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Betsson CEO Q3 exclusive: Mexico, Italy and executing on B2B strategy

Betsson AB CEO Pontus Lindwall joined Gambling Insider for an exclusive interview following the publishing of its Q3 results. Following its "best ever quarter," Lindwall was understandably upbeat...

in depth pontus lindwall ceo betsson ab 2

Hi Pontus, please talk us through your Q3 results. They are so positive that the only difficulty I can think of is maintaining the same kind of growth next year?

That will be tough, of course. If we go through the report, it’s very strong across the board. Seven strong KPI all-time highs, including revenue in both casino and even more so in sportsbook. It's our highest EBIT, highest level of deposits and these are all things that show very strong activity. Obviously, not all regions have been as strong; looking at Western Europe, you compare it with Q3 last year, when we were still operational in the Netherlands – which we are not now. But we have managed to at least cover for that one with other markets, and we're really proud about Latin America and what we do there. We’re really satifised with the report all through.

Q3 is traditionally considered the most challenging for sports (Kambi mentioned this in its Q3 report). Why was this NOT the case for Betsson? Is it mainly due to Latin America?

I think we have certain markets where we put more effort than others and, coincidentally, most of those markets are sportsbook markets for us. This is where we have our highest ambitions, for example in Latin America. We have put ambition in and that has given us growth – we’re really proud of that.

Given that this is your best quarter ever, how much more is Betsson expecting during Q4 and the World Cup? More records shattered?

We had a trading update for the first part of October in our report and it looks like we are on a similar pace to the third quarter. Then we have the World Cup coming up: obviously, anything can happen in the World Cup in terms of outcome, but we still believe activity will be very high. So we are very excited to go into the fourth quarter – it’s hard to predict how it’s going to turn out and we don’t do any predictions on that. But we came into the fourth quarter on a good pace.

Would a Brazil vs. Argentina final be the ultimate outcome for Betsson?

That would be something!

You mentioned eight of your 10 best-ever turnover days came in Q3; when were the other two, as a good point of comparison?

Eight of them were in the third quarter and a part of the fourth quarter, to specify – the others, one was in 2021 and one in 2020. That shows we are on a different level now to previous years.

We’ve focused on sports betting so far – but on the casino side, what kind of expectations do you have for the Mexican online casino market as it develops?

It was a soft launch for us in Mexico – I’m sure we’ll have to make adaptations and finetune the product once it’s out there and we get a response from the market. I don’t have any high expectations for the dramatic impact on the P&L at the end of this year and the beginning of next year. But, based on the size of the market, I have high expectations for the future.

I want to go from Mexico to Italy – which you mentioned as a “star” in your report. How big of a market is this globally and where does it rank in terms of Betsson's best markets?

It’s definitely one of our bigger markets. It’s up there at the top; luckily enough, Betsson has a very broad geographical footprint, with many markets contributing quite well. But Italy is a big one and we have been successful in that market for many years – we have good local knowledge and a good Italian team, which is so dedicated to making this happen. That, in combination with the product and sponsorships we have in place with six different football clubs, works very well. We’re in a good position all through the whole offering in Italy, including our organisation.

To finish off, could you give us a few words on Betsson's KickerTech acquisition?

First of all, our strategy is very solid and this is part of the execution on that. We say we add on to our strategy by doing M&A and this is typically that – we do an acquisition with another company on the B2B side that broadens our offering. This means we can supply more and different customers in sportsbook; we can be faster to market with a sportsbook sometimes. So we have assessed this sportsbook thoroughly; it’s a very good product and it's a company we like to work with. We have been a customer ourselves so we know what it’s like – it’s good. It fits very well with our strategy and will definitely be part of our B2B growth going forward.

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