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Edited Transcript of BETSb.ST earnings conference call or presentation 9-Feb-21 9:00am GMT

·39 min read

Q4 2020 Betsson AB Earnings Call Solna Feb 9, 2021 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Betsson AB earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 9:00:00am GMT TEXT version of Transcript ================================================================================ Corporate Participants ================================================================================ * Martin Öhman Betsson AB - CFO * Pontus Lindwall Betsson AB - CEO & President ================================================================================ Conference Call Participants ================================================================================ * Erik Moberg ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA, Research Division - Research Analyst * Hjalmar Ahlberg Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst * Marlon Varnik Pareto Securities AS, Research Division - Research Analyst * Martin Arnell DNB Markets, Research Division - Analyst * Oscar Erixon Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Financial Analyst * Olle Qvarnström ================================================================================ Presentation -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good morning, everybody, and welcome to today's presentation from Betsson. My name is Olle Qvarnström, and I will be handling the Q&A session after today's presentation. With me today, I have CEO, Pontus Lindwall; and CFO, Martin Öhman. (Operator Instructions) With that, I want to hand the word over to Pontus. Please? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you. Welcome to the presentation of the fourth quarter 2020. Here's the outline for today's presentation. Going to go through some highlights, strategic drivers and achievements, sustainable operations, a financial overview by Martin. Product and technology updates, regulations, summary and after that, the Q&A. So the highlights for the quarter. We reached all-time high revenues of SEK 1.8 billion, which is 37% year-on-year growth. EBIT was SEK 318 million, which is 59% year-on-year growth. EBIT margin, 18%, quite a healthy business once again. Casino revenues, up 33%, and all-time high Sportsbook revenues, up 47%. Really happy about the performance in the Sportsbook. So the strategic drivers and achievements. This is a picture of Betsson's strategy in one single picture. And in order to grow the company, we focus on existing markets, but also new markets, business-to-business and M&A. And I'm going to talk a little bit about what we do in these different areas, at least a few of them. So in the existing markets, where, of course, the bulk of our revenues comes from. We have done a lot of initiatives, and it's really important that we manage to grow in the existing in order to sustain growth for the company. In the quarter, we have launched Bingo.IT in Italy. We have a strong growth in Nordics supported by product development and the successful growth of Jalla Casino in Sweden. Apart from that, we do continuous product development to offer the best customer experience in all different markets and we see strong traction in most of our markets. We have done consolidation in the U.K. to focus on only 1 brand for growth, and that has helped us on the cost side in the existing markets. But we don't only focus on the existing market, we look forward to bright futures in many new markets with high growth potential. So we see now strong growth in CEECA and rest of world, which were actually like new markets some time ago. In the quarter, we have opened up in Kenya with the Betsafe brand. Unfortunately, we cannot market there yet, but we have the product in place, and we are ready once the market opens up for marketing. We have also obtained the license in Argentina as 1 of 7 operators, and we look forward to that a lot and see great potential for that market. On the B2B side, we are preparing. Our organization is being built up. Our first external client that operates the Sportsbook from Betsson, ibet, is up and running since December 2020. Our long-time B2B clients, Realm, which operate not only the Sportsbook, but also on the Betsson platform since a long time, has opened up a new instance of the Betsson Sportsbook on another platform, called JetBahis. And we see a great interest from the market in the Betsson Sportsbook, especially now encouraged by the great performance on the Sportsbook that we saw in the fourth quarter. So really looking forward to 2021 in terms of B2B, this is the year when it happens for Betsson. Talking about B2B. I can go into the U.S. market. We have a 10-year agreement with Dostal Alley Casino in Colorado, and we obtained the license to operate in Colorado in December 2020. So now we are developing our offering. We're adapting the Sportsbook, and we have signed an agreement with TG Lab as a system supplier for the platform, which is usually referred to as PAM, player account management system. And they're developing a U.S.-focused, very modern platform, which we're going to enter the Colorado market with. So the ambition is to launch in the second half of 2021, looking much forward to that. And of course, the Colorado B2C operation that we will operate there, will help us to reach our goals in the B2B market. So we get a nice showcase for our performance in the U.S. So this is it that makes Betsson successful and makes us create value? I will go through a few value drivers here. So we run a responsible business where we put the player first. We have operational excellence that drives efficiency and effectiveness all across the organization. We live the Betsson culture and values, which is Onebetsson, passion and fair play. Onebetsson being very important now as we spread out globally, but we act as one company, Betsson. In order to do that, we need to be the preferred employer and attract the best staff available everywhere. And we realize that we need to be local, even though we have a global scope. So that's the last one. And that, again, shows the importance of Onebetsson. We act as Betsson wherever we go, but we realize the importance of being local in the local markets. Now into sustainable operations. As you can see on this picture, the online part of the gambling industry is showing good traction. We have had growth of 11% until 2019, and it's expected to grow another 9% per year going forward until 2025. So our revenue growth, we achieved that with high customer protection and social responsibility. We have a lot of tools to help the players. Some of them presented here. And we do a lot of interactions with our clients, especially now during the COVID period. In the fourth quarter, we had more than 94,000 contacts with customers in regards of responsible gaming. So now over to the financial overview, and I say welcome to Martin to do that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you, Pontus. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [4] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you, Pontus. And... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [5] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, I have a few words to say first. Thank you, Pontus. Pontus will be back shortly for the Q&A session. But first, Martin, all-time high revenues, both in the Sportsbook and in general, I think we're all curious to hear your thoughts about this, are you happy? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [6] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm happy. And I will try to go more into details on that. Thanks, Olle. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [7] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [8] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So the good momentum from Q3 remains, and customer activity continued to be high, with growth of 44% in active customers and now summing up to close to 1 million active customers. The fourth quarter is now the fifth consecutive quarter where we see revenue growth quarter-over-quarter. Revenue from the fourth quarter was close to SEK 1.8 billion, which is all-time high and shows increase by 37% year-over-year. Although impacted by negative currency fluctuations of almost SEK 200 million. The increase in revenue comes from all regions and from both Casino and Sportsbook, where the Sportsbook revenue is all-time high. License revenue from our B2B business grew from SEK 175 million in Q4 2019 to SEK 302 million in Q4 2020 and corresponds to 17% of the group's total revenue. When looking at revenue by region, we see the Nordic region continue the growth trend that we saw in Q3, driven primarily by organic growth in Sweden and Denmark. Sportsbook revenue from the region is up 30% year-over-year, and Casino is up 26%. Revenue from Western Europe increased by 19% and now constitutes some 26% of the group's total revenue. And the growth is driven by increase in both Casino and Sportsbook, whilst Casino revenue constitutes a larger part of the region's total revenue. In December, additional restrictions were implemented in Germany following their tolerance regime. As a consequence, revenue from German market has decreased by 70% from mid-December and onwards. The CEECA region increased by 38%, where both Sportsbook and Casino contributed to the growth. Revenue in the CEECA region is heavily impacted by FX in the quarter, and the organic growth shows increase by 77%. Revenue from the rest of the world grew by 164% compared to the same period last year, and the growth comes from both Sportsbook and Casino. In this region, Peru is an important market with a good growth trend. Revenue from regulated market increased by 30% compared to the same period last year and now constitute 34% of the group's total revenue. Betsson's current casino offer includes 5,000 games, of which more than 4,000 are available on mobile devices. Casino revenue increased by 33% compared to last year and amounts to almost SEK 1.3 billion. In the fourth quarter, we see another wave of lockdowns and increased restrictions around the world. This has, however, not had the same impact on Betsson's business as we saw in Q2 when land-based players discovered online casino for the first time. And we saw an increase quarter-over-quarter. Online activity levels have remained relatively stable in the quarters following Q2, independently of ease restrictions or increased lockdowns. And this confirms that the change in player behavior towards more online gaming is here to stay. The gross turnover in Sportsbook was SEK 8.9 billion, which is all-time high and represent an increase by 23% compared to the fourth quarter last year. Sportsbook revenue increased by 47% compared to last year and is also all-time high. The Sportsbook margin was 7.3%, which is in line with the 8-quarter rolling average margin and slightly higher than the same period last year when the margin was 6.8%. The cost of services provided has increased in the fourth quarter by SEK 199 million, and this mainly follows the increased revenue. However, cost of service provided is impacted by a one-off provision of SEK 44 million, and the provision relates to all payment provider balances from various markets, for which we now have taken a prudent approach and accounting-wise, have provided for the balances, although we still strive to recover the balances. Gross profit amounts to SEK 1.113 billion, which is an increase of SEK 274 million compared to the same period last year. And gross profit margin is 63.1%, which is lower than the fourth quarter 2019 and previous quarter in 2020. But adjusted for the one-off provision, gross profit margin is 65.7% which is in line with the same quarter last year and the previous quarter in 2020. Marketing spend increased by some SEK 100 million compared to last year, and constitute some 18% of revenue and 25% when including affiliate marketing as well. As we have mentioned in previous quarters' presentations, one pillar in our strategy is to grow in new markets, such as Colombia, Brazil, Croatia and Kenya, to mention some, and that comes with higher initial marketing spend. Betsson continue to monitor and manage cost very tight as we have done in the past years and will continue to do so. Cost in absolute number have slightly increased, both in terms of personnel costs and other operating costs in the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year. The explanation is the same as we have communicated in previously quarter presentations, namely investments in our -- in developing our technology, broadening the product offering and improve the user experience, scaling up the B2B organization and least but not last, geographical expansion, including M&A. EBIT amounts to SEK 380 million, an increase of 59% year-over-year driven by revenue growth and displaying the scalability in the Betsson business model. EBIT margin is 18%. And as Pontus said, a healthy margin, which is higher than last year, although it is heavily impacted by negative FX effects of some SEK 110 million. EBIT adjusted for the one-off provision amount to SEK 362 million, which correspond to an increase of 81% compared to last year. Cash flow from operating activities amounts to SEK 224 million, driven by strong operating income of SEK 306 million. But however, impacted negatively by changes in working capital of some SEK 190 million in the quarter. Impact from working capital is explained by a decrease in debt to player balances and increased receivables on payment providers due to more bank holidays in the end of the year impacting the clearance of accounts. Cash flow from investing activities come from investment in tangible and intangible assets. Investments are slightly higher than previous quarters, but the bulk of the investment still relates to investments in our proprietary technology. Cash flow from financing activities impacted cash flow by SEK 184 million, where the majority relates to repayment of our RCF. As of end of December, SEK 74 million was utilized out of the total credit framework of SEK 880 million. Betsson has low leverage, and as of end of December, net debt position of SEK 158 million and net debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 0.1 and an equity ratio of 61%. The Board of Directors will propose to the AGM that SEK 502.9 million is distributed to shareholders, corresponding to SEK 3.68 per share. And the proposed dividend is an increase of SEK 109 million compared to last year, and this is all in line with the Betsson dividend policy. I will now hand over to Pontus to take you through the trading updates. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [9] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you, Martin. Martin will, of course, be back in a few moments for the Q&A session, but first, let's Pontus wrap up. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [10] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. The trading update. So the average daily revenues until 5th of February was up 11% compared to the average daily revenue of the full quarter, 2020 first quarter. Adjusted for the negative currency effects that Martin spoke about, the average daily revenue was 26% higher. So now I will go in a bit on the regulations. In Germany, we see an interim tolerance regime in place from 15th of October with additional restrictions from the 15th of December. And that has, as we said, earlier, a negative impact on the revenues from Germany. In Sweden, there are temporary restrictions implemented in July, they are implemented recently but extended to July 2021. And there's a new gaming investigation that includes proposals for risk classification of games and licensing requirements for gaming software. In Netherlands, the licensing process is delayed by 1 month, which will bring the whole process in Netherlands a 1 month delayed. So the impact from regulations. In Germany, we see an estimated revenue drop of 70% due to the new tolerance regime. And of course, these revenues are not -- has not disappeared, they will be pushed out of the regulated markets. So the channelization in Germany will be quite low under this framework. In Netherlands, as I mentioned, the process is expected to start 1st of April 2021 and 1st license is expected 6 months later. So us being under cool-off period, we will expect license by the end of 2021. Now I will go in on product and technology. So as I said before, we're moving ahead strongly with products into new markets, new launches, and to mention a few, we have launched Betsafe in Kenya in November. We have launched a new brand in Italy, Bingo, and we continue to roll out our new native apps the Casino. The latest one being the most modern casino app in Sweden for Betsson.com. In payments, we have launched faster withdrawals, and we have new payment providers in several markets. So the summary of the fourth quarter is an all-time high revenue, driven by both our main products, Casino and sports. We see growth in all regions all-time high revenue in Sportsbook. So very strong set of figures. EBIT of SEK 318 million which is 59% growth and adjusted for the one-off provisions, SEK 362 million. So very profitable operation. This is all happening with this strong growth and at the same time, as we're executing on our growth strategy, expansion on several markets, entering into new markets and launching new brands and going into the U.S. with our competitive Sportsbook, which will happen during 2021. So that's it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [11] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you, Pontus. First, before we move the questions to the audience, I want to ask both you and Martin, please will you come up? What would you like to highlight from the last year, both Q4 and 2020? What was your main takeaways from the year as a total? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [12] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2020 was a very special year with the pandemic. And of course, we could see that the pandemic kind of increased the speed in digitalization within gaming. And -- but commenting on the fourth quarter, I think we leave 2020 in a very strong place. And I'm very happy to see that because at the same time, we develop a lot for the time to come. We're very -- we have a lot of new things going on in new markets. We have the B2B things going on. So I'm happy that we can be as strong going forward despite the fact that we have gone through very sad times during 2020. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [13] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And what about you, Martin? Do you have something else to highlight? Or do you have the same memories? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [14] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I agree with Pontus on the digitalization part. But I also would like to mention that we are in a very good shape. The company as such, we see strong growth, and we present good numbers. And we also have a really stable financial position. So we are in a good position to execute on the strategy going forward. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [15] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, that's really important. I mean we have so many initiatives going on right now, more than ever and at the same time, we deliver this kind of figures with high profitability. So that's impressive, I think. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [16] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's nice to hear. I want to give the word to our operator and see if we have any questions from the phone conference. ================================================================================ Questions and Answers -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Marlon Varnik from Pareto Securities. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marlon Varnik, Pareto Securities AS, Research Division - Research Analyst [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Can you hear me? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, perfectly. Yes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marlon Varnik, Pareto Securities AS, Research Division - Research Analyst [4] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So first, on the casino side for CEECA, it continues to surprise, doing really well, up 43% I think it was year-on-year. What's the main driver of growth here during the quarter and what markets are performing especially well within CEECA compared to other state cascade markets? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [5] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think the Casino is performing well on all CEECA markets. So there is no market standing out in that regard. Of course, the business-to-business that we have going on there is doing really strong, and that supports that figure. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marlon Varnik, Pareto Securities AS, Research Division - Research Analyst [6] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All right. And speaking in general, the casino activity, if you compare to the activity in the beginning of the quarter with end of the quarter, what can you say here? So basically what I'm trying to find out is what's COVID effects have you seen towards the end Q4? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [7] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We can't see any general shift in activity over the quarter as such, from the beginning to the end of the fourth quarter. Of course, we saw a big shift on the German market happening in the middle of December. So that's by the end of the quarter. But apart from that, there's no big changes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [8] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And as I mentioned, I mean, what we see was the big leap in Q2. And I mean, after that, the digitalization has kind of increased, and that is the kind of levels we see going forward as well. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marlon Varnik, Pareto Securities AS, Research Division - Research Analyst [9] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All right. There's a question also on the sports side. I mean the other operators have provided very strong Sportsbook margin shares during Q4 where Betsson came in at 7.3%, in line with your 2-year quarterly average. Can you explain why you differ so much during the quarter in terms of sporting results compared to other operators? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [10] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Obviously, with -- the margin comes out of the same games that are going on. But we have players from different markets and they act in different ways. And we ended up on a margin, which is spot on our rolling average, which I think is good. It's nothing strange about that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marlon Varnik, Pareto Securities AS, Research Division - Research Analyst [11] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All right. And last question before -- and also, I mean, you mentioned that you -- you mentioned a lot of new expansion, new markets and so on. How should we view the marketing spend going forward if you compare it to Q4 2020 in terms of shares then? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [12] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We don't want to give any projections on that. But in general, as we have mentioned many times before, we are investing now going forward. But as you could see also in fourth quarter, we managed to do that with still -- while still maintaining a strong profitability. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marlon Varnik, Pareto Securities AS, Research Division - Research Analyst [13] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And so the Q4, it's kind of a good base -- or how should we -- I mean, given the Kenya and U.S. and other markets also coming, and Argentina's open? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [14] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't want to give any projections of that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [15] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And the next question comes from the line of Martin Arnell from DNB Markets. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Arnell, DNB Markets, Research Division - Analyst [16] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So my first question is maybe to you, Martin. I mean, this payment provider balances and the one-off that you took in the quarter. Just want to understand how often or do you expect to realize losses from payment providers? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [17] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- No, that's not a very common thing. I don't -- I can't recall that we have done that before, not at least during my time here, and I don't think even before that. So it's not a commonly thing. And as we -- as I said as well, this is a prudent way of handling it accounting wise. And we still haven't given up on this to recover this balance. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Arnell, DNB Markets, Research Division - Analyst [18] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. And also, on the market breakdown, where you've taken these losses, is there anything you can say there? Is it evenly split sort of in Europe? Or can you comment anything on the market breakdown? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [19] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It is evenly split over our regions. So it's not in one specific market or so, it's many markets. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Arnell, DNB Markets, Research Division - Analyst [20] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Perfect. And then on the cash flow, you had a quite sharp negative effect from changes in working capital. Is that mainly on the receivables increase? And if so, same question there, is it evenly split throughout the market? Is there any market that stands out? Anything that stands out that you can comment on? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [21] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think you need to divide it into two. One is sort of debt to players, and we saw a little bit lower activity in the end of the year, impacting the sort of debt to players from certain markets, especially the German market where Pontus mentioned the drop. In relation to receivable and payments, it's a natural swing in the end of the year. We have a lot of bank holidays in the end of the year and the clearance of sort of accounts on the banks do not happen on bank holidays. So it's a natural swing in the seasonality of that balances. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Arnell, DNB Markets, Research Division - Analyst [22] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So basically, you expect a reversal in the coming quarters or a quarter? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [23] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. I mean, looking back at sort of the seasonality in the quarters, that's a typical behavior that we could expect, yes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Arnell, DNB Markets, Research Division - Analyst [24] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great. And then on your -- just while we're on this subject on payment providers, you have tax pressure since you're going into more and more regulated markets. And then you -- I guess, you have a plan how to mitigate that to some extent on your margin. And one of those areas could be your payment costs, I guess. And there is one of your peers that have announced plans to go for an open-banking system. Is that something that you also have plans to do? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [25] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Of course, we look into such options and going into regulated markets should, by nature, bring down the payments costs in such markets. So automatically, there should be a reduction on payment costs. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Arnell, DNB Markets, Research Division - Analyst [26] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. And then my final question is on your expansion. When do you expect launch with the new Sportsbook B2B customer? And also when do you expect to enter into the U.S.? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [27] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- New B2B customer, who do you refer to? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Arnell, DNB Markets, Research Division - Analyst [28] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Asian operator that is going to launch in Europe. I don't think I've seen them -- that launch yet with the B2B Sportsbook. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [29] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just go to ibet.com, and you will see them launched already. And regarding the U.S., we aim to open up our Betsafe brand in Colorado during the second half of this year. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [30] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And the next question comes from the line of Oscar Erixon from Carnegie. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oscar Erixon, Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Financial Analyst [31] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Three questions from me as well. Starting with Germany. German revenue is down 70% since the 15th of December. Did the magnitude of the decline surprise you and also do you see any gradual improvements in January to February? Any sort of user behavior improvements? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [32] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On the first part, we were not surprised by the downturn because if you make draconic impact on the products like that and you take away some of the major products like Blackjack and Roulette from the offering. Then, of course, the customers will find those products in other places. And therefore, you lose that part of the revenue. So that's natural. And that's up to the regulator to choose how big they want the regulated market to be. And if they just want to have a fraction of the market, then they can implement draconic restrictions like that. If they want to have a bigger regulated market, then the offering must be more competitive. On the second part, commenting on what's happened since mid-December, if it's going upwards or downwards? I can't comment on that. We have mentioned the drop, and that should be a new foundation, and we always strive to improve our revenues. So let's hope for that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oscar Erixon, Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Financial Analyst [33] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Understood. And a follow-up on Germany. What have you seen in terms of the black market? You see a lot of activity on the sites of operators who do not intend to comply with the new interim regulation. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [34] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We have a hard time following that in detail, of course, but we get info from the industry that they are doing tremendously well, the ones who operate outside the market. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oscar Erixon, Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Financial Analyst [35] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Interesting. And then a question on COVID-19 and the digital shift that you discussed quite a bit. I mean given continued COVID-19-related restrictions across Europe and most regions, what makes you confident that the shift is more structural and that it will last even in -- I mean, until H2 and beyond? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [36] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Of course, some of the changes we have seen are created by the COVID and the restrictions that has been implemented in the society. But just as natural is the fact that many people that has now tried digital gaming will stick with it in the same way as we will, to some certain degree, stay with digital conferencing even after the restrictions are gone. So I think this has created a new level of platform for us to operate from. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [37] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And we have also seen easing increase in restrictions from time to time and sort of the levels have still remained on the same. So over a longer time, I think this is a new step to a new level. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oscar Erixon, Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Financial Analyst [38] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Great. Very good. And just 2 more questions for me. First, on the B2B opportunity, which you seem very positive on. Going forward, is the U.S. the main opportunity from your -- in your view? And also what is the -- what types of customers, would you say, is a key focus ahead? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [39] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think the U.S. is a great opportunity, but also other markets as well, and we are going for both the U.S. and other markets. I can't point out what kind of customers that we will go for in the U.S., but having looked at the landscape in the U.S., there's definitely room for a high-quality Sportsbook. It lacks a little bit of competition in that market. So we see a nice spot for our product to come in there. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oscar Erixon, Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Financial Analyst [40] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And then a final question on Kenya. If you could just elaborate a little bit on the sort of phasing there between costs and revenue. Obviously, you have some higher marketing costs now in Q4. What ramp-up should we expect in Kenya in terms of revenue? Should we view the higher marketing costs as temporary or a new level to sort of start from? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [41] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't think there is a marketing ban in Kenya for the time being. So I think we haven't been able to exactly follow our marketing plan over there. But of course, there will be marketing costs as we ramp-up in Kenya. I hope that answers the question. It's not that we -- there was not too much spend going into that market in the fourth quarter. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [42] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And the next question comes from the line of Hjalmar Ahlberg from Kepler Cheuvreux. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hjalmar Ahlberg, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [43] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- First just one more then on this PAM provisions, I mean, it was on all markets, but could you say if there's anything specific that triggered this, as you said, it hasn't really happened historically. So just some more color on that maybe. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [44] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- No. I don't think that there are that much more color to give on that. It's over a lot of markets. And as I said earlier, it's a prudent way of handling this and we have not seen it in the past, and we don't expect it to be something coming back in the future. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hjalmar Ahlberg, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [45] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Then a question on Netherlands. I mean you mentioned this in the report with the use of the player databases. Can you explain what this means in practice? I mean, does it mean, for example, when this market is launched, that the players that enters your sites to need to register again? Do you do -- can you add some more color on what it means in practice and what kind of negative impact it could add? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [46] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Basically, I guess, it will mean that the players will have to reregister at the site. Fortunate enough, they are quite -- they are known -- they are well-known to the brand. So they will find a way to the brand, but they will have to reregister. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hjalmar Ahlberg, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [47] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Yes. Got it. And do you think that's a I mean big problem? Or have you I guess, you have seen this before in other markets maybe? Or is it difficult to handle bookings? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [48] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We haven't gone through that exact procedure in any previous market. So it's hard to tell what kind of impact it will have. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hjalmar Ahlberg, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [49] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Got it. And then just on Germany, as you said, this is a tough environment there now. And I mean one of your strategies is M&A you mentioned. Do you think that this could open up more opportunities for M&A in Germany? Or is it better to try to grow there organically, if you want to do that? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [50] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, we will strive to grow organically from this new level, of course, and then possibly evaluate M&A as well. Now I believe it's a little bit of a period where it's not 100% defined what the final regulations will look like. So the market is a little bit in limbo, in my view, for the time being. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hjalmar Ahlberg, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [51] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Got it. And in terms of the U.S. strategy, I mean you mentioned that you have lot of opportunities there. Do you have any aim, what you expect to achieve? I mean, do you want to be in all states? Or do you want aim in some states that are large or that have good tax levels and so on? Any words on that? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [52] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We will get back on that one. We will need to assess the situation a little bit more in detail, where are the big clients, where are the big market volumes and where do we see the fit for our B2B product. So first of all, we want to get ourselves established in Colorado and up and running and show the performance of the product. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hjalmar Ahlberg, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [53] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Got it. And then in terms of your costs, I mean you had talked a bit about marketing expenses, but looking at other costs, personnel and other expenses, you saw kind of a step-up in Q3, now it looks more stable. But how should we view this in 2021? Do you expect to add more employees to achieve this growth in new markets and also on other potential expenses, when you will launch in new markets? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [54] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. We are aiming to grow in the future. I think we will not stop employing people from now on. We have such a strong traction in all the markets, and in the organization, especially, we have managed to deliver in a lot of different projects at the same time. So these are investments that I'm really happy to take. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hjalmar Ahlberg, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [55] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Got it. And I can't remember, sorry, if somebody asked this before, but the trading statement. Do you have any comment and if there was any specific impacting, I mean the strong sports margin, weak sports margin on a specific market that grow less or more? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [56] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We didn't comment on that. It's -- no, it's not much to say apart from what is said in the report. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [57] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And we have 1 more question from the line of Erik Moberg from ABG. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Erik Moberg, ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA, Research Division - Research Analyst [58] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just to circle back on the payment providers there. If I recall correctly, you had some issues with this in Norway during 2019. If you compare the situation today in Norway versus 2019, what's your view on this? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [59] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't want -- it's not related really. If you want a comment on how we performed in Norway, we performed better than we did at that point of time. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Erik Moberg, ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA, Research Division - Research Analyst [60] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Fair enough. And then just on the Dutch market. I'm just curious to hear your view on that beyond the outlook for that market, once it becomes regulated. Do you believe this could still be a -- do you believe the markets to grow underlying once this market regulates in 2022? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [61] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. That, I believe, the Netherlands market has been more or less without marketing for a very long time. So they are still a mature market in many aspects. So I think the market will grow once it regulates. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Erik Moberg, ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA, Research Division - Research Analyst [62] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Got it. And just in terms of the cost outlook for 2022, obviously, we will have quite an increase in marketing spend from the Dutch market. What's sort of your strategy do you mitigate this increase in the cost base? And what do you see in terms of the margin outlook? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [63] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That's nothing that we can comment on now. And as you know, we are on so many markets, and the markets are in different phases. And normally, that kind of evens out over time. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Erik Moberg, ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA, Research Division - Research Analyst [64] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Got it. And just in terms of the launch date in the Dutch market, you mentioned in the beginning of 2022, do you see there is a risk that it will get sort of postponed to, say, March 2022 before you are able to go live on the regulated markets? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [65] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's hard to comment on that. We look forward to go live as soon as possible. And we have well-known brands, and we have good products. So we should be able to perform relatively well there. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [66] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And as there are no further questions, I'll hand it back to the speakers for closing remarks. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [67] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you very much. We've gotten in a few questions, quite a few actually, and quite a few of them are about Germany, but most of them have been answered already. Although a question that's coming in over and over again is, of course, how big of a market Germany is for you? And how do you prioritize this? What can you say about this? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [68] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We don't comment on the size of the market as such. We have commented on the drop that we saw in mid-December, and that's about all we can say on the German market. Of course, everybody knows that Germany is a big country in Europe. And we have no intentions to leave the market. So we will continue to work as good as we can on that market. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [69] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A great follow-up for that would be, what's your experience of governments handling of regulations when they are overshooting as they seem to be now in Germany? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [70] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's a learning curve. And we have seen changes in the other direction. It's very rare, though. But my view is that most regulator wants to have a regulated market and it's pretty obvious that if you overregulate, then the market shrinks too much and you lose the grip of the market, and you can't protect the players. So we believe that there is room for changes in not only the German regulations, but also in other regulations. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [71] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. A specific question about Croatia. Can you comment about your launch in Croatia? As I understand, you are one of the only few operators here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [72] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. We launched, and we see good traction. It's an interesting market, and the KPIs looks good so far. Of course, it's not the biggest market for us at this point of time, but the start is promising. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [73] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Interesting. Here's a very specific question. I think it's for you, Martin, but do you expect negative currency effects for 2021 as a total? And if so, what can you do to mitigate this effect? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [74] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I mean, that's a tricky question. You never know what happens with the currency. So you can just assume going forward. So I'd rather not comment on that. But there are different ways of handling currency, of course. We have our policy, how to handle that, and we are sticking to that and that we have done for the past years, and we'll continue to do. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [75] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Perfect. And could you also -- I'm not sure who this is for, but could you elaborate on your expectations of the B2B offering and pipeline of potential deals in the U.S. during 2021? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [76] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I can do that, but on a higher level without commenting on figures or when to close deals. I believe that the U.S. market is still in early days, if you look at the full market. And it's such a huge market with a great interest in sports. We see that our product that we now kind of rebuild for the U.S. market will become a very competitive product. So I'm very optimistic on that one. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [77] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you. And here's also a very specific question, but within the casino vertical, how was the development for live casino versus slots? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [78] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. I mean, we should see an increase in the live casino for the past years. But I think that is also depending on market to market. I mean we've discussed Germany quite a lot. And their table games and live casino is not allowed for the time being. So I think you need to dig a bit deeper down to each individual market to have a comment on that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [79] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I understand. Looking at the trading update for Q1, one can see that it started somewhat slower than the average of the Q4. Can you elaborate a little bit on the reasons for that? Or what you expect or think the reasons would be for that? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [80] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We see great activity in all the markets, except that we see, of course, the German market being lower than it was in the main part of the fourth quarter. So I see nothing that is not normal, strong activity in many markets. Smaller markets that have started out strongly. They continue to grow strongly. So we are -- I think it looks pretty good. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [81] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [82] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As Pontus mentioned earlier, I mean, we -- the start of this quarter is -- if you adjust for the FX, the question I got earlier, what we have seen so far is that we have a negative impact from the FX and sort of adjusting for that, I think we see a good start, very good start, as Pontus said, the operations are running smooth. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [83] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Another very specific question here. When you bought GiG in Q2 2020, you made a prepayment for the platform service. Are you going to start paying for the platform services now in Q1? Or what's the deal on that? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [84] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think we have to refer to what we said in the press release in that transaction. We can't give any more details than what we said in that press release. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [85] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay, fair enough. Let's see if we have another one here. So this is a question about Sportsbook margin. We've seen higher than normal Sportsbook margin in certain Sportsbook providers in Q4, while Betsson is in line with the historical average. Why is this? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [86] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As I mentioned before, that's depending on the composition of the end users and from which markets they are because players in certain markets, they bet on certain events in certain ways and in other markets in other ways. So as we have a different composition of our user base, there is a different outcome. But this is a good outcome. We're spot on with the rolling margin. So you can phrase it that our players won a little bit more and they should be happy about that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Olle Qvarnström, [87] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Thank you. That actually sums up the questions from me. So with that, I want to thank you and thank all the viewers online, and welcome you back for next quarter's presentation. Thank you very much. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pontus Lindwall, Betsson AB - CEO & President [88] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Öhman, Betsson AB - CFO [89] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you.