Bet365 Group recently released its financial reports which showed an 8.2% year-on-year decline in revenue to £2.81bn. The final weeks of its 2019-20 report were heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with higher operating costs hitting the bottom line.
The 52 weeks of the fiscal year rounded off on 29 March 2020. The early months of 2020 saw the worst of the revenue slips with the core Bet365’s sports and gaming businesses dropping 7.5% to £2.76bn.
The decline had to do more with the lack of major football tournaments due to the impact of Covid-19 in the final weeks. In fact, the operator noted that if all things went as expected, the revenue from sports and gaming would have risen as high as 2% year-over-year.
Over the year, mobile revenue fell 7%, while the amount wagered on sports went down by 8%. However, the number of active customers grew by 4%. In-play accounted for a huge part of sports betting revenue for the year, majorly 75%.
Great Britain accounts for most of the operator’s revenue which is Bet365’s largest market. Stoke City, the football club owned and managed by Bet365 Group saw a revenue drop of 33.9% to £54.2m which is mostly due to the club being relegated from the Premier League.
Though the company didn’t have the best of times during the latter stages of the year due to the Covid-19pandemic, chief executive Denise Coates stated that she was delighted with the business’s response to the situation and how it quickly adapted.
“We continued to operate the business successfully throughout the lockdowns with business continuity plans enacted resulting in staff being able to work from home whilst significant investment was also made to ensure the office environments were Covid secure,” she explained.
Several changes to the group’s products were added to the year, including upgrades to the trading platform, mobile, website, app, virtual sports, and builder. This brought pre-game and in-play markets for esports with the virtual sports range being expanded.
The 2019-20 fiscal year saw the operator incur £403.6m indirect costs tied with the sports and gaming business, up 12.2%. Together with the decline in group revenue, the operator’s gross profit for the year dropped 11% to £2.41bn.
The gambling business outgoings included an £85m donation to the Denise Coates Foundation including £9.0m in charitable giving with 23 donations and grants issues.
Administrative expenses increased to £2.21bn resulting in a drop in operating profit for the year declining 74.3% to £194.7m.
At the start of the pandemic, the operator sought not to reduce staff pay or lay off any employee. It was one of the few companies to achieve this without any government support or utilizing the furlough scheme.
The operator also recorded a £76.3m fair value loss on investments and £449,000 in interest payments. The pre-tax profit fell by 82.7% at £137.1m. Factoring in income taxes of £16.7m, the net profit for the 2019-20 fiscal year fell by 82.4% to £120.3m
The same year, Bet365 also improved on its safe gambling strategy. It introduced new markets of harm tactics into its Early Risk Detection System (EROS) and has a dedicated team of quantitative analysis working on a new global risk prediction tool.
A customer survey revealed that 87% of betters said EROS had helped raise awareness of player protection features offered by the operator while 63% said it has prompted them to take note of how much they gambled.
British customers are now more likely to set a deposit limit and take a time-out from gambling due to the EROS interaction. Up to 64% of customers reduced the amount they deposited and how often they bet after interactions.
Bet365 has also been in the market of gambling research, exploring new techniques to get customers to spend only what they have to spare rather than chasing losses. It also achieved an Advanced Level 3 certification against GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standard which ranks as one of its milestones for the year.
“The group recognizes that its efforts in relation to safer gambling cannot be confined to just one jurisdiction,” Bet365 said. “The group adopts a global approach to safer gambling and will always look to implement the highest standards across its worldwide customer base.”