Multinational gaming group GVC Holdings is eyeing up a strong recovery in 2017, following on from a year that brought both highs and lows. The Isle of Man-based company behind famous names like partycasino and Sportingbet experienced soaring share prices, hitting highs of 770.00GBX in October in recognition of its continuing strong performance. But a slide in its share price over the last quarter of 2016 to 616.00GBX has cast some doubt over the direction of travel.
As one of the most prominent names in online gambling, some analysts have read these results as a sign of potential underlying weakness in the gambling sector, or as an indication that the group’s shares may previously have been riding too high. As the company embarks on its no doubt ambitious 2017 plans, can GVC bring back the ‘party’ and hit the highs of October 2016? Or might the recent share price slide represent a developing trend for this titan of the gaming industry?
GVC Holdings is in the fortunate position of having a clear jewel in the crown - in this case, partycasino. Originally founded back in 1997, partycasino has stood the test of time, establishing a strong foothold in the market as the go-to destination for online casino gaming. Today, it remains one of the company’s strongest assets, and a main focal point for their ambitious plans for 2017.
There are strong rumours coming from partycasino of a raft of new games. Slots have remained a strong area of business for the casino, which continues to attract new players month after month. A selection of new blockbuster slots titles from some of the world’s leading developers could soon be added to the extensive catalogue of games, which will no doubt help drive further player activity.
Additionally, the casino could be looking to introduce a number of other games and markets, opening new avenues for their gaming customers. While specifics remain tightly guarded, it’s expected that this could help drive revenues from this, the core asset of the GVC Holdings stable. While it remains to be seen whether these developments will add significant momentum behind the share price, partycasino looks set for another impressive year in 2017 as it continues to build and develop its product offering.
Betting companies have been eager to chalk their 2016 performance down to a number of ‘punter friendly’ results, including political outcomes like Donald Trump’s election and Brexit, which were among some of the most heavily wagered political events in history. This, combined with a number of unfancied sporting results will certainly have come to bear on the performance of Sportingbet over the last twelve months.
However, it seems unlikely that the industry will be in for a repeat in 2017. Improbable results do affect bookmaker margins, but by their very definition are unlikely to happen on a consistent basis. This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of Sportingbet, and this depth of track record will give some comfort that Sportingbet can help the wider group bounce back in the months to come.
At its depressed share price, GVC Holdings looks to be currently undervalued. Given the highs of as little as a few months ago, and the underlying strength across the company’s core brands, it remains a serious proposition for gamblers right across the spectrum - from casino and sporting bets, through to bingo and poker. With over €4 billion wagered annually, it remains a leading light in the online gambling space.
When combined with a more positive outlook for the gambling sector in 2017, few would bet against a return to the heady heights of October 2016 in the near term. If their plans unfold as it intended, 2017 could indeed get the party restarted for GVC Holdings.