Sazka Group, one of Europe’s largest lottery and gaming operators, reports profits fell by 71 percent in the first half of the year to 42 million euros. Gross gaming revenues fell by 28 percent to 651.9 million euros.
“The decrease was largely due to measures against the spread of coronavirus when we closed part of the branches. This was mainly the case in Greece and Italy. In the Czech Republic and Austria, the impacts were smaller,” said Robert Chvátal, CEO of the company.
According to him, the future impact of the measures on companies and the economy is difficult to predict. “But it is clear that the pandemic has allowed us to accelerate our strategy of increasing the share of online betting,” Chvátal added.
In June, Sazka Group became the majority owner of the Austrian lottery company Casinos Austria with a 55.48 percent stake, after acquiring Novomatic’s 17.19 percent stake. The company did not disclose the transaction’s financial terms, but reports value it over 100 million euros.
In the first half of the year, Sazka Group also increased its stake in the largest Greek betting company OPAP, which, according to Chvátal, is also the fourth largest betting company in Europe. It now owns 40 percent of it.
Sazka Group also owns 100 percent of the Czech company Sazka and 32.5 percent of the Italian company LottoItalia. Karel Komárek’s KKCG Group owns Sazka Group.
In 2019, Sazka Group saw net profits increase by 35 percent year-on-year to 311 million euros. Gross gaming revenues increased by six percent to 1.91 billion euros.