LONDON & DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GAN plc (“GAN” or the “Company”), an award-winning developer and supplier of enterprise-level B2B Internet gambling software and services in the United States and Europe, today provides a trading update ahead of its preliminary results for the year ended December 31, 2018 (FY 2018) and guidance for 2019.
2018 Financial Highlights
Trading for FY 2018 is expected to be ahead of market expectations with revenue between £10.5M to £11.3M versus £9.1M for FY 2017. This result was primarily driven by real money Internet gambling which increased H2 2018 revenue by more than 40% over H1 2018. High quality recurring revenues represented approximately 85% of total revenue for the period, with almost two thirds originating from the US, the Company’s key geographic market.
GAN ended the period with a strong debt-free balance sheet with £5.3M in cash as at December 31, 2018. EBITDA1 losses for the year are expected to be between £1.0M and £1.5M, due to continued investment in technical development resources throughout H2 2018 to enable the successful launch of the new Internet gambling services for clients in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in H1 2019.
The outlook remains highly positive due to continued and rapid growth in real money Internet gambling delivered for clients in both the US and European markets. The Company therefore expects the strong momentum achieved during H2 2018 to continue into FY 2019. As such, management expects mid to high double digit percentage year on year revenue growth in FY 2019 and full year positive EBITDA1, based on the current fixed cost base.
The Board does not anticipate any additional capital requirement on the current business plan and the Company is therefore fully funded as it enters FY2019.
Dermot Smurfit, CEO of GAN commented:
"We are delighted with our performance in 2018, which sets us up for strong growth in our business in 2019. Our intellectual property and technical expertise put us at the forefront of the internet sports betting and casino gaming market as demonstrated by our strong client base. Our recent contract announcements and expectation for further legislation to pass in new States in the US means that 2019 is set to be a very exciting year.
“We exceeded market expectations for revenue growth in 2018, having successfully launched Internet Sports betting in New Jersey. Our successful £7.5 million fund raising has enabled us to rapidly deliver for our clients and repay £2M in short term debt. Going into 2019, we are strategically well placed to deliver profitable growth in 2019.”
Further information regarding trading during the period can be found below:
New Jersey & Pennsylvania Internet Gambling
Internet sports betting has exceeded initial expectations in the first 143-day operating period (to 21 January 2019). The positive impact in trading has been reflected by the Company’s reported Key Performance Indicators for Q4 2018 published on the 17th of January 2019.
GAN’s second client in New Jersey, Ocean Resort Casino (“ORC”), opened its land-based casino in Atlantic City on the 28th of June 2018. The Internet casino was delivered to ORC by GAN and went live on July 10th, 2018. The growth of ORC’s Internet casino has been driven by substantial innovation in both product and bonusing, resulting in ORC’s out-performance with their Internet casino relative to their retail gaming market share.
In Pennsylvania, preparations for the launch of Internet sports betting and Internet casino gaming for clients substantially progressed with commercial market commencement expected in H1 2019. GAN’s clients in Pennsylvania include the #1 casino operator in the State, Parx Casino and the #1 operator of Internet gambling in New Jersey, PPB’s FanDuel Group.
GAN’s US-facing Simulated Gaming business continued to benefit from growth among existing major US casino operator clients of Simulated Gaming including Chickasaw Nation’s WinStar World Casino and Resort in Oklahoma and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California launched in 2017 and 2015, respectively. In Q4 2018, Simulated Gaming was launched for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the owners of two major casino properties in Mississippi. As at December 31, 2018 GAN operated Simulated Gaming for 13 clients comprising principally of major US casinos (December 31, 2017: 13).
Overseas Internet Casino & Italy
The Overseas Internet Casino delivered to the Chickasaw Nation, which is available online at http://casino.WinStar.com, was substantially developed by GAN throughout 2018 and is designed to target selected regulated markets in Europe and the rest of the world. It was developed to deliver a unique casino gaming experience, comprising of exclusive casino slot games recognised on retail gaming floors worldwide together with an innovative bonusing program designed to incentivise visitation by Europeans to our client’s US casino properties.
On September 12th, 2018 user acquisition marketing of the Overseas Internet Casino commenced through GAN Digital, the Company’s Israel-based marketing services agency principally established in H1 2018. A more detailed update will be provided as part of the earnings call and calendar year 2019 outlook on March 29, 2019.
The Italian market grew rapidly in H2 2018 despite the practical implementation of the ban on the advertising of gambling in Italy which favours GAN’s Italian clients as substantial operators of retail gambling premises. The Italian business performed in line with the Board’s expectations for the full year 2018 and growth has continued during the seasonally strong Winter period.
The US Patent2 comprises multiple claims, principally for linking on-property rewards accounts held within casino management systems to patrons’ online accounts held within an Internet gaming system, in addition to delivering a converged online-to-on-property experience for US casino patrons.
On December 31, 2018 GAN entered into a material licensing agreement, which included a non-exclusive license of GAN’s Patent for a five-year term. The financial terms of the patent license are not disclosed. This Patent has now been licensed more than a dozen times by GAN to major US casino operators for the conduct of both real money Regulated Gaming and Simulated Gaming in the United States.
GAN has now placed a selected number of US casino operators on notice of GAN’s Patent and associated intellectual property and anticipates concluding additional commercial licensing arrangements which shall contribute to GAN’s revenue and earnings in 2019.
US Regulatory Developments
With respect to online sports betting in the US, GAN welcomed the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 (“PASPA”) by the US Supreme Court on the 14th of May 2018. The reported success of the Internet sports betting market in New Jersey in H2 2018 has resulted in an increase in the speed of regulation of intra-State Internet gambling and it is believed that seven additional US States are now considering the rapid regulation of Internet gambling including Michigan, Oregon, New York, Indiana, Kansas and Louisiana3 together with Massachusetts4.
Aligned with Industry consensus5 it is GAN’s belief that state authorized, intra-State online, non-sports wagering gambling is legally permissible under the Wire Act, even as construed in the Department of Justice’s recent Memorandum Opinion released on January 14, 2019. GAN is in regular communication with State regulatory agencies in all jurisdictions in which it does business and goes to great lengths to ensure that it is in good standing and that it is fully compliant with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements. There is no expected impact on US operations or growth plans.
London Headquarter Relocation
On Monday, December 17, 2018 GAN’s UK team, including management, officially relocated to London’s financial district from its previous headquarter location in Kensington. The relocation will result in a UK rent expense annual savings of £0.75M for the Company in 2019. The Company’s registered office address is now Axe & Bottle Court, 70 Newcomen Street, London SE1 1YT.
Notice of Results
The Company will release its results for the year ended December 31, 2018 on March 29, 2019 when additional context on the success of Internet gambling services will be provided.
GAN is a leading business-to-business (“B2B”) supplier of internet gambling software-as-a-service solutions (“SaaS”) to the US land-based casino industry. The Company has developed a proprietary internet gambling enterprise software system, GameSTACK™, which it licenses principally to land-based US casino operators as a turnkey technology solution for regulated real-money internet gambling, encompassing internet gaming, internet sports gaming and virtual Simulated Gaming. The Company has also launched digital user acquisition & retention marketing in support of the Internet Casino (https://casino.winstar.com) provided by GAN’s Digital Marketing Agency in Tel Aviv, Israel.
GAN is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: GAN) and on the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE: GAME).
For more information please visit www.GAN.com
1 Clean EBITDA is a non-GAAP Company specific measure and excludes interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, share based payment expenses and other items which the directors consider to be non-recurring and one time in nature.
2 Network Gaming System and Casino Management System Link, patent number 8,821,296 (“the Patent”), issued to GAN by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on September 2, 2014. The Patent was subjected to an ex parte re-examination process which successfully concluded in 2017 in favour of GAN with the issuance of a certificate by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) confirming the validity of GAN’s claims within the Patent.
3 Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC, January 10, 2019 report ‘U.S. Sports Betting | 2019 Legislative Outlook’
4 Press reports on the introduction of Internet sports betting bills in Massachusetts
5 American Gaming Association statement on January 18, 2019