Published: 11 March, 2024

The GiG economy

With its Q4 results in, GiG Media CEO Jonas Warrer, Chairman of the Board Petter Nylander and CEO of Platform & Sportsbook Richard Carter discussed...

In a webinar hosted on Valentine’s Day (14 February), Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) reported an all-time high in Q4 revenue and EBITDA. The webinar, which followed the publication of the results, included GiG Media and Group CEO Jonas Warrer, Chairman of the Board Petter Nylander and CEO of Platform & Sportsbook Richard Carter, who discussed these results in-depth and how they reflect the company’s goals going forward into 2024 (including the affiliate side). They also discussed the impact of two of their most notable acquisitions in the past year, AskGamblers and KaFe Rocks.
In Q4 2023, revenue was reported at €35.6m ($38.1m), while for the year, the total came to €126.9m. From last year, this reflects growth of 41%, while from 2019, this saw growth of 195.1%. Alongside these all-time high revenue reports, both AskGambers and publishing excluding AskGamblers reached all-time high revenues, up 32% and 3% quarter-on-quarter respectively. Warrer described the results as a “hat-trick,” though noted that the quarter had been unusual in its number of unexpected one-off costs. Warrer said: “Any company has unexpected costs, one-off costs and whatnot, but I think Q4 has been very unusual with several one-off and split related costs. For instance we have legal auditing fees and so on. It’s quite a transformative quarter for us.”
Accounting for this, the report stated: ‘Adjusting for one-offs and split related costs, underlying EBITDA margin was 47% in the quarter.’

"It gets a bit nerdy and a bit detailed, so forgive me"
Beyond these figures, Warrer broke down the company’s First Time Depositors (FTDs) numbers. FTDs ended at 138,000, up 19% year-on-year and 21% quarter-on-quarter for another all-time high. Furthermore, of these FTDs, 95% took full revenue share or hybrid deals, compared to other deal types like flat fees. When excluding AskGamblers, publishing player intake grew 100% year-on-year. Meanwhile, AskGamblers alone grew its player intake 12% quarter-on-quarter, with a 62% increase in run rate since it was acquired by GiG.

The KaFe Rocks acquisition
Warrer made note that, in Q4 2023, GiG was able to finalise its acquisition of affiliate KaFe Rocks. The €35m acquisition was completed in November 2023 and included the company’s 15+ market portfolio, with KaFe Rocks having previously been part of a called-off acquisition by Glitnor Group.
In our December issue of Trafficology, we spoke to Warrer about the acquisition. He said: "The US market is a very interesting market. One where if we look back at our history, maybe GiG Media has yet to realise the potential of what we could do there. So, with this acquisition we hope to fast-track things beyond getting a very strong publishing website. KaFe Rocks is already established in the US and you can say the acquisition satisfied both those goals."
This sentiment was one echoed in the Valentine’s Day webinar, when Warrer spoke of goals of enhancing GiG’s lead in the casino affiliate sector, with KaFe Rocks able to provide particular support to North American and LatAm ventures.
Post-merger integration began in early January, which Warrer described as “[enabling] KaFe Rocks to begin optimising.” He said he was “very positive about KaFe Rocks and what we can do with the team,” citing the talent and assets of the team as driving forces behind his belief.
“We had a management meeting in Copenhagen with KaFe Rocks and I think I saw a hunger in a few people’s eyes... because they know they can improve the businesses,” Warrer added later in the webinar Q&A.

AskGamblers takes off
After acquiring the company in December 2022, has become a key part of GiG’s network. As mentioned, AskGamblers revenue was at an all-time high this quarter, with statistics compared to the run rate at take-over stating that revenue was up 93%, with (FTDs) up 62%.
“The team has done a fantastic job there and it’s been really pleasant to see,” said Warrer. “Without sounding too positive, AskGambers has performed fantastically over the past 12 months... I’m quite surprised”.
The performance of the AskGamblers website even caused GiG to intentionally delay the integration of the site into GiG Media’s platform. “We have delayed our migration... Simply because the site is doing so well right now, we are afraid to touch it,” Warrer explained.
Still, the integration is expected to take place at the quarter’s end, with sports set to be added to the site ‘to double the size of the addressable market,’ as the presentation stated. It is likely we will see sports launched on the AskGamblers site around the time of Euro 2024, due to the sporting opportunity it provides.

How is the market changing for affiliates?
Asked by host Hjalmar Ahlberg, Warrer gave his thoughts on the current market and how to navigate it. “I think the market is changing in the sense that you see consolidation, the big players are becoming bigger and bigger.” Warrer said. “I think in that sense, also, competition is becoming tougher. You need to know your details, you need to know your game and we believe very much that you need to have technology... to win on the battlefield.”
Warrer suggested a humble approach, combined with technology and attention to detail as the “secret” to maintaining and growing business in the current affiliate market.

In short
2023 was a notable year for GiG, with the company pulling in some of its biggest annual figures yet. In part, these numbers can be put down to the consolidation of AskGamblers and KaFe Rocks, which aided not only in growing GiG’s FTD numbers but the company’s product and territory diversification as well. More sites, more markets and more customers are the biggest generators of growth, and it seems these two acquisitions have delivered. “We have transitioned from a domestic champion, being very focused on the Nordics, to global leaders. GiG Media is increasingly well positioned for long-term growth,” said Warrer.

"We had a management meeting in Copenhagen with KaFe Rocks and I think I saw a hunger in a few people’s eyes” - Jonas Warrer