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Canada

NorthStar Gaming Reports First Quarter 2024 Results

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NorthStar Gaming Holdings Inc. released its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2024. All dollar figures are quoted in Canadian dollars.

“In the first quarter we continued our pattern of strong year-over-year growth, highlighted by record total wagers. Our premium customer experience and growing brand awareness are propelling higher player retention, strengthened loyalty and increased player values. These positive trends enable us to spend our marketing dollars more efficiently, contributing to improved operating leverage as the business scales,” Michael Moskowitz, Chair and CEO of NorthStar, said.

Financial highlights for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024:

  • Revenue, including managed services fees, net of bonuses, promotional costs and free bets, was $5.9 million in Q1 2024, an increase of 63% over $3.6 million in Q1 2023.
  • Total Wagers1 at Northstarbets.ca were $218.0 million in Q1 2024, an increase of 56% compared to $140.2 million in Q1 2023.
  • Gross Gaming Revenue at NorthStarbets.ca was $7.0 million in Q1 2024, an increase of 59% over $4.4 million in Q1 2023.
  • Gross Margin was $2.2 million in Q1 2024, an increase of 91% over $1.2 million in Q1 2023, and represented approximately 37% of revenue compared to 32% of revenue in Q1 2023.

Recent Operating Highlights:

  • Notable year-over-year improvements in key performance indicators (KPIs) included a 42% increase in active players, a 9% decline in cost per acquisition of a customer (CPA), and a 54% increase in estimated 12-month player values.
  • Renewed the strategic marketing agreement with Playtech Software Limited, which will contribute services valued at up to $4 million through to October 31, 2024, designed to accelerate player acquisition in Ontario.
  • Secured $3 million of short-term financing to fund the Company’s continued growth through an unsecured promissory note to Playtech plc dated April 25, 2024 repayable in one year, or earlier upon completion by the Company of additional financing transactions.
  • Recently celebrated the second anniversary of the NorthStar Bets platform, which launched in Ontario on May 9, 2022. Northstarbets.ca has generated more than $1 billion in total wagers1 in its first two years of operations.
  • Ongoing roll-out of enhancements to the Company’s “Sports Insights 2.0” content vertical, an initiative announced in February 2024, with recent additions including player injury reports from industry leader RotoWire and a revised content strategy placing a greater emphasis on casino.
  • Launched the VIP Elite program to help secure the loyalty and satisfaction of our most active players.
  • Introduced branded studios for select live dealer games, prominently showcasing the NorthStar Bets brand and reinforcing the Company’s positioning as a premium offering.
  • Continued to strengthen the Casino vertical, which has surpassed 650 games covering all major categories and curated from leading vendors worldwide.

“March was the strongest month of Q1, and we have maintained that momentum into the second quarter. Our team is making regular improvements to our service offering, such as the recent launch of a VIP Elite strategy aimed at the most active players who drive a meaningful share of our results. We have some exciting demand creation activities planned for the coming months along with further innovations to our platform and content. We remain focused on unlocking value for our stakeholders and are excited about the opportunities ahead of us in 2024,” Mr. Moskowitz said.

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Canada

OLG and Team Canada Launch Official Partnership Ahead of Paris 2024

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Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has entered into a partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee and has become the Official Ontario Lottery Partner of Team Canada for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Ontario is ready to cheer on Team Canada athletes as they compete in Paris this summer. This new partnership is showcasing one of the many ways OLG’s support makes a difference to people and communities across the province,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Gaming.

“We are thrilled to welcome OLG to Team Canada. Ontario has such a rich sporting history and OLG has long been a supporter of sport and amateur athletes. We know this support has made a profound impact on athletes across the province, whether they’re engaged in sport at the grassroots level or pursuing their Olympic dreams,” said Jacqueline Ryan, Chief Brand and Commercial Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee and CEO of the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

“We are so pleased to be entering a new partnership with OLG and welcoming them into the Canadian Paralympic community. We know support for sport and athletes has been important to OLG for many years, and we are excited to work with them to continue to champion Ontario’s Para athletes and inclusive sport across Ontario,” said Karen O’Neill, CEO, Canadian Paralympic Committee.

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As momentum builds toward the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, OLG is also shining a spotlight on its players, who have helped support amateur athletes in Ontario by playing with OLG. The new “Sponsored by You” campaign reinforces that when you play with OLG, you support Ontario athletes.

Since 2006, OLG and the Ontario government have supported high-performance amateur athletes through the Quest for Gold athlete assistance program. The program has provided direct financial support to thousands of amateur athletes, enhancing their ability to train by offsetting the costs of training and living expenses.

“Many people don’t realize 100 per cent of OLG’s profits are reinvested into Ontario, and that we have a longstanding history of supporting amateur athletes. OLG’s ability to give back to communities is only possible thanks to our players, so we wanted to use this opportunity to recognize and celebrate them,” said Maxine Chapman, VP Brand & Marketing Officer at OLG.

OLG’s campaign features Team Canada athletes Andre De Grasse, Penny Oleksiak, Maggie Mac Neil, Jillian Weir and other Ontario athletes and Para athletes who have received funding from Ontario’s Quest for Gold program.

“Training for the Olympics takes a lot of preparation – physically, mentally and financially – and it’s not something you can succeed at alone. Having programs like Quest for Gold to help and knowing your community is supporting you makes all the difference, especially when you’re competing on the world stage,” said six-time Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse.

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The success of the Quest for Gold program shows in the numbers – in the last four Olympic cycles, over 90% of Ontario medal winners had received Quest for Gold funding during their career.

“The Quest for Gold program showcases our government’s continued efforts to enable Ontario athletes to achieve their full potential at the highest levels of competition. We are proud to join with the OLG, our partners across the sport sector and all Ontarians in wishing our Olympic and Paralympic athletes the best of luck in Paris,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Sport.

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Canada

Greo and CCSA Release New Report Named “Gambling Availability and Advertising in Canada: A Call to Action”

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Recent gambling policy changes in Canada have led to increased opportunities to legally bet on sports and gamble online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The report “Gambling Availability and Advertising in Canada: A Call to Action” looks at the impacts of legal gambling in Canada since the approval of the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act in 2021. The report recommends developing a pan-Canadian strategy to address gambling-related harms. This is a new report by Greo Evidence Insights (Greo) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA).

This call to action is in response to the significant increase in gambling advertising on billboards, social media, at commercial breaks during sports broadcasts and during sporting events. Increased gambling availability and advertising are expected to contribute to increased gambling in Canada, thereby posing a significant risk of harms among the general population, particularly for youth, young adults and other vulnerable populations.

The report also describes how the increased availability of gambling and in gambling advertising are of great concern because:

  • The types of gambling being made available and promoted (single-event sports betting and live or in-play betting) are associated with a greater risk of harm. For example, single-event sports betting increases gambling intensity and gives an illusion of control over the outcome as people believe their knowledge of the game gives them a competitive edge.
  • The volume of gambling advertisements repeatedly pairing sports with betting normalizes gambling, leading people to think of betting as an integral part of being a sports fan.
  • Increased availability of gambling and in gambling advertising are happening at a time when many people in Canada are more vulnerable to problematic gambling and gambling-related harms because of the lingering health impacts of COVID-19 and a rise in the cost of living.

“Over the last few years, we have witnessed some of the most significant changes in gambling policy since the 1970s. We have seen a massive increase in gambling advertising and opportunities to gamble. We can no longer watch sports with our kids or go online without being subjected to an overwhelming amount of gambling advertising. Canada is at a critical moment in how it manages gambling. A national strategy or framework — similar to what we have for alcohol, tobacco and cannabis — is critical to manage the expected increase in gambling harm, especially among youth and other vulnerable people,” explained Dr. Matthew Young, Chief Research Officer at Greo, Senior Research Associate at the CCSA and Adjunct Professor at Carleton University.

The report recommends developing a national strategy that will:

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  • Develop national standards governing the promotion and availability of gambling;
  • Manage conflicts of interest among gambling stakeholders;
  • Address inadequate funding for gambling harm prevention and reduction initiatives and research;
  • Monitor systematic changes in gambling-related harm, including any assessments of the social and economic costs of gambling; and
  • Increase awareness of gambling-related harms among health and social service professionals and the public.

“Increased gambling among people living in Canada will undoubtebly result in increased harms and therefore increased societal costs. These include healthcare costs, criminal-justice costs, child welfare costs, increased unemployment and lost productivity costs because of gambling-related suicide. We need to think about our approach and ensure that it considers not only short-term government revenue and economic activity but also the longer-term societal costs. That’s why we need a national strategy,” Dr. Pam Kent, Director of Research and Emerging Trends at CCSA, said.

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Canada

Call for a National Strategy to Address Gambling-Related Harms in Wake of Sports Betting Boom

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Recent gambling policy changes in Canada have led to increased opportunities to legally bet on sports and gamble online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Released today, Gambling Availability and Advertising in Canada: A Call to Action looks at the impacts of legal gambling in Canada since the approval of the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act in 2021. The report recommends developing a pan-Canadian strategy to address gambling-related harms. This is a new report by Greo Evidence Insights (Greo) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA).

This call to action is in response to the significant increase in gambling advertising on billboards, social media, at commercial breaks during sports broadcasts and during sporting events. Increased gambling availability and advertising are expected to contribute to increased gambling in Canada, thereby posing a significant risk of harms among the general population, particularly for youth, young adults and other vulnerable populations.

The report also describes how the increased availability of gambling and in gambling advertising are of great concern because:

  • The types of gambling being made available and promoted (single-event sports betting and live or in-play betting) are associated with a greater risk of harm. For example, single-event sports betting increases gambling intensity and gives an illusion of control over the outcome as people believe their knowledge of the game gives them a competitive edge.
  • The volume of gambling advertisements repeatedly pairing sports with betting normalizes gambling, leading people to think of betting as an integral part of being a sports fan.
  • Increased availability of gambling and in gambling advertising are happening at a time when many people in Canada are more vulnerable to problematic gambling and gambling-related harms because of the lingering health impacts of COVID-19 and a rise in the cost of living.

“Over the last few years, we have witnessed some of the most significant changes in gambling policy since the 1970s,” explained Dr. Matthew Young, Chief Research Officer at Greo, Senior Research Associate at the CCSA and Adjunct Professor at Carleton University. “We have seen a massive increase in gambling advertising and opportunities to gamble. We can no longer watch sports with our kids or go online without being subjected to an overwhelming amount of gambling advertising. Canada is at a critical moment in how it manages gambling. A national strategy or framework — similar to what we have for alcohol, tobacco and cannabis — is critical to manage the expected increased in gambling harm, especially among youth and other vulnerable people.”

The report recommends developing a national strategy that will:

  • Develop national standards governing the promotion and availability of gambling;
  • Manage conflicts of interest among gambling stakeholders;
  • Address inadequate funding for gambling harm prevention and reduction initiatives and research;
  • Monitor systematic changes in gambling-related harm, including any assessments of the social and economic costs of gambling; and
  • Increase awareness of gambling-related harms among health and social service professionals and the public.

“Increased gambling among people living in Canada will undoubtebly result in increased harms and therefore increased societal costs. These include healthcare costs, criminal-justice costs, child welfare costs, increased unemployment and lost productivity costs because of gambling-related suicide,” says Dr. Pam Kent, Director of Research and Emerging Trends at CCSA. “We need to think about our approach and ensure that it considers not only short-term government revenue and economic activity but also the longer-term societal costs. That’s why we need a national strategy.”

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