UK bingo operator ready to gamble on Stateside jackpot
JACKPOTJOY, the bingo company made famous by TV adverts starring Paddy Mcguinness and Barbara Windsor, is “keeping a close eye” on recently deregulated US gambling markets.
Larger UK bookies such as Ladbrokes owner GVC, William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair have struck deals to grab a slice of the newly legalised sports betting market in the US. Supreme Court judges in May backed a New Jersey state ruling to overturn a decades-long ban on wagers on sports. The legalisation is expected to be steadily rolled out across the country.
Legalising gambling on bingo, Jackpotjoy executive chairman Neil Goulden told The Sunday Telegraph, was the “logical” next step.
“We are keeping a close eye [on the US],” he said. “The deregulation at the moment in the US is only sports betting at this stage. It doesn’t include bingo.
“We’re watching, we’re talking to partners, in the view that if and when bingo follows suit and becomes deregulated, we hope to be in a position where we are a very attractive partner for someone who is already there with sports betting.”
The London-listed company announces its half-year results on Tuesday with analysts expecting the firm to continue its trend of double-digit revenue growth. After gaining its premium listing earlier this year, Mr Goulden says he is “hopeful” the results will be sufficient to propel the company into the FTSE 350 when indices are recut in early September.
“We want to diversify a bit more,” he said. “We are trying to open up two or three markets in the next 12 months.” These did not include the US, however.
Jackpotjoy’s pursuit of revenue growth is likely to be toned down in the second half of the year. Mr Goulden explained marketing spend would be curtailed in favour of better profit margin generation.
Canaccord Genuity pencilled in sixmonth revenue of £162.7m, up 11pc, with full-year profit before tax expected to be £91.9m on sales of £333m.
Jackpotjoy said it is to reduce marketing spend, which includes its television advertising featuring Barbara Windsor, above, in order to improve profit margins