Betsson withdraws application for Dutch online gambling licence 

Betsson withdraws application for Dutch online gambling licence 

The Swedish operator complained of delays in approval of its application.

The Netherlands.- The Swedish gambling operator Betsson says it has withdrawn its application for an online gambling licence in the Netherlands. It said it had faced “significant delays” in approval of the application, which was made via subsidiaries.

Betsson announced the decision to withdraw its application in its Q2 results report. It said it had considered resource allocations and its “attractive” project pipeline in other markets. It said it may reapply for a Dutch licence at a future date.

The operator left the Dutch market in September 2021 ahead of the launch of regulated online gambling after the Dutch regulator KSA confirmed that operators active on the grey market would be subject to a cooling-off period before they would be accepted for licences. The company closed its former Dutch-facing Casino Winner brand in January, which had run Kroon Casino and Oranje Casino. Betsson acquired these in 2014.

Meanwhile, LeoVegas this week announced that it will re-enter the Dutch market after receiving a five-year licence from the KSA for its 21 Heads Up Limited subsidiary to run online casino, live casino and sports betting. LeoVegas plans to launch in the current half.

In June, Betsson announced that it would enter the Belgian market by buying the sports betting and gaming operator Betfirst Group for €120m. It also reached a deal to partner with Groupe Partouche to offer online casino in the country. The deal will give Betsson one of the biggest presences in Belgium’s online gambling market. 

Betfirst was founded in 2011 and has licences for online sports betting and dice games. It also runs around 450 retail points of sale and a land-based gaming hall. It posted gaming revenue of €51.2m and adjusted EBITDA of €10m for the year ending December 31.

Betsson Q2 results

Meanwhile, Betsson has reported “record-breaking” quarterly results, with Q2 revenue reaching €237m, a rise of 27 per cent on 2022. It said that “revenue from locally regulated markets where Betsson pays betting duties increased by 32 per cent to €86m”.

Q2 gross profits rose by 37 per cent to €163m for a gross profit margin of 68 per cent. EBITDA was €67m, up 72 per cent year-on-year.

Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) was the firm’s “outstanding growth driver”,  contributing a 68 per cent revenue increase at €102m. The Nordics and Latin America contributed 22 per cent each. Growth in the Nordics was up just 0.9 per cent to €52m but Latin America continued to contribute significant growth with a  12.5 per cent rise to €51m. 

Revenue in Western Europe grew by 8.8 per cent to €27m and Rest of the World (RoW) revenue by 18.9 per cent to €4m, with Nigeria its “main motor”. The company expects legislative challenges in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Estonia to impact group performance in the coming quarters.

Group CEO Pontus Lindwall said: “I am pleased to look back at another record quarter for Betsson with continued high customer activity and strong financial performance.

“Our business generates strong cash flows, and the robust balance sheet constantly facilitates new growth initiatives. It is the mix of investments in new markets, organically and via acquisitions, that has contributed to the good financial performance over time.” 

Betsson has been growing rapidly, reporting record full-year revenue of €777.2m in 2022, up 18 per cent year-on-year. Net profit rose 10 per cent to €114.7m and EBITDA 12 per cent to €172.4m. Recent acquisitions have included the sportsbook supplier Kickertech in October and Inkabet’s B2C Latin American sportsbook and casino business.

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