LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / April 23, 2020 / Gamesys Group plc (LSE:GYS)(OTCPINK:JKPTF) (the ‘Group’) announces an update on Q1 trading for the three month period ending 31 March 2020.
The Group is pleased to report a strong performance in Q1 2020, continuing the trends seen in Q4 2019. Total revenues increased by 19% compared to Q1 2019 on a proforma basis to £155.3 million, reflecting the strong growth in Asia and solid performance in the UK. Within Europe, Spain and Germany continued to make progress and revenues for the region as a whole would have been ahead but for the continued weakness in Sweden. The US continued the strong momentum seen in 2019 with healthy double-digit growth during the first quarter of the current year. The Group has made a good start to Q2 and although it is still early in the period, trends are so far broadly in line with those experienced in Q1.
The Group’s balance sheet is in robust financial health with a non-amortising, covenant-light debt facility which matures in December 2024. This provides us with a highly competitive cost of borrowing following the re-pricing announcement in January. Our cash flows remain strong and we anticipate significant deleveraging as we progress through 2020, which will bring incremental opportunities to deliver value to shareholders.
COVID-19 presents a unique set of challenges for every organisation. Looking after the health and wellbeing of our employees and players remains our priority. The business has in place effective working practices to ensure seamless business continuity during this period, including full remote access for employees.
With respect to our players, we have increased the resource and capability in our responsible gambling team to manage our growth inactivity. We want to continue to ensure that players enjoy the entertainment we provide in a responsible manner and a safe environment and we have developed an increased awareness of player time and spend across all our sites through a combination of human and automated monitoring. We continue to remind players of the responsible gaming controls they can utilise and along with our enhanced scrutiny of player behaviour, this has supported a 45% increase in players setting up deposit limits since the lockdown began. The community and recreational characteristics of our bingo-led sites has seen player engagement in chat rooms rise by 38% and a 10% rise in the number of non-wagering sessions across our UK sites1. In markets where regulations allow, we are also now providing 10 hours of free bingo every day in line with our ethos of providing a recreational and fun environment for our community of players to enjoy.
The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis means that families across the UK are now spending the vast majority of their time living together at home, with the result that some children and some of those that may be at risk of gambling disorder, may be watching more television, listening to more radio and increasing consumption of other media platforms. In such an environment, the Gamesys Board believes that it is prudent to suspend untargeted customer marketing and we have taken the precautionary decision to cease all TV and radio advertising in the UK until current social restrictions are eased.
During this period, we will continue to advertise our brands online although we will also be suspending direct-mail marketing and untargeted digital advertising. Across our global footprint, we will continue to pursue an intensified responsible gambling strategy to ensure our customers remain protected.
We have also taken the decision to temporarily remove all the Jackpotjoy branding around our sponsorship of ITV’s popular ‘Loose Women’ TV show. This has made the sponsorship opportunity available for Women’s Aid, the national charity working to end domestic abuse. Gamesys Group has also donated £200,000 to Women’s Aid which is enabling the charity to increase its live chat capacity at this vital time. We aim to be able to continue to help to fund their essential work moving forward through our newly established Charitable Foundation.
Lee Fenton, Chief Executive Officer, Gamesys Group plc, commented:
“During these unprecedented times our main priority is the health and wellbeing of employees and players and I am incredibly proud of the steps we have taken as a Group to ensure that we are best-placed to do this. Our business purpose of “crafting entertainment with care” has never been more relevant and we remain committed to providing a fun, safe and entertaining environment for our global customer base to enjoy.
I am also delighted to be able to announce our support for Women’s Aid to help it provide such a vital service during these extraordinary times. Like all businesses across the UK and those within our sector, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation carefully and operate based on official Government guidelines until we are ready to return to a normal course of business.
The Group is in a strong position given our operational control of a portfolio of well-renowned brands and complete ownership of our technology platforms. We are confident that the business is capable of meeting the challenges in the current environment and continuing to thrive in the long term.”
About Gamesys Group plc
Gamesys Group plc is the parent company of an online gaming group that provides entertainment to a global consumer base. Through its subsidiaries, Gamesys Group plc currently offers bingo and casino games to its customers using brands which include Jackpotjoy (www.jackpotjoy.com), Virgin Games (www.virgingames.com), Botemania (www.botemania.es), Vera&John (www.verajohn.com), Heart Bingo (www.heartbingo.co.uk), Monopoly Casino (www.monopolycasino.com) and Rainbow Riches Casino (www.rainbowrichescasino.com). For more information about Gamesys Group plc, please visit www.gamesysgroup.com.
Gamesys Group plc
Jason Holden, Director of Investor Relations
+44 (0) 207 478 8150
+44 (0) 207 251 3801
This release contains certain information and statements that may constitute ‘forward-looking information’ (including future-oriented financial information and financial outlooks) within the meaning of applicable laws, including Canadian securities laws. Often, but not always, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of words such as ‘plans’, ‘expects’, ‘estimates’, ‘projects’, ‘predicts’, ‘targets’, ‘seeks’, ‘intends’, ‘anticipates’, ‘believes’, or ‘is confident of’ or the negative of such words or other variations of or synonyms for such words, or state that certain actions, events or results ‘may’, ‘could’, ‘would’, ‘should’, ‘might’ or ‘will’ be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results, performance, achievements or developments to be materially different from those anticipated by the Group and expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking information contained in this release includes, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the Group’s future financial performance, the future prospects of the Group’s business and operations, the Group’s growth opportunities and the execution of its growth strategies, the future performance of the Jackpotjoy segment, and the possibility of the Group drawing on the RCF. Certain of these statements may constitute a financial outlook within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. These statements reflect the Group’s current expectations related to future events or its future results, performance, achievements or developments, and future trends affecting the Group. All such statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions which may prove to be incorrect, including, but not limited to, the ability of the Group to secure, maintain and comply with all required licences, permits and certifications to carry out business in the jurisdictions in which it currently operates or intends to operate; governmental and regulatory actions, including the introduction of newlaws or changes in laws (or the interpretation thereof) related to online gaming; general business, economic and market conditions (including market growth rates and the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union); the Group operating in foreign jurisdictions; the competitive environment; the expected growth of the online gaming market and potential new market opportunities; anticipated and unanticipated costs; the protection of the Group’s intellectual property rights; the Group’s ability to successfully integrate and realise the benefits of its completed acquisitions; the Group’s relationship with third parties; the ability of the Group to service its debt obligations; and the ability of the Group to obtain additional financing, if, as and when required. Such statements could also be materially affected by risks relating to the lack of available and qualified personnel or management; stock market volatility; taxation policies; competition; foreign operations; the Group’s limited operating history and the Group’s ability to access sufficient capital from internal or external sources. However, whether actual results and developments will conform with the expectations and predictions contained in the forward-looking information is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the Group’s control, and the effects of which can be difficult to predict, including that the assumptions outlined above may not be accurate. For a description of additional risk factors, see Schedule ‘A’ attached to Gamesys Group plc’s most recently filed annual information form. Although the Group has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results, performance, achievements or developments to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actual results, performance, achievements or developments not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results, performance, achievement or developments are likely to differ, and may differ materially, from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking information contained in this release. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. While subsequent events and developments may cause the Group’s expectations, estimates and views to change, the Group does not undertake or assume any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, except as required by applicable securities laws. The forward-looking information contained in this release should not be relied upon as representing the Group’s expectations, estimates and views as of any date subsequent to the date of this release. The forward-looking information contained in this release is expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as the plans, intentions or expectations upon which they are based might not occur.
Any future-oriented financial information or financial outlooks in this release are based on certain assumptions regarding expected growth, results of operations, performance, and business prospects and opportunities. While the Group considers these assumptions to be reasonable, based on information currently available, they may prove to be incorrect. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to: credit, market, currency, operational, liquidity and funding risks, including changes in economic conditions, and interest rates or tax rates.
 Calculated based on four-week data from Monday 23 March to Friday 17 April, compared to the four week period immediately prior.
SOURCE: Gamesys Group PLC
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