17 million euro during the second quarter.

SuperBet is Romania’s dominant sports betting operator and recently expanded into Poland’s regulated market.

The company has made a point of expanding its operations following a major cash infusion from the Blackstone Group hedge fund in 2019.

SuperBet chief executive officer Johnny Hartnett, a former Paddy Power Betfair executive who assumed the chair last August, said the company is fleshing out its core sports offering with a bolt-on online casino product that is “a win-win that will bring good luck to everyone.”

Mr Hartnett noted he and his Blackstone partners share a goal of becoming “one of the largest gambling brands in Europe in two to three years. The current pandemic slightly delays the achievement of this goal, otherwise nothing has changed.”

SuperBet is already a major player in Romania, turning over 2.8 billion euro in 2019 – a near five-fold improvement over the same number of years – and entering the top 10 of the country’s domestic businesses, with a valuation of around 700 million euro.

Spain reports first quarter online gambling spike

Spain’s online gambling market reported double-digit growth in the first quarter of 2020, Calvin Ayre reported in July.

All gaming verticals are reporting strong year-on-year improvements.

Figures released last week by Spain’s DGOJ regulatory body show locally licensed online operators generated revenue of just under 218 million euros in the three months ending March 31.

This is a 12.5 per cent increase from the same period last year and 17.6 per cent better than the final quarter of 2019, which suffered negative growth.

Sports betting remains the dominant vertical with revenue of 110.6 million euro in quarter one, up 8.6 per cent year-on-year and nearly a quarter higher than the fourth quarter of 2019.

In-play betting revenue increased four per cent to 61.3 million euro, despite in-play turnover falling 18.5 per cent year-on-year.

Pre-match wagering mirrored this pattern, with revenue rising 13.1 per cent to 46.3 million euro, despite turnover falling 10 per cent.

Casino revenue was up 8.3 per cent year-on-year to 77.6 million euro, thanks to strong growth in slots, which were u 15.7 per cent, live roulette, up 35.6 per cent and traditional roulette up 16.7 per cent.

On the flip side, blackjack revenue was down 17.1 per cent to 5.3 million euro, while baccarat was off nearly 80 per cent to just 614,000 euro.

Online poker revenue jumped 13.1 per cent year-on-year to 24.2 million euro as tournaments improved by nearly 16 per cent to 16.1 million euro.

Cash games rose a respectable 8 per cent to 8.1 million euro.

Both tournament fees (up 30.7 per cent) and cash games stakes (up 22.8 per cent) reported solid year-on-year growth.

As for the market’s lesser lights, bingo was up 14.7 per cent to 3.7 million euro, while the contests segment doubled year-on-year to 1.9 million euro.

Spanish-licensed operators spent 118.2 million euro on marketing during the first quarter, up 28.3 per cent for the same period last year.

Advertising spend rose nearly a quarter to 59.9 million euro, while bonus offers jumped 46 per cent to 42.4 million euro.

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