Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In the latest edition we take a look at further Swedish criticism, MGM Resort’s sustainability and the pending Evolution Gaming and NetEnt transaction.
Casinos are one part of England’s hospitality industry that will remain closed beyond July 4, but bingo halls can begin to welcome back punters next month as part of the country’s latest easing of lockdown measures.
This comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announces that the two-metre rule will be dropped in favour of a ‘one-metre plus’ measure, with hotels, places of worship, restaurants, cafes, pubs, hairdressers, amusements arcades, and museums just a fraction of those business and attractions permitted to resume operation next month in adherence to strict COVID guidelines.
Casinos, bowling alleys, nightclubs, indoor gyms, swimming pools spas, water parks, tattoo and piercing parlours and exhibition or conference centres that are to be used for exhibitions or conferences are a selection of those that must stay closed.
This follows The Betting and Gaming Council expressing confidence that land-based gaming establishments would be permitted to resume action during the latest easing measures, with such properties around England having been closed since lockdown was introduced on March 23 in an effort to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
Live gaming giant Evolution Gaming looks poised to acquire another member of the igaming establishment with news this morning that it has made a bid to buy NetEnt, an offer the NetEnt board is recommending to shareholders.
The proposed transaction sees Evolution offer 0.1306 shares for each share in NetEnt, valuing each at SEK 79.93 and all shares in the firm to approximately SEK 19.6bn.
The offered consideration per share represents a premium of 43 per cent compared to the closing price of the NetEnt share of series B on Nasdaq Stockholm on June 23, 2020.
Evolution has stated that it will not increase the offer, with an acceptance period to commence on August 17, 2020 and expire on or around October 26, 2020.
Completion is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory clearances being obtained and the offer being accepted to such extent that Evolution Gaming becomes the owner of shares representing more than 90 per cent of the total number of outstanding shares.
In the event that Evolution, whether in connection with the offer or otherwise, obtains more than 90 per cent of the shares in NetEnt, it intends to initiate a compulsory buy‑out procedure with respect to the remaining shares in accordance with the Swedish Companies Act.
As UK and Spanish authorities remove temporary COVID-19 restrictions which were introduced two months ago, LeoVegas has again criticised new moves being made in Sweden.
In the UK, gaming companies voluntarily opted to restrict advertising on TV and radio to only feature a safer gambling message rather than promote their products.
Following the six-week period, restrictions are now being lifted, however there is still a voluntary agreement for operators to dedicate a minimum of 20 per cent of their advertising on TV and radio to safer gambling up to August 31 of this year.
Gustaf Hagman, president and CEO of LeoVegas, stated: “These are examples of two regulated markets where authorities and players in the gaming market work together to achieve a sustainable and healthy gaming market in the long term.
“The fact that both Spain and the UK now return to the normal regulatory framework is in line with how the outside world relieves previous restrictions in connection with COVID-19. We now also see that many sports competitions are resumed, and the football leagues start again.”
MGM Resorts has revealed that in 2019 the company generated almost $22bn in economic impact and employed 70,000 people, paying $3.5bn in wages and contributing £3.1bn in local state and federal taxes in the United States.
Unveiling its 2019 Social Impact and Sustainability Report: ‘Focused on What Matters: Embracing Humanity and Protecting the Planet’, MGM highlighted that it also provided $900,000 for 100 scholarships to children of employees with an aim to award 600 scholarships by the end of 2025.
Recipients attend more than 30 colleges across the country with 80 per cent pursuing a four-year degree. Of that group, 56 per cent are ‘first-generation’ college students.
“As our stakeholders and investors demand more action, it is vital that we evolve a strategy that directly addresses the most material and pressing issues, creates value and ensures the longevity of our company, our communities and our planet,” said Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO and president of MGM Resorts International.