Betsson CEO: Some investors have withdrawn profits - but share price, Q4 results remain 'very strong'

Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwall speaks exclusively to Gambling Insider about the company’s Q4 2023 and FY 2023 results. 

exclusive pontus

Looking at your results, it was a very positive set of results. Could you give us your overall feelings?

Yeah, it was a very strong set of results for the fourth quarter and the full year. So, I think the fourth quarter was a good way to end the year 2023, which was by far the most successful year in the history of the company and for the fourth quarter. I'm sure you're aware it was a little bit of a tough situation in the beginning of the quarter in terms of sports results, but still, we managed to post our highest revenue ever in the quarter. 

You touched on it there. Obviously, your sportsbook revenue did go down ever so slightly, 5% I believe it was. But you said this had a lot to do with the World Cup, of course, which was in 2022. Is there a way that operators can guard against customer friendly results to kind of affect the revenue?

No, there is no way to guard against that and I don't think we should even try to do it because that's the beauty of the sports betting environment that sometimes the player wins, sometimes we win a little bit more and that's the beauty of our offering. And I think if it was too strict in the way that the sportsbook margin was always 8% or something like that, then there would be less interest for players to use the service. So, we are actually quite happy that we have those swings in the sports betting margin.  

By far the most successful year in the history of the company and for the fourth quarter

Talking about customers. That was another area that saw a slight decline during Q4 was active customers. Again, part of that was probably to do with the World Cup. But would you say there's any concern there? Is that like a trend that might be happening or do you think that is down to the World Cup? 

There's no concern. It swings a little bit back and forth between quarters, depending on what kind of activities we do on the CRM side and then, as you mentioned, we had the World Cup, in the fourth quarter 2022, which kind of boosted those figures a bit so there's nothing that we worry about in the active customer figure. 

I think you touched on it in the press release, mentioning Brazil, and I think Peru as well. How important do you think it will be in 2024 for these markets when they do introduce their licencing systems for online gaming for your continued growth of the company? 

I think for us and for the industry it's very good that those markets come into regulation. These are large markets, huge interest for sports, so it's going to be good. And I usually say that we are on a path towards more or less 100% regulated, locally regulated revenues, all of us, so these will be new steps in that direction. 

I mean, obviously that market is very important for sports, it's very sport orientated. Betsson secured a lot of deals within the football arena in the last couple of months. How important do you think that will be as well to get in more of those kind of partnerships, for example?  

Yeah, I think it's important. It's part of our strategy in building our global brand, which is Betsson and we have strong assets on the Latin American markets and elsewhere, so we're going to continue looking for such deals to build brand awareness.  

That's the beauty of the sports betting environment that sometimes the player wins, sometimes we win a little bit more and that's the beauty of our offering

Looking back at your results, one thing I did notice was that Betsson’s share price dropped in reaction to it. Why do you think that was? 

It's very hard to tell, but if you look at the share price for the past year, or even more so 24 months, we have been on a very good run with the share and sometimes it's natural that people collect some of their profits and reallocate, that can be one explanation. I think the report is very strong. I think the trading updates are a small part of the first quarter, it's nothing in there that should have an adverse effect. So, I think it's some people taking home profits on what they have invested. 

As you said, it was a very strong quarter, a very strong year for you, but finally, looking at it in your own words, you said it was another record year for Betsson. How is it that your company continues to generate such strong figures year after year, quarter after quarter? 

I think we have a good strategy on the product side. I think it's good for us that we have quite a diverse, both product offering and geographical footprint, that makes us a little bit less vulnerable for certain activities in certain countries, so I think that's why. And then, of course, we're a big organisation, more than 2,200 people and we are acting like one big machine more or less globally, that's stronger, and it helps.  

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