PokerStars adjustments stunt Stars Group Q1 2019 opening

Publishing its Q1 2019 trading statement (period ending 31 March), Toronto TSX-listed The Stars Group Inc details strong progress on its global objectives as an enlarged enterprise.

Absorbing the assets of Sky Bet UK and BetEasy Australia, the Stars Group records Q1 2019 corporate revenues of $580 million (Q12018: $392m).

“During the quarter, we delivered on key components of our 2019 objectives,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, The Stars Group’s Chief Executive Officer.

Reporting on its ‘international division’, which operates its flagship asset of PokerStars division, the Stars Group details an ‘anticipated’ 5% constant currency poker revenue decline to $234 million (Q12018: $392m) impacted by regulatory adjustments and FX headwinds.

In further areas related to PokerStars, the Stars Group was forced to withdraw services from Switzerland (gaming and betting) and Slovakia (gaming, betting and poker), complying with national regulatory codes.

“We continued to see growth in most markets in our International segment on a constant currency basis during the quarter, despite challenging operational conditions, the cessation of operations in certain markets and foreign exchange headwinds having a significant impact on our reported results as compared to the first quarter in 2018,” Ashkenazi noted.

Ongoing PokerStars adjustments would see Stars Group governance highlight that Sky Bet reported ‘record highs in new depositing customers’ during the period.

Sky Bet would record combined revenues of $179 million, with Ashkenazi noting that its UK betting asset had been impacted by both ‘unfavourable Cheltenham Festival results’ and high investment in promotional activity primarily relating to the Cheltenham Festival.

“Our United Kingdom segment continues to exceed our expectations operationally with record levels of new depositing customers, and an acceleration of growth in QAUs, Stakes and gaming revenue, although this performance was masked in the reported results by a record low Betting Net Win Margin of 5%,” he said.

Elsewhere, the company detailed the completion of William Hill Australia migration onto the BetEasy platform, as the Stars Group’s Australia division reports revenues of $62 million. The Stars Group details that this asset will be supported with a new ‘rewards club’ loyalty programme.

Emphasising the firm’s strong US prospects, the Stars Group governance would highlight the recently announced 50-50 joint venture agreement with Fox corporation, forming a new US multi-media betting alliance.

“As we continue to lay the foundations to deliver sustainable long-term growth across the group, we are also now focused on positioning our new FOX Bet brand as a market leader in the U.S,” concluded Ashkenazi.

“Our leading positions in attractive markets, strong brands, technology and operating expertise have been bolstered by the new partnership with FOX Sports and positions us well for long-term growth.”

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